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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Section Fifth. — The Littoral Tribes of the North Atlantic, Within Whose Territories the Colonies were Planted. Chapter I. — Virginia is Successfully Colonized. Jamestown is Founded in the Central Part of the Powhatanic Confederacy.

1600.

ENGLISH history, at the opening of the seventeenth century, records two great events — the death of Queen Elizabeth, which occurred in 1603, and the immediate and peaceable accession of James I. to the throne. During the same year which witnessed this change, Raleigh, the true friend of Virginia, and of American colonization, was tried for the crime of high treason, and unjustly condemned to death, though his execution did not take place until fifteen years afterwards. In 1590 Virginia had been abandoned; but, although not entirely forgotten, the attempts made to ascertain the fate of the colonists left at Hatteras, were feeble, and proved to be altogether futile. The Indian tribes may be supposed to have achieved a triumph in driving the English from their shores; but the state of discord and anarchy in which they lived, the feeble nature of the ties existing between them as tribes, and their absolute want of any stable government, was not calculated to fit them for successful resistance to the power of civilized nations. More than twelve years elapsed before the project of establishing a colony on these shores, which had been the scene of the former ineffectual struggles for colonial existence, was again broached. The most important efforts, made by the proprietors of the Virginia company, comprised the voyages of Bartholomew Gosnold, in 1602, in which he discovered Cape Cod, Martha's

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Vineyard, and Elizabeth island; and that of Captain Pring and Mr. Saltern, in 1603, who followed nearly the same track as that pursued by Gosnold. Two years subsequently George Weymouth visited a part of the eastern coast, in latitude 41° 20', and it is conjectured, from his descriptions, that he entered either Narragansett Bay, or the Connecticut river. On every side were found tribes of the Algonquin lineage, speaking their language, and having identical manners and customs. They were mild, affable, and fond of traffic, but opposed to white men, as well as to their maxims, and very treacherous. Nothing, however, more conclusively settles the question of their nationality than their language. They obeyed chiefs who were called sagamores, and they had also a higher class of rulers, denominated Bashabas.

Captain Gosnold made such favorable reports of the beauty and fertility of the countries he had visited, and of its many advantages, that renewed interest was imparted to the subject of colonization. After some years spent in advocating the plan of a colony, Gosnold induced several gentlemen to engage in it, among whom were John Smith, Edward Maria Wingfield, and the Rev. Robert Hunt. A charter was procured from King James, bearing date the 10th of April, 1606, in which Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Somers, and Richard Hackluyt, &c., were constituted the recipients of the necessary authority. Two ships were provided, and placed under the command of Christopher Newport, who sailed from England on the 19th of December. After a long and tedious voyage, which was rendered more disagreeable by violent dissensions among those on board, the ships arrived off the coast on the 26th of April, 1607, at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, the right cape of which was named Henry, and the left, Charles.

How the Indian tribes would receive the new colony, then a point of deep interest, was not long involved in doubt, for thirty men having landed on Cape Henry to recreate themselves, were attacked by Indians of the Chesapeake tribe, who wounded two of them. This might have been regarded as an indication that the colony was destined to be founded by the aid of the sword; and such, literally, has been its history. After passing the capes of the Chesapeake, the magnificent beauty of the surrounding country, the great fertility of its soil, and its numerous fruits and productions, were found to surpass every anticipation. A contemporary historian, in speaking of it, says: "Heaven and earth seems never to have agreed better to frame a place for man's accommodation and delightful habitation, were it fully cultivated and inhabited by an industrious people." [80] The vessels entered the waters of the noble Powhatan river, to which the name of James was given, and the voyagers, after making diligent search for a location for the colony, at length selected a small peninsula on the north shore of the river, about forty miles from the ocean. The town which was here founded, was called Jamestown.

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The English were now surrounded by an almost innumerable host of wild men, who implicitly obeyed the behest of their forest monarch. They were the proprietors of a country abounding in game, fish, fowl, and every provision of nature for the sustenance of man, and cultivated a fertile soil, from which they gathered abundant crops of corn. No part of America abounds in more magnificent scenery than may be here found along the rivers, or in the beautiful grouping of mountains, forests, and plains. Powhatan had raised himself to this kingly eminence by his bravery, energy, and wisdom in council. In addition to his claim to the dignity by hereditary right, he also derived a title by the conquest of the surrounding tribes; and his position had been greatly strengthened by the practice of polygamy, which surrounded the chief with a numerous kindred, both lineal and collateral. At the time of the settlement of Virginia, Powhatan was about sixty years of age, and though the era of his personal prowess had passed away, he still wielded undiminished sway as the reigning chief, both in his lodge, and at the council fire. His head was then somewhat hoary, which, together with his stature, carriage, and countenance, gave him an air of savage majesty. The confederacy, of which he was the ruler, comprised thirty tribes, numbering about 24,000 souls. It was then estimated that there were 5000 persons residing within sixty miles of Jamestown, of whom 1500 were warriors. The whole of these tribes not only had no relish for, but detested civilization in all its forms, and despised labour, arts, letters, and Christianity. The conduct of Powhatan, as well as that of his stalwart chiefs and followers, presents an instance of that Indian duplicity, which conceals the reality of hatred under the most mild, docile, dignified, and respectful bearing. It soon, however, became evident that the calmness of the Indians too much resembled the lull of the tempest. The policy of the Wingina, on the sandy coast of Albemarle Sound, which developed itself a few years later, was the same as that which governed Powhatan. The milder tone and language of Granganameo, as also the affection evinced by Manteo, were but secondary forms of character, which, subsequently, often appeared in Indians of various tribes. Surrounded by thirty tribes, and 5000 warriors, how long could the colonists have reasonably expected to remain unmolested? When the first ship returned to England, it left but 100 men in Virginia. The dissensions which soon originated among them, were aggravated by sickness, improvidence, and the exhaustion of their supply of provisions. The Indians, who at first appeared to be friendly, now assumed a hostile attitude, and attacked the town. No more corn being delivered, speedy ruin impended; and, had it not been for John Smith, who stepped forward in this emergency, utter destruction to the colony must have resulted.

We do not here propose to enter into a detail of that remarkable instance of heroism, displayed by Pocahontas, when she offered her life as a ransom for that of the intrepid captive, and thus unwittingly placed herself in the position of guardian angel of the colony. The narrative is familiar to all, and history nowhere records a stronger case of spontaneous sympathy, elicited under parallel circumstances. But the redemption

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of the life of Smith was the salvation of the colony; and from this period we may date the exercise of that influence, which at first induced Powhatan to assume a neutral position, and then a friendly one. But this influence, although it enabled the colony to pass through its incipient trials, was soon withdrawn. Pocahontas lived only eight years (1616) after the foundation of Jamestown, and Powhatan but ten (1618). At the age of seventy, his mortal remains were laid beside those of his fathers, and nothing remained of him, who was once the terror of the coast-tribes and the colonists, but his name. Properly estimated, Powhatan was not a great man. Bravery, energy, and prudence, he evidently possessed; and, among the tribes, he had enjoyed a high name, was treated with much respect, and was obeyed as a prince.

But, there was one of his brothers who possessed a more comprehensive mind, more firmness of character, and greater power of combination, and was equally courageous and active. This was Opechanganough, who captured Smith on the hill sources of the Chickihominy. Opechanganough was six feet high, had a large frame, and possessed great physical power and activity. He was a most unflinching enemy of the colony, and, if we may rely upon descriptions, after his capture, he had a head whose anatomy would have honored Solon, with a countenance as grave, severe, and inflexible as that of Hiokato. [81] Pometakom or Osagwatha were not more inflexibly bent on preventing the progress of the Saxon race. While Powhatan lived, Opechanganough was under his influence, but the former was no sooner dead than he plotted the destruction of the colony. Secresy, however, being his policy, his plans were carefully concealed for several years after the decease of his distinguished brother; nor were they ever revealed until the night preceding the very day on which the massacre took place, on the 22d of March, 1622. Four years had elapsed after the death of Powhatan, before Opechanganough could consummate the plot. It was preceded by a striking incident. Among the warriors who had attracted the notice of their brethren, was Nemattanow, who deemed himself invulnerable. He had been engaged in many battles, but, having escaped without a wound, his vanity was inflated by the knowledge, that the Indians regarded him as a person who could not be killed. Owing to some peculiarity of his head-dress, he was known as Jack of the Feather. This man called on a trader, named Morgan, and, coveting some of the goods belonging to the latter, Nemattanow desired his company to a place where, he stated, a good traffic could be conducted. While journeying together through the woods, the Indian murdered Morgan, and, within a few days thereafter, re-appeared at Morgan's store, wearing the cap of the deceased. Two stout and fearless lads, who had charge of the store, asking him for tidings of their master, Jack replied that he was dead. Thereupon they seized him, with the intention of conveying him before a magistrate, but the Indian captive struggled and made such resistance, after being placed in the boat, which was used as

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the means of conveyance, that the boys shot him. He was not immediately killed, but, knowing the close of his career to be near at hand, he begged they would not tell his tribesmen that he was killed by an English bullet, and desired them to conceal his body by interring it in an English burial-ground.

Opechanganough affected to be much grieved at the death of this man; but he was really gratified that he was out of the way, and made use of the circumstance as a cloak to cover his own deception. He had previously attempted to convene a large assemblage of Indians, under the pretence of doing honor to the remains of Powhatan; but his design had been frustrated. In order the more effectually to accomplish his object, he resolved to observe and enforce strict secresy among his followers, and to make no manifestation of hostility until the time chosen for a general attack. He counselled the Indians, in every part of the country, to fly to arms on an appointed day, and at the same hour, when they were to spare no one with an English face, neither man, woman, nor child. At the time designated the Indians suddenly rose, and perpetrated the most cruel and sanguinary massacre. Three hundred and forty seven men, women, and children, fell during one morning, and six of the colonial council were numbered with the slain. One of the first victims was Mr. George Thorp, the benefactor, teacher, counsellor, and friend of the natives. He had left England with the hope of effecting their conversion to Christianity, and he had, on all occasions, been their most kind, undeviating friend. He had built a house for the chief, and was about to found a college for the instruction of Indian youth. The slaughter would have been still greater, had not an Indian convert, named Chanco, chanced to sleep the previous night with a friend, and revealed to him the plot, by which incident the people of Jamestown and its environs, being immediately apprized of it, were able to take the necessary precautions for their own security.

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Chapter II. — Discovery of the Hudson River. Manhattans, Mohicans, and Mohawks.

THE colonization of New York followed soon after the discovery of the Cohahatea, or Hudson river. While Virginia, with manly efforts, was strengthening the foundations of her colony, among the powerful and hostile Powhatanic tribes of the Algonquin stock, another settlement of whites sprang into existence among the more northerly sea-coast families. Only two years subsequent to the founding of Jamestown, Hendrick Hudson entered the bay of New York, which was first discovered by Verrazani, in 1524, although the large river, of which it is the recipient, still continued unexplored. Hudson appears to have crossed the bar, now called Sandy Hook, on the third day of September, 1609. He remained in the bay several days, making surveys, and trafficking with the Indians. From the notes of his surveys, he appears to have kept close along the southern parts of the bay, the natives of which appeared to be friendly. These shores were occupied by the Navisinks, Sanhikins, and other bands of the Mississa totem, of the Lenno Lenapi Algonquin family. The northern shores of the bay, and Manhattan Island, were occupied by the Mohicans, or Wolf totem, of the same subgenus, to use a phrase of natural history, of the original stock. The Metoacs of Long Island were of the same type. Between these two totemic types, there existed either smothered hostility or open war. They kept Hudson in a state of perpetual perplexity and suspicion; for, regarding all red men with equal mistrust, he was ever on his guard against treachery. Of all the bands, however, he found that of Hell Gate, or the Manhattans, to be the fiercest. On the third day after sailing up the bay, he sent out a boat in charge of his mate, Colman, to examine the East river. An open sea was found beyond. While returning to the vessel, the Manhattans attacked the exploring party, and killed the mate, who received an arrow in his throat. These Indians possessed implements of copper, and earthen cooking utensils, the art of making which was, at this period, common to all the coast tribes; but the use of the brass kettle having been introduced among them by Europeans, they very soon ceased to manufacture earthenware. They offered Hudson green tobacco, as the most valuable present, and had an abundance of the zea maize, which he called Indian wheat. They also brought him oysters, beans, and

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some dried fruits. These Indians dressed in deer skin robes, and possessed mantles made of feathers, and also of furs. There is no evidence to prove that they did not live in a state of anarchy — no government existing but petty independent chieftainships, the curse of all savage and barbarous tribes. On the afternoon of the 7th of September, Hudson began to ascend the river, but progressed only two leagues the first day, sailing with extreme caution during the day, sounding frequently, and casting anchor at night. Twelve days elapsed before he reached a point opposite to, or above, the existing city of Hudson. [82] The general features of the country in that part of the valley are mentioned by him. [83] Having arrived, on the 22d, at a place where the soundings denoted shoal water, Hudson dispatched his boat to make further explorations. It returned the following night at 10 o'clock, having only progressed eight or nine leagues, and the crew reported finding but seven feet seven inches soundings, [84] which would seem to indicate that they had reached the present site of Albany. The Indians, as high as they had proceeded, were, by the names, apparently, of the Algonquin family. If the explorers really ascended in their boat as far as the present position of Albany, they entered the country of the Mohawk tribe of the Iroquois nation, whose summer residence was on the island. The tribes maintained a hostile attitude until Hudson had passed the Highlands; but those he subsequently encountered evinced great friendliness, as well as mildness of manners; hence they are called by him
"a loveing people." The Indians visited the strangers on board their ship, and several excursions were made by the crew on the shore; on one occasion, two venerable chiefs, accompanied by their sons and daughters, were entertained by Hudson in his cabin. These interchanges of civility characterize this part of the voyage, and furnish striking evidence of the beneficial effects of civility and comity of manners. On the 20th of the month, while the ship lay at anchor at one of the highest points attained, Hudson tried the experiment of giving his aboriginal guests a taste of alcoholic drinks. [85] The description of this event may be entertaining for its quaintness: "Our master and his mate determined to try some of the chiefest men of the country, whether they had any treachery in them, so they took them into the cabin, and gave them so much wine and aqua vita, that they were all merrie, and one of them had his wife with him, which sat as modestly as any of our country women could do in a strange place. In the end one of them was drunk, [86] which had been on board of our ship all the time that we had been there, and that was strange to them, for they could not tell how to take it. The canoes and folks all went on shore, but

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some of them came again, and brought strings of beads, (wampum), some had six, seven, eight, nine, ten, which they gave the inebriate. The drunken man slept all night quietly." [87]

If the Hudson Indians, below the highlands, were found to be hostile on the ascent, they proved doubly so during the descent. The narrowness of the channel in some places, gave them the opportunity of using their arrows with effect, and they assembled on several of the most prominent headlands in great force. But the intrepidity of Hudson foiled every effort. By his musketry, and by the discharges from a culverine, he killed several of them, and dispersed the rest. He got through the mountains on the 1st of October. Below this, one of their canoes, containing one man, pertinaciously followed the ship. This individual having climbed up the rudder, crept into the cabin window, and stole two bandaliers, a pillow, and two shirts, for which theft the mate shot him dead. The Indians followed the vessel, and a running skirmish ensued, in which several of the pursuers were killed. On the 4th he reached the bay, where, being favored by the wind, he made no attempt to land, but put out to sea, arriving at Dartmouth, England, on the 7th of November.

The only name bestowed on the stream appears to have been The Great river. [88]

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Chapter III. — Settlement of Massachusetts, and the New England Colonies.

1620.

THE idea of migrating to America, to escape the intolerance of the House of Stuart, had been, for a long time, entertained by the English exiles in Holland. Intelligence of the discoveries in Virginia, and in the region of New York, probably had the effect of reviving the agitation of the project, as well as of demonstrating its practicability, and, in effect, they were, in a short time thereafter, on their way to the New World. The first colony which landed in Massachusetts Bay, late in the autumn of 1620, was surrounded by small tribes and bands of the Algonquins. During the years immediately preceding this period, fatal epidemics had much thinned, and, in some instances, nearly annihilated, the coast tribes. Whole villages appeared to have been depopulated, and deserted fields everywhere met the view. This decadence of the race was a favorable circumstance for the colonists, whose utmost efforts were required to combat the difficulties of their position.

The principal personage amongst the aboriginal chieftains was Massasoit, the ruler of the Pocanokets, or Wampanoags, living at Montauk, on the waters of the Narragansett Bay. He had been a noted warrior, but was at that time a man far advancedin life. He was of good stature, full and fleshy; and, possessing a manly mien, mild manners, a moderate temper, and a noble spirit, amicable relations with him were soon established. The jurisdiction of the Massachusetts coast appears to have belonged to him, in quality of his office of Bashaba, or presiding chief-holder, as is more certainly evinced by the authority assumed, after his death, by his sons, Alexander and Pometacom. [89] The first interview with this potentate was conducted with equal ceremony by the colonists and by the semi-imperial chief. [90] A pacific course of policy was established, and from this era the aboriginal words, Manito, wigwam, powwow, samp, moose, and others from their vocabulary, began to be incorporated into the English language. [91]

The country had been first explored by the English, in 1583, when Sir Humphrey Gilbert visited the coast. In 1602 Gosnold bestowed names on Cape Cod, Elizabeth's

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Island, and Martha's Vineyard; and, in 1614, Captain Smith, of Virginia notoriety, gave the name of New England to this part of the continent. The coast had been explored by Dutch navigators, subsequent to the discoveries made by Hudson, and is designated, in an ancient map, by the name of Almochico. The Indians being deficient in generalization, had no generic name for it, unless it be that of Abinakee, which they subsequently made use of. The first colony landed on the banks of a river, which, we are informed, the natives called Accomac, but which the English named Plymouth. [92] One hundred and one persons debarked, on the confines of twenty tribes, whose exact numbers were unknown, but whose hostility to the colony was undoubted. Prince says, these "hundred and one" were the persons "who, for an undefiled conscience, and the love of pure Christianity, first left their native and pleasant land, and encountered all the toils and hazards of the tumultuous ocean, in search of some uncultivated region in North Virginia, where they might quietly enjoy their religious liberties, and transmit them to posterity, in hopes that none would follow to disturb or vex them."

Within a few years thereafter, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, were successfully colonized. To endure and to hope, amidst every ill, were primary principles with the colonists, and, as soon as they came into contact with the Indians, they aimed, both by precept and example, to teach them the advantages of thrift, over the precarious pursuit of the chase. Among a people characteristically idle, listless, and prone to regard with favor the rites of daemonology, and the practice of magic, nothing could be more unpalatable, or more certainly productive of hostilities; for the priests and sages, powwows and necromancers, clung to their ceremonies and orgies with a desperate tenacity. To live on the products of the bow and arrow, and not by the use of the plow, had been the practice of the people for untold centuries; and they regarded the new comers with a feeling of distrust and hatred, which grew stronger and more intense with every succeeding decade of colonial existence.

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Chapter IV. — The Northern Indians are Offended at the Introduction of Civilization and the Gospel, because of Their Tendency to Subvert Indian Society.

THE introduction of the principles of civilization among the New England tribes, who were half hunters and half icthyophagi, is a standpoint from which we may contemplate the Indian character in a new and instructive phasis. When, in 1586, the scholar Harriot showed the Virginia Indians the Bible, and explained to them its contents, they imagined it to be some great talisman, and handled, hugged, and kissed it with great reverence, rubbing it against their heads and breasts. They were strongly impressed with the belief that it was the material of the book, and not its doctrines, which was the embodiment of its virtues. [93] In 1608, when the shores of the Chesapeake were explored by Smith, the English were accustomed to have prayers recited daily, and a psalm sung, at which the Susquehannocks, who were spectators, greatly wondered, regarding the rites and ceremonies with deep interest — feeling animated by the vocal sounds, but profoundly ignorant of the language, and of its true import. [94] Being themselves ceremonialists to an almost unlimited extent, in the worship they offered to the gods of the air, hills, and valleys, and also ready interpreters of symbols, the ritual was to them an object of wonder. Similar ideas of mysticism prevailed among the northern tribes; and, though the Reformation may be thought to have exercised but little influence upon the history, fate, and condition of the American Indians, yet very different was the result. Its ultimate effects upon them, through the teaching of those colonists practising its strictest principles, were very momentous. To hunt deer and bears, to idle away time, and to worship dryads and wood demons, were acts equally subversive of the principles of civilization and of Christianity. Prior to the settlement of the English colonies, the mode by which the Romish church had attempted to engraft Christianity upon the Indians, was almost entirely symbolical and ceremonial. This agreed generally with the character of their ancient system. It made physical signs, rites, and genuflexions, the object of their religion; and the Romish church, substituting true for false symbols of religion, and, at the same time, prescribing ceremonial observances which were not onerous, placed before them an acceptable system, and

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taught them the first principles of morality and industry. Those who renounced the old, and accepted the new, system of symbols were denominated converts. Hence, the Romish missionaries were represented as having been very successful among the natives who, it is apprehended, had but imperfect notions on the subject, and were allowed to dance around the Christian altar, beating their drums and clanging their rattles, at the same time chanting their ancient mystical choruses. But the Protestant colonists, who had embraced the Reformed doctrines, expected something more, and desired that, when the worship of the true Deity superseded that of the false, it should be accompanied by those tests of faith and holiness enjoined by God's law. In verity, Jehovah was required to take the place of Manito, Owayneo, and Wacondah. This brought the English missionaries into direct conflict with the entire body of the Indian priests, powwows, seers, and jossakeeds; a struggle which yet exists with the tribes.

Harriot informs us that the Virginia Indians believed in the existence of one God; yet, in the same sentence, he also says that the sun, moon, and stars were subordinate gods; that the gods were all of human shape; and that offerings were presented to their images.

Very similar to this were the declarations of the northern Indians; but yet, while they acknowledged God as riding on the clouds, the images they worshipped in secret and in their assemblies were, in fact, demons and devils. To disseminate the doctrines of the gospel, amid such an embodiment of dark superstition, was not an easy task, yet it was zealously and firmly pursued. Cotton Mather informs us that, within thirty years from the time when the first formal efforts were made to preach the gospel to the Indians, there were six churches and eighteen assemblies of catechumens, or converted natives, within the boundaries of Massachusetts, and, in 1682, the entire Bible was made accessible to them by means of the translations of Eliot. [95]

Within the space of a few years, the English population spread themselves over the entire country, enterprise having been a marked characteristic of all the early settlements. The Indians, divided into innumerable small tribes and bands, occupied the interior territory, and a great part of the immediate coast line. Wherever the colonists located themselves, the natives watched their movements with an evident, though jealous interest. Industrious, thrifty, cautious, courageous, and temperate, the more reflecting sagamores could hardly fail to be impressed with the idea, that the colonists were the mere heralds of a people destined to increase rapidly, both in number and in power, and to occupy the whole country, to the detriment of the Red man, whose dominion must decline as the influence of the white man increased.

It would be erroneous to suppose that such a striking moral effect could have been produced, without exciting the strong antipathy of the Indian priesthood. On the contrary, a virulent, secret, deep-seated, and, so far as their influence extended, universal

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opposition was developed among the native powwows, from the waters of the Connecticut to those of the Penobscot. Bitter indeed was this revelation to the Indians, and truly bitter to them was every phase in their experience of civilization. They detested a life of labor, and had no relish for the standard of its stern virtues and personal responsibility, or its maxims of exact justice, as announced by the decalogue. The idea that such members of the wandering tribes as were guilty of theft, murder, prevarication, and covetousness, would be brought to judgment therefor, was indeed fearful to them; but when, to this doctrine, was enjoined the requirement that they should relinquish their system of worship, their necromancy, their magic ceremonies, and all their forest rites, their deepest ire was aroused.

In this missionary labor, Eliot, commonly called the Apostle to the Indians, first distinguished himself. He emigrated from England in 1631, and was chosen minister at Dorchester, where, in the exercise of his pastoral duties, his attention was directed to the Indian tribes, of whom numerous clans and villages then overspread the territory, and were thus interspersed among the settlements of the whites. Being a graduate of Cambridge, and a person of considerable learning, Eliot began the study of the Indian languages under the no small stimulus, it is inferred, of finding therein some elements of the Hebrew. In this important inquiry into the affinities of nations, a research far in advance of the age in which he lived, Eliot's principal aid and pundit was Nasutan, a descendant of the Massachusetts stock, who had learned to speak the English language, and who was pronounced, by a divine [96] of that period, "a pregnant-witted young man."

1646.

In 1646, the subject of the conversion of the Indians was discussed by the Association of Colonial Ministers, who adopted a resolution, strongly urging the expediency and necessity of immediate action. In accordance with this view, Mr. Eliot appointed a time and place for an assemblage of the Indians, which was convened on the 28th of October of the same year. His text was, "Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind: Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." [97] The place was called Nonantum (God's word displayed), and a strong impression was made upon the Indian mind by this appeal.

Another convocation of the Indians took place a fortnight subsequently, at the same place, where Eliot addressed them in their own language. Other meetings followed thereafter. The Indians who attended agreed to settle at that place, as also to adopt the rules, observe the practices of civilization, and faithfully adhere to the precepts of Christianity. Thus was established the first settlement of praying Indians. They received instruction gladly, labored diligently at husbandry, and became very expert in the use of farming tools. Being regularly catechised and instructed, a congregation

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of converts was, in the end, established. The Indians being carefully watched over, with the aid of native helps, the new principles spread rapidly among them. A second meeting was held at Nepoaset, in Mr. Eliot's parish, and others at Pawtucket, at Concord, and on the peninsula of Cape Cod, which were all equally successful. These proceedings elicited strong opposition among the native priests, and powwows, who, seeing their ancient power over the Indians about to depart, struck their necromantic drums, at their secret meetings, with greater energy.

Accounts of the successful propagation of the gospel in America, were published and circulated throughout England, where they excited so much interest during the two following years (1647 and 1648), that, when an appeal was made to Parliament to second their efforts, that body passed an act to incorporate a Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England. In 1661, Eliot published a translation of the Old Testament, in the Indian dialect of Massachusetts, which was called by him the Natic, manifestly because he deemed that to be the generic language. This volume was a work of great labor, and had received the most careful attention. After a long interval it was followed by a translation of the Gospels, and, in 1684, the two parts were reproduced together, in one volume, at Cambridge. This was, in every way, a gigantic work, and could not have been accomplished without the aid of the London Society for Propagating the Gospel, under whose auspices it was executed. Eliot and Nasutan had spent many long years upon it; as it progressed, the several parts of each, book being practically employed in the dissemination of the truths they contained. It still retains its position, as the most considerable and important monument of our Indian philology.

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Chapter V. — Manners and Customs of the Mohicanic Group of the New England Algonquins.

When the Pilgrims established themselves on the coast of New England, they determined that one platform of religious freedom should serve for both the Red and the White men. Having themselves suffered much, under a weak and intolerant prince, through the importance attached to ritual observances, they made no attempts to impose a ritual on the aborigines. It was noticed that these tribes were under the religious rule of self-constituted priests, powwows, and ecclesiastical sagamores, who directed them in the appalling worship of evil spirits, and of elementary gods, whose names were emphatically "legion." In the words of a quaint historian of that period, "the whole body of the multiplied tribes and septs who cover the land are the veriest ruins of mankind." [98]

This writer observes: "Their wigwams consist of poles, lined with mats, where a good fire supplies the warmth of bed-clothes in cold seasons. The skins of animals furnish exclusively their clothing. Sharp stones are used for knives and tools. Wampum, a kind of bead, made from sea-shells, is a substitute for money. Indian corn constitutes their staple of vegetable food; the forest supplies them precariously with meat. Fish are taken in their streams. The hot-house is their catholicon for a large class of their diseases. Their religion is a confused and contradictory theism, under the rule of a class of priests called powwows, who offer incense by the fumes of tobacco." [99] There was absolutely nothing, in their plan of dwelling, that deserved the name of architecture; but they had considerable skill in manufacturing arrows, bows, war-clubs, bowls, pipes, fishing-rods, and nets. The women made clay pots, tempered with siliceous stones, which, when used for the purposes of cooking, were suspended from a tripod, formed of three poles, tied together at top, and spread over the fire. They wove mats of flags, baskets of the split cortical layers of wood, and nets from a species of native hemp. The clam-shell was frequently used as a spoon, but these were also carved out of wood, as also were onagons, or bowls. Darts were chipped from hornstone, as well as from other species of siliceous rock; and frontlets, ornamented with

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birds' feathers, were employed for head dresses. The cawheek, and succatash, or pounded corn, were their favorite dishes; when the hunter was successful, he had deer, or other meat. Fish was abundant, even in the interior streams, as were also oysters and other shell-fish, on the sea coasts. Canoes were made from solid trees, hollowed by the aid of fire, and a peculiar axe, which is frequently found among Indian relics. The aborigine was ingenious in setting snares for birds and beasts, and sometimes large animals were entrapped, by bending down saplings, which would rebound when any beast trod on the string which held them in place. The Indian buried his dead in outer wrappings of bark, placing, at the head of the corpse, a wooden post, on which was carved the totem of the clan, and some other hieroglyphics. His successes in war and hunting were, also, sometimes rudely sculptured on the face of rocks or boulders; some of these muzzinabiks remaining to this day. 100 Regarding the religion practised by the aborigines, the great difficulty with historians has been in tracing out any fixed system. Though the Indian professedly worshipped the Great Spirit, yet he assigned the power of the Deity to the subordinate forms of demons and local manitos, to which he offered sacrifice. Simples were used to heal the sick by professed doctors, and much skill was exhibited in curing external wounds. Another class, called Medas, affected to add to their medicines the charm of magic, and trusted as much to the monotonous thump of the drum, used in incantations, and to the Indian song, as to the effect of any of the articles enumerated in their materia medica.

With manners and customs thus entirely opposed to everything like civilization, it needed but slight incitement to arouse the deadliest feelings of hostility. Very little difference existing, either in dress or manners, between individual Indians, or between the various tribes, all looking and acting very much alike, the innocent were frequently mistaken for the guilty.

The spirit of opposition to the entire constitution and system of civil society, and of Christianity, originated early, and led to repeated combinations of the Indians to exterminate the white race. The first general and alarming effort of this kind, against the peace and welfare of the New England colonists, developed itself in the area of Connecticut, among the Pequots. The primary settlements in the Connecticut valley were made in 1633. Within four years from that time, the Pequots evinced their hostility, for which there was an additional and highly irritating cause.

Prior to the settlement of New England, feuds had existed in the Pequot tribe. This was a numerous organization, extending from the western boundary of the Narragansetts, on the Pawcatuck river, to the banks of the Pequot, or Thames river. It is evident that their extreme western boundary originally extended to the Connecticut. They were under the rule of the powerful, brave, and ambitious Sassacus, there being

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no evidence that Uncas occupied the valley by right of conquest. But, at the era of the founding of the Connecticut colony, this valley was occupied by the Mohicans, who were ruled by the sachem Uncas. The Pequots and the Mohicans spoke the same language, which was a secondary and more modern form of the generic Algonquin; Uncas had married a daughter of Tatobana, a Pequot, of the blood line, and was, according to the general principles of descent, regarded as one of the hereditary line. Uncas was himself a wise, brave, and politic chieftain. Whatever the causes of tribal discord were, his separation from the parent tribe, and removal westwardly, had occurred prior to the settlement of either Windsor or Hartford, the oldest towns, for the enmity between these two rival native chiefs, became at once apparent to the English. Uncas, with the view of strengthening his position against Sassacus, and the larger body of the tribe, hailed the arrival of the colonists with joy, became their protector against the inroads of the Pequots, and remained their firm and consistent friend. This line of policy served rather to irritate, than to allay the Pequot enmity to the English. At length, after the lapse of a few years, marked by bitter hostilities, murders, and cruelties, from which outrages the English, and their Mohican allies, were alike sufferers, a formidable expedition was organized against Sassacus and his two forts. It is not necessary here to speak of the cruel murders, the breaches of treaty stipulations, or of the depredations and other outrages committed; suffice it to say, that excitement being at its height, forbearance had ceased to be a virtue, and all were compelled either to fight or die. Four years of agonizing strife thus passed away, during which, at least thirty English had been put to death; some with the addition of cruel tortures. The existence of the colonies was at stake; it was a contest between civilization and barbarism. If Connecticut succumbed, Massachusetts and Rhode Island must necessarily follow. Sassacus, at that period, being on the best terms with the Narragansetts, who then acknowledged the dominion of the aged Canonicus. and of his more efficient son, Miontonimo, he aimed in vain, by negotiations, to obtain their aid against the Mohicans and the English. As a ruler, Sassacus was greatly feared and respected by his people, as well as by the Narragansetts. He was a brave warrior and an eloquent speaker. Mason tells us an Indian saying, that "Sassacus is all one god; no man can kill him." 101 The views he expressed with respect to the English settlements in New England, prove the expansion and forecast of his mind. He regarded the white man as destined to supersede the Indian race, and said that when they had exterminated the Pequots, they would then turn their attention to the Narragansetts. He urged an alliance for general purposes, and argued that it would not be necessary to fight great battles, as the whites could be destroyed one by one. The Indians could lie in ambush for the colonists, could burn their dwellings, could kill their cattle. 102 Every view we can take of the character of Sassacus, only serves to

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confirm the impression that he was a man of uncommon energy, as well as forecast, and he occupies a prominent position among the bold aboriginal chiefs who so resolutely resisted the occupancy of their country by Europeans. He clearly foresaw, and pointed out to his countrymen, that, with arts and energies such as their invaders had already demonstrated the possession of, they must extinguish the light of their council and altar fires; one after another the tribes must succumb; and he warned the Narragansetts that, if they did not aid him in his contest with the English, they would be the next to feel the weight of their power. The history of the great internal conflicts of ante-historical periods, by which the Pequot nation had been divided, and Uncas expelled, being involved in obscurity, we are unable to furnish any accurate details. We know, however, that the feud was yet existing in all its original intensity, when the colonists first entered the country, and, unfortunately for the perpetuation of his power, Sassacus, like many others of the aboriginal chiefs and leaders, lacked the spirit of conciliation, aiming to achieve by force, what he might have attained by delay and negotiation; placing too low an estimate on the value of union and co-operation with the surrounding tribes. He was feared and suspected by the numerous tribe of the Narragansetts, on the east; while the unfriendly Mohicans lined the boundary of his dominion on the west. The small bands of the Ninantics, and Ninegret's men, he evidently controlled, and the interior country to the north was open to him. Two of his strongest positions were stockaded villages, which assumed the character of forts; and had the English been less prompt or bold in their movements, and given him more time to consummate his arrangements, the result might have been protracted, although it certainly could not have been averted.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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