note: With three exceptions for 1683 and 1685 that follow immediately, there is a long gap in the correspondence of John Pynchon, from 20 July 1678 to 21 August 1688. A thorough search has turned up no letters. Why this gap exists is far from clear at the present time, but the lacuna has caused scholars to misinterpret the later career of “the chief man in the west.”



[Albany, 9 November 1683]

I am sent from the government of the Massachusetts to you, the Maquas, including your neighbors; and have undertaken this far journey in a difficult season to visit you and your friends, that there may be a right understanding between us for the continuance of amity and friendliness according to the conclusions and agreements made here at Albany near four years since:2 and we, having put great confidence in you that you should not allow any breach of that agreement, do suppose that you have mistaken it, or not rightly understood us, for we did expressly conclude with you that you should not molest or injure our friend[ly] and neighbor Indians, nor were you to come at the Christian Indians3 that live near us and in friendship with us. Notwithstanding all which, we and our friend[ly] Indians have received many injuries from some who have called themselves Maquas, and have injured some of our old [former] enemies4 this last summer . . . [illegible].

Whether this breaking of covenant made between us be known unto you the sachems and allowed by you, we do now inquire, and must tell you that the agreement hath not been attended according to our intent and meaning, and though we sent messengers two years since, manifesting our dissatisfaction and requiring the delivery of the Indian captives taken at Maguncogg5 in June 1678, yet you have not delivered those captives, nor desisted from further depredations and incursions into our parts. All which the English do very ill regard. Not only the killing and captivating within these three years of about six of our friends and neighbor Indians without their doing you the least injury, but also the wrong done to the English, especially, this last summer in killing of swine and cattle, robbing some houses, and marching in a warlike posture into and through some of our towns. All which we may not be [able] and cannot with honesty and faithfulness any longer withhold our Indians from using their strength jointly for their own defence,6 and shall for ourselves [be] obliged (if you stop not) to consider of such further measures as may consist with our interest and the preservation of our Indians. In order to which I am now to acquaint you that we will not have you come to our parts upon any warlike design, to make any further invasion upon our neighbor Indians, and friends that live in our jurisdiction, or the Eastward Indians.7 And we do [require?] that you surrender up to us all Indian captives that are alive which you have taken out of our parts. And you proceed no further, for we shall account any further proceeding in way of hostility with the Indians under our government and protection as a contempt of this our friendly treaty of [peace?] and friendship, which we are willing should continue, and therefore expect your fair compliance with us accordingly, and engagement to bury the hatchet so that it may not be taken up against said Indians more, and all the Indians eastward being now freed, you may not disturb any on the east—[blurred] ward of this river.8

Albany, November 9th 1683

John Pynchon

This above written is what I first spake to the Maquas. It being the original [pages?] which I delivered for the interpreter to speak it to them,9 which he accordingly did in my presence and in the presence and countenance of Captain Brockholls and the commissaries.10 After which, having a present ready, I summed up all my speech again as in the said [pages?] and with the interpreter [two words blurred] in the presence of all to the Maquas, laid the present before them, upon which the Maquas [two or three words blurred] many hard things were spoken, yet by good understanding they were greatened [blurred] by a great gift which would make them speak well[?] to what we expected.11

John Pynchon




[Springfield, 16 November 1683]

The said speech to the Maquas [enclosed] upon which I presented the gift to them.

The sum of all that we say is this:

That you have not attended to the former agreement we made with you: That our Indians, who live under our government and protection, we intend to be secure, and therefore we will have you no more to come into our parts to do any mischief to any of our Indians, which is the resolve of all the English, and here we must let you know that the Eastern Indians are now our friends, and we will have them no more to war with you, so that all the Indians from hence eastward, and all along by the seacoast to Pemaquid,2 you are to let alone and not molest; hereto we expect your fair compliance, and friendly return and therewith[?] to deliver up to us such of our Indian captives as you have [torn: among?] you alive. And for future to make an absolute cessation [of?] all war in our parts that the hatchet, being buried, may not be taken up any more over this river, but that all may be quiet on the east side of it.

Albany, November 9, 1683

John Pynchon

Upon the declaring of this to the Maquas, I presented them a gift which, they said, sweetened the hard speech as they termed it, and which occasioned them to consider of all, so as to answer in short, that all I had said should be done; only the delivering up of the captives, which as I can learn are but one woman and two boys left alive, who are now taken as children and of the family of those that have them,3 and being as their own flesh and blood, they cannot be taken from them; but have engaged they be used well. Otherwise they engage to a full attendance to the propositions made, and to an absolute cessation of all war this way, they being not to come on the eastward side of Hudson’s River, and therefore buried the hatchet from the river toward the southwest, where they intend now to manage their [torn], which I am informed is as far as [torn].

They much urge that more care be taken to acquaint all Indians with it, for if any Indians from the eastward should come into their parts now, after this, and kill their women and children, we should have great cause of shame. I hope that it will be fully made known to the Eastern Indians, and to all Indians, that now they must be quiet and avoid all new occasions of further trouble; and the [said] grant of peace may be continued.

John Pynchon

Springfield, November 16, 1683.

[On the left-hand margin of the above:]

Of 3 pieces of Duffels

12 blankets

A dozen of shirts

1000 guilders [Dutch] of seawant4

Besides rum, tobacco, &c. All which amounted unto near £90, being far beyond what I intended though short of what Captain Brockholls and the Commissaries thought meet to be done for a final issue, as knowing the Maquas would contemn a less sum upon the account of an absolute cessation of all war.


“Wyllys Papers,” Connecticut Historical Society, Collections, xxi, 281

[Boston, 16 June 1685]

Know all men by these presents that I John Pynchon of Springfield in New England do hereby order and appoint Mr. John Lucas of Antigua to pay unto Mr. William Helmes and Mr. Samuel Home the year’s rent of the Cabbage Tree Plantation in Antigua which (was let him by Mr. Samuel Wyllys and Mr. Richard Lord, and) will be due in May next. I say I do appoint and order the said Lucas to pay said rent due next May unto Mr. William Helmes and Mr. Samuel Home, as witness my hand and seal this 28 April 1685.

John Pynchon

Major John Pynchon acknowled[ged] this order or writing to be his act and deed this 16th June 1685,

Before me S[imon] Bradstreet, Governor