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BIOGRAPHY AND HISTORY OF THE NORTHERN
OR NEW ENGLAND INDIANS.
""Tis good to muse on nations passed away
Conduct of the early coyagers towards the Indians-Some account of the individ
uals Donacona— Agona—Tasquantum, or Squanto–Dehamda-SkettwarroesAssacumel-Manida-Pechmo—Monopet-Pekenimne-Sakaweston-Epanou Manawet-Wanape-Coneconam.
The first voyagers to a country were anxious to confirm the truth of their accounts, and therefore took from their newly-discovered lands whatever seemed best suited to that object. The inhabitants of America carried off by Europeans were not, perhaps, in any instance, taken away by voyagers merely for this object, but that they might, in time, learn from them the value of the country from whence they took them. Besides those forcibly carried away, there were many, doubtless, who went through overpersuasion, and ignorance both of the distance and usage they should meet with in a land of strangers; which was not always as it should have been, and hence such as were ill used, if they ever returned to their own country, were prepared to be revenged on any strangers of the same color, that chanced to come among them.
In the first voyage of Columbus to America, he took along with him, on his return to Spain, a considerable number of Indians; how many we do not know; but several died on their passage, and seven were presented to the king. Vincente Yañez Pinzon, a captain under Columbus, kidnapped four natives, whom he intended to sell in Spain for slaves; but Columbus took them from him, and restored them to their friends. In this first voyage to the islands of the new world, the blood of several Indians was shed by the hostile arins of the Spaniards.*
There were three natives presented to Henry VII. by Sebastian Cabot, in 1502, which he had taken from Newfoundland. What were their names, or what became of them, we are not informed ; but from the notice of historians, we learn that, when found, "they were clothed with the skins of beasts, and lived on raw flesh; but after two years, (residence in England,) were seen in the king's court clothed like Englishmen, and could not be discerned from Englishmen.”+ These were the first Indians ever seen in England. They
My present concern not being with the Indians of South America, I beg leave to refer the reader to a little work lately published, entitled The OLD INDIAN CHRONICLE, in which all the prominent facts concerning the atrocities of the Spaniards towards them will be found stated. † Rapin's Hist. England, i. 685. ed. fol. See also Purchas, 738.
This is upon the authority of Berkely. Instead of England, however, he says Europe ; but, by saying the six, which Columbus had before taken from St. Salvador, made their escape, he shows his superficial knowledge of those affairs. Hear Herrera :
“ En suitte de cela, (that is, after Columbus had replied to the king's letter about a second voyage,) il [Columbus) partit pour aller à Barcelone auec sept Indiens, parce que les autres estoient morts en chemin. * fit porter aueque luy des perroquets verds, et de
CONDUCT OF EARLY VOYAGERS
were brought to the English court“ in their country habit,” and “ spoke a language never heard before out of their own country." *
The French discovered the river St. Lawrence in 1508, and the captain of the ship who made the discovery, carried several natives to Paris, which were the first ever seen in France. What were their names, or even how many they were in number, is not set down in the accounts of this voyage. The name of this captain was Thomas Aubert.t
John Verazzini, in the service of Francis I., in 1524, sailed along the American coast, and landed in several places. At one place, which we judge to be some part of the coast of Connecticut, “20 of his men landed, and went about two leagues up into the country. The inhabitants fled before them, but they caught an old woman who had hid herself in the high grass, with a young woman about 18 years of age. The old woman carried a child on her back, and had, besides, two little boys with her. The young woman, too, carried three children of her own sex. Seeing themselves discovered, they began to shriek, and the old one gave them to understand, by signs, that the men were fled to the woods. They offered her something to eat, which she accepted, but the maiden refused it. This girl, who was tall and well shaped, they were desirous of taking along with them, but as she made a violent outcry, they contented themselves with taking a boy away with them.” 1 The name of New France was given to North America in this voyage. In another voyage here, Verazzini was killed, and, as some say, eaten by the Indians.
In the year 1576, Capt. Martin, afterwards Sir Martin, Frobisher sailed from England for the discovery of a north-west passage; “ the only thing of the world,” says a writer of his voyage, “ that was left yet vndone.” After the usual vicissitudes attending such an undertaking, at this early period of Eng lish navigation, he discovered a strait which has ever since borne his name. About 60 miles within that strait, he went on shore to make discovery of the country, and was suddenly attacked by the natives, “who had stolen secretly behinde the rockes ;” and though he “ bent himselfe to his halberd,” he narrowly escaped with his life.
Hence there was a well-grounded suspicion in all future communications with the Indians in this region; yet, after considerable intercourse, Frobisher's men became less wary, and five of thein, going on shore from a boat, were surprised and carried off, and never heard of again. After this “the subtile traitours were so wary, as they would after that never come within our men's danger.” Notwithstanding, Frobisher found means to entice some of them alongside of his ship, and after considerable manuevering, one of them had his fears so far overcome by the alluring sound of a cow-bell, that he caine so near in his canoe, to obtain one of them, that “the captain, being ready provided, let the bell fall, and caught the man fast, and plucked him with maine force, boat and all," into his ship. Whereupon this savage finding himself in captivity, " for very choler and disdaine he bit his tongue in twaine within his mouth: notwithstanding he died not thereof, but liued vntil he came in England, and then he died of cold which he had taken at sea.”
The next year (1577) Frobisher made another voyage to the same coasts of America, and on some excursion on land he was attacked and wounded by the Indians. In York Sound he attacked a party, and killed five or six of them, and shortly after took two women prisoners.
Such were the impressions given and received between the Europeans and Indians in that early day of American history.
This was indeed a comparatively barbarous age. Few of the early voyagers were better than demi-savages; for they measured the conduct of the Indians by their own scale of justice; in which might was too often taken for right But we of this age — what will be said of us by generations to come,
by the enlightened of distant ages, - when they inquire for the causes and reasong for our conduct in our wars with the Indians in our own times?
rouges, et d'autres choses dignes d'admiration qui n'auoient iamais esté veuis en Espagne." Hist. des Indes Occident. i. 102. Ed. 1660, 3 tomes, 4to. See also Harris, Voyajes, ii. 15. ed. 1764. 2 v. fol. ; Robertson, America, i. 94. ed. 1778, 4to.
* Berkely's Naval Hist. Brit. 268. ed. 1756, fol. and Harris, Voyages, ii. 191. + Forster, 432.
Ibid. 434, 435.
The next early voyager we shall notice is Capt. Hendrick Hudson. From Robert Juet's journal of his voyage it appears that Hudson discovered the river which bears his name, Sept. 6, 1609, and explored it probably as high up at least as the present site of West Point, before he left it. During his stay in the river Manna-hata, as it was called by the natives, the conduct of his men towards those people was most unjust, savage, and cruel. We are told that their first interviews with the natives were friendly, but we are not told how they became immediately otherwise. The same day Hudson entered the river, he sent out John Colman to make soundings, in which service he was shot in his throat with an arrow and killed; and the next day he was buried on a point of land which has ever since borne his name. What provocation, if any,
led to this misfortune, is not mentioned, nor does it appear that there was any suspension of intercourse, though a few days after several Indians were taken captive by the ship's crew as they came to trade, and were confined on board. They escaped soon after, however, by jumping overboard.
By the 15th of September, Hudson had reached considerably above West Point, and on the 1st of October he began to descend, but came to an anchor " seven miles below the mountains.” An Indian in a canoe, while many others were around the ship, came under the stern, climbed up by the rudder, entered the cabin window, which had been left open, and stole some trifling articles. Being discovered, he was pursued and killed by the mate, “by a shot through his breast.” By this rash act several were so frightened that they jumped into the river. As a boat from the ship was pursuing them, one in the water caught hold of the side of the boat; whereupon the cook cut off his hands with a sword, and he was drowned. The next day two canoes approached the ship, and shot at it with their bows and arrows; "in recompense whereof," says Juet, “ we discharged six muskets, and killed two or three of them.” Soon after, about 100 Indians appeared on a point of land,“ to shoot at us ;” then “I shot a falcon at them,” says this author, whom I take to have been the gunner of the ship, " and killed two of them. Yet they manned off another canoe with nine or ten men, which came to meet us; so I shot at it also a falcon, and shot it through, and killed one of them. Then our men with their muskets killed three or four more of them."
This must truly ever be looked upon as a sad beginning of an acquaintance between the Indians and white people on the southern boundary of New England. The former could not view the latter in any other light than a race far more barbarous than themselves; inasmuch as they had seen a score of their people, one after another, sacrificed, while they had killed but a single white man, probably in a quarrel. We now turn to the northern boundary for another example or two of early intercourse.
Donacona, a chief upon the River St. Croix, was met with, in 1535, by the voyager James Cartier, who was well received and kindly treated by him and his people; to repay which, Cartier, “partly by stratagem and partly by force." carried him to France, where he soon after died.* Notwithstanding, Cartier was in the country five years after, where he found Agona, the successor of Donacona, and exchanged presents with him, probably reconciling him by some plausible account of the absence of Donacona.
Tasquantum, or Tisquantum, was one of the five natives carried from the coast of New England, in 1605, by Capt. George Waymouth, who had been sent out to discover a north-west passage. This Indian was known afterwards to the settlers of Plimouth, by whom he was generally called 'Squanto, or 'Squantum, by abbreviation. The names of the other four were Manida, Skettwarroes, Dehamda and Assacumet.
Although Gorges does not say Dehamda was one brought over at this time, it is evident that he was, because, so far as we can discover, there were no othe: natives at that time in England, but these five.
Sir Ferdinando Gorges says, Waymouth, “ falling short of his course, (in seeking the N. W. passage,] happened into a river on the coast of America, called Pemmaquid, from whence he brought five of the natives.” “And it so pleased
• Foster, 440-442.
CONDUCT OF EARLY VOYAGERS
[Book II. our great God that” Waymouth, on his return to England, " came into the harbor of Plymouth, where I then commanded." Three * of whose natives, namely, Manida, Skell warroes and Tasquantum,“ I seized upon. They were all of one nation, but of several parts, and several families. This accident must be acknowledged the means, under God, of putting on foot and giving life to all our plantations."
Paying great attention to these natives, he soon understood enough by them about the country from whence they came to establish a belief that it was of great value; not perhaps making due allowance for its being their home. And Sir Ferdinando adds, “ After I had those people sometimes in my custody, I observed in them an inclination to follow the example of the better sort ; and in all their carriages, manifest shows of great civility, far from the rudeness of our common people. And the longer I conversed with them, the better hope they gave me of those parts where they did inhabit, as proper for our uses ; especially when I found what goodly rivers, stately islands, and safe harbors, those parts abounded with, being the special marks I leveled at as the only want our nation met with in all their navigations along that coast. And have ing kept thern full three years, I made them able to set me down what great rivers run up into the land, what men of note were seated on them, what power they were of, how allied, what enemies they had,” &c.
T'hus having gained a knowledge of the country, Sir Ferdinando got ready “ a ship furnished with men and all necessaries” for a voyage to America, and sent as her captain Mr. Henry Challoung,t with whom he also sent two of his Indians. The names of these were Assacumet and Manida. Chalons, having been taken sick in the beginning of the voyage, altered his course, and lost some time in the West Indies. After being able to proceed northward, he departed from Porto Rico, and was soon after taken by a Spanish fleet, and carried into Spain, “where their ship and goods were confiscate, themselves made prisoners, the voyage overthrown, and both my natives lost.” One, however, Assacumet, was afterwards recovered, if not the other. This voyage of Chalons was in 1606.
It appears that the Lord Chief Justice Popham | had agreed to send a vessel to the aid of Chalons, which was accordingly done before the news of his being taken was known in England. For Sir Ferdinando Gorges says, “It pleased the lord chief justice, according to his promise, to despatch Capt. (Martin) Prin from Bristol, with hope to have found Capt. Challounge;" " but not hearing by any means what became of him, after he had made a perfect discovery of all those rivers and harbors,” “ brings with him the most exact discovery of that coast that ever came to my hands since, and, indeed, he was the best able to perform it of any I met withal to this present (time,) which, with his relation of the country, wrought such an impression in the lord chief justice, and us all that were his associates, that (notwithstanding our first disaster) we set up our resolutions to follow it with effect.”
Dehamda and Skettwarroes were with Prinz in this voyage, and were, without doubt, his most efficient aids in surveying the coast. It appears from Gorges, that Dehamda was sent by the chief justice, who we suppose had considered him his property,|| and Skettwarroes by himself. They returned again to England with Prin.
* It seems, from this part of his narrative, that he had but three of them, but from subsequent passages, it appears he had them all. See also America painted to the Life.
† Challons, by some. Gorges has sometimes, Chalouons, Chalon, &c.
I The same who presided at the trial of Sir W. Ralegh and his associates, in 1603. See Prince's Worthics of Devon, 672, 673. Fuller, in his Worthies of England, ii. 284, The next year, 1607, these two natives piloted the first New England colony to the mouth of Sagadahock River, since the Kennebeck. They left England 30 May, and did not arrive here until 8 August following. “As soon as the president had taken notice of the place, and given order for landing the provisions, he despatched away Captain Gilbert, with Skitwarres his guide, for the thorough discovery of the rivers and habitations of the natives, by whom he was brought to several of them, where he found civil entertainment, and kind respects, far from brutish or savage natures, so as they suddenly became familiar friends, especially by the means of Dehamda and Skitwarrers.” “ So as the president was earnestly intreated by Sassenou, Aberemet, and others, the princi pal Sagamores, (as they call their great lords,) to go to the Bashabas, who it seems was their king.". They were prevented, however, by adverse weather, from that ourney, and thus the promise to do so was unintentionally broken, "much to the grief of those Sagamores that were to attend him. The Bashebas, notwithstanding, hearing of his misfortune, sent his own son to visit him, and to beat a trade with him for furs."
“ Travelers owed their safety to this judge's severity many years after his death, which happened Anno Domini 16**," thinking, no doubt, he had much enlightened his reader by definitely stating that Sir John Popham died some time within a hundred years. The severity referred to has reference to his importuning King James not to pardon so many robbers and thieves, which, he said, tended to render the judges contemptible, and“ which made him more sparing afterward.”
Ś Gorges, one of the main springs of these transactions, who wrote the account we give, makes no mention of any other captain accompanying him; yet Dr. Holmes's authorities, Annals, i. 125, led him to record Thomas Manam as the performer of this voyage. And a writer of 1622 says, Hanam, or, as he calls him, Haman, went commander, and Prinne master. See 2 Col. Mass. Hist. Soc. ix. 3. This agrees with the account of Gorges the younger.
! He had probably been given to him by Sir Ferdinando.
Several sad and melancholy accidents conspired to put an end to this first colony of New England. The first was the loss of their store-house, containing most of their supplies, by fire, in the winter following, and another was the death of Lord Popham. It consisted of 100 men, and its beginning was auspicious; but these calamities, together with the death of their president, broke down their resolutions. So many discouragements, notwithstanding a ship with supplies had arrived, determined them to abandon the country, which they did in the spring.* What became of Dehamda and Skettwarroes there is no mention, but they probably remained in the country with their friends, unless the passage which we shall hereafter extract be construed to mean differently.f
To return to T'isquantum. There is some disagreement in the narratives of the contemporary writers in respect to this chief, which shows, either that some of them are in error, or that there were two of the same name--one carried away by Waymouth, and the other by Hunt. From a critical examination of the accounts, it is believed there was but one, and that he was carried away by Waymouth, as Sir Ferdinando Gorges relates, whose account we have given above. It is impossible that Sir Ferdinando should have been mistaken in the names of those he received from Waymouth. The names of those carried off by Hunt are not given, or but few of them, nor were they kidnapped until nine years after Waymouth's voyage. It is, therefore, possible that Squantum, having returned home from the service of Gorges, went again to England with some other person, or perhaps even with Hunt. But we are inclined to think there was but one of the name, and his being carried away an error of inadvertence,
Patuxe, afterward called Plimouth, was the place of residence of Squantum, who, it is said, was the only person that escaped the great plague of which we shall particularly speak in the life of Massasoit ; where, at the same time, we shall take up again the life of Squantum, whose history is so intimately coulnected with it.
It was in 1611 that Captain Edward Harlows was sent “ to discover an Ile supposed about Cape Cod,” who “falling with Monahigan, they found onely Cape Cod no Ile but the maine ; there at Monhigon Island] they detained three Saluages aboord them, called Pechmo, Monopet and Pekenimne, but Pechmo leapt ouerboard, and got away; and not long after, with his consorts, cut their Boat from their sterne, got her on shore, and so filled her with sand and guarded her with bowes and arrowes, the English lost her.”ll
This exploit of Pechmo is as truly brave as it was daring. To have got
They had "seated themselves in a peninsula, which is at the mouth of this river, (Sagadaňock,] where they built a fortress to defend themselves from their enemies, which they named St. George." America Painted to the Life, by Ferd. Gorges, Esq. p. 19. + Sce life Massasoit.
It is plain, from Prince Chron. 134, that his authors had confounded the names of these Indians one with another.
Sir Fred. Gorges is probably wrong in calling him Henry Harley.