TO GOVERNOR SIR EDMUND ANDROS
Colonial Office 1/65, No. 51, Public Record Office, London
[Springfield, 21 August 1688]
Had I known you were returned to Boston I should have addressed myself to you last week when I sent a post to Brookfield and Worcester with the intelligence that they might beware, etc.; then also I wrote to Major Hinchman ordering Captain Wing1 to speed away my letter with the account to him who I desired to give notice further, so that I suppose you have had advice of all. When I came home from New London, I speeded away to Northfield with about 20 or 24 soldiers and in two days’ time had three houses there fortified, one at each end of the town and one in the middle, left three men with them, one for each garrison and so returned about the 9th instant, leaving all well and in a hopefully good condition, nothing appearing, only that those strange Indians we suppose which did the mischief on our Indians at Spectacle Pond2 were as was thought returned that way. For an Englishman that was coming down to Hadley a few days before I went up, about three miles on this side of Northfield saw several Indians, some sitting, some standing and walking, at which he returned to Northfield and gave an account thereof. Whereupon they sent out 12 men, some of whom came up with the Indians, called to them, asked them to come to them; one came so near that they saw the Indian take the bullets out of his mouth to speak; and 2 or 3 more stood with their guns ready. But when they saw more English, for at first there were but 2 coming up, they drew away. The English pursued them, but could not overtake them, they made such haste away, leaving a kettle, etc., and night coming on the English were forced to return. The next day our people of Northfield (who found three of their swine killed, which the Indians for haste had left, one of them they had boiled some of it and carried away the rest) pursued the Indians, and by their tracks followed them about 12 miles till they came to hard stony ground and brush where they lost their tracks and could not possibly find any more signs of them and so returned to the town. This was what I heard and met with when I was at Northfield, and there as aforesaid set the people in good posture, and they were then courageable and thought themselves with their three fortifications (I having left only a man for each, which they reckoned might be sufficient with their own) secure, and I doubt were too secure. For the men being in their meadows at work and very few in the towns, on the 16th of this instant about the middle of the day some Indians came upon the north end of the town where is most hollows and uneven ground and presently killed three women kind whom they knocked down and two men, one of them they run through with a spear and the other they shot down, and were gone in a trice. The men being alarmed and coming from their work up into the town saw not an Indian, for they were all gone off clear. Upon the intelligence I presently sent forth 50 soldiers from the several towns here, for their relief and to seek after and pursue the enemy, from whom I now have this account that they presently sent out scouts but could not discover the Indians; only one Englishman who was wanting they found killed, being shot down as he was mowing, for he was fallen over his scythe and his scalp the Indians had taken off. The day after our soldiers marched out in two companies, ranged the woods and cannot find which way the Indians went nor discover anything, only in a piece of Indian corn about three or four miles from the town where some English had planted they find some Indians feeding and many stalks of corn that the Indians had sucked. Our men next day went out in two companies on both sides of the river, about 20 men in a company besides some scouts, but discover nothing and are much discouraged by the badness of the way, yet are endeavoring further and will do their utmost for discovery and desiring the enemy, whom doubtless are drawn off for a few days, and will lie still for a while or go to another place, and where the shock will be next none knows. And when our men come off from Northfield they will be in great hazard, being so few in all. When I was there I called them together and had a list of all and they were but 29 men (and one old man made 30) and now that they have three of their men killed by the Indians, they are but 26 and most of their harvest is to get in, it being more backward there. So that it is difficult to secure and hold the place, and for them to draw off (which they incline to) is a damage to the whole and must not be allowed. They write to me for 24 or 30 men to garrison the place which we cannot afford them; our towns are weak, none of any great strength, Northampton the best, the next is this town, which consists much of out-farms and a few houses together; the town plat3 indeed is tolerably safe. But above half our people are abroad and at a distance from the town three or four miles each way. So that securing such places which are in as great hazard is most absolutely necessary; some I call in, others I cause to fortify and afford them help; and have sent 6 men to Brookfield to fetch off the women and children, they calling for assistance, whom I have directed to go to the Bay. We have now at this time about 30 of our men taken off by sending some to Northfield and other places and are not alarmed by one of our men discovering an Indian in the woods and others hearing a gun go off where we are assured no Englishman is nor any Indian except enemies. I am sending out scouts and ordering our people in the best way for safety; but, sir, we cannot hold it against sudden incursions of the enemy if our people be taken off to other places, so that I must be forced to call our men home, and therefore request some soldiers may be sent thence out of hand to keep garrison at Northfield and to hold the place; about 16 or 20 at least I propose for that place that we may have our own men to secure ourselves. I know other places also are weaker and need rather than to spare any, but I hope may hold it, except Deerfield, who may do well to have 6 or 8 sent them; and Brookfield also need men or must be in hazard, though their women come off which I direct to, that the men may be more free, etc. Sir, they want some arms at Northfield, some of their men have not firearms and I find some wanting in other places also, so that at least 20, if not more, firearms I desire may be sent and some ammunition. I lay the state of our people before you and trust you will afford such meet assistance as the case requires. I am not wanting in what I can and am as you cannot but know everyway called on, and beset, with complaints and desires and fully employed, am enforced to conclude and take to doing what is to be done,4 so that I hope you will excuse my scribbling. With due respects I am, sir,
Your humble servant,
[The following portion of this letter is addressed to some official of Connecticut, possibly the secretary, Captain John Allyn; it may be a copy of the letter to Governor Andros, with the postscript added.]
I have given an account to his Excellency at New York5 of matters so far as was then, only some things have occurred since. Have also sent to other places and given advice of things to Albany, sending two men thither last night, all which takes off our men, and truly our town is now pretty much emptied. I pray mind sending some relief to Northfield, if not to Deerfield, and some arms. The messenger hastens me and is impatient of stay, I lighting on him occasionally (else had sent a post to you) may possibly omit some things but shall be ready as occasion calls to give you further advice. The women at Northfield say that they saw only about 12 or 15 Indians, none knows what more they are; however, by sudden surprise and a skulking way they may do great mischief, and whether they have not a stronger party. From a good hand I have advice that Mr. Gibbons6 when he came from the Bay saw great tracks of Indians that had crossed the road about Worcester, whether between that and [torn] field or between that and Marlborough.
Colonial Office 1/65, No. 51, Public Record Office, London
[Springfield, 22 August 1688]
Yours of 25th instant I received yesterday at night; am very thankful to you, for your care of us and of the public weal in all parts, and for your intelligence; am improving your orders to Windsor and Hartford for some men to send to Northfield, the outmost town, a frontier to all, and most in hazard and remote from any; and besides being backward in their business have not yet got hay to keep their cattle in winter, and are much discouraged. So that some men are needful to keep garrison there; having made three fortifications which, when I was there, were almost finished, I doubt not now upon your orders, of men from Hartford, though arms I am somewhat doubtful of, because I know not that they have any stock or magazine to go to, and some of the inhabitants at Northfield have not arms for their own use. I have hitherto aided them with men from our towns in this county,1 who being weak, etc., our towns remote from one another, have been less able to spare our men, yet have regarded the public safety to some hazard of particular places, emptying Springfield at one time of near 30 men, most whereof are now returned, though some of this town are still keeping garrison at Northfield, whom I shall call home upon these of Hartford and Windsor arriving there. Our town though competently able, I hope with God’s blessing, to secure themselves if we keep our own men, yet being in several parts and living at a distance we are not in a posture to allow such help to others as if we were all together, or our parts being weak and hardly sufficient for their own defense, yet have put them in a tolerable secure way by fortifying and calling in some people in out [isolated] houses that were alone, and ordering them together where there were any likelihood of self defense in case of a shock, which yet we have not met with, nor anything further since that onset upon Northfield. The soldiers I sent thither have with great diligence sought after the enemy, being a parcel of resolute lively men, and cheerful in their work; above 50 of them divided themselves into two companies, went on both sides of the river, searched for tracks, could find none, went out eastward a day’s journey, lay out all night, and then bended northwest and so to the river again; cannot find which way the Indians went off, though they discovered their coming upon the town. But in going off they concluded they scattered themselves, because they can find no signs of them, which makes some think that the enemy might have canoes and go to them, and so go off by water; others judge they may be gone southward rather than northward, because our people’s search after them was mostly northward and eastward, with it most care and diligence. Our soldiers in their march and search found one Englishman of Northfield (who was wanting and not come in) slain where he was at work about four or five miles in the woods in a meadow, being fallen over his scythe, and shot into his body with two bullets. The Indians had taken off his scalp, but not stripped him, pulled off his right shoe but left it, and so they did of the persons they killed at the town; only they took the man’s gun and his coat, which is supposed he put off and laid with his gun when he went to work. Our soldiers were exceeding desirous to have met with the Indians could they have light on them, spent several days, about 6 days they were out, sometimes returning at night to Northfield, and then out again in the morning; the woods there very hideous and troublesome. After they found it tedious for their horses, they went on foot two or three days, but to no purpose, the Indians not being discoverable. Whether they may lie close and come on when all is secure, I know not, or whether they be gone off, yet it becomes us to be as watchful as if they were about us, for we know not but they may. Many reports of Indians sometimes, of their tracks otherwhile, seem about these towns. Some such things are probably true, but I cannot say anything is assuredly conclusive or certain, though some of our scouts which I sometimes [?] send out do conjecture they have met with Indian tracks, yet could not make such work of it as to be infallible. I am in expectation of the return of the post from his Excellency2 unless he were gone on towards Delaware. Last week I sent to Albany and hope about the middle of this week on Thursday to hear from thence. Shall not be wanting in my duty so far as I am capable and will be always ready to give you an account of matter as need may be. Sir, for arms to be sent up I judge it absolutely necessary. If you would order about 20 good firearms to be sent me by water3 and by the first vessel that need shall be furnished by paying for them. Some supply is extremely needed, and I request your care about it. With all humble service I commend you and all our endeavors to the blessing and guidance of Almighty God in whom we trust, and am
Your very humble and most faithful servant,
TO AN UNIDENTIFIED RECIPIENT
Josiah H. Temple and George Sheldon, History of the Town of Northfield (Albany, 1875), 117–118.
[Springfield, ? November 1688]
Last Sabbath-day morning, I had a post sent me from Northfield signifying that the enemy was about them by many demonstrations: the watch in the night discovered some to be about the garrison, heard Indians whistle; in the morning early a man that went a little way from the garrison found the cattle frighted, heard an Indian dog bark in the swamp. Eight men of the garrison soldiers that went out found tracks of Indians, some bare foot and some with shoes. They desired soldiers to scout out and prevent their doing mischief. I presently that very Sabbath day (knowing it would be too late if I stayed till they were destroyed and that it was better to prevent and might be a great check to the enemy our being beforehand) sent away 15 men from Springfield who readily attended; gave orders to the upper towns for more to make up 50.1 At Northampton Sergeant King cavilled about my power, hindered the Committee of Militia, told them Springfield men would not obey me (though it proved otherwise), that I had no power and they mattered me not and would not give 3 skips of a louse for it, said the Court could act nothing2 He and Pomeroy3 bid defiance to the old commissioned officers. Such a height of pride are matters come to here that nothing could or would be done by or from my orders and directions. But they said they would, if any came from Springfield, go as volunteers; and so there went about 10 men that way. In all upwards of 40 men went to Northfield, ranged the woods, returning last Thursday, but discovered nothing.4
TO ROBERT LIVINGSTON
Livingston Family Papers, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York
[Springfield, 16 January 1688/89]
Yours of 7th instant per your Indian I received last night, with the letters for Boston, and accounting it of great import to speed them away, especially that to his Excellency:1 as soon as ever I read yours and understood the contents I immediately took care for the dispatch of them and last night provided a man to whom after I had writ to the Governor I delivered all the letters (made up in one packet) before I went to bed and the messenger went on in his journey towards Boston this morning early. I hope the Governor2 may by this time be arrived at Boston, but we have had no certain account of his being returned. The last news I had was about the middle of December when I received a letter from his Excellency who was then at Kennebeck and forty miles up that river, and not finding the Indians intended to build a fort thereabouts to secure their winter quarters, and then to march with 200 or 300 soldiers to find out the Indians, whom by the best intelligence were but about 80 fighting men, but not certain. They had taken one notorious villain, who when they were bringing him before the Governor to be examined (resolving not to discover anything) cut his own throat, and ’twere well if all of them would do so, or else that some else might do it for them. It is said that his Excellency intended to be at Boston in a little time, and I have a few days since sent a man to Boston (if your letters had come a little sooner he might have carried them), whom I expect to return within these two days or very speedily after, and by him I hope to hear a further account which I shall readily impart to you and possibly also Major MacGregory3 may then be returning. If he come this way, one thing I think I intimated to you which was reported here, as if the Governor’s kinsman had been slain by the Indians, but I hope it was no such thing, because I have had no account of it by any letter and heard not of it since, so that I do joyfully recall that again as presuming and concluding it was not so; indeed news is so uncertain, except what by letters from goods hands, that I know not what to say to reports. We are now filled with news of great preparations in Holland against England, and more then so, viz., that the Prince of O4 with 500 sail of ships was put out to sea, and had aboard 40,000 Dutchmen, as also 40,000 Englishmen and as many Frenchmen, etc.; I will spare to speak what I hear. Only this I may say that I have seen a proclamation put forth by our King, wherein his Majesty says he hath undoubted intelligence of a great and sudden invasion from their neighbor country carried on with all imaginable secrecy, in tending to deceive us. But that he was in so good a posture as he hoped by the blessing of God he should be able to make them repent their unjust and rash attempt, stirring up his subjects to unite, telling them that nothing but being divided could hurt them. I have it not by me at present, and the Indian hastens back (as I am willing he should take this good season) intending to be returning this very day, else I would have sent you the proclamation, but suppose you have all from York and the news of the Imperialists prevailing upon the Turk who go down the wind apace. The Imperialists having taken Belgerun5 and other places so that the Turks are almost outed of Hungary. A notable exploit of Prince Louis, who with 3,000 horses attacked the Turks that proved to be (though to his surprise not understanding them to be so many) 15,000, but having advanced so far that it was too late to retreat encouraged his soldiers, who declared themselves willing also to fight for their lives which all did with such resolution and spirit that they slew 7,000 Turks, took many prisoners, made such a conquest that the Turks are like to lose that whole province. But whither wander I? I suppose you have whatever is come from England and it may be more and more particular account of the Dutch, their invading England,6 and upon what occasion. I pray God put a good issue to that affair. I hope some composure and compliance on each side may prevent that effusion of Christian blood which else will happen. I should better like to hear of all uniting together against the French, who are not the best neighbors beyond sea as I am afraid you and we shall find also here. Doubtless they will give what disturbance they can to the Senecas, who must be upon their guard and timely prevent their fortifying near them. I thank you for your intelligence, hope you will as further happens hand it to me as I shall any hence to you. Anything of yours that comes to my hand I shall carefully secure and convey. Give my service to Major Baxter7 and the rest of your gentlemen. The Indian would go to Westfield tonight, and so hastens that I cannot write to them anything of news you will impart. Please to deliver him the enclosed letter which hath lain some time at my house for want of opportunity to send it till now. I hope you will excuse my servant’s being desirous to serve so good a friend with anything I have, and being glad to hear from you and for which your every lines and intelligence, I give you many thanks and with all due respects to yourself and lady, I commend you to God and am
Your assuredly loving friend and humble servant,
These for his Honored friend Mr. Robert Livingston at his house in Albany.
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
m. a., cvii, 178
[Springfield, 5 July 1689]
Yours of 29th last past, per order of the Governor and Council, I received 2d instant, giving an account of the attack made by the Indians upon Cocheco,1 a solemn and humbling providence that God should suffer his people to become a prey, and their blood a sacrifice to the lusts and rage of those wild savages. I pray God awaken us that our ways pleasing him, he may yet appear for us. I have (with thankful acknowledgment of the Governor and Council’s care for us) according to desire and advice, given notice to all the towns about to be in the best posture of defense that may be; but truly on many accounts we are in no good posture, particularly in that officers are unsettled. For that an order hath lately been improved in some of the towns (by Sergeant King)2 for a new choice where were officers standing and under most sufficient settlement, who had their commissions from the former government;3 which also hath disquieted some others that were quiet before, a discontented party being gratified, who account they have now liberty to do what they please without consulting.
Though advice from them to desire the common welfare and peace and [to] understand matters might be of use, but I meddle too much; [and] desire to acquire and shall do my utmost for the public good, which I heartily seek, and shall prefer above all. We are very open and extremely exposed; and it is worth consideration whether it be safe for the people at Northfield to continue there, they being but nine or ten families, some having deserted the place and [fled] so far up in the country, near 30 miles above Hadley, and we are unable to spare any men if need should be, when probably also it will be too late, unless the Council now beforehand see cause to send and order men there to lie in readiness against a shock. What the shock hath been at Cocheco you had not then I perceive any particular account when you wrote, but suppose may since have the particulars and a full knowledge of all which I should be willing to hear, and what proceedings may be against those enemies or whether any of them be slain. The Lord I hope will stir up to all suitable endeavors after taking vengeance on those enemies (not only of mankind but) of God himself whom we are greatly to implore, and the more where men and means fail that he would take the work into his own hand and show his power. I had thought (as I have hinted to the Governor formerly) some of the Maquas might have been improved, though some of the Eastern Indians have endeavored to forelay4 us there, but cannot prevail; and the Maquas being now all employed against the French (which I reckon good news) that opportunity is lost at present of getting them now. I mentioned in my last to the Governor that 20 or 30 Eastern Indians were at the Maquas, which in part is so. But they were not quite at the Maquas land, only were tampering with the other Indians short of them, and the Maquas sent to forbid their coming to them, unless they would come to join with them, and go now along with them against the French, which is all the talk there and the great design in those parts.
Mr. Robert Sanders spake with those Eastern Indians some distance from and beyond Albany but short of the Maquas Country, and found them discouraged and hopeless seeing the Maquas and all that side of the country was bent against the French, thought that they must join with them and lay aside their war against English, which they inclined to upon my further moving them. But not I fear they, I mean the Eastern Indians, now on this success will all take heart and let us take the more heart to follow God with our prayers night and day and never to give him rest5 till he hath made our Jerusalem a quiet habitation. With the tender of my humble service, I am, sir,
Your assured friend and servant, John Pynchon
[In margin on 1st page, at note 2:]
The order was never sent to me and I have it not, though said it and I think it is mistaken and misimproved by some who act most. I pray send it to me.
John Pynchon, Esqr., his Letters received the 8th of July 1689 and communicated to the Council 1689.
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
m. a., cvii, 239
[Springfield, 30 July 1689]
Yours of 17th instant I received not till the 26th, whereby I perceive what the Convention1 had agreed about sending to the Maquas is delayed. God overrules all things and works about his own purpose. Had it speedily been when I first intimated it, probably some check might thereby have been e’er this upon the Eastern Indians, but now (though I have not lately heard from Albany) according to what account I had, they are all gone out against the French, which if true (as I hope it is) may yet be of good use to us. The least cloud arising for our shadow if but as a man’s hand is to be acknowledged as from our good God, who chastises his people for their sins that they may repent and so I trust he will give us of his grace so to do and enable us thereby truly to turn to himself, and then arise in his own time for his people’s deliverance. The improving the Maquas and Senecas in my poor opinion seems a probable way (though our relying must be only on God alone) to effect some destruction on the Eastern Indians; yet there are inconveniences in using them (which I am afraid of), both from our own people, which possibly may be boisterous towards them, and also from themselves, they being a proud people; their men may possibly run into some insolencies at least will be apt to provide for their own bellies, by the destruction of some cattle that may come in their way and how to ride clear of such things is the difficulty, which yet may not happen, and I hope they (having been always friendly to the English) may be so treated as may be preventable thereof. However, they being gone from home, the season at present is lost till we hear of their return and what success they have against the French, if they went thither, which I take for granted. I had much rather others should be employed and that the business might wholly be managed by others (in your sending to them) than myself,2 and shall be heartily glad thereof, yet am willing wherein I am able to do any service which God and his people calls me to; but it is almost too hard a journey for me, who knows the difficulty of it (as well as charge, having formerly been employed, and I believe there are some arrears which the country did not fully discharge). And in so expensive a place as Albany is (which I have always found to exceed what is sufficient in other places), besides whatever you will allow to and upon the Maquas, there must be and can’t be avoided the expending of money, by whomever you employ, which they had need to go furnished with, and you have fit persons at hand to entrust it with, or here may be some men had in these towns which are in the way and nearer, that I can direct to if you give orders. However, I shall not decline anything that may be a service and for the country’s good, so far as I am capable thereof and able thereunto. That which you sent for Northfield, I handed it to Mr. Tilton3 as soon as I received it.
Concerning the disorders and irregularities of the soldiers in this county which you mention, I have not been wanting to allay the same. But there is a party at Northampton who fall in with Sergeant King, or rather that are stirred up by him, who do so blow up discontents against their former officers as make it difficult, and I understand it was carried on in design by himself that he might be captain; and it hath so far prevailed that he is nominated for lieutenant, having so many relations, as I am informed about 32 in that town by marriage and blood, who have holpen it on and are the faction in that business, Medad Pomeroy4 joining with them and being of them (which also helped him to the place of deputy) when as many of the most sober and considerate men are otherwise disposed and would rest in and with their former officers who were commissioned before May 1686, and they cannot justly object against any of them, only Ensign Baker5 out of his modesty not carrying the colors the first Training Day after he had his commission (their old ensign who desired and had his discharge because he was removing to Northfield, besides his age) being then there on their last Training Day in that year, and not actually gone officiating). They say Baker never accepted his place, though he took his commission that day which I sent up to Captain Cooke6 to deliver him, only he did not deliver it at the head of the company, because the old ensign that was removed to Northfield was then on the field with the colors, and so Baker is none. This is their say: for it being the end of the year that he had his commission, before they had another Training Day in the spring; the change of government was who[?] put in another ensign bearer (whom now that party would have to be their new captain), and so Baker was prevented of officiating in the place, till now that the present authority hath restored him; and I apprehend they are as well with their former officers, viz., Captain Cooke, Lieutenant Hawley7 and Ensign Baker stated and commissioned by the General Court, as they can be if not better than by the new ones they intend to present. I know they make a rattle about Captain Cooke being removed to Hadley, which takes with children, and so it pleases them; but your Honors are able to judge of these things and of your own order, which is very good and necessary. Yet in all generals there are particular cases that call for dispensations, which you know how to improve to advantage. I can truly say I have no spirit in the business, neither for the old ones, or against the new ones that some design only would improve reason and judgment in the case and the peace of the place and would despise an office that should disturb it, which I prefer above all the offices in the world. I believe a word from the Governor and Council according to your late explanation and declaring July 4 (directed particularly to Northampton), that these officers commissioned before May 1686 stand good and are to be attended to, would fully settle all. However, that they are their officers for the present and till new are commissioned; this I hold them to, telling them (for I would be open in anything I do) that law, gratitude to some of them for formal service, and religion calls on them to own them and attend to them till new have commissions. And that they must own them for their Committee of Militia and not four men which (to salve matter) they would have the town appoint for that service, which I told some of that faction as the law did not allow it, so it was against reason and there was no need at all of it. Since they had officers standing in commission on the 12th of May 1686 not yet displaced by the government that were by law stated the Committee of Militia, and if any of them were absent (which they could not now say of Captain Cooke, because he is come again to Northampton), the sergeant or next officers by law were a supply, and were their Committee of Militia in want of commission officers (without finding and creating a new way of their own devising), which was clear and fast by law, and could not but be so plain to themselves as that they ought to yield obedience to them for the present. For it was not for the new which they had nominated to take it upon them, till they had their commissions and were allowed of at least by the Governor and Council having declared the former were in place till no more allowed. This I hope (with more I said) will issue their disquiets, and I understand it satisfied the most sober, who like it best to be as at present they are, and ‘twill doubtless be a settlement, and the best settlement for the present, if signified to them and they ordered thereunto (according as the law is) by the Governor and Council.8 I now leave to your Honors to act further as you see cause and otherwise, having given the reasons of my advising and directing as I have declared whatever my poor thoughts and weak opinion was, and is. I shall be highly well pleased if you see cause to act and do otherwise, for as I ought not (and in some measure have learned, not) to lean to my own understanding, neither in this nor in any other public concern. So I know it is duty for me and them to acquiesce in what you shall determine, and indeed I advised seeing they urged so much Mr. Baker’s not acting by his commission, or officiating formally (the reason whereof being clear that he was prevented then) that he might suspend a little while for the present, that the discontented party might apply themselves to your Honors. I also advised them to lay the case of Captain Cooke’s being at Hadley a while before your Honors also and till then to be given and act as I gave them direction, and I suppose they have done it and that you will and have a great deal from that party unless they rest in what advice and orders I have given them, as indeed you have too much from me, especially not being very well but much indisposed, only my great desire of peace and unity together with that high respect I have for yourselves and the good settlement of the country hath driven me on for your information and not any inclination to be meddling, for I could be right glad of a discharge that might not be concerned. But something being by your letter hinted you would have me to do to their quiet settlement, I pray God direct you further and pour upon you his sevenfold spirit of wisdom, etc. There is also another small place called Enfield near me and the next place to Springfield of all our towns and was a part of Springfield and managed and ordered by a committee of Springfield men, myself one of them, whom I hear have sent the choice of some persons to have them commissionated, which they industriously kept the knowledge of from me till one of the soberest men there (who told me he as well as divers others knew nothing of their sending till afterward) lately acquainted me with it, and that though they may write in the name of the inhabitants, yet many of the inhabitants, he said, knew not of their writing.
But by the order Sergeant King sent they proceeded to choice if, as some of them call it, of a lieutenant and ensign, when as they are but 34 in all and no more. Possibly being a new place they may soon attain more, and be more fit for commissioned officers, but at present they may well rest with sergeants, and so I declared to them, giving it under my hand that they should attend to those that were their sergeants in the former government and out of a desire to comply with them (they having laid by the most principal man in all respects) I appointed three though two I reckon else would be enough; but as I judged it the most of them I discern plainly like well and best of what I have done, but a party that are otherwise disposed answered me, at least one that was the mouth (being one of them they have presented to him a commission) said in these words: they had chosen commissioned officers and them they would obey; [I] replied they would do very well in so doing when they had such; in the meantime I expected they should attend to the sergeants now appointed them (and that had been in that place) as such for the present, till they had commissions for them. And I humbly propose whether it may not be meet to signify so much from yourselves that they not being capacitated according to la[w] for commissioned officers, at present are to rest in sergeants accordingly, till I shall move for them. This I conceive would wholly quiet them, and indeed for all companies to advise with or at least acquaint their respective field officers with such as they desire should have new commissions, before they present such persons or have them allowed, will in my opinion be most peaceful, for ‘tis kept from them only where there is a faction or some design not withstanding all their artifice at Enfield and contrivance getting all more age to vote. Yet the man whom I suppose to be most meet (and so do themselves all but four or five men if one were to speak with them from man to man) wanted but one vote for which I understand also some tricks were used (and they durst not try it again) by those that strived against him, however were afraid he would carry it, and they hastened their matters least it should come about again and prove his due. Nothing of any news here is come to my hands meet to impart, except the Lord’s contending with us very sorely by sickness. Captain Glovers9 died the middle of last week, another person at the end of it, some more in great danger, my wife who hath had a sore fever for a week lies in a doubtful condition, myself though gently handled yet have some spice of fever. The good Lord teach us and gain us to himself by every rod. We have also frequent tidings of the discovery of Indians skulking about our towns. Colonel Allyn from Hartford on the 25th instant writes, we have [our] Indians’ reports daily, of some strange Indians in our woods, which our Indians discover, so that they are afraid to stir. About the end of last week I had an account from Northampton that they had received intelligence from Northfield that a lad there saw an Indian that had taken up his stand between the two garrisons (one of them being a small one which secures their passage to and from their meadows); some men going to the place saw his stand and the bushes set up, etc., but the Indian was gone; also in some other places skulking Indians have been seen that we are alarmed thereby. An Indian I am informed came very lately into Hatfield, seeing the people at a burial came up to them and told them he was a hunting up the river at the great meadows (which are I suppose more than sixty miles above Northfield) where he saw and spake with a parcel of Indians come from the French at Canada and told him they had a commission from the French to kill Indians in these parts or English; and they might kill him but that they knew him and being of their nation they let him alone. And so he came presently to give us notice of our danger, and that some speedy care must be taken to call them10 off from Northfield or to send up some men to secure them there. I formerly laid the case of Northfield before your Honors and desired your sending 16 or 20 men thither, which I request may not be delayed; and your further orders are necessary, either your appointing some others to manage affairs here which I like best, or strengthening my hands (some questioning everything) by some full and plain orders which there is need of, some reckoning all but a show of government throughout New England. Indeed that wonder-working providence of God in the late changes shows that it is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes, but it is a cloudy day to the envyings, revilings, uncharitableness, and falseness that is found among us, call for darker providence, but it may be God will drive back the cloudy day, and melt by his own mercies and lead us to repentance by his goodness. Oh that it might be so. It is time to seek the Lord that it may be. So I beg my confused lines, begun to yourself that are for the Governor and Council and sometimes I find are in the plural number as to them, which are too much scribbled and indistinct, may be excused both for their tediousness and the scrawls, it being too hard for me to write them over again which is a great shame that I should count it hard to mend. With the tender of my best respects and humble service to the Government Deputy and all the Gentlemen of the Council, desiring the Wonderful Councilor, the Prince of Peace, to sit among them, counsel and guide them in ways of peace and righteousness, and to give us peace and quiet at home and within also as well as from abroad in his due time, I am sir,
Your assured friend and humble servant,
Just as I was about finishing these lines I received a letter from Mr. Tilton subscribed also by Mr. Partridge and Mr. King as the Committee for Northfield intimating their having received that order for their being a committee, etc., and that meeting to consider about the present necessity of relief by some garrison soldiers forthwith to go up or else to draw the people off. The latter of which (they say) they must have better advice before they can incline to it; the former which (they say) they incline to, needs (to take their own words), as we judge, the accommodation of 20 men especially at this time for the obtainment of which we see no way but for yourself to put forth the power devolved on you for impressing of men accordingly, the Committees of Militia here being dull and unhinged in the work without your warrant, which will thoroughly supply all their defects and scruples. If you will by warrant gather the number out of the country the thing will be effected; and these are their own words. I shall take occasion hereby and have fair opportunity to gain Mr. Tilton’s approbation of and countenancing the former officers in Northampton to officiate, which I find now he, as also Mr. King, comes to about and so I hope that affair (having your fiat) will be settled. I am now about ordering 20 men out of the county out of hand which will be more difficult to obtain than you can imagine, by reason of sickness, and at present must be out of the three next towns, Deerfield excepted, because they rather need supply also; but will take care to dispatch away some to keep garrison, etc., at Northfield; it may be for a week or thereabouts till you may send supply and further orders which I wait for, and whilst I am shall attend.
Your humble servant,
These for the Honorable Isaac Addington, Esqr., Secretary for the Colony of the Massachusetts in Boston.
Letter from Major Pynchon received per August 1689 and communicated to the Council.
m. a., cvii, 58
[Springfield, 10 August 1689]
Just now about 10 of the clock is come to my house an Indian sent from Albany with an account of affairs, which they desire me to forward to Boston. I have accordingly sent a man on purpose and am enforced to impress a horse for him because he hath none. You will I hope take care the man be paid for his journey and send me money to pay him whose horse it is; men are unwilling to go without pay. I have sent you the original and all that is come to my hands with the letter to myself from the magistrates of Albany, reckoning it to be of import your perusing of all. Only one other letter I received from Mr. Richard Pretty1 which, being of personal concerns the most of it, I shall only transcribe such passages as may be of public use as followeth: of the Five Nations of our Indians there is gone about 900 against the French five weeks since to Cattaraque,2 but have not one word of them since. But it is reported that the 400 that went lower on Canada have done much mischief to two towns, taken rich plunder and killed some. There is now also gone 90 Maquas and 30 Scaghticoke3 Indians to fight against the French or Indians. Long for news from England of war with the French that they may have our help to take Canada, and we shall never be at rest till we have Canada. I think it would do well if the authority of Boston did send to our Five Nations 8 or 10 barrels of powder and 1000 weight of lead4 as a present to their soldiers with thanks for their sorrow for their brothers that are murdered by the Unnagunges5 and 2 or 3 pieces of duffels to give the sagamores underhand. This war of theirs with the French is a war of their own and if they lose men they can’t say it was for the Christian service, we not employing them; what is done underhand by advice to them is another thing; we shall be glad to have the French rooted out if war be proclaimed against France. I formerly communicated my thoughts about sending to the Maquas which hath been delayed long, from the time I first of all hinted it. If you send now I see not how it is possible for me to move from home, my wife being dangerously sick and I cannot stir from her if she continue in this weak posture.
I gave an account of the state of Northfield and have no return from you of any thence to garrison it; there be some from these towns there for the present, but they cannot stay long and, possibly, I may be accounted too busy to do what I do though it be to secure them. Last Sabbath day morning I had a post sent me signifying that the enemy was about them by many demonstrations. The watch in the night discovered some to be about the garrison, heard Indians whistle. In the morning early a man that went a little way from the garrison found their cattle frightened, heard an Indian dog bark in the swamp, 8 men of the garrison soldiers that went out found tracks of Indians, some barefoot and some with shoes, etc. They desired soldiers and to scout out and prevent their doing mischief; I presently that very Sabbath day (knowing it would be too late if I stayed till they were destroyed, and that it was better to prevent, and might be a great check to the enemy our being beforehand) sent away 15 men from Springfield, who readily attended, gave orders to the upper towns for more to make up 50. At Northampton Sergeant King cavilled about my power, hindered the Committee of Militia, etc., told them Springfield men would not obey me (though it proved otherwise). I had no power and they mattered me not and would not give three skips of a louse [as] forsayed; the Court6 could act nothing. He and Pomery bid defiance to the old commissioned officers. Such a height of pride are matters come to there that nothing would or could be done by or from my orders and directions, but they said they would if any came from Springfield go as volunteers, and so there went about 10 men that way. In all upwards of 40 men went to Northfield, ranged the woods, returning last Thursday, but discovered nothing. I reckon I must cease unless you give further orders to approve of what I have done, that I may not be obnoxious (as the commission officers at Northampton are) to the derision of Mr. King and Mr. Pomery and such others as join with them, but I check myself and will say no more. All pecked7 at the Captor of our salvation, who endured the contradiction of sinners. I desire to lay my hand on my mouth and in patience possess my soul, laying myself at the foot of God and humbling myself under his mighty hand. Any good I can do for the country I shall be always ready and willing to, but most willing and glad to have a discharge from service and trust, begging your pardon for all wherein I have failed. I am, sir,
Your honor’s humble and faithful servant,
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
m. a., cvii, 291
[Springfield, 26 August 1689]
Yours of 2nd instant per Mr. Belcher,1 etc., I received yesterday as I was going to meeting, and although as matters are circumstanced with me now, it is a little too hard for me to go to Albany at this time, yet that I may not be wanting if my poor mite may contribute anything to the service and advantage of the country, I addressed myself to obey your commands and sent the gentlemen word (who went by Hartford) that they should go this day to Westfield, whither we must all go, it being the way for them and me, and there I would meet them, and hope presently to mount in order to my getting thither this night, having just now dispatched all my orders to the several Committees of Militia in each town for impressing the number of soldiers appointed, ordering them to rendezvous at Northampton as directed, though not the suitablest place and least need of men. But give me leave humbly to suggest that as the proportion 64 for this country2 is far beyond the proportion of other countries, we being in all but 500 soldiers. So the shattered condition of most of the towns here, all being as it were frontiers, calls rather for men to garrison some of the towns that are scattering and extremely exposed and all our towns sick, that I doubt the number can’t behold3 of well men, so that I trust you will see reason to abate all thoughts of calling them out of this country who need more to be added for its security. The good Lord direct you aright, and manage all the momentous concerns for you, which are under hand. Begging your prayers for divine direction in the affair you have betrusted us with, that the Lord would guide us in every way pleasing to himself and for his people’s good with most humble service, I am, Honorable sir,
Your faithful and humble servant,
Livingston Indian Records, 147–148
[Albany, 30 August 1689]
Since we are sent by the colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut to treat with the Maquas and our nations westward,1 we have discoursed with the Mayor, Aldermen, and Justices of the City and County of Albany about the business, who concur with us that some sachems and chief captains be sent for accordingly; but you are to take especial care that this message do not hinder or divert their pursuit of their victory against the French, which we hear they lately had, at which we are much rejoiced. But rather tell them that we give them all encouragement imaginable to pursue the French vigorously; therefore it would be requisite that they fully empower two or three from each nation to come down and treat with us, that we may renew our ancient friendship, since we are here a-purpose for their coming, where we shall receive them with all kindness imaginable; it will therefore be very acceptable to us that you make what speed you can as far as the Senecas and acquaint them herewith according to the enclosed order of the Mayor.
Your loving friends,
Albany the 30th August2
PS: We are so far from hindering their pursuit against the French that if 2 or 3 of their sachems and captains cannot be spared, that they send one from each nation, so he be empowered to treat with us. It shall be equally acceptable at the juncture, which you may acquaint the Indians accordingly and let them come with all speed imaginable.
Albany, 20 August 1689
Very good friend:
These are to convey the enclosed instructions and order of the Mayor, which we desire that you may effect and further with all speed imaginable, since we stay purposely for their coming, and shall satisfy you for your trouble to content: You may tell the Indians by the bye that there are 2 men of war to the Eastward who have taken 10 French ships, who have sent for men to Boston to man said prizes. This is lately done, so it is supposed it is not very safe for the French at the mouth of the Canada River.4 This is all at present. We
Remain your cordial friends,
We hear that the General Convention5 is now at Onandaga, so that probably you’ll find all the sachems there, which will save you much trouble.]
PROPOSITIONS MADE BY THE AGENTS FOR MASSACHUSETTS, PLYMOUTH, AND CONNECTICUT TO THE “RIVER INDIANS, AS WELL MAHICANS AS SCAGHTICOKES”
Livingston Indian Records, 148–150
[City hall, Albany, 12 September 1689]
We being commissionated by the several colonies in New England, viz. Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, to renew the ancient friendship and league made by our predecessors with the Five Nations of Indians, viz. the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onandagas, Cayugas, and Senecas;
We understanding that you are subjects of this government1 and by that means wrapped and included in the chain or covenant made with the Nations, we do think meet to acquaint you of the great change or revolution of government in England and the quarrel now depending between the Protestants and Papists; our great King having united the English and Dutch to be as one, who are resolved to assist him with their lives and fortunes against all that shall oppose;2
Understanding that the French at Canada, with whose nation we are informed, by way of the West Indies, our great King hath proclaimed war, is now at war with you, who are in amity and in league with the Maquas and the rest of the Nations, and so consequently with us who are in the same chain with them. We take this opportunity to let you know that the Eastern Indians, our mortal enemies, have made incursion upon the out borders of our great King’s government to the eastward of Merrimack River and the places there adjacent.
Although we are not immediately concerned, it being out of our colonies, yet we should hold ourselves obliged in duty to stand for the defense of all or any of their Majesties’ subjects; and we do expect that you will account it your duty likewise to do your utmost to kill and destroy all of their Majesties’ enemies, and that you will not hold any correspondence with those of the Eastern Indians and will take all opportunity of advantage to destroy those of our great King’s and his subjects’ enemies.
Although we hear proclamation of war with France be made in England, yet we have not particular orders from our great King concerning that matter, but expect them daily, which, when we shall receive, shall not be wanting to do our utmost for the rooting out and extirpation of your and our enemies the French at Canada, which have been so treacherous to us both.
We have been informed of a report you have received from the Eastern Indians of a design the English had against you and all other Indians to mischief and destroy them, and also that we should have treacherously killed their sachems. We do now wash our hands of it and declare it to be utterly false, and that we never had any such thought, but on the contrary, when their sachems were sent for [they] were civilly used and had presents given them and [were] sent home in a sloop safely, but soon after they committed several murders and rapines; so that we can esteem those falsities no other than a stratagem of the French Jesuits, with whom they hold correspondence, to suggest such notions to them on purpose to set us at variance, which, if you adhere to, will undoubtedly prove destructive to you and your posterity. For our parts, we intend no evil against any Indians that will live peaceably with us, and to keep the chain betwixt us whole and do expect the same from you; and do heartily wish that those four Eastern Indians3 of our enemies which were with you had been by you secured as you were ordered by the gentlemen of Albany in their castles, which would have been very acceptable to our great King and very gratefully acknowledged by all their Majesties’ subjects.
PROPOSITIONS MADE BY THE AGENTS FOR MASSACHUSETTS, PLYMOUTH, AND CONNECTICUT TO THE FIVE NATIONS OR CANTONS OF THE INDIANS
Livingston Indian Records, 150–154
[City Hall, Albany, 23 September 1689]
We being authorized by the several colonies of New England, viz. Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, to renew the covenant chain of friendship which hath many years ago been made by our progenitors with you the Maquas, Oneidas, Onandagas, Cayugas, and Senecas, have accordingly undergone the difficulties of a hard journey to come to this prefixed place, and have sent for some of your sachems and chief captains to effect the same, whom we are glad to see safe come hither.
2. You have had notice of the late revolutions in England, where the late King James, being a Papist and a great friend of the French (who put a stop to your annoying and being revenged of the French two years ago), is removed from the throne and his son-in-law and daughter who ruled in Holland, and are professed enemies to the French interest, are sent for by the English to be king and queen in their father’s stead, by which means the English nation and the Dutch are not only united in a firm covenant chain, but are able and unanimously resolved to ruin the French King, having the most part of all the Christian princes in Europe on their side to join in that good work, for as the French of Canada have often broken their faith with you, so their king did at home with all his allies. Therefore, so long as the French king and the Jesuits have the command at Canada you can never expect to live in peace, it being their only study not only to decoy and treacherously murder your people, but to send evil emissaries amongst you as they did lately from the Eastward to delude and raise jealousies against your best friends, who have kept their covenant chain inviolable time out of mind.
3. We cannot but take notice of your kind answer to the interpreter last March, when he was sent to your castles to inform you how treacherously those villains [of] the Kennebec or Eastern Indians had murdered divers of their Majesties’ subjects without the least provocation, and were fled and therefore their associates or confederates to be looked upon and taken as enemies;1 when you did not only show your grief for the loss of so many of your brethren, the Christians to the eastward, but would endeavor to revenge their blood by destroying of those perfidious rogues, who broke their faith with you some years ago, and as you then did very well remark, it was by the instigation of the French. So we find by experience that that false nation doth set on the Eastern Indians with whom they have a correspondence to do these mischiefs. But since we are informed by the way of the West Indies that our great King and Queen hath proclaimed war against the French, as the Hollanders did last fall, which if true we doubt not in a short time to have orders from them to ruin the French of Canada, who are your and our avowed enemies, and by that means procure you an everlasting peace and tranquility.
4. We are glad to hear you had taken up the ax to be revenged of those perfidious French who so basely betrayed your people, and do heartily congratulate your late great success in your enterprise against them, not doubting of your further success if vigorously pursued, which we do recommend unto you in an especial manner, and for your encouragement we can assure you that the English and Dutch have taken and sunk many of the French king’s best ships of war, and that some Dutch ships are now cruising about the mouth of Canada River where they have taken ten French ships more.
5. We cannot but admire that the Maquas who have had so many proofs of the deceit of the Eastern Indians should suffer themselves to be deluded to hear any proposals whatsoever made by such villains, professed enemies to their brethren, the Christians, to the eastward; especially since they were so strictly charged by the Gentlemen of Albany not only to stop your ears and not to accept their false presents, but send them prisoners here; for by their own proposals you may judge what persons they are. They plainly tell you they are in amity with the French, your enemies, who supplies them with ammunition to destroy the English, and will never be wanting to furnish them with what they shall ask to do the same to you. We are further informed how falsely they have insinuated to you as if we had sent for their sachems and destroyed them, and that the English had combined to cut off all the Indians in the country. Such notorious falsities are invented by the French priests to try your steadfastness and to make you become like the waves of the great lake. But we can assure you that their sachems when sent for, were not only civilly treated with presents and other tokens of friendship, but safely conducted home in a sloop, who for thanks fell upon the English and murdered them; neither did we ever intend any evil to any Indians that will live peaceably with us, but on the contrary do resolve to keep firm and whole the leagues or chain of friendship which so long hath been maintained betwixt us, in the doing of which you will always be safe, and since we are informed that the 3rd castle of the Maquas utterly refused to have anything to do with these four Eastern Indians, but by all means would have sent them as desired, which was the occasion of their parting from the rest, we must acknowledge them to be prudent people, who have a great veneration for the chain of friendship and therefore we recommend you that have had this failure to follow their example for the future.
6. We expect that if any of the Eastern Indians, our enemies, come near any of the brethren of the Five Nations or within your reach or knowledge, you will not only deny them all manner of succor or relief, but will account it your interest to kill and destroy them, as well as the French, their confederates, which will be very acceptable to our King, and we his subjects shall take it as a signal mark of your fidelity.
7. We must further let you understand that there are divers of our friendly Indians, as those upon Connecticut River, Pequots, Mohegans, Naticks, and all Indians to the southward of them, who are in actual service against the Eastern Indians, and are linked in the same covenant chain with us, that you do them no harm when any of your people come near our parts, either in pursuit of our enemies or to visit your brethren among us, for the prevention whereof it will be requisite you have a sign, which for the first six moons will be by holding upright the butt end of your gun and for six moons after that holding up of both of your hands, and not above two to appear till such time as they be discovered to be friends, least some mischief might befall the brethren, which we should be much grieved at; and the same signs we will give to our people, both Christians and Indians, and when that time is expired we shall take care to send you new ones as occasion shall require.2
m. a., xxxv, 32
[Springfield, 30 September 1689]
After a long and tedious journey, God hath been pleased to give us safely to arrive at this place, and I presume your Honor will excuse my not waiting upon you at Boston in regard of my indisposition of body, Captain Belcher1 being most sufficiently able to give you an account of all matters, for Major Savage we left behind to come by water. We have endeavored with all faithfulness to manage the negotiation you employed us about and have improved our best will to do that which might be most for the service of the country and acceptable to your Honors,2 and hope it will so prove. The crowning our endeavors with blessed success is from him alone to whom we are all to look and acknowledge, and to have all our dependence upon, and not rest in anything but what may be well pleasing to him as tending to his honor and glory, which we have (I trust) conscientiously aimed at. The expense and charge which according to your letters of credit we have charged a bill upon you for, is about £219, which I hope will be carefully paid; some other expenses there are and will be, which take for granted you will also see shall be discharged, for we have been good husbands for the country as possible. The present some of the gentlemen at Albany thought might have been enlarged, but we were as careful to attend our instructions as might be, and have done that which hath been to good satisfaction and love to the brethren, [who] offered of their own accord to send some of their men to see us safe home. About 10 Maquas and one Seneca you will have an opportunity to discourse with, whom I hope will be civilly treated and entertained, and possibly may be willing to make a trip to the eastward3 (if moved thereto) before their return. Arnout, the interpreter, [is] coming along with them that you may have opportunity of discouraging them. The gentlemen at Albany who were very assistant to us are exposed to the French, desire 100 men for their relief, which I trust you will gratify them with. It will extremely expose all these parts if the French should gain that place and a timely prevention thereof is needful on all hands and I suppose the gentlemen of Connecticut upon your moving them will do their proportion; however, I request it may be seriously considered, for in truth there is great need of supplying them, and our own interest may well move to it. I hope you will also move the gentlemen of Connecticut to bear their proportion in this late expedition. Captain Bull, their agent, was a little tied up,4 but I understand their people are generally willing to it. I do not at present mind anything further needful for me to hint, writing being tedious to me, and Captain Belcher, a true servant to your honor’s, being fully able to give an account of all transactions, and hath all papers, and whatever is necessary for that end, so that I doubt not of your having full satisfaction and an ample account.
With my humble service to your honor, and all gentlemen that employed us, begging your pardon for anything of weakness and acceptance of our faithful endeavors, I crave leave to subscribe,
Your honor’s faithful and careful servant, though most unworthy,
TO GOVERNOR SIMON BRADSTREET
m. a., xxxv, 102
[Springfield, 5 December 1689]
Yours of 27th of November I received the 1st instant, and return you my most hearty thanks for the same, particularly for the news you therein imparted to me. I hope God will carry on all matters for the glory of his name, and accomplish all his great work according as he hath promised for the good of his church; though he makes us to wait, and ’tis our duty to seek them at his hands, and in a way of prayer and dependence on him, in his time we shall receive them. The great encouragement we have, that we speedily may have our charter, I trust will quiet and settle all moderate and well disposed spirits, and for others might they go off with those that are sent for, I persuade myself, the country could well spare them.1 Your intimation of the 28 Maquas brought by the French ships, etc., is a mischievous and ill design; I fear (if true) it may work much mischief to the country if the Lord prevent not, for we shall never be quiet as long as we have those ill neighbors the French at Canada and at the eastward girdling us about, and it would be great prudence to take this opportunity to disrest2 them, especially if Colonel Sloughter3 come governor to [New] York with 1500 soldiers. I hope it is in order thereunto and that the opportunity will be improved accordingly. Sir, I have not had any opportunity since the sending away the soldiers hence to Albany, to give your honor and the Council an account thereof. But I have exactly attended your orders, at least the last order, for you were pleased to abate some of the number 30 which was first mentioned, which sum indeed I could not gain out of this county; but some 24 I have sent away, being at Westfield myself to effect the business. I delivered them there to Captain Bull on the 18th of November and saw them all march away with his soldiers; in all near about 90 men. I will send a list of the names of the soldiers I sent out of this county to the Secretary,4 when I have a little more leisure. I found some difficulty in it than I could have thought, for in regard men here have been in service and can get no pay. I hope due care will be taken for their pay; and for the payment not of soldiers formerly employed, that the want of due allowance for former service may not obstruct in urgent and needful affairs. I request therefore that orders may be given accordingly. Our soldiers also were something troubled they had not a commissioned officer of their own; but I pacified them and appointed them a sergeant, and all was to Captain Bull’s acceptance. I find upon such occasions so much trouble to get arms and ammunition that some way had need be thought on to have a supply in each town of the country or else such things will not be attained. One man after he was impressed and particularly ordered to be ready, ran away, to the great discontent of some and to the emboldening of others, so that some of the soldiers told me if he were let escape (for what he did was with a high hand) they would also run away. I pray that some order may be to Mr. Tilton5 or as you see cause to animadvert upon him, etc. Please, sir, for the settlement and strengthening the hands of any in authority in this county, to send orders and commissions to them. Now that you have new orders and directions from England,6 which will be more available and effectual than former orders; I hope the Secretary will take care to mind it that it be accordingly done.
Sir, I fear I trouble you too much, beg your pardon, and with my humble service to yourself and Madam Bradstreet, craving your acceptance of these scrawls after the tender of all hearty and real service to all the gentlemen with you concerned, I commend you and all your weighty affairs to the gracious conduct and direction of that all sufficient one, who is the safe defense of his people and Israel keeper, and in him am,
Your Honor’s humble and faithful servant,
Edes Mss, Massachusetts Historical Society
[Springfield, 24 February 1689/90]
Yesterday I wrote to you in the behalf of Deerfield whom I know you will reckon to be in great hazard as well as Northfield, who yet abide (though I thought they would presently have drawn off). Being not able to come or have passage as yet, and some accounting it advisable they should continue being thereunto enabled by a good garrison, as the most advantageous place for having men set fit for discovery in sending out further upon the river upon scout; whereby we may gain timely intelligence of the enemy’s motions, the discovery whereof will be most beneficial to the whole. The consideration of which is therefore laid before your more judicious resolves, whether you may not find it your interest to afford meet strength for the garrisoning and continuing of the people at Northfield, as well as at Deerfield, who are in expectation of help from you, which I hope you have provided, and possibly are upon their march thither, begging your serious thoughts about it, advice, and help in the great strait and time of need, knowing that the quitting of those places will but draw the enemy lower and may bring them upon us and yourselves, which is necessary to prevent. If it may be obtained from you we being here in a mean condition and in great hazard need help also, but much more if the upper places should be deserted, which will be to our great discouragement in that it will advantage and animate the enemy, if your Honors cannot or do not afford relief and assistance at this time for the securing and holding of their Majesties’1 interest in these parts. I have been wanting in any account to your Honors of the state of our neighbors so distressed at Shenecktoke2 and their affairs at Albany because Stephen Lee3 told me he had brought letters to your Governor,4 and also the said Lee coming through your colony was able to mention more particulars than I and have only to say that the Maquas and those Five Nations are waiting to see how we will manage the war against the French, and if not vigorously by all New England joining together to reduce Canada they will be in danger to make a peace with and fall to the French, as finding, at least accounting, them the stronger parts. And I perceive that should our forces at Albany be now drawn off, the Maquas would reckon we give up all and so they would turn tail and then all the money in the country would not gain them again. However, it is safe for us to rely upon God and put all our confidence in him, though also it is our duty to be found in the use of all lawful means in which way we are to expect his help.5
Stephen Lee reported here that the French and Indians had a special aim to this town and a particular design against me and that he was afraid this place might be laid in ashes before he returned from Boston, which is a great discouragement to many of our people and particularly to Mr. Glover,6 but we have an all-sufficient God to go to and all our hope is in him who disposes seasons and orders instruments as he pleases. What help and assistance you can afford us I hope you will be ready to, and that you will communicate your good advice, counsel, and directions, begging your earnest prayers to God for us; to his grace I commend you and am,
Your humble servant, John Pynchon
We are extreme naked and open7 and can’t agree upon fortification, some being for one way and some another, so that I fear we shall lie to the mercy of the enemy, except that two or three particular places which will not be able to hold if the rest be destroyed.
These for Samuel Wyllys and Colonel John Allyn, Esqrs., and to the rest of the Gentlemen in Hartford.
m. a., xxxvi, 56
[Springfield, 12 May 1690]
On Saturday night the 10th instant, I received a letter from Mr. Stoughton and Mr. Sewall1 dated from New York, May 2d 1690, giving me accounts that for the strengthening Albany and furnishing out an expedition from thence against the common enemy, the Massachusetts proportion of soldiers to be sent shall be one hundred and sixty, desiring me to consider whether sixty of the aforesaid proportion may not be raised out of this county, and that I would dispatch my thoughts concerning the same to the Governor at Boston. Wherefore that I may be no ways wanting in my duty and readiness to promote his Majesty’s interest, and the good of his poor country, I shall freely give my thoughts concerning it, premising that the design of speedy furnishing and sending out men that may join with the Maquas and Senecas (who are almost discouraged that none from these parts have yet come to go along with them) is, I conceive, most absolutely necessary and to be hastened with all expedition; and 160 from this colony is no great number, which (not withstanding those that are already sent forth) will I suppose easily be had from the Bay, without 60 of them from this small county. I grant we are nearer to Albany, whither they must march, (though I have no account of the time when they must go), but the towns in this country are weak, scattered, and next to the enemy, and some of them desire (and need) help to secure them, as Deerfield (where we maintain out about 12 men on the scout, up to the West River, wholly out sometimes a week together on discovery) and one or two small places, namely Suffield and Enfield; many of the people are removed to Connecticut Colony, Enfield almost broken up, all which makes it hard and difficult to have so many hence with due care for the preservation of the towns, and that those that remain may not be exposed in case of an assault, for I do foresee that what men shall be ordered to go out of this county must all (or very near all) come out of four or five towns only, which is matter of due consideration, and I lay it accordingly before your Honor with all therewith, giving you an account of the numbers of men in those towns that they must be sent from.
Viz., Northampton are about 128 soldiers, Hadley’s number 66, Hatfield near about 80, Westfield 60, which towns must be acknowledged are pretty compact and together. Springfield are near about 120, but much scattered, and the men are in four parts, remote one from the other like so many small villages, viz., at the Long Meadow about four miles southward from the town 20 men; on the west side of the great river 28; at Skeepmuck full four miles north 12; other farms and places are come into the town and make in four garrisons only in the town plat about 60 men, so that being in so many parts, Springfield (though near as many as Northampton) yet are not capable of squaring2 men as those places which have all their strength together, for some of the remote parts of Springfield none can be taken from and what they spare must be out of them 60 or thereabouts in the town flat except one or so from where there is the greatest number, without. I mention not the other towns that are not capable of parting with any; and indeed Westfield are next to the enemy as well as Deerfield, if not more in their way in case if they come over the lake3 by Albany, so that it is hard to take any men thence. All this is only to give your Honor a right understanding of the state of this county, and a true knowledge of the number of men which considered with their lying open to the enemy and being nextly exposed, I leave it wholly with your Honor and Council and shall rest fully satisfied in what you proportion this county to send, not desiring in the least to withdraw from the public service, or to be wanting thereunto, and what you shall see cause to order from hence, as soon as I shall receive your orders therein, I shall apply myself to get ready. But I greatly fear arms and ammunition will be exceedingly wanting and difficult to get, especially arms, without a special order and warrant to impress them from such as have them, for though some of those that shall be ordered to go may have arms yet not all, and very few suitable arms for a march with, though useful and very serviceable at home. Wherefore I request sufficient orders about furnishing them well out, and I shall afford my best and utmost help and assistance towards the expedition, and as to due care for the preservation and security of them that stay, for which end we are at constant daily charge (besides watching, warding, fortification, and other preparations) of scouting out continually for discovery in every town of this county, I think I may say I am sure there never fail of four men every day with horses that go about 12 miles off the town for discovery and sometimes upon intimations of danger six or eight in a day, and this course we shall hold to prevent surprise, which the Lord give a blessing upon, else all is nothing. Indeed all that we can do will be vain without him, but we must do our duty and would therein wait upon him, and for his salvation.
Sir, one thing I crave leave further. Our soldiers I know will much desire and insist upon it, to have commissioned officers of their own (I mean such as they know) out of this county, especially if you should order so many as about 40 men hence, or more; and you may add to them so many from the Bay, or out of the next towns this way, as Marlborough, Sudbury, etc., so many more as to make up those of this county a captain’s company; they would be distinct as to their particular company or captain and not join with Connecticut therein, but only under that commander-in-chief, as all must be. I request you gratifying of them in this, for there were some discontents before winter, though but about 24 then of this county, that one of the commissioned officers were not out of this colony and county but that all were of Connecticut, though they had nothing against Captain Bull, yet they would show their soldiers’ spirit. Now it may in the first forming of company be eased, and if you please to send commissions drawn, leaving it to me to put in the names, lest if you nominate the man he should not be capable of going: (it may be through sickness, for we have many now ill, which will render it very difficult to raise soldiers here, and is a real thing though I forgot to mention it before), I shall faithfully attend your directions and order thereabouts. The Good Lord overrule all our endeavors and crown them with success and his blessing, which upon our true humiliation and reformation (which the Lord grant and spirits4 to) we may the better expect.
I long to hear whether you have any account of what progress Sir William Phips5 may have made or any other success against our enemies, it being here warmly told that 30 of the enemy Indians were slain at the Eastward6 with the loss only of 4 of our men, and that the Indians sue for peace, which if so, is to be feared is out of some wretched design. The Lord guide you in all your councils, send us good news from England, and health in our habitations, with peace in our borders in his due time. With my humble service to your Honor and the Gentlemen of the Council, begging pardon for these scrawls, I crave leave to subscribe
Your Honor’s faithful servant,
It is too much for your honor to take the trouble of writing to me, but if the Secretary or any best at leisure could give me a line of the state of affairs and what foreign news may be arrived, I should take it most thankfully.
w. p., xvii, 14
[Springfield, 17 July 1690]
It is not my intent to revive your grief and sorrow for your loss, which (as it hath made a separation from so near a union so) to nature must needs be grievous; but no worldly loss can, nor can this to you, be any separation from the fountain of all good, who remains the same, and gives grace to his to submit to him and see the better for his rod. So that the want of the streams, by the large enjoyment of himself, is most plentifully supplied to the unspeakable comfort of them that love and choose him for their portion, which I pray God grant to you and make up all abundantly more in the communication of himself to your soul. This will be an everlasting cordial, making pleasant not only the death of relations, but then we shall follow them, and die in the Lord; oh how sweet will it be (as for them so for us) to sleep in Jesus and be clothed with his robes of joy and glory, which the Blessed Lord fit and enable you and me for and give you all comfort and satisfaction in himself, that being filled with the fountain you may not find need of the streams. Sir, I have been moved, which is the main occasion of these lines (and indeed these troublous times put me on), to lay the state of the troop1 in this county before your judicious consideration. Whether it be meet wholly to give it up or to continue and settle it, or a troop here or hoe.2 For we are almost come to no troop now, though I think some few years ago this for a country troop was in as good a posture, and the troopers suitably spirited for service, well equipped, and generally as complete in arms, as most troopers or troops were. Until of late some discouragement have made some decline the service, and let their arms and furniture go to ruin, but most especially since February 12th 1689, when the General Court declared that troopers who listed upon account of privileges now abated should have free liberty to dispose of their horses, etc., and list themselves in the foot company; upon which many and generally the best of the troopers here have listed in the foot, disposed of their arms and furniture, some out of the country, and have left the troop. And besides the officers of the troop are taken off, many of them to the foot, and indeed it is a question whether now the troop hath any commissioned officers or any others almost, for thus it is with us. Myself, who from Sir Edmund Andros had commission (as otherwise so also) to be captain of the troop in Hampshire, am no captain thereof, the commission being antiquated and discharged ever since the Revolution,3 so that the troop hath no captain. Here by the way do not mistake me, or think I intimate as if I might, should or would retain it. No, were I in that place, I must, I should, and would lay it down [torn] My lameness, inability for mounting on horseback, etc., utterly incapacitating me, makes me that I may not, dare not, shall not [illegible] with it on any terms; being free, I resolve to keep free. So that there is now no captain of the troop; however, I have been and am ready to further their settlement, therefore have been silent about it. I might not discourage any till now to yourself and I shall follow your advice (myself being discharged) as to continuing and helping on any way of new settlement.
The lieutenant of the troop is Lieutenant John Taylor, who had his commission also from Sir Edmund Andros, and so it is antiquated likewise; though he hath affiliated since and deserves the place, and I suppose is acceptable to and would be chosen by the troopers if once in a settled state. The cornet who indeed had commission also before from the General Court,4 God hath discharged him, and he is not the quartermaster. The General Court lately sent him a commission to be captain of Hatfield so that the troop hath no commissioned officer, unless Lieutenant Taylor as afore received, and scarce any other officer. The clerk (who might have been improved) hath laid down, listed in the foot, hath served there, and will not return. The eldest corporal (who deserves exceeding well and might have been a commissioned officer as soon as any upon the late law) listed in the foot and since the General Court hath sent him a commission for their ensign, thus you see how broke the troop is. There is only a corporal besides what I have mentioned which may help to some supply, but more must be had, which will be difficult to get, and many of the divers troopers are gone off to the foot, and many more intend it, taking the advantage of the late law, which denies them any privileges, and at which many are too much disgusted. It being so chargeable being of the troop, that our country troopers, which are not so flush of money, find the burden of it, being denied their privileges, incline rather to serve in the foot, as being more easy, I mean less expensive to their estates. Though I believe might they but have the continuance of their heads and horses rate-free, which is a very small matter, many of them would yet continue though some are wholly gone off and will not return; yet possibly some others would list had they encouragement. Lieutenant Taylor5 tells me that he had speech with your Honor about it in the spring and that you told him you would not have this place without a troop, and hoped when these hurries were over something might be thought on and done to ease and help the business, wherefore I am bold to mind you, at least to crave your direction or advice whether to let it drop away, (as it doubtless will unless by some revival it be kept alive) or to spirit men to the service. In June last I had thoughts to have called the troop together which they have not been never since the Revolution, but advising with the Lieutenant (as we still call him) we apprehended it might be meet to forbear till I had writ to you and given you an account of matters as now I have done, and according as I hear from you, shall act, either in declining it wholly or promoting it by calling them together after harvest or when it shall be a leisure time and providence smile on the country of the design thereof; which I pray God graciously conducts and extricate us out of all those difficulties, his holy and righteous hand hath so severely exercised us under; to his grace and guidance I commend you and am, sir,
Your assured friend and humble servant,
Sir, our towns here especially some of the upper towns are in great want of powder and should the enemy come (which we are daily alarmed of) would prove perilous; I have writ to the Council for some supply, but hear nothing thereof, wish heartily it may be minded seasonably that no repenting thoughts concerning the neglect thereof may arise, when it is too late; I request yourself to help in the thing and for bullets also. Our people would take care to pay for what shall be sent but they know not how to get any and that little stock they had is much past. Hartford gentlemen have hinted it to me that I should write earnestly that the Council would take meet care of the security of this country, and to have powder and ball in readiness if they should upon assault afford us succours, that matter for annoying the enemy may not be found wanting as the time of need of it.
[Endorsed] Coll Pinchon Dlrd. July 22, 1690
These Major General Waite Wint [torn], Esqr., in Boston.
TO LIEUTENANT JOSEPH HAWLEY
m. a., xxxvi, 242
[Springfield, 5 December 1690]
Considering the state and condition of your company and the unsettledness thereof, especially now since the death of Major Cooke2 your Captain, I have thoughts of moving you to be in a due use of means for your full settlement and establishment as to military or commissioned officers, which this time of commotion and danger calls for a meet and due settlement of without delay. And there being now a very ready opportunity by means of the General Court’s sitting next week, whereby you may have meet persons commissionated, I think it my duty to stir you up thereunto, and do advise you to call your company together, and to propose to them (to whom if you please you may impart these lines) the supply and settling of a captain so far as in them lies, by nomination of the most fit persons among you for that end, to the General Court, wherein I desire, advise, and request your soldiers withal [torn] laying aside all headiness, prejudice, commotion of spirit, or single respects and misguided affections, to act judiciously with respect to the public good and advantage. Considering that with the well advised is wisdom, I beseech your soldiers and require them to lay aside all animosities, dissatisfaction upon personal and frivolous accounts, and to consider the good of the whole, and as once in Padua, when much discontent was and intentions of election of new persons to office, one advised them [illegible] before they rejected the old ones to consider well where they might find better, which advice allayed the hot spirits so that all the former were continued. So far I propose it as that your company may consider the best and fittest persons upon all accounts and make no alteration but what may be safe and beneficial to the company and public good; and if they shall proceed to a nomination anew of all commissioned officers, upon this breach of the loss of your captain which, considering how unquiet some of your people have been (upon what good grounds or reasons I know not and they would do well to consider), I would not altogether debar or dissuade from, but leave them therein to wait upon sober and judicious advisement they may be most unanimous in, and God shall direct them into, upon serious addresses to him, that may not be left to folly; yet I would have withal to consider, (and not overlook the way and mode of military discipline and) that it is customary unless there be good reason to the contrary, upon the removal of a captain to advance the lieutenant to the place, etc., which as it is the express rule and order in all military expeditions, so it is generally found to be always most peaceful and satisfact [torn] I leave you and your company upon these intimations, being in some haste at present, to your and their serious and more prudent management of the whole affair, desiring God to guide you all alright to that which may tend to your own peace, comfort, and firm settlement and advantage, and to his glory; with loving respects to yourself and all the soldiery, I am,
Your assured friend and servant,
I pray let that be done that now this court you may attain a settlement, and not be to seek what to do when troubles are upon us, which if the Lord prevent not, we have cause to fear may accost us too soon.
These for Lieutenant Joseph Hawley in Northampton.
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
m. a., xxxvi, 439
[Springfield, 25 March 1691]
Yours of 24th February past I received not till 10th or 11th instant; on the same day that I received it, I sent out my warrants1 [torn] and chief officers of each company strictly requiring their [torn] care and a return of defects, etc., but have not yet [torn] returns, though some are come (to my hand) but not [torn] fore am not able to give you an account as I ought, and [torn] as soon as possible, by what is already come to [torn] also that our great want is of powder and b[all] [torn] to be had here, besides the poverty of people [torn] of money which renders it difficult to [torn] to some, so that as I have formerly h [torn] there is a necessity some supply [torn] stock and I will respond for it, I ear [torn] not be slighted for if an enemy shou[ld] [torn] not be had you may judge the C [torn] therefore to move the Governor and Council [torn] good powder and some bullets be sent [torn]. I dread the consequence if they neglect [torn] country stock (our case being now made [torn] it not be, a high degree of prudence that some [torn] for, and in these towns besides it is a certa [torn] we have furnished the country’s soldiers with [torn] our towns’ stocks which are thereby wasted; and at an [torn] is but equal we should have it returned in kind, [torn] more in this extremity. I hope the Governor and gentlemen of the Council ev [torn] not delay but has ten it either in general or more particulars lastly to send some to the several towns in this county with orders to the selectmen to pay for what is sent to their towns. I request my humble service may be tendered to the Governor and Council, to who I would have writ (but that I am strained from time and staying away) the post2 from New York which prevents [illegible] Secretary3 particularly having received his of 23 instant last as the post came in to my house almost preventing my reading it out and the dispatch of Governor Sloughter, postpones a stop to my particular lines to him, lately giving him my thanks and acknowledgment for his respects. One thing further I crave that our troop may be either discharged or better settled; I have not so much as officers to send out my warrants to for the inspection of them, but am forced to emplo [torn] private soldiers, and it is upon that account not so easy to get them to [torn] as it would be if [illegible] officers were settled that had Co [torn]. Lieutenant John Taylor of Northampton hath seen [torn] troopers themselves and had a fair choice, and never [torn] commission which I desire and entreat may be se [torn] rather desire he were their captain and myself [torn] since he hath been chose and indeed is their [torn] his commission for that and I can then lay down (who is very deserving) may be advanced to [torn] may be and unless the Council will discharge them [torn] but will be ready to write send his commission [torn]. Sir, one expression in your warrant that I should cause the fines imposed by law for defects to be entreated on delinquents, I do not so well understand whether would you have me send you a copy of delinquents and yourself give orders to impose the fine, or that I or their particula [torn] do it, which last I account most persons pardon me (though I think I understand the [torn] em entreat as it is taken in law) that I do inquire you ans [illegible] for intend exactly to attend that, and make you such return as you would [torn]. If I do not [take] it to be your mind that I should copy out all I will, though tro [torn] me to me.
I am ashamed I do not now write to the Governor, etc., [torn] enforced to speak of I can hardly read over what I have [torn]. Captain Bull and his soldiers are on called off from the garrison [torn].
I pray an order may be from the Council general scout on the public account and charg [torn] provide men for that service [illegible] this I mean we attend spot every town daily as our own [torn] but another scout weekly up to the west [torn] well above Deerfield I will be necessary I [torn] service, I am,
Your faithful servant,
[torn] ouraged again [torn] some of sore powder [torn]4
TO SAMUEL BILLING
Hatfield Library, Hatfield, Massachusetts
[Springfield, 19 October 1691]
Having received a letter from Captain Partridge1 dated from Hatfield October 12 ’91 that day he went toward Boston, wherein he writes that he hath concluded the affair about the cattle there, where I may have eight in all according he there2 proposes, for your having whereof delivered at Westfield. He directs me to yourself, ordering me to write to you, and send you (Samuel Billing his words are) word, the time I shall appoin[t] and you will gather them together and send them down to Westfield at the time set. Wherefore I write these lines to you that you may know the time when they are to be brought to Westfield, which I pitch upon and appoint to be this sevennight, viz., Monday the 26th day of this instant October; then James Gerrard will be there to receive them, and if you can get thither presently after noon or by one or two of the clock that Monday, it won’t be amiss because James intends if he be not prevented to be there on Saturday night if he can, however to have his cat [torn] on the west side of the river on Saturday and to be early on Monday at Westfield, where I intend then also to be there likewise, that if any scruple be I may resolve and satisfy all. However, the cattle Mr. Partridge writes you are to bring thither are one of Noah Welles,3 he says at £4 if he bears the driving down which I had agreed with him at £3 18s., but shall not make any stink about them [illegible]. Captain Partridge writes Mistress Alice her cow at £3 12s. John Fell [torn] ox £4 10s., Captain Partridge ox £5, Samuel Billing one cow £3 5s., two of Father Belding’s,4 (which I agreed for at £6 15s.). Mr. Partridge writes as if he demands £7 if he be at the charge of driving which I account a little with the most and that £6 18s. may do but yet will not disagree. The pay for all to be with pease and Indian at £3 of each, which I engage to perform to content of all.
Pray fail not of there being all at Westfield at the time, having assurance from Captain Partridge that you will take the cattle of all. I depend on you and am your assured friend,
TO SAMUEL BILLING
Hatfield Library, Hatfield, Massachusetts
[Springfield, 22 October 1691]
I have already wrote to you (more at large) which I refer you to yet for the more certainty; least that should fail coming to you which I hope will not, I add these lines, to let you understand the same, namely, that according to Captain Partridge’s directing me to you, I appointed the day when I would have those eight cattle sent to Westfield, viz., on Monday next, Mr. Partridge writing that when I had [torn] the time, I should send to you and you would take the care of sending them from Hatfield to Westfield, which must be on Monday next, and that day I intend to be at Westfield and will receive the cattle, verily expecting them then at Westfield without fail. I need not add but love, and am,
Your assured loving friend,
TO GOVERNOR SIMON BRADSTREET
m. a., xxxvi, 214
[Springfield, 2 December 1691]
There being several Indians lately come in to these parts, who have settled themselves near Deerfield something southward of it, between it and Hatfield,1 I judge it most meet and account it but duty to acquaint your honor therewith, and to crave advice and directions from your honor and Council, concerning them, and what may be necessary for safety in this time of danger and hazard of enemies, having such loud calls both from heaven and earth to be awakened whereby we have as much cause, if not more, to look for approaching danger this winter than last, when it was thought needful to continue a garrison at Deerfield. The Indians came into Deerfield sometime in November, about the beginning of it or between the beginning and middle of last month, said they came from Albany and brought a pass from the Mayor of Albany. I heard only flying reports of them at first and had no certain account till lately, I mean yesterday. I received a letter from Captain Partridge who writes: the Indians that are come down are about 150 of them, men, women, and children, and are settled at Deerfield under the side of the mountain southerly from the town, living in the woods about a mile out of the town, the men plying hunting and leaving their women and children at home.2 It is said (says Captain Partridge) they brought a written pass subscribed by the Mayor of Albany that they behaving themselves orderly, the English would carry it friendly to them. Mr. Partridge writes for the general they have been quiet hitherto, only one or two of them were high and insolent towards a lad at Deerfield, taking some of his father’s corn and pumpkins without leave, and one of them that came to Hatfield, upon one of our men requiring a debt of him the Indian pulled out his knife. There are many of them that were our former enemy Indians which settled at Albany till now. I doubt whether difficulties many ways may not arise or jars upon that account which may raise spirits and be provocations to some, the rather because I understand (though have not certain legal knowledge) some of our people let them have cider and rum, being so besotted with lucre of unrighteous gain and insensible of God’s anger on those accounts and their own danger, that it is to be feared may expose themselves and others. Were the Indians honest as they pretend they may be advantageous in scouting out and giving notice if an enemy is approaching, yet also being so settled, they have opportunity of entertaining an enemy and betraying the towns. If they should prove false, and we having no assurance of them, I propose what may be necessary and meet to be done that we may be in some way of defending ourselves. Whether a garrison at Deerfield be not convenient is with your Honors to consider and then the writing to Connecticut to afford men and assistance therein will be necessary and whether also these scouts of four men a week allowed by the General Court in this county, which I had order for, though of late have laid it down (yet now upon this occasion have ordered Captain Partridge to revive it two or three weeks) be not still to be continued some time. I am thinking it convenient that 40 or 50 or 60 men out of all those upper towns be appointed to be in readiness, and listed under a captain and officers to command them, might be very useful, who should all abide at home till occasion, and then move presently upon notice who, being afore appointed and always fixed, may be suddenly upon a march, if need require, and not enter into pay till called forth by their commander, who must be in those upper towns; and if such a company in their arms should only march once or twice this winter to Deerfield the very sight of them might awe these Indians who will thereby see and know we are in a warlike posture. A lavish like indiscretion may procure some smart blow (as it did to Skenectode),3 which should stir us up to diligence and prudence, our people minding their own business without arms or watch requires that some orders be given for rousing them up, especially considering the talk that is of the French coming down on us this winter. Doubtless there is this winter as much danger as the last; you will I presume bear with my weak notions and conclude upon such resolve and directions as the state of affairs requires. I crave leave to propose one thing more which possibly may be very useful and satisfactory, which is to write the Mayor of Albany concerning these Indians to gain a certain knowledge what they are, and the occasion of their coming, etc., which if you think convenient and order me to do, I will take care to send, if there can be passing thither. One thing I had almost slipped; Lieutenant Wells4 of Deerfield, who would have been very useful and is much wanted for these affairs, being dead (a sad frown of God in this juncture of affairs), there wants a Lieutenant to be commissioned for Deerfield, which I think ought to be minded. If that company have not applied themselves to the General Court, I shall mention either David Hoite, or Jonathan Wells or one Sheldon who dwells there to be their Lieutenant.5 I pray consider how times call for a settlement, they have only an ensign now and that is Hoite, before named, and Sheldon and Wells are their chief sergeants. I formerly hinted to the Major General that Lieutenant Taylor of Northampton might have his commission for the troop, have not heard of anything done which these times calls for and puts me on begging your Honor’s pardon, as also craving your prayers and care for us, with all humble service, I subscribe,
Your most humble and faithful servant,
The haste of writing especially the latter part to post this letter away entreats for your favorable censure of my scribbling.
These for the Honorable Simon Bradstreet, Esqr., Governor of their Majesties’ Colony of the Massachusetts in Boston.
m. a., xxxvii, 223–224B
[Springfield, 5 January 1691/92]
Enclosed is a letter wrote long since which, unexpectedly, hath been too long delayed; your Honor’s direction how to comport it toward the Indians therein mentioned, being thereby retarded, which we so exceedingly need. The Indians, however friendly they at present carry it, being very unacceptable to our people, who desire not their abode among us, and yet how to remove them we are much at a loss, and to inspect their ways is very difficult, for though they have made them wigwams, some near to Hatfield and others near to Deerfield, yet the men are mostly out ranging the woods, as they pretend and probably on account of hunting, provisions being scarce at Albany. However, they have an opportunity if they should be false (and how dare we confide in them) to entertain an enemy if any should come, wherefore we are thoughtful for our own security and desire to be set in the right way thereunto, which hath occasioned the Committees of Militia in [the] upper towns to meet together two or three times, and to write as often to me, and twice have come some of themselves to discourse me, who have always thought it a difficult concern and not meet for me to act without application to your Honors,1 wherein they concur with me; wherefore such of them as are not present with me have drawn up the enclosed lines and account, which we lay before your Honor and Council for perusal and consideration, that accordingly we may receive meet directions and orders, how to carry it toward said Indians and how to dispose of them, or how far allow them, and what may be most meet for the safety of these frontiers and out-towns in such a time of danger as we are in, whether by garrison, scouting if feasible, or otherwise, as your Honors shall direct. We had now sent a messenger on purpose to gain your Honors’ orders and commands touching this (to us momentous) concern; but that just as we are providing the man, Mr. Nathaniel Fotte from Hartford came in to us, who hath promised his careful delivery of all, and to wait for your Honors’ answer and advice, which he will bring to us. Humbly craving the same, with all due respect and service, I commend you to God’s gracious guidance, and am, sir,
Your Honor’s most humble and faithful servant,
These For the Honorable Simon Bradstreet, Esq., Governor of their Majesties’ Colony in Massachusetts in Boston. For their Majesties’ service.
From Colonel John Pynchon. Received January 7, 1691. An answer thereupon.
note: On 18 January 1691/92, John Pynchon wrote three letters, two of which follow. The third, addressed to William Stoughton and Samuel Sewall, dealing with defense of the frontier, cannot at present be located. In Volume XXXVII of the Massachusetts Archives, pp. 214–215, 223–224, and 306A will be found documents bearing on this situation. From the two letters also bearing this date, one may conjecture what Pynchon wrote to the authorities at Boston.
TO THE GOVERNOR AND COUNCIL OF CONNECTICUT
Edes Mss, Massachusetts Historical Society
[Springfield, 18 January 1691/92]
The Committees of Militia in these upper towns, having formerly applied themselves to me in reference to some Indians, (about 150, men, women and children) come in there, and settling themselves near Deerfield, etc., raising of a garrison might be posted at Deerfield or about Deerfield or Hatfield, not so much in regard of those Indians (who have the Mayor of Albany’s Pass) and generally (for ought I hear, except for some one or two rude fellows carry it well), as in regard of the season of the year, wherein we are apprehensive of the approach of the French and Indian enemy, who if they do anything in these parts this winter may now be expected in a short time, and to be found unready may prove of fatal consequence. For this end our neighbors above have pressed for a garrison in those upper towns, which I thought meet in the first place to commend to consideration of our Governor and Council. From whom I have a return, that they apprehend it very needful for some little time, till the rivers be open to hinder the enemy’s ready passage, and being so remote and it not attainable now from the Bay, besides their employing many men out at the eastward this winter. They direct one to apply to your Honors, to whom they have written (as they say) to supply with 60 men for that end and doubt not of your readiness therein, and of your affording us further assistance as occasion may be. Upon which return from the Bay, the several Committees of Militia in the upper towns have again met at Hatfield last week, and have freshened their desire of a garrison with great urgency, and that it may not be delayed have now posted a messenger on purpose to me that I would write to the authority of Connecticut for 60 men with all possible speed to be sent up to Deerfield, or partly in Deerfield and partly in Hatfield or Hadley as shall be agreed and judged most convenient. The Committee would have writ to your Honors, but that (as they say) they find the Council refers it to me, and my writing whereby they account the call and writing ought to be from myself,1 wherefore these lines come as they do, by me from them, and at their earnest desire, wherein I do fully concur and join, apprehending it very advisable, and greatly necessary, that a garrison be in Deerfield till past the middle of February or that the rivers be open to hinder the enemy’s advance to these towns. And do earnestly desire and entreat your wonted helpfulness, which we have often experienced to our good satisfaction concerning your friendly neighborliness, whereby we are encouraged and emboldened now again to crave new help in our need and suitable readiness for prevention of the enemy’s breaking in on these towns which may also be a check and stop to further danger which may approach towards yourselves, and above all will (I trust) be an acceptable service to God, who is able fully to reward all your labor of love, and will take notice of all the good done to his people and churches. The number of men desired and judged needful is 60 able men for the service. Gentlemen, I know it will take some time to provide the men ready, and to appoint suitable officers, but I hope all may be comfortably effected, so as for them to be upon their march the beginning or before the middle of next week at furthest; which I pray contrive and I will give orders that care be taken for their good accommodation, which if you yield to a part of your men to lie in Hatfield will be easier accomplished. To hear of your readiness and progress towards us will be a favor to me; this is what is needful at present, and so commending you and your Council and resolves to the guidance of him who is Israel’s keeper, with tender of all humble service and due respects, I take leave to subscribe,
Your Honor’s humble supplicant and faithful servant,
I have given orders for all circumspection towards those Indians and due observance of them, and for careful watches, etc., and appointed them limits or at least orders in reference to their hunting, that we may know them from enemies, etc., and shall be thankful for any advice and direction from your Honors.
These for the Honorable the Governor and Council of their Majesties’ Colony of Connecticut
For their Majesties’ service: haste post haste.
Endorsed Colonel Pynchon January 19, 1692.
DIRECTIONS FOR CAPTAIN SAMUEL PARTRIDGE
m. a., xxx, 246
Directions Concerning the Indians lately come from Albany,1 and some proposals to be made known to them, by Captain Samuel Partridge and such interpreter as he shall improve. Although you ought to have made application to us to have had liberty to sit down in our town, yet having passes from the Mayor of Albany for hunting, etc., we shall for the present overlook your seeming intruding upon us, and allow your abiding where you are this winter time, you behaving yourselves peaceably and orderly and carrying it well to all our people, the time of your staying till the spring, when you are to return to Albany whence you came and where you will be expected. To which their answer was: 1 They own it should have been so at their coming; 2 They intend no ill to the English but to carry it peaceably; 3 They desire their squaws may be safe under protection while they are all hunting.
We do particularly caution you to beware of strong drink which intoxicates men’s brains, and makes them more disorderly than otherwise they would be; and to your young men thereof in special, least it occasion quarrels which are carefully by you and us to be prevented, wherefore we allow not our people to sell it and you would do well to acquaint us with any which do that we may deal with them for their disorder. Their reply: 1 Our young men and squaws will buy it for all them, and your English will sell it;2 2 They are afraid to inform of the English that do it, least they do them mischief, yet gave such hints in private, as ’tis hoped will put a stop to that wickedness.
We let you know that we are now apprehensive of some approach of the French and Indian enemy and therefore intend to keep out scouts, and to have more strict watch, and shortly to settle some more soldiers at Deerfield, wherefore none of you (who account yourselves our friends, whom we hope are so, and desire you to approve yourselves accordingly) are to go or wander from your present stations without orders in writing from some one of the captains in these towns or the lieutenant of Deerfield, and not above five in a company, when you go out a hunting. And if our scouts find you with greater numbers or without an order as aforesaid, and laying down of your arms, then to be accounted as the enemy Indians. Also not to come into any of our towns after sunset to disturb the watches, the day being sufficient, especially in this troublesome season, for your necessary occasions. Nor at no time to be with your arms in our towns, all which we expect your careful and due observance of, and that you forthwith give notice fully and distinctly to all Indians at home and abroad accordingly that peace and orderly living that little time you stay here may be promoted and friendship increased.
We expect that if you understand anything of any enemy’s approach or have any intelligence thereof that you further acquaint us therewith, or with whatever you know that may be of any use to us, where you will approve yourselves to be as you say our friends, and we shall be enabled thereby to render the better account of you to your masters at Albany. To the 3d and last article, they say they consent to in every particular thereof, and shall accordingly endeavor to attend it promising (so far as their promise is good) to make what discovery they can of an approaching enemy and forthwith to inform the English thereof.
Given under my hand at Springfield, January 18, 1691/92 John Pynchon
Their returns we made January 21 per Samuel Partridge
TO GOVERNOR TREAT OR THE CONNECTICUT COUNCIL
Edes Mss, Massachusetts Historical Society
[Springfield, 24 January 1691/92]
Yours of 23d instant received and upon perusing the contents thereof am surprised and startled at such reports as you mention, which I assure you I know nothing at all of, and am so wholly ignorant thereof as to our people’s not being apprehensive of danger.1 That I know to the contrary. If I ought to believe men’s words, letters and actions all plainly representing and declaring to one their great sense of presen [torn] danger and hazard, and they have followed me with their apprehension thereof, besides several letters tending thereto, so by messengers not of the meanest but of the chief men of the Committees of Militia themselves being by the rest sent and waiting upon me to possess me with their fears and earnest desires for help, etc., at least two special times, if not two or three of them at a time; after all this to have it said they are not sensible, or that sending of soldiers will not be acceptable, if it be truth, I profess I shall never believe honest men for phase [sic] to take this with it. It is not a few of our people that have addressed themselves to me, but all the Committees of Militia in the four upper towns who ague [sic] three events this winter met together and signified their joint minds and desires and I judge they are rather to be heeded than idle fellows that [illegible] not themselves nor the public safety so they may be gratified in their humors and carry on a disorderly, villainous, and prohibited trade, as possible some such that may be which is our grief whom we would gladly have discovered. Wherefore I humbly request you would please to inform who those people of the upper towns are that say they apprehend no danger, and that your sending soldiers will not be acceptable to the greatest part of the people. I am so far from insisting upon that expressions to the greatest part of those people in the upper towns that I beg that one small part of them may be named, because I know no, I profess not one, nor can’t imagine who it should be unless it be some disorderly trader of drink whom we will most gladly find out. I hope you will be satisfied that I speak fully as I understand matters, and up to your positive assertion; as to your negative that they sent out no scouts, keep no watch, etc., I answer roundly and plumply as is doubtless most false and pity but they that affirm such lies should be made known; for besides one first express order in the beginning of December last upon the approach of those Indians from Albany, I did a second time in the first day of January as I remember quicken them therein, and put to all the Committees of Militia and had a return from Captain Partridge that they did attend it. Only scouting they acquaint me is not feasible as yet it is when they writ, though I believe they do now upon this little abatement of the snow scout out or will presently above Deerfield [torn] And the truth is we have order for four scouts upon the country’s account and surely will not neglect that work when it can be attended and more things than I can now mention have been and are directed to and ordered and put in practice that we may not be lavish-like secure. I shall say with you more than (which security of theirs we can in no wise commend) a non commendation, for I do and shall protest against it were there need, but then people in the upper towns part2 is the leaders are more for putting forward and attending duty and service than to neglect it, which makes such traders as you hint at I suppose, speak so much against it or as they do, though as for horse loads of peltry and furs from those upper towns sent to Boston this past year I know of none, nor have not heard of any yet gone except one that went from this town with furs that were all killed by the English here and some of them from Windsor; possibly some may have gone that I know not of and may they be able to go upon an honest account, I suppose you will not fault them.
Gentlemen, your sending up soldiers I apprehend extreme needful and may be for your own preservation and I suppose is but duty ‘twill be too late till danger, etc., approaches, so shall leave it, and say not more, but think it meet to send your letter up to the gentlemen in the upper towns (when I have opportunity) that they may answer for themselves. As to your desire to be informed that your soldiers shall be accommodated with provisions and quarters I answer they shall and good reason for it from us, (and care is already taken) so that it’s pity it should be made a question. I hope you have and shall find all things to your comfort and soldiers’ satisfaction; though should you allow them to be in Hatfield it would be easier; otherwise we must send provisions to Deerfield who want. As to your advice concerning those Indians and all other hints, I most kindly and thankfully accept the same, and shall most readily put it in practice and have given orders accordingly before your letter came, with many things more which I hope are of use and could I copy them, would, I persuade myself, abundantly satisfy you as to my care and orders, etc., but I have not time; however, I have enclosed a copy of what I directed and ordered to be proposed and made known to the Indians. Can send no more at present, and am ashamed I so scribble this letter and cannot write it out fair.
Beg your pardon and candid acceptance. I sincerely desire to satisfy you in all things and if in my haste I have fallen short in any particular, I shall upon the least intimation address myself to give you a more apt and plenary account of whatever you shall refer me to studying to approve myself, Honorable Sir,
Your most humble servant,
I have appointed and ordered a company of soldiers listed out of the three next upper towns, with affairs appointed and settled to be ready for relief of any place. This company is already actually settled and started; shall have another ready this week out of these lower towns besides, that I intend to give [illegible] all our soldiers to be fixed and in readiness. I hope you will give special orders for all your people to be well fixed and ready if any assault be and whether may it not be well to have all the soldiers ready in reserve of dragoons for speedy march upon occasion.
Directions concerning the Indians lately come from Albany and some proposals to be known to them by Captain Partridge or such interpreter as he shall employ:3
- 1. Although you ought to have made applications to us, and to have had liberty to have come and sit down in our town, yet having passes from the Mayor of Albany for hunting, etc., we shall overlook your seeming intruding upon us, and allow your abiding where you are this winter time; you behaving yourselves peaceably and orderly and carrying it well to all our people this time of your staying till the spring, when you are to return to Albany, from whence you came and where you are expected.
- 2. We do particularly caution you to beware of strong drink which intoxicates men’s brains and makes them more disorderly than otherwise they would be; and in special to warn your young men thereof least it occasion quarrels which are carefully by you and us to be prevented, wherefore we allow not our people to sell it, and it would do well you would acquaint us with any which do, that we may deal with them for their disorder.
- 3. We let you know that we are very apprehensive of some approach of the French and Indian enemy now; and therefore intend as the weather will allow, to keep out scouts and to have more strict watch, and shortly also to settle some more soldiers at Deerfield, wherefore none of you (who account yourselves our friends and we look upon as so, and desire you to approve yourselves accordingly) are to go or wander from your present stations without order in writing from some one of the captains of those towns or the lieutenant of Deerfield and not above five in a company when you go a-hunting and if our scouts find them with great numbers or without an order as aforesaid and laying down of arms to be accounted as the enemy Indians, also none of you to come into any of our towns after sunset to disturb the watches at your peril, the day being sustial4 especially in this troublesome time, for necessary occasions, and at no time any of you to be with your arms in any of our towns, all which we expect your careful and due observance of and that forthwith you give notice fully to all Indians at home and abroad accordingly, that peace and orderly living that your stay here may be promoted and friendship increased.
Lastly we expect that if you understand anything of any enemy’s approach or have [intell]igence concerning them that you forthwith acquaint us therewith and with whatever you know that may be of any use to us wholly you will approve yourselves to be as you say our friends and we shall be enabled thereby to render the better account of you to your master at Albany. January 16, 1691.
Given under my hand,
To the first particular they say:
- 1. They own it should have been so at their first coming.
- 2. They intend no ill to the English but to carry it peaceably.
- 3. They desire to leave the squaws under our protection while themselves go a-hunting.
To the 2d particular they say:
- 1. Our young men and some squaws will buy it for all them and some of our English will sell it.
- 2. They are afraid to inform of the English which do it least they be disturbed and do them mischief, yet gave such private hints that Mr. Partridge writes he hopes will put a check to that wickedness.
To the 3d and last proposal:
- They say they consent to every particular of it and shall endeavor to attend it and promise to make discovery of any approaching enemy, etc.
I have scribbled out these things whereby you may see all of our care and progress; many things more I must impart but writing is tedious to your humble servant.
These for the Honorable Robert Treat, Esqr., Governor of their Majesties’ Colony of Connecticut, or to the Honorable Council there in Hartford for their Majesties’ Service, haste post haste.
Endorsed: J. Pynchon Jany. 24 89 [sic]
m. a., xxxvii, 306a
[Springfield, 22 February 1691/92]
Yours of January 8th received, for which I return all humble and thankful acknowledgement to yourself, and the gentlemen of your Council for your care of and for us, and according to my capacity have attended your advice and directions therein, having quickened that militia to keep good watches, and appointed 50 men in readiness in the four upper towns,1 and likewise in the four lower towns2 also in this county,3 with suitable officers, to march (when there shall be occasion) for the assistance of any place assaulted, and have taken care that all be well fixed and not enter into pay till orders of necessity calls them forth. The four scouts you have allowed, being constantly employed for making discovery that if the Lord succeed we may not be surprised. As to your directions concerning the Indians I have enclosed a paper4 which is a copy of what I drew out to be spoken to the Indians, with their reply or answer to each particular, which may give you satisfaction as to my care referring to them and how we comport it to them or their neighborhood, which the generality of our people take now content in except a few traders with them, and shall be better satisfied with their return back to Albany which I hope they will, though some of them speak of hiring land to plant on, which yet they have no allowance for. I shall by the first opportunity write to the Mayor of Albany about them, and think it would be well that he would call them home again. However, in the meantime we avoid disgusting them or giving them provocations, and are observant of their motions and actions endeavoring to keep them friendly and peaceable, which they profess is their intentions, and the men generally go out a-hunting, leaving their women and children at present; what may further appear upon their coming back which they intend, about the end of April, time will discover. The other part of your letter concerning settling a garrison at Deerfield till the rivers be open, and writing to the government of Connecticut to assist therein, hath been accordingly improved for that our people up the river, especially Deerfield, apprehending their danger great, were so unsatisfied without it that some of them were meditating a remove, whereupon I wrote to Governor Treat, etc., who at first demurred till they were assured their men should be well accommodated, (which I gave order to Captain Partridge to care for) and that the Committees of Militia in the upper towns did signify their apprehensions of a necessity thereof (which they did) whereupon the government of Connecticut sent 50 soldiers under the command of Captain William Whiting, who marched up to Deerfield the beginning of this February, have repaired the fortification, and made matters defensible, being presently upon their coming there alarmed by tidings of a great number of French and Indians seen on the Lake,5 which occasioned extraordinary vigilance, and Captain Whiting writ to me to be ready with those two companies listed for assistance whom I thereby quickened into complete readiness, but not to remove their stations in each several towns till orders. Since which two Indians from Albany give account that those French and Indians which were discovered on the Lake was on the further or West Lake next the Sinequees,6 and that they were not coming this way, and that the Lake above Albany7 was so shattered by winds that it was unpassable, and they say some Maquas were making ready to go out to Canada, and had kept scouts out that way all winter, and that some of their men were surprised, but they knew of no further mischief done. I suppose [the] Connecticut gentlemen will soon call their men home from Deerfield, for though they with great willingness and readiness sent them, when they understood the people of those towns there continued apprehension of danger and earnest desire, yet they intended but a short stay only till the rivers might be open to hinder the enemy’s ready access; and I am afraid the men at Deerfield, when these soldiers draw off, will be somewhat unquiet in their stations there unless your Honors think of some way for their security or that they should hear of some check upon the French; praying God to preserve them, and us all, and direct you in at the emergencies and momentous affairs which he calls you to labor under, with the tender of my best services and all due respects, I crave leave to subscribe,
Your most faithful and very humble servant,
I have appointed (as you ordered) a Lieutenant for the military company in Deerfield, viz., Jonathan Wells, (brother to the late Lieutenant Thomas Wells deceased) till you shall further commission him or any other, he being at present I conceive the fittest to take the charge thereof, and being to their own satisfactions.
These for the Honorable Simon Bradstreet, Esqr., Governor of their Majesties’ Colony of the Massachusetts at his house in Boston.
Letter from Major Pynchon 22 February 1691/2.
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
m. a., li, i
[Springfield, 20 May 1692]
Having folded this paper with purpose to write to our late Honorable Governor,1 while I was getting it ready, being told by a good hand that Sir William Phips is certainly arrived our Governor from the King whereat I greatly rejoice looking upon it as an answer of prayers, and tendency to a hopeful good settlement of this country. It brings me to a stand concerning the availableness of writing to the late Governor or General Court who employed me with some other gentlemen to Hartford, wherefore requesting you to tender my humble services and due respects to Governor Bradstreet, whom I have a high value for, and to excuse my not writing to him thereabouts, the present change inciting me rather to acquaint yourself with our negotiation that you (being now appointed by the King’s secretary2) may as you shall see it necessary, lay all or what you shall judge needful before our present Honorable Governor Sir William Phips, as followeth. Being nominated by the late Honorable General Court and appointed to take a journey to Hartford and wait upon the General Court there with the letter from this government and to urge the contents thereof; and accordingly myself with Captain Partridge and Mr. Hawley3 went to Hartford on the 12th instant, delivered the letter and waited upon the gentlemen the whole 13th day, discoursed and urged the contents of the letter, which was as they termed it something sharp (though they entertained us with great respect and a-friendly debated matters yet) the matter not being pleasing to them especially some of the gentlemen that of the Confederation,4 which being interrupted and broken they liked not our mentioning it and the rather because (which they much insisted on) that at first they were disadvantaged by harder terms (as they said) than was convenient, which they were held to while it lasted to their damage, and as they were not willing of any discourse that way or of any meeting as formerly, so they expressly said the King having taken the government into his hands, and ordering, it was not to mention things of that nature withal, hinting they had done their proportion and sent up soldiers into these parts of which notice was not taken and their charity slighted, etc. We found it best to wave former matters and told them we did but glance at them and would look only forward to what was now incumbent on them and us, as our General Court’s letter did, and therefore strenuously urged their now joining with us and affording assistance of men and money for prosecution of the war and requested their full resolves and positive answer that, their determination being known, methods might accordingly be taken, etc., upon all which in the conclusion (as all along they said they accounted it duty to assist and would not be wanting therein). They came to this, that they would endeavor to procure 100 Indians that were trusty and would send 30 or 40 brisk young men with them that should range the Eastern Parts5 and join with 100 of our friendly Indians to which we might add 200 or 300 of our people, that were used to the woods, those that were used to that trade as hunters, and brisk young men that would keep out all the summer and not such as many times were (said they) sent out from Boston, etc. But, said they, it must be chosen men for the purpose, such well provided they said might by the blessing of God effect something in distressing the Indians and destroying them, especially if we would take care to remove the French from Port Royal6 and those places that the Indians might not have recruits and succors. Matters here about (viz. their providing Indians and some of their men and paying them; we taking care for victualing them) were brought to a head by our discourse and urging and a foul7 draught of a letter made which upon our waiting on them the 14th day of this May was not writ fair for our General Court, and they telling us it should be that day done and sent to us in regard of the tidings of the French and Indian enemies being then at hand and ready to assault our town; we were enforced to hasten home their promise to send the letter according as aforesaid to us. But hitherto not received the letter to send you, though Captain Allyn told me I should have sight of it to convey by our deputy to the General Court by a man that he would send to me on purpose with it unless an opportunity offered to send it to Captain Partridge or Mr. Hawley, and then you will receive it from them; otherwise I suppose it will be sent directly from Hartford because some of their people went this week by New Roxbury8 towards Boston. Doubtless it will be sent, except they should hear of our new Governor’s arrival and that should occasion their detaining it. However, I have given a true account of what we had brought them into, and persuade myself they would not go back from, and had stayed to bring their determination but that our towns were alarmed, as I before hinted, which now I shall give you some account of (whereby we thought we were necessitated to hasten home having the gentlemen promised that the determination we had brought them to should speedily follow is in a letter to our General Court for us to convey to our deputies). We had intelligence by letter from Mr. Trowbridge that six of the enemy Indians taken at Albany and sent to [New] York said they were part of the scouts from Canada, the forerunner of a great army that intended for this river and were come over the Lake9 and would be at our town about the middle of this month. Moreover, the Indians at Deerfield told they had an account from some Indian hunters between Albany and Deerfield that they saw the tracks of the enemy and that they were like to be upon Deerfield that Saturday or on Sabbath day, so that I saw it my duty then to order some soldiers in readiness, etc., besides Deerfield people were in such a fright that they all got into the garrison;10 struck watches,11 wards, and scouts we keep in all these towns and faithfully improve the four men allowed by the country in scouting up the river, which I trust and beg you to move may be still continued to us, our danger being very great. So that we exceedingly need speedy settlement of all officers, their places, and commands now [illegible]. This further intelligence I have since received from Indians that came from Albany to Deerfield (who were sent to call all those Indians home that came in these parts last winter, which Indians are returned to Albany in expectation of the enemy’s coming) who report that some Dutchmen that were out upon the scout met with a scout of about 20 of the enemy, had a brush with them in which they lost one man; whatever other mischief the enemy received from them they took one of the enemy captive. This captive informs and says that Canada’s design is now to raise all the force they can against these parts and that they are coming with 400 men against the Maquas, 400 against Albany, 400 against this river,12. 400 against the Eastern Parts, and what shipping they can by sea, viz., 50 sail to attack Boston, intending this summer to end the war by subduing all under them. These great says13 (how true I know not) I pray God prevent; ’tis Indians’ news, and calls on us not to neglect care for our own preservation. We are desirous to have the certainty of things from good hands at Albany, and therefor have sent two men to Albany, who went away the 10th instant, by whom I have writ to the Mayor of Albany and to Mr. Livingston14 that we may hear and know the certainty of things and incited them at all times to give us advice of any approaching danger. As you see meet, please to lay any of these things before his Excellency our now Governor, with the offer of my most humble and ready service according to my mean capacity, being really desirous to serve him and this poor low country according to what I am able in my now decayed years,15 and to do all that in me lies that the interest of Christ Jesus may revive among us, with due respects to yourself begging your pardon for these scrawls, if they may be of any service for the public, not being able to copy them fair. I commend you and all the great affairs under hand to God’s guidance and am, sir,
Your assured friend and servant,
Commissions for Militia service for these parts in this time of danger I request you to forward as soon as possible may be, and some care to be had of these parts that lie so next to Canada.
m. a., li, 6
[Springfield, 25 May 1692]
In my former letter writ to you last week I gave you an account that in regard of the rumors of the French being likely to attack these parts, I had sent to Albany to the Mayor to understand what certainty might be in the reports which came to us from thence, and have yesterday received an answer and letters from the Mayor of Albany dated May 29th1 wherein he gives this account. That by a French Maqua who came as a spy whom they have taken and laid in irons; as also by an Oneida2 Indian who was taken prisoner last fall and carried to Canada and come lately out of Canada with a party of 14 of the Maquas’ French Praying Indians, from whom he made his escape and came in to Albany; and also by 3 Senecas3 come to them; and likewise by two French Maquas came to the Maquas’ castles, being severally examined, all of them agree in this, that the Earl Frontenac,4 Governor of Canada, is come to Montreal with a considerable great army made up of Christians and Indians with all manner of ammunition and all provisions for war, and that with full design to fall upon Albany, so that they have sent to their neighbors to assist them, and are putting themselves into the best posture they can to resist. Look every day for their commander-in-chief to be there with them, who by advice of the Council hath already sent up the value of £400 or £500 for a present to their Indians to encourage them to go on briskly with the war. Having sent out Arnout the interpreter to the Five Nations westward to bring all the sachems and chief captains to meet there the commander-in-chief, and to go on with the war (saying it is impossible their charges are so great for this poor colony5 to hold out if their neighbor colony do not join. But hopes God will incline the King to send good governors to us, and them for that end) as also sent three Indians, to the Squakeag Indians in these parts (about Deerfield) to be speedily there (who are generally gone back to Albany). All being as the Mayor writes too little without the help of their neighbors, to defend and hold the place, which they shall endeavor by the help of God to their utmost to do, and send out scouts to the Lake6 at great charges. [The Mayor] promises if any intelligence comes to acquaint us with it. However, advises us to put ourselves into the best posture we can and to have men and strength ready for our defense and to be upon our guard, and in expectation of the enemy upon us for it is hard to know what way an enemy takes and how he may steer for the future.
I thought it my duty to acquaint you with what I have received as above related, that you may lay it before his Excellency,7 whom according as I am informed hath the ordering of the militia both here, and also power over Connecticut as having the command of their militia, also who being near these upper towns, may more conveniently and with less charge be ordered to assist and defend them in case of assaults. The good Lord direct and guide him in all the great affairs which this time of trouble bespeak the more speedy and strenuous acting in for the safety of this poor people.
That party of 14 French Maquas above mentioned which came from Canada, the Mayor writes that two days after lying skulking in their woods, they killed two of their burghers and took off their scalps and carried away a young man of 19 years of age to Canada. I am called upon for my letter and so am enforced as to scribble, so likewise to conclude, shall only add my readiness to be instrumental towards the public good and their Majesties’ interest in the country, which I pray God maintain. With all humble service, I am, sir,
Your humble servant,
I am so straightened that I cannot read what I have writ; entreat if any thing be useful that you represent it to his Excellency in better form and so as may be acceptable for public improvement, I but glancing at some things only; and speedy addressing to Connecticut. If it be as is said, that Sir William our Governor hath the power and command of their militia as only suggested to yourself as you see cause to hint it, for their being acquainted therewith. Sir, I shall account it a great favor if you would please to send me a copy of his Excellency’s Commission (the charte8 I have just now met with), but I am ignorant what his commission is wherein please to satisfy me, who shall be ready to demonstrate all readiness to promote the advantage of his Excellency and show that I am his faithful servant,
TO GOVERNOR SIR WILLIAM PHIPS
m. a., iii, 51
[Springfield, 2 January 1692/93]
May it please your Excellency,
Sometime since, in the beginning of October last, I laid before your Excellency my disbursing of 48s. to a Dutchman sent post from Albany with letters of public concern, which I forthwith dispatched to your Excellency, with an account thereof then, craving your order for reimbursing the money, which (having none by me)1 was at that time forced to borrow of several neighbors (not finding it to be had of any one man) promising them it should be set off in their country rates to the constable who calls for them. Wherefore, I am bold to pray your Excellency for an order to the constable of Springfield for said 48s. and 6s., the entertainment of said post, furnishing for his journey home, who losing his horse in coming (thereby being a-foot and lame) made the longer stay. All is £21 14s. 6d., the which having your order to the constable to allow it me, I shall take care to set off their rates who advanced to pay part of said post. There was a former time when letters from Connecticut for the public were sent to me to convey, when I sent a man on purpose (one John Kilum)2 to Marlborough with said letters, hoping he would have been paid for the same, but he going no further than Marlborough, and returning to me, and demanding his pay, I have paid the said man out of my own estate 16s. upon the public account, which I nothing doubt of your Excellency’s readiness to allow me. My humble request is that your order for the whole may not be delayed, but that I may now have it to discount in these rates with the constable. I am and shall be always very ready to serve your Excellency and the public in whatever is in my power and in what you have betrusted me with, to my ability shall endeavor to be faithful for your service and the country’s advantage, wishing I could do more on public accounts, for I want no will, though am not so able (by reason of many losses and charges) as in former times; however, am as well disposed the way as ever and shall be always ready to give demonstrations thereof, truly desiring to promote the public interest in these needful times. Did all their Majesties’ subjects in other governments bear their proportion in common charges, it might help to advance their Majesties’ interest, and therefore I am bold to hint whether Connecticut and other places who do not bear share, at least do not in proportion join in charge against the common enemy, are not to be animadverted on, by some signification thereof to their Majesties, who I suppose expect such equality as that none of their subjects by easing themselves in proportion should thereby overburden others. If (from my good intention) I proceed too far in hinting anything for your Excellency to improve if you see cause, please to pardon me, and lay it aside as if I had never mentioned it. Some other things in my thoughts I will not at this time enter into least I may not be acceptable, and the messenger hastening forbids me. Only I venture to hint; this country’s3 being destitute of either sheriff or marshal, for our former marshal dying about the time of your Excellency’s arrival. The Justices, when by virtue of your commission they sat, agreed only that Mr. Luke Hitchcock4 should officiate at present till your Excellency’s further pleasure were known, which we wait for. I suppose he or Mr. Samuel Porter5 may do well, the one for sheriff and the other marshal as your Excellency pleases, or others, as you shall see meet. Neither are we settled with clerks either, for the sessions of Inferior Court of Pleas. If Captain Partridge being a Justice prevents him (who did and will do very well) Mr. John Holyoke and Captain John Pynchon, jun., my grandson, may be suitable. I did propose Mr. Holyoke (to Mr. Addington) for to be Justice of Peace, this county and this end of it needing another, and then John Pynchon, jun., is the likely person here for a clerk, being a good scholar6 (as well as prompt and active) which that place will need such a one, and so Captain Partridge was lately saying to me, as accounting him most fit of any here. If your Excellency see cause that he be the man alone, I shall give him the best instructions and directions I can, or otherwise to join him with some other to assist therein to train him up for public use and service. I add our Justices for the Court of Pleas here (who I find by your accounts are to have commissions) want the ceremony of commissions for that service and to know who must attend it, neither will there be found four, if Captain Partridge and Mr. Hawley (as the acts speak) must be at Boston in March next when our sessions are. We having in all but five shall have left but three in all. Having laid these things before your Excellency I cease further at present to trouble you, but begging pardon for all, with the offer of all humble service, am,
Your Excellency’s devoted humble servant,
m. a., li, 14
[Springfield, 20 February 1692/93]
Yesterday I received intelligence from Colonel Allyn of Hartford of an attack made upon the Maquas’ forts by an army of French who came over the lake upon the ice,1 a copy of the letter from the gentleman of New York being sent me, which I have given the contents of to our Governor so that it will be before you. They write to Hartford to send 200 men to Albany to join their Governor,2 who is already embarked with 200 men and gone, and as many more out of the next adjacent place to follow him. I wish they may not be too late, and whether Connecticut will send any I doubt, for if they stay [for] a General Court (which I hear they have called) all will be ineffectual for the present expedition. The good Lord direct us in right methods. The French surprising of the Maquas I fear will be of ill consequence, for I am of opinion they will treat them fair, and design the drawing them off from the English, the effects of which may prove fatal, but God is above all and knows how to deliver his people and did our ways please him would appear for us. The news I suppose comes in the first place to Albany by Indians, and so may probably be told with the largest as their manner is but doubtless there is in it enough to awaken and rouse us up to be doing. The Lord help us to do our duty, and what he calls for at our hands.
The hastening away of this post with the intelligence to our Governor forbids my adding what else I might; only having yours of 12th of January past before me, I remind you of what you are pleased therein to intimate, that you will endeavor (upon our Governor’s return from Rhode Island) to promote my having an order to be paid the charges of the post. Formerly, I acquainted the Governor then with the sum, as now again, it being 48s. I paid the Dutchman [who] came from Albany and 6s. his expenses lying here at our ordinary a little the longer because he lost his horse; all is £21 14s. with 16s. I paid a former man [who] went to Marlborough with letters which make it £31 10s. I pray sir, procure me the order to our constable to pay it out of the rates, for I borrowed part of the money of two or three persons who are impatient to clear their rate, as I shall do mine, but cannot finish matters till I have the Governor’s orders. Please to further it without longer delay. It is marvelous necessary to encourage posts,3 which for want of pay sometimes are difficult to get and yet upon all public concern I have never slacked my duty nor I hope shall not but desire to be duly considered. This present post I pray take care he may have his pay, also those commissions you mention you’re sending, you may now have a good opportunity for conveyance, for we want clerks settled and what shall be needful. Excuse my giving you any unnecessary trouble; accept of my service and due respects, who am, sir,
Your assured friend and humble servant,
m. a., li, 17
[Springfield, 8 March 1692/93]
May it please your Excellency,
Yours per the post received, ordering me, with Captain Cooke,1 to wait upon the gentlemen at Hartford, and urge the contents of yours to their Governor and Council, referring to the expedition to the eastwards and for securing Deerfield. According to your Excellency’s command I speedily addressed myself to observance thereof, and ready attendance of said service for understanding the Governor of Connecticut2 (that had just before been at Hartford) was gone home to Milford, to expedite the affair, I presently the 27th day of February, being the day I received your Excellency’s commands, sent post to Hartford, giving Colonel Allyn an account of the business, and of my intent (as soon as it was possible for their Governor and Gentlemen to be together) to wait upon them on Thursday, March the 2d, knowing their Governor could not have notice and reach Hartford sooner. Also same day sent to Hadley to Captain Cooke to be with me in order to our joint attendance of the service, when we went to Hartford, where we were before their Governor got thither, though in the evening he came, when immediately I presented him with your Excellency’s letter, who appointed us the next morning to discourse the business. Accordingly we waited upon them and urged the contents thereof by four or five several enforcing arguments (as we deemed) winding up all (besides the reasonableness of the demands) with the necessity of their compliance, with respect to themselves, in regard of the King’s commission for Sir William Phips, his commanding the militia of Connecticut, which spake too loud to admit of delay or any hesitancy in the matter; and I perceive it had its operation upon some of the several gentlemen there, for the Governor had called the General Court, which made our attendance the longer; even six days we waited to gain an answer to your Excellency’s letter and what we had according to instructions proposed as to the affair, when at last they came to this result: that they would send two gentlemen of their own to Boston to wait on your Excellency, by whom those lines come, who will (at least I desire they may) give your Excellency and Council satisfaction, they being more willing to raise money to bear their proportion of the charge of this Eastern Expedition than to send men so far. But as for Deerfield, (concerning which we moved in the last place, that it might be no clog to the Eastern design or stop of their joining to make up so necessary a flying army), they readily granted men for securing that post: 40 or 50 men to garrison the upper town when they should be called for, which in regard the French that assaulted the Maquas’ forts are returned home and probably the spring or winter now breaking up at Canada will not allow them to stir again till about May. I did not insist to have them presently post away their men to Deerfield. Also because though Connecticut will furnish with the men and be at the charge of their wages, yet will not of their diet (as they say) which Deerfield I doubt cannot furnish them with their corn, last year being destroyed by the worm, etc.; provisions will not be had without sending it from the next towns, though possibly some meat or few barrels of pork, which are scarce, may be in Deerfield; yet they belong to particular persons who will quickly transport them away (without your Excellency’s order for stopping them, which I conceive necessary) and then provisions will be wanting for soldiers posted thither. Now is the season to secure meat there and prevent charge afterward, and it will be more easy because men’s rates there may be appointed to pay the owners of such pork (if any be) provided your Excellency give orders, which I only suggest.
I fear I am too tedious and not being willing to offend your Excellency shall forebear particularizing, being assured you will from Hartford gentlemen have all that is needful for me to add, as also an account concerning the French that came to the Maquas’ forts, who are returned with their Indians (among whom were 30 Eastern Indians) having lost 25 French and their Indians, that were killed by Mayor Schuyler’s3 men, and although the French marched off with 250 Maquas, yet they are all recovered and got home only that the Maquas have their forts and wigwams burnt down. Please to let me understand whether you would have me hasten the posting those soldiers from Connecticut to Deerfield and how they shall be provided for. I will endeavor exactly to attend order in hastening them, for I am in pain least my good husbandry in delaying them (to ease the country’s charge) should prove of any dangerous consequence, which I shall be ready to receive check for, and to make amendment by hastening them, upon the least information. Purpose next week to visit Deerfield to encourage them and understand their state, when shall further consider what may be necessary and forward vigorous and careful scouting.
Your Excellency’s caution and direction as to the readiness of the militia in this regiment I accept with great thankfulness and all due acknowledgment of care for our preservation. Have been and am in attendance thereunto and shall proceed according to my utmost endeavors. A great want with us and that which disheartens some soldiers is the scantiness of powder.
If your Excellency would please to send two or three barrels of good gun powder and some ball (which I would endeavor to secure, preserve, and husband to advantage) it would quicken and enliven some soldiers’ spirits. Craving your pardon, with the tender and prostrating of all humble service, I am,
Springfield March 8th 1692/93
[In margin of page 1] and 150 men more in readiness to march upon notice of need of them.
For their Majesties’ Service
To his Excellency Sir William Phips, Knight, Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over their Majesties’ Province of the Massachusetts Bay in Boston.
To be forwarded by the Constables of Brookfield, Marlborough, etc., for their Majesties’ Service.
The Livingston Indian Record, 1666–1723, 170
[Springfield, 21 June 1693]
May it please your Excellency,
Having received from Major Wessells1 a memorial signed by several gentlemen by order of your Excellency, dated the 16th of this month, I am obliged to recognize with all humble gratefulness your concern for our affairs. I am very aware of the dangers if we should come to a break with our Indians, especially with the Maquas, with whom we have lived in peace for such a long time, following the agreements made which we will try to maintain, being so much more to his Majesty’s interest in this conjuncture of time. Therefore I am very willing to accept the excuse you make for them, putting all the blame on the French Indians, because of the great difficulties and troubles Major Wessells has taken to make us understand it, and not only through writing, but while their [sic] were no French Indians around here at that time, we do find the definite declarations against two Indians to wit, a Maquase and a Skachkook,2 now under arrest, to be so positive and explicit that they, in my judgement, should be required to give a definite excuse or be brought to trial.3 I have sent your Excellency herewith the copies of the testimonials which have already been taken in this matter.
[Translated from the Dutch]
m. a., xxx, 329
[Springfield, 28 June 1693]
I have been so employed in public service since I came home that till now I could not improve any opportunity to render you my due acknowledgment of all your late (as well as former) kindness and respects, wherein I have so plentifully shared most deservedly calling for my real thankfulness, which your acceptance of will secure me from the taxation of ingratitude, and be an obligation upon me to study wherein to serve you. According to my ability, I have not been wanting to get an understanding of the state of affairs here in reference to the Indians and murder at Deerfield; which as my time allowed, I made report to his Excellency (all which I know you are fully acquainted with) at same time. Major Wessells1 hastening his return, by reason of my dispatch of him and what was necessary to Governor Fletcher,2 I was enforced to contract, yet mind not anything material that I neglected. The two Indians, one a Maqua and the other an Albanian, whom I verily suppose are guilty in that murder,3 are in safe custody. I desire a suitable time, and gentlemen commissioned, be appointed for their trial, etc., which please to lay before his Excellency. The third Indian put into our jail before I came home, nothing appearing against him, but his saying he would kill 20 English, evidenced by one single man only, who says the Indian was in drink when he said it, which was sometime before the commotion at Deerfield, and he minded it not until that disturbance. He and others saying also that this Indian always carried it well. The Indian saying he knows not that ever he spake such words and if he did he was in drink and was sorry for them; he is discharged and set at liberty (the gentleman that committed him judging it best. Colonel Allyn and Captain Stanley,4 who were here, also advising to it) and went away to Albany with Major Wessells and those six Indians (one a Maqua captain) who came with Major Wessells. So that they will see (though this Indian well deserved imprisonment yet) we are not desirous to put any needlessly upon their trial. They would have been glad we would have discharged the other two setting forth the good service the Maquas, etc., have done, endeavoring to vindicate all their Indians and their being in good terms with the English, saying they disclaim this murder and are not guilty, but that it was done by the French Maquas. And thereunto they improve the sight of some wooden swords or mauls that were found where our people were murdered which had marks and signs on them, as evidences that all was done by the French Indians. To which we replied, such things might be to color their wickedness, and that the positive assertions of dying persons were so express as could not anticipate the legal trial of those persons from what they were charged with. And so they left off, desiring we would deliberate and hear again from Albany before proceeding to their trial. I told them our Governor was very cautious of giving any just provocation, wherewith they seemed well satisfied, telling us the Indians, including the Five Nations, hold firm their friendship with all their Majesties’ subjects, desiring we would (as they term it) hold the court chain fast.
Governor Fletcher intends a present of £500 or £600 for the five Nations, to engage them to vigorous prosecution of the war against the French and French Indians, which was to be delivered upon Major Wessell’s return home, who is a great man with the Indians. They tell me there are some parties of French Indians come over the lake, reckon our town in much hazard being so open, etc. Say the French are in great want of provisions. Some of theirs lately come home from Canada brought in three scalps and more they expect daily if any further account be to be had from Albany. I suppose we shall have it next week or the beginning of the week after, for Major Wessells said they should send again, and desired I would take care their Indians might come safely, for we have not Indians left, all being gone off upon that disturbance here and their corn neglected. Sir, upon my sudden coming away (as you know being ordered thereunto) I troubled you to get a small matter allowed me by the Governor and Council which you took a remembrance of, as also for my service and attending upon the General Court. If you have obtained it, please to send me the order, that I may set off my rates with our constables. I have now a further request to you, that you would move in my behalf for the allowance of the enclosed account of what charges I have been at in the late transaction with what is necessary for my time and expense at my own house for the public for which I charge nothing and my expenses at home for or about the public service are the greater because here is none to bear share with me therein.5 I have also enclosed a note or account of our Captain Colton,6 which I had with me but did not readily find it then to leave it with you. The soldiers under him had order for their pay, but the committee referred him to the Council saying they would allow him the more. Pray let him who hath been an active captain and always ready to serve the country have due encouragement; his losses also in the flood7 were exceeding great, having all his cattle swept away, which I only mention as an argument not to detain his due that (as he deserves it so) needs it.
Sir, if you please to favor my grandchild so far as to draw his commission for Clerk of the Court of Pleas, and obtain the Governor’s signement8 of it, I shall very thankfully accept it. I understand his officiating at the last court here gave good content, and do think he may manage both, and be also Clerk of the Sessions if you see meet to move the Governor therein and thereunto. Here is but little work and ’tis not worth the while to have two clerks when one may do as well and better. The young man will be now at Boston and wait upon you with these lines. I am too troublesome to you, and beg your pardon, with all due respects and humble service, I commend you to God’s gracious guidance, and am, sir,
Your cordial friend and servant,
TO GOVERNOR SIR WILLIAM PHIPS
m. a., xxx, 330
[Springfield, 2 July 1693]
In the night past, receiving the packet herewith from Governor Fletcher for your Excellency by Mr. Schuyler,1 the Mayor’s son, and five Maquas that come along with him, the General2 being weary and desiring me to speed away a fresh post, as also Governor Fletcher desires the like, I have dispatched the bearer as with Governor Fletcher’s letter to your Excellency. So also what he writ to me. His letter I have sent for your Excellency’s perusal with all the papers or tests3 now received; which may be of use to me to have them returned, as also the letter again, which I hope your Excellency will write so full to Albany and to Governor Fletcher that I need not, nor am I willing to presume to deliver any of my own sentiments. Matters are much clogged and made difficult, and it is such a tender case that I pray God to help and guide well through it. I shall endeavor to attend your Excellency’s commands and directions, not doubting but upon your full consideration of all things you will come to such a result as may be pleasing to God and for the good of his peoples, which I heartily pray for and am,
Your Excellency’s humble servant,
The gentleman here, Lieutenant Schuyler, requests the post may be with all speed dispatched with your letters to Governor Fletcher before he returns for [New] York.
To his Excellency Sir William Phips, Knight, Captain General and Governor in Chief, in and over their Majesties’ Province of the Massachusetts Bay, etc., in Boston.
TO GOVERNOR SIR WILLIAM PHIPS
Davis Papers, 1681–1747, 2, Massachusetts Historical Society
[Springfield, 12 July 1693]
May it please your Excellency,
The account I had from the Secretary of 4th instant by the post, the sum whereof I imparted to Lieutenant John Schuyler (to whom I delivered your letter to Governor Fletcher, who went hence with it towards Albany 7th past) makes it my indispensable duty to give your Excellency an account of his and the Indians’ resentment thereof; which please to take as followeth. I find it was his full expectation to have obtained the discharge of the two Indians now in custody, which missing of, he (though a very moderate tempered man) in some passion expressed himself that all the Five Nations would look upon us as breaking with them, and for his part he said he would not stay an hour at Albany if we proceeded against these Indians, positively asserting their innocency, and that we would not receive the plain demonstrations thereof, with other such like words. The Indians also, especially the ancient Maqua (who was the chief of them that came with us from Albany when Captain Belcher1 with me was there) made a great speech, wherein I discerned some displeasure and discontent, though could not understand it, but Lieutenant Schuyler told me he said that we forgot our coat2 and seemed to snap it, or slip it, in that we would keep their men in hold under pretence of being guilty, who were no ways culpable; which they had sufficiently demonstrated, and did add with vehemency that the God of Heaven knew that they spake truth in saying that these Indians now in custody at the time of the mischief at Deerfield, and when the guns went off at the houses, were then at that time and had been that night with the rest of their Indians on the northwest side of Deerfield River. This (said he) the God of Heaven knows, and we might know it, that they could not possibly do that murder, and that they would have served us against the French Indians, but we were jealous of them without cause which made all the Indians draw off; and, said he further, no more Maquas would come here any more. I endeavored to sweeten them the best I could and to alleviate matters; writ in the handsomest way I was able to Governor Fletcher, which I read to Lieutenant Schuyler, at which he seemed somewhat pacified, though not satisfied, which brings to my mind Governor Fletcher’s lines, that they are hardly kept from a rupture with New England.3 The Maquas observed we were very open, and spake of it several times, which startles our people and makes some think there may be hazard of their taking these Indians away by strong hand. I may not neglect to add that a gentleman of Hartford, here this week, said he accounted it matter of state and good policy to release these Indians, and would have persuaded me to it, which I shall never do, without your Excellency’s order. He also said Governor Fletcher wrote like a wise politician, and that his words were weighty concerning what their Majesties’ interest and the quiet of the country required.
I lay these things before your Excellency’s most deliberate consideration, and the rather because I now find many of our people who have been zealous for prosecution of these two Indians say: they look upon the evidences against them very doubtful in that the scalped persons were thereby much distempered in their heads; and that of Thomas Broughton (whose oath was never taken) one that was present and heard what he said says that (whatever others say yet) he questions whether he were in good understanding, being so extremely cut and wounded in his head and scalped all over, who died within an hour or two after he spoke it. That the young captain4 wounded him, whom he had some disphconce [sic] towards, as the same party told me, and nothing further or more appears against the young captain, nor can I gain any further evidence concerning the other Indian, the Maqua, than what I have already sent your Excellency, except what from Albany for vindication of him and all the Indians.
I acknowledge it is a very momentous affair and an hour of sore temptation, wherein the difficulties are exceeding great. The inquisition after blood speaking loud, as well as the English interest and weak condition of the country lying at stake, which by our neighbors is strongly urged, who insist much upon their Majesties’ interest and concerns calling for a frank manumission, wherein I trust the God of all wisdom and knowledge will guide aright, what to do in this juncture that may be agreeable to rule and well pleasing to himself, which is the continued earnest prayer of,
Your Excellency’s most devoted humble servant,
To his Excellency Sir William Phips, Knight, Captain General, and Governor in Chief in and over their Majesties’ Province of the Massachusetts Bay in Boston, for their Majesties’ Service.
Endorsed: from Major Pynchon of July 12, 1693. Read in Council the 25th of [illegible]
m. a., xxx, 356
[Springfield, 29 July 1693]
May it please your Excellency,
I have not yet had opportunity to acquaint your Excellency of the two Indians being gone till now, which first offers itself as followeth: the two Indians in custody upon the account of the murder at Deerfield1 escaped out of prison July 27th. When in the morning I presently sent out about 20 more to search after and pursue them, some of whom finding their tracks just across the street from the prison house followed them for near half a mile, finding they bent northerly, but coming into the bushes could no longer follow them, and so returned, though the jailor spent all the day and sent to the next towns, etc. The manner how they fitted for an escape is evident to be by some file or files conveyed to them (as is supposed by some Indians that might secretly and unknown which having none here unless by stealth) put them in the night. For it is very plain and evident their chains were cut by some sharp thin file like a knife, or some thin steel chisel, they being as smooth as may be, where they are cut asunder, and very narrow, that it was some very thin instrument. When by this means they had got themselves at liberty in the room, they pulled out some stones and got to the foundation and so crept out and are gone, probably irrecoverably, unless sending to Albany may recover them thence, which is submitted to your Excellency.
The next day July the 28th, or rather it was the 27th of July in the night, about the shutting in of the evening John Laurence from Brookfield came to me with the tidings of mischief done there. The account he gave was that about noon the 27th of July Joseph Wolcot came from his own house, which was three of four miles to the garrison house, with one of his children in his arms crying arm, arm, and he doubted his wife and other children were killed by the Indians, he seeing two or three Indians after her, so snatched up that child and came away himself, being shot after and pursued, only turned into a swamp and hid from them. Upon which relation of his, this said John Laurence, being then at Owen’s house by that garrison, resolved to go and see how matters were at his own house towards and not far from Wolcot’s; and in the way before he came at his own home, found his brother killed and scalped, and two Indians making towards him, whereupon he returned presently to the garrison, and staying there about half an hour, hastened to Springfield, telling me that in that time none came into the garrison besides Joseph Wolcot, and that all there made but five men, who were in extreme hazard if I sent not men to them presently. In the night not an hour after John Laurence, or thereabouts, came in here a traveler, one Cooke, who was going to the Bay. Saying that about noon on July 27th he was at the garrison house at Quabaug, went thence onward toward the Bay, not knowing or hearing anything, he being gone out thence just before Wolcot came in, and when he came as far as Wolcot’s house, within 20 rod of it, he saw many Indians the yard full, stood quite a while, and seeing no English with them mistrusted them, counted them to be at least 40 or 50, so turned about his horse to go back, when presently the bullets flew about him as thick as hail, so he hastened to the garrison, where he stayed but a little while, and came to Springfield, telling me the garrison was in great hazard, being but six men and no ways able to hold it against so many. Whereupon I forthwith ordered 20 men out of Springfield, 10 out of Westfield the next town, all troopers; sent post immediately to Hadley, etc., for as many more; thence ordering their march to Quabaug, and there join ours, etc. Ours, I being up all the night, were got ready by morning with eight that came from Westfield about sunrising. These 28 all well mounted and well fixed went together yesterday to Brookfield, Captain Colton their leader, and for them also from the upper towns; whom I now this day understand attended my order rallying up to the number of 30, but could not be ready so soon and were after those from Springfield. I feared (according to the intelligence I had) we were too weak; [and ordered] if they met not to join; but now this day towards evening a messenger sent to me from Brookfield gives me this account: that those I sent from Springfield arrived there yesterday about two of the clock in the afternoon, finding the garrison well and not touched; presently were upon the discovery, and finding no Indians, improved, besides some scouting themselves that afternoon, in burying of the dead. They found Thomas Laurence dead, Joseph Mason and his eldest son, Joseph Wolcot’s wife and two children, six in all, which they buried. Three or four persons not found, whether killed or carried away, know not. When Captain Colton had performed this service yesterday, being the same day he went from Springfield, returning to the garrison about sundown, the soldiers from Hadley, Northampton, etc., came in. Just upon which a man that adventured out of the garrison upon the hills says six Indians, as he said, came back and acquainted therewith; presently Captain Colton sent out to discover, found the man to have spoke truth, perfectly discerning their tracks in the long grass which they could very well follow, but it growing dusky and too dark to proceed, returned; and intended this morning to take the track and pursue the enemy, who went northwards. Probably are Canada Indians, and that party which the Frenchman’s examination (sent from Albany) were mentioned, viz., 30 ready to come towards these parts under a chief Indian called La Plato, with 10 more to follow them. I suppose have been about Deerfield, but finding soldiers, etc., durst not attempt there. This morning the rain prevents Captain Colton’s march after the enemy, early as he intended; but the man (who is come to me) tells me that it clearing up, he was getting ready and fitting to pursue them. I pray God they may overtake the enemy and have good success against them.
Sir, the people at Quabaug have sent to me by this man for advice whether to draw off or stay there: drawing off will be ruinous to what they have; staying may be hazardous and ruinous to their persons. They would draw off or stay according to order. Drawing off will be a public damage as in other respects; so in respect of the road is for travelers,2 continuing there will call for some men to keep their fortifications; it may be about six or eight may be sufficient. I request your Excellency’s advice and order; it, what you appoint, shall be exactly attended. I understand the inhabitants are willing to be ordered one way or other, and till your Excellency’s pleasure is known, I intend only to appoint Captain Colton to leave six or eight men, and so return on Monday after he shall have finished his pursuit of the Indians, which I hope this day or tomorrow will be over, and probably you may hear of the issue or success of their pursuing the enemy by the messenger that I shall order to bring this letter to your Excellency, before I can write again. Pardon me that I mention it a second time, that I request your Excellency’s order for continuing or dismissing, I mean calling off the inhabitants from Quabaug. I desire that which is best may be done and dare not determine it further than to leave some few of the soldiers four or five days or a week till your order shall arrive me.3 I am in all things desirous to do the best, and therein am safe in having order where and when it may be had. What I have acted in the relief of Brookfield as aforesaid, the intelligence I had I thought called me to it, and trust it will be acceptable to your Excellency wherewith I shall conclude craving pardon for my scribbling, the post from Brookfield whom I am hastening back enforcing me in some measure thereunto, I am, excellent sir,
Your Excellency’s faithful and humble servant,
Endorsed: Major Pynchon 29th July, 1693.
To his Excellency Sir William Phips, Knight, Captain General, and Governor in Chief in and over their Majesties’ Province of the Massachusetts Bay in Boston: for their Majesties’ Service.
m. a., lxx, 197
[Springfield, 1 August 1693]
Last night Captain Colton from Brookfield, with the soldiers I had put under his command, came well home, and supposing you will expect an account from me of the enterprise, and because some things occur that is of public concern, I dispatch the intelligence thereof by post. Having in my last given your Excellency the account of the attack of Quabaug, by some pagans, which made me send him out upon the pursuit of them, etc., I shall begin now with the account of his expedition from Brookfield, alias Quabaug, which will lead to who were the assailants. On Saturday the 20th of July Captain Colton began his march out of Quabaug about 10 of the clock that morning (the rain having detained him so late) with 42 men well resolved, having left 16 at the garrison there, because he knew not certainly that the Indians were drawn off. To make sure work, went to Wolcot’s house, where about the enemy kept their rendezvous, found their tracks to go through Wolcot’s lot, followed the same and finding it very plain and the way good at first setting out. Cheerfully improved, it soon came to the place where the enemy took up their lodging first after they had done mischief at Quabaug, viz., on Thursday night last, which was about ten miles northerly from Wolcot’s house where they killed Mason’s child which they had took away, the mother, as also young Laurence about 18 years of age, being then captives with them, where after a very small halt, our men on the chase came nearly to the place the enemy, as they suppose, dined the next day, their 2d day from Quabaug. There they killed a mare of H. Gilbert’s, which they had taken to carry their loads, and there also they had broken that drum taken from Laurence’s house. Our soldiers still pursuing came to a great pond about 30 miles or more off Quabaug, where they found the enemy lodged that 2d night. Here they found a horse of Mason’s killed and fresh tokens of them, their fire not out, etc., which encouraged our soldiers much, though the way now most hideous; sometime swampy, then stony and horribly bush, scarce passable for horses, yet went about six or eight miles further that Saturday, all together, with their horses. But finding they could make no riddance in such way with horses, whom also for want of shoes began to be lame, being set for the design, they left all their horses and men that could not foot it. Nineteen men Captain Colton dismissed or shortened his number so many, ordering them to bring the horses after. The captain with the 23 most likely men pursuing the enemy on foot, lightening themselves of their coats and without victuals, hastened away that if possible they might come upon the Indians [illegible] before (or discover them in the) night. But night came before any Indian could be seen or overtaken and the captain having gone seven or eight miles very briskly in bad way after he had left his horse was forced to take up lodging, not knowing how far off their horses might be, that could scarce be got along in that extreme bad way (though the horses came up within two miles of the foot that Saturday night, which was the 3d night that the enemy had been gone from Quabaug).
In the morning being Lord’s day July 30th the brisk captain, having men resolutely bent, persuading themselves they were near that enemy and knowing their horses would make a lumber, though he wanted his men, resolved not to stay, but set out early and very privately goes on in that dismal way. By that time he had gone about a mile and half, came upon the enemy in a most hideous thick woody place, where till within three or four rods of them they discerned them not, till they heard them laughing. Presently the captain made signs to his few men, to come and compass them about, who did according about 10 of his men only just at his heels, the place obscure, the enemy hardly to be seen, having also cut down bushes to shelter themselves yet made shot upon them, as many of our men as had advantage; the rest of our men also readily coming gave their volley also just as the Indians rise up, being at breakfast about sun a quarter of an hour high. Our men could not all make shot at once, those that at first had not opportunity did it at the Indians beginning to budge away, none of our men failing; and the Indians not knowing or discerning them till the bullets were in some of their bodies, and others of them alarmed by the volleys our men gave run away, not having opportunity to fire on our men. The captain says the enemy fired but one gun, though some of our soldiers say another was fired and that the Indian quivered so that he could not hold his gun steady. However, they all ran away that had life to do it; presently at an instant, and into such a hideous thicket that our men could not see or find an Indian more. Our men killed four of them certain outright which the captain saw and is sure of others and most of the soldiers say there were six killed outright, with one that being wounded, one of our men run up and dispatched with his hatchet. They have no powder for any occasion and their visions and hinder less [sic]. Many of them were sorely wounded and no doubt run into holes to die, for our men say the brush in many places was bloody, which it was hardly possible to go in or make discovery; and Captain Colton says he saw blood on the ground as well as bushes. The Indians ran away so suddenly, being surprised, that they left their powder and ball, some judge all not having taken it into their hands that morning, though some of them snatched up their guns, also the scalps our men got from them and burnt them. Our men brought away 9 guns, 20 hatchets, 4 cutlasses, 16 or 18 horns of powder, besides 2 Barksful1 neatly covered about £1 or £2 in a barn. Our men here regained our two captives the enemy carried away, Mason’s wife and young Laurence; and so returned bringing them back in safety, leaving plunder which they made unserviceable not being able to bring it off. Upon their return they met their horses come up within two miles of them; but it was not feasible to go to the place with them, and so returned no more thither. The relation of the woman, Mason’s wife, (for the young man was tired, amazed, and dull), who is a lively and intelligent woman, is that these Indians that were at Quabaug were only 26 of them, four more of their company at first went off from them, say they belonged to Canada, were from Pemaquid.2 Designed to fall upon Nashaway, but that two of their scouts whom they sent thither brought them word. They were there watchful and in a careful posture, whether they were there or no some of them questioned; they fell out about it, could not agree whether to go, were strangers and somewhat at a loss; at last upon a high hill climbing to the top of the tree they discovered a house (which if so must [be] Laurence’s). So bent their way to Quabaug, lay about the place six days, and at last did the mischief, would not go near the fortification, told Thomas Laurence if he would tell them truly what men were in it, they would spare his life. He told them six; then presently they knocked him down and scalped him. She says her husband having no weapon beat them off with his hand only a great while till they cut his hands, and they were very cowardly, afraid to meddle with her, that if she had any weapons she thinks she might have made her escape. Many things she had of them one of them speaking good English, as that an Indian called Captain John was a rogue to them, and they wished they could come at him to cut him in pieces, etc.
They told her that the Canada Indians had been at Deerfield above two months since and done mischief there, when they see the English there go against their own Indians, and the English suspected their Indians, and had imprisoned two of them, though the mischief done there was by Indians that came from Canada, who presently returned after they had done that mischief at Deerfield and were all got safe home to Canada. They inquired of her what was become of the Indians in prison; she answered them she knew not (for indeed that day they were in prison). They told her they would keep the lad, young Laurence, to carry their burdens to their canoes and then would kill him, for they should go five or six days on water and over a great lake3 like the sea. The last night which she was with them they told her they were within a day and half or two days’ journey of their canoes, and now they cared not if 200 English came after them in that place; it was such a place that they should there kill them all, that came to them; and indeed it was a dangerous place for our men if God’s providence had not ordered it, that the Indians saw them not, till the English that went silently were upon them and fired first to their amazement in being so surprised that they run from their arms and ammunition. ’Tis God and not our 20 men that hath done it, to him be all the praise, who orders things well for us, remembering mercy in the midst of judgement.4 I am too tedious, pardon the same, and accept my real desire to be serviceable in rendering the best account. The woman being left at Quabaug, the soldiers’ horses being lame, etc., they could not bring her off. I have all from others, not having spoken with her myself. I suppose the Constable himself (for want of a ready hand) will be the messenger. He may give account of some particulars that I have missed and I direct him to speak with the woman and acquaint you if anything more. The people at Brookfield desire a garrison or to be fetched off. I wait your pleasure and am,
Your Excellency’s humble servant,
Which I much wonder at and at another thing: one of the soldiers, a smith of New Hampshire, says that one of their hatchets he knows well that he made it about a year ago.
To his Excellency Sir William Phips, Knight, Captain General, and Governor in Chief in and over their Majesties’ Province of the Massachusetts Bay in Boston: for their Majesties’ Service.
TO SAMUEL PARTRIDGE
m. a., c, 496
[Boston, 12 September 1694]
The gentlemen that went to Albany,1 I suppose, will have some allowance made them at this court for their service. When, as you have opportunity, if you would please to mind and put in for me, I shall take it thankfully. I hope at least £20 will be allowed me: it was a very hard service in my age,2 and, sir, what may be allowed me, I intreat you to get the order and bring it with you and the Treasurer’s order to our constable to pay it me.3
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, xliv, 505–506
[Springfield, 3 December 1694]
Very desirous I have been to have had advice about continuing or quitting the garrison at Deerfield and Brookfield and therefore have several times writ for directions thereabouts, both to his Excellency before he went off, and (if I mistake not) to yourself also, but have not received one line, nor heard anything in the least concerning the same, and am loath upon my own head to discharge them least if anything fall out not well, I should deservedly be blamed.1 Though the approaching winter gives hope of some respite, and allowance of some ease from the charge and expense the country is at, which I am desirous may be improved for the best, wherefore I write these lines once again to yourself, who can (and I request you to) move in it as is most meet and let me understand that I am to do further. If with safety to your place, I incline that the garrison at Deerfield be dismissed or abated for a month or six weeks and not much longer.
The entering upon winter will give some security, for in reason no attempt can be from Canada now at this season, though when winter is settled all rivers strong, passage good, days lengthen, and warmer weather towards then may be the enemy’s motion and indeed all times that they have come either to Schenecktokee2 or to the Maquas it hath been about the beginning of February, and they may as well come to Deerfield, where a garrison ought well to be provided and settled in January; in meantime probably some relaxation may be allowed. And for Brookfield, who are more within our towns, I suppose this winter time they are more probably secured and will be advantaged by Deerfield being provided. And besides three men signify little (though the inhabitants desire their continuance) for I have drawn all from Brookfield to three men now there who I doubt do little as to watch, etc.; however, the inhabitants desire them yet this winter till spring. I apprehend it will not avail much, but in the spring either the people there should be called off or ordered off or otherwise have more soldiers. ’Twill be to little purpose if an enemy come on them unless there be 12 or 16; which if it be not feasible and attended to, the people should have seasonable notice to draw off in the spring. But Deerfield, that post, I concluded all are for maintaining it, with sufficient strength so as to hold it against the enemy’s attempts and thereby secure all these other towns, and advantage Connecticut (for which end I return again to Deerfield) supposing it to be much the interest of Connecticut and their duty for securing themselves and their Majesties’ subjects, and bearing some proportion in the charge of the war, to advance for the garrisoning of that place, wherefore I suggest that Connecticut be timely writ unto and moved to their duty. It may be good to be beforehand on seasonable writing to Governor Treat: that they would place 40 soldiers with all officers at Deerfield at the beginning of January or sometime in January next and be at the charge thereof, for all next summer; otherwise it will be necessary this Province do more than yet hath been. For we must acknowledge that under God (who did all for us) those few soldiers there in September last were a means of preserving and holding that place. I humbly crave a candid acceptance of what is suggested, and leave all with you, and to that most judicious resolves of the Lieutenant Governor3 and Council, hoping to hear from you what is needful. I did hint something to you about fortifications in these towns. We are not in any good posture, both Hatfield, Hadley, etc., as well as this town and all rest are too open. Fortifications gone to decay, and for repairing or making new, people a little willful, inclined to do what and how they please or not at all. An order from authority is necessary to enforce to what is meet and will strengthen the hands of those here who would have something done but find obstructions to their discouragement; and laying it aside, that matters for safety may be revived by some quickening directions is necessary to get us into a better way of security in the spring and against next year’s fears [and] troubles, which the Lord prevent.
I hoped to have received commissions for the Lieutenant Colonel and Sergeant Major of this regiment before the Governor went, but none came, unless they are left with yourself. I should have been glad and need others joined with me. I received the acts and orders for the Thanksgiving, etc., and sent them to the several towns as directed, but no letter with them, nor any lines before or since. His Excellency I hear arrived the Sabbath after he went from Boston at Piscataqua to go with the mast ships4 and convoy, etc. I pray God give him a good and safe passage and order all things well that he may return to us with a blessing and in the meantime to order matters well for us, guiding our rulers aright [torn] s management of all affairs for his own glory and this people’s good. And so with the tender of all due respects and service (as to yourself so) to the Lieutenant Governor and Gentlemen of the Council, I am,
Your assured friend and humble servant,
I shall be very thankful for a line from you of the account of affairs and of what foreign news hath arrived you,
Endorsed: from Colonel Pynchon Dec. 1694.
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
Bound Photostats, Massachusetts Historical Society
[Springfield, 18 March 1694/95]
On Saturday last I received a letter from Colonel Allyn1 (which was dated March 11th) where he writes that their Governor and Council had determined to call off their soldiers from Deerfield the next Monday, and accordingly sent orders to Lieutenant [Stephen] Hollister to draw off, and intimate that they are not like to make any new supply in their room, but that we must [make] do and having had a good spell from them (as his term is). Besides your Lieutenant Governor2 (says he) hath sent to us for 20 men with provisions to go in your Province Galley,3 which our Council hath not yet granted. By which I plainly see, there will be no assistance to Deerfield from them. The more reason there is you should reenforce and urge your motion for their advancing at least 20 men on the Province Galley, being their own concern and their express interest and security of their trade, and we being at the charge of the Galley, providing it, etc. The least they can do or expect us to desire is 20 men (if not more) from them well furnished and subsisted with provisions, which surely must be followed in earnest, and gained from them now that they leave Deerfield, to which I return having this day received a letter from Lieutenant Hoite of Deerfield (Captain Wells4 being not come home from Boston when the messenger who was sent on purpose on Saturday last came away), who writes that Lieutenant Hollister hath received orders for drawing off this Monday and will be gone with his soldiers this day, or within a day or two at furthest, wherefore he desires and importunes my sending up men to keep garrison for the [illegible] and knowing that I am of opinion that at this season there may be a little breathing for a month’s time, he speculates that when sundry have thought and said there was no danger even in those junctures, the enemy came in upon them, and, says he, you know it that twice already (when it was intended to [torn] ve left us destitute) upon our urgency prevailing to have soldiers continued. God blessed the use of such [torn] ane for our safety and preservation, though the enemy came upon us and designed our ruin, adding the vacancy of a garrison5 may lose many of our lives and flush the enemy. [He] says that they must not [torn] out about their fences, etc., and their wives and children have been so frighted that they dare not [torn] ay there if left naked of men, and the vacancy of a garrison will occasion such as have been [torn] fficulty persuaded to stay when they had a garrison. To remove away from them and so occasion a [torn] serting of the place, which indeed I observe so much uneasiness in men’s spirits there, that I am somewhat [torn] fraid of it. The man that comes with the letter to me manifesting more when I spoke that way and scenting [torn] ore ready to bring away his wife than to stay there with her, and indeed one passage in Lieutenant Hoite’s letter, requesting there may be no intermission of a garrison, with some addition and an intimat[torn]on of desire forthwith to know, it make me conclude they would break up more willingly than lay there. I know why that to be the mind of many of them; upon all which, and Captain Partridge sending to me, that I would not delay, it being also hinted that the Eastern Indians will soon be informed in what posture they are, the river now being passable for them. Though I intended to do [torn] nothing further than to acquaint your Honor and have your Honor’s positive order to do [torn] re, being weak and thin of men in all our towns and need supply from that Bay, at least for Deerfield, if there may not some intermission be safely allowed, yet I have at last resolved upon it, to gratify the desires of Deerfield in some part, tho [torn] sparingly, that the messenger who is now returned with my orders is dissatisfied and [torn] much discontent that I [illegible]. That which I have concluded upon all is to afford them for the present only eight men; we have further our other orders from your Honor, and have therefore ordered Captain Partridge and Captain Clap6 out of those two towns, viz., Northampton 5 and Hatfield 3 to make a present supply and assistance to Deerfield upon Lieutenant Hollister’s drawing off his men, if they will not stay longer, which I have motioned and desire, but almost despair of it. This is what I have done at present, craving your Honor’s acceptance and further orders and directions, which I shall endeavor to attend as far as capable. Deerfield, being a large fortification, cannot well be secured under 32 men, which are more than can well be afforded out of this regiment and too many in my opinion, so that I humbly offer it again to your Honor’s consideration and resolve of sending some men from your more plentiful parts, and the supplying and securing of Brookfield, who also have been minding me of their need of some help now speedily, where 8 or 10 men may be needful and will be as sufficient to hold and maintain that place as 32 or more to maintain Deerfield. My hints of matters I beg your acceptance of, and your pardon wherein I have overdone; truly if I could help it I would have forborne till I had received your particular orders and commands, which I wait for and shall be better pleased with than to be left to myself or to act anything on my own head, unless constrained thereunto, which I humbly request your Honor to prevent, which is what is what at present is needful from him, who with the tender of service and duty subscribes,
Your Honor’s faithful servant,
TO SECRETARY ISAAC ADDINGTON
Bound Photostats, Massachusetts Historical Society
[Springfield, 22 March 1694/95]
I have already troubled your Honor too much with my scrawls, having (besides former lines) [w]rit two letters of this import within a fortnight, so that I am ashamed to inculcate the same thing. But the importunity of my neighbors at Brookfield, who are now at my house, three of them, overcomes me and informs me (at this time) to lay these lines before you, in their behalf only, whom (if they may not draw off) are urgent for speedy succours by men placed there for their security, reckoning themselves in apparent hazard of the enemy and fearing their approach every day, now the weather is open; and truly I am sensible that the enemy may have spite at that place and that they may need men there out of hand. Which though they importune my sending now along with them, yet I decline it for present, having applied to your Honor for your direction and orders, which waiting for, I account it not prudence to anticipate or act upon my own head without the same, since as I have requested, so I am in expectation of your more judicious determination thereabouts, concerning which I crave leave to say upon most serious thoughts (and discourse with the Quabaug men) that such a number as may maintain the place and secure them is needful, and whether less than 16 men with a good discreet commander may be sufficient for that purpose, if an enemy assault them, deserves due consideration, which is with your Honor to conclude and direct in, and whatever that way comes to me from your Honor I shall endeavor my best attendance unto, adding only that for the quieting of them at Quabaug I have told them that I hope they will have men sent them and a garrison stated there by the beginning of April. From the reports by your Honor’s countenance and authority, which is as much, if not too much, as at present is needful from,
Your Honor’s humble servant,
There is one thing which Brookfield men (altogether unthought of by me) do now motion to me with more than ordinary earnestness and desire, which I shall only intimate to your Honor and that is, that my son1 may be the commander, and set over the garrison there, and themselves, as they express it. I can truly say their very mentioning it is a surprise and that which startles me, and though I gave them a check, yet they have proposed it to my son, as they tell me, and do not meet with great discouragement by this over averness,2 as they say to me; I have not spoken to my son of it, and know nothing but what the men say, and wonder at their forwardness and earnestness about it [torn] with strong apprehensions that it will advantage them much. Saying they need one that will rule and order matters well, as they know he is like to do, and are satisfied concerning that he hath attained to competency of skill and good prudence in matters, which I wholly leave, and rather blame myself for hinting did not they put me on thereunto, and have done with it unless further stirred [torn]. For I know not that my son will be prevailed with; I am doubtful of except your Honor [torn] see cause to countenance and advise to it. They have indeed hitherto wanted one that would bear some sway and regulate them, both soldiers and inhabitants as were meet, and such a man to be set over them is very necessary and would be beneficial to them and the country, which is truly desired by,
All that I have writ about my son proceeds wholly from the inhabitants’ desires and not from myself, but if it be thought meet to countenance it, I suppose the office of Lieutenant will be necessary and a commission accordingly will be requisite.3
TO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WILLIAM STOUGHTON
m. a., xxx, 368b
[Springfield, 12 August 1695]
Though till the return of Captain Colton I cannot give an account what comes of my sending him with soldiers up the river, yet I account it becomes me, so far as I have gone, to give your Honor to understand my actings thereabouts, with the grounds thereof as followeth. Yesterday morning about an hour before day I was called out of my bed by two posts sent from Deerfield and Hadley informing that the enemy Indians had fallen upon some of our Albany Indians that were hunting above Deerfield who were on this east side of the great river at a small riveret called Nashaqwalet,1 which runs into Connecticut about six miles above where Northfield once stood. Captain Wells writes in these words August 10, 1695: just now an Indian called Strawberry his son hath made an escape from Nashaqwalet above Northfield. He is come in this evening much wounded, says this day about 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning the enemy made a shot on them and killed 8 or 9 of them, so many he reckons, he said was good as dead. He says he saw many canoes, accounts the enemy to be 40 or 50 men. Upon which Captain Wells desires some assistance may speedily be sent them; which Captain Partridge also enforces by his lines, by the same post, which were writ in the night, August 11th, saying the relation of the wounded Indian that come in to Deerfield was undoubtedly true; he swam over the great river to get to Deerfield (though one arm broken), where this relation was made and sent to myself. Upon which yesterday morning as soon as I received it about daybreak or a little before I sent for Captain Colton, and to him to raise some soldiers for the expedition; which he readily attended and was presently with me, others being employed therein by orders given out, so that I had 24 men, most troopers, together by 8 of the clock well mounted and fitted, besides what will be from towns above. Those from this town 24 or 25 men went from my house, a little after the first bell rang between our first and second bell for meeting; which I suppose you will reckon was speedy to fit out so many men. So presently I suppose some and those from the upper towns were gone before, though I doubt would hardly go out of Deerfield till Captain Colton arrived (who I know would speed to them) or send them orders, for I proposed to him the going on both sides of Connecticut River and suppose our men may go up on this side which must be according as his further intelligence directs, I having left matters to his conduct and acting as upon the place should seem meet and cause for. I pray God give good success to this enterprise; when I know further I shall give your Honor the acquaintance therewith as opportunity presents. This is all at present concerning it.
I know but it might be of use to raise more men to pursue the enemy with good strength (and had such a thing in my thoughts), now to have followed these with victuals and necessaries and further strength and not lose the enemy till they had come up with them, although they had gone almost to Canada, which I conceive would be a good project. But it is not attainable without ruining men’s occasions, and though hopeful in itself, both for destruction and discouragement of the enemy, yet I am necessitated to leave off, partly upon the account of it being too much for me to undertake upon my own head without orders, especially if it should not succeed as I hope for, and therefore I conclude you will excuse me and accept of what I have done, which the good Lord own and give a blessing unto, without which all our endeavors are in vain. I shall expect some news from Captain Colton tomorrow or next day, his return in case the Indians are drawn off, who generally hasten away as soon as they have done any exploit, this having in reason put a stop to their attacking of Deerfield or some of our towns, which it is supposed they intended, but that in their way they met with the Indians that were hunting, whereby we had intelligence of their coming. Here is a report that on last Friday about 20 Albany Indians came into Hatfield (they wanting provisions at Albany). If it be so, I suppose they would join in pursuing the enemy that hath done this mischief on some of themselves.
The Gentlemen of Connecticut that went about settling the line being returned, have employed Captain William Whiting to take an observation at the upper end of Windsor, who did it last week; one of our town saw him about it, and tells me.2 He says they are to come twelve miles more Northward (which if so will take part of Springfield to them); all is but report, and the say is that nothing is concluded or settled. The Gentlemen3 themselves I am told say little, but others give out as if they shall have Woodstock, Enfield, and Suffield, and more also. I only hint the talk not knowing how far is proceeded or what is done, but think our way will be to lay matters before the King,4 who doubtless will confirm to us where the line was stated of old and upon which they were bounded, and their charter stated afterward the draught of ours then lying before the King. Excuse my scrawls proceeding from a desire to be serviceable. With my humble service to your Honor and the gentlemen with you, I am, sir,
Your Honor’s faithful and humble servant,
Endorsed: Colonel Pynchon August 12th, 1695
For the Honorable William Stoughton, Esqr., His Majesty’s Lieutenant Governor for the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, in Boston.
For his Majesty’s service.
m. a., li, 48
[Springfield, 13 September 1695]
So little traveling hath been that I have not had opportunity to give your Honor such account of affairs as might be needful, though I have writ twice, if not thrice, which letters (after long stay) I suppose are with you. By my last you would have the account1 of about eight Indians at Deerfield, who within a mile of the garrison lay in wait, close by the road, hid and altogether unseen, so that five men of Deerfield coming out in the morning on horses going to [the] mill and with bags under them, had seven or eight guns discharged upon them unexpectedly, and seeing nobody till that guns were shot off, wherein eminent gracious providence appeared that no more mischief was done to ours. For except Joseph Barnard, who was shot down off his horse and sorely wounded, not one more hurt, when as ours were surprised and the Indians had time, for that our men, one of them his horse starting threw him and stunned him for the present; the rest were employed in getting up Joseph Barnard and setting him upon his horse. So that the Indians had first opportunity, and yet God suffered them not to be so hardy as to run in upon our men (possibly because one of ours kept a-calling, as if they had more, that the men behind would come up), whereby ours had also opportunity to set Joseph Barnard upon his horse with one to hold him on. The rest also mounted and made to the garrison, when presently a shot was made on them and killed the horse dead that Joseph Barnard was set on; yet then again they mounted him upon another horse when another gun (’tis supposed Joseph Barnard’s own gun which the Indians had took up) was discharged upon them, and this shot also lighted upon Joseph Barnard again. All which notwithstanding, our men got off and came all to the garrison. Though since Joseph Barnard is dead, a humbling providence, he being a very useful and helpful man in that place so much under discouragement, and will the more find and feel the want of him. We were not wanting in pursuing the enemy. Deerfield men and a parcel of Northampton men that had been up the river being just come in went out after them immediately, about 30 or 40 men in all besides more that followed from Hatfield and Northampton, who soon took their tracks westward up Deerfield River, and followed them, though lost them after a while; yet were so intent upon it that they found them again and pursued the enemy seven or eight miles till they could no longer discover any tracks, and although they ranged westward and northward and up the river to the place where Captain Colton found and brake two canoes, yet could they not find or discover that enemy, who are skillful in hiding themselves in swamp and thickets. Possibly these Indians might draw off wholly, but if these did yet others were about presently, and then were (and are in those quarters) and Deerfield people who (in a sense in the enemy’s mouth almost and) are often and so continually pecked at (though wonderfully preserved), being apprehensive of their danger and hazard the number of soldiers there, viz., 24 being few to maintain so large a fortification when some must necessarily be employed in guarding the inhabitants when in the field at work, and others upon the scout, etc., wherein always some of the inhabitants are improved. They addressed themselves to me for some further addition and supply of men which I cannot but think very necessary and needful to secure that post and prevent their surprise, which would be of woeful consequence if (for want of sufficient strength there) the enemy should attack it. But having no order from yourself (though I moved it) to place more men there and knowing how hard it would be to find them here, we having more men out already than can well be allowed, I thought it advisable to move the General at Hartford,2 and therefore wrote Colonel Allyn that they would be so kind as to send 40 men to range the woods well with some of ours, which they readily granted to the number of 30 men under Lieutenant Hollister, who have been of good use and encouragement to Deerfield. But they intending their stay about three weeks only, the people at Deerfield, thoughtful of their danger, when they should draw off, intimated the same to me and that the number of men for that garrison might then be increased. So that I took occasion thereby again to write to Hartford that twelve of their men might be left at Deerfield till Indian Harvest3 was in, though they called off the rest presently, which they have lovingly and readily complied with; ordering Lieutenant Hollister to leave twelve men with a sergeant till the 10th of October, who hath accordingly done it and is gone home the beginning of this week, having drawn off all their soldiers but twelve left for about a month longer from this time; and I hope these with ours will be sufficient in all respects. If no more of the enemy appears than at present and when Indian Harvest is in and business over, our 24 men may do probably, though what may by that time be further discovered I know not. We know Indians are now lurking about and are satisfied that some number of them are waiting to get some booty, for besides some seen at Northampton as also at Hadley, here have been some about Springfield twice, one hath been seen, whether the same Indian or another cannot conclude. But upon any appearance we range all the woods about, besides our daily scouting out, four men a day on horses, by turn, which God may bless to assist the enemy who cannot but observe it. For these towns are daily infested by the enemy. So that it is not prudent to empty our towns of men as we are by so many at Deerfield and Brookfield which take 32 men from us, whereof 10 are out of Springfield, and every day we look that some mischief or other will be done, when to relieve one another it may prove hazardous the weakening ourselves, if the enemy taken notice thereof and have strength to manage any design against us. We desire to wait upon God in the due use of means for our safety, leaving the success to him on whom our dependence is for blessing and preservation.
It is troublesome time here, we having had two alarms lately which it is mere that prove nothing in reality. But the same with other disquiets and exercises referring to the enemy and our own safety takes up my time and proves hard for me to do what belongs to me, which I am desirous to be found in and studious for the public good, wherein I shall be glad of any good directions from your Honor, who am, Honorable sir,
Your ready humble servant,
An Indian from Wigantennck4 came into Hartford, reports (as Colonel Allyn writes to me) that the Mohawks have done great spoil upon the French at Canada, killed and taken captive about a hundred. If true it may something allay the enemy’s motion, but it wants confirmation and seconding by some good hands. As you have occasion to write to Hartford, may it not be of use to take notice of their sending men up (as above ordered) to our assistance, and to intimate your acceptance which probably may tend to further their readiness another time when they find I have observed it to you and that you do accept it from them, which is only hinted by your servant J. P.
It was on the 21st of Aug. [first page]
These for the Honorable William Stoughton, Esqr., His Majesty’s Lieutenant Governor for the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in Dorchester. For his Majesty’s Service
Endorsed: Colonel Pynchon5 Ltr Sept. 13, 1695.
m. a., li, 53a
[Springfield, 30 September 1695]
Not being aware of my neighbor’s going so soon, I am prevented much (of enlarging) yet may not omit to give your Honor some account of the discouraged state of the inhabitants at Deerfield, they having or discovering many straggling Indians since that sudden surprise when Joseph Barnard received his death wounds,1 and now the relation of a Maqua come in there (as he says from the Eastward,2 where he hath been several years) startles them very much, who says that 600 French and Indians design mischief upon Albany (which he is going to advise them of) they being (as he tells) out upon the design, and intend to visit Deerfield in their way; which overbears them with fears of some sudden onset upon them, and makes them shy of leaving their fort, or going out to gather in their corn, accounting they have not strength enough. Though they have 24 soldiers out of this county in garrison there and from Connecticut 12 more which they yielded to leave till 6th of October, in all 36, but that if they scatter about their business, shall hazard the fort and endanger their breaking up, or abetting and encouraging of the enemy, which would be of very ill consequence to the country, if any such thing should be; wherefore they sent to me for further assistance and on the 24th instant by post they signify: that that morning an Indian discovered himself on the other side of their river3 against Carter’s land not far from their fort, upon which they sent out 15 men who could find no Indian or Indians, though some signs. Returning again not long after about noon, two men plainly saw another Indian or the same, about the same place walking as if he designed to make them see him. They at Deerfield are jealous (as they write) least the enemy’s design is to draw their men from the fort and so ensnare them or to come upon the fort when they are out or weak in it, and so take it, inasmuch as their scouts that were out the day before saw tracks of two or three Indians and discovered where corn that had been gathered was eaten by leaving the cobs or great ends of at least 50 ears of corn and this in a corner of the neck towards Carter’s land aforementioned, or not far from it, which is a bushy, swampy place. Hence Captain Wells desired my speedy sending some soldiers to their assistance and to range about, etc., whereupon I ordered Captain Clap of Northampton, the next to them (Captain Partridge being here at the Sessions), to draw out 20 men of his company, the most apt for service, to range the woods, and afford them all the assistance they were [torn] ble, who accordingly went to Deerfield the 25th of this instant September and returned the 27th at night making [illegible] or no discovery of the enemy. But that evening, one of the garrison soldiers that was at Hatfield going up to the garrison discovered two Indians about two miles on this side of Deerfield fort and shot at them, as he says, etc. Captain Clap, who hath been at Deerfield, is very sensible of need of men to be sent up to strengthen them and to guard and scout about while they issue their harvest. Captain Partridge also joins with him in writing that I would send up 20 for a fortnight or three weeks, which that people much desire fearing some sudden mischiefs. Hereupon I have ordered them some men which I suppose went up or are this day gone: 8 from Northampton, 4 from Hatfield, and 4 from Hadley, the next town, in all 16 men added to their number of 36 to be there a week or ten days, who I have directed to Captain Wells for the best improvement of them for their safety and public advantage. I hope it will be acceptable to your Honor. I am very sensible of the country’s charges, but if there should be any sudden surprise there, the want of strength may abet4 the enemy before we can send further aid, which upon the least note of I shall speed to them, even all the strength the county can afford if need require and procure from Hartford I hope more. Could we have any timely discovery of any enemy coming on them, which the good Lord prevent, if it be his blessed will and save his poor people, I shall gladly receive from your Honor further and better directions and orders as you see meet and best which shall as I am able readily attend, and in meantime desire to be found doing my duty, begging your prayers for God’s guidance therein that I may act for the best good of this poor wilderness people, with humble service, I am, sir,
Your Honor’s faithful servant,
If I hear further cause shall send some here also but forbear at present.
Endorsed: From Colonel Pynchon Sept. 30th 1695
For his Majesty’s Service to the truly Honorable William Stoughton, Esqr., his Majesty’s Lieutenant Governor for his Province of the Massachusetts Bay in Dorchester. Post haste.
PETITION TO THE GENERAL COURT
m. a., lxx, 309
[Springfield, 12 November 1696]
To the Truly Honorable the Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Esqr., and his Honorable Council, with the Honorable Representatives of the Great and General Court of His Majesty’s Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Convened at Boston, there to assemble November the 18th 1696.
The Humble representation and address of John Pynchon of Springfield your Honor’s faithful servant, who in your Honor’s employ as commander of the regiment of militia in Hampshire hath according to his ability unweariedly served the country four years and half, ever since the arrival of Sir William Phips, in which service he hath laid out himself more than a little for the public. This end of the Province having in this time of war been infested with the enemy’s several attempts upon our towns, which hath occasioned your petitioner to spend a great part of his time every year in attending the duty of his place and command, besides much experience otherwise therein. For all which he never had any least consideration or allowance for the same, having hitherto silently gone through all the expense both of his time and estate, without laying the same before your Honors till now that he finds it more heavy through the many and often incursions of the enemy of late, thereby putting him upon more and further service by continual orders, impresses, and sending out men, besides the inspecting of the garrisons at Deerfield and Brookfield. The care and ordering of all, having wholly lain upon your petitioner whose ready attending his duty therein upon all occasions, especially in times of greatest exigency, for the public advantage, he shall leave to others to speak, it being known to the representatives of our towns, wherefore he forbears to enlarge thereon, and only craves your due consideration of him, who hath been intent in doing service for the public with all cheerfulness. That divine interrogation, who goes a-warfare at anytime on his own charges, as a positive assertion and infallible maxim, assures him that hopes, that he shall be partaker of his hope. And emboldens your petitioner, from the premises, to ask your Honors meet gratification and ordering him such a due allowance as your Honorable selves, this General Assembly, shall judge a meet compensation for his past and already cheerful service hitherto in this time of war, which will be an obligation upon him to persist in whatever further service he is capable of. Praying that the allwise God may sit among you and direct you in all that is before you to such conclusions and divine sentences as may make for his glory, his people’s weal, and your own everlasting comfort, I humbly subscribe,
Your most willing suppliant and devotedly faithful servant,
Springfield Nov. 12th 1696
October 15th 1697 Read in the House of Representatives
Voted, The petitioner allowed and paid out of the public Treasury, for his extraordinary service and charges, the sum of ten pounds,
Sent up for concurrence,
Penn Townsend, Speaker
20th 8br. 16971 Is. Addington, Secry.
TO CAPTAIN CALEB STANLEY
Wyllys Papers, II, 55, Connecticut Historical Society
[Springfield, 18 September 1697]
Being just now returned home and scarcely in a posture to write, yet intensely desirous to serve you, your gentlemen, and the country, I present our Lieutenant Governor’s letter (with some others) to your Governor, giving you an account of what hath happened, which I have not time to enlarge upon. The commander of your soldiers, Captain William Whiting, hath behaved himself very well and although hath received a scar upon his head, yet is likely to do well. Our general judges the pursuing of the hopeful victory and advantage to the country will be greatly advantageous to us, the enemy not knowing anything of what damage they have done us, and our appearing in the field again will greatly dishearten them and tend to our great advantage, wherefore they desire your enlargement of Captain Whiting’s commission, whom we expect and hope will go out again, at least discover themselves to the enemy that they may not think we are startled at our loss, who know nothing at all thereof, our wounded and dead men being all brought off from the place. I know not that ever such a like engagement hath been between us and the Indians,1 who had all advantages against us, yet (though worthless to us) were beaten out of the field. The Good Lord make all our enemies to perish. I am though in great haste and want opportunity of time.
Your very humble servant,
These for the Honored Captain Caleb Stanley in Hartford.
Colonial Office 5/1041, No. 1(iv), 639, Public Record Office, London
[Northampton, 6 July 1698]
May it please your Excellency,
When this late tedious war with the French was by the good providence of God brought to a happy period, we were ready to persuade ourselves that we should live quietly and in peace, as well as other of his Majesty’s subjects, but contrary to our expectations we are still assaulted and alarmed by the Soatuburb1 Indians. Upon the fifteenth day of this present July, four of them as we suppose, entered into Hatfield meadow and slew two persons and carried two others captive.
Although those Indians are proposed subjects of the crown of England, and made shows of friendship to us, and are many times entertained in our towns, yet for those last four years, they have frequently committed acts of violence and hostility, sometimes alone, sometimes in conjunction with our open enemies. We have lost more persons in this country through this barbary2 of those counterfeit friends than by the assault of those that we have been at open defiance with.
In this month of August Anno 1688 they came to Northfield and slew six persons; June 1693 they came into two houses at Deerfield in the night time and murdered six persons and scalped another who is not thoroughly cured to this day. In July 1694 an assault was made upon Brookfield, wherein several persons were killed and two taken captive; amongst those bloody men there was at least one of those Soatuburb Indians. In July 1695 six persons as they rode in the highway in Deerfield Meadows were shot at; one of them received three wounds of which afterwards he died. In September of 1696 those Indians amongst other South3 Indians came to Deerfield, slew two persons, wounded three, and carried four into captivity. The next month four of these Indians slew a man as he was at work in Hadley woods, for which two of them suffered death; in June of 1697 they slew a man that belonged to Hatfield and sold his scalp at Canada.
Those Indians have plainly declared themselves to be a body of thieves and murderers. If at any time they have given assistance unto us, and been instrumental to destroy our enemies, it had not been out of any principle of friendship or obedience, for at other times they have been ready to assist our adversaries and destroy us. It is indifferent to them to destroy other English, so they ran ganie4 their prey, and satisfy their bloodthirsty spirit. Sometimes they dwell at Sratuburk, sometimes at the eastward and make marriages with the Eastern Indians, and sometimes at Canada, and live like beasts and birds of prey upon the destruction of others.
They have been several times forbidden by Governor Foster5 to come into these parts, but in contempt of all commands, they have not only intruded themselves into our towns, but have shed the blood of war in peace. They insinuate themselves, speak fair promises much, yet are often rousing their bloody practice; we have nourished vipers that sat [in] our own bosoms; they have made many widows, widowers, and motherless children; several families have been broken to pieces by them.
Besides the many calamities that we have undergone by reasons of their practices, other critical alarms in four other parts of the country remote from us are to be ascribed in part to them; it is but seldom that any acts of outrage are committed but four or more of them have a hand therein.
We have no prospect of question for the time to come, unless some extraordinary methods be taken to procure it. We are kept in bondage by those, our burden in watching and warding is great, we cannot with safety follow out ourselves in the fields, we dare not live upon our lands that lie a little remote from the body of our town, the country is put to great charge in maintaining garrison soldiers, and also for pursuing after them6 when they have done hurt.
If they should solemnly promise to behave themselves better for the time to come our juridically7 must be enforced. They never wrong themselves by keeping promises, but have often wronged us by their unfaithfulness; the heeding of their promises do but give them a further advantage to do mischief to us.
We have briefly respected to your Lordship the difficulties which we are involved in; you will have a more particular account from Mr. Hawley and Mr. Parsons. We humbly crave your protection, hoping you will so far regard the justice of our cause and not to suffer those Indians to abide in a capacity to give molestation to us. Thus begging the peace of God with you, we subscribe ourselves,
Your humble servants,
July 26, 1698
TO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR WILLIAM STOUGHTON
m. a., lxx, 383
[Springfield, 18 July 1698]
Although I am not to give your Honor a full account of the late mischief done at Hatfield by the Indians, yet account it my duty to signify what I hear. On Saturday night one of Springfield, (who is very credible and sufficient man to render an account), having been at the upper towns returned home, and tells me that on Friday last the 15th of this instant July in the afternoon toward night, about one hour and half or two hours before sunset, some Indians appeared in Hatfield meadow where people, chiefly lads, were at work in hilling of Indian corn, the corn being high. The Indians came upon them on a sudden, they not seeing them till they were upon them and being unarmed and nothing to resist them. The enemy killed three presently, two lads and a man. The man, John Billings, one of our troopers, was a year man, ready for service upon all occasions, and hearing the bustle went to his horse to be ready, but just as he mounted his horse was shot down dead. The two lads killed in the place where they were at work about their corn and another lad that was with them at work is wanting, that it is supposed he is also killed or carried away, though it is evident they rather designed killing than taking our people, because they had opportunity to have taken many lads more that were there who got away. One man by name Nathaniel Dickenson, whose son was one of the lads that was killed, and also the lad wanting is another of his sons, said Dickenson, at some distance from him being a little concerned for his children, hearing the noise and disturbance whereabout his children were at work gat his horse and ride to the place, where seeing the persons killed, and the Indians drawing off, ride up to them, when an Indian made shot at him and killed down his horse, so that he drew off, and escaped, with several others that were there at work. They say it was only four Indians who came between the rows of corn (the corn being high) and were not discernible till killing of them. Having searched also they plainly see the distinct tracks of four Indians and no more, each one coming up to them at work between the rows of corn, yet one of the lads that got away says he observed them when he was got a little from them and told them to be five though in his fright he says he might mistake. ’Tis very probable it may be some of those Indians that Joseph English told of, and that the remainder may make two or three small parcels more to lurk at other places, for opportunity to do mischief. I hear nothing from Deerfield, hope all is well there, where are placed all the soldiers you ordered me, as also at all other places, having completely performed in every respect according to your Honor’s direction and commands, and all are upon duty and at Deerfield scouts were out, yet these Indians that did the mischief at Hatfield not discovered, though also a soldier posted there at Hatfield farms hard by where this mischief was in their great meadow, not far from the farm garrison. I have now given account of this surprise unto our soldiers at Brookfield to further their care and watchfulness, and do thereby transmit what I know to your Honor, who I am assured will be suitably concerned. I am as particular as I can, not having received any letter. Captain Partridge (as the man tells me) was busily employed in getting soldiers together and had ready between 20 and 30 in half an hour’s time, who went out after the enemy but it was near sundown; first, though, they went presently as soon as notice of it came to the town when also sending to the next towns. Northampton sent out in the evening 30 to Hatfield. What is done I know not or how far they might pursue; I suppose Captain Partridge by some travelers or otherwise may give your Honor a more full account.
That Earl Bellomont1 should have notice. I know your Honor will not neglect whether Frontenac2 at Canada should not be inquired of concerning their Indians that should thus act when peace is concluded or captives to be demanded, etc. The messenger stays and I may not add but my humble service and am in all sincerity,
Your Honor’s most humble and faithful servant,
Some say this may be Albany3 Indians in revenge; time will discover more; I suppose I shall hear today.
These for the Honorable William Stoughton, Esqr., his Majesty’s Lieutenant Governor, and Commander in Chief for the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. Post haste for his Majesty’s special service.
Colonial Office 5/1043, No. 16(vi), Public Record Office, London
[Springfield, 5 February 1699/1700]
May it please your Excellency,
When I writ those lines with some herewith wherein I intimate to your Excellency again all matters being in peace and quiet here, I had not any intimation of anything otherwise, but having sealed that letter before I delivered it to our representative who is going to Boston; just now I have per post received from Hartford gentlemen the information by Oweneto, sachem of Mohegan, to Governor Winthrop1 of New London mentioning an intention of the Indians to make war upon the English, which it were my duty to post away to your Excellency and should not fail of doing it herewith, but that the gentlemen write me; the same information of Oweneto is sent the Lord Bellomont last week per the post, so that I am assured your Lordship hath it. I have only to add that the Wapequajust our New Roxbury2 Indians are all gone away. They went on last Wednesday night towards the Eastward probably to Pocumtuck Indians; only five of them are come to Shaturkett,3 near Norwich and say they are gone to the enemy. About twenty-five men of them are gone from near New Roxbury, and as many women and children as make them about one hundred. Mr. Joseph Barnard of Hartford, who had been at Boston, coming from New Roxbury on Saturday to Hartford, saying that of the New Roxbury Indians being gone, and says that a squaw who went out with them returned back and says they were bound to the Eastward Indians but ‘tis most like they would go to Pomitookes4 first, probably are gone by way of Quabaug. Your Lordship hath what is with me and I suppose have more than I am able to give account of; what further I shall understand at any time I shall not be wanting in acquainting your Lordship with and [illegible] your Excellency’s directions. I shall take care to give notice up the river to our towns there and take such methods as may be most for safety and to prevent mischief remaining unanswered. As likewise shall inform Quabaug of this plot (if I may so tell it), that they be not secure and give further orders as I shall judge most necessary, till I receive further or other advice from your Excellency when (when as always I am) shall be ready to attend the same.5 Having said what is needful at present I shall not add; humbly devoting myself to your Lordship’s service, I am,
Your sincerely and most humble servant,
At the very instant of my being about sealing this letter there came to my hand of your Lordship’s proclamation for proroguing the General Court, which puts a gap to our representative, so that I send these to Brookfield per post supposing the representative of the upper towns (who know not of it) are there on their journey toward Boston and to give them intelligence per it.
Copy of Letter from Colonel Pynchon to the Earl of Bellomont, dated the 5th of February 1699/00 about the combination of the Indians against the English. Referred to in the Earl of Bellomont’s Letter of the 28 February 1699/00.
Received 13 April 1700
Copy of Colonel Pynchon’s Letter to the Earl of Bellomont
February the 5th 1699 no. 5.