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首页 » 英文名人传记 » Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs » CHAPTER III MASSASOIT. THE FRIEND OF THE PURITANS.
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 "Welcome, Englishmen!" A terrific peal of thunder from a cloudless sky would not have astonished the Plymouth Fathers as did these startling words. It was March 16, 1621, a remarkably pleasant day, and they had assembled in town meeting to plan and discuss ways and means for the best interests of the colony. So engrossed were they with the matter under consideration they did not notice the approach of a solitary Indian as he stalked boldly through the street of this village until he advanced towards the astonished group, and with hand outstretched in a friendly gesture and with perfectly intelligible English addressed them with the words, "Welcome, Englishmen!" The astonished settlers started to their feet and grasped their ever ready weapons. But reassured by his friendly gestures and hearty repetition of the familiar English phrase in which only kindness lurked, the settlers cordially returned his greeting and reciprocated his "welcome," which is the only one the Pilgrims ever received.
"He who would have friends must show himself friendly." This their dusky guest had done and it paved the way for a pleasant interview, which resulted in mutual good. Knowing that the way to the heart lies through the stomach, they at once gave their visitor "strong water, biscuit, butter, cheese and some pudding, with a piece of mallard."
The heart of the savage was gained: the taciturnity characteristic of his race gave way and he imparted valuable information, much of it pertaining to things they had long desired to know. They ascertained that his name was Samoset, that he was a subordinate chief of the Wampanoag tribe, and his hunting-grounds were near the island of Monhegan, which is at the mouth of Penobscot Bay. With a strong wind it was but a day's sail eastward, but it required five days to make the journey by land. This was a noted fishing place and he had learned something of the English language from crews of fishing vessels which frequented his coast. He told them the country in their vicinity was called Pawtuxet; that four years previous a terrible pestilence had swept off the tribes that inhabited the district, so that none remained to claim the soil.
He also informed them that a powerful sachem named Massasoit was their nearest neighbor. He lived about Montaup (afterward corrupted by the English into Mount Hope), and was chief of the Wampanoag tribe as well as head sachem of the Pokanoket confederacy of thirty tribes. Massasoit, he said, was disposed to be friendly. But another tribe, called the Nausets, were greatly incensed against the English, and with just cause. Samoset was able to define this cause, which also served to explain the fierce attack the Pilgrims received from the savages in their memorable "First Encounter."
It seems that a captain by the name of Hunt who had been left in charge of a vessel by Captain John Smith, while exploring the coast of New England in 1614, had exasperated the Indians beyond endurance. Captain Smith thus records this infamous crime in his "Generale Historie of New England." "He (Hunt) betraied foure and twentie of these poore salvages aboord his ship, and most dishonestly and inhumanely for their kind usage of me and all our men, carried them with him to Maligo, and there for a little private gaine sold those silly salvages for Rials of eight; but this vilde act kept him ever after from any more emploiement to these parts."
Samoset had heard from his red brothers all about this kidnapping, as well as the attack on the Pilgrims in revenge for it.
The sequel of Hunt's outrageous crime is quite interesting. He sold his victims, as we have seen, at Malaga, for eighty pounds each, but some of them, including an Indian by the name of Squanto, were ransomed and liberated by the monks of that island.
Squanto now went first to Cornhill, England, afterward to London. Here he acquired some knowledge of the English language and obtained the friendship and sympathy of Mr. John Slaney, a merchant of that city, who protected him and determined to send the poor exile back to his native land.
About this time (1619) Sir F. Gorges was preparing to send a ship to New England under the command of Captain Thomas Dermer, and it was arranged for Squanto to embark on board this ship. "When I arrived," says Dermer in his letter to Purchas, "at my savage's native country, finding all dead (because of the pestilence), I traveled along a day's journey to a place called Nummastaquyt, where, finding inhabitants, I dispatched a messenger a day's journey further west, to Pacanokit, which bordereth on the sea; whence came to see me two kings, attended with a guard of fifty armed men, who being well satisfied with that my savage and I discoursed unto them (being desirous of novelty) gave me content in whatsoever I demanded. Here I redeemed a Frenchman and afterwards another at Masstachusitt, who three years since escaped shipwreck at the northeast of Cape Cod."
One of these two "kings," as the sachems were frequently entitled by the early writers, must have been Massasoit, the other was probably his brother, Quadepinah.
The good Captain Dermer was faithful to his trust and delivered the poor exile Squanto to his native land, but not to his own people at Plymouth, as they had been swept off by the pestilence in his absence. He, however, became a loyal subject of Massasoit. He was introduced to the English settlers at Plymouth by Samoset on his third visit. Squanto was disposed to return good for evil, and forgetting the outrage of the knave who had kidnapped him and remembering only the great kindness which he had received from his benefactor, Mr. Slaney, and from the people generally in London, in generous requital now attached himself cordially to the Pilgrims and became their firm friend. His residence in England, as we have stated, had rendered him quite familiar with the English language, and he proved invaluable, not only as an interpreter, but also in instructing them respecting fishing, woodcraft, planting corn and other modes of obtaining support in the wilderness.
Squanto brought the welcome intelligence that his sovereign chief, the great Massasoit, had heard of the arrival of the Pilgrims and was approaching to pay them a friendly visit, attended by a retinue of sixty warriors. An hour later Massasoit and his warriors, accompanied by his brother, Quadepinah (sometimes written Quadequina) appeared on a neighboring hill. The wily sachem was well acquainted with the conduct of the unprincipled Hunt and other English seamen who had skirted the coast and committed all manner of outrages on the natives, and he was too wary to place himself in the power of strangers, respecting whom he entertained such well grounded suspicions. He therefore took a position on a hill where he could not be taken by surprise and in case of attack could retreat if necessary.
As they seemed unwilling to approach nearer, Squanto was sent to ascertain their designs, and was informed that they wished some one should be sent to hold a parley. Edward Winslow was appointed to discharge this duty, and he immediately waited on the sachem and conveyed a present consisting of a pair of knives and a copper chain with a jewel attached to it. Also a knife, a jewel to hang on his ear, "a pot of strong water, a good quantity of biscuit and some butter" for Quadepinah. Massasoit received him with dignity, yet with courtesy. Mr. Winslow, with the aid of Squanto as interpreter, addressed the chief in a speech of some length, to which the Indians listened with the decorous gravity characteristic of the race. The purport of the speech was that King James saluted the sachem, his brother, with the words of peace and love; that he accepted him as his friend and ally; and that the Governor desired to see him and to trade and treat with him upon friendly terms.
Massasoit made no special reply to these words, probably for the sufficient reason that he did not fully comprehend the drift of it, except the last clause. He observed the sword and armor of Winslow during the harangue, and, when he had ceased speaking, signified his disposition to commence the proposed trade immediately by buying them. They were not, however, for sale; and after a brief parley Winslow was left behind as a hostage in the custody of Quadepinah, while Massasoit and twenty unarmed followers met Standish, Williamson and six musketeers at the brook which divided the parties.
The sachem and his retinue, marching in Indian file one behind the other, led by the chief, were escorted to the best house in the village. Here a green rug was spread upon the floor and several cushions piled on it for his accommodation. Presently Governor Carver entered the house in as great state as he could command, with beat of drum and blare of trumpet, and a squad of armed men as a bodyguard. The Governor took the hand of Massasoit and kissed it. The Indian chieftain immediately imitated his example and returned the salute.
The two leaders now sat down together and regaled themselves with refreshments consisting chiefly of "strong waters, a thing the savages love very well; and the sachem took such a large draught of it at once as made him sweat all the while he staid." The white man's "firewater" thus in evidence in this treaty has been the most fruitful source of the red man's ruin from that day to the present time. Following are the terms of the treaty concluded upon this occasion:
1. That neither he nor any of his (Massasoit's) should injure or do hurt to any of their people.
2. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored, and they should do the like to his.
4. That if any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; and if any did war against them, he should aid them.
5. That he should send to his neighbor confederates, to inform them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be like wise comprised in these conditions of peace.
6. That when his came to them upon any occasion, they should leave their arms behind them.
7. That so doing, their sovereign lord, King James, would esteem him as his friend and ally.
Such was the first treaty made with the Indians of New England, which remained in force fifty-four years. Nor was Massasoit or any of the Wampanoags during his lifetime convicted by the harshest revilers of his race of having violated or attempted to violate any of its provisions. It was eminently satisfactory to both parties to the compact, but a close reading will show hints (as usual) of the white man overreaching his red brother. In the first place they got an immense territory for a few baubles and gewgaws, part of which were utterly useless. Then, too, the Indians were required to come unarmed in their interviews with the Pilgrims, but we fail to find it stated that the white men should leave their pieces behind them on going among the Indians. It is also noticed that the Indians were to aid the English should any foe war against them, and the English should aid the Indians should any foe "unjustly war against them." Why this word "unjustly" on the one side and not on the other? And who was to decide the matter? Certainly the Puritans. But to their credit be it said, they did send aid to their ally promptly in his time of need, as we shall see.
Massasoit is thus described in the Pilgrim's Journal: "In his person he is a very lusty man in his best years, an able body, grave of countenance and spare of speech; in his attire little or nothing differing from the rest of his followers, save only in a great chain of white beads about his neck; behind his neck, attached to the chain, hangs a pouch of tobacco which he drank (smoked) and gave us to drink. His face was painted with a seal red, and he was oiled both head and face that he looked greasily." He and his companions were picturesquely dressed in skins and plumes of brilliant colors. Being tall, strongmen, and the first natives whom most of the colonists had ever seen near at hand, they must have impressed them as a somewhat imposing as well as interesting spectacle.
After the conclusion of this famous treaty, Massasoit was conducted by the Governor to the brook and rejoined his party, leaving hostages behind. Presently his brother, Quadepinah, came over with a retinue, and was entertained with like hospitality. The next day, on an invitation from the chief, Standish and Allerton returned his visit and were regaled with "three or four ground-nuts and some tobacco." Governor Carver sent for the chief's kettle and returned it "full of pease, which pleased them well, and so they went their way."
The next interview the colonists had with Massasoit was in July, 1621. At this time an embassy consisting of Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins, with Squanto as interpreter, was sent to make the sachem a formal visit at Montaup, his seat near the Narragansett bay. The objects of this embassy were, says Mourt, "that forasmuch as his subjects came often and without fear upon all occasions amongst us, becoming, in fact, a sad annoyance to the colonists as they went to the sea shore in search of lobsters and to fish. Men, women and children always hanging about the village, clamorous for food and pertinaciously inquisitive." It was partly to abate this nuisance and "partly," says the old chronicle, "to know where to find our savage allies, if occasion served, as also to see their strength, explore the country, make satisfaction for some injuries conceived to have been done on our parts, and to continue, the league of peace and friendship between them and us." The "injuries" here mentioned refer to the fact that the colonists shortly after their arrival found corn buried in the ground. Seeing no inhabitants in the neighborhood, "but some graves of the dead newly buried," they took the corn with the intention of making full satisfaction for it whenever it became practicable. The owners of it were supposed to have fled through fear. It was now proposed that the owners of this corn should be informed by Massasoit, if they could be found, that the English were ready to pay them with an equal quantity of corn, English meal, or "any other commodities they had to pleasure them withal"; and full satisfaction was offered for any trouble which the sachem might do them the favor to take. All of which shows that the Pilgrim Fathers were scrupulously just in their dealings with the Indians.
The two ambassadors and their guide, bearing presents for the sachem, started on their journey through the forest. Much they marveled at the well-nigh infallible skill of Squanto in always leading right, even when confronted with a mazy labyrinth of paths pointing in every direction. They met several bands of Indians en route, and partook of such hospitality as they had to offer. Their number was augmented by six stalwart savages, who insisted not only on bearing them company but bearing their arms and baggage. At the various fords the friendly Indians carried the Englishmen over dry-shod upon their shoulders, which is quite remarkable, in view of the proverbial laziness of the Indians in general and those of the New England coast in particular.
In due time the envoys arrived at Montaup, or Sowams, the residence of Massasoit. The sachem was not at home, but was quickly summoned by a runner and was saluted by his visitors with a discharge of musketry. He welcomed them heartily after the Indian manner, took them into his lodge and seated them by himself. The envoys then delivered their message and presents, the latter consisting of a copper chain and a horseman's coat of red cotton embroidered with lace. Massasoit proudly hung the chain about his neck and arrayed himself in this superb garment without delay, evidently enjoying the admiration of his people, who gazed upon him at a distance. The great chief now gathered his leading warriors around him, and after the pipe of peace had been smoked by all, he answered the message in detail. Expressing his desire to continue in peace and friendship with his neighbors, he promised to promote the traffic in furs, to furnish a supply of corn for seed and, in short, to comply with all their requests.
The two commissioners stated the case concerning the too frequent and protracted visits of the Indians to the colony with great tact and delicacy, assuring the sachem that he himself or any he might send would always be welcome. "To the end that we might know his messengers from others," wrote Winslow, "we desired Massasoit, if any one should come from him to us to send the copper chain, that we might know the savage and harken and give credit to his message accordingly."
As it grew late and he offered no more substantial entertainment than this, "no doubt for the sound reason," as Thatcher says, "that he had nothing to offer," his guests expressed a desire to retire for the night. The chief at once complied with their request in the language of Winslow, "He laid us on the bed with himself and his wife, they at one end and we at the other, it being only planks laid a foot from the ground, and a thin mat upon them. Two more of chief men, for want of room, pressed by and upon us, so that we were worse weary of our lodging than of our journey."
The next day the two ambassadors had no breakfast, but the morning was taken up in receiving, as visitors, several subordinate sachems and their warriors, and in witnessing Indian games which had been gotten up for their entertainment. About noon Massasoit, who had gone hunting at dawn, returned, bringing with him two large fishes which he had speared or shot with arrows. These were soon boiled and divided among forty persons this was the first meal taken by the envoys for a day and two nights.
The afternoon passed slowly away and again the two white men went supperless to bed, only to spend another sleepless night, being kept awake by vermin, hunger and noise of the savages. Friday morning they arose at dawn resolved to immediately commence their journey home. At this Massasoit greatly importuned them to remain longer with him. "But we determined," they recorded in their graphic narrative, "to keep the Sabbath at home, and feared that we should either be light-headed for want of sleep, for what with bad lodgings, the savages' barbarous singing (for they used to sing themselves to sleep), lice and fleas within doors and mosquitoes without, we could hardly sleep all the time of our being there; we much fearing that if we should stay any longer we should not be able to recover home for want of strength; so that on the Friday morning before the sun rising we took our leave and departed, Massasoit being both grieved and ashamed that he could no better entertain us." It is thus apparent that Massasoit, in spite of his many virtues and the conceded fact that he was the greatest chief of all the New England tribes of this period, was in his housekeeping the smallest possible removed above brute life.
With the streams and bays swarming with fish, the neighboring forest filled with turkey, deer and other game, he and his people seem to have lived in semi-starvation. This fact is all the more startling when it is contrasted with the great abundance enjoyed by Powhatan, Joseph Brant, Red Jacket and others, mentioned elsewhere, and their tribes. But it is also true of this great chief that despite his pinching poverty, when the test came he proved to be pure gold refined by fire.
Thatcher informs us that "Massasoit's friendship was again tested in March, 1622, when an Indian known to be under Squanto's influence came running in among a party of colonists with his face gashed and the blood fresh upon it, calling out to them to flee for their lives, and then looking behind him as if pursued. On coming up he told them that the Indians under Massasoit were gathering at a certain place for an attack upon the colony; that he had received his wounds in consequence of opposing their designs and had barely escaped from them with his life. The report occasioned no little alarm, although the correctness of it was flatly denied by Hobbamak, a Pokanoket Indian residing at Plymouth, who recommended that a messenger be sent secretly to Sowams for the purpose of ascertaining the truth. This was done and the messenger, finding everything in its usually quiet state, informed Massasoit of the reports circulated against him. He was excessively incensed against Squanto, but sent his thanks to the Governor for the opinion of his fidelity which he understood him to retain, and directed the messenger to assure him that he should instantly apprise him of any conspiracy which might at any further time take place;" This whole affair seems to have been a plot on the part of Squanto, out of jealousy, to array the colonists against their ally, but happily for both parties it miscarried through the common-sense suggestion of Hobbamak.
Early in the spring of 1623 news came to Plymouth that Massasoit was very sick at his home, and it was determined to send Mr. Winslow to pay him a second visit in token of the friendship of the colonists. That gentleman started on his journey at once, taking with him Hobbamak as guide and interpreter, and accompanied by "one Master John Hampden, a London gentleman who had wintered with him and desired much to see the country and the Indians in their wigwam homes." This Hampden afterward became Cromwell's distinguished friend and counselor, and is alluded to in Gray's "Elegy."
The envoys had not gone far before they met some Indians who told them Massasoit was dead. The white men were shocked and Hobbamak began to wail forth his chief's death song: "Oh, great sachem. Oh, great heart, with many have I been acquainted, but none ever equaled thee." Then turning to his companions he said, "Oh, Master Winslow, his like you will never see again. He was not like other Indians, false and bloody and implacable; but kind, easily appeased when angry, and reasonable in his requirements. He was a wise sachem, not ashamed to ask advice, governing better with mild, than other chiefs did with severe measures. I fear you have not now one faithful friend left in the wigwams of the red men." He would then break forth again in loud lamentations, "enough." says Winslow, "to have made the hardest heart sob and wail." But time pressed, and Winslow, bidding Hobbamak "leave wringing of his hands" and follow him, trudged on through the forest until they came to Corbitant's village. The sachem was not at home but his squaw informed them that Massasoit was not yet dead, though he could scarcely live long enough to permit his visitors to close his eyes.
Believing that while there was life there was hope, the envoys pressed on and soon reached Massasoit's humble abode. "When we arrived thither," wrote Winslow, "we found the home so full that we could scarce get in, though they used their best diligence to make way for us. They were in the midst of their charms for him, making such a fiendish noise that it distempered us who were well, and therefore was unlike to ease him that was sick. About him were six or eight women who chafed his arms, legs and thighs, to keep heat in them. When they had made an end of their charming, one told him that his friends, the English, were come to see him. Having understanding left, but his sight was wholly gone, he asked who was come. They told him Winsnow, for they can not pronounce the letter L, but ordinarily N in the place thereof. He desired to speak with me. When I came to him they told him of it, he put forth his hand to me, which I took. Then he said twice, though very inwardly, 'Keen Winsnow?' which is to say, 'Art thou Winslow?' I answered 'Ahhe,' that is, 'Yes.' Then he doubled these words: 'Matta neen wonckanet namen Winsnow'; that is to say, '0, Winslow, I shall never see thee again;'" Hobbamak was now called in and desired to assure the sachem of the Governor's kind remembrance of him in his affliction, and to inform him of the medicine and delicacies they had brought with them for his use. Winslow, who seems to have possessed some knowledge of the healing art, then proceeded to use measures for his relief, consisting of a "confection of many comfortable conserves," which soon worked a cure. The convalescent sachem said, "Now I know that the English are indeed my friends, and love me; while I live I will not forget this kindness."
As Martyn well says, "Nobly did he keep his word; for, after requesting 'the pale-face medicine' to exercise his skill upon others of his tribe, who were down with the same disease which had laid him low, his gratitude was so warm that he disclosed to Winslow, through Hobbamak, the fact that a widespread and well matured conspiracy was afoot to exterminate Weston's colony, in revenge for injuries heaped upon the Indian; that all the northeastern tribes were in the league; and that the massacre was to include the Pilgrims also, lest they should avenge the fall of their neighbors."
"A chief was here at the setting of the sun," added Massasoit, "and he told me that the pale-faces did not love me, else they would visit me in my pain, and he urged me to join the war party. But I said, 'No.' Now, if you take the chiefs of the league and kill them, it will end the war-trail in the blood of those who made it, and save the setllements." The chief's advice was afterward taken by Miles Standish and his men, and proved to be successful in nipping the conspiracy in the bud.
Mr. Winslow remained several days and his fame as a physician spread so rapidly that great crowds gathered in an encampment around Montaup to gain relief from various ills. Some came from the distance of more than a hundred miles. But on hearing of the plot above mentioned, immediately started for home.
The other leading events in the life of Massasoit may be soon detailed. In 1632 he was assaulted at Sowams by a party of Narragansetts and obliged to take refuge in the home of an Englishman. His situation was soon ascertained at Plymouth, and an armed force being promptly dispatched to his relief under his old friend Standish, the Narragansetts were compelled to retreat.
Massasoit and ninety of his people were also present at the first celebration of Thanksgiving in the autumn of 1621, and were feasted by the colonists for three days, though the Indians contributed five fat deer to the festivity. Oysters, turkey and pumpkin pie also graced this occasion, and no Thanksgiving feast is considered complete to-day without these essentials.
Governor Winthrop records this anecdote of the great sachem: "It seems that his old friend 'Winsnow,' made a trading voyage to Connecticut, during the summer of 1634. On his return he left his vessel upon the Narragansett coast for some reason or other, and commenced his journey for Plymouth across the woods. Finding himself at a loss, probably, as to his route, he made his way to Sowams, and called upon his ancient acquaintance, the sachem. The latter gave him his usual kind welcome, and upon his resuming his journey offered to conduct him home, a pedestrian journey of two days. He had just dispatched one of his Wampanoags to Plymouth with instructions to inform the friends of Winslow that he was dead, and to persuade them of this melancholy fact by specifying such particulars as their own ingenuity might suggest. All this was done accordingly, and the tidings occasioned, as might be expected, a very unpleasant excitement throughout the colony. In the midst of it, however, the sachem entered the village attended by Winslow, with more than his usual complacency in his honest and cheerful countenance. He was asked why such a report had been circulated the day previous. 'That Winsnow might be the more welcome,' he answered, 'and that you might be the more happy; it is my custom.' He had come thus far to enjoy the surprise personally; and he returned homeward more gratified by it, without doubt, than he would have been by the most fortunate foray among the Narragansetts."
We have seen it intimated more than once that Massasoit's fear of those warlike neighbors lay at the foundation of his friendship for the English settlers. It might have been nearer the truth, considering all the known facts in the case, to say that his interest happened to coincide with his inclination. At all events, it was in the power of any of the other sachems of the surrounding country to have established the same friendly relation with the colonists had they been prompted by as much good breeding or good sense. "On the contrary," as Thatcher says, "the Massachusetts were plotting and threatening on one hand, as we have seen—not without provocation, it must be allowed—while the Narragansett sachem, upon the other, had sent in his compliments as early as 1622, in the shape of a bundle of arrows, tied up with a rattlesnake's skin. Nor should we forget the wretched feebleness of the colony at the period of their first acquaintance with Massasoit. Indeed the instant measures which he took for their relief and protection look more like the promptings of compassion than either hope or fear. A month previous to his appearance among them, they were reduced to such a pitiable condition by sickness, that only six or seven men of their whole number were able to perform labor in the open air; and probably their entire fighting force, could they have been mustered together, would scarcely have equaled that little detachment of twenty which Massasoit brought with him into the village, delicately leaving twice as many with the arms of all behind him, as he afterward exchanged six hostages for one. No wonder the colonists 'could not yet conceive but that he was willing to have peace with them.'"
Massasoit was unique among Indian sachems, in the fact that he was ever a lover of peace; nor is he known to have been once engaged in waging war with the powerful and warlike tribes who environed his territory. All the native tribes of New England but the Pokanoket confederation were involved in dissensions and wars with each other and the white settlers; and all shared sooner or later the fate which he avoided. This chief vied with Canonicus and Miantonomoh, the Narragansett sachems, in giving a hearty welcome to Roger Williams at the time of his banishment from Salem, when he "fled from Christians to the savages, who knew and loved him, till at last he reached the kind-hearted but stupid Indian heathen, Massasoit." These three friends in his time of distress shouted their welcome salutation of "Wha-cheer, wha-cheer?" and grasped his hand with cordial sympathy as he stepped ashore.
The reason for this warm welcome accorded Roger Williams the Baptist, the father of "soul liberty," is obvious when it is remembered that he took great interest in the Indians, so mastering their dialects as to be able to prepare "a key to the languages of America." Except Eliot, his coworker, he was the most successful missionary among the Indians of this period. "My soul's desire," he said, "was to do the natives good." And later he wrote. "God was pleased to give me a painful patient spirit, to lodge with them in their filthy, smoky holes to gain their tongue."
While at Plymouth he had written a pamphlet against the validity of the colonial charter and submitted it to Governor Bradford. This he afterward published while at Salem, and in it he said: "Why lay such stress upon your patent from King James? Tis but idle parchment; James has no more right to give away or sell Massasoit's lands, and cut and carve his country, than Massasoit has to sell James' kingdom or to send his Indians to colonize Warwickshire." Thus did he run a tilt against the established law and order of his time; but while it endeared him to Massasoit, who became to him "a friend in need and a friend in deed," it led to his banishment from Salem "in winter snow and inclement weather"—without guide, without food, without shelter, he suffered tortures. "Fourteen weeks," he wrote, "I Was sorely tossed in a bitter season, not knowing what bread or bed did mean." He must inevitably have perished in the frozen wilderness without giving to the world his immortal idea, had he not found shelter and food with Massasoit.
Great events turn on seemingly trivial circumstances. Who shall say that Massasoit, in saving the life of the great reformer, did not preserve to all time the casket containing the priceless jewel—religious tolerance.
Bancroft well says of Roger Williams: "In the capacious recesses of his mind, he had revolved the nature of intolerance, and he, and he alone, had arrived at the grand principle which is its sole effectual remedy. He announced his discovery under the simple proposition of the sanctity of conscience. The civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control opinion; should punish guilt, but never violate the freedom of the soul." This divinely inspired idea of the pioneer American reformer is embodied in the first article of amendment to our Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Tracing the effect back to its cause, we find behind this first article of amendment and responsible for it, Roger Williams, and behind him, aiding, though in ignorance, we find the great-hearted, honest, benevolent savage, Massasoit.


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