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excerpts from the
For the Year 1792.
My excerpts from the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, volume 1 (1792) are divided into 3 parts. This is part 3, concerning Labrador, Concord, Harvard College, Georgetown (Maine) and Brookfield.
CONTENTS. Page part 1
CONSTITUTION of the Historical Society
Introductory Address from the Historical Society
Letters relating to the Expedition against Cape Breton 5
A Topographical Description of Surrinam 61
Weare's Letter to the Earl of __________
Dr. Church's Examination before the House of Representatives 84
Dr. Tenney's Letter on the Dark Day, May 19th, 1780 95
A Letter from the Town Clerk of Dorchester 98
Extracts from the Records of the Province of Maine 101
Historical Scraps 104
Dr. Cotton Mather's Letter to Lord Harrington 105
A General Description of the County of Middlesex 107
Letter of an Old English Merchant to the Earl of Sandwich upon the Expedition to Louisbourg 108
An Account of General Montgomery's Burial
A Topographical Description of the Town of Worcester 112
A Bill of Mortality for the Town of Dorchester 116
New England's Plantation, a Description of New England in the year 1629
Morell's Poem on New England, Latin and English 125
Fabulous Traditions and Customs of the Indians of Martha's Vineyard 139
Inscription copied from a Grave-stone at Gay Head 140
Historical Collections of the Indians in New England 141 Account of Daniel Gookin 228 Indian places within, or near the County of Barnstable 230
This is part 3
Amount of Warlike Stores in Massachusetts, April 14th, 1775
232 Account of the Coast of Labrador 
233 A Topographical Description of Concord 237 New England's First Fruits in respect of the Progress of Learning, in the College at Cambridge 242 A Topographical Description of Georgetown [Maine]
251 Account of the Settlement of Boston, (incomplete) 256 Indian places in Truro 257 Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield
ibid A Topographical Description of Brookfield 271 Births and Deaths in the third precinct of Brookfield
274 A Letter from Roger Williams to Major Mason 
275 A Letter from a Gentleman on his return from Niagara 284
The Amount of the whole of Warlike Stores in Massachusetts,
April 14th, 1775.
Pounds of Powder
Ditto of Bali
No. of Flints
No. of Bayonets
No. of Pouches
The whole of the Town Stocks.
No. of Fire Arms 68
No. of bbls. of Powder 357 1/2
Pounds of Ball 66781
No. of Flints 100531
A return was made from the several Towns in all the counties, except Duke's County and Nantucket.
There was little more than half a pound of powder to a man.
Account of the Coast of Labrador. 233
The following account of the Coast of Labrador was found among some papers of the late Sir Francis Bernard, Governour of the Province of Massachusetts Day, at the time it was written.
LA Terre de Labrador, or the land for cultivation, if settled and improved by civilizing the natives, would afford a great fund for trade, especially that part of it called the Eskimeaux shore, between Cape Charles in the straits of Belle Isle, in lat. 51 : and Cape Chudley, in lat. 60 North, bounding East on the Atlantic ocean. There is but one noted writer of the French nation who mentions the Eskimeaux Indians : The derivation of Eskimeaux must depend entirely on him, as it is a French termination. What nation of Indians he intends by his descriptions of a pale red complexion, or where situated, it is not easy to conceive; he surely don't mean those on the east main of Labrador, as it evidently will appear by the following observations that no foreigner had ever been among them, till Anno 1729; at least since Capt. Gibbons, in Anno 1614, who, had he seen any of the natives, it is probable, would have mentioned it ; and therefore I suppose the French writer must mean those who live on or between the lakes Atchoua, and Atchikou, who have been known to trade with the French in Canada, and perhaps at St. James' Bay factory.
The Eskimeaux coast is very easy of access early in the year, and not liable to the many difficulties, either on the coast of Newfoundland or Cape Breton.
This coast is very full of islands, many of them very large, capable of great improvements, as they have more or less fine harbours, abounding in fish and seals, water and land fowl, good land, covered with woods, in which are great numbers of fur beasts of the best kind. Along the coast are many excellent harbours, very safe from storms ; in some are islands with sufficient depths of water for the largest ships to ride between, full of cod fish, and rivers with plenty of salmon, trout, and other fish. The climate and air is extremely wholesome ; being often refreshed with thunder and lightning, though not so frequently as to the southward of Belle Isle straits : fresh water is found every where on the coast and islands in great plenty.
What follows shall be a plain narration of facts, as I received them from several persons who have been on the Eskimeaux coast, with now and then a digression, which I hope may be pertinent.
Captain Henry Atkins sailed from Boston in the ship called the Whale, on a voyage to Davis's straits, in 1729. On his return to Boston, he went on shore in several places southward of Davis's inlet, in lat. 56; but could not discover any where the least sign of any persons but the natives, having been there before him. In lat 53 : 40 : or thereabouts, being hazy weather, he could not be very exact, he descried twelve canoes with as many Indians, who had come from the main, bound to an island not far from his ship. The Indians came near and viewed his ship, and then paddled ashore to the island as fast as possible. Capt. Atkins followed them, and came to anchor that night, where he
Account of the Coast of Labrador. 234
lay till the next day in the afternoon. He went on shore with several of his men, with small arms, cutlasses, and some small articles, to trade with the Indians, who made signs to him to come round a point of land, but he chose to go ashore on a point of land that made one side of a fine harbour. The Indians stood a little distance from the point, and by their actions shewed signs of fear and amazement. He being resolved to speak with them, advanced toward them without any thing in his hands, the Indians took courage and suffered him to come near them, he shewed them a file, knife, and sundry other little articles, to exchange for fur, whalebone, &c. : they did not apprehend his design, which obliged him to send on board his ship for a slab of whalebone, on sight of which they made a strange noise ; it being near sunset, they pointed to the sun going down, and then lay down with their faces to the ground, covering their eyes with their hands: In a few minutes they arose again, pointing to the sun, and then turned themselves to the east, by which Capt. Atkins understood they would come to him again the next morning. The Captain then went ashore, and carried with him some trifles he thought most agreeable to the Indians, who returned to the same place, and brought a quantity of whalebone, at least fourteen feet long, and gave him in exchange for about 10s. sterling value, as much bone as produced him £120 sterling at Boston.
The Indians were chiefly dressed in beaver clothing of the finest fur, and some in seal skins. He could not distinguish their sex by their dress, but one of his seamen, being desirous to know, approached one of them, who, opening her beaver, discovered her sex, which pleased the Indians greatly. Capt. Atkins ordered one of his men to strip himself, which caused the Indians to hollow as loud as possible ; while they were thus engaged one of the Indians snatched up a cutlass, upon which they all run off; Capt. Atkins resolved not to lose it and followed them, and making signs, they halted. He applied to one of them, whom the others payed most respect to, and got it returned ; he then fired one of his guns pointed to the ground, which terrified them extremely, which their hollowing plainly discovered. I am the more particular in this account from his own mouth, as 1 think it plainly indicates that the Indians on this coast and islands had never any trade or commerce with any civilized people from Europe or America ; of course not with the French from Canada, or the Hudson's bay factories. The Indians signified to Capt. Atkins, that if he would go over to the main, he should have more whalebone, but he did not choose to trust them. He observed their beaver coats were made of many pieces sewed together, being the best patches in the skin, which shews plainly they set light by their beaver skins, and this undoubtedly for want of trade.
Capt. Atkins observed they were dexterous, and active in the management of their canoes or boats, which were made of bark and whalebone, strongly sewed together, covered with seal skin, payed over with a dark sort of gum. These Indians were well made, and strong, very fat and full of blood, owing to their living on raw whale fat, and drinking the blubber or oil. Their limbs well proportioned, their complexion
Account of the Coast of Labrador. 235
a dark red, their hair black, short, and straight, having no beard nor any hair but on their heads. Their behaviour very lively and cheerful; their language guttural and dissonant; their arms were bows and arrows, some of bone and some of wood ; their arrows feathered and barbed; they sling their darts through a piece of ivory, made square and fastened to the palms of their hands. Capt. Atkins conceives them to be a very cunning, subtile people, who could easily apprehend his meaning, when he made signs to them, but took no notice of his speaking to them. As Capt. Atkins coasted that main, he found the country full of woods, alder, yew, birch, and witch-hazel, a light fine wood for shipbuilding ; also fine large pines for ship masts, of a much finer grain than in New England, and of course, tougher and more durable, though of a slower growth; and no question but naval stores may be produced here. The two inlets called Fitch and Davis, it is not known how far they run up the country ; Fitch's is a fair inlet, bold shore, and deep water, and great improvement might be made upon it, there being many low grounds, and good grass land : Capt. Atkins sailed up Davis's inlet, about 25 leagues. This coast is early very clear of ice, though at sea a good distance off there are vast islands of ice that come from Hudson's and Davis's straits, which are frequently carried as far as the banks of Newfoundland, by the strong current that sets out from those straits southward.
Capt. Atkins made his last voyage on this coast. Sailed the beginning of June, 1758, arrived at Mistaken Harbour, which he called so, having put in there July 1st, following, in a foggy day, and went northward, (with fine weather, very hot, with some thunder and lightning) to lat. 57, searching for the Indians to trade with. Saw two large canoes which run from him : Despairing of meeting any more there, he returned southward, and went on shore in lat. 56 : 40 : at the Grand Camp place, which he called so from great signs of Indian tents that had been fixed there ; here he also saw two Indian men, one woman, and three children, who run from him ; he pursued and took them and carried them on board his vessel, treated them kindly, and gave them some small presents, and then let them go. They were well pleased with Capt. Atkins : they called whalebone Shou-coe, a woman Aboc-chu, oil, Out-chot. When he sent his seamen to fetch one of their canoes that had drifted from the vessel's side, they said Touch-ma-noc.
I shall once for all take notice that the several harbours and places named by him, was from any thing remarkable he found in them, as Gull Sound and Harbour, from the prodigious number of gulls he saw there, also after the name of some of his particular friends.
The entrance of Hancock's inlet, in lat. 55 : 50: a very fair inlet ; very little tide sets in or out ; from fifteen to twenty fathom water going in ; five hundred sail of ships may ride conveniently in this harbour, secure from any weather. On the east side, the harbour is a natural quay or wharf, composed of large square stones, some of them of prodigious bulk. This quay is near three miles long; runs out into the harbour in some places sixty, in others two hundred feet broad ; eight fathom
Account of the Coast of Labrador. 236
water at the head at high water ; so that ships might lay at the quay afloat, and save their cables. The harbour abounds in cod fish very large, that a considerable number of ships might load there, without going outside, which may be cured on the shore and at the quay, except in very high tides; while some are employed in the cod fishery, others might be catching salmon, seals, &c. in the harbours so called. Capt. Atkins and his people waded in Salmon river in two feet water, and catched some salmon in their hands, as many as they had salt to cure, one of which measured four feet ten inches long. How far up this river reached, he could not tell, but believes a good way in land, (though shallow in some places), to be capable of breeding such vast shoals of salmon, salmon trout, and other small fish that passed by them while fishing there ; also several acres of flats in Salmon river, filled with clams, muscles, and other shell fish, among many other conveniences necessary to a good harbour, and some falls of water suitable to erect saw mills, grist mills, &c.; all kinds of sea fowl are very plenty and easily taken; a good settlement might be made on Fort island in this harbour, easily secured from any attacks of Indians.
On Cape Cod there is a vast plenty of wood ; some pines he saw there sufficient to make masts for ships of six or seven hundred tons, and he doubts not but a little way in land they are much larger, and witch hazel, and other woods fit for ship building ; the soil in this harbour is capable of great improvements, there being rich low grounds. The woods abound in partridges, pheasants, and other game, as well as bears, deer, beavers, otters, black foxes, hares, minks, martins, sables, and other beasts of rich fur. The beavers are of the black kind, of the finest fur in this country; he took particular notice of some small birds of passage, among them some robins, well known to love a pleasant climate ; and on the shore side great plenty of geese, ducks, teal, brants, curlews, plovers, and sand birds; and from all Capt. Atkins and his people could observe, they are all well persuaded that the winters at this harbour, (he now called Pownal harbour in Hancock's inlet), are not so uncomfortable as at Newfoundland and Louisbourgh, though so much further northward. In September 29th, 1758, he left this delightful inlet in fine weather, bound home to Boston, searching the coast and trading, put into Fortune bay, and left it October 16th; some sleet and rain and a little cold; had five days passage to St. Peter's bay in Newfoundland, where the weather had been so cold and tempestuous for fourteen days before, they could not catch fish, which Capt. Atkins might have done at Fortune bay the whole time.
I can hear of no vessel having wintered on that coast, except a snow which Capt. Prebble found at Fortune bay, when sent on that coast by Capt. Atkins in 1753. Capt. Prebble traded with the natives, about seventy men, women and children; got from them about 30001b. of bone for a trifling value. Capt. Prebble carried with him a young Frenchman, in hopes that some Indians might be found who understood the French language, but they could not find one who took more notice of it than of English ; a plain proof these people had never left their own
A Topographical Description of Concord. 237
country to trade with the French ; for it is very observable that the Indians who have been used to trade with the French, speak that tongue well. Capts. Atkins, Prebble, and others agree, that the current sets southward ; in the several harbours they went into they found the tides flowed about seven feet.
The river St. Lawrence being now opened to us, a passage from Boston may be made early to the Eskimeaux coast, through the straits of Belle Isle. I might here add sundry observations made by Capt. Atkins and others, respecting the advantages that might accrue to the whalemen and others, on this coast ; and of their conjectures of the richness of this country in mines and minerals ; but I, at present, content myself with a bare relation of facts, sincerely wishing the foregoing observations might be of any advantage to future navigators.
Boston, Feb. 16th, 1761.
A Topographical Description of the Town of CONCORD, August 20th, 1792.
Presented by Mr. William Jones, student of Harvard College.
Situation.] CONCORD in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
is situated 19 miles distant from the capital of the state, and bears W. about 33° N. and is in N. Latitude 42°, 25', and in Longitude 3°, 46', E. from Philadelphia. It lies not far from the centre of the county of Middlesex.
Extent and boundaries.] This town was originally six miles square. Afterwards it was increased by a grant from the General Court to nearly twelve miles. But since that time a considerable* part has been taken from it, and incorporated into other towns. So that at present, the town is not so large as at first; and the form of it is very irregular. It is now bounded on the N. and N. E. by Carlisle and Bedford ; on the E. and S. E. by Lincoln; on the S. and S. W. by Sudbury ; and on the W. by Acton.
Soil and productions.] The soil is various ; consisting of rocky, sandy, and moist land ; but it is in general fertile. This is an excellent township for grain and hay. Rye is raised here and Indian corn, sufficient not only to supply the inhabitants ; but to afford considerable for market. The pasture land is not in proportion to the meadow land and other soil ; but the principal farmers' own pastures back in the country, where they fatten their beef, and pasture their young cattle. Hemp thrives here; and flax succeeds so well, that a gentleman a year or two since, raised a thousand weight from two acres of ground. All kinds of vegetables are produced here in abundance ; and this town is remarkable for raising great quantities of onions ; which is
* The most of Bedford, incorporated Sept. 23d, 1789. The whole of Acton, incorporated July 3d, 1735. The greater part of Lincoln, incorporated April 19th, 1754. And the chief of Carlisle, incorporated April 28th, 1780.
A Topographical Description of Concord. 238
a proof of an excellent soil. Fruits of almost all sorts except apples, are scarce ; of these considerable cider is annually made.
Hills and woods.] This town contains no hills of consequence except Nassinutt, in the north west part of the town, and a ridge which extends from the centre of the town along the east road about a mile, and on the north about half a mile ; which, being very barren and sandy, renders the road beneath in dry weather very dusty ; but in winter it secures the traveller, and the inhabitants on the road from the northern blast. There are also a number of gentle risings, which seem to have been designed by nature to variegate the scene and beautify the prospect. The town is tolerably well supplied with wood, consisting of pine, oak, walnut, birch, and maple ; there are likewise many ash, elm, locust, and button trees.
Rivers.] Concord river running north, divides the town into two very nearly equal parts, leaving the meeting-house about half a mile on the south. It takes its rise in Hopkinton, on the south west part of the county of Middlesex, and runs through Framingham, where it receives a considerable addition from the ponds, and through Sudbury into Concord ; whence it takes its course through Bedford and Billerica, and empties itself at Tewksbury into the Merrimac. This river is remarkable for the gentleness of its current, which by the eye is scarcely perceivable. At low water mark it is from a hundred to two hundred feet wide, and from three to twelve feet deep. The North river rises in Westborough and Grafton, and running through Marlborough, Stow, and Acton, discharges itself into Concord river, through its northern bank, about the centre of its progress through the town. Both rivers overflow their banks after any considerable rain ; and in the spring of the year, when the snow melts, they cover the neighbouring meadows, which are very extensive. At such times, in many places, Concord river is near a mile in width ; and when viewed from the town makes a fine appearance.
Ponds.] There are three considerable ponds in the town ; one called Fairhaven pond, which lies about two miles south west of the meetinghouse; another called Walden pond in the south east part of the town ; and the other is called White pond, likewise in the southerly part of the town. Each of these ponds is about two miles in circumference. In the middle of the latter, may be seen, when the water is very low, a tree which appears as if it grew in the place where it now stands, although the roots are fifty feet below the surface of the water ; the top of this tree is broken off; and, at that place measures fourteen inches in diameter. The water of this pond has a remarkable crystalline appearance, from which circumstance it takes its name. There is a mill pond in the middle of the town, which is about eighty rods long and thirty wide. It is in the form of an oblong square, lying north and south. The ends are wharfed with stone, and the pond is surrounded with handsome buildings.
Fish.] In the spring of the year shad and alewives are caught ; and
A Topographical Description of Concord. 239
at all times the ponds and rivers are well supplied with perch, ruffs, pike, shiners, pouts, eels, suckers, and cheven.
Mills and manufactories.] There are four grist mills, two fulling mills, and two pot and pearl ash works.
Public buildings.] Of these the principal are the Prison, the Court-house, and the Meeting-house. The prison is one of the best in the state. It was built of stone in the year 1789. It is sixty five feet in length, thirty two in breadth, three stories high, and contains eighteen apartments, one of which is the dungeon. The ground floors are nearly eight feet thick of stone and lime. On the front of the building there is a stone stair case, with two flights of steps, which communicate with the second story. There is a brook which runs under the building and cleanses it. The roof is slated, and has a pyramid upon it, with a Venetian window. The Meeting-house is pleasantly situated on the east side of the mill pond. It is large, and was repaired in an elegant manner last year. The steeple is handsome, and from the balcony there is a very fine prospect. The town below, the rivers meandering through the meadows, and the distant hills rising one above another, form a landscape not easily painted.
Roads and bridges.] Most of the roads from the upper part of the county of Middlesex to Boston, lead through Concord, and are generally in good repair. A little to the north of the centre of the town, a few rods below the confluence of the two rivers, was lately erected a very handsome bridge, after the manner of Charles river bridge ; being two hundred and eight feet long, and eighteen wide, supported by twelve piers. Said bridge was built at the expense of a few individuals, for the use of the publick. A few rods below this bridge stands the famous north bridge, about a hundred feet long, where the Americans first engaged the British troops, several of whom lie buried upon the banks of the river. There are three other bridges in the town nearly of the same dimensions with the north bridge, which being painted, and ornamented with rails, posts, and balls, make a handsome appearance.
Employments and institutions.] The greatest proportion of the inhabitants of this town are farmers, especially on the exterior parts of it. But in the centre there are a number of professional men and traders, who transact considerable business ; there are but few towns in the country where every mechanical branch of business is carried on with greater skill or industry. There is a pretty library belonging to a company, the books of which were raised by subscription. An association is established called the Social Club, who meet once a week at each other's houses. This club is founded upon principles, and governed by rules, that are admirably promotive of the social affections and useful improvements. Upon the whole, this town is in a very prosperous situation. The people are very industrious, enterprising, hospitable and patriotick.
Climate and population.] The town, being surrounded with hills, appears, as you approach it, to lie low, from which circumstance, together with the rivers, and the vast tracts of meadow grounds,
A Topographical Description of Concord. 241
which lie upon the rivers, persons* unacquainted with the town, might be led to imagine that it is an unhealthy place; but facts however prove the contrary. Those diseases, which are peculiar to low marshy soils, are seldom or never known here. The town contains 1590 inhabitants, 75 of whom are seventy years of age and upwards. Since the year 1738 there have been 2456 persons +baptized. On an average for thirteen years past, about 17 persons have died annually, making 222 in the whole number; 97 of whom were 70 years of age and upwards, as will appear by the adjoining bill of mortality. There are in the town 225 dwelling houses, 60 of which are within half a mile of the meeting-house.
bill of Mortality and a
list of Baptisms, for
from the minutes of the Rev
70 yrs. & up.
80 & up.
SO & up.
died were 12,
of whom 5
Whole number 222
History.] Sometime in the year 1635, Musquetequid was purchased of the natives, and called Concord, on account of the peaceable manner in which it was obtained, as appears by the testimony of two settlers, William Buttrick and Richard Rice, and two Indians, Jehoja-
* There are two grave yards in the town, which are very full of grave stones, from which circumstance travellers are led to consider the climate in an unfavourable point of view ; but it might be remembered, that before the incorporation of the several towns of Bedford, Acton, Lincoln, and Carlisle, all the dead within those districts were buried within these two grave yards.
+ Reckoning those which were born in these parts of the town that have since been incorporated with other towns.
It is judged that about three fourths of the children born in the town are baptised.
kin and Jethro.* They unitedly testify and say, "That they were present at the making of the bargain for the town of Concord. That at the house of the Rev. Peter Bulkely, Mr. Simeon Willard, Mr. John Jones, Mr. Spencer, and others, did purchase of Squaw Sachem, Tahattawan and Nimrod, a tract of land six miles square, the centre being the place (or near) where the bargain was made. That said Willard and others did pay for said land in wampam peague, hatchets, hoes, knives, cotton cloth, and chintz, to the said Indians. And that Wappacowet, husband to squaw Sachem, received a suit of cotton cloth, a hat, a white linen band, shoes, stockings, and a great coat, on account of said bargain. That in the conclusion, the Indians declared they were satisfied, and that the English were welcome.
The town was incorporated Sept. 3, 1635, and was the first settlement, at so great a distance from the sea-shore, in New England. The settlers never had any contest with the Indians, nor were there ever by them but three persons killed within the limits of the town. It is supposed, " That the cause of their quietness was owing in a great measure, to the full satisfaction that they received at the time of purchase." The General Court have repeatedly set in this town, as did the Provincial Congress in the year 1774 ; and of late years, three fifths of the courts of justice in the county have done the same.
A large quantity of provisions and military stores, being deposited here, induced General Gage, who commanded the British troops at Boston, on the memorable 19th of April, 1775, to send a detachment to destroy them. Who, after they had thrown a considerable quantity of flour and ammunition into the millpond, knocked off the trunnions, and burnt the carriages of several field pieces, and committed other outrages, were opposed at the North bridge by the militia of this and the neighbouring towns ; and after a short engagement, in which several on both sides were slain,, they were forced to retreat with great precipitation.
While the troops were in town, they fired the court house, in the garret of which there was a great quantity of powder. This fire, by the intercession of one Mrs. Moulton, a woman of above eighty years of age, the troops extinguished ; otherwise, the houses adjoining, would have been destroyed by the explosion of the powder. Indeed, in every part of the conduct of the inhabitants, there appeared to be a surprising presence of mind, which protected them from the insults of the soldiery, and, in a great measure, defeated the design of the expedition. A tavern keeper, whose house »hey came to plunder, declared in a spirited manner, that they should not take the least article without paying for it. A gentleman who is now in town, and had at that time the superintendence of a considerable quantity of the public stores, preserved the same by an innocent evasion, which few in his situation would
* These depositions are recorded in the town books of Concord, instead of the first records which were burnt.
A number of these facts were taken from the Rev. Mr. Ripley's sermon, preached at the dedication of the meeting-house, in January last.
New England's First Fruit.,
have dared to attempt. When the troops came to his door, he appeared to be very complaisant, invited them in, told them he was glad to see them, asked them to sit and eat some bread and cheese, and drink some cider, which they did. After this, they went out doors, and were about to break open his corn house. He called them to stop, and not to trouble themselves to split the door ; if they would wait a minute, he would fetch the keys, and open it himself, which he did. There being a large quantity of flour in the corn house, belonging to the public, he says, "Gentlemen, I am a miller, I improve those mills yonder, by which I get my living, and every gill of this flour," at the same time putting his hand upon a bag of flour, that was really his own, "I raised and manufactured on my own farm, and it is all my own; this is my store house, I keep my flour here, until such a time as I can make a market for it." Upon this, the commanding officer says, " Well, I believe you are a pretty honest old chap, you don't look as if you could do any body much hurt, and we won't meddle with you."— Then he ordered his men to march. By this, and several other such instances of policy and resolution, but few of the public stores were destroyed.
A Topographical Description of Georgetown. 251
A Topographical Description of Georgetown in the County of Lincoln.
THE river Kenebeck brings the waters from the highlands, which divide the dominions of the United States from the kingdom of Great Britain ; and pours them into the ocean through the town of Georgetown.
That town was incorporated in the year 1716. There were at that time, no incorporated towns within the limits of Massachusetts, on the eastern side of New Hampshire, excepting York, Wells, Kittery, North Yarmouth, Scarborough, and Berwick. Georgetown is consequently the oldest corporation in the county of Lincoln, no other town was incorporated within what is now that county, until the year 1753. The settlements in that part of the country, were retarded by the frequent hostilities of the savages. There was an easy communication for the natives, with Canada, from the head of the Kenebeck. The Norridgewalks, who inhabited the head of that river, were but eighty miles from the Penobscot tribe, and the forces of both tribes united, were much superior to all the forces which could be raised by the white people, in the Province of Maine, and Sagadahoc, prior to the year 1740.
Georgetown now contains thirteen hundred inhabitants ; and lying on both sides of the Kenebeck, is bounded, southerly by the ocean, westerly by the towns of Harpswell, and Brunswick, northwesterly by Bath, northerly and easterly by Woolwich. It is entirely surrounded by navigable waters, excepting about two miles of land, which divides the waters of Winnagance Creek, (a part of the Kenebeck.) from an arm, or influx of Casco-Bay, called Stephen's River.
The entrance at the mouth of Kenebeck river, is guided, on the east by an island within Georgetown, called Parker's Island. This island contains about twenty-eight thousand acres of land and marsh, and is inhabited by more than one third part of the people of the town.
Upon this island, the Europeans who first colonised to New England, made their landing. Virginia was planted in the year 1606 ; and has therefore assumed the dignified title of, the Ancient Dominions; but the Colony of Parker's Island, which has since been called Sagadahoc, was but one year behind her. In the year 1607, George Popham, Rawleigh Gilbert, Edmund Harlow, Edmund Davis, and about one hundred other adventurers, in form of a Colony, landed and took possession of Parker's Island. De Monts, a Frenchman, under a grant of Henry the fourth of France, had been in the river about four years before that time. Had the leaders of this little Colony survived the severity of the winter next after their landing, Plymouth might have been deprived of the honour of being the mother of New England.
There are but a very few, who are formed for leaders, in the business of a new, and dangerous enterprise ; and there is but a very small part indeed, of the human race, who can furnish their own resources, and depend upon themselves in the difficulties incident to
252 A Topographical Description
the conquest, or defence of countries. Julius Caesar, and a few others, will constitute the exception. George Popham, the brother of an English Baronet, was the President, and leader, of this band of adventurers. He was no doubt, a man equal to the undertaking, and expected the support of his brother, and other powerful men, who, according to the rage for colonising which then prevailed, had associated for that purpose.
Unfortunately for this little number of emigrants, their leader died in the winter next after they had landed. Many of their friends were taken away in England at the same period. The spirits of adventurers are at once depressed upon the defect, or death of their leaders ; but yet there is a natural pride in the human heart, which urges mankind to ascribe the cause of a retreat to something besides their own weakness, or cowardice. The death of Mr. Popham might have been a sufficient cause for these people giving over their enterprise, and taking leave of Georgetown, but they ascribed it to a prevailing sickness, occasioned by the severity of the winter.
There was a tradition amongst the Norridgewalk Indians, that these planters invited a number of the natives, who had come to trade with them, to draw a small cannon by a rope, and that when they were arranged on a line in this process, the white people discharged the piece, and thereby killed and wounded several of them. The ideas which the Europeans conceived from the grant of the Pope to the Portuguese in the fourteenth century, of all the heathen nations, might cause them to consider a murder of this kind, very differently, from what it would appear to a moralizing eye, viewing it through the sentiments of philanthropy, which are now supposed to flow from the Christian religion.
The story is, that the resentment of the natives, consequent to this treacherous murder, obliged the Europeans to re-embark the next summer.
Parker's Island is formed by the waters of the Kenebeck on the west, by the sea on the south, by the waters called Jeremysquam-Bay on the east, and by a small straight of waters which divides it from Arrowsick Island on the north.
The settlements were not re-commenced on the river, until near forty years after the dereliction of Georgetown by Popham's party. The island is now called Parker's Island, because it was purchased of the natives in the year 1650, by one John Parker, who was the first occupant after the year 1608. The occupancy has continued under his title, from that day to this, excepting the intervals occasioned by the Indian wars ; and some of Parker's posterity are now proprietors of a part of the island, and live upon it.
On the northern side of this island is another called Arrowsick. On this nearly one third of the inhabitants of Georgetown are found : they have there, a meeting house built by the town ; in which a regularly settled minister officiates. The island is bounded southerly by the waters between that and Parker's Island, on the west, by the waters of the Kennebeck ; on the north by navigable waters which divide
it from Woolwich ; on the east by the waters of Jeremysquam-Bay, which divide it from a large island in Woolwich, called Jeremysquam : from these waters there is a strong tide round the north end of Arrowsick, communicating with Kenebeck, and upon which, vessels, rafts, &c. are borne to the Sheepscut river, which is easier of access for large ships than Kenebeck is. Arrowsick Island contains about twenty thousand acres of land, including a large quantity of salt marsh.
In the year 1661, Major Clark and Captain Lake purchased this island of the natives. There was at that time, a fort on the west side of the island, on the east bank of the Kenebeck, nine miles from the sea, at a place now called Stinson's Point ; one Hammond an ancient trader lived there, and probably erected the fort to prevent a surprise from the natives, with whom he traded. We do not find that he ever purchased, or claimed any land at that place. There is now found at Tocconneck Falls about sixty miles up the river, an old cellar. The Norridgewalk tribe of Indians, used to have a tradition, that a house was erected where that cellar is found, by the white people who lived on Stinson's Point, for a place of trade with the Indians, and that upon a certain time, when the Indians were intoxicated, the white people stole their arms, and their furs ; in resentment of which, the natives surprised, and took Hammond's Fort on a Sunday morning, whilst the people were at their devotions. If the story of the theft is true, the Indians could have but a poor opinion of the religious exercises of the men who committed it.
Governor Hutchinson in his history, supposes the fort of Hammond to have been the west side of Kenebeck river ; and says that the savages passed over the river from the capture of Hammond's house, to the fort of Clark and Lake, upon the island of Arrowsick ; but the fact was, that both forts were upon that island, and that the Indians having not alarmed Clark and Lake's garrison by their attack upon Hammond's, and finding a great proportion of the people belonging to that, in the one they had taken, they proceeded immediately and surprised that also. This fort was two miles, or perhaps more, distant from Hammond's ; and stood near where the meeting house now stands : The remains of it was buried by the ploughshare in or near the year 1756, when the forts were built by government further up the river. Captain Lake in attempting to flee from his garrison over the river, to a place where the late James McCobb, Esq. lived, was wounded mortally by the fire of the savages, and his bones being afterwards found, were, as it is said, brought to Boston and interred.
About the year 1700, the descendants of Mr. Clark, built a large brick house on the island, two stories high. This building was on the bank of the river, a small distance southerly from where the fort was built by their ancestor. The bricks were made at Medford, but were so very illy made, that the house was not durable. Two flankarts for holding small cannon ornamented and guarded the ends of the house. Those were taken down in the year 1769; and the house has been prostrated since the year 1775; but was not inhabitable for several years before that date. One John Penhallow, who married a descendant
A Topographical Description254
of Mr. Clark, lived in the house in the year 1720; and some of the lands which belonged to that estate continued in the family until the year 1772.
There is another island near the mouth of the Kenebeck, and within the limits of Georgetown, containing about six acres of land, lately improved for a fishery. This small island is not included in any deed of purchase from the natives, nor is there any particular title to it. The cellar of a house still exists there : And the remains of an ancient brick chimney have been very plain within thirty years last past. This house must have been erected at a very early period, and the bricks for the chimney must have been brought from Europe ; but there is no conjecture by whom, or when the house was built. There have been fruit trees near the cellar, within the memory of people who were alive twenty years ago.
Before the forts were built at Tocconneck Falls, the Norridgewalk Indians, who lived towards the head of the river, about twenty miles from Fort Halifax, went down to Arrowsick, and killed one Mr. Preble, who was planting corn, and then proceeded to his house, killed his wife and carried away his son about five years old, and his two daughters who were older. Nine or ten years after, when the Province of Quebec had been ceded to the British Crown, their grandfather, on their mother's side, (one Captain Hamden) went to Canada and obtained their freedom ; and brought them back. The son has told the writer of this account, that the Indians on their way from the Norridgewalk country, to Canada, where they went to obtain the bounty bid by the French Government for prisoners, suffered exceedingly for food ; but that they always shared their morsels with their tender prisoners, and frequently carried even the girls in their arms, or on their backs, when they were fatigued. Perhaps this might be in some degree owing to the humane provision of the French Government, in bidding a greater bounty upon captives, than upon scalps. The young man also said, that he and his sisters suffered more in being separated from the savage society, to which they had been so long habituated, than they did in their original captivity ; he said he attempted several times to escape from his grandfather, to return to the Indians. Mankind have naturally such a strong disinclination to exertion, and labour, that the idle life of a savage may be very soon rendered agreeable.
The residue of Georgetown lies on the west side of the Kenebeck ; and is bounded northerly by the town of Bath ; on the line between those towns, is a water, coming on the flood from Kenebeck, and returning on the ebb, called Winnagance Creek ; from the head of which, westerly, to an arm of the Casco-Bay, called Stephen's River, is less than two miles. From this creek to the mouth of the Kenebeck is about ten miles, the land on this side the river has no general name, but that of Small Point. Across this point, over westerly, we come to the waters of Casco-Bay ; Small Point being the easterly boundary of those waters. This neck of land is found on the west by these waters, and bounds westerly on the line of the county of Cumberland, being the
towns of Harpswell and Brunswick. This tract is of various widths ; being in some places four miles wide, and in others less than two ; and contains nearly as many inhabitants as the island of Arrowsick.
The waters which surround the town of Georgetown, produce a variety of fish, such as sturgeon, salmon, shad, bass, and alewives. And the contiguity of the sea gives every advantage of the cod-fishery.
The land of Georgetown, on this side of the river, is held under a grant from the savages, to the same John Parker, who purchased Parker's Island : But the title has been long merged in an ancient possession ; and we hear but little of it at this day. On this place, and directly opposite to where the brick house was afterwards erected, on the Arrowsick Island was a block-house, to which Mr. Clark attempted to fly from the Indians, as was before mentioned : But there is no tradition of the time when, or the persons by whom it was built. The land round there for a great distance has since been owned by James McCobb, Esq. who came to the country in the year 1734, and died in 1789.
The soil of Georgetown is not good for Indian corn; rye yields an uncertain crop there ; and wheat is too generally blasted to be depended upon ; barley does very well, and potatoes are produced in great abundance there. The lands are very good for grazing. The sheep are well clothed with wool, and the mutton is of a remarkable good flavour. The butter made on the islands is exceeding fine, and produced in greater quantities than can be expended by the inhabitants.
Notwithstanding the supposed severity of their winters, the people on the Kenebeck live full as well as the inhabitants in the western parts of the State. Apple trees do not flourish in Georgetown ; but whether this is owing to the depreciation of the seed, or to an alteration lately had in the climate, must be left to experience to decide. On the land where the late Major Denny lived, and near where the garrisons of Clark and Lake was, there were some large and fruitful apple trees, so lately as the year 1770. The oldest people there, did not remember them before they were in bearing; and it was generally believed that they were planted by Clark and Lake about the year 1670. Nearly as late as 1770 there were large old apple trees, on Stinson's Point, where Hammond's fort was. From all inquiries it is probable, that they were planted there as long ago as when that fort was erected. Young orchards have been planted lately, near by, but have not succeeded. This has been the case along the Eastern shores generally, and perhaps the same observation may be made in the ancient settlements in every part of New England. Should there be a quantity of apple seeds imported and sowed in the various parts of the country, the rising generation may derive a benefit from it, which is but little contemplated at this time.
We draw great pleasure from recollecting the incidents which attended the first planting of that, which is now the most happy country in the world ; while the imagination roves with exquisite delight, over the places where the foot of civilization made its first impression, the mind is wrapt in astonishment at the hardships, the difficulties, and the
Account of the dangers, which were encountered, and manfully overcome by the first adventurers to New England.
The settlers on Parker's Island in the year 1607, had no reason to expect to meet a winter full of unceasing and boisterous winds, which brought lasting mountains of snow upon them. The habitations they had forsaken, were further to the northward than the Kenebeck, but they had nevertheless been strangers to durable mountains of snow, and to unrelenting ice. Their return in 1608, full of complaints, very probably gave the northern part of the continent a description, and raised an opinion concerning it, which made Oliver Cromwell, many years after, advise the people of Massachusetts, to quit their Colony, and take possession of Jamaica.
The following Account of the first settlement of Boston, was written in the year 1784, by the late Dr. Samuel Mather.
TEN years after the settlement of Plymouth Colony, under Governour Carver, in 1620, the Colony of the Massachusetts was begun to be settled by the arrival of Governour Winthrop and company at Salem, who landed there on June 12th, 1630.
It was in the year preceding, that the Charter of the King, confirming the Patent of the Massachusetts Colony, was obtained before by a fair purchase, was procured from the petition of the Massachusetts Company : And, in this year, it was agreed to transfer the government to New England itself.
The Massachusetts Company accordingly in the following year, with their prudent and faithful Governour at their head sailed for New England, and they arrived here at the place and at the time abovementioned.
But as Salem was not judged by them to be a meet place for their capital ; so one or two places more were, upon examination, found to be inconvenient, and hence disapproved by them : Whereupon, in the year 1630, they came to Charles Town ; and here they landed themselves and the goods, which they brought with them.
And as the town had its inhabitants soon multiplied ; so the Church in it was soon increased by the addition of one hundred and fifty-one members : And hence they thought it proper and advisable to make a peaceable separation, and to collect themselves into two Churches.
The major part of them were inclined to a removal from Charles Town to the place that is now called Boston ; which is a commodious and beautiful Peninsula, about two miles in length and one in breadth ; and which appeared, at the time of high water, in the form of two pleasant islands : And so they plucked up stakes, and came over to this place to fix themselves here.
As the Indians had long before given the name of Shawmut to this place ; it was also then generally called by this name ; but the people, who resided at Charles Town, from their view and observation of three hills, that appeared in a range to them, saw fit to call it first by the name of
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 257
Rev. Mr. Damon's Letter.
Extract of a letter from the Rev. Mr. Damon of Truro, dated October 2d, 1792.
There are two places in this town called by their Indian names. One is Tashmuit ; the other, Squawbay Neck. The former scarcely retains its Indian name, excepting in giving deeds of land, included in it or that adjoin it.
There is one family of Indians* in the town. It consists of four or five persons; one male; the others are females. It is said that they are mixed. They live on what is called + Pamet Point, near Welfleet.
* Truro formerly contained a large number of Indians.
+ This is the Indian name of Truro. A small stream which rises within a few yards of the ocean, and empties itself into Barnstable bay, is called Pamet river.
An Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield, in the county of Worcester, and its distresses during the Indian' wars.
Extracted from a discourse delivered on the last day of the year 1775, by the Rev. Nathan Fiske, D. D. Pastor of the third church in that
town ; and corrected by the author.
AS this town is of ancient date, and, compared with most of the towns in this county, even with the shire-town itself, is like an elder matron amidst a group of youngerly females ; and as it has been famous for Indian inhabitants, Indian wars, and Indian barbarities, I have for a considerable time felt a strong inclination and desire to search into its history—to find out its origin—the difficulties and hardships of its first English inhabitants—its gradual increase, and progressive improvements. In short, I wished to be acquainted with whatever was curious, entertaining, or instructive in the circumstances of the town, and the transactions or sufferings of its parly settlers With this view I have searched all the histories of the country I could meet with—inquired for manuscripts that might have preserved a circumstantial account of some occurrences which the printed histories are wholly silent about, or give but a general sketch of. I have consulted many of the descendants of the first settlers, and those that have been most acquainted with the affairs of the town. I have perused records, &c. But the result of my inquiries does not wholly satisfy my curiosity or answer my wish. No intelligence is to be obtained concerning some
Doctor Mather's account of the first settlement of Boston, which was continued from our last sheet has been mislaid ; and as another copy cannot be obtained, we are obliged to leave it incomplete.
Historical Account of the
things that have happened ; and many circumstances relative to divers events that might have been entertaining at this day, have not been handed down by tradition. Our ancestors were under great disadvantages as to making extensive observations, or keeping exact records, or preserving them for the perusal of posterity. However, I have gleaned a few things relative to the settling and subsequent improvements of this town, which may serve as a clue to trace the conduct of divine Providence— to point out many instances of the divine goodness—to lead our minds to some religious reflections—to excite gratitude in our hearts for the wonderful works which God hath done for us and our fathers—to encourage our hope and trus,t in the same power and goodness to protect and bless us and our posterity—and to engage us to keep his commandments.
I cannot find exactly at how early a period the first English settlements began in this town, nor who the persons were that began them. A tribe of Indians were the original inhabitants ; nor did they move off, before, or at the coming of the white people; but both English and Indians lived together in friendship for some time.
These Indians were commonly called Quaboag Indians. Governor Hutchinson in his history says, the Nipnet or Nipmuck Indians ambushed the party that went to treat with them at Meminimisset. I suppose it was in conjunction with the Indians of Quaboag. For these, partaking in the uneasiness and commotion that Philip was endeavouring to excite among all the tribes through the country, and growing somewhat shy of their English neighbours, and taking offence at some damages they had sustained from their cattle, they quitted their lands here just before the war broke out, and went up to Meminimisset, and assisted in the ambuscade, and in burning Brookfield. After which they returned no more, unless for mischief; but scattered among other Indians till they were no more distinguished or known. From a similarity in divers words in their language, it is probable they intermixed with the Stockbridge Indians.
It is certain there were English inhabitants here many years before there were any between this place and Marlborough on the east, Connecticut river on the west, and Canada on the north.
In the year 1660, i. e. forty years after the first settlement of Plymouth, several of the inhabitants of Ipswich petitioned the Great and General Court for a grant of land in these parts. The Court granted them six miles square, or so much land as should be contained in such a compass, near Quaboag pond, upon certain conditions, "provided they have twenty families there resident within three years, and that they have an able minister settled there within the said term, such as this court shall approve; and that they make due provision in some way or other for the future, either by setting apart of lands, or what else shall be thought meet for the continuance of the ministry among them." I insert this, principally as a specimen of the pious principles that actuated our ancestors, and the care which the legislative body took that
Settlement of Brookfield. 259
new settlements should have the gospel and the administration of the ordinances among them, as early, as statedly, and as regularly as possible. And no doubt it is owing to this care, under Providence, that the country flourished so greatly both in spirituals and temporals : For it hath been often observed that no people was ever the poorer, but on the contrary flourished the faster, for maintaining the gospel ministry among them. And it is undoubtedly owing to the wise and pious provision of our laws and civil establishment, obliging parishes to settle and support evangelical and learned ministers, that the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut and New Hampshire, are so much better instructed in the things of religion, and are so much more remarkable for the strict observation of the Sabbath, and for good morals, than those of most of the other colonies.
This was the legal origin of the town. These men, that they might have a just and equitable, as well as a legal right to the land, purchased it of the natives, who claimed and possessed it, and it was conveyed to them by deed.* It is somewhat probable there were small beginnings made here by the English before this grant. But this is not material. It is certain that from small and early beginnings, the settlement increased, even under the disadvantages and discouragements of that day, so that upon application made to the General Court in the year 1673, the inhabitants were incorporated into a township by the name of Brookfield. + And in the year 1675, when the town was burnt, they had at least twenty families, a meeting house, and preaching, though no settled minister.
The circumstances of its desolation I shall relate chiefly in the words of the late Governor Hutchinson, in his history of the Massachusetts Bay. "The Nipnet, or Nipmuck Indians, had killed four or five people at Mendon in the Massachusetts colony the 14th of July, 1675. The Governor and Council, in hopes of reclaiming the Nipnets, sent Capt. Hutchinson with 20 horsemen to Quaboag (Brookfield) near which place there was to be a great rendezvous of those Indians. The inhabitants of Brookfield had been deluded with the promise of a treaty at a place agreed upon the 2d of August. Some of the principal of them accompanied Captain Hutchinson thither. Not finding the Indians there, they rode forward about four or five miles towards the Nip-net's chief town, and came to a place called Miminimisset, a narrow passage between a steep hill and a thick swamp, at the head of Wickaboug pond. Some of the company, when they found the Indians were not come according to agreement, suspected treachery and advised immediately to return. Others putting too much confidence in their fidelity, urged to proceed, which they accordingly did, till they were ambushed by two or 300 Indians, who shot down eight of the company, and mortally wounded three more. Capt. Hutchinson being one of the number.
* See the Appendix for the deed at large.
+ The act of incorporation bears date October 15, 1673.
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 260
The rest escaped through a by-path to Quaboag. The Indians flocked into the town ; but the inhabitants being alarmed, had all gathered together in the principal house. They had the mortification to see all their dwelling-houses, about twenty, with all their barns and out-houses burnt. The house where they had assembled was then surrounded, and a variety of attempts were made to set fire to it. At length the Indians filled a cart with hemp and other combustible matter, which they kindled ; and whilst they were thrusting it towards the house, a violent shower of rain fell suddenly and extinguished the fire. [This is according to Mr. Hubbard. Mr. Mather takes no notice of the rain, but says Willard came upon the Indians and prevented the execution." This latter account is nearest the truth.] " August 4th, Major Willard, who had been sent after some other Indians westward, heard of the distress of Brookfield, when he was about four or five miles from Lancaster, which caused him to alter his course ; and the same night he reached Brookfield, after 30 miles march. And though the Indian scouts discovered him and fired their alarm guns, yet the main body, from their high joy, always accompanied with a horrid noise, heard them not. Willard joined the besieged, and the Indians immediately poured in all the shot they could, but without execution, and then quitted the siege, and destroyed all the horses and cattle they could find, and then withdrew to their dens. They were not pursued, being much superior in number.
Three of the men who were killed in the ambushment belonged to Brookfield, viz. Capt. John Ayres, John Coye, and Joseph Pritchard. When the Indians pursued the party into the town, they set fire to all the buildings, except a few in the neighbourhood of the house in which the inhabitants had taken shelter. They endeavoured to intercept five or six men that had gone to a neighbouring house to secure some things there ; but they all got safe to the place of refuge, except a young man, Samuel Pritchard, who was stopped short by a fatal bullet. The house in which they were besieged was unfortified, except by a few logs hastily tumbled up on the outside after the alarm, and by a few feather beds hung up on the inside. And though the siege continued several days, in which time innumerable balls entered the house, only one man, Henry Young, who was in the chamber, was killed. The Indians shot many fire arrows to burn the house ; but without effect. On one night the besieged were surprised by a sudden light without doors, and soon perceived that the Indians had placed a quantity of combustibles by the side of the house and set them on fire. Though the people were obliged to go out and draw water to extinguish the flames, and were all the while exposed as marks to the enemy's bullets, yet they saved the house without any one's being hurt. During the siege one man was wounded, as he was drawing water. A board fence hid him from the Indians ; but one of them seeing the well-pole, drawing down, took aim at the place where he thought the man must stand, and struck him just on the chin. The man affrighted, bawl'd out that he was kill'd. The Indian,
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 261
knowing his voice, shouted and said, " Me kill Major Wilson." When the troop that relieved Brookfield got into the town, which was late at night, they were joined by great numbers of cattle, that had collected together in their fright at the conflagration of the buildings, and the firing and war-whoops of the Indians ; and for protection, these poor animals followed the troop till they arrived at the besieged house. The Indians deceived hereby, and thinking there was a much larger number of horsemen than there really was, immediately set fire to the barn belonging to the besieged house, and to Joseph Pritchard's house and barn and the meeting-house, which were the only buildings left unburnt, and went off. A garrison was maintained at this house till winter, when the court ordered the people away, soon after which the Indians came and burnt this house also.
I cannot conclude without saying something concerning Major Willard, the celebrated deliverer of the people here. His conduct in altering his course and conning to the relief of Brookfield, being dictates by humanity and executed with bravery and success, has gained him the applause of people in general. But as it was beside his orders, he was censured by the court and cashiered, which disgusted his friends and broke his heart. And though the punishment may seem too rigorous, yet it ought to be remembered, that if commanders of parties, sen! upon particular expeditions, may take liberty to vary from their express orders, nothing effectual could be accomplished, and only confusion, disappointment, loss, and in many cases ruin would be likely to ensue.
Several years did the town lie desolate and in ruins; the buildings in ashes—the farms uncultivated, and the inhabitants scattered abroad; but peace being settled with the Indians, some of the dispersed, after a while, returned to the place of their former habitation, and, in conjunction with others, gradually resettled the town. But it being still in the midst of a wilderness, and always exposed to the blood-thirsty savages, whenever they should take it into their heads to molest the English, its increase and improvements were slow.
Another thing which contributed to retard the improvement of their lands and the advancement of their estates for some years afterwards, was the peculiar habit of living which the inhabitants had contracted in the Indian wars, and in time of peace ; as the woods abounded with deer, game, &c. the inhabitants, like their predecessors the Indians, depended much on what they caught in hunting, and spent considerable of their time in that employment.
I cannot find out the exact time when the town began to be peopled a second time. So long ago as the year 1692 there were inhabitants enough to think it necessary to petition the General Court for a committee to assist in laying out the lands and settling the township. The following is the answer. " At a Great and General Court or Assembly convened, held, and kept at Boston, on Wednesday, the 8th of June, 1692. Upon reading a petition from the inhabitants of Brookfield,
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 262
alias Quaboag, praying that a committee may be appointed as formerly, to direct and regulate the settlement of said plantation and the affairs thereof, ordered, that a committee be appointed," &c.
Signed, William Phips.
For the information of those who may wish to know, I would say something concerning the constitution of this town. Though the inhabitants were incorporated and the town named by the court as early as the year 1673, yet they were not allowed the powers and authorities of a town till the year 1713 : But the court appointed and continued a committee consisting of gentlemen belonging to other places, to direct, regulate, and ratify all affairs relative to settling and building up the town. So that without said committee the inhabitants could not take up for themselves, or grant to others, any lands. And it was by the direction and assistance of said committee, that monies were granted, a meeting-house built, a minister chosen, &c.—To encourage the settling of the town, especially in the time of the Indian wars, lands were granted to divers persons upon condition they would possess and improve them for a certain number of years. The first grant of any lands I find on record is to Joseph Woolcot, and bears date February 24th, 1687.
In the war which is commonly denominated Queen Anne's war, which broke out not long after the second settlement of the town, and continued several years, Brookfield, as well as many other towns, was greatly harassed and annoyed; the Indians frequently making sudden inroads, killing and scalping, or captivating one and another of the inhabitants—women and children fleeing like frighted birds to the fortified houses ; nor had they always time to escape. During this war twelve or thirteen men were killed, six at one time. Two women also, and four or five children, fell a sacrifice to Indian barbarity : Several men and one woman were taken prisoners, and three men were wounded.
I cannot obtain information enough to enable me to point out the exact order of time, or the day, month, or year, in which some of the skirmishes and slaughters happened in this town. The first mischief was in the latter end of July, or beginning of August, 1692. A party of Indians came into the town and broke up two or three families. Joseph Woolcot being at work a little distance from his house, his wife, being fearful, took her children and went out to him. When they returned to the house at noon, they found the Indians had been there, for his gun and several other things were missing. And looking out at a window, he saw an Indian at some distance coming towards the house. He immediately sent out his wife and his two little daughters to hide themselves in the bushes ; and he taking his little son under his arm and his broad ax in his hand, went out with his dog in sight of the Indian. The dog being large and fierce, attacked the Indian so furiously, that he was obliged to discharge his gun at the dog to rid himself of him : immediately upon which Woolcot sat down the child and pursued
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 263
sued the Indian till he heard the bullet roll down his gun (the Indian charging -as he ran) he then turned back, snatched up his child and made his escape through the swamps to a fort. His wife being greatly terrified, discovered by her shrieks where she was; and the Indian soon found and dispatched both her and her children. Others of the party about the same time came into the house of one Mason, while the family were at dinner. They killed Mason and one or two children, and took his wife and an infant which they had wounded, and carried them off. They also took two brothers, Thomas and Daniel Lawrence: they soon dispatched Thomas, pretending he had misinformed them about the number of men that were in the town. John Lawrence, their brother, rode with ail haste to Springfield for assistance. A company under the command of Captain Coulton came with the greatest speed and pursued the Indians. They found Mrs. Mason's child, which the savages had knocked on the head and thrown away in the bushes; and continuing their pursuit, they came upon the Indians' encampment, which was surrounded by a sort of brush hedge, which they deridingly called "Englishmen's fort." The party waited till break of day, and then came so near as to put their guns through this brush and fire upon the Indians, fourteen or fifteen of whom were killed ; the rest fled with such precipitation as to leave several of their arms, blankets, powder-horns, &c. and their prisoners, Daniel Lawrence and Mrs. Mason, whom our men conducted back. This same John Lawrence, who rode express and procured the company that rescued the abovementioned prisoners, was afterwards going in company with one Samuel Owen in search of a man that was missing : the Indians came upon them, killed Lawrence, but Owen escaped—Mary Mc Intosh was fired upon and killed as she was milking her cows. Robert Grainger and John Clary were passing along the road on a certain day; and being fired upon by the savages, Grainger was killed on the spot ; Clary attempted to escape, but had not fled far before he also was shot down. At another time Thomas Battis of Brookfield riding express to Hadley, was killed in the wilderness, at a place now called Belcher-Town. Early one morning John Woolcot, a lad about twelve or fourteen years old, was riding in search of the cows, when the Indians fired at him, killed his horse under him and took him prisoner. The people at Jennings' garrison, hearing the firing and concluding the people of another garrison were beset, six men set out for their assistance, but were way-laid by the Indians. The English saw not their danger till they saw there was no escaping it. And therefore, knowing that an Indian could not look an Englishman in the face and take a right aim, they stood their ground, presenting their pieces, wherever they saw an Indian, without discharging them, excepting Abijah Bart-let, who turned to flee and was shot dead. The Indians kept firing at the rest and wounded three of them, Joseph Jennings in two places : one ball grazed the top of his head, by which he was struck blind for a moment : another ball passed through his shoulder, wounding his
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 264
collar bone ; yet by neither did he fall, nor was mortally wounded. Benjamin Jennings was wounded in the leg, and John Green in the wrist. They were preserved at last by the following stratagem. A large dog hearing the firing came to our men ; one of whom, to encourage his brethren and intimidate the Indians, called out, " Captain Williams is come to our assistance, for here is his dog." The Indians seeing the dog, and knowing Williams to be a famous warrior immediately fled, and our men escaped. John Woolcot, the lad above-mentioned, was carried to Canada, where he remained six or seven years, during which time, by conversing wholly with Indians, he not only entirely lost his native language, but became so naturalized to the savages, as to be unwilling for a while to return to his native country. Some years afterwards, viz. in March, 1728, in a time of peace, he and another man having been hunting, and coming down Connecticut river with a freight of skins and fur, they were hailed by some Indians ; but not being willing to go to them, they steered for another shore. The Indians landed at a little distance from them ; several shots were exchanged, at length Wool-cot was killed.
The last mischief which was done by the savages in Brookfield was about the 20th of July, 1710. Six men, viz. Ebenezer Hayard, John White, Stephen and Benjamin Jennings, John Grosvenor, and Joseph Kellog were making hay in the meadows, when the Indians, who had been watching an opportunity to surprize them, sprung suddenly upon them, dispatched five of them, and took the other (John White) prisoner. White spying a small company of our people at some distance, jump'd from the Indian that held him, and ran to join his friends ; but the Indian fired after him and wounded him in the thigh, by which he fell ; but soon recovering and running again, he was again fired at and received his death wound.
Though there were several Indian wars afterwards, in which other towns were visited by the enemy, and distressed more or less, and Brookfield often alarmed and put in fear, yet it was not invaded, nor was any person in it either killed, wounded, or captivated. The inhabitants were interrupted and retarded in their business, especially in their husbandry, but never attacked. In the year 1723, Rutland was invaded by the savages, who killed, among others, the Rev. Mr. Willard : but still Brookfield escaped.
Amidst such difficulties and discouragements, no wonder the increase and improvements of this town were so slow and gradual. It was in the year 1716, i. e. forty years after the burning of the town, before the inhabitants erected another meeting-house, and 1718, before they were invested with the powers and privileges of a town, having then scarcely fifty families.* They hired preachers at different times, but
* To his Excellency Samuel Shute, Esq. Captain General and Governor in chief in and over his Majesty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 265
did not proceed to settle a minister till several years after the troubles, on account of the Indian wars, had subsided. They invited Mr. Thomas Cheney, who had been preaching to them a considerable time, to take the charge of their souls; and he was ordained the third Wednesday in October, 1717. He lived in harmony with his people, and ministered both to their acceptance and spiritual advantage more than thirty years. He obtained the character of a good man and a faithful pastor, and died December 11, 1747, aged fifty-seven years, leaving no issue.
The people remained destitute of a settled minister almost two years, and on the 13th of September, 1749, (having previously observed a day of fasting and prayer, as they had done before, previous to the ordination of Mr. Cheney, to ask direction of Heaven) Mr. Elisha Harding was solemnly separated to the work of the ministry in this town. Its his day was the town divided. For so fast did it fill with inhabitants, that soon after the settlement of Mr. Harding, a considerable number of families incorporated and formed the second precinct.* They gathered a church, observed a day of prayer, and gave an invitation to Mr. Eli Forbes; who took the oversight of them by solemn ordination, June 3, 1752. The Rev. Mr. Harding continued the minister of the other part of the town till the people fell into unhappy disputes and difficulties about erecting a new meeting-house. The contention was so sharp., and the opposite parties so uncomplying, that they parted asunder, erected two meeting-houses, and incorporated into two distinct parishes.
in New-England ; the honourable Council and Mouse of Representatives, convened in General Court the 28th of May, 1718. We undernamed the committee for Brookfield, after many disappointments by war and otherwise, which for a long time the people have laboured under, by the good providence of God are now so increased that they are now near fifty families in this place, have near finished a very convenient meetinghouse, have settled a church and ordained an orthodox and learned minister ; we humbly propose that they be made a township, to order all the affairs of a township according to the directions of the law, by themselves, and said committee be released, which we submit to the court's determination ; and for your excellency and honours shall ever pray.
Samuel Patridge, } Committee Samuel Porter, } for Luke Hitchcock, } Brookfield.
The prayer of this petition was granted and Brookfield invested with all the powers, privileges and authorities of a town, Nov. 12, 1718. The year following the inhabitants, not satisfied with their limits, which contained only six miles square, presented another petition, which was granted, and the township containing eight miles square, was invested with all the powers, privileges and authorities of a town, Dec. 3, 1719.
* The incorporating act is dated March 29, 1750.
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield.
es. ++ These things proved such a discouragement to Mr. Harding, that he requested a dismission, which was granted by the church and confirmed by an ecclesiastical council mutually chosen, May 8, 1756. He was a gentleman of great benevolence ; and his public administrations were serious, and calculated to edify and benefit his hearers.
That part which still retained the denomination of the first church and precinct obtained the consent of Mr. Joseph Parsons to administer the word and ordinances statedly among them, which he was regularly authorised to do by an ordaining council, November 23, 1757. He continued in the ministry upwards of thirteen years, though bodily infirmities increased upon him to that degree as to disable him from carrying on the work for about three years before his death. He was released from his pains and received to his reward, January 17, 1771, in the fourteenth year of his ministry, and thirty-eighth of his age. He was a gentleman of sprightly powers, an accurate reasoner, and a sensible preacher—In bis life a promoter of peace and order, and an example of the Christian virtues—In his sickness, a pattern of patience and resignation—and in his death, strong in faith and full of hope.
The bereaved flock did not long continue destitute of the stated administration of the ordinances; but, studying the things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one might edify another, they soon united in the choice of Mr. Ephraim Ward for their minister ; and he was instated in the pastoral office the 23d of October, 1771, where we hope he will continue for a long time an ornament to the ministry, and a peculiar blessing to his flock.
The Rev. Mr. Forbes continued in the faithful discharge of the ministerial work amongst the people of the second precinct almost twenty-three years ; and on the first of March, 1775, the pastoral relation was dissolved by mutual consent, under the conduct of an ecclesiastical council, each party in charity with, and heartily recommending the other.—A church was embodied in this third precinct, April 15, 1756, when twenty-five males and fourteen females subscribed a church covenant. And on the 24th of May, 1758, I was honoured by being put into the ministry in this place.
Sixty years ago there was no meeting-house, nor settled minister in the town. And when the inhabitants had built a house for the worship of God, they had no occasion for galleries for the people to sit in, though the house was not large. But now, not to reckon a great part of Western, which was then Brookfield, but was set off about thirty-five years ago, nor a considerable number of families which joined with others to form the district of New-Braintree, about twenty-five years ago, there are within this town three distinct parishes, the least of which contains upwards of one hundred families—three commodious well-finished
| The bill for dividing the town of Brookfield, and incorporating the first and third precincts, was signed by Governor Shirley, Nov. 8, 1754. The meeting-house in the third precinct was erected April, 1754 ; that in the first precinct not till the year following.
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 267
finished meeting-houses—three regular congregational churches—and in the whole town at least three thousand souls.*—It would have been pleas-ing to a curious mind to have known the exact number of births, deaths, baptisms. and admissions to full communion since the commencement of the town: But this I find impossible to ascertain ; because records of these things have not been preserved. The birth of earliest date that I find upon record is in the year 1701. + As to deaths, ever since a book was kept, many people have been, and are still, negligent in transmitting an account of them to the town-clerk. And as to church records, I cannot find that any were kept in Mr. Cheney's or Mr. Harding's day. During the Rev. Mr. Parsons's ministry, two hundred and three were baptized in the first church ; and since the Rev. Mr. Ward's ordination eighty-seven, in all two hundred and ninety. In the second church, since its incorporation, I find the record of four hundred and twenty-six baptisms. Since my settlement, three hundred and sixty-six have been baptized in this church ; ninety-eight admitted to full communion, which, added to the thirty-nine which were first embodied, make one hundred and thirty-seven : Nineteen of which are dead, find fifteen dismissed to other churches. So that there are now one hundred and three members of this third church.—Of this town therefore, as well as of the country in general, we may say, though thy beginning is small, yet thy latter end is greatly increased.
Instead of a desolate uncultivated wilderness—instead of mountains and plains covered with thick untraversed woods—and swamps hideous and impassable, the face of the earth is trimmed, and adorned with a beautiful variety of fields, meadows, orchards, and pastures. The desart blossoms as the rose : The little hills rejoice on every side ; the pastures are clothed with flocks, the valleys also are covered over with corn ; they shout for joy, they also sing. Instead of the dreary haunts of savage beasts, and more savage men, wounding the ear, and terrifying the heart with their dismal yells, we find now only harmless retreats, where the fowls of heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. Instead of the smoky huts and wigwams of naked, swarthy barbarians, we now behold thick settlements of a civilized people, and convenient and elegant buildings. In fine, our hearts are now gladdened at the sight of noble edifices reared in honour, and to promote the worship and service of the true God, near to the unhallowed grounds where Satan's seat once was. This affords a noble pleasure in the contemplation.
* This was too large a number : in consequence of a calculation upon a wrong principle, viz. that every family on an average contested of six persons : whereas exact enumeration makes the number considerably less.
By the census taken in the year 1790, there were found to be three thousand one hundred inhabitants in Brookfield.
+ Mary Bartlet, daughter to Benjamin and Mary Bartlet, born May 6, 1701.
268 Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield.
Every time we discover any vestiges of the aboriginals—any of the points of their arrows, or fragments of their more harmless utensils— any hillocks where their bones are deposited—or any remains of their haunts or fortresses, we should not only remember the dangers and sufferings which those underwent, who first began a settlement here, and laid a foundation for the fair inheritances and peaceful habitations we now possess, but we should cherish a grateful sense of these favors as coming from God ; and give thanks to him who has been our habitation in all generations. When we now walk abroad upon business or plea-sure, we are not afraid of the terror by night, nor for the arrow which flyeth by day. We are not anxious lest the frightful savage should spring from his thicket with his murderous tomahawk, or drive the leaden death through our bodies before we are aware ; nor lest, when we return home, we should find our dwellings in ashes, our little ones dashed against the stones, and our wives carried captive through a perilous, dreadful wilderness, by those whose tender mercies are cruelty. We can now walk in safety over those very grounds which once were stained with the blood and rendered horrid to the sight by the mangled carcases of some of our ancestors.
When our forefathers took sanctuary in these then inhospitable shores, it was to secure to themselves and their progeny " peace, liberty, and safety." When they purchased lands of the natives, they thought then their own: And when they cultivated them for their children whom they hoped to leave free and happy, they little thought their posterity would be disturbed in their possessions by Britons, more than themselves were by savage Indians. And at the conclusion of the last war, which seemed to put an end to our fears of any molestation from the savages for time to come, who could have thought that the same nation that then assisted us in conquering them, would ever have laid such a plan, and, taken so much pains to instigate those savages to renew their cruelties, to ravage our western borders, to murder women and children, and if possible to desolate the country ? Who could have thought that Britons would practise what the uncultivated tribes of Indians have refused to do; and that they themselves would distress and destroy our most populous towns on the sea coast, when the savages could not be prevailed on by flatteries or gifts to molest our back settlements ? What have we done to merit such treatment ? What high-handed crimes have we been guilty of to awaken such vengeance ? Many crimes have we been guilty of against heaven ; but none, adequate to such punishment, against the nation that executes such vengeance upon us. We think we have refused submission in no instance, but where submission would have been unworthy of Englishmen, and a crime in the descendants of such ancestors as ours. We think we have resisted no authority but such as natural and constitutional right warrants us to resist. We have never lifted up a hand but in our own defence, to ward off the blow that was aimed at our beads, or to return the blow after it had been first given. But I forbear. We have appealed to heaven for the justice of our cause; and GOD, the God of justice, sitteth on the throne judging right.
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield.
"HERE followeth the copy of the deed for the purchase of the lands at Quahaug (now called Brookfield) from the Indian called Sattoockquis, together with Lieut. Thomas Cooper his resignation of the said deed to the inhabitants of Quahaug now called Brookfield For the said deed was framed in name to the said Lieut. Cooper, but indeed for the only use and behoof of the inhabitants of the said plantation called Brookfield. Also the copy of the said Lieut. Cooper's acknowledgment of bis said resignation before the worshipful Major John Pynchon."
" THESE presents testify, that Shattoockquis, alias Shadookis, the sole and proper owner of certain lands at Quahaug hereafter named, hath for good and valuable considerations, him the said Shattoockquis, thereunto moving, given, granted, bargained, and sold, and by these presents doth fully, clearly, and absolutely give, grant, bargain, and sell unto Ensign Thomas Cooper of Springfield, for the use and behoof of the present English planters at Quaboag and their associates, and their successors, and to them and their heirs forever, certain parcels of land at, towards, or about the north end of Quaboag pond, that is to say, beginning at a little meadow at the north end of the pond Quaboag, which meadow is called Podunk, with the land about it, and so to a little hill Wullamannuck, and from thence northward or north and by east about three miles, and so westward off to the north end of Wickobaug pond, taking in all the plains, meadows, and upland from Podunk by Quaboag pond to Wickobaug pond, all the land betwixt, as that called Nacommuck (viz. a brook where meadow is) and so to Massaqnockummis, viz. another brook where meadow is, and so through the plain to Wickobaug pond, and then down to Lashaway, viz. the river which comes from Quaboag pond, all the land as aforesaid on the east or the north east side of that river and about three miles north or north and by east from the river, together with the said river, and the lands on the west side or south or southwest side of the said river, and particularly from Lashaway down the river to a brook or stream called Naltaug, and so up that brook to the head of it southward, and then from the head of that brook to the verge of a hill called Asquoach, and so down southward or sooth east to that pond Quaboag, taking in all the wet meadow and meadows called Masquabanisk and Nanantomqua, it being about four miles from the river to the verge or foot of the bill aforesaid called Asquoach, and about six miles or near thereabouts from the river at the mouth of the brook called Naltaug, to Quaboag pond, all the aforesaid tract of land from Wickobaug to Podunk, at the north end of Quaboag, and from Naltaug to Quaboag, called Naltaug, Lashaway, Massequockcummis, Nacommuck, Wullamannuck, Podunk, Nanantomqua, Masquabamisk, and so to the hill called Asquoach ; all which land afore described, together with the trees, waters, stones, profits, commodities, and advantages thereof and thereunto belonging,
Historical Account of the Settlement of Brookfield. 270
the said Ensign Thomas Cooper, for himself, and for the present planters of Quaboag, and their associates and successors, is to have, bold, and enjoy, and that forever. And the said Shattoockquis, as well for other considerations, as also for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred fathom of wampumpeag in hand received, doth grant, bargain, and sell all and singular the aforenamed tract of land to Ensign Thomas Cooper, his successors, and assigns as aforesaid, and to their heirs forever. And the said Shattoockquis doth hereby covenant and promise to and with the said Ensign Thomas Cooper, that he will save the said Thomas Cooper harmless from all manner of claims of any person or persons lawfully claiming any right or interest in the said lands hereby sold, or in any part thereof, and will defend the same from all, or any molestation and incumbrance by any Indians lawfully laying claim or title thereunto. In witness whereof the said Shattoockquis hath hereunto set his hand this tenth day of November, 1665.
The mark of + Shattoockquis.
The mark of Mattawamppe, ++ an Indian witness, who challenging some interest in the land above sold, received part of the pay, and consented to the sale of it all.
Subscribed and delivered
in the presence of Elizur Holyoke, Samuel Chapin, Japbet Chapin.
Shattoockquis an Indian abovementioned did own and acknowledge this to be his act and deed, resigning up all his right, title, and interest in the lands abovementioned, unto Thomas Cooper, his associates and assigns as abovesaid, this tenth day of November, 1665.
Before me, John Pynchon, Assistant
I Thomas Cooper abovementioned, do hereby relinquish and resign up all my right and title in the lands within-mentioned to be bought of Shattoockquis, hereby declaring that my acting in the premises was only in the behalf of and for the use and behoof of the inhabitants of Quaboag (now called Brookfield) and their successors, the purchase of the abovementioned land being at their proper cost and charge, who had obtained a grant thereof from the honourable General Court and are now allowed a town. I do therefore hereby deliver up this instrument or deed of sale to John Warner, Richard Coye, and William Pritchard of Quaboag, alias Brookfield, lor the use and as the proper right of the inhabitants of Brookfield, the said persons being betrusted by the town or present inhabitants of Brookfield for taking in and receiving this present deed. Wherefore I do hereby deliver it up to them, hereby declaring it and the land therein mentioned to be sold, to be, and belong to the present inhabitants of Brookfield as they are a township, and to particular persons only, according as they have, or shall hare grants of land confirmed to them. The whole tract of land abovementioned I do fully and absolutely resign up to the inhabitants of Brookfield aforesaid, and to their successors and their heirs forever, as witness ray band this 19th day of December, 1673.
A Description of the town of Brookfield. 271
December 19th, 1673. Lieut. Thomas Cooper above mentioned, subscribed hereunto and acknowledged the resigning up this deed and all his interest in the premises to the inhabitants of Brookfield.
Before me, John Pynchon, Assistant.
This deed was recorded March, 1673,
By me, Elizur Holyoke, Recorder. Hampshire, sc. A true copy from record, examined per
Edward Pynchon, Regr."
The enemies of New England have often cast reproaches upon our forefathers as having cheated the natives out of their lands. The above deed is therefore inserted not only as a curiosity in itself, and as a gratification to the inhabitants of Brookfield, but as an evidence that the first settlers of this town were so far from seizing upon the possessions of the Aboriginals and crouding out the lawful owners, that they purchased the lands for a valuable consideration. This also is to be attended to, that the Indians had the whole country before them, and that they wanted lands only to raise a little Indian corn and for hunting, and therefore were far from setting so high a value on lands as we do now ; and that wampumpeag was in high estimation among them, as gold and silver among the. Europeans. And however some individuals among the natives may have been imposed on and cheated by particular mercenary traders, yet sufficient evidence may be produced that our forefathers got not this land in possession by fraud and injustice, but by fair purchase or lawful conquest.
A Description of the town of Brookfield, in the county of Worcester, in addition to the account which is given in the "Historical Discourse relative to the settlement of Brookfield." By the Rev. Dr. Fiske.
BROOKFIELD is distant from the State-House in Boston, between sixty and seventy miles. The great post road from Boston to New-York runs through it ; the sixty-one mile stone being near the eastern boundary, and the seventy mile stone near the western line. It is bounded on the east by Spencer, on the south by Sturbridge and Western, on the west by Western and Ware, and on the north by New-Braintree and Oakham. The lands are generally uneven and stony, though there are three or four plains of considerable extent, and large tracts of meadow upon Quaboag river, which runs in a westerly direction through the town. The main branch of this river comes from Rutland, another branch arises (it is said) from a pond in the north part of Leicester, runs through Spencer, and empties into Quaboag river in the easterly part of Brookfield. This river continues a westerly course through Western, Palmer, &c. and after receiving two other considerable rivers on the north, discharges its waters into the Connecticut a little to the northward of Springfield, where it is known by the name of Chickopee. The land is generally fertile and friendly to the
of the town of Brookfield.
cultivator, containing such a variety of soils as to be suited to tillage, grazing, mowing, and fruit. The tillage lands will produce on an average twenty-five bushels of Indian corn per acre, and about twelve bushels of rye. Other kinds of grain also may be raised to advantage ; and farmers in this, as well as most other towns, are improving in this husbandry. There are many more bushels of all kinds of bread corn raised from the same ground, as well as more ground cultivated, than \ there were a few years ago. There is so little descent in Quaboag river for five miles, that the current is very sluggish, the waters almost stagnant, and the extensive meadows on each side are of small value in their present state, being so liable to be overflowed. This evil has been growing for many years through increasing obstructions in so torpid a stream; so that the grass from being large and of good quality, is now so mean, and the making of it into hay so uncertain, as to be very generally rejected. This evil may be gradually cured by much labour and expense in clearing the channel of obstructions. A trial was made last year by the proprietors of the meadows to considerable advantage; and they are encouraged and determined to persevere. Besides this flat meadow, there are pretty large tracts of swaily or swampy land, which yield considerable quantities of fowl-meadow and other valuable grasses, to the amount of two tons, or nearly, on an acre, when made into hay.
There is one large pond in the south precinct of the extent of a mile square, called by the Indians, Quaboag-pond ; but now more generally denominated Podunk pond, from a tract of meadow adjoining, which the Indians called Podunk. The aforementioned river advances directly to the very bank of this Pond : then turns almost at right angles, and runs parallel with the edge about twenty rods, leaving a narrow beach or ridge ; then diverges so as to form a small island, upon which small trees, alders and bushes are growing ; then bends its course and opens a channel into the pond at the north east, running nearly through the middle of the pond, and finding an outlet at the westerly edge. Close to the side of the pond where the river enters, is a large bridge, there being a county road along the beach of this pond for more than half a mile; and travellers pass about twenty rods on a narrow ridge between the river and pond, which, though very moderately sloping on the side next the pond, is perpendicular on the side of the river, and is generally overflowed in the spring and fall, to the hazard, and sometimes suspension of travelling. This beach had once a row of pretty large pines and swamp white oaks growing upon it. But the floods, agitated by the winds, have so washed away the soil, that the most of them are dead and blown down, and the beach is gradually wearing away.
On the south of this pond, and at about a quarter of a mile's distance, is another pond, of not more than half the amplitude of the former, and known by the name of the South pond. This communicates with, and empties its redundant waters into the larger pond, by a creek or brook, except in the time of a freshet, when the waters flow so much
A Description of the town of Brookfield. 273
faster into the great pond as to reverse the current of the brook, and replenish the lesser.
There is another considerable pond in the west precinct, from which quantities of iron ore are annually collected. This pond is supplied by several brooks and has one large outlet into the river about twenty or thirty rods in length. These ponds and rivers, and the other smaller streams by which the land is intersected, are plentifully supplied with pike or pickarel, perch, and divers other kinds of fish.
The timber is principally chesnut, white oak, red oak, and some walnut. The swamps and swails yield maple, black birch, ash, and some hemlock.
In a considerable part of the low lands, the clay lies near the surface. There is much clay adjoining the south pond, and clay forms the bed of the river. No mines have as yet been discovered, though trials at a considerable expense have been made. There is some iron ore, a bed of yellow ochre nearly exhausted, and large quantities both of mud and stone that yield copperas, and contain a strong vitriolic quality. Many of the wells both on high and low grounds have what is called hard water.
The rivers, ponds, and meadows occasion at some seasons heavy fogs, which in some instances have produced putrid fevers, &c. But by what I have observed, the inhabitants of this town are as healthy as those of others, and those who live on the low lands, as those who live on the high. Some circumstances relative to two persons who died in the year 1782, are pretty remarkable. A woman in her sixty-second year, was, if I remember right, the fifth child of her father, who, though above ninety, followed this his daughter to the grave above four miles, riding erect and steady on a lively horse. He died not long since, in the vicinity of Hanover in New-Hampshire, aged upwards of an hundred. His name was Green ; he lived in this town but a few years, and I cannot recollect where he was born. The other also was a female, the widow Elizabeth Olds, who died in her ninety-second year; and her posterity, was as follows: ten children, seventy-three grand children, two hundred and one great grand children, and two of the fifth generation, two of her grand daughters being grandmothers. Total two hundred and eighty-six. Deceased six children, seventeen grand children, thirty-one great grand children. Total fifty-four, which deducted from two hundred and eighty-six, leaves two hundred and thirty-two, who were living at the time of her death. In 1788, died Mr. Cyprian Rice in the ninety-eighth year of his age, and in a few months after died Mr. Elisha Rice in the ninety-ninth year of his age. The posterity of these brothers was not numerous. They were born in Marlborough. There is now living in this town, one Thomas Ainsworth, who supposes he is the last surviving soldier in the famous Lovell's fight.
It is so long since the Aboriginals quitted these grounds, that their monuments are almost effaced. We once in a while find a point of an arrow, or some stone that bears the marks of Indian labour and dexterity. And there is still to be distinguished the spot where they had a fort, and a cemetery where they buried their dead.
274 Births and Deaths in the town of Brookfield.
Though many worthy characters have had their birth or residence in this town, yet I do not recollect any who have made a distinguished figure in the literary world. None of my predecessors or cotemporaries in the ministry have published any of their sermons, except the Rev. Mr. Forbes who is now at Cape-Ann, several of whose occasional discourses were printed while he was minister in the second' precinct. A taste for literary improvements, and exertions for the more useful education of children and youth, have revived within a few years, and several young gentlemen, natives of this town, have received a public education, and are principally in the profession or study of the law. Several gentlemen of learning, taste, and benevolence among us, are endeavouring to promote and encourage improvements, and a Social Library is beginning to exist in the first precinct. The inhabitants of Brookfield are principally farmers, though there is a proportion of mechanics, traders, and professional gentlemen. And the general appearance of the farms, buildings, roads, and manners of the inhabitants, makes a favourable impression, and denotes a good degree of cultivation, taste, and improvement.
Births in the third precinct of Brookfield, in 1789.
Males 19. Females 15. Total 34.
Deaths. Males 4. Females 2. Total 6; which died of the following ages, diseases and dates.
1. A male, aged 98, of old age, March
2. Ditto, 25, pleurisy, terminating in a dropsy,
3. Ditto, new born infant. April.
4. Female, 28, consumption, May.
5. Male, 66, iliac passion, mortification of the bowels, September.
6. Female, 62, consumption, December.
Births in ditto in the year 1790.
Males 14. Females 12. Total 26.
Deaths. Males 9. Females 10. Total 19.
1. A male, aged 8 months, salt rheum, February
2. Female, 27 years, consumption,
3. Male, 16 months, meazles,
4. do. 10 years, fits, March.
5. Female, 86, cancer,
6. do. 25, consumption, April.
7. do. 90, old age,
8. do. 37, consumption, August
9. Male, 18 months, dysentery,
10. do. 26 years, consumption,
11. do. 2 years and 5 mon. dysentery,
12. Female, new-born,
13. Male, 2 years and 6 mon. dysentery, September.
14. do. 39, consumption,
A Letter from Roger Williams to Major Mason. 275
ys. palpitation of the heart,
jaundice and bleeding,
Births in the third precinct of Brookfield, in 1791.
Males 15. Females 10. Total 25. Deaths. Males 9. Females 7. Total 16.
do. do. infant,
15. 16. <
Twins, Male, Female
A Letter from Roger Williams to Major Mason.
Providence 22 June, 1670, (Ut Vulgo.) Major Mason,
My honoured deare and antient friend. My due respects and earnest desires to God for your eternall peace, &c.
I CRAVE your leave and patience to present you with some few considerations, occasioned by the late transactions between your colony and ours. The last yeare you were pleased, in one of your lines to me, to tell me that you longed to see my face once more, before you died : I embraced your love, though I feared my old lame bones, and yours, had arrested travelling in this world, and therefore I was and am ready to lay hold on all occasions of writing, as I do at present.
The occasion I confesse is sorrowful!, because I see yourselves, with others, embarqued in a resolution to invade and despoil your poor coun-trimen, in a wildernes, and your antient friends of our temporal and soul liberties.
It is sorrowful also, because mine eye beholds a black and dolefull train of grievous and I feare bloudie consequences, at the heele of this business, both to you and us. The Lord is righteous in all our afflictions,
A Letter from Roger Williams
tions, that is a maxime : The Lord is gracious to all oppressed, that is another : He is most gracious to the soule that cries and waits on Mm : that's silver tried in the fire seven times.
Sir, I am not out of hopes but that while your aged eyes and mine are yet in their orbes, and not yet sunck doune into their holes of rotten-nes, we shall leave our friends and countrimen, our children and relations, and this land in peace behind us. To this end, Sir, please you with a calme and steadie and a Christian hand, to hold the ballance, and to weigh these few considerations in much love and due respect presented.
First, when I was unkindly and unchristianly, as I believe, driven from my house and land and wife and children (in the midst of New-England winter, now about 35 years past) at Salem, that ever honoured Governour Mr. Winthrop privately wrote to me to steer my course to the Nahigonset-Bay and Indians for many high and heavenly and pub-like ends, incouraging me from the freenes of the place from any English claims or pattents. I took his prudent motion as an hint and voice from God and waving all other thoughts and motions, I steered my course from Salem (though in winter snow which I feel yet) unto these parts, wherein I may say Peniel, that is, I have seene the face of God.
2. I first pitch't and begun to build and plant at Secunk, now Rehoboth, but I received a letter from my antient friend Mr. Winslow, then Governour of Plymmouth, professing his oune and others love and respect to me, yet lovingly advising me, since I was fallen into the edge of their bounds and they were loth to displease the Bay, to remove but to the other side of the water, and then he said I had the country free before me, and might be as free as themselves, and wee should be loving neighbour's togeather. These were the joynt understandings of these two eminently wise and Christian Governours and others, in their day, togeather with their councell and advice as to the freedome and vacancie of this place, which in this respect and many other Providences of the most holy and only wise, I called Providence.
3. Sometime after Plymmouth great Sachim (Ousamaquin*) upon occasion affirming that Providence was his land and therefore Plymrnouth's land, and some resenting it, the then prudent and godly Governour Mr. Bradford and others of his godly councell answered, that if after due examination it should be found true what the barbarian said, yet having, to my loss of a harvest that yeare, been now (though by their gentle advice) as good as banished from Plymmouth as from the Massachusetts ; and I had quietly and patiently departed from them, at their motion, to the place where now I was, I should not be molested and tost up and down againe, while they had breath in their bodies; and surely betweene those my friends of the Bay and Plymmouth, I was sorely tost for one fourteen weekes, in a bitter winter season, not knowing what bread or bed did meane; beside the yearly losse of no small matter in my trading with English and natives, being debarred
* Commonly called Massassoit.
to Major Mason.
from Boston, the chiefe mart and port of New England. God knows that many thousand pounds cannot repay the very temporary losses I have sustained. It lies upon the Massachusetts and me, yea and other colonies joining with them to examine, with feare and trembling before the eyes of flaming fire, the true cause of all my sorrows and sufferings. It pleased the Father of spirits to touch many hearts, dear to him, with some relentings; amongst which that great and pious soule Mr. Winslow melted, and kindly visited me at Providence, and put a piece of gold into the hands of my wife for our supply.
4. When the next yeare after my banishment, the Lord drew the bow of the Pequot warr against the country, in which, Sir, the Lord made yourselfe, with others, a blessed instrument of peace to all New England, I had my share of service to the whole land in that Pequot busines, inferiour to very few that acted, for,
1. Upon letters received from the Governour and Councill at Boston, requesting me to use my utmost and speediest endeavours to breake and hinder the league laboured for by the Pequts against Monhegans and Pequts against the English (excusing the not sending of companie and supplies by the hast of the business) the Lord helped me immediately to put my life into my hand, and, scarce acquainting my wife, to ship myself all alone in a poore canow, and to cut through a stormie wind with great seas, every minute in hazard of life, to the Sachem's house.
2. Three dayes and nights my busines forced me to lodge and mix with the bloudie Pequt ambassadours, whose hands and arms, methought, reaked with the bloud of my countrimen, murther'd and massacred by them on Connecticut river, and from whome I could not but nightly looke for their bloudie knives at my owne throate allso.
3. When God wond'rously preserved me, and help't me to break to pieces the Pequt's negociation and designe, and to make and promote and finish, by many travells and charges, the English league with the Nahiggonsiks and Monhiggins against the Pequts, and that the English forces march't up to the Nahiggonsik countrey, against the Pequts, I gladly entertain'd at my house in Providence, the general Stoughton and his officers, and used my utmost care that all his officers and souldiers should be well accommodated with us.
4. I marched up with them to the Nahiggonsik Sachems, and brought my countrimen and the barbarians, sachems and captains, to a mutuall confidence and complacence each in other.
5. Though I was ready to have march't further, yet upon agreement that I should keepe at Providence as an agent betweene the Bay and the armie, I returned and was interpreter and intelligencer, constantly receiving and sending letters to the Governour and Councell at Boston, &c. in which work I judge it no impertinent digression to. recite (out of the many scores of letters at times from Mr. Winthrop) this one pious and heavenly prophesie touching all New England of that gallant man, viz. " If the Lord turne away his face from our sins, and blesse our endeavours and yours at this turne against our bloudie ene-
A Letter from Roger Williams
mie, we and our children shall long enjoy peace in this our wildernesse condition." And himself and some other of the councell motioned and it was debated whether or no I had not merited, not only to be recalled from banishment, but also to be honored with some remarke of favour. It is known who hindred, who never promoted the libertie of other mens consciences. These things and ten times more I could relate, to shew that I am not a stranger to the Pequt wars and lands, and possibly not far from the merit of a foot of land in either country, which I have not.
5 Consid. Upon frequent exceptions against Providence men, that we had no authoritie for civill government, I went purposely to England, and upon my report and petition, the Parliament granted us a charter of government for these parts, so judged vacant on all hands. And upon this the country about us was more friendly, and wrote to us and treated us as an authorised colony ; only the differences of our consciences much obstructed. The bounds of this our first charter I (having ocular knowledge of persons, places, and transactions) did honestly and conscientiously, as in the holy presence of God, draw up from Pawcatuck river, which I then believed and still doe is free from all English claims and conquests. For although there were some Pequts on this side the river, who by reason of some Sachims manages with some on this side, lived in a kinde of newtralitie with both sides : Yet upon the breaking out of the war, they relinquished their land to the possession of their enemies the Nayhiggonsiks and Nayantiks, and their land never came into the condition of the lands on the other side, which the English by conquest challenged : So that I must still affirm, as in God's holy presence, I tenderly waved to touch a foot of land in which I knew the Pequt wars were maintained and were properly Pequt, being a gallant country. And from Pawcatuck river hitherward, being but a patch of ground, full of troublesome inhabitants, 1 did, as I judged inoffencively, draw our poore and inconsiderable line.
'Tis true when at Portsmouth on Rhode Island, some of ours in a general assembly motioned their planting on this side Pawcatuck : I hearing that some of the Massachusetts reckoned this land theirs by conquest, disuaded from the motion untill the matter should be amicably debated and composed : For though I questioned not our right, &c. yet I feared it would be inexpedient and offensive and procreative of those heats and fires, to the dishonouring of the King's Majestie, and the dishonouring and blaspheaming of God and of religion in the eyes of the English and barbarians about us.
6. Some time after the Pequt war and our charter from the Parliament, the government of Massachusetts wrote to myselfe (then chief officer in this colony) of their receaving of a pattent from the Parliament for these vacant lands, as an addition to the Massachusetts, &c. and thereupon requiring me to exercise no more authoritie, &c. for, they wrote, their charter was granted some few weeks before ours. I returned what I believed righteous and waighty to the hands of my true friend, Mr. Winthrop, the first mover of ray coming into these
to Major Mason.
parts, and to that answer of mine I never received the least reply ; only it is certain that at Mr. Gorton's complaint against the Massachusetts, the Lord High Admiral, President, said openly, in a full meeting of the commissioners, that he knew no other charter for these parts than what Mr. Williams had obtained, and he was sure that charter, which the Massachusetts Englishmen pretended, had never past the table.
7. Upon our humble addresse, by our agent Mr. Clark to his Majesty, and his gracious promise of renewing our former charter ; Mr. Winthrop, upon some mistake, had intrench'd upon our line, and not only so, but, as is said, upon the lines of other charters allso : upon Mr. Clark's complaint, your grant was called in again, and it had never been returned, but upon a report that the agents, Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Clarke, were agreed by mediation of friends, and it is true they came to a solemn agreement under hands and seals, which agreement was never violated on our part.
8. But the Kings Majestie sending his commissioners, among other his royall purposes, to reconcile the differences of, and to settle the bounds betweene the colonies, yourselves know how the King himself therefore hath given a decision to this controversie. Accordingly the Kings Majesties aforesaid commissioners at Rode------(where, as a commissioner for this colony, I transacted with them, as did also commissioners from Plymmouth) they composed a controversie betweene Plymmouth and us, and settled the bounds betweene us, in which we rest.
9. However you satisfie yourselves with the Pequt conquest ; with the sealing of your charter some few weeks before ours; with the complaints of particular men to your Colony, yet upon a due and serious examination of matter, in the sight of God, you will find the business at bottom to be,
First, a depraved appetite after the great vanities, dreams, and shadows of this vanishing life, great portions of land, land in this wilderness, as if men were in as great necessitie and danger for want of great portions of land, as poore, hungry, thirsty seamen have after a sick and stormie, a long and starving passage. This is one of the gods of New England which the living and Most High eternal will destroy and famish.
2. An unneighbourly and unchristian, intrusion upon us, as being the weaker, contrary to your laws, as well as ours, concerning purchasing of lands without the consent of the General Court. This I told Major Atherton at his first going up to the Nahiggonsik about this busines : I refused all their proffers of land and refused to interpret for them to the Sachems.
3. From these violations and intrusions, arise the complaint of many privatiers, not dealing as they would be dealt with, according to the law of nature, the law of the prophets, and Christ Jesus, complayning against others, in a design, when they themselves are delinquents and wrong-doers. I could aggravate this many ways with scripture rhetorick
A Letter from Roger Williams
and similitudes, but I see neede of anodynes (as physitians speak) and not of irritations. Only this I must crave leave to say, that it looks like a prodigie or monster, that countrymen among salvages in a wilderness, that professors of God and one Mediatour, of an eternal life, and that this is like a dream, should not be content with those vast and large tracts which all the other colonies have (like platters and tables full of dainties) but pull and snatch away their poor neighbours bit or crust and a crust it is, and a one hard one too, because of the natives continuall troubles, trials, and vexations.
10. Alas, Sir, in calme midnight thoughts, what are these leaves and flowers, and smoke, and shadows, and dreams of earthly nothings, about which we poore fools and children, as David saith, disquiet ourselves in vain? Alas, what is all the scuffling of this world for but, come will you smoke it ? What are all the contentions and wars of this world about, generally, but for greater dishes and bowls of porridge, of which, if we believe God's spirit in scripture, Esau and Jacob were types? Esau will part with the heavenly birthright for his supping, after his hunting, for god belly And Jacob will part with his porridge for an eternal inheritance O Lord, give me to make Jacob's and Marie's choice, which shall never be taken from me
11 How much sweeter is the councell of the son of God, to mind first the matters of his kingdom To take no care for to morrow To pluck out, cut off, and fling away right eyes, hands, and feete, rather than to be cast whole into hell fire To consider the ravens and the lillies whom an heavenly father so clothes and feedes And the Councell of his servant Paul, to roll our cares, for this life allso, upon the most high Lord, steward of his people, the eternal God . To be content with food and raiment To mind not our own but every man the things of another, yea and to suffer wrong and part with what, we judge, is right, yea our lives, and, as poor women rnartyrs have said, as many as there be hairs upon our heads for the name of God and the son of God his sake. This is humanitie, yea this is chnstianitie The rest is but formalitie and picture, courteous idolitrie and Jewish and Popish blasphemie against the Christian religion, the Father of spirits and his son the Lord Jesus Besides, Sir, the matter with us is not about these children's toys of land, meadows, cattell, government, &c But here all over this colonie, a great number of weake and distressed soules scattered are flying hither from Old and New England, the Most High and only wise hath in his infinite wisdom provided this country and this corner as a shelter for the poor and persecuted, according to their several perswasions And thus that heavenly man Mr Hains, Governour of Connecticut, though he pronounced the sentence of my long banishment against me at Cambridge, then Newtown, yet said unto me in his own house at Hartford, being then in some difference with the Bay, "I think Mr Williams, I must now confesse to you, that the most wise God hath provided and cut out this part of his world for a refuge and receptacle for all sorts of consciences I am now under a cloud, and my brother Hooker, with the bay, as you have been, we have removed from them thus far, and yet they are not satisfied "
to Major Mason.
Thus, Sir, the King's Majestie, though his father's and his owne con science favoured Lord Bishops, which their father and grandfather King James, whome I have spoke with, sore against his will, allso did yet all the world may see by his Majesties declarations and engage ments before his returne, and his declarations and Parliament speeches since, and many suitable actings, how the Father of Spirits hath mightily imprest and touch't his royall spirit, though the Bishops much disturbed him, with deep inclination of favor and gentlenes to different consciences and apprehensions as to the invisible King and way of his Worship Hence he hath vouchsafed his royall promise under his hand and broad seal, that no person in this Colony shall be molested or questioned for the matters of his conscience to God, so he be loyall and keep the civil peace Sir, we must part with lands and lives before we part with such a jewell I judge you may yield some land and the government of it to us, and we for peace sake the like to you, as being but subjects to one King, &c and I think the King's Majestie would thank us for many reasons. But to part with this jewell, we may as soone doe it as the Jewes with the favor of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes Yourselves pretend libertie of conscience, but alas, it is but selfe, the great God selfe, only to your selves The King's Majestic wincks at Barbadoes, where Jews and all sorts of Christian and Antichnstian perswasions are free, but our graunt, some few weekes after yours sealed, though granted as soon if not before yours, is crowned with the King's extraordinary favour to this Colony, as being a banished one, in which Ins Majestie declared himself that he would experiment, whether civil government could consist with such libertie of conscience This his Majestie's graunt was startled at by his Majestie's high officers of state, who were to view it, in course, before the sealing, but fearing the lyon's roaring, they couch't, against their wills in obedience to his Majestie's
Some of yours, as I heard lately, told tales to the Archbishop of Canterbury, viz that we are a prophane people, and do not keep the Sabbath, but some doe plough, &c. But (1) you told him not how we suffer freely all other perswasions, yea, the common prayer, which yourselves will not suffer If you say you will, you confesse you must suffer more, as we doe
2 You know this is but a colour to your design, for, first, you know that all England itself (after the formalitie and superstition of morning and evening prayer) play away their Sabbath, 2d. you know yourselves doe not keep the Sabbath, that is the 7th day, &c.
3 You know that the famous Calvin and thousands more held it but ceremonial and figurative, from Colossians 2 &c and vanished and that the day of worship was alterable at the churche's pleasure , thus allso all the Romanists confesse, saving viz that there is no expresse Scripture 1st, for infant's baptisms , nor 2d, for abolishing the 7th day, and instituting of the 8th day worship, but that it is at the churche's pleasure
A Letter from Roger Williams
4 You know that generally all this whole colony observe the first day ; only here and there one out of conscience, another out of covetousness make no conscience of it.
5 You know the greatest part of the world make no conscience of a 7th day , the next part of the world, Turks, Jews, and Christians, keepe three different dayes, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, for their Sabbath and day of worship, and every one maintaines his owne by the longest sword.
6 I have offered and doe by these presents to discusse by disputation writing, or printing, among other points of differences, these three positions, first, that forced worship stincks in God's nostrils, 2d, that it denies Christ Jesus yet to be come, and makes the church yet national, figurative, and ceremonial , 3d, that in these flames about religion, as his Majestie, his father, and grandfather have yielded, there is no other prudent, Christian way of preserving peace in the world, but by permission of differing consciences Accordingly I do now offer to dispute these points and other points of difference, if you please, at Hartford, Boston, and Plymmouth For the manner of the dispute and the discussion, if you think fit, one whole day each month, in summer, at each place, by course I am ready, if the Lord permit and, as I humbly hope, assist me.
It is said that you intend not to invade our spintuall or civill liberties, but only (under the advantage of first sealing your charter) to right the privatiers that petition to you It is said allso that if you had but Mishquomacuk and Nahiggonsik lands quietly yielded, you would stop at Cowwesit, &c. O Sir, what doe these thoughts preach, but that private cabbins rule all, whatever become of the ship of common safety and religion, which is so much pretended in New England Sir, I have heard further, and by some that say they know, that something deeper than all which hath been mentioned lies in the three colonies' breasts and consultations I judge it not fit to commit such matters to the trust of paper, &c but only beseech the Father of Spirits to guide our poor bewildered spirits for his name and mercy sake.
15 Whereas our case seems to be the case of Paul appealing to Caesar ** against the plots of his religious, zealous adversaries, I heare you pass not of our petitions and appeals to his Majestie, for partly you think the King will not owne a prophane people that doe not keepe the Sabbath Partly you think the King an incompetent judge, but you will force him to law allso to confirm your first born Esaw, though Jacob had him by the heels, and in God's holy time must carrie the birthright and inheritance I judge your surmise is a dangerous mistake, for pattents, grants, and charters, and such like royal favours are not laws of England, and acts of Parliament, nor matters of propnetie and meum and tuum between the King and his subjects, which, as the times have been, have been sometimes triable in Inferiour Courts, but such kind of graunts have been like high offices in England, of high honour, and ten yea twenty thousand pounds gain per annum, yet revocable or curt-able upon pleasure, according to the King's better information, or upon
to Major Mason.
his Majesty's sight, or misbehaviour, ingratefullness, or designes fraudulently plotted, private, and distinct from his
16 Sir, I lament that such designs should be carried on at such a time, while we are strip't and whip't and are still under (the whole country) the dreadful rods of God, in our wheat, hay, corne, cattell, shipping, trading, bodies, and lives When on the other side of the water all sorts of consciences (yours and ours) are frying in the Bishops' pan and furnace When the French and Romish Jesuits, the firebrands of the world for their god belly sake, are kindling at our back in this country their hellish fiers, with all the natives of this country, especially with the Mauquawogs and Monhiggins, against us, of which I know and have daily informacion
17 If any please to say, is there no medicine for this maladie Must the nakedness of New England, like some notorious strumpet, be prostituted to the blaspheming eyes of all nations'' Must we be put to plead before his Majestie, and consequently the Lord Bishop, our common enemies ? &c. I answer, the Father of mercies and God of all consolations hath graciously discovered to me, as I believe, a remedie, which, if taken, will quiet all minds, yours and ours, will keep yours and ours in quiet possession and enjoyment of their lands, which you all have so dearly bought and purchised in this barbarous country, and so long possessed among these wild savages, will preserve you both in the liberties and honors of your charters and governments, without the least impeachment of yealding one to another, with a strong curbe also to those wild barbarians and all the barbarians of this countrey, without troubling of compromizers and arbitrators between you, without any delay or long and chargeable and grievous addresse to our King's Majesty, whose gentle and serene soule must needs be afflicted to be troubled again with us If you please to aske me what my prescription is, I will not put you off to christian moderation or Christian humilitie, or christian prudence, or christian love, or christian selfdenyall, or Christian contention or patience For I designe a civill, a humane, and political medicine, which if the God of heaven please to blesse, you will find it effectual to all the ends I have proposed Only I must crave your pardon,
both parties of you, if I judge it not fit to discover it at present I know you are both of you hot, I fear myself also If both desire, in a loving and calm spirit, to enjoy your rights, I promise you, with God's help, to help you to them in a fair and sweet and easie way —My receit will not please you all If it should so please God to frowne upon us that you should not like it, I can but humbly mourne, and say with the Prophet, that which must perish, must perish And as to myself, in endeavouring after yor temporall and spintuall peace, I humbly desire to say, if I perish, I perish—It is but a shadow vanished, a bubble broke, a dreame finish't, eternitie will pay for all
Sir, I am your old and true friend and servant,
To my honoured and ancient friend Mr Thomas Prince, Governour of Plymmouth Colony, there present, and by his honoured hand this copie, sent to Connecticut whome it most concerneth, I humbly present to the General Court of Plymouth, when next assembled