Chapter 16

Of standish’s expedition against the indians of wessagusset, and the breaking up of weston’s colony at that place.

Before this journey we heard many complaints, both by the Indians, and some others of best desert amongst Master Weston’s colony, how exceedingly their company abased themselves by undirect means, to get victuals from the Indians, who dwelt not far from them, fetching them wood and water, etc., and all for a meal’s meat; whereas, in the mean time, they might with diligence have gotten enough to have served them three or four times. Other by night brake the earth, and robbed the Indians’ store; for which they had been publicly stocked and whipped, and yet was there small amendment. This was about the end of February; at which time they had spent all their bread and corn, not leaving any for seed, neither would the Indians lend or sell them any more upon any terms. Hereupon they had thoughts to take it by violence; and to that spiked up every entrance into their town, being well impaled, save one, with a full resolution to proceed. But some more honestly minded advised John Sanders, their over-seer, first to writ to Plymouth; and if the Governor advised him thereunto, he might the better do it. This course was well liked, and an Indian was sent with all speed with a letter to our Governor, the contents whereof were to this effect; that being in great want, and their people daily falling down, he intended to go to Munhiggen, where was a plantation of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, to buy bread from the ships that came thither a fishing, with the first opportunity of wind; but knew not how the colony would be preserved till his return. He had used all means both to buy and borrow of Indians, whom he knew to be stored, and he thought maliciously withheld it, and therefore was resolved to take it by violence, and only waited the return of the messenger, which he desired should be hastened, craving his advice therein, promising also to make restitution afterward. The Governor, upon the receipt hereof, asked the messenger what store of corn they had, as if he had intended to buy of them; who answered, very little more than that they reserved for seed, having already spared all they could.

Forthwith the Governor and his Assistant sent for many of us to advise with them herein; who, after serious consideration, no way approving of this intended course, the Governor answered his letter, and caused many of us to set our hands thereto; the contents whereof were to this purpose. We altogether disliked their intendment, as being against the law of God and nature, showing how it would cross the worthy ends and proceedings of the King’s Majesty, and his honourable Council for this place, both in respect of the peaceable enlarging of his Majesty’s dominions, and also of the propagation of the knowledge and law of God, and the glad tidings of salvation, which we and they were bound to seek, and were not to use such means as would breed a distaste in the salvages against our persons and professions, assuring them their master would incur much blame hereby, neither could they answer the same. For our own parts, our case was almost the same with theirs, having but a small quantity of corn left, and were enforced to live on ground-nuts, clams, muscles, and such other things as naturally the country afforded, and which did and would maintain strength, and were easy to be gotten; all which things they had in great abundance, yea, oysters1

also, which we wanted; and therefore necessity could not be said to constrain them thereunto. Moreover, that they should consider, if they proceeded therein, all they could so get would maintain them but a small time, and then they must perforce seek their foot abroad; which, having made the Indians their enemies, would be very difficult for them, and therefore much better to begin a little the sooner, and so continue their peace, upon which course they might with good conscience desire and expect the blessing of God; whereas on the contrary they could not.

Also that they should consider their own weakness, being most swelled, and diseased in their bodies, and therefore the more unlikely to make their party good against them, and that they should not expect help from us in that or any the like unlawful actions. Lastly, that howsoever some of them might escape, yet the principal agents should expect no better than the gallows, whensoever any special officer should be sent over by his Majesty, or his Council for New England, which we expected, and who would undoubtedly call them to account for the same. These were the contents of our answer, which was directed to their whole colony. Another particular letter our Governor sent to John Sanders, showing how dangerous it would be for him above all others, being he was their leader and commander; and therefore in friendly manner advised him to desist.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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