Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

ried off to Deer Island, in Boston harbor, where they
suffered excessively from a severe winter. A part of the
praying Indians of Plymouth colony were confined, in
like manner, on the islands in Plymouth harbor.
Not content with realities sufficiently frightful, super-
stition, as usual, added bugbears of her own. Indian
bows were seen in the sky, and scalps in the moon.
The northern lights became an object of terror. Phan-
tom horsemen careered among the clouds, or were heard
to gallop invisible through the air. The howling of
wolves was turned into a terrible omen. The war was
regarded as a special judgment in punishment of prevail-
ing sins. Among these sins, the General Court of Massa-
chusetts, after consultation with the elders, enumerated
neglect in the training of the children of church mem-
bers; pride, in men's wearing long and curled hair; ex-
cess in apparel; naked breasts and arms, and superfluous

ribbons; the toleration of Quakers; hurry to leave meet

ing before blessing asked ; profane cursing and swearing;
tippling houses; want of respect for parents; idleness;
extortion in shop-keepers and mechanics; and the riding
from town to town of unmarried men and women, under
pretense of attending lectures—“a sinful custom, tend-
ing to lewdness.” Penalties were denounced against all
these offenses; and the persecution of the Quakers was
again renewed. A Quaker woman had recently fright-
ened the Old South congregation in Boston by entering
that meeting-house clothed in sackcloth, with ashes on
her head, her feet bare, and her face blackened, intend-
ing to personify the small-pox, with which she threat-
ened the colony, in punishment for its sins.
About the time of the first collision with Philip, the
Tarenteens, or Eastern Indians, had attacked the settle-
ments in Maine and New Hampshire, plundering and

CHAPTER

1675.

Oct. 19.

chapTER burning the houses, and massacring such of the inhabitants as fell into their hands. This sudden diffusion of 1675. hostilities and vigor of attack from opposite quarters,

Sept.

Nov.

made the colonists believe that Philip had long been plot-
ting and had gradually matured an extensive conspiracy,
into which most of the tribes had deliberately entered,
for the extermination of the whites. This belief infuri-
ated the colonists, and suggested some very questionable
proceedings. It seems, however, to have originated, like
the war itself, from mere suspicions. The same griefs
pressed upon all the tribes; and the struggle once com-
menced, the awe which the colonists inspired thrown off,
the greater part were ready to join in the contest. But
there is no evidence of any deliberate concert; nor, in
fact, were the Indians united. Had they been so, the
war would have been far more serious. The Connecti-
cut tribes proved faithful, and that colony remained un-
touched. Even the Narragansets, the most powerful
confederacy in New England, in spite of so many for-
mer provocations, had not yet taken up arms. But they
were strongly suspected of intention to do so, and were
accused, notwithstanding their recent assurances, of giv-
ing aid and shelter to the hostile tribes.
An attempt had lately been made to revive the union
of the New England colonies. At a meeting of com-
missioners, those from Plymouth presented a narrative of
the origin and progress of the present hostilities, upon
the strength of which the war was pronounced “just
and necessary,” and a resolution passed to carry it on
at the joint expense. A thousand men were ordered to
be raised. If the Narragansets were not crushed during
the winter, it was feared they might break out openly
hostile in the spring; and at a subsequent meeting of
the commissioners, five hundred additional men were or-

dered to be levied to co-operate in an expedition specially chorn against them. The winter was unfavorable to the Indians; the leaf- 1675. less woods no longer concealed their lurking attacks. The frozen surface of the swamps made the Indian fastmesses accessible to the colonists. The forces destined against the Narragansets—six companies from Massachusetts, under Major Appleton; two from Plymouth, under Major Bradford; and five from Connecticut, under Major Treat—were placed under the command of Josiah Winslow, governor of Plymouth since Prince's 1672. death—son of that Edward Winslow so conspicuous in the earlier history of the colony. The Massachusetts

and Plymouth forces marched to Petasquamscot, on the 1675. Dec. 12.

west shore of Narraganset Bay, where they made some forty prisoners. Being joined by the troops from Con- Dec. 18. necticut, and guided by an Indian deserter, after a march of fifteen miles through a deep snow, they approached a . swamp in what is now the town of South Kingston, one of the ancient strongholds of the Narragansets. Driving the Indian scouts before them, and penetrating the swamp, the colonial soldiers soon came in sight of the Indian fort, built on a rising ground in the morass, a sort of island of two or three aeres, fortified by a palisade, and surrounded by a close hedge a rod thick, . There was but one entrance, quite narrow, defended by a tree thrown across it, with a block-house of logs in front and another on the flank. It was the “Lord's day,” but that did not hinder Dec. 19. the attack. As the captains advanced at the heads of their companies, the Indians opened a galling fire, under which many fell. But the assailants pressed on, and forced the entrance. A desperate struggle ensued. The colonists were once driven back, but they rallied and returned to the charge, and, after a two hours' fight, be

coors came masters of the fort. Fire was put to the wigwams,

1675.

1676.

Feb. 10.

Feb. 21.

Feb. 25.

near six hundred in number, and all the horrors of the
Pequod massacre were renewed. The corn and other
winter stores of the Indians were consumed, and not a
few of the old men, women, and children perished in the
flames. In this bloody contest, long remembered as the
“Swamp Fight,” the colonial loss was terribly severe.
Six captains, with two hundred and thirty men, were
killed or wounded; and at night, in the midst of a snow
storm, with a fifteen miles' march before them, the colo-
nial soldiers abandoned the fort, of which the Indians re-
sumed possession. But their wigwams were burned;
their provisions destroyed ; they had no supplies for the
winter; their loss was irreparable. Of those who sur-
vived the fight, many perished of hunger.
Even as a question of policy, this attack on the Nar-
ragansets was more than doubtful. The starving and in-
furiated warriors, scattered through the woods, revenged
themselves by attacks on the frontier settlements. Lan-
caster was burned, and forty of the inhabitants killed or
taken; among the rest, Mrs. Rolandson, wife of the min-
ister, the narrative of whose captivity is still preserved.
Groton, Chelmsford, and other towns in that vicinity
were repeatedly attacked. Medfield, twenty miles from
Boston, was furiously assaulted, and, though defended by
three hundred men, half the houses were burned. Wey-
mouth, within eighteen miles of Boston, was attacked a
few days after. These were the nearest approaches which
the Indians made to that capital. For a time the neigh-
borhood of the Narraganset country was abandoned. The
Rhode Island towns, though they had no part in under-
taking the war, yet suffered the consequences of it. War.

March 17 wick was burned, and Providence was partially destroyed.

Most of the inhabitants sought refuge in the islands;

but the aged Roger Williams accepted a commission as chAPTER

captain for the defense of the town he had founded. Walter Clarke was presently chosen governor in Codding- 1676.

ton's place, the times not suiting a Quaker chief magis-
trate.
The whole colony of Plymouth was overrun. Houses
were burned in almost every town; but the inhabitants,
for the most part, saved themselves in their garrisons, a
shelter with which all the towns now found it necessary
to be provided. Captain Pierce, with fifty men and
some friendly Indians, while endeavoring to cover the
Plymouth towns, fell into an ambush and was cut off.

That same day, Marlborough was set on fire, and Spring-March 26.

field was again attacked. The Indians seemed to be every where. Captain Wadsworth, marching to the re

lief of Sudbury, fell into an ambush, and perished with April 18.

fifty men. The alarm and terror of the colonists reached
again a great height. But affairs were about to take a
turn. The resources of the Indians were exhausted;
they were now making their last efforts.
A body of Connecticut volunteers, under Captain Den-
ison, and of Mohegan and other friendly Indians, Pe-
quods and Niantics, repeatedly swept the country of the
Narragansets, who suffered, as spring advanced, the last
extremities of famine. Canochet, the chief sachem, said
to have been a son of Miantonimoh, but probably his
nephew, had ventured to his old haunts to procure seed-
corn with which to plant the rich intervals on the Con-
necticut, abandoned by the colonists. Taken prisoner,
he conducted himself with all that haughty firmness, es-
teemed by the Indians the height of magnanimity. Be-
ing offered his life on condition of bringing about a peace,
he scorned the proposal. His tribe would perish to the
last man rather than become servants to the English.

« ПредишнаНапред »