Page images

Prince Phillip a little coming to Boston had

links to hang in their ears. before I came for England, a coat on and Buskins set thick with these Beads in pleasant wild works and a broad Belt of the same, his Accoutrements were valued at Twenty pounds. The English Merchant giveth them ten shillings a fathom for their white, and as much more or near upon for their blew Beads. Delicate sweet dishes too they make of Birch-Bark sowed with threads drawn from Spruse or white Cedar-Roots, and garnished on the out-side with flourisht works, and on the brims with glistering quills taken from the Porcupine, and dyed, some black, others red, the white are natural, these they make of all sizes from a dram cup to a dish containing a pottle, likewise Buckets to carry water or the like, large Boxes too of the same materials, dishes, spoons and trayes wrought very smooth and neatly out of the knots of wood, baskets, bags, and matts woven with Sparke, bark of the Line-Tree and Rushes of several kinds, dyed as before, some black, blew, red, yellow, bags of Porcupine quills woven and dyed also; Coats woven of [p. 144.] Turkie-feathers for their Children, Tobacco pipes of stone with their Imagerie upon them, Kettles of Birchen-bark which they used before they traded with the French for Copper Kettles, by all which you may apparently see that necessity was at first the mother of all inventions. The women are the workers of most of these, and are now, here and there one excellent needle woman, and will milk a Cow neatly, their richest trade are Furs of divers sorts, Black Fox, Beaver, Otter, Bear, Sables, Mattrices, Fox, Wild- Cat, Rattoons, Martins, Musquash, Moose-skins.

Ships they have none, but do prettily imitate ours in their Birchen-pinnaces, their Canows are made of Birch, they shape them with flat Ribbs of white Cedar, and cover them with large sheets of Birch-bark,

sowing them through with strong threds of SpruseRoots or white Cedar, and pitch them with a mixture of Turpentine and the hard rosen that is dryed with the Air on the outside of the Bark of Firr- Trees. These will carry half a dozen or three or four men and a considerable fraight, in these they swim to Sea twenty, nay forty miles, keeping from the shore a league or two, sometimes to shorten their voyage when they are to double a Cape they will put to shore, and [p, 145.] two of them taking up the Canow carry it cross the Cape or neck of land to the other side, and to Sea again; they will indure an incredible great Sea, mounting upon the working billowes like a piece of Corke; but they require skilful hands to guide them in rough weather, none but the Indians scarce dare to undertake it, such like Vessels the Ancient Brittains used, as Lucan relates.

Primum cana salix, madefacto vimine, parvam
Texitur in puppim, cæsoque induta juvenco,
Vectoris patiens tumidum super emicat amnem.
Sic Venetus stagnante Pado, fusoque Britanus
Navigat oceano

When Sicoris to his own banks restor'd
Had left the field, of twigs, and willow boord
They made small Boats, cover'd with Bullocks hide,
In which they reacht the Rivers further side.
So sail the Veneti if Padus flow,

The Brittains sail on their calm ocean so:
So the Egyptians sail with woven Boats
Of paper rushes in their Nilus Floats.

[p. 146.] Their Government is monarchical, the Patrueius or they that descend from the eldest proceeding from his loyns, is the Roytelet of the Tribe, and if he have Daughters, his Son dying without a

Son, the Government descends to his Daughters Son: after the same manner, their lands descend. Cheetadaback was the chief Sachem or Roytelet of the Massachusets, when the English first set down there. Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Plimouth Indians, his dwelling was at a place called Sowans, about four miles distant from New-Plimonth. Sasasacus was the chief Sachem of the Pequots, and Mientoniack of the Narragansets. The chief Roytelet amongst the Mohawks now living, is a Dutchmans Bastard, and the Roytelet now of the Pocanakets, that is the Plimouth-Indians, is Prince Philip alias Metacon, the Grandson of Massasoit. Amongst the Eastern Indians, Summersant formerly was a famous Sachem. The now living Sachems of note are Sabaccaman, Terrumkin and Robinhood.

Their Wars are with Neighbouring Tribes, but the Mowhawks are enemies to all the other Indians, their weapons of Defence and Offence are Bowes and Arrowes, of late he is a poor Indian that is not [p. 147.] master of two Guns, which they purchase of the French, and powder and shot, they are generally excellent marks men; their other weapons are Tamahawks which are staves two foot and a half long with a knob at the end as round as a bowl, and as big as that we call the Jack or Mistriss. Lances too they have made (as I have said before) with broken sword blades, likewise they have Hatchets and knives; but these are weapons of a latter date. They colour their faces red all over, supposing that it makes them the more terrible, they are lustie Souldiers to see to and very strong, meer Hercules Rusticuses, their fights are by Ambushments and Surprises, coming upon one another unawares. They will march a hundred miles through thick woods and swamps to the Mowhawks Countrey, and the Mowhawks into their Countrey, meeting sometimes in the woods, or when they come into an Enemies Countrey build a rude fort with Pallizadoes, having

loop-holes out of which they shoot their Arrowes and fire their Guns, pelting at one another a week or moneth together; If any of them step out of the Fort they are in danger to be taken prisoners by the one side or the other; that side that gets the victory excoriats the hair-scalp of the principal slain Enemies which [p. 148.] they bear away in Triumph, their prisoners they bring home, the old men and women they knock in the head, the young women they keep, and the men of war they torture to death as the Eastern Indians did two Mowhawks whilst I was there, they bind him to a Tree and make a great fire before him, then with sharp knives they cut off the first joynts of his fingers and toes, then clap upon them hot Embers to sear the vains; so they cut him a pieces joynt after joynt, still applying hot Embers to the place to stanch the bloud, making the poor wretch to sing all the while: when Arms and Legs are gone, they flay off the skin of their Heads, and pesently put on a Cap of burning Embers, then they open his breast and take out his heart, which while it is yet living in a manner they give to their old Squaes, who are every one to have a bite at it. These Barbarous Customs were used amongst them more frequently before the English came; but since by the great mercy of the Almighty they are in a way to be Civilized and converted to Christianity; there being three Churches of Indians gathered together by the pains of Mr. John Eliot and his Son, who Preaches to them in their Native language, and hath rendered the Bible in that Language for the benefit of [p. 149.] the Indians. These go clothed like the English, live in framed houses, have flocks of Corn and Cattle about them, which when they are fat they bring to the English Markets, the Hogs that they rear are counted the best in New-England. Some of their Sons have been brought up Scholars in Harvard Colledge, and I was told that there was

but two Fellowes in that Colledge, and one of them was an Indian; some few of these Christian Indians have of late Apostatized and fallen back to their old Superstition and course of life.

Thus much shall suffice concerning New-England, as it was when the Indians solely possest it. I will now proceed to give you an accompt of it, as it is under the management of the English; but methinks I hear my sceptick Readers muttering out of their scuttle mouths, what will accrew to us by this rambling Logodiarce? you do but bring straw into Egypt, a Countrey abounding with Corn. Thus by these Famacides who are so minutely curious, I am dejected from my hope, whilst they challenge the freedom of David's Ruffins, Our Tongues are our own, who shall controll us. I have done what I can to please you, I have piped and you will not dance. I have told you as strange things as ever you or your Fathers [p. 150.] have heard. The Italian saith Chi vide un miraculo facilmente ne crede un altro, he that hath seen one miracle will easilie believe another, 'miranda canunt sed non credenda poeta. Oh I see the pad, you never heard nor saw the like, therefore you do not believe me; well Sirs I shall not strain your belief any further, the following Relation I hope will be more tolerable, yet I could (it is possible) insert as wonderful things as any my pen hath yet gone over, and may, but it must be upon condition you will not put me to the proof of it. Nemo tenetur ad impossibilia, no man is obliged to do more than is in his power, is a rule in law. To be short; if you cannot with the Bee gather the honey, with the Spider suck out the poyson, as Sir John Davis hath it.

The Bee and Spider by a divers power

Suck honey and poyson from the self-same flower.

« PreviousContinue »