Miles Standish - John S. C. Abbott

Life on Shore

Days of Sunshine amid Storm.—Ravages of Pestilence.—A Raging Storm.—New Alarm of Fire.—Twelve Indians Seen.—Two Indians Appear on the Hill.—Great Alarm in the Settlement.—Measures of Defense.—More Sunny Days.—Humanity and Self-Denial of Miles Standish and Others.—Conduct of the Ship's Crew.—Excursion to Billington Sea.—The Visit of Samoset.—Treachery of Captain Hunt.—The Shipwrecked Frenchmen.—The Plague.—The Wampanoags.—More Indian Visitors.—Bad Conduct of the Billingtons.

Monday, the 15th of January, opened upon the way-worn exiles with another storm of wind and rain, so that those on shipboard could not leave the vessel, and those on shore could do no work. The next three days, however, were pleasant, each morning dawning upon them with rare loveliness. Their hearts were cheered, and they pressed forward in their labors with great vigor. The terrible fright which the fire caused taught them that they must place their store-house apart from the other buildings, and where there would be no exposure to conflagration. They, therefore, went immediately to work to put up a shed for this purpose, intending to reserve the building already erected as a common lodging house until the separate huts could be reared.

Friday opened pleasantly; but at noon it began to rain, which prevented any outdoor work. Towards evening the storm abated, and John Goodman, whose feet had been sadly crippled by his exposure in the woods, hobbled out a little way from the village for exercise, accompanied by a small spaniel. Two half famished wolves came leaping from the forest in pursuit of his dog. The terrified animal ran between his master's legs for protection. Mr. Goodman caught up a heavy stick, and for some time kept the ferocious beasts at bay. They kept at a little distance, just out of reach of his club, gnashing upon him with their sharp and glistening teeth in most dramatic style. But ere long the wolves, to Mr. Goodman's intense relief, turned away and rushed howling into the woods.

The next day, Saturday the 20th of January, they completed their shed for a store-house, and nearly all of their company came to the land. On Sunday, 21st, there was a general assembling of the Pilgrims in the Common House, as their temple, where their revered and beloved pastor, Rev. Mr. Brewster, conducted divine worship. This was the first Sabbath on which the Pilgrims as a body had been able to meet together in their new home.

Monday, 22nd, was a fair day, and during the whole week the weather continued propitious. All were busy, bringing boat loads of freight from the ship, and packing away their provisions and other goods in the store-house. Two boats were employed in bringing the luggage on shore, but it was slow work, in consequence of the distant anchorage of the Mayflower. As they had neither ox, mule nor horse, all the articles had to be carried by hand from the landing-place to their destination many rods distant from the shore.

The next week was ushered in by a storm of piercing wind and sleet. To add to its gloom, on its first day, Rose, the young and beautiful wife of Captain Standish, died. But care, sickness, death now came in such swift succession as to leave the survivors but little time to weep over the dead. The two succeeding days the weather was so inclement that no work could be done. Not very far from the ship's place of anchorage there was a small island. On Wednesday morning those on board the ship saw two savages walking upon the island. What they were doing no one could tell. They were seen but for a few moments, when they retired out of sight in the forest.

On Sunday morning, February 4th, a fearful gale swept the bay: It was the most severe storm the Pilgrims had yet encountered. For some time great apprehensions were felt lest the ship should be torn from her moorings and dashed upon the shore. The huts, which they were erecting for their dwellings, were of unhewn logs, the interstices being filled with clay. The wind and the rain washed out this clay, causing very serious damage. Much of the thatching also, as yet but insecurely fastened, was whirled into the air by the tempest, like autumn leaves. During the whole of the week the weather continued so cold and stormy that but little work could be done.

In consequence of the increasing sickness, it had been found necessary to put up a small house for a hospital. On Friday, the 9th, the thatched roof of this building took fire from a spark. Fortunately the wet weather had so dampened the straw that the fire was extinguished without doing much damage. Where wood was the only fuel, ever throwing up a shower of sparks, a thatch of straw, often as dry as tinder, seemed to invite conflagration. Thus their little hamlet, of clustered log houses, was peculiarly exposed to the peril of fire. That afternoon five wild geese were shot, which afforded a very grateful repast to the sick people. A good fat deer was also found, which had just been killed by the Indians, and which, for some inexplicable reason they had left, having cut off its horns. It is possible that the wary savages, keeping a sharp look out, had seen some of the white men approaching, and had fled. A wolf had, however, anticipated the Pilgrims, and was daintily feeding upon the tender venison.

Another week came, with great discouragement of stormy weather, and with increasing sickness. The men worked to much disadvantage, everything having to be done with their own hands. The logs, generally about a foot in thickness and nearly twenty feet long, had often to be dragged from very inconvenient distances. This was labor which could not safely be performed with clothing drenched with rain and pierced with the wintry gale. Often whole days were lost in which no work could be done.

Friday, February 16th, was a fair day. It was, however, very cold, and the ground was frozen hard. In the afternoon one of the company took his gun and went into the woods a fowling. He had gone about a mile and a half from the plantation, and had concealed himself in some reeds, which fringed a creek, watching for wild geese or ducks, when, to his astonishment, twelve Indians appeared, walking towards the plantation, in single file and in perfect silence. Almost breathless he crouched down beneath his covert until they had disappeared, and then, with the utmost caution, hastened back to give the alarm.

The Indians, it would seem, were out upon a reconnoitering tour. They were very careful not to show themselves at the settlement, though they came sufficiently near to take some tools which Captain Standish and Francis Cooke, who had been at work to the woods, had left behind them, with no apprehension that there were any prowlers so near. The alarm caused the whole Pilgrim band immediately to rally under arms. There was, however, nothing more seen of the savages. But that night a large fire was discovered near the spot where the twelve Indians had made their appearance.

It was now deemed important to have a more perfect military organization, to meet the dangers impending from the manifestly unfriendly spirit of the Indians. The Pilgrims, in their weakened state, were but poorly prepared for any general assault. On Saturday morning, the 19th of February, they all assembled in council, and Captain Standish was invested with almost dictatorial powers as military commander. With characteristic sagacity and energy he undertook the responsible duties thus devolving upon him. While they were assembled in consultation, two Indians appeared upon a small eminence, then called Strawberry Hill, on the other side of Town Brook, about a quarter of a mile southwest from the village, and made signs to the Pilgrims to come to them.

It was not improbable that they were a decoy, and that hundreds of armed warriors were concealed in the forest behind, ready, at a concerted signal, to raise the terrible war-whoop and rush upon their victims with javelin and tomahawk. There were not a score of Pilgrims able to bear arms. What could they do to repel such an onset. It was an awful hour, in view of the possibilities which were before them. The women and children huddled together in terror. It seemed probable to them that the Indians had long been gathering and making preparations for this assault, and that within an hour their husbands and fathers would be slain, and that they would be at the mercy of the savages.

The perilous duty of advancing to meet the savages, and of thus being perhaps the first to fall into the ambush, Captain Standish took upon himself Selecting Mr. Stephen Hopkins, one of the most illustrious of the Pilgrims, and a man alike distinguished for his prudence and his bravery, to accompany him, he advanced, entirely unarmed, in token of his friendly disposition, across the brook. Mr. Hopkins carried his gun. When they reached the foot of the eminence the gun was laid upon the ground, as an additional sign of peace, and they both moved forward to meet the tufted warriors. The conduct of the savages was often quite inexplicable. They were as capricious as children. On this occasion, as Captain Standish and Mr. Hopkins slowly ascended the hill, the two Indians upon the summit suddenly turned and fled precipitately down the other side of the hill into the dense forest.

It was a very bold act, it seems to us now a very imprudent one, for these two unarmed men, still to advance to the summit of the hill, thus exposing themselves to fall into an Indian ambush. They however cautiously moved on; when they reached the top of the hill not an Indian was in sight, but they heard the noise of a great multitude retreating through the forest. They were of course greatly perplexed to judge what all this senseless conduct could mean. One thing, however, was certain; the Indians were not disposed to establish friendly relations with the new-comers.

Captain Standish made immediate and vigorous preparation for a war of defense. It was very evident to him that, though they might be surrounded by cruel, treacherous and inveterate foes, they had but little to fear from the intelligence or military ability of their enemies. He had immediately brought on shore, and mounted on the platform, which he had arranged for them on the hill, three guns. One was called a minion, with a bore three and a quarter inches in diameter. Another was a saker, about four inches in bore. The third, called a base, was but little larger than a musket, having a bore but one and a quarter inches in diameter. The heaviest gun weighed about a thousand pounds, and carried a ball about four pounds in weight. This important work was all accomplished by Wednesday, February 21st. It appears that the officers of the Mayflower  assisted efficiently in the operation. The united company then dined luxuriously upon a very fat goose, a fat crane, a mallard, and, a dried neats tongue. And so we were kindly and friendly together.

Sunday, the 3rd of March, came. It was a lovely day. The severity of winter had passed. A dreadful winter to the Pilgrims, indeed it had been. During the month of February seventeen of their number had died. Eight had died during the month of January. In burying the dead it had been deemed necessary carefully to conceal their graves lest the Indians, in counting them, should ascertain how greatly they had been weakened. Governor Bradford, in recording these disastrous events, writes:

"After they had provided a place for their goods, or common store, which were long in unlading for want of boats, foulness of winter weather and sickness of divers, and begun some small cottages for their habitation, they met, as time would admit, and consulted of laws and orders, both for their civil and military, government, as the necessities of their occasion did require.

"In these hard and difficult beginnings they found some discontents and murmurings arise among some, and mutinous speeches and carriage in others. But they were soon quelled and, overcome by the wisdom, patience, and just and equal carriage of things, by the Governor and better part, which clave faithfully together in the main. But that which was most sad and lamentable was that, in two or three months' time half of their company died; especially in January and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts; being infected with scurvy and other diseases, which their long voyage and inaccommodate condition had brought upon them; so as there died sometimes two or three of a day, that of one hundred and odd persons, scarce fifty remained.

"And of these, in the time of most distress, there were but six or seven sound persons who, to their great commendation be it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard of their own health, fetched them wood and made them fires, dressed their meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them; in a word, did all the homely and necessary offices for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren. A rare example, and worthy to be remembered.

"Two of these seven were Mr. William Brewster, their reverend Elder, and Miles Standish, their Captain and military commander, unto whom myself and many others were much beholden in our low and sick condition.

"And yet the Lord so upheld these persons as, in this general calamity, they were not at all infected with sickness or lameness. And what I have said of these I may say of many others who died in this general visitation, and others yet living, that whilst they had health, yea or any strength continuing, they were not wanting to any that had need of them. And I doubt not but that their recompense is with the Lord.

"But I may not here pass by another remarkable passage, never to be forgotten. As this calamity fell among the passengers that were to be left here to plant, and were hasted ashore and made to drink water, that the seamen might have the more beer. And one (Mr. Bradford) in his sickness desiring but a small can of beer, it was answered that if he were their own father he should have none. The disease began to fall amongst them also, so as almost half of their company died before they went away, and many of their officers and lustiest men, as the boatswain, gunner, three quartermasters, the cook and others. At which the Master was somewhat strucken, and sent to the sick, on shore, and told the Governor he would send beer for them that had need of it, though he drank water, homeward bound.

"But now amongst his company there was far another kind of carriage in this misery than among the passengers. For they that beforetime had been boon companions in drinking and jollity in the time of their health and welfare, began now to desert one another in this calamity, saying that they would not hazard their lives for them; they should be infected by coming to them in their cabins. And so, after they came to die by it, would do little or nothing for them, but if they died, let them die.

"But such of the passengers as were yet aboard showed them what mercy they could, which made some of their hearts relent, as the boatswain, who was a proud young man, and would often curse and scoff at the passengers. But when he grew weak they had compassion on him and helped him. Then he confessed he did not deserve it at their hands; he had abused them in word and deed. 'O,' saith he, 'you, I now see, show your love, like Christians indeed, one to another. But we let one another lie and die like dogs.'

"Another lay cursing his wife, saying if it had not been for her he had never come this unlucky voyage, and anon cursing his fellows, saying he had done this and that for some of them; he had spent so much and so much amongst them, and they were now weary of him, and did not help him having need. Another gave his companion all he had, if he died, to help him in his weakness. He went and got a little spice, and made him a mess of meat once or twice; and because he died not as soon as he expected, he went among his fellows and swore the rogue would cozen him; he would see him choked before he made him any more meat; and yet the poor fellow died before morning."

As we have mentioned, the third of March dawned beautifully, sunny and mild, upon the weary Pilgrims. The birds sang sweetly, and everything indicated the speedy return of the much-longed-for summer weather. But towards noon the clouds gathered, the rain fell in torrents, and they were visited with one of the severest tempests, accompanied by the loudest thunder, any of them had ever witnessed.

On Wednesday, the 7th of March, a company of five, all well armed, accompanied Governor Carver to the great lakes, to which they had given the name of Billington Sea. These waters abounded with fish, and it would seem that by this time they had devised some plan by which to take them. They found the woods through which they passed filled with well-beaten deer tracks, indicating the presence of large numbers of that species of game, though they did not chance to meet with any. Many water fowl were also disporting upon the placid waters of the lake, some of very beautiful plumage. The weather was so warm and the season so advanced that some garden seeds were sown on this day.

Another week passed, during which their work proceeded very slowly in consequence of their enfeebled numbers and the claims of the sick on the services of the few who were well. Friday, the 16th, was a fair, warm day. Every one felt the situation of the colony to be perilous in the extreme. The sailors of the Mayflower  were suffering alike with the Pilgrims on the land. There were but seven men who, in case of an attack, which was hourly anticipated, could present any efficient resistance. The onset of a hundred armed warriors (and a thousand might come) would sweep away their little village like an Alpine avalanche. The responsibility for the public defense thus resting upon Captain Standish, was very weighty. Every individual had his post of duty assigned him, that there should be no confused or embarrassed action in the alarm. Captain Standish had this morning assembled all who were capable of bearing arms in the northern part of their little street, to complete to their military preparations, when, to their surprise, they saw a solitary savage approaching from the south.

Without the slightest indication of embarrassment or hesitation he strode along, entered the street, and advancing boldly to the rendezvous, saluted the Pilgrims with the words, "Welcome Englishmen." His only clothing consisted of a leather belt around his waist, to which was attached a fringe, about ten inches long. He had a bow and two arrows. He was a powerful man, tall and straight, with very black hair, long behind, but cut short over the forehead. In broken English he told them that his name was Samoset, and that he came from the Island of. Monhegan, between the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, about twelve miles from the shore.

This island had for many years been a favorite resort for the English fishermen. From them he had learned a little English, and knew the names of many of the captains who annually visited those waters. Seeing the Mayflower  in the harbor, he supposed it to be a fishing vessel, and thus, without any fear, approached the men.

Samoset affected to be very free and unembarrassed in his carriage. He declared himself to be one of the chiefs of the tribe, and assumed to be perfectly informed respecting the whole adjacent country, its tribes and their strength. He called for beer, and seemed disposed to make himself very much at home, entering the houses and spying out with an eagle eye all the works around him. Captain Standish was not disposed to have his weakness exposed to this perhaps wary and treacherous savage, who might have entered the village merely as a spy, in the interest of the Indian warriors who were lurking in the woods around. To make him a little more presentable to the families, a large horseman's coat was placed upon him. Instead of being allowed to wander about at will, he was entrusted to the keeping of Mr. Hopkins, who took him to his hut and fed him with the utmost hospitality.

From Samoset they learned three very important facts. The first was that the Indians, all along the coast, were greatly and justly exasperated against the white men, by the treachery of one Captain Hunt. This infamous man, while trading with the Indians, had inveigled twenty-seven men on board his ship, and then, closing the hatches upon them, had carried them off where most of them had never been heard of more. The wretch took these poor kidnapped Indians to Spain, and sold them as slaves, for one hundred dollars each. The untutored savages who, before this, were friendly, being thus robbed of their kindred, knew no better than to wreak their vengeance upon any white man whom they might encounter.

Not long after this a French ship was wrecked on Cape Cod. The savages, burning with a desire for vengeance, massacred all but three or four of the crew, whom they reserved as prisoners. Everything that had been saved from the wreck they divided among themselves. Hence, perhaps, the iron kettle which the Pilgrims had found in one of their exploring tours. The captives were sent from one tribe to another, into the interior, that there might be no possibility of a rescue. One of these captives, probably a thoughtful, perhaps a religious man, learned their language, and told them that God was angry with them, and in punishment would destroy them and give their country to another people." They replied that "they were so numerous that God would not be able to destroy them."

But it so happened that ere long a terrible plague, resembling the yellow fever, broke out among the Indians, sweeping them off by thousands. The whole country became nearly depopulated. In these disastrous days the Indians remembered the words of the Frenchman, and began to fear that the white man's God was really taking vengeance upon them. When the Mayflower  arrived they feared that another people had come to take, possession of their lands. Hence the hostile attitude which had been assumed, and the attack at the First Encounter. Samoset seemed to know all about this attack, and said that it was made by a tribe on the Cape called Nausites.

It appears that the plague, above referred to, swept the whole seaboard, from the mouth of the Penobscot River to Narraganset Bay. Some tribes became nearly extinct. The Massachusetts tribe was reduced, it is said, from thirty thousand to three hundred fighting men. Captain Dermer, who visited the coast a year before the landing of the Pilgrims, writes:

"I passed along the coast where I found some ancient plantations, not long since populous, now utterly void. In other places a remnant remains, but not free of sickness. Their disease was the plague, for we might perceive the sores of some that had escaped, who described the spots of such as usually die."

Morton writes in his New English Canaan: "Some few years before the English came to inhabit in New Plymouth, the hand of God fell heavily upon the natives, with such a mortal stroke that they died on heaps. In a place where many inhabited there hath been but one left alive to tell what became of the rest. And the bones and skulls upon the several places of their habitations made such a spectacle, after my coming into these parts, that as I travelled in that forest, near the Massachusetts, it seemed to me a new-found Golgotha."

In view of these facts it was stated, in the Great Patent of New England, granted by King James, on the 3rd of November, 1820, "We have been further given certainly to know, that within these late years there hath, by God's visitation, reigned a wonderful plague amongst the savages there heretofore inhabiting, in a manner to the utter destruction, devastation and depopulation of that whole territory, so as there is not left, for many leagues together, in a manner, any that do claim or challenge any kind of interest therein. Whereby we, in our judgment, are persuaded and satisfied that the appointed time is come in which Almighty God, in his great goodness and bounty towards us and our people, hath thought fit and determined, that these, large and goodly territories, deserted as it were by their natural inhabitants, should be possessed and enjoyed by such of our subjects and people as shall, by his mercy and favor, and by his powerful arm, be directed and conducted thither."

All the afternoon was spent in earnest communication with Samoset. He told them that the Nausites, by whom they had been attacked, numbered about one hundred souls. There was a powerful tribe, called the Wampanoags, upon the shores of what is now called Bristol Bay. Their chief, Massasoit, was so powerful that he exercised a sort of supremacy over many of the tribes in the vicinity. There was another numerous tribe, not far from the Wampanoags, called the Narragansets. Samoset does not seem to have known, or if so, was not willing to tell the number of Indians lurking in the woods around the Pilgrim settlement. The mystery of their conduct was, however, in some degree revealed, when the Pilgrims were informed that the Indians, with their priests, had met in a dark swamp, in a general pow-wow, hoping by their curses and incantations to destroy the white men.

On the whole, the information communicated by Samoset was encouraging. It led them to hope that their foes were not so numerous as they feared, that they regarded, with superstitious dread, the God of the white man, and that they were rather disposed to rely upon witchcraft and incantations, in their warfare upon the new-comers, than upon more material and dangerous weapons. Had the Indians known what ravages death was making in the huts of the Pilgrims, they would have felt assured that their magic arts were signally successful.

As night approached, Captain Standish was quite anxious, to get rid of his suspicious guest. But Samoset manifested no disposition to leave. He however consented to go on board the ship to pass the night. They went down to the shallop. But the wind was so high that it was not deemed prudent to encounter the high sea, and they returned to Mr. Stephen Hopkins' house, where Samoset was lodged, and carefully though secretly watched.

The next day, Saturday, the 17th, early in the morning, Samoset withdrew, to go, as he said, to visit the great sagamore, Massasoit. He received a present of a knife, a bracelet and a ring, promising to return in a few days, bringing with him some of Massasoit's people, and some beaver skins to sell.

Sunday, the 18th, was another mild and lovely day. As the colonists were assembling for the Sabbath devotions, Samoset again made his appearance, with five tall Indians in his train. They were all dressed in deer skins, fitting closely to the body. The most of them had also a panther's skin, or some similar furs on his arm, for sale. As Captain Standish did not deem it safe to allow any armed savages to enter the town, he made a previous arrangement with Samoset, that whoever of the Indians he might bring with him, should leave their bows and arrows a quarter of a mile distant from this village. This arrangement was faithfully observed. Samoset also brought back the tools, which, it will be remembered, had been carried away by the Indians. Mourt, in his Relation, describes, in the following language, the appearance of these strange visitors:

"They had, most of them, long hosen (leggins) up to their groins, close made; and above their groins to the waist, another leather. They were altogether like the Irish trousers. They are of complexion like our English gipseys; no hair, or very little, on their faces; on their heads, long hair to their shoulders, only cut before; some trussed up before with a feather, broad-wise like a fan; another a fox tail hanging out. Some of them had their faces painted black, from the forehead to the chin, four or five fingers broad; others after other-fashions, as they liked."

The Pilgrims, anxious to win the confidence and friendship of the natives, received these savages with the utmost kindness, and very hospitably entertained them. They seemed to relish very highly the food which was set before them, and manifested their satisfaction and friendship by singing hilariously, and performing the most grotesque antics in a dance. It was Sunday, and this was not pleasing to these devout exiles. They told Samoset that they could not enter into any traffic on that day; but that if he and his companions would withdraw and return upon the morrow, or any other day of the week, they would purchase, not only all the furs they had with them, but any others which they might bring. Each one was made happy with a present of some article which to him was of almost priceless value: They all retired except Samoset. He refused to go, asserting, and as the Pilgrims thought, feigning, that he was sick. He therefore remained until Wednesday. Each of these men carried his commissariat stores with him, consisting of a small bag of the meal of parched corn. Mr. Gookin, in an article in the Massachusetts Historical Collection, writes:

"The Indians make a certain sort of meal of parched maize, which they call nokake. It is so sweet, toothsome and hearty that an Indian will travel many days with no other food but this meal, which he eateth as he needs, and after it drinketh water. And for this end, when they travel a journey or go a hunting, they carry this nokake in a basket or bag, for their use."

Roger Williams says, Nokake, or parched meal, is a ready, very wholesome food, which they eat with a little water, hot or cold. I have travelled with near two hundred of them at once, near a hundred miles through the woods, every man carrying a little basket of this at his back, and sometimes in a hollow leather girdle about his middle, sufficient for a man three or four days. With this ready provision and their bows and arrows, they are ready for war or travel at an hour's warning."

The corn was usually parched in hot ashes, and then, after having the ashes carefully brushed off, was beat to powder. About a gill of this mixed with water, taken three times a day, gave them sufficient nourishment. With no other food than this, a man would often travel through the woods four or five days, carrying a very heavy burden upon his back.

When the Mayflower  was leaving England, a man by the name of John Billington, uninvited, with two ungovernable boys, joined the company. He proved to be a very uncongenial companion. Governor Bradford, writing of him, said: This Billington was one of the profanest among us. He came from London, and I know not by what friends, was shuffled into our company." Again, Governor Bradford wrote to Mr. Cushman, in June, 1625, "Billington still rails against you, and threatens to arrest you, I know not wherefore. He is a knave, and so will live and die." In Mourts' Narrative," under date of December 5th, he writes

"This day, through God's mercy, we escaped a great danger by the foolishness of a boy, one of Billington's sons, who, in his father's absence, had got gunpowder, and had shot off a piece or two and made squibs; and there being a fowling-piece charged in his father's cabin, shot her off in the cabin." There was half a keg of powder in the cabin, with many grains scattered over the floor; also flints and pieces of iron strewn about. It was a very narrow escape from an explosion which might have blown the Mayflower, with all its occupants, into the air. This John Billington, a mischievous and troublesome fellow," was dissatisfied with the authority with which Captain Standish was invested. He endeavored to undermine his influence by assailing him with insulting and opprobrious language. This was a very serious offense, since, in their perilous position, it was a matter of infinite moment that the orders of their military commander should be implicitly obeyed. The whole company was convened to try the culprit and pass sentence upon him. He was adjudged to have his neck and heels tied together. But upon humbling himself and craving pardon, and it being the first offense, he was forgiven."