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1671. April 13.
increase of the settlements around them, and the progressive curtailment of their limits, aroused their jealousy. They were galled, also, by the feudal superiority, similar to that of Massachusetts over her dependent tribes, claimed by Plymouth on the strength of certain alleged former submissions. None felt this assumption more keenly than Pometacom, head chief of the Wampanoags, better known among the colonists as King Philip of Mount Hope, nephew and successor of that Massasoit who had welcomed the Pilgrims to Plymouth. Suspected of hostile designs, he had been compelled to deliver up his fire-arms, and to enter into certain stipulations. These stipulations he was accused of not fulfilling; and nothing but the interposition of the Massachusetts magistrates, to whom Philip appealed, prevented Plymouth from making war upon him. He was sentenced instead to pay a heavy fine, and to acknowledge the unconditional supremacy of that colony. A praying Indian, who had been educated at Cambridge and employed as a teacher, upon some misdemeanor had fled to Philip, who took him into service as a sort of secretary. Being persuaded to return again to his former employment, this Indian accused Philip anew of being engaged in a secret hostile plot. In accordance with Indian ideas, the treacherous informer was waylaid and killed. Three of Philip's men, suspected of having killed him, were arrested by the Plymouth authorities, and, in accordance with English ideas, were tried for murder by a jury half English, half Indians, convicted upon very slender evidence, and hanged. Philip retaliated by plundering the houses nearest Mount Hope. Presently he attacked Swanzey, and killed several of the inhabitants. Plymouth took measures for raising a military force. The neighboring colonies were sent to for assistance. Thus, by the impulse of suspicion on the one side and chAPTER passion on the other, New England became suddenly en- gaged in a war very disastrous to the colonists, and ut- 1675. terly ruinous to the native tribes. The lust of gain, in spite of all laws to prevent it, had partially furnished the Indians with fire-arms, and they were now far more formidable enemies than they had been in the days of the Pequods. Of this the colonists hardly seem to have thought. Now, as then, confident of their superiority, and comparing themselves to the Lord's chosen people driving the heathen out of the land, they rushed eagerly into the contest, without a single effort at the preservation of peace. Indeed, their pretensions hardly admitted of it. Philip was denounced as a rebel in arms against his lawful superiors, with whom it would be folly and weakness to treat on any terms short of absolute submission.
A body of volunteers, horse and foot, raised in Massachusetts, marched under Major Savage, four days after June 28. the attack on Swanzey, to join the Plymouth forces. After one or two slight skirmishes, they penetrated to the Wampanoag villages at Mount Hope, but found them empty and deserted. Philip and his warriors, conscious of their inferiority, had abandoned their homes. If the Narragansets, on the opposite side of the bay, did not openly join the Wampanoags, they would, at least, be likely to afford shelter to their women and children. The troops were therefore ordered into the Narraganset country, accompanied by commissioners to demand assurances of peaceful intentions, and a promise to deliver up all fugitive enemies of the colonists—pledges which the Narragansets felt themselves constrained to give.
Arrived at Taunton on their return from the Narraganset country, news came that Philip and his warriors
chapTER had been discovered by Church, of Plymouth colony, col
lected in a great swamp at Pocasset, now Tiverton, the
tled within a few years past, were attacked, and sev- colors eral of the inhabitants killed and wounded. Captain —Beers, sent from Hadley to their relief with a convoy of 1675. provisions, was surprised near Northfield and slain, with *** twenty of his men. Northfield was abandoned, and burned by the Indians.
“The English at first,” says Gookin, “thought easily to chastise the insolent doings and murderous practice of the heathen ; but it was found another manner of thing than was expected; for our men could see no enemy to shoot at, but yet felt their bullets out of the thick bushes where they lay in ambush. The English wanted not courage or resolution, but could not discover nor find an enemy to fight with, yet were galled by the enemy.” In the arts of ambush and surprise, with which the Indians were so familiar, the colonists were without practice. It is to the want of this experience, purchased at a very dear rate in the course of the war, that we must ascribe the numerous surprises and defeats from which the colonists suffered at its commencement.
Driven to the necessity of defensive warfare, those in command on the river determined to establish a magazine and garrison at Hadley. Captain Lathrop, who had been dispatched from the eastward to the assistance of the river towns, was sent with eighty men, the flower of the youth of Essex county, to guard the wagons intended to convey to Hadley three thousand bushels of unthreshed wheat, the produce of the fertile Deerfield meadows. Just before arriving at Deerfield, near a small stream still known as Bloody Brook, under the shadow of the abrupt conical Sugar Loaf, the southern termination of the Deerfield mountain, Lathrop fell into an am- Sept. 18. bush, and, after a brave resistance, perished there with all his company. Captain Moseley, stationed at Deer
chapTER field, marched to his assistance, but arrived too late to
help him. That town, also, was abandoned, and burned