◆   Anno Domini 1634   ◆

This year Mr. Thomas Prence was chosen Governour.

Mr. Sherley’s letters were very brief, In answer of theirs this year; I will forbear to copy any part therof; only name a head or 2 therein.1 First he desires they will take nothing Ill in what he formerly writ, professing his good affection towards them as before, &c. 2ly, for Mr. Allerton’s accounts, he is persuaded they must suffer and that in no small sums; and that they have cause enough to complain, but it was now too late. And that he had failed them there, those here, and himself in his own aims. And that now having thus left them here, he feared God had ^or would leave^ left him, and it would not be strange, but a wonder if he fell not into worse things, &c. 3ly, he blesseth God, and is thankful to them for the good return made this year. This is the effect of his letters, other things being of more private nature.

I am now to enter upon one of the saddest things, that befell them since they Came. But before I begin It will be needful, to premise such part of their patent2 as gives them right and privilege at Kennebec. As followeth. [199]

The said Council3 hath further given, granted, bargained, sold, enfeoffed, allotted, assigned & set over, And by these presents, do clearly and absolutely, give, grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff, allot, assign and confirm unto the said William Bradford, his heirs, Associates, and assigns, All that tract of land or part of New England in America aforesaid, which lieth within, or between, and extendeth itself, from the utmost limits of Cobbesacontee4 which adjoineth to the river of Kennebec, towards the western Ocean, and a place called the falls of Nequamkick in America, aforesaid;5 And the space of 15 English miles, on each side of the said river, commonly called Kennebec River, and all the said river called Kennebec, that lieth within the said limits & bounds eastward, westward, northward, & southward, last above mentioned; and all lands, grounds, soils, rivers, waters, fishing, &c. And by vertue of the authority to us derived by his ^said late^ Majesty’s Letters patents to take, apprehend, seize, and make prise ^of^ all such persons their ships and goods, as shall attempt to Inhabit, or trade, with the savage people of that Country within the several precincts, and limits of his, & their several plantations, &c.

Now it so fell out that one Hocking, belonging to the plantation of Piscataqua,6 went with a bark, and commodities to trade in that river; and would needs press into their limits, and not only so but would needs go up the river above their house (towards the falls of the river) and Intercept the trade that should come to them. He that was chief of that place forbade them,7 and prayed him that he would not offer them that Injury, nor go about to Infringe their liberties (which had cost them so dear). But he answered he would go up and trade there in despite of them, and lie there as long as he pleased; the other told him he must then be forced to remove him from thence, or make siezure of him if he could. He bid him do his worst, and so went up, and anchored there. The ^other^ took a boat, & some men, & went up to him, when he saw his time; and again entreated him to depart, by what persuasion he could. But all in vain, he could get nothing of him but ill words. So he considered that now was the season for trade to come down, and if he should suffer him to lie, & take it fom them, all their ^former^ charge would be lost, and they had better throw up all. So consulting with his men (who were willing thereto), he resolved to put him from his anchors, and let him drive down the river with the stream; but commanded the men that none should shoot a shot upon any occasion except he commanded them. He spoke to him again but all in vain; then he sent a couple in a canoe to cut his cable, the which one of them performs, but Hocking takes up a piece which he had laid ready, and as the bark shored by the canoe he shot [200] him close under her side, in the head (as I take it), so he fell down dead Instantly.8 One of his fellows (which loved ^him^ well) could not hold, but with a musket shot Hocking, who fell down dead and never spake word; this was the truth of the thing; the rest of the men carried home the vessel and the sad tidings of these things. Now the Lord Saye, & the Lord Brooke with some other great persons had a hand in this plantation; they9 writ home to them, as much as they could to exasperate them in the matter; leaving out all the Circumstances, as if he ^had^ been killed without any offense of his part, concealing that he had killed another first, and ^the^ Just occasion, that he had given in offering such wrong; at which their Lordships were much offended till they were truly Informed of the matter.

The bruit of this was quickly carried all about (and that in the worst manner) and came into the Bay to their neighbours there. Their own bark coming home, and bringing a true relation of the matter, sundry were sadly affected with the thing, as they had cause; It was not long before they had occasion to send their vessel into the Bay of the Massachusetts. But10 they were so prepossessed with this matter, and affected with the same, as they committed Mr. Alden to prison,11 who was in the bark; and had been at Kennebec (but was no actor in the business) but went to carry them supply. They dismissed the bark about her business, but kept him for some time; this was thought strange here, and they sent Captain Standish to give them, true Information (together with their letters) and the best satisfaction they could, and to procure Mr. Alden’s release.12 I shall recite a letter, or 2 which will show the passages of these things. As followeth.

Good Sir,13

I haue received your letter, by Captain Standish, & am unfeignedly glad of God’s mercy towards you in the recovery of your health, or some way thereto. For the business you write of I thought meet to answer a word or 2 to yourself, leaving the answer of your Governour[‘s]14 letter to our Court, to whom the same, together with myself is directed. I conceive (till I hear new matter to the contrary) that your patent may warrant your resistance of any English from trading at Kennebec; and that blood of Hocking, and the party he slew, will be required at his hands (yet do I with yourself & others sorrow for their deaths). I think likewise that your general letters will satisfy our Court, and make them cease from any further Intermeddling in the matter. I have upon the same letter set Mr. Alden at liberty and his sureties, and yet lest I should seem to neglect the opinion of our Court & the frequent speeches of others, with us; I have bound Captain Standish to appear the 3[rd] of June at our next Court to make Affidavit for the copy of the patent, and to manifest the circumstances, of Hocking’s provocations; both which will tend to the clearing of your Innocency. If any unkindness hath been taken from what we have done, let it be further, & better considered of I pray you; and I hope the more you think of it, the less blame you will Impute to us. At least you ought to be Just in differencing them, whose opinions concur [201] with your own, from others who were opposites; and yet I may truly say, I have spoken with no man in the business who taxed you most, but they are such as have many ways heretofore declared their good affections towards your plantation. I further refer myself to the report of Captain Standish, & Mr. Alden; leaving you for this present to God’s blessing, wishing unto you perfect recovery of health, and the long continuance of it. I desire to be lovingly remembered to Mr. Prence your Governour, Mr. Winslow, Mr. Brewster, whom I would see If I knew how. The Lord keep you all, Amen.

Newtown, the 22[nd] of May 1634.

Your very loving friend in our Lord Jesus,

Thomas Dudley

Another of his about these things, as followeth • 〜 • 〜 • 〜 •


I am right sorry for the news that Captain Standish, & other of your Neighbours, and my beloved friends will bring now to Plimoth, wherein I suffer with you, by reason of my opinion, which differeth from others, who are godly, & wise amongst us here, the reverence of whose Judgements, causeth me to suspect, mine own Ignorance; yet must I remain in it until I be convinced thereof. I thought not to have shewed your letter written to me, but to have done my best to have reconciled differences In the best season, & manner I could; but Captain Standish requiring an answer thereof publicly in the Court, I was forced to produce it, and that made the breach so wide as he can tell you. I propounded to the Court, to answer Mr. Prence’s letter your Governour, but our Court said, it required no answer, itself being an answer to a former letter of ours; I pray you certify Mr. Prence so much, and others whom it concerneth, that no neglect, or Ill manners be Imputed to me thereabout. The late letters I received from England wrought in me diverse *fears15 of some trials which are shortly like to fall upon us; and this unhappy contention between you, and us, and between you, & Piscataqua,16 will hasten them, If God with an extraordinary hand, do not help us. To reconcile this for the present will be very difficult, but time cooleth distempers, and a common danger to us both approaching,17 will necessitate our uniting again. I pray you therefore Sir set your wisdom & patience a-work, and exhort others to the same, that things may not proceed from bad, to worse, so making our contentions like the bars of a palace, but that a way of peace may be kept open, whereat the God of peace may ^have^ entrance, in his own time. If you suffer wrong, It shall be your honour to bear it patiently; but I go too far In needless putting you in mind of these things. God hath done great things for you. And I desire his blessings may be multiplied upon you more, & more. I will commit no more to writing; but commending myself to your prayers, do rest,

June 4, 1634.

Your truly loving friend

In our Lord Jesus,

Thomas Dudley [200v]

By these things It appears what troubles rise hereupon, and how hard they were to be reconciled, for though they ^here^ were heartily sorry for what was fallen out; yet they conceived they were unjustly Injuried, and provoked, to what was done. And that their neighbours (having no Jurisdiction over them) did more than was meet, thus to Imprison one of theirs, and bind them to [202] Their Court. But yet being assured of their ^Christian^ love; and persuaded what was done was out of godly Zeal that religion might not suffer, nor sin any way covered, or borne with, especially the guilt of blood, of which we should be very conscientious in any whomsoever. They did Endeavor to appease, & satisfy them the best they could; first by Informing them the truth in all circumstances about the matter; 2ly, In being willing to refer the case, to any Indifferent, and equal hearing, and Judgement of the thing here; and to answer it elsewhere, when they should be duly called thereunto; and further they craved Mr. Winthrop’s, & other of the reverend magistrates ^there, their^ advice, & direction herein. This did mollify their minds, and bring things to a good, & comfortable Issue in the end.

For they ^had^ this advice given them by Mr. Winthrop, & others concurring with him; that from their court, they should write, to the neighbour plantations ^&^ especially that of the lords, at Piscataqua; and theirs of the Massachusetts; to appoint some to give them meeting at some fit place; to consult & determine in this matter, so as the parties ^meeting^ might ^have full power^ to order, & bind, &c. And that nothing be done to the Infringing, or prejudice of the liberties of any place. And for the clearing of Conscience, the law of God is, that the priest[‘s] lips must be consulted with.25 And therefore it was desired that the ministers, of every plantation, might be present to give their advice in point of conscience. Though this course seemed dangerous to some, yet they were so well assured of the Justice of their Cause, and the Equity of their friends, as they put themselves upon it; & appointed a time, of which they gave notice to the several places, a month beforehand, viz., Massachusetts, Salem, & Piscataqua, or any other that they would give notice to, and desired them to produce any Evidence they Could in the case; The place for meeting was at Boston. But when the day & time came none appeared, but some of the magistrates and ministers of the Massachusetts, and their own; seeing none of Piscataqua or other places came (having been thus desired, & convenient time given them for that end), Mr. Winthrop & the rest said they could do no more, than they had done thus to request them; the blame must rest on them. So they fell into a fair debating of things themselves; and after all things had been fully opened & discussed, and the opinion of each one demanded, both magistrates, and ministers. Though they all could have wished ^these^ things had never been, yet they could not but lay the blame, & guilt on Hocking’s own head, and withal gave them such grave, & godly exhortations, and advice; as they thought meet, both for the present, and future; which they also Embraced with love, & thankfulness, promising to Endeavor to follow the same.26 And thus was this matter ended, and their love and concord renewed; and also Mr. Winthrop, & Mr. Dudley writ in their behalfs, to the Lord Saye, & other gentlemen, that were Intressed in that plantation, very effectually. With Which together, with their own letters, and Mr. Winslow’s furder declaration of things unto them, they rested well satisfied. [203]

Mr.27 Winslow was sent by them this year into England, partly to Inform and satisfy the Lord Saye, & others in the former matter.28 As also to make answer, and their Just defence for the same, if anything should by any, be prosecuted against them at Council table, or elsewhere; but this matter took end, without any further trouble, as is before noted. And partly to signify unto the partners in England, that the term of their trade with the company here was out; and therefore he was sent to finish the accounts with them. And to bring them notice, how much debtor they should remain on that account, and that they ^might^29 know what further Course would be best to hold; but the Issue of these things will appear in the next year’s passages.30 They now sent over by him a great return, which was very acceptable unto them. Which was In beaver 3738 pounds’ weight, a great part of it being coat & the skin at 14s.beaver sold at 20s per pound, and 234 otter skins, which altogether rise to a great sum of money.31 [202v]

I am now to relate some strange & remarkable passages; there was a company of people lived in the country, up above in the river of Connecticut; a great way from their trading ^house^46 there; and were Enemies to those Indians which lived about them, and of whom they stood In some fear (being a stout people). About a thousand of them had Enclosed themselves in a fort, which they had strongly palisadoed.47 About 3 or 4 Dutchmen, went up in the beginning of winter to live with them, to get their trade, and prevent them for bringing it to the English or, to fall into amity with them; but at spring to bring all down to their place. But their Enterprise failed, for it pleased God, to visit these Indians with a great sickness, and such a mortality that of a 1000 above 900 and a half ^of them died,^48 and many of them did rot above ground for want of burial, and the Dutchmen almost starved, before they could get away, for Ice and snow; but about Feb[ruary]49 they got with much difficulty, to their50 trading house; whom they kindly relieved, being almost spent with hunger, and cold; being thus refreshed by them diverse days, they got to their own place, and the Dutch were very thankful for this kindness.

This spring also, those Indians that lived about their trading house there, fell sick of the smallpox, and died most miserably; for a sorer disease cannot befall them, they fear it more than the plague; for usually they that have this disease, have them in abundance; and for want of bedding & linen,51 and other helps, they fall into a lamentable condition, as they lie on their hard mats, the pox breaking and mattering,52 and running one into another; their skin cleaving (by reason thereof) to the mats they lie on, when they turn them, a whole side will flay off, at once [204] (as it were), and they will be all of a gore blood, most fearful to behold; and then being very sore, what with cold, and other distempers, they die like rotten sheep. The condition of this people was so lamentable, and they fell down so generally of this disease as they were (in the end) not able to help one another, no not to make a fire, nor to fetch a little water to drink, nor any to bury the dead; but would strive as long as they could, and when they could procure no other means to make fire, they would burn the wooden trays, & dishes they ate their meat in, and their very bows, & arrows; & some would crawl out on all four to get a little water, and sometimes die by the way, & not be able to get in again. But those of the ^English^53 house (though at first they were afraid of the Infection) yet seeing their woeful, and sad Condition, and hearing their pitiful cries, and lamentations. They had Compassion of them, and daily fetched them, wood, & water, and made them fires, got them victuals, whilst they lived; and buried them when they died. For very few of them escaped, notwithstanding they did what they could for them; to the hazard of themselves. The chief Sachem himself now died, & almost all his friends, & kindred. But by the marvelous goodness, & providence of God not one of the English, was so much as sick, or in the least measure tainted with this disease, though they daily did these offices for them, for many weeks together. And this mercy which they shewed them, was kindly taken, and thankfully acknowledged of all the Indians, that knew, or heard of the same. And their masters here, did much commend ^& reward^54 them for the same.