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102

HOBOMOK.-SQUANTO'S PERFIDY.

[Book II.

it is strange to hear how many of late have, and still daily die amongst them; neither is there any likelihood it will easily cease ; because through fear they set little or no corn, which is the staff of life, and without which they cannot long preserve health and strength."

These affairs call for no commentary, that must accompany every mind through every step of the relation. It would be weakness, as appears to us, to attempt a vindication of the rash conduct of the English. Amid their sufferings, some poor Indians resolved to attempt to appease the wrath of the English governor by presents. Four set out by water in a boat for Plimouth, but by accident were overset, and three of them were drowned; the other returned back.

When Mr. Robinson, the father of the Plimouth church, heard how his people had conducted in this affair with the Indians, he wrote to them, to consider of the disposition of Captain Standish, “ who was of a warm temper,” but he hoped the Lord had sent him among them for a good end, if they used him as they ought. “He doubted,” he said, " whether there was not wanting that tenderness of the life of man, made after God's image,” which was so necessary; and above all, that “it would have been happy if they had converted some before they had killed any."

The reader has now passed through a period of Indian history of much interest, wherein he will doubtless have found much to admire, and more that he could have wished otherwise. Our business, however, we will here remind him, is that of a dealer in facts altogether, and he must take them, dry as they are, without any labored commentaries from us. Although we have had occasion to introduce Hobomok several times, yet there remain transactions of considerable interest in his life yet to be noticed.

Hobomok, or Hobbamock, was a great paniese or war capiain among the Wampanoags, as we have already had occasion to observe. He came to Plimouth about the end of July, 1621, and continued with the English as long as he lived. He was a principal means of the lasting friendship of Massasoit, which Morton says, he “much furthered; and that he was a proper lusty young man, and one that was in account among the Indians in ihose parts for his valor.” He was of the greatest service in learning them how to cultivate such fruits as were peculiar to the country, such as corn, beans, &c. The account of his mission to Massasoit, to learn the truth of a report that the Narragansets had made war upon him, and his interruption and trouble from Caunbitant are already related.

Being a favorite of Massasoit, and one of his chief captains, the pilgrims found that they need not apprehend any treachery on his part, as Hobomok was so completely in their interest; and also in that of the great sachem, that he would advise them if any thing evil were on foot against them. What strengthened them in this opinion was the following circumstance. The Massachusetts Indians had for some time been inviting the English into their country to trade for furs. When, in March, 1622, they began to make ready for the voyage, Hobomok “told us, (says Winslow,) that he feared the Massachusetts, or Massachuseuks, for they so called the people of that place, were joined in confederacy with the Nanohigganneuks, a people of Nanohigganset, and that they, therefore, would take this opportunity to cut off' Capt. Standish and his company abroad; but howsoever, in the meantime, it was to be feared, [he said,] that the Nanohigganeuks would assault the town at home; giving many reasons for his jealousy; as also that Tisquantum was in the confederacy, who, (he said,] we should find, would use many persuasions to draw us from our shallops to the Indians' houses for their better advantage.”

Nevertheless, they proceeded on their voyage, and when they had turned the point called the Gurnet's Nose, a false messenger came running into Plimouth town, apparently in a great fright, out of breath, and bleeding from a wound in his face. He told them that Caunbitant, with many of the Narragansets, and he believed Massasoit with them, were coming to destroy the English. No one doubted of his sincerity, and the first thought of the people was to bring back their military leader, who had just gone in the boat with Hobomok. A piece of cannon was immediately discharged

which, to their great joy, soon caused the boat to returr, not having got out of hearing. They had no sooner arrived, than Hobomok told them there was no truth in the report, and said it was a plot of Squanto, who was then with them, and even one of those in the boat; that he knew Massasoit would not undertake such an enterprise without consulting him. Hobomok was contident, because he was himself a great chief, and one of Massasoit's counsellors. Squanto denied all knowledge of any plot, and thus ended the affair

. The English, however, seemed well satisfied that Squanto had laid this shallow plot to set them against Massasoit, thinking they would destroy him, by which means he expected to become chief sachem himself; and this seems the more probable, as Massasoit was for some time irreconcilable because they withheld him from him, when he had forfeited his life, as in our narration has been set forth. But entirely to satisfy the English, Hoboinok sent his wife to Pokanoket privately to gain exact intelligence, and her return only verified what her husband bad said.

“Thus by degrees (continues Winslow) we began to discover Tisquantum, whose ends were only to make himself great in the eyes of his countrymen, by means of his nearness and favor with us; not caring who fell, so he stood. In general, his course was, to persuade them he could lead us to peace or war at his pleasure; and would oft threaten the Indians, sending them word, in a private manner, we were intended shortly to kill them, that thereby he might get gifts to himself, to work their peace, insomuch as they had him in greater esteem than many of their sachems, yea, they themselves sought to him, who promised them peace in respect of us; yea, and protection also, so as they would resort to him. So that whereas divers were wont to rely on Massassowat for protection, and resort to his abode, now they began to leave him, and seek after Tisquantum. But when we understood his dealings, we certified all the Indians of our ignorance and innocency therein; assuring them, till they begun with us, they should have no cause to fear : and if any hereafter should raise any such reports, they should punish them as liars, and seekers of their and our disturbance; which gare the Indians good satistaction on all sides.” “For these and the like abuses, the governor sharply reproved him, yet was he so necessary and profitable an instrument, as at that time we could not miss him.”

To the end that he might possess bis countrymen with great fear of the English, Tisquantum told them the English kept the plague buried in their store-house, and that they could send it, at any time, and to any place, to destroy whatever persons or people they would, though they themselves stirred not out of doors. Among the rest, he had made Hobomok believe this tale, who asked the English if it were true, and being informed that it was not, it exploded like his other impostures.

There is but little doubt that Squanto was in the interest of Caunbitant, and lived among the English as a spy, while Hobomok was honestly, as he pretended, a strong friend to them; but for some time it was nearly impossible for them to know which was their best friend, as each seemed emulous to outvie the other in good offices. They were, however, at this time satisfied; for, Hobomok's wife having told Massasoit what had happened, and that it was one of Squanto's men that gave the alarm, satisfied him that that sagamore had caused it, and he therefore demanded him of the English, that he might put him to death, according to their law, as has been related. But the English, regarding the benefit resulting to them from saving his life, more than keeping inviolate the treaty before made with Massasoit, evaded the demand, and thus Squanto was permitted to escape. Hobomok was greatly beloved by Massasoit

, notwithstanding he became a professed Christian, and Massasoit was always opposed to the English religion himself. It has been told in the life of the great Massasoit, how valuable was the agency of Hobomok, in faithfully revealing the mischievous plot of Caunbitant, which terminated in the death of Wittuwamet and Peksuot. He was the pilot of the English when they visited Massasoit in his sickness, whom before their arrival they considered dead, which caused great manifestations of grief in Hobomok. He often exclaimed, as they were on their way, “ Neen womasu Sagimus, neen womasu Sagimus,” &c., which is

104

A VOYAGE.-NANEPASHEMET.-OBBATINEWAT.

[Book II

" My loving Sachem, my loving Sachem! muny have I known, but never any like thee.” Then, turning to Mr. Winslow, said, “While you live you will never see his like among the Indians; that he was no liar, nor bloody and eruel like other Indians. In anger and passion he was soon reclaimed; easy to be reconciled towards such as had offended him; that his reason was such as to cause him to receive advice of mean men; and that he governed his people better with few blows, than others did with many."

In the division of the land at Plimouth among the inhabitants, Hobomok received a lot as his share, on which he resided after the English manner and died a Christian among them. The year of his death does not appear, but was previous to 1642.

It has already been mentioned that the pilgrims made a voyage to Massachusetts in the autumn of 1621. It was in this voyage that they became acquainted with the fame of Nanepashemet

. The English had beard that the Indians in the Massachusetts had threatened them, and they went (says Mourt) “partly to see the country, partly to make peace with them, and partly to procure their truck.”

Squanto was pilot in this voyage. They went ashore in the bottom of the bay, and landed under a cliff which some * have supposed was what has been since called Copps Hill,t now the north part of Boston. This was on 20th Sept. 1621. They saw no Indians until some time after they went ashore, but found a parcel of lobsters which they had collected, with which they refreshed themselves. Soon after, as they were proceeding on an excursion, “they met a woman coming for her lobsters.” They told her what they had done, and paid her for them. She told them where to find Indians, and Squanto went to them to prepare them for meeting with the English.

Öbbatinewat now received the voyagers. This sachem (if be be the same) had made peace with the English at Plimouth only seven days previous, as we have had occasion to notice. He told them he was sachem of the place, and was subject to Massasoit ; and that he dared not remain long in any place, from fear of the Tarratines, who were “wont to come at harvest and take away their corn, and many times kill them.” Also that SquawSachem of Massachusetts was his enemy. This Squaw-Sachem, † as we believe, was chief of those inland Indians since denominated the Nipnets, or Nipmucks, and lived at this time near Wachuset Mountain. The English intended § to have visited her at this time, but found the distance too great to proceed. They received the greatest kindness from all the Indians they met with, and mentioned that of Obbatinewat in particular. And they say, * We told him of divers sachims that had acknowledged themselves to be King James his men, and if he also would submit himself, || we would be his safeguard from his enemies, which he did.”

At another place, “having gone three miles, in arms, up in the country, we came (say they) to a place where corn had been newly gathered, a house pulled down, and the people gone. A mile from hence, Nanepashemet, their king, in his life-time had lived. His house was not like others, but a scaffold was largely built, with poles and planks, some six foot from [the] ground, and the house upon that, being situated on the top of a hill. No. far from hence, in a bottom, we came to a fort,” built by Nanepashemet. It

* Dr. Belknap appears to have been the first who suggested this. See bis Biog. ii. 224.

We had supposed this eminence to have been so called from a copse or clump of trees, which for a long time remained upon it, after it became known to ihe whites; but Shaw, Descrip. Boston, 67, says it was named from one Copp, a shoemaker, Aud Snor, Hist. Boston, 105, says William Copp was the proprietor of " a portion of the bill."

I “Sachems or sagamores,—which are but one and the same title,—the first more usual with the southward, the other with the northward Indians, to express the title of him that hath the chief command of a place or people.Hist. N. E. 60.

Shattuck (Hist. Concord, 2) says she was visited at this time by these voyagers, but I am not able to arrive at any such conclusion from any source of information in my possession.

|| It does not seem from this that he is the same who before had submitted at Plimouth, as Mr. Prince supposes.

|| Mr. Shattuck in bis llist. Concord, says, this “ was in Medford, near Mystic Pond."

was made with “poles some 30 or 40 foot long, stuck in the ground, as thick as they could be set one by another, and with these they enclosed a ring some 40 or 50 foot over. A trench, breast high, was digged on each side.* One way there was to get into it with a bridge. In the midst of this palisado stood the frame of an house, wherein, being dead, he lay buried, About a mile from hence, we came to such another, but seated on the top of an hill. Here Nanepushemet was killed, none dwelling in it since the time of his death."

According to Mr. Lewis, Nanepashemet was killed about the year 1619, and his widow, who was Squaw-Sachem before named, continued the government.t He left five children, Tour of whose names we gather from the interesting History of Lynn; viz. 1. Montowampate, called by the English Sagamore James. He was sachem of Saugus. 2. Abigail, a daughter. 3. Wonohaquaham, called Sagamore John, sachem of Winnesimet. 4. Winnepurkitt, called Sagamore George, or George Rumneymarsh, the successor of Montowampate at Saugus. Of most of these we shall speak in detail hereafter.

Squaw-Sachem, according to the authority last mentioned, was the spouse of Wappacowet, or Webcowit, in 1635. She and her husband, four years afier, 1639, deeded to Jotham Gibbones “the reversion of all that parcel of land which lies against the ponds of Mystic, together with the said ponds, all which we reserved from Charlestown and Cambridge, late called Newtown, after the death of me, the said Squaw-Sachem.” The consideration was, " the many kindnesses and benefits we have received from the hands of Captain Edward Gibbones, of Boston."

The SQUA-SACHEM's mark ~

WEBCOWIT's mark tt

Webcowit was a powwow priest, or magical physician, and was considered next in importance to Nanepashemet among the subjects of that chief, after his death ; as a matter of course, his widow took him to her bed. It does not appear, that he was either much respected or thought much of; especially by his wife, as in the above extract from their deed, no provision seems to have been made for him after her death, if he outlived her. At all events, we may conclude, without hazard we think, that if breeches had been in fashion among Indians, the wife of Webcowit would have been accountable for the article in this case.

In 1613, Massachusetts covenanted with “ Wassamequin, Nashoonon, Kutchamaquin, Massaconomet, and Squaw-Sachem,"|| to the end that mutual benefit might accrue to each party. The sachems put themselves under the government of the English, agreeing to observe their laws, in as far as they should be made to understand them. For this confidence and concession of their persons and lands into their hands, the English on their part agreed to extend the same protection to them and their people as to their English subjects.

What had become of Webcowit at this time does not appear; perhaps he was off powwowing, or at home, doing the ordinary labor of the household. We hear of him, however, four years after, (1647,) “ taking an active part” in the endeavors made by the English to Christianize his countrymen. "" He asked the English why some of them had been 27 years in the land, and never taught them to know God till then. Had you done it sooner, (said he) we might have known much of God by this time, and much sin might have been preveuted, but now some of us are grown (too] old in sin.”

* Might not, then, the western mounds have been formed by Indians ?

Hist. Lynn, 16. 1. Shaltuck, ib. who fixes her residence at Concord; she, doubtless, had several places of residence.

His name is spelt Webcowits to MS. deed in my possession, and in Mr. Shattuck's MSS Wibbicoloitts, as appears from his History.

la the History of the Narraganset Country, these names are written W'assumegun, Aasha anon, Culshamucke, Massanomell, and Squa-Suchem. See 3 Col. Mass. Hist. Soc i. 212.

See Gonkin's MS. Hist. Praying Indic ns.

106

SOME ACCOUNT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS.

[Book II.

The English said they repented of their neglect; but recollecting themselves answered, “ You were not willi:g to heare till now," and that God had not turned their hearts till then.*

Of the sachers who made the covenant above named, the first we suppose to have been Massasoit, on the part of the Wampanoays, who at this time was, perhaps, among the Nipmuks; Nashoonon, a Nipmuk chief, with whom Massasoit now resided. His residence was near what was since Magus Hill, in Worcester county. He was probably at Plimouth, 13 Sept., 1021, where he signed a treaty with eight others, as we have set down in the life of Caunbitant His name is there spelt Nattawahunt. In Winthrop's Journal, it is Nashacowam, and we suppose he was father of Nassowanno, mentioned by Whitney.t Kutchamaquin was sachem of Dorchester and vicinity, and Massaconomet was Mascononomo.

CHAPTER III.

Some account of the Massachusetts-Geography of their country-CHIKATAUBUTWAMPATUCK-his war with the Moharcks—MASCONONOMO--CANONICUS-Mur. TOWAMPATE-Small-por distresses the Indians--WonohaQUAHAM--WINNEPURKIT- MANATAHQUA— SCITTERYGUSSET-NattaHATTAWANTS-WAUGUMACUTJACK-Straw--JAMES.

Not long before the settlement of Plimouth, the Massachusetts had been a numerous people, but were greatly reduced at this time; partly from the great plague, of which we have already spoken, and subsequently from their wars with the Tarratines. Of this war none but the scanty records of the first settlers are to be had, and in them few particulars are preserved ; 1 therefore it will not be expected that ever a complete account of the territories and power of the Massachusetts can be given; broken down as they were at the time they became known to the Europeans; for we have seen that their sachems, when first visited by the Plimouth people, were shifting for their lives not daring to lodge a second night in the same place, from their fear of the Tarratines. Hence, if these Indians had existed as an independent tribe, their history was long since swept away “in gloomy tempests," and obscured in “a night of clouds,” and nothing but a meagre tradition remained. For some time after the country was settled, they would fly for protection from the Tarratines to the houses of the English.

It is said, by Mr. Gookin, that “their chief sachem held dominion over many other petty governors; as those of Weechagaskas, Neponsitt, Punkapaog, Nonantum, Nashaway, some of the Nipmuck people, as far as Pokomtakuke, as the old men of Massachusetts affirmed. This people could, in former times, arm for war about 3000 men, as the old Indians declare. They were in hostility very often with the Narragansitts; but held amity, for the most part, with the Pawkunnawkutts."S Near the mouth of Charles River “ used to be the general rendezvous of all the Indians, both on the south and north side of the country."|| Hutchinson { says, “That circle which now makes the harbors of Boston and Charlestown, round by Malden, Chelsea, Nantasket, Hingham, Weymouth, Braintree, and Dorchester, was the capital of a great sachem,** much revered by all the plantations round about. The tradition is, that this sachem had his principal seat upon a small hill, or rising upland, in the midst of a body of salt marsh in the township of Dorchester, near to a place called Squantum.”+ Hence it will

* Hist. Concord, 25.

+ Hist. Worcester Co. 174. | This war was caused, says Mr. Hubbard,upon the account of some treachery" on the part of the western tribes, i. e. the tribes west of the Merrimack. Hist. New. Eng. 30. Vi Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. i. 148.

|| Hist. N. Eng. 32. From Neal's Hist. N. Eng., probably, which see. ** It will be a good while before the present possessors of the country can boast of such a capital.

H Hist. Mass. i. 460. And here it was, I suppose, that the Plimouth people landed in their

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