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ratives, that was not rather his official than his personal designation. This sachem, who was a dependent of Massasoit, received the visitors very kindly; but they found that he lived in perpetu al terror, not only of the Taranteens, or eastern Indians, who were accustomed to send war parties along the coast in canoes, but, also, of a certain Squaw Sachem, who dwelt somewhere in the interior, and to avoid whose attacks he constantly shifted his abode. Standish landed, and marched some distance in hopes of meeting with this Squaw Sachem, but found only some women employed in gathering corn, who entertained the English with much fear at first, but, being encouraged by the "mild carriage" of their visitors, treated them to boiled cod, and such things as they had. Squanto would have persuaded the colonists to plunder these women of their skins and other commodities, under pretense that they were a "bad people," and had often threatened the English. To which Standish, much to his honor, replied, that, "were they never so bad he would not wrong them, nor give them any just occasion of complaint. Mere words," so he said, "he regarded but little; let them, however, once attempt anything against him, and he would deal with them far worse than Squanto desired.”
"Having well spent the day," says the contemporary narrative of this expedition, written, probably, by Winslow, "we returned to the shallop, almost all the women accompanying us, to truck, who sold their coats from their backs, and tied boughs about them, but with great shamefacedness, for, indeed, they are more modest than some of our English women are. We promised them to come again, and they promised us to keep their skins."
In February, 1622, in consequence of some demonstration of hostility from Canonicus, head sachem of the Narragansetts, who had sent to Plymouth, by way of defiance, a bundle of arrows,
tied with a rattlesnake's skin, it was judged best to fortify the town. Meanwhile, a small recruit had been received, made up of those who, owing to the unseaworthiness of the Speedwell, the Mayflower's consort, had been left behind in England; but this accession was not enough to make up for the number that had died. The fortification now erected was a palisade, formed of trunks of trees driven into the ground. It was a mile in circuit, and had three gates-no inconsiderable work for so feeble a colony. Standish, on this occasion, divided his men into four companies, with officers of his own appointing, and issued certain judicious orders as to what each company was to do, in case of attack or fire. Soon after, the colonists having heard, by way of Monhiggon-an island on the coast of Maine, and then a famous fishing station-news of the massacre perpetrated by the Indians in Virginia, a fort was built on the crest of the rising ground, inclosed within the palisade, which, as in the case of the arr capitolinus of the Romans, served in the three-fold capacity of citadel, temple-or, in New England parlance, meeting-house-and forum, or place of public assembly.*
Meanwhile, another party of English settlers had established themselves about thirty miles north of Plymouth, at Wissagusset (now Weymouth), on Massachusetts bay--the first settlement in that quarter. They were mostly indented servants. to the number of about sixty, sent out by one Weston, a merchant of London, who had been one of the mercantile partners in fitting out the Plymouth company, and who, dissatisfied with the pecuniary results of that enterprise, had entered into the dubious and, as it proved, disastrous speculation of planting a colony of his
These Wissagusset colonists, an idle and vicious set, soon made themselves very obnoxious to the neighboring Indians, who, it was said, entered
Isaac de Rosières, secretary of the colony of New Netherland, who visited Plymouth in 1627, gives the following curious account of this fort and its uses: "Upon the hill they have a large square house, with a flat roof made of thick sawn planks, stayed with oak beams, upon the top of which they have six cannons, which shoot iron balls of four or five pounds, and command the surrounding country. The lower part they use for their church, where they preach on Sundays and the usual holidays. They assemble by beat of drum, each with his musket and firelock, in front of the captain's door; they have their cloaks on and place themselves in order, three abreast, and are led by a sergeant without beat of drum. Behind comes the governor in a long robe; beside him, on the right hand, comes the preacher with his cloak on, and with a small cane in his hand and so they march in great order, and each sets his arms down near him"-Seo BRODHEAD'S History of New York.
into a plot to destroy them. Massasoit, grateful for Winslow's remedies, by which he was cured of a dangerous sickness, or, at least, supposed himself to be so, informed him that such an attack was talked of; whereupon, Standish, with eight men, was dispatched to Wissagusset under pretense of trade, but, in fact, to judge as to the reality of the plot, with directions to inform the Wissagusset men of their danger, and with orders, which, certainly, must be set down as rather harsh and peremptory, to bring back the head of Wituwamat, a noted warrior, accused of being the principal instigator of the plot.
Standish found the Indians full of taunts and bravadoes, even going so far, some of them, as to twit the gallant captain with being "but a little man," as, indeed, was the case, so far as stature was concerned. Taking this as full evidence of the reality of the plot, Standish watched his opportunity, and having got the obnoxious Wituwamat, with three followers, into the same cabin with himself and several of his inen, he suddenly closed the door, and, making a signal to his soldiers, snatched a knife from the neck of one of the Indians and stabbed him to the heart. Standish's men, imitating the example of their leader, fell upon Wituwamat and killed him and another Indian. The fourth, who was but a boy, they took alive but afterwards hanged. "It is incredible." says Winslow, to whose "Good News from New England" we are indebted for the knowledge of these transactions, "how many wounds these two pineses (warriors) received before they died, not making any fearful noise, but catching at their weapons and striving to the last."
Not content with this slaughter, Standish sent word to another company of Weston's men to kill the Indians among them. They killed two, and Standish and some of his men found and killed a third. Standish was greatly vexed that, through the negligence of one of the party, another Indian escaped, and, by spreading the alarm, "discovered and crossed their intended purpose of killing a good many more." At the
head of half his men, Standish marched again against the Indians, "to make spoil of them and theirs;" but they escaped into a swamp, whence Standish in vain challenged the chief to come out and fight him.
"When they were in the thicket," says Winslow," " they parleyed, but to small purpose, getting nothing but foul language. So our captain dared the sachem to come out and fight like a man, showing how base and woman-like he was in tongueing it as he did. But he refused and fled. So, the captain returned to the plantation, where he released the Indian women-of whom a number had been taken prisoners--and would not take their beaver coats from them, nor suffer the least discourtesy to be offered them." These bloody proceedings-which remind one of some recent transactions in Oregon-appear to have been perfectly approved at Plymouth, to which place Wituwamat's head was carried and set up in the fort by way of warning; but they occasioned some misgivings in the mind of John Robinson, who, though he still remained in Leyden, unable as yet to find means of transportation for the remainder of the society, exercised, however, a pastor's watchfulness over the people of Plymouth, whom he hoped soon to join, and to whom he wrote as occasion offered. "It would have been happy," so he expressed himself in one of these letters, alluding to the above described exploit of Standish, "that you had converted some before you had killed any ;" and he went on particularly to request them to consider the disposition of their captain, who was of "a warm temper." He hoped the Lord had sent him among them for their good, if they used him right, but he doubted whether there was not wanting that tenderness of the life of man, made after God's image, which was meet.
Winslow, however, insists, in his "Good News," already quoted, that the course adopted by Standish had the best effect, as it "terrified and amazed" the other Indians who were ready to have joined in the plot, and caused them to fly into the swamps, where many died. It did not, however, save the colony of Wissagusset. That plantation was abandoned, a few of the people removing to Plymouth, and the rest sailing to Monhiggon, whence they obtained passages home in the fishing vessels assembled there.
Returning from this exploit, Standish soon had an opportunity to relieve himself from his domestic loneliness. Already the captain, at least, so the traditions of Plymouth report, though
we can find no early written authority for the story, very shortly after the decease of the first Mrs. Standish, had made one attempt to this end, in which he had been defeated in a somewhat vexatious manner. The captain's heart had been touched by the charms of a lovely daughter of Mr. William Mullins, who, with her father, had been his fellowpassenger in the Mayflower. To obtain leave from the father to address his daughter, as the custom which the pilgrims brought with them from England required, Standish sent to him a Mr. John Alden, the youngest of the pilgrims, then about twenty-one years of age, of a most excellent form, of a fair and ruddy complexion, and of very prepossessing address. In the division of the colonists into nineteen families, already mentioned, Alden had been assigned to the family of Standish, and hence his selection for this delicate mission. The father received the proposals favorably, but added, like a sensible man, that the young lady herself must first be consulted, before he could return a decided answer. She was, accordingly, sent for, when Mr. Alden, in his most winning manner, redelivered his message to her, to which the blushing maiden, fixing her eyes upon him, artlessly replied:Prithee, John, why do you not speak for yourself?" Who could resist, pilgrim or no pilgrim, an appeal like that? It is scarcely necessary to add that the result was a marriage of Miss Mullins, not with Captain Standish, but with John Alden.⚫
Standish, however, was too stout hearted to be thus diverted from his purpose. In August, 1623, arrived the third company of colonists, about sixty in number, by the Anne and Little James. To one of these new-comers, by name Barbara, the gallant Standish-in addition to the lobster, piece of fish, and cup of cold water, which was the best entertainment that could be set before the others-offered himself in marriage, and was quickly accepted.
In the next enterprise in which he was employed, Standish gave a now display of the somewhat extra hotness of his temper.
White, a Puritan clergyman of Dorchester, in the west of England, had projected a new settlement, whence, a few years later, sprung the famous colony of Massachusetts bay. The fishing business was intended to be a leading object of this settlement, and the first place selected for it was the rocky promontory of Cape Anne, which forms the north shore of Massachusetts bay, and upon which the Plymouth people had already established a fishing station. White and his associates employed in this enterprise Lyford and Conant, who had lately been expelled from Plymouth on grounds of religious differences. A ship in the service of this company, commanded by one Capt. Hawes, arrived at Cape Anne, in 1625, and took possession of the Plymouth fishing stage erected there the year before. No sooner had news of this encroachment reached Plymouth, than Standish was sent with a party of men to retake the fishing stage. The then occupants refused to give it up; and the controversy grew very warm.
Standish, indeed, might well be supposed not very amiable in his feelings towards Lyford and Conant, since Lyford. in an intercepted letter, alluding to his small size, had spoken of him as looking "like a silly boy."
"The dispute," says Hubbard, who, probably, derived his information from Conant, "grew to be very hot, and high words passed between them, which might have ended in blows, if not in blood and slaughter, had not the prudence and moderation of Mr. Roger Conant, at that time there present, and Mr. Peirce's interposition, who lay just by with his ship, timely prevented. For Mr. Hewes had barricaded his company with hogsheads, on the stage-head, while the demandants stood upon the land, and might easily have been cut
*Bellingham, one of the founders of the Massachusetts colony, and for several years its governor, was the hero of a similar adventure. While a widower, he was overcome by the charms of a young lady, whose hand he had been employed to seek for a friend, and, instead of proposing for him, proposed for himself. The lady accepted, and, without waiting to conform to the publishment law, the governor, by virtue of his authority as a magistrate, performed the marriage ceremony himself! For this breach of the publishment law, the grand jury found a bill against him; but, when it came on for trial, he refused to leave the bench on which he sat as one of the judges, in consequence of which the case was postponed and afterwards dropped.
off; but the ship's crew, by advice, promising to help them to build another, the difference was shortly ended." It must be admitted that Hubbard, a Massachusetts historian, exhibits some little sectional feeling, and even personal pique, in the following rather disparaging reflection in which he indulges at the conclusion of this narrative. "He (Captain Standish) had been bred a soldier in the Low Countries, and never entered into the school of Christ, or of John the Baptist; or, if ever he was there, he had forgot his first lessons, to` offer violence to no man, and to part with the cloak rather than needlessly contend for the coat, though taken away without order. A little chimney is soon fired; so was the Plymouth captain a man of very small stature, yet of a very hot and angry temper. The fire of his passion soon kindled, and, blown out into a flame by hot words, might easily have consumed all, had it not been seasonably quenched." Soon after this expedition to Cape Anne, Standish was sent to England to solicit supplies for New Plymouth. The ship in which he sailed, arrived safely, but her consort, with her cargo of fish and furs, was taken by the Turks, and this loss, with the bad sale of the other cargo, proved a severe blow to the infant colony. The plague was raging in London, and times were very hard. Standish succeeded, with mueh difficulty, in getting credit for the colony to the small extent of only £150, and that at the exorbitant interest of over fifty per cent., and, with the goods thus purchased, he returned in 1626. He, however, prepared the way for a very important arrangement, entered into the next year, by which the London partners in the colony agreed to sell out their interest for £1,800, to be paid in nine annual installments. Eight of the principal colonists-Standish's being the second
signature to the document-in consideration of a six years' monopoly of the Indian trade, gave their private bond for that amount. The principle on which the colony had been settled, of a joint stock, in which these London merchants had been the chief parties in interest, was now abandoned. A dividend was made of the movable property, and twenty acres of land, near the town and fort, were assigned in fee to each settler, who, henceforth, was to be his own man, and to labor for himself.
Already, since the planting of Plymouth, a number of straggling settlers, with or without grants from the Council for New England, had established themselves along the neighboring coast to the northward. Among the rest, a party of about thirty persons, under a Captain Wollaston, had lately set up a plantation in Massachusetts bay, not far from the abandoned Wissagusset, at a place which they called Mount Wollaston, now Quincy. This plantation soon fell under the control of one Thomas Morton, who describes himself, in his "New English Canaan," as of "Clifford's Inn, Gentleman," but whom the Plymouth historians insist upon stigmatizing as a "kind of pettifogger of Furnival's Inn;" while Dudley of Massachusetts, in his famous letter to the Countess of Lincoln, speaks of him as having been, when he lived in England, "an attorney in the west counties." Morton changed the name of the settlement to Merry Mount, or, according to his version of the story, Mare Mount, sold powder and shot to the Indians, gave refuge to runaways from the fishing vessels, and from the plantations, and, what was looked upon at Plymouth as scarcely less an enormity, set up a May-pole, on which occasion he and his company broached a cask of wine and a hogshead of ale, and held a high revel and carousal. These proceedings, especially the harboring of runaways
Morton represents himself as having arrived in June, 1632, with thirty servants, and provisions of all sorts fit for a plantation. It is possible he was of Weston's company, who arrived at that time. He makes no mention of Wollaston nor Weston. Bradford represents him as having had "some small adventure of his own or other men's" in Wollaston's company, but as being "of little respect, and slighted by the meanest servant;" and that, in the absence of Wollaston and his chief partner, who, not "finding things to answer their expectations," had taken a part of their servants to Virginia "to sell out their timo to other men," he had persuaded those left behind, "lest they, also, should be carried away and sold as slaves," to revolt against the person left in charge, and to join him "free from service," and as bis "partners," "associ ates," and equals in the plantation in which he had an interest. "After this," says Bradford, "they fell to great licentiousness, and led a dissolute life, pouring out themselves into all profane. ness, and Morton became lord of misrule, and maintained, as it were, a school of atheism. And after they got some goods into their hands, and got much money by trading with the Indians, they
and the selling of powder and shot to the Indians, alarmed and disgusted all the settlers on the coast; and the people of Plymouth, as being the oldest and most powerful settlement, were requested by the others to interfere. After repeated warnings and remonstrances, which Morton treated with contempt, Captain Standish was sent to Mount Wollaston in June, 1628, at the head of an armed party, to take him into custody. Morton and his men, armed and heated with liquor, shut themselves up in their house, and replied to his summons to surrender with abuse and threatened resistance. As Morton stepped out of his door, musket in hand, "not to yield, but to shoot," Standish grasped it with one hand, while with the other he secured Morton's collar, and so made him prisoner; upon which the rest submitted without firing a gun, and without any bloodshed, except, as Bradford facetiously observes, on the part of one who "was so drunk that he ran his nose upon the point of a sword that one held before him, as he entered the house;" but even he lost but a little of his hot blood." The prisoners were taken to Plymouth, whence Morton was sent home to England.
Such is the account of this affair, as given by Bradford, the contemporary Plymouth historian. Morton's own report of it, in his "New English Canaan," is somewhat different, though in many points he and Bradford agree. Of the setting up of the May-pole, he gives the following account:
"The inhabitants of Pasonagessit (having translated the name of their habitation from that ancient savage name to Ma-re Mount, and being resolved to have the new name confirmed, for a memorial to after-ages) did devise among themselves to have performed in a solemn manner, with revels and merriment, after the English custom; proposed to set up a May-pole upon the festival day of Philip and Jacob, and, therefore, brewed a barrel of excellent beer, and provided a case of bottles, to be spent with other good cheer, for all comers of that day. And, because they would have it in a complete form, they had prepared a song fitting to the time and present occasion.
And, upon May-day, they brought the Maypole to the place appointed, with drums, guns. pistols, and other fitting instruments for that
purpose; and there erected it with the help of savages that came thither of purpose to see the manner of our revels.
"A goodly pine-tree of thirty foot long was reared up, with a pair of buck's horns nailed on, somewhat near unto the top of it, where it stood as a fair sea-mark for directions how to find out the way to mine host of Ma-re Mount.
"And, because it should more fully appear to what end it was placed there, they had a poem in readiness, made, which was fixed to the May-pole, to show the new name conferred upon that plantation."
This poem was a sort of riddle, which, "mine host of Ma-re Mount," for so Morton designates himself, says, “puzzled the Separatists," meaning, thereby, the Plymouth men, "most pitifully to expound it," as, indeed, it well might. This poetical riddle, with its explanation, we omit, but insert the "merry song which," says Morton, "to make their revels more fashionable, was sung with a chorus, every man bearing his part, which they performed in a dance, hand in hand, about the May-pole, whilst one of the company sung and filled out the good liquor like Ganymede and Jupiter." Of this song we may observe, by way of preface, that it was, doubtless, as Bradford says, written by Morton, who, to judge from the snatches of verse scattered through his book, evidently prided himself not a little on his poetical gifts. It must be confessed, too, that the tenor of it seems to give some color to the charge brought by Bradford against Morton and his men, of more intimacy with the Indian women than was in accordance with Puritan strictness and decorum.
"THE SONG. "Drink, and be merry, merry, merry, boys, Let all your delights be in the Hymen's joys, Io, to Hymen! now the day is done, About the merry May-pole take a room "Make green garlands, bring bottles out, And fill sweet nectar freely about, Uncover thy head and fear no harm, For here's good liquor to keep it warm. "Then drink and be merry, etc., lo, to Hymen, etc.
spent it as vainly in quaffing and drinking both wine and strong waters in great excess, as some reported, ten shillings' worth in a morning. They also set up a May-pole, drinking and dancing about it many days together, inviting the Indian women for their consorts, dancing and frisking together like so many fairies (or furies rather), and worse practices, as if they had anew revived and celebrated the feasts of the Roman goddess, Flora; or the beastly practices of the mad Bacchanalians. Morton (likewise to show his poetry) composed sundry rhymes and verses some tending to licentiousness, and others to the detraction and scandal of some persons, which he affixed to this idle or idol May-pole. They changed, also, the name of their place, and instead of Mount Wollaston, they called it Merry Mount, as if this jollity would have