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.”
SPEECH TO THE MOHAWKS
[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
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
TO THE GOVERNOR AND COUNCIL
[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
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.
Springfield, November 16, 1683.
Of 3 pieces of Duffels
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.
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
1. E. M. Forster, Abinger Harvest (New York, 1936), 225. Asa Briggs has told us that “however refined the analysis of the problem may be or may become, how ever precise the statistics, something more than accuracy and discipline are needed in the study of social and economic history. . . . Behind the abstractions of economists, [anthropologists, archaeologists], or sociologists is the experience of real people, who demand sympathetic understanding as well as searching analysis.” One of the deficiences of the social historian is that he tends to concentrate on “categories rather than flesh and blood human beings.” Asa Briggs, Introductory Note to Charles Wilson, England’s Apprenticeship, 1603–1763 (London, 1965), vii. See also Carl Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen, 1590–1642 (New York, 1968), x–xi; and Cities in the Wilderness . . . 1625–1742 (New York, 1938), vi–vii.
2. Samuel Eliot Morison, “William Pynchon, the Founder of Springfield,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, lxiv (1931), 67–107; and Ruth McIntyre, William Pynchon: Merchant and Colonizer (Springfield, 1962). See especially Miss McIntyre’s essay on the fur trade in the sequel to the present volume.
3. Joseph H. Smith, ed., Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts (1639–1702): The Pynchon Court Record (Cambridge, 1961); Stephen Innes, A Patriarchal Society: Economic Dependence and Social Order in Springfield, Mass., 1636–1702 (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1978).
4. See, however, the Chronology of John Pynchon in the present work, xv–xxi.
5. John R. Bartlett, ed., “Letters of Roger Williams,” Narragansett Club Publications (Providence, 1874), vi, 257. For the English background in general, see Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen.
6. One of the arch-Puritans of county Essex, the Reverend Samuel Ward of Ipswich, declared that in choosing a magistrate “I exclude not birth and blood, which sometimes conveys spirit and courage with it”; and while “money makes not the man, yet it adds some mettle to the man.” The Sermons and Treatises of Samuel Ward (Edinburgh, 1862), 119–120, as quoted by T. H. Breen, The Character of a Good Ruler (New York, 1978), 8.
7. Smith, ed., Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts, 227–228.
8. For the role of “projectors,” among whom John Pynchon certainly belonged, see the fascinating and enlightening study by Joan Thirsk, Economic Policy and Projects: The Development of a Consumer Society in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1978). “A project,” says Mrs. Thirsk, “was a practical scheme for exploiting material things; it was capable of being realized through industry and ingenuity. It was not an unattainable dream like the commonweal. Yet in effect it did much to promote the commonweal, by creating employment, and dispersing more cash through all classes of society” (1). The projects of a wilderness region naturally differed radically from those of a populous, older society, but the methods used were much the same.
9. William Hubbard, The Happiness of a People in the Wisdom of Their Rulers . . . (Boston, 1676), 9–10.
10. Carl Bridenbaugh, “Right New-England Men; or the Adaptable Puritans,” Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, lxviii (1976), 3–18.
11. Smith effectively disposes of the monopoly charge in Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts, 47–48.
12. John Pynchon was treating with officials at Albany about Indian affairs in 1677, and before long was in command of the militia again as Major Pynchon. For his activities during the “gap” periods, see the Chronologies in this volume, and Smith, Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts, 287–330.
13. Guy Stevens Callender, Selections from the Economic History of the United States, 1765–1860 (Boston, 1909), 6.
14. Solomon Stoddard, Gods Frown in the Death of Usefull Men (Boston, 1703), in the Appendix to this work, 313–327.
1. Goodman Edward Stallion of Pequot, river and coastal boatman.
2. Niantic, Connecticut.
3. Possibly “Vale iterum vale,” or “Farewell, and again farewell.”
4. Pequot, renamed New London by the General Court of Connecticut on 24 March 1658.
1. Captain William Davis (Davice, Davies), apothecary and substantial merchant of Boston, and brother-in-law of John Pynchon.
1. Mistress Amy (Wyllys) Pynchon lived in the Winthrop household at Pequot for more than a year while she was being treated by her host for a number of complaints.
2. This was probably William, their fourth child: born 11 October 1653 and died 15 June 1654.
3. In the groin of every beaver was a pair of sacks containing a creamy, bitter, orange-brown substance with a strong odor known as castor. The sacks were called cods, and the castor was valued as a specific for certain ailments, also for making perfumes. Sometimes a beaver hat was called a castor.
1. Conserve of roses consisted of petals preserved in sugar; chine was the backbone of a sheep or other beast and the surrounding meat; seed-pearls were sewn on ladies’ garments in a decorative pattern.
2. Here we have a nice example of the roundabout transport routes that were the rule at this time.
3. Massachusetts Bay: used interchangeably either for Boston or the colony.
4. Mistress Lake was the sister of Mistress Winthrop, and Mistress Bridge lived in the Winthrop household.
1. Adam and Fitz-John Winthrop.
1. The means of grace, by which God’s favor may be secured.
2. Pawcatuck, Connecticut.
3. Mistress Haynes was the widow of Governor John Haynes of Connecticut.
4. Mary Pynchon, born ca. 1650, may have been a victim of poliomyelitis, and in 1660 was a cripple. Later, she married Joseph Whiting, Treasurer of Connecticut, and lived in Hartford.
5. Goodman John Elderkin, then of New London, was one of the ablest house-wrights and engineers of early New England.
6. The Henry Wolcotts, elder and younger, lived at Windsor; probably the father is meant here. Kersey was a woolen cloth, usually ribbed and coarse.
1. Pequot Stone Fort was the stronghold of Uncas, chief of the Mohegans; ca. 1654 the English settlers captured it.
2. Members of the New Haven Colony attempted unsuccessfully in 1654–1655 to tap the fur trade nearer to its source by settling on the Delaware River. See Amandus Johnson, The Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, 1638–1664, ii, 574 ff., for the fullest account.
1. Jonathan Brewster, Indian trader at Pequot, deputy to the General Court of Connecticut. Mistress Pynchon’s cavalcade would have had to use Indian paths only for travel from Pequot to Springfield at this time.
1. Goodman John Bissell of Windsor, Connecticut.
2. Simon Beaman.
3. The Reverend Mr. Blinman, minister at Pequot.
1. Say was a fine woolen cloth resembling serge.
2. Dr. John Preston was a prominent English Puritan divine. The book in question may have been Life Eternal, or A Treatise of the Knowledge of the Divine Essence and Attributes, consisting of eighteen sermons. The third edition was published at London in 1632.
3. Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewell of Christian Contentment (London, 1645).
1. Possibly the wife of James Richards of Hartford, who was associated with John Pynchon in Indian affairs.
2. John Stewart was one of the Scottish prisoners sent to Boston by Cromwell (after the Battle of Dunbar) in 1652. He was indentured as a servant to John Pynchon for six or seven years and worked industriously as a blacksmith. By 1653 he had paid Pynchon nearly all of the £30 due and received his freedom. He married Sarah, daughter of John Stiles of Windsor, and became a most useful inhabitant of Springfield. He forged branding irons, hooks and eyes for common gates, repaired the leaded-glass windows of the meeting house, made hinges, locks, candlesticks, chains, nails, andirons, household metal stuff, mended guns and farm implements.
3. “Alchermis” is not clear. Pynchon may be referring to alchemists’ chemicals or drugs.
1. Medicine put up with honey or syrup to form a pasty mass.
2. Better known as the famous Captain John Mason of Windsor, the hero of the Pequot War of 1636–1637, and later as a Commissioner of the United Colonies of New England. Few men of New England were as well versed in Indian affairs.
3. The Pocumtuck Indians had their “fort” near the present Deerfield, and were the largest and most influential tribe of the upper Connecticut Valley. See George Sheldon, “The Pocumtuck Confederacy,” in William P. Young, ed., The Connecticut Valley Indian[s]: An Introduction to Their Archaeology and History (Springfield Museum of Science: New Series, 1, No. 1, 1969), Appendix III, 112–121. This is a reprint of a paper published in 1890 by the Connecticut Valley Historical Society.
4. When Pynchon mentions “the upper Indians,” or “these Indians,” or “our English Indians,” he usually means the tribes living in the Connecticut Valley north of Springfield; e.g., members of the Pocumtuck Confederacy.
5. The Pocumtucks and Uncas’s Mohegans were perennial enemies.
6. Nalwottog, often called Norwootuck, an Indian village near Hadley.
7. The General Court of Massachusetts.
8. Uncas usually ranged himself with the English, but they as well as the Pocumtucks and other tribes always suspected his cunning and devious forest diplomacy.
1. Probably Goodman Henry Rogers of Springfield, a river boatman and messenger.
2. John Allyn, Secretary of Connecticut and proprietor at Hartford, was connected by marriage with Amy (Wyllys) Pynchon; hence the use of cousin.
1. Many instances of white men misconstruing what the Indians said or meant might be cited; and also cases where the Indians misunderstood the whites.
2. An excellent illustration of the craft used by Uncas in dealing with both races.
1. The Commissioners of the United Colonies.
2. Samuel Marshfield of Springfield.
3. Here Pocumtuck means Deerfield, which is in the Pocumtuck Valley.
1. Nowhere in New England did the English settlers experience more the effects of intertribal warfare than in the Connecticut Valley.
2. Souquakes were the Senecas, one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois.
3. The Hudson was the Dutch river.
1. This personage has not been identified.
2. The declaration of the General Court against the Quakers is printed in Massachusetts Colonial Records, iv, pt. 1, 385–390.
3. William Hawthorne of Salem and James Richards of Hartford were associated with John Pynchon in an attempt to extend the New England fur trade westward to the Hudson, and also in the conduct of Indian affairs. See Ruth McIntyre’s account in the second volume of this work. The “Dutch Governor” was, of course, Peter Stuyvesant.
4. The Hudson River.
1. Ensign Thomas Cooper was prominent in Springfield, serving as selectman and later as deputy to the General Court; his wife, Good wife Cooper, served Mistress Pynchon in numerous ways. For Cooper’s accounts with Pynchon, see Volume II of this work.
1. Thomas Pell, formerly town physician of New Haven, and apparently now in Hartford. He had married Lucy, widow of Francis Brewster, who preceded him as New Haven’s “Chirurgion.”
2. Goodman Richard Knowles of Pequot (ca. 1650) worked for John Winthrop, Jr., at times.
1. John Earle of Springfield was frequently a messenger for John Pynchon, making trips downriver to Hartford and other places.
1. Born at Springfield in 1646, Joseph Pynchon graduated from Harvard College with the Class of 1664, and became a physician in England for a time. Eventually he returned to New England; he never married.
2. A limb in alteration was changing or shrinking.
3. Edward Rawson was the Secretary of Massachusetts from 1650 to 1685.
1. John Pynchon, Jr., the second son, born in 1647, attended Harvard College for two years, and then settled at Boston as a merchant. He married Margaret, daughter of the famous Rev. William Hubbard of Ipswich. John acted as his father’s agent in Boston and in shipping furs to England. He was far from successful in business.
1. Although this regulation is obviously not part of the Navigation Act of 1660, it is not entirely clear what it is. It may possibly be an act of Virginia imposing a heavy surtax, 10s. instead of 2s., on tobacco shipped to any place but England and its dominions in Europe. Hening, Statutes at Large of Virginia, 1, Acts 9, 10, 1660, cited by George Louis Beer, Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578–1660 (New York, 1908), 396.
2. Reverend Eleazer Mather, son of Richard and brother of Increase, was the first minister of Northampton, serving from 7 June 1658 until his death in 1679.
1. Fort Orange; after 1664 Albany.
2. The Wyllys, Stone, and Whiting families of Hartford stood, like the Pynchons and Winthrops, very high among the gentry of New England.
1. At Hartford.
2. Miles Morgan of Springfield was at different times a constable, selectman, and a freeman. He made many trips for the Pynchons down the Connecticut to Warehouse Point at Enfield Falls.
1. Goodman John Dorchester of Springfield, constable and freeman.
2. Launching was lancing or opening flesh with a knife.
3. Captain Scarlet was master of a ship on the Boston to England passage, and carried many letters and parcels to New England as well as the latest news-letters.
4. Peter Stuyvesant. The “colonels” have not been identified; they could be the “Regicides,” Edward Whalley and William Goffe. See Smith, Colonial Justice, 48–49.
1. John Crow, son of Samuel Grow of Hadley, with whom John Pynchon was involved in the ship Desire and trade to Barbados.
2. Captain Giles Hamlin commanded Desire and other vessels owned by John Pynchon.
3. The ship Desire.
4. Lough: to laugh off.
5. Cotton wool was the term used for cotton in the seventeenth century.
6. Ware was a planter in Barbados with whom John Pynchon traded for sugar.
7. That is, bills of exchange.
9. William Pynchon died at Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire, 29 October 1662. Wraysbury was twenty miles from the city.
10. Daniel Bridge and Henry Berkingham were London merchants who acted as agents for William Pynchon.
11. Peleg Sanford of Newport was related to the Hutchinsons of Massachusetts, and also he had commercial dealings with them in the West India traffic. Later on, Sanford became Governor of Rhode Island. For his sojourn in Barbados, see the present editor’s Fat Mutton and Liberty of Conscience (Providence, 1974), 122–124.
12. Daniel Burr of Newport, R.I.
13. For making special joints for clinker-built boats.
1. Mehitabel, who died not long after.
1. Unidentified, but obviously a tribe of Indians in the upper Connecticut Valley, probably of the so-called Pocumtuck Confederacy.
2. The Sokoki or Western Abenaki were a most important though little known tribe that lived north of Massachusetts and spread from the Merrimack westward to Lake Champlain and northward to the neighborhood of Newbury, Vermont. See the endpapers of this volume. William G. Sturtevant, ed., Handbook of North American Indians: Volume 15, Northeast (Washington, 1978), 148–149.
3. Handbook, 15, Map, Fig. 1, p. 161.
4. This village has not been identified.
1. In this age it was customary for anyone setting out on a long voyage at sea to make a will. John Pynchon’s will of 1663, made when he was thirty-seven years old and had headed the family for over a decade, affords us some idea of his wealth, of his family connections among the New England gentry, and his plans to keep his property in the family, reward the minister, and assist the poor.
2. Mary Pynchon married Josiah Whiting of the prominent Connecticut family.
3. Deacon Samuel Chapin of Springfield.
1. Connecticut River.
2. David Wilton of Northampton was one of John Pynchon’s principal fur traders and an important military figure in the Valley.
3. Thomas Willett crossed from Leyden to Plymouth in 1629 and became a leading citizen in the colony. In 1664 he accompanied the English forces that took New Amsterdam from the Dutch. Governor Richard Nicolls appointed him the first Mayor of New York; later he returned to Plymouth Colony and resided at Rehoboth until his death in 1674.
4. This is the first extant letter that Pynchon wrote after his return from England, where he had gone to settle his father’s estate in July 1663.
1. The General Court sent Pynchon and Clarke “as our Messengers” to represent Massachusetts Bay at the reduction of the Dutch. They signed the articles of surrender, the terms of which Pynchon helped to frame. New York State Library, Bulletin (History, No. 2, Albany, 1899), 93–101.
2. New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island.
3. John Winthrop, Jr.
1. Elecampane: aromatic leaves and roots used as a stimulant.
1. Colonel Richard Nicolls was the most influential member of the Royal Commission sent to investigate conditions in New England early in 1662. He presided over the negotiations for the surrender of New Netherland in 1664 and was appointed the first English governor of New York.
2. The Senecas were one of the Five Iroquois Nations.
3. By “these Indians” John Pynchon means the Pocumtuck Confederacy, the Connecticut River tribes.
4. There the Senecas were at war with their kinsmen, the Susquehannocks. Often, loosely, contemporaries referred to all four of the Iroquois tribes except the Mohawks collectively as Senecas. In this sense Senecas is used here.
5. Another example of the diplomacy of the crafty Mohegan chieftain.
1. Possibly (among many Parkers) Captain James Parker of Chelmsford, who won a considerable reputation for dealing with the Indians of Massachusetts. See Massachusetts Colonial Records, iv, pt. 1, 431.
2. Turners Falls on the Connecticut.
3. During the Second Dutch War, because of treaty obligations, the French belatedly declared war upon the English in January 1666.
1. Captain John Baker, appointed by Governor Nicolls to command the fort at Albany, which he did until he was dismissed in June 1670 and replaced by Captain Sylvester Salisbury.
2. Maquas: a variant name for the Mohawks.
3. Jacobus Van Curler (Corlaer) had a farm near Albany at Corlaer’s Hook. The Iroquois in ceremonial speeches often referred to the governor of New York as “Corlaer.”
4. The Cayugas, an Iroquois nation living west of the Mohawks.
5. Major General was used to indicate the commander of a large force and in the present context the commander of the English troops at the conquering of New Netherland was Colonel Richard Nicolls, who is probably meant.
1. Bellingham was the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
2. Sir Thomas Temple had been Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, 1656–1660, and after the Restoration of King Charles II he was once again placed in control toward the end of 1662. A royalist in politics, he was no friend of the Massachusetts Bay Company.
1. Pet-wa-bouque was the French rendition of the Indian name for Lake Champlain.
1. The Seneca villages which, in this instance, embraced those of the four Iroquois tribes dwelling west of the Mohawks in New York.
2. Probably the Rev. Joseph Haynes, who married the daughter of Richard Lord of Hartford. Lord and John Pynchon were designated to secure the persons of the Regicides, Whalley and Goffe, that they might be sent to England for trial. Though the fugitives lived in Hadley, they were never arrested.
3. The Connecticut Valley Indians, chiefly the Pocumtucks.
4. Not identified.
1. At Fort Albany.
2. Thomas Cooper, ensign and goodman; his spouse, Good wife Cooper, though often serving the Pynchons, had one or more servants of her own.
1. Martha’s Vineyard.
2. The present Westfield.
3. Of Connecticut Colony.
1. This incident took place in New York near the Hudson River.
2. Housatonic, an Indian village on the river of that name near the New York border.
3. Senecas and Cayugas, Iroquois tribes.
1. This and the letter following indicate that the rumors and uncertain news issuing from the interior of the New England colonies, even at Springfield, were rather more delayed and unreliable than those coming from overseas via Boston or New Amsterdam/New York.
2. John Leverett was the Major General commanding the Bay Colony’s forces.
1. Corporal Richard Coy was the leading inhabitant of Quabaug or Brookfield, and building the bridge was a major undertaking for the infant settlement.
1. Richard Nicolls was appointed the first governor of New York after it became an English colony. George Colton of Springfield often made trips downriver to Hartford.
2. Arthur Kill (as the English called it) is the narrow stretch of water separating Staten Island from the mainland of New Jersey.
3. The Connecticut River.
1. The Dutch had been defeated in a naval battle, 25–26 July 1666; but in the previous January the entry of the French on the Dutch side imperilled the English colonies. On II April 1666 the English surrendered their half of the island of St. Christopher to the French; and 10–14 June DeRuyter’s ships entered the Medway and humiliated the English.
2. Evidently John Pynchon endeavored to arrange his war news in some sort of chronological order; here he may be referring to anyone of several actions. See, C. R. Boxer, The Anglo-Dutch Wars of the 17th Century, 1652–1674 (London, 1974), 20–50
3. The Great Fire of London, 2–9 September 1666.
1. In early June 1667, Admiral Crynson entered the James River with a Dutch squadron and during a stay of six days burned five English merchantmen and took off thirteen prizes.
1. Colonel David Serle, a Boston puritan gentleman of large estate, who married Deliverance Tyng. In 1667 he moved to Barbados.
2. The treaties were signed at Breda 21 July 1667, and once more England was at peace with both France and the Netherlands.
3. Colonel Robert Carr had been one of the three commissioners to investigate charges against Massachusetts and arrange the surrender of New Netherland in 1664.
1. Edward Palmes married Lucy, the daughter of John Winthrop, Jr.; the couple resided in the family mansion at New London. Palmes served as a deputy to the General Court of Connecticut and later as an assistant. He commanded the colony’s troops at one time and played a major part in the conduct of Indian affairs prior to King Philip’s War.
1. The Captain addressed here was probably Fitz-John Winthrop.
2. At this point, John Pynchon writes his list of livestock just as he would have done in his account books. It is left unaltered by the editor.
3. James Rogers was the leading merchant of New London, ca. 1660–1680, and owned a large tract of land there jointly with John Pynchon.
1. Springfield was located on the west bank of the Connecticut River at the point where the Agawam or Westfield River joined it; Ensign Cooper’s farm lay-on the opposite bank of the Agawam from the village.
2. Ragusa, the Italian name for Dubrovnik, was a city-republic on the Adriatic in the present Dalmatia; its merchants traded as far as the Hanse towns of the Baltic and with the British Isles.
3. The Rev. Zachariah Symmes of Charlestown, former lecturer at St. Antholin’s in London, died 4 February 1672.
1. Principal chief of the Pocumtucks.
2. Not clear: possibly the name of a minor tribe of the Pocumtuck Confederacy.
3. Hadley, Massachusetts.
4. The Wampanoags, the tribe of King Philip, lived on the east side of Narragansett Bay in Plymouth and Rhode Island colonies.
5. The Praying Indians consisted of about 1100 Christian Indians distributed among fourteen towns in the Bay Colony. Natick was the best-known settlement because of the frequent presence there of the Reverend John Eliot. In 1669 the Praying Indians attacked the Mohawks and were badly beaten.
1. Francis Lovelace succeeded Richard Nicolls as Governor of New York, 1668–1673.
2. That is, the sachems of the tribes dwelling in the Connecticut Valley above Springfield.
3. Mary Pynchon.
4. Rubila: a powder consisting chiefly of diaphoretic antimony and niter in portions of 20:4, and possibly salt of tin and “unicorn’s horn.” It was reddened to distinguish it from sugar, probably with some of the coral powder supplied by John Pynchon. One of the most powerful of purgatives then known, it was a favorite all-purpose nostrum for Europeans as well as New Englanders. John Winthrop, Jr., concocted and dispensed quantities of Rubila and warned that the initial dose of 8–10 grains should be greatly reduced for children. See Connecticut Magazine, xi (1907), 6–7, 34–355.
5. An opening made with a knife to permit drainage.
1. Scarred: figuratively blemished, O.E.D.: 1593.
2. Thomas Welles, who arrived at Hartford in 1636, was both governor and the first treasurer of Connecticut.
3. Wickins, a merchant at the sign of the Mermaid at the foot of Milk Street, London, also did business with John Winthrop, Jr.
1. The River Indians, especially the Pocumtuck tribes, which were at war with the Mohawks.
2. Hadley Indians.
3. The forts of the Valley Indians were simple stockades.
1. Edward Rawson was Secretary of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1652–1685.
2. The United Colonies of New England, often known as The New England Confederation.
3. John or Richard Cutt of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
4. Cruising as a pirate or privateer.
5. The Piscataqua River region of New Hampshire, i.e., Portsmouth and Kittery.
6. The Strait of Gibraltar.
7. William Penn and William Mead of the Society of Friends were tried for seditious preaching as defined in the Conventicle Act at Old Bailey Quarter Sessions, 14 August 1670. They had been confined in Newgate Prison. Mead was found innocent, Penn guilty. The significance of the trial in the history of juries is well known.
1. The Reverend William Blackstone, Anglican clergyman and the first white man to settle in Rhode Island, lived as a recluse at “Study Hill” in the present town of Lonsdale.
2. This was King Philip, son of Massasoit and chief of the Wampanoags. This incident was one of a series that led to the disaster known as King Philip’s War, 1675–1676.
3. “English Indians” were Christianized natives who lived in the towns of the Praying Indians and favored the English.
4. Pojassick, the name of a village and a tribe of the Valley Indians located in the neighborhood of Westfield.
5. In May 1671, Major John Pynchon bound over to the County Court of Hampshire, and in September fined Joseph Butler and Samuel Martin for trading in prohibited goods such as liquor, shot, and powder, and buying beaver skins at Pojassick.
6. Samuel Greene was also fined for the same offence at the Hampshire Court. See, Smith, Colonial Justice, 122.
1. The inhabitants of Windsor, Connecticut, complained when Enfield was set off from Springfield and incorporated under Massachusetts. They insisted that settlers of both Windsor and Simsbury had the right to locate there. Their colony did not appoint commissioners until 9 May 1678, and two years later Connecticut threatened to go it alone. Finally, in 1694, Governor Robert Treat agreed that the line should be fixed. See C. W. Bowen, The Boundary Disputes of Connecticut, 53–54.
2. Of Massachusetts Bay.
3. The celebrated Woodward and Saffery Line surveyed for the Bay Colony in 1642 did not satisfy Connecticut.
4. This may be an English effort to spell and pronounce Le Havre phonetically for this port at the mouth of the Seine seems indicated.
5. Probably the Wampanoags.
6. This village has not been identified.
1. Most of the Susquehannocks lived in Pennsylvania, although until after Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 they had settlements on the north shore of the Potomac in Maryland.
2. Governor Winthrop’s “pass” reveals two novel and highly important points about Indian affairs at this date: (1) the fact that he could issue a pass valid as far as Virginia; and (2) the hitherto unnoticed attempt of the New England Indians to persuade the Susquehannocks to join them in a pincers-movement against all of the Five Nations, save the Mohawks. Further study of this fascinating demarche and its outcome is very much needed.
3. Here letted means impeded.
4. The Susquehannocks and the Senecas were at war, which, if pursued vigorously, would weaken the Five Nations (Iroquois), especially the Mohawks, whose recent triumph over the Pocumtucks had left the confederacy in a perilous state. On the Susquehannocks, see Francis Jennings, “... The Susquehannock Indians in the Seventeenth Century,” American Philosophical Society, Proceedings, cxii (1968), 15–21.
5. The writer here alludes to the illicit sale to the Indians of liquors, firearms, powder, and ball by unscrupulous traders.
6. John Pynchon’s daughter Mary married Josiah Whiting.
7. Pynchon was very careful here about the confused geography of the day, and correctly located the Susquehannocks “beyond Delaware,” not up that river where the Lenni Lenape (Delawares) dwelt.
1. That is, the surveyors.
2. John Winthrop, Jr., Governor of Connecticut.
1. On this boundary, see Bowen, The Boundary Disputes of Connecticut, 53–55.
1. Henry Smith was John Pynchon’s brother-in-law; he lived in England.
2. Principally the attacks by the Mohawks on the Pocumtucks of the Connecticut Valley.
3. Edward Rawson of Boston, secretary of the Bay Colony.
4. John Wickins served as agent for the Pynchons’ estate in England.
5. John Pynchon, Jr., married Margaret, daughter of the Reverend William Hubbard of Ipswich, the historian. Her brother married Ann, the daughter of Governor John Leverett of Massachusetts.
1. “Our Indians” were those of the upper Connecticut Valley, principally the Pocumtuck Confederacy.
2. Captain Sylvester Salisbury, British commandant at Albany.
3. Possibly one of the Indian Commissioners at Albany.
5. The approximately 1100 Christian Indians who lived in Natick and several other “praying towns” established by the Reverend John Eliot and other missionaries.
6. Richard, Lord Lovelace, Governor of New York.
7. John De la Vail or Delavall, a justice of the peace and member of a prominent New York family.
2. Evidently, John Pynchon was sending horses to New London to be shipped to the West Indies in the vessel commanded by Captain Giles Hamlin.
3. Richard Lord. Captain William Greenough was in the transatlantic trade. He commanded the Blessing until 1674.
1. The location is not certain. In 1667 John Pynchon and others purchased lands on the south side of the Pocumtuck or Deerfield River, “which lands are called Pojassick.” This is possibly the spot referred to in the letter above. However, the United States Geological Survey map (1970) of Woronoco (Westfield) shows a village and hills called Pohassic. The original deed for the purchase of Deerfield is owned by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. Thanks are due to Mr. John P. Pretola of the Science Museum at Springfield for help in this identification.
2. In 1671 Samuel Greene and Joseph Butler were fined at the September session of the Hampshire County Court for trading powder, shot, lead, and liquors to the Pojassic Indians for beaver pelts. Justice Pynchon had bound them over from the previous May.
3. Heer: Dutch for master or lord, and a title used by the New York Indian Commissioners at Albany; e.g., gentlemen commissioners.
5. The Reverend John Eliot of Roxbury.
1. Outlying or frontier town.
2. Captain James Oliver.
3. John Winthrop, Jr., had two unmarried daughters: Martha and Anne.
1. Evidently the glebe farm at Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire. “Blast house” is not clear: it could be an oast house or kiln for drying hops; or, more likely, given the county, an iron blast furnace.
2. John Pynchon and James Rogers owned 1200 acres of land jointly at New London.
3. John Wickins was the Pynchon agent in London.
4. Joseph’s sister Mary married Josiah Whiting of Hartford and Westfield.
5. A “Commendamus” or recommendation from Harvard College, of which the Reverend Leonard Hoar was president.
6. Actually, at no time during the seventeenth century were there many bound servants in New England; most of them were employed as household servants or as apprentices to trades. In the Connecticut Valley labor was unusually scarce.
1. While his father shipped no beaver to London in 1672, John Pynchon, Jr., sent only one barrel and three packs of skins. This goes far to explain why John Pynchon could not help Joseph financially.
2. Over renewing the said lease of Joseph Pynchon.
3. Edward Rawson, secretary of the Bay Colony.
4. Henry and Ann (Pynchon) Smith, Joseph’s uncle and aunt then living in England.
1. See Henry A. Burt, Cornet Joseph Parsons (Garden City, N.Y., 1898).
2. Chickwallop was a sachem of the Nonotucks and friendly with the English settlers; Pynchon did not want to cause him grief.
3. That is, small resentment.
4. Heavy snows often closed down all activities in such small settlements as Brookfield and rendered travel impossible.
1. The Third Dutch War began 17 March 1672. In July 1673 a Dutch fleet captured New York, which, however, was returned to the English by the Treaty of Westminster, 9 February 1673/74.
2. Governor Francis Lovelace.
1. The New Englanders feared an attack by the Dutch ships, against which they were virtually defenseless; but it never materialized.
2. Lyme Regis, in Dorsetshire, on the south coast of England.
1. Governor John Leverett at Boston.
1. For the fear of Caribbean epidemics in New England, see Carl and Roberta Bridenbaugh, No Peace beyond the Line, 192.
2. Major General Samuel Wyllys commanded the military forces of Connecticut.
3. Elizur Holyoke married John Pynchon’s sister Mary in 1640. He was said to be “Mr. Pynchon’s ancient friend,” and until his death on 5 February 1675/76 sat as an associate on the Hampshire County Court.
1. Van Ball: Jan Hendricke Van Bael, mayor of Fort Orange (Albany). In 1673 he traded in concert with Gerrit Van Slichtenhorst at Fort Williamstadt.
2. Ordinary, tavern; much used for the conduct of commercial transactions.
3. For Stewart, see note 2 on page 21.
4. Fort Willemstadt at Albany.
1. Major Nathan Gold represented Connecticut at the colonial congress convened by Jacob Leisler in New York in 1690, and earlier assisted in the determination of the Connecticut-New York boundary line.
1. Governor John Leverett.
2. Hampshire County, Massachusetts.
3. Martinique was customarily called Martineco by the English.
4. Mr. Shippey remains unidentified, unless Pynchon meant Edward Shippen, who came over to Boston in 1668 (possibly an upholsterer by trade) and became the leading Quaker in New England and a successful merchant. Later on, he moved to Newport, then Philadelphia, where he rose to great prominence.
5. Sancte Leno was Pynchon’s phonetic spelling of St. Helena, the island occupied by the Dutch in 1651; it changed hands several times.
1. Captain, later colonel, Moseley was an able, successful, unscrupulous officer in Massachusetts; but also a bigotted Indian-hater.
2. Long Island Sound.
3. Thomas Kelland (Kellond) of Boston.
4. Probably the Reverend John Oxenbridge of the First Church at Boston.
5. At Manhattan.
1. The Treaty of Westminster, 9 February 1673/74.
2. Goodale remains unidentified.
3. These were friendly tribes of the Pocumtuck Confederacy, and the reasons for their removal are still obscure.
1. Governor John Leverett.
1. This incident is not chronicled in any of the histories or biographies that one ordinarily consults. It may have been either an unsubstantiated rumor, or a true report of which all record is now lost. In any event, such a report in a letter from the western frontiers of Massachusetts Bay illuminates the rapidity with which news circulated in 1673 and 1674? as well as the surprising interest of the provincial gentry in what was happening at the center of the British Empire.
2. Ever since the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the London populace, which was overwhelmingly Protestant, celebrated this anniversary on 5 November by parading effigies of the pope about the city and then burning them, usually at Smithfield. In 1673 anti-Catholic feeling was running high because of the pro-Roman views of King Charles II.
1. The figures given below are printed exactly as in the original, without any editing.
2. Westfield, Massachusetts, was originally called Woronoco.
3. Evidently these were commissioners to deal with the Indians, although otherwise not identified.
4. The Peace of Westminster.
5. Perhaps a slip of the pen for cranbeare, i.e., cranberry.
1. Sir Edmund Andros pronounced his name: Andrews.
2. Captain Sylvester Salisbury, commandant and justice of the peace at Albany.
3. Captain Matthias Nichols, who succeeded Salisbury in command of the English troops at Albany.
1. When John Pynchon was a small boy he knew Samuel Danforth at Roxbury.
2. See the letter next following and, for detail, Bo wen, The Boundary Disputes of Connecticut, 69–73.
1. Samuel Wyllys of Hartford.
1. Benjamin Gibbs was captain of a troop of volunteer horse in King Philip’s War.
2. The Reverend John Oxenbridge, minister of the First Church in Boston since 1669.
3. The Reverend Charles Nicholet, over whose doctrine the Salem Church split; he left for England and the Reverend John Higginson carried on as minister. For the incident, see James D. Phillips, Salem in the Seventeenth Century, 221–222.
4. The Reverend James Fitch of Norwich, Connecticut, and one of his nine sons.
5. For the surrender of the fort at New York by Captain John Manning to Admiral Cornelis Evertsen on 30 July 1673, and the subsequent trial and dismissal of Manning from the service, see A. C. Flick, ed., History of the State of New York (New York, 1933), 92–93, 97.
1. Nothing more could be found about this murder.
2. John Pynchon, Jr.
3. Captain Foster commanded a ship in the transatlantic trade. All vessels entering at Boston from the British Isles brought news that was eagerly sought after.
1. John, Jr., and his wife, Margaret Hubbard Pynchon.
2. Because of losses in King Philip’s War, John Pynchon had little cash in New England, and had to depend upon the yield of his English holdings; but he was far from being poor.
3. The first battle was at Swansea.
1. King Philip’s War opened at Swansea in Plymouth Colony on 20 June 1675. Manifestly, Pynchon and the men of the Connecticut Valley were taken by surprise.
2. Up to this time, the Pocumtuck Confederacy had always been friendly with the English settlers; soon all this would change.
3. Ninigret was the sachem of the Niantics and presumed friend of the English. He was known widely as a wily character.
4. Scalps, or the long tuft of hair of an Indian, scalp lock.
5. Here means signifies His interpretation of causes.
2. Possibly John Trumbel of Springfield, later of Suffield.
3. Open to attack.
4. John Pynchon was one of the first of the English to recommend, nay urge, the use of “trusty friendly Indians.”
5. Throughout these letters, Pynchon reveals his unshakeable belief that the Lord was using the Indians to punish New Englanders for their sins, and that He alone could save them.
6. Among other duties, John Pynchon was captain of the company of dragoons in western Massachusetts.
1. Matoonas, a Nipmuck sachem.
1. An Indian locality and fort near the Massachusetts-Connecticut boundary and west of northern Rhode Island.
2. Ashquoash, or Quabaug Old Fort, near Brookfield. See the map in Douglas E. Leach, Flintlock and Tomahawk, front endpapers.
3. Menameset, a Nipmuck village, lay about ten miles due north of Ashquoash.
4. Doubt means to believe.
5. At Pocasset, the country of the Wampanoags, now part of Fall River and Tiverton on the east shore of the lower Taunton River.
6. The strongest building at Brookfield, which John Ayres used as a tavern.
8. Captain Daniel Henchman, one of the principal Indian fighters of Massachusetts.
9. Governor John Leverett.
1. Major John Talcott of Connecticut.
1. A noted Indian scout.
2. Captain Edward Hutchinson was in the Nipmuck Country, 1 August 1675, to force the natives to comply with Governor Leverett’s dictates to the restless Quabaugs.
3. Thomas Wheeler commanded a troop of horsemen in the Nipmuck Country.
4. Major Simon Willard came from Lancaster with a strong force of troopers to relieve Brookfield on 4 August 1675.
1. One of the Pokanokets living at Pokanoket (Bristol, Rhode Island); some contemporaries referred to the whole Wampanoag tribe as Pokanokets.
2. Cowesett, in the present Rhode Island town of Warwick.
1. Captain Thomas Watts commanded a company of Connecticut troops sent into western Massachusetts to protect “the upper towns.”
2. Captain Watts proposed withdrawing soldiers from Squakeag (Northfield) and probably Peskeompscut (now Turners Falls, Massachusetts).
3. A friendly Indian who served as a scout for the English. Paquoag and the Momatanic swamp can be located on Leach’s front endpapers map.
1. That is, leading settlers living along the Connecticut River beyond Springfield.
2. At Windsor, Connecticut.
3. Joshua was the son of Uncas, the great Mohegan chieftain.
1. Major Sir Edmund Andros.
3. Wusquakeak has not been identified.
4. Where John Stewart was murdered and under what circumstances cannot now be determined. For Stewart, see this volume, John Pynchon to John Winthrop, Jr., 24 June 1656, note 2, 21.
1. Not located in M.A., but “copied from the original” by Samuel G. Drake and printed in his edition of Increase Mather, A Brief History of the War with the Indians in New-England (Boston, 1862), 241–243.
2. The Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England.
3. Probably one of the friendly Mohawks, who were neutral in King Philip’s War.
4. One of the large Butler family of Springfield, possibly John or Philip.
5. Major John Talcott commanded the Connecticut troops helping to defend the Massachusetts towns on the upper river.
6. The English Indian Commissioner stationed in Albany.
7. Esopus on the Hudson, later Kingston, New York. Butler’s roundabout route homeward is a good illustration of the long journeys that the New Englanders made in the seventeenth century.
9. Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, and the Pocumtucks had recently been at war.
10. One of the principal Indian fighters of the Bay Colony, Major Simon Willard had relieved the besieged garrison at Brookfield in August 1675.
1. The Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England.
2. For this and related incidents, see Trumbull, History of Northampton, 1, 267–272.
5. Captain Samuel Appleton succeeded John Pynchon in command of the troops in western Massachusetts.
1. Upon returning from Hadley, John Pynchon and his soldiers found Springfield aflame.
2. The Reverend Peletiah Glover, minister at Springfield. See the next letter, to Governor Leverett and the Assistants.
3. Pynchon’s estimates of the number of buildings lost varies somewhat in succeeding letters
4. This was a temporary military post, not an established civil one.
1. At the nearby village of the Agawam Tribe.
2. This unquestioning acceptance of God’s will provides the key to John Pynchon’s entire outlook upon his personal and public life. He thought of King Philip’s War as divinely ordered, as part of God’s controversy with New England. The statement above is one of his clearest on this score.
3. Springfield was now overcrowded and the people suffered severely from the burning of the Pynchon mill.
4. Ever the good soldier and public servant, Pynchon carried out the Massachusetts policy of defense notwithstanding his better private judgment to which he alludes here.
5. Major Robert Treat commanded the Connecticut soldiers dispatched to help defend the Massachusetts towns in the upper Connecticut River Valley.
6. Read: “our Indians.” The long peace between the River towns and the River Indians was about to end as King Philip’s War expanded into “the Nipmucks War.”
1. The Reverend John Russell, minister at Hadley.
2. The Commissioners of the United Colonies.
3. Lieutenant Thomas Cooper of Springfield.
4. The towns situated on the Connecticut River above Springfield.
1. The minister at Springfield.
2. The General Court of Massachusetts.
3. Captain Samuel Appleton took command of the Massachusetts troops after Pynchon was relieved of the work.
1. Joseph Pynchon’s estate in England.
2. Henry Smith, Joseph’s uncle, who had returned to England in 1652.
1. Captain Jeremiah Swain led a force of garrison soldiers from the River towns of Massachusetts which, in the summer of 1676, scoured the parts of the Connecticut Valley already yielded to the Indians.
2. For Payquaog, see Leach’s front endpapers map.
3. Aussotinnoag was Pynchon’s rendering of Housatonic.
4. The Nipmuck Country is well delineated on Leach’s map.
5. The “North Indians” were those living north or beyond the present Vermont and New Hampshire boundaries of Massachusetts.
6. The “four nations of Indians” were doubtless the Iroquois, minus the westernmost tribe, the Senecas.
7. Quinnapin, a Narragansett sachem and cousin of Canonchet. See Leach, Flintlock and Tomahawk, 224.
8. Canonicus, sachem of the Narragansetts, an uncle of Ninigret and his sister Quaiapen, the squaw sachem.
1. John Pynchon erred here, for Paquoag was on the north bank of Millers River, not the Hudson. The threat was to Deerfield, Northampton, and Hadley.
1. These propositions were translated into Indian dialects for “the Mohawks and other River Indians” by Arnout Cornells, the chief interpreter for the English at Albany. The Indians’ answers are in The Livingston Indian Records, 39–42.
2. “River Indians” means those living in the upper Hudson Valley, and probably includes the Mahicans and the Connecticut River tribes that fled there after King Philip’s War.
3. The “late unhappy war against the English” was King Philip’s War, 16751676 and its aftermath in the Kennebec region of Maine. Andros had restrained the River Indians from attacking the New England settlements, and encouraged the Iroquois tribes to go out against King Philip’s warriors.
4. Sir Edmund Andros.
5. Seawant was another name for wampum.
6. The author of this document was John Pynchon, who represented Massachusetts; James Richards was the Connecticut commissioner.
1. Calendar of Historical Mss., English, 61, erroneously gives the date as 8 October.
2. Benjamin Waite of Hatfield, to whom Pynchon farmed the fur trade with the Indians from 1666 to 1669, he engaging not to trade in liquors.
3. Benoni Stebbins, one of a numerous family in Springfield.
4. Hadley was originally Nalwotogg or Norwottocke, so named after the Algonkian tribe that lived near the falls.
6. That is, north of the Massachusetts line in present New Hampshire.
7. About five miles down the Nashua River from Lancaster.
8. Now whortleberry or huckleberry. Wild blueberries grew profusely in New England.
9. Lake Champlain.
10. On the previous 26 April (1677), John Pynchon and Massachusetts representatives, accompanied by agents from Connecticut, had met with Governor Sir Edmund Andros at Albany to treat with the Iroquois. Pynchon made a handsome present to the Mohawks on behalf of his colony and persuaded them to make peace with the Bay Colony’s “friendly Indians.” This was the first time that officials of New York permitted the Iroquois to deal with a New England colony. The white allies sealed the peace with a gift of “a fish painted on paper” to the Indians, who thereafter called their New England friends “Kinshon.” J. R. Brodhead considered that this was the nearest the natives could come to saying Pynchon. History of New York, II, 309, 605n
1. Governor John Leverett of Massachusetts.
2. Ely was from Springfield and Waite from Hatfield. Both were Indian traders who did business with John Pynchon, and who in 1670 had been tried before his court and convicted of selling quantities of liquors to the Indians without licenses. The largest of the towns of the “Praying Indians” was at Natick.
3. Sir Robert Boyle, frs, was governor of the Company for Propagation of the Gospel in New England under its new charter of 1667. In New England it was referred to merely as “the Corporation.”
4. Recently knighted at London, Sir Edmund Andros was “coming over” to resume his post as governor of New York. During his absence Anthony Brockholls acted as commander-in-chief.
1. M.A. Photostat in Massachusetts Historical Society. Torn and blurred in places; difficult to read.
2. Massachusetts and Connecticut representatives met with Sir Edmund Andros at Albany on 26 April 1677, to treat with the Iroquois. Pynchon persuaded the Mohawks to make peace with the “friendly Indians” of the Bay Colony. See John Pynchon to Captain Sylvester Salisbury, 5 October 1677 and note 10, above, 174, 176.
3. Here Pynchon refers to the “Natick” or “praying Indians” who occupied eleven towns in Massachusetts.
4. In King Philip’s War both the Nipmucks and the Pocumtucks had been enemies, but were now at peace with the English.
5. For this incident and further troubles with the Mohawks, see Pynchon’s letter to Captain Salisbury, 20 July 1678, above, 176–178.
6. Underlined in the original letter.
7. The Eastern Indians, mostly Abenaki, lived in New Hampshire and Maine; those in the latter area were under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts.
8. Here Pynchon means the Hudson, not the Connecticut, River.
9. The language in this speech was perhaps the strongest used to the Five Nations up to this point. Pynchon evidently had calculated accurately the reaction of his dusky audience, considering the reception given to it. Of course, much depended upon how his interpreter turned Pynchon’s English into the Mohawk tongue.
10. Captain Anthony Brockholls, acting commander of the New York troops. The commissaries were the English Indian agents resident at Albany.
11. This postscript was unusually hard to decipher, but the meaning is clear.
1. M.A. Photostat in Massachusetts Historical Society. Torn and blurred in places, very difficult to read. Pynchon evidently had written out his speech to the Mohawks for the interpreter to deliver at Albany. Back in Springfield, he wrote the following report and sent the speech as an enclosure.
2. Pemaquid (in Maine) was the easternmost fortified English post and was maintained by Massachusetts.
3. The Five Nations made up for their war losses in men by adopting enemy prisoners into their tribes.
4. Seawant was wampum.
1. Major Henchman and Captain [John, Richard, or William] Wing of the prominent Boston family, after whom Wing’s Lane was named.
2. A party of Canadian Indians surprised and killed five friendly natives at Spectacle Pond, near Springfield, on 27 July 1688.
3. Plat as used here designates the flat or level part of Springfield where most of the houses were located.
4. John Pynchon’s prompt and efficient action in this entire affair demonstrates clearly that he was still active, a good planner who had a sound estimate of the situation.
5. Sir Edmund Andros.
6. William Gibbons, a merchant of Hartford, with an interest in lands at Springfield; in 1697 he moved to Boston.
1. Hampshire County, Massachusetts.
2. Sir Edmund Andros.
3. Via the Connecticut River.
1. This is a good example of the promptness with which John Pynchon dealt with frontier alarms in his old age.
2. During this revolutionary period in Massachusetts, authority naturally was questioned, and Pynchon was now no longer a member of the council.
3. Captain Medad Pomeroy, spelled Pomery by Pynchon.
4. Incomplete letter. Not located in Massachusetts Archives.
1. Sir Edmund Andros, Governor of the Dominion of New England.
3. Major Patrick MacGregory of New York Colony.
4. The Prince of Orange, soon to be King William III.
5. Belgrade, Serbia, then under Turkish rule, taken by the “Imperial” forces of Austria and its allies; later the Turks drove these forces out of Serbia.
6. William of Orange had landed at Tor bay on the Devonshire coast on 5 November 1688.
7. Major Jervis Baxter in command at Albany. In April 1688 he was admitted to the Council of the Dominion of New England.
1. Dover, New Hampshire.
2. Sergeant James King of Northampton.
3. The government of the Massachusetts Bay Company under the charter of 1629 fell when King James II vacated the charter.
4. Obsolete for waylay, to ambush.
5. By endeavoring to discover and obey God’s will.
1. The revolutionary Council for the Safety of the People, of which Isaac Addington was clerk. This, the longest letter in this collection, indicates that John Pynchon had been active during the inter-charter period as a member of the successive governors’ councils, and in managing Indian and military affairs in the west, as well as in the capacity of a judge for Hampshire County.
2. Pynchon was about sixty-three years old at this date, that is, old for his period in history. Understandably, he was reluctant to undergo the rigors of frontier travel.
3. Peter Tilton, a magistrate for Hampshire County, formerly for several years an assistant.
4. Captain Medad Pomeroy (Pomery), a substantial and influential member of one of the most prominent families of Northampton.
5. Ensign Timothy Baker of Northampton. For the militia problem, see Trumbull, History of Northampton, 1, 404–410.
6. Aaron Cooke, Senior.
7. Lieutenant Joseph Hawley.
8. Since 22 May 1689, Governor Simon Bradstreet and the Assistants chosen in 1686 had resumed office provisionally, while the other members of the Council of Safety resigned.
9. Captain Samuel Glover of Springfield.
10. The white inhabitants of Northfield.
1. Of Albany?
2. Canadian Indian village near Fort Frontenac (Kingston), Ontario. The English usually spelled it Cataraqui.
3. An Indian village and tribe in New York on the Hoosic River near its junction with the Hudson, about twenty-five miles above Albany. Many of the Pocumtuck Confederacy fled there after King Philip’s War.
4. One hundredweight equals 112 pounds; hence 1120 pounds of lead.
5. An unidentified tribe of Canadian Indians.
6. Hampshire County Court.
7. Confusing usage: strike out is meant here.
1. Captain Andrew Belcher of Cambridge accompanied John Pynchon on his journey to Albany to meet with the Five Nations.
2. Hampshire County.
3. For behold read be thought of or considered.
1. Pynchon here means the Oneidas, Cayugas, and Onandagas, but not the Senecas.
2. On 30 August, the date of the letter above, John Pynchon was home in Springfield, as the following letter indicates (p. 217). This date may be the one on which the letter was copied into the Records, for the covering letter below is dated 20 August. This document is important as an indication of how an interpreter would be given general instructions, which he would then elaborate in his speech to the Indians. The process could on occasion lead to misunderstandings between the natives and the English. Everything depended upon the trustworthiness and linguistic skill of the interpreter.
3. This covering letter, shown in brackets, appears in the rough draft, but not the finished copy; see Livingston Indian Records, 148n.
4. The St. Lawrence River.
5. Onandaga (Syracuse) was the place of meeting for the federal council of the Five Nations. Livingston Indian Records, 15.
1. That is, of the colony of New York.
2. The modern reader wonders whether the interpreter was able to make clear to the Indians the complexities of the Revolution Settlement in England and the diplomatic aspects of the War of the League of Augsburg or King William’s War.
3. Pynchon had written to Secretary Addington on 5 July 1689 (q.v.) that “20 or 30 Eastern Indians were at the Maquas, which in part is so.” They were “tampering with the other Indians short of them,” and the Maquas urged them to join against the French. It seems probable that the four Eastern Indians referred to here were of that party. The New Englanders and the Mohawks differed sharply over this matter.
1. The New Englanders were at war with the Eastern Indians at this time. These natives were still friendly with the Indians at Schagticoke and suspected also to be in amity with the Mohawks. For this reason the conference had been called at Albany.
2. For the lengthy reply of the Iroquois to the New England agents, see Livingston Indian Records, 154–158. The Chief Sachem of the Maquas, Tahaiadoris, said that “we acknowledge that the convenant chain between us is ancient and of long standing, which we have kept inviolate, for when you had wars some years ago [1675–1676] with the Indians, we were desired to fall upon those, your enemies, which we readily did, and pursued them closely which prevented the effusion of much Christian blood. That was a sign we loved you with true and unfeigned love from our hearts” (p. 55). Although the Iroquois, the Mohawks in particular, were very friendly, this conference was not a success for the English.
1. Andrew Belcher had recently come back from Albany and the Indian conference.
2. The Council under the resumed government of 26 May 1689.
3. For Pynchon eastward means New Hampshire and Maine.
4. Tied-up: restrained or reluctant
1. The people of Massachusetts as a whole, and not only those living on the “frontiers,” grew very restless over the uncertainties of a protracted revolutionary situation, 1684–1691.
2. Disrest: disquiet.
3. Colonel Henry Sloughter arrived at New York in March 1691; the following month he restored the provincial assembly.
4. Isaac Addington.
5. Peter Tilton of Hadley, a political rival of Pynchon, justice of the peace, formerly an Assistant, 1680–1686.
6. The “new orders” were for the erection of a provisional government until a final determination of the status of New England should be made. The uncertainty of the authority of his court placed Pynchon in a difficult position.
1. King William and Queen Mary reigned jointly from 1 February 1689 to her death 28 December 1694; after which he reigned alone until 8 March 1702.
3. Stephen Lee of Westfield.
4. Governor Robert Treat.
5. The Yankee-Puritan habit of fearing God and keeping one’s powder dry.
6. Master Peletiah Glover, “the Reverend Teacher” of the church in Springfield.
7. Undefended, with houses widely dispersed.
1. Samuel Sewall, the jurist and famous diarist, attended the intercolonial defense meeting called by Massachusetts to meet at New York. He represented Massachusetts along with Israel Stoughton, formerly, and again later, of the Council.
3. The Lake Champlain-Lake George-Albany route from Canada.
4. Pynchon probably meant inspirit to, i.e., animate, encourage, incite to.
5. Sir William Phips headed a New England force that occupied Port Royal, Acadia, in May 1690. Mariner, treasure-hunter, and protege of the Mathers, Phips was commissioned the first governor of Massachusetts under the new charter on 12 December 1691; he assumed office 16 May 1692, and governed until 17 November 1694.
6. Eastward: Maine and New Hampshire.
1. The Hampshire Troop of Horse, of which Pynchon was Captain.
2. Unclear: possibly a slip for noe, meaning not.
3. The New England Revolution of 1689.
4. Cornet Joseph Parsons?
5. John Taylor of Northampton and the troop of horse.
1. Joseph Hawley of Northampton.
2. Probably Major Aaron Cooke, Senior, of Northampton, although it could be Aaron Cooke, Jr., of Hadley; both were commissioned as captains in 1686.
1. Warrants pertaining to military affairs.
2. In 1690 Andrew Hamilton, deputy for the King’s post in America, established a line of postriders between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
3. Governor Sloughter’s secretary.
4. This letter is in very bad condition, and is difficult to make intelligible.
1. Captain Samuel Partridge (Partrigg) of Hatfield.
2. At Hatfield.
3. Noah Welles of Hartford.
4. Stephen Belden of Hatfield.
1. Pynchon spelled this Hartfield.
2. These Indians, numbering about 150, came from the Hudson Valley in November 1691. George Sheldon prints this letter in his History of Deerfield (ed. 1895), 222–223.
4. Lieutenant Thomas Welles.
5. David Hoite of Deerfield took before Pynchon’s court the oath of fidelity to the Massachusetts government at Hatfield, in January 1673/74.
1. This account of the settling of Indians from the Hudson Valley between Deerfield and Hatfield is amplified and explained in the letters that follow. From this point on, Pynchon seems to be addressing both the Governor and Council when he writes “your Honors.”
1. Colonel John Pynchon was not named to the Council in the new Charter of 1691, but was chosen again in 1693 and regularly thereafter until his death in 1702. Political conditions in Massachusetts, 1689–1692, were understandably confused, and in the western towns Pynchon and other leaders had grave doubts as to precisely how authority was distributed.
1. This summary and the copy of the official document, together with the reply by the Indians, constitute a virtually unique written record of dealings between the two races in New England during the last quarter of the seventeenth century.
2. Here we have an excellent illustration of the often disconcerting candor of the Indians when they negotiated with the English.
1. Thoroughly excited, John Pynchon wrote this letter for the post in great haste, and in places his meaning is far from clear; towards the end he confesses to being “ashamed I so scribble.”
2. A confusing sentence at best.
3. These “Directions” for the Indians and their responses, copied out for the Governor and Council at greater leisure, are both clear and authoritative.
1. Hadley, Northampton, Deerfield, and Northfield.
2. Springfield, Westfield, Enfield, and Suffield.
3. Hampshire County.
4. See, for the paper, Pynchon to Treat in letter of 24 January 1691/92.
5. Probably Lake Champlain.
6. Seneca Lake, one of the New York Finger Lakes.
7. Probably Lake George, although Lake Champlain may be intended.
1. Governor Simon Bradstreet.
2. In the new Charter, 7 October 1691, Isaac Addington was named secretary.
3. Joseph Hawley from Northampton.
4. The defunct New England Confederation.
5. New Hampshire and Maine constituted the Eastern Parts.
6. Port Royal, Acadia, on the Bay of Fundy.
7. Here foul means a rough draft.
8. Woodstock, Connecticut, was known as New Roxbury by the first settlers, who came from Roxbury in 1686.
9. Lake Champlain.
10. Garrison as used here means an ordinary house with thick protective walls in which the colonists took refuge during Indian attacks. Pynchon also used garrison in the usual sense of a body of troops stationed in a village or fort. His meaning is generally clear from the context.
11. Struck means arranged for or set watches.
12.. Connecticut River.
13. By great says Pynchon means statements, threats, or big talk.
14. Major Peter Schuyler of Albany. Robert Livingston was the leading trader in upper New York and on good terms with the New Englanders.
15. At the age of sixty-six at this date, Pynchon was certainly justified in speaking of his “decayed years,” although he continued to be very active in Valley affairs until 1700.
1. Although Pynchon dated this letter 25 May 1692, in the first sentence he refers to receiving on 24 May a letter from Albany dated 29 May! Either of his dates could be a slip, and any resolution of this difficulty now is impossible.
2. The French Maqua was one of the Roman Catholic “Praying Iroquois” who lived at Caughnawaga on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, opposite Montreal. Pynchon uses Onyada here for Oneida.
3. Pynchon spells Senecas as Sineques.
4. Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, had returned to Canada as governor in 1689.
5. That is: New York.
6. Lake Champlain.
7. Sir William Phips.
8. The Charter of 1691 making Massachusetts a royal colony, under which Sir William Phips was the first governor. The Charter and the Governor’s Commission and Instructions, taken together, were the written constitution of the colony, and John Pynchon needed to see them.
1. This is a striking instance of the occasional shortage of cash in the Connecticut Valley; but it does not mean that Pynchon had fallen on hard times. In 1678 he borrowed from four inhabitants of Hadley £97 saved in the Pine-tree money of Massachusetts and sent it to Antigua “to promote the design of plantation and sugar work there.”
2. John Kilum of Springfield.
3. Hampshire County.
4. Hitchcock officiated as acting sheriff and marshal; in 1696 he was chosen a representative.
5. Samuel Porter of Hadley.
6. This is good evidence of Pynchon’s sedulous avoidance of anything savoring of nepotism in public affairs. His grandson was a graduate of Harvard College and well suited for the position of court clerk.
1. Lake Champlain.
2. Henry Sloughter was governor of New York briefly in 1691.
3. The war with France and the French or Canadian Indians made better and more frequent communications vital. John Pynchon’s use of posts, mounted couriers carrying letters or bearing messages, increased markedly after 1689. Governor Lovelace of New York had inaugurated a monthly post between New York and Boston in 1672, but the service was discontinued after a few trips. Between 1693 and 1698 Andrew Hamilton, deputy in America for the King’s post, established a line of weekly posts from Portsmouth in New Hampshire to New Castle in the Lower Counties on the Delaware.
1. Captain Aaron Cooke.
2. Governor Robert Treat.
3. Major Peter Schuyler is probably intended here; in 1686 he became the first Mayor of Albany and therefore head of the Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs for New York Colony.
1. Major Dirck Wessells [Ten Broeck], master of several Indian languages, in 1696 Mayor of Albany and therefore head of the Board of Commissioners for Indian Affairs; four times New York’s political agent in Canada.
2. The Scaghticokes had their village near the mouth of the Hoosic River; the tribe was composed of the remnants of the Pocumtucks and some Nipmucks, who fled there after King Philip’s defeat. They were friendly with the Mohawks and lived under the protection of New York.
3. For details concerning the murders at Deerfield, and the differences between the colonists and the Mohawks about them, see the next letter, John Pynchon to Secretary Addington, 28 June 1693, and several letters that follow.
1. Major Dirck Wessells of Albany.
2. Benjamin Fletcher served as governor of New York, 1692–1698.
3. For the murdering of nine members of the Wells and Broughton families at Deerfield by two Indians from Scaghticoke, see George Sheldon, History of Deerfield, 1, 230–239.
4. Captain John Stanley of Connecticut.
5. John Pynchon, so it appears, always had to pay the public charges, both because of his offices and his wealth. Then he had to try to collect from the colony’s treasury.
6. Captain George Colton of Springfield.
7. Both melting snows and torrential summer rains periodically flooded the intervale lands of the Connecticut Valley.
8. Read signing of or signature for signement.
1. Lieutenant John Schuyler.
2. Major General Fitz-John Winthrop commanded the Connecticut forces; he seems to have been at Springfield at this time.
1. Captain Andrew Belcher, in 1692 chosen a deputy to the General Court for Springfield.
2. Part, or Christian profession.
3. A detailed re-examination of the relations between New York and New England is much needed.
4. The “young Captain” was one of the Indians accused of the murders at Deerfield. Throughout this episode Pynchon strove hard to be fair to all parties.
1. The Deerfield murders aroused bitter resentment in the entire populace of the upper Connecticut Valley. This letter should be read together with Sheldon’s other materials taken from the Massachusetts Archives in his History of Deerfield.
2. The Pynchon manuscripts are particularly important for a history of colonial communications and travel, and it is striking to find that in 1693 there was so much emphasis on roads for “travellers.”
3. John Pynchon here speaks his mind about public policy and frontier defense, knowing full well that he must obey such orders as might issue from Boston. There is nothing timorous in this letter, and for a man of his advanced age he shows both decisiveness and a capacity to act.
1. Birch bark sewn into containers for powder; they varied widely in size.
2. French Indian parties from Canada often invaded New England, bent on tribal warfare or attacks on the English, by way of Maine. Pemaquid was the easternmost fortification manned by the colonists.
3. Lake Champlain.
4. Once again, John Pynchon sees the hand of God in the ordering of human events.
1. A Captain Samuel Partrigg or Partridge was the representative of Hadley in the General Court. The representatives for Massachusetts at Albany were Samuel Sewall and Penn Townsend. John Pynchon accompanied them in a military capacity, but also looked upon it as a civil one.
2. Pynchon was sixty-eight years of age at this time.
3. For details about this claim, see Massachusetts Acts and Resolves, vii, 440, 571; also the petition of Pynchon that follows on 12 November 1696.
1. It is clear from this letter that delays and indecision about frontier defense in western Massachusetts originated in Boston rather than at Springfield. John Pynchon had made a sound estimate of the situation, stood ready to act upon receiving orders, and gave no indication of assuming authority that he did not possess.
2. Schenectady, New York.
3. Lieutenant Governor William S tough ton held office from November 1694 until 26 May 1699, when the Earl of Bellomont was proclaimed governor.
4. Bostonians such as Sir William Phips and other New Englanders often travelled overland to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to board one of the great (and more comfortable) mast ships that periodically sailed with a cargo of masts and spars for the dockyards of England.
1. Colonel John Allyn, Secretary of Connecticut.
2. William Stoughton.
3. The Province Galley was the only armed vessel operated by the Bay Colony, or, in fact, by any of the English colonies at this time.
4. Captain David Wells of Hadley.
5. Here garrison applies to soldiers on guard in a village and billeted there.
6. Captain Preserved Clap of Northampton.
1. A critical shortage of educated and capable leaders rather than nepotism impelled John Pynchon to recommend his grandson John for the clerkship.
2. Averness means a too positive attitude.
3. Pynchon was obviously much embarrassed by this whole affair.
1. The Ashuelot River.
2. For this boundary trouble, see, again, Bowen, The Boundary Disputes of Connecticut, 54–55.
3. The members of the Council of Connecticut.
4. King William III reigned alone after the death of Queen Mary, 28 December 1694.
1. George Sheldon printed this letter (unedited) in his History of Deerfield, 1, 249–253.
2. Fitz-John Winthrop.
3. Indian Harvest was the time of gathering in corn or maize, beans, and pumpkins.
4. Wigantennck may have been Housatonic; otherwise it is unidentified.
5. As colonel of the Hampshire forces John Pynchon was still quite active in Indian and military affairs at the age of sixty-nine.
1. See also the previous letter of 13 September 1695.
2. Maine and the seacoast of New Hampshire.
3. Deerfield River.
1. It took nearly a year, from 12 November 1696 to 15 October 1697, to obtain official approval for this payment.
1. There had apparently been a major battle with the Indians of which no record remains save this letter. Sheldon did not know about it; see History of Deerfield, 1, 258–260
1. Peace was concluded by the Treaty of Ryswick, 30 September 1697. Pynchon meant the Scaghticoke Indians when he wrote Soatuburb.
2. Savage behavior.
3. Here the South Indians probably included the Scaghticokes and possibly also the Mohicans of the Hudson Valley near Albany.
4. Sic; not otherwise identified.
5. Probably a hasty slip for Benjamin Fletcher, governor of New York, 1692–1697.
6. The Indians.
7. Law or laws.
8. Copy of the original in a clerk’s hand.
1. Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, governor of Massachusetts from 5 March 1697 to 1701. At this time he had not yet arrived in Boston.
2. The peace negotiated at Ryswick was proclaimed at Boston in December 1697, but not at Quebec until 22 September 1698. The French Indian allies did not know of the ending of the war until the latter date.
3. By the Albany Indians Pynchon refers not to the Mohawks but to the Scaghticokes.
1. Governor Fitz-John Winthrop, chosen in May 1698; before this he was the colony’s Major General.
2. Soon renamed Woodstock, Connecticut.
3. Shetucket, Connecticut.
4. The Pocumtucks, now living in New York at Scaghticoke on the Hoosic River.
5. So far as we know, this was John Pynchon’s final official military act.