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justice, and they made many zealous efforts for their conversion. That some of the proceedings of the colonists towards the Indians were not strictly equitable nor kind, must be admitted. Our fathers were too prone to view them rather as heathens than as men. They recurred too often to the Jewish history, for imaginary analogies; and drew unauthorized inferences from the conduct of the Jews towards idolatrous nations, whom God, the sovereign ruler, commanded them to destroy. In their wars with the natives, the colonists were sometimes unjustifiably severe; but it is due to their memory to say, that those wars were commenced by the savages themselves, from jealousy of the advancing power of the whites, rather than from the experience of actual injury. We must consider, too, that when the struggle came, it was, on the part of the whites, a contest for life and death, with an enemy vastly more numerous, and whose modes of warfare were treacherous, cruel, and terrific in the highest degree to the scattered and feeble settlements.*

A candid reader of our early colonial history, while he observes many things which he deeply regrets and condemns, must nevertheless admit, that the conduct of our fathers towards the Indians was, in general, worthy of their high character, as wise and pious, yet imperfect men, who were placed in circumstances which severely tried their principles, and amid difficulties, which required the utmost wisdom and courage.

When we consider the diabolical cruelty with which the Spaniards treated the unhappy natives of South America, we must turn, with emotions of grateful pleasure, to the history of our own land, and rejoice, that our fathers were men, for whom their descendants have little occasion to blush, or to apologize.

The kings of England, whatever language they employed in their patents and charters, treated the Indians, in practice, as separate nations, and entered into treaties with different tribes. The government of the United

land they resolved to cultivate. This laudable example was followed by Mr. William Penn, who planted the colony of Quakers in Pennsylvania."

* The consternation which the war with Black Hawk spread over the western country the last year, may give some faint idea of the horrors of an Indian warfare in the early days of the colonies.

States have done the same, and, except in one humiliating instance, have pursued towards the natives a just and humane policy. The treaties so formed have been pronounced, by the highest legal authority in this country, to be binding on our government, and the rights of the Indians, as distinct nations, though under the protection of the United States, have thus been judicially recognised. *

That the Indian tribes in New-England melted away, must awaken melancholy feelings. But it cannot be maintained, that their disappearance was occasioned mainly by the treatment or the neglect which they experienced from the colonial governments.

These governments could not wholly prevent unprincipled individuals from inflicting wrongs on the natives, which tended to exasperate them. They could not entirely exclude the introduction of ardent spirits, the most deadly and active agent in the destruction of the aborigines. Though they sent missionaries, and printed Bibles, and erected schools, for the religious and literary instruction of the natives, they could not reclaim any considerable proportion of them from their savage habits. As the whites increased, the game disappeared, and as the Indians did not alter their habits, they became destitute, and their numbers diminished. They saw, at length, the alternative, of utter ruin or the expulsion of the English, and they determined to attempt the latter. But it was too late. They fought, with desperation, and filled the land with frightful distress and bloodshed. But the superior skill of the whites prevailed, and the death of the formidable Philip terminated forever the power of the Indians in New-England. We may admit, that the savages were impelled by some motives of patriotism and love of liberty. We may respect and pity them. But surely we cannot lament that they failed; that their exterminating warfare did not accomplish its purpose; that the tomahawk did not, after butchering the last father in the field, smite the last infant in the cradle; that the flames did not lay in ashes every dwelling of civilized man and every temple of God; and that barbarism did not resume its dominion over the hills and vallies of New-England. No man, if he could

* See Opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, at January term, 1832, in the Cherokee case.

do it by waving some potent wand, would bid all this teeming population, this wide spread happiness, this wonderful triumph of civilization, freedom and religion, disappear, like a gorgeous vision, and restore this whole land to the condition in which the Pilgrims found it, or even place it in the situation in which it would have been, at this moment, if no civilized man had landed on these shores. Human happiness has been immeasurably increased by the settlement of this continent. Christianity has extended her conquests; and no thoughtful man can doubt, that the landing of the Pilgrims, and the subsequent history of this country, have been controlled by Him, who accomplishes his great designs of mercy to the universe, by means which often involve individual suffering, and sometimes produce national ruin.

Let us feel our obligation to treat the feeble remnants of the tribes who yet remain with generous kindness. Let us recompense them for whatever wrongs their fathers may have received. Let `us, now that they are weak, and we are strong, be scrupulously attentive to their rights, and seek to promote their highest temporal and eternal welfare. Without the friendship of their fathers, at the beginning, ours must have perished. Let the children of the white man prove their gratitude, by saving from ruin the helpless descendants of the savage.

CHAPTER VII.

Mr. Williams proceeds to Seekonk-crosses the river and founds the

town of Providence.

About the middle of January, 1635–6,* Mr. Williams left Salem, in secrecy and haste. It is not certain, that any one accompanied him, though a number of persons were with him a short time afterwards. He proceeded to the south, towards the Narraganset Bay. The weather was very severe, and his sufferings were great. In a letter written thirty-five years afterwards, he said: “I was sorely tossed for one fourteen weeks, in a bitter winter season, not knowing what bread or bed did mean;" and he added, that he still felt the effects of his exposure to the severity of the weather.t

He appears to have visited Ousamequin, the sachem of Pokanoket, who resided at Mount Hope, near the present town of Bristol (R. I:) From him he obtained a grant of land now included in the town of Seekonk, in Massachusetts, on the east bank of Pawtucket (now Seekonk) river. I This territory was within the limits of the Plymouth colony, but Mr. Williams recognised the Indians only as the proprietors, and bought a title from the sachem. Ousamequin doubtless granted his request with pleasure, as a return for the services and presents which he had formerly received from Mr. Williams. If, as we have supposed, the exile was obliged to visit the sachem, and make these arrangements, the journey, on foot, increased that exposure to the severity of the elements, of which he complains.

He was, moreover, unprovided with a dwelling. Mr. Cotton (in his Bloody Tenet washed, p. 8.) says, " that some of his friends went to the place appointed by himself beforehand, to make provision of housing, and other neces

There is a strange confusion in the statements of different authors respecting the time of Mr. Williams' banishment, and of the settlement of Providence. The above date is unquestionably correct, for reasons which will hereafter be presented.

| Letter to Major Mason. Letter of Roger Williams.

*

did mean,

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saries for him against his coming.” This statement however, must be incorrect. Mr. Williams' departure from Salem was sudden and unexpected; and his assertion, just quoted, that he did not know “what bread or bed

," for fourteen weeks, must be understood as excluding the idea of such a preparation as Mr. Cotton mentions. Mr. Williams, too, says, “I first pitched, and began to build and plant at Seekonk.' He had no house, it would seem, till he built one.

For the means of subsistence, he must have been dependent on the Indians. At that season, hunting and fishing were impracticable, if he had possessed the proper instruments. The earth was covered with snow, and he had not even the poor resource of roots. He may refer to his situation at this time, in the following lines, alluding to the Indians :

“ God's Providence is rich to his,

Let none distrustful be ;
In wilderness, in great distress,

These ravens have fed me.”+
The spot, in Seekonk, where he reared his habitation,
is believed, on good authority, to have been at Manton's
Neck, near the cove, a short distance above the Central
Bridge. I

Here he probably hoped, that he might live in peace. He was soon joined by several friends, if they did not at first accompany him. His wife and children were still at Salem.

But Seekonk was not to be his home. In a short time, to use his own language, “I received a letter from my ancient friend, Mr. Winslow, the Governor of Plymouth, professing his own and others' love and respect to me, yet lovingly advising me, since I was fallen into the edge of their bounds, and they were loath to displease the Bay, to remove to the other side of the water, and there, he said, I had the country free before me, and might be as free as themselves, and we should be loving neighbors together."

This advice was apparently prudent and friendly, prompted by a desire of peace, and by a kind regard to Mr. Williams. It does not seem to deserve the harsh comments which

* Letter to Major Mason. + Key, chap. ii.

# The venerable Moses Brown assures me, that he has ascertained this fact, to his own satisfaction.

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