◆   Anno Domini 1645   ◆

The commissioners This year were called to meet together at Boston, before their ordinary time; partly in regard of some differences fallen between, the French, and the Government of the Massachusetts; about their aiding of Monsieur La Tour, against Monsieur d’Aunay.1 And partly about the Indians, who had broken the former agreements about the peace concluded the last year. This meeting was held at Boston, the 28[th] of July.

Besides some underhand assaults made on both sides, the Narragansetts gathered a great power and fell upon Uncas, and slew many of his men, and wounded more, by reason that they far exceeded him in number, and had got store of pieces,2 with which they did him most hurt. And as they did this, without the knowledge, and consent of the English (contrary to former agreement) so they were resolved to prosecute the same notwithstanding anything the English said, or should do against them. So being encouraged by their late victory, and promise of assistance from the Mohawks3 (being a strong, warlike, and desperate people) they had already devoured Uncas, & his in their hopes; and surely they had done it indeed, if the English had not timely set in for his aid. For those of Connecticut sent him 40 men who were a garrison to him, till the commissioners could meet and take further order.

Being thus met they forthwith sent 3 messengers, viz. Sargeant John Davis, Benedict Arnold, and Francis Smith, with full & ample Instructions, both to the Narragansetts, and Uncas; to require them that they should either come in person, or send sufficient men fully instructed to deal in the business. And if they refused, or delayed, to let them know (according to former agreements) that the English are engaged to assist against these hostile Invasions, and that they have sent their men to defend Uncas, and to know of the Narragansetts whether they will stand to the former peace, or they will assault the English also, that they may provide accordingly.

But the messengers returned not only with a slighting,4 but a threatening Answer from the Narragansetts (as will more appear hereafter). Also they brought a letter from Mr. Roger Williams, wherein he assures them, that the war would presently break forth, & the whole Country would be all of a flame. And that the sachems of the Narragansetts, had Concluded a Neutrality, with the English of Providence, and those of Aquidneck5 Island. Whereupon the Commissioners considering the great danger, & provocations offered, and the necessity we should be put unto of making war with the Narragansetts. And being also careful in a matter of so great weight, & general concernment, to see the way cleared, and to give satisfaction to all the Colonies; did think fit to advise with such of the Magistrates, & Elders of the Massachusetts as were then at hand, and also with some of the chief military commanders there; who being assembled it was then agreed,

First, that our Engagment bound us to aid, & defend Uncas. 2. That this aid could not be Intended only to defend him, & his fort, or habitation, but (according to the common acceptation of such covenants, or Engagements, considered with the grounds or occasion thereof) so to aid him, as he might be preserved in his liberty and estate. 3ly, that this aid [265] must be speedy, lest he might be swallowed up in the meantime, and so come too late. 4ly, the Justice of this war being cleared to ourselves, and the rest then present, It was thought meet that the case should be stated, and the reasons & grounds of the war declared and published. 5ly, That a day of Humiliation should be appointed, which was the 5[th] day of the week following. 6ly, It was then also agreed by the Commissioners that the whole number of men to be raised in all the Colonies, should be 300. Whereof from the Massachusetts a 190, Plimoth 40, Connecticut 40, New Haven 30. And considering that Uncas was in present danger, 40 men of this number, were forthwith sent from the Massachusetts for his succour, and it was but need, for the other 40 from Connecticut had order to stay but a month, & their time being out they returned; and the Narragansetts hearing thereof, took the advantage, and came suddenly upon him, and gave him another blow, to his further loss, and were ready to do the like again; but these 40 men being arrived, they returned, and did nothing.

The declaration, which they set forth I shall not transcribe it being very large, and put forth in print,6 to which I refer those that would see the same, In which all passages are laid open from the first. I shall only note their proud carriage, and answers to the 3 messengers sent from the Commissioners. They received them with scorn, & contempt; and told them they resolved to have no peace, without Uncas his head; also they gave them this further answer; that it mattered not who began the war, they were resolved to follow it; And that the English should withdraw their garrison from Uncas, or they would procure the Mohawks7 against them; And withal gave them this threatening answer, that they would lay the English Cattle on heaps, as high as their houses,8 and that no Englishman should stir out of his door to piss, but he should be killed. And whereas they required guides to pass through their country to deliver their message to him ^Uncas^9 from the Commissioners, they denied them, but at length (in way of scorn) offered them an old Pequot woman; besides also they conceived themselves in danger, for whilst the Interpretour10 was speaking with them about the answer he should return, 3 men came & stood behind him with their hatchets according to their murderous manner, but one of his fellow gave him notice of it, so they broke off & came away; with sundry such-like affronts, which made those Indians they carried with them, to run away for fear, and leave them to go home as they could.11

Thus whilst the commissioners in care of the public peace sought to quench the fire kindled amongst the Indians; these children of strife, breath out threatenings, provocations, and war, against the English themselves. So that unless they should dishonour ^& provoke^12 God, by violating a just Engagement, and expose the Colonies to contempt, & danger from the barbarians; they cannot but exercise force, when no other means will prevail to reduce the Narragansetts, & their confederates, to a more Just, & sober temper.

So as hereupon, they went on to hasten the preparations, according to the former agreement, and sent to Plimoth to send forth their 40 men with all speed to lie at Seekonk, lest any danger should befall it, before the rest were ready, it lying next the Enemy, and there to stay, till the Massachusetts should Join with them. Also Connecticut, & New Haven forces were to Join together, and march with all speed, and the Indian Confederates of those parts with them. All which was done accordingly; and the soldiers of this place were at Seekonk the place of their rendevouz 8 or 10 days before the rest were ready; they were well armed all with snaphance pieces,13 and went under the command of Captain [266] Standish; those from other places were led likewise by able commanders, as Captain Mason for Connecticut, &c. And Major Gibbons was made general over the whole with such commissions, & Instructions as was meet.

Upon the sudden dispatch of these soldiers (the present necessity requiring it) the deputies of the Massachusetts court (being now assembled Immediately after the setting forth of their 40 men) made a question whether it was legally done, without their commission. It was answered that howsoever it did appertaine properly belong to the authority of the several Jurisdictions (after the war was agreed upon, by the commissioners, & the number of men) to provide the men, & means to carry on the war; yet in this present case the proceeding of the Commissioners, and the commission given was ^as^ sufficient as if it had been done by the general Court.

All things being thus in readiness, and some of the soldiers gone forth, and the rest ready to march; the Commissioners thought it meet before any hostile act was performed, to cause a present to be returned, which had been sent to the Governour of the Massachusetts from the Narragansett Sachems; but not by him received, but laid ^up^ to be accepted, or refused as they should carry themselves, and observe the covenants. Therefore they violating the same, & standing out thus to a war, it was again returned, by 2 messengers & an interpretour. And further to let know that their men already sent to Uncas (& otherwhere sent forth) have hitherto had express order only to stand upon his, & their own defence, and not to attempt any Invasion of the Narragansetts’ country; and yet if they may have due reparation for what is past, and good security for the future; it shall appear they are as desirous of peace, and shall be as tender of the Narragansetts’ blood as ever. If therefore Pessacus, ^Janemo,^18 with other sachems, will (without further delay) come along with you to Boston, the commissioners do promise, & assure them, they shall have free liberty to come, and return without molestation or any Just grievance from the English. But deputies will not now serve, nor may the preparations in hand be now stayed, or the directions given recalled, till the forementioned Sagamores come, and some further order be taken. But if they will have nothing but war; the English are providing, and will proceed accord^ing^ly.

Pessacus, Mixanno, & Witowash,19 3 principal sachems of the Narragansett Indians, and Aumsequen20 deputy for the Niantics, with a large train of men, within a few days after came to Boston.

And to omit all other circumstances, and debates, that passed between them, and the commissioners; they came to this Conclusion following. [267]

This treaty, and agreement betwixt the commissioners, of the united, colonies and the sagamores, and deputy, of Narragansetts, and Niantic Indians; was made, and concluded, Benedict Arnold being interpretour, upon his oath; Sergeant Collicott, & an Indian his man being present; and Josias, & Cutshamakin, two Indians acquainted with the English language, assisting therein; who opened, & cleared the whole treaty, & every article to the Sagamores, and deputy there present. And thus was the war, at this time stayed, and prevented • 〜 • [269]

John Winthrop

Herbert Pelham

Thomas Prence

John Browne














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George Fenwick

Edward Hopkins

Theophilus Eaton

Steven Goodyear

the Niantic deputy