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[The following manuscript Letter and Commission directed to John Winthrop Jun. Esq., the first Governor of Connecticut, and signed by Sir Henry Vane, the Governor, and John Winthrop Esq. the Deputy Governor of Massachusetts, were found among the papers of the elder Gov. Trumbull of Connecticut in the year 1809, and were kindly furnished to the Publishing Committee of the Massachusetts Historical Society for publication in its Collections, by William T. Williams, Esq. of Lebanon, Con. The Society is also deeply indebted to Mr. Williams for several other manuscripts of interest published in this collection. These papers, it is understood, formerly belonged to the Connecticut branch of the Winthrop family.-Pub. Committee.]

"Whereas it so falls out by the good Prouidence of God, that the place of your present residence is neare adjoyning unto certaine of the Natiues who are called the Pequots, concerning whom we haue diuers things to enquire and satisfy ourselues in; our request to you therefore is, and by these presents we do giue you full power, authority, and commission to treate and conferre with the sayd Pequots, in our names according to the instructions to these annexed, as if wee ourselues were present: and to make report backe agayne unto vs of the issue and successe of the whole before the next Generall Court (which, God willing is intended in the beginning of the 7th month). Thus recommending you, and your affayres to the blessing of Allmighty God, wee rest

Your louing freinds

Massatuchets the 4th day
Of the 5th month. 1636."


H Vane. Gov'
Jo: Winthrop Dept


"Massatuchets Month: 5th. 4. 1636.

The instructions which are recommended to John Winthrop Jun Esq' in his negotiation with the Pequots.

"1. To giue notice to the principall Sachem that you haue receaued a commission from vs to demaund a solemne meeting for conference with them in a friendly manner about matters of importance.


"2. In case they slight such a message and refuse to giue you a meeting (at such place as yourself shall apoynt) then you are in our names to returne backe their present, (which you shall receaue from vs) and to acquaint them with all, that we hold ourselues free from any peace or league with them as a people guilty of English blood.

"3. If they consent, and giue you a meeting as afore sayd, that then you lay downe vnto them how unworthily they haue requited our friendship with them; for as much as that they haue broken the very condition of the peace betwixt vs, by the not rendring into our hands the murtherers of Capt Stone, (which we desire you once agayne solemly to require of them), as also in that they so trifled with vs in their present which they made proffer of to vs, as that they did send but part of it, and put it off with this, as to say the old men did neuer consent to the giuing of it; which dealings sauour so much of dishonour and neglect, as that no people that desire friendship should put them in practice.

"4. To let them know first what credible relation hath beene given vs, that some of the cheif of them were actors in the murder of Mr Hamond and the other vpon Long Iland; and since of another Englishman there: and of their late determination to haue seized vpon a Plimouth Barke lying in their harbour for trade; as by the more large descriptions of these things, which we also send vnto you, will more distinctly appear. Of all these things we desire

you to take the relation from their owne mouths, and to informe vs particularly of their seuerall answers: giuing them to vnderstand that it is not the manner of the English to take reuenge of injury vntill the partys that are guilty haue beene called to answer fairely for themselves.

"5. To let them know that if they shall cleare themselues of these matters, we shall not refuse to hearken to any reasonable proposition from them for confirmation of the peace betwixt vs. But if they shall not give you satisfaction according to these our instructions, or shall bee found guilty of any of the sayd murthers, and will not deliuuer the actours in them into our hands, that then (as before you are directed) you returne them the present, and declare to them that we hold ourselues free from any league or peace with them, and shall reuenge the blood of our countrimen as occasion shall serue.

H: Vane Gov

Jo: Winthrop Dept"


[The original manuscript of this "Relation" and a copy in the handwriting of Gov. Trumbull were furnished to the Publishing Committee by William T. Williams, Esq.; the same gentleman whose kindness is mentioned on page 129 of this volume. The Committee, on account of the difficulty the printer would find in deciphering the original, have followed the orthography of the copy, excepting in the proper names, where they thought it of more importance to adhere to the ancient orthography. Mr. Williams in his interesting letters of July 19 and 23, 1832, addressed to a member of the Committee, has given some few particulars in relation to Lion Gardener; also a description of the battle-ground where the Pequots were destroyed, and of the burial place of Uncas and Miantunnomoh, together (with a succinct account of the present condition of the remnant of the ancient and powerful tribes of the Pequots, Mohegans and Narragansets. These portions of the letters are of historical value, and the Committee therefore take the liberty of publishing the following extracts. - Publishing Committee.]

"Lion Gardener was sent over by Lords Say and Seal and Lord Brook to construct a fort at the mouth of Connecticut river, to command it, &c. He was said to be a skilful engineer, and on that account was selected. He had seen some service in the Low Countries under Gen. Fairfax. He came into this Country about the year 1633 or 1634 and erected the fort at Saybrook in Connecticut, which was so named in honour of Lords Say and Seal and Lord Brook but how long he continued to command the fort I do not recollect. He commanded it when Capt. John Mason conquered the Pequots, for Mason in his history, you recollect, says, 'he, Lt. Gardiner, complimented or entertained him with many big guns,' on his arrival at the fort after the conquest of the Pequots.

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"Gardener continued some time in the command of the fort, but it does not appear when he left it. While he commanded it, he once very narrowly escaped being captured by the Pequots. He had five men with him, one of whom was taken and tortured; the fort was burnt down, and he and his family narrowly escaped being burnt in it. Gardener's Island, lying in Gardener's Bay, to which he removed and where he died, was taken possession of by him soon after his coming into this country. You will perceive he has reference to his island: it is a very beautiful island of good land, perhaps twenty-five hundred or three thousand acres, with a long sand point of not much value. It now wholly belongs to the family and was until the decease of the last proprietor, Jonathan Gardiner, an entailed estate; but I am told that the entail is now broken. The proprietors have always been called Lords.






"In the mouth of Mistic river there is an island, now and always called Mason's Island from old Capt.

Mason, containing 'five or six hundred acres. This island he took possession of by right of conquest, and the most of it is now possessed by his descendants. I believe it is the only spot in Connecticut claimed in that way.

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"Summer before last I went to the battle-ground on purpose to view it. The spot where the fort stood is in the present town of Groton, Connecticut, on the west side of Mistic river. Sassacus had this fort in the eastern part of his dominions to look after the Narragansetts. The hill is commanding and beautiful though not steep. The land is now owned by Roswell Fish, Esq. of Groton. There are no remains of the fort; Capt. Mason says it was of timber mostly, and of course when he burnt it, it must have been principally consumed. Mr. Fish told me that within his recollection (and he is about sixty) some few Indian arrow-heads and spears have been found on the ground, and also some bullets. The river is at the bottom of the hill, less than half a mile, I should' think, from the site of the fort, and perhaps three miles from the head of the little village of Mistic in the town of Stonington, where the small streams that form the river meet the tide water. The river is the dividing line between the towns of Groton and Stonington. Porter's rocks, where Capt. Mason lodged, are near the village, and perhaps two miles above the site of the fort.

"Sassacus had another fort, about two miles west of the one taken by Mason, in the town of Groton, from which the one taken was recruited on the night before the attack. The whole of the shore of Mistic river, which is about six or seven miles from what is called head of Mistic, to its mouth, and particularly the west side, is rough, rugged, and rocky, but particularly pleasant, and filled with dwellings wherever they can be placed, inhabited chiefly by sailors and sea

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