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Narragansetts, who lived on the shores of the beautiful bay CHAP. which bears their name, Canonicus was not, however, to be deterred from exhibiting his hostility. As a challenge 1622. he sent to Plymouth some arrows wrapped in the skin of a rattlesnake. Bradford, who was now governor, sent back the same skin filled with powder and shot. The Indians looked upon it as containing a deadly influence, to be exerted against the enemies of the English. In terror they sent it from tribe to tribe, none of whom dared either keep or destroy it. Finally, the skin and its contents were returned to the colony. Canonicus himself, in a short time, desired an alliance of peace; evidently more from fear than from good-will.
In trade the Pilgrims took no advantage of the ignorance of the Indians. They became involved in difficulties with them, however, through the improper conduct of others.
Thomas Weston, a merchant of London, who had invested money in the enterprise of founding the Plymouth Colony, now wished to engross the entire profits of the fur trade with the Indians. He obtained a patent for a small district, near Weymouth, on Boston harbor, and sent over about sixty men, chiefly indented servants. These men ill treated the Indians, stole their corn, and thus excited their hostility. The savage seeks redress by murdering those who do him wrong. The Indians did not distinguish between the honesty and good-will of the Pilgrims, and the dishonesty and evil acts of “Weston's men;" they plotted to involve all the white strangers in one common ruin. Massasoit was dangerously sick; Winslow kindly visited him ; turned out of the wigwam the Indian doctors, who were making a great noise to drive off the disease, and relieved the chief by giving him medicine and quiet. The grateful Massasoit revealed the plot. The people were greatly alarmed; they had heard of a terrible massacre in Virginia, and they feared such would be their own expe
CHAP. rience. Not a moment was to be lost ; they must act in
self-defence. Captain Standish hastened with eight men 1623. to the assistance of those at Weymouth. He arrived in
time not only to prevent the attack, but to surprise the Indians themselves. In the conflict, the principal plotting chief and some of his men were killed. This exploit taught the Indians to respect the English ; many of the neighboring chiefs now sought peace and alliance. When the good pastor, Mr. Robinson, heard of this conflict, he exclaimed, “Oh that they had converted some before they killed any!” One year saw the beginning and the end of this trading establishment at Weymouth. Apprehension of danger from the natives was now removed.
As thanksgiving is fast becoming a national festival, the manner in which it was first instituted has a peculiar interest. In the autumn of 1623, after the fruits of the harvest were gathered in, Governor Bradford sent out a company
game, to furnish dainty materials for a feast. God had blessed their labors, and this was to be a feast of THANKS-GIVING. “So they met together and thanked God with all their hearts, for the good world and the good things in it.”
The merchant partners in England complained of the small profits derived from their investments. They began to neglect the interests of the colony, and to manifest their displeasure in various ways. They would not permit Robinson and his family, with the remainder of the church at Leyden, to join their friends at Plymouth. They sold the colonists goods at enormous prices, and sent a ship tc rival them in their limited fur trade. They outraged their feelings by attempting to force upon them one Lyford, a clergyman friendly to the Established Church. Lyford was expelled from Plymouth, not on account of his religious views, but, according to Bradford, for conduct injurious to the colony and immorality.
In time industry and frugality triumphed; the Pil
grims in five or six years were able to purchase the entire CHAP. stock of those who were annoying them in this ungenerous manner. The stock and the land were equitably divided, Nov. and the arrangement of private property fully carried out, each one becoming the owner of a piece of land.
Though the Pilgrims had no charter, they formed a government upon the most liberal principles. They had a governor, who was chosen by the people, and whose power was limited by a council of five. For more than eighteen years the whole male population were the legislators. 1640.
They were the pioneers of religious freedom--the openers of an asylum in the New World, to which the persecuted for religion's sake, and political opinions, have been flocking from that day to this. Says Governor Bradford, in his history of the colony: “Out of small beginnings great things have been produced, by His hand that made all things out of nothing ; and as one small candle will light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea to our whole nation.”
COLONY OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
A Company organized.-Settlement of Salem.-The Charter transferred.
Boston and Vicinity settled.—Encouragements.—Disputes.-Roger Williams; his Banishment; he founds Providence.--Discussions renewed.-Anne Hutchinson.-Settlement of Rhode Island. The Dutch at Hartford; Disputes with.-Migrations to the fertile Valley of the Con. necticut; Hooker and Haynes.—Springfield.–Fort at Saybrooke.-Pequods become hostile.—Expeditions against them; their utter Ruin.Rev. John Davenport.-Settlement of New Haven.-Sir Ferdinand Gorges.- New Hampshire.—The United Colonies.—The Providence Plantations.—Educated Men.—Harvard College.—The Printing Press. – Common Schools.—Grammar Schools.-Quakers; Persecution of.-Eliot the Apostle.—The Mayhews.- Progress.
CHAP. PERSECUTION raged through the reign of James, and
threatened to continue through the reign of his son and 1624. successor, Charles I.
The various accounts sent to England by the colonists at Plymouth, excited great interest, especially in the minds of the Puritans. They listened to them as to a voice from Heaven, calling upon them to leave their native land, and join their brethren in these ends of the earth. This was not wild enthusiasm, but the calm promptings of duty.
Pamphlets were published giving descriptions of the land of promise ; it promised not wealth and ease, but only peace and quietness. There were many who preferred these, with toils and privations in the wilds of America, to religious persecutions in their own land.
THE SETTLEMENT OF SALEM.
The Rev. Mr. White, of Dorchester, was a controlling CHAP spirit in the enterprise. He was a Puritan, but not of the Separatists from the Established Church, as were Robin- 1624. son and his congregation.
The Council of Plymouth had taken the place of the 1620. old Plymouth Company. This council had no worthier object than gain ; it granted the same region to different individuals, and thus laid the foundation for endless disputes. It sold to some gentlemen of Dorchester a belt of territory, extending from three miles south of Massachusetts bay to three miles north of any part of Merrimac 1628. river, and, as usual, west to the Pacific. The company prepared to send a colony. The care of the enterprise was intrusted to one of their number, John Endicott, a man of stern character and sterling integrity. He brought with him his family, and about one hundred other persons; they landed at Salem, and there commenced the colony of Massachusetts Bay. Men of wealth and influ- Sept. ence, such as Winthrop, Thomas Dudley, Saltonstall, Bellingham, Johnson, Simon Bradstreet, William Coddington, and others, who afterward exerted a great influence in the colony, were willing to bear a part in carrying the
pure gospel” to New England. The king looked upon the colony about to be founded more as a trading corpo ration than as the germ of an independent nation, and he willingly gave them a charter, under which they lived more than fifty years. By the terms of this charter the royal Mar., signature was not necessary to give validity to the laws 1629. made under it.
Soon another choice company, in which “no idle persons were found,” was ready to sail. The good Francis Higginson accompanied them as their minister. As the shores of England receded from sight, Higginson expressed the feelings of the emigrants; as from the deck of the ship his eyes turned for the last time to his native land, he exclaimed, “Farewell, England !—farewell, all Christian