« PreviousContinue »
Chap. IV.) PESSACUS.-COMPLAINTS BROUGHT AGAINST HIM. 147 the Pequot war was ended ; at which time Pomeroy states “ all sorts of horses were at an high price.” Miantunnomoh had agreed to pay the demand, hut his death prevented him. Ninigret was called upon, as he inherited a considerable part of Miantunnomoh's estate, especially his part of the Pequots, of whom Poquoiam was one. He was afterwards called a Niantick and brother to Ninigret.*
Pessacus, often mentioned in the preceding pages, though under a variety of names, was born about 1623, and, consequently, was about 20 years of age when his brother, Miantunnomoh, was killed.t The same arbitrary course, as we have seen already in the present chapter, was pursued towards him by the English, as had been before towards Miantunnomoh, and still continued towards Ninigret, and other Narraganset chiefs. Mr. Cobbet f makes this record of him: “In the year 1645, proud Pessacus with his Narragansets, with whom. Vingret and his Niantigs join; so as to provoke the English to a just war against them. And, accordingly, forces were sent from all the towns to meet at Boston, and did so, and had a party of fifty horse to go with them under Mr. Leveret, as the captain of the horse.” Edward Gibbons was commander in chiet; and Mr. Thompson, pastor of the church in Braintree, " was to sound the silver trumpet along with his army.” [ But they were met by deputies from Pessacus and the other chiefs, and an accommodation took place, as mentioned in the account of Ninigret.
The commissioners, having met at New Haven in September 1646, expected, according to the treaty made at Boston with the Narragansets, as particularized in the life of Uncas, that they would now meet them here to settle the remaining difficulties with that chief. But the time having nearly expired, and none appearing," the commissioners did seriously consider what course should be taken with them. They called to minde their breach of couenant in all the articles, that when aboue 1300 fadome of wampan was due they sent, as if they would put a scorne vpon the [English,] 20 fathome, and a few old kettles.” The Narragansets said it was owing to the backwardness of the Nianticks that the wampum had not been paid, and the Nianticks laid it to the Narragansets. One hundred fathom had been sent to the governor of Massachusetts as a present by the Nianticks, they promising “to send what was due to the colonies uery speedily,” but he would not accept of it. He told them they might leave it with Cuchamakin, and when they had performed the rest of their agreement, “he would consider of it.” The commissioners had understood, that, in the inean time, the Narraganset sachems had raised wampum among their men, “and by good euidence it appeared, that by presents of wampum, they are practisinge with the Mohawkes, and with the Indyans in those parts, to engage them in some designe against the English and 'Vncus.” Therefore, “the commissioners haue a cleare way open to right themselues, accordinge to justice by war; yet to shew how highly they prize peace with all men, and particularly to manifest their forbearance and long sufferinge to these barbarians, it was agreede, that first the forementioned present should be returned,” and then a declaration of war to follow.
At the same court, complaint was brought against the people of Pessacus by "Mr. Pelham on behalf of Richard Woody and Mr. Pincham,” [Pir.chon, that they had committed sundry thefts. Mr. Brown, on behalf of Wm. Smith of Rehoboth, preferred a similar charge; but the Indians having no knowledge of the procedure, it was suspended.
Thus the Narragansets were suffered to remain unmolested until the next year, and we do not hear that the story about their hiring the Mohawks and others to assist them against Uncas and the English, turned out to be any thing else but a sort of bugbear, probably invented by the Mohegans. “One principall cause of the comissioners meetinge together at this time, [26 July, 1617,] being,” say the records, “ to consider what course should be held wiih the Narraganset Indyans ;” the charges being at this time much the same as at the previous meeting. It was therefore ordered that Thomas Stanton,
* See Hazard, ii. 152. | Ds, letter, subscribed with the mark of the sachem Pumham, on the file at our capital, (lass.) US. Narrative.
Mather's Relation, and Ilazard.
PESSACUS KILLED BY THE MOHAWKS.
Benedict Arnold, and Sergeant Waite should be sent to Pessacks, Nenegrate and Webetamuk, to know why they had not paid the wampum as they agreed, and why they did not come to New Haven; and that now they might meet Uncas at Boston; and therefore were advised to attend there without delay; but “yf they refuse or delay, they intend to send no more," and they must abide the consequences. When the English messengers had delivered their message to Pessacus, he spoke to them as follows:
“The reason I did not meet the English sachems at New Haven last year, is, they did not notify me. It is true I have broken my covenant these two years, and that now is, and constantly has been, the grief of my spirit. And the reason I do not meet them now at Boston is because I am sick. If I were but pretty well I would go. I have sent my mind in full to Ninigret, and what he does I will abide by. I have sent Powrynamett and Pomumsks to go and hear, and testify that I have betrusted my full mind with Nenegratt. You know well
, however, that when I made that covenant two years ago, I did it in fear of the army that I did see; and though the English kept their covenant with me, yet they were ready to go to Narraganset and kill me, and the commissioners said they would do it, if I did not sign what they had written.”
Moyanno, another chief, said he had confided the business with Ninigret last spring, and would pow abide by whatever he should do.
When the English messengers returned and made known what had been done, the commissioners said that Pessacus' speech contained“
seuerall passages of vntruth and guile, and (they) were vnsatisfyed."
What measures the Whites took to right themselues," or whether any, immediately, is not very distinctly stated; but, the next year, 1648, there were some military movements of the English, and a company of soldiers was sent into Narraganset, occasioned by the non-payment of the tribute, and some other less important matters. Pessacus, having knowledge of their approach, fled to Rhode Island. “Ninicraft entertained them courteously, (there they staid the Lord's day,) and came back with them to Mr. Williams', and then Pessacus and Canonicus' son, being delivered of their fear, came to them; and being demanded about hiring the Mohawks against Uncas, they solemnly denied it; only they confessed, that the Mohawks, being a great sachem, and their ancient friend, and being come so near them, they sent some 20 fathom of wampum for him to tread upon, as the manner of Indians is.”* The matter seems to have rested here; Pessacus, as usual, having promised what was desired.
This chief was killed by the Mohawks, as we have stated in the life of Canonicus. His life was a scene of almost perpetual troubles. As late as September, 1668, his name stands first among others of his nation, in a complaint sent to them by Massachusetts. The messengers sent with it were, Rich". Wayt, Captain W. Wright, and Captain Sam'. Mosely; and it was in terms thus:
“ Whereas Capt. Wm. Hudson and John Viall of Boston, in the name of themselves and others, proprietors of lands and farms in the Narraganset country, have complained unto us, (the court of Mass.,] of the great insolencies and injuries offered unto them and their people by several, as burning their hay, killing sundry horses, and in special manner, about one month since, forced soine of their people from their labors in mowing grass upon their own Jand, and assaulted others in the high way, as they rode about their occasions; by throwing many stones at them and their horses, and beating their horses as they rode upon them,” &c. The remonstrance then goes on warning them to desist, or otherwise they might expect severity. Had Mosely been as well known then among the Indians, as he was afterwards, his presence would doubtless have been enough to have caused quietness, as perhaps it did even at this time.
Uncas—llis character-Connections-Geography of the Mohegan country-General
account of that nation-Uncas joins the English against the Pequots-Captures & chief at Sachem's Head—Visits Boston-His speech to Governor Winthrop—Specimen of the Mohegan language-Sequasson— The war between Uncas and Miantunnomok - Examination of its cause-- The Narragansets determine to avenge their sachem's death-Forces raised to protect Uncas—Pessacus-Great distress of Uncas - Timely relief from Connecticut - Treaty of 1645—Frequent complaints against Uncas— Wequash-Obechickwood-NOWEQUA-Woosamequin.
Uscas, called also Poquin, Poquoiam, Poquim, sachem of the Mohegans, of whom we have already had occasion to say considerable, has left no very favorable character upon record. His life is a series of changes, without any of those brilliant acts of magnanimity, which throw a veil over numerous errors. Mr. Gookin gives us this character of him in the year 1674: (Mr. James Fitch having been sent about this time to preach among the Mohegans:) “I am apt to fear,” says he, “ that a great obstruction unto his labors is in the sachem of those Indians, whose name is Unkas; an old and wicked, wilful man, a drunkard, and otherwise very vicious; who hath always been an opposer and underminer of praying to God.”* Nevertheless, the charitable Mr. Hubbard, when he wrote his Narrative, seems to have had some hopes that he was a Christian, with about the same grounds, nay better, perhaps, than those on which Bishop Warburton declared Pope to be such.
Uncas lived to a great age. He was a sachem before the Pequot wars, and was alive in 1680. At this time, Mr. Hubbard makes this remark upon him: "He is alive and well, and may probably live to see all his enemies buried before him."
From an epitaph on one of his sons, copied in the Historical Collections, we do not infer, as the writer there seems to have done, " that the race of Uncas” was “obnoxious in collonial history ;” but rather attribute it to some waggish Englishman, who had no other design than that of making sport for himself and others of like humor. It is upon his tomb-stone, and is as follows:
“Here lies the body of Sunseeto
But now they are all dead I think it is werheegen." ☺
In the beginning of August, 1675, Uncas was ordered to appear at Boston, and to surrender his arms to the English, and give such other security for his neutrality or coöperation in the war now begun between the English and Wampanoags, as might be required of him. The messenger who was sent to make this requisition, soon returned to Boston, accompanied by three sons of Uncas and about 60 of his men, and a quantity of arms. The two younger sons were taken into custody as hostages, and sent to Cambridge, where they were remaining as late as the 10 November following. They are said to have been at this time not far from 30 years of age, but their names are not men
* I Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. i. 208. Moheek, since Montville, Connecticut, about 10 miles north of New London, is the place “where Unkas, and his sons, and Wanuho, are sachems." Ibid.
+ Hist. New Eng. 464.-" Although he be a friend to the English, yet he and all his men continue pagans sull," 1676. Dr. I. Mather, Brief Hist. 45.
The writer or sculptor no doubt meant the contrary of this, if, indeed, he may be said to bave meant any thing.
♡ A genuine Indian word, and, as it is used here, means, simply, well. “ Then they bid me stir my instep, to see if that were frozen: I did 'so. When they saw that, they said that was wurregen." Slockwell's Nar. of his Captivity among the Indians in 1677.
UNCAS ASSISTS IN DESTROYING THE PEQUOTS.
tioned.* Oneko was employed with his 60 men, and proceeded on an expe. dition, as will be found stated elsewhere.
Uncas was originally a Pequot, and one of the 20 war captains of that famous, but ill-fated nation. Upon some intestine commotions, he revolted against his sachem, and set up for himself. This took place about the time that nation became known to the English, perhaps in 1634 or 5; or, as it would seem from some circumstances, in the beginning of the Pequot war. Peters, † an author of not much authority, says, that the “colonists declared him King of Mohegan, to reward him for deserting Sassacus.” We are told, by the same author, that, after the death of Uncas, Oneko would not deed any lands to the colony; upon which he was deposed, and his natural brother, Abimileck, was, by the English, advanced to the office of chief sachem. Oneko, not acknowledging the validity of this procedure, sold, in process of time, all his lands to two individuals, named Mason and Harrison. But, meantime, Abimileck sold the same lands to the colony. A lawsuit followed, and was, at first, decided in favor of the colony ; but, on a second trial, Mason and Harrison got the case—but not the property; for, as Peters tells us, the colony kept possession under Abimileck, their created King of Mohegan," and “found means to confound the claim of those competitors without establishing their own."
By the revolt of Uncas, the Pequot territories became divided, and that part called Moheag, or Mohegan, fell generally under his dominion, and extended from near the Connecticut River on the south, to a space of disputed country on the north, next the Narragansets. By a recurrence to our account of the dominions of the Pequots and Narragansets, a pretty clear idea may be had of all three.
This sachem seems early to have courted the favor of the English, which, it is reasonable to suppose, was occasioned by the fear he was in from bis potent and warlike neighbors, both on the north and on the south. In May, 16:37, he was prevailed upon to join the English in their war upon the Pequots. Knowing the relation in which he stood to them, the English at first were nearly as afraid of Uncas and his men, as they were of the Pequots. But when, on the 15 of the same month, they had arrived at Saybrook fort, a circumstance happened that tended much to remove their suspicions, and is related by Dr. Mather as follows: “Some of Uncas his men being then at Saybrook, in order to assisting the English against the Pequots, espied seven Indians, and slily encompassing them, slew five of them, and took one prisoner, and brought him to the English fort, which was great satisfaction and encouragement to the English ; who, before that exploit, had many fears touching the fidelity of the Moheag Indians. He whom they took prisoner was a perfidious villain, one that could speak English well, having in times past lived in the fort, and knowing all the English there, had been at the slaughtering of all the English that were slaughtered thereabouts. He was a contiuual spy about the fort, informing Sussacus of what he could learn. When this bloody trajtor was executed, his limbs were by violence pulled from one another, and burned to ashes. Some of the Indian executioners barbarously taking his flesh, they gave it to one another, and did eat it, withal singing about the fire.” 1
Notwithstanding, both Uncas and Miantunnomoh were accused of harboring fugitive Pequots, after the Mystic fight, as our accounts will abundantly prove. It is true they had agreed not to barbor them, but perhaps the philanthropist will not judge them harder for erring on the score of mercy, than their Eng. lish friends for their strictly religious perseverance in revenge.
A traditionary story of Uncas pursuing, overtaking, and executing a Pequot sachem, as given in the Historical Collections, may not be unqualifiedly true. It was after Mystic fight, and is as follows: Most of the English forces pursued the fugitives by water, westward, while some followed by land with Uncas and his Indians. At a point of land in Guilford, they came upon a great Pequot sachem, and a few of his men. Knowing they were pursued, they had gone into an aljacent peninsula, “ hoping their pursuers would have passed by them. But Uncas knew Indian's crait, and ordered some of bis men to search that point. The Pequots perceiving that they were pur sued, swam over the mouth of the harbor, which is narrow. But they wert waylaid, and taken as they landed. The sachem was sentenced to be ishot to death. Uncas shot him with an arrow, cut off his head, and stuck it up in the crotch of a large oak-tree near the harbor, where the skill remained for a great many years."* This was the origin of Sachen’s Head, by which name the harbor of Guilford is well-known to coasters.
* Old Indian Chronicle, 15.
Rclation of the Troubles, &c. 46.
+ In bis Hist. of Connecticul.
Dr. Mather records the expedition of the English, but makes no mentier of L'ncas. He says, they set out from Saybrook fort, and " sailed westward in pursuit of the Pequots, who were fled that way. Sailing along to the westwar! of Mononowuttuck, the wind not answering their desires, they cast anchor." "Some scattering Pequots were then taken and slain, as also the Pequot sachem, before expressed,t had his head cut off, whence that place did bear the name of Sachen's HEAD." I
Uncas's fear of the Pequots was doubtless the cause of his hostility to them; and when he saw them vanquished, he probably began to relent his unprovoked severity towards his countrymen, many of whom were his near relations; and this may account for his endeavors to screen some of them from their more vindictive enemies. The next spring after tbe war, 5 March, 1038, “ Unkus, alias Okoco, the Monahegan sachem in the twist of Pequoi River, came to Boston with 37 men. He came from Connecticut with Mr. Haynes, and tendered the governor a present of 20 fathom of wampum. This was at court, and it was thought fit by the council to refuse in, tiil he had given satisfaction about the Pequots he kept, &c. Upon this he was much dejected, and made account we would have killed him; but, iwo days afier, having received good satisfaction of his innocency, &c. and be promising to submit to the order of the English, touching the Pequots he had, and the differences between the Narragansetts and him, we accepted his present And about half an hour after, he came to the governor,” and made tiie tollowing speech. Laying his hand upon his breast, he said,
* This heart is not mine, but yours. I have no men: they are all yours. Command me any difficult thing, I will do it. I will not believe any
Indians' words against the English. If any man shall kill an Englishman, I will put him to death, were he never so dear to me.”
“So the governor gave him a fair red coat, and defrayed his and his men's diet, and gave them corn to relieve them homeward, and a letter of protection to all men, &c. and he departed very joyful.” §
For the gratification of the curious, we give, from Dr. Edwards’s “ Observations on the Muhkekaneew (Mohegan] Language,” the Lord's prayer in that dialect. “Nogh-nuh, ne spummuck oi-e-on, taugh mau-weh wneh wtu-ko-se-auk ne-an-ne an-nu-woi-e-on. Taugh ne aun-chu-wut-am-mun wa-weh-tu-seek maweh noh pum-mek. Ne ae-noi-hit-tech mau-weh aiv-au-neek noh hkey oie-cheek, ne aun-chu-wut-am-mun, ne au-noi-hit-teet neek spum-muk oie-cheek. Men-e nau-nuh noo-nooh wuh-ham-auk tquogh nuh uh-huy-u-tam-auk ngum-mau-weh Ohq-u-ut-a-mou-we-nau-nuh au-neh mu-ma-choi-e-au-keh he anneh ohq-u-ut-amou-woi-e-auk num-peh neek mu-ma-cheh an-neh-o-quau-keet. Cheen hqu-ukquau-chth-si-u-keh an-neh-e-henau-nuh. Pan-nee-weh htou-we-nau-nuh neen maum-teh-kek. Ke-ah ng-weh-cheh kwi-ou-wau-weh mau-weh noh pum-meh; ktan-woi ; es-tah aw-aun w-tin-noi-yu-wun ne au-noi-e-yon; han-wee-weh ne ktin-noi-een.”
Such was the language of the Mohegans, the Pequots, the Narragansets and Nipmucks; or so near did they approach one another, that each could understand the other through the united extent of their territories.
Uncas was said to have been engaged in all the wars against his country, men, on the part of the English, during his life-time. He shielded some of the infant settlements of Connecticut in times of troubles, especially Norwich
* Hist, Guilford, in 1 Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc. 100.
# Relation, 49.