Miles Standish - John S. C. Abbott

The Indians

Two Savages on the Hill.—The Return of Samoset with Squantum.—The Story of Squantum.—The Visit of Massasoit and His Warriors.—Etiquette of the Barbarian and Pilgrim Courts.—The Treaty.—Return of the Mayflower  to England.—A View of Plymouth.—Brighter Days.—Visit of Messrs. Winslow and Hopkins to the Seat of Massasoit.—Incidents of the Journey.

Several days passed, and the Indians, who had retired into the forest, did not return. The cottages of the Pilgrims, each man building his own, had now become habitable, and Monday and Tuesday, the weather being fair, they were busy digging the ground and sowing their garden seeds. On Wednesday morning, the 21st of March, Samoset was sent into the woods to ascertain why the Indians did not come back according to their promise. He had but just disappeared in the forest when two savages, in war costume and thoroughly armed, appeared upon the hill, on the other side of Town Brook the same eminence upon which the two Indians had appeared on the 17th of February—and brandishing their weapons, with every demonstration of hostility, seemed to bid the new-comers defiance. This was probably one of the acts in their drama of incantation.

Captain Standish, who was ever prompt to assume any office of danger, took a companion with him and advanced to meet the challengers. They both took their muskets, but carefully avoided any attitude of menace. Two other Pilgrims followed, at a little distance, also with their muskets, to render aid should there be any rush of the Indians from an ambush. But before Captain Standish had arrived within arrow-shot of the natives they both turned, as before, and fled.

In consequence of sickness and the imperfect accommodations on the shore, several of the Pilgrim company had thus far remained on board the Mayflower. To-day, however, the shallop brought them all to the land, and their colonizing became complete: One-half of the crew of the ship had already died; and so many of the remainder were enfeebled by sickness that Captain Jones did not deem it safe to undertake his return voyage in so crippled a condition. A month passed before the sick and his diminished crew were so far recovered as to allow him to venture to set sail.

The sun of Thursday morning, with healing in its beams, rose bright and warm over the busy little, village of the exiles. The dreary winter had manifestly passed. The sick were generally recovering, and there was presented a very cheering scene of peace, industry and happiness. At noon all the men had met upon some public business, when, in the midst of their deliberations, they saw Samoset returning, accompanied by three other Indians. The name of one was Squantum, and it was said that he was the only surviving member of the Patuxat tribe, who had formerly occupied the territory upon which the Pilgrims had now settled.

His story, undoubtedly truthful, was that he was one of the men whom Captain Hunt had so infamously kidnapped. He had been carried to Spain and sold there as a slave. A humane Englishman, whose name we love to perpetuate, Mr. John Slaney, chanced to meet the poor fugitive. He liberated him, took him to England, and treated him with that truly fraternal kindness which Christianity enjoins upon all men. At length he had an opportunity to send Squantum back to his native land.

Good deeds and bad deeds ever bear their corresponding fruit. As the treachery of the miserable Hunt caused the hostility of the Indians, the massacre of the shipwrecked Frenchmen, and the attack at the First Encounter, so did the brotherly kindness of good John Slaney secure for the Pilgrims, in their hour of need, a permanent and influential friend.

Squantum, forgetting the outrage of the knave who had kidnapped him, remembered only the kindness of his benefactor. His residence in England had rendered him quite familiar with the English language, and he became invaluable to the Pilgrims is an interpreter. He attached himself cordially to them, and taught them many things of great value in their new life in the wilderness. And when, after many years, he died, the good old man was heard praying that God would take him to the heaven of the white men.

Squantum had joined the powerful tribe of the Wampanoags, his own tribe having become extinct. These Indians brought with them a few skins to sell, and some dried red herrings; and they also announced the rather startling intelligence that their great Sagamore, or King Massasoit, accompanied by his brother Quadequina and a retinue of sixty warriors, was near at hand to pay the Pilgrims a friendly visit.

After the lapse of an hour Massasoit appeared on the top of Watson's Hill with his plumed warriors. From that eminence, distant about a quarter of a mile, they had a perfect view of the little village, and were conspicuously exposed to the view of the Pilgrims. Under the circumstances, knowing not what might be the treachery of the Indians, Captain Standish did not deem it safe to allow so powerful a band of armed savages to enter the village, or to allow any considerable band of his weak force to withdraw from behind the entrenchments which they had reared, and to go out to meet the royal retinue. Neither did Massasoit deem it prudent to place himself in the power of the white men, whom the treachery of Hunt had caused him to dread.

After several messages had passed to and fro between the two parties, through Squantum, their interpreter, Massasoit, who, though unlettered, proved himself to be a man of much sagacity, proposed that the Pilgrims should send one of their men to his encampment to communicate to him their designs in settling upon ands which had belonged to one of his vassal tribes. Mr. Edward Winslow consented to go upon this important and somewhat hazardous mission. He took, as a present to the barbarian monarch, two skits and a copper necklace, with a jewel attached to it. He also took to Quadequina a knife, an earring, consisting of a pendent jewel, some biscuit and butter, and, we are sorry to add, a jug of rum; but those were the days of ignorance which God winked at.

Mr. Winslow, accompanied by Squantum, as his interpreter, crossed the brook, ascended Watson's Hill, and presented himself before the Indian chief. "Our messenger," writes Mourt, "made a speech unto him, that King James saluted him with words of love and peace, and did accept him as his friend and ally; and that our Governor desired to see him, and to truck with him, and to confirm a peace with him, as his next neighbor."

Massasoit listened attentively to the speech, as communicated to him by the interpreter, and seemed much pleased with it. In token of amity, they had a little feast together. Massasoit seemed much impressed with the long and glittering sword which hung by the side of Mr. Winslow, and expressed a strong desire to purchase it; but Mr. Winslow could not consent to part with the weapon.

After a pleasant and very friendly interview, Massasoit, cautiously leaving Mr. Winslow as a hostage in the custody of his brother Quadequina, came down to the brook with twenty men, as his retinue, all unarmed. Six of them were sent into the village, as hostages in exchange for Mr. Winslow.

Then Captain Standish, with one companion, probably Mr. Thomas Williams, and followed by half a dozen musketeers, advanced to the brook to meet the royal guest and to escort him, with all due honor, to the presence of their Governor. A salute of six muskets was fired, and the monarch with his Indian band was led to an unfinished house which had been hastily decorated for their reception. It was deemed important to arrange something of an imposing pageant to impress the minds of their barbarian visitors. Two or three cushions were laid down, covered with a green carpet, as seats for the Indian chief and for the Governor in this important interview. As soon as Massasoit was seated the music of drums and of a trumpet was heard, and Governor Carver, with a suitable retinue, entered. Gracefully he took the hand of Massasoit and kissed it. In accordance with the mistaken views of hospitality in those days, ardent spirits were brought forward to regale the guests. This was probably the first time Massasoit had ever seen the accursed liquid, and he was entirely unacquainted with its fiery nature. The Indian chieftain, deeming it a part of politeness to partake generously of the entertainment provided for him, when the goblet was presented, drunk a great draft which made him sweat all the while after."

Massasoit was a remarkable man. He was of majestic stature, in the prime of life, of grave and stately demeanor, reserved in speech, and ever proving faithful to all his obligations. He wore a chain of white bone beads about his neck, and a little bag of tobacco, from which he smoked himself and presented to Governor Carver to smoke. His face was painted of a deep red color, and his hair and face so oiled as to present a very glossy appearance. His followers were also all painted, in various styles and of various colors. Some were partially clothed in skins, others were nearly naked. They were all tall, powerful men. After much friendly deliberation, the Governor and Massasoit entered into the following very simple, but comprehensive treaty of peace and alliance:

1. The Sagamore pledged himself that none of his men should do any harm to the Pilgrims; and that, if any harm were done, the offender should be sent to them that they might punish them.

2. That, if any property belonging to the white men should be taken away, it should be restored, Governor Carver agreeing to the same in reference to his party.

3. The Governor agreed that if any Indian tribe should wage an unjust war against Massasoit, he would help him; Massasoit agreeing in the same way to aid the Pilgrims, should they be assailed.

4. Massasoit pledged himself to send word to all his confederate tribes that he had entered into this alliance with the white men, and to enjoin its faithful observance upon them.

5. Finally, it was agreed that whenever any of the Indians visited the settlement of the white men, they should leave their arms behind them. The Pilgrims were also bound always to go unarmed whenever they should visit the residence of the Indian chief.

As evening approached, Massasoit and his followers withdrew. The Governor accompanied him to the brook, where they embraced and separated. The six Indian hostages were retained until Mr. Winslow should be returned. But soon word was brought that Quadequina wished to make them a short visit. He soon appeared, with quite a troop around him. He was a young man, tall, modest and gentlemanly. He was also conducted, with music of drum and fife, to the Governor. He seemed very much afraid of the muskets; and to calm his manifest fears they were laid aside. After a short interview he returned to the hill, and Mr. Winslow came back to the camp. The Indian hostages were also then released. The scenes of the day had inspired them with so much confidence in the Pilgrims that two of them wished to remain all night. But Captain Standish did not deem it prudent to grant their request.

Samoset and Squantum remained with the Pilgrims. Massasoit withdrew his party from the hill, about half a mile south into the forest, and there they encamped for the night. Their wives and children were with them there. During the night both parties kept up a vigilant watch, for neither had, as yet, full confidence in the other. In the morning several of the Indians came into the settlement, according to their agreement, unarmed. They said that in a few days they should come to the other side of the brook and plant corn, and remain there with their families all summer. The king sent an invitation to have some of the Pilgrims visit him.

"Captain Standish and Israel Alderton," writes Mourt, "went venturously, who were welcomed of him after their manner. He gave them three or four ground nuts and some tobacco. We cannot yet conceive but that he is willing to have peace with us; for they have seen our people sometimes alone, two or three in the woods, at work and fowling, when they offered them no harm, as they might easily have done, and especially as he has a potent adversary in the Narragansets, that are at war with him, against whom he thinks we may be some strength to him, for our pieces are terrible unto them."

The English visitors remained in the encampment of Massasoit until about eleven o'clock. Governor Carver sent by them to the chief a kettleful of peas, which the Indians seemed to regard as truly a princely gift. The next day, Friday, it was again pleasant. Squantum, who with Samoset, still remained with the Pilgrims, went to a neighboring creek, since appropriately called Eel River, and at night came home with as many eels as he could carry. They were fat and sweet. He trod them out with his feet, and so caught them with his hands, without any other instrument." In a comparatively recent history of Plymouth, it is stated that a hundred and fifty barrels of eels are annually taken from that creek. The Pilgrims on that day held a general meeting, to conclude some military arrangements, to enact certain needful laws, and to choose a Governor for the year. The choice fell, with apparently great unanimity, upon the then incumbent, Mr. John Carver.

In Young's Chronicle of the Pilgrims we find a note containing the following statement: "It will be recollected that Carver had been chosen Governor on the 11th of November, the same day on which the Compact was signed. It was now the 23rd of March, and the new year commencing on the 25th, according to the calendar then in use, Carver was re-elected for the ensuing year."

Pleasant summer days now came, and glided rapidly away, with nothing occurring of essential importance. Friendly relations were established with the Indians, and the affairs of the colony seemed as prosperous as, under the circumstances, could be expected. On the 5th of April the Mayflower  weighed anchor and set sail on her return voyage to England. She had but one-half of the crew with which she had sailed from Old Plymouth. The rest had fallen victims to the winter's sickness. It is remarkable that, notwithstanding the hardships to which the Pilgrims were exposed, not one was disposed to abandon the enterprise and return in the ship. When the Mayflower  left, there remained in the colony but fifty-five persons. Of these, nineteen only were men. The remaining thirty-six were women, children and servants.

Scarcely had the ship disappeared over the distant horizon, ere Governor Carver, "oppressed by his great care and pains for the common good," on one hot April noon returned from the field, complaining of a severe pain in his head, probably caused by a sun-stroke. He soon became delirious, and, in a few days, died. It was a severe loss to the colony, and they mourned over him with great lamentation and heaviness. He was buried with all the imposing ceremonies of sorrow which the feeble colony could arrange. His wife, overwhelmed with grief in view of her terrible loss, in a few weeks followed her husband to the grave. Soon after, Mr. William Bradford, who was then in a state of great debility from his recent sickness, was chosen his successor.

The settlers, having no animals to draw the plough, were laboriously opening the ground near their dwellings with the spade. Six acres they sowed with barley and peas. Fortunately they had ten bushels of corn for seed. With this they planted twenty acres, Squantum showing them how to plant and till it. Berries were found in abundance in the woods, as the season advanced, and a very grateful supply of grapes.

Mr. Palfrey, in his admirable History of New England, writes very pleasantly, "A visitor to Plymouth during this summer, as he landed, on the southern side of a high bluff, would have seen, standing between it and a rapid little stream, a rude house of logs, twenty feet square, containing the common property of the plantation. Proceeding up a gentle declivity, between two rows of log cabins, nineteen in number, some of them, perhaps, vacant since the death of their first tenants, he would have come to a hill surmounted with a platform for cannon. He might have counted twenty men at work with hoes, in the enclosures about the huts, or fishing in the shallow harbor, or visiting the woods or beach for game; while six or eight women were busy in household 4ffairs, and some twenty children, from infancy upwards, completed the domestic picture."

All fears of famine seem now to have passed away. In addition to the stores which they brought with them they had an abundant supply of fish, wild fowls and native fruits. On the 18th of June two of the servants of Mr. Hopkins undertook to fight a duel with sword and dagger. Both were wounded. The Pilgrims met in a body to adjudge the penalty for so serious an offense. They were sentenced to be tied together, by their head and feet, and thus to lie twenty-four hours, without meat or drink. The punishment was begun to be inflicted, "But within an hour, because of their great pains, at their own and their master's humble request, upon promise of better carriage, they are released by the Governor."

Early in July, Governor Bradford decided to send a deputation to visit Massasoit. There were several objects he wished to accomplish by this mission. First, it was desirable to ascertain where he lived and what his strength was. He also wished to honor Massasoit by paying him a friendly visit. Another consideration of no little importance which influenced him was, that vagabond Indians were increasingly in the habit of coming with their wives and children, loitering about the village to the great annoyance of the settlers, and clamoring for food, which they devoured with the voracity of famished wolves.

Mr. Winslow and Mr. Hopkins, accompanied by Squantum as their interpreter, were appointed for this important mission. Mr. Winslow has transmitted to us a minute account of the interesting adventure. They left the village, probably on Tuesday morning, July 3rd, bearing the following message to Massasoit with the present of a brilliant horseman's coat, of red cotton, gaudily laced.

"Inasmuch as your subjects come often and with. out fear, upon all occasions amongst us, so we are now come unto you. In witness of the love and good will the English bear you, our Governor has sent you a coat, desiring that the peace and amity between us may be continued; not that we fear you, but because we intend not to injure any one, desiring to live peaceably, as with all men, so especially with you our nearest neighbors.

"But whereas your people come very often, and very many together, unto us, bringing for the most part their wives and children with them, they are welcome. Yet we being but strangers, as yet, at Patuxet, or New Plymouth, and not knowing how our corn may prosper, can no longer give them such entertainment as we have done, and as we desire still to do. Yet if you will be pleased to come yourself, or any special friend of yours desires to see us, coming from you, they shall be welcome.

"And to the end that we may know them from others, our Governor has sent you a copper chain, desiring that if any messenger should come from, you to us, we may know him by his bringing it with him, and may give credit to his message accordingly."

They then added the following, which we record with pleasure, as showing the conscientiousness of these remarkable men:

"At our first arrival at Paomet, called by us Cape Cod, we found there corn buried in the ground, and finding no inhabitants, but some graves of the dead newly buried, took the corn, resolving that if ever we could hear of any that had right thereunto, to make satisfaction to the full for it. Yet since we understand the owners thereof had fled, for fear of us, our desire is either to pay them with the like quantity of corn, or with English meal, or any other commodities we have, which they, may desire. We request that some of your men may signify so much unto them, and we will content him for his pains.

Last of all, our Governor requested one favor of him, which was that he would exchange some of their corn for seed, with us, that we might make trial which was best agreed with the soil where we live."

It was a warm and sunny day when the two Pilgrims, with their Indian guide, set out on their adventurous journey through the forest. The Indians, in their movements from place to place, however numerous the party, always went, with moccasined feet, in single file, one following after the other. The forests were threaded with many of these narrow paths, or trails, which had thus been trodden by them through countless generations. These paths were as well known by them, and almost as distinctly marked, as the paved roads of the Old World which had resounded with the tramp of the Roman legions. Indian instinct had, ages ago, selected these routes, often through glooms which no rays of the sun ever penetrated, and again through scenes of marvelous picturesque beauty, beneath frowning mountains, along the margin of crystal lakes, and upon the banks of sparkling rivulets.

Much to the annoyance of the two Pilgrims appointed upon this mission a party of ten or twelve lazy Indians, men, women and children, uninvited, persistently tagged after them, often very vexatiously intrusive, and ever clamorous to share their food.

The first day they travelled about fifteen miles, to an Indian village called Namasket. It was situated upon a branch of what is now called the Taunton River, within the limits of the present town of Middleborough.

"Thither we came," writes Mr. Winslow, "about three o'clock after noon; the inhabitants entertaining us with joy, in the best manner they could, giving us a kind of bread called by them maizium, and the spawn of shads, which they then got in abundance, insomuch that they gave us spoons to eat them. With these they boiled musty acorns; but of the shads we ate heartily."

These Indians had probably all heard of the wonderful power of the muskets of the white men, though, perhaps, none of them had ever seen the effects accomplished by powder and ball. The crows troubled their corn fields, and it was almost impossible for the Indians to get near enough to these wary animals to hit them with the arrow. They begged their guests to show them the power of their guns by shooting some of these crows. There was one upon a tree at the distance of about two hundred and forty feet. With intense interest the Indians watched as they saw one of the Pilgrims take deliberate aim at the bird, and when they heard the report, and saw the bird fall dead, struck by an invisible shaft, their astonishment passed all bounds. Several crows were thus shot, exciting the admiration and awe of all the savage beholders.

As Squantum told the Pilgrims that it was more than a day's journey from Namasket to Pokanoket, or Mount Hope, where Massasoit resided, and that there was a good place to pass the night about eight miles further on their way, they decided to resume their journey. About sunset they reached a small group of Indians at a place now called Titicut, on Taunton River, in the northwest part of Middleborough, adjoining Bridgewater.

Here quite an attractive region presented itself to their eyes. The land on both sides of the river had long been, cleared, being entirely free from trees or stumps, and had evidently waved with cornfields. There were many indications that the place had formerly been quite thickly inhabited. The plague, of which we have spoken, it is said, had swept every individual into the grave. A few wandering outcast Indians had come to this depopulated region to take fish. By means of a wear in the river, which consisted of a sort of net or fence, constructed of branches of trees and twigs, they caught an abundance of bass. They had not erected any shelter for themselves, but were sleeping, like the cattle, in the open air. These wretched savages had no food but fish and roasted acorns. Very greedily they partook of the stores which the Pilgrims brought with them. Liberally they were fed, "we not doubting," writes Mr. Winslow, "but that we should have enough where'er we came."

The Pilgrims lodged that night in the open fields. The next morning, at an early hour, after such frugal breakfast as the occasion could furnish, they set out again upon their journey. Six savages followed them. Having travelled about six miles, following down the banks of the river, they came to a shoal place, where the stream could be forded. This was undoubtedly at a spot now called Squabetty, three and a half miles from Taunton Green.

"Here," writes Mr. Winslow, let me not forget the valor and courage of some of the savages on the opposite side of the river; for there were remaining alive only two men, both aged, especially the one being about threescore. These two, espying a company of men entering the river, ran very swiftly, and low in the grass, to meet us at the bank, where, with shrill voices and great courage, standing, they charged upon us with their bows, demanding who we were, supposing us to be enemies, and thinking to take advantage of us in the water. But seeing we were friends, they welcomed us with such food as they had, and we bestowed a small bracelet of beads upon them."

Here, after refreshing themselves, they continued their journey down the western banks of the river. It was a very sultry July day, but the country was beautiful, and abundantly watered with innumerable small streams, and cool, bubbling springs. The savages would never drink of the flowing brooks, but only at the spring heads. Very pleasantly Mr. Winslow writes in reference to the amiability and obliging disposition of these savages:

"When we came to any brook where no bridge was, two of them desired to carry us through, of their own accord. Also, fearing that we were or would be weary, they offered to carry our pieces. If we would lay off any of our clothes, we should have them carried. And as the one of them had found more special kindness from one of the messengers, and the other savage from the other, so they showed their thankfulness accordingly, in affording us all help and furtherance in the journey."

It was very manifest to the travelers, as we have said, that they were passing through a country which once had been crowded with a population which but recently had been swept away. There were widely extended fields, which had formerly been planted with corn, where there was then to be seen but a rank growth of weeds, higher than a man's head. The region was pleasantly diversified with hills and plains, often presenting extended forests of the most valuable timber. It was a very noticeable and beautiful feature in these forests, that they were entirely free of underbrush, presenting the aspect of the most carefully-trimmed English park. Mr. Wood, who visited this region in year 1633, writes:

"Whereas it is generally conceived that the woods grow so thick that there is no more clear ground than is hewed out by labor of men, it is nothing so; in many places divers acres being clear, so that one may ride a hunting in most places of the land. There is no underwood, saving in swamps and low grounds; for, it being the custom of the Indians to burn the woods in November, when the grass is withered and leaves dried, consumes all the underwood and rubbish, which otherwise would overgrow the country, making it impassable, and spoil their much-affected hunting. So that in these places there is scarce a bush or bramble or any cumbersome underwood to be seen in the more champaign ground."

Hour after hour they journeyed on through these lonely fields, without meeting an individual. At length one solitary Indian was espied in the distance. The Indians, who accompanied the Pilgrims, seemed much alarmed, from fear that he might be one of the Narraganset tribe, with whom Massasoit was then at war, and that there might be more of the Narragansets near at hand. The Pilgrims, however, bade them not to fear, assuring them that, with their guns, they should not hesitate to meet twenty of the foe. The savage was hailed. He proved to be a friend, having two women with him. The two parties interchanged courtesies, ate and drank together, and separated, well pleased with each other.

Soon after this they met another Indian, also accompanied by two women. They had been at a rendezvous, by a salt water creek, and had some baskets full of roasted crabs and other small shell fish. They, also, in oriental fashion, ate and drank together, in token of friendship. The women were made very happy by a present each of a string of beads, as brilliant in their eyes as the priceless jewels of the crown to any European queen. There is but one step between the sublime and the ridiculous." The step is equally short between the court-dress of a European monarch and his jeweled queen, and that of the feathered Indian warrior and his beaded squaw.

Continuing their journey, they soon reached one of the small towns of Massasoit. This was probably Mattapoiset, now known as Gardner's Neck, in Swansey. They were hospitably received here, and fed with oysters and other fish.

The latter part of the afternoon they reached Pokanoket, on the northern shore of Narraganset Bay. The capital of the Indian monarch, which they had thus entered, was about forty miles from Plymouth. The spot where the little cluster of wigwams stood, was probably Sowams, in the present town of Warren. We cannot better describe the interview which took place, than in the language of Mr. Winslow:

"Massasoit was not at home. There we stayed, he being sent for. When news was brought of his coming, our guide, Squantum, requested that, at our meeting, we would discharge our pieces. But one of us going about to discharge his piece, the women and children, through fear to see him take up his piece, ran away, and could not be pacified till he laid it down again; who afterwards were better informed by our interpreter.

"Massasoit being come, we discharged our pieces and saluted him; who, after their manner, kindly welcomed us, and took us into his house and set us down by him; where, having delivered our foresaid message and presents, and having put the coat on his back, and the chain about his neck, he was not a little proud to behold himself, as were his men also, to see their king so bravely attired.

"In answer to our message, he told us we were welcome, and he would gladly continue that peace and friendship which was between him and us. As for his men, they should no longer pester us as they had done. He would also send us corn for seed, according to our request.

"This being done, his men gathered near to him, to whom he turned himself and made a great speech; they sometimes interposing, and, as it were, confirming and applauding him in that he said."

In this harangue the king enumerated thirty towns or villages over which his sovereignty was recognized; and enjoined it upon his people ever to live in peace with the white men, and to carry to them furs for sale.

"This being ended he lighted tobacco for us, and fell to discoursing of England and of the King's Majesty, marveling that he would live without a wife. Also he talked of the Frenchmen, bidding us not to suffer them to come to Narraganset, for it was King James's country, and he was King James's man. Late it grew, but victuals he offered us none; for, indeed, he had not any, he being so newly come home. So we desired to go to rest. He laid us on the bed with himself and his wife, they at the one end and we at the other, it being only planks laid a foot from the ground, and a thin mat upon them. Two more of his chief men, for want of room, pressed by and upon us, so that we were worse weary of our lodging than of our journey.

"The next day being Thursday, many of their sachems, or petty governors, came to see us, and many of their men also. There they went to their manner of games for skins and knives. We challenged them to shoot with us for skins, but they durst not; only they desired one of us to shoot at a mark, who, shooting with hail-shot, they wondered to see the mark so full of holes.

"About one o'clock Massasoit brought two fishes that he had shot. They were like bream, but three times as big, and better meat. These, being boiled, there were at least forty looked for share in them. The most ate of them. This meal only we had in two nights and a day. And had not one of us bought a partridge we had taken our journey fasting.

"Very importunate he was to have us stay with him longer. But we desired to keep the Sabbath at home, and feared that we should either be light-headed for want of sleep, for what with bad lodging, the savage's barbarous singing, for they use to sing themselves asleep, lice and fleas within doors, and mosquitoes without, we could hardly sleep all of the time of our being there; we much fearing that if we should stay any longer we should not be able to recover home for want of strength. So that on Friday morning, before sun-rising, we took our leave and departed, Massasoit being both grieved and ashamed that he could no better entertain us."

Their journey home was a weary one. They commenced it hungry, and without any supply of food for the way. Squantum and five other Indians accompanied them, who were accustomed to the hardships of the wilderness, and knew how to obtain food if there were roots or berries, game or fish anywhere within reach. When they arrived at Mattapoiset, the friendly but half-starved Indians there refreshed them with a small fish, a handful of parched corn, and a few clams. The clams they gave to their six Indians, reserving for themselves only the little fish and the handful of meal, which by no means satiated their craving appetites. The Indians led them five miles out of their way, with the hope of obtaining food, but they found the place abandoned and no food there.

Hungry and weary they toiled along, and that night reached the wear at Titicut, op Taunton River. Here again they found famine. But one of the hospitable savages, who had speared a shad, and shot a small squirrel, gave half to the nearly famished travelers. In this starving condition they sent one of the Indians forward to Plymouth, imploring their brethren immediately to send an Indian runner to meet them at Namasket with food. Fortunately that evening a large number of fishes were caught in the wear, so that they feasted abundantly upon roasted fish, and their fatigue enabled them to sleep soundly in the open air. In the morning, after another ample breakfast of roasted fish, which their good appetites rendered palatable, they set out again upon their journey.

Standish Home


About two o'clock in the morning it had commenced raining with great violence, accompanied with thunder and lightning. The fire which the Pilgrims had built to keep their feet warm was extinguished, and, drenched with the rain and shivering with cold, they must have suffered severely had not their great fatigue rendered them almost insensible to the exposure. The storm of wind and rain raged unabated through the day. But they toiled on, wet and weary, until, a little after noon, they reached Namasket. Here they found the provisions which their companions had sent them from Plymouth. Liberally they rewarded all who had shown them any kindness by the way. At night they reached home, wet, weary and footsore. They had been absent five days, leaving Plymouth Tuesday morning, and returning home Saturday evening, having spent Thursday with the renowned Indian monarch Massasoit.