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Few efforts, made by man, have been more strongly marked with wisdom in the projection, or with superiour courage, and conduct, in the execution. Every step appears to have been directed by that spirit, and prudence, which mankind have, with one voice, regarded with admiration and applause in the statesman, and the hero. The Pequods were wholly the aggressors ; and, however we may approve of the policy, with which they proposed to exterminate the English, we cannot fail to remember, that the English had entered peaceably into the country, and purchased the possessions at a fair price, of the lawful proprietors. Ninety men undertook, and accomplished, this desperate enterprize against an enemy, commanding probably not less than one thousand or fifteen hundred warriours; the most resolute, and successful, in New-England; the terror, and the scourge, of all the surrounding nations ; headed by a chief, unrivalled in his sagacity and success, and possessed of every military endowment, and of all the skill and address, attainable by savages.
When the news was carried to Sassacus, it produced a tempest of conflicting passions in the minds of his people, and their chieftains. Regret for the loss of their countrymen, and resentment against him, as the author of their calamities, enraged them to such a degree, that they were on the point of putting him to death. His friends, however, interceded for him powerfully; and finally saved his life. But the terror, produced by their late disaster, agitated them into a frenzy. Instead of waiting for another attack, they set fire to their weekwams, and to the great fortress of Sassacus; and fled in different directions. Sassacus, together with some of his chiefs, and about seventy followers, went to the Iroquois. The principal part of the nation were dispersed in the countries, Westward of Connecticut river. The greatest body of them directed their course by a winding route to Fairfield; where they were received, and secreted, by a tribe, who were natives of the place, and were called Unquowas. The principal fortress of these people was in a swamp, on the border of the Sound, about two miles Westward of the town of Fairfield, and about a quarter of a mile Eastward of Sasco river; lying immediately South of the old post road to New-York.*
Capt. Stoughton, with a body of men from Massachusetts, arriving speedily after the flight of the Pequods, determined to pursue them; and, having providentially discovered the place of their retreat, marched directly thither. Here he was soon joined by Mason, with forty men from Hartford. On the arrival of the English in the neighbourhood of the swamp, a.part of them, advancing eagerly, sunk so deep into the mire, that, being instantly attacked by the Indians, they were very near being destroyed; and several of them were badly wounded, before a sufficient number of their friends could come to their rescue. The Indians then requesting a parley, it was granted; and Thomas Stanton was sent by the English to propose to them terms of surrender; and particularly, to profler life to such Indians, as had not been concerned in murdering the English. The chief of the Unquowas, with his family, and people to the amount of about two hundred, gladly accepted of these terms; and immediately left the fort. Stanton was sent a second time, to renew the proffer to the rest. These, who were either chiefly, or wholly, Pequods, received the proposals with disdain. Stanton fled for his life. The Indians pursued him with their arrows so vigorously, that, had not his friends hastened to rescue him, he would have been killed.
Upon this proof of determined hostility, the Euglish resolved to surround the fort at a nearer distance, by cutting a passage through the swamp. Here they formed a circle; the men placing themselves at the distance of twelve feet from each other; and in this manner completely enclosed their enemies. Towards morning a thick fog arose from the Sound, and covered the swamp. A considerable number of the enemy took this opportunity to make their escape ; which, after several unsuccessful attempts, they accomplished by breaking through a quadrant of the circle, commanded by Captain Patrick. A considerable number more were killed in several attacks during the night: and in the morning one hundred and eighty were taken prisoners. These were di
* The present turnpike road to New-York passes through this swamp.
vided between the Massachusetts and Connecticut troops. The people of Massachusetts sent several of the women and children to Bermuda ; and sold them as slaves. The wife of Mononotto, the second in rank among the Pequod Chiefs, was one of the captives. This woman had been formerly distinguished by a peculiar attachment to the two girls, taken by her countrymen at Wethersfield. She and her children were recommended to the particular favour of Governour Winthrop ; and were received, and treated, by him with a kindness and generosity, wholly becoming his character. The remainder of the nation, exclusively of those who had fled, and who probably were numerous, amounted to two hundred ; beside women and children. Of these one hundred were given to Uncas; eighty to Miantonimoh; and twenty to Ninnigret, another sachem of the Narrhagansetts ; to be incorporated among their own people.*
Sassacus was soon after killed by the Mohawks; and his scalp sent to Connecticut. Mononotto made his escape.
Thus within the compass, of a few weeks was a tribe of Indians exterminated, who, according to the tradition of the country, had
The Legislature of Connecticut in the answers above referred to, say, “The war (with the Pequods) being ended, considerations and settlements were made with such sachems and people as remained, who came in and received to their full contentment and satisfaction, and have at all times since been used and treated with justice and humanity. No grants are made by the General Assembly before the Indian title is purchased agreeable to the right of preemption granted by royal charter to the Governour and Company of this Colony.
Extract from the Records of Connecticut. "Joseph Nyouke, a Pequod, presented a petition in behalf of himself and other Pequod Indians in Groton, concerning the land reserved for that tribe in Groton, one half of which had by permission of the General Assembly been divided into fifty-acre lots. This property had been misused by the whites to whom it had been leased. A committee was granted on this petition May 1750.”
From this extract, which I have taken the liberty to abbreviate, it is evident that the Legislature of Connecticut from the conquest of the Pequods, reserved for them by law a considerable tract of land for their maintenance, and superintended their interests with the same attention which was paid to those of the white inhabitants of the colony. This is a decisive instance of the justice, and of the humanity also, with which the Indians were treated by the early colonists of New-England, and which has been continued to the present time. VOL. III.
come from an inland region at a great distance; fought their way through all the intervening tribes to the Ocean; planted themselves in the tracts, which they had conquered; and awed, with a general and indeterminate controul, all the nations in their neighbourhood. This tribe, apparently superiour in their understanding to other savages, and possessed of loftier and more extensive views, was so far annihilated as to be thenceforth without a government, and without a name. It is not easy to travel through the country, where they formerly resided, or to pass by the field, in which they were finally overthrown, without indulging many solemn and melancholy reflections.
The conquest of the Pequods filled the Indians of New-England with astonishment and terror. In the emphatical language of Revelation, the land, like that of Israel, under the government of Othniel, after the victory over the king of Mesopotamia, "had rest forty years."
I am, Sir, yours, &c.
Stonington; cultivated partly by tenants--Indians still remaining here--Their de
graded character and situation—The perfection to which man arrives in a state of nature-General observations upon the remnants of the Indian tribes now found in New-England - Means of effecting their civilization.
AFTER crossing the Mystic, we entered Stonington. The face of the country became immediately better: and, though rough and stony to a considerable degree, was formed of easy and beautiful slopes, levels of considerable extent, and finely rounded emi
The prospects were generally pleasant, and in several instances superiour. The soil also was rich, and almost every where well-cultivated. This description is applicable to most of the township, which is one of the largest in Connecticut; extending with a breadth of about six miles, not less than sixteen, from the Sound into the interiour.* Beside grass, it yields maize, oats, barley, and rye, remarkably well. Wheat is cultivated in small quantities: and grows luxuriantly; but is often blasted. This is in part attributed to the exuberant vegetation of grass; which, when apparently destroyed by the plough, springs up from the seed, and choaks the wheat at the time when the kernel is forming. Flax formerly grew well; but lately has been blasted also; probably from some defect in the mode of culture. Orchards abound here; and are so prosperous, that apples, and cider, have become con. siderable articles of commerce. In the Southern half of the township wood is scarce, and dear: in the Northern, it is sufficiently abundant. The hills constitute almost the whole surface; and are altogether the best land. The vallies, which are usually narrow, and rough, present to the eye a confused mass of stones and rocks, apparenuy rolled together from the hills by some violent convulsion.
Within the limits of this township, are found, on the summits of hills, in about fifty places, single, large rocks, lying loose on the
Since this journey was taken, Stonington has been divided into two townships : the second named North-Stoningtona