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CHAP. mand to Captain John Mason, who had been a soldier in
the Netherlands. At the request of the soldiers, part of 1637. the night preceding the day they were to march was spent
in prayer. Stone, one of their ministers, accompanied them as chaplain. They ficated down the river, and sailed round the coast to Narraganset bay, intending to go across the country, and attack the Pequods in their fort. As the latter had a very exalted opinion of their own prowess, they supposed the English were making their escape, when they saw them sailing past the mouth of the Pequod, now the Thames river. The English landed at a harbor in the
bay, and religiously observed the Sabbath. On the followMay ing day they repaired to Canonicus, the old Narraganset
chief, but his nephew Miantonomoh hesitated to join them; their numbers were so small, and the Pequods so numer
Two hundred warriors, however, consented to accompany them, but as rather doubtful friends--and about seventy Mohegans joined them under their chief Uncas.
Sassacus, the bold chief of the Pequods, was too confident in the strength of his two forts, and in the bravery of his warriors to be cautious. His main fort, on the top of a high hill, was defended by posts driven in the ground, and deemed by him impregnable. He was yet to experience an attack from the English. In the night Mason, guided by an Indian deserter, approached the main fort, and halted within hearing of the triumphant shouts of the Pequods, as they exulted over his supposed flight. Toward the break of day the English moved to the attack, while
their Indian allies took a position to surround the fort. Nay The coming struggle was one of life or death to all that
was dear to the little army: if they were defeated, all hope would be lost for their families on the Connecticut. The barking of a dog awoke the Indian sentinel ; he rushed into the fort with the cry, The English ! the English ! In a moment more, the English were through the palisades, and fighting hand to hand with the half awakened
MASSACRE OF THE PEQUODS.
warriors. Their numbers were overwhelming. “We must CHAP burn them,” shouted Mason, as he applied a torch to the dry reeds which covered a wigwam—the flames spread with 1637. great rapidity. All was in confusion--as the despairing warriors vainly endeavored to extinguish the flames they became targets for the English marksmen. The Narragansets and Mohegans now joined in the conflict. More than six hundred of the Pequods perished, men, women. and children in one common ruin, merciless and unrelenting: only seven escaped. In an hour's time the work was done ; just then appeared the warriors, three hundred strong, from the other fort. They came forth expecting victory. When they perceived the ruin which had come upon their friends, they raved and stamped the ground in despair. Mason with a chosen band held them in check, till the remainder of the army had embarked on the boats, which had come round from Narraganset Bay. Then they hastened home, lest there should be a sudden attack upon the settlements.
In a few days Captain Stoughton arrived from Massa- Juna: chusetts with one hundred men. The spirit of the Pequods was broken; they fled to the west, and were pursued with untiring energy. Their villages were burnt--their cornfields destroyed--their women and children slain without mercy. They took refuge in a swamp, and in desperation once more made a stand : again they were overwhelmed with great slaughter. Sassacus, their chief, escaped with a Aug. few followers, and made his way to the Mohawks, where he was afterward basely murdered by one of his own subjects. The remainder, old and young, surrendered to the victors, who disposed of them : some they gave as captives of war to their enemies, the Narragansets and Mohegans; and some they sent to the West Indies to be sold as slaves. Their territory was declared to be conquered, and their name to be blotted out. They were the foremost in that mournful procession in which the Indian race, from that
CHAP. day to this, have been moving on toward utter extermina
tion. This terrible example of the white man's power 1637. sent a thrill of horror through the other tribes; and for
more than forty years, they dared not raise an arm in de
fence of the graves of their fathers. 1638. The year following, John Davenport, a celebrated cler
gyman of London, arrived at Boston--with him came his friend Theophilus Eaton, a rich merchant. They and their associates had been exiled. They were cordially welcomed in Massachusetts, and urgently pressed to remain in that colony. They preferred to go into the wilderness rather than dwell in the midst of so much controversy. Rumor had told of the fine region found to the west by the pursuers of the Pequods. Eaton, with a few men, after exploring the coast of the Sound, spent the following winter at a desirable place in that region. As soon as spring opened, the company sailed from Boston ; in due time they arrived at the place where Eaton had spent the winter; there,
under a large tree, on the Sabbath after their arrival, April. Davenport preached his first sermon in the wilderness. A
day of fasting and prayer for direction was observed, and then they formed a government, pledging themselves “ to be governed in all things by the rules which the Scriptures held forth to them.” Such was the settlement of New Haven, and thus was it to be governed. They purchased from the Indians the right to the land-Eaton was elected governor; and to the end of his life, for more than twenty years, he was annually chosen to that office.
After the war with the Pequods was ended, the people of the several settlements on the Connecticut held a con
vention at Hartford, and adopted a constitution and form 1039. of government. The constitution was framed on liberal
principles. They agreed to “maintain the purity of the gospel," and in civil affairs to be governed by the laws made under their constitution. No jurisdiction was admitted to belong to the King of England. Every one who
THE SE IRIT OF THE COLONISTS.
took the oath of allegiance to the commonwealth was enti- CHAP. tled to vote. The governor and the other officers were to be chosen annually by ballot. The number of their repre- 1639. sentatives to the General Assembly was to be apportioned to the towns, according to the number of inhabitants. For one hundred and fifty years this constitution remained in force.
Sir Ferdinand Gorges and John Mason obtained, from their associates of the Council of Plymouth, a grant of land, lying partly in New Hampshire and partly in Maine. 1622. This was named Laconia. A small number of emigrants were sent over, who settled at Portsmouth, Dover, and a few other places near the mouth of the Piscataqua. Wheelwright, when banished from Massachusetts, settled with his fellow-exiles at Exeter. These settlements progressed very slowly. Only a few trading houses were scattered along the coast, and for many years they took no more permanent form. These settlers were not all Puritans, and were but little united among themselves; yet, they applied and were annexed to the colony of Massachusetts. 1641. The General Court agreed not to insist that the freemen and deputies should be church members.
In all their troubles the colonists of New England had 1639. never appealed to the mother country. They felt under no obligation to her; she had driven them forth with a harsh hand to take care of themselves, or to perish in the wilderness. A spirit of independence pervaded their minds. They had the energy and industry to sustain themselves, and the courage to act in every emergency.
Rumors had reached them that unprincipled men were planning to take away their charter ; that Archbishop Laud was meditating to establish over them the rule of the Church of England ; that a governor-general had been appointed, and was on his way.
They would not recognize the right of the king even
CHAP. to investigate by what authority they held their charter,
lest it might be inferred that they were in any respect de1639. pendent upon his will. For the same reason, when the
Long Parliament professed to be their friend, they respectfully declined any favors. When they feared an attempt to place over them a royal governor, and to change their colony into a royal province, they determined to defend their liberties, and poor as they were, raised six hundred pounds for fortifications.
Twenty thousand emigrants were in New England, when the Puritans of the mother country, galled beyond endurance by the outrages committed on their rights and persons, commenced that fearful struggle, which, in its throes, overturned the throne, and brought the tyrannical Charles I. to the scaffold, and established the Commonwealth under Cromwell. During this period emigration almost entirely ceased. Many hastened home to England to engage in the conflict, among whom were the Rev. Hugh Peters and Harry Vane. They both perished on the scaffold after the Restoration.
The colonists, though unmolested by the home gorernment, were still surrounded with dangers. They were in the midst of hostile Indians ; the French were threatening them in the North-East, and the Dutch in the West. For mutual safety and interest, Plymouth, Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and New Haven, joined themselves together, 1643. under the title of “THE UNITED COLONIES OF NEW ENG
LAND." Each was to be perfectly free in the management of its own affairs ; while those which properly belonged to the whole confederacy were to be intrusted to commissioners—two from each colony. Church-membership was the only qualification required of these commissioners. The expenses of the government were to be assessed.according to the number of inhabitants. The purity of the gospel was also to be preserved. This confederacy, the, germ of “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," lasted forty