There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel. — Vladimir Lenin

Miles Standish - John S. C. Abbott




The Trading-Posts Menaced

Menace of the Narragansets.—Roger Williams.—Difficulty on the Kennebec. Bradford's Narrative.—Captain Standish as Mediator.—The French on the Penobscot.—Endeavors to Regain the Lost Port.—Settlements on the Connecticut River.—Mortality among the Indians.—Hostility of the Pequots.—Efforts to Avert War.—The Pequot Forts.—Death of Elder Brewster.—His Character.

In the spring of the year 1632 an Indian runner came, in breathless haste, into the village of Plymouth, with the intelligence that the Narragansets, under Canonicus, were marching against Mount Hope, and that Massasoit implored the aid of the Pilgrims. The chief of the Wampanoags had fled, with a party of his warriors, to Sowams, in the present town of Warren, R. I., where the Pilgrims had a trading-post. It used to be said, in the French army, during the wars of Napoleon I., that the presence of the Emperor on the field of an approaching battle, was equivalent to a re-enforcement of one hundred thousand men. It seems to have been the impression, with both colonists and Indians, that Captain Standish, in himself alone, was a resistless force. He was immediately dispatched to Sowams, with three men, to repel an army of nobody knew how many hundreds of savage warriors.

Upon his arrival at Sowams, the captain soon learned that the Wampanoags were indeed in serious peril. The Narragansets were advancing in much strength. Captain Standish sent promptly a messenger to Plymouth to forward a re-enforcement to him immediately, with powder and muskets. As there was but little ammunition at that time in Plymouth, application was made to Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, for a supply. There were but few horses then in either of the colonies, and the messenger returned on foot through the woods with twenty-seven pounds of powder upon his back, which Governor Winthrop had contributed from his own stores. Fortunately the Pequots, taking advantage of the absence of the Narraganset warriors, made an inroad upon their territory, which caused Canonicus to abandon his march upon Sowams and to make a precipitate retreat to defend his own realms.

Mr. Roger Williams, whose name is one of the most illustrious in the early annals of New England, had a little before this time come over to Massachusetts. Being displeased with some things there, he left that colony and came to Plymouth.

"Here," writes Governor Bradford, "he was friendly entertained, according to their poor ability, and exercised his gifts among them, and after some time was admitted a member of the church. And his teaching was well approved, for the benefit whereof I still bless God, and am thankful to him, even for his sharpest admonitions and reproofs. He this year began to fall into some strange opinions, and from opinion to practice; which caused some controversy between the church and him, and, in the end, some discontent on his part, by occasion whereof he left them somewhat abruptly."

In the year 1634 a serious difficulty occurred upon the Kennebec River. The Plymouth colony claimed this river, and fifteen miles on each side of it, by special patent. They thus were enabled to monopolize the very important trade with the Indians. A man by the name of Hocking, from the settlement at Piscataqua, with a boat load of goods, entered the river, and ascending above the trading coast of the Plymouth colony, commenced purchasing furs of the Indians. Mr. John Howland was in command of the post at that time. He forbade the trade; but Hocking, with insulting language, bade him defiance. Howland took a boat and some armed men, and ascended the river to the spot where the heavily laden boat of Hocking was riding at anchor, and earnestly expostulated with him against his illegal proceedings. The result we will give in the words of Governor Bradford:

"But all in vain. He could get nothing of him but ill words. So he considered that now was the season, for trade to come down, and that if he should suffer him to take it from them, all their former charge would be lost, and they had better throw all up. So consulting with his men, who were willing thereto, he resolved to put him from his anchors, and let him drift down the river with the stream; but commanded the men that none should shoot a shot upon any occasion, except he commanded them.

"He spoke to him again, but all in vain. Then he sent a couple in a canoe to cut his cable, the which one of them performs. But Hocking takes up a piece, which he had laid ready, and, as the bark sheared by the canoe, he shot him, close under her side, in the head, so that he fell down dead instantly. One of his fellows, who loved him well, could not bold, but with a musket shot Hocking, who fell down dead, and never spake word. This was the truth of the thing."

Mr. John Alden, probably the husband of Priscilla, was one of the men in the bark with the Pilgrims. They returned to the trading post, much afflicted by the untoward adventure. Not long after this Mr. Alden, visiting Boston, was arrested for the deed, upon the complaint of a kinsman of Hocking, and held to bail. The Massachusetts government had no right of jurisdiction in the affair. But Governor Winthrop was quite embarrassed to know what was best to be done in a case thus far without any precedent. He wrote very courteously to Governor Winslow, then Chief Magistrate of Plymouth, informing him of what had been done, and enquiring if the Plymouth people would take action in a case which seemed rather to belong to their jurisdiction.

"This we did", writes Governor Winthrop, "that notice might be taken that we did disavow the said action, which was much condemned of all men, and which, it was feared, would give occasion to the king to send a general governor over. And besides, it had brought us all, and the gospel, under a common reproach, of cutting one another's throats for beaver."

Governor Bradford was also greatly troubled, being apprehensive respecting the influence it might exert upon the home government. He speaks of the occurrence as "one of the saddest things that befell them since they came." There was embarrassment all around. It was hardly consistent with the dignity of Plymouth to surrender the case to the Massachusetts court. Mr. Alden, who had been arrested, was no actor in the business. He simply happened to be in the boat, having gone to the Kennebec with supplies.

Under these difficult circumstances Captain Standish was sent to Massachusetts to consult with the authorities there upon the best course to be pursued; to make explanations, and to endeavor to obtain the release of John Alden. Great wisdom was requisite in discharging the duties of this mission, combining conciliation with firmness. The Captain was equal to the occasion. He represented that the Plymouth people exceedingly regretted what had happened, but they felt that they were not the aggressors, but had acted in self defense. It was admitted that one of their servants had shot Hocking, but that he had first shot Talbot, and would have killed others had he not himself been killed. It was urged that the Massachusetts colony had no jurisdiction in the case, and that it had done unjustly in imprisoning, and arraigning before its court, one of the Plymouth men. The spirit of concili4ion manifested by both parties was admirable, as is manifest in the following admission made to the Massachusetts court, as recorded by Governor Bradford:

"But yet, being assured of their Christian love, and persuaded that what was done was out of godly zeal, that religion might not suffer, or sin be in any way covered, especially the guilt of blood, of which all should be very conscientious, they did endeavor to appease and satisfy them the best they could; first by informing them of the truth in all circumstances about the matter; and secondly, in being willing to refer the case to any indifferent and equal hearing and judgment of the thing here, and to answer it elsewhere when they should be duly called thereto. And further, they craved Mr. Winthrop's, and others of the revered magistrates there, their advice and direction therein. This did mollify their minds, and bring things to a good and comfortable issue in the end."

In accordance with Governor Winthrop's advice, a general conference of prominent men, both ministers and laymen, was held in Boston. After seeking divine guidance in prayer, the matter was very thoroughly discussed. Then the opinion of each one was taken, both magistrates and ministers. With entire unanimity they came to the conclusion that, Though they all could have wished that these things had never been, yet they could not but lay the blame and guilt on Hocking's own head. And thus," writes Governor Bradford, "was this matter ended, and love and concord renewed."

In the struggle between the Dutch and the English, for the possession of the Connecticut River and its lucrative trade, a party of Dutch ascended the river far above their trading house, at the present site of Hartford. Here there was a powerful tribe of Indians. Being, as usual with the Indians, at war with their neighbors, about one thousand of them had built a fort, which they had strongly palisadoed. Some Dutch traders went up to pass the winter with them, and to purchase their furs. A terrible plague came upon the Indians, and nine hundred and fifty died in the course of a few weeks. The living could not bury the dead. Their bodies were left to decay in the open air. The Dutch, with difficulty, amidst the snows of winter, made their escape from this horrible pestilence, and succeeded, when almost dead with hunger and cold, in reaching their friends in Hartford.

The account of the ravages of the small pox among the Indians, around the English settlements, is too revolting to be transferred to these pages. The suffering was awful. Though the English ministered to them with the greatest humanity, yet not one of them was attacked by the disease. The judgment of God seemed to have fallen upon the Indians, and they were everywhere perishing.

The Plymouth colony had a very flourishing trading-house on the Penobscot River. In the year 1635, a. French frigate appeared in the harbor, and took possession of the post, in the name of the king of France. The captain, Monsieur d' Aulney, made an inventory of their goods, took a bill of sale at his own price, promised to pay when convenient, put the men on board their shallop, supplied them amply with provisions, and, with many bows and compliments, sent them home to Plymouth. Once before this post had been thus captured. The Plymouth people were greatly disturbed by the loss. The French commander threatened to come again the next year, with eight ships, and to seize all the plantations in that section of the country which was claimed by the king of France.

Plymouth applied to Massachusetts to co-operate in the endeavor to recapture the post, and to drive out the French. The Governor of Plymouth and Captain Standish were sent to meet the Massachusetts commissioners. They urged that both colonies were equally interested in the dislodgement of the French, and that the expense should be equally borne. But the Massachusetts commissioners insisted that as the post belonged to Plymouth alone, that colony ought to defray all the expenses of the expedition. Thus the negotiation terminated.

Plymouth, thus left to its own resources, hired a vessel, the Great Hope, of about three hundred tons, well fitted with ordnance. It was agreed with its commander that he should recapture the post, and surrender it, with all the trading commodities which were there, to the agents, who were to accompany him from Plymouth. As his recompense, he was to receive seven hundred pounds of beaver skins, to be delivered as soon as he should have accomplished his task. If he failed, he was to receive nothing.

Thomas Prince was then Governor of Plymouth. He sent Captain Miles Standish, in their own bark, with about twenty men, to aid, should it be needful, in the recovery of the post, and to take the command there, should the post be regained. Captain Standish's bark led the way, and piloted the Great Hope  into the harbor, on the Penobscot. He had in his vessel the seven hundred pounds of beaver, with which to pay for the expedition. But Golding proved a totally incompetent man, displaying folly almost amounting to insanity. He would take no advice from Captain Standish. He would not even allow Captain Standish to summon the post to surrender. Had this been done, the French would at once have yielded, for they were entirely unprepared to resist the force sent against them. Neither would he bring his ship near enough to the post to do any execution, as without any summons and at a great distance, he opened a random and harmless fire.

Captain Standish earnestly remonstrated, assuring Golding that he could lay his ship within pistol shot of the house. As the stupid creature burned his powder and threw away his shot, the French, behind an earth-work out of all harm's reach, made themselves merry over the futile bombardment. At length Golding became convinced of his folly, and placed his vessel upon the spot which Captain Standish had pointed out. Then he ascertained, to the excessive chagrin of Captain Standish and his party, that he had expended all his ammunition. The wretch then designed to seize upon the bark and the beaver skins. But Captain Standish, learning of this, spread his sails and returned in safety to Plymouth.

The Governor and his assistants in Massachusetts Bay, hearing of this utter failure of the expedition, became alarmed in reference to their own safety. They wrote very earnestly to Plymouth, saying:

"We desire that you would, with all convenient speed, send some man of trust, furnished with instructions from yourselves, to make such agreement with us about this business, as may be useful for you and equal for us."

Captain Standish, with Mr. Prince, was immediately sent to Massachusetts with full powers to act in accordance with instructions given them. The negotiations, however, failed; as the Massachusetts colonists were still not prepared to pay their share of the expense. The French remained undisturbed on the Penobscot. They carried on a vigorous trade with the Indians, supplying them abundantly with muskets and ammunition.

The terrible mortality, which had swept away so many thousand Indians from the Connecticut, turned the attention of the Massachusetts colonists again to that beautiful and fertile region. The Dutch claimed the country. The Plymouth colony claimed it. And now the Massachusetts colonists were putting in their claim. Jonathan Brewster, the oldest son of Elder Brewster, was at the head of the little Plymouth settle rent at Windsor. The following extracts from one of his letters addressed to the authorities at Plymouth, give a very clear idea of the state of the question at that time. The letter is dated Matianuck (Windsor), July 6, 1665.

"The Massachusetts men are coming almost daily, some by water and some by land, who are not yet determined where to settle, though some have a great mind to the place we are upon, and which was last bought. Many of them look for that which this river will not afford, except it be at this place, to be a great town and have commodious dwellings for many together. I shall do what I can to withstand them. I hope that they will hear reason; as that we were here first, and entered with much difficulty and danger, both in regard of the Dutch and Indians, and bought the land and have since held here a chargeable possession, and kept the Dutch from further encroaching, who would else, long ere this, have possessed all, and kept out all others.

"It was your will that we should use their persons and messengers kindly; and so we have done, and do daily to your great charge. For the first company had well nigh starved had it not been for this house; I being forced to supply twelve men for nine days together. And those who came last I helped the best we could, helping them both with canoes and guides. They got me to go with them to the Dutch, to see if I could procure some of them to have quiet settling near them; but they did peremptorily withstand them. Also I gave their goods house-room, according to their earnest request. What trouble and charge I shall be further at I know not; for they are coming daily, and I expect those back again from below, whither they are gone to view the country. All which trouble and charge we undergo for their occasion, may give us just cause, in the judgment of all wise and understanding men, to hold and keep that we are settled upon."

The question was finally settled by treaty, and the Massachusetts colonists soon planted settlements at Wethersfield, Hartford, and some other places on the river. There were three dominant nations, if we may so call them, at this time, in southern New England. The chiefs of these nations exercised a sort of feudal domination over many petty tribes. The Wampanoags, under Massasoit, held the present region of Massachusetts generally. The Narragansets, under Canonicus, occupied Rhode Island. The Pequots, under Sassacus, extended their dominion over nearly the whole of Connecticut. These tribes, powerful and jealous, were almost invariably engaged in hostilities. Roger Williams estimated the number of Pequots at thirty thousand souls. They could bring four thousand warriors into the field. The seat of their chief was at Groton, near New London. Twenty-six smaller tribes were held in subjection by him. The Pequots were deemed the most fierce and cruel race of all the tribes who dwelt in New England.

The Narragansets were a nobler race of men. They somewhat surpassed the Pequots in numbers, and manifested traits of character far more generous and magnanimous. They could bring five thousand warriors into the field. The seat of Canonicus, their chief, was not far from the present town of Newport.

The Wampanoags had suffered terribly from the pestilence which ravaged New England just before the arrival of the Pilgrims. The number of their warriors had been reduced from over three thousand to about five hundred. Early in the year 1637 the Pequots began to manifest decided hostility against the English. There was a small settlement at Saybrook, near the mouth of the Connecticut river. As the colonists were at work in the fields, unsuspicious of danger, a band of Indians fell upon them and killed several men and women. The Indians retired with loud boastings and threats. Soon after they came in larger numbers and attacked a fort. Though they were repelled, their attack was so bold and spirited as to astonish the English and cause them great alarm.

The Pequots endeavored to make peace with the Narragansets, that they might enter into an alliance with them against the English. Not a little ability was displayed in the plan of operations which they suggested. "We have no occasion to fear," they said, "the strength of the English. We need not come to open battle with them. We can set fire to their houses, shoot their cattle, lie in ambush for them whenever they go abroad. Thus we can utterly destroy them without any danger to ourselves. The English will be either starved to death, or will be compelled to leave the country."

For a time the Narragansets listened to these representations, being quite inclined to accept them. The anxiety of the English was very great. They desired only peace, with the prosperity it would bring. War and its ruin they greatly deplored.

The Pilgrims did everything which could be done to avoid the Pequot war; but it seas forced upon them. Sassacus was a very shrewd man, and laid very broad plans for his military operations. He could summon thousands of warriors who would fall furiously upon all the scattered settlements, lay them in ashes, and massacre the inhabitants.

In the year 1634, just after a very flourishing trading post had been established on the Connecticut river at Windsor, two English traders, Captains Norton and Stone, ascended the river in a boat, laden with valuables for the Indian trade, which they intended to exchange for furs. These traders had eight white boatmen in their employ. The Indians were peaceful, and they had no apprehensions of danger. One night, as the boat was moored by the side of the stream, a band of Indians, with hideous yells, rushed from an ambush upon them, put every man to death and, having plundered the boat of all its contents, sunk it in the stream.

These traders were from Massachusetts. This powerful colony demanded of Sassacus that the murderers should be surrendered to them, and that payment should be made for the plundered goods. The bloody deed had been performed at midnight in the glooms of the forest. There was no survivor to tell the story. Sassacus fabricated one, very ingeniously, to palm off upon the English. No one could deny the villainy of Captain Hunt, who, some years before, had kidnapped several Indians and sold them into slavery. Sassacus declared that Captains Norton and Stone, without any provocation, had seized two Indians, bound them hand and foot in their boat, and were about to carry them off, no one knew where.

The friends of these captives crept cautiously along the shore watching for an opportunity to rescue them. The white men were all thoroughly armed with swords and muskets, rendering any attempt to rescue the captives extremely perilous. The right of self-defense rendered it necessary, in the conflict which would ensue, to kill. In the darkness of the night they rushed upon the boat which was drawn up to the shore, killed the white men and released the captives. He also stated that all the Indians engaged in the affray, excepting two, had since died of the smallpox.

This plausible story could not be disproved. The magistrates of Massachusetts, high-minded and honorable men, wished to treat the Indians not merely with justice, but with humanity. It could not be denied that, admitting the facts to be as stated by Sassacus, the Indians had performed a heroic act—one for which they deserved praise rather than censure. The Governor of Massachusetts therefore accepted this explanation, and resumed his friendly alliance with the treacherous Pequots.

Roger Williams, who had taken up his residence in Rhode Island, had secured the confidence of the Indians to a wonderful degree. He exposed himself, apparently, to the greatest perils, without any sense of danger. He had acquired wonderful facility in speaking the language of the Narragansets, in the midst of whom he dwelt. There were still so many indications that the Pequots were plotting hostilities, that the Governor and Council of Massachusetts wrote to Mr. Williams, urging him to go to the seat of Canonicus, and dissuade him from entering into any coalition with the Pequots, should such be in process of formation. This truly good man immediately left his home and embarked alone, in a canoe, to skirt the coast of Narraganset Bay, upon his errand of mercy. It is probable that he made this journey in a birch canoe, paddling his way over the smooth waters of the sheltered bays. He encountered many hardships, and many great perils, as occasional storms arose, dashing the surf upon the shore. After several days of such lonely voyaging, he reached the royal residence of Canonicus. The barbarian chieftain was at home, and it so happened that when Mr. Williams arrived at his wigwam, he found several Pequot warriors there; who had come on an embassage from Sassacus to engage the Narragansets in the war.

For three days this bold man remained alone among these savages, endeavoring, in every way, to thwart the endeavors of the Pequot warriors. These agents of Sassacus were enraged at Mr. Williams' influence in circumventing their plans. They plotted his massacre, and every night Mr. Williams had occasion to fear that he would not behold the light of another morning. But Canonicus, unlettered savage as he was, had sufficient intelligence to appreciate the fearlessness and true grandeur of character of Mr. Williams. He dismissed the discomfited Pequots, refusing to enter into any alliance with them. He renewed his treaty of friendship with the English, and engaged to send a large party of his warriors to co-operate with them in repelling the threatened assault of the Pequots.

The benefits thus conferred upon the. English by the efforts of Mr. Roger Williams were incalculable. Many distant tribes, who were on the eve of joining Sassacus, alarmed by the defection of the Narragansets, also withdrew; and thus the Pequots were compelled to enter upon the war with forces considerably weaker than they had originally intended. Still they were foes greatly to be dreaded. The English settlements were now widely scattered, and each was in itself feeble. The Pequots could marshal four thousand of as fierce warriors as earth has ever seen. A small bag of pounded corn would furnish each warrior with food for many days. They could traverse the forest trails with almost the velocity of the wind. Rushing upon some unprotected hamlet at midnight, with torch and tomahawk, they could, in one awful hour, leave behind them but smoldering ashes and gory corpses. Disappearing, like wolves, in the impenetrable forest, they could again rush upon any lonely farm-house, leagues away, and thus, with but little danger to themselves, spread ruin far and wide. No man in the scattered settlements could fall asleep at night without the fear that the hideous war-whoop of the Indian would rouse him and his family to a cruel death before morning.

The Pequots were continually perpetrating new acts of violence, while the English, with great forbearance, were doing everything in their power to avert the open breaking out of hostilities. To add to the embarrassment of the English they received conclusive evidence that Captains Norton and Stone, with their boats' crew, were wantonly murdered by the Indians, and that the statement of extenuating circumstances, made by Sassacus, was an entire fabrication. The forbearance of the English only stimulated the insolence of the Pequots.

In July 1635, John Oldham ventured on a trading expedition to the Pequot country. He went as an agent of the Massachusetts colony, one object being to ascertain the disposition of the savages. The Indians captured his boat, killed Captain Oldham, horribly mutilating his body, and the rest of the crew, two or three in number, were carried off as captives. The time for attempts at conciliation was at an end. It was resolved to prosecute the war with all vigor, and so to punish the Pequots as to give them a new idea of the power of the English, and to present a warning to all the other savages against the repetition of such outrages.

Plymouth colony furnished fifty soldiers, commanded by Captain Miles Standish. Massachusetts raised two hundred men. The settlements on the Connecticut furnished ninety men. The Mohegans and Narragansets sent to the English camp of rendezvous about two hundred warriors, promising many more. It was decided to strike the Pequots a sudden and heavy blow. We cannot here enter into the details of the fierce and decisive war which ensued.

These military bands rendezvoused on the shores of Narraganset bay, and commenced a rapid march through the forest. The Narragansets were exceedingly jubilant in the prospect of inflicting vengeance upon a foe who had often compelled them to bite the dust. As they hurried along through the narrow trails towards the Pequot territory, volunteer Narragansets joined them until five hundred feathered warriors were in their train.

The Indian guides led them to a strong fort, on the banks of the river Mystic. A large number of Pequot warriors were assembled here, quite unapprehensive of the attack which was about to fall terribly upon them. Silently, in the night, the English and the Indians surrounded them, that there might be no escape.

"And so," writes Governor Bradford, "assaulted them with great courage, shooting amongst them, and entering the fort with all speed. Those that first entered found sharp resistance from the enemy, who both shot at and grappled with them. Others ran into their houses, and brought out fire and set them on fire, which soon took in their mats, and, standing close together, with the wind, all was quickly in a flame. Thereby more were burned to death than were otherwise slain. It burned their bow-strings, and rendered them unserviceable. Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword. Some were hewed to pieces, others were run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched, and very few escaped. It was conceived that they thus destroyed about four hundred at this time.

"It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire, the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the scent thereof. But the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy."

"The Narraganset Indians all this while stood round about, but aloof from all danger, and left the whole execution to the English, except it were the stopping of any that broke away; insulting over their enemies in this their ruin and misery, when they were writhing in the flames. After this service was thus happily accomplished, they marched to the water side, where they met with some of their vessels, by which they had refreshing with victuals and other necessaries."

The war was continued with vigor, and the Pequot warriors became nearly exterminated. Sassacus fled to the Mohawks, in New York. They cut off his head. Thus the war ended. The Pequots were no longer to be feared. Driven from their homes, they took refuge, in their dispersion, in different tribes, and this formidable barbaric nation became extinct.

War is always demoralizing. Many, rioting in its scenes of carnage and of crime, lose all sense of humanity, and become desperadoes. After the close of the Pequot war, a young fellow, lusty and desperate, by the name of Arthur Peach, who had done valiant service in cutting down the Indians, felt a strong disk inclination to return to the monotony of peaceful life. He became thoroughly dissolute, a wild adventurer, ripe for any crime. To escape the consequences of some of his misdeeds, he undertook, with three boon companions, as bad as himself; to escape to the Dutch colony at the mouth of the Hudson. As they were travelling through the woods they stopped to rest, and, kindling a fire, sat down to smoke their pipes. An Indian came along, who had a quantity of wampum, which had become valuable as currency, recognized by all the tribes. They invited him to sit down and smoke with them. As they were thus smoking together, Peach said to his companions that he meant to kill the Indian, "for the rascal," said he, "has undoubtedly killed many white men." The Indian, who did not understand English, was unsuspicious of danger. Peach, watching his opportunity, thrust his sword through his body once or twice, and taking from him his wampum and some other valuables, he and his companions hurried on their way, leaving him as they supposed, dead.

Though mortally wounded, the Indian so far revived as to reach some of his friends, when, having communicated to them the facts of the murder, he died. The men were all arrested. The proof was so positive that they made no denial of their guilt. They were all condemned, and three were executed, one having made his escape. Francis Baylies, commenting upon this occurrence, writes:

"This execution is an undeniable proof of that stern sense of duty which was cherished by the Pilgrims. To put three Englishmen to death for the murder of one Indian, without compulsion, or without any apprehension of consequences, for it does not appear that any application was made on the part of the Indians, for the punishment of the murderers, and they might have been pacified by the death of one, and probably even without that, denotes a degree of moral culture unknown in new settlements. It stands in our annals without a parallel instance. The truth of the fact is avouched by all our early historians, and it stands an eternal and imperishable monument of stern, unsparing, inflexible justice. And, in all probability it was not without its earthly reward, for the Indians, convinced of the justice of the English, abstained from all attempts to avenge their wrongs, by their own acts, for many years."

The Plymouth colonists were still much embarrassed in consequence of their relations with their partners in England, to whom they were still considerably indebted. The agent of the company there wrote that he could not make up his accounts, unless some one from the colony should come over to England to aid him; and he urged that Mr. Winslow should be sent. But Mr. Winslow was afraid to go. Neither was he willing that any of his partners should go. The angry tone of letters from England led him to apprehend serious danger. "For he was persuaded," writes Governor Bradford, "that if any of them went they would be arrested, and an action of such a sum laid upon them as they should not procure bail, but must lie in prison; and then they would bring them to what they list."

Still it was very important that some one should go. Captain Standish was applied to. He seems to have had as little fear of an English prison as of the tomahawks and arrows of the Indians. Without any hesitancy he was ready to embark in the perilous enterprise. But upon mature deliberation his more cautious friends decided it not to be prudent to expose him to such peril. But the spirit of justice, which inspired them in all their transactions, is again conspicuous. They offered to submit the matter to any gentlemen and merchants of the Massachusetts colony, whom the company in England themselves might choose. Before these commissioners both sides should have a hearing. "We will be bound," they added, "to stand by their decision, and make good their award, though it should cost us all we have in the world."

The company in England declined this magnanimous offer. In the year Elder Brewster died, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. He was in Duxbury the next neighbor and the ever warm friend of Miles Standish. Among the remarkable men who composed the Plymouth colony, he was one of the most remarkable. By birth, education and wealth he occupied a high position in English society. In his earlier days he was the companion of ministers of state. He was familiar with the magnificence of courts, having represented his sovereign in foreign embassage. His ample fortune had accustomed him to the refinements and elegances of life. He might doubtless have spent his days in ease, honor and opulence. But, true to his religious convictions, all these he cast aside to share the lot of the humble and persecuted Puritans. He deemed conformity to the mode of worship adopted by the Parliament as sinful. And he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." In the records of the first church in Plymouth we find a very noble tribute to his memory, probably written by Secretary Morton. Speaking of his embassage, in his early manhood, to the Low Countries, with Mr. Davison, Mr. Morton writes,

"He received possession of the cautionary towns; and, in token thereof, the keys of Flushing being delivered to him in her majesty's name, he kept them for some time, and committed them to his servant, who kept them under his pillow on which he slept, the first night, and, on his return the States honored him with a gold chain, which his master committed to him, and commanded him to wear it when they arrived in England, as they rode through the country until they came to the court.

"Afterwards he went and lived in the country, in good esteem among his friends and the good gentlemen of those parts, especially the godly and religious. He did much good in the country where he lived, in promoting and furthering religion, not only by his practice and example, and encouraging others, but by procuring good preachers for the places thereabouts, and drawing on others to assist and help forward in such a work, he himself commonly deepest in the charge and often above his abilities. In this state he continued many years, doing the best good he could, and walking according to the light he saw, until the Lord revealed further unto him.

"And, in the end, by the tyranny of the bishops against godly preachers and people, in silencing the one, and persecuting the other, he, with many more of those times, began to look further into particulars, and to see into the unlawfulness of their callings, and the burden of many anti-Christian corruptions, which both he and they endeavored to cast off, as they also did.

"After they were joined into communion he was a special stay and help to them. They ordinarily met at his house on the Lord's day, which was within the manor of a bishop. With great love he entertained them when they came, making provision for them to his great charge, and continued so to do while they should remain in England. And when they were to remove out of the country, he was the first in all adventures. He was the chief of those who were taken at Boston, in Lincolnshire, and suffered the greatest loss, and one of the seven that were kept longest in prison, and after bound over to the assizes.

"After he came to Holland he suffered much hardship, after he had spent the most of his means, having a great charge and many children. And in regard to his former breeding and course, not so fit for many employments as others were, especially such as were toilsome and laborious. Yea, he ever bore his condition with much cheerfulness and content. Towards the latter part of those twelve years, spent in Holland, his outward condition was mended, and he lived well and plentiful; for he fell into a way, by reason he had the Latin tongue, to teach many students, who had a desire to learn the English tongue. By his method they quickly attained it, with great facility, for he drew rules to learn it by after the Latin manner. And many gentlemen, both Danes and Germans, resorted to him, as they had time, from their other studies, some of them being great men's sons.

"But now, removing into this country, all these things were laid aside again, and a new course of living must be framed unto; in which he was in no way unwilling to take his part, and to bear his burden with the rest, living many times without bread or corn, many months together; having many times nothing but fish, and often wanting that also; and drunk nothing but water for many years together, until five or six years of his death. And yet he lived, by the blessing of God, in health until very old age."

Elder Brewster was an accomplished gentleman, a genial friend, an eloquent preacher, and a fervent Christian. History has transmitted to us the record of but few characters so well balanced in all energetic, harmonious, and lovely traits. He died as he had lived, tranquilly, peacefully, in the enjoyment of all his faculties. His sickness was short, confining him to his bed but one day. He could converse with his friends until within a few hours of his last breath. About ten o'clock in the evening of April 18th, 1644, he fell asleep.

"Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep!

From which none ever wake to weep."