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that "they sent their letters in the name of the governor of Massachusetts;" but as this clause was afterwards struck out by Winthrop, it was probably a false report. Such a deception, for a benevolent purpose, might not be a heavy aggravation of the errors of ignorance, under which those heretics sank. Whatever influence, however, moved Onkus, it seems hardly possible, that he could have anticipated the joyful result of the policy of his teachers in civilization, the deliberation of pious statesmen, by which his captive was restored to his hands, with an injunction to put him to death.
'A judicial investigation of the case of this sachem should not have been undertaken; but as it was, we may look at the grounds of judgment. Trumbull, I. 130, makes part of his offence "without consulting the English according to agreement.” Our author's narrative ought to have silenced such a pretence. Little importance need be attached to another allegation, "that he had promised us in the open court to send to Onkus the Pequod, who had shot him in the arm, yet in his way homeward he killed him;" nor indeed to any other part of the doubtful story about the traitorous slave of the Moheagan. By the acts of the commissioners, Haz. II. 8, we learn, that it was fully proved, from the Pequod's own mouth, that he was guilty, and therefore Miantunnomoh, if innocent, as our people, before his misfortunes, thought him, might believe his royal promise satisfactorily performed by putting to death the assassin, instead of returning him to his master. Perhaps his promise to the English, on this matter, was less distinctly understood than it might have been between contracting parties of the same language. If Onkus were, however, free from all blame, and the Narragansett chargeable with treachery, and every other vice of kings, our rulers had no cognizance of the cause, and their advice to the successful warrior was cruel; but their conduct to Miantunnomoh, who had so few years before been their ally against the Pequods, can hardly be regarded as less than a betraying of innocent blood. In the congress of the united colonies, whose doings in this behalf are briefly, but fairly, told by our author, its president, and may be seen at large in Haz. II. 11–13, it was too hastily, I think, resolved, “that it would not be safe to set him at liberty;" and as death was the alternative, in their want of counsel and confidence to come to such a shocking result, against an unarmed prisoner, who was in amity with them, advice was asked, yet of only five among fifty assembled, of the ministers of religion. The fate of Agag followed of course.'
With profound regret I am compelled to express a suspicion, that means of sufficient influence would easily have been found
for the security of themselves, the pacifying of Onkus, and the preservation of Miantunnomoh, had he not encouraged the sale of Shaomet and Patuxet to Gorton and his heterodox associates. This idea had been unwillingly entertained years before I knew the comment of Governor Stephen Hopkins, 2 Hist. Coll. IX. 202, with which I close this unhappy subject. "The savage soul of Uncas doubted, whether he ought to take away the life of a great king, who had fallen into his hands by misfortune; and to resolve this doubt, he applied to the Christian commissioners of the four united colonies, who met at Hartford,* in September, 1644. They were less scrupulous, and ordered Uncas to carry Myantonomo out of their jurisdiction, and slay him; but kindly added, that he should not be tortured; they sent some persons to see execution done, who had the satisfaction to see the captive king murdered in cold blood. This was the end of Myantonomo, the most potent Indian prince the people of New England had ever any concern with; and this was the reward he received for assisting them seven years before, in their wars with the Pequots. Surely a Rhode Island man may be permitted to mourn his unhappy fate, and drop a tear on the ashes of Myantonomo, who, with his uncle Conanicus, were the best friends and greatest benefactors the colony ever had. They kindly received, fed, and protected the first settlers of it, when they were in distress, and were strangers and exiles, and all mankind else were their enemies; and by this kindness to them, drew upon themselves the resentment of the neighboring colonies, and hastened the untimely end of the young king." Vol. 11. pp. 132–134, note.
Every one will regret that so few accounts now exist of the domestic customs and modes of living of our ancestors; a fact which results from the obvious circumstance, that every historian writes in the first place for his contemporaries, and therefore passes over such topics, as too familiar to be noticed. There was no Espriella among our forefathers, to admit us into their dwellings, and seat us at their firesides, and give us a complete view of the routine of their daily occupations and recreations. On these subjects we must be contented with scanty and incidental hints, a few of which may be gleaned from the work before us. The houses of the first settlers of Boston were generally, as might be expected from the circumstances of the country, extremely simple and unadorned. Wooden chimneys
It should be Boston, 1643, Trumbull, I. 133, hastily says, the commissioners for Plymouth are not on record this year. Their names are signed to the acts.'
were common for many years, and a wainscot of clapboards in the house of the deputy governor was considered a highly censurable piece of extravagance. The house of the ladye Moodye' at Salem, a person of high consideration, seems to have closely resembled one of our smallest dwellings, being nine feet high, with a chimney in the centre. The furniture of the early colonists was of a rather different quality. Much of it was brought from England and was of considerable value, forming a strong contrast in this respect to the humble sheds in which it was often deposited. In an inventory of the effects of Mrs Martha Coytemore, Governor Winthrop's fourth wife, dated in 1647, we find silk curtains, brass andirons, cheny plates and saucers, and Turkey carpets.
Some estimate may be formed of the ordinary expenses of living from a remark in Governor Winthrop's account, dated 1634.
'I was first chosen Governor,' he observes,' without my seeking or expectation, there being divers other gentlemen, who for their abilities every way were far more fit. Being chosen, I furnished myself with servants, and provisions accordingly, in a far greater proportion than I would have done, had I come as a private man or as an assistant only. In this office I continued four years and near a half, although I earnestly desired at every election to have been freed. In this time I have spent above £500 per annum, of which 200 per annum would have maintained my family in a private condition.'
There seems to have been no want of luxuries for the table. The country furnished fish and game in abundance, and though, says the Governor, in a letter dated, November the twentyninth, 1630, we have not beef and mutton, yet, God be praised, we want them not, our Indian corn answers for all,' an opinion in which, notwithstanding our regard for that highly useful vegetable, we find it difficult to follow him. Groceries were soon brought over in abundance from England, though it will be recollected that our two most valued articles of that description, tea and coffee, were not then used in Europe. We are told that at a military muster of twelve hundred men in 1641, there was not a man drunk, though wine and strong beer abounded in Boston; and we find that in 1630 the Governor began to discourage the practice of drinking toasts at table. Had he succeeded in abolishing it, what racking of invention and rummaging of memory for
extemporaneous sentiments might have been spared the present generation.
The attempts of our ancestors to restrain luxury in dress were altogether unavailing. It is stated, September the eighteenth, 1634, that many laws were made against tobacco, and immodest fashions, and costly apparel; but though such laws were frequently made, we do not recollect that Governor Winthrop mentions any instance in which they were enforced. Our ancestors endeavored to regulate the spirit of gain, as well as of expense, and with the same eventual success. The prices of labor and of commodities were fixed repeatedly by positive laws, but experience soon proved the utter futility of the project, though not until these laws had been executed in a few instances, especially in the case of Captain Robert Keaine, who was compelled to pay eighty pounds for taking a profit of sixpence and eightpence in the shilling, and in some small instances two for one. The state of morals among our forefathers, and the degeneracy of succeeding generations, have been subjects respectively of eulogy and lamentation from their day to ours; and we recollect a sermon of Mr Stoughton, published about the middle of the seventeenth century, in which he exclaims with great vehemence, 'our wine is mixed with water.' A close examination of this Journal may satisfy a candid reader, that such remarks are dictated in some degree by that veneration for antiquity, and discontent with the world around us, which are found in all countries and generations. The first colonists of Massachusetts were unquestionably, on the whole, a highly respectable community. Many of them, like the author of this work, were men partaking, like all human beings, of the errors and defects of the age in which they lived, and the society which surrounded them, but men of whom any country would be justly proud. They were among the best specimens of what was then and is now the best class of society in Great Britain, its well educated commoners; men superior perhaps to any of their successors in deep and extensive learning, and second to none for fervent piety, for stern integrity, and disinterested patriotism. But that all the early settlers of New England were of this description, is a supposition, which, though it sometimes seems to have been taken for granted, is manifestly absurd. There were several of the same stamp with those who find a place in every new country, needy and desperate adventurers, who hoped to find in a remote settlement, the subsistence which they were unwilling to procure by
honest exertion in their native land. Crimes, even of the most shocking description, sometimes occurred, and many parts of this volume bear a close resemblance to the records of our criminal tribunals at the present day. Besides, there was, even in the more respectable classes of society, a deficiency in refinement and delicacy of manners, which proves, more than any thing else, the progress of society since the seventeenth century. What modern audience would endure disclosures like those made by the Rev. Mr Cotton, at a public lecture, in Boston?
If, however, we can claim any superiority, as an enlightened and refined community, over our forefathers, let us never forget how much of this preeminence we owe to their wisdom and liberality. The erection of the venerable Universities of Harvard and Yale; the adoption to a great degree of those statutes of descent and distribution, beautifully denominated by Judge Story, 'the only true and just Agrarian laws,' which have utterly obliterated the few vestiges of aristocracy which had found a place in our land; the provisions for the support of religion, which combine so happily the interest of the public with the liberty of the individual; and, above all, the introduction of free schools; these great sources of our freedom, our equality, our intellectual and moral power, were all established, by the founders of New England, during the first century of its existence. Our fathers were no devotees of ancient prejudices, anxious to exclude every ray of intellectual light which might disclose the defects of their own political and religious systems; no crafty tyrants, laboring to establish the power of the few by perpetuating the ignorance of the many; no wild fanatics, who thought that divine truth could be only contaminated by the admixture of human learning. They were enthusiasts, indeed, but it was a dignified and generous enthusiasm, an enthusiasm which sought noble ends by noble means; it was their great object to render their posterity a religious, by rendering them an enlightened people. We may smile at the whimsical peculiarities of the Pilgrims, or lament their graver faults, but we shall show little of the boasted liberality of the present day, if we can read their annals with no other emotions than these; if we fail to render due homage to their unwavering singleness of purpose, their unconquerable perseverance, their unquenchable zeal for the dissemination of pure truth, and the prosperity of their adopted country.
We close this article, regretting that our limits forbid our rendering more adequate justice to its venerable author, and its able