Massasoit: A Story of the Indians of New England - Alma H. Burton

The Royal Governor

Governor andros did not find his life at Boston very pleasant. Sullen faces greeted him in the streets. "'Tis the least of our thoughts to build a house for the king's governor," said the people; and so he repaired a fort for his residence.

Meanwhile, the French of the St. Lawrence were beginning to erect forts along the English frontiers. They gained such influence over the Indians that dwelt between New England and New France, that the governor went to New Albany, to make a treaty with the Iroquois who dwelt between the Hudson river and the lakes.

The people of New England watched, all his acts with suspicion. They said his visit to New Albany was to make peace with the French, as well as with the Iroquois. French war-ships hovered around the coast, and it was rumored, that the king intended to sell or trade his American provinces to the king of France.

When Governor Andros built some forts on the frontier of Maine, and sent six hundred of the bravest militia in mid-winter to garrison them, he was accused of wishing to be rid of that many soldiers.

In the midst of this unrest, news came of the invasion of England by William of Orange. It was hoped that the oppressive reign of King James would soon be over, and bold measures were taken against his agent, Andros. Very early on Thursday, when the weekly lecture invited a large crowd, the town was active. Rumor was rife that the whole town of Boston was taking up arms. When drums beat about nine o'clock, several of the governor's party were seized and thrown into jail. The fidelity of the jailer was questioned, and "Scates, the bricklayer," was stationed in his place. Scates was probably a man of muscle, or he would not have been chosen for this important position.

Then the old magistrates donned again their robes of office, and proceeded to the council chamber under guard. They spent hours in busy deliberation, and at length appeared in the balcony of the Town Hall, before which the masses gathered in the street below. They read a document giving an account of their oppressions, since the taking away of the charter.

A signal on Beacon Hill had called in companies of soldiers, and they came hurrying from Duxbury, Marshfield, and all the settlements along the coast. Soon several hundred soldiers were seen beyond Charlestown Neck, who would cross at a call.

Governor Andros


Governor Andros was summoned to give over his authority. This was a bold act; for who knew whether the Prince of Orange would succeed in his invasion of England? Should he fail, the people would be shown little mercy by the tyrant, James. But the outraged citizens of Massachusetts were determined to place their fortunes with those of William of Orange.

Governor Andros surrendered, and was thrown into prison. The royal frigate, in the harbor, was dismantled, that it might not bear the news away.

There is no account but that "Scates, the bricklayer," kept his king's men safe and sound in the common jail; but the keeper at the fort was not so vigilant. Disguised in woman's clothes, Andros nearly escaped. He safely passed two guards, but the third noticed that the old lady's feet were uncommonly large, and arrested her amidst the jeers of the crowds on the street, among whom were straggling groups of Indians, who joined the sport over this "squaw-sachem" of the white men.

Every morning, the sea was scanned for a ship bearing some news of England's fate.

At last, a royal ship arrived with orders to proclaim William and Mary king and queen of England.

Never had there been such rejoicing along the bay as this. People flocked from all the country, in their best clothes, to celebrate the event. The old magistrates were there in official garb. Willful Puritan lasses, who, on this day as on so many lesser days, tried the souls of our forefathers by their flaunting ribbons, leaned out of the windows, above the streets, to toss the May flowers at the feet of the stately procession as it passed. The gentry, from all the towns, rode on horseback through the thoroughfares; Indians from the praying towns, dressed in store clothes, with hair cropped off in Puritan fashion, mingled with the throng; the long troops of horse and foot, the busy sheriff and tithing-man, the flocks of wondering school-boys-all joined in the long parade.

Then there was a great dinner at the Town House for the people of quality, and, at night, the streets were filled with sounds of joy, until the bell rang for bed at nine o'clock. Then the good Puritans met around the altars to thank God that He had freed them from the oppressor.

Rhode Island, with delegates at Newport, restored the government under the charter; at Hartford, the charter was brought forth from its hiding-place, and the governor and magistrates took their old posts; and a day was set for a general thanksgiving, in all the colonies of New England.