ePub 版



CHAP. distrust their own strength. Their hundreds of war

riors were confident of their own courage ; their bows 1637. and arrows still seemed to them formidable wea

pons; ignorant of European fortresses, they viewed the rush-work palisades of their forts with complacency; and as the English boats sailed by the places, where the rude works of the natives frowned defiance, it was rumored through the tribe, that its enemies had vanished through fear. Exultation followed; and hundreds of the Pequods spent much of the last night of their lives in revelry, at a time when

the sentinels of the English were within hearing of May their songs. Two hours before day the soldiers of

Connecticut put themselves in motion towards the enemy, and as the light of morning began to dawn, they made their attack on the principal fort, which stood in a strong position at the summit of a hill. The colonists felt that they were fighting for the security of their homes; that, if defeated, the warwhoop would immediately resound near their cottages, and their wives and children be abandoned to the scalping knife and the tomahawk. They ascend to the attack; a watch-dog bays an alarm at their approach; the Indians awake, rally, and resist, as well as bows and arrows can resist weapons of steel. The superiority of number was with them; and fighting closely, hand to hand, though the massacre spread from wigwam to wigwam, victory was tardy. “We must burn them,” shouted Mason, and cast a

" firebrand to the windward among the light mats of the Indian cabins. Hardly could the English with




draw to encompass the place, before the whole en- CHAP. campment was in a blaze. Did the helpless natives climb the palisades? the flames assisted the marks- 1637. men to take good aim at the unprotected men; did they attempt a sally?— they were cut down by the English broad swords. The carnage was complete; about six hundred Indians, men, women and children, perished; most of them met death in the hideous conflagration. In about an hour the whole work of destruction was finished, and two only of the English had fallen in the battle. The sun, as it rose serenely in the east, was the witness of the victory.

With the light of morning three hundred or more Pequod warriors were descried, as they proudly approached from their second fort. They had anticipated success; what was their horror as they beheld the smoking ruins, strown with the half-consumed flesh of so many hundreds of their race! They stamped on the ground and tore their hair ; but it was in vain to attempt revenge; then and always to the close of the war, the feeble manners of the natives hardly deserved, says Mason, the name of fighting; their defeat was certain and unattended with much loss to the English. The aborigines were never formidable in battle, till they became supplied with the weapons of European invention.

A portion of the troops hastened homewards to protect the settlements from any sudden attack; while Mason with about twenty men marched across the country from the vicinity of New-London to the




CHAP. English fort at Saybrook. He reached the river at

m sunset; but Gardner, who commanded the fort, ob1637. served his approach ; and never did the heart of a

Roman consul, returning in triumph, swell more than the pride of Mason and his friends, when they found themselves received as victors, and “nobly entertained with many great guns."

In a few days the troops from Massachusetts arrived, attended by Wilson; for the ministers always shared every hardship and every danger. The remnants of the Pequods were pursued into their hidingplaces; every wigwam was burned, every settlement was broken up, every cornfield was laid waste. Sassacus their Sachem, was murdered by the Mohawks, to whom he had fled for protection, and who, yielding to a base instinct of human nature, sought security for themselves by sacrificing the life of the refugee. The few who remained alive, about two hundred, surrendered in despair, and were enslaved by the English, or incorporated among the Mohegans and the Narragansetts. There remained not a sannup nor a squaw, not a warrior nor a child, of the Pequod

A nation had disappeared from the family of man. 1638. The vigor and courage displayed by the settlers

on the Connecticut in this first Indian war in NewEngland, struck terror into the savages; and secured a long succession of years of peace. The infant was



1 On the Pequod war, I have narratives of I. Mather, Hubbard, before me the special contempo- Trumbull, Dwight, Thatcher, rary accounts of Mason, Under- Drake, &c. &c. hill

, and Vincent; besides the later




Jan. 14.

safe in its cradle; the laborer in the fields; the soli- CHAP. tary traveller during the night-watches in the forest. The houses needed no bolts; the settlements no palisades. Under the benignant auspices of peace,

the citizens of the western colony resolved to perfect its political institutions, and to form a body politic by a 1639. voluntary association. The constitution which was thus framed, was of unexampled liberality. The elective franchise belonged to all the members of the towns, who had taken the oath of allegiance to the commonwealth; the magistrates and legislature were chosen annually; and the representatives were appointed among the towns according to their population. Nearly two centuries have elapsed; the world has been made wiser by the most various experience; political institutions have become the theme, on which the most powerful and cultivated minds have been employed, and the most various experiments attempted; dynasties of kings have been dethroned, recalled, and dethroned again; pretenders have formed a numerous and little regarded body in the crowd of ambitious aspirants; and so many constitutions have been framed, or reformed, stifled, or subverted, that memory may despair of a complete catalogue; but the people of Connecticut have found no reason to deviate essentially from the frame of government, established by their fathers. No jurisdiction of the English monarch was recognized; the laws of honest justice were the basis of their commonwealth; and therefore its foundations were last


1 Trumbull, App. No. iii.


CHAP. ing. These humble emigrants succeeded in in

venting an admirable system; for they were near to nature, listened willingly to her voice, and easily copied her forms. No ancient usages, no hereditary differences of rank, no established interests, impeded the application of the principles of justice. Liberty springs spontaneously into life; the artificial distinctions of society require centuries to ripen. History has ever celebrated the commanders of the armies on which victory has been entailed, - the heroes who have won laurels in scenes of carnage and rapine. Has it no place for the founders of states; the wise legislators, who struck the rock in the wilderness, so that the waters of liberty gushed forth in copious and perennial fountains? They who judge of men by their influence on public happiness and by the services which they render to the human race, will never cease to honor the memory of Hooker and of Haynes.

In equal independence a puritan colony sprung up at New-Haven under the guidance of John Davenport as its pastor, and of Theophilus Eaton, whose integrity and virtues are asserted by the unanimous consent of the early historians, and by his annual election to the office of governor till his death, a period of twenty years. What though the form of this new society was a little more austere? The spirit of humanity had sheltered itself under the rough exterior. The emigrants held their lands of


1 A nearly perfect copy of their the bibliographer, one of the rarest code of laws, from the Boston books. I cannot too strongly acAtheneum, has been examined. knowledge the liberality, with It was printed in 1656, and is to which the Atheneum is managed.

« 上一頁繼續 »