Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

some of his own acquaintance were against him, and especially the vital importance of his life to his cause, all made it indispensable for him to adopt every stratagem of the wary and cunning warfare of his race.

We have said something of Philip's ideas of his own sovereign dignity. Hence the fate of Sassamon, and of the savage who proposed peace. There is a well settled tradition, that in 1665 he went over to the island of Nantucket, with the view of killing an Indian called John Gibbs. He landed on the west end, intending to travel along the shore, undiscovered, under the bank, to that part of the island where Gibbs resided. By some lucky accident, the latter received a hint of his approach, made his escape to the English settlement, and induced one Mr. Macy to conceal him. His crime consisted in speaking the name of some deceased relative of Philip (his brother, perhaps,) contrary to Indian etiquette in such cases provided. The English held a parley with the sachem, and all the money they were able to collect was barely sufficient to satisfy him for the life of the culprit. It was not a mere personal insult, but a violation of the reverence due from a subject to his king.

a It appears, that when he visited Boston, before the war, he succeeded in persuading the Government, -as, no doubt, was the truth of the case,—that notwithstanding the old league of his father, renewed by himself, or rather by force of it, he was still independent of Plymouth. These successive engagements were agreements of amity, and not of subjection any further, as he apprehended.' He then desired to see a copy of the treaty, and requested that one might be procured for him. He knew, he added, that the praying Indians had submitted to the English; but the Pokanokets had done no such thing, and were not subject. The letter of the Massachusetts to the Plymouth Government, written just after this interview with the sachem, is well worthy of notice. We do not understand, say the former, how far he hath subjected himself to you; but the treatment you have given him, does not render him such a subject, as that, if there be not present answering to summons, there should presently be a proceeding to hostilities.' Philip had himself the same notion of Plymouth summons ; and yet either policy or good feeling induced bim to visit the Plymouth Governor, in March, 1775, for the purpose of quieting 1675. the suspicions of the Colony ; nothing was discovered against him, and he returned home. He maintained privately the

6

[ocr errors]

same frank but proud independence. He was opposed to Christianity as much as his father was, and would make no concessions upon that point. Possibly the remembrance of Sassamon might have rankled in his bosom, who, upon the venerable Eliot once undertaking to convert him, took one of his buttons between bis fingers, and told him he cared no more for the Gospel than for that button. That he was generally more civil, however, may be inferred from Gookin's statement; 'I have heard bim speak very good words, arguing that his conscience is convicted, &c.'* The sachem evidently made himself agreeable in this case.

Philip was far from being a mere barbarian in his manners and feelings. There is not an instance to be met with, of his having maltreated a captive in any way, even while the English were selling his own people as slaves abroad, or torturing and hanging them at home. The famous Mrs. Rowlandson speaks of meeting with him during her doleful captivity. He invited her to call at his lodge; and when she did so, bade her sit down, and asked her if she would smoke. On meeting her again, he requested her to make some garment for his child, and for this he paid her a shilling. He afterwards took the trouble of visiting her for the purpose of assuring her, that.in a fortnight she should be her own mistress.' Her last interview, it must be allowed, shows his shrewdness to rather more advantage than his fair dealing. It was Indian stratagem in war time, however; and the half-clad sachem was at this very time living upon ground-nuts, acorns, and lily-roots. •Philip, we are informed, 'smelling the business, [her ransom,] called me to him, and asked me what I would give him to tell me some good news, and to speak a good word for me, that I might go home to-morrow. I told him I could not tell,—but any thing I had,

and asked him what he would have. He said two coats, and twenty shillings in money, half a bushel of seed-corn, and some tobacco. I thanked him for his love, but I knew that good news as well as that crafty for.' It is probable he was amusing bimself with this good woman, much as he did with the worthy Mr. Gookin; but at all events, there are no traces of malevolent feeling in these simple anecdotes. What is inore striking, we find that when one James Brown, of Swanzey, brought him a letter from Plymouth, just before

* Historical Collections, Chapter VIII.

[ocr errors]

hostilities commenced, and the young warriors were upon the point of killing him, Philip interfered and prevented it, saying, that his father had charged him to show kindness 10 Mr. Brown.' Accordingly, we find it recorded in Hubbard, that a little before his death, the old sachem had visited Mr. Brown, who lived not far from Montaup, and earnestly desired that the love and amity he had received, might be continued to the children. It was probably this circumstance, which induced Brown himself, to engage in his present hazardous enterprize, after an interval

, probably, of some twenty years. Nor should we pass over the kindness of Philip to the Leonard family, who resided near Fowling Pond, in what is now Raynham. Philip, who wintered at Montaup,—for the convenience of fishing, perhaps-was accustomed to spend the summer at a huntinghouse, by this pond. There he became intimate with the Leonards, traded with them, and had his arms repaired by them frequently. On the breaking out of the war, he gave strict orders that these men should never be hurt, as they never were. And, indeed, it is a singular fact, that the whole town of Taunton,-as it then was, -remained entirely unmolested throughout the war, and amid all the ravages and massacres which daily took place upon its very borders. How much of provocation and humiliation he was himself enduring all this time, we have already seen.

All his relations were killed or captured, and a price set upon his own life.

It is a matter of melancholy interest to know, that the sachem, wretched and hopeless as he had become in his last days, was still surrounded by a band of his faithful and affectionate followers. At the very moment of his fatal surprise by the English, he is said to have been telling them of his gloomy dreams,* and advising them to desert him and provide for their own safety. A few minutes after this, he was shot in attempting to escape from the swamp. An Englishman,—one Cook,—aimed at him, but his gun missed fire; the Indian who was stationed to watch at the same place, discharged his

* The violent prejudice existing against Philip, unmitigated even by his sufferings and death, appears singularly in a parenthetical surmise of Hubbard, • whether the devil appeared to him that night in a dream, foreboding his tragical end, it matters not.' So Mather says, he was hung up like Ahag, after being shot through his óvenomous and murderous heart.' Church, generally an honorable and humane man, speaks of his fallen foe, in terms which we regard his reputation too much to repeat.

6

6

musket, and shot him through the heart. The news of this success was of course received with great satisfaction; Church says, that the whole army gave three loud huzzas. It is to be regretted that the honest captain suffered his prejudices to carry him so far, that he denied the rites of burial to his great enemy. He had him quartered, on the contrary, and his head carried to Plymouth, where, as Mather is careful to tell us, it arrived on the very day when the church there were keeping a solemn thanksgiving. T'he conqueror's temper was soured by the illiberality of the Government toward himself. For this march he received but four and sixpence a man, together with thirty shillings a head for the killed. He observes that Philip's head went at the same price, and he thought it a "scanty reward and poor encouragement. The sachem's head was carried about

' the Colony in triumph ; and the Indian who killed him was rewarded with one of his hands. To finish the wretched detail, his belt, powder-horn and other royalties were soon after given up by one of his chief captains; and the lock of the gun which was fatal to him, with a samp-dish found in his wigwam, are still to be seen among the antiquities of the Historical Society of this State. Montaup, which became the subject of a dispute between the Massachusetts and Plymouth Colonies, was finally awarded to the latter by a special decision of King Charles. "Last and worst of all, his only son, a boy of nine years of age, whom we have already mentioned as among the English captives, was sold as a slave and shipped to Bermuda. It should be stated, however, that this unfortunate measure was not taken without some scruples. The Plymouth Court were so much perplexed upon the occasion, as to conclude upon applying to the clergymen of the Colony for advice. Mr. Cotton was of opinion that the children of notorious traitors, rebels, and murderers, especially such as have been principal leaders and actors in such horrid villanies, might be involved in the guilt of their parents, and might, salva republica, be adjudged to death.' Dr. Increase Mather compared the child to Hadad, whose father was killed by Joab and he intimates, that if Hadad himself had not escaped, David would have taken measures to prevent his molesting the next generation. It is gratifying to know, that the course he recommended was postponed, even to the ignominious and mortifying one we have mentioned.

Such was the impression which had been universally forced

upon the Colonists by the terrible spirit of Philip; and never was a civilized or an uncivilized enemy more generally or more justly feared. How much greater his success might have been,

had circumstances favored, instead of opposing

him, it is fortunately impossible for us to estimate. It is confessed, however, that had even the Narraghansetts joined him during the first summer of the war,—as nothing but the abrupt commencement of it prevented them from doing,—the whole country, from the Piscataqua to the Sound, must have been over-swept and desolated. But as it was, Philip did and endured enough to immortalize him as a warrior, a statesman, and we may add, as a high-minded and noble patriot. Whatever might be the prejudice against him in the days of terror produced by his prowess, there are both the magnanimity and the calmness in these times, to do him the justice he deserves. He fought and fell,-miserably, indeed, but gloriously,—the avenger of his own household, the worshipper of his own gods, the guardian of his own honor, a martyr for the soil which was his birth-place, and the proud liberty which was his birth-right.

bir Everett

Art. VI.Diplomatic Correspondence of the Revolution. The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution;

being the Letters of Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, John Adams, John Jay, Arthur Lee, William Lee, Ralph Izard, Francis Dana, William Carmichael, Henry Laurens, John Laurens, M. Dumas, and others, concerning the foreign relations of the United States, during the whole Revolution ; together with the Letters in Reply, from the Secret Committee of Congress and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; also, the entire Correspondence of the French Ministers Gerard and Luzerne, with Congress. Published under the direction of the President of the United States, from the original manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably to a Resolution of Congress of March 27th, 1818. Edited by JARED SPARKS. In twelve volumes

Boston. N. Hale and Gray & Bowen. G. & C. & H. Carvill, New York; P. Thompson, Washington. 1829-1830. This is a work of great importance for the history of the Revolution. It is a store-house of new materials. If it does not

VOL. XXXIII.-NO. 73. 57

octavo.

a

« IndietroContinua »