The Epic of Gilgamesh” (Norton 54-109) and “Noah and the Flood” (Norton 122-126). Write a 5-7 page paper (plus Works Cited) on the different depictions of flood stories in antiquity. Include paraphrases, quotes, and in-text citations to provide evidence for your argument. This paper should be double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman, in MLA formatting style. Submit an electronic copy to this dropbox for grading.




V O L U M E A : B E G I N N I N G S T O 1 8 2 0




V O L U M E A American Lit er a ture, Beginnings to 1820 • GUSTAFSON

V O L U M E B American Lit er a ture 1820–1865 • LEVINE

V O L U M E C American Lit er a ture 1865–1914 • ELLIOTT

V O L U M E D American Lit er a ture 1914–1945


V O L U M E E American Lit er a ture since 1945


















Robert S. Levine, General Editor professor of en glish and

distinguished university professor and distinguished scholar- teacher

University of Mary land, College Park

V O L U M E A : B E G I N N I N G S T O 1 8 2 0

B W • W • N O R T O N & C O M P A N Y

N E W Y O R K • L O N D O N



v i i


preface xvii acknowl edgments xxix

Beginnings to 1820

introduction 3 timeline 26

nati v e a merica n or a l lit er a ture 29

stories of the beginning of the world 31 The Iroquois Creation Story 31 The Navajo Creation Story 35

Hajíínéí (The Emergence) 36 trick ster ta les 43

From The Winnebago Trickster Cycle (edited by Paul Radin) 43 or atory 47

From The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake 47 Powhatan’s Discourse of Peace and War 52 King Philip’s Speech 53

poetry 54 Cherokee War Song 55 Lenape War Song 57 Two Cherokee Songs of Friendship 57

Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) 58 Letter of Discovery (February 15, 1493) 59 From Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage

(July 7, 1503) 64



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Ba rtolomé de l as Casas (1474–1566) 66 From An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction

of the Indies 68

Á lva r Núñez Ca bez a de Vaca (c. 1490 –1558) 71 The Relation of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca 73

[Dedication] 73 [The Malhado Way of Life] 74 [Our Life among the Avavares and Arbadaos] 75 [Pushing On] 76 [Customs of That Region] 77 [The First Confrontation] 78 [The Falling- Out with Our Countrymen] 78

first encoun ters: ea rly eu ro pea n accoun ts of nati v e a mer i ca 80

herná n cortés: From Second Letter to the Spanish Crown 82 thom as h a rriot: From A Brief and True Report of the New Found

Land of Virginia 87 sa muel de ch a mpl a in: From The Voyages of the Sieur de

Champlain 93 robert juet: From The Third Voyage of Master Henry Hudson 98 john heck ew elder: From History, Manners, and Customs of

the Indian Nations 103 w illi a m br a dford a nd edwa rd w inslow:

From Mourt’s Relation 106

John Smith (1580 –1631) 110 The General History of Virginia, New Eng land, and the

Summer Isles 113 The Third Book. From Chapter 2. What Happened till the

First Supply 113 The Fourth Book. [Smith’s Farewell to Virginia] 122

From A Description of New Eng land 122 From New Eng land’s Trials 126

Willi a m Br a dford (1590 –1657) 129 Of Plymouth Plantation 132

Book I 132 From Chapter I. [The En glish Reformation] 132 Chapter IV. Showing the Reasons and Causes of Their

Removal 134 From Chapter VII. Of Their Departure from Leyden 137



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Chapter IX. Of Their Voyage, and How They Passed the Sea; and of Their Safe Arrival at Cape Cod 141

Chapter X. Showing How They Sought Out a Place of Habitation; and What Befell Them Thereabout 144

Book II 149 Chapter XI. The Remainder of Anno 1620 149

[Dif”cult Beginnings] 150 [Dealings with the Natives] 151

Chapter XII. Anno 1621 [The First Thanksgiving] 154 Chapter XIX. Anno 1628 [Mr. Morton of Merrymount] 154 Chapter XXIII. Anno 1632 [Prosperity Weakens Community] 158 Chapter XXV. Anno 1634 [Trou bles to the West] 159 Chapter XXVII. Anno 1636 [War Threats] 161 Chapter XXVIII. Anno 1637 [War with the Pequots] 162 Chapter XXXII. Anno 1642 [A Horrible Truth] 165 Chapter XXXIV. Anno 1644 [Proposed Removal to Nauset] 166

Thom as Morton (c. 1579 –1647) 167 New En glish Canaan 169

The Third Book [The Incident at Merry Mount] 169 Chapter XIV. Of the Revels of New Canaan 169 Chapter XV. Of a Great Monster Supposed to Be

at Ma-re Mount 172 Chapter XVI. How the Nine Worthies Put Mine Host of Ma-re

Mount into the Enchanted Castle at Plymouth 175

John Win throp (1588 –1649) 176 A Model of Christian Charity 178 From The Journal of John Winthrop 189

The Bay Psa lm Book 198 Psalm 2 [“Why rage the Heathen furiously?”] 199 Psalm 19 [“The heavens do declare”] 200 Psalm 23 [“The Lord to me a shepherd is”] 201 Psalm 100 [“Make ye a joyful sounding noise”] 202

Roger Willi a ms (c. 1603–1683) 203 A Key into the Language of Ame rica 205

To My Dear and Well- Beloved Friends and Countrymen, in Old and New Eng land 205

Directions for the Use of Language 208 An Help to the Native Language 209

From Chapter I. Of Salutation 209 From Chapter II. Of Eating and Entertainment 209 From Chapter VI. Of the Family and Business of the House 210 From Chapter XI. Of Travel 210



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From Chapter XVIII. Of the Sea 210 From XXI. Of Religion, the Soul, etc. 211

Poem [“Two sorts of men shall naked stand”] 214 From Chapter XXX. Of Their Paintings 214

From Christenings Make Not Christians 215

A nne Br a dstreet (c. 1612–1672) 217 The Prologue 219 In Honor of that High and Mighty Princess Queen Elizabeth of

Happy Memory 220 To the Memory of My Dear and Ever Honored Father Thomas

Dudley Esq. 224 To Her Father with Some Verses 226 Contemplations 226 The Flesh and the Spirit 233 The Author to Her Book 236 Before the Birth of One of Her Children 236 To My Dear and Loving Husband 237 A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment 238 Another [Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment] 238 In Reference to Her Children, 23 June 1659 239 In Memory of My Dear Grand child Elizabeth Bradstreet 241 In Memory of My Dear Grand child Anne Bradstreet 242 On My Dear Grand child Simon Bradstreet 242 For Deliverance from a Fever 243 Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House 243 As Weary Pilgrim 245 To My Dear Children 246

Mich a el Wigglesworth (1631–1705) 249 From The Day of Doom 250

Ma ry Row l a ndson (c. 1637–1711) 267 A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of

Mrs. Mary Rowlandson 269

Edwa rd Tay lor (c. 1642–1729) 301 Preparatory Meditations 302

Prologue 302 Meditation 8 (First Series) 303

God’s Determinations 304 The Preface 304

Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children 306 Upon a Wasp Chilled with Cold 307 Huswifery 308

Sa muel Sewa ll (1652–1730) 309 From The Diary of Samuel Sewall 310 The Selling of Joseph: A Memorial 317



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Cot ton Mather (1663–1728) 321 The Won ders of the Invisible World 322

[A People of God in the Dev il’s Territories] 322 [The Trial of Martha Carrier] 325

Magnalia Christi Americana 328 Galeacius Secundus: The Life of William Bradford, Esq., Governor of

Plymouth Colony 328 Nehemias Americanus: The Life of John Winthrop, Esq., Governor of

the Mas sa chu setts Colony 334 A Notable Exploit: Dux Fœmina Facti 349

Bonifacius 351 From Essays to Do Good 351

Jonath a n Edwa rds (1703–1758) 356 Personal Narrative 358 On Sarah Pierpont 368 Sarah Edwards’s Narrative 369 A Divine and Supernatural Light 377 Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God 390

a merica n lit er a ture a nd the va ri e ties of religious ex pression 403

the jesuit rel ations 405 JÉRÔME L A LEM A N T: From How Father Isaac Jogues Was Taken by the

Iroquois, and What He Suffered on His First Entrance into Their Country 406

P. F. X. DE CH A RLEVOI X: From Catherine Tegahkouita: An Iroquois Virgin 410

SOR JUA NA INÉS DE L A CRUZ: 415 Love Opened a Mortal Wound 415 Suspend, Singer Swan 416

FR A NCIS DA NIEL PASTORIUS: [In These Seven Languages] 416 ELIZ A BETH ASHBRIDGE: From Some Account of the Early Part of the

Life of Elizabeth Ashbridge 417 JOHN WOOLM A N: From The Journal of John Woolman 423 JOHN M A RR A N T: From A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings

with John Marrant, a Black 428 REBECCA SA MUEL: Letters to Her Parents 433 SAGOY EWATH A: Reply to the Missionary Jacob Cram 436

Benja min Fr a nk lin (1706 –1790) 439 The Way to Wealth 442 The Speech of Miss Polly Baker 449 Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One 451



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Information to Those Who Would Remove to Amer i ca 456 Remarks Concerning the Savages of North Amer i ca 462 The Autobiography 466

Sa mson Occom (1723–1792) 585 From An Account of the Mohawk Indians, on Long Island 588 A Short Narrative of My Life 589 From A Sermon at the Execution of Moses Paul, an Indian 595 Hymns 606

The Sufferings of Christ, or Throughout the Saviour’s Life We Trace 606

A Morning Hymn, or Now the Shades of Night Are Gone 607 A Son’s Farewell, or I Hear the Gospel’s Joyful Sound 608

ethnogr a phic a nd natur a list w ritings 609

sa r a h k emble k night: From The Private Journal of a Journey from Boston to New York in the Year 1704 610

w illi a m by rd: From The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover 1710–1712 616 From The History of the Dividing Line 618

a lex a nder h a milton: From Hamilton’s Itinerarium 622 w illi a m ba rtr a m: Anecdotes of an American Crow 625 hendrick aupaumu t: From History of the Muh- he- con- nuk Indians 629

J. Hector St. John de CrÈv ecoeur (1735–1813) 634 Letters from an American Farmer 636

From Letter III. What Is an American? 636 From Letter IX. Description of Charles- Town; Thoughts on Slavery;

on Physical Evil; A Melancholy Scene 645 From Letter X. On Snakes; and on the Humming Bird 650 From Letter XII. Distresses of a Frontier Man 651

A nnis Boudinot Stockton (1736 –1801) 657 A Hymn Written in the Year 1753 659 An Elegiak Ode on the 28th Day of February [1782]. The Anniversary

of Mr. [Stockton’s] Death 660 On a Little Boy Going to Play on a Place from Whence He Had

Just Fallen 662 Addressed to General Washington, in the Year 1777, after the Battles

of Trenton and Prince ton 662 [L]ines on Hearing of the Death of Doctor Franklin 664

John A da ms (1735–1826) a nd A biga il A da ms (1744–1818) 664 The Letters 666

Abigail Adams to John Adams (Aug. 19, 1774) [Classical Parallels] 666



C O N T E N T S | x i i i

John Adams to Abigail Adams (Sept. 16, 1774) [Prayers at the Congress] 667

John Adams to Abigail Adams (July 23, 1775) [Dr. Franklin] 668

John Adams to Abigail Adams (Oct. 29, 1775) [Prejudice in Favor of New Eng land] 669

Abigail Adams to John Adams (Nov. 27, 1775) [The Building Up a Great Empire] 670

Abigal Adams to John Adams (March 31, 1776) [Remember the Ladies] 672

John Adams to Abigail Adams (July 3, 1776) [ These colonies are free and in de pen dent states] 674

John Adams to Abigail Adams (July 3, 1776) [Redections on the Declaration of In de pen dence] 675

Abigail Adams to John Adams (July 14, 1776) [The Declaration. Smallpox. The Grey Horse] 677

John Adams to Abigail Adams (July 20, 1776) [Do My Friends Think I Have Forgotten My Wife and

Children?] 678 Abigail Adams to John Adams (July 21, 1776)

[Smallpox. The Proclamation for In de pen dence Read Aloud] 679

Thom as Pa ine (1737–1809) 681 Common Sense 682

Introduction 682 From III. Thoughts on the Pres ent State of American Affairs 683

The Crisis, No. 1 689 The Age of Reason 695

Chapter I. The Author’s Profession of Faith 695 Chapter II. Of Missions and Revelations 697 Chapter XI. Of the Theology of the Christians,

and the True Theology 698

Thom as Jefferson (1743–1826) 702 The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson 704

From The Declaration of In de pen dence 704 Notes on the State of Virginia 711

From Query V. Cascades [Natu ral Bridge] 711 From Query XIV. Laws [Slavery] 712 Query XVII. [Religion] 717 Query XIX. [Manufactures] 720

The Feder a list 721 No. 1 [Alexander Hamilton] 723 No. 10 [James Madison] 726



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Ol auda h Equi a no (1745?–1797) 731 The In ter est ing Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano,

or Gustavas Vassa, the African, Written by Himself 733 From Chapter 1 733 Chapter II 735 From Chapter III 745 From Chapter IV 747 From Chapter V 751 From Chapter VI 755 From Chapter VII 763 From Chapter IX 767

Judith Sa rgen t Murr ay (1751–1820) 770 On the Equality of the Sexes 772

Philip Freneau (1752–1832) 780 The Wild Honey Suckle 781 The Indian Burying Ground 782 To Sir Toby 783 On Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man 785 On the Religion of Nature 786

Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753–1784) 787 On Being Brought from Africa to Amer i ca 789 To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth 789 To the University of Cambridge, in New Eng land 790 On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George White”eld, 1770 791 Thoughts on the Works of Providence 792 To S. M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing His Works 795 To His Excellency General Washington 796 Letters 798

To John Thornton (Apr. 21, 1772) 798 To Rev. Samson Occom (Feb. 11, 1774) 798

Roya ll Ty ler (1757–1826) 799 The Contrast 801

Ha nna h Webster Foster (1758 –1840) 841 The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton 843

Ch a rles Brock den Brow n (1771–1810) 941 Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist 943

nati v e a merica n eloquence: negoti ation a nd re sis ta nce 985

ca nassatego: Speech at Lancaster 986 pon ti ac: Speech at Detroit 989 loga n: From Chief Logan’s Speech 991



C O N T E N T S | x v

cherok ee women: To Governor Benjamin Franklin 993 tecumseh: Speech to the Osages 994

Washington Irv ing (1783–1859) 996 A History of New- York from the Beginning of the World

to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Dietrich Knickerbocker 998 Book II, Chapter I [Hudson Discovers New York] 998

Rip Van Winkle 1003

selected Bibliographies A1 permissions Acknowledgments A11 index A13




x v i i

Preface to the Ninth Edition

The Ninth Edition of The Norton Anthology of American Lit er a ture is the “rst for me as General Editor; for the Eighth Edition, I served as Associate General Editor under longstanding General Editor Nina Baym. On the occasion of a new general editorship, we have undertaken one of the most extensive revisions in our long publishing history. Three new section editors have joined the team: Sandra M. Gustafson, Professor of En glish and Con- current Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, who succeeds Wayne Franklin and Philip Gura as editor of “American Lit er a ture, Beginnings to 1820”; Michael A. Elliott, Professor of En glish at Emory University, who succeeds Nina Baym, Robert S. Levine, and Jeanne Campbell Reesman as editor of “American Lit er a ture, 1865–1914”; and Amy Hungerford, Professor of En glish and American Studies at Yale Uni- versity, who succeeds Jerome Klinkowitz and Patricia B. Wallace as editor of “American Lit er a ture since 1945.” These editors join Robert S. Levine, editor of “American Lit er a ture, 1820–1865,” and Mary Loeffelholz, editor of “American Lit er a ture, 1914–1945.” Each editor, new or continuing, is a well- known expert in the relevant “eld or period and has ultimate responsi- bility for his or her section of the anthology, but we have worked closely from “rst to last to rethink all aspects of this new edition. Volume introduc- tions, author headnotes, thematic clusters, annotations, illustrations, and biblio graphies have all been updated and revised. We have also added a number of new authors, se lections, and thematic clusters. We are excited about the outcome of our collaboration and anticipate that, like the previous eight editions, this edition of The Norton Anthology of American Lit er a ture will continue to lead the “eld.

From the anthology’s inception in 1979, the editors have had three main aims: “rst, to pres ent a rich and substantial enough variety of works to enable teachers to build courses according to their own vision of American literary history (thus, teachers are offered more authors and more se lections than they will prob ably use in any one course); second, to make the anthol- ogy self- suf”cient by featuring many works in their entirety along with extensive se lections for individual authors; third, to balance traditional interests with developing critical concerns in a way that allows for the com- plex, rigorous, and capacious study of American literary traditions. As early as 1979, we anthologized work by Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Sarah Kemble Knight, Phillis Wheatley, Margaret Fuller, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Booker  T. Washington, Charles  W. Chesnutt, Edith Wharton,



x v i i i | P R E F A C E T O T H E N I N T H E D I T I O N

W. E. B. Du Bois, and other writers who were not yet part of a standard canon. Yet we never shortchanged writers— such as Franklin, Emerson, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner— whose work many students expected to read in their American lit er a ture courses, and whom most teachers then and now would not think of doing without.

The so- called canon wars of the 1980s and  1990s usefully initiated a review of our understanding of American lit er a ture, a review that has enlarged the number and diversity of authors now recognized as contributors to the totality of American lit er a ture. The traditional writers look dif fer ent in this expanded context, and they also appear dif fer ent according to which of their works are selected. Teachers and students remain committed to the idea of the literary— that writers strive to produce artifacts that are both intellectually serious and formally skillful— but believe more than ever that writers should be understood in relation to their cultural and historical situations. We address the complex interrelationships between lit er a ture and history in the volume introductions, author headnotes, chronologies, and some of the footnotes. As in previous editions, we have worked with detailed suggestions from many teachers on how best to pres ent the authors and se lections. We have gained insights as well from the students who use the anthology. Thanks to questionnaires, face- to- face and phone discus- sions, letters, and email, we have been able to listen to those for whom this book is intended. For the Ninth Edition, we have drawn on the careful commentary of over 240 reviewers and reworked aspects of the anthology accordingly.

Our new materials continue the work of broadening the canon by repre- senting thirteen new writers in depth, without sacri”cing widely assigned writers, many of whose se lections have been reconsidered, reselected, and expanded. Our aim is always to provide extensive enough se lections to do the writers justice, including complete works wherever pos si ble. Our Ninth Edition offers complete longer works, including Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and such new and recently added works as Margaret Fuller’s The Great Lawsuit, Abraham Cahan’s Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Katherine Anne Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust, and August Wilson’s Fences. Two complete works— Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night and Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire— are exclu- sive to The Norton Anthology of American Lit er a ture. Charles Brockden Brown, Louisa May Alcott, Upton Sinclair, and Junot Díaz are among the writers added to the prior edition, and to this edition we have introduced John Rollin Ridge, Constance Fenimore Woolson, George Saunders, and Natasha Tretheway, among others. We have also expanded and in some cases recon”gured such central “gures as Franklin, Hawthorne, Dickin- son, Twain, and Hemingway, offering new approaches in the headnotes, along with some new se lections. In fact, the headnotes and, in many cases, se lections for such frequently assigned authors as William Bradford, Wash- ington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, William Cullen Bryant, Lydia Maria Child, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Kate



P R E F A C E T O T H E N I N T H E D I T I O N | x i x

Chopin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and William Faulkner have been revised, updated, and in some cases entirely rewritten in light of recent scholarship. The Ninth Edition further expands its se lections of women writers and writers from diverse ethnic, racial, and regional backgrounds— always with attention to the critical acclaim that recognizes their contributions to the American literary rec ord. New and recently added writers such as Samson Occom, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, John Rollin Ridge, and Sarah Winnemucca, along with the “gures repre- sented in “Voices from Native Amer i ca,” enable teachers to bring early Native American writing and oratory into their syllabi, or should they pre- fer, to focus on these se lections as a freestanding unit leading toward the moment after 1945 when Native writers fully entered the mainstream of literary activity.

We are pleased to continue our popu lar innovation of topical gatherings of short texts that illuminate the cultural, historical, intellectual, and literary concerns of their respective periods. Designed to be taught in a class period or two, or used as background, each of the sixteen clusters consists of brief, carefully excerpted primary and (in one case) secondary texts, about six to ten per cluster, and an introduction. Diverse voices— many new to the anthology— highlight a range of views current when writers of a par tic u lar time period were active, and thus allow students better to understand some of the large issues that were being debated at par tic u lar historical moments. For example, in “Slavery, Race, and the Making of American Lit er a ture,” texts by David Walker, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimké, Sojourner Truth, James  M. Whit”eld, and Martin  R. Delany speak to the great paradox of pre– Civil War Amer i ca: the contradictory rupture between the realities of slavery and the nation’s ideals of freedom.

The Ninth Edition strengthens this feature with eight new and revised clusters attuned to the requests of teachers. To help students address the controversy over race and aesthetics in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we have revised a cluster in Volume C that shows what some of the leading critics of the past few de cades thought was at stake in reading and interpret- ing slavery and race in Twain’s canonical novel. New to Volume A is “American Lit er a ture and the Va ri e ties of Religious Expression,” which includes se lections by Elizabeth Ashbridge, John Woolman, and John Marrant, while Volume B offers “Science and Technology in the Pre– Civil War Nation.” Volume C newly features “Becoming American in the Gilded Age,” and we continue to include the useful “Modernist Manifestos” in Volume D. We have added to the popu lar “Creative Non”ction” in Volume E new se lections by David Foster Wallace and Hunter S. Thompson, who join such writers as Jamaica Kincaid and Joan Didion.

The Ninth Edition features an expanded illustration program, both of the black-and-white images, 145 of which are placed throughout the volumes, and of the color plates so popu lar in the last two editions. In selecting color plates— from Elizabeth Graham’s embroidered map of Washington, D.C., at the start of the nineteenth century to Jeff Wall’s “After ‘Invisible Man’ ” at the beginning of the twenty- “rst— the editors aim to provide images relevant to literary works in the anthology while depicting arts and artifacts representa- tive of each era. In addition, graphic works— segments from the colonial



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children’s classic The New- Eng land Primer and from Art Spiegelman’s canonical graphic novel, Maus, and a facsimile page of Emily Dickinson manuscript, along with the many new illustrations— open possibilities for teaching visual texts.

Period- by- Period Revisions

Volume A, Beginnings to 1820. Sandra M. Gustafson, the new editor of Volume A, has substantially revised the volume. Prior editions of Volume A were broken into two historical sections, with two introductions and a dividing line at the year 1700; Gustafson has dropped that arti”cial divide to tell a more coherent and duid story (in her new introduction) about the variety of American lit er a tures during this long period. The volume continues to feature narratives by early Eu ro pean explorers of the North American continent as they encountered and attempted to make sense of the diverse cultures they met, and as they sought to justify their aim of claiming the territory for Eu ro pe ans. These are precisely the issues foregrounded by the revised cluster “First Encounters: Early Eu ro pean Accounts of Native Amer i ca,” which gathers writings by Hernán Cortés, Samuel de Champlain, Robert Juet, and others, including the newly added Thomas Harriot. In addition to the standing material from The Bay Psalm Book, we include new material by Roger Williams; additional poems by Annis Boudinot Stockton; Abigail Adams’s famous letter urging her husband to “Remember the Ladies”; an additional se lection from Olaudah Equiano on his post- emancipation travels; and Charles Brockden Brown’s “Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist” (the complete “prequel” to his “rst novel, Wieland). We continue to offer the complete texts of Rowlandson’s enormously induential A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography (which remains one of the most compelling works on the emergence of an “American” self), Royall Tyler’s popu lar play The Contrast, and Hannah Foster’s novel The Coquette, which uses a real- life tragedy to meditate on the proper role of well- bred women in the new republic and testi”es to the existence of a female audience for the popu lar novels of the period. New to this volume is Washington Irving, a writer who looks back to colonial history and forward to Jacksonian Amer i ca. The inclusion of Irving in both Volumes A and B, with one key overlapping se lection, points to con- tinuities and changes between the two volumes.

Five new and revised thematic clusters of texts highlight themes central to Volume A. In addition to “First Encounters,” we have included “Native American Oral Lit er a ture,” “American Lit er a ture and the Va ri e ties of Reli- gious Expression,” “Ethnographic and Naturalist Writings,” and “Native American Eloquence: Negotiation and Re sis tance.” “Native American Oral Lit er a ture” features creation stories, trickster tales, oratory, and poetry from a spectrum of traditions, while “Native American Eloquence” collects speeches and accounts by Canassatego and Native American women (both new to the volume), Pontiac, Chief Logan (as cited by Thomas Jefferson), and Tecumseh, which, as a group, illustrate the centuries- long pattern of initial peaceful contact between Native Americans and whites mutating into bitter and violent condict. This cluster, which focuses on Native Americans’ points of view, complements “First Encounters,” which focuses on Eu ro pean



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colonizers’ points of view. The Native American presence in the volume is further expanded with increased repre sen ta tion of Samson Occom, which includes an excerpt from his sermon at the execution of Moses Paul, and the inclusion of Sagoyewatha in “American Lit er a ture and the Va ri e ties of Religious Expression.” Strategically located between the Congregational- ist Protestant (or late- Puritan) Jonathan Edwards and the Enlightenment “gure Franklin, this cluster brings together works from the perspectives of the major religious groups of the early Amer i cas, including Quakerism (poems by Francis Daniel Pastorius, se lections from autographical narra- tives of Elizabeth Ashbridge and John Woolman), Roman Catholicism (poems by Sor Juana, two Jesuit Relations, with biographical accounts of Father Isaac Jogues and Kateri Tekakwitha), dissenting Protestantism (Mar- rant), Judaism (Rebecca Samuel), and indigenous beliefs (Sagoyewatha). The new cluster “Ethnographic and Naturalist Writings” includes writings by Sarah Kemble Knight and William Byrd, along with new se lections by Alexander Hamilton, William Bartram, and Hendrick Aupaumut. With this cluster, the new cluster on science and technology in Volume B, and a num- ber of new se lections and revisions in Volumes C, D, and E, the Ninth Edi- tion pays greater attention to the impact of science on American literary traditions.

Volume B, American Lit er a ture, 1820–1865. Under the editorship of Robert S. Levine, this volume over the past several editions has become more diverse. Included here are the complete texts of Emerson’s Nature, Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, Thoreau’s Walden, Douglass’s Narrative, Whit- man’s Song of Myself, Melville’s Benito Cereno and Billy Budd, Rebecca Harding Davis’s Life in the Iron Mills, and Margaret Fuller’s The Great Law- suit. At the same time, aware of the impor tant role of African American writers in the period, and the omnipresence of race and slavery as literary and po liti cal themes, we have recently added two major African American writers, William Wells Brown and Frances E. W. Harper, along with Doug- lass’s novella The Heroic Slave. Thoreau’s “Plea for Captain John Brown,” a generous se lection from Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the cluster “Slavery, Race, and the Making of American Lit er a ture” also help remind students of how central slavery was to the literary and po liti cal life of the nation during this period. “Native Americans: Re sis tance and Removal” gathers oratory and writings—by Native Americans such as Black Hawk and whites such as Ralph Waldo Emerson— protesting Andrew Jackson’s ruthless national policy of Indian removal. Newly added is a se lection from The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta, by the Native American writer John Rol- lin Ridge. This potboiler of a novel, set in the new state of California, emerged from the debates that began during the Indian removal period. Through the “gure of the legendary Mexican bandit Murieta, who “ghts back against white expansionists, Ridge responds to the vio lence encour- aged by Jackson and subsequent white leaders as they laid claim to the continent. Po liti cal themes, far from diluting the literary imagination of American authors, served to inspire some of the most memorable writing of the pre-Civil War period.

Women writers recently added to Volume B include Lydia Huntley Sigourney, the Native American writer Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, and



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Louisa May Alcott. Recently added prose “ction includes chapters from Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie, and Melville’s Moby- Dick, along with Poe’s “The Black Cat” and Hawthorne’s “Wake”eld.” For the “rst time in the print edition, we include Melville’s “Hawthorne and His Mosses” as it appeared in the 1850 Literary World. Poetry by Emily Dickinson is now presented in the texts established by R. W. Franklin and includes a facsimile page from Fascicle 10. For this edition we have added several poems by Dickinson that were inspired by the Civil War. Other se lections added to this edition include Fanny Fern’s amusing sketch “Writ- ing ‘Compositions,’ ” the chapter in Frederick Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom on his re sis tance to the slave- breaker Covey, three poems by Melville (“Dupont’s Round Fight,” “A Utilitarian View of the Monitor’s Fight,” and “Art”), and Whitman’s “The Sleepers.”

Perhaps the most signi”cant addition to Volume B is the cluster “Science and Technology in the Pre– Civil War Nation,” with se lections by the canoni- cal writers Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and Frederick Douglass, by the scientists Jacob Bigelow and Alexander Humboldt, and by the editor- writer Harriet Farley. The cluster calls attention to the strong interest in science and technology throughout this period and should provide a rich context for reconsidering works such as Thoreau’s Walden and Melville’s “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids.” In an effort to under- score the importance of science and technology to Poe and Hawthorne in par tic u lar, we have added two stories that directly address these topics: Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” and Hawthorne’s “The Artist of the Beautiful” (which reads nicely in relation to his “The Birth- Mark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter”). Emerson, Whitman, and Dickinson are among the many other authors in Volume B who had considerable interest in science.

Volume C, American Lit er a ture, 1865–1914. Newly edited by Michael A. Elliott, the volume includes expanded se lections of key works, as well as new ones that illustrate how many of the strug gles of this period pre”gure our own. In addition to complete longer works such as Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chopin’s The Awakening, James’s Daisy Miller, and Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, the Ninth Edition now includes the complete text of Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto, a highly induential novella of immigrant life that depicts the pressures facing newly arrived Jews in the nation’s largest metropolis. Also new is a substantial se lection from Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs, a mas- terpiece of literary regionalism that portrays a remote seaside community facing change.

Americans are still redecting on the legacy of the Civil War, and we have added two works approaching that subject from dif fer ent angles. Constance Fenimore Woolson’s “Rodman the Keeper” tells the story of a Union vet- eran who maintains a cemetery in the South. In “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed,” Mark Twain redects with wit and insight on his own brief experience in the war. In the Eighth Edition, we introduced a section on the critical controversy surrounding race and the conclusion of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. That section remains as impor tant as ever, and new additions incorporate a recent debate about the value of an expur- gated edition of the novel.



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We have substantially revised clusters designed to give students a sense of the cultural context of the period. New selections in “Realism and Natu- ralism” demonstrate what was at stake in the debate over realism, among them a feminist response from Charlotte Perkins Gilman. “Becoming Ameri- can in the Gilded Age,” a new cluster, introduces students to writing about wealth and citizenship at a time when the nation was undergoing transfor- mation. Se lections from one of Horatio Alger’s popu lar novels of economic uplift, Andrew Car ne gie’s “Gospel of Wealth,” and Charles W. Chesnutt’s “The Future American” together reveal how questions about the composi- tion of the nation both induenced the lit er a ture of this period and pre”gured con temporary debates on immigration, cultural diversity, and the concentra- tion of wealth.

The turn of the twentieth century was a time of im mense literary diver- sity. “Voices from Native Amer i ca” brings together a variety of expressive forms— oratory, memoir, ethnography— through which Native Americans sought to represent themselves. It includes new se lections by Francis LaFlesche, Zitkala %a, and Chief Joseph. For the “rst time, we include the complete text of José Martí’s “Our Amer i ca,” in a new translation by Martí biographer Alfred  J. López. By instructor request, we have added “ction and non”ction by African American authors: Charles W. Chesnutt’s “Po’ Sandy,” Pauline Hopkins’s “Talma Gordon,” and expanded se lections from W. E. B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk and James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex- Colored Man.

Volume D, American Lit er a ture 1914–1945. Edited by Mary Loeffelholz, Volume D offers a number of complete longer works— Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (exclusive to the Norton Anthology), William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and Willa Cather’s My Ántonia. To these we have added Nella Larsen’s Passing, which replaces Quicksand, and Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust. We added Passing in response to numerous requests from instructors and students who regard it as one of the most compelling treatments of racial passing in American lit er a ture. The novel also offers rich descriptions of the social and racial geographies of Chicago and New York City. West’s darkly comic The Day of the Locust similarly offers rich descriptions of the social and racial geography of Los Angeles. West’s novel can at times seem bleak and not “po liti cally correct,” but in many ways it is the “rst great American novel about the “lm industry, and it also has much to say about the growth of California in the early de cades of the twentieth century. New se lections by Zora Neale Hurston (“Sweat”) and John Steinbeck (“The Chrysanthemums”) further contribute to the vol- ume’s exploration of issues connected with racial and social geographies.

Se lections by Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Hart Crane, and Langston Hughes encourage students and teachers to contemplate the inter- relation of modernist aesthetics with ethnic, regional, and popu lar writing. In “Modernist Manifestos,” F. T. Marinetti, Mina Loy, Ezra Pound, Willa Cather, William Carlos Williams, and Langston Hughes show how the man- ifesto as a form exerted a power ful induence on international modernism in all the arts. Another illuminating cluster addresses central events of the modern period. In “World War I and Its Aftermath,” writings by Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and others explore sharply



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divided views on the U.S. role in World War I, as well as the radicalizing effect of modern warfare— with 365,000 American casualties—on con- temporary writing. We have added to this edition a chapter from Heming- way’s “rst novel, The Sun Also Rises, which speaks to the impact of the war on sexuality and gender. Other recent and new additions to Volume D include Faulkner’s popu lar “A Rose for Emily,” Katherine Anne Porter’s novella Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Gertrude Stein’s “Objects,” Marianne Moore’s ambitious longer poem “Marriage,” poems by Edgar Lee Masters and Edwin Arlington Robinson, and Jean Toomer’s “Blood Burning Moon.”

Volume E, American Lit er a ture, 1945 to the Pres ent. Amy Hungerford, the new editor of Volume E, has revised the volume to pres ent a wider range of writing in poetry, prose, drama, and non”ction. As before, the vol- ume offers the complete texts of Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire (exclusive to this anthology), Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Sam Shepard’s True West, August Wilson’s Fences, David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, and Louise Glück’s long poem October. A se lection from Art Spiegelman’s prize- winning Maus opens possibilities for teaching the graphic novel. We also include teachable stand- alone seg- ments from induential novels by Saul Bellow (The Adventures of Augie March) and Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse- Five), and, new to this edition, Jack Kerouac (On the Road) and Don DeLillo (White Noise). The se lection from one of DeLillo’s most celebrated novels tells what feels like a con- temporary story about a nontraditional family navigating an environmental disaster in a climate saturated by mass media. Three newly added stories— Patricia Highsmith’s “The Quest for Blank Claveringi,” Philip  K. Dick’s “Precious Artifact,” and George Saunders’s “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline”— reveal the impact of science “ction, fantasy, horror, and (especially in the case of Saunders) mass media on literary “ction. Also appearing for the “rst time are Edward  P. Jones and Lydia Davis, con temporary masters of the short story, who join such short “ction writers as Ann Beattie and Junot Díaz. Recognized literary “gures in all genres, ranging from Robert Penn Warren and Elizabeth Bishop to Leslie Marmon Silko and Toni Morrison, continue to be richly represented. In response to instructors’ requests, we now include Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.”

One of the most distinctive features of twentieth- and twenty- “rst- century American lit er a ture is a rich vein of African American poetry. This edition adds two con temporary poets from this living tradition: Natasha Trethewey and Tracy K. Smith. Trethewey’s se lections include personal and historical elegies; Smith draws on cultural materials as diverse as David Bowie’s music and the history of the Hubble Space Telescope. These writers join African American poets whose work has long helped de”ne the anthology— Rita Dove, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, Audre Lorde, and others.

This edition gives even greater exposure to literary and social experimen- tation during the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond. The work of two avant- garde playwrights joins “Postmodern Manifestos” (which pairs nicely with “Mod- ernist Manifestos” in Volume D). Introduced to the anthology through their short, challenging pieces, Charles Ludlam and Richard Foreman cast the mechanics of per for mance in a new light. Reading their thought pieces in



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relation to the volume’s complete plays helps raise new questions about how the seemingly more traditional dramatic works engage structures of time, plot, feeling, and spectatorship. To our popu lar cluster “Creative Non”ction” we have added a new se lection by Joan Didion, from “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” which showcases her revolutionary style of journalism as she comments on experiments with public per for mance and communal living during the 1960s. A new se lection from David Foster Wallace in the same cluster pushes reportage on the Maine Lobster Festival into philosophical inquiry: how can we fairly assess the pain of other creatures? This edition also introduces poet Frank Bidart through his most famous work— Ellen West—in which the poet uses experimental forms of verse he pioneered during the 1970s to speak in the voice of a woman battling anorexia. Stand- ing authors in the anthology, notably John Ashbery and Amiri Baraka, “ll out the volume’s survey of radical change in the forms, and social uses, of literary art.

We are delighted to offer this revised Ninth Edition to teachers and stu- dents, and we welcome your comments.

Additional Resources from the Publisher

The Ninth Edition retains the paperback splits format, popu lar for its dex- ibility and portability. This format accommodates the many instructors who use the anthology in a two- semester survey, but allows for mixing and matching the “ve volumes in a variety of courses or ga nized by period or topic, at levels from introductory to advanced. We are also pleased to offer the Ninth Edition in an ebook format. The Digital Anthologies include all the content of the print volumes, with print- corresponding page and line numbers for seamless integration into the print- digital mixed classroom. Annotations are accessible with a click or a tap, encouraging students to use them with minimal interruption to their reading of the text. The e- reading platform facilitates active reading with a power ful annotation tool and allows students to do a full- text search of the anthology and read online or off. The Digital Editions can be accessed from any computer or device with an Internet browser and are available to students at a frac- tion of the print price at digital . wwnorton . com / americanlit9pre1865 and digital . wwnorton . com / americanlit9post1865. For exam copy access to the Digital Editions and for information on making the Digital Editions avail- able through the campus bookstore or packaging the Digital Editions with the print anthology, instructors should contact their Norton representative.

To give instructors even more dexibility, Norton is making available the full list of 254 Norton Critical Editions. A Norton Critical Edition can be included for free with either package (Volumes A and B; Volumes C, D, E) or any indi- vidual split volume. Each Norton Critical Edition gives students an author- itative, carefully annotated text accompanied by rich contextual and critical materials prepared by an expert in the subject. The publisher also offers the much- praised guide Writing about American Lit er a ture, by Karen Gocsik (University of California– San Diego) and Coleman Hutchison (University of Texas– Austin), free with either package or any individual split volume.

In addition to the Digital Editions, for students using The Norton Anthology of American Lit er a ture, the publisher provides a wealth of free



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resources at digital . wwnorton . com / americanlit9pre1865 and digital . wwnorton . com / americanlit9post1865. There students will “nd more than seventy reading- comprehension quizzes on the period introductions and widely taught works with extensive feedback that points them back to the text. Ideal for self- study or homework assignments, Norton’s sophisticated quizzing engine allows instructors to track student results and improvement. For over thirty works in the anthology, the sites also offer Close Reading Work- shops that walk students step- by- step through analy sis of a literary work. Each workshop prompts students to read, reread, consider contexts, and answer questions along the way, making these perfect assignments to build close- reading skills.

The publisher also provides extensive instructor- support materials. New to the Ninth Edition is an online Interactive Instructor’s Guide at iig.ww norton .com/americanlit9/full. Invaluable for course preparation, this resource provides hundreds of teaching notes, discussion questions, and sug- gested resources from the much-praised Teaching with The Norton Anthol- ogy of American Literature: A Guide for Instructors by Edward Whitley (Lehigh University). Also at this searchable and sortable site are quizzes, images, and lecture PowerPoints for each introduction, topic cluster, and twenty-“ve widely taught works. A PDF of Teaching with NAAL is available for download at

Fi nally, Norton Coursepacks bring high- quality digital media into a new or existing online course. The coursepack includes all the reading compre- hension quizzes (customizable within the coursepack), the Writing about Lit er a ture video series, a bank of essay and exam questions, bulleted sum- maries of the period introductions, and “Making Connections” discussion or essay prompts to encourage students to draw connections across the anthology’s authors and works. Coursepacks are available in a variety of formats, including Blackboard, Canvas, Desire2Learn, and Moodle, at no cost to instructors or students.

Editorial Procedures

As in past editions, editorial features— period introductions, headnotes, annotations, and biblio graphies— are designed to be concise yet full and to give students necessary information without imposing a single interpreta- tion. The editors have updated all apparatus in response to new scholar- ship: period introductions have been entirely or substantially rewritten, as have many headnotes. All selected biblio graphies and each period’s general- resources biblio graphies, categorized by Reference Works, Histories, and Literary Criticism, have been thoroughly updated. The Ninth Edition retains three editorial features that help students place their reading in historical and cultural context— a Texts/Contexts timeline following each period introduction, a map on the front endpaper of each volume, and a chrono- logical chart, on the back endpaper, showing the lifespans of many of the writers anthologized.

Whenever pos si ble, our policy has been to reprint texts as they appeared in their historical moment. There is one exception: we have modernized most spellings and (very sparingly) the punctuation in Volume A on the princi ple that archaic spellings and typography pose unnecessary prob lems



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for beginning students. We have used square brackets to indicate titles sup- plied by the editors for the con ve nience of students. Whenever a portion of a text has been omitted, we have indicated that omission with three asterisks. If the omitted portion is impor tant for following the plot or argument, we give a brief summary within the text or in a footnote. After each work, we cite the date of “rst publication on the right; in some instances, the latter is followed by the date of a revised edition for which the author was respon- sible. When the date of composition is known and differs from the date of publication, we cite it on the left.

The editors have bene”ted from commentary offered by hundreds of teachers throughout the country. Those teachers who prepared detailed critiques, or who offered special help in preparing texts, are listed under Acknowl edgments, on a separate page. We also thank the many people at Norton who contributed to the Ninth Edition: Julia Reidhead, who super- vised the Ninth Edition; Marian Johnson, managing editor, college; Carly Fraser Doria, media editor; manuscript editors Kurt Wildermuth, Michael Fleming, Harry Haskell, and Candace Levy; Rachel Taylor and Ava Bramson, assistant editors; Sean Mintus, production man ag er; Cat Abelman, photo editor; Julie Tesser, photo researcher; Debra Morton Hoyt, art director; Tiani Kennedy, cover designer; Megan Jackson Schindel, permissions man ag er; and Margaret Gorenstein, who cleared permissions. We also wish to acknowledge our debt to the late George P. Brockway, former presi- dent and chairman at Norton, who in ven ted this anthology, and to the late M. H. Abrams, Norton’s advisor on En glish texts. All have helped us create an anthology that, more than ever, testi”es to the continuing rich- ness of American literary traditions.

Robert S. Levine, General Editor




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Acknowl edgments

Among our many critics, advisors, and friends, the following were of espe- cial help toward the preparation of the Ninth Edition, either with advice or by providing critiques of par tic u lar periods of the anthology: Melissa Adams- Campbell (Northern Illinois University); Rolena Adorno (Yale Uni- versity); Heidi Ajrami (Victoria College); Simone A. James Alexander (Seton Hall University); Brian Anderson (Central Piedmont Community College); Lena Andersson (Fulton- Montgomery Community College); Marilyn Judith Atlas (Ohio University); Sylvia Baer (Gloucester County College); George H. Bailey (Northern Essex Community College); Margarita T. Barceló (MSU Denver); Peter Bellis (University of Alabama– Birmingham); Randall Blan- kenship (Valencia College); Susanne Bloom”eld (University of Nebraska– Kearney); David Bordelon (Ocean County College); Patricia Bostian (Central Piedmont Community College); Maria Brandt (Monroe Commu- nity College); Tamara Ponzo Brattoli (Joliet Ju nior College); Joanna Brooks (San Diego State University); David Brottman (Iowa State University); Arthur Brown (University of Evansville); Martin Brückner (University of Delaware); Judith Budz (Fitchburg State University); Dan Butcher (Univer- sity of Alabama– Birmingham); Maria J. Cahill (Edison State College); Ann Cameron (Indiana University– Kokomo); Brad Campbell (Cal Poly); Mark Canada (University of North Carolina– Pembroke); Gerry Canavan (Mar- quette University); Ann Capel (Gadsden State Community College, Ayers Campus); Elisabeth Ceppi (Portland State University); Tom Cerasulo (Elms College); Mark Cirino (University of Evansville); Josh Cohen (Emory Uni- versity); Matt Cohen (University of Texas– Austin); William Corley (Cal Poly Pomona and U.S. Naval Acad emy); David Cowart (University of South Carolina); Paul Crumbley (Utah State University); Ryan Cull (New Mexico State University); Sue Currell (University of Sussex); Kathleen Danker (South Dakota State University); Clark Davis (University of Denver); Eve Davis ( Virginia Union University); Matthew  R. Davis (University of Wisconsin– Stevens Point); Laura Dawkins (Murray State University); Bruce  J. Degi (Metropolitan State University of Denver); Jerry DeNuccio (Graceland University); Lisa DeVries (Victoria College); Lorraine C. DiCicco (King’s University College); Joshua  A. Dickson (SUNY Jefferson); Rick Diguette (Georgia Perimeter College); Raymond  F. Dolle (Indiana State University); James Donelan (UC Santa Barbara); Clark Draney (College of Southern Idaho); John Dudley (University of South Dakota); Sara Eaton (North Central College); Julia Eichelberger (College of Charleston); Marilyn Elkins (California State University– Los Angeles); Sharyn Emery (Indiana



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University Southeast); Hilary Emmett (University of East Anglia); Terry Engebresten (Idaho State University); Patrick Erben (University of West Georgia); Timothy J. Evans (College of William & Mary); Duncan Faherty (CUNY); Laura Fine (Meredith College); Daniel Fineman (Occidental Col- lege); Pat Gantt (Utah State University); Xiongya Gao (Southern University at New Orleans); Becky Jo Gesteland (Weber State University); Paul Gilmore (Rutgers University); Len Gougeon (University of Scranton); Carey Goyette (Clinton Community College); Sarah Graham (University of Leicester); Alan Gravano (Marshall University); James N. Green (Library Com pany of Philadelphia); Laura Morgan Green (Northeastern University); John Gruesser (Kean University); Bernabe  G. Gutierrez (Laredo Community College); Julia Hans (Fitchburg State University); Stephanie Hawkins (Uni- versity of North Texas); Catherine F. Heath (Victoria College); Roger Hechy (SUNY Oneonta); Terry Heller (Coe College); Carl Herzig (St.  Ambrose University); Eric Heyne (University of Alaska– Fairbanks); Thomas Alan Holmes (East Tennessee State University); Greg Horn (Southwest Virginia Community College); Ruth  Y. Hsu (University of Hawaii– Manoa); Kate Huber ( Temple University); Zach Hutchins (Colorado State University); Thomas Irwin (University of Missouri– St. Louis); Elizabeth Janoski (Lack- awanna College); Andrew Jenkins (College of Central Florida); Luke Johnson (Mesabi Range College); Mark Johnson (San Jacinto College); Paul Jones (Ohio University); Roger Walton Jones (Ranger College); Jennifer Jordan- Henley (Roane State Community College); Mark Kamrath (University of Central Florida); Rachel Key (El Centro College); Julie H. Kim (Northeast- ern Illinois University); Vincent King (Black Hills State University); Denis Kohn (Baldwin Wallace University); Gary Konas (University of Wisconsin– La Crosse); Michael Kowalewski (Carleton College); Michael Lackey (University of Minnesota– Morris); Jennifer Ladino (University of Idaho); Thomas  W. LaFleur (Laredo Community College); Andrew Lanham (Yale University); Christopher Leise (Whitman College); Beth Leishman (Northwest MS Community College); Jennifer Levi (Cecil College); Alfred J. López (Purdue University); Paul Madachy (Prince George’s Community College); Etta Madden (Missouri State University); Marc Malandra (Biola University); David Malone (Union University); Matt Martin (Wesleyan College); Stephen Mathewson (Central New Mexico Community College); Liz Thompson Mayo (Jackson State Community College); David McCracken (Coker College); Kathleen McDonald (Norwich University); John McGreevy (Uni- versity of Notre Dame); Dana McMichael (Abilene Christian University); Sandra Measels (Holmes Community College); Eric Mein (Normandale Community College); Christine Mihelich (Marywood University); Deborah M. Mix (Ball State University); Aaron Moe (Washington State University); Joelle Moen (Brigham Young University– Idaho); Lisa Muir (Wilkes Com- munity College); Lori Muntz (Iowa Wesleyan College); Justine Murison (University of Illinois); Jillmarie Murphy (Union College); Harold Nelson (Minot State University); Howard Nelson (Cayuga Community College); Lance Newman (Westminster College); Taryn Okuma (The Catholic Univer- sity of Amer i ca); Stanley Orr (University of Hawai’i– West O’ahu); Samuel Otter (University of California–Berkeley); Susan Scott Parrish (University of Michigan); Martha H. Patterson (McKendree University); Michelle Paulsen (Victoria College); Daniel G. Payne (SUNY Oneonta); Ian Peddie (Georgia



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Gwinnett College); Aaron Matthew Percich (West Virginia University); Tom Perrin (Huntingdon College); Sandra Petrulionis (Penn State– Altoona); Christopher Phillips (Lafayette College); Kenneth M. Price (University of Nebraska); Maria Pollack (Hudson Valley Community College); Marty  G. Price (Mississippi State University); Kieran Quinlan (University of Alabama– Birmingham); Wesley Raabe (Kent State University); Maria Ramos (J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College); Palmer Rampell (Yale University); Rick Randolph (Kauai Community College); Kimberly Reed (Lipscomb University); Joan Reeves (Northeast Alabama Community College); Eliza- beth Renker (The Ohio State University); Joseph Rezek (Boston University); Anne Boyd Rioux (University of New Orleans); Marc Robinson (Yale Uni- versity); Jane Rosecrans (J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College); Phillip Round (University of Iowa); Jeffrey Rubinstein (Hillborough Community College); Maureen Ryan (University of Southern Mississippi); Jamie Sadler (Richmond Community College); Gordon Sayre (University of Oregon); Jennifer Schell (University of Alaska– Fairbanks); Jim Schrantz (Tarrant County College); Joshua Schuster (University of Western Ontario); Marc Seals (University of Wisconsin– Baraboo/Sauk County); Carl Sederholm (Brigham Young University); Larry Severeid (Utah State University– Eastern); Anna Shectman (Yale University); Deborah Sims (USC and UCR); Claudia Slate (Florida Southern College); Brenda R. Smith (Kent State University– Stark); Martha Nell Smith (University of Maryland); Eric Sterling (Auburn University Montgomery); Julia Stern (Northwestern University); Billy  J. Stratton (University of Denver); Steve Surryhne (California State University– San Francisco); Timothy Sweet (West Virginia University); David Taylor (University of North Texas); Jan Thompson (University of Nebraska– Kearney); Robin Thompson (Governors State University); Marjory Thrash (Pearl River Community College); Nicole Tonkovich (UC San Diego); Steve Tracy (University of Mas sa chu setts– Amherst); Alan Trusky (Forence- Darlington Tech College); April Van Camp (Indian River State College); Joanne van der Woude (University of Groningen); Abram van Engen (Wash- ington University); Laura Veltman (California Baptist University); Eliza Waggoner (Miami University– Middletown); Catherine Waitinas (Cal Poly State University); Laura Dassow Walls (University of Notre Dame); Raquel Wanzo (Laney College); Bryan Waterman (New York University); Stephanie Wells (Orange Coast College); Jeff Westover (Boise State University); Belinda Wheeler (Paine College); Chris Wheeler (Horry- Georgetown Tech- nical College); Steven J. Whitton (Jacksonville State University); Elizabeth Wiet (Yale University); Jason Williams (Brigham Young University– Idaho); Barbara Williamson (Spokane Falls Community College); Gaye Winter (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College); Kelly Wisecup (University of North Texas); Aiping Zhang (California State University– Chico).







V O L U M E A : B E G I N N I N G S T O 1 8 2 0





Beginnings to 1820


In 1631, the En glish captain John Smith published Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New Eng land, or Any Where: Or, the Path- way to Experience to Erect a Plantation, the last and most polished of his works. Smith had been instrumental in the 1607 founding of Jamestown in Virginia, Eng land’s “rst long- lived American settlement, and he later pro- vided guidance for both the Pilgrims who established Plymouth in 1620 and the Puritans who founded the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony 10  years later. Reading Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters now, when anticolonial and in de pen dence movements have made colonization justly suspect, Smith’s endorse- ment of En glish plantations in North Amer i ca strikes a discordant note. Smith anticipated such objections, for he heard them from his contemporaries. “Many good religious devout men have made it a great ques- tion, as a matter in conscience, by what warrant they might goe to possesse those Countries, which are none of theirs, but the poore Salvages [i.e., savages’],” he wrote. He considered the answer to this objection self- evident: “for God did make the world to be inhabited with mankind, and to have his name knowne to all Nations, and from generation to generation.” Although hardly a pious man, Smith saw God’s hand at work in Eng land’s seizing of the Amer i cas.

On a more mundane level, the dense population and soil depletion in Eng land seemed to Smith suf”- cient reason to take advantage of the fact that “ here in Florida, Virginia, New- Eng land, and Cannada, is more land than all the people in Christendome can

John White, Indian Village of Secoton (detail), 1585. For more information about this image, see the color insert in this volume.



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manure [i.e., cultivate], and yet more to spare than all the natives of those Countries can use and culturate.” The continent’s native inhabitants, he enthused, would “sell you a whole Countrey” in exchange “for a copper kettle and a few toyes, as beads and hatchets.” In his text, Smith did not consider that these “sales” might have been based on dif fer ent concepts of property, nor did he dwell on the deadly epidemics that decimated Native socie ties follow- ing the arrival of Eu ro pe ans. He based his arguments for colonization on the pre ce dents available in sacred and secular history. Adam and Eve established a plantation, Smith argued, as did Noah and his family after the dood, and so on through “the Hebrewes, Lacedemonians, the Goths, Grecians, Romans, and the rest.” Moreover Portugal and Spain had a one- hundred- and- forty- year lead on Eng land in terms of colony formation, and they were wresting great wealth from the people of the Amer i cas, who once had possessed the natu ral resources. It would be “neglect of our duty and religion” as well as “want of charity to those poore Salvages” to fail to challenge these Roman Catholic countries for control of the hemi sphere, Smith concluded. The dif”culty today of seeing Eu ro pean settlement as an expression of “charity” to the “Salvages” means that the “ great question” raised by the “good religious devout men” opposed to colonization remains fresh and vital.

In 1805, the Seneca orator Sagoyewatha, or Red Jacket, offered a Native perspective on colonization in an address to the missionary Jacob Cram that can serve as a rebuttal of Smith. “ There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island,” Sagoyewatha told Cram. “Their seats extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians.” When “your forefathers” arrived, he continued, “they found friends and not enemies. They told us they had ded from their own country for fear of wicked men, and had come here to enjoy their religion. They asked us for a small seat. We took pity on them, granted their request; and they sat down amongst us.” Sagoyewatha went on to describe the devastating impact on Native Americans of the strong alcohol introduced by Eu ro pe ans and to relate how the once small colonial populations had grown and spilled over onto lands that the Natives had not meant to relinquish. He also challenged Cram on the relevance of Chris tian ity to Native communities, which, he stressed, had their own religious traditions. In addition, Chris tian ity hardly seemed a unifying force for good. “If there is but one religion,” Sagoyewatha asked, “why do you white people differ so much about it? Why [are you] not all agreed, as you can all read the book [i.e., the Bible]?”

In his 1782 book Letters from an American Farmer, the French- born writer J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur posed another resonant question: “What is an American?” Crèvecœur offered his most explicit answer to this question in Letter III, where he described “the American” as a “new man, who acts upon new princi ples; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opin- ions.” The American people were “a mixture of En glish, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans and Swedes,” he wrote, emphasizing that they farmed their own land and peacefully practiced vari ous faiths, including Roman Catholi- cism, Quakerism, and several forms of Protestantism. Crèvecœur’s descrip- tion captured impor tant aspects of late colonial society. In its early years, the American colonies were shaped by competing empires: the large ones— New Spain, New France, and the En glish colonies, including Virginia and New Eng land— and more modest efforts, such as New Netherland and New



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Sweden. In the eigh teenth century, even as Britain consolidated its empire in North Amer i ca, an indux of immigrants from Northern Eu rope produced in the mid- Atlantic colonies the par tic u lar mixture that Crèvecœur described. He contrasted this American “melting” of peoples with life in Eu rope, where national and religious divisions fueled chronic wars while lingering feudal systems and power ful states oppressed the common people.

Elsewhere in Letters, Crèvecœur complicated his idealized vision of Amer i ca as a place where Eu ro pe ans could liberate themselves from the constraints of the Old World. He noted the attractions of the frontier, a borderland where hunting surpassed agriculture as the dominant mode of life. In that contact zone, Eu ro pean Americans adopted the customs and habits of Native Americans even as they sought to supplant them. He also reported on the hierarchical plantation- based socie ties of the southern colonies, and the horrors indicted there on enslaved African Americans. His description of a caged slave is one of the most unforgettable passages in the book. In these se lections, the liberating potential of the New World is shown to have sharp limits, and the pro cess of nation- formation to have negative rami”ca- tions as well as positive consequences.

Letters from an American Farmer proved an immediate sensation, for it offered insights into what the emerging nation might become, and how the result might affect Eu rope. Though Crèvecœur was prob ably a Loyalist sup- porter of British rule, his work was greeted enthusiastically by po liti cal radicals in Eng land and Enlightenment philosophes in France, as well as by the American statesman Thomas Jefferson, who echoed Crèvecœur’s enthu- siasm for the yeoman farmer in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1787). After a period of relative neglect in the nineteenth century, Crèvecœur’s vision of Amer i ca was revived in 1908, when Israel Zangwill’s “The Melting Pot,” a play focused on recent waves of Eu ro pean immigration, became a smash hit. Readers embraced Letters as a classic of American lit er a ture pre- senting an archetype of American identity. Unfortunately, the resulting view of Letters highlighted the formation of white American identity while marginalizing nonwhites. In recent years, a more comprehensive approach to Crèvecœur’s work has emphasized the sections on slavery and white/ Native interactions on the frontier. Letters from an American Farmer offers today’s readers vivid accounts of assumptions and contradictions that helped shape the early United States and its lit er a ture.

Nearly four de cades after Letters from an American Farmer became one of the literary hits of the age of revolution, Washington Irving cast a backward look at this founding era in his tale “Rip Van Winkle.” Irving was born in 1783, the year that the Treaty of Paris brought a formal close to the Revolu- tionary War, and he was named for the Virginia planter and slave owner who led the Continental Army to victory and later became the “rst president of the United States. Irving was one of the earliest American- born authors to win international literary celebrity, which he achieved as an expatriate writer living in Eng land. The work that “rst made him famous was The Sketch Book (1819–20), a volume of stories and essays that includes his best- known tales, “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” While these stories take place in the Catskill region of New York and there are two essays on Native American life and history, the bulk of the volume concerns En glish customs. This fact suggests the limits to revolutionary change in the



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literary world of Irving’s day. Despite the ambition of many writers to create distinctly “American” works, the lit er a ture of the United States remained oriented toward Eng land for de cades after in de pen dence.

“Rip Van Winkle” emphasizes continuity more than transformation, and it highlights the checkered quality of human nature rather than its poten- tial for radical new beginnings. Based on a German folktale and set in a sleepy Dutch village on the Hudson River shortly before the Revolution, the story features Rip, a slacker who embarks on a hunting expedition to evade his wife’s demands. In the mountains, he mysteriously “nds himself in the com pany of the En glish explorer Henry Hudson, who in 1609 traveled from New York Harbor as far as Albany, sailing up the river that now bears his name. Hudson and his men silently invite Rip to drink with them, and he soon falls into a deep and unnaturally prolonged sleep. When he returns to his village after a 20- year interval, the Revolution has passed, and Rip “nds much that is unfamiliar, as well as things that are uncannily familiar yet somehow dif fer ent. Frustrated, he bursts out, “Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle?”— and a version of his younger self is pointed out to him. This person turns out to be the son he left at home two de cades earlier, now grown up to be a man much like his father.

Irving invites his readers to consider the disorienting nature of social transformation. He particularly contrasts the quieter, slower colonial world with the bustle and clamor of the newly demo cratizing po liti cal culture. The story suggests that despite some obvious super”cial differences, not very much has changed, and that some of the circumstances that have changed have not necessarily improved. These central themes are captured in Irving’s description of how the image of King George III on the sign of the local inn has been repainted as George Washington. The sign offers a compelling sym- bol of how things can remain the same under neath even as external appear- ances transform. The excitement of radical change and the appeal of tradition and continuity that Irving explores in this story have been fertile themes for many American writers. Questions about the competing values and histori- cal narratives that shape American identities were as relevant for Irving’s readers as they had been two hundred years earlier for John Smith.


The question of identity is often tied to the nature of origins. Most of the earliest surviving writings about the Amer i cas are narratives of discovery, a vast and frequently fascinating category of works that includes Samuel de Champlain’s chronicles of New France; Thomas Harriot’s descriptions of Native customs and natu ral resources in the Chesapeake Bay region; and— of great interest to Washington Irving— the account of Henry Hudson’s explorations written by Robert Juet, the sailor who later mutinied and set Hudson adrift in the bay that bears his name, never to be seen again. Irving’s retelling of the Hudson story in his History of New- York (1809) greatly mutes the brutality in Juet’s narrative to pres ent a colonial history that is notably relaxed and genial, while explic itly marginalizing Native Ameri- cans. Virtually all colonization narratives tell a story that is closer to Juet’s than to Irving’s. These works show that while some ele ments of induence



and exchange were peaceful, condict and vio lence were major forces shaping this new world. Individually and collectively, these writings demonstrate that “discovery” entailed a many- sided pro cess of confrontation and exchange among heterogeneous Eu ro pean, American, and, eventually, African peoples. It was out of encounters such as the ones described in these narratives that the hybrid cultural universe of the Atlantic world began to emerge.

In 1828, Irving published a biography of Christopher Columbus, the Gen- oese explorer who sailed across the Atlantic four times on behalf of the Spanish Empire. Columbus’s own writings provide a remarkable view into the radical changes that his voyage of 1492 set in motion. His Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage (1493)—better known as the Letter of Discovery—was the “rst printed account of the territory that Eu ro pe ans later came to call Amer i ca. This riveting description of the unexpected marvels that Columbus and his crew encountered in the West Indies circu- lated widely throughout Eu rope. Columbus lavished praise on the stunning island mountains, the many dif fer ent types of trees and beautiful forms of vegetation, the rivers that appeared to be full of gold, and the fertile soil promising agricultural riches. He described the indigenous population as welcoming, loosely or ga nized, and largely defenseless. And in a harbinger of

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Columbus Landing in the Indies, from La Lettera dell’isole che ha trovata nouovamenta il re di’spagna, 1493. This woodcut was created to accompany a metrical version, by the Florentine poet Giuliano Dati, of the letter Columbus wrote describing his “rst voyage. The image is in ter est ing for its symbolic pre sen ta tion of Eu ro pean authority (in the person of Ferdinand of Spain) and its early conceptualization of what the Taino Indians looked like.



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things to come, he told how “in the “rst island that I came to, I took some of them by force.” He captured these Natives— and took some of them with him on the return voyage to Europe— with the idea that Eu ro pe ans and Natives could learn to communicate through gestures and, eventually, lan- guage. Before long, however, captivity in the ser vice of potentially peaceful exchange yielded to other types of coercion, including enslavement.

Perhaps it was one of Columbus’s original captives who in 1494 returned home to relate tales of a new world full of “marvels”— that is, the marvels of Spain, which were as unfamiliar to his Native audience as the marvels of the West Indies were to Columbus’s Eu ro pean readers. The man in ques- tion was a Taino Indian from the Bahamas, who had been baptized and renamed Diego Colón, after Columbus’s son. (Colón is the Spanish version of the family’s name.) Diego Colón and another captive served as transla- tors for a large party of Spaniards, around “fteen hundred, who arrived in the Ca rib bean early in November 1493. In the words of the Spanish histo- rian Andrés Bernáldez, who knew Columbus well and edited his papers, Colón regaled the other Natives with tales of “the things which he had seen in Castile and the marvels of Spain, . . . the great cities and fortresses and churches, . . . the people and horses and animals, . . . the great nobility and wealth of the sovereigns and great lords, . . . the kinds of food, . . . the festivals and tournaments [and] bull- “ghting.” Colón’s story catches in miniature the extraordinary changes that began to occur as natives of Eu rope encountered natives of the Amer i cas in a sustained way for the “rst time in recorded history.

Each group of peoples was of course the product and agent of its own his- tory and brought a unique sense of “real ity” to the encounter. For example, the year of Columbus’s “rst voyage was also the year of the Spanish Recon- quista, that is, the “nal defeat of the Islamic Moors of North Africa who had conquered Spain more than 700 years earlier. The Reconquista was just one phase of the centuries- long wars between Christian and Muslim empires that shaped Eu ro pean perceptions of, and actions in, the Amer i cas. Cap- tain John Smith had earned his military title “ghting in southeastern Eu rope against the imperial forces of the Ottoman Turks, then at the height of their power. There were recognizably imperial states in the Amer i cas as well. In the two centuries before Columbus’s voyage, the Aztecs had consolidated an empire in pres ent- day Mexico, and over the course of the fourteenth century the Inca Empire had expanded to encompass territory from what is now southern Colombia to Chile. Because of the Aztec and Inca presences, the view of Eu ro pean conquest as a contest of empires is particularly strong in Spanish accounts. The conquistador Hernán Cortés described the sophis- tication and wealth that existed in the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlán, before he ordered his forces to destroy it. In a more muted way, Smith portrayed En glish interactions with the Powhatan Indians as the product of their com- peting imperial proj ects, with Chief Powhatan undertaking to absorb the En glish newcomers within his expanding area of induence while Smith strug gled to establish dominance.

When the Eu ro pe ans arrived in the Amer i cas, the indigenous people num- bered between “fty million and one hundred million. Mass deaths among the indigenous communities facilitated Eu ro pean expansion. Almost liter- ally from 1492, Native peoples started to die in large numbers. Whole pop-



ulations plummeted as diseases such as smallpox, measles, and typhus spread throughout the Ca rib bean and then on the mainland of Central and South Amer i ca. These diseases became even more lethal as a consequence of war, enslavement, brutal mistreatment, and despair. The rapid introduction of slavery of Native Americans by Eu ro pe ans, which Columbus helped initi- ate, redects both historical practices and con temporary developments. The word “slave” derives from “Slav,” which refers to speakers of Slavic languages, in central and eastern Eu rope; many Slavs were taken as property by Spanish Muslims in the ninth century. Race- based slavery emerged shortly before Columbus’s “rst voyage: the Eu ro pean slave trade in Africa began in 1441, and in 1452 Pope Nicholas V authorized the enslaving of non- Christians. In 1500 slavery was a common form of labor, with variants around the globe, including in Africa and the Amer i cas. Columbus had intended to create a market in enslaved Americans, and a substantial number of Natives were taken as slaves, but ultimately this proj ect failed because too many Native people died. Eu ro- pe ans began transporting small numbers of enslaved Africans to the Amer i cas shortly after arriving there. Those numbers soon multiplied, and the social and cultural features of this new world became even more complex as the slaves introduced the arts and traditions of vari ous African socie ties.

The impacts in the Amer i cas of disease and of slavery can be seen in min- iature in the history of the Ca rib bean island Hispaniola. The population of Hispaniola (estimated at between one hundred thousand and eight million in 1492) plunged following the Spanish occupation, partly through disease

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New World Natives, from an anonymous German woodcut, c. 1505. The text accompany- ing this detailed early illustration comments on Native Americans and their customs, praising their physical appearance and healthfulness as well as their distaste for both private property and public government. Only in passing does it assert that they kill and eat their enemies, smoking the dead bodies above their “res, as on closer inspection the woodcut indicates.



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and partly through abuses of the encomienda system, which gave individual Spaniards claims to Native labor and wealth. Faced with this sudden decline in Native workers, Spain introduced African slavery there as early as 1501. In 1522, the “rst major slave rebellion in the Amer i cas took place on the island, when enslaved African Muslims killed nine Spaniards. From this point forward, slave re sis tance became commonplace. Nevertheless, by the mid- sixteenth century the Native population had been so completely dis- placed by African slaves that the Spanish historian Antonio de Herrera called the island “an ef”gy or an image of Ethiopia itself.” Hispaniola was the lead- ing edge of broader devastations and transformations; colonization, disease, and slavery had similarly sweeping effects in many parts of the Amer i cas.

It would be inaccurate to picture indigenous Americans as merely victims suffering an inexorable decline. The motif of the “vanishing Indian” that became prominent in the early nineteenth century misrepresents historical realities, which involved unevenly textured cultural developments. Some indigenous Americans made shrewd use of the Eu ro pean presence to for- ward their own aims. In 1519, the disaffected Natives in the Aztec Empire threw in their lot with Cortés because they saw a chance to settle the score with their overlord, Montezuma. In New Eng land, the Pequot War of 1637 involved a similar alignment on the En glish side of such tribes as the Nar- ragansetts and the Mohegans, who had grievances with the militarily aggres- sive Pequots. The Powhatans of the Chesapeake Bay region and the Iroquois in the Northeast seized on Eu ro pean technology and the Eu ro pean market, adopting novel weaponry (the gun) and incorporating new trade goods into their networks as a means of consolidating advantages gained before the arrival of the colonists. Beginning in the eigh teenth century, the Coman- ches built an empire that dominated other Native groups and contested Eu ro pean (and later United States and Mexican) power in the southern plains and southwestern regions of North Amer i ca. Above all, Native socie- ties were not static. Even as their populations shrank, indigenous Americans resisted, transformed, and exploited the cultural and social practices that Eu ro pe ans and Africans brought to the Amer i cas. Eventually, these resilient, resourceful peoples embraced writing and print to protect their communities, advance their interests, and convey their vital place in the world.

Meanwhile, the African population in the Amer i cas was expanding. Although free blacks were a growing presence, most of the Africans were slaves who were often forced into heterogeneous groups that brought together members of vari ous cultures speaking distinct languages. Under the harsh conditions of Eu ro pean domination, they created new forms of expression that retained ties to their cultures of origin. One notable instance of this dynamic pro cess involves the West African “gure of Esu Elegbara, the guardian of the crossroads and interpreter of the gods, who appears in works of verbal art created in African communities throughout the Amer i- cas. Esu features in narrative praise poems, divination verses, lyrical songs, and prose narratives and is particularly connected with matters of height- ened (that is, “literary”) language and interpretation. By the eigh teenth century, many African Americans practiced Chris tian ity, and the Bible pro- vided a stock of characters and rhetorical postures that they used to artic- ulate their experiences and worldviews and to advocate for their freedom.




Apart from the literatures of ancient Greece and Rome, few of the works now regarded as classics of Eu ro pean lit er a ture had been produced when Columbus sailed in 1492. Those that did exist can be grouped into a few genres. There were epic poems, such as Beowulf (En glish), The Song of Roland (French), and Dante’s Divine Comedy (Italian); chivalric romances, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (En glish); shorter romances, such as the lais of Marie de France; story sequences, including the Italian writer Boccac- cio’s Decameron and the En glish poet Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; sacred lyric poems, such as by Hildegard of Bingen; and sonnets, notably those by the Italian poet Petrarch, who honed the form into a major genre that, dur- ing the Re nais sance, Shakespeare made impor tant to En glish lit er a ture. Aristotle’s and Cicero’s works were already widely known, and the revival of Greco- Roman classics that characterized the Re nais sance was on the horizon. Augustine’s Confessions was among the broadly induential works of sacred prose, while secular chronicles and histories attracted many readers. In 1300, Marco Polo’s account of his travels to China began to circulate; The Travels of Sir John Mandev ille, a fabulous account of a journey through the Middle East and beyond, appeared “ve or six de cades later. Published in manuscript before the Gutenberg printing press was in ven ted around 1440, both works are thought to have induenced Christopher Columbus’s writings about his “new world.”

Beginning with the publication in 1493 of Columbus’s Letter of Discovery, the printing press became part of the engine driving Eu ro pean expansion in the Amer i cas. Explorers and adventurers produced a large and intrigu- ing body of lit er a ture that communicated the won ders of the new world, described Native socie ties with varying degrees of accuracy and apprecia- tion, and offered explanations and justi”cations for numerous colonial proj- ects. In some cases, notably that of the Spanish friar Bartolomé de las Casas, writers also testi”ed about the atrocities being committed against Native peoples. Print increasingly made pos si ble the dissemination of texts rich with imagery and practical knowledge, helping to stir individual imag- inations and national ambitions with regard to the West Indies and the Amer i cas and, in a few instances, seeking to limit the negative impact of colonization on indigenous Americans.

Cataclysms such as the devastation of the Indies and the Conquest of Mex- ico produced not only the Spanish narratives of Columbus, Cortés, and Las Casas but also Native responses. For example, in 1528 anonymous Native writers, working in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs but using the Roman alphabet introduced by the Spanish, lamented the fall of their capital to Cortés:

Broken spears lie in the roads; we have torn our hair in our grief. The houses are roodess now, and their walls are red with blood.

No one reading these four lines will easily glorify the conquest of Mexico or of the Amer i cas more generally. Such testimonies offer an essential outlook

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on this painful history. The se lections in this volume grouped under “First Encounters: Early Eu ro pean Accounts of Native Amer i ca” offer both Eu ro- pean and indigenous perspectives. So, for instance, the excerpt from Rob- ert Juet’s narrative of Hudson’s third voyage, published in 1625, relates the same events as the Delaware narrative that John Heckewelder recorded from his Native sources in the early nineteenth century— which in turn also pro- vides an impor tant perspective on the narrative of these events offered, later in the volume, by Heckewelder’s con temporary Washington Irving.

At the time of conquest Native Americans had rich oral cultures that valued memory over material means of preserving texts. There were some impor tant exceptions. The Aztecs and a few other groups produced written works in their own languages, though Spanish conquerors destroyed many of the amoxtli and other types of Native “books.” Many indigenous communi- ties used visual rec ords in subtle and sophisticated ways, with a notable example being the Andean quipu, a type of knotted string. North Amer i can recording devices included shellwork belts, known as wampum, and painted animal hides, tepees, and shields. The histories and rituals encoded in these devices were translated into spoken language in ways that had signi”cant parallels in what is sometimes called print culture. Scripture was regularly interpreted and delivered in a sermon in much the same manner as a wam- pum belt might be “read” at a treaty conference. Again, a printed narrative might be read aloud, similar to the way that Native tales were recounted; while hymns and ballads were designed for singing and provided an early contact point between Eu ro pean and Native verbal artists.

In addition to taking diverse forms, early American lit er a ture redects the linguistic and cultural range of the colonial world. Spanish, French, Ger- man and its variants, and other Eu ro pean languages are prominent in the written archive about North Amer i ca, as exempli”ed here in works by writers such as Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Samuel de Champlain, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and Francis Daniel Pastorius. Dozens of Native languages left traces, which include evidence of at least eight creation narratives, with nota- ble examples being the Iroquois and Navajo creation stories included in this volume. Although En glish eventually became the main language in the United States, and thus the dominant medium of classic American lit er a ture, it was a late arrival in the Amer i cas. Likewise, although the New Eng land colonies, founded in the early seventeenth century, have conventionally been regarded as the central source of early American lit er a ture, the “rst North American settlements were established elsewhere many years earlier. The Spanish founded colonies at pres ent- day St. Augustine, Florida (1565), and Santa Fe, New Mexico (1610), and Dutch settlers established New Nether- land (1614), which came to include New York City and Albany (1614). All of these cities, which started as colonial outposts, are older than Boston (1630), which was not even the “rst permanent En glish settlement in North Amer- i ca. That distinction goes to the Jamestown colony, in Virginia (1607).

The writings of Thomas Harriot and John Smith about Virginia’s Chesa- peake Bay region are crucial to a full understanding of the English- language lit er a ture of the Amer i cas. Harriot produced the “rst account of Eng land’s new world in A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1588), which combines descriptions of marketable commodities, a detailed and often accurate description of Native beliefs and practices, and a narration



of how Wingina, the Algonquian headman on Roanoke Island, interacted with the En glish colonizers and sought to understand the devastating effects of the illnesses that followed in their wake. As noted earlier, John Smith was an enthusiastic and proli”c proselytizer for En glish colonization, instrumen- tal in the establishment of Virginia and induential as well in the founding of New Eng land. Smith epitomized those proponents of colonization who came from the underclasses in their native countries, and he made a power ful case for the opportunities that Amer i ca offered them. Energetic and con”dent, Smith could be subversive, even mutinous, in his writings as in his life. His works pres ent a vision of Amer i ca as a place where much that was genuinely new might be learned and created. This vision came to maturity in his writ- ings about New Eng land, and helped to shape what many regard as the most induential body of writings from the early period.


The founding of Plymouth Plantation, in 1620, marks a new phase in the literary history of colonial North Amer i ca. The “rst months of the Plymouth colony were inauspicious. After landing on the raw Mas sa chu setts shore in November 1620, the Pilgrims braced for winter. They survived this “starv- ing time” with the essential aid of the nearby Wampanoag Indians and their leader, Massasoit. From these “small beginnings,” as the colony’s leader, William Bradford, refers to them in Of Plymouth Plantation (c. 1630), grew a community that later came to be invested with a symbolic signi”cance that far exceeded its size and remote location. The Pilgrims’ religious moti- vation for leaving Eng land is only part of the story. Backed by En glish investors, the seafaring migration was commercial as well as spiritual. Among the hundred people on the group’s ship, the May”ower, almost three times as many were secular settlers as were Separatist Puritans. The per sis- tent tension between the material and spiritual goals of the Plymouth colo- nists appears in many early writings about the region. For instance, Thomas Morton portrays this condict in values in New En glish Canaan (1637), where the Plymouth leaders appear not as holy men but as domineering and repressive antagonists of Morton’s colony at Ma-re Mount. Morton also conveys a dif fer ent sensibility about relations with the Natives, expressing little desire to convert them to Chris tian ity and focusing instead on joining with them in May Day festivities. Although Morton prob ably overstated the ideological differences and minimized the economic rivalry with Plymouth, the contrast suggests a spectrum of colonial responses to their new envi- ronment. In addition, Morton’s language redects a major strand in En glish Re nais sance writing, a playful style that contrasts with the plain style of Bradford and other Puritan authors.

Much larger than either Plymouth or Ma-re Mount was the Mas sa chu- setts Bay Colony, founded in 1630 by Puritans under John Winthrop. The Mas sa chu setts Bay colonists initially wanted to retain their ties with the Church of Eng land, leading to their designation as non-Separating Congre- gationalists, which distinguished them from the more radical Separatists at Plymouth. On other issues, they shared basic beliefs with the Pilgrims: both agreed with the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther that no pope

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The New- Eng land Primer (1690). Like other Protestants, Puritans believed that the Bible should be accessible to all believers, and to that end The New- Eng land Primer was designed for children learning to read. Benjamin Harris printed the “rst edition in Boston; a London edition appeared in 1701. Many more editions followed— though very few copies survived.

In the mid- eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia print shop sold nearly forty thousand copies of its own later version. This page is from The New- Eng land Primer, a Reprint of the Earliest Known Edition (1899), edited by Paul Leicester Ford, which reproduces the one surviving, incomplete copy of the 1727 edition.



or bishop had the right to impose any law on a Christian without consent, and both accepted the Reformation theologian John Calvin’s view that God freely chose (or “elected”) those he would save and those he would damn eternally.

Puritans have a grim reputation as religious zealots, prudes, and killjoys. These conceptions stem from the Calvinist doctrine of election. However, counter to the ste reo type, Puritans did not necessarily consider most people damned before birth. Instead, they argued that Adam broke the “Cove- nant of Works”— the promise God made to Adam that he was immortal and could live in Paradise forever as long as he obeyed God’s commandments— when he disobeyed and ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thereby bringing sin and death into the world. Their central doctrine was the new “Covenant of Grace,” a binding agreement that Jesus Christ made with all people who believed in him and that he sealed with his Cruci”xion, promising them eternal life. The New Eng land churches aspired to be more rigorous than others, and this idea of the covenant contributed to the feel- ing that they were a special few. When John Winthrop in A Model of Chris- tian Charity (written 1630) expressed the ideals that he wanted the colonists to embrace, he wrote that the eyes of the world were on them and that they should strive to be an example for all, a “city upon a hill.” In their respective histories of Plymouth and Mas sa chu setts Bay, Bradford and Winthrop wished to  rec ord the actualization of the founding dream, which was “rst and foremost a dream of a puri”ed community of mutually support- ing Protestant Christians.

In keeping with the doctrine of election, Puritan ministers typi- cally addressed themselves not to the hopelessly unregenerate but to the spiritually indifferent— that is, to the potentially “elect.” They spoke to the heart more often than the mind, always distinguishing between heartfelt “saving faith” and “historical,” or rational, understand- ing. While preachers sometimes sought to evoke fear by focusing on the terrors of hell, as the latter- day Puritan Jonathan Edwards famously did in his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (1741), this method did not redect the exclusive—or even the main— tenor of Puritan religious life. The consid- erable joy and love in Puritanism resulted directly from meditation on Christ’s redeeming power. The

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The Tenth Muse. Anne Bradstreet’s “rst book appeared in London in 1650, with the title The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung up in Amer i ca. There were nine muses in the clas- sical world. In 1678, this second edition of Bradstreet’s poems was published in Boston.



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minister- poet Edward Taylor conveys this ele ment of Puritan experience in his rapturous litany of Christ’s attributes: “He is altogether lovely in every- thing, lovely in His person, lovely in His natures, lovely in His properties, lovely in His of”ces, lovely in His titles, lovely in His practice, lovely in His purchases and lovely in His relations.” All of Taylor’s art considers the mirac- ulous gift of the Incarnation, redecting his typically Puritan sensibility. Similar qualities are evident in the works of Anne Bradstreet, a Puritan and the “rst British North American writer to publish a volume of poetry. Brad- street confessed her religious doubts to her children, but she emphasized that it was “upon this rock Christ Jesus” that she built her faith. The Puritan minister Michael Wigglesworth titled a poem The Day of Doom (1662), but concluded it with God joyfully embracing the saints in heaven.

A comparable emphasis on sacred feeling inhabits the poetry of the Mexi- can Catholic nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and the narratives of the North American Quaker writers Elizabeth Ashbridge and John Woolman. Indeed, religious emotion provided a unifying factor for diverse denominations, lead- ing to the kind of melding that Crèvecœur would later “nd characteristic of American life. The closest thing in New Eng land to Crèvecœur’s ideal was in the Providence colony, which the Puritan theologian Roger Williams helped guide toward a more capacious understanding of religious freedom than was accepted in Plymouth or Mas sa chu setts Bay. Williams insisted that “christenings make not Christians.” In other words, as he interpreted the doctrine of election, rituals and displays meant less than inner faith. Accord- ingly, he helped make Providence a refuge for religious dissenters and out- siders, including Antinomians, Quakers, and Jews. He also worked hard— and for a time, successfully—to establish good relations with the region’s Nar- ragansett Indians. However, harmonious relations were shattered in 1675, when King Philip led the Wampanoags and their Narragansett allies to war against the colonies, with devastating effects on both sides. In her captivity narrative, the Puritan settler Mary Rowlandson movingly describes the mutual betrayal experienced by the indigenous people and the colonists.

Just over a de cade after Rowland’s captivity, King William’s War became the “rst in a series of condicts between New Eng land and New France that culminated in 1763 with Britain’s victory in the French and Indian War. During the intervening decades, colonists regularly fought alongside Eu ro- pean troops and Native allies. Eu ro pean state politics informed the “ghting, as did religious differences between Protestant Britain and Catholic France. The Jesuit Relations, vast chronicles of life in the borderlands of New France, redect the imperial and religious tensions. A 1647 narrative included in this anthology focuses on Isaac Jogues, one of the eight Jesuit missionaries killed by Natives, canonized (i.e., sainted) by the Roman Catholic Church, and sometimes referred to as the North American Martyrs. A 1744 narrative included here tells the life story of Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk woman from central New York who in 2012 became the “rst indigenous American to be canonized by the Church.

Condicts between Protestant Eng land and Catholic France infused events that roiled Puritan communities as well, notably including the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692. That famous and, in a certain sense, de”ning crisis redected complex transformations of colonial authority and identity.



Though small in comparison to the witch trials that took place in Eu rope and the British Isles in roughly the same period, the tragic events at Salem, which culminated in the execution of twenty people, loom large in part because of their distinctive features and overdetermined meaning. The trials unfolded as the new royal charter transformed Mas sa chu setts Bay from a colony to a province, shifting power to the metropolis. Meanwhile, rivals to Puritanism were becoming more vis i ble, not only in New France, but also in other British colonies with dif fer ent religious identities and competing understandings of the relationship between church and state. Mary land, established in 1634, had a strong association with both Catholi- cism and religious toleration, while Rhode Island, which had grown from Roger Williams’s settlement at Providence, was granted a royal charter in 1663. The founding of the Quaker colony of Pennsylvania in 1681 posed an especially strong challenge to the Bay Colony, both because of the rapid growth of Philadelphia into a major hub and because of Quaker- ism’s competing approach to Christian reform.

One of the most controversial features of Quakerism was its embrace of women’s religious leadership. This issue resonated in the colony that had banished Anne Hutchinson in 1638 and, some two de cades later, went on to execute Mary Dyer, a follower of Hutchinson who later embraced Quaker beliefs and returned to Mas sa chu setts to challenge its authorities. In 1661, shortly after the end of the Commonwealth and the restoration of the mon- archy, King Charles II rebuked the Bay Colony for executing Dyer and three male Quakers. Concerns about Puritan intolerance contributed to the new regime’s approach to the Mas sa chu setts charter, which unfolded over three de cades even as the monarchy underwent a sustained period of instability that culminated in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when the Catholic King James II was replaced by the Protestant monarchs William and Mary. All these developments contributed in impor tant though indirect ways to the Salem proceedings.

Several men were executed during the Salem crisis, but the majority of the condemned were women. What’s more, the “rst person to be accused was the enslaved woman Tituba, who was practicing folk rituals with a group of Puritan girls when the “afdictions” began. Prob ably an Indian from the South American mainland, Tituba had arrived in Salem by way of Barbados. In 1656, that island had been the immediate point of origin of the “rst Quaker evangelists to Mas sa chu setts, who were accused of witchcraft and imprisoned. Though the Puritans understood what was happening to their community in dif fer ent terms than those suggested here, focusing their fears on the presence of the devil in Mas sa chu setts rather than on social, po liti cal, and religious pressures, their writings did at times redect an awareness that many forces indamed the crisis. Two se lections in this volume give some insight into this symbolically impor tant moment in early American literary history: the diary of Samuel Sewall, who had served as a judge in the Salem trials and went on to take an early stand against slavery, and the excerpt from Cotton Mather’s Won ders of the Invisible World (1693), which shows how an internationally renowned Puritan intellectual who was attuned to the new science sought to understand the nature of witchcraft.

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The Salem witch trials proved to be a watershed moment, tied to dramatic social and economic changes during the late colonial period. These shifts were gradually matched by transformations in intellectual life. By the early eigh teenth century, scientists and phi los o phers in Eu rope and the Amer i- cas had posed great challenges to seventeenth- century beliefs. Many intel- lectuals now embraced the power of the human mind to comprehend the universe as never before. What is sometimes called the “modern era”— characterized principally by the gradual supplanting of religious worldviews by scienti”c and philosophical ideas anchored in experiential knowledge— emerged from efforts to conceive of human existence in new terms. These developments in science and philosophy, known generally as the Enlight- enment, did not necessarily lead to secularization. For example, Isaac New- ton and John Locke— respectively, the leading En glish scientist and phi los o pher of the age— both sought to resolve implicit condicts between their work and Christian tradition. Newton’s study of the laws of motion and gravity had the potential to undermine religious beliefs insofar as it revealed a natu ral order that was perhaps in de pen dent of divine power. Locke’s the- ory of the human mind as a tabula rasa, or blank slate, endowed with pow- ers of perception but without innate content, posed a direct challenge to established forms of Chris tian ity by calling into question the idea of origi- nal sin. Arguing that God worked in reasonable, not necessarily mysterious ways, these thinkers saw nothing heretical in contending that the universe was an orderly system whose laws humanity could comprehend through the application of reason.

Many Enlightenment scientists and phi los o phers deduced the existence of a supreme being from the construction of the universe rather than from the Bible, a view often called Deism. For many Deists, a harmonious uni- verse could represent the bene”cence of God, and this positivity extended to an optimistic view of human nature. Locke said that “our business” here on earth “is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct,” prompting his followers to consider human actions and motives as worthy objects of study. The phi los o phers of the Scottish Common Sense school built on Locke’s insights about human faculties to propose that sympathy and sociability functioned as a kind of emotional glue that could unite communi- ties no longer held together by shared beliefs and traditional structures of authority. Indeed, they claimed that one’s supreme moral obligation was to relate to one’s fellows through a natu ral power of sympathy. Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) was a notably induential contributor to this vein of social analy sis. Meanwhile, earlier modes of thought— for instance, Bradford’s and Winthrop’s penchants for the allegorical and emblematic, with every natu ral and human event seen as a direct message from God— came to seem anachronistic and quaint.

Interest in ordinary individuals as part of nature and society led to devel- opments in lit er a ture. While religiously themed works such as John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Pro gress (1678) remained popu lar, the novel began to take a recognizably modern shape in the early eigh teenth century. En glish novelists such as Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe,



Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, and Laurence Sterne portrayed emotions and expe- riences with increasing direct- ness. In the colonies, the induences that were giving birth to the Anglophone novel also engendered new forms of descriptive naturalist and eth- nographic writing, exempli”ed here in se lections from Sarah Kemble Knight, William Byrd, Alexander Hamilton, Hen- drick Aupaumut, and William Bartram. The same condu- ence of intellectual and social developments also gave rise to non”ction works such as Ben- jamin Franklin’s Autobiogra- phy (written between 1771 and 1790).

Modernity has often been characterized as a radical break from faith- based forms of thought. Consider, how- ever, that both the religious Bunyan and the more secular Defoe were among Franklin’s literary induences. From the old to the new there were substan- tial continuities, as well as shifts that were more gradual than immediate. In the “rst half of the eigh teenth century, a number of religious revivals occurred in Eng land and Amer i ca, but they were fueled by the new empha- sis on emotion as a de”ning component of human experience. For exam- ple, the religious “res that burned from 1734 until about 1750  in what became known as the Great Awakening were directly produced by the Locke- inspired cult of feeling that was reshaping narrative prose. Now ministers, echoing the Enlightenment phi los o phers, argued that human- ity’s greatest pleasure— indeed, its purpose— was to do good for others and that sympathetic emotions might guarantee future glory. These ideas, a small part of earlier religious thought, acquired a new salience in connec- tion with revivalism.

The most signi”cant “gure in transatlantic revivalism was Jonathan Edwards, a leading minister and theologian who helped form this new culture with a series of “awakenings” in and around Northampton, Mas sa chu setts. Edwards’s description of these events in A Faithful Narrative of the Surpris- ing Work of God (1737) was hugely induential on the movement. Having read Locke, Edwards believed that if his parishioners were to be awakened from their spiritual slumbers they had to experience religion viscerally, not just comprehend it intellectually. In a series of sermons and treatises, Edwards worked to rejuvenate the basic tenets of Calvinism, including that of unconditional election, the sixteenth- century doctrine most dif”cult for eighteenth- century minds to accept.

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George White!eld, c. 1741, by John Wollaston. Transatlantic revivalist George White”eld preaching to a crowded meeting during the Great Awakening.



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Edwards insisted that such doctrines made sense in terms of Enlighten- ment science, and he developed what one literary historian has called a “rhe- toric of sensation” to persuade his listeners that God’s sovereignty was not only the most reasonable doctrine but also the most “delightful” and that it revealed itself to him, in an almost sensuous way, as “exceeding pleasant, bright, and sweet.” In carefully reasoned, calmly argued prose, Edwards brought many in his audience to accept that “if the great things of religion are rightly understood, they will affect the heart.” This “heart religion,” as it later came to be known, involved both the terrors of hell, which Edwards describes in the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and the joy that his faith brought him, as he expresses it in his “Personal Narrative” (c. 1740) and his apostrophe to his future wife, Sarah Pierpont (written in 1723). In Edwards’s work, the pietist strains of Puritan writing— the embrace of emotion and its verbal expression— were ampli”ed and brought close to similar developments in secular lit er a ture. For example, the En glish writer Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740) was a favorite in the Edwards house hold.

The revivalists’ styles of worship proved more welcoming to Native Amer- ican and African American Christians than the Puritans’ styles had been. Nonwhites had greater opportunities for literacy and training for the minis- try, and mixed- race and nonwhite congregations were formed in increasing numbers. As a result, the Great Awakening fostered greater mingling of white, red, and black expressive styles in sacred song and speech— including hym- nody, whose dourishing during the period also contributed to the growth of secular poetry— and led to the writing of some of the earliest English- language lit er a ture by Native Americans and African Americans. The writ- ers John Marrant, Samson Occom, Hendrick Aupamut, Olaudah Equiano, and Phillis Wheatley emerged from this evangelical melding of cultures. At the same time, a parallel “Indians Great Awakening” revived indigenous spir- itual practices and helped catalyze the re sis tance of leaders such as Sagoye- watha, Pontiac, and Tecumseh to colonial military and cultural power.


In the second half of the eigh teenth century, religion continued to play a major role in many colonists’ lives even as politics took on a new importance. After winning the French and Indian War in 1763, Britain consolidated its empire in North Amer i ca. To help pay for its war debt, the monarchy heavi ly taxed the colonies. Colonial resentments about increasingly heavy- handed tax policies escalated until April 1775, when the Battles of Lexington and Concord, both in Mas sa chu setts, began the American Revolutionary War against Britain. That summer, representatives from the thirteen British North American colonies convened a Second Continental Congress to take charge of the war effort. In the June 7, 1776, session of this Congress, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia brought a de cade of colonial agitation to the boiling point by moving that “ these united colonies are, and of a right ought to be, free and in de pen dent states.” Another Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, led a committee— including John Adams of Mas sa chu setts and Benjamin Frank- lin of Pennsylvania— that drafted a Declaration of In de pen dence, which was



issued on July 4. The heart of this document was the statement that “certain truths are self- evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These words redect Jefferson’s reading of the Scottish Common Sense phi los o phers, particularly Francis Hutcheson and Lord Kames (Henry Home), who built on Locke’s work to argue that a moral sense is common to all humans. This universal sense of right and wrong justi”ed the overthrow of tyrants, the restoration of po liti cal order, and the establishment of new covenants— not, as Bradford and Winthrop would have argued, for the glory of God, but, as the Declaration argued, for the individual’s right to happiness on earth.

In January 1776 the young journalist Thomas Paine published his pam- phlet Common Sense, which proved hugely induential in tipping the scales toward revolution. Though Paine prob ably did not choose his title to allude to the Scottish phi los o phers who were so impor tant for Jefferson and other patriot leaders, his manifesto invoked similar ideas. In arguing that separa- tion from Eng land was the colonists’ only reasonable course and that “the Almighty” had planted these feelings in us “for good and wise purposes,” Paine appealed to basic tenets of the Enlightenment. He had emigrated from Eng land to Amer i ca in 1774 with a letter of recommendation from Benja- min Franklin. Franklin was, among many other things, a successful news- paper editor and printer, and Paine was quickly hired to edit the Pennsylvania Magazine, one of the new periodicals transforming the literary scene. The “rst newspaper in the colonies had appeared in 1704, and by the time of the Revolution there were almost “fty papers and forty magazines. Paine’s mag- azine work helped shape a plain style that proved effective in catalyzing revolution. He was the most prominent of a number of writers who took

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The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor, lithograph by Nathaniel Currier. The Boston Tea Party of 1763, when colonists, some disguised as Native Americans, protested a new British tax on tea and other commodities.



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advantage of the transformation in print culture that was to make modern authorship pos si ble.

After the former colonists’ victory over the British in 1783, people from greatly dif fer ent backgrounds and of varied nationalities now found reasons to call themselves “Americans.” Amer i ca, as Washington Irving would later note, was a “logocracy,” a polity based in and governed by words, and the po liti cal events of the 1770s presented a distinctive opportunity for writers. The most signi”cant works of the period are po liti cal writings, and among the most notable of these are the essays that the statesmen Alexander Ham- ilton, John Jay, and James Madison wrote for New York newspapers in 1787–88

Syllabus of lectures from the Young Ladies’ Acad emy, in Philadelphia, 1787. Educa- tional opportunities for girls expanded after the American Revolution. The Young Ladies’ Acad emy opened in 1787, attracting great interest from leaders in what was then the nation’s capital.



in support of the new federal Constitution, which are collectively known as The Federalist or The Federalist Papers. The impact of the revolution on the rise of early national lit er a ture can also be seen in the career of Philip Freneau, who aspired to be a full- time writer, combining journalism with belles lettres. Though he failed to sustain himself with his pen, Freneau made numerous contributions to the lit er a ture of the Revolution. His vol- ume Poems Written Chie”y during the Late War (1786) contains notable patriotic works, and his later po liti cal poetry includes a tribute to Thomas Paine.

Women writers, too, expressed a revolutionary po liti cal sensibility. In the most famous letter of her lively and informative correspondence with her husband, John, Abigail Adams exhorted the Second Continental Congress to “remember the Ladies” in the new code of laws they were then framing. John and his fellows largely failed to heed Abigail’s call. However, inspired by Enlightenment ideals of reason and equality, women such as Annis Boudinot Stockton, Judith Sargent Murray, Susanna Rowson, and Hannah Webster Foster wrote works exploring women’s rights as citizens. Murray tackled the subject in her essays on the intellectual capacities of women, whereas Stockton’s poems, as well as the writings of Rowson and Foster, explored the social and legal constraints on women and considered their right to be equal partners in the new nation’s demo cratic experiment. Like such self- consciously “American” productions as Royall Tyler’s play The Contrast (“rst performed 1787) and Franklin’s Autobiography, these works mark the beginning of a new sense of national identity.

Not all the responses to the new order were enthusiastic or uncritical. For example, “ction offered an ave nue for biting social critique. Often consid- ered the “rst American novel, William Hill Brown’s The Power of Sympathy was published in 1789, the year that the “rst government under the new Constitution was established. It tells an anti- utopian tale of incest and sui- cide. Charles Brockden Brown adapted the conventions of Gothic “ction to explore the dangers and limits of demo cratic republicanism in works such as his novella Memoirs of Carwin, the Biloquist (1803–05), a prequel to his better- known novel Wieland; or The Transformation: An American Tale (1798), which develops Carwin’s story in tragic ways. Rowson’s Charlotte Temple (1791) and Foster’s The Coquette (1797) were impor tant precursors of the many popu lar sentimental novels of the nineteenth century— most famously, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)— that carried power ful social messages.

Perhaps the most hopeful aspects of the Revolution were represented by Benjamin Franklin, whose reputation continued to grow after his death, in 1790. As parts of his Autobiography appeared in print in 1791 and 1818— the full text ” nally became available in 1868— Franklin increasingly came to represent the promise of the Enlightenment in Amer i ca. He was self- educated, social, assured, a man of the world, ambitious, public- spirited, speculative about the nature of the universe, and in matters of religion content “to observe the actual conduct of humanity rather than to debate super natu ral matters that are unprovable”— a stance that John Locke had earlier endorsed. Franklin always presented himself as depending on “rst- hand experience, too worldly- wise to be caught off guard, and minding “the main chance” (i.e., for personal gain), as a Franklinian character in Tyler’s

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The Contrast counsels. These aspects of Franklin’s persona, however, belie another side of him and of the eigh teenth century: an idealistic assumption about the common good. He absorbed this sense partly from the works of Cotton Mather, which he encountered during his Boston youth, and it forms the basis of the American Revolution’s great public documents, especially the Declaration of In de pen dence.

The Revolution established the United States as an in de pen dent nation with ideals such as freedom and equality that were both ambitious and deeply ambiguous. The only people who consistently possessed the right to vote in the new government were white men who owned property. Most African Americans were enslaved, and many Native communities were being pushed off their lands. Yet Revolutionary princi ples appealed to some writers who suffered from their limited application. In 1774, the year she was manumit- ted, the poet Phillis Wheatley wrote a letter to the Mohegan leader and Pres- byterian minister Samson Occom that was later printed in a dozen colonial newspapers. Here Wheatley posited that “in every human Breast, God has implanted a Princi ple, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance.” Though they sometimes used lan- guage similar to Wheatley’s, Revolutionary leaders held condicting views about slavery. George Washington, the “rst U.S. president, freed his slaves in his will. Thomas Jefferson, the third president, liberated just “ve slaves, leav- ing the vast majority in bondage at his death. Benjamin Franklin owned slaves for many years. He embraced the antislavery cause late in life, and in 1787 became the president of the “rst abolitionist organ ization in the United States. John Adams, the second  U.S. president, never owned slaves and sought to gradually end the system through legislation, an effort that suc- ceeded in some places. Even Adams, however, was uneasy with the Quaker- led abolitionist movement, whose at times confrontational strategies he believed counterproductive. The rising urgency of the abolitionists redected changing realities. After the inventor Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin in 1794, the slave system gained a new lease on its brutal life. The end of the Atlantic slave trade in 1807 led, not to slavery’s eventual demise as Adams and many others in the founding generation had hoped, but to forms of enslavement that in some ways were even crueler than before.

The conditions for many Native Americans also worsened in the nine- teenth century. Various eastern tribes had sided with the British during the Revolution, driven by their vulnerability to colonial expansion. After the British defeat, they were exposed to the vengeance and greed of white Amer- icans. Entire tribes were systematically displaced from their traditional ter- ritories, pushed ever farther west, or forced onto reservations. In an effort to resist the United States’ encroachments on Native territory, the confederacy headed by Shawnee leader Tecumseh sided with the British in the War of 1812, a two- and- a- half- year condict that resolved issues left from the Revo- lution with a U.S. victory. Meanwhile, Tecumseh’s confederation collapsed after American forces killed him in 1813. “Indian Removal” was vigorously debated in the 1820s, with anti- Removal activism emerging as a major social movement. Eventually the movement failed, and Removal became the policy of the federal government.

In 1820, freedom and equality remained future prospects for multitudes of Americans. Many white men still could not vote unless they owned prop-



erty, though restrictions lessened more quickly over the next de cade as uni- versal white manhood suffrage became a real ity. Women could not vote, and while the educational opportunities for white women were expanding, their legal status remained sharply limited. They were wards of their fathers until marriage, at which point their legal identities were merged with their hus- bands’, so that they could not own property or keep any wages they earned. Yet many people embraced the idea that with the application of intelligence the princi ples of liberty could be extended and the human lot improved. This “progressive” or “perfectibilist” spirit was fostered in some places by newer liberal Churches such as the Unitarians and Universalists, as well as the more established Quakers. Imaginative energy dowed into extending the princi ples of liberty codi”ed by the Revolutionary generation and correcting a variety of institutional and social injustices. In addition to the causes pre- viously mentioned, post- Revolutionary social movements targeted the mis- use of prisons, the use of capital punishment, the existence of war, and the treatment of the blind and disabled. Many works of lit er a ture redected on this progressive sensibility, whether to foster it or to question its premises.

* While at the start of the period covered in this volume “Amer i ca” was

merely notional— and its lit er a ture even more so—by 1820 “American lit er- a ture” had come to mean something fairly speci”c: the poems, short stories, novels, essays, orations, plays, and other works produced by authors who hailed from, or resided in, the United States of Amer i ca. As this list of genres suggests, “lit er a ture” itself had come to resemble its con temporary meaning more closely than it did in 1492. Printed works had become far more acces- sible, giving rise to an increasingly robust literary marketplace that featured both locally produced works and induential writings from across the Atlan- tic. Technological innovations such as the cylinder press created sweeping transformations in the book market, and new kinds of writers ( women, Afri- can Americans, Native Americans, laborers) were “nding outlets for their creations. All the while American lit er a ture continued to be shaped by its formation in the Atlantic world’s crucible of cultures, its distinctive con”gu- ration of the sacred and the secular, the induence of the American Revolu- tion, and the intertwined histories of empire and nation.

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Peoples indigenous to the Amer i cas orally perform and transmit vari ous “literary” genres, including speeches, songs, and stories

1000–1300 Anasazi communities inhabit southwestern regions

1492 Christopher Columbus arrives in the Bahamas • An estimated 4–7 million Native Americans in what is now the United States, including Alaska

1493 Columbus, “Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage”

1500 Native American populations begin to be ravaged by Eu ro pean diseases • Enslaved Africans begin arriving in small numbers

1514 Bartolomé de las Casas petitions Spanish Crown to treat Native American peoples as humanely as other subject populations

1519–21 Cortés conquers Aztecs in Mexico

1526 Spanish explorers bring “rst African slaves to South Carolina

1539 First printing press in the Amer i cas set up in Mexico City • Hernando de Soto invades Florida

1542 Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, The Relation of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

1552 Bartolomé de las Casas, The Very Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies

1558–1603 Reign of Elizabeth I

1584 Walter Raleigh lands on “island” of Roanoke; names it “ Virginia” for Queen Elizabeth (sometimes called the Virgin Queen)

1603–13 Samuel de Champlain explores the Saint Lawrence River; founds Québec

1607 Jamestown is established in Virginia • Powhatan confederacy saves colonists from starving; teaches them to plant tobacco

1619 Twenty Africans arrive in Jamestown on a Dutch vessel as indentured servants; they are the “rst known Africans in a British colony

1620 May”ower drops anchor in Plymouth Harbor

1621 First Thanksgiving, at Plymouth

Boldface titles indicate works in the anthology.



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1624 John Smith, The General History of Virginia, New Eng land, and the Summer Isles

1630 John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity” (pub. 1838)

1630–43 Immigration of En glish Puritans to Mas sa chu setts Bay

1630–50 William Bradford writes Of Plymouth Plantation (pub. 1856)

1634 The “rst En glish settlers arrive in Mary land aboard The Ark and The Dove

1637 Thomas Morton, New En glish Canaan

1637 Pequot War

1640 Bay Psalm Book 1638 Anne Hutchinson banished from Bay Colony for challenging Puritan beliefs

1643 Roger Williams, A Key into the Language of Amer i ca

1642–51 En glish Civil War

1650 Anne Bradstreet, The Tenth Muse 1649 Execution of Charles I

1662 Michael Wigglesworth, The Day of Doom

1660 Restoration of British monarchy

1673–1729 Samuel Sewall keeps his Diary (pub. 1878–82)

1663 Royal Charter granted to Rhode Island (and Providence Plantation)

1675–76 King Philip’s War destroys power of Native American tribes in New Eng land

1681 William Penn founds Pennsylvania

1682 Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration

1682–1725 Edward Taylor writing his Preparatory Meditations (pub. 1939, 1960) 1689–97 King William’s War (“rst of

four colonial wars involving France, Britain, and Spain)

1691 New royal charter creates the Province of Mas sa chu setts Bay, which includes Plymouth

1692 Salem witchcraft trials

1702 Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana

1718 French found New Orleans

1726–56 The Great Awakening

1741 Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

1741 Vitus Bering discovers Alaska

1755–63 French and Indian Wars

1768 Samson Occom, A Short Narrative of My Life (pub. 1982)

1771–90 Benjamin Franklin continues his Autobiography (Part I pub. 1818)

1773 Phillis Wheatley, Poems on Vari ous Subjects

1773 Boston Tea Party

1774–83 John and Abigail Adams exchange letters (pub. 1840, 1875)

1775–83 American Revolutionary War





1776 Thomas Paine, Common Sense 1776 Declaration of In de pen dence

1780s Annis Boudinot Stockton publishes poems in magazines and newspapers

1782 J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer

1783 Britain opens “Old Northwest” (region south of Great Lakes) to United States after Treaty of Paris ends American Revolution

1786 Philip Freneau, Poems

1787 Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia • Royall Tyler, The Contrast

1787 U.S. Constitution adopted

1787–88 The Federalist papers

1789 Olaudah Equiano, The In ter est ing Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

1789 George Washington elected “rst president

1790 Judith Sargent Murray, On the Equality of the Sexes

1791 Washington, D.C., established as U.S. capital

1797 Hannah Foster, The Coquette

1803–05 Charles Brockden Brown, Memoirs of Carwin

1803 United States buys Louisiana Territory from France

1812–14 War of 1812 (against Eng land)

1819 Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle 1819 Spain exchanges the Florida Territory for U.S. assumption of $5 million in debts • Missouri asks to be admitted as a slave state, sparking a crisis resolved the next year through the Missouri Compromise



2 9

Native Americ an Oral Lit er a ture

The languages, po liti cal economies, and religious beliefs of Native American peoples are extremely diverse, and so are their tales, orations, songs, chants, and other oral genres. Examples of oral works include the trickster tale cycles of the Winnebago Indians (or Ho- Chunks), Apache jokes, Hopi personal naming and grievance chants, Yaqui deer songs, and Yuman dream songs. Many genres have a religious or spiritual dimension, including Piman shamanic chants, Iroquois condo- lence rituals, Navajo curing and blessing chants, and Chippewa songs of the Great Medicine Society. Most of the works were not translated into alphabetic forms until long after the arrival of Eu ro pe ans, and the circumstances of their initial cre- ation and development are largely unknown. The use of written rec ords in the precontact Amer i cas was relatively circumscribed, and Eu ro pean conquerors sys- tematically destroyed the bodies of writing in places such as Tenochtitlán (pres ent- day Mexico City), leaving just a handful of the pictograph codices known as amoxtli to carry forward pre- Columbian practices. Other indigenous American recording devices include Andean quipu, which are colored, knotted strings used to repre- sent a numeric system. In North Amer i ca, painted hides or bark and wampum belts made of shell could serve as prompts for the recitation of tales or in treaty negotia- tions and other ceremonies. These nonalphabetic texts share some of the mne- monic and narrative functions of lit er a ture.

Although the term “lit er a ture” comes from the Latin littera, “letter,” and so has been linked to alphabetic writing, all lit er a ture has roots in the oral arts. In keeping with Aristotle’s Poetics (c. 335 b.c.e.), the earliest surviving work of literary theory, forms of Western lit er a ture have traditionally been grouped into lyric, which takes its name from the lyre, a stringed instrument used by the ancient Greeks to accom- pany a song or recitation; drama, which originated in the religious cultures of ancient Greece and the medieval Christian Church; and epic (more broadly, narra- tive), developed in and for oral per for mance. (The “rst works of Euro- American lit er a ture, the Vinland Sagas of the thirteenth century, are epics.) Rhe toric and oratory, which Aristotle treated separately from the other forms because of their prominent and distinctive place in ancient Greek culture, also involve the spoken word. There are parallels as well as differences between these Aristotelian genres and the types of oral lit er a ture created by the earliest American socie ties.

From “rst contact, Eu ro pe ans were intrigued by indigenous oral per for mances and sought to translate them into alphabetic written forms. Christopher Columbus and the explorers who came after him described the formal speeches of Native leaders, even though they often did not understand their meaning. Over time, Native artists taught Eu ro pe ans and Eu ro pean Americans to recognize other kinds of verbal art, such as creation tales and poetic songs. Eventually collaboration and indigenous authorship became more common. Today scholars are actively study- ing pre- Columbian history and art, and the sources and traditions of the most ancient texts from the American hemi sphere are gradually coming to be better understood.

The archive of Native American oral genres continues to expand as new instances are identi”ed in the written rec ord or transcribed in a modern form. The se lections in this cluster represent some genres that were common in the repertoires of many North American indigenous socie ties before 1820: creation and trickster tales,



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orations, and songs ( here rendered as poems). Native American creation stories serve Native cultures much as the Book of Genesis serves the Judeo- Christian world: they posit a general outlook and offer perspectives on what life is and how to under- stand it. All Native peoples have stories of the earliest times; reprinted here are two, one from the Iroquois of the Northeast and one from the Navajo of the South- west. Like creation stories, trickster tales are among the most ancient ele ments of Native American cultures, and they have survived because they provide both plea- sure and instruction. The term “trickster” is often used to describe a wandering, bawdy, gluttonous, and obscene “gure, a threat to order everywhere. Yet a trickster can also be a culture hero, one who long ago helped establish the order of the world that we know today, and in this way as well trickster tales resemble creation sto- ries. The qualities of this paradoxical “gure— both creator and destroyer of order— are on display in the se lection from the Winnebago trickster cycle included in this section.

Oratory was the “rst Native American genre that Eu ro pe ans recognized as a verbal art. Formalized speech is a common feature of human cultures, notably in diplomatic settings, whether a reception at a Eu ro pean court or a per for mance of an Iroquois condolence ritual. The formalized modes of address that Native Ameri- cans used in their early encounters with Eu ro pe ans were often lavishly described in narratives, such as the account of Sir Francis Drake’s voyage excerpted here. One reason such scenes were central in Renaissance- era accounts is that the writers were imitating classical historiography, with its emphasis on oratory. As set pieces in their narratives, the writers included moving and aesthetically pleasing speeches based more or less loosely on memory and other sources. “Powhatan’s Discourse of Peace and War,” by John Smith, and “King Philip’s Speech,” by William Apess, are reconstructed works that provide narrative drama in their original contexts and stand alone as effective examples of Native eloquence.

The poems included here were transcribed by Euro- Americans in the eigh teenth and early nineteenth centuries, redecting an evolving approach to Native American oral genres. While the three recorders of these works served as diplomats and, in one case, as a missionary, they took an active interest in indigenous verbal arts. At the time, a ballad revival in Britain had awakened a curiosity about oral traditions and popu lar culture, a curiosity that fed into literary Romanticism. Transcriber- authors took indigenous forms from their ritual or other per for mance contexts and brought them in written form to non- Native audiences. These transcribers often collaborated with the artists to pres ent something of the larger contexts and sig- ni”cances of the works to readers.

The se lections in this cluster illustrate the variety of ways that Native American oral lit er a ture has been experienced historically, and suggest some of the pleasures and complexities involved in its reception today. Whether reconstructed from mem- ory, recorded with the aid of a translator, or produced by Native authors, they provide insight into the verbal arts of pre- Columbian Amer i ca as they have sur- vived to the pres ent. The more modern works included here were created with the involvement of indigenous verbal artists, and their sources can be traced to the period before 1820 covered by this volume.



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The people known collectively as the Iroquois (as the French called them), or the Five Nations (as the En glish called them), were made up of the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, and Cayuga nations. This confederacy may have formed in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. In the eigh teenth century, the Tuscarora of North Carolina joined the confederacy, which became the Six Nations. The heart of Iro- quois country lies in what is now upstate New York, west of the Hudson River. At dif fer ent times in its long history “the ambiguous Iroquois Empire,” as one scholar has termed it, extended around Lake Ontario, including parts of what is now Can- ada, and south into pres ent- day Pennsylvania. The Six Nations called themselves People of the Long house (Haudenosaunee in Seneca, Kanosoni in Mohawk), in ref- erence to their primary type of dwelling. Their long houses were about twenty feet wide and from forty to two hundred feet long, accommodating several families who shared cooking “res. The largest Iroquois towns included as many as two thousand people.

The Iroquois creation story exists in some twenty- “ve written or printed versions, making it one of the best- known instances of Native American oral lit er a ture. The Frenchman Gabriel Sagard “rst translated and transcribed the tale in 1623. Two centuries later, David Cusick became the “rst Native person to write it down. Cusick published the version included here on the eve of Andrew Jackson’s election to the presidency, and he was well aware of Jackson’s stated intention of “removing”

Atotarho. This is one of four engravings that David Cusick included in the second edition (1828) of Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations. It shows the war chief of the Onondagas, Atotarho, said to be a sorcerer, with a twisted body and snakes in his hair. Several times Atotarho rejected pleas from the Great Peacemaker, Deganawidah, and his follower, Hiawatha, that he join them in uniting the Iroquois. Fi nally, after they healed him and combed the tangles from his hair, he agreed and became the traditional “”rekeeper”— tender of the sacred “re—of the Iroquois Confederacy.



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eastern Indians to lands west of the Mississippi. Perhaps because the Iroquois were under intensifying pressure from white settlement, Cusick’s version emphasizes the condict between the twins Enigorio, the good mind, and Enigonhahetgea, the bad mind. Although the story involves monsters and super natu ral events, Cusick calls the work a history, because it tells the history of the Iroquois Confederacy.

David Cusick was born around 1780 on the Oneida Reservation in central New York, in Madison County, to a Tuscorora family. His father, Nicholas, an impor tant leader among his people, was a Christian who had served on the American side dur- ing the Revolution. Educated by the missionary Samuel Kirkland, David Cusick became a physician and an artist. The woodcuts at the front of the second edition (1828) of his Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations are his work. Cusick’s Sketches was well known in its time and served as an impor tant source for Henry Rowe Schoolcraft’s induential Notes on the Iroquois (1847), which shaped the liter- ary culture of the day. In his preface to that work, Schoolcraft wrote that “no nation of the widely spread red race of Amer i ca, has displayed so high and heroic a love of liberty, united with the true art of government, and personal energy and stamina of character, as the Iroquois.”

Part I of Cusick’s Sketches, excerpted here, deals with the foundation and estab- lishment of the Iroquois world. Parts II and III pres ent the ancient Iroquois as defending themselves against both monsters and other tribes by means that may have resonated with the Iroquois defense against expansionist Americans.

The Iroquois Creation Story1

A Tale of the Foundation of the Great Island, Now North Amer i ca;— the Two Infants Born, and the Creation of the Universe

Among the ancients there were two worlds in existence. The lower world was in great darkness;— the possession of the great monster; but the upper world was inhabited by mankind; and there was a woman conceived2 and would have the twin born. When her travail drew near, and her situation seemed to produce a great distress on her mind, and she was induced by some of her relations to lay herself on a mattress which was prepared, so as to gain refreshments to her wearied body; but while she was asleep the very place sunk down towards the dark world.3 The monsters of the great water were alarmed at her appearance of descending to the lower world; in consequence all the species of the creatures were immediately collected into where it was expected she would fall. When the monsters were assembled, and they made consultation, one of them was appointed in haste to search the great deep, in order to procure some earth, if it could be obtained; accordingly the mon- ster descends, which succeeds, and returns to the place. Another requisi- tion was presented, who would be capable to secure the woman from the terrors of the great water, but none was able to comply except a large turtle

1. The text is from the “rst edition of Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations (1827). 2.  I.e., a woman, known as Sky Woman, who became pregnant without sexual activity. “Man- kind”: humans, although they have dif fer ent pow- ers than those of humans as we understand them. “The great monster”: or monsters, unde”ned

creatures. In other versions, the “monsters” are some type of familiar animal; here, Cusick con- veys the mystery and danger in the unformed uni- verse. 3. Other versions have Sky Woman either being pushed out of the upper world or accidentally falling.



came forward and made proposal to them to endure her lasting weight, which was accepted. The woman was yet descending from a great distance. The turtle executes upon the spot, and a small quantity of earth was varnished on the back part of the turtle. The woman alights on the seat prepared, and she receives a satisfaction.4 While holding her, the turtle increased every moment and became a considerable island of earth, and apparently covered with small bushes. The woman remained in a state of unlimited darkness, and she was overtaken by her travail to which she was subject. While she was in the limits of distress one of the infants in her womb was moved by an evil opinion and he was determined to pass out under the side of the par- ent’s arm, and the other infant in vain endeavoured to prevent his design.5 The woman was in a painful condition during the time of their disputes, and the infants entered the dark world by compulsion, and their parent expired in a few moments. They had the power of sustenance without a nurse, and remained in the dark regions. After a time the turtle increased to a great Island and the infants were grown up, and one of them possessed with a gentle disposition, and named Enigorio, i.e. the good mind. The other youth possessed an insolence of character, and was named Enigonhahet- gea, i.e. the bad mind.6 The good mind was not contented to remain in a dark situation, and he was anxious to create a great light in the dark world; but the bad mind was desirous that the world should remain in a natu ral state. The good mind determines to prosecute his designs, and therefore commences the work of creation. At “rst he took the parent’s head, (the deceased) of which he created an orb, and established it in the centre of the “rmament, and it became of a very superior nature to bestow light to the new world, (now the sun) and again he took the remnant of the body and formed another orb, which was inferior to the light (now moon). In the orb a cloud of legs appeared to prove it was the body of the good mind, (parent). The former was to give light to the day and the latter to the night; and he also created numerous spots of light, (now stars): these were to regulate the days, nights, seasons, years, etc. Whenever the light extended to the dark world the monsters were displeased and immediately concealed themselves in the deep places, lest they should be discovered by some human beings. The good mind continued the works of creation, and he formed numerous creeks and rivers on the Great Island, and then created numerous species of animals of the smallest and the greatest, to inhabit the forests, and “shes of all kinds to inhabit the waters. When he had made the universe he was in doubt respecting some being to possess the Great Island; and he formed two images of the dust of the ground in his own likeness, male and female,

4. I.e., she lands safely, without harm. 5. Other versions of the story have Sky Woman give birth to a daughter, who again becomes supernaturally pregnant (perhaps by the spirit of the turtle), and it is she who conceives the twins. The twins argue even in the womb, the Evil Twin deciding not to be born in the normal way but to burst through his mother’s side, which leads to her death. The theme of rival twins is widespread in the Amer i cas. 6. More commonly, the Good Twin is called Tharonhiawagon (Sky- Grasper, Creator, or Upholder of the Heavens), and the Evil Twin is

named Tawiscaron (Evil- Minded, Flint, Ice, Patron of Winter, or vari ous disasters). Cusick’s Enigorio is a rough translation of the Tuscarora word for “good- minded” into Mohawk, and his Enigonhahetgea is an equally rough translation into Seneca, Onondaga, or Cayuga of the Tusca- rora word for “bad- minded.” Cusick has prob ably changed the Tuscarora words best known to him into these other Iroquois languages because they were considered to be more prestigious than Tuscarora, the Tuscaroras having only recently joined the Iroquois Confederacy.

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and by his breathing into their nostrils he gave them the living souls, and named them Ea- gwe- howe, i.e., a real people;7 and he gave the Great Island all the animals of game for their maintenance and he appointed thunder to water the earth by frequent rains, agreeable of the nature of the system; after this the Island became fruitful and vegetation afforded the animals subsis- tence. The bad mind, while his brother was making the universe, went throughout the Island and made numerous high mountains and falls of water, and great steeps, and also creates vari ous reptiles which would be inju- rious to mankind; but the good mind restored the Island to its former con- dition. The bad mind proceeded further in his motives and he made two images of clay in the form of mankind; but while he was giving them exis- tence they became apes;8 and when he had not the power to create man- kind he was envious against his brother; and again he made two of clay. The good mind discovered his brother’s contrivances, and aided in giving them living souls, (it is said these had the most knowledge of good and evil). The good mind now accomplishes the works of creation, notwithstanding the imaginations of the bad mind were continually evil; and he attempted to enclose all the animals of game in the earth, so as to deprive them from mankind; but the good mind released them from con”nement, (the animals were dispersed, and traces of them were made on the rocks near the cave where it was closed). The good mind experiences that his brother was at vari- ance with the works of creation, and feels not disposed to favor any of his proceedings, but gives admonitions of his future state. Afterwards the good mind requested his brother to accompany him, as he was proposed to inspect the game, etc., but when a short distance from their moninal residence,9 the bad mind became so unmanly that he could not conduct his brother any more.1 The bad mind offered a challenge to his brother and resolved that who gains the victory should govern the universe; and appointed a day to meet the contest. The good mind was willing to submit to the offer, and he enters the reconciliation with his brother; which he falsely mentions that by whipping with dags would destroy his temporal life;2 and he earnestly solic- its his brother also to notice the instrument of death, which he manifestly relates by the use of deer horns, beating his body he would expire. On the day appointed the engagement commenced, which lasted for two days: after pulling up the trees and mountains as the track of a terrible whirlwind, at last the good mind gained the victory by using the horns, as mentioned the instrument of death, which he succeeded in deceiving his brother and he crushed him in the earth; and the last words uttered from the bad mind were, that he would have equal power over the souls of mankind after death; and

7. Humans. “Ea- gwe- howe”: Tuscarora term used by speakers of all the languages of the Six Nations; today, it simply means Indian or Indi- ans. 8. Cusick may have seen an ape or a depiction of apes ( there are no apes native to the New World) and deci ded to name them as the creatures made by the Evil Twin in contrast to the humans made by the Good Twin. Some later renditions of the Iroquois creation story also refer to apes at this point in the narrative. 9. Cusick perhaps means their nominal (named

or designated) residence. 1. I.e., the Evil Twin became so rude and obnox- ious that the Good Twin could not lead (“con- duct”) his brother to the appointed place any longer. 2. The Good Twin tells his brother that he can be killed by being beaten with corn stalks, rushes, reeds, or cattails. Cusick calls this a deception; other accounts treat it as a confession of weakness. Next, the Evil Twin admits that he would die if beaten with the antlers of deer.



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he sinks down to eternal doom, and became the Evil Spirit.3 After this tumult the good mind repaired to the battle ground, and then visited the people and retires from the earth.4

3. This event may redect an awareness of the Christian belief in the devil as the ultimate evil spirit, ruler over the lower depths.

4. Other versions go on to say that the Good Twin teaches the people how to grow corn and how to avoid harm by means of prayer and ritual.


The Navajo language is closely related to that of some Canadian and Alaskan tribes, redecting the history of its speakers. The Navajo Nation, or Din’e— ”the People,” migrated to the Southwest from more northerly points somewhere between six hundred and a thousand years ago. There they learned farming and weaving from long- settled Pueblo peoples and silverworking skills from Mexicans. They were “rst called Navajo— from Apachu de Nabajo, or Apaches Who Cultivate Fields—by Spanish invaders in the sixteenth century. The Navajo Nation today is the second- largest indigenous group in the United States, outnumbered only by the Cherokees. It occupies an area in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah larger than the combined area of Mas sa chu setts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The Navajo story of the “emergence” of the People and their establishment of a world is ancient and complex. It describes a progressive creation that occurs in four or “ve stages, depending on the version, and culminates in the emergence of the “glitter- ing world,” that is, the world we now inhabit. The tale highlights the constant work involved to develop and sustain relations of harmony and balance among the gods, the People, and all other sentient beings. Especially central is the cultivation of a relationship of harmony and balance between husband and wife, redected in the relationship between First Man and First Woman. The presence of the Nádleeh, that is, “ those who have the spirit of both male and female,” is impor tant to this balance. The Nádleeh are the “rst of “ve pairs of twins born to First Man and First Woman. They are either hermaphrodites or men performing what was regarded as women’s work, for which they are in no way stigmatized. Indeed, they are credited with creat- ing pottery and basketry, two arts of great signi”cance in Navajo culture.

Other impor tant relationships in the tale include the ties between the Din’e and the Hashch’ééh Dine’é, the Holy People, who are instrumental in creating human- kind and provide instruction in matters of life and death, teaching the Din’e about evil as well as good; and with the Kiis’áanii, that is, the Pueblo peoples. Animals and other nonhuman creatures play signi”cant roles in the tale, as when the trickster Coyote (Mai’i) produces a dood that threatens to wipe out the People.

The Navajo have produced a rich body of oral lit er a ture— narrative and poetry— including several written versions of the Navajo creation story. The earliest written version is from the late nineteenth century. Printed here is a con temporary retelling by the Navajo teacher and writer Irvin Morris. Born in 1958, Morris is a member of the Tobaahi, or Water’s Edge clan of the Navajo Nation. The recipient of an MFA in creative writing from Cornell University and a doctorate in American Indian Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo, he teaches at Din’e Col- lege in Tsaile, Arizona. Morris begins his book From the Glittering World— a blend of history, “ctionalized memoir, and Navajo stories— with this version of the cre- ation story to situate the non- Navajo reader.



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(The Emergence)

Alk’idáá’ jinni.2 It happened a long time ago, they say. In the begin- ning there was only darkness, with sky above and water below. Then by some mysterious and holy means, sky and water came together. When they touched, that’s when every thing began. That was the First World, which was like an island doating in a sea of mist. It was red in color and it was an ancient place. There were no people living there, only Nílch’i Dine’é,3 who existed in spiritual form. They could travel like the wind. There were also Hashch’ééh Dine’é, the Holy People, whose form and beauty we have inher- ited. There was no sun or moon, and there were no stars. The only source of light was the sky, which comprised four sacred colors and glowed with a dif fer ent hue and lit the world from a dif fer ent direction according to the time of day. When the eastern sky glowed white, it was considered dawn, and the Nílch’i Dine’é would awaken and began to stir in preparation for the day. When the southern sky glowed blue, it was considered day, and the Nílch’i Dine’é went about their daily activities. When the western sky was yellow, it was considered eve ning, and the Nílch’i Dine’é put away their work and amusements. When the northern sky turned black, it was considered night, and the Nílch’i Dine’é lay down and went to sleep. At the center of that First World, there was a place called Tóbilhaask’id4 where water welled up out of the ground in a great fountain, which was the source of three rivers dowing toward the east, south, and west. No river dowed toward the north, the direction of death and darkness. There were twelve groups of Nílch’i Dine’é dwelling in twelve places in that First World, with four groups living in each of the three directions. No one lived to the north. These Nílch’i Dine’é had lived there from the very beginning. They were called ants, drag- ondies, beetles, bats, and locusts, but they were spiritual beings, not insects or animals. The waters surrounding their world were inhabited by four power ful guardians, Tééholtsódii (the Water Monster) to the east, Dééhtsoh dootl’izh (Blue Heron) to the south, Ch’al (Frog) to the west, and Ii’ni’dzil ligai (White Mountain Thunder) to the north. These spiritual beings had lived peacefully and amicably in that world for a long time; but after a while trou ble arose, and it was because of adultery.5 The First World was a holy place, and the immoral be hav ior of the Nílch’i Dine’é angered the water guardians, who did not like what they saw. They did not like the deceit, jealousy, and turmoil that resulted from the debauchery. “Do you not like living here?” the guardians scolded. “Do you not value this place? If you cannot behave properly, then you must leave.” Three times they were warned by the guardians, but the Nílch’i Dine’é did not listen. When they

1. The text is from chapter  1 of Irvin Morris, From the Glittering World (1997). 2. A long time ago, they say, or it is said. Morris begins his written per for mance of the creation story with this traditional opening to remind his readers that he is telling a story told many times before. The editor is indebted to Irvin Morris for help with the annotations to this text.

3. Super natu ral or spiritual beings associated with wind or air. 4. Place where Streams Come Together; an ele- vated place such as a hill or mound, perhaps sug- gesting a raised fountain. 5. Even for spiritual beings, adultery destroys the harmony between husbands and wives.



6. Four, sometimes as two pairs of two, is an impor tant pattern number for the Navajos, signi- fying completion or wholeness. 7. Super natu rals of the earliest times, who were

precursors of today’s swallows. 8. Super natu rals who were the precursors of today’s grasshoppers.

corrupted themselves a fourth time,6 Ii’ni’dzil ligaii, the guardian being from the north, who hadn’t spoken before, said, “ Because you do not listen, you must depart at once!” But the Nílch’i Dine’é were lost in their wickedness and did not heed. Seeing this, the guardians were outraged and turned their backs on them; they refused to listen to excuses or pleas for forgive- ness. The Nílch’i Dine’é had to be punished. One morning they saw some- thing on the horizon. It looked like a ring of snowy mountains surrounding them, an unbroken wall of white higher and wider than they could dy across. When it came closer, they saw what it was. The water guardians had sent a great dood. Frightened, the Nílch’i Dine’é soared into the air and dew in circles until they reached the sky, but then they discovered that it was smooth and solid. They tried to break through the rigid surface, but they could not even make a scratch. Just as they were ready to give up in despair, a strange blue head emerged from the sky. “Go to the east,” it said. The Nílch’i Dine’é went to the east and dew through the narrow opening into a blue world, the Second World. There they looked around and saw that the land was barren and dat. They did not see anyone living nearby. Scouts were sent out to see if there were others like themselves further out, but after two days they returned saying they could “nd no one. But then, one morning, a small group of blue beings appeared. The Nílch’i Dine’é saw that these blue beings were like themselves— with legs, feet, bodies, and wings like theirs— and they realized that they could understand their language. The blue beings, who were Swallows,7 welcomed the newcomers and addressed them as kinsmen. They promised to be friends and allies forever, but before long one of the Nílch’i Dine’é took liberties with the head Swal- low’s wife. That treachery was quickly discovered, and bad feelings imme- diately arose. “Traitors!” the Swallows cried. “We took you in as friends and relatives, and this is how you repay us? Could this be why you were asked to leave the lower world?” The Swallows demanded that they leave immediately, and once again the Nílch’i Dine’é took dight. Once again they encountered a solid sky and could not “nd an entrance. Just when they were about to give up, a white head mysteriously appeared. “Go to the south,” it said. There the locusts led them into the Third World, which was white, through a crooked opening. Again scouts were sent out, and again they found noth- ing. But in time they discovered that this world was inhabited by Grasshop- pers.8 The Nílch’i Dine’é begged the Grasshoppers to let them stay. As before, the hosts addressed the Nílch’i Dine’é as friends and kin and mingled with them. All went well for a while, but then one of the Nílch’i Dine’é grew weak and committed adultery with the wife of a Grasshopper. The Grasshoppers were incensed and told the Nílch’i Dine’é to leave. This time, when they encountered the impenetrable sky, a red head materialized. “Go to the west,” it said. When they entered into the Fourth World through a winding entrance hole in the west, they saw that it was black and white. No one greeted them. The land appeared empty. But they saw four great snow- capped mountains in the distance: one to the east, another to the south, a third to the west, and the fourth to the north. The scouts were dispatched to see if anyone

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9. Kiis’áanii means “ People Who Live in Upright Houses.” The ancient Pueblo peoples lived in vari ous structures, including pit- houses with

roofs supported by upright timbers. 1. The Hashch’ééh Dine’é, mentioned in the opening lines of the tale.

lived on those mountains, but they failed to reach the “rst three. When they went to the northern mountain, however, they returned with fascinating news. A strange group of beings lived there, dwelling in holes in the ground. These were Kiis’áanii, the Pueblo peoples, who were living in pit- houses.9 The Nílch’i Dine’é immediately set out to greet the inhabitants of this new land, who welcomed them and prepared a feast of corn, squash, pumpkins, and beans. This time, the Nílch’i Dine’é resolved to behave themselves. And true to their word, they conducted themselves well, and their days passed uneventfully. Then one day a voice was heard calling from the east. Three times the voice called, each time coming closer. Upon the fourth call, four mysterious beings appeared. They were Holy People: White Body, who is called Hashch’éélti’í (Talking God); Blue Body, known as Tóneinilii ( Water Sprinkler); Yellow Body, called Hasch’éélitsoi (Calling God); and Black Body, referred to as Hashch’é lizhin (Fire God). These Holy People did not speak, but they tried to communicate with motions and gestures. However, the Nílch’i Dine’é did not understand them. Thus the Holy People appeared, four times over four days. On the fourth day, when the Nílch’i Dine’é still could not understand the signs, Black Body ” nally spoke: “We want to make more people, but in forms that are more pleasing to us,” he said. “You have bodies like us, but you also have the teeth, feet, and claws of insects and four- leggeds. And you smell bad. But “rst, you must purify yourselves before we return.” And so the Nílch’i Dine’é washed themselves and dried their limbs with sacred cornmeal, white for men and yellow for women. On the twelfth day the deities returned, bringing with them two buckskins and two ears of corn. Blue Body and Black Body carried two buckskins, one of which they laid on the ground. Yellow Body carried two perfect ears of corn, white and yellow, and laid them on the buckskin. The second buckskin was placed over the corn and the Nílch’i Dine’é were told to stand back, and the sacred wind entered between the buckskins. As the wind blew, Mirage People appeared and walked around the buckskins. On the fourth turn, the ears of corn moved. When the buckskin was lifted, a man and woman lay where the ears of corn had been. The white ear had been turned into a man and the yellow ear had been turned into a woman. These were Áltsé Hastiin and Áltsé Asdzáán, First Man and First Woman. These were the “rst real people, “ve- “ngered beings, and they were made in the image of the Holy People.1 The Holy People then instructed these new people to build a shelter. First Man and First Woman entered the shelter and thus became husband and wife. First Man was given a rock crystal— the symbol of clear thought—to burn for “re, and First Woman was given turquoise— which represents the power of speech—to burn. In four days a pair of twins were born to them, and these “rst children were Nádleeh, those who have the spirit of both male and female. Only the “rst pair were like that. In four days another pair of twins were born, and so on. In all, “ve pairs of twins were born to them. Four days after the birth of the pair of twins, the Holy People took First Man and First Woman away to the east, to the sacred mountains where they dwelt. There, First Man and First Woman remained for four days. When they returned, the Holy People then took all their children to the east and kept them for



2. House God and Talking God, respectively, although these gods also have other names. 3. Like the Holy People, super natu ral beings. 4. Power ful godlike creatures. 5. In other versions of the story, First Woman’s

remark is a very bawdy suggestion that not First Man but joosh (the vagina) is, by her indirect rea- soning, responsible for successful hunting and the provision of food. First Man’s response rep- resents an excessive loss of self-control.

four days too. It is during this time that they all received instructions from the Holy People. They learned how to live a good life and to conduct them- selves in a manner be”tting their divine origins. But because the Holy People were capable of good and evil, they also learned about the terrible secrets of witchcraft as well. After they returned, First Man and First Woman were occasionally seen wearing masks resembling Hashch’éhooghan and Hashch’éélti’í.2 While thus attired they were holy and they prayed for good things for the people: long life, ample rain, and abundant harvests. Those ceremonies were passed on to bless and protect future generations; the prayers, songs, and rituals have not changed from that time. When it came time to marry, the children of First Man and First Woman joined with the Kiis’áanii and the children of the Mirage People3 and others. In four days, children were born to these couples, and in four days those descendants bore offspring also. Soon the land was populated with the growing progeny of First Man and First Woman. They planted great “elds of corn and other crops. They also built an earthen dam, and the Nádleeh were appointed to be its guardians; while they watched over the dam they created beautiful and useful things, pottery and basketry, and the people praised these inven- tions. For eight years they lived in comfort and peace. Their days passed uneventfully. Then one day, they saw a strange thing: they saw the sky reach down, while at the same time the earth rose up to meet it. From the point of their union sprang two beings now known as Coyote and Badger,4 the children of the sky. Their arrival portended both good and bad things for the people. The people prospered for many years, but one day First Woman and First Man had an argument. First Man was a great hunter and provided much food, but First Woman made an ungrateful remark that insulted and greatly angered First Man.5 He left her and went to the other side of the “re and remained there all night. In the morning First Man called together all the men and told them about First Woman’s insult. “Let’s teach the women a lesson,” he said. “We shall gather our tools and belongings and move away. They’ll learn they can’t get along without us after all.” The men agreed and gathered up their tools and all the things they had made. First Man, recall- ing the industriousness of the Nádleeh, invited them to come along, and they brought their grinding stones, baskets, cooking utensils, and other useful implements. The men crossed the river and quickly set up a new camp. They cut brush and built new shelters and hunted. When they were hungry, the Nádleeh cooked for them. Across the river, the planted “elds they had left behind were ripening. Soon the women harvested corn and other crops and made ready for the winter. Their harvest was abundant and they ate well. They pitied the men, who had to do without fresh corn, squash, and beans. In the eve nings, they came down to the river and called to the men and taunted them. “How are you getting along over there? Do you remember the taste of roasted corn?” The men had brought seeds with them, but since it was so late in the season, they had not planted. That winter they ate mostly cakes and mush made from the cornmeal that the Nádleeh had brought

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6. The threat to the world by dood appears in many Native American creation stories and pre- cedes awareness of the account in the biblical

Book of Genesis. 7. Other versions of the story have Squirrel and his wife providing help.

along. The following spring, however, the men planted “elds larger than those planted by the women. And this time, without the men’s help in the “elds, the women’s harvest was not as plentiful as before. That winter they did not taunt the men. By the fourth year, the men could not eat all the food they grew, and most of it was left in the “elds. The women, however, began to run short of food and soon were facing starvation. They had also begun to miss the com pany of men. The more brazen used objects such as cacti and smooth stones to satisfy themselves, and some say the monsters that later plagued the people were the result of that practice. In time, First Man realized that they could not live apart forever. He realized that the people were in danger of dying out if they did not reproduce. One eve ning he called to First Woman and they talked about this. They deci ded that unless they became one people again they would dis appear. So the women crossed the river on rafts and joined the men again, and there was great rejoicing and feasting. However, it was soon discovered that three women were missing, a woman and her two daughters. The people thought they had drowned, but they had been captured instead by the Water Monster, Tééholtsódii. The people called to the Holy People for help, and White Body and Blue Body appeared with two shells. They set these shells on the water and caused them to spin, and the water under neath the spinning shell opened up to reveal the four- chambered dwelling where the monster lived. Accompanied by Coy- ote a man and woman descended to the dwelling and searched the chambers— “rst the one to the east, which was a room of dark waters, then the one to the south, which was made of blue waters; then the one to the west, which was made of yellow waters— and found nothing. Then they entered the north chamber, which was the one made of waters of all colors, and saw the women in there with Tééholtsódii. They also saw the children of Water Monster scampering about. The rescue party reclaimed the women and left, but unbeknownst to them Coyote stole one of the Water Monster’s children and tucked it under his robe. When they returned, they were greeted joyously and the people feasted again. The following morning, however, the people noticed something disturbing. They saw many animals running past as if deeing something. All day this went on, and by the third day the com- motion had greatly increased. On the morning of the fourth day, they noticed a white light shining up from the horizon. They sent Locust to investigate and he returned with startling news. The strange light was coming from a wall of water that was converging on them from all sides.6 The people ded to a nearby hill and thought about what they should do. They cried and proclaimed that this was surely their doom. Then one of the people sug- gested they plant the seed of a tree so they might climb on it and escape the danger. Squirrel produced two seeds, juniper and piñon, and planted them.7 The seeds sprouted and grew quickly, but the trees soon began to branch out and dattened into squat shapes. Then Weasel produced two seeds also, pine and spruce, and planted them. The seeds grew into tall trees, but they soon tapered into points and stopped growing. The people wailed in despair. But then someone called out that two people were approaching, an old man and a young man. These men went directly to the summit and did



8. Coyote’s responsibility for the fact that humans will eventually die is stated in many Native Amer- ican stories.

9. The Pueblo peoples, introduced earlier. 1. Sierra Blanca Peak. 2. Mount Taylor.

not speak but sat down facing east, the young man “rst and the old man behind him. The old man then produced seven buckskin bags and spoke: “I have gathered soil from the seven sacred mountains in these bundles and I shall give them to you, but I cannot help you further.” The people turned to the young man and he said, “I will help you, but you must not watch what I do.” So the people left him and waited at a distance. When the young man ” nally called them, they saw that he had spread out the contents of the bags of soil and planted in it thirty- two reeds with thirty- two joints. He began to sing, and as he did the reeds began to grow, sending roots deep into the earth. The thirty- two reeds fused into one great reed, which soon towered into the sky. The young man told them to enter a hole that appeared on the east side of the reed. As the doodwaters crashed together outside, the hole closed up and sealed tightly. The reed commenced to grow quickly, lifting the people above the rising water. The Holy People accompanied them. When the reed had reached the sky, Black Body secured the reed against the sky with a plume from his headdress. This sky was solid and there was no opening in its surface, so Locust, who was good at making holes, began to scratch and dig. Eventually he broke through, and the people rejoiced. Turkey was the last to climb out, and his white- tipped tail feathers remain to this day as a reminder of their escape. One by one, the people climbed out of the giant reed into this, the Fifth World, the Glittering World.

The dood immediately receded after Coyote’s mischief was discovered and Tééholtsódii’s baby was returned. Again, the people sent out scouts. Finding the land to their liking, they proceeded to dwell upon it, planting “elds and making their homes just as in the lower worlds. There were many people by this time and they nearly “lled the land. The Holy People performed a test to determine their future. A magic shell was tossed onto a body of water; if it doated, the people would live forever; if it sank, each person would even- tually die. The object doated and the people rejoiced, but then Coyote tossed a second stone into the water. It sank, and the people wailed. Then Coyote said, “If we do not die, we shall soon overrun the world. There will be no room for us all.”8 The people saw the wisdom of his words and reluctantly agreed. One morning not long afterward, they noticed that one of the Nádleeh had stopped breathing. This was the “rst death. With instructions from the Holy People, they prepared the body and placed it in a rocky crevice. At about the same time, there was a dispute with the Kiis’áanii9 over the seed corn that had been brought from the lower world, and the groups separated because of it. First Man and First Woman, with the help of the Holy People, marked the bound aries of this new homeland with four sacred mountains made of the soil brought from the lower worlds. Three other mountains were set inside the bound aries. In an elaborate ceremony, the mountains were named and dressed. Sisnaajiní1 was set to the east; it was fastened to the earth with a bolt of lightning and decorated with white shell, white lightning, white corn, dark clouds, and male rain. A cover of sheet lightning was placed over the mountain to protect and adorn it, and Rock Crystal Boy and Rock Crystal Girl were made to dwell there. Tsoodzil2 was set to the south; it was fastened to the earth with a great stone knife, adorned with turquoise,

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3. Never Has Thawed on Top, or San Francisco Peak. 4. Big Mountain Sheep, or the La Plata Mountains. 5. Mountain Around Which Things Happen[ed], or Travelers Circle, with suggestions of the con- tinuity of life.

6. The En glish meaning is not entirely clear. Ch’o means “spruce,” but it can also refer to directionality or looking outward. According to Morris, it refers to a vantage point from which one can look out and see every thing. 7. Butte Piled on a Butte.

dark mist, and female rain, and over it all was placed a covering of eve ning sky. One Turquoise Boy and One Corn Kernel Girl were given a home there. Dook’ o’ooslííd3 was set to the west; it was fastened to the earth with a sun- beam, ornamented with abalone shell, black clouds, and yellow corn, and the whole was covered with yellow clouds. White Corn Boy and Yellow Corn Boy were settled there. Dibé ntsaa4 was set to the north; it was fastened to the earth with a rainbow and decorated with jet and dark mist, and it was cov- ered with a sheet of darkness. Pollen Boy and Grasshopper Girl were made to live there. The inner mountains were also named and sancti”ed. Dzilná’oodilii5 was fastened to the earth with a sunbeam, adorned with dark clouds and male rain, and Soft Goods Boy and Soft Goods Girl were given a home there. Ch’óol’í’ii6 was fastened to the earth with a streamer of rain and decorated with pollen, dark mist, and female rain. Boy Who Produces Jewels and Girl Who Produces Jewels were made to dwell there. Ak’idahnást’ání7 was fas- tened to the earth with a Mirage Stone, ornamented with black clouds and male rain, and guarded by Mirage Stone Boy and Red Coral Girl. In the Fifth World, as in the lower world, the people lived in accordance with the daily cycles of the four changing colors of the sky. But now more light was needed, so the sun and the moon were created. The old man who had helped them escape from the dood in the lower world was given the honor of bearing the sun across the sky, and the young man who had also helped them escape was given the privilege of carry ing the moon at night. In return for their sacri- “ce and labor, they were given immortality and power ful sacred names. In the Fifth World, the people began “lling the land and many places were named. The land was rich and the people prospered upon it, but the land soon grew dangerous. Naayéé’, monsters, were roaming the land, and they were hunting and eating the people. In time there were only a few people left. These monsters were the offspring of stones and cacti, the result of some women’s conduct during the separation of the sexes: Deelgééd, the horned monster; Tsélkáá’adah hwídziiltaal’ii, who kicked people off cliffs; Bináá’ yee ’aghánii, who killed with his eyes; and Tsénináhilééh, the dying monster who lived atop Tsébit’a’ii. In time there were only four people left in the world. These people took refuge near Tsélgai, White Rock. First Man went out to pray every day at dawn. One morning he heard a strange sound like the cries of a baby coming from atop Ch’óol’í’ii. For three mornings when he went out to pray he heard the sounds coming from atop the cloud- shrouded peak. On the fourth morning, Talking God appeared and instructed him to ascend the mountain. Atop the highest peak First Man found an infant who was Asdzáán Nádleehí, Changing Woman, the most beloved of all the deities. He took her home, and because she was holy, she reached maturity in four days. After a time, Changing Woman left to live on Dzilná’oodilii. While she was living there she bathed in a waterfall and basked in the Sun. In four days, she gave birth to twin boys, who were the sons of the waterfall and the Sun. They were Tóbágíshchíní (Born- for- Water), and Naayéé’neizghání (Monster



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Slayer). They quickly grew to maturity also. With the help of the Spider Woman, Jóhonaa’éí, and other helpers, the Twins rid the land of the mon- sters. Naayéé’neizghání went out and slew the monsters, while Tóbágísh- chíní remained home and conducted protection ceremonies to ensure victory. One of the last monsters to perish was Yéi’iitsoh, the Giant. He was also a son of the Sun; however, because he was killing people the Sun deci- ded to help the Twins to stop him. Jóhonaa’éí gave the Twins weapons made of lightning, and he taught them magic that enabled them to travel high over the land on the arching rainbow, which is the road used by the Holy People. After the defeat of the Giant only four monsters remained, Old Age, Poverty, Hunger, and Cold, but the Twins spared these creatures so the people would not grow complacent as immortals. When the land was safe, the Sun asked Changing Woman to become his wife. She did not consent at “rst, but after the Sun made promises that she would not be leaving her people forever, she agreed. He built a beautiful house for her to dwell in, on an island in the western sea. Before she left, she made more people by rubbing skin from under her arms and from under her breasts. These were the four original clans: Honágháahnii, Bit’ahnii, Hashtl’ishnii, and Tódích’ii’nii.8 Changing Woman took some of these people to live with her, but they soon grew lone- some and they left her home in the western sea to return to Dinétah. The Twins left this world to dwell with the Holy People when their work was “n- ished. They left this world from a place where two great rivers meet. They promised that they would always keep watch over the people; it is said that they can still be seen sometimes, doating in the mist above the spot where the waters converge. The Holy People also returned to their home, but they are always within reach through the songs and prayers they gave us. Lastly, a sacred rainbow was placed around Diné bikéyah, our homeland, for protection and as a blessing and a reminder of the sacredness of this land. It is said that so long as Diné remain within this boundary, we will have the blessings and protection of the Holy People. So long as we remain within these bound aries we will be living in the manner that the Holy People prescribed for us.

8. There are a great many Navajo clans, but these four are the original clans created from Changing Woman’s body. “Honágháahnii”: the One Walks Around You clan. “Bit’ahnii”: the Folded Arms

People, the Leaf clan, or the Under His Cover clan. “Hashtl’ishnii”: the Mud clan. “Tódich’ili’nii”: the Bitter Water People.



The Winnebagos, or Ho- Chunks, came to their homelands—at the western end of what is now Green Bay, Wisconsin— from some more southeasterly location perhaps a thousand years ago. They lived by hunting and “shing; by planting corn, squash, and beans; and by gathering wild rice and berries. The French explorer Jean Nicolet is credited as their “rst Eu ro pean contact, in 1634. The En glish name “Winnebago” comes from the Algonquian people’s name for the tribe, “ people of



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the dirty water,” which may simply refer to the strong smell of Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago and Fox River in the summer. The Ho- Chunks’ name for themselves, “Ho- chungra,” means “ people of the parent speech,” or “ people of the Big Voice.” Now geo graph i cally divided— mainly between Wisconsin and Nebraska—as a consequence of colonization and the provisions of nineteenth- century treaties, the Ho- Chunks claim that their ancestors played an impor tant role in the creation and preservation of the large, mysterious earthen mounds that exist along the Missis- sippi River and throughout the Midwest.

Winnebago culture is rich in trickster tales. The story reprinted here comes from The Trickster: A Study in American Indian My thol ogy (1956), a collection of forty- nine Winnebago trickster stories edited by the American cultural anthro- pologist and folklorist Paul Radin. A student of the eminent anthropologist Franz Boas, Radin had begun collecting Winnebago stories in the early 1900s. He did not hear the tales narrated, nor did he know the identity of the narrator. Rather, as he notes, “an older individual” told the stories in Ho- Chunk to a Winnebago con sul- tant, Sam Blowsnake, who wrote them down. Then Radin, Blowsnake, and another Winnebago man, Oliver LaMere, collaborated on the translation into En glish, which Radin, following Boas’s methods, published in literate prose.

The tale of the trickster and the talking “laxative bulb” is widespread throughout Native American cultures. The trickster (or “the old man,” as he is twice called here) interacts with plants and trees, sometimes defying them and at other times relying on them to get oriented. He also engages with humans, who foolishly listen to him and then suffer the consequences. The trickster plays the fool with the greatest vigor. His efforts to escape the consequences of his actions— and to recover from those conse- quences once his efforts fail— propel the narrative. To cleanse and restore himself, the trickster performs some hard and extremely unpleasant work that involves a re orientation toward the natu ral world. Apart from the entertainment value of its scatological humor and farcical ele ments, this story teaches numerous lessons, such as do not be gullible and do not think of yourself as superior to natu ral forces.

[Trickster and the Talking Bulb]


As he went wandering around aimlessly he suddenly heard someone speaking. He listened very carefully and it seemed to say, “He who chews me will defe- cate; he will defecate!” That was what it was saying. “Well, why is this person talking in this manner?” said Trickster. So he walked in the direction from which he had heard the speaking and again he heard, quite near him, some- one saying: “He who chews me, he will defecate; he will defecate!” This is what was said. “Well, why does this person talk in such fashion?” said Trick- ster. Then he walked to the other side. So he continued walking along. Then right at his very side, a voice seemed to say, “He who chews me, he will defe- cate; he will defecate!” “Well, I won der who it is who is speaking. I know very well that if I chew it, I will not defecate.” But he kept looking around for the speaker and ” nally discovered, much to his astonishment, that it was a bulb on a bush. The bulb it was that was speaking. So he seized it, put it in his mouth, chewed it, and then swallowed it. He did just this and then went on.

“Well, where is the bulb gone that talked so much? Why, indeed, should I defecate? When I feel like defecating, then I shall defecate, no sooner. How could such an object make me defecate!” Thus spoke Trickster. Even as he



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spoke, however, he began to break wind. “Well this, I suppose, is what it meant. Yet the bulb said I would defecate, and I am merely expelling gas. In any case I am a great man even if I do expel a little gas!” Thus he spoke. As he was talking he again broke wind. This time it was really quite strong. “Well, what a foolish one I am. This is why I am called Foolish One, Trickster.” Now he began to break wind again and again. “So this is why the bulb spoke as it did, I suppose.” Once more he broke wind. This time it was very loud and his rectum began to smart. “Well, it surely is a great thing!” Then he broke wind again, this time with so much force, that he was propelled forward. “Well, well, it may even make me give another push, but it won’t make me defecate,” so he exclaimed de”antly. The next time he broke wind, the hind part of his body was raised up by the force of the explosion and he landed on his knees and hands. “Well, go ahead and do it again! Go ahead and do it again!” Then, again, he broke wind. This time the force of the expulsion sent him far up in the air and he landed on the ground, on his stomach. The next time he broke wind, he had to hang on to a log, so high was he thrown. However, he raised himself up and, after a while, landed on the ground, the log on top of him. He was almost killed by the fall. The next time he broke wind, he had to hold on to a tree that stood near by. It was a poplar and he held on with all his might yet, nevertheless, even then, his feet dopped up in the air. Again, and for the second time, he held on to it when he broke wind and yet he pulled the tree up by the roots. To protect himself, the next time, he went on until he came to a large tree, a large oak tree. Around this he put both his arms. Yet, when he broke wind, he was swung up and his toes struck against the tree. However, he held on.

After that he ran to a place where people were living. When he got there, he shouted, “Say, hurry up and take your lodge down, for a big warparty is upon you and you will surely be killed! Come let us get away!” He scared them all so much that they quickly took down their lodge, piled it on Trick- ster, and then got on him themselves. They likewise placed all the little dogs they had on top of Trickster.1 Just then he began to break wind again and the force of the expulsion scattered the things on top of him in all directions. They fell far apart from one another. Separated, the people were standing about and shouting to one another; and the dogs, scattered here and there, howled at one another. There stood Trickster laughing at them till he ached.

Now he proceeded onward. He seemed to have gotten over his trou bles. “Well, this bulb did a lot of talking,” he said to himself, “yet it could not make me defecate.” But even as he spoke he began to have the desire to defecate, just a very little. “Well, I suppose this is what it meant. It certainly bragged a good deal, however.” As he spoke he defecated again. “Well, what a braggart it was! I suppose this is why it said this.” As he spoke these last words, he began to defecate a good deal. After a while, as he was sitting down, his body would touch the excrement. Thereupon he got on top of a log and sat down there but, even then, he touched the excrement. Fi nally, he climbed up a log that was leaning against a tree. However, his body still touched the excre- ment, so he went up higher. Even then, however, he touched it so he climbed still higher up. Higher and higher he had to go. Nor was he able to stop def- ecating. Now he was on top of the tree. It was small and quite uncomfortable. Moreover, the excrement began to come up to him.

1. These actions are inappropriate responses to the supposed danger.



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Even on the limb on which he was sitting he began to defecate. So he tried a dif fer ent position. Since the limb, however, was very slippery he fell right down into the excrement. Down he fell, down into the dung. In fact he dis- appeared in it, and it was only with very great dif”culty that he was able to get out of it. His raccoon- skin blanket was covered with “lth, and he came out dragging it after him. The pack he was carry ing on his back was cov- ered with dung, as was also the box containing his penis.2 The box he emp- tied and then placed it on his back again.


Then, still blinded by the “lth, he started to run. He could not see anything. As he ran he knocked against a tree. The old man cried out in pain. He reached out and felt the tree and sang:

“Tree, what kind of a tree are you? Tell me something about yourself!” And the tree answered, “What kind of a tree do you think I am? I am an

oak tree. I am the forked oak tree that used to stand in the middle of the valley. I am that one,” it said. “Oh, my, is it pos si ble that there might be some water around here?” Trickster asked. The tree answered, “Go straight on.” This is what it told him. As he went along he bumped up against another tree. He was knocked backwards by the collision. Again he sang:

“Tree, what kind of a tree are you? Tell me something about yourself!” “What kind of a tree do you think I am? The red oak tree that used to stand

at the edge of the valley, I am that one.” “Oh, my, is it pos si ble that there is water around here?” asked Trickster. Then the tree answered and said, “Keep straight on,” and so he went again. Soon he knocked against another tree. He spoke to the tree and sang:

“Tree, what kind of a tree are you? Tell me something about yourself!” “What kind of a tree do you think I am? The slippery elm tree that used

to stand in the midst of the others, I am that one.” Then Trickster asked, “Oh, my, is it pos si ble that there would be some water near here?” And the tree answered and said, “Keep right on.” On he went and soon he bumped into another tree and he touched it and sang:

“Tree, what kind of a tree are you? Tell me something about yourself!” “What kind of a tree do you think I am? I am the basswood tree that used

to stand on the edge of the water. That is the one I am.” “Oh, my, it is good,” said Trickster. So there in the water he jumped and lay. He washed himself thoroughly.

It is said that the old man almost died that time, for it was only with the great- est dif”culty that he found the water. If the trees had not spoken to him he cer- tainly would have died. Fi nally, after a long time and only after great exertions, did he clean himself, for the dung had been on him a long time and had dried. After he had cleansed himself he washed his raccoon- skin blanket and his box.

2. That the trickster carries his penis in a box was established in earlier stories. It is this box that he washes at the end of the next section of the story.



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1. The text is from The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake, Being His Next Voyage to That to Nombre de Dios (reprint, 1854).



In 1577–80, the En glish explorer Sir Francis Drake (c. 1542–1596) circumnavi-gated the world in his ship the Golden Hind, landing in 1579 on what is now the California coast. The notes of the ship chaplain, Francis Fletcher, were compiled and published in 1628 as The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake, and the fol- lowing excerpt from that volume is Fletcher’s account of the landing. The Coast Miwok people who “gure in the se lection inhabited the areas north of pres ent- day San Francisco, including Marin and southern Sonoma counties. They lived in vil- lages of up to several hundred people that were located in sheltered places near fresh water. In the late sixteenth century, Spanish galleons began making trips between Mexico and the Philippines, traveling along this stretch of coast. The Miwoks’ recep- tion of Drake’s com pany may have been informed by earlier meetings with groups of Spaniards.

This account illustrates the period’s conventions for representing early encoun- ters between Natives and Eu ro pe ans. Some ele ments of the narrative resemble descriptions of formal diplomacy in Eu ro pean courts, as when the king and his entourage move in a pro cession to the En glish fort. Other features of the account are strikingly unfamiliar, such as the self- mutilating dance that ensues. The narra- tive concludes with an abrupt shift as the orations that puzzle Drake (“our Gen- eral”) and his men are suddenly revealed to contain “supplications, that he would take the province and kingdom into his hand, and become their king and patron.” Drake did, in fact, claim the area for Queen Elizabeth I, naming it Nova Albion (“New Great Britain”).

There is ample reason to think that the Miwoks’ request that the En glish rule them did not happen but is instead a mistranslation designed to encourage support for the colonial enterprise among the narrative’s readers. Exploration narratives generally were written to achieve par tic u lar goals, such as advancing the career of the author or the expedition leader or shaping an approach to colonization. But while this scene includes a suspicious appeal and spontaneous conversation that call the credibility of the whole account into question, the narrative remains valu- able for its texture and details. The pro cess of teasing out the plausible from the implausible is one of the in ter est ing challenges of reading exploration narratives.

From The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake1

* * * Against the end of three days more (the news having the while spread itself farther, and as it seemed a great way up into the country), were assembled the greatest number of people which we could reasonably imagine to dwell within any con ve nient distance round about. Amongst the rest the king him- self, a man of a goodly stature and comely personage, attended with his



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guard of about 100 tall and warlike men, this day, viz.,2 June 26, came down to see us.

Before his coming, were sent two ambassadors or messengers to our Gen- eral, to signify that their Hióh, that is, their king, was coming and at hand. They in the delivery of their message, the one spoke with a soft and low voice, prompting his fellow; the other pronounced the same, word by word, after him with a voice more audible, continuing their proclamation (for such it was) about half an hour. Which being ended, they by signs made request to our General, to send something by their hands to their Hióh or king, as a token that his coming might be in peace. Our General willingly satis”ed their desire; and they, glad men, made speedy return to their Hióh. Neither was it long before their king (making as princely a show as possibly he could) with all his train came forward.

In their coming forwards they cried continually after a singing manner, with a lusty courage. And as they drew nearer and nearer towards us, so did they more and more strive to behave themselves with a certain comeliness and gravity in all their actions.

In the forefront came a man of a large body and goodly aspect, bearing the scepter or royal mace (made of a certain kind of black wood, and in length about a yard and a half) before the king. Whereupon hanged two crowns, a bigger and a less, with three chains of a marvellous length, and often doubled, besides a bag of the herb Tabáh.3 The crowns were made of knitwork, wrought upon most curiously with feathers of divers4 colours, very arti”cially placed, and of a formal fashion. The chains seemed of a bony sub- stance, every link or part thereof being very little, thin, most “nely bur- nished, with a hole pierced through the midst. The number of links going to make one chain, is in a manner in”nite; but of such estimation it is amongst them, that few be the persons that are admitted to wear the same; and even they to whom its lawful to use them, yet are stinted5 what number they shall use, as some ten, some twelve, some twenty, and as they exceed in number of chains, so thereby are they known to be the more honorable personages.

Next unto him that bore this scepter, was the king himself with his guard about him; his attire upon his head was a caul of knitworke,6 wrought upon somewhat like the crowns, but differing much both in fashion and perfect- ness of work; upon his shoulders he had on a coat of the skins of conies,7 reaching to his waist; his guard also had each coats of the same shape, but of other skins; some having cauls likewise stuck with feathers, or covered over with a certaine down, which groweth up in the country upon an herb much like our lettuce, which exceeds any other down in the world for “neness, and being layed upon their cauls, by no winds can be removed. Of such estimation is this herb amongst them, that the down thereof is not lawful to be worn, but of such persons as are about the king (to whom also it is permitted to wear a plume of feathers on their heads, in sign of honour), and the seeds are not used but only in sacri”ce to their gods. After these, in their order, did follow the naked sort of common people, whose hair being long, was gathered into a

2. Abbreviation for videlicet: that is to say, namely (Latin). 3. Tobacco. 4. Vari ous.

5. Restricted in. 6. A knitted headdress, resembling a hairnet. 7. Rabbits.



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8. I.e., Tabáh: tobacco. 9. The rush bowls mentioned previously, here compared to punchbowls used at Christmas.

bunch behind, in which stuck plumes of feathers; but in the forepart only single feathers like horns, every one pleasing himself in his own device.

This one thing was observed to be general amongst them all, that every one had his face painted, some with white, some black, and some with other colours, every man also bringing in his hand one thing or other for a gift or pres ent. Their train or last part of their com pany consisted of women and children, each woman bearing against her breast a round basket or two, hav- ing within them divers things, as bags of Tobâh,8 a root which they call Petáh, whereof they make a kind of meal, and either bake it into bread, or eat it raw; broiled “shes, like a pilchard; the seed and down aforenamed, with such like.

Their baskets were made in fashion like a deep bowl, and though the matter were rushes, or such other kind of stuffe, yet was it so cunningly handled, that the most part of them would hold water: about the brims they were hanged with pieces of the shells of pearls, and in some places with two or three links at a place, of the chains forenamed: thereby signifying that they were vessels wholly dedicated to the only use of the gods they wor- shipped; and besides this, they were wrought upon with the matted down of red feathers, distinguished into divers works and forms.

In the mean time, our General having assembled his men together (as fore- casting the danger and worst that might fall out) prepared himself to stand upon sure ground, that we might at all times be ready in our own defence, if any thing should chance other wise than was looked for or expected.

Wherefore every man being in a warlike readiness, he marched within his fenced place, making against their approach a most warlike show (as he did also at all other times of their resort), whereby if they had been desperate enemies, they could not have chosen but have conceived terror and fear, with discouragement to attempt anything against us, in beholding of the same.

When they were come somewhat near unto us, trooping together, they gave us a common or general salutation, observing in the mean time a gen- eral silence. Whereupon, he who bore the scepter before the king, being prompted by another whom the king assigned to that of”ce, pronounced with an audible and manly voice what the other spoke to him in secret, continu- ing, whether it were his oration or proclamation, at the least half an hour. At the close whereof there was a common Amen, in sign of approbation, given by every person: and the king himself, with the whole number of men and women (the little children only remaining behind) came further down the hill, and as they came set themselves again in their former order.

And being now come to the foot of the hill and near our fort, the scepter bearer, with a composed countenance and stately carriage began a song, and answerable thereunto observed a kind of mea sures in a dance: whom the king with his guard and every other sort of person following, did in like manner sing and dance, saving only the women, who danced but kept silence. As they danced they still came on: and our General perceiving their plain and simple meaning, gave order that they might freely enter without interruption within our bulwark. Where, after they had entered, they yet continued their song and dance a reasonable time, their women also following them with their was- sail bowls9 in their hands, their bodies bruised, their faces torn, their duges,



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breasts, and other parts bespotted with blood, trickling down from the wounds, which with their nails they had made before their coming.

After that they had satis”ed, or rather tired themselves in this manner, they made signs to our General to have him sit down; unto whom both the king and divers others made several orations, or rather, indeed, if we had understood them, supplications, that he would take the province and king- dom into his hand, and become their king and patron: making signs that they would resign unto him their right and title in the whole land, and become his vassals in themselves and their posterities: which that they might make us indeed believe that it was their true meaning and intent, the king himself, with all the rest, with one consent and with great reverence, joy- fully singing a song, set the crown upon his head, enriched his neck with all their chains, and offering unto him many other things, honoured him by the name of Hyóh. Adding thereunto (as it might seem) a song and dance of triumph; because they were not only visited of the gods (for so they still judged us to be), but the great and chief God was now become their God, their king and patron, and themselves were become the only happy and blessed people in the world.

These things being so freely offered, our General thought not meet to reject or refuse the same, both for that he would not give them any cause of mistrust or disliking of him (that being the only place, wherein at this pres- ent, we were of necessity enforced to seek relief of many things), and chiedy for that he knew not to what good end God had brought this to pass, or what honour and pro”t it might bring to our country in time to come.

Wherefore, in the name and to the use of her most excellent majesty, he took the scepter, crown, and dignity of the said country into his hand; wish- ing nothing more than that it had lain so “tly for her majesty to enjoy, as it was now her proper own, and that the riches and trea sures thereof (where- with in the upland countries it abounds) might with as great conveniency be transported, to the enriching of her kingdom here at home, as it is in plenty to be attained there; and especially that so tractable and loving a people as they showed themselves to be, might have means to have manifested their most willing obedience the more unto her, and by her means, as a mother and nurse of the Church of Christ, might by the preaching of the Gospel, be brought to the right knowledge and obedience of the true and everliving God.

The ceremonies of this resigning and receiving of the kingdom being thus performed, the common sort, both of men and women leaving the king and his guard about him, with our General, dispersed themselves among our people, taking a diligent view or survey of every man; and “nding such as pleased their fancies (which commonly were the youn gest of us), they presently enclosing them about offered their sacri”ces unto them, crying out with la men ta ble shriekes and moans, weeping and scratching and tearing their very desh off their faces with their nails; neither were it the women alone which did this, but even old men, roaring and crying out, were as violent as the women were.

We groaned in spirit to see the power of Satan so far prevail in seducing these so harmeless souls, and laboured by all means, both by showing our great dislike, and when that served not, by violent withholding of their hands from that madness, directing them (by our eyes and hands lift up towards heaven) to the living God whom they ought to serve; but so mad were they upon their idolatry, that forcibly withholding them would not prevail (for as



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soon as they could get liberty to their hands again, they would be as violent as they were before) till such time, as they whom they worshipped were con- veyed from them unto the tents, whom yet as men besides themselves, they would with fury and outrage seek to have again.

After that time had a little quali”ed their madness, they then began to show and make known unto us their griefs and diseases which they carried about them; some of them having old aches, some shrunk sinews, some old sores and chancred ulcers, some wounds more lately received, and the like; in most la men ta ble manner craving help and cure thereof from us; making signs, that if we did but blow upon their griefs, or but touched the diseased places, they would be whole.

Their griefs we could not but take pity on them, and to our power desire to help them: but that (if it pleased God to open their eyes) they might under- stand we were but men and no gods, we used ordinary means, as lotions, emplasters,1 and unguents, most “tly (as far as our skills could guess) agree- ing to the natures of their griefs, beseeching God, if it made for his glory, to give cure to their diseases by these means. The like we did from time to time as they resorted to us.2

Few were the days, wherein they were absent from us, during the whole time of our abode in that place; and ordinarily every third day they brought their sacri”ces, till such time as they certainly understood our meaning, that we took no plea sure, but were displeased with them; whereupon their zeal abated, and their sacri”cing, for a season, to our good liking ceased; not- withstanding they continued still to make their resort unto us in great abun- dance, and in such sort, that they oft- times forgot to provide meat for their own sustenance; so that our General (of whom they made account as of3 a father) was fain to perform the of”ce of a father to them, relieving them with such victuals as we had provided for our selves, as mussels, seals, and such like, wherein they took exceeding much content; and seeing that their sac- ri”ces were displeasing to us, yet (hating ingratitude) they sought to recom- pence us with such things as they had, which they willingly enforced upon us, though it were never so necessary or needful for themselves to keep.

They are a people of a tractable, free, and loving nature, without guile or treachery; their bows and arrows (their only weapons, and almost all their wealth) they use very skillfully, but yet not to do any great harm with them, being by reason of their weakeness more “t for children than for men, send- ing the arrows neither far off nor with any great force: and yet are the men commonly so strong of body, that that which 2 or 3 of our men could hardly bear, one of them would take upon his back, and without grudging carry it easily away, up hill and down hill an En glish mile together: they are also exceeding swift in running, and of long continuance, the use whereof is so familiar with them, that they seldom go, but for the most part run. One thing we observed in them with admiration, that if at any time they chanced to see a “sh so near the shore that they might reach the place without swim- ming, they would never, or very seldom, miss to take it.

* * *

1. Plasters, i.e., preparations with medicinal properties that were spread on the skin, where they hardened.

2. Came to us for aid. 3. I.e., they regarded as.



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Powhatan was a power ful confederation of Indian tribes in the Chesapeake Bay region of pres ent- day Virginia. In the early 1600s, the Powhatan confederacy occupied an area that was roughly one hundred miles on each side. They called the area Tsenacommacah, and it had a precontact population of roughly twenty- “ve thousand. By 1607, when Captain John Smith arrived with the expedition sent by the Virginia Com pany of London to establish Jamestown, the population had shrunk by some ten thousand people, largely from diseases borne to Tsenacom- macah by previous Eu ro pe ans. These colonists included a Spanish mission that had been briedy established there in 1571 and the En glish “lost colony” at Roanoke, which had vanished by 1590. Despite its diminished population, the Powhatan con- federacy remained a regional power involved in far- dung trade networks. It included more than thirty tribes, each with its own chief, or werowance. The tribal alliance was held together mainly by marriage and in some cases by coercion.

Powhatan was the adopted name of the paramount chief, or mamanatowick, of the Powhatans at the time of Jamestown’s settlement. His given name was Wahun- sunacock, and he was the father of Pocohantas. Chief Powhatan was prob ably in his mid sixties when, in late 1607, he captured Smith and held him for under a month, which was long enough for Smith to learn a great deal about the Powhatans and their leader. (For more on Smith, see the se lection of his writings later in this volume.) Smith and Chief Powhatan struck an alliance, and the En glish and the Powhatans became trading partners. The food and other assistance that the Pow- hatans supplied to Jamestown allowed the En glish colony to survive through its “rst winter, though more than half the men and boys in the small colony died even with their aid, leaving only thirty- eight of the original hundred and forty- four colo- nists. The metal tools, copper kettles, and glass beads provided by the En glish enabled the Powhatans to establish trade dominance over inland tribes.

“Powhatan’s Discourse of Peace and War” appears in Smith’s General History of Virginia, New Eng land, and the Summer Isles (1624), as the opening speech in his account of the tense negotiations that led to this trade agreement. In the full text, Smith describes the speech as a “subtle discourse” intended to deceive and manipulate the En glish, to which he responded with considerable bluster and thinly veiled threats. Prob ably based at least in part on Smith’s memories of these events, the discourse and the entire scene are informed by the conventions of classical historiography, which often features set speeches that distill key ele ments and add drama to the narrative. As reconstructed by Smith, Powhatan’s speech makes a compelling case for peaceful rela- tions, even as questions of its authenticity and sincerity add layers of complexity.

Powhatan’s Discourse of Peace and War1

Captain Smith, you may understand that I having seen the death of all my people thrice, and not any one living of those three generations but my self;2

1. The text is from John Smith, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New- Eng land, and the Sum- mer Isles: With the Names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Governors from Their First Begin-

ning, Ano: 1584. To This pres ent 1624 (1624). 2. Powhatan refers to deaths from both disease and warfare.



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I know the difference of peace and war better than any in my country. But now I am old and ere long must die, my brethren, namely Opitchapam, Ope- chancanough, and Kekataugh, my two sisters, and their two daughters, are distinctly each others successors. I wish their experience no less than mine, and your love to them no less than mine to you. But this bruit from Nandsa- mund,3 that you are come to destroy my country, so much affrighteth all my people as they dare not visit you. What will it avail you to take that by force you may quickly have by love, or to destroy them that provide you food? What can you get by war, when we can hide our provisions and dy to the woods? whereby you must famish by wronging us your friends. And why are you thus jealous of our loves seeing us unarmed, and both do, and are willing still to feed you, with that you cannot get but by our labours? Think you I am so simple, not to know it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and sleep quietly with my women and children, laugh and be merry with you, have copper, hatchets, or what I want being your friend: than be forced to dy from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon acorns, roots, and such trash, and be so hunted by you, that I can neither rest, eat, nor sleep; but my tired men must watch, and if a twig but break, every one crieth there commeth Captain Smith: then must I dy I know not whither: and thus with miserable fear, end my miserable life, leaving my pleasures to such youths as you, which through your rash unadvisedness may quickly as miserably end, for want of that, you never know where to “nd. Let this therefore assure you of our loves, and every year our friendly trade shall furnish you with corn, and now also, if you would come in friendly manner to see us, and not thus with your guns and swords as to invade your foes.

3. Noise or rumor from Nansemond, another tribe of the Chesapeake region.


K ing Philip was the En glish name adopted by the Wampanoag leader Metacom (c. 1638–1676), who led an alliance against the En glish colonies in Mas sa chu setts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut in what became known as King Philip’s War (1675– 76). Philip was the son of Massassoit, who had maintained peaceful relations with the Plymouth colonists since their arrival in 1620. In 1662, when Philip became the leader of the Wampanoag alliance, longstanding grievances over land and regional governance had transformed the region into a powder keg. War erupted in 1675, after the Plymouth colony executed three Wampanoags. Philip’s alliance exacted great costs on the En glish but was defeated after Philip was killed in the Great Swamp Fight of August 1676.

After the war, there was an outpouring of printed works giving En glish perspec- tives on the condict, most famously the popu lar captivity narrative of Mary Row- landson (reprinted later in this volume), which “rst appeared in 1682 and was republished many times. Rowlandson’s descriptions of her interactions with Philip show him to have been in some mea sure generous and sympathetic toward her, even as he held her prisoner. Other reports on the war were less respectful toward the defeated leader, notably the account of Captain Benjamin Church, whose celebrity as



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a military hero arose partly from his role in Philip’s death. In Entertaining Passages Relating to Philip’s War (1716), Church described Philip’s dead body as looking like that of “a doleful, great, naked, dirty beast” and told how he had ordered the corpse drawn and quartered. Philip’s head was staked on a pole in Plymouth, where it remained for years.

It was the kind of dehumanization of Philip found in Entertaining Passages that the Pequot leader and Methodist minister William Apess set out to correct in 1836, when he delivered his “Eulogy on King Philip” at the Odeon in Boston. “King Philip’s Speech” is from that eulogy. Speeches offering a Native American perspec- tive on Amer i ca’s colonial wars had become a popu lar genre after Thomas Jefferson published “Chief Logan’s Speech” (included in this volume). Claiming descent from Philip, Apess described him as a leading American, the equal of George Washing- ton and Alexander the Great, a “hero of the wilderness” and martyr to a lost cause who deserved universal re spect. By way of introduction, Apess explained that “this famous speech of Philip was calculated to arouse them to arms, to do the best they could in protecting and defending their rights.”

King Philip’s Speech1

Brothers,— You see this vast country before us, which the great Spirit gave to our fathers and us; you see the buffalo and deer that now are our support.— Brothers, you see these little ones, our wives and children, who are looking to us for food and raiment; and you now see the foe before you, that they have grown insolent and bold; that all our ancient customs are disregarded; the trea- ties made by our fathers and us are broken, and all of us insulted; our council “res disregarded, and all the ancient customs of our fathers; our brothers murdered before our eyes, and their spirits cry to us for revenge. Brothers, these people from the unknown world will cut down our groves, spoil our hunting and planting grounds, and drive us and our children from the graves of our fathers, and our council “res, and enslave our women and children.

1. The text is from Eulogy on King Philip, as Pronounced at the Odeon, in Federal Street, Boston, by the Rev. William Apes[s], An Indian (1836).


These three se lections of early Native American poetry have been excerpted from prose accounts published between 1765 and 1820. They were chosen to illustrate vari ous styles and sources. Interest in oral lit er a tures was strong on both sides of the Atlantic in the eigh teenth century, with works such as Thomas Percy’s Reliques of Ancient En glish Poetry (1765) and Sir Walter Scott’s Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802) representing British traditions. In North Amer i ca, the appeal of indigenous chants and songs for non- Native readers arose in part from a desire to establish a Native equivalent to the ancient poetry of the British isles that Percy and Scott had collected in their volumes. After the American Revolution, a new nationalism in search of local origins provided an additional motive for collecting and enjoying Native poetry.



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The Cherokee war song included here appears as “A Translation of the War- Song. Caw waw noo dee, &c.” in The Memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake (1765). Histori- cally, the Cherokees occupied a broad territory in the Southeast, including areas of what are now the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee. Timberlake had served in the Second Virginia Regiment under Col o nel William Byrd, whose ethnographic and naturalist writings are excerpted elsewhere in this volume. Timberlake’s Memoirs are a rich source of information about mid- eighteenth- century Cherokee culture and society. He had traveled to Tennessee to conduct peace negotiations in 1761, and he later accompanied Ostenaco and two other Cherokee chiefs to London. Of the songs printed in his volume, Timberlake wrote: “Both the ideas and verse are very loose in the original, and they are set to as loose a music, many composing both tunes and song off hand, according to the occasion; tho’ some tunes, especially those taken from the northern Indians, are extremely pretty, and very like the Scotch.”

The Reverend John Heckewelder, a Moravian missionary, printed the Lenape war song included here as “The Song of the Lenape Warriors Going Against the Enemy” in his History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations Who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States (1818). The Lenapes (also known as the Lenni Lenapes or Delaware Indians) were ancient inhabitants of the Middle Atlantic region, occupying parts of what later became several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Their diplomatic and mediation skills were widely admired. Heckewelder spent more than a de cade as a missionary to the Lenape in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and he later worked for the United States Senate as a treaty negotiator. The novelist James Fenimore Cooper drew heavi ly on Heck- ewelder’s History in his Leatherstocking Tales. Heckewelder’s introduction to the song included here emphasizes the impossibility of capturing the vocal tones and musical accompaniment of the per for mance, which he compares to the dif”cul- ties of describing “the melodies of the ancient Greeks.” He nevertheless reports how the performers sang the words “in short lines . . . most generally in detached parts, as time permits and as the occasion or their feelings prompt them. Their accent is very pathetic [i.e., sad], and the whole, in their language, produces con- siderable effect.”

The two Cherokee songs of friendship included here are drawn from a letter writ- ten by Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill in 1817 to the secretary of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), which was published three years later in Archaeologia Americana, a volume of the society’s Transactions. In his letter, Mitchill describes how his inter- actions with the Osages and Cherokees during his ser vice as the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs led to the transcription of several songs and poems. Of the per for mance of the Cherokee songs of friendship he notes, “They repeat the song and chorus until they are tired.” The words of these songs were written down for him by “Mr. Hicks, a Cherokee of the half blood, with his own hand,” while they were in the com pany of several military of”cers and Double Head, a Cherokee warrior. Mitchill sent the songs to the AAS as part of an ongoing effort by that organ ization to rec ord indigenous American history and culture.

Cherokee War Song1

Where’er the earth’s enlighten’d by the sun, Moon shines by night, grass grows, or waters run, Be’t known that we are going, like men, afar,

1. The text is from The Memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake (Who Accompanied Three Cherokee Indi- ans to Eng land in the Year 1762) (1765).



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In hostile “elds to wage destructive war; Like men we go, to meet our country’s foes, 5 Who, woman- like, shall dy our dreaded blows; Yes, as a woman, who beholds a snake, In gaudy horror, glisten thro’ the brake, Starts trembling back, and stares with wild surprize, Or pale thro’ fear, unconscious, panting, dies.2 10 Just so these foes, more tim’rous than the hind, Shall leave their arms and only clothes behind; Pinch’d by each blast, by ev’ry thicket torn, Run back to their own nation, now its scorn: Or in the winter, when the barren wood 15 Denies their gnawing entrails nature’s food, Let them sit down, from friends and country far, And wish, with tears, they ne’er had come to war. We’ll leave our clubs,3 dew’d with their country show’rs, And, if they dare to bring them back to ours, 20 Their painted scalps shall be a step to fame, And grace our own and glorious country’s name. Or if we warriors spare the yielding foe, Torments at home the wretch must undergo.4 But when we go, who knows which shall return, 25 When growing dangers rise with each new morn? Farewell, ye little ones, ye tender wives, For you alone we would conserve our lives! But cease to mourn, ’tis unavailing pain, If not fore- doom’d, we soon shall meet again. 30 But, O ye friends! in case your comrades fall, Think that on you our deaths for vengeance call; With uprais’d tomahawks pursue our blood, And stain, with hostile streams, the conscious wood, That pointing enemies may never tell 35 The boasted place where we, their victims, fell.5

2. “As the Indians “ght naked, the vanquished are constrained to endure the rigours of the weather in their dight, and live upon roots and fruit, as they throw down their arms to accelerate their dight thro’ the woods” [Timberlake’s note]. 3. “It is the custom of the Indians, to leave a club something of the form of a cricket- bat, but with their warlike exploits engraved on it, in their enemy’s country, and the enemy accepts the de”ance, by bringing this back to their coun- try” [Timberlake’s note]. 4. “The prisoners of war are generally tortured by the women, at the party’s return, to revenge the death of those that have perished by the wretch’s countrymen. This savage custom has been so

much mitigated of late, that the prisoners were only compelled to marry, and then generally allowed all the privileges of the natives. This len- ity, however, has been a detriment to the nation; for many of these returning to their countrymen, have made them acquainted with the country- passes, weaknesses, and haunts of the Cherokees; besides that it gave the enemy greater courage to “ght against them” [Timberlake’s note]. 5. “Their custom is generally to engrave their victory on some neighbouring tree, or set up some token of it near the “eld of battle; to this their enemies are here supposed to point to, as boast- ing their victory over them, and the slaughter that they made” [Timberlake’s note].



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1. The text is from History, Manners, and Cus- toms of The Indian Nations Who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States (1818; rev. ed. 1876).

2. Heckewelder wrote “Whom.” 1. The texts are from “Letter from Dr.  Sam- uel L. Mitchill,” Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society (1820).

Lenape War Song1

O poor me! Who2 am going out to “ght the enemy, And know not whether I shall return again, To enjoy the embraces of my children And my wife. 5 O poor creature! Whose life is not in his own hands, Who has no power over his own body, But tries to do his duty For the welfare of his nation. 10 O! thou Great Spirit above! Take pity on my children And on my wife! Prevent their mourning on my account! Grant that I may be successful in this attempt— 15 That I may slay my enemy, And bring home the trophies of war To my dear family and friends, That we may rejoice together. O! take pity on me! 20 Give me strength and courage to meet my enemy, Suffer me to return again to my children, To my wife And to my relations! Take pity on me and preserve my life 25 And I will make to thee a sacri”ce.

Two Cherokee Songs of Friendship1

Song the First

Can, nal, li, èh, ne- was-tu. A friend you resemble.

Chorus. Yai, ne, noo, way. E,noo,way,h!.

Song the Second

Ti, nai, tau, n!, cla, ne- was-tu. Brothers I think we are.

Chorus. Yai, ne, noo, way. E,noo,way,h!.



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In Washington Irving’s widely read biography of Christopher Columbus, “rst pub-lished in 1828, the acclaimed American writer described the Eu ro pean adventurer as possessing an “ardent and enthusiastic imagination which threw a magni”cence over his whole course of thought.” “In his letters and journals,” Irving observed, “instead of detailing circumstances with the technical precision of a mere navigator, he notices the beauties of nature with the enthusiasm of a poet or a painter.” Pop u- lar travel narratives by Marco Polo and Sir John Mandev ille prob ably induenced Columbus’s plans for his historic “rst voyage and shaped his prose style, Irving remarked, and he described as well a “visionary” cast of mind that was evident in every thing Columbus did. Summing up the meaning of the adventurer’s dramatic life, Irving wrestled with the fact that the consequences of this visionary quality were often destructive to himself and those around him— not least due to his role in mak- ing slavery a central part of the encounter between Eu rope and the Amer i cas.

Born into a family of wool workers near the Mediterranean port of Genoa, Colum- bus turned to the sea as a young man, developed a plan to “nd a commercially viable Atlantic route to Asia, and in 1492 won the support of the Spanish monarchs, Fer- dinand and Isabella, for this “enterprise of the Indies.” His unexpected discoveries led to three later voyages intended to establish Spanish power in the West Indies and in South Amer i ca. What seemed an auspicious beginning was followed by a long series of disasters and disappointments. His willingness to enslave the natives, and his lack of interest in indigenous social and cultural forms, had devastating con- sequences. What had appeared to him to be friendly relations with the Taino Indi- ans on the island of Hispaniola in 1492 turned sour as the settlers demanded gold and sexual partners from their hosts. On Columbus’s return to the island in 1494, none of the Eu ro pe ans remained alive. A new settlement fell into disorder while he was away in Cuba and Jamaica. In 1496, he was forced to return to Spain to clear his name of po liti cally motivated charges made against him by Eu ro pean rivals involved in the colonies. A third voyage, begun in 1498, took him for the “rst time to the South American mainland. The lushness of nature there made him believe he was near paradise, but when he returned to Hispaniola, he discovered the Spanish settlers on that island in open rebellion against his authority. Able to reach a truce only at the expense of the Taino Indians, who were virtually enslaved by the rebels, Columbus soon found himself under arrest. He was sent in chains to Spain in 1500 to answer yet more charges. His last voyage, intended to restore his tarnished reputa- tion, resulted in a long period of suffering in Panama and shipwreck in Jamaica. Dur- ing this time, Columbus underwent a virtual breakdown, even suffering delusional periods. Rescued at last, he returned to Eu rope and died not long afterward. His discoveries in the West Indies were left in a state of violent disorder.

The supposed Journal of Columbus’s “rst voyage is actually a summary prepared by the cleric and reformer Bartolomé de las Casas (also pres ent in this volume). However, several documents regarding the four voyages survive from Columbus’s hand. His letter to Luis de Santangel, a court of”cial who helped secure “nancing for the “rst voyage, provides a more au then tic account. This so-called Letter of Discovery served as the basis for the “rst printed description of Amer i ca, initially issued in 1493 and widely translated and reprinted across Eu rope. Here, Columbus writes of marvels in a manner that becomes entwined with the language of posses-



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sion. A memorandum regarding the second voyage, intended by Columbus for the Spanish monarchs (whose responses to each point also survive), offers useful insights into the emerging ambiguities and prob lems of the Hispaniola colony. For the third and fourth voyages, three letters from Columbus, two sent to the Crown and one to a woman of the Spanish court, detail his deepening worldly and spiritual trou bles. His emotional fragility and spiritual despair are effectively conveyed in the excerpt from his letter to Ferdinand and Isabella regarding his fourth voyage that is included here along with the letter to Santangel.

The following texts are from Select Documents Illustrating the Four Voyages of Columbus (1930–33), translated and edited by Cecil Jane.

Letter of Discovery

[At sea, February 15, 1493] Sir, As I know that you will be pleased at the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my voyage, I write this to you, from which you will learn how in thirty- three days, I passed from the Canary Islands to the Indies with the deet which the most illustrious king and queen our sovereigns gave to me. And there I found very many islands “lled with people innumerable, and of them all I have taken possession for their highnesses, by proclamation made and with the royal standard unfurled, and no opposition was offered to me. To the “rst island which I found I gave the name San Salvador,1 in remem- brance of the Divine Majesty, Who has marvelously bestowed all this; the Indians call it “Guanahani.” To the second I gave the name Isla de Santa María de Concepción; to the third, Fernandina; to the fourth, Isabella; to the “fth, Isla Juana,2 and so to each one I gave a new name.

When I reached Juana I followed its coast to the westward, and I found it to be so extensive that I thought that it must be the mainland, the province of Catayo.3 And since there were neither towns nor villages on the seashore, but only small hamlets, with the people of which I could not have speech because they all ded immediately, I went forward on the same course, thinking that I should not fail to “nd great cities and towns. And at the end of many leagues,4 seeing that there was no change and that the coast was bearing me north- wards, which I wished to avoid since winter was already beginning and I proposed to make from it to the south, and as moreover the wind was carry- ing me forward, I determined not to wait for a change in the weather and retraced my path as far as a certain harbor known to me. And from that point I sent two men inland to learn if there were a king or great cities. They trav- eled three days’ journey and found an in”nity of small hamlets and people without number, but nothing of importance. For this reason they returned.

I understood suf”ciently from other Indians, whom I had already taken, that this land was nothing but an island. And therefore I followed its coast eastwards for one hundred and seven leagues to the point where it ended.

1. The precise identity of the Bahamian island Columbus named San Salvador is not known today, although many theories have been put forward, most positing that Watling Island is the likeliest site. 2. Of these four islands, only the identity of

Juana (Cuba) is today certain. 3. I.e., China (or “Cathay”). 4. Re nais sance units of mea sure ment were inex- act. Columbus’s “league” was prob ably about four miles.



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And from that cape I saw another island distant eigh teen leagues from the former, to the east, to which I at once gave the name “Española.”5 And I went there and followed its northern coast, as I had in the case of Juana, to the eastward for one hundred and eighty- eight great leagues in a straight line. This island and all the others are very fertile to a limitless degree, and this island is extremely so. In it there are many harbors on the coast of the sea, beyond comparison with others which I know in Christendom, and many rivers, good and large, which is marvelous. Its lands are high, and there are in it very many sierras and very lofty mountains, beyond comparison with the island of Tenerife.6 All are most beautiful, of a thousand shapes, and all are accessible and “lled with trees of a thousand kinds and tall, and they seem to touch the sky. And I am told that they never lose their fo liage, as I can understand, for I saw them as green and as lovely as they are in Spain in May, and some of them were dowering, some bearing fruit, and some in another stage, according to their nature. And the nightingale7 was singing and other birds of a thousand kinds in the month of November there where I went. There are six or eight kinds of palm, which are a won der to behold on account of their beautiful variety, but so are the other trees and fruits and plants. In it are marvelous pine groves, and there are very large tracts of cultivatable lands, and there is honey, and there are birds of many kinds and fruits in great diversity. In the interior are mines of metals, and the population is without number. Española is a marvel.

The sierras and mountains, the plains and arable lands and pastures, are so lovely and rich for planting and sowing, for breeding cattle of every kind, for building towns and villages. The harbours of the sea here are such as cannot be believed to exist unless they have been seen, and so with the riv- ers, many and great, and good waters, the majority of which contain gold. In the trees and fruits and plants, there is a great difference from those of Juana. In this island, there are many spices and great mines of gold and of other metals.

The people of this island, and of all the other islands which I have found and of which I have information, all go naked, men and women, as their mothers bore them, although some women cover a single place with the leaf of a plant or with a net of cotton which they make for the purpose. They have no iron or steel or weapons, nor are they “tted to use them, not because they are not well built men and of handsome stature, but because they are very marvel- lously timorous. They have no other arms than weapons made of canes, cut in seeding time, to the ends of which they “x a small sharpened stick. And they do not dare to make use of these, for many times it has happened that I have sent ashore two or three men to some town to have speech, and countless people have come out to them, and as soon as they have seen my men approaching they have ded, even a father not waiting for his son. And this, not because ill has been done to anyone; on the contrary, at every point where I have been and have been able to have speech, I have given to them of all that I had, such as cloth and many other things, without receiving anything for it; but so they are, incurably timid. It is true that, after they have been reassured

5. I.e., Hispaniola, where the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic are located. 6. The largest of the Canary Islands. 7. Not native to the Western Hemi sphere. Nor is

the honeybee, presumably the source of the honey mentioned below. The existence of gold in the rivers, also mentioned below, was purely con- jectural.



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8. A castellano was a gold coin. 9. A blanca was a copper coin. An arroba was equal to twenty- “ve pounds. 1. No rec ord exists of how many indigenous people Columbus took captive, but only seven

survived the voyage to Spain. On the second voy- age, one of these seven acted as interpreter. 2. Communication, exchange. 3. A fusta was a moderate- sized ship, smaller than a galley, with banks of oars and a single mast.

and have lost their fear, they are so guileless and so generous with all they pos- sess, that no one would believe it who has not seen it. They never refuse any- thing which they possess, if it be asked of them; on the contrary, they invite anyone to share it, and display as much love as if they would give their hearts, and whether the thing be of value or whether it be of small price, at once with what ever tride of what ever kind it may be that is given to them, with that they are content. I forbade that they should be given things so worthless as frag- ments of broken crockery and scraps of broken glass, and ends of straps, although when they were able to get them, they fancied that they possessed the best jewel in the world. So it was found that a sailor for a strap received gold to the weight of two and a half castellanos,8 and others much more for other things which were worth much less. As for new blancas, for them they would give every thing which they had, although it might be two or three cas- tellanos’ weight of gold or an arroba9 or two of spun cotton. . . . They took even the pieces of the broken hoops of the wine barrels and, like savages, gave what they had, so that it seemed to me to be wrong and I forbade it. And I gave a thousand handsome good things, which I had brought, in order that they might conceive affection, and more than that, might become Christians and be inclined to the love and ser vice of their highnesses and of the whole Castil- ian nation, and strive to aid us and to give us of the things which they have in abundance and which are necessary to us. And they do not know any creed and are not idolaters; only they all believe that power and good are in the heav- ens, and they are very “rmly convinced that I, with these ships and men, came from the heavens, and in this belief they everywhere received me, after they had overcome their fear. And this does not come because they are ignorant; on the contrary, they are of a very acute intelligence and are men who navigate all those seas, so that it is amazing how good an account they give of every thing, but it is because they have never seen people clothed or ships of such a kind.

And as soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the “rst island which I found, I took by force some of them, in order that they might learn and give me information of that which there is in those parts, and so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or signs, and they have been very ser viceable.1 I still take them with me, and they are always assured that I come from Heaven, for all the intercourse2 which they have had with me; and they were the “rst to announce this wherever I went, and the others went running from house to house and to the neighbouring towns, with loud cries of, “Come! Come to see the people from Heaven!” So all, men and women alike, when their minds were set at rest concerning us, came, so that not one, great or small, remained behind, and all brought something to eat and drink, which they gave with extraordinary affection. In all the island, they have very many canoes, like rowing fustas,3 some larger, some smaller, and some are larger than a fusta of eigh teen benches. They are not so broad, because they are made of a single log of wood, but a fusta would not keep up with them in rowing, since their speed is a thing incredible. And in these they navigate among all those islands, which are



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4. Columbus was mistaken about the single lan- guage, as he later discovered. In fact, there was considerable linguistic diversity. 5. Actually, Cuba occupies roughly forty- three thousand square miles, whereas Eng land alone is more than “fty thousand square miles in area. 6. The Natives called one region of the island “Havana,” and “Avan” may be Columbus’s ren- dering of that name. 7. Again, Columbus overstates his comparison.

The coastline of Spain and Portugal mea sures roughly nineteen hundred miles, whereas that of Española is about “fteen hundred miles. “Colibre”: Collioure, in the Pyrenees; “Fuenterabia:” Hondar- ribia, a coastal town in northwestern Spain. 8. A site on the modern bay of Caracol, in Haiti. “ Grand Khan”: the Chinese emperor. 9. Columbus left approximately forty men at La Navidad.

innumerable, and carry their goods. One of these canoes I have seen with seventy and eighty men in her, and each one with his oar.

In all these islands, I saw no great diversity in the appearance of the people or in their manners and language.4 On the contrary, they all under- stand one another, which is a very curious thing, on account of which I hope that their highnesses will determine upon their conversion to our holy faith, towards which they are very inclined.

I have already said how I have gone one hundred and seven leagues in a straight line from west to east along the seashore of the island Juana, and as a result of that voyage, I can say that this island is larger than Eng land and Scotland together,5 for, beyond these one hundred and seven leagues, there remain to the westward two provinces to which I have not gone. One of these provinces they call “Avan,”6 and there the people are born with tails; and these provinces cannot have a length of less than “fty or sixty leagues, as I could understand from those Indians whom I have and who know all the islands.

The other, Española, has a circumference greater than all Spain, from Colibre, by the sea- coast, to Fuenterabia in Vizcaya, since I voyaged along one side one hundred and eighty- eight great leagues in a straight line from west to east.7 It is a land to be desired and, seen, it is never to be left. And in it, although of all I have taken possession for their highnesses and all are more richly endowed than I know how, or am able, to say, and I hold them all for their highnesses, so that they may dispose of them as, and as absolutely as, of the kingdoms of Castile, in this Española, in the situation most con ve- nient and in the best position for the mines of gold and for all intercourse as well with the mainland here as with that there, belonging to the Grand Khan, where will be great trade and gain, I have taken possession of a large town, to which I gave the name Villa de Navidad,8 and in it I have made for- ti”cations and a fort, which now will by this time be entirely “nished, and I have left in it suf”cient men9 for such a purpose with arms and artillery and provisions for more than a year, and a fusta, and one, a master of all seacraft, to build others, and great friendship with the king of that land, so much so, that he was proud to call me, and to treat me as, a brother. And even if he were to change his attitude to one of hostility towards these men, he and his do not know what arms are and they go naked, as I have already said, and are the most timorous people that there are in the world, so that the men whom I have left there alone would suf”ce to destroy all that land, and the island is without danger for their persons, if they know how to govern themselves.

In all these islands, it seems to me that all men are content with one woman, and to their chief or king they give as many as twenty. It appears to me that the women work more than the men. And I have not been able to learn if they hold private property; what seemed to me to appear was that, in that which one had, all took a share, especially of eatable things.



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1. Among those who expected to “nd human monstrosities was Pierre d’Ailly, a French theo- logian, phi los o pher, and cardinal. Columbus annotated his own copy of d’Ailly’s cosmographic and astronomical writings, the Imago Mundi (written between 1410 and  1419 and printed sometime between 1480 and 1490). 2. Either Dominica or Maria Galante. 3. Now Martinique. “Intercourse”: here, in the sexual sense. 4. The Genoese government. “Chios”: an island, now part of Greece, that had been claimed by Genoa since 1346; Columbus may have visited there in 1474–75. “Mastic”: a natu ral resin pro- duced from the mastic tree, sometimes known as

“the tears of Chios.” The trade in mastic was controlled by a com pany that became a tributary to the Ottomans in 1453. 5. In 1452, Pope Nicholas V authorized the Por- tuguese to reduce any non- Christians to the sta- tus of slaves; two years later, he granted Portugal a mono poly of the slave trade with Africa. Spain ignored the mono poly status that Nicholas had granted to Portugal and began trading in African slaves. On arriving in the West Indies, Colum- bus almost immediately began to take captives, and a bit later he participated in the enslavement of Native people. He eventually developed a plan for a slave trade in indigenous Americans.

In these islands I have so far found no human monstrosities, as many expected,1 but on the contrary the whole population is very well- formed, nor are they negroes as in Guinea, but their hair is dowing, and they are not born where there is intense force in the rays of the sun; it is true that the sun has there great power, although it is distant from the equinoctial line twenty- six degrees. In these islands, where there are high mountains, the cold was severe this winter, but they endure it, being used to it and with the help of meats which they eat with many and extremely hot spices. As I have found no monsters, so I have had no report of any, except in an island “Quaris,”2 the second at the coming into the Indies, which is inhab- ited by a people who are regarded in all the islands as very “erce and who eat human desh. They have many canoes with which they range through all the islands of India and pillage and take as much as they can. They are no more malformed than the others, except that they have the custom of wearing their hair long like women, and they use bows and arrows of the same cane stems, with a small piece of wood at the end, owing to lack of iron which they do not possess. They are ferocious among these other people who are cowardly to an excessive degree, but I make no more account of them than of the rest. These are those who have intercourse with the women of “Matinino,”3 which is the “rst island met on the way from Spain to the Indies, in which there is not a man. These women engage in no feminine occupation, but use bows and arrows of cane, like those already mentioned, and they arm and protect themselves with plates of copper, of which they have much.

In another island, which they assure me is larger than Española, the people have no hair. In it, there is gold incalculable, and from it and from the other islands, I bring with me Indians as evidence.

In conclusion, to speak only of that which has been accomplished on this voyage, which was so hasty, their highnesses can see that I will give them as much gold as they may need, if their highnesses will render me very slight assistance; moreover, spice and cotton, as much as their highnesses shall command; and mastic, as much as they shall order to be shipped and which, up to now, has been found only in Greece, in the island of Chios, and the Seignory4 sells it for what it pleases; and aloe wood, as much as they shall order to be shipped, and slaves, as many as they shall order to be shipped and who will be from the idolaters.5 And I believe that I have found rhubarb and cinnamon, and I shall “nd a thousand other things of value, which the people whom I have left there will have discovered, for I have not delayed at any point, so far as the wind allowed me to sail, except in the town of Navi-



6. There is a gap here in the original manuscript. 7. Columbus was in fact off Santa Maria, one of the islands in the Azores. “Caravel”: a fast, light sailing ship, much used by the Portuguese for exploring the African coast. Two of the three ships on Columbus’s “rst voyage, the Niña and the Pinta, were caravels. 8. The Admiral. 9. Columbus’s decision to go to Lisbon, Portu- gal, aroused suspicions in Spain, where Portu-

gal was regarded as a major rival. 1. Written on Jamaica in 1503, this letter was hand carried from there to Hispaniola by Diego Mendez. 2. Paria was the mainland region of what is now Venezuela, near the island of Trinidad. Columbus, who had “rst landed in South Amer i ca (“Terra Firma,” as he terms it later) in 1498, argued that the terrestrial paradise lay nearby.

dad, in order to leave it secured and well established, and in truth, I should have done much more, if the ships had served me, as reason demanded.

This is enough . . . 6 and the eternal God, our Lord, Who gives to all those who walk in His way triumph over things which appear to be impos- sible, and this was notably one; for, although men have talked or have writ- ten of these lands, all was conjectural, without suggestion of ocular evidence, but amounted only to this, that those who heard for the most part listened and judged it to be rather a fable than as having any vestige of truth. So that, since Our Redeemer has given this victory to our most illus- trious king and queen, and to their renowned kingdoms, in so great a matter, for this all Christendom ought to feel delight and make great feasts and give solemn thanks to the Holy Trinity with many solemn prayers for the great exaltation which they shall have, in the turning of so many peoples to our holy faith, and afterwards for temporal bene”ts, for not only Spain but all Christians will have hence refreshment and gain.

This, in accordance with that which has been accomplished, thus briedy. Done in the caravel, off the Canary Islands,7 on the “fteenth of Febru-

ary, in the year one thousand four hundred and ninety- three. At your orders. El Almirante.8


After having written this, and being in the sea of Castile, there came on me so great a south- south- west wind, that I was obliged to lighten ship. But I ran here to- day into this port of Lisbon,9 which was the greatest marvel in the world, whence I deci ded to write to their highnesses. In all the Indies, I have always found weather like May; where I went in thirty- three days and I had returned in twenty- eight, save for these storms which have detained me for fourteen days, beating about in this sea. Here all the sailors say that never has there been so bad a winter nor so many ships lost.

Done on the fourth day of March.


From Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage1

[Jamaica, July 7, 1503]

* * * Of Española, Paria,2 and the other lands, I never think without weeping. I believed that their example would have been to the pro”t of others; on the

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3. Although it appears that Columbus has speci”c personal enemies in mind, it is not clear whom he means. 4. I.e., Panama, where Columbus was shipwrecked earlier in this voyage.

5. Cf. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22.21).

contrary, they are in an exhausted state; although they are not dead, the in”rmity is incurable or very extensive; let him who brought them to this state come now with the remedy if he can or if he knows it; in destruction, every one is an adept. It was always the custom to give thanks and promo- tion to him who imperiled his person. It is not just that he who has been so hostile to this undertaking should enjoy its fruits or that his children should. Those who left the Indies, dying from toils and speaking evil of the matter and of me, have returned with of”cial employment.3 So it has now been ordained in the case of Veragua.4 It is an ill example and without pro”t for the business and for justice in the world.

The fear of this, with other suf”cient reasons, which I saw clearly, led me to pray your highnesses before I went to discover these islands and Terra Firma, that you would leave them to me to govern in your royal name. It pleased you; it was a privilege and agreement, and under seal and oath, and you granted me the title of viceroy and admiral and governor general of all. And you “xed the boundary, a hundred leagues beyond the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands, by a line passing from pole to pole, and you gave me wide power over this and over all that I might further discover. The docu- ment states this very fully.

The other most impor tant matter, which calls aloud for redress, remains inexplicable to this moment. Seven years I was at your royal court, where all to whom this undertaking was mentioned, unanimously declared it to be a delusion. Now all, down to the very tailors, seek permission to make dis- coveries. It can be believed that they go forth to plunder, and it is granted to them to do so, so that they greatly prejudice my honor and do very great dam- age to the enterprise. It is well to give to God that which is His due and to Caesar that which belongs to him.5 This is a just sentiment and based on justice.

The lands which here obey Your Highnesses are more extensive and richer than all other Christian lands. After I, by the divine will, had placed them under your royal and exalted lordship, and was on the point of secur- ing a very great revenue, suddenly, while I was waiting for ships to come to your high presence with victory and with great news of gold, being very secure and joyful, I was made a prisoner and with my two brothers was thrown into a ship, laden with fetters, stripped to the skin, very ill- treated, and without being tried or condemned. Who will believe that a poor foreigner could in such a place rise against Your Highnesses, with- out cause, and without the support of some other prince, and being alone among your vassals and natu ral subjects, and having all my children at your royal court?

I came to serve at the age of twenty- eight years, and now I have not a hair on my body that is not gray, and my body is in”rm, and what ever remained to me from those years of ser vice has been spent and taken away from me and sold, and from my brothers, down to my very coat, without my being heard or seen, to my great dishonor. It must be believed that this was not done by your royal command. The restitution of my honor, the reparation of



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my losses, and the punishment of him who did this, will spread abroad the fame of your royal nobility. The same punishment is due to him who robbed me of the pearls, and to him who infringed my rights as admiral.6 Very great will be your merit, fame without parallel will be yours, if you do this, and there will remain in Spain a glorious memory of Your Highnesses, as grate- ful and just princes.

The pure devotion which I have ever borne to the ser vice of Your High- nesses, and the unmerited wrong that I have suffered, will not permit me to remain silent, although I would fain do so; I pray Your Highnesses to pardon me. I am so ruined as I have said; hitherto I have wept for others; now, Heaven have mercy upon me, and may the earth weep for me. Of worldly goods, I have not even a blanca7 for an offering in spiritual things. Here in the Indies I have become careless of the prescribed forms of religion. Alone in my trou ble, sick, in daily expectation of death, and encompassed about by a million savages, full of cruelty and our foes, and so separated from the holy Sacraments of Holy Church, my soul will be forgotten if it here leaves my body. Weep for me, whoever has charity, truth, and justice.

I did not sail upon this voyage to gain honor or wealth; this is certain, for already all hope of that was dead. I came to Your Highnesses with true devo- tion and with ready zeal, and I do not lie. I humbly pray Your Highnesses that if it please God to bring me forth from this place, that you will be pleased to permit me to go to Rome and to other places of pilgrimage. May the Holy Trinity preserve your life and high estate, and grant you increase of pros- perity.

Done in the Indies in the island of Jamaica, on the seventh of July, in the year one thousand “ve hundred and three.


6. The reference is to Alonso de Ojeda (1468– c. 1516), who had taken pearls— part of what was reserved to Columbus under his agreement with

the Spanish Crown— from Paria to Española. 7. See n. 9, p. 61.


“I saw all these things I have described, and countless others.” So wrote Bartolomé de las Casas, the Spanish “Apostle of the Indians,” who is best known as early modern Eu rope’s most eloquent advocate for Native American rights. During Las Casas’s early career as a soldier, he observed and, to some extent, participated in the atrocities that were being perpetrated on the Native inhabitants of the Amer i- cas, often in the name of Chris tian ity. Increasingly troubled by these events, and provoked by the gaps between Christian ideals and the brutality committed in its name, Las Casas gradually sought in his religious faith a means to challenge the vio lence that was decimating indigenous communities. In a famous sermon of 1514,



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delivered shortly after he entered the Roman Catholic priesthood, Las Casas repu- diated the institution of forced labor known as the encomienda system and returned the Indian serfs he had been awarded.

From this time until his death, Las Casas engaged in a vigorous campaign to institute a more just relationship between Amer i ca’s Eu ro pean colonizers and its indigenous inhabitants. Las Casas spoke, wrote, and published against existing practices, often in excoriating terms, to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. He proposed alternatives to the existing system, including, to his later regret, the intro- duction of Africans as slaves to replace the forced labor of indigenous Americans. He engaged in practical efforts to establish more- benign colonial relations, notably in Venezuela in 1520, and again in Chiapas, Mexico, during the mid-1540s after his appointment as bishop there, but these proj ects largely failed.

Las Casas’s arguments had their greatest successes in 1537, when Pope Paul III forbade all further Native enslavements, and in 1542, when the Spanish emperor Charles V followed suit in the New Laws of the Indies, which gave Native Ameri- cans full protection of the courts, forbidding their enslavement on any grounds. “We order and command that henceforth,” ran one clause in the New Laws, “for no cause whatsoever, whether of war, rebellion, ransom, or in any other manner, can any Indian be made a slave.” Not long afterward, Las Casas was once again disap- pointed, when Charles V revoked key features of the New Laws in the face of pres- sure from settlers. The reformer spent the last twenty years of his life writing about his long crusade in the West Indies.

Las Casas had family ties to Christopher Columbus as well as personal memories of the excitement surrounding the “discoveries.” He helped shape Columbus’s leg- acy by transcribing the logbook from the “rst voyage in what is the only surviving copy of that document; he also transcribed and annotated Columbus’s diaries. Of Las Casas’s own writings, the most impor tant in his own era was Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias. ( There are minor variations in En glish translations of the title, rendered in the following text as An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies.) First published in 1552, Destruction of the Indies was based on oral arguments that Las Casas had used a de cade earlier to persuade a special royal commission to frame the legal code of 1542. The emphasis in the printed text on personal witness, like the biting irony of his descriptions of “Chris- tians,” stems from the rhetorical context of the original setting.

Destruction of the Indies details with chilling effect the devastation visited on Native Americans by conquistadors and colonizers in pursuit of wealth. Las Casas was widely accused of treason and endured charges of heresy, partly because the quick translation of this work into several other languages provided Spain’s ene- mies with ample evidence of his country’s sins in Amer i ca— a point that Protestant nations such as the Netherlands and Eng land especially wished to highlight, at least partly in the interest of their own colonial proj ects. Ironically, the later Prot- estant “Black Legend” of Spanish devastations in the West Indies derives in impor- tant ways from the polemical exposé that the Catholic priest Bartolomé de las Casas intended less as a denunciation of Spain’s past be hav ior than as a call to its future reform.



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From An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies1

On the Island Hispaniola

On the island Hispaniola, which was the “rst, as we said, wherein the Chris- tians entered and began the devastations and perditions of these nations, and “rst destroyed them and wiped the land clean of inhabitants, these Christians began to take the women and children of the Indians to serve them and use them ill, and they would eat their victuals that issued from the sweat of their brow and their hard work, and yet still were not content with what the Indians gave them willingly, according to the ability that each one had, which is not ever much, for they seldom have more than that which they have most immediate need of and can produce with little labour. And in truth, what suf”ces for three houses of ten persons each for a month, a Christian will eat and destroy in one day, and these Christians did them many other acts of compulsion and vio lence and vexation.

The Indians, at this treatment, began to see that those men must not have come down from the sky, or heaven,2 and some hid their victuals, others their women and children, while others ded into the wilderness to remove them- selves from men of such hard and terrible conversation.3 The Christians would smite them with their hands and strike them with their “sts and beat them with sticks and cudgels, until they ” nally laid hands upon the lords of the villages. And this practice came to such great temerity and shameless- ness and ignominy that a Christian captain did violate the wife of the great- est king, the lord of all the island.4 And at that, the Indians began to seek ways to cast the Christians from their lands; they took up arms, which are but weak and petty things, of little offence and re sis tance and even less defence (for which reason, all their wars are little more than what would be games with wooden swords here in this land, or even children’s games), and at that, the Christians with their horses and swords and pikes and lances began to wreak slaughters and singular cruelties upon them.

They would enter into the villages and spare not children, or old people, or pregnant women, or women with suckling babes, but would open the woman’s belly and hack the babe to pieces, as though they were butchering lambs shut up in their pen. They would lay wagers who might slice open the belly of a man with one stroke of their blade, or cut off a man’s head with one swift motion of their pike, or spill out his entrails. They would snatch babes from their mothers’ breasts and take them by their feet and dash their heads against the rocks. Others would ding them over their shoulders into the rivers, laughing and jeering, and as they fell into the water they would call out: “Thrash, you little bugger!”; other babes, they would run their swords

1. The text is from An Account, Much Abbrevi- ated, of the Destruction of the Indies (2003), ed. Franklin W. Knight, trans. Andrew Hurley. 2. Christopher Columbus, Thomas Harriot, and other early Eu ro pean arrivals in the Amer i cas reported that Native peoples took them to be gods who had come from the heavens. 3. Social interaction. 4. Francisco de Valenzuela raped the wife of the Taino cacique (chief) Enriquillo (c. 1498– ?),

who had been raised in a Franciscan monastery on Santo Domingo. Angered by this treatment, Enriquillo led revolts against the Spanish from 1519 to 1538 from a base in the mountains that attracted Natives and escaped African slaves. Charles V eventually ordered that a peace treaty be signed, the “rst such treaty between Eu ro pe- ans and indigenous Americans. Las Casas was involved in the reconciliation with Enriquiollo that followed.



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5. Gallows. 6. A frame of parallel metal bars used for grilling.

7. A city in southern Spain. 8. Puerto Rico was called San Juan until 1521.

through mother and child at once, and all that they came across. They would erect long gibbets,5 but no higher than that a man’s feet might dangle just above the ground, and bind thirteen of the Indians at one time, in honour and reverence, they said, of Our Redeemer and the twelve Apostles, and put “rewood around it and burn the Indians alive. Others, they would tie or bind their bodies all about with dry straw, and set “re to the straw and burn them that way. Others, and all those that they desired to let live, they would cut off both their hands but leave them hanging by the skin, and they would say to them: “Go, and take these letters,” which was to say, carry the news to the people who have hidden themselves in the mountains and the wilder- ness. They would often slay the lords and nobles in this way: They would weave together twigs and branches, like unto a gridiron,6 but made of twigs, and raise it on forked poles or limbs of trees set into the ground, and tether the lords and nobles to that grate and set a slow “re below it, so that little by little, crying out and screaming from those torments, and in desperation, they would give up their souls.

I myself saw that once, four or “ve lords and men of high rank were being burned on grates in this way (and I even think that there may have been two or three pairs of grates on which others were also being burned), and on account of their loud cries and clamours, the captain seemed to take pity on them, or perhaps they disturbed his sleep, and he ordered them hanged; but the executioner that was burning them, who was worse than any hang- man (and I know what his name is and even met certain kinsmen of his in Seville),7 was not content to hang them, and so with his hands he sewed their mouths shut with sticks, so that they could make no sounds, and then poked up the “re and roasted them as long as he had “rst desired. I vouchsafe that I did see all the things I have writ above, and in”nite numbers of others. And because all those who were able to dee, did hide themselves in the wil- derness and go up into the mountains to escape those men who were so inhumane, so pitiless, and so savage, and such abominable destroyers and foremost enemies of the human lineage, the Spaniards taught and trained hunting hounds, “erce and savage dogs that would no sooner see an Indian than they would tear him to pieces, and would rather set upon a man and eat him than if he were a pig. These dogs wrought dreadful havoc and butch- eries. And because sometimes, though seldom, the Indians would slay a Christian, though for good and just reason and in holy justice, the Span- iards made a law amongst themselves that for every one Christian that the Indians slew, the Christians would slay an hundred Indians.

* * * From all that coast, which was once “lled with people, they have brought to the island of Hispaniola and that of San Juan8 two million or more souls whom they have taken in their raids, and all of those, too, they have slain on those islands and sent to the mines or to other hard labour, over and above the multitudes who lived on them, as we have said above. And it is a great pity and it breaks one’s heart to see that coast of fertile, blessed land, now des- ert and bare of people.



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9. The Bahamas.

And this is a truth that may easily be con”rmed: That they never bring a ship “lled with Indians, stolen and assaulted in this manner, as I have said, that they do not cast into the sea, dead, the third part of those who are upon it, having left that many more dead in taking them from their lands. The reason is that, in order to accomplish their ends they must have many people, to obtain more money for more slaves, and they carry but little food or water (so that the tyrants who style themselves “shipowners” may save a little money), hardly enough store, or a little more, for the Spaniards who go in the ship to carry out their raids, and so there is not enough for the poor, sad Indians, and so they die of hunger and thirst, and the answer is to throw them into the sea. And in truth one man who was with them told me that from one island of the Lucayos,9 where they cause great devastation in this wise, to the Island of Hispaniola, which is sixty or seventy leagues, a ship might sail without compass and without map, taking its course by the trail of Indians doating on the surface of the sea, thrown dead from a ship that went before.

Then, from the moment they remove them from the ship onto the island where they have carried the Indians to be sold as slaves, it would break the heart of any man in whom any jot of mercy were remaining, to see children and old persons, men and women, naked and starving, and falling in a faint from hunger. Then, as though they were lambs, fathers are separated from their sons and wives from their husbands, making herds of ten or twenty persons, and lots are cast for them, so that the groups of them may be car- ried off by the wretched “shipowners,” who are those who put in their part of the money to “t out the armada of two or three ships, and the tyrannical raiders who go out to lay hold of them and set upon them in their homes. And when it happens that within such a lot there is some Indian that is old or sick, the tyrant calls out to the one who is apportioning the lots: “This old man, to the devil with him. What are you giving him to me for, to bury him? This sick one, why should I take him, to cure him?” And one may see here in what great esteem the Spaniards hold the Indians, and may judge whether they obey the divine commandment from which the Law and the Prophets all derive, that men should love one another.

The tyranny that the Spaniards exercise against the Indians in “nding or diving for pearls is one of the most cruel and shameful things in the world. There is no hellish and hopeless life on this earth that may be compared with it, however hard and terrible taking out the gold in the mines may be. They throw them into the sea in three and four and “ve yards’ depth from early morning until the sun has set. They are always underwater swimming, without respite, tearing from the seabed the oysters in which the pearls are found. Bearing little nets and gasping for air, they come to the surface, where a Spanish torturer awaits them in a canoe or little rowboat, and if they dally too long in resting, they are beaten and water is poured upon their head to make them dive again. Their food is “sh, and also the “sh that contains the pearls, and bread made of cassava and sometimes of maize, which are the common breads in those parts, the “rst of very little substance and the other toilsome to make, and with which they never “ll themselves. The beds that



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they are given of a night is that they are cast into stocks1 set into the ground, so that they cannot run away. Often they dive into the sea in their “shing or search for pearls and never come up again, because two species of most bloodthirsty and vicious sea beasts,2 which can swallow a man down whole, do eat them and kill them. And one can see here whether the Spaniards who in their search for pearls act in this wise have obeyed the divine precepts of love for God and man by putting these poor creatures in the way of danger both temporal and of the soul as well, because they die outside the faith and without sacraments, and all for their own in”nite greed. And another thing, giving them such a miserable life until they wear them away and consume them in the space of but a few and easily numbered days. Because for men, living under the water without respite is a thing impossible for very long, most especially when the constant coldness of the water penetrates them to their very innards, and so all of them generally die spitting blood from out their mouths, by reason of the tightness of chest that seizes them from being so long and so constantly without respite, and with the diarrhea caused by the cold. Their hair, which is by nature black, becomes burned like the hair of sailors, and salt trails run down their backs, so that they appear to be mon- sters in the form of men, or another species entirely. In this incomparable labour, or to say the truth, this hellish enterprise, the Spaniards have spent3 and consumed all the Indians of the Lucayos that once lived on that island when the Spaniards descended into this species of farming. And each one of them was worth “fty or one hundred castellanos,4 and they sold them pub- licly, even though such treatment was forbidden by their own justices (unjust enough, if truth be told), although the Lucayos were “ne swimmers. And in these parts there have died countless others from other provinces and parts.

1542–46 1552

1. Wooden structures for securing a person’s hands and feet. 2. Sharks and barracuda.

3. Worn out, used up. 4. Spanish gold coins.


One of the most common forms of writing to emerge from the Eu ro pean encounter with the Amer i cas was travel or exploration narratives. These nar- ratives, in Spanish frequently called relaciónes, combined adventure and captivity tales with descriptions of the manners and customs of local inhabitants. While the descriptive passages sometimes resemble the modern scholarly genre of ethnogra- phy, they were written with dif fer ent aims from those of academic anthropologists. In the dedication to his relación, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca asserts that his account “is of no trivial value” because it will help adventurers who seek to “subdue those countries and bring them to a knowledge of the true faith and true Lord and bring them under the imperial dominion” of Spain’s Emperor Charles V, grand son



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and successor of Ferdinand and Isabella. This frank statement captures the stance and tone of many such narratives.

A soldier of modest noble background who had fought in Italy and Spain, Cabeza de Vaca sailed in the 1527 expedition to Florida led by Pan”lo de Narváez. Impetu- ous, self- centered, and a poor leader, Narváez “rst took his six hundred men to His- paniola, where a quarter of them deserted, and then to Cuba, where two of the six ships were lost in a hurricane. Ten months after leaving Spain, the expedition became stranded near what is now Sarasota Bay, on Florida’s west coast. Narváez asserted possession of Florida even as the inhabitants of Sarasota Bay (prob ably Calusa Indi- ans) made, in Cabeza de Vaca’s words, “many signs and threats [that] left little doubt that they were bidding us to go.” Soon the expedition, reduced to eating its horses, sought to escape other groups of Florida Indians, from the Timucuan of the Suwan- nee River area to the Apalachees of the Panhandle. They built clumsy “barges” and retreated to the sea, traveling west along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Narváez took the best oarsmen in his own craft and left the other barges behind him as they neared what is now Mobile Bay, in Alabama. As he pulled away from the others he told them, with false magnanimity, that (again, in Cabeza de Vaca’s word’s) “it was no longer a time when one should command another”—in short, every man for himself! With that, Narváez and his crew dis appeared, apparently lost at sea.

The other rafts passed the mouth of what seems to have been the Mississippi River and, in November 1528, wrecked on an island, which they called Malhado (Misfortune, or Doom; pres ent- day Galveston Island or San Luis Island, Texas). Cabeza de Vaca survived and was initially accompanied by three fellow survivors: the Spaniards Andrés Dorantes and Alonso del Castillo Maldonado and Dorantes’s black slave, Estevánico, who was from the Moroccan town of Azemmor. During the subsequent de cade, alone or with drifting groups of other survivors, Cabeza de Vaca underwent a North American odyssey. He spent his “rst two years on the Texas coast as a prisoner and slave of the Capoque and Han clans of the Karankawa Indi- ans. He then gradually progressed north and west, gaining status and power among the Caddos, Atakapas, Coahuiltecans, and other Native communities from his activities as a merchant and, especially, his skill as a healer. By 1535, he reached pres ent- day New Mexico, where he encountered the Jumanos and Conchos, then headed southwest into Mexico as the leader of a vast crowd of Pimas and Opatas who rev er ent ly followed him from village to village.

The heady mood of the journey dissipated the following March, however, when the wanderers encountered a party of Spanish slave hunters under Diego de Alcaraz in western Mexico. Seeing the terror exhibited by his Indian escorts at the men he described as “Christian slavers,” Cabeza de Vaca became openly critical of Alcaraz, who arrested him, sent him south, and seized as slaves the six hundred Natives in his com pany. From Mexico City, where he agitated against the cruel (and technically illegal) activities of the likes of Alcaraz, Cabeza de Vaca went to Spain in 1537. After making similar protestations to Charles V, he was allowed to lead an expedition to South Amer i ca in 1540. As governor of the Río de la Plata region, Cabeza de Vaca hoped to enact enlightened policies toward the Natives, but his colonists, pro”ting from slavery, removed him forcibly from of”ce and sent him in chains back to Spain in 1545. After long delays in settling the dispute, in 1551 he was exiled to what is now Algeria and forbidden to return to Amer i ca.

Cabeza de Vaca composed his “rst narrative of the Narváez expedition during the three years he spent in Spain before his departure for Río de la Plata. It was published in 1542; a corrected and expanded version, which includes the story of his later Amer- ican experience, appeared in 1555. Addressed to Charles V, the 1542 account sought to justify his conclusions regarding Spanish policy and be hav ior in Amer i ca as well as to argue for renewed explorations and settlement in the regions he had crossed. Sev- eral later Spanish expeditions, including those of Coronado and de Soto, clearly drew on Cabeza de Vaca’s arguments and knowledge. More impor tant, however, The Rela-

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tion of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca sought to recount (with remarkable understate- ment) his sufferings and many brushes with death and to explore his complex feelings regarding the Native Americans and his countrymen’s dealings with them. The se lections included here demonstrate the range and complexity of his rhetorical modes, from dedicatory prose to ethnographic- style writing to dramatic recounting.

From The Relation of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca1


Sacred Caesarian Catholic Majesty:

Among all the princes who have reigned, I know of none who has enjoyed the universal esteem of Your Majesty at this day, when strangers vie in appro- bation with those motivated by religion and loyalty.

Although every one wants what advantage may be gained from ambition and action, we see everywhere great inequalities of fortune, brought about not by conduct but by accident, and not through anybody’s fault but as the will of God. Thus the deeds of one far exceed his expectation, while another can show no higher proof of purpose than his fruitless effort, and even the effort may go unnoticed.

I can say for myself that I undertook the march abroad, on royal authori- zation, with a “rm trust that my ser vice would be as evident and distin- guished as my ancestors’, and that I would not need to speak to be counted among those Your Majesty honors for diligence and “delity in affairs of state. But my counsel and constancy availed nothing toward those objectives we set out to gain, in your interests, for our sins. In fact, no other of the many armed expeditions into those parts has found itself in such dire straits as ours, or come to so futile and fatal a conclusion.

My only remaining duty is to transmit what I saw and heard in the nine years I wandered lost and miserable over many remote lands. I hope in some mea sure to convey to Your Majesty not merely a report of positions and dis- tances, dora and fauna, but of the customs of the numerous, barbarous people I talked with and dwelt among, as well as any other matters I could hear of or observe. My hope of going out from among those nations was always small; nevertheless, I made a point of remembering all the particu- lars, so that should God our Lord eventually please to bring me where I am now, I might testify to my exertion in the royal behalf.

Since this narrative, in my opinion, is of no trivial value for those who go in your name to subdue those countries and bring them to a knowledge of the true faith and true Lord and bring them under the imperial dominion, I have written very exactly. Novel or, for some persons, dif”cult to believe though the things narrated may be, I assure you they can be accepted without hesitation as strictly factual. Better than to exaggerate, I have minimized all things; it is enough to say that the relation is offered Your Majesty for truth.

I beg that it may be received as homage, since it is the most one could bring who returned thence naked.

1. The text is from Adventures in the Unknown Interior of Amer i ca (1961), edited and translated by Cyclone Covey.



7 4 | Á L V A R N Ú Ñ E Z C A B E Z A D E V A C A

* * * [The Malhado Way of Life]

The people2 we came to know there are tall and well built. Their only weap- ons are bows and arrows, which they use with great dexterity. The men bore through one of their nipples, some both, and insert a joint of cane two and a half palms long by two “n gers thick. They also bore their lower lip and wear a piece of cane in it half a “n ger in dia meter.

Their women toil incessantly. From October to the end of February every year, which is the season these

Indians live on the island, they subsist on the roots I have mentioned,3 which the women get from under water in November and December. Only in these two months, too, do they take “sh in their cane weirs. When the “sh is con- sumed, the roots furnish the one staple. At the end of February the island- ers go into other parts to seek sustenance, for then the root is beginning to grow and is not edible.

These people love their offspring more than any in the world and treat them very mildly.

If a son dies, the whole village joins the parents and kindred in weeping. The parents set off the wails each day before dawn, again at noon, and at sunset, for one year. The funeral rites occur when the year of mourning is up. Following these rites, the survivors wash off the smoke stain of the cer- emony in a symbolic purgation. All the dead are lamented this way except the aged, who merit no regrets. The dead are buried, except medicine- men, who are cremated. Every body in the village dances and makes merry while the pyre of a medicine- man kindles, and until his bones become powder. A year later, when his rites are celebrated, the entire village again participat- ing, this powder is presented in water for the relatives to drink.

Each man has an acknowledged wife, except the medicine- men, who may have two or three wives apiece. The several wives live together in perfect amity.

When a daughter marries, she must take every thing her husband kills in hunting or catches in “shing to the house of her father, without daring to eat or to withhold any part of it, and the husband gets provided by female carrier from his father- in- law’s house. Neither the bride’s father nor mother may enter the son- in- law’s house after the marriage, nor he theirs; and this holds for the children of the respective couples. If a man and his in- laws should chance to be walking so they would meet, they turn silently aside from each other and go a crossbow- shot out of their way, averting their glance to the ground. The woman, however, is free to fraternize with the parents and relatives of her husband. These marriage customs prevail for more than “fty leagues inland from the island.

At a house where a son or brother may die, no one goes out for food for three months, the neighbors and other relatives providing what is eaten. Because of this custom, which the Indians literally would not break to save their lives, great hunger reigned in most houses while we resided there, it being a time of repeated deaths. Those who sought food worked hard, but they could get little in that severe season. That is why Indians who kept me left the island by canoe for oyster bays on the main.

2. The Capoques and Hans of coastal Texas. 3. I.e., “certain roots which taste like nuts, mostly grubbed from [ under] the water with great labor.”



T H E R E L A T I O N | 7 5

4. Re nais sance units of mea sure ment were inex- act. Cabeza de Vaca’s “league” was prob ably about four miles. 5. I.e., Spanish moss.

6. Having escaped from the Capoques and Hans, Cabeza de Vaca is now among the Avava- res and Arbadaos in inland Texas.

Three months out of every year they eat nothing but oysters and drink very bad water. Wood is scarce; mosquitoes, plentiful. The houses are made of mats; their doors consist of masses of oyster shells. The natives sleep on these shells—in animal skins, those who happen to own such.

Many a time I would have to go three days without eating, as would the natives. I thought it impossible that life could be so prolonged in such pro- tracted hunger; though afterwards I found myself in yet greater want, as shall be seen.

The Indians who had Alonso del Castillo, Andrés Dorantes, and the others of their barge who remained alive, spoke a dif fer ent dialect and claimed a dif fer ent descent from these I lived among. They frequented the opposite shore of the main to eat oysters, staying till the “rst of April, then returning.

The distance to the main is two leagues at the widest part of the chan- nel.4 The island itself, which supports the two tribes commodiously, is half a league wide by “ve long.

The inhabitants of all these parts go naked, except that the women cover some part of their persons with a wool that grows on trees,5 and damsels dress in deerskin.

The people are generous to each other with what little they have. There is no chief. All belonging to the same lineage keep together. They speak two languages: Capoque and Han.

They have a strange custom when acquaintances meet or occasionally visit, of weeping for half an hour before they speak. This over, the one who is visited rises and gives his visitor all he has. The latter accepts it and, after a while, carries it away, often without a word. They have other strange cus- toms, but I have told the principal and most remarkable of them.

In April [1529] we went to the seashore and ate blackberries all month, a time of [dance ceremonies] and “estas among the Indians.

* * *

[Our Life among the Avavares and Arbadaos]

All the Indians of this region6 are ignorant of time, either by the sun or moon; nor do they reckon by the month or year. They understand the seasons in terms of the ripening of fruits, the dying of “sh, and the position of stars, in which dating they are adept.

The Avavares always treated us well. We lived as free agents, dug our own food, and lugged our loads of wood and water. The houses and our diet were like those of the nation we had just come from, but the Avavares suffer yet greater want, having no corn, acorns, or pecans. We always went naked like them and covered ourselves at night with deerskins.

Six of the eight months we dwelled with these people we endured acute hunger; for “sh are not found where they are either. At the end of the eight months, when the prickly pears were just beginning to ripen again [mid- June 1535], I traveled with the Negro— unknown to our hosts—to others a day’s



7 6 | Á L V A R N Ú Ñ E Z C A B E Z A D E V A C A

7. Neighbors of the Avavares and Arbadaos. “The Negro”: Estevánico.

journey farther on: the Maliacones.7 When three days had passed, I sent Estevánico to fetch Castillo and Dorantes.

When they got there, the four of us set out with the Maliacones, who were going to “nd the small fruit of certain trees which they subsist on for ten or twelve days while the prickly pears are maturing. They joined another tribe, the Arbadaos, who astonished us by their weak, emaciated, swollen condition.

We told the Maliacones with whom we had come that we wanted to stop with these Arbadaos. The Maliacones despondently returned the way they came, leaving us alone in the brushland near the Arbadao houses. The observing Arbadaos talked among themselves and came up to us in a body. Four of them took each of us by the hand and led us to their dwellings.

Among them we underwent “ercer hunger than among the Avavares. We ate not more than two handfuls of prickly pears a day, and they were still so green and milky they burned our mouths. In our lack of water, eating brought great thirst. At nearly the end of our endurance we bought two dogs for some nets, with other things, and a skin I used for cover.

I have already said that we went naked through all this country; not being accustomed to going so, we shed our skins twice a year like snakes. The sun and air raised great, painful sores on our chests and shoulders, and our heavy loads caused the cords to cut our arms. The region is so broken and so over- grown that often, when we gathered wood, blood dowed from us in many places where the thorns and shrubs tore our desh. At times, when my turn came to get wood and I had collected it at heavy cost in blood, I could nei- ther drag nor bear it out. My only solace in these labors was to think of the sufferings of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and the blood He shed for me. How much worse must have been his torment from the thorns than mine here!

I bartered with these Indians in combs I made for them and in bows, arrows, and nets. We made mats, which are what their houses consist of and for which they feel a keen necessity. Although they know how to make them, they prefer to devote their full time to “nding food; when they do not, they get too pinched with hunger.

Some days the Indians would set me to scraping and softening skins. These were my days of greatest prosperity in that place. I would scrape thoroughly enough to sustain myself two or three days on the scraps. When it happened that these or any people we had left behind gave us a piece of meat, we ate it raw. Had we put it to roast, the “rst native who came along would have “lched it. Not only did we think it better not to risk this, we were in such a condition that roasted meat would have given us pain. We could digest it more easily raw.

Such was our life there, where we earned our meager subsistence by trade in items which were the work of our own hands.

[Pushing On]

Eating the dogs seemed to give us strength enough to go forward; so com- mending ourselves to the guidance of God our Lord, we took leave of our hosts, who pointed out the way to others nearby who spoke their language.



T H E R E L A T I O N | 7 7

Rain caught us. We traveled the day in the wet and got lost. At last, we made for an extensive scrub wood stretch, where we stopped and pulled prickly pear pads, which we cooked overnight in a hot oven we made. By morning they were ready.

After eating, we put ourselves again in the hands of God and set forth. We located the path we had lost and, after passing another scrub wood stretch, saw houses. Two women who were walking in the “forest” with some boys ded deep into it in fright to call their men, when they noticed us head- ing for the houses. The men arrived and hid behind trees to look at us. We called to them, and they came up very timidly. After some conversation, they told us their food was very scarce and that many houses of their people stood close by, to which they would conduct us.

At nightfall we came to a village of “fty dwellings. The residents looked at us in astonishment and fear. When they grew somewhat accustomed to our appearance, they felt our faces and bodies and then their own, comparing.

We stayed in that place overnight. In the morning the Indians brought us their sick, beseeching our blessing. They shared with us what they had to eat— prickly pear pads and the green fruit roasted. Because they did this with kindness and good will, gladly foregoing food to give us some, we tar- ried here several days.

Other Indians came from beyond in that interval and, when they were about to depart, we told our hosts we wanted to go with them. Our hosts felt quite uneasy at this and pressed us warmly to stay. In the midst of their weeping we left them.

[Customs of That Region]

From the Island of Doom to this land, all the Indians we saw have the cus- tom of not sleeping with their wives from the time they are discovered preg- nant to two years after giving birth. Children are suckled until they are twelve, when they are old enough to “nd their own support. We asked why they thus prolonged the nursing period, and they said that the poverty of the land frequently meant—as we witnessed— going two or three days without eating, sometimes four; if children were not allowed to suckle in seasons of scarcity, those who did not famish would be weaklings.

Anyone who chances to fall sick on a foraging trip and cannot keep up with the rest is left to die, unless he be a son or brother; him they will help, even to carry ing on their back.

It is common among them all to leave their wives when there is disagree- ment, and directly reconnect with whomever they please. This is the course of men who are childless. Those who have children never abandon their wives.

When Indian men get into an argument in their villages, they “st- “ght until exhausted, then separate. Sometimes the women will go between and part them, but men never interfere. No matter what the disaffection, they do not resort to bows and arrows. After a “ght, the disputants take their houses (and families) and go live apart from each other in the scrub wood until they have cooled off; then they return and from that moment are friends as if nothing had happened. No intermediary is needed to mend their friendship.

In case the quarrelers are single men, they repair to some neighboring people (instead of the scrub wood), who, even if enemies, welcome them



7 8 | Á L V A R N Ú Ñ E Z C A B E Z A D E V A C A

8. It was prob ably March 1536. 9. I.e., Culiacán, the northernmost Spanish set-

tlement in Mexico at that time, located in Sinaloa near the mouth of the Gulf of California.

warmly and give so largely of what they have that when the quarrelers’ ani- mosity subsides, they return to their home village rich.

* * *

[The First Confrontation]

When we saw for certain that we were drawing near the Christians, we gave thanks to God our Lord for choosing to bring us out of such a melancholy and wretched captivity. The joy we felt can only be conjectured in terms of the time, the suffering, and the peril we had endured in that land.

The eve ning of the day we reached the recent campsite, I tried hard to get Castillo or Dorantes to hurry on three days, unencumbered, after the Christians who were now circling back into the area we had assured protec- tion. They both reacted negatively, excusing themselves for weariness, though younger and more athletic than I; but they being unwilling, I took the Negro and eleven Indians next morning to track the Christians. We went ten leagues, past three villages where they had slept.

The day after that, I overtook four of them on their horses. They were dumbfounded at the sight of me, strangely undressed and in com pany with Indians. They just stood staring for a long time, not thinking to hail me or come closer to ask questions.

“Take me to your captain,” I at last requested; and we went together half a league to a place where we found their captain, Diego de Alcaraz.

When we had talked awhile, he confessed to me that he was completely undone, having been unable to catch any Indians in a long time; he did not know which way to turn; his men were getting too hungry and exhausted. I told him of Castillo and Dorantes ten leagues away with an escorting mul- titude. He immediately dispatched three of his horse men to them, along with “fty of his Indian allies. The Negro went, too, as a guide; I stayed behind.

I asked the Christians to furnish me a certi”cate of the year, month, and day I arrived here, and the manner of my coming; which they did.8 From this river to the Christian town, Sant Miguel9 within the government of the recently created province of New Galicia, is a distance of thirty leagues.

[The Falling- Out with Our Countrymen]

After “ve days, Andrés Dorantes and Alonso del Castillo arrived with those who had gone for them; and they brought more than 600 natives of the vicin- ity whom the Indians who had been escorting us drew out of the woods and took to the mounted Christians, who thereupon dismissed their own escort.

When they arrived, Alcaraz begged us to order the villa gers of this river out of the woods in the same way to get us food. It would be unnecessary to command them to bring food, if they came at all; for the Indians were always diligent to bring us all they could.

We sent our heralds to call them, and presently there came 600 Indians with all the corn they possessed. They brought it in clay- sealed earthen pots which had been buried. They also brought what ever else they had; but we wished only a meal, so gave the rest to the Christians to divide among themselves.



T H E R E L A T I O N | 7 9

After this we had a hot argument with them, for they meant to make slaves of the Indians in our train. We got so angry that we went off forgetting the many Turkish- shaped bows, the many pouches, and the “ve emerald arrowheads, etc., which we thus lost. And to think we had given these Christians a supply of cowhides and other things that our retainers had carried a long distance!

It proved dif”cult to persuade our escorting Indians to go back to their homes, to feel apprehensive no longer, and to plant their corn. But they did not want to do anything until they had “rst delivered us into the hands of other Indians, as custom bound them. They feared they would die if they returned without ful”ling this obligation whereas, with us, they said they feared neither Christians nor lances.

This sentiment roused our countrymen’s jealousy. Alcaraz bade his inter- preter tell the Indians that we were members of his race who had been long lost; that his group were the lords of the land who must be obeyed and served, while we were inconsequential. The Indians paid no attention to this. Con- ferring among themselves, they replied that the Christians lied: We had come from the sunrise, they from the sunset; we healed the sick, they killed the sound; we came naked and barefoot, they clothed, horsed, and lanced; we coveted nothing but gave what ever we were given, while they robbed whomever they found and bestowed nothing on anyone.

* * * To the last I could not convince the Indians that we were of the same people as the Christian slavers. Only with the greatest effort were we able to induce them to go back home. We ordered them to fear no more, reestab- lish their towns, and farm.

Already the countryside had grown rank from neglect. This is, no doubt, the most proli”c land in all these Indies. It produces three crops a year; the trees bear a great variety of fruit; and beautiful rivers and brimming springs abound throughout. There are gold- and silver- bearing ores. The people are well disposed, serving such Christians as are their friends with great good will. They are comely, much more so than the Mexicans. This land, in short, lacks nothing to be regarded as blest.

When the Indians took their leave of us they said they would do as we commanded and rebuild their towns, if the Christians let them. And I sol- emnly swear that if they have not done so it is the fault of the Christians.

After we had dismissed the Indians in peace and thanked them for their toil in our behalf, the Christians subtly sent us on our way in the charge of an alcalde named Cebreros, attended by two horse men.1 They took us through forests and wastes so we would not communicate with the natives and would neither see nor learn of their crafty scheme afoot. Thus we often misjudge the motives of men; we thought we had effected the Indians’ lib- erty, when the Christians were but poising to pounce.

* * *

c. 1536–40 1542

1. I.e., they were, in effect, under arrest.



8 0

First Enc ounters: Early Eu ro pean Ac c ounts of Native Amer i c a

Christopher Columbus’s voyage of 1492 unleashed a torrent of words from innu-merable mouths and pens, words designed to describe, promote, dispute, or defend accounts of events that took place in the contact zone between Eu ro pe ans and Native Americans. “First encounter” is how the Pilgrim leaders William Bradford and Edward Winslow, among others, labeled such an initial contact. The phrase sug- gests the drama of what was, in real ity, a series of moments that unfolded over many de cades. Often, what seemed to be a “”rst” encounter turned out to involve Natives who had previously interacted with Eu ro pe ans or had even been to Eu rope. Before he rescued the settlers at Plymouth, for example, the Pawtuxet man Tisquantum, or Squanto as he is more familiarly known, had been taken captive to Eu rope, where he remained for over a de cade before returning to “nd his native village decimated by European- borne illnesses.

Though there was travel in both directions, most of the written and printed accounts that survive offer a Eu ro pean perspective on these encounters. In describing the greatly varied inhabitants of the Western Hemi sphere for Eu ro pean eyes and minds, these writers crafted something like a notion of culture. Although from a certain perspective Eu ro pe ans, with their primitive “rearms and disease- wracked bodies, were not all that dif fer ent from the inhabitants of the Western Hemi sphere, the contrasts were evident to both sides from the beginning, and the sense of differ- ence often deepened over time. Eu ro pean descriptions of the habits and attitudes of Native Americans caused widespread redection on the question of what key traits de”ned human nature globally.

Along with providing such descriptive passages, many of them richly informative about Native customs and practices, the lit er a ture of the contact zone pulses with incident, sensation, and turmoil. Tragedy is often near the surface. Many narratives subtly indicate an expanding Eu ro pean footprint that is vis i ble in accounts of Natives killed by infectious diseases that were new to the Western Hemi sphere. One such disease, smallpox, could wipe out an entire village and spread rapidly through- out a region. “Virgin soil” epidemics were the largest single cause of Native deaths, and mortality rates were often made worse by Eu ro pean actions.

Consider the catastrophic eruption of smallpox in Tenochtitlán (located where Mexico City is today). This plague occurred in 1520, the year after the arrival of the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and his army. Thirty years later, survivors of the plague described its effects to Bernardino de Sahagún, a Franciscan friar, who then produced a chilling account in his General History of Things of New Spain, also known as The Florentine Codex:

There was indeed perishing; many indeed died of it. No longer could they walk; they only lay in their abodes, in their beds. No longer could they move, no lon- ger could they bestir themselves, no longer could they raise themselves, no lon- ger could they stretch themselves out face down, no longer could they stretch themselves out on their backs. And when they bestirred themselves, much did they cry out. There was much perishing. . . . Indeed many people died of them [i.e., smallpox pustules], and many just died of hunger. There was death from hunger; there was no one to take care of another; there was no one to attend to another.



F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S | 8 1

This painfully vivid description captures the essence of innumerable similar scenes that unfolded in indigenous communities across two continents over some four hundred years, until inoculation against smallpox became widely available in the twentieth century.

For Cortés, the epidemic mainly made it pos si ble to seize the city. In 1519, Tenochtitlán had been the thriving center of the Aztec Empire at the height of its power. In his correspondence with King Charles V of Spain, Cortés portrayed the Aztecs as a serious challenge to Spanish domination of the region. His lavishly beautiful account of the Aztec capital— with its amply stocked markets, large temples, and expansive public squares— pres ents a major civilization previously unknown to Eu ro pe ans. In describing an urban center the equal of most Eu ro pean cities, Cortés was tempting the king to support the colonization effort. Other wise, Charles might have focused on opportunities closer to home, particularly since he had recently been elected to the of”ce of Holy Roman Emperor.

In A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1588), the “rst printed English- language account of Amer i ca, Thomas Harriot highlights the pos- sibilities for trade and settlement, as well as providing a richly detailed ethno- graphic description of the Indians in the Outer Banks area of pres ent- day North Carolina and the Chesapeake Bay region. Harriot’s admiration for the abundance there is closely linked to his sense that the opportunities for pro”t are rich, at least in part because of the relatively unthreatening presence of the native Algonquians. Harriot also offers a poignant and troubling account of how the Natives in the region suffered from the “invisible bullets” of disease brought by the English— and how Native leaders aspired to enlist the En glish in their cause and to use these “bullets” against their enemies.

Other features of the lit er a ture of encounter dominate the se lection from The Voyages of the Sieur de Champlain (1613). Samuel de Champlain’s description of the battle that he and his Algonquin allies fought against their Iroquois opponents highlights the complex rivalries between indigenous groups that Eu ro pe ans often exploited. Champlain shows himself drawing on his allies’ war time practices, such as dream interpretation, and he provides an action- “lled description of the “ght. The gruesome torture scene is an early written repre sen ta tion of Iroquois war cus- toms. Champlain’s self- righteous condemnation of Iroquois practices should be read with the knowledge that similar forms of torture and execution (such as drawing and quartering or burning at the stake) were then widely used in Eu rope.

In History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations (1818), John Heckewelder renders a Delaware Indian version of a 1609 encounter with Henry Hudson’s expe- dition, giving the tale a mythic frame signaled by the opening phrase, “A great many years ago.” Prob ably derived from an oral narrative that had been passed down over generations, Heckewelder’s rendition offers a striking counterpoint to Robert Juet’s con temporary journal- style account of these events, which was published in his Third Voyage of Master Henry Hudson (1625). Both versions describe the ritual ele ments of the encounter and highlight Native experience with what was to them a novel intoxicant, alcohol. While Heckewelder’s version of this “”rst encounter” is not an “au then tic” rendition of Delaware experience, it tells the story from the dis- tinctive perspective of the local people. But whereas Heckewelder’s narrative is both portentous and vaguely droll, Juet’s account of the same events emphasizes the mutual fearfulness, distrust, and brutality that undermined Eu ro pe ans’ early attempts to establish trade at “Manna- hata” (Manhattan).

A dif fer ent kind of counterpoint emerges between the description of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in Mourt’s Relation (1622), by Bradford and Winslow, excerpted here, and the grand narrative of the legendary landing that Bradford presented in Of Plymouth Plantation, which appears later in this anthol- ogy. The con temporary account that Bradford coauthored with his good friend Winslow portrays the days and weeks after the landing as a narrative of confused



8 2 | F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S

1. The text is from Hernán Cortés: Letters from  Mexico (1971), edited and translated by

A. R. Pagden. 2. Prominent cities in Spain.

movements and puzzling discoveries: a “black thing” seen on the beach along with buried caches of corn, large burying grounds, and deserted clusters of Indian wig- wams, prob ably emptied by a smallpox epidemic such as the one that Bradford describes in Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford and Winslow emphasize the confusion between wolves and men, an episode that conveys the larger ambiguity of the coloniz- ing efforts in which all these writers took part. Bradford’s later version of these events reveals how colonial actors subsequently sought to dispel at least some of the fuzzi- ness of earlier reports, sometimes imbuing them with clearer moral lessons.

Representing the colonial proj ects of Spain, France, Holland, and Eng land, the following se lections describe a range of locales spanning the “rst century and a half of the Eu ro pean presence in the Amer i cas. They illuminate vari ous ele ments that shaped the “”rst encounters”— from fear, disease, and vio lence to won der, curiosity, ambition, and even, at times, re spect.


Typical in some ways of the class of colonial agents that quickly developed in Spain and its American possessions after 1492, Hernán Cortés (1485–1543) was from a noble family in Extremadura, Spain. He spent two years at the great university at Salamanca, in the Spanish region of Castile, where he studied law and later worked as a notary. He also acquired familiarity with the histories, chronicles, and romances of chivalry that formed the literary culture of the Castilian nobility. Cortés already had much experience as a magistrate and military leader in Hispaniola and Cuba when in 1519 the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez, gave him command of an expe- dition to round up stranded Spaniards on the mainland of Yucatán. Ambitious to make a name for himself, Cortés took advantage of an ambiguity in his orders and pursued a bold course of exploration. Once on the Mexican coast, he destroyed his ships so his men could not back out. He then plunged inland, gathering Native allies for what proved a remarkable and remarkably bloody conquest of the Aztec Empire. The “ve letters that Cortés wrote to Charles V were intended to create a rationale for his technically illegal actions. The following se lection derives from the second letter, written after the Spaniards had arrived in Tenochtitlán ( here called Temixtitan) but before they began their “ght against the Aztec forces, which were led by the emperor Moctezuma II ( here, Mutezuma).

From Second Letter to the Spanish Crown1

[Description of Tenochtitlán]

This great city of Temixtitan * * * is as big as Seville or Córdoba.2 The main streets are very wide and very straight; some of these are on the land, but the rest and all the smaller ones are half on land, half canals where they paddle their canoes. All the streets have openings in places so that the water



C O R T É S : S E C O N D L E T T E R T O T H E S P A N I S H C R O W N | 8 3

may pass from one canal to another. Over all these openings, and some of them are very wide, there are bridges made of long and wide beams joined together very “rmly and so well made that on some of them ten horse men may ride abreast.

Seeing that if the inhabitants of this city wished to betray us they were very well equipped for it by the design of the city, for once the bridges had been removed they could starve us to death without our being able to reach the mainland, as soon as I entered the city I made great haste to build four brigantines, and completed them in a very short time. They were such as could carry three hundred men to the land and transport the horses when- ever we might need them.

This city has many squares where trading is done and markets are held continuously. There is also one square twice as big as that of Salamanca, with arcades all around, where more than sixty thousand people come each day to buy and sell, and where every kind of merchandise produced in these

Tenochtitlán, or Mexico City, from Praeclara Ferdinadi Cortesii de Nova maris Oceani Hyspania Narratio, 1524. This German map of the Aztec capital, based on a sketch reportedly made for Cortés, accompanied a translation of his second and third letters to Charles V. It displays the material complexity documented in his prose.



8 4 | F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S

3. A large, spiked plant (also called aloe) from which both a sweet syrup and a strong liquor

(pulque) are still produced today. 4. Another prominent Spanish city.

lands is found; provisions as well as ornaments of gold and silver, lead, brass, copper, tin, stones, shells, bones, and feathers. They also sell lime, hewn and unhewn stone, adobe bricks, tiles, and cut and uncut woods of vari ous kinds. There is a street where they sell game and birds of every species found in this land: chickens, partridges and quails, wild ducks, dycatchers, wid- geons, turtledoves, pigeons, cane birds, parrots, ea gles and ea gle owls, fal- cons, sparrow hawks and kestrels, and they sell the skins of some of these birds of prey with their feathers, heads and claws. They sell rabbits and hares, and stags and small gelded dogs which they breed for eating.

There are streets of herbalists where all the medicinal herbs and roots found in the land are sold. There are shops like apothecaries’, where they sell ready- made medicines as well as liquid ointments and plasters. There are shops like barbers’ where they have their hair washed and shaved, and shops where they sell food and drink. There are also men like porters to carry loads. There is much “rewood and charcoal, earthenware braziers and mats of vari ous kinds like mattresses for beds, and other, “ner ones, for seats and for covering rooms and hallways. There is every sort of vegetable, especially onions, leeks, garlic, common cress and watercress, borage, sorrel, teasels and artichokes; and there are many sorts of fruit, among which are cherries and plums like those in Spain.

They sell honey, wax, and a syrup made from maize canes, which is as sweet and syrupy as that made from the sugar cane. They also make syrup from a plant which in the islands is called maguey,3 which is much better than most syrups, and from this plant they also make sugar and wine, which they likewise sell. There are many sorts of spun cotton, in hanks of every color, and it seems like the silk market at Granada,4 except here there is a much greater quantity. They sell as many colors for paint ers as may be found in Spain and all of excellent hues. They sell deerskins, with and without the hair, and some are dyed white or in vari ous colors. They sell much earthen- ware, which for the most part is very good; there are both large and small pitchers, jugs, pots, tiles, and many other sorts of vessel, all of good clay and most of them glazed and painted. They sell maize both as grain and as bread and it is better both in appearance and in taste than any found in the islands or on the mainland. They sell chicken and “sh pies, and much fresh and salted “sh, as well as raw and cooked “sh. They sell hen and goose eggs, and eggs of all the other birds I have mentioned, in great number, and they sell tortillas made from eggs.

Fi nally, besides those things which I have already mentioned, they sell in the market every thing else to be found in this land, but they are so many and so varied that because of their great number and because I cannot remember many of them nor do I know what they are called I shall not men- tion them. Each kind of merchandise is sold in its own street without any mixture what ever; they are very par tic u lar in this. Every thing is sold by num- ber and size, and until now I have seen nothing sold by weight. There is in this great square a very large building like a court house, where ten or twelve persons sit as judges. They preside over all that happens in the markets, and sentence criminals. There are in this square other persons who walk among



the people to see what they are selling and the mea sures they are using; and they have been seen to break some that were false.

There are, in all districts of this great city, many temples or houses for their idols. They are all very beautiful buildings, and in the impor tant ones there are priests of their sect who live there permanently; and, in addition to the houses for the idols, they also have very good lodgings. All these priests dress in black and never comb their hair from the time they enter the priesthood until they leave; and all the sons of the persons of high rank, both the lords and honored citizens also, enter the priesthood and wear the habit from the age of seven or eight years until they are taken away to be married; this occurs more among the “rst- born sons, who are to inherit, than among the others. They abstain from eating things, and more at some times of the year than at others; and no woman is granted entry nor permitted inside these places of worship.

Amongst these temples there is one, the principal one, whose great size and magni”cence no human tongue could describe, for it is so large that within the precincts, which are surrounded by a very high wall, a town of some “ve hundred inhabitants could easily be built. All round inside this wall there are very elegant quarters with very large rooms and corridors where their priests live. There are as many as forty towers, all of which are so high that in the case of the largest there are “fty steps leading up to the main part of it; and the most impor tant of these towers is higher than that of the cathedral of Seville. They are so well constructed in both their stone and woodwork that there can be none better in any place, for all the stone- work inside the chapels where they keep their idols is in high relief, with “gures and little houses, and the woodwork is likewise of relief and painted with monsters and other “gures and designs. All these towers are burial places of chiefs, and the chapels therein are each dedicated to the idol which he venerated.

There are three rooms within this great temple for the principal idols, which are of remarkable size and stature and decorated with many designs and sculptures, both in stone and in wood. Within these rooms are other chapels, and the doors to them are very small. Inside there is no light what- soever; there only some of the priests may enter, for inside are the sculp- tured “gures of the idols, although, as I have said, there are also many outside.

The most impor tant of these idols, and the ones in whom they have most faith, I had taken from their places and thrown down the steps; and I had those chapels where they were cleaned, for they were full of the blood of sacri”ces; and I had images of Our Lady and of other saints put there, which caused Mutezuma and the other natives some sorrow. First they asked me not to do it, for when the communities learnt of it they would rise against me, for they believed that those idols gave them all their worldly goods, and that if they were allowed to be ill treated, they would become angry and give them nothing and take the fruit from the earth leaving the people to die of hunger. I made them understand through the interpreters how deceived they were in placing their trust in those idols which they had made with their hands from unclean things. They must know that there was only one God, Lord of all things, who had created heaven and earth and all else and who made all of us; and He was without beginning or end, and they must adore

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5. A certain part (Latin).

and worship only Him, not any other creature or thing. And I told them all I knew about this to dissuade them from their idolatry and bring them to the knowledge of God our Saviour. All of them, especially Mutezuma, replied that they had already told me how they were not natives of this land, and that as it was many years since their forefathers had come here, they well knew that they might have erred somewhat in what they believed, for they had left their native land so long ago; and as I had only recently arrived from there, I would better know the things they should believe, and should explain to them and make them understand, for they would do as I said was best. Mutezuma and many of the chieftains of the city were with me until the idols were removed, the chapel cleaned and the images set up, and I urged them not to sacri”ce living creatures to the idols, as they were accustomed, for, as well as being most abhorrent to God, Your Sacred Majesty’s laws for- bade it and ordered that he who kills shall be killed. And from then on they ceased to do it, and in all the time I stayed in that city I did not see a living creature killed or sacri”ced.

The “gures of the idols in which these people believe are very much larger than the body of a big man. They are made of dough from all the seeds and vegetables which they eat, ground and mixed together, and bound with the blood of human hearts which those priests tear out while still beating. And also after they are made they offer them more hearts and anoint their faces with the blood. Every thing has an idol dedicated to it, in the same manner as the pagans who in antiquity honored their gods. So they have an idol whose favor they ask in war and another for agriculture; and likewise for each thing they wish to be done well they have an idol which they honor and serve.

There are in the city many large and beautiful houses, and the reason for this is that all the chiefs of the land, who are Mutezuma’s vassals, have houses in the city and live there for part of the year; and in addition there are many rich citizens who likewise have very good houses. All these houses have very large and very good rooms and also very pleasant gardens of vari- ous sorts of dowers both on the upper and lower doors.

Along one of the causeways to this great city run two aqueducts made of mortar. Each one is two paces wide and some six feet deep, and along one of them a stream of very good fresh water, as wide as a man’s body, dows into the heart of the city and from this they all drink. The other, which is empty, is used when they wish to clean the “rst channel. Where the aque- ducts cross the bridges, the water passes along some channels which are as wide as an ox; and so they serve the whole city.

Canoes paddle through all the streets selling the water; they take it from the aqueduct by placing the canoes beneath the bridges where those chan- nels are, and on top there are men who “ll the canoes and are paid for their work. At all the gateways to the city and at the places where these canoes are unloaded, which is where the greater part of the provisions enter the city, there are guards in huts who receive a certum quid5 of all that enters. I have not yet discovered whether this goes to the chief or to the city, but I think to the chief, because in other markets in other parts I have seen this tax paid to the ruler of the place. Every day, in all the markets and public



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places there are many workmen and craftsmen of every sort, waiting to be employed by the day. The people of this city are dressed with more elegance and are more courtly in their bearing than those of the other cities and prov- inces, and because Mutezuma and all those chieftains, his vassals, are always coming to the city, the people have more manners and politeness in all matters. Yet so as not to tire Your Highness with the description of the things of this city (although I would not complete it so briedy), I will say only that these people live almost like those in Spain, and in as much har- mony and order as there, and considering that they are barbarous and so far from the knowledge of God and cut off from all civilized nations, it is truly remarkable to see what they have achieved in all things.

* * *



Thomas Harriot (1560–1621) was an impor tant En glish scientist and mathema-tician, but he remained for many years an obscure “gure, and little is known about his early life. Born in Oxfordshire, he enrolled at the University at Oxford seventeen years later, earning a reputation for brilliance and befriending the geog- rapher Richard Hakluyt. Soon after graduating, he went to work for Sir Walter Raleigh, who became his patron. A year after Raleigh’s “rst voyage to the Amer i cas in 1584, Harriot sailed with Sir Richard Grenville, making astronomical observa- tions along the way. Anchored at Roanoke Island, off the Outer Banks of what is now North Carolina, Grenville’s expedition explored the mainland. In his capacity as a kind of staff scientist, Harriot observed the topography and the dora and fauna, as well as taking note of the customs and language of the local people. He made drawings and maps and developed a phonetic system for recording and learning the native Algonquian language. When Sir Francis Drake (see p. 47) arrived, warning of an imminent Spanish attack on the settlement at Roanoke, Harriot and his party sailed with Drake for Eng land. A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1588) became Harriot’s only work to appear in print during his lifetime, and it was reprinted twice by Richard Hakluyt. This abstract of a lost longer work offered a compendium of useful information for prospective planters and colonists. In 1590, Theodor de Bry produced a Latin edition that had engravings based on the watercolors made by John White, a member of Harriot’s party. De Bry’s volume was enormously popu lar, going through seventeen editions between 1590 and 1620. In later years, Harriot achieved considerable fame as a religious freethinker as well as a scholar and explorer.



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1. The text is from A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1588; rpt. 1903). 2. I.e., it seems appropriate that. 3. Ranging in size as En glish people do.

4. Archaism for “places where trees are grown.” 5. Mounted guns; artillery. 6. Lack.

From A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia1

Of the Nature and Manners of the People

It resteth2 I speak a word or two of the natu ral inhabitants, their natures and manners, leaving large discourse thereof until time more con ve nient hereaf- ter: now only so far forth, as that you may know, how that they in re spect of troubling our inhabiting and planting, are not to be feared; but that they shall have cause both to fear and love us, that shall inhabit with them.

They are a people clothed with loose mantles made of deer skins, & aprons of the same round about their middles; all else naked; of such a difference of statures only as we in Eng land;3 having no edge tools or weapons of iron or steel to offend us withal, neither know they how to make any: those weapons they have, are only bows made of witch hazel, & arrows of reeds; dat edged truncheons also of wood about a yard long, neither have they any thing to defend themselves but targets made of barks; and some armours made of sticks wickered together with thread.

Their towns are but small, & near the sea coast but few, some containing but 10 or 12 houses: some 20: the greatest that we have seen have been but of 30 houses: if they be walled it is only done with barks of trees made fast to stakes, or else with poles only “xed upright and close one by another.

Their houses are made of small poles made fast at the tops in round form after the manner as is used in many arbories4 in our gardens of Eng land, in most towns covered with barks, and in some with arti”cial mats made of long rushes; from the tops of the houses down to the ground. The length of them is commonly double to the breadth, in some places they are but 12 and 16 yards long, and in other some we have seen of four and twenty.

In some places of the country one only town belongeth to the government of a wiróans or chief lord; in other some two or three, in some six, eight, & more; the greatest wiróans that yet we had dealing with had but eigh teen towns in his government, and able to make not above seven or eight hundred “ghting men at the most: The language of every government is dif fer ent from any other, and the farther they are distant the greater is the difference.

Their manner of wars amongst themselves is either by sudden surprising one another most commonly about the dawning of the day, or moon light; or else by ambushes, or some subtle devices: Set battles are very rare, except it fall out where there are many trees, where either part may have some hope of defence, after the delivery of every arrow, in leaping behind some or other.

If there fall out any wars between us & them, what their “ght is likely to be, we having advantages against them so many manner of ways, as by our disci- pline, our strange weapons and devices else; especially by ordnance5 great and small, it may be easily imagined; by the experience we have had in some places, the turning up of their heels against us in running away was their best defence.

In re spect of us they are a people poor, and for want6 of skill and judge- ment in the knowledge and use of our things, do esteem our trides before



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7. Dwelling place.

things of greater value: Notwithstanding in their proper manner consider- ing the want of such means as we have, they seem very ingenious; for although they have no such tools, nor any such crafts, sciences and arts as we; yet in those things they do, they show excellence of wit. And by how much they upon due consideration shall “nd our manner of knowledges and crafts to exceed theirs in perfection, and speed for doing or execution, by so much the more is it probable that they should desire our friendships & love, and have the greater re spect for pleasing and obeying us. Whereby may be hoped if means of good government be used, that they may in short time be brought to civility, and the embracing of true religion.

Some religion they have already, which although it be far from the truth, yet being as it is, there is hope it may be the easier and sooner reformed.

They believe that there are many gods which they call montóac, but of dif fer ent sorts and degrees; one only chiefe and great God, which hath been from all eternity. Who as they af”rm when he purposed to make the world, made “rst other gods of a principal order to be as means and instruments to be used in the creation and government to follow; and after the sun, moon, and stars, as petty gods and the instruments of the other order more princi- pal. First they say were made waters, out of which by the gods was made all diversity of creatures that are vis i ble or invisible.

For mankind they say a woman was made “rst, which by the working of one of the gods, concieved and brought forth children: And in such sort they say they had their beginning.

But how many years or ages have passed since, they say they can make no relation having no letters nor other such means as we to keep rec ords of the particularities of times past, but only tradition from father to son.

They think that all the gods are of human shape, & therfore they repre- sent them by images in the forms of men, which they call kewasówok; one alone is called kewás; them they place in houses appropriate or temples which they call machicómuck; where they worship, praise, sing, and make many times offerings unto them. In some machicómuck we have seen but one kewás, in some two, and in other some three; the common sort think them to be also gods.

They believe also the immortality of the soul, that after this life as soon as the soul is departed from the body according to the works it hath done, it is either carried to heaven the habitacle7 of gods, there to enjoy perpetual bliss and happiness, or else to a great pit or hole, which they think to be in the furthest parts of their part of the world toward the sun set, there to burn continually: the place they call popogusso.

For the con”rmation of this opinion, they told me two stories of two men that had been lately dead and revived again; the one happened but few years before our coming into the country, of a wicked man which having been dead and buried, the next day the earth of the grave being seen to move, was taken up again; who made declaration where his soul had been, that is to say very near entering into popogusso, had not one of the gods saved him & gave him leave to return again, and teach his friends what they should do to avoid that terrible place of torment.



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8. An incendiary weapon, like Greek “re. “Burning glasses”: large convex lenses used to concentrate the sun’s rays, potentially causing ignition.

The other happened in the same year we were there, but in a town that was threescore miles from us, and it was told me for strange news that one being dead, buried and taken up again as the “rst, showed that although his body had lain dead in the grave, yet his soul was alive, and had traveled far in a long broad way, on both sides whereof grew most delicate and pleasant trees, bearing more rare and excellent fruits than ever he had seen before or was able to express, and at length came to most brave and fair houses, near which he met his father, that had been dead before, who gave him great charge to go back again and show his friends what good they were to do to enjoy the plea- sures of that place, which when he had done he should after come again.

What subtlety soever be in the wiroances and priests, this opinion wor- keth so much in many of the common and simple sort of people that it maketh them have great re spect to their governours, and also great care what they do, to avoid torment after death, and to enjoy bliss; although not- withstanding there is punishment ordained for malefactors, as stealers, whoremongers, and other sorts of wicked doers; some punished with death, some with forfeitures, some with beating, according to the greatness of the facts.

And this is the sum of their religion, which I learned by having special familiarity with some of their priests. Wherein they were not so sure grounded, nor gave such credit to their traditions and stories but through conversing with us they were brought into great doubts of their own, and no small admiration of ours, with earnest desire in many, to learn more than we had means for want of perfect utterance in their language to express.

Most things they saw with us, as mathematical instruments, sea com- passes, the virtue of the loadstone in drawing iron, a perspective glass whereby was showed many strange sights, burning glasses, wild”re works,8 guns, books, writing and reading, spring clocks that seem to go off them- selves, and many other things that we had, were so strange unto them, and so far exceeded their capacities to comprehend the reason and means how they should be made and done, that they thought they were rather the works of gods than of men, or at the leastwise they had been given and taught us of the gods. Which made many of them to have such opinion of us, as that if they knew not the truth of God and religion already, it was rather to be had from us, whom God so specially loved, than from a people that were so simple, as they found themselves to be in comparison of us. Whereupon greater credit was given unto that we spoke of concerning such matters.

Many times and in every town where I came, according as I was able, I made declaration of the contents of the Bible; that therein was set forth the true and only God, and his mighty works, that therein was contained the true doctrine of salvation through Christ, with many particularities of mir- acles and chief points of religion, as I was able then to utter, and thought “t for the time. And although I told them the book materially & of it self was not of any such virtue, as I thought they did concieve, but only the doctrine therein contained; yet would many be glad to touch it, to embrace it, to kiss it, to hold it to their breasts and heads, and stroke over all their body with it to show their hungry desire of that knowledge which was spoken of.



9. Many indigenous religions in the Amer i cas readily incorporate new practices, an approach sometimes called syncretism. 1. Trou ble, as in cross to bear. 2. Harriot and his contemporaries did not under- stand how disease was spread; germ theory was

not developed until the nineteenth century. In this section, Harriot describes how Wingina and the colonists offered competing interpretations for the devastating illnesses that swept through the region after the arrival of the En glish.

The wiroans with whom we dwelt, called Wingina, and many of his people would be glad many times to be with us at our prayers, and many times call upon us both in his own town, as also in others whither he sometimes accom- panied us, to pray and sing psalms; hoping thereby to be partaker of the same effects which we by that meanes also expected.9

Twice this wiroans was so grievously sick that he was like to die, and as he lay languishing, doubting of any help by his owne priests, and thinking he was in such danger for offending us and thereby our God, sent for some of us to pray and be a means to our God that it would please him either that he might live or after death dwell with him bliss; so likewise were the requests of many others in the like case.

On a time also when their corn began to wither by reason of a drought which happened extraordinarily, fearing that it had come to pass by reason that in some thing they had displeased us, many would come to us & desire us to pray to our God of Eng land, that he would preserve their corn, prom- ising that when it was ripe we also should be partakers of the fruit.

There could at no time happen any strange sickness, losses, hurts, or any other cross1 unto them, but that they would impute to us the cause or means therof for offending or not pleasing us.

One other rare and strange accident, leaving others, will I mention before I end, which moved the whole country that either knew or heard of us, to have us in wonderful admiration.

There was no town where we had any subtle device praised against us, we leaving it unpunished or not revenged ( because we sought by all means pos- si ble to win them by gentleness) but that within a few days after our depar- ture from every such town, the people began to die very fast, and many in short space; in some towns about twenty, in some fourty, in some sixty, & in one six score, which in truth was very many in re spect of their numbers.2 This happened in no place that we could learn but where we had been, where they used some practise against us, and after such time; The disease also so strange, that they neither knew what it was, nor how to cure it; the like by report of the oldest men in the country never happened before, time out of mind. A thing specially observed by us as also by the natu ral inhabitants themselves.

Insomuch that when some of the inhabitants which were our friends & especially the wiroans Wingina had observed such effects in four or “ve towns to follow their wicked practises, they were persuaded that it was the work of our God through our means, and that we by him might kill and slay whom we would without weapons and nor come near them.

And thereupon when it had happened that they had understanding that any of their enemies had abused us in our journeys, hearing that we had wrought no revenge with our weapons, & fearing upon some cause the matter should so rest: did come and entreat us that we would be a means to our God that they as others that had dealt ill with us might in like sort die; alleging

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3. Archaism for “pleased” or “chose.”

how much it would be for our credit and pro”t, as also theirs; and hoping furthermore that we would do so much at their requests in re spect of the friendship we professe them.

Whose entreaties although we showed that they were ungodlie, af”rming that our God would not subject him selfe to any such prayers and requests of men: that indeed all thinges have been and were to be done according to his good plea sure as he had ordained: and that we to show our selves his true servants ought rather to make petition for the contrary, that they with them might live together with us, be made partakers of his truth & serve him in righ teousness; but notwithstanding in such sort, that we refer that as all other things, to be done according to his divine will & plea sure, and as by his wisdom he had ordained to be best.

Yet because the effect fell out so suddenly and shortly after according to their desires, they thought neverthelesse it came to pass by our means, and that we in using such speeches into them did but dissemble the matter, and therefore came unto us to give us thanks in their manner that although we satis”ed them not in promise, yet in deeds and effect we had ful”lled their desires.

This marvelous accident in all the country wrought so strange opinions of us, that some people could not tell whether to think us gods or men, and the rather because that all the space of their sicknesse, there was no man of ours known to die, or that was specially sick: they noted also that we had no women amongst us, neither that we did care for any of theirs.

Some therefore were of opinion that we were not born of women, and therefore not mortal, but that we were men of an old generation many years past then risen again to immortality.

Some would likewise seem to prophesy that there were more of our gen- eration yet to come, to kill theirs and take their places, as some thought the purpose was by that which was already done.

Those that were immediatly to come after us they imagined to be in the air, yet invisible & without bodies, & that they by our entreaty & for the love of us did make the people to die in that sort as they did by shooting invis- ible bullets into them.

To con”rm this opinion their physicians to excuse their ignorance in cur- ing the disease, would not be ashamed to say, but earnestly make the simple people believe, that the strings of blood that they sucked out of the sick bod- ies, were the strings wherewithal the invisible bullets were tied and cast.

Some also thought that we shot them ourselves out of our pieces from the place where we dwelt, and killed the people in any such town that had offended us as we listed,3 how far distant from us soever it were.

And other some said that it was the special work of God for our sakes, as we our selves have cause in some sort to think no less, whatsoever some do or may imagine to the contrary, specially some astrologers knowing of the eclipse of the sun which we saw the same year before in our voyage thither- ward, which unto them appeared very terrible. And also of a comet which began to appear but a few days before the beginning of the said sickness. But to conclude them from being the special causes of so special an acci- dent, there are farther reasons than I think “t at this pres ent to be alleged.



These their opinions I have set down the more at large that it may appear unto you that there is good hope they may be brought through discreet deal- ing and government to the embracing of the truth, and consequently to honour, obey, feare and love us.

And although some of our com pany towards the end of the year, showed themselves too “erce, in slaying some of the people, in some towns, upon causes that on our part, might easily enough have been borne withal: yet notwithstanding because it was on their part justly deserved, the alteration of their opinions generally & for the most part concerning us is the less to be doubted. And whatsoever else they may be, by carefulness of ourselves need nothing at all to be feared.

The best nevertheless in this as in all actions besides is to be endeavored and hoped, & of the worst that may happen notice to be taken with consid- eration, and as much as may be eschewed.

* * *


Born into a seafaring family near La Rochelle, a city on France’s Atlantic coast, Samuel de Champlain (c. 1570–1635) did more than any other Frenchman of his time to deepen his country’s interest in North Amer i ca. He had already crossed the ocean six times by 1603, when (as royal geographer under the command of the explorer François Pont- Gravé) he sailed up the Saint Lawrence River as far as the future site of Montreal. The expedition traded with the Natives there for valuable furs before returning to France. Early in 1604, Champlain published his of”cial report, Des Sauvages, or Of the Indians, illustrated with his own maps, and in April he returned to North Amer i ca under the command of the Sieur de Monts, a Protes- tant merchant who was a native of Champlain’s own region. (Sieur, meaning “Sir,” was an honori”c title in old French.) In 1608, Champlain made another voyage, dur- ing which he founded Quebec City. The next year he gathered Indian allies from several tribes in the Saint Lawrence valley and the mountains to the north, then journeyed down the Richelieu River into the long, narrow lake to the south that today bears his name. While on this trip, which he wrote about in his next book, Les Voy- ages de Sieur de Champlain (1613), he and his allies met and defeated a party of Mohawk Indians from what is now central New York. This violent encounter, related in the following se lection, helped turn most Mohawk and their kin in the Iroquois Confederacy against the French for the next 150 years.

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1. The text is from The Works of Samuel de Champlain in Six Volumes (1925), vol. 2, edited by H. P. Biggar and translated by John Squair. 2. Now known as the Richelieu; called by Champlain “the Iroquois river” and “the river of the Iroquois.” 3. Lake Champlain contains a number of large islands near where the Richelieu dows out of its

north end. 4. This length could have been from “fty to seventy- “ve miles. 5. Now known as Lake George; connected to Lake Champlain through the short La Chute River, site of the rapids mentioned in the previous sentence.

From The Voyages of the Sieur de Champlain1

[The Iroquois]

We departed on the following day, pursuing our way up the river2 as far as the entrance to the lake. * * *

On the following day we entered the lake * * * in which I saw four beau- tiful islands3 * * * which, like the Iroquois river, were formerly inhabited by Indians: but have been abandoned, since they have been at war with one another. There are also several rivers dowing into the lake, on whose banks are many “ne trees of the same va ri e ties we have in France, with many of the “nest vines I had seen anywhere. * * *

Continuing our way along this lake in a westerly direction and viewing the country, I saw towards the east very high mountains on the tops of which there was snow. I enquired of the natives whether these parts were inhab- ited. They said they were, and by the Iroquois, and that in those parts there were beautiful valleys and “elds rich in corn such as I have eaten in that country, along with other products in abundance. And they said that the lake went close to the mountains, which, as I judged, might be some twenty- “ve leagues4 away from us. Towards the south I saw others which were not less lofty than the “rst- mentioned, but there was no snow on these. The Indians told me that it was there that we were to meet their enemies, that the moun- tains were thickly populated, and that we had to pass a rapid which I saw afterwards. Thence they said we had to enter another lake.5 * * *

Now as we began to get within two or three days’ journey of the home of their enemy, we proceeded only by night, and during the day we rested. Nev- ertheless, they kept up their usual superstitious ceremonies in order to know what was to happen to them in their undertakings, and often would come and ask me whether I had had dreams and had seen their enemies. I would tell them that I had not, but nevertheless continued to inspire them with courage and good hope. When night came on, we set off on our way until the next morning. Then we retired into the thick woods where we spent the rest of the day. Towards ten or eleven o’clock, after walking around our camp, I went to take a rest, and while asleep I dreamed that I saw in the lake near a mountain our enemies, the Iroquois, drowning before our eyes. I wanted to succour them, but our Indian allies said to me that we should let them all perish; for they were bad men. When I awoke they did not fail to ask me as usual whether I had dreamed anything. I told them what I had seen in my dream. This gave them such con”dence that they no longer had any doubt as to the good fortune awaiting them.

Eve ning having come, we embarked in our canoes in order to proceed on our way, and as we were paddling along very quietly, and without making any noise, about ten o’clock at night on the twenty- ninth of [July], at the



6. Now known as Crown Point; in the southern part of Lake Champlain. 7. Members of this group of peoples, from the mountainous region north of the Saint Law-

rence River, accompanied Champlain on his expedition into the territory of their ancient enemies, the Iroquois. 8. An early, relatively heavy kind of gun.

extremity of a cape6 which proj ects into the lake on the west side, we met the Iroquois on the war- path. Both they and we began to utter loud shouts and each got his arms ready. We drew out into the lake and the Iroquois landed and arranged all their canoes near one another. Then they began to fell trees with the poor axes which they sometimes win in war, or with stone axes; and they barricaded themselves well.

Our Indians all night long also kept their canoes close to one another and tied to poles in order not to get separated, but to “ght all together in case of need. We were on the water within bowshot of their barricades. And when they were armed, and every thing in order, they sent two canoes which they had separated from the rest, to learn from their enemies whether they wished to “ght, and these replied that they had no other desire, but that for the moment nothing could be seen and that it was necessary to wait for daylight in order to distinguish one another. They said that as soon as the sun should rise, they would attack us, and to this our Indians agreed. Meanwhile the whole night was spent in dances and songs on both sides, with many insults and other remarks, such as the lack of courage of our side, how little we could resist or do against them, and that when daylight came our people would learn all this to their ruin. Our side too was not lacking in retort, tell- ing the enemy that they would see such deeds of arms as they had never seen, and a great deal of other talk, such as is usual at the siege of a city. Having sung, danced, and dung words at one another for some time, when daylight came, my companions and I were still hidden, lest the enemy should see us, getting our “re- arms ready as best we could, being however still sepa- rated, each in a canoe of the Montagnais Indians.7 After we were armed with light weapons, we took, each of us, an arquebus8 and went ashore. I saw the enemy come out of their barricade to the number of two hundred, in appearance strong, robust men. They came slowly to meet us with a grav- ity and calm which I admired; and at their head were three chiefs. Our Indi- ans likewise advanced in similar order, and told me that those who had the three big plumes were the chiefs, and that there were only these three, whom you could recognize by these plumes, which were larger than those of their companions; and I was to do what I could to kill them. I promised them to do all in my power, and told them that I was very sorry they could not under- stand me, so that I might direct their method of attacking the enemy, all of whom undoubtedly we should thus defeat; but that there was no help for it, and that I was very glad to show them, as soon as the engagement began, the courage and readiness which were in me.

As soon as we landed, our Indians began to run some two hundred yards towards their enemies, who stood “rm and had not yet noticed my compan- ions who went off into the woods with some Indians. Our Indians began to call to me with loud cries; and to make way for me they divided into two groups, and put me ahead some twenty yards, and I marched on until I was within some thirty yards of the enemy, who as soon as they caught sight of me halted and gazed at me and I at them. When I saw them make a move to

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9 6 | F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S

draw their bows upon us, I took aim with my arquebus and shot straight at one of the three chiefs, and with this shot two fell to the ground and one of their companions was wounded who died thereof a little later. I had put four bullets into my arquebus. As soon as our people saw this shot so favorable for them, they began to shout so loudly that one could not have heard it thun- der, and meanwhile the arrows dew thick on both sides. The Iroquois were much astonished that two men should have been killed so quickly, although they were provided with shields made of cotton thread woven together and wood, which were proof against their arrows. This frightened them greatly. As I was reloading my arquebus, one of my companions “red a shot from within the woods, which astonished them again so much that, seeing their chiefs dead, they lost courage and took to dight, abandoning the “eld and their fort, and deeing into the depth of the forest, whither I pursued them and laid low still more of them. Our Indians also killed several and took ten or twelve prisoners. The remainder ded with the wounded. Of our Indians “fteen or sixteen were wounded with arrows, but these were quickly healed.

After we had gained the victory, our Indians wasted time in taking a large quantity of Indian corn and meal belonging to the enemy, as well as their shields, which they had left behind, the better to run. Having feasted, danced, and sung, we three hours later set off for home with the prisoners. The place where this attack took place is in 43° and some minutes of latitude, and was named Lake Champlain.

* * * Having gone about eight leagues, the Indians, towards eve ning, took one of the prisoners to whom they made a harangue on the cruelties which he and his friends without any restraint had practiced upon them, and that simi- larly he should resign himself to receive as much, and they ordered him to sing, if he had the heart. He did so, but it was a very sad song to hear.

Meanwhile our Indians kindled a “re, and when it was well lighted, each took a brand and burned this poor wretch a little at a time in order to make him suffer the greater torment. Sometimes they would leave off, throwing water on his back. Then they tore out his nails and applied “re to the ends of his “n gers and to his membrum virile.9 Afterwards they scalped him and caused a certain kind of gum to drip very hot upon the crown of his head. Then they pierced his arms near the wrists and with sticks pulled and tore out his sinews by main force, and when they saw they could not get them out, they cut them off. This poor wretch uttered strange cries, and I felt pity at seeing him treated in this way. Still he bore it so “rmly that sometimes one would have said he felt scarcely any pain. They begged me repeatedly to take “re and do like them. I pointed out to them that we did not commit such cruelties, but that we killed people outright, and that if they wished me to shoot him with the arquebus, I should be glad to do so. They said no; for he would not feel any pain. I went away from them as if angry at seeing them practice so much cruelty on his body. When they saw that I was not pleased, they called me back and told me to give him a shot with the arque- bus. I did so, without his perceiving anything, and with one shot caused him to escape all the tortures he would have suffered rather than see him brutally

9. Virile member (Latin); i.e., penis.



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9 8 | F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S

treated. When he was dead, they were not satis”ed; they opened his body and threw his bowels into the lake. Afterwards they cut off his head, arms and legs, which they scattered about; but they kept the scalp, which they had dayed, as they did with those of all the others whom they had killed in their attack. They did another awful thing, which was to cut his heart into several pieces and to give it to a brother of the dead man to eat and to others of his companions who were prisoners. These took it and put it into their mouths, but would not swallow it. Some of the Algonquin Indians who were guarding the prisoners made them spit it out and threw it into the water. That is how these people act with regard to those whom they capture in war. And it would be better for them to die “ghting, and be killed at once, as many do, rather than to fall into the hands of their enemies. When this exe- cution was over, we set out upon our return with the rest of the prisoners, who went along continually singing, without other expectation than to be tortured like him of whom we have spoken. When we arrived at the rapids of the river of the Iroquois, the Algonquins returned into their own country and the Ochategu’s1 also with some of the prisoners, all much pleased at what had taken place in the war, and because I had gone with them will- ingly. So we all separated with great protestations of mutual friendship, and they asked me if I would not go to their country, and aid them continually like a brother. I promised them I would.

* * *


1. Actually, the Yendots, a tribe allied with the Algonquins against the Iroquois. Champlain mistook their chief ’s name, Ochateguin, for the tribe’s name.


In 1609, the same year that Samuel de Champlain journeyed south into Iroquois ter-ritory, the En glish navigator Henry Hudson (c. 1570–1611) abandoned his orders from the power ful Dutch East Indies Com pany. Instead of seeking out a Northeast Passage leading around Rus sia to the Amer i cas, Hudson sailed west toward the coast of what is now the northeastern United States. Upon arrival, he entered the large bay at the lower end of the river that later came to bear his name and set out to explore the bay’s islands, including “Manna- hata” (Manhattan). Hudson then sailed up the river for 150 miles or so, to the vicinity of pres ent- day Albany. During his exploration of this river, Hudson and his crew encountered Native peoples (such as the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware; and the Mahicanni, or River Indians), with whom they traded in an atmosphere fraught with suspicion and punctuated by acts of open hostility and vio lence. As recounted in the following se lection, the explorers also entertained one Indian with brandy, a tragicomic episode that blends ele ments of the convivial and the brutal. Then, continuing to manifest the odd mixture of curiosity, mercantile savvy, and armed intransigence that had marked their travels upstream, they went back downriver. Robert Juet (d. 1611), who kept the best con temporary rec ord of the



R O B E R T J U E T | 9 9

voyage but about whom little else is known, apparently was an En glish sailor with a penchant for vio lence. While traveling again with Hudson in June 1611, Juet helped foment a mutiny among his discontented fellow sailors. They overpowered Hudson and set him adrift, with his son and a handful of supporters, in a small boat and with few provisions. The abandoned group dis appeared in what thereafter was known as Hudson’s Bay. Juet, acting as navigator, died a few days before the starving mutineers reached the coast of Ireland that September.

Hudson set adrift. This painting, The Last Voyage of Henry Hudson (1881), is by the British artist John Collier (1850–1934). It shows Hudson with his son and a crew member after they were set adrift in June 1611 by a mutinous crew that included Robert Juet. Hudson was attempting to “nd the Northwest Passage. He and his companions were never seen again.



1 0 0 | F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S

From The Third Voyage of Master Henry Hudson1

[September 4, 1609]

* * * At night the wind blew hard at the north- west, and our anchor came home and we drove on shore, but took no hurt, thanked be God, for the ground is soft sand and ooze. This day the people of the country came aboard of us, seeming very glad of our coming, and brought green tobacco, and gave us of it for knives and beads. They go in deer skins loose, well dressed. They have yellow copper. They desire clothes, and are very civil. They have great store of maize or Indian wheat, whereof they make good bread. The coun- try is full of great and tall oaks.

The #fth, in the morning, as soon as the day was light, the wind ceased and the dood came. So we heaved off our ship again into “ve fathoms water, and sent our boat to sound the bay,2 and we found that there was three fathoms hard by the southern shore. Our men went on land there, and saw great store of men, women, and children, who gave them tobacco at their coming on land. So they went up into the woods, and saw great store of very goodly oaks and some currants. For one of them came aboard and brought some dried, and gave me some, which were sweet and good. This day many of the people came aboard, some in mantles of feathers, and some in skins of divers3 sorts of good furs. Some women also came to us with hemp. They had red copper tobacco pipes, and other things of copper they did wear about their necks. At night they went on land again, so we rode very quiet, but durst not trust them.

The sixth, in the morning, was fair weather, and our master sent John Col- man, with four other men in our boat, over to the north- side to sound the other river, being four leagues4 from us. They found by the way shoal water, two fathoms; but at the north of the river eigh teen, and twenty fathoms, and very good riding for ships; and a narrow river to the westward, between two islands. The lands, they told us, were as pleasant with grass and dowers and goodly trees as ever they had seen, and very sweet smells came from them. So they went in two leagues and saw an open sea, and returned; and as they came back, they were set upon by two canoes, the one having twelve, the other fourteen men. The night came on, and it began to rain, so that their match5 went out; and they had one man slain in the “ght, which was an En glishman, named John Colman, with an arrow shot into his throat, and two more hurt. It grew so dark that they could not “nd the ship that night, but labored to and fro on their oars. They had so great a stream, that their grapnel6 would not hold them.

The seventh, was fair, and by ten of the clock they returned aboard the ship, and brought our dead man with them, whom we carried on land and

1. The text is from Henry Hudson the Navigator (1860), edited and translated by G. M. Asher. 2. New York Bay. 3. Vari ous. 4. This distance would have been about twelve miles. 5. A wax- coated fuse kept burning to ignite the

matchlock guns that soldiers carried before the invention of the dintlock mechanism. Whereas in the latter device gunpowder is lighted by sparks struck from a piece of dint stone, matchlock weapons had to be lighted by hand. 6. Small, claw- tipped anchor.



buried, and named the point after his name, Colmans Point. Then we hoisted in our boat, and raised her side with waist boards7 for defence of our men. So we rode still all night, having good regard to our watch.

The eighth, was very fair weather, we rode still very quietly. The people came aboard us, and brought tobacco and Indian wheat to exchange for knives and beads, and offered us no vio lence. So we “tting up our boat did mark8 them, to see if they would make any show of the death of our man; which they did not.

The ninth, fair weather. In the morning, two great canoes came aboard full of men; the one with their bows and arrows, and the other in show of buying of knives to betray us; but we perceived their intent. We took two of them to have kept them, and put red coats on them, and would not suffer the other to come near us. So they went on land, and two other came aboard in a canoe; we took the one and let the other go; but he which we had taken, got up and leapt over- board. Then we weighed and went off into the chan- nel of the river, and anchored there all night.

* * * The #fteenth, in the morning, was misty, until the sun arose: then it cleared. So we weighed with the wind at south, and ran up into the river twenty leagues, passing by high mountains. We had a very good depth, as six, seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, and thirteen fathoms, and great store of salmons in the river. This morning our two savages got out of a port9 and swam away. After we were under sail, they called to us in scorn. At night we came to other mountains, which lie from1 the river’s side. There we found very loving people, and very old men: where we were well used. Our boat went to “sh, and caught great store of very good “sh.

* * * The one and twentieth was fair weather, and the wind all southerly: we deter- mined yet once more to go farther up into the river. * * * Our master and his mate determined to try some of the chief men of the country, whether they had any treachery in them. So they took them down into the cabin, and gave them so much wine and aqua vitae2 that they were all merry: and one of them had his wife with them, which sat so modestly, as any of our country women would do in a strange place. In the end one of them was drunk, which had been aboard of our ship all the time that we had been there: and that was strange to them; for they could not tell how to take it. The canoes and folk went all on shore: but some of them came again, and brought stropes of beads: some had six, seven, eight, nine, ten; and gave him.3 So he slept all night quietly.

The two and twentieth was fair weather: in the morning our master’s mate and four more of the com pany went up with our boat to sound the river higher up. The people of the country came not aboard till noon: but when they came, and saw the savages well, they were glad. So at three of the clock in the after noon they came aboard, and brought tobacco, and more beads,

J U E T : T H E T H I R D V O Y A G E O F M A S T E R H E N R Y H U D S O N | 1 0 1

7. Boards inserted atop the low sides, or waist, of a ship. 8. Watch. 9. Hole for a gun. 1. I.e., away from.

2. Brandy. 3. I.e., gave him the “stropes of beads”: belts of wampum, which was made from marine shells and used as a kind of money.



1 0 2 | F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S

and gave them to our master, and made an oration, and showed him all the country round about. Then they sent one of their com pany on land, who presently returned, and brought a great platter full of venison dressed by themselves; and they caused him to eat with them: then they made him reverence4 and departed, all save the old man that lay aboard.

* * * The #rst of October, fair weather, the wind variable between the west and the north. In the morning we weighed at seven of the clock with the ebb, and got down below the mountains, which was seven leagues. Then it fell calm and the dood was come, and we anchored at twelve of the clock. The people of the mountains came aboard us, wondering at our ship and weap- ons. We bought some small skins of them for trides. This after noon, one canoe kept hanging under our stern with one man in it, which we could not keep from thence, who got up by our rudder to the cabin win dow, and stole out my pillow, and two shirts, and two bandoliers.5 Our master’s mate shot at him, and struck him on the breast, and killed him. Whereupon all the rest ded away, some in their canoes, and so leapt out of them into the water. We manned our boat, and got our things again. Then one of them that swam got hold of our boat, thinking to overthrow it.6 But our cook took a sword, and cut off one of his hands, and he was drowned. By this time the ebb was come, and we weighed and got down two leagues: by that time it was dark. So we anchored in four fathoms water, and rode well.

The second, fair weather. At break of day we weighed, the wind being at north- west, and got down seven leagues; then the dood was come strong, so we anchored. Then came one of the savages that swam away from us at our going up the river with many others, thinking to betray us. But we perceived their intent, and suffered none of them to enter our ship. Whereupon two canoes full of men, with their bows and arrows shot at us after our stern: in recompense whereof we discharged six muskets, and killed two or three of them. Then above an hundred of them came to a point of land to shoot at us. There I shot a falcon7 at them, and killed two of them: whereupon the rest ded into the woods. Yet they manned off another canoe with nine or ten men, which came to meet us. So I shot at it also a falcon, and shot it through, and killed one of them. Then our men with their muskets killed three or four more of them. So they went their way; within a while after we got down two leagues beyond that place, and anchored in a bay, clear from all danger of them on the other side of the river, where we saw a very good piece of ground: and hard by it there was a cliff, that looked of the color of a white8 green, as though it were either copper or silver mine: and I think it to be one of them, by the trees that grow upon it. For they be all burned, and the other places are green as grass; it is on that side of the river that is called Manna- hata. There we saw no people to trou ble us: and rode quietly all night; but had much wind and rain.

* * *


4. Paid him their re spects. 5. Ammunition belts. 6. Tip it over.

7. Light cannon. 8. Whitish.



1. The text is from John Heckewelder, History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations Who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States (1876), edited by William C. Reichel.


A missionary to Native Americans and a member of the pietist Moravian Church in Pennsylvania, John Heckewelder (1743–1823) was born in Eng land to Ger- man parents who were refugees from religious persecution in Germany. He emi- grated with them to Amer i ca in 1754 and “rst traveled to Native territory in 1762. For the rest of his long life, he was intimately associated with the Lenni Lenape, or Delaware, and their allies and neighbors in Ohio. Although Heckewelder cared deeply for the Natives, he sought to convert them to the faith of the Eu ro pean invaders, whose interests at vari ous points he directly served—as an agent of the American rebels during the Revolution and as an agent of the U.S. government in the period when settlers began moving into Native lands. After retiring to Bethle- hem, Pennsylvania, in 1810, Heckewelder spent his last years writing accounts of his travels as well as descriptions of the manners and customs of Native communi- ties. James Fenimore Cooper drew on these ethnographic writings in his Leather- stocking Tales (1827–41). One of Heckewelder’s best- known works, An Account of the History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations Who Once Inhabited Penn- sylvania and the Neighbouring States (1819), includes a brief Native story he had picked up years before. That story, the following se lection, has both striking paral- lels to and suggestive differences from the previous se lection, by Robert Juet. Hecke- welder’s version provides a fascinating glimpse of the Native side of the narrative divide in descriptions of “”rst encounters.”

From History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations1

[Delaware Legend of Hudson’s Arrival]

The Lenni Lenape claim the honor of having received and welcomed the Eu ro pe ans on their “rst arrival in the country, situated between New Eng land and Virginia. It is probable, however, that the Mahicanni or Mohi- cans, who then inhabited the banks of the Hudson, concurred in the hospi- table act. The relation I am going to make was taken down many years since from the mouth of an intelligent Delaware Indian, and may be considered as a correct account of the tradition existing among them of this momen- tous event. I give it as much as pos si ble in their own language.

A great many years ago, when men with a white skin had never yet been seen in this land, some Indians who were out a “shing, at a place where the sea widens, espied at a great distance something remarkably large doating on the water, and such as they had never seen before. These Indians imme- diately returning to the shore, apprised their countrymen of what they had observed, and pressed them to go out with them and discover what it might be. They hurried out together, and saw with astonishment the phenomenon which now appeared to their sight, but could not agree upon what it was; some believed it to be an uncommonly large “sh or animal, while others

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1 0 4 | F I R S T E N C O U N T E R S

2. Drinking vessel.

were of opinion it must be a very big house doating on the sea. At length the spectators concluded that this wonderful object was moving towards the land, and that it must be an animal or something else that had life in it; it would therefore be proper to inform all the Indians on the inhabited islands of what they had seen, and put them on their guard. Accordingly they sent off a number of runners and watermen to carry the news to their scattered chiefs, that they might send off in every direction for the warriors, with a message that they should come on immediately. These arriving in numbers, and having themselves viewed the strange appearance, and observing that it was actually moving towards the entrance of the river or bay; concluded it to be a remarkably large house in which the Mannitto (the Great or Supreme Being) himself was pres ent, and that he prob ably was coming to visit them. By this time the chiefs were assembled at [New] York island, and deliberating in what manner * * * they should receive their Mannitto on his arrival. Every mea sure was taken to be well provided with plenty of meat for a sacri”ce. The women were desired to prepare the best victuals. All the idols or images were examined and put in order, and a grand dance was supposed not only to be an agreeable entertainment for the Great Being, but it was believed that it might, with the addition of a sacri”ce, contribute to appease him if he was angry with them. The conjurers were also set to work, to determine what this phenomenon portended, and what the pos si ble result of it might be. To these and to the chiefs and wise men of the nations, men, women, and children were looking up for advice and protection. Distracted between hope and fear, they were at a loss what to do; a dance, however, commenced in great confusion. While in this situa- tion, fresh runners arrive declaring it to be a large house of vari ous colours, and crowded with living creatures. It appears now to be certain, that it is the great Mannitto, bringing them some kind of game, such as he had not given them before, but other runners soon after arriving declare that it is positively a house full of human beings, of quite a dif fer ent colour from that of the Indians, and dressed differently from them; that in par tic u lar one of them was dressed entirely in red, who must be the Mannitto himself. They are hailed from the vessel in a language they do not understand, yet they shout or yell in return by way of answer, according to the custom of their country; many are for running off to the woods, but are pressed by others to stay, in order not to give offence to their visitor, who might “nd them out and destroy them. The house, some say, large canoe, at last stops, and a canoe of a smaller size comes on shore with the red man, and some others in it; some stay with his canoe to guard it. The chiefs and wise men, assembled in council, form themselves into a large circle, towards which the man in red clothes approaches with two others. He salutes them with a friendly countenance, and they return the salute after their manner. They are lost in admiration; the dress, the manners, the whole appearance of the unknown strangers is to them a subject of won der; but they are particularly struck with him who wore the red coat all glittering with gold lace, which they could in no manner account for. He, surely, must be the great Man- nitto, but why should he have a white skin? Meanwhile, a large Hackhack2



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is brought by one of his servants, from which an unknown substance is poured out into a small cup or glass, and handed to the supposed Mannitto. He drinks— has the glass “lled again, and hands it to the chief standing next to him. The chief receives it, but only smells the contents and passes it on to the next chief, who does the same. The glass or cup thus passes through the circle, without the liquor being tasted by any one, and is upon the point of being returned to the red clothed Mannitto, when one of the Indians, a brave man and a great warrior, suddenly jumps up and harangues the assembly on the impropriety of returning the cup with its contents. It was handed to them, says he, by the Mannitto, that they should drink out of it, as he himself had done. To follow his example would be pleasing to him; but to return what he had given them might provoke his wrath, and bring destruction on them. And since the orator believed it for the good of the nation that the contents offered them should be drunk, and as no one else would do it, he would drink it himself, let the consequence be what it might; it was better for one man to die, than that a whole nation should be destroyed. He then took the glass, and bidding the assembly a solemn fare- well, at once drank up its whole contents. Every eye was “xed on the reso- lute chief, to see what effect the unknown liquor would produce. He soon began to stagger, and at last fell prostrate on the ground. His companions now bemoan his fate, he falls into a sound sleep, and they think he has expired. He wakes again, jumps up and declares, that he has enjoyed the most delicious sensations, and that he never before felt himself so happy as after he had drunk the cup. He asks for more, his wish is granted; the whole assembly then imitate him, and all become intoxicated.

After this general intoxication had ceased, for they say that while it lasted the whites had con”ned themselves to their vessel, the man with the red clothes returned again, and distributed pres ents among them, consisting of beads, axes, hoes, and stockings such as the white people wear. They soon became familiar with each other, and began to converse by signs. The Dutch made them understand that they would not stay here, that they would return home again, but would pay them another visit the next year, when they would bring them more pres ents, and stay with them awhile; but as they could not live without eating, they should want a little land of them to sow seeds, in order to raise herbs and vegetables to put into their broth. They went away as they had said, and returned in the following season, when both parties were much rejoiced to see each other; but the whites laughed at the Indians, seeing that they knew not the use of the axes and hoes they had given them the year before; for they had these hanging to their breasts as ornaments, and the stockings were made use of as tobacco pouches. The whites now put handles to the former for them, and cut trees down before their eyes, hoed up the ground, and put the stockings on their legs. Here, they say, a general laughter ensued among the Indians, that they had remained ignorant of the use of such valuable implements, and had borne the weight of such heavy metal hanging to their necks, for such a length of time. They took every white man they saw for an inferior Man- nitto attendant upon the supreme Deity who shone superior in the red and laced clothes. As the whites became daily more familiar with the Indians, they at last proposed to stay with them, and asked only for so much ground for a garden spot as, they said, the hide of a bullock would



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cover or encompass, which hide was spread before them. The Indians readily granted this apparently reasonable request; but the whites then took a knife, and beginning at one end of the hide, cut it up to a long rope, not thicker than a child’s “n ger, so that by the time the whole was cut up, it made a great heap; they then took the rope at one end, and drew it gently along, carefully avoiding its breaking. It was drawn out into a circular form, and being closed at its ends, encompassed a large piece of ground. The Indians were sur- prised at the superior wit3 of the whites, but did not wish to contend with them about a little land, as they had still enough themselves. The white and red men lived contentedly together for a long time, though the former from time to time asked for more land, which was readily obtained, and thus they gradually proceeded higher up the Mahicannittuck,4 until the Indi- ans began to believe that they would soon want all their country, which in the end proved true.


3. In the sense of canniness. The trick prob ably was modeled on the one employed in the ancient world by Dido, queen of Carthage, when she

struck a bargain for the site where that city was founded on the north African coast. 4. Now the Hudson River.


Growing up among radical nonconforming Protestants in rural northern Eng land, William Bradford (1590–1657) embraced their cause at a young age. Early in the seventeenth century, he accompanied them on their exile in the Neth- erlands, where they settled in Leiden (or Leyden). Edward Winslow (1595–1655) was brought up in relative ease in Worcestershire, closer to London, largely untouched by spiritual concerns. He encountered Bradford and the other exiles while traveling in Leiden and, embracing the new sense of purpose that he found in their spiritual life, in 1620 he joined them on their voyage to Amer i ca. Once the colonists had established themselves at Plymouth, Mas sa chu setts, Bradford and Winslow became impor tant public “gures: each, for instance, served several terms as governor. The book they wrote together during their “rst months in New Eng land, Mourt’s Relation (1622), suggests their common objectives and shared viewpoint. In later de cades, the two went their separate ways. After returning to Eng land on public business in 1646, Winslow became involved in Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan government. He died of yellow fever in the West Indies after jointly commanding an unsuccessful military campaign against the Spanish colony of Santo Domingo. Bradford remained at Plymouth, serving as its governor for more than three de cades, and writing the main account of its history, Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford retells the Cape Cod story included here in the ninth chapter of the “rst book of Of Plymouth Plantation, which appears later in this volume.



From Mourt’s Relation1

[Cape Cod Forays]

Wednesday the sixth of December [1620] we set out, being very cold and hard weather, we were a long while after we launched from the ship, before we could get clear of a sandy point, which lay within less than a furlong of the same. In which time, two were very sick, and Edward Tilley had like to have sounded with cold; the gunner was also sick unto death, (but hope of trucking2 made him to go) and so remained all that day, and the next night; at length we got clear of the sandy point, and got up our sails, and within an hour or two we got under the weather shore,3 and then had smoother water and better sailing, but it was very cold, for the water froze on our clothes, and made them many times like coats of iron: we sailed six or seven leagues4 by the shore, but saw neither river nor creek, at length we met with a tongue of land, being dat off from the shore, with a sandy point, we bore up to gain the point, and found there a fair income or road,5 of a bay, being a league over at the narrowest, and some two or three in length, but we made right over to the land before us, and left the discovery of this income till the next day: as we drew near to the shore, we espied some ten or twelve Indians, very busy about a black thing, what it was we could not tell, til afterwards they saw us, and ran to and fro, as if they had been carry ing some thing away, we landed a league or two from them, and had much ado to put ashore anywhere, it lay so full of dat sands, when we came to shore, we made us a baricado,6 and got “rewood, and set out our sentinels, and betook us to our lodging, such as it was; we saw the smoke of the “re which the savages made that night, about four or “ve miles from us, in the morning we divided our com pany, some eight in the shallop,7 and the rest on the shore went to discover this place, but we found it only to be a bay, without either river or creek coming into it, yet we deemed it to be as good an har- bor as Cape Cod, for they that sounded it, found a ship might ride in “ve fathom water, we on the land found it to be a level soil, but none of the fruitfulest; we saw two becks8 of fresh water, which were the “rst running streams that we saw in the country, but one might stride over them: we found also a great “sh, called a grampus dead on the sands, they in the shal- lop found two of them also in the bottom of the bay, dead in like sort, they were cast up at high water, and could not get off for the frost and ice; they were some “ve or six paces long, and about two inches thick of fat, and deshed like a swine, they would have yielded a great deal of oil, if there had been time and means to have taken it, so we “nding nothing for our turn, both we and our shallop returned. We then directed our course along the sea sands, to the place where we “rst saw the Indians, when we were there,

1. The text is from William Bradford and Edward Winslow, Mourt’s Relation, or Journal of the Plan- tation at Plymouth (1622; rpt., 1865), edited by Henry Martyn Dexter. Mourt’s Relation was “rst published in London by Bradford’s brother- in- law, George Mourt. 2. Trading. “Sounded”: fainted. 3. The shore from which the wind was blowing.

4. This distance might have been about eigh teen to twenty- one miles. 5. Protected inlet or roadstead. 6. Barricade. 7. Small sailing vessel often used in coastal exploration. 8. Brooks.

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we saw it was also a grampus which they were cutting up, they cut it into long rands9 or pieces, about an ell long, and two handfuls broad, we found here and there a piece scattered by the way, as it seemed, for haste: this place the most were minded1 we should call, the Grampus Bay, because we found so many of them there: we followed the track of the Indians’ bare feet a good way on the sands, at length we saw where they struck into the woods by the side of a pond, as we went to view the place, one said, he thought he saw an Indian house among the trees, so went up to see: and here we and the shallop lost sight one of another till night, it being now about nine or ten o’clock, so we light on a path, but saw no house, and followed a great way into the woods, at length we found where corn had been set,2 but not that year, anon we found a great burying place, one part whereof was encompassed with a large palazado, like a churchyard, with young spires3 four or “ve yards long, set as close one by another as they could two or three foot in the ground within it was full of graves, some bigger, and some less, some were also paled about, and others had like an Indian house made over them, but not matted: those graves were more sumptuous than those at Corne- hill,4 yet we digged none of them up, but only viewed them, and went our way; without5 the palazado were graves also, but not so costly: from this place we went and found more corn ground, but not of this year. As we ranged we light on four or “ve Indian houses, which had been lately dwelt in, but they were uncovered and had no mats about them, else they were like those we found at Corne- hill, but had not been so lately dwelt in, there was nothing left but two or three pieces of old matts, a little sedge,6 also a little further we found two baskets full of parched acorns hid in the ground, which we supposed had been corn when we began to dig the same, we cast earth thereon again and went our way. All this while we saw no people, we went ranging up and down till the sun began to draw low, and then we hasted out of the woods, that we might come to our shallop, which when we were out of the woods, we espied a great way off, and called them to come unto us, the which they did as soon as they could, for it was not yet high water, they were exceeding glad to see us, (for they feared because they had not seen us in so long a time) thinking we would have kept by the shoreside, so being both weary and faint, for we had eaten nothing all that day, we fell to make our rendezvous7 and get “rewood, which always cost us a great deal of labor, by [the] time we had done, and our shallop come to us, it was within night, and we fed upon such victuals as we had, and betook us to our rest, after we had set out our watch. About midnight we heard a great and hideous cry, and our sentinel called, Arm, arm. So we bestirred our- selves and shot off a couple of muskets, and noise ceased; we concluded, that it was a com pany of wolves or foxes, for one told us, he had heard such a noise in New- found- land. About “ve o’clock in the morning we began to be stirring, and two or three which doubted whether their Pieces would go off or no made trial of them, and shot them off, but thought nothing at all,

9. Strips. 1. Most people thought. 2. Planted. 3. Saplings. “Palazado”: palisade; fence of thin posts or pales. 4. A spot on Cape Cod where they had unearthed buried stores of grain. Corn Hill was also an

ancient ward in London. “Indian house”: Native American wigwams were constructed of timber frames and covered with woven mats. 5. Outside. 6. Reed used for roo”ng. 7. Camp.



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after prayer we prepared ourselves for breakfast, and for a journey, and it being now the twilight in the morning, it was thought meet to carry the things down to the shallop: some said, it was not best to carry the armor down, others said, they would be readier, two or three said, they would not carry theirs, till they went themselves, but mistrusting nothing at all: as it fell out, the water not being high enough, they laid the things down upon the shore, and came up to breakfast. Anon, all upon a sudden, we heard a great and strange cry, which we knew to be the same voices, though they varied their notes, one of our com pany being abroad came running in, and cried, They are men, Indians, Indians,8 and withal, their arrows came dying amongst us, our men ran out with all speed to recover their arms, as by the good Providence of God they did. In the meantime, Captain Miles Standish, having a snaphance9 ready, made a shot, and after him another, after they two had shot, other two of us were ready, but he wished us not to shoot, till we could take aim, for we knew not what need we should have, and there were four only of us, which had their arms there ready, and stood before the open side of our Baricado, which was “rst assaulted, they thought it best to defend it, lest the enemy should take it and our stuff, and so have the more vantage against us, our care was no less for the Shallop, but we hoped all the rest would defend it; we called unto them to know how it was with them, and they answered, Well, Well, every one, and be of good courage: we heard three of their Pieces go off, and the rest called for a “re- brand to light their matches,1 one took a log out of the “re on his shoulder and went and carried it unto them, which was thought did not a little discourage our enemies. The cry of our enemies was dreadful, especially, when our men ran out to recover their Arms, their note was after this manner, Woath woach ha ha hach woach: our men were no sooner come to their Arms, but the enemy was ready to assault them.

There was a lusty man and no wit less valiant, who was thought to be their Captain, stood behind a tree within half a musket shot of us, and there let his arrows dy at us; he was seen to shoot three arrows, which were all avoided, for he at whom the “rst arrow was aimed, saw it, and stooped down and it dew over him, the rest were avoided also: he stood three shots of a Musket, at length one took full aim at him, after which he gave an extraordinary cry and away they went all, we followed them about a quarter of a mile, but we left six to keep our shallop, for we were careful of our business: then we shouted all together two several2 times, and shot off a couple of muskets and so returned: this we did that they might see we were not afraid of them nor discouraged. Thus it pleased God to vanquish our Enemies and give us deliv- erance, by their noise we could not guess that they were less than thirty or forty, though some thought that they were many more yet in the dark of the morning, we could not so well discern them among the trees, as they could see us by our “reside, we took up eigh teen of their arrows which we have sent to Eng land by Master Jones, some whereof were headed with brass, others with Harts horn,3 and others with Ea gles’ claws many more no doubt were shot, for these we found, were almost covered with leaves: yet by the

8. As opposed to the wolves or foxes that the En glishmen had earlier thought the men to be. 9. An early version of a dintlock gun. 1. Wax- coated fuses used with guns lacking

snaphance devices. 2. Separate. 3. I.e., points made from deer antlers.



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especial providence of God, none of them either hit or hurt us, though many came close by us, and on every side of us, and some coats which hung up in our baricado, were shot through and through. So after we had given God thanks for our deliverance, we took our shallop and went on our journey, and called this place, The #rst encounter. * * *


JOHN SMITH 1580–1631

One of the most vivid episodes in the lit er a ture of colonial British North Amer-i ca is a scene from the writings of Captain John Smith that takes place at the “court” of Powhatan, the mamanatowick (or paramount chief) of the Algonquians in the Chesapeake Bay region. (For more on Powhatan, see the excerpt from “Powhatan’s Discourse” earlier in this volume.) Smith was a leading member of the En glish com- pany that had established the colony of Jamestown, in what is now Virginia. While on an expedition to discover the source of the Chickahominy River, he was taken captive by some of Powhatan’s men. Arriving at Powhatan’s residence at Werowocomoco—on the York River, north of Jamestown— Smith was greeted with an elaborate welcoming ceremony and feast. Soon afterward, however, he was suddenly dragged before Pow- hatan and threatened with execution. The mamanatowick’s preteen daughter Mata- oka, better known as Pocahontas (c. 1591–1617), pleaded with her father not to kill Smith. When her appeal appeared to be failing, she shielded Smith’s head with her arms and saved his life—or so Smith claimed. Historians and anthropologists have speculated that what Smith describes as a rescue from execution was instead a cere- mony designed to make Smith subordinate to Powhatan, thereby transforming James- town into a tributary of the Algonquian leader.

The romantic narrative about how Pocahontas rescued John Smith forms one of the central myths of En glish colonization. It emerges from a short passage in The General History of Virginia, New Eng land, and the Summer Isles (1624), a historical compilation that Smith produced jointly with several other writers. In the years between Smith’s return from Virginia in 1609 and the appearance of the General History, Smith had published other accounts of his Virginia adventures that men- tion Pocahontas. But the lines devoted to her “rescue” of him appear exclusively in the General History. That volume appeared seven years after she died on board a ship while returning from Eng land with her husband— the white colonist John Rolfe— and their son, Thomas. By the time the General History was published in London, no one was available to corroborate Smith’s account of his dramatic rescue or clarify its signi”cance. The my thol ogy that has grown out of these few brief lines, sometimes condating the rescue of Smith with Pocahontas’s subsequent mar- riage to Rolfe, is a striking example of how some colonial- era texts have accrued layers of meaning that extend well beyond the words on the page.

This scene is not the only romancelike feature of Smith’s writings. The En glish adventurer deliberately cultivated an aura resembling that of a knight in a chivalric romance— but with impor tant differences. Like Sir Walter Raleigh, the aristo- cratic En glish explorer and champion of colonization, Smith pursued adventure



J O H N S M I T H | 1 1 1

and glory. Unlike Raleigh, he was not an aristocrat but a farmer’s son. This differ- ence in status forms a major ele ment in Smith’s writings. He hailed from the east of Eng land, where his father had a farm on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, an area of considerable natu ral beauty. The young Smith found the countryside too quiet for his taste. Shortly after his father died in 1596, the restless sixteen- year- old went to the Netherlands to “ght for Dutch in de pen dence from Philip II of Spain. The “ght was part of the Eu ro pean wars of religion, which pitted Protestants against Roman Catholics and, on the eastern front, Christians against Muslims. Smith was one of many planters whose involvement in the colonization of the Amer i cas was colored by experience in these often brutal condicts. Following his tour of duty in the Netherlands, he fought in the Mediterranean, and he later joined the Austrian imperial army in its war against the Ottoman Empire, which at that time encompassed large swathes of southeastern Eu rope and the Middle East, as well as parts of North Africa. While “ghting the Ottomans in Hungary, Smith earned promotion to the captain’s rank that became an enduring part of his public persona. He claimed, apparently with at least some degree of truth, that he had defeated and beheaded a succession of three Turkish of”cers in single combat. The coat of arms that he was later awarded showed the three severed heads.

Eventually, Smith was wounded in battle, taken prisoner, and sold as a slave to a Turkish noblewoman. Smith described his developing attachment to this noble- woman in his semiautobiographical work, The True Travels, Adventures, and Obser- vations of Captaine John Smith, in Eu rope, Asia, Affrica, and Amer i ca (1630). The romance might have ended in marriage, with Smith converting to Islam and serving as an Ottoman bureaucrat. Instead, the En glishman killed the noblewoman’s brother in ambiguous circumstances— Smith may have mistaken a form of training for mistreatment— and escaped. Smith later gave place names drawn from his Turkish adventures to areas in New Eng land, such as Three Turks’ Heads (near Cape Ann in Mas sa chu setts), which John Winthrop mentioned in his journal account of the Puri- tans’ arrival in 1630.

After returning to Eng land in the winter of 1604–05, Smith began looking for his next adventure. The twenty- six- year- old veteran had an assertive personality and military experience that were attractive qualities to the members of the Virginia Com pany of London as they or ga nized their 1606 expedition to establish what they hoped would be Eng land’s “rst permanent plantation in North Amer i ca. But those qualities also carried liabilities. Smith sometimes used force unnecessarily, and his hard- to- control temper and stubborn self- reliance could make him a trouble- some companion. He ran afoul of the people in charge of the expedition on the voyage to Amer i ca in 1607, when he was placed under arrest and threatened with execution. Then, in a remarkable turn of events, his name was found on the list of council members that the com pany had designated to run the colony, which had been kept secret until the group’s arrival. The com pany had recognized qualities in Smith that they believed would be useful to the group, and so despite his compara- tively modest status and his propensity for challenging authority, they gave him a role in the Jamestown colony’s leadership.

Smith set out to or ga nize the men and explore and map the region. Many of the other colonists were from elite backgrounds, and they were often unwilling or unable to perform the hard and dangerous work that settlement demanded. The colonists who survived rampant illness, famine, warfare, and other mis haps increasingly came to value Smith’s leadership, and in 1608 he was elected to the colony’s highest of”ce, becoming the equivalent of its governor. But of”cial status offered little pro- tection in the volatile colonial setting. When Smith returned to Jamestown after being held captive by Powhatan— the episode where he was “rescued” by Poca- hontas—he was charged with the deaths of the two soldiers who had accompanied him on the expedition that ended in his capture. Smith was saved from hanging



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when the colonists were distracted by the fortuitous arrival of a deet with much- needed supplies from Eng land. Not long afterward, however, Smith’s gunpowder bag mysteriously exploded in his lap while he napped on the deck of an exploring vessel— possibly because a disgruntled member of the com pany had thrown a match into the powder. Smith left Virginia in 1609, never to return.

Smith is most closely associated with the Virginia enterprise, but he also took an active interest in New Eng land, and his works form an impor tant bridge between these “rst two permanent En glish colonies in North Amer i ca. In 1614 he voyaged to New Eng land, and he, not the Puritans, gave the region its name. He offered the Pilgrims his ser vices as a guide for their voyage in 1620, but they chose instead to put Smith’s helpful books and maps in the hands of a more temperate military leader, Myles Standish. If not for this rejection and some unfortunate setbacks that prevented future voyages, Smith might have become more famous for this second aspect of his American career than for the “rst: he published more works on New Eng land than on Virginia, seeing in the northern region great potential for “middling” En glish settlers. Smith’s New Eng land works have a strong ideological caste, in that they focus more on the idea of Amer i ca and less on the many chal- lenges of establishing plantations there, doubtless a redection of his indirect involvement.

Smith published some nine books between 1608 and 1631, including his works on Virginia and New Eng land, books for aspiring seamen, and The True Travels. Many of his writings have a distinctly Elizabethan caste to them, though with a difference. In his works, the heroic ideal of the elite adventurer, typi”ed by Sir Wal- ter Raleigh, gives way to the prototype of the in de pen dent self- made man. Tales of exploration, piracy, and military adventure had stirred Smith’s youthful imagina- tion, and he longed to create his own heroic narratives. Rather than simply repro- duce heroic literary conventions, Smith actively transformed them. In contrast to Raleigh, who was associated with the high literary ideals embodied in Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queen (1590), Smith wrote prose accounts addressed to the expanding market for popu lar printed works, which was driven in part by the public appetite for writings about the colonization effort. Though largely untu- tored in the “ner points of style, he had an ear for a good story and a capacity for striking meta phors. Sprinkled with classical allusions and references to the popu lar theater, his writings also demonstrate his mastery of the humanistic genres of ora- tory, history, and descriptive travel writing.

The most lasting and induential contribution of his writings was a vision of Eng land’s colonies as places where people of all economic backgrounds could sup- port themselves as small farmers, in healthful and pleasant circumstances, with greater liberty than might be pos si ble elsewhere. The outlines of the yeoman farmer ideal that would be so impor tant for Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson emerge clearly in Smith’s works. The negative aspects of this vision emerge as well in passages revealing how this “gure comes to overshadow and dominate those who pursued other modes of life, notably Amer i ca’s indigenous inhabitants. Perhaps Smith’s most salient quality as a writer is his special knack for illustrating the connections between the often sordid or brutal details of the colonization enterprise and the imaginative work that propelled it.

The following texts are from Travels and Works of Captain John Smith (1910), edited by Edward Arber and A. G. Bradley.



1 1 3

From The General History of Virginia, New Eng land, and the Summer Isles1

From The Third Book2

from chapter 2. what happened till the first supply3

Being thus left to our fortunes, it fortuned that within ten days4 scarce ten amongst us could either go, or well stand, such extreme weakness and sick- ness oppressed us. And thereat none need marvel, if they consider the cause and reason, which was this:

Whilst the ships stayed, our allowance was somewhat bettered, by a daily proportion of biscuit, which the sailors would pilfer to sell, give, or exchange with us, for money, Sassafras,5 furs, or love. But when they departed, there remained neither tavern, beer house, nor place of relief, but the common kettle.6 Had we been as free from all sins as [from] gluttony, and drunkenness, we might have been canonized for Saints; but our President would never have been admitted, for engrossing to his private [use], oatmeal, sack, oil, aqua vitae, beef, eggs, or what not, but the kettle;7 that indeed he allowed equally to be distributed, and that was half a pint of wheat, and as much barley boiled with water for a man a day, and this having fried some twenty- six weeks in the ship’s hold, contained as many worms as grains, so that we might truly call it rather so much bran then corn; our drink8 was water, our lodgings castles in the air.

With this lodging and diet, our extreme toil in bearing and planting pali- sades, so strained and bruised us, and our continual labor in the extremity of the heat had so weakened us, as were cause suf”cient to have made us as miserable in our native country, or any other place in the world.

From May, to September [1607], those that escaped, lived upon sturgeon, and sea crabs. Fifty in this time we buried, the rest seeing the President’s9 proj ects to escape these miseries in our pinnace by dight (who all this time had neither felt want nor sickness) so moved our dead spirits, as we deposed him and established Ratcliffe in his place, (Gosnold being dead, Kendall deposed). Smith newly recovered, Martin1 and Ratcliffe were by his care preserved and relieved, and the most of the soldiers recovered with the skillful diligence of Master Thomas Wotton our general surgeon.

1. The Bermuda Islands. 2. The Third Book is titled “The Proceedings and Accidents of the En glish Colony in Virginia” and is derived from Smith’s Virginia book of 1612. 3. The bulk of this chapter may have been written by Smith, although at its publication in 1612 it was credited solely to Thomas Studley, chief store- keeper of the colony. In 1624, Smith added to Stud- ley’s signature at the end of this section of the text not only his own initials but also the names of Rob- ert Fenton and Edward Harrington as part authors. Studley died early in the “rst year, on August  28, 1607, four days after Harrington, so neither could have written much of what is partly attributed to them. Of Robert Fenton nothing is known. 4. By the end of June 1607, after Captain Chris- topher Newport (d. 1617) left to fetch new sup- plies from Eng land. “Fortuned”: happened. 5. The bark of the sassafras tree, sold for its sup- posed medicinal qualities, was a valuable com- modity in London. 6. I.e., the communal resources.

7. I.e., President Edward Maria Wing”eld (c. 1560–1613), a man of high connections in Eng land, would not have been canonized because he diverted many supplies (every thing except the contents of the common kettle) for his own use, including sack (wine) and aqua vitae (brandy). 8. “Drink,” here used ironically, customarily referred to wine or beer. “Corn”: grain. 9. I.e., Wing”eld’s. 1. Captain John Martin (c. 1567–1632?) was a colonist best known for his contentiousness. “Captain John Ratcliffe” was an alias of John Sickle- more, master of one of the vessels on the voyage over and a member of the local council. The most enigmatic “gure in Jamestown, he was elected president of the council in September 1607, but later fell out with Smith. Captain Bar- tholomew Gosnold (ca. 1572–1607), who had explored New Eng land before the “rst Jamestown voyage, prob ably had been responsible for Smith’s recruitment to the venture. Captain George Ken- dall was executed for mutiny later in the year.



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2. I.e., was in want. 3. Intractable. 4. I.e., outside the colony’s palisade. 5. An open boat. 6. Inability to speak.

7. A village near the mouth of the James River whose inhabitants, the Kecoughtans, were mem- bers of the Powhatan Confederacy. 8. Fired.

But now was all our provision spent, the sturgeon gone, all helps aban- doned, each hour expecting the fury of the savages, when God the patron of all good endeavors, in that desperate extremity so changed the hearts of the savages, that they brought such plenty of their fruits, and provision, as no man wanted.2

And now where some af”rmed it was ill done of the Council to send forth men so badly provided, this incontradictable reason will show them plainly they are too ill advised to nourish such ill conceits: “rst, the fault of our going was our own; what could be thought “tting or necessary we had; but what we should “nd, or want, or where we should be, we were all ignorant, and supposing to make our passage in two months, with victual to live, and the advantage of the spring to work; we were at sea “ve months, where we both spent our victual and lost the opportunity of the time and season to plant, by the unskilfull presumption of our ignorant transporters, that under- stood not at all, what they undertook.

Such actions have ever since the world’s beginning been subject to such accidents, and every thing of worth is found full of dif”culties: but nothing so dif”cult as to establish a commonwealth so far remote from men and means, and where men’s minds are so untoward3 as neither do well them- selves, nor suffer others. But to proceed.

The new President and Martin, being little beloved, of weak judgment in dangers, and less industry in peace, committed the managing of all things abroad4 to Captain Smith: who by his own example, good words, and fair promises, set some to mow, others to bind thatch, some to build houses, others to thatch them, himself always bearing the greatest task for his own share, so that in short time, he provided most of them lodgings, neglecting any for himself.

This done, seeing the savages’ superduity begin to decrease [Smith] (with some of his workmen) shipped himself in the shallop5 to search the country for trade. The want of6 the language, knowledge to manage his boat with- out sails, the want of a suf”cient power (knowing the multitude of the sav- ages), apparel for his men, and other necessaries, were in”nite impediments yet no discouragement.

Being but six or seven in com pany he went down the river to Kecoughtan7 where at “rst they scorned him as a famished man, and would in derision offer him a handful of corn, a piece of bread, for their swords and muskets, and such like proportions also for their apparel. But seeing by trade and cour- tesy there was nothing to be had, he made bold to try such conclusions as necessity enforced; though contrary to his commission, [he] let dy8 his mus- kets, ran his boat on shore, whereat they all ded into the woods.

So marching towards their houses, they might see great heaps of corn: much ado he had to restrain his hungry soldiers from pres ent taking of it, expecting as it happened that the savages would assault them, as not long after they did with a most hideous noise. Sixty or seventy of them, some black, some



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9. “Square order”: formation. “Particoloured”: i.e., painted for battle. 1. Several. “Targets”: small shields. “So kindly”: in such a way. 2. Smith elsewhere de”nes this term as referring to the “petty gods” of the Algonquian- speaking peoples, but here it may mean priests. 3. I.e., in mutual contentment. 4. A village on the south side of the James River. 5. I.e., none of the settlers, despite their recent sufferings, gave any thought to gathering a store of provision for the future. 6. The region along the Chickahominy River, which empties into the James River a short dis- tance west of Jamestown.

7. Shot for a small cannon used in sieges and on shipboard. “Discovered”: revealed. 8. I.e., it is necessary to recount these trou bles and lay the blame on the responsible individuals (Wing”eld and Kendall), rather than let the whole “business” of the colony suffer ill repute. 9. Gabriel Archer (c. 1575–1609?) had been an associate of Bartholomew Gosnold before the Jamestown voyage. Having gone back to Eng land in 1608 as a con”rmed opponent of Smith, he returned to Virginia the following year to head an anti- Smith faction but died during the starving time the next winter. Ratcliffe (Sickle- more) was still president.

red, some white, some particoloured, came in a square order,9 singing and dancing out of the woods, with their Okee (which was an Idol made of skins, stuffed with moss, all painted and hung with chains and copper) borne before them, and in this manner, being well armed with clubs, targets, bows and arrow, they charged the En glish that so kindly received them with their muskets loaded with pistol shot, that down fell their God, and divers1 lay sprawling on the ground; the rest ded again to the woods, and ere long sent one of their Quiyoughkasoucks2 to offer peace, and redeem their Okee.

Smith told them, if only six of them would come unarmed and load his boat, he would not only be their friend, but restore them their Okee, and give them beads, copper, and hatchets besides, which on both sides was to their contents3 performed, and then they brought him venison, turkeys, wild fowl, bread, and what they had, singing and dancing in sign of friendship till they departed.

In his return he discovered the town and country of Warraskoyack.4

Thus God unboundless by His power, Made them thus kind, would us devour.

Smith perceiving (notwithstanding their late misery) not any regarded but  from hand to mouth5 (the com pany being well recovered) caused the pinnace to be provided with things “tting to get provision for the year fol- lowing, but in the interim he made three or four journeys and discovered the people of Chickahominy.6 Yet what he carefully provided the rest care- lessly spent.

Wing”eld and Kendall living in disgrace * * * strengthened themselves with the sailors and other confederates, to regain their former credit and authority, or at least such means aboard the pinnace, (being “tted to sail as Smith had appointed for trade) to alter her course and to go for Eng land.

Smith, unexpectedly returning, had the plot discovered to him, much trou ble he had to prevent it, till with store of saker7 and musket shot he forced them stay or sink in the river: which action cost the life of Captain Kendall.

These brawls are so disgustful, as some will say they were better forgot- ten, yet all men of good judgment will conclude, it were better their base- ness should be manifest to the world, than the business bear the scorn and shame of their excused disorders.8

The President and Captain Archer9 not long after intended also to have abandoned the country, which proj ect also was curbed, and suppressed by Smith.



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1. I.e., Smith wanted to “nd food for the colo- nists as much as Spanish conquistadors wanted to “nd gold. 2. Self- indulgent persons who might be given to wearing lace. “Putchamins”: persimmons. 3. Objections. 4. I.e., only through fault of their own did they fail to wipe out Cassen’s whole party. “Govern- ment”: discipline. 5. Wilderness. 6. Shield. “Garters”: laces used for tying clothing.

7. Behaved. 8. I.e., these are the two men mentioned above as having been killed while they slept by the canoe (the “reside being by the canoe). John Robinson was a “gentleman”; Thomas Emry was a carpenter. “King of Pamunkey”: Opechanca- nough, Powhatan’s younger half- brother (d. 1644) and Smith’s captor, who led the Powhatan Confederacy’s attack on the colonists in 1622 and as late as 1644 attempted one last time to expel them from the country.

The Spaniard never more greedily desired gold then he victual,1 nor his soldiers more to abandon the country, than he to keep it. But [he found] plenty of corn in the river of Chickahominy, where hundreds of savages in divers places stood with baskets expecting his coming.

And now the winter approaching, the rivers became so covered with swans, geese, ducks, and cranes that we daily feasted with good bread, Virginia peas, pumpkins, and putchamins, “sh, fowl, and divers sorts of wild beasts as fat as we could eat them, so that none of our Tuftaffety humorists2 desired to go for Eng land.

But our comedies never endured long without a tragedy, some idle excep- tions3 being muttered against Captain Smith, for not discovering the head of Chickahominy river, and [he being] taxed by the council to be too slow in so worthy an attempt. The next voyage he proceeded so far that with much labor by cutting of trees asunder he made his passage, but when his barge could pass no farther, he left her in a broad bay out of danger of shot, com- manding none should go ashore till his return; himself with two En glish and two savages went up higher in a canoe, but he was not long absent but his men went ashore, whose want of government gave both occasion and oppor- tunity to the savages to surprise one George Cassen, whom they slew and much failed not to have cut off the boat and all the rest.4

Smith little dreaming of that accident, being got to the marshes at the river’s head twenty miles in the desert,5 had his two men slain (as is sup- posed) sleeping by the canoe, whilst himself by fowling sought them vict- ual, who “nding he was beset with 200 savages, two of them he slew, still defending himself with the aid of a savage his guide, whom he bound to his arm with his garters, and used him as a buckler,6 yet he was shot in his thigh a little, and had many arrows that stuck in his clothes but no great hurt, till at last they took him prisoner.

When this news came to Jamestown, much was their sorrow for his loss, few expecting what ensued.

Six or seven weeks those barbarians kept him prisoner, many strange triumphs and conjurations they made of him, yet he so demeaned7 himself amongst them, as he not only diverted them from surprising the fort, but procured his own liberty, and got himself and his com pany such estimation amongst them, that those savages admired him more than their owne Quiyoughkasoucks.

The manner how they used and delivered him, is as followeth: The savages having drawn from George Cassen whither Captain Smith

was gone, prosecuting that opportunity they followed him with 300 bowmen, conducted by the King of Pamunkey, who in divisions searching the turnings of the river, found Robinson and Emry by the “reside; those they shot full of arrows and slew.8 Then “nding the Captain, as is said, that used the savage



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9. Wounded. 1. Agreement for surrender. 2. Compass card. 3. On the opposite side of the globe. 4. Treated. “Orapaks”: a village located farther inland, later the residence of Powhatan. 5. Guns.

6. Notched; i.e., with their arrows “tted on the bowstring ready for use. 7. From an Italian term denoting a snakelike formation. 8. Outspread. “Vambrace”: forearm protection. “Pocones”: a vegetable dye.

that was his guide as his shield (three of them being slain and divers other so galled)9 all the rest would not come near him. Thinking thus to have returned to his boat, regarding them, as he marched, more than his way, [he] slipped up to the middle in an oozy creek and his savage with him, yet dared they not come to him till being near dead with cold, he threw away his arms. Then according to their composition1 they drew him forth and led him to the “re, where his men were slain. Diligently they chafed his benumbed limbs.

He demanding for their captain, they showed him Opechancanough, King of Pamunkey, to whom he gave a round ivory double compass dial. Much they marveled at the playing of the dy2 and needle, which they could see so plainly and yet not touch it because of the glass that covered them. But when he demonstrated by that globe- like jewell, the roundness of the earth, and skies, the sphere of the sun, moon, and stars, and how the sun did chase the night round about the world continually, the greatness of the land and sea, the diversity of nations, variety of complexions, and how we were to them antipodes,3 and many other such like matters, they all stood as amazed with admiration.

Notwithstanding, within an hour after, they tied him to a tree, and as many as could stand about him prepared to shoot him, but the King holding up the compass in his hand, they all laid down their bows and arrows, and in a triumphant manner led him to Orapaks, where he was after their man- ner kindly feasted, and well used.4

Their order in conducting him was thus: Drawing themselves all in “le, the King in the midst had all their pieces5 and swords borne before him. Captain Smith was led after him by three great savages holding him fast by each arm, and on each side six went in “le with their arrows nocked.6 But arriving at the town (which was but only thirty or forty hunting houses made of mats, which they remove as they please, as we our tents), all the women and children staring to behold him, the soldiers “rst all in “le performed the form of a Bissom7 so well as could be, and on each dank, of”cers as ser- geants to see them keep their orders. A good time they continued this exer- cise and then cast themselves in a ring, dancing in such several postures and singing and yelling out such hellish notes and screeches; being strangely painted, every one [had] his quiver of arrows and at his back a club, on his arm a fox or an otter’s skin or some such matter for his vambrace, their heads and shoulders painted red, with oil and pocones mingled together, which scarlet- like color made an exceeding handsome show, his bow in his hand, and the skin of a bird with her wings abroad8 dryed, tied on his head, a piece of copper, a white shell, a long feather with a small rattle growing at the tails of their snakes tied to it, or some such like toy. All this while, Smith and the King stood in the midst, guarded as before is said, and after three dances they all departed. Smith they conducted to a long house where thirty or forty tall fellows did guard him, and ere long more bread and venison was brought him than would have served twenty men. I think his stomach at that



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9. Payment. 1. A notebook. 2. Weaponry. 3. Perform magic. “Expedition”: speed. 4. Other Algonquian- speaking groups. The named groups were part of the Powhatan Con- federacy.

5. Incantations. However, Smith derived the fol- lowing couplet from a translation of the ancient Roman writer Seneca published by Martin Fotherby in his philosophical treatise Atheomas- tix (1622). 6. I.e., charcoal.

time was not very good; what he left they put in baskets and tied over his head. About midnight they set the meat again before him; all this time not one of them would eat a bit with him, till the next morning they brought him as much more, and then did they eat all the old, and reserved the new as they had done the other, which made him think they would fat him to eat him. Yet in this desperate estate, to defend him from the cold, one Maocas- sater brought him his gown, in requital9 of some beads and toys Smith had given him at his “rst arrival in Virginia.

Two days after, a man would have slain him (but that the guard pre- vented it) for the death of his son, to whom they conducted him to recover the poor man then breathing his last. Smith told them that at Jamestown he had a water would do it, if they would let him fetch it, but they would not permit that, but made all the preparations they could to assault James- town, craving his advice, and for recompence he should have life, liberty, land, and women. In part of a table book1 he wrote his mind to them at the fort, what was intended, how they should follow that direction to affright the messengers, and without fail send him such things as he wrote for. And an inventory with them. The dif”culty and danger, he told the sav- ages, of the mines, great guns, and other engines2 exceedingly affrighted them, yet according to his request they went to Jamestown in as bitter weather as could be of frost and snow, and within three days returned with an answer.

But when they came to Jamestown, seeing men sally out as he had told them they would, they ded, yet in the night they came again to the same place where he had told them they should receive an answer and such things as he had promised them, which they found accordingly, and with which they returned with no small expedition to the won der of them all that heard it, that he could either divine3 or the paper could speak.

Then they led him to the Youghtanunds, the Mattapanients, the Pianka- tanks, the Nantaughtacunds, and Onawmanients upon the rivers of Rap- pahannock and Potomac, over all those rivers, and back again by divers other several nations,4 to the King’s habitation at Pamunkey where they entertained him with most strange and fearful conjurations:5

As if near led to hell, Amongst the dev ils to dwell.

Not long after, early in a morning, a great “re was made in a long house, and a mat spread on the one side as on the other; on the one they caused him to sit, and all the guard went out of the house, and presently came skip- ping in a great grim fellow all painted over with coal6 mingled with oil, and many snakes’ and weasels’ skins stuffed with moss, and all their tails tied together so as they met on the crown of his head in a tassel, and round about the tassel was as a coronet of feathers, the skins hanging round about his head, back, and shoulders and in a manner covered his face, with a hellish



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7. Encircled. 8. Prayer. “Wheat corns”: i.e., “ve kernels of Indian corn. 9. A dat, wooden dish. 1. Actually the chief ’s half- brother; he suc- ceeded Powhatan in 1618.

2. Gifts. 3. From a translation of the ancient Roman writer Lucretius by Fotherby. 4. Powhatan’s village on the north shore of the York River, almost due north of Jamestown. 5. Finery; i.e., costumes.

voice, and a rattle in his hand. With most strange gestures and passions he began his invocation and environed7 the “re with a circle of meal; which done, three more such like dev ils came rushing in with the like antic tricks, painted half black, half red, but all their eyes were painted white and some red strokes like mustaches along their cheeks. Round about him those “ends danced a pretty while, and then came in three more as ugly as the rest, with red eyes and white strokes over their black faces. At last they all sat down right against him, three of them on the one hand of the chief priest, and three on the other. Then all with their rattles began a song; which ended, the chief priest laid down “ve wheat corns; then straining his arms and hands with such vio lence that he sweat and his veins swelled, he began a short ora- tion;8 at the conclusion they all gave a short groan and then laid down three grains more. After that, began their song again, and then another oration, ever laying down so many corns as before till they had twice encircled the “re; that done, they took a bunch of little sticks prepared for that purpose, continuing still their devotion, and at the end of every song and oration they laid down a stick betwixt the divisions of corn. Till night, neither he nor they did either eat or drink, and then they feasted merrily with the best provi- sions they could make. Three days they used this ceremony; the meaning whereof, they told him, was to know if he intended them well or no. The circle of meal signi”ed their country, the circles of corn the bounds of the sea, and the sticks his country. They imagined the world to be dat and round, like a trencher,9 and they in the midst.

After this they brought him a bag of gunpowder, which they carefully pre- served till the next spring, to plant as they did their corn, because they would be acquainted with the nature of that seed.

Opitchapam, the King’s brother,1 invited him to his house, where, with as many platters of bread, fowl, and wild beasts as did environ him, he bid him welcome, but not any of them would eat a bit with him but put up all the remainder in baskets.

At his return to Opechancanough’s, all the King’s women and their children, docked about him for their parts,2 as a due by custom, to be merry with such fragments:

But his waking mind in hideous dreams did oft see wondrous shapes, Of bodies strange, and huge in growth, and of stupendous makes.3

At last they brought him to Werowocomoco,4 where was Powhatan, their Emperor. Here more than two hundred of those grim courtiers stood won- dering at him, as [if] he had been a monster, till Powhatan and his train had put themselves in their greatest braveries.5 Before a “re upon a seat like a bedstead, he sat covered with a great robe made of raccoon skins and all the tails hanging by. On either hand did sit a young wench of sixteen or eigh- teen years and along on each side [of] the house, two rows of men and behind them as many women, with all their heads and shoulders painted



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6. Opossunoquonuske was the weroansqua, or leader, of a small village (Appamatuck) near the future site of Petersburg, Virginia. In 1610, she was killed by the En glish in retaliation for the

deaths of fourteen settlers. 7. I.e., they thought him as variously skilled as themselves.

red, many of their heads bedecked with the white down of birds, but every one with something, and a great chain of white beads about their necks.

At his entrance before the King, all the people gave a great shout. The Queen of Appomattoc6 was appointed to bring him water to wash his hands, and another brought him a bunch of feathers, instead of a towel to dry them; having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long con- sultation was held, but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought before Powhatan; then as many as could, laid hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head and being ready with their clubs to beat out his brains, Pocahontas, the King’s dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevail, got his head in her arms and laid her own upon his to save him from death, whereat the Emperor was contented he should live to make him hatch- ets, and her bells, beads, and copper, for they thought him as well of all occu- pations as themselves.7 For the King himself will make his own robes, shoes, bows, arrows, pots; plant, hunt, or do any thing so well as the rest.

“Map of the old Virginia,” by Robert Vaughan, from John Smith, The General History of Virginia, New Eng land, and the Summer Isles (1624). This map of Old Virginia, the part of coastal North Carolina where the “rst En glish explorations and settlements took place in the 1580s, is surrounded by images portraying John Smith’s warlike encounters around Jamestown some twenty years later. The panel in the lower right corner shows the inter- vention of Pocahontas in the supposed execution of Smith.



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8. Derived from a translation of the ancient Greek playwright Euripides by Fotherby. 9. I.e., Powhatan would esteem him as highly as his own son Nantaquoud. Capahowasic was along the York River, near where Smith was held prisoner. 1. Large cannons.

2. Small artillery piece. 3. “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24.17). 4. The “rst line appears to be Smith’s, inspired by Fotherby. The second comes from Fotherby’s translation of a quotation from Euripides in a text by the ancient Greek writer Plutarch.

They say he bore a pleasant show, But sure his heart was sad. For who can pleasant be, and rest, That lives in fear and dread: And having life suspected, doth It still suspected lead.8

Two days after, Powhatan having disguised himself in the most fearfulest manner he could, caused Captain Smith to be brought forth to a great house in the woods and there upon a mat by the “re to be left alone. Not long after, from behind a mat that divided the house, was made the most dolefulest noise he ever heard; then Powhatan more like a devil than a man, with some two hundred more as black as himself, came unto him and told him now they were friends, and presently he should go to Jamestown, to send him two great guns and a grindstone for which he would give him the Country of Capahowasic and for ever esteem him as his son Nantaquoud.9

So to Jamestown with twelve guides Powhatan sent him. That night they quartered in the woods, he still expecting (as he had done all this long time of his imprisonment) every hour to be put to one death or other, for all their feasting. But almighty God (by His divine providence) had molli”ed the hearts of those stern barbarians with compassion. The next morning betimes they came to the fort, where Smith having used the savages with what kind- ness he could, he showed Rawhunt, Powhatan’s trusty servant, two demi- culverins1 and a millstone to carry [to] Powhatan; they found them somewhat too heavy, but when they did see him discharge them, being loaded with stones, among the boughs of a great tree loaded with icickles, the ice and branches came so tumbling down that the poor savages ran away half dead with fear. But at last we regained some conference with them and gave them such toys and sent to Powhatan, his women, and children such pres ents as gave them in general full content.

Now in Jamestown they were all in combustion, the strongest preparing once more to run away with the pinnace; which with the hazard of his life, with saker falcon2 and musket shot, Smith forced now the third time to stay or sink.

Some no better than they should be, had plotted with the President the next day to have put him to death by the Levitical3 law, for the lives of Robin- son and Emry; pretending the fault was his that had led them to their ends: but he quickly took such order with such lawyers that he laid them by the heels till he sent some of them prisoners for Eng land.

Now ever once in four or “ve days, Pocahontas with her attendants brought him so much provision that saved many of their lives, that else for all this had starved with hunger.

Thus from numb death our good God sent relief, The sweet assuager of all other grief.4



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5. I.e., the evident affection of Pocahontas for Smith and the En glish was instrumental in reviving the colonists’ spirits. 6. Pages. 7. Smith was not requested to write the whole General History by the Virginia Com pany, so it is not clear what he means here. Possibly the dis- course to which he refers is the brief summary of recommendations for the “reformation” of

Virginia that ends the Fourth Book and that he drew up at the request of the royal commission- ers charged with effecting that reformation. 8. I.e., anonymous or “fugitive” narratives. “Approved”: proven. 9. I.e., and who is it that I have been a burden to? 1. Venture. “Events”: results. 1. Harm. “Magnanimity”: greatness of spirit.

His relation of the plenty he had seen, especially at Werowocomoco, and of the state and bounty of Powhatan (which till that time was unknown), so revived their dead spirits (especially the love of Pocahontas)5 as all men’s fear was abandoned.

Thus you may see what dif”culties still crossed any good endeavor; and the good success of the business being thus oft brought to the very period of destruction; yet you see by what strange means God hath still delivered it.

* * *

From The Fourth Book

[smith’s farewell to virginia]

Thus far I have traveled in this Wilderness of Virginia, not being ignorant for all my pains this discourse will be wrested, tossed and turned as many ways as there is leaves;6 that I have written too much of some, too little of others, and many such like objections. To such I must answer, in the Com pany’s name I was requested to do it,7 if any have concealed their approved experiences from my knowledge, they must excuse me: as for every fatherless or stolen relation,8 or whole volumes of sophisticated rehearsals, I leave them to the charge of them that desire them. I thank God I never undertook anything yet [for which] any could tax me of carelessness or dishonesty, and what is he to whom I am indebted or troublesome?9 Ah! were these my accusers but to change cases and places with me [for] but two years, or till they had done but so much as I, it may be they would judge more charitably of my imperfections. But here I must leave all to the trial of time, both myself, Virginia’s preparations, pro- ceedings and good events, praying to that great God the protector of all good- ness to send them as good success as the goodness of the action1 and country deserveth, and my heart desireth.


From A Description of New Eng land

Who can desire more content, that hath small means; or but only his merit to advance his fortune, than to tread, and plant that ground he hath purchased by the hazard of his life? If he have but the taste of virtue and magnanimity, what to such a mind can be more pleasant, than planting and building a foundation for his posterity, got from the rude earth, by God’s blessing and his own industry, without prejudice1 to any? If he have any grain of faith or zeal in religion, what can he do less hurtful to any; or more agreeable to God,



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2. I.e., live in poverty while claiming great ances- tors. 3. Expedients. “Bravery”: “ne appearances.

4. Sponge. 5. Deceive. “Excess”: overindulgence. 6. Provision.

than to seek to convert those poor savages to know Christ, and humanity, whose labors with discretion will triple requite thy charge and pains? What so truly suits with honor and honesty, as the discovering things unknown? erecting towns, peopling countries, informing the ignorant, reforming things unjust, teaching virtue; and gaining to our native mother country a kingdom to attend her, “nding employment for those that are idle, because they know not what to do: so far from wronging any, as to cause posterity to remember thee; and remembering thee, ever honor that remembrance with praise?

* * * Then, who would live at home idly (or think in himself any worth to live)

only to eat, drink, and sleep, and so die? Or by consuming that carelessly, [which] his friends got worthily? Or by using that miserably, that maintained virtue honestly? Or for being descended nobly, pine with the vain vaunt of great kindred, in penury?2 Or (to maintain a silly show of bravery) toil out thy heart, soul, and time, basely, by shifts,3 tricks, cards, and dice? Or by relating news of others’ actions, shark4 here or there for a dinner, or supper; deceive thy friends, by fair promises, and dissimulation, in borrowing where thou never intendest to pay; offend the laws, surfeit with excess, burden thy coun- try, abuse thyself, despair in want, and then cozen5 thy kindred, yea even thine own brother, and wish thy parents’ death (I will not say damnation) to have their estates? though thou seest what honors, and rewards, the world yet hath for them will seek them and worthily deserve them.

* * * Let this move you to embrace employment, for those whose educations, spirits, and judgments want but your purses; not only to prevent such accus- tomed dangers, but also to gain more thereby than you have. And you fathers that are either so foolishly fond, or so miserably covetous, or so wilfully ignorant, or so negligently careless, as that you will rather maintain your children in idle wantonness, till they grow your masters; or become so basely unkind, as they wish nothing but your deaths; so that both sorts grow disso- lute: and although you would wish them anywhere to escape the gallows, and ease your cares; though they spend you here one, two, or three hundred pound a year; you would grudge to give half so much in adventure with them, to obtain an estate, which in a small time but with a little assistance of your providence,6 might be better than your own. But if an angel should tell you, that any place yet unknown can afford such fortunes; you would not believe him, no more than Columbus was believed there was any such land as is now the well- known abounding Amer i ca; much less such large regions as are yet unknown, as well in Amer i ca, as in Africa, and Asia, and Terra Incognita; where were courses for gentlemen (and them that would be so reputed) more suiting their qualities, than begging from their Prince’s generous disposition, the labors of his subjects, and the very marrow of his maintenance.

I have not been so ill bred, but I have tasted of plenty and plea sure, as well as want and misery: nor doth necessity yet, or occasion of discontent, force



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7. Lack. 8. Alone. 9. I.e., he won’t promise that even with bad management they’ll succeed. 1. I.e., or never read Smith’s works.

2. I.e., once they have paid the cost of their sup- port for the year. 3. Task. 4. I.e., “sh.

me to these endeavors: nor am I ignorant what small thank I shall have for my pains; or that many would have the World imagine them to be of great judgment, that can but blemish these my designs, by their witty objections and detractions: yet (I hope) my reasons with my deeds, will so prevail with some, that I shall not want7 employment in these affairs, to make the most blind see his own senselessness, and incredulity; hoping that gain will make them affect that, which religion, charity, and the common good cannot. It were but a poor device in me, to deceive myself; much more the king, state, my friends and country, with these inducements: which, seeing his Majesty hath given permission, I wish all sorts of worthy, honest, industrious spir- its, would understand: and if they desire any further satisfaction, I will do my best to give it: Not to persuade them to go only;8 but go with them: Not leave them there; but live with them there.

I will not say, but by ill providing and undue managing, such courses may be taken, [that] may make us miserable enough:9 But if I may have the exe- cution of what I have projected; if they want to eat, let them eat or never digest me.1 If I perform what I say, I desire but that reward out of the gains [which] may suit my pains, quality, and condition. And if I abuse you with my tongue, take my head for satisfaction. If any dislike at the year’s end, defraying their charge,2 by my consent they should freely return. I fear not want of com pany suf”cient, were it but known what I know of those coun- tries; and by the proof of that wealth I hope yearly to return, if God please to bless me from such accidents, as are beyond my power in reason to pre- vent: For, I am not so simple to think, that ever any other motive than wealth, will ever erect there a commonwealth; or draw com pany from their ease and humors at home, to stay in New Eng land to effect my purposes.

And lest any should think the toil might be insupportable, though these things may be had by labor, and diligence: I assure myself there are who delight extremely in vain plea sure, that take much more pains in Eng land, to enjoy it, than I should do here to gain wealth suf”cient: and yet I think they should not have half such sweet content: for, our plea sure here is still gains; in Eng land charges and loss. Here nature and liberty affords us that freely, which in Eng land we want, or it costeth us dearly. What plea sure can be more, than (being tired with any occasion3 a- shore, in planting vines, fruits, or herbs, in contriving their own grounds, to the plea sure of their own minds, their “elds, gardens, orchards, buildings, ships, and other works, &c.) to re create themselves before their own doors, in their own boats upon the sea; where man, woman and child, with a small hook and line, by angling, may take diverse sorts of excellent “sh, at their pleasures? And is it not pretty sport, to pull up two pence, six pence, and twelve pence, as fast as you can haul and veer a line?4 He is a very bad “sher [that] cannot kill in one day with his hook and line, one, two, or three hundred cods: which dressed and dried, if they be sold there for ten shillings the hundred (though in Eng land they will give more than twenty) may not both the servant, the master, and merchant, be well content with this gain? If a man work but



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three days in seven, he may get more than he can spend, unless he will be excessive. Now that carpenter, mason, gardener, tailor, smith, sailor, forg- ers,5 or what other, may they not make this a pretty recreation though they “sh but an hour in a day, to take more than they eat in a week? or if they will not eat it, because there is so much better choice; yet sell it, or change it, with the “shermen, or merchants, for anything they want. And what sport doth yield a more pleasing content, and less hurt or charge than angling with a hook; and crossing the sweet air from isle to isle, over the silent streams of a calm sea? Wherein the most curious may “nd plea sure, pro”t, and content.

Thus, though all men be not “shers: yet all men, whatsoever, may in other matters do as well. For necessity doth in these cases so rule a commonwealth, and each in their several functions, as their labors in their qualities may be as pro”table, because there is a necessary mutual use of all.

For Gentlemen, what exercise should more delight them, than ranging daily those unknown parts, using fowling and “shing, for hunting and hawk- ing? and yet you shall see the wild hawks give you some plea sure, in seeing them stoop (six or seven after one another) an hour or two together, at the schools of “sh in the fair harbors, as those ashore at a fowl; and never trou- ble nor torment yourselves, with watching, mewing,6 feeding, and attending them: nor kill horse and man with running and crying, See you not a hawk?7 For hunting also: the woods, lakes, and rivers afford not only chase suf”- cient, for any that delights in that kind of toil, or plea sure; but such beasts to hunt, that besides the delicacy of their bodies for food, their skins are so rich, as may well recompence thy daily labor, with a captains pay.

For laborers, if those that sow hemp, rape,8 turnips, parsnips, carrots, cab- bage, and such like; give twenty, thirty, forty, “fty shillings yearly for an acre of ground, and meat, drink, and wages to use it, and yet grow rich; when better, or at least as good ground, may be had, and cost nothing but labor; it seems strange to me, any such should there grow poor.

My purpose is not to persuade children [to go] from their parents; men from their wives; nor servants from their masters: only, such as with free consent may be spared: But that each parish, or village, in city, or country, that will but apparell their fatherless children, of thirteen or fourteen years of age, or young married people, that have small wealth to live on; here by their labor may live exceedingly well: provided always that “rst there be a suf”cient power to command them, houses to receive them, means to defend them, and meet provisions for them; for, any place may be overlain:9 and it is most neces- sary to have a fortress (ere this grow to practice) and suf”cient masters (as, carpenters, masons, “shers, fowlers, gardeners, husbandman, sawyers, smiths, spinsters, tailors, weavers, and such like) to take ten, twelve, or twenty, or as there is occasion, for apprentices. The masters by this may quickly grow rich; these may learn their trades themselves, to do the like; to a general and an incredible bene”t, for king, and country, master, and servant.


5. I.e., ironworkers. 6. Keeping in a cage. “Stoop”: swoop down. 7. Smith contrasts the delight of watching wild hawks hunt their prey in Amer i ca with the tedious care that keepers of trained hawks in

Eng land must give their birds—as when such birds dy away and must be hunted for all over the countryside. 8. The rape plant. 9. Overcome.



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1. Tests or experiments, not sufferings. 2. The Powhatans. Smith is here speaking of the massacre of three hundred forty-seven settlers in Jamestown, Virginia— one- quarter of  that colony’s En glish population—in March 1622. News of the massacre reached New Eng land in May of that year. In mustering sup- port for settlement in New Eng land, he obviously had to take into account the dampening effect of events in Virginia. 3. Allow. 4. I.e., such events are not strong enough to dis- suade an En glishman. 5. Nothing. “With thirty- eight”: i.e., he pro- tected or secured Virginia by means of a very modest force. 6. Several “Dutch” (prob ably German) skilled workers had been shipped to Virginia in 1608. Sent to build a house for Powhatan, they hinted to him that they would take his side against

the En glish and soon were plotting against Smith and the colony. Arrested by the En glish and brought back to Jamestown for execution, they were saved when a new ship arrived from Eng land, bringing fresh supplies and impor tant new instructions for President Smith and Virginia’s governing council. 7. The Algonquian name for the region around Jamestown. Smith took its werowance, or chief, Wowinchopunck, prisoner in 1609, an episode shown in an engraving in the General History (p. 120; see the lower left panel). 8. I.e., Smith’s “rst book, which contains a sec- tion so titled. “President”: Smith was president of the Virginia council for only a single term; he prob ably means “twice during the time I was their president these things happened,” although the passage may have been garbled. “Con”- dence”: i.e., overcon”dence.

From New Eng land’s Trials1

Here I must entreat a little your favors to digress. They2 did not kill the En glish because they were Christians, but for their weapons and commodi- ties, that were rare novelties; but now they fear we may beat them out of their dens, which lions and tigers would not admit3 but by force. But must this be an argument for an En glishman,4 or discourage any either in Virginia or New Eng land? No: for I have tried them both.

For Virginia, I kept that country with thirty- eight, and had not5 to eat but what we had from the savages. When I had ten men able to go abroad, our commonwealth was very strong: with such a number I ranged that unknown country fourteen weeks; I had but eigh teen to subdue them all, with which great army I stayed six weeks before their greatest king’s habi- tations, till they had gathered together all the power they could; and yet the Dutchmen sent at a needless excessive charge did help Powhatan how to betray me.6

* * * For wronging a soldier but the value of a penny, I have caused Powhatan [to] send his own men to Jamestown to receive their punishment at my dis- cretion. It is true in our greatest extremity they shot me, slew three of my men, and by the folly of them that ded took me prisoner: yet God made Poca- hontas the king’s daughter the means to deliver me: and thereby taught me to know their treacheries to preserve the rest.

It was also my chance in single combat to take the king of Paspahegh7 prisoner: and by keeping him, [I] forced his subjects to work in chains till I made all the country pay contribution; having little else whereon to live.

Twice in this time I was their president, and none can say in all that time I had a man slain: but for keeping them in that fear I was much blamed both there and here: yet I left “ve hundred behind me that, through their con”- dence, in six months came most to confusion, as you may reade at large in the description of Virginia.8



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9. I.e., men from Southwest Eng land. “Brute”: tough. 1. Smith here refers to the tough going among earlier En glish voyagers to New Eng land, espe- cially Sir Ferdinando Gorges (1568–1647), a backer of Smith, and Thomas Hunt, who had been with Smith on the latter’s 1614 voyage to the region. Hunt had stirred up much trou ble with the local American Indians by kidnapping

more than twenty of them, including the Native American Tisquantum (called Squanto by the Pil- grims) to sell into slavery in Spain. 2. Those who pick through events in search of bits of scandal. 3. Large casks. “Draught”: haul of the “sh net. 4. Here Smith speaks of the Plymouth settlers. “Adventurers”: the investors who backed the Pil- grim venture.

When I went “rst to these desperate designs, it cost me many a forgotten pound to hire men to go; and procrastination caused more [to] run away than went. But after the ice was broken, came many brave voluntaries: notwith- standing since I came from thence, the honorable com pany have been humble suitors to his Majesty to get vagabonds and condemned man to go thither; nay so much scorned was the name of Virginia, some did choose to be hanged ere they would go thither, and were: yet for all the worst of spite, detraction, and discouragement, and this la men ta ble massacre, there is more honest men now suitors to go, then ever hath been constrained knaves; and it is not unknown to most men of understanding, how happy many of those calumniators do think themselves, that they might be admitted, and yet pay for their passage to go now to Virginia: and had I but means to transport as many as would go, I might have choice of 10,000 that would gladly be in any of those new places, which were so basely condemned by ungrateful base minds.

To range this country of New Eng land in like manner I had but eight, as is said, and amongst their brute conditions I met many of their silly encoun- ters, and without any hurt, God be thanked; when your West country men9 were many of them wounded and much tormented with the savages that assaulted their ship, as they did say themselves, in the “rst year I was there, 1614; and though Master Hunt, then master with me, did most basely in stealing some savages from that coast to sell, when he was directed to have gone for Spain.1 * * * I speak not this out of vainglory, as it may be some gleaners,2 or some [that] was never there may censure me: but to let all men be assured by those examples, what those savages are, that thus strangely do murder and betray our countrymen. But to the purpose.

What is already writ of the healthfulness of the air, the richness of the soil, the goodness of the woods, the abundance of fruits, “sh, and fowl in their season, they still af”rm that have been there now near two years, and at one draught they have taken 1000 basses, and in one night twelve hogs- heads3 of herring. They are building a strong fort, they hope shortly to “n- ish, in the interim they are well provided: their number is about a hundred persons, all in health, and well near sixty acres of ground well planted with corn, besides their gardens well replenished with useful fruits; and if their adventurers would but furnish them with necessaries for “shing, their wants would quickly be supplied.4

To supply them this sixteenth of October is going the Paragon with sixty- seven persons, and all this is done by private men’s purses. And to conclude in their own words, should they write of all plenties they have found, they think they should not be believed.

* * *



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5. I.e., by Virginia’s example; Plymouth had barely been settled, but the longer experience of the En glish in Virginia (with all its faults) could be used to suggest the probable course of events in New Eng land. 6. Excite; imbue with passion. 7. I.e., as equally dear to me as one hand or the other. 8. The offspring of Smith’s deeds; i.e., the accomplishments of others would not have been pos si ble had he not gone before. 9. Well- known places in Eng land. 1. Smith means that once he led the way into

Amer i ca, the En glish who followed him accom- plished nothing truly bold. The exception was Captain Thomas Dermer (d. 1621), who had accompanied Smith to New Eng land in 1614, had spent two years in Newfoundland (1616–18), and had returned to New Eng land in 1619, in the pro cess acquiring more knowledge about the region than Smith. (For more on Dermer, see references in Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, on p. 151 ff.) 2. I.e., of”cial documents sealed with the king’s signet.

Thus you may see plainly the yearly success from New Eng land (by Virginia)5 which has been so costly to this kingdom and so dear to me, which either to see perish or but bleed, pardon me though it passionate6 me beyond the bounds of modesty, to have been suf”ciently able to foresee it, and had nei- ther power nor means how to prevent it. By that acquaintance I have with them, I may call them my children; for they have been my wife, my hawks, my hounds, my cards, my dice, and in total my best content, as indifferent to my heart as my left hand to my right:7 and notwithstanding all those mir- acles of disasters [that] have crossed both them and me, yet were there not one En glishman remaining (as God be thanked there is some thousands) I would yet begin again with as small means as I did at the “rst. Not for that I have any secret encouragement from any I protest, more than la men ta ble experiences: for all their discoveries I can yet hear of, are but pigs of my own sow;8 nor more strange to me than to hear one tell me he hath gone from Billingsgate and discovered Greenwich, Gravesend, Tilbury, Queenborough, Leigh, and Margate;9 which to those [who] did never hear of them, though they dwell in Eng land, might be made seem some rare secrets and great countries unknown: except the relations of Master Dirmer.1

* * * What here I have writ by relation, if it be not right, I humbly entreat your

pardons; but I have not spared any diligence to learn the truth of them that have been actors or sharers in those voyages: in some particulars they might deceive me, but in the substances they could not, for few could tell me any- thing, except where they “shed. But seeing all those [that] have lived there, do con”rm more than I have written, I doubt not but all those testimonies with these new- begun examples of plantation, will move both city and coun- try freely to adventure with me and my partners more than promises, seeing I have from his Majesty letters patent,2 such honest, free, and large condi- tions assured me from his commissioners, as I hope will satisfy any honest understanding.




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W illiam Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation offered the “rst sustained treat-ment of New Eng land’s early history, and it helped shape enduring cultural narratives about the small settlement that a group of religious dissenters known as the Pilgrims established on the Mas sa chu setts coast in 1620. Written between roughly 1630 and 1650, Of Plymouth Plantation casts a backward look on the Plym- outh colony’s early history and seeks meaning in its major episodes. As he composed his retrospective account, Bradford revised more immediate, journalistic- style narra- tives such as Mourt’s Relation (1622), which Bradford coauthored with Edward Win- slow, another Plymouth leader. (See the excerpt in the “First Encounters” cluster, earlier in this volume.) He also incorporated and reworked his own notes. In the resulting narrative, Bradford portrays the uncertain and ambiguous emergence of providential meaning.

Bradford’s life, with its many losses and dislocations as well as its strong if some- times muted sense of purpose, provides a model of the Plymouth community. He was born in Yorkshire, in the northeast of Eng land, a region still retaining marks of Viking invasions from centuries past. Bradford’s father died when he was an infant, and he was passed among relatives and taught the arts of farming. His life changed at age twelve or thirteen, when he heard the sermons of Richard Clyfton. Clyfton was the Nonconformist minister of a small community in Scrooby, Nottingham- shire, a neighboring parish. Despite opposition from his uncles and grandparents, in 1606 Bradford left home and joined the community.

The members of the Scrooby church were known as “Separatists” because they were not sympathetic to the idea of a national Church, such as the one that King Henry VIII established in Eng land after he broke with the pope. Separating from the Church of Eng land was, however, by En glish law an act of treason, and many believers paid a high price for their dreams of purity. Other Puritan critics of the established Church, such as the non- Separating Congregationalists who eventually settled Boston, struck a middle path, retaining ties to the Church of Eng land even as they devel- oped a dif fer ent orga nizational structure. Despite these differences, the churches at both Plymouth and the neighboring Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony embraced John Calvin’s Congregationalist model. Calvin (1509–1564), a French theologian, called upon Protestant reformers to set up “par tic u lar,” in de pen dent churches, each founded on a formal covenant that would be sworn to by its members. In Congrega- tional churches, God offered himself as a contractual partner to each believer in a contract freely initiated but perpetually binding. The model was twofold: the Old Testament covenant that God made with Adam and renewed through Jesus Christ, as well as the tight- knit communities of the early Christian churches.

Wishing to pursue their beliefs about church government more freely, the Scrooby community took up residence in the Netherlands, in Leiden (or Leyden), where Brad- ford joined them in 1609. But they suffered from continued government harassment, and with the Netherlands on the brink of war with Catholic Spain, the community took counsel from Captain John Smith and petitioned the En glish government for a grant of land in North Amer i ca. In mid- September 1620, a portion of the congrega- tion and a group of entrepreneurs sailed from Plymouth, Eng land, for Amer i ca. The rest of the congregation was expected to follow at some future time. The voyage on the May”ower went relatively smoothly, though one person died, and there was



some friction with the often less- than- godly mari ners. The colonists’ original grant was for land in the Virginia territory, but high seas prevented them from reaching that area and, after an initial foray at Cape Cod, they settled just north of the Cape at an area they named Plymouth, adapting the name that Smith gave to the region in his 1614 expedition. Soon after the May”ower’s arrival on the coast, Bradford’s wife, Dorothy, fell overboard and drowned. However, little is known about this trag- edy; strikingly, Bradford does not mention Dorothy’s death in his journal or other writings.

In the second book of Bradford’s history he describes the signing of the Maydower Compact, a civil covenant designed to allow the temporal state to serve the devout citi- zen. It was the “rst of numerous “plantation covenants” intended both to protect the rights of citizens from the reach of established governments and to assert the commu- nity’s authority to create its own “civil body politic” and make its own laws. The sense of communal purpose bolstered by the Compact helped sustain the Plymouth settle- ment through its dif”cult “rst months. Having arrived in winter and being inade- quately provisioned, the com pany was decimated in the “Starving Time” that followed, losing half its members to disease and undernourishment. The colony’s “rst governor, John Carver, was one of the fatalities, and Bradford was elected in Carver’s place. As governor, Bradford was chief judge and jury, oversaw agriculture and trade, and made allotments of land. He also conferred with John Winthrop, a leader of neighboring Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony, about matters of regional interest. Bradford served as governor for most of his remaining years.

Bradford was the “rst person to use the word “Pilgrims,” from Hebrews 11.13 in the Geneva Bible, to describe the community of believers who sailed on the May- “ower. (The Geneva Bible, also known as the En glish Bible, was translated by Reformed En glish Protestants living in Switzerland; this version, used by Puritans, was outlawed by the Church of Eng land.) For Bradford, as for the other members of this community, the decision to settle at Plymouth was the last step in their long journey to escape religious oppression in Eng land. Of Plymouth Plantation situates their self- exile in the arc of Christian history as well as in the more recent events sur- rounding the Protestant Reformation, which sparked wars of religion that plagued Eng land and the rest of Eu rope for generations. In the opening pages of his Plymouth history, Bradford invokes John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments (1563), which relates the sufferings of Protestants under Mary Stuart, who as queen of Eng land (1553–58) briedy reinstated Roman Catholicism and oversaw the execution by burning of some three hundred Protestants. Foxe’s account, also known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, was an iconic portrayal of Protestant oppression at the hands of Catholic authorities. The continued oppression of dissenters under Anglican rulers had driven the Plymouth colonists “rst to the Netherlands and then to Amer i ca, where they hoped to “nd greater autonomy and opportunity.

This remote settlement was hardly isolated. Bradford locates Plymouth in an expanding network of relations with indigenous communities; with other En glish settlements, which had a mixture of commercial and religious imperatives; and with numerous Eu ro pean colonies. The latter included the neighboring Dutch colonies, which were Protestant; the more distant yet, ideologically speaking, more threaten- ing French and Spanish colonies, which were Catholic; and the Eu ro pean colonies in the West Indies. Amid Eu ro pean colonization of the Amer i cas, imperial rivalries, and religious condicts, the Puritans sought to re- create the primitive simplicity of early Chris tian ity.

Cotton Mather, in Magnalia Christi Amer i ca (1702), his ecclesiastical history of New Eng land, describes the self- educated Bradford as

a person for study as well as action; and hence notwithstanding the dif”culties which he passed in his youth, he attained unto a notable skill in languages. . . . But the Hebrew he most of all studied, because, he said, he would see with his

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own eyes the ancient oracles of God in their native beauty. . . . The crown of all his life was his holy, prayerful, watchful and fruitful walk with God, wherein he was exemplary.

The primitivist impulse animating Bradford and his companions made the success or failure of the Plymouth colony more than a worldly venture—it was a mea sure of their ability to interpret God’s will as they found it in Scripture and to remake the world in its image.

However, the sense of uni”ed purpose in the opening pages of Bradford’s chron- icle splinters as his account proceeds. Contributing to this fracture was the dif”- culty that the Plymouth community had in “nding a suitable minister. The group’s beloved pastor, John Robinson, died before he could cross the Atlantic. Several sub- stitutes were inadequate or worse. Bradford relates the story of the Reverend John Lyford, who served the colony for years. A secret Anglican sympathizer, Lyford betrayed the colonists and was later implicated in misadventures and crimes, including a rape. The Reverend Roger Williams briedy served the Plymouth church but left after a few years for ideological reasons. Some of the other major episodes that tested Bradford and the community, represented in the following se lections, include the condict with Thomas Morton (whose competing version of these events is presented later); tensions involving other colonies; the war with the Pequot Indians; an episode of bestiality; and, perhaps most challenging for Bradford, the drift of people away from Plymouth, drawn by economic opportunities, and the resulting divisions in the church. Finding that his lifelong search for a stable, like- minded community had once again been thwarted, the aging Bradford compared Plymouth to “an ancient mother, grown old and forsaken of her children.”

Bradford composed his history at the height of the En glish Civil War, and it remained unpublished for over two centuries. The manuscript mysteriously dis- appeared around the time of the American Revolution. The “rst book (through chap- ter IX) had been copied into the Plymouth church rec ords and was thus preserved, but the second book was believed lost. In 1855 the manuscript was located in the palace of  the bishop of London, prob ably having been removed from Boston’s Old South Church by British soldiers or the departing Tory governor, Thomas Hutchinson. After several de cades of negotiations, the manuscript was returned to the United States in 1897 and deposited in the Mas sa chu setts State Library.

Though not available in a printed edition until 1856, Bradford’s manuscript was a major source for other historians and interpreters of the New Eng land experience, such as Cotton Mather and Samuel Sewall. The incidents reported in Bradford’s history continued to guide interpretations of the New Eng land past even when the manuscript’s location was unknown. In the early nineteenth century, the leading po liti cal thinker and orator Daniel Webster traced the origins of the U.S. Constitu- tion to the Maydower Compact, contributing to the formation of a narrative about the Puritan sources of American democracy that induenced the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville’s landmark study Democracy in Amer i ca (1835, 1840). These develop- ments in turn helped catalyze a literary reconsideration of the Puritan past. Some of the major events that Bradford describes in Of Plymouth Plantation were cast into “ctional form by writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose story “The May- Pole of Merry Mount” (written 1835–36) portrays the condict between the Plymouth colo- nists and Thomas Morton’s settlement at Ma-re Mount, and Herman Melville, who gave the name of the Pequot Indians to his ill- fated ship in Moby- Dick (1851).

Perhaps the main reason for Plymouth’s continued place in American memory today is its association with the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving feasts were common practices in early modern Eu rope, where they were held on special occasions to celebrate harvests and other impor tant communal events, and this remained the practice in the colonies and United States well into the nineteenth century. Presi- dent Abraham Lincoln initiated Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday in 1863,

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1. The text is adapted from William Bradford, Bradford’s History “Of Plimoth Plantation.” From

the Original Manuscript (1897). 2. I.e., of Eng land and Scotland.

intending it as a unifying gesture in the midst of the Civil War. Seventy- six years later, President Franklin Delano Roo se velt moved the holiday from the last week of November to the previous week to help bolster retail sales during the Great Depression.

One striking thing about Bradford’s narrative is how little his account of the “First Thanksgiving,” in 1621, matches the popu lar image of that event, which features Puritans and Native Americans sharing the fruits of the land together. The vision of friendly cohabitation derives more directly from a passage in Bradford and Winslow’s Mourt’s Relation, which highlights the presence of the Wampanoag sachem (para- mount chief) Massasoit and some ninety of his men, describes how “three days we entertained and feasted” them, and links the cele bration to the “Covenant of Peace” between the colonists and the natives. In recounting the same event de cades later, Bradford does not mention the Natives, the peace covenant, or a feast. Instead, he stresses the natu ral bounty that the community enjoyed and insists on the truthful- ness of his earlier reports regarding the land’s potential. Though elsewhere Bradford mentions the peace agreement with Massasoit, far more memorable is his account of the burning of Mystic Fort, one of the worst colonial atrocities, where the Puritans slaughtered some four hundred Pequot men, women, and children, backed up by their Narragansett allies.

The differences between the two “rsthand descriptions of the Plymouth colonists’ “rst thanksgiving suggest Bradford’s shifting priorities and audiences. Once the lead- ing edge of radical Protestant colonization, the small plantation at Plymouth came, after 1630, to be overshadowed by Boston and the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony, and then by rapidly evolving events in Eng land: civil war, the execution of King Charles I, and the establishment of the Commonwealth of Eng land. Toward the end of the period when he revised his history, the future of New Eng land was in doubt. The overthrow of the British monarchy made some Puritan colonists, notably including Winslow, decide to cast their fortunes with the new regime. Bradford oriented the events that he chronicled toward the changing scenes in Eng land, New Eng land, and the larger Atlantic world.

When Bradford wrote in his opening paragraph that his goal was to relate the main events of the Plymouth colony’s short history, making them “manifest in a plain style, with singular regard unto the simple truth in all things,” he knew that his work would include matter that he elsewhere described as “tedious and uncomfortable.” The full history oscillates between passages of crisp, descriptive prose, sometimes embellished with claims of providential signi”cance, and murky, drawn- out accounts of uncertain “nancial and po liti cal dealings. The uneven texture of the narrative registers the chal- lenges that Bradford faced in both relating the dow of events during a volatile histori- cal moment and trying to discern the signs of God’s will in those events.

Of Plymouth Plantation1

From Book I

from chapter i. [the en glish reformation]

* * * When as by the travail and diligence of some godly and zealous preach- ers, and God’s blessing on their labors, as in other places of the land, so in the North parts,2 many became enlightened by the word of God, and had

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3. Revealed. 4. Worldly. 5. I.e., threatened with forced compliance with the tenets of the Church of Eng land. 6. “Apparitors . . . courts”: the ecclesiastical courts and their of”cers. 7. Bradford quotes the Dutch historian Emanuel van Meteren’s General History of the Netherlands (1608). King Edward VI reigned from 1547 to 1553. King James I reigned from 1603 to

1625. Most Puritans preferred the Calvinist sys- tem in Geneva or the Church of Scotland, which replaced a hierarchy of archbishops, bishops, and priests with a national assembly and a parish presbytery consisting of the ministers and elders. 8. Believers. 9. Not the soldier and explorer; a Cambridge Uni- versity gradu ate who seceded from the Church of Eng land in 1605.

their ignorance and sins discovered3 unto them, and began by His grace to reform their lives, and make conscience of their ways, the work of God was no sooner manifest in them, but presently they were both scoffed and scorned by the profane4 multitude, and the ministers urged with the yoke of subscrip- tion,5 or else must be silenced; and the poor people were so vexed with appa- ritors, and the pursuivants, and the commissary courts,6 as truly their afdiction was not small; which, notwithstanding, they bore sundry years with much patience, till they were occasioned (by the continuance and increase of these trou bles, and other means which the Lord raised up in those days) to see further into things by the light of the word of God. How not only these base and beggarly ceremonies were unlawful, but also that the lordly and tyranous power of the prelates ought not to be submitted unto; which thus, contrary to the freedom of the gospel, would load and burden men’s con- sciences, and by their compulsive power make a profane mixture of persons and things in the worship of God. And that their of”ces and callings, courts and canons, etc. were unlawful and anti- Christian; being such as have no warrant in the word of God; but the same that were used in popery, and still retained. Of which a famous author thus writeth in his Dutch commentaries: At the coming of King James into Eng land,

The new king (saith he) found there established the reformed religion, according to the reformed religion of King Edward VI. Retaining, or keeping still the spiritual state of the bishops, etc. after the old manner, much varying and differing from the reformed churches in Scotland, France, and the Netherlands, Embden, Geneva, etc. whose reformation is cut, or shaped much nearer the “rst Christian churches, as it was used in the Apostles’ times.7

So many therefore of these professors8 as saw the evil of these things, in these parts, and whose hearts the Lord had touched with heavenly zeal for his truth, they shook off this yoke of anti- Christian bondage, and as the Lord’s free people, joined themselves (by a covenant of the Lord) into a church estate, in the fellowship of the gospel, to walk in all his ways, made known, or to be made known unto them, according to their best endeavors, whatsoever it should cost them, the Lord assisting them. And that it cost them something this ensuing history will declare.

These people became two distinct bodies or churches, and in regard of distance of place did congregate severally; for they were of sundry towns and villages, some in Nottinghamshire, some of Lincolnshire, and some of York- shire, where they border nearest together. In one of these churches (besides others of note) was Mr. John Smith,9 a man of able gifts, and a good preacher, who afterwards was chosen their pastor. But these afterwards falling into



1. The Netherlands. 2. Like John Smith and Richard Clyfton, a Cambridge gradu ate and a Separatist. 3. A church leader of the Pilgrims in both Ley- den and Plymouth. 4. I.e., were nearly captured by the authorities.

5. The strug gle for in de pen dence by provinces of the Netherlands, a Protestant country, against Spain, a Catholic country, was interrupted by a twelve- year truce that began on March 30, 1609; this truce was now coming to a close. “This city”: Leyden.

some errors in the Low Countries,1 there (for the most part) buried them- selves, and their names.

But in this other church (which must be the subject of our discourse) besides other worthy men, was Mr. Richard Clyfton, a grave and revered preacher, who by his pains and diligence had done much good, and under God had been a means of the conversion of many. And also that famous and worthy man Mr. John Robinson,2 who afterwards was their pastor for many years, till the Lord took him away by death. Also Mr. William Brewster3 a reverent man, who afterwards was chosen an elder of the church and lived with them till old age.

But after these things they could not long continue in any peaceable con- dition, but were hunted and persecuted on every side, so as their former afdictions were but as dea- bitings in comparison of these which now came upon them. For some were taken and clapped up in prison, others had their houses beset and watched night and day, and hardly escaped their hands;4 and the most were fain to dy and leave their houses and habitations, and the means of their livelihood. Yet these and many other sharper things which afterward befell them, were no other than they looked for, and therefore were the better prepared to bear them by the assistance of God’s grace and spirit. Yet seeing themselves thus molested, and that there was no hope of their continuance there, by a joint consent they resolved to go into the Low Coun- tries, where they heard was freedom of religion for all men; as also how sundry from London, and other parts of the land, had been exiled and per- secuted for the same cause, and were gone thither, and lived at Amsterdam, and in other places of the land. So after they had continued together about a year, and kept their meetings every Sabbath in one place or other, exercis- ing the worship of God amongst themselves, notwithstanding all the dili- gence and malice of their adversaries, they seeing they could no longer continue in that condition, they resolved to get over into Holland as they could; which was in the year 1607 and 1608.

* * * chapter iv. showing the reasons and causes of their removal

After they had lived in this city about some eleven or twelve years (which is the more observable being the whole time of that famous truce between that state and the Spaniards)5 and sundry of them were taken away by death, and many others began to be well stricken in years, the grave mistress Experi- ence having taught them many things, those prudent governors with sundry of the sagest members began both deeply to apprehend their pres ent dan- gers, and wisely to foresee the future, and think of timely remedy. In the agitation of their thoughts, and much discourse of things hereabout, at length they began to incline to this conclusion, of removal to some other place. Not out of any newfangledness, or other such like giddy humor, by which men are oftentimes transported to their great hurt and danger, but

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6. Ancient Roman statesman of unbending integrity who committed suicide after being defeated in battle by the future emperor Julius Caesar. Orpah was the sister- in- law of Ruth, who did not leave their mother- in- law: “And they

lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother- in- law; but Ruth clave unto her” (Ruth 1.14). 7. “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3.27).

for sundry weighty and solid reasons; some of the chief of which I will here briedy touch. And “rst, they saw and found by experience the hardness of the place and country to be such, as few in comparison would come to them, and fewer that would bide it out, and continue with them. For many that came to them, and many more that desired to be with them, could not endure that great labor and hard fare, with other incon ve niences which they under- went and were contented with. But though they loved their persons, approved their cause, and honored their sufferings, yet they left them as it were weep- ing, as Orpah did her mother- in- law Naomi, or as those Romans did Cato6 in Utica, who desired to be excused and borne with, though they could not all be Catos. For many, though they desired to enjoy the ordinances of God in their purity, and the liberty of the gospel with them, yet, alas, they admit- ted of bondage, with danger of conscience, rather than to endure these hard- ships; yea, some preferred and chose the prisons in Eng land, rather than this liberty in Holland, with these afdictions. But it was thought that if a better and easier place of living could be had, it would draw many, and take away these discouragements. Yea, their pastor would often say, that many of those who both wrote and preached now against them, if they were in a place where they might have liberty and live comfortably, they would then prac- tice as they did.

Secondly. They saw that though the people generally bore all these dif”- culties very cheerfully, and with a resolute courage, being in the best and strength of their years, yet old age began to steal on many of them (and their great and continual labors, with other crosses and sorrows, hastened it before the time), so as it was not only prob ably thought, but apparently seen, that within a few years more they would be in danger to scatter, by necessities pressing them, or sink under their burdens, or both. And therefore accord- ing to the divine proverb, that a wise man seeth the plague when it cometh, and hideth himself, Proverbs 22:3, so they like skillful and beaten soldiers were fearful either to be entrapped or surrounded by their enemies, so as they should neither be able to “ght nor dy; and therefore thought it better to dislodge betimes to some place of better advantage and less danger, if any such could be found.

Thirdly; as necessity was a taskmaster over them, so they were forced to be such, not only to their servants, but in a sort, to their dearest children; the which as it did not a little wound the tender hearts of many a loving father and mother, so it produced likewise sundry sad and sorrowful effects. For many of their children, that were of best dispositions and gracious inclina- tions, having learned to bear the yoke in their youth,7 and [being] willing to bear part of their parents’ burden, were, oftentimes, so oppressed with their heavy labors, that though their minds were free and willing, yet their bodies bowed under the weight of the same, and became decrepit in their early youth; the vigor of nature being consumed in the very bud as it were. But that which was more la men ta ble, and of all sorrows most heavy to be borne, was that many of their children, by these occasions, and the great licentiousness of



8. Slices, portions.

youth in that country, and the manifold temptations of the place, were drawn away by evil examples into extravagant and dangerous courses, getting the reins off their necks, and departing from their parents. Some became soldiers, others took upon them far voyages by sea, and other some worse courses, tending to dissoluteness and the danger of their souls, to the great grief of their parents and dishonor of God. So that they saw their posterity would be in danger to degenerate and be corrupted.

Lastly (and which was not least), a great hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto, for the propagating and advancing the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of the world; yea, though they should be but even as stepping- stones unto others for the performing of so great a work.

These, and some other like reasons, moved them to undertake this reso- lution of their removal; the which they afterward prosecuted with so great dif”culties, as by the sequel will appear.

The place they had thoughts on was some of those vast and unpeopled countries of Amer i ca, which are fruitful and “t for habitation, being devoid of all civil inhabitants, where there are only savage and brutish men, which range up and down, little other wise than the wild beasts of the same. This proposi- tion being made public and coming to the scanning of all, it raised many vari- able opinions amongst men, and caused many fears and doubts amongst themselves. Some, from their reasons and hopes conceived, labored to stir up and encourage the rest to undertake and prosecute the same; others, again, out of their fears, objected against it, and sought to divert from it, alleging many things, and those neither unreasonable nor unprobable; as that it was a great design, and subject to many unconceivable perils and dangers; as, besides the casualties of the seas (which none can be freed from) the length of the voyage was such, as the weak bodies of women and other persons worn out with age and travail (as many of them were) could never be able to endure. And yet if they should, the miseries of the land which they should be exposed unto, would be too hard to be borne; and likely, some or all of them together, to consume and utterly to ruinate them. For there they should be liable to famine, and nakedness, and the want, in a manner, of all things. The change of air, diet, and drinking of water, would infect their bodies with sore sicknesses, and grievous diseases. And also those which should escape or overcome these dif”culties, should yet be in continual danger of the savage people, who are cruel, barbarous, and most treacher- ous, being most furious in their rage, and merciless where they overcome; not being content only to kill, and take away life, but delight to torment men in the most bloody manner that may be; daying some alive with the shells of “shes, cutting off the members and joints of others by piecemeal, and broiling on the coals, eat the collops8 of their desh in their sight whilst they live; with other cruelties horrible to be related. And surely it could not be thought but the very hearing of these things could not but move the very bowels of men to grate within them, and make the weak to quake and tremble. It was further objected, that it would require greater sums of money to furnish such a voyage, and to “t them with necessaries, than their con- sumed estates would amount to; and yet they must as well look to be seconded

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9. The Speedwell, with a capacity of sixty tons. 1. The May”ower had a capacity of one hundred eighty tons.

with supplies, as presently to be transported. Also many pre ce dents of ill success, and la men ta ble miseries befallen others in the like designs, were easy to be found, and not forgotten to be alleged; besides their own experi- ence, in their former trou bles and hardships in their removal into Holland, and how hard a thing it was for them to live in that strange place, though it was a neighbor country, and a civil and rich commonwealth.

It was answered, that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great dif”culties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages. It was granted the dangers were great, but not desper- ate; the dif”culties were many, but not invincible. For though there were many of them likely, yet they were not certain; it might be sundry of the things feared might never befall; others by provident care and the use of good means, might in a great mea sure be prevented; and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne, or overcome. True it was, that such attempts were not to be made and undertaken with- out good ground and reason; not rashly or lightly as many have done for curi- osity or hope of gain, etc. But their condition was not ordinary; their ends were good and honorable; their calling lawful, and urgent; and therefore they might expect the blessing of God in their proceeding. Yea, though they should lose their lives in this action, yet might they have comfort in the same, and their endeavors would be honorable. They lived here but as men in exile, and in a poor condition; and as great miseries might possibly befall them in this place, for the twelve years of truce were now out, and there was noth- ing but beating of drums, and preparing for war, the events whereof are always uncertain. The Spaniard might prove as cruel as the savages of Amer- i ca, and the famine and pestilence as sore here as there, and their liberty less to look out for remedy. After many other par tic u lar things answered and alleged on both sides, it was fully concluded by the major part, to put this design in execution, and to prosecute it by the best means they could.

* * * from chapter vii. of their departure from leyden, and other

things thereabout, with their arrival at southampton, where they all met together, and took in their provisions

At length, after much travail and these debates, all things were got ready and provided. A small ship9 was bought, and “tted in Holland, which was intended as to serve to help to transport them, so to stay in the country and attend upon “shing and such other affairs as might be for the good and bene”t of the col- ony when they came there. Another was hired at London, of burden about nine score;1 and all other things got in readiness. So being ready to depart, they had a day of solemn humiliation, their pastor taking his text from Ezra 8.21: “And there at the river, by Ahava, I proclaimed a fast, that we might humble ourselves before our God, and seek of Him a right way for us, and for our children, and for all our substance.” Upon which he spent a good part of the day very pro”tably, and suitable to their pres ent occasion. The rest of the time was spent in pouring out prayers to the Lord with great fervency, mixed with abundance of tears. And the time being come that they must



2. “They were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11.13). 3. In Mourt’s Relation. 4. John Carver (c. 1576–1621), the colony’s “rst

governor. 5. See 2 Corinthians 1.8 and Acts 18.5. 6. Proverbs 18.14. 7. Carver’s wife was Robinson’s sister.

depart, they were accompanied with most of their brethren out of the city, unto a town sundry miles off called Delfshaven, where the ship lay ready to receive them. So they left that goodly and pleasant city, which had been their resting place near twelve years; but they knew they were pilgrims,2 and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country, and quieted their spirits. When they came to the place they found the ship and all things ready; and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry also came from Amsterdam to see them shipped and to take their leave of them. That night was spent with little sleep by the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse and other real expressions of true Christian love. The next day, the wind being fair, they went aboard, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting; to see what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them, what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each heart; that sun- dry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the quay as spectators, could not refrain from tears. Yet comfortable and sweet it was to see such lively and true expressions of dear and unfeigned love. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away that were thus loath to depart, their reverend pastor falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with most fervent prayers to the Lord and His blessing. And then with mutual embraces and many tears, they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

* * * At their parting Mr. Robinson writ a letter to the whole com pany, which,

though it hath already been printed,3 yet I thought good here likewise to insert it, as also a brief letter writ at the same time to Mr. Carver,4 in which the tender love and godly care of a true pastor appears:

My dear Brother, I received enclosed in your last letter the note of infor- mation, which I shall carefully keep and make use of as there shall be occa- sion. I have a true feeling of your perplexity of mind and toil of body, but I hope that you who have always been able so plentifully to administer com- fort unto others in their trials, are so well furnished for yourself as that far greater dif”culties than you have yet under gone (though I conceive them to have been great enough) cannot oppress you, though they press you, as the Apostle speaks.5 The spirit of a man (sustained by the spirit of God) will sustain his in”rmity;6 I doubt not so will yours. And the better much when you shall enjoy the presence and help of so many godly and wise brethren, for the bearing of part of your burthen, who also will not admit into their hearts the least thought of suspicion of any the least negligence, at least presumption, to have been in you, whatsoever they think in others. Now what shall I say or write unto you and your good wife, my loving sister?7

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8. Delay.

Even only this, I desire (and always shall) unto you from the Lord, as unto my own soul; and assure yourself that my heart is with you, and that I will not forslow8 my bodily coming at the “rst opportunity. I have written a large letter to the whole, and am sorry I shall not rather speak than write to them; and the more, considering the want of a preacher, which I shall also make some spur to my hastening after you. I do ever commend my best affection unto you, which if I thought you made any doubt of, I would express in more, and the same more ample and full words. And the Lord in whom you trust and whom you serve ever in this business and journey, guide you with His hand, protect you with His wing, and show you and us His salvation in the end, and bring us in the meanwhile together in the place desired, if such be His good will, for His Christ’s sake. Amen. Yours, etc.

July 27, 1620 John Robinson

This was the last letter that Mr. Carver lived to see from him. The other follows:

Loving and Christian friends, I do heartily and in the Lord salute you all, as being they with whom I am pres ent in my best affection, and most earnest longings after you, though I be constrained for a while to be bodily absent from you. I say constrained, God knowing how willingly, and much rather than other wise, I would have borne my part with you in this “rst brunt, were I not by strong necessity held back for the pres ent. Make account of me in the meanwhile, as of a man divided in myself with great pain, and as (natu ral bonds set aside) having my better part with you. And though I doubt not but in your godly wisdoms, you both foresee and resolve upon that which concer- neth your pres ent state and condition, both severally and jointly, yet have I thought it but my duty to add some further spur of provocation unto them, who run already, if not because you need it, yet because I owe it in love and duty. And “rst, as we are daily to renew our repentance with our God, espe- cially for our sins known, and generally for our unknown trespasses, so doth the Lord call us in a singular manner upon occasions of such dif”culty and danger as lieth upon you, to a both more narrow search and careful reforma- tion of your ways in his sight; lest He, calling to remembrance our sins forgot- ten by us or unrepented of, take advantage against us, and in judgment leave us for the same to be swallowed up in one danger or other; whereas, on the contrary, sin being taken away by earnest repentance and the pardon thereof from the Lord sealed up unto a man’s conscience by His spirit, great shall be his security and peace in all dangers, sweet his comforts in all distresses, with happy deliverance from all evil, whether in life or in death.

Now next after this heavenly peace with God and our own consciences, we are carefully to provide for peace with all men what in us lieth, espe- cially with our associates; and for that watchfulness must be had, that we neither at all in ourselves do give, no, nor easily take offense being given by others. Woe be unto the world for offenses, for though it be necessary (con- sidering the malice of Satan and man’s corruption) that offenses come, yet



9. See 1 Peter 4.8. 1. Lack.

woe unto the man or woman either by whom the offense cometh, saith Christ, Matthew 18.7. And if offenses in the unseasonable use of things in themselves indifferent, be more to be feared than death itself, as the Apostle teacheth, 1 Corinthians 9.15, how much more in things simply evil, in which neither honor of God nor love of man is thought worthy to be regarded. Nei- ther yet is it suf”cient that we keep ourselves by the grace of God from giving offense, except withal we be armed against the taking of them when they be given by others. For how unperfect and lame is the work of grace in that per- son, who wants charity to cover a multitude of offenses, as the scriptures speak.9 Neither are you to be exhorted to this grace only upon the common grounds of Chris tian ity, which are, that persons ready to take offense, either want1 charity, to cover offenses, or wisdom duly to weigh human frailty; or lastly, are gross, though close hypocrites, as Christ our Lord teacheth, Mat- thew 7.1, 2, 3, as indeed in my own experience, few or none have been found which sooner give offense, than such as easily take it; neither have they ever proved sound and pro”table members in socie ties, which have nourished this touchy humor. But besides these, there are diverse motives provoking you above others to great care and conscience this way: As “rst, you are many of you strangers, as to the persons, so to the in”rmities one of another, and so stand in need of more watchfulness this way, lest when such things fall out in men and women as you suspected not, you be inordinately affected with them; which doth require at your hands much wisdom and charity for the covering and preventing of incident offenses that way. And, lastly, your intended course of civil community will minister continual occasion of offense, and will be as fuel for that “re, except you diligently quench it with brotherly forebearance. And if taking of offense causelessly or easily at men’s doings be so carefully to be avoided, how much more heed is to be taken that we take not offense at God himself, which yet we certainly do so often as we do murmur at His providence in our crosses, or bear impatiently such afdic- tions as wherewith He pleaseth to visit us. Store up therefore patience against the evil day, without which we take offense at the Lord himself in His holy and just works.

A fourth thing there is carefully to be provided for, to wit, that with your common employments you join common affections truly bent upon the gen- eral good, avoiding as a deadly plague of your both common and special comfort all retiredness of mind for proper advantage, and all singularly affected any manner of way; let every man repress in himself and the whole body in each person, as so many rebels against the common good, all pri- vate re spects of men’s selves, not sorting with the general conveniency. And as men are careful not to have a new house shaken with any vio lence before it be well settled and the parts “rmly knit, so be you, I beseech you, breth- ren, much more careful, that the house of God which you are, and are to be, be not shaken with unnecessary novelties or other oppositions at the “rst settling thereof.

Lastly, whereas you are become a body politic, using amongst yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special emi- nency above the rest, to be chosen by you into of”ce of government, let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do

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2. See Romans 13.4. 3. Several. 4. Some of Bradford’s community sailed on the

Speedwell from Delftshaven early in August 1620, but that ship’s unseaworthiness forced their transfer to the May”ower.

entirely love and will promote the common good, but also in yielding unto them all due honor and obedience in their lawful administrations; not behold- ing in them the ordinariness of their persons, but God’s ordinance for your good, not being like the foolish multitude who more honor the gay coat, than either the virtuous mind of the man, or glorious ordinance of the Lord. But you know better things, and that the image of the Lord’s power and authority which the magistrate beareth,2 is honorable, in how mean persons soever. And this duty you both may the more willingly and ought the more conscionably to perform, because you are at least for the pres ent to have only them for your ordinary governors, which yourselves shall make choice of for that work.

Sundry other things of importance I could put you in mind of, and of those before mentioned, in more words, but I will not so far wrong your godly minds as to think you heedless of these things, there being also divers3 among you so well able to admonish both themselves and others of what concerneth them. These few things therefore, and the same in few words, I do earnestly com- mend unto your care and conscience, joining therewith my daily incessant prayers unto the Lord, that He who hath made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all rivers of waters, and whose providence is over all His works, espe- cially over all His dear children for good, would so guide and guard you in your ways, as inwardly by His Spirit, so outwardly by the hand of His power, as that both you and we also, for and with you, may have after matter of praising His name all the days of your and our lives. Fare you well in Him in whom you trust, and in whom I rest.

An unfeigned wellwiller of your happy success in this hopeful voyage,

john robinson

This letter, though large, yet being so fruitful in itself, and suitable to their occasion, I thought meet to insert in this place.

All things being now ready, and every business dispatched, the com pany was called together, and this letter read amongst them, which had good accepta- tion with all, and after fruit with many. Then they ordered and distributed their com pany for either ship, as they conceived for the best. And chose a Governor and two or three assistants for each ship, to order the people by the way, and see to the disposing of their provisions, and such like affairs. All which was not only with the liking of the masters of the ships, but according to their desires. Which being done, they set sail from thence about the “fth of August.

* * * chapter ix. of their voyage, and how they passed the sea;

and of their safe arrival at cape cod

September 6. These trou bles being blown over,4 and now all being compact together in one ship, they put to sea again with a prosperous wind, which continued divers days together, which was some encouragement unto them;



5. Strong, energetic. 6. Hesitate. 7. Shrewdly, in its original sense of badly or dan- gerously.

8. Watertight. 9. Overburden. 1. Drift before the weather under very little sail. 2. Roll.

yet, according to the usual manner, many were afdicted with seasickness. And I may not omit here a special work of God’s providence. There was a proud and very profane young man, one of the seamen, of a lusty,5 able body, which made him the more haughty; he would always be contemning the poor people in their sickness, and cursing them daily with grievous execrations, and did not let6 to tell them, that he hoped to help to cast half of them over- board before they came to their journey’s end, and to make merry with what they had; and if he were by any gently reproved, he would curse and swear most bitterly. But it pleased God before they came half seas over, to smite this young man with a grievous disease, of which he died in a desperate man- ner, and so was himself the “rst that was thrown overboard. Thus his curses lighted on his own head; and it was an astonishment to all his fellows, for they noted it to be the just hand of God upon him.

After they had enjoyed fair winds and weather for a season, they were encountered many times with cross winds, and met with many “erce storms, with which the ship was shroudly7 shaken, and her upper works made very leaky; and one of the main beams in the midships was bowed and cracked, which put them in some fear that the ship could not be able to perform the voyage. So some of the chief of the com pany, perceiving the mari ners to fear the suf”ciency of the ship, as appeared by their mutterings, they entered into serious consultation with the master and other of”cers of the ship, to con- sider in time of the danger; and rather to return than to cast themselves into a desperate and inevitable peril. And truly there was great distraction and difference of opinion amongst the mari ners themselves; fain would they do what could be done for their wages’ sake (being now half the seas over) and on the other hand they were loath to hazard their lives too desperately. But in examining of all opinions, the master and others af”rmed they knew the ship to be strong and “rm underwater; and [as] for the buckling of the main beam, there was a great iron screw the passengers brought out of Holland, which would raise the beam into his place; the which being done, the car- penter and master af”rmed that with a post put under it, set “rm in the lower deck, and otherways bound, he would make it suf”cient. And as for the decks and upper works they would caulk them as well as they could, and though with the working of the ship they would not long keep staunch,8 yet there would other wise be no great danger, if they did not overpress9 her with sails. So they committed themselves to the will of God, and resolved to proceed. In sundry of these storms the winds were so “erce, and the seas so high, as they could not bear a knot of sail, but were forced to hull,1 for divers days together. And in one of them, as they thus lay at hull, in a mighty storm, a lusty young man (called John Howland) coming upon some occasion above the gratings, was, with a seele2 of the ship thrown into [the] sea; but it pleased God that he caught hold of the topsail halyards, which hung overboard, and ran out at length; yet he held his hold (though he was sundry fathoms under water) till he was hauled up by the same rope to the brim of the water, and then with a boat hook and other means got into the ship again, and his life saved; and though he was something ill with it, yet he lived many years after,

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3. The Hudson River, in New York. 4. They arrived at pres ent- day Provincetown Harbor on November  11, 1620, after sixty- “ve days at sea. 5. In the year (Latin). 6. The pre”x mal means “bad,” a reference to

the dangerous sandbars. 7. Bradford cites Moral Epistles to Lucilius, by the Roman Stoic phi los o pher Seneca (4? b.c.e.– 65 c.e.). 8. See Acts 28.1–2.

and became a pro”table member both in church and commonwealth. In all this voyage there died but one of the passengers, which was William But- ten, a youth, servant to Samuel Fuller, when they drew near the coast. But to omit other things (that I may be brief) after long beating at sea they fell with that land which is called Cape Cod; the which being made and cer- tainly known to be it, they were not a little joyful. After some deliberation had amongst themselves and with the master of the ship, they tacked about and resolved to stand for the southward (the wind and weather being fair) to “nd some place about Hudson’s River3 for their habitation. But after they had sailed that course about half the day, they fell amongst dangerous shoals and roaring breakers, and they were so far entangled therewith as they con- ceived themselves in great danger; and the wind shrinking upon them withal, they resolved to bear up again for the Cape, and thought themselves happy to get out of those dangers before night overtook them, as by God’s provi- dence they did. And the next day they got into the Cape Harbor,4 where they rid in safety. A word or two by the way of this cape; it was thus “rst named by Captain Gosnold and his com pany, Anno5 1602, and after by Captain Smith was called Cape James, but it retains the former name amongst sea- men. Also that point which “rst showed those dangerous shoals unto them, they called Point Care, and Tucker’s Terror, but the French and Dutch to this day call it Malabarr, by reason of those perilous shoals,6 and the losses they have suffered there.

Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and mis- eries thereof, again to set their feet on the “rm and stable earth, their proper ele ment. And no marvel if they were thus joyful, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on the coast of his own Italy; as he af”rmed, that he had rather remain twenty years on his way by land, than pass by sea to any place in a short time, so tedious and dreadful was the same unto him.7

But here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people’s pres ent condition, and so I think will the reader, too, when he well considers the same. Being thus passed the vast ocean, and a sea of trou bles before in their preparation (as may be remembered by that which went before), they had now no friends to welcome them, nor inns to enter- tain or refresh their weatherbeaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succor. It is recorded in scripture as a mercy to the apostle and his shipwrecked com pany, that the barbarians showed them no small kindness in refreshing them,8 but these savage barbarians, when they met with them (as after will appear) were readier to “ll their sides full of arrows than other wise. And for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent, and subject to cruel and “erce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search an unknown coast. Besides, what could they see but a hideous and



9. Mountain from which Moses saw the Prom- ised Land (Deuteronomy 34.1–4). 1. Small vessel “tted with one or more masts.

2. Deuteronomy 26.6–8 [Bradford’s note]. 3. Psalm 107.1, 2, 4, 5, 8 [Bradford’s note].

desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men? And what multitudes there might be of them they knew not. Neither could they, as it were, go up to the top of Pisgah,9 to view from this wilderness a more goodly country to feed their hopes; for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to the heavens) they could have little solace or content in re spect of any out- ward objects. For summer being done, all things stand upon them with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, rep- resented a wild and savage hue. If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. If it be said they had a ship to succor them, it is true; but what heard they daily from the master and com pany? but that with speed they should look out a place with their shallop,1 where they would be at some near distance; for the season was such as he would not stir from thence till a safe harbor was discovered by them where they would be, and he might go without danger; and that victuals con- sumed apace, but he must and would keep suf”cient for themselves and their return. Yea, it was muttered by some, that if they got not a place in time, they would turn them and their goods ashore and leave them. Let it also be con- sidered what weak hopes of supply and succor they left behind them, that might bear up their minds in this sad condition and trials they were under; and they could not but be very small. It is true, indeed, the affections and love of their brethren at Leyden was cordial and entire towards them, but they had little power to help them, or themselves; and how the case stood between them and the merchants at their coming away, hath already been declared. What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and His grace? May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were En glishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice, and looked on their adversity,”2 “Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good, and His mercies endure forever.” “Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how He hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was over- whelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness, and His wonderful works before the sons of men.”3

chapter x. showing how they sought out a place of habitation; and what befell them thereabout

Being thus arrived at Cape Cod the 11th of November, and necessity calling them to look out a place for habitation (as well as the master’s and mari ners’ importunity), they having brought a large shallop with them out of Eng land, stowed in quarters in the ship, they now got her out and set their carpenters to work to trim her up; but [she] being much bruised and shattered in the ship with foul weather, they saw she would be long in mending. Whereupon a few of them tendered themselves to go by land and discover those nearest

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4. This distance might have been six to nine miles. 5. Myles Standish (1584?–1656), a professional soldier who had fought in the Netherlands, was employed by the Pilgrims.

6. Fast. 7. In Numbers 13.23–26, scouts sent out by Moses to search the wilderness return after forty days with clusters of grapes picked near a brook they call Eschol.

places, whilst the shallop was in mending, and the rather because as they went into that harbor there seemed to be an opening some two or three leagues off,4 which the master judged to be a river. It was conceived there might be some danger in the attempt, yet seeing them resolute, they were permitted to go, being sixteen of them, well armed, under the conduct of Captain Standish,5 having such instructions given them as was thought meet. They set forth the 15th of November, and when they had marched about the space of a mile by the seaside, they espied “ve or six persons with a dog coming towards them, who were savages, but they ded from them, and ran up into the woods, and the En glish followed them, partly to see if they could speak with them, and partly to discover if there might not be more of them lying in ambush. But the Indians seeing themselves thus followed, they again forsook the woods, and ran away on the sands as hard6 as they could, so as they could not come near them, but followed them by the track of their feet sundry miles, and saw that they had come the same way. So, night com- ing on, they made their rendezvous and set out their sentinels, and rested in quiet that night, and the next morning followed their track till they had headed a great creek, and so left the sands, and turned another way into the woods. But they still followed them by guess, hoping to “nd their dwellings, but they soon lost both them and themselves, falling into such thickets as were ready to tear their clothes and armor in pieces, but were most distressed for want of drink. But at length they found water and refreshed themselves, [it] being the “rst New Eng land water they drunk of, and was now in their great thirst as pleasant unto them as wine or beer had been in foretimes. Afterwards they directed their course to come to the other shore, for they knew it was a neck of land they were to cross over, and so at length got to the seaside, and marched to this supposed river, and by the way found a pond of clear fresh water, and shortly after a good quantity of clear ground where the Indians had formerly set corn, and some of their graves. And proceed- ing further they saw new stubble where corn had been set the same year, also they found where lately a house had been, where some planks and a great kettle was remaining, and heaps of sand newly paddled with their hands, which they, digging up, found in them divers fair Indian baskets “lled with corn, and some in ears, fair and good, of divers colors, which seemed to them a very goodly sight (having never seen any such before). This was near the place of that supposed river they came to seek, unto which they went and found it to open itself into two arms with a high cliff of sand in the entrance, but more like to be creeks of salt water than any fresh, for aught they saw, and that there was good harborage for their shallop, leaving it further to be discovered by their shallop when she was ready. So their time limited them being expired, they returned to the ship, lest they should be in fear of their safety, and took with them part of the corn, and buried up the rest, and so like the men from Eshcol7 carried with them of the fruits of the land, and showed their brethren, of which, and their return, they were marvelously glad, and their hearts encouraged.



8. Descendants of these Nauset Indians, the Wampanoag, today live on the reservation in Mashpee, Cape Cod.

9. Near pres ent- day Eastham. 1. Prob ably a pi lot whale.

After this, the shallop being got ready, they set out again for the better discovery of this place, and the master of the ship desired to go himself, so there went some thirty men, but found it to be no harbor for ships but only for boats. There was also found two of their houses covered with mats, and sundry of their implements in them, but the people were run away and could not be seen.8 Also there was found more of their corn, and of their beans of vari ous colors. The corn and beans they brought away, purposing to give them full satisfaction when they should meet with any of them (as about some six months afterward they did, to their good content). And here is to be noted a special providence of God, and a great mercy to this poor people, that here they got seed to plant them corn the next year, or else they might have starved, for they had none, nor any likelihood to get any till the season had been past (as the sequel did manifest). Neither is it likely they had had this, if the “rst voyage had not been made, for the ground was now all cov- ered with snow, and hard frozen. But the Lord is never wanting unto his in their greatest needs; let his holy name have all the praise.

The month of November being spent in these affairs, and much foul weather falling in, the 6th of December they sent out their shallop again with ten of their principal men, and some seamen, upon further discovery, intend- ing to circulate that deep bay of Cape Cod. The weather was very cold, and it froze so hard as the spray of the sea lighting on their coats, they were as if they had been glazed; yet that night betimes they got down into the bottom of the bay, and as they drew near the shore9 they saw some ten or twelve Indians very busy about something. They landed about a league or two from them, and had much ado to put ashore anywhere, it lay so full of dats. [ After their] being landed, it grew late, and they made themselves a barricade with logs and boughs as well as they could in the time, and set out their sentinel and betook them to rest, and saw the smoke of the “re the savages made that night. When morning was come they divided their com pany, some to coast along the shore in the boat, and the rest marched through the woods to see the land, if any “t place might be for their dwelling. They came also to the place where they saw the Indians the night before, and found they had been cutting up a great “sh like a grampus,1 being some two inches thick of fat like a hog, some pieces whereof they had left by the way; and the shallop found two more of these “shes dead on the sands, a thing usual after storms in that place, by reason of the great dats of sand that lie off. So they ranged up and down all that day, but found no people, nor any place they liked. When the sun grew low, they hasted out of the woods to meet with their shal- lop, to whom they made signs to come to them into a creek hard by, the which they did at high water, of which they were very glad, for they had not seen each other all that day, since the morning. So they made them a barricado (as usually they did every night) with logs, stakes, and thick pine boughs, the height of a man, leaving it open to leeward, partly to shelter them from the cold and wind (making their “re in the middle, and lying round about it), and partly to defend them from any sudden assaults of the savages, if they should surround them.

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2. The En glish.

So being very weary, they betook them to rest. But about midnight, they heard a hideous and great cry, and their sentinel called, “Arm! arm,” so they bestirred them and stood to their arms, and shot off a couple of muskets, and then the noise ceased. They concluded it was a com pany of wolves, or such like wild beasts, for one of the seamen told them he had often heard such a noise in Newfoundland. So they rested till about “ve of the clock in the morning, for the tide, and their purpose to go from thence, made them be stirring betimes. So after prayer they prepared for breakfast, and it being day dawning, it was thought best to be carry ing things down to the boat. But some said it was not best to carry the arms down, others said they would be the readier, for they had lapped them up in their coats from the dew. But some three or four would not carry theirs till they went themselves, yet as it fell out, the water being not high enough, they laid them down on the bank- side, and came up to breakfast. But presently, all on the sudden, they heard a great and strange cry, which they knew to be the same voices they heard in the night, though they varied their notes, and one of their com pany being abroad came running in, and cried, “Men, Indians, Indians,” and withal, their arrows came dying amongst them. Their men ran with all speed to recover their arms, as by the good providence of God they did. In the mean- time, of those that were there ready, two muskets were discharged at them, and two more stood ready in the entrance of their rendezvous, but were com- manded not to shoot till they could take full aim at them, and the other two charged again with all speed, for there were only four had arms there, and defended the barricado, which was “rst assaulted. The cry of the Indians was dreadful, especially when they saw their men run out of the rendezvous toward the shallop, to recover their arms, the Indians wheeling about upon them. But some running out with coats of mail on, and cutlasses in their hands, they soon got their arms, and let dy amongst them, and quickly stopped their vio- lence. Yet there was a lusty man, and no less valiant, stood behind a tree within half a musket shot, and let his arrows dy at them. He was seen [to] shoot three arrows, which were all avoided. He stood three shots of a musket, till one taking full aim at him, made the bark or splinters of the tree dy about his ears, after which he gave an extraordinary shriek, and away they went all of them. They2 left some to keep the shallop, and followed them about a quar- ter of a mile, and shouted once or twice, and shot off two or three pieces, and so returned. This they did, that they might conceive that they were not afraid of them or any way discouraged. Thus it pleased God to vanquish their ene- mies, and give them deliverance; and by His special providence so to dispose that not any one of them were either hurt, or hit, though their arrows came close by them, and on every side them, and sundry of their coats, which hung up in the barricado, were shot through and through. Afterwards they gave God solemn thanks and praise for their deliverance, and gathered up a bundle of their arrows, and sent them into Eng land afterward by the master of the ship, and called that place the “First Encounter.” From hence they departed, and coasted all along, but discerned no place likely for harbor, and there- fore hasted to a place that their pi lot (one Mr. Coppin, who had been in the country before) did assure them was a good harbor, which he had been in, and they might fetch it before night, of which they were glad, for it began to



3. Flood tide. 4. Heavi ly. 5. Weapons.

6. Mea sured the depth of. 7. The landing, at Plymouth, occurred on De cem- ber 21.

be foul weather. After some hours’ sailing, it began to snow and rain, and about the middle of the after noon, the wind increased, and the sea became very rough, and they broke their rudder, and it was as much as two men could do to steer her with a couple of oars. But their pi lot bade them be of good cheer, for he saw the harbor; but the storm increasing, and night drawing on, they bore what sail they could to get in, while they could see. But herewith they broke their mast in three pieces, and their sail fell over- board, in a very grown sea, so as they had like to have been cast away; yet by God’s mercy they recovered themselves, and having the dood3 with them, struck into the harbor. But when it came to, the pi lot was deceived in the place, and said, the Lord be merciful unto them, for his eyes never saw that place before, and he and the master’s mate would have run her ashore, in a cove full of breakers, before the wind. But a lusty seaman which steered, bade those which rowed, if they were men, about with her, or else they were all cast away, the which they did with speed. So he bid them be of good cheer and row lustily, for there was a fair sound before them, and he doubted not but they should “nd one place or other where they might ride in safety. And though it was very dark, and rained sore,4 yet in the end they got under the lee of a small island, and remained there all that night in safety. But they knew not this to be an island till morning, but were divided in their minds: some would keep the boat for fear they might be amongst the Indians; others were so weak and cold, they could not endure, but got ashore, and with much ado got “re (all things being so wet) and the rest were glad to come to them, for after midnight the wind shifted to the north- west, and it froze hard. But though this had been a day and night of much trou ble and danger unto them, yet God gave them a morning of comfort and refreshing (as usually He doth to His children), for the next day was a fair sunshining day, and they found themselves to be on an island secure from the Indians, where they might dry their stuff, “x their pieces,5 and rest themselves, and gave God thanks for His mercies, in their manifold deliverances. And this being the last day of the week, they prepared there to keep the Sabbath. On Monday they sounded6 the harbor, and found it “t for shipping, and marched into the land, and found divers corn”elds, and little running brooks, a place (as they supposed) “t for situation. At least it was the best they could “nd, and the season, and their pres ent necessity, made them glad to accept of it. So they returned to their ship again with this news to the rest of their people, which did much comfort their hearts.

On the 15th of December they weighed anchor to go to the place they had discovered, and came within two leagues of it, but were fain to bear up again, but the 16th day the wind came fair, and they arrived safe in this harbor, and afterwards took better view of the place, and resolved where to pitch their dwelling,7 and the 25th day began to erect the “rst house for common use to receive them and their goods.

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1. Bradford did not number the chapters in Book II. 2. A form of union. 3. Bradford’s term for the voyagers who were not members of the Separatist church. 4. A document signed by a sovereign granting

privileges to those named in it. 5. In the year of the Lord (Latin). 6. A tradesman, like Bradford, and an original member of the group that went to Holland. 7. Several people. “Unlading”: unloading.

From Book II

* * * from chapter xi.1 the remainder of anno 1620

I shall a little return back and begin with a combination2 made by them before they came ashore, being the “rst foundation of their government in this place, occasioned partly by the discontented and mutinous speeches that some of the strangers3 amongst them had let fall from them in the ship (that when they came ashore they would use their own liberty; for none had power to com- mand them, the patent4 they had being for Virginia, and not for New Eng land, which belonged to another Government, with which the Virginia Com pany had nothing to do), and partly that such an act by them done (this their condition considered) might be as “rm as any patent, and in some re spects more sure.

The form was as followeth. In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal

subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the “rst colony in the north- ern parts of Virginia, do by these pres ents solemnly and mutually in the pres- ence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and further- ance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and of”ces, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and con ve nient for the gen- eral good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedi- ence. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of Eng land, France, and Ireland the eigh teenth, and of Scotland the “fty- fourth. Anno Domini5 1620.

After this they chose, or rather con”rmed, Mr. John Carver6 (a man godly and well approved amongst them) their governor for that year. And after they had provided a place for their goods, or common store, (which were long in unlading for want of boats, foulness of the winter weather, and sick- ness of divers)7 and begun some small cottages for their habitation, as time would admit, they met and consulted of laws and orders, both for their civil and military government, as the necessity of their condition did require, still adding thereunto as urgent occasion in several times, and as cases did require.



8. Attitudes. 9. Past tense of cleave: stuck closely. “Carriage”: handling. 1. Intimate, domestic.

2. Lacking in attention. 3. Which was this author himself [Bradford’s note].

[difficult beginnings]

In these hard and dif”cult beginnings they found some discontents and mur- murings arise amongst some, and mutinous speeches and carriages8 in other; but they were soon quelled and overcome by the wisdom, patience, and just and equal carriage of things by the governor and better part, which clave9 faithfully together in the main. But that which was most sad and la men ta ble was, that in two or three months’ time half of their com pany died, especially in January and February, being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts; being infected with the scurvy and other diseases, which this long voyage and their inaccommodate condition had brought upon them; so as there died sometimes two or three of a day, in the foresaid time; that of one hundred and odd persons, scarce “fty remained. And of these in the time of most distress, there was but six or seven sound persons, who, to their great commendations be it spoken, spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard of their own health, fetched them wood, made them “res, dressed them meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed and unclothed them; in a word, did all the homely1 and nec- essary of”ces for them which dainty and queasy stomachs cannot endure to hear named; and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the least, showing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren, a rare example and worthy to be remembered. Two of these seven were Mr. Wil- liam Brewster, their reverend elder, and Myles Standish, their captain and military commander, unto whom myself and many others were much beholden in our low and sick condition. And yet the Lord so upheld these persons, as in this general calamity they were not at all infected either with sickness or lameness. And what I have said of these, I may say of many others who died in this general visitation, and others yet living, that whilst they had health, yea, or any strength continuing, they were not wanting2 to any that had need of them. And I doubt not but their recompense is with the Lord.

But I may not here pass by another remarkable passage not to be forgot- ten. As this calamity fell among the passengers that were to be left here to plant, and were hasted ashore and made to drink water, that the seamen might have the more beer, and one3 in his sickness, desiring but a small can of beer, it was answered, that if he were their own father he should have none. The disease began to fall amongst them also, so as almost half of their com pany died before they went away, and many of their of”cers and lustiest men, as the boatswain, gunner, three quartermasters, the cook, and others. At which the master was something stricken and sent to the sick ashore and told the governor he should send for beer for them that had need of it, though he drunk water homeward bound. But now amongst his com pany there was far another kind of carriage in this misery than amongst the passengers: for they that before had been boon companions in drinking and jollity in the time of their health and welfare, began now to desert one another in this calamity, saying they would not hazard their lives for them, they should be

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4. Cheat. “Mess”: meal. 5. The Abnaki chief Samoset had encountered En glish “shing vessels in southern Maine; he picked up his En glish there and may have come south with Captain Thomas Dermer (see n. 1,

p. 128; and see the reference to him below). 6. Chief. 7. Bradford’s aside indicates that, having begun his history in 1630, he was writing this part in 1644.

infected by coming to help them in their cabins, and so, after they came to die by it, would do little or nothing for them, but if they died let them die. But such of the passengers as were yet aboard showed them what mercy they could, which made some of their hearts relent, as the boatswain (and some others), who was a proud young man, and would often curse and scoff at the passengers. But when he grew weak, they had compassion on him and helped him; then he confessed he did not deserve it at their hands, he had abused them in word and deed. “O!” saith he, “you, I now see, show your love like Christians indeed one to another, but we let one another lie and die like dogs.” Another lay cursing his wife, saying if it had not been for her he had never come [on] this unlucky voyage, and anon cursing his fellows, saying he had done this and that, for some of them, he had spent so much, and so much, amongst them, and they were now weary of him, and did not help him, having need. Another gave his companion all he had, if he died, to help him in his weakness; he went and got a little spice and made him a mess of meat once or twice, and because he died not so soon as he expected, he went amongst his fellows, and swore the rogue would cozen4 him, he would see him choked before he made him any more meat; and yet the poor fellow died before morning.

[dealings with the natives]

All this while the Indians came skulking about them, and would sometimes show themselves aloof off, but when any approached near them, they would run away. And once they stole away their tools where they had been at work, and were gone to dinner. But about the 16th of March a certain Indian came boldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken En glish, which they could well understand, but marveled at it. At length they understood by discourse with him, that he was not of these parts, but belonged to the eastern parts, where some En glish ships came to “sh, with whom he was acquainted, and could name sundry of them by their names, amongst whom he had got his language.5 He became pro”table to them in acquainting them with many things concerning the state of the country in the east parts where he lived, which was afterwards pro”table unto them; as also of the people here, of their names, number, and strength; of their situation and distance from this place, and who was chief amongst them. His name was Samoset; he told them also of another Indian whose name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in Eng land and could speak better En glish than himself. Being, after some time of entertainment and gifts, dismissed, a while after he came again, and “ve more with him, and they brought again all the tools that were stolen away before, and made way for the coming of their great sachem,6 called Massasoit, who, about four or “ve days after, came with the chief of his friends and other attendance, with the aforesaid Squanto. With whom, after friendly entertainment, and some gifts given him, they made a peace with him (which hath now continued this twenty- four years)7 in these terms:



8. I.e., A Brief Relation of the Discovery and Plan- tation of New Eng land (1622), by Gorges (c. 1566–1647), an En glish colonial entrepreneur. Gorges had a patent for settling in northern New Eng land, but he hired explorers and did not travel to Amer i ca. 9. Here, Dermer means Plymouth, Eng land. John

Smith published his Description of New  Eng land two years after his 1614 voyage. Tisquantum was Squanto’s Indian name. 1. Near the mouth of the Charles River, in pres ent- day Boston and Charlestown. 2. A large bay on Maine’s central coast. “Pokan- okets”: the Wampanoags, the tribe of Massasoit.

1. That neither he nor any of his, 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. If any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; if any did war against them, he should aid them.

5. He should send to his neighbors confederates, to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in the conditions of peace.

6. That when their men came to them, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them.

After these things he returned to his place called Sowams, some forty mile from this place, but Squanto continued with them, and was their interpreter, and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expec- tation. He directed them how to set their corn, where to take “sh, and to procure other commodities, and was also their pi lot to bring them to unknown places for their pro”t, and never left them till he died. He was a native of this place, and scarce any left alive besides himself. He was carried away with div- ers others by one Hunt, a master of a ship, who thought to sell them for slaves in Spain; but he got away for Eng land, and was entertained by a merchant in London, and employed to Newfoundland and other parts, and lastly brought hither into these parts by one Mr. Dermer, a gentleman employed by Sir Fer- dinando Gorges and others, for discovery, and other designs in these parts. Of whom I shall say something, because it is mentioned in a book set forth Anno 1622 by the President and Council for New Eng land,8 that he made the peace between the savages of these parts and the En glish, of which this plantation, as it is intimated, had the bene”t. But what a peace it was, may appear by what befell him and his men.

This Mr.  Dermer was here the same year that these people came, as appears by a relation written by him, and given me by a friend, bearing date June 30, Anno 1620. And they came in November following, so there was but four months difference. In which relation to his honored friend, he hath these passages of this very place:

I will “rst begin (saith he) with that place from whence Squanto, or Tisquantum, was taken away, which in Capt. Smith’s map is called Plymouth (and I would that Plymouth9 had the like commodities). I would that the “rst plantation might here be seated, if there come to the number of “fty persons, or upward. Other wise at Charlton,1 because there the savages are less to be feared. The Pokanokets, which live to the west of Plymouth, bear an inveterate malice to the En glish, and are of more strength than all the savages from thence to Penobscot.2 Their

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3. Small cannons. 4. If Dermer was not lying about the soil, it has been much degraded since his visit. Patuxet (“at the little falls”) was the Indian name for Plym- outh. Nauset, named for the local Indian tribe, was near pres ent- day Eastham. Satucket (“near the mouth of the stream”) was a Nauset village close to the town of Brewster. 5. Once a harbor near Orleans and Harwich. 6. Samuel Purchas (1577–1626) was an En glish

clergyman and collector of travel writings, famous for compiling the four- volume work to which Bradford refers: Purchas His Pilgrimes (1625). “Lib.”: abbreviation for liber: book (Latin). “Fol.”: abbreviation for folio: sheet, or page (Latin). This reference is to p.  1778  in book 9 of vol. 4. 7. Martha’s Vineyard. 8. The Indians.

desire of revenge was occasioned by an En glishman, who having many of them on board, made a great slaughter with their murderers3 and small shot, when as (they say) they offered no injury on their parts. Whether they were En glish or no, it may be doubted; yet they believe they were, for the French have so possessed them; for which cause Squanto cannot deny but they would have killed me when I was at Namasket, had he not entreated hard for me. The soil of the borders of this great bay, may be compared to most of the plantations which I have seen in Virginia. The land is of diverse sorts, for Patuxet is a hardy but strong soil, Nauset and Satucket are for the most part a blackish and deep mould, much like that where groweth the best tobacco in Virginia.4 In the bottom of that great bay is store of cod and bass, or mullet, etc.

But above all he commends Pokanoket for the richest soil, and much open ground “t for En glish grain, etc.

Mas sa chu setts is about nine leagues from Plymouth, and situate in the midst between both, is full of islands and peninsulas, very fertile for the most part.

(With sundry such relations which I forbear to transcribe, being now better known than they were to him.)

He was taken prisoner by the Indians at Monomoit5 (a place not far from hence, now well known). He gave them what they demanded for his liberty, but when they had got what they desired, they kept him still and endeav- ored to kill his men, but he was freed by seizing on some of them, and kept them bound till they gave him a canoe’s load of corn. Of which, see Pur- chas, lib. 9, fol. 1778.6 But this was Anno 1619.

After the writing of the former relation he came to the Isle of Capawack7 (which lies south of this place in the way to Virginia), and the foresaid Squanto with him, where he going ashore amongst the Indians to trade, as he used to do, was betrayed and assaulted by them, and all his men slain, but one that kept the boat; but himself got aboard very sore wounded, and they had cut off his head upon the cuddy of the boat, had not the man res- cued him with a sword. And so they got away, and made shift to get into Virginia, where he died, whether of his wounds or the diseases of the coun- try, or both together, is uncertain. By all which it may appear how far these people were from peace, and with what danger this plantation was begun, save as the power ful hand of the Lord did protect them. These things were partly the reason why they8 kept aloof and were so long before they came to the En glish. Another reason (as after themselves made known) was how about three years before, a French ship was cast away at Cape Cod, but the men got ashore, and saved their lives, and much of their victuals, and other



9. The May”ower. 1. Medicine men. 2. Mourt’s Relation.

3. Lack. 4. I.e., of a clever nature.

goods. But after the Indians heard of it, they gathered together from these parts, and never left watching and dogging them till they got advantage, and killed them all but three or four which they kept, and sent from one sachem to another, to make sport with, and used them worse than slaves (of which the foresaid Mr. Dermer redeemed two of them) and they conceived this ship9 was now come to revenge it.

Also, as after was made known, before they came to the En glish to make friendship, they got all the powachs1 of the country, for three days together, in a horrid and dev ilish manner to curse and execrate them with their con- jurations, which assembly and ser vice they held in a dark and dismal swamp.

But to return. The spring now approaching, it pleased God the mortality began to cease amongst them, and the sick and lame recovered apace, which put as it were new life into them, though they had borne their sad afdiction with much patience and contentedness, as I think any people could do. But it was the Lord which upheld them, and had beforehand prepared them; many having long borne the yoke, yea from their youth. Many other smaller matters I omit, sundry of them having been already published in a journal made by one of the com pany,2 and some other passages of journeys and rela- tions already published, to which I refer those that are willing to know them more particularly. And being now come to the 25th of March, I shall begin the year 1621.

from chapter xii. anno 1621 * * *

[the first thanksgiving]

They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to “t up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength, and had all things in good plenty; for as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in “shing, about cod, and bass, and other “sh, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want.3 And now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came “rst (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in Eng land, which were not feigned, but true reports.

* * * from chapter xix. anno 1628

* * * [mr. morton of merrymount]

About some three or four years before this time, there came over one Cap- tain Wollaston, a man of pretty parts,4 and with him three or four more of some eminency, who brought with them a great many servants, with provisions

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5. Now Quincy, Mas sa chu setts. 6. Very little is known of Captain Wollaston or Thomas Morton other than what Bradford tells. Wollaston may have been Richard Wollaston, a ship’s captain and sometime pirate. Morton (c. 1579–1647) trained as a lawyer in London, moved to New Eng land in the 1620s. He tangled with Bradford, partly because of his anti- Puritanism and more liberal version of colonial- ism, presented in his New En glish Canaan (1637), excerpted below. Morton named his set- tlement Ma- Re Mount, or “Hill by the Sea.” The Puritans sarcastically called it Merrymount. 7. A servant was someone employed in agricul- tural or domestic labor; the servants in this case

were indentured, meaning that their time had been purchased by their original employers (or masters) in exchange for their transportation to the colonies, and hence the remainder of their time could be sold to others. 8. The shifty lawyer (“pettifogger”) Morton (who studied law at Furnivals Inn, one of Lon- don’s Inns of Court), knowing that the settlers’ ordinary food (“commons”) was in short supply, threw a feast of alcohol and delicacies (“ jun- kets”) to win over the hearts and minds of the remaining servants. 9. The master of the carnival- like atmosphere of old En glish holidays, especially at Christmas.

and other implements for to begin a plantation, and pitched themselves in a place within the Mas sa chu setts [Bay Colony] which they called, after their Captain’s name, Mount Wollaston.5 Amongst whom was one Mr. Morton,6 who, it should seem, had some small adventure of his own or other men’s amongst them, but had little re spect amongst them, and was slighted by the meanest servants. Having continued there some time, and not “nding things to answer their expectations, nor pro”t to arise as they looked for, Captain Wollaston takes a great part of the servants, and transports them to Virginia, where he puts them off at good rates, selling their time to other men;7 and writes back to one Mr. Rasdall, one of his chief partners, and accounted their merchant, to bring another part of them to Virginia like- wise, intending to put them off there as he had done the rest. And he, with the consent of the said Rasdall, appointed one Fitcher to be his lieutenant, and govern the remains of the plantation, till he or Rasdall returned to take further order thereabout. But this Morton abovesaid, having more craft than honesty (who had been a kind of pettifogger, of Furnivals Inn) in the other’s absence, watches an opportunity (commons being but hard amongst them) and got some strong drink and other junkets, and made them a feast;8 and after they were merry, he began to tell them, he would give them good coun- sel. “You see,” saith he, “that many of your fellows are carried to Virginia; and if you stay till this Rasdall return, you will also be carried away and sold for slaves with the rest. Therefore I would advise you to thrust out this Lieutenant Fitcher; and I, having a part in the Plantation, will receive you as my partners and consociates; so may you be free from ser vice, and we will converse, trade, plant, and live together as equals, and support and pro- tect one another,” or to like effect. This counsel was easily received; so they took opportunity, and thrust Lieutenant Fitcher out [of] doors, and would suffer him to come no more amongst them, but forced him to seek bread to eat, and other relief from his neighbors, till he could get passage for Eng land. After this they fell to great licentiousness, and led a dissolute life, pouring out themselves into all profaneness. And Morton became lord of misrule,9 and maintained (as it were) a school of Atheism. And after they had got some good into their hands, and got much by trading with the Indians, they spent it as vainly, in quaf”ng and drinking both wine and strong waters in great excess, and, as some reported, £10 worth in a morning. They also set up a maypole, drinking and dancing about it many days together, inviting the Indian women, for their consorts, dancing and frisking together, like so many fairies, or furies rather, and worse practices. As if they had anew revived



1. At the ancient revels in honor of Bacchus, Roman god of wine, frenzied worshipers drank, danced, and even tore apart wild animals and devoured them. Flora, the Roman goddess of dowers and vegetation, was the center of a cult that put on risqué farces.

2. According to Judges 16.23–31, the Philistines captured and tortured Samson, who brought down the temple of the Philistine god Dagon. 3. Guns. 4. In a scattered fashion.

and celebrated the feasts of the Roman Goddess Flora, or the beastly prac- tices of the mad Bacchinalians.1 Morton likewise (to show his poetry) com- posed sundry rhymes and verses, some tending to lasciviousness, and others to the detraction and scandal of some persons, which he af”xed to this idle or idol maypole. They changed also the name of their place, and instead of calling it Mount Wollaston, they call it Merrymount, as if this jollity would have lasted ever. But this continued not long, for after Morton was sent for Eng land (as follows to be declared) shortly after came over that worthy gen- tleman, Mr. John Endicott, who brought over a patent under the broad seal, for the government of the Mas sa chu setts, who visiting those parts caused that maypole to be cut down, and rebuked them for their profaneness, and admonished them to look there should be better walking; so they now, or others, changed the name of their place again, and called it Mount Dagon.2

Now to maintain this riotous prodigality and profuse excess, Morton, thinking himself lawless, and hearing what gain the French and “shermen made by trading of pieces,3 powder, and shot to the Indians, he, as the head of this consortship, began the practise of the same in these parts; and “rst he taught them how to use them, to charge and discharge, and what pro- portion of powder to give the piece, according to the size or bigness of the same; and what shot to use for fowl, and what for deer. And having thus instructed them, he employed some of them to hunt and fowl for him, so as they became far more active in that employment than any of the En glish, by reason of their swiftness of foot, and nimbleness of body, being also quick- sighted, and by continual exercise well knowing the haunts of all sorts of game. So as when they saw the execution that a piece would do, and the bene”t that might come by the same, they became mad, as it were, after them, and would not stick to give any price they could attain to for them, accounting their bows and arrows but baubles in comparison of them.

* * * This Morton having thus taught them the use of pieces, he sold them all he could spare, and he and his consorts determined to send for many out of Eng land, and had by some of the ships sent for above a score. The which being known, and his neighbors meeting the Indians in the woods armed with guns in this sort, it was a terror unto them, who lived stragglingly,4 and were of no strength in any place. And other places (though more remote) saw this mischief would quickly spread over all, if not prevented. Besides, they saw they should keep no servants, for Morton would entertain any, how vile soever, and all the scum of the country, or any discontents, would dock to him from all places, if this nest was not broken; and they should stand in more fear of their lives and goods (in short time) from this wicked and debauched crew, than from the savages themselves.

So sundry of the chief of the straggling plantations, meeting together, agreed by mutual consent to solicit those of Plymouth (who were then of more strength than them all) to join with them, to prevent the further growth

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5. Insensible. 6. In his own book, Morton refers to Standish as “Captain Shrimp” and says it would have been easy for him to destroy these “nine worthies” like “a dock of wild geese,” but that he loathed vio- lence and asked for his freedom to leave. He sug- gests that he was treated brutally because the Pilgrims wished to shame him before the Indian

revelers. 7. The Council of New Eng land was a joint stock com pany established by the British Crown in 1620. Its role was to colonize and govern New Eng land. “Isle of Shoals”: i.e., the Isles of Shoals, a group of small Atlantic islands straddling the borders of Maine and New Hampshire.

of this mischief, and suppress Morton and his consorts before they grew to further head and strength. Those that joined in this action (and after con- tributed to the charge of sending him for Eng land) were from Piscataqua, Naumkeag, Winnisimmett, Wessaguset, Nantasket, and other places where any En glish were seated. Those of Plymouth being thus sought to by their messengers and letters, and weighing both their reasons, and the common danger, were willing to afford them their help, though themselves had least cause of fear or hurt. So, to be short, they “rst resolved jointly to write to him, and in a friendly and neighborly way to admonish him to forbear these courses, and sent a messenger with their letters to bring his answer. But he was so high as he scorned all advice, and asked who had to do with him; he had and would trade pieces with the Indians in despite of all, with many other scurillous terms full of disdain. They sent to him a second time, and bade him be better advised, and more temperate in his terms, for the coun- try could not bear the injury he did; it was against their common safety, and against the King’s proclamation. He answered in high terms as before, and that the King’s proclamation was no law, demanding what penalty was upon it. It was answered, more than he could bear, His Majesty’s dis plea sure. But insolently he persisted, and said the King was dead and his dis plea sure with him, and many the like things; and threatened withal that if any came to molest him, let them look to themselves, for he would prepare for them. Upon which they saw there was no way but to take him by force, and having so far proceeded, now to give over would make him far more haughty and inso- lent. So they mutually resolved to proceed, and obtained of the governor of Plymouth to send Captain Standish, and some other aid with him, to take Morton by force. The which accordingly was done. But they found him to stand stifdy in his defense, having made fast his doors, armed his consorts, set divers dishes of powder and bullets ready on the table; and if they had not been over- armed with drink, more hurt might have been done. They sum- moned him to yield, but he kept his house, and they could get nothing but scoffs and scorns from him; but at length, fearing they would do some vio- lence to the house, he and some of his crew came out, but not to yield, but to shoot; but they were so steeled5 with drink as their pieces were too heavy for them; himself with a carbine (over- charged and almost half “lled with powder and shot, as was after found) had thought to have shot Captain Standish, but he stepped to him, and put by his piece, and took him. Nei- ther was there any hurt done to any of either side, save that one was so drunk that he ran his own nose upon the point of a sword that one held before him as he entered the house, but he lost but a little of his hot blood.6 Mor- ton they brought away to Plymouth, where he was kept, till a ship went from the Isle of Shoals for Eng land, with which he was sent to the Council of New Eng land;7 and letters written to give them information of his course and carriage; and also one was sent at their common charge to inform their



8. Salable. 9. Petitioned, requested.

1. Financially hampered.

Honors more particularly, and to prosecute against him. But he fooled of the messenger, after he was gone from hence, and though he went for Eng land, yet nothing was done to him, not so much as rebuked, for aught was heard; but returned the next year. Some of the worst of the com pany were dispersed, and some of the more modest kept the house till he should be heard from. But I have been too long about so unworthy a person, and bad a cause.

* * * from chapter xxiii. anno 1632

* * * [prosperity weakens community]

Also the people of the plantation began to grow in their outward estates, by reason of the dowing of many people into the country, especially into the Bay of the Mas sa chu setts, by which means corn and cattle rose to a great price, by which many were much enriched, and commodities grew plenti- ful; and yet in other regards this bene”t turned to their hurt, and this acces- sion of strength to their weakness. For now as their stocks increased, and the increase vendible,8 there was no longer any holding them together, but now they must of necessity go to their great lots; they could not other wise keep their cattle; and having oxen grown, they must have land for plowing and tillage. And no man now thought he could live, except he had cattle and a great deal of ground to keep them, all striving to increase their stocks. By which means they were scattered all over the bay, quickly, and the town, in which they lived compactly till now, was left very thin, and in a short time almost desolate. And if this had been all, it had been less, though too much; but the church must also be divided, and those that had lived so long together in Christian and comfortable fellowship must now part and suffer many divi- sions. First, those that lived on their lots on the other side of the bay (called Duxbury) they could not long bring their wives and children to the public worship and church meetings here, but with such burthen, as, growing to some competent number, they sued9 to be dismissed and become a body of themselves; and so they were dismissed (about this time), though very unwill- ingly. But to touch this sad matter, and handle things together that fell out afterward: to prevent any further scattering from this place, and weakening of the same, it was thought best to give out some good farms to special per- sons, that would promise to live at Plymouth, and likely to be helpful to the church or commonwealth, and so tie the lands to Plymouth as farms for the same; and there they might keep their cattle and tillage by some servants, and retain their dwellings here. And so some special lands were granted at a place general, called Green’s Harbor, where no allotments had been in the former division, a place very well meadowed, and “t to keep and rear cattle, good store. But alas! this remedy proved worse than the disease; for within a few years those that had thus got footing there rent themselves away, partly by force, and partly wearing the rest with importunity and pleas of neces- sity, so as they must either suffer them to go, or live in continual opposition and contention. And others still, as they conceived themselves straitened,1 or to want accommodation, break away under one pretense or other, thinking

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2. Captain John Stone, with a cargo of cattle bound for Boston, had put into New Amsterdam to replenish his water supply. “Bark”: ship. 3. Wouter van Twiller, director- general of New

Netherland from 1633 to 1638. 4. I.e., Plymouth Plantation’s. 5. As you please (Dutch).

their own conceived necessity, and the example of others, a warrant suf”- cient for them. And this, I fear, will be the ruin of New Eng land, at least of the churches of God there, and will provoke the Lord’s dis plea sure against them.

* * * from chapter xxv. anno 1634

* * * [trou bles to the west]

This year (in the forepart of the same) they sent forth a bark to trade at the Dutch plantation, and they met there with one Captain Stone, that had lived in Christopher’s, one of the West Indies islands, and now had been some time in Virginia, and came from thence into these parts.2 He kept com pany with the Dutch governor,3 and, I know not in what drunken “t, he got leave of the governor to seize on their4 bark, when they were ready to come away, and had done their market, having the value of £500 worth of goods aboard her; having no occasion at all, or any color of ground for such a thing, but having made the governor drunk, so as he could scarce speak a right word; and when he urged him here about, he answered him, Als ’t u beleeft.5 So he got aboard (the chief of their men and merchant being ashore) and with some of his own men, made the rest of theirs weigh anchor, set sail, and carry her away towards Virginia. But divers of the Dutch seamen, which had been often at Plymouth, and kindly entertained there, said one to another, “ Shall we suffer our friends to be thus abused, and have their goods carried away, before our faces, whilst our governor is drunk?” They vowed they would never suffer it; and so got a vessel or two and pursued him, and brought him in again, and delivered them their bark and goods again.

Afterwards Stone came into the Mas sa chu setts, and they sent and com- menced suit against him for this fact; but by mediation of friends it was taken up, and the suit let fall. And in the com pany of some other gentlemen Stone came afterwards to Plymouth, and had friendly and civil entertainment amongst them, with the rest; but revenge boiled within his breast (though concealed) for some conceived he had a purpose (at one time) to have stabbed the governor, and put his hand to his dagger for that end, but by God’s prov- idence and the vigilance of some, was prevented. He afterward returned to Virginia, in a pinnace, with one Captain Norton and some others; and, I know not for what occasion, they would needs go up Connecticut River; and how they carried themselves I know not, but the Indians knocked him in the head, as he lay in his cabin, and had thrown the covering over his face ( whether out of fear or desperation is uncertain); this was his end. They like- wise killed all the rest, but Captain Norton defended himself a long time against them all in the cook room, till by accident the gunpowder took “re, which (for readiness) he had set in an open thing before him, which did so burn, and scald him, and blind his eyes, as he could make no longer re sis- tance, but was slain also by them, though they much commended his valor.



6. The Plymouth outpost at pres ent- day Wind- sor.

7. I.e., the skin eruptions characteristic of small- pox.

And having killed the men, they made a prey of what they had, and chaf- fered away some of their things to the Dutch that lived there. But it was not long before a quarrel fell between the Dutch and them, and they would have cut off their bark, but they slew the chief sachem with the shot of a murderer.

I am now to relate some strange and remarkable passages. There was a com pany of people lived in the country, up above in the river of Connecti- cut, a great way from their trading house there, and were enemies to those Indians which lived about them, and of whom they stood in some fear (being a stout people). About a thousand of them had enclosed themselves in a fort, which they had strongly palisadoed about. Three or four Dutchmen went up in the beginning of winter to live with them, to get their trade, and pre- vent them [from] bringing it to the En glish, or to fall into amity with them, but at spring to bring all down to their place. But their enterprise failed, for it pleased God to visit these Indians with a great sickness, and such a mor- tality that of a thousand above nine hundred and a half of them died, and many of them did rot above ground for want of burial, and the Dutchmen almost starved before they could get away, for ice and snow. But about Feb- ruary they got with much dif”culty to their trading house, whom they kindly relieved, being almost spent with hunger and cold. Being thus refreshed by them divers days, they got to their own place, and the Dutch were very thank- ful for this kindness.

This spring, also, those Indians that lived about their trading house6 there fell sick of the smallpox, and died most miserably, for a sorer disease cannot befall them. They fear it more than the plague, for usually they that have this disease have them7 in abundance, and for want of bedding and linen and other helps, they fall into a la men ta ble condition, as they lie on their hard mats, the pox breaking and mattering, and running one into another, their skin cleaving (by reason thereof) to the mats they lie on. When they turn them, a whole side will day off at once, as it were, and they will be all of a gore blood, most fearful to behold; and then being very sore, what with cold and other distempers, they die like rotten sheep. The condition of this people was so la men ta ble, and they fell down so generally of this disease, as they were in the end not able to help one another; no, not to make a “re, nor to fetch a little water to drink, nor any to bury the dead; but would strive as long as they could, and when they could procure no other means to make “re, they would burn the wooden trays and dishes they ate their meat in, and their very bows and arrows; and some would crawl out on all four to get a little water, and sometimes die by the way, and not be able to get in again. But those of the En glish house, though at “rst they were afraid of the infec- tion, yet seeing their woeful and sad condition and hearing their pitiful cries and lamentations, they had compassion of them, and daily fetched them wood and water, and made them “res, got them victuals whilst they lived, and buried them when they died. For very few of them escaped, notwith- standing they did what they could for them, to the hazard of themselves. The chief sachem himself now died, and almost all his friends and kindred. But by the marvelous goodness and providence of God not one of the En glish

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8. Beads of polished shells, used as money. 9. There is little trust to be given to their rela-

tions in these things [Bradford’s note].

was so much as sick, or in the least mea sure tainted with this disease, though they daily did these of”ces for them for many weeks together. And this mercy which they showed them was kindly taken, and thankfully acknowledged of all the Indians that knew or heard of the same; and their masters here did much commend and reward them for the same.

* * * from chapter xxvii. anno 1636

* * * [war threats]

In the year 1634, the Pequots (a stout and warlike people), who had made wars with sundry of their neighbors, and puffed up with many victories, grew now at variance with the Narragansetts, a great people bordering upon them. These Narragansetts held correspondence and terms of friendship with the En glish of the Mas sa chu setts. Now the Pequots, being conscious of the guilt of Captain Stone’s death, whom they knew to be an En glishman, as also those that were with him, and being fallen out with the Dutch, lest they should have over many enemies at once, sought to make friendship with the En glish of the Mas sa chu setts, and for that end sent both messengers and gifts unto them, as appears by some letters sent from the governor hither:

Dear and worthy Sir: etc. To let you know somewhat of our affairs, you may understand that the Pequots have sent some of theirs to us, to desire our friendship, and offered much wampum8 and beaver, etc. The “rst messengers were dismissed without answer; with the next we had divers days conference, and taking the advice of some of our ministers, and seeking the Lord in it, we concluded a peace and friendship with them, upon these conditions: that they should deliver up to us those men who were guilty of Stone’s death, etc. And if we desired to plant in Connecticut, they should give up their right to us, and so we would send to trade with them as our friends (which was the chief thing we aimed at, being now in war with the Dutch and the rest of their neigh- bors). To this they readily agreed, and that we should mediate a peace between them and the Narragansetts, for which end they were content we should give the Narragansetts part of that pres ent they would bestow on us (for they stood so much on their honor, as they would not be seen to give anything of themselves). As for Captain Stone, they told us there were but two left of those who had any hand in his death, and that they killed him in a just quarrel, for (say they) he surprised two of our men, and bound them, to make them by force to show him the way up the river,9 and he with two other coming on shore, nine Indians watched him, and when they were asleep in the night, they killed them, to deliver their own men; and some of them going afterwards to the pinnace, it was suddenly blown up. We are now preparing to send a pinnace unto them, etc.

In another of his, dated the 12th of the “rst month, he hath this:



1. Frustration. 2. Under orders from Mas sa chu setts Bay, John Endicott led an expedition into Pequot country

in late August 1637 that served only to stir up the anger of the Indians.

Our pinnace is lately returned from the Pequots; they put off but little commodity, and found them a very false people, so as they mean to have no more to do with them. I have divers other things to write unto you, etc.

Yours ever assured, john winthrop

Boston, 12th of the 1st month, 1634 After these things, and, as I take, this year, John Oldham (of whom much

is spoken before), being now an inhabitant of the Mas sa chu setts, went with a small vessel and slenderly manned, a- trading into these south parts, and upon a quarrel between him and the Indians was cut off by them (as hath been before noted) at an island called by the Indians Munisses, but since by the En glish Block Island. This, with the former about the death of Stone, and the bafding1 of the Pequots with the En glish of the Mas sa chu setts, moved them to set out some to take revenge, and require satisfaction for these wrongs; but it was done so super”cially, and without their acquainting of those of Connecticut and other neighbors with the same, as they did little good. But their neighbors had more hurt done, for some of the murderers of Oldham ded to the Pequots, and though the En glish went to the Pequots, and had some parley with them, yet they did but delude them, and the En glish returned without doing anything to purpose, being frustrate of their opportu- nity by the others’ deceit.2 After the En glish were returned, the Pequots took their time and opportunity to cut off some of the En glish as they passed in boats, and went on fowling, and assaulted them the next spring at their habi- tations, as will appear in its place. I do but touch these things, because I make no question they will be more fully and distinctly handled by them- selves, who had more exact knowledge of them, and whom they did more properly concern.

* * * from chapter xxviii. anno 1637

* * * [war with the pequots]

In the fore part of this year, the Pequots fell openly upon the En glish at Con- necticut, in the lower parts of the river, and slew sundry of them as they were at work in the “elds, both men and women, to the great terror of the rest, and went away in great pride and triumph, with many high threats. They also assaulted a fort at the river’s mouth, though strong and well defended; and though they did not there prevail, yet it struck them with much fear and astonishment to see their bold attempts in the face of danger, which made them in all places to stand upon their guard, and to prepare for re sis tance, and earnestly to solicit their friends and confederates in the Bay of Mas sa- chu setts to send them speedy aid, for they looked for more forcible assaults. Mr. Vane, being then governor, writ from their General Court to them here, to join with them in this war, to which they were cordially willing, but took

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3. Speed. 4. A forti”ed Pequot village near the Mystic River.

opportunity to write to them about some former things, as well as pres ent, considerable hereabout.

* * * In the meantime, the Pequots, especially in the winter before, sought to make peace with the Narragansetts, and used very pernicious arguments to move them thereunto: as that the En glish were strangers and began to over- spread their country, and would deprive them thereof in time, if they were suffered to grow and increase; and if the Narragansetts did assist the En glish to subdue them, they did but make way for their own overthrow, for if they were rooted out, the En glish would soon take occasion to subjugate them. And if they would harken to them, they should not need to fear the strength of the En glish, for they would not come to open battle with them, but “re their houses, kill their cattle, and lie in ambush for them as they went abroad upon their occasions, and all this they might easily do without any or little danger to themselves. The which course being held, they well saw the En glish could not long subsist, but they would either be starved with hunger, or be forced to forsake the country; with many the like things, insomuch that the Narragan- setts were once wavering, and were half minded to have made peace with them, and joined against the En glish. But again when they considered, how much wrong they had received from the Pequots, and what an opportunity they now had by the help of the En glish to right themselves, revenge was so sweet unto them, as it prevailed above all the rest, so as they resolved to join with the En glish against them, and did. The Court here agreed forthwith to send “fty men at their own charge, and with as much speed as possibly they could, got them armed, and had made them ready under suf”cient leaders, and provided a bark to carry them provisions and tend upon them for all occasions. But when they were ready to march (with a supply from the Bay) they had word to stay, for the enemy was as good as vanquished, and there would be no need.

I shall not take upon me exactly to describe their proceedings in these things, because I expect it will be fully done by themselves, who best know the carriage and circumstances of things; I shall therefore but touch them in general. From Connecticut (who were most sensible of the hurt sustained, and the pres ent danger), they set out a party of men, and another party met them from the Bay, at the Narragansetts, who were to join with them. The Narragansetts were earnest to be gone before the En glish were well rested and refreshed, especially some of them which came last. It should seem their desire was to come upon the enemy suddenly, and undiscovered. There was a bark of this place, newly put in there, which was come from Connecticut, who did encourage them to lay hold of the Indians’ forwardness, and to show as great forwardness as they, for it would encourage them, and expedition3 might prove to their great advantage. So they went on, and so ordered their march, as the Indians brought them to a fort of the enemy’s4 (in which most of their chief men were) before day. They approached the same with great silence, and surrounded it both with En glish and Indians, that they might not break out, and so assaulted them with great courage, shooting amongst



5. See Leviticus 2.2. 6. Reportedly seventy- seven years old at the

time, Sassacus held sway over much of southern New Eng land before the war.

them, and entered the fort with all speed; and those that “rst entered found sharp re sis tance from the enemy, who both shot at and grappled with them. Others ran into their houses, and brought out “re, and set them on “re, which soon took in their mats, and, standing close together, with the wind, all was quickly on a dame, and thereby more were burnt to death than was other wise slain. It burnt their bowstrings, and made them unser viceable. Those that escaped the “re were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatched, and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about four hundred at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the “re, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacri”ce,5 and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy. The Narragansett Indians, all this while, stood round about, but aloof from all danger, and left the whole execution to the En glish, except it were the stopping of any that broke away, insulting over their enemies in this their ruin and misery, when they saw them dancing in the dames, calling them by a word in their own language, signifying, “O brave Pequots!” which they used familiarly among themselves in their own praise, in songs of triumph after their victories. After this ser vice was thus happily accomplished, they marched to the waterside, where they met with some of their vessels, by which they had refreshing with victuals and other necessaries. But in their march the rest of the Pequots drew into a body, and accosted them, thinking to have some advantage against them by reason of a neck of land, but when they saw the En glish prepare for them, they kept aloof, so as they neither did hurt, nor could receive any. After their refreshing and repair together for further coun- sel and directions, they resolved to pursue their victory, and follow the war against the rest, but the Narragansett Indians most of them forsook them, and such of them as they had with them for guides, or other wise, they found them very cold and backward in the business, either out of envy, or that they saw the En glish would make more pro”t of the victory than they were willing they should, or else deprive them of such advantage as themselves desired by hav- ing them become tributaries unto them, or the like.

* * * That I may make an end of this matter: this Sassacus (the Pequots’ chief sachem)6 being ded to the Mohawks, they cut off his head, with some other of the chief of them, whether to satisfy the En glish, or rather the Narragan- setts (who, as I have since heard, hired them to do it) or for their own advan- tage, I well know not; but thus this war took end. The rest of the Pequots were wholly driven from their place, and some of them submitted themselves to the Narragansetts, and lived under them; others of them betook them- selves to the Mohegans, under Uncas, their sachem, with the approbation of the En glish of Connecticut, under whose protection Uncas lived, and he and his men had been faithful to them in this war, and done them very good ser vice. But this did so vex the Narragansetts, that they had not the whole

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7. “And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.”

sway over them, as they have never ceased plotting and contriving how to bring them under, and because they cannot attain their ends, because of the En glish who have protected them, they have sought to raise a general conspiracy against the En glish.

* * * from chapter xxxii. anno 1642

* * * [a horrible truth]

There was a youth whose name was Thomas Granger; he was servant to an honest man of Duxbury, being about sixteen or seventeen years of age. (His father and mother lived at the same time at Scituate.) He was this year detected of buggery, and indicted for the same, with a mare, a cow, two goats, “ve sheep, two calves, and a turkey. Horrible it is to mention, but the truth of the history requires it. He was “rst discovered by one that accidentally saw his lewd practice towards the mare. (I forbear particulars.) Being upon it examined and committed, in the end he not only confessed the fact with that beast at that time, but sundry times before, and at several times with all the rest of the forenamed in his indictment; and this his free confession was not only in private to the magistrates, though at “rst he strived to deny it, but to sundry, both ministers and others, and afterwards, upon his indict- ment, to the whole court and jury, and con”rmed it at his execution. And whereas some of the sheep could not so well be known by his description of them, others with them were brought before him, and he declared which were they, and which were not. And accordingly he was cast by the jury, and condemned, and after executed about the 8th of September, 1642. A very sad spectacle it was; for “rst the mare, and then the cow, and the rest of the lesser cattle, were killed before his face, according to the law, Leviticus 20.15,7 and then he himself was executed. The cattle were all cast into a great and large pit that was digged of purpose for them, and no use made of any part of them.

Upon the examination of this person, and also of a former that had made some sodomitical attempts upon another, it being demanded of them how they came “rst to the knowledge and practice of such wickedness, the one confessed he had long used it in old Eng land; and this youth last spoken of said he was taught it by another that had heard of such things from some in  Eng land when he was there, and they kept cattle together. By which it appears how one wicked person may infect many, and what care all ought to have what servants they bring into their families.

But it may be demanded how came it to pass that so many wicked per- sons and profane people should so quickly come over into this land, and mix themselves amongst them, seeing it was religious men that began the work, and they came for religion’s sake. I confess this may be marveled at, at least in time to come, when the reasons thereof should not be known; and the more because here was so many hardships and wants met withal. I shall therefore endeavor to give some answer hereunto. And “rst, according to that in the gospel, it is ever to be remembered that where the Lord begins to sow



8. Weeds common in grain “elds. See Matthew 13.25. 9. I.e., Plymouth.

1. Varied, divided. 2. In the old sense of “agree.”

good seed, there the envious man will endeavor to sow tares.8 Secondly, men being to come over into a wilderness, in which much labor and ser vice was to be done about building and planting, etc., such as wanted help in that re spect, when they could not have such as they would, were glad to take such as they could; and so, many untoward servants, sundry of them proved, that were thus brought over, both men and women kind; who, when their times were expired, became families of themselves, which gave increase hereunto. Thirdly, another and a main reason hereof was, that men, “nding so many godly disposed persons willing to come into these parts, some began to make a trade of it, to transport passengers and their goods, and hired ships for that end; and then, to make up their freight and advance their pro”t, cared not who the persons were, so they had money to pay them. And by this means the country became pestered with many unworthy persons, who, being come over, crept into one place or other. Fourthly, again, the Lord’s blessing usu- ally following his people, as well in outward as spiritual things (though afdic- tions be mixed withal) do make many to adhere to the people of God, as many followed Christ, for the loaves’ sake, John 6.26, and a mixed multi- tude came into the wilderness with the people of God out of Egypt of old, Exodus 12.38. So also there were sent by their friends some under hope that they would be made better; others that they might be eased of such burthens, and they kept from shame at home that would necessarily follow their dis- solute courses. And thus, by one means or other, in twenty years’ time, it is a question whether the greater part be not grown the worser.

* * * from chapter xxxiv. anno 1644

* * * [proposed removal to nauset]

Mr. Edward Winslow was chosen governor this year. Many having left this place,9 as is before noted, by reason of the strait-

ness and barrenness of the same, and their “nding of better accommoda- tions elsewhere, more suitable to their ends and minds; and sundry others still upon every occasion desiring their dismissions, the church began seri- ously to think whether it were not better jointly to remove to some other place, than to be thus weakened, and as it were insensibly dissolved. Many meetings and much consultation was held hereabout, and divers1 were men’s minds and opinions. Some were still for staying together in this place, alleg- ing men might here live, if they would be content with their condition, and that it was not for want or necessity so much that they removed, as for the enriching of themselves. Others were resolute upon removal, and so signi- “ed that here they could not stay, but if the church did not remove, they must; insomuch as many were swayed, rather than there should be a disso- lution, to condescend2 to a removal, if a “t place could be found, that might more con ve niently and comfortably receive the whole, with such accession of others as might come to them, for their better strength and subsistence,

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and some such like cautions and limitations. So as, with the aforesaid pro- visos, the greater part consented to a removal to a place called Nauset, which had been super”cially viewed and the good will of the purchasers (to whom it belonged) obtained, with some addition thereto from the Court. But now they began to see their error, that they had given away already the best and most commodious places to others, and now wanted themselves: for this place was about “fty miles from hence, and at an outside of the country, remote from all society; also, that it would prove so strait, as it would not be compe- tent to receive the whole body, much less be capable of any addition or increase, so as (at least in a short time) they should be worse there than they are now here. The which, with sundry other like considerations and incon ve- niences, made them change their resolutions. But such as were before resolved upon removal took advantage of this agreement, and went on notwithstand- ing, neither could the rest hinder them, they having made some beginning. And thus was this poor church left, like an ancient mother, grown old and forsaken of her children, though not in their affections, yet in regard of their bodily presence and personal helpfulness. Her ancient members being most of them worn away by death, and these of later time being like children trans- lated into other families, and she like a widow left only to trust in God. Thus she that had made many rich became herself poor.3

1630–50 1856

3. See 2 Corinthians 6.10 and 1 Timothy 5.5.

THOM AS MORTON c. 1579–164 7

Thomas Morton’s amusing and irreverent history, New En glish Canaan (pub-lished in Amsterdam in 1637), deals with some of the same episodes as the previ- ous se lection, William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation. However, Morton, an Anglican, tells a very dif fer ent version of the condict between the devout colonists at Plymouth and Boston and Morton’s mixed community of Native Americans, sailors, and traders at Ma-re Mount, which his Puritan neighbors sarcastically called “Merry Mount.” Deftly deploying mock- epic conventions, Morton celebrated the qualities— sensuality, worldliness, and embrace of the region’s indigenous peoples— that made him an economic rival and potent enemy of the Puritans. The religious exiles did not celebrate Christmas, let alone the old pagan festival of May Day, and they were less intimate with their Native neighbors. When Morton erected a maypole at Ma-re Mount and invited the “Lasses in beaver coats” to join him and his men in dancing around it and drinking “good liquor,” he was de”antly demonstrating his closeness to American Natives and violating Puritan norms of decorum. More to the point, he was unequivocally stating his ideological differences with what he humorously portrayed as the straitlaced and self- impor tant Pilgrims. A long line of literary treat- ments of Morton and his colony, most famously Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “The



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May- Pole of Merry Mount” (written 1835–36), makes him of continuing fascination today.

Raised in the West Country of Eng land, Morton studied law at the Inns of Court in London. He later came to serve as an attorney for the Council for New Eng land, which had been established in 1620 to promote the colonization of the lands north of modern- day New York. Morton enjoyed many contacts with the court of King Charles I. He was also the sort of “gure around whom rumors and tales tended to circulate: by the time he left Eng land for Mas sa chu setts Bay in 1624, the gos- sip about him included rumors that he had mistreated his wife and murdered an associate.

The most per sis tent tales about Morton date from his brief career in New Eng land. He joined with a Captain Wollaston (perhaps Richard Wollaston, a ship’s captain and sometime pirate) to settle a site in what is now Quincy, Mas sa chu setts, which they named Mount Wollaston. After Wollaston departed for Virginia, Morton renamed the settlement Ma-re Mount (from the Latin for “Hill by the Sea”). As a base for the New Eng land fur trade, the outpost enjoyed very good relations with Native traders. The rumors about Morton, including the charge that he began the sale of guns to New Eng land Indians, may have stemmed from the Pilgrims’ desire to monopolize the lucrative market in furs. In any case, the threat from such sales was prob ably exaggerated, for the type of gun available at the time— the matchlock— was unwieldy, inaccurate, and time- consuming to load. In some ways, it was much less effective than Indian bows and arrows.

In 1627 the Pilgrim authorities seized Morton, and he was deported for trial in Eng land the following year, but there was insuf”cient proof to sustain the charges against him. He returned to New Eng land a year later, only to be taken into custody once more by the indignant Pilgrims, who burned his house and deported him again for trial. While in exile in Eng land, Morton began a lawsuit against the Mas sa- chu setts Bay Colony, the Puritans’ sponsor. In 1635, as a prosecutor for the Council of New Eng land, he successfully petitioned to have the colony’s charter repealed. When he returned one last time to New Eng land in 1643, he proceeded to tangle yet again with the authorities in the colony. The Puritans’ “professed old adversary,” as John Winthrop termed him, was again ordered to leave. After a brief exile in Rhode Island, a colony that was friendly to those who opposed the Puritan authorities, Mor- ton made the mistake of going back to Mas sa chu setts, where he was arrested for conspiracy and jailed for a year. The aged rebel emerged from con”nement in poor health in 1645. He died two years later in York, Maine.

Morton’s witty, sometimes puzzling, always lighthearted narrative of the maypole episode features exuberant wordplay and mirthful per for mances of song and dance, which the comically staid and sober Pilgrims fail to understand, no less to appreciate. Pitting “Captain Shrimp” (i.e., Captain Myles Standish, the military leader of the Plymouth Colony) against “mine host” (himself), the account makes use of Morton’s considerable learning. Its references to ancient and modern lit er a ture include a men- tion of Don Quixote battling the windmill, which shows Morton’s familiarity with recent developments in Eu ro pean lit er a ture. (The “rst volume of Miguel de Cer- vantes’s novel Don Quixote was published in Madrid in 1605 and rapidly spread across Eu rope; an En glish translation appeared in 1612.) In Morton’s vibrant world- view, language proliferated meanings that could not be controlled by a single group. Responding to the Puritans’ desire to restore the Church to biblical purity, Morton articulated a competing approach to a complicated era, leading his opponents to con- sider him, as he put it, “the very hydra,” or many-headed monster, “of the time.”



1 6 9

1. The text was edited by Charles Francis Adams Jr.  for the Prince Society (1883). “Canaan”: in the Bible, the Israelites’ promised land. 2. New En glish Canaan consists of three parts. The “rst book describes “the natives, their man- ners and customs, with their tractable nature and love towards the En glish.” The second book is titled “Containing a Description of the Beauty of the Country with Her Natu ral Endowments, Both in the Land and Sea; with the Great Lake of Iroquois” (Lake Champlain, New York). The third book is titled “Containing a Description of the People That Are Planted There, What Remark- able Accidents Have Happened There Since They Were Settled, What Tenents [religious doctrines] They Hold, Together with the Practice of Their Church.” 3. At [a place] near the little point (Algonquian, literal trans.).

4. May 1 is the feast day of Saints Philip and James (Jacob being the Latin form of James), but why they are joined together on this day is not known. The raising of a maypole was a secular tradition harking back to the Roman festivals in honor of the renewal of vegetative life. 5. The colonists at Plymouth, who distinguished themselves from other Puritans by separating from the Church of Eng land, which they regarded as incapable of reform. 6. In Greek my thol ogy, he solved the riddle of the Sphinx. 7. In Greek my thol ogy, a monster who lived in a cave opposite the monster Charybdis and devoured sailors. 8. In Greek my thol ogy, the gods slew her four- teen children; she is usually depicted weeping for them.

From New En glish Canaan1

From The Third Book [The Incident at Merry Mount]2

chapter xiv. of the revels of new canaan

The inhabitants of Passonagessit3 (having translated the name of their habi- tation from that ancient savage name to Ma-re Mount, and being resolved to have the new name con”rmed for a memorial to after ages) did devise amongst themselves to have it performed in a solemn manner, with revels and merriment after the old En glish custom; [they] prepared to set up a May- pole upon the festival day of Philip and Jacob,4 and therefore brewed a barrel of excellent beer and provided a case of bottles to be spent, with other good cheer, for all comers of that day. And because they would have it in a com- plete form, they had prepared a song “tting to the time and pres ent occasion. And upon May Day they brought the Maypole to the place appointed, with drums, guns, pistols, and other “tting instruments for that purpose, and there erected it with the help of savages that came thither of purpose to see the manner of our revels. A goodly pine tree of 80 foot long was reared up, with a pair of buckhorns nailed on somewhat near unto the top of it, where it stood as a fair sea- mark for directions how to “nd out the way to mine host of Ma-re Mount.

And because it should more fully appear to what end it was placed there, they had a poem in readiness made, which was “xed to the Maypole, to show the new name con”rmed upon that plantation, which, although it were made according to the occurrence of the time, it being enigmatically composed, puzzled the Separatists5 most pitifully to expound it, which (for the better information of the reader) I have here inserted.

the poem

Rise Oedipus,6 and, if thou canst, unfold What means Charybdis under neath the mold, When Scylla7 solitary on the ground (Sitting in form of Niobe8) was found, Till Amphitrite’s darling did acquaint



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9. Complaint, lament. “Amphitrite’s darling”: a sarcastic reference to Scylla, whom Amphitrite, Neptune’s wife, turned into a hideous monster because Neptune loved her. 1. The son of Poseidon, god of the sea, he is usu- ally depicted with a conch shell as his horn. 2. Changing. 3. The long- suffering Old Testament patriarch. Samson was the Israelite who brought down with his own hands the temple of the Philistines as they honored their god Dagon. 4. Venus, the Roman goddess of love. 5. When John Scogan (1442–1483), jester to King Edward IV, was condemned to be hanged, he was given an opportunity to choose the tree and escaped hanging because he could “nd none to suit him. “Scogan’s choice” became a popu lar

expression in Morton’s time and suggested that any choice, even between undesirable alterna- tives, is better than no choice at all. 6. The Greek god of healing. 7. In Greek and Roman my thol ogy, the three women who determine human destiny. 8. Also called Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty (known as “Venus” to the Romans). 9. I.e., Plymouth Plantation, not Plymouth in Eng land. “Precise”: strict, indexible. 1. The idol that the Israelites worshiped as their deliverer from Egypt (Exodus 32; Deuteronomy 9.16). 2. I.e., lacking Oedipus’s insight. 3. Just as the cupbearer Ganymede brought wine to the most power ful Roman god.

Grim Neptune with the tenor of her plaint,9 And caused him send forth Triton1 with the sound Of trumpet loud, at which the seas were found So full of protean2 forms that the bold shore Presented Scylla a new paramour So strong as Samson and so patient As Job3 himself, directed thus, by fate, To comfort Scylla so unfortunate. I do profess, by Cupid’s beauteous mother,4 Here’s Scogan’s choice5 for Scylla, and none other; Though Scylla’s sick with grief, because no sign Can there be found of virtue masculine. Asclepius6 come; I know right well His labor’s lost when you may ring her knell. The fatal sisters’7 doom none can withstand, Nor Cytherea’s8 power, who points to land With proclamation that the “rst of May At Ma-re Mount shall be kept holiday.

The setting up of this Maypole was a la men ta ble spectacle to the precise Separatists that lived at New Plymouth.9 They termed it an idol; yea, they called it the Calf of Horeb1 and stood at de”ance with the place, naming it Mount Dagon, threatening to make it a woeful mount and not a merry mount.

The riddle, for want of Oedipus,2 they could not expound, only they made some explication of part of it and said it was meant by Samson Job, the car- penter of the ship that brought over a woman to her husband that had been there long before and thrived so well that he sent for her and her children to come to him, where shortly after he died; having no reason but because of the sound of those two words, when as (the truth is) the man they applied it to was altogether unknown to the author.

There was likewise a merry song made which (to make their revels more fash ion able) was sung with a chorus, every man bearing his part, which they performed in a dance, hand in hand about the Maypole, while one of the com pany sang and “lled out the good liquor, like Ganymede and Jupiter.3



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4. In Roman my thol ogy, the god of marriage. 5. Hail (Latin). 6. Medicine. 7. No worn- out Irish or Scottish cloth. 8. Native American women. 9. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypo- crites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and

cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (Mat- thew 23.23). 1. Insigni”cant. 2. An aged boatman whom Aphrodite rewarded with a chest that contained an elixir that made him young.

the song

Chorus. Drink and be merry, merry, merry boys; Let all your delight be in the Hymen’s4 joys; Io5 to Hymen, now the day is come, About the merry Maypole take a room. Make green garlands, bring bottles out And “ll sweet nectar freely about. Uncover thy head and fear no harm, For here’s good liquor to keep it warm. Then drink and be merry, &c. Io to Hymen, &c. Nectar is a thing assigned By the Deity’s own mind To cure the heart oppressed with grief, And of good liquors is the chief. Then drink, &c. Io to Hymen, &c. Give to the melancholy man A cup or two of’t now and then; This physic6 will soon revive his blood, And make him be of a merrier mood. Then drink, &c. Io to Hymen, &c. Give to the nymph that’s free from scorn No Irish stuff nor Scotch over worn.7 Lasses in beaver coats8 come away, Ye shall be welcome to us night and day. To drink and be merry, &c. Io to Hymen, &c.

This harmless mirth made by young men (that lived in hope to have wives brought over to them, that would save them a labor to make a voyage to fetch any over) was much distasted of the precise Separatists that keep much ado about the tithe of mint and cummin,9 troubling their brains more than rea- son would require about things that are indifferent,1 and from that time [they] sought occasion against my honest host of Ma-re Mount, to overthrow his undertakings and to destroy his plantation quite and clean. But because they presumed [that] with their imaginary gifts (which they have out of Pha- on’s2 box) they could expound hidden mysteries, to convince them of blind- ness as well in this as in other matters of more consequence, I will illustrate the poem according to the true intent of the authors of these revels, so much distasted by those moles.



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3. Understood as. 4. The wife of Odysseus, who refused many suit- ors during his twenty- year absence. 5. In Greek my thol ogy, the sea god, who assumed many shapes. 6. The woman who betrayed Samson (Judges 16). 7. In Greek and Roman my thol ogy, the god of fertility, whose symbol was the phallus. 8. Morton argues that the Separatists accused the revelers at Merry Mount of honoring the

licentious Roman goddess Flora rather than Maia, the goddess of the spring. 9. I.e., in their confusion of Flora and Maia the Separatists reveal their contempt for the wisdom of Athena or Minerva, and in their hatred for the classical studies at Oxford and Cambridge they reveal their, for Morton, unsophisticated minds. 1. I.e., his habitation (not his person). 2. Now Weymouth, Mas sa chu setts.

Oedipus is generally received for3 the absolute reader of riddles, who is invoked; Scylla and Charybdis are two dangerous places for seamen to encounter, near unto Venice, and have been by poets formerly resembled to man and wife. The like license the author challenged for a pair of his nom- ination, the one lamenting for the loss of the other as Niobe for her children. Amphitrite is an arm of the sea, by which the news was carried up and down of a rich widow, now to be taken up or laid down. By Triton is the fame spread that caused the suitors to muster (as it had been to Penelope4 of Greece), and, the coast lying circular, all our passage to and fro is made more con ve nient by sea than land. Many aimed at this mark, but he that played Proteus5 best and could comply with her humor must be the man that would carry her; and he had need have Samson’s strength to deal with a Delilah,6 and as much patience as Job that should come there, for a thing that I did observe in the lifetime of the former.

But marriage and hanging (they say) come by destiny, and Scogan’s choice is better [than] none at all. He that played Proteus (with the help of Pria- pus)7 put their noses out of joint, as the proverb is.

And this the whole com pany of the revelers at Ma-re Mount knew to be the true sense and exposition of the riddle that was “xed to the Maypole which the Separatists were at de”ance with. Some of them af”rmed that the “rst institution thereof was in memory of a whore, not knowing that it was a trophy erected at “rst in honor of Maia.8 The Lady of Learning which [sic] they despise, vilifying the two universities with uncivil terms,9 account- ing what is there obtained by study is but unnecessary learning, not consid- ering that learning does enable men’s minds to converse with ele ments of a higher nature than is to be found within the habitation of the mole.

chapter xv. of a great monster supposed to be at ma-re mount; and the preparation made to destroy it

The Separatists, envying the prosperity and hope of the plantation at Ma-re Mount (which they perceived began to come forward and to be in a good way for gain in the beaver trade), conspired together against mine host espe- cially (who was the owner of that plantation) and made up a party against him and mustered up what aid they could, accounting of him as of a great monster.

Many threatening speeches were given out both against his person and his habitation, which1 they divulged should be consumed with “re. And tak- ing advantage of the time when his com pany (which seemed little to regard their threats) were gone up unto the inlands to trade with the savages for beaver, they set upon my honest host at a place called Wessaguscus,2 where, by accident, they found him. The inhabitants there were in good hope of



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3. Containing the prayers adopted by the Church of Eng land; rejected by the Separatists. 4. Explain, rationalize. 5. The wooden horse used by the Greeks to con- quer Troy was built by Epeios.

6. When the Gauls attempted to invade Rome in 390 b.c.e. the geese on the Capitoline Hill spoiled the surprise attack by hissing. 7. A counterfeit coin rather than a true sixpence.

the subversion of the plantation at Ma-re Mount (which they principally aimed at) and the rather because mine host was a man that endeavored to advance the dignity of the Church of Eng land, which they (on the contrary part) would labor to vilify with uncivil terms, inveighing against the sacred Book of Common Prayer3 and mine host that used it in a laudable manner amongst his family as a practice of piety.

There he would be a means to bring sacks to their mill (such is the thirst after beaver) and [it] helped the conspirators to surprise mine host (who was there all alone), and they charged him ( because they would [want to] seem to have some reasonable cause against him, to set a gloss upon4 their mal- ice) with criminal things, which indeed had been done by such a person, but was of their conspiracy. Mine host demanded of the conspirators who it was that was author of that information that seemed to be their ground for what they now intended. And because they answered they would not tell him, he as peremptorily replied that he would not say whether he had or he had not done as they had been informed.

The answer made no matter (as it seemed) whether it had been negatively or af”rmatively made, for they had resolved what he would suffer because (as they boasted) they were now become the greater number; they had shaken off their shackles of servitude and were become masters and masterless people.

It appears they were like bears’ whelps in former time when mine host’s plantation was of as much strength as theirs, but now (theirs being stronger) they (like overgrown bears) seemed monstrous. In brief, mine host must endure to be their prisoner until they could contrive it so that they might send him for Eng land (as they said), there to suffer according to the merit of the fact which they intended to father upon him, supposing (belike) it would prove a heinous crime.

Much rejoicing was made that they had gotten their capital enemy (as they concluded him) whom they purposed to hamper in such sort that he should not be able to uphold his plantation at Ma-re Mount.

The conspirators sported themselves at my honest host, that meant them no hurt, and were so jocund that they feasted their bodies and fell to tip- pling as if they had obtained a great prize, like the Trojans when they had the custody of Epeios’ pinetree horse.5

Mine host feigned grief and could not be persuaded either to eat or drink, because he knew emptiness would be a means to make him as watchful as the geese kept in the Roman Capital,6 whereon, the contrary part, the con- spirators would be so drowsy that he might have an opportunity to give them a slip instead of a tester.7

Six persons of the conspiracy were set to watch him at Wessaguscus. But he kept waking, and in the dead of the night (one lying on the bed for fur- ther surety), up gets mine host and got to the second door that he was to pass, which, notwithstanding the lock, he got open and shut it after him with such vio lence that it affrighted some of the conspirators.



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8. I.e., in astonishment. 9. Morton’s favorite epithet for Captain Myles Standish, who had a ruddy complexion and was short. 1. Puritans objected to fashionably long hair as a vanity. 2. A liquor red like the sun. 3. A group of heroes and kings who, to the medi- eval mind, represented an ideal of human conduct.

4. A one- time drummer and thus a man of low rank. 5. The Greek phi los o pher Diogenes (c. 412–323 b.c.e.) was indifferent to status and lived in a tub. 6. I.e., by drinking. “Craven”: coward. 7. In Greek my thol ogy, a monster. 8. Put down. “Beat a parley”: suggest a confer- ence. “Quarter”: clemency.

The word which was given with an alarm was, “O he’s gone, he’s gone, what shall we do, he’s gone!” The rest (half asleep) start up in amaze8 and like rams, ran their heads one at another full butt in the dark.

Their grand leader, Captain Shrimp,9 took on most furiously and tore his clothes for anger, to see the empty nest and their bird gone.

The rest were eager to have torn their hair from their heads, but it was so short that it would give them no hold.1 Now Captain Shrimp thought in the loss of this prize (which he accounted his masterpiece) all his honor would be lost forever.

In the meantime mine host was got home to Ma-re Mount through the woods, eight miles round about the head of the river Monatoquit that parted the two plantations, “nding his way by the help of the lightning (for it thun- dered as he went terribly), and there he prepared powder, three pounds dried, for his pres ent employment, and four good guns for him and the two assistants left at his house, with bullets of several sizes, three hundred or thereabouts, to be used if the conspirators should pursue him thither; and these two persons promised their aids in the quarrel and con”rmed that promise with health in good rosa solis.2

Now Captain Shrimp, the “rst captain in the land (as he supposed) must do some new act to repair this loss and to vindicate his reputation, who had sustained blemish by this oversight, begins now to study how to repair or survive his honor; in this manner, calling of council, they conclude.

He takes eight persons more to him, and (like the nine worthies3 of New Canaan) they embark with preparation against Ma-re Mount where this monster of a man, as their phrase was, had his den; the whole number, had the rest not been from home, being but seven, would have given Captain Shrimp (a quondam drummer)4 such a welcome as would have made him wish for a drum as big as Diogenes’ tub,5 that he might have crept into it out of sight.

Now the nine worthies are approached, and mine host prepared, having intelligence by a savage that hastened in love from Wessaguscus to give him notice of their intent.

One of mine host’s men proved a craven; the other had proved his wits to purchase a little valor,6 before mine host had observed his posture.

The nine worthies coming before the den of this supposed monster (this seven- headed hydra,7 as they termed him) and began, like Don Quixote against the windmill, to beat a parley and to offer quarter if mine host would yield, for they resolved to send him to Eng land and bade him lay by8 his arms.

But he (who was the son of a soldier), having taken up arms in his just defense, replied that he would not lay by those arms because they were so needful at sea, if he should be sent over. Yet, to save the effusion of so much worthy blood as would have issued out of the veins of these nine worthies of New Canaan if mine host should have played upon them out at his portholes



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9. Tied. 1. Reports. 2. In Greek my thol ogy, a giant who fought the gods. Morton does not identify his tormentor. 3. Removed from.

4. In Greek my thol ogy, a judge in the infernal regions. Morton later identi”es him as Samuel Fuller of Plymouth and names William Bradford and Myles Standish as his other two judges. 5. A small sailboat.

(for they came within danger like a dock of wild geese, as if they had been tailed9 one to another, as colts to be sold at a fair), mine host was content to yield upon quarter and did capitulate with them in what manner it should be for more certainty, because he knew what Captain Shrimp was.

He expressed that no vio lence should be offered to his person, none to his goods, nor any of his house hold but that he should have his arms and what else was requisite for the voyage, which their herald returns;1 it was agreed upon and should be performed.

But mine host no sooner had set open the door and issued out, but instantly Captain Shrimp and the rest of the worthies stepped to him, laid hold of his arms, and had him down; and so eagerly was every man bent against him (not regarding any agreement made with such a carnal man), that they fell upon him as if they would have eaten him; some of them were so violent that they would have a slice with scabbard, and all for haste, until an old soldier (of the Queen’s, as the proverb is) that was there by accident, clapped his gun under the weapons and sharply rebuked these worthies for their unworthy practices. So the matter was taken into more deliberate consideration.

Captain Shrimp and the rest of the nine worthies made themselves (by this outrageous riot) masters of mine host of Ma-re Mount and disposed of what he had at his plantation.

This they knew (in the eye of the savages) would add to their glory and diminish the reputation of mine honest host, whom they practiced to be rid of upon any terms, as willingly as if he had been the very hydra of the time.

chapter xvi. how the nine worthies put mine host of ma-re mount into the enchanted castle at plymouth and terrified

him with the monster briareus2

The nine worthies of New Canaan having now the law in their own hands ( there being no general governor in the land, nor none of the separation that regarded the duty they owe their sovereign, whose natu ral born subjects they were, though translated out of3 Holland from whence they had learned to work all to their own ends and make a great show of religion but no human- ity), for [sic] they were now to sit in council on the cause.

And much it stood mine honest host upon to be very circumspect and to take Eacus4 to task for that his voice was more allowed of than both the other; and had not mine host confounded all the arguments that Eacus could make in their defense and confuted him that swayed the rest, they would have made him unable to drink in such manner of merriment any more. So that following this private counsel, given him by one that knew who ruled the roost, the hurricane ceased that else would split his pinnace.5

A conclusion was made and sentence given that mine host should be sent to Eng land a prisoner. But when he was brought to the ships for that pur- pose, no man dared be so foolhardly as to undertake to carry him. So these



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worthies set mine host upon an island, without gun, powder, or shot, or dog, or so much as a knife to get anything to feed upon, or any other clothes to shelter him with at winter than a thin suit which he had on at that time. Home he could not get to Ma-re Mount. Upon this island he stayed a month at least and was relieved by savages that took notice that mine host was a sachem6 of Passonagessit, and would bring bottles of strong liquor to him and unite themselves into a league of brotherhood with mine host, so full of humanity are these in”dels before those Christians.

From this place for Eng land sailed mine host in a Plymouth ship7 (that came into the land to “sh upon the coast) that landed him safe in Eng land at Plymouth; and he stayed in Eng land until the ordinary time for shipping to set forth for these parts, and then returned, no man being able to tax8 him of anything.

But the worthies (in the meantime) hoped they had been rid of him.

* * *

c. 1635 1637

6. Ruling chief. 7. I.e., from Plymouth, Eng land.

8. Charge.


When Cotton Mather looked back on the founding years of the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony in Magnalia Christi Americana (1702)— the “rst attempt at a comprehensive history of the Puritan experiment, excerpted later in this volume— he identi”ed John Winthrop as his model of the ideal earthly ruler. Mather came from a family of prominent Bay Colony ministers, and he was well placed to shape Winthrop’s legacy. He did so using a number of sacred and secular analogies, label- ing Winthrop “Nehemias Americanus” after Nehemiah, the biblical governor of Judea who rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem; describing him as a new Moses; and com- paring him favorably to the Greek lawgiver Lycurgus and the devout Roman king Numa. Mather’s praise for the man who led the Bay Colony in its early years redects his era’s approach to historical writing, which was strongly induenced by the work of the Greek historian Plutarch, supplemented with Roman and biblical texts. Mather’s biography of the Puritan leader also underlines the status and skills that Winthrop brought to his position.

John Winthrop was the son of Adam Winthrop, a lawyer, and Anne Browne, the daughter of a tradesman. He was born in Groton, Eng land, on an estate his father had purchased from King Henry VIII. It was a prosperous farm, and Winthrop had all the advantages of his father’s social and economic position. He went to Cam- bridge University for two years—it is likely that he was “rst exposed to Puritan ideas there— and married at age seventeen. Unlike William Bradford and the Pilgrims, Winthrop was not a Separatist; that is, he wished to reform the Church of England



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from within rather than breaking with it and starting fresh. For Puritans like Win- throp, reform involved purging the national Church of the residual presence of Roman Catholicism, especially the hierarchy of the clergy and traditional practices such as kneeling at communion. For a time Winthrop thought of becoming a cler- gyman, but instead he turned to the practice of law.

In the 1620s, severe economic depression in Eng land made Winthrop realize that he could not depend on the income from his father’s estate and would need to “nd new means of support. The ascension to the throne of Charles I, who was known to be sympathetic to Roman Catholicism and impatient with Puritan reformers, also seemed an ominous sign. Winthrop was not alone in predicting that “God will bring some heavy afdiction upon the land, and that speedily.” He came to realize that if he antagonized the king by openly espousing the Puritan cause, he would lose every thing. The only recourse seemed to be to obtain Charles’s permission to emigrate. In March 1629, a group of enterprising merchants, all ardent Puritans, was able to get a charter for land in Amer i ca from a Crown- approved joint stock com- pany called the Council for New Eng land. They called themselves “The Com pany of Mas sa chu setts Bay in New Eng land.”

Winthrop was chosen governor in October 1629, and for the next twenty years most of the responsibility for the colony rested in his hands. An initial group of some seven hundred emigrants sailed from Eng land with Winthrop on April 8, 1630, aboard the Arbella. It has long been believed that Winthrop delivered his sermon A Model of Christian Charity either just before departing from Eng land or during the voyage. A review of the historical rec ord suggests a far more ambiguous origin. There is no con temporary account of Winthrop delivering A Model, and there exists little evidence of its composition. The manuscript that survives is a copy made during Winthrop’s lifetime, possibly incomplete, and of unknown prov- enance.

A Model of Christian Charity remains an iconic text despite its uncertain past. It sets out clearly and eloquently the ideals of a harmonious Christian community and reminds its audience members that they stand as an example to the world of the triumph or the failure of the Puritan enterprise. And in fact, events at the Mas sa- chu setts Bay Colony soon suggested that Winthrop’s ideal of a seldess community was impossible to realize. In its “rst de cade, the colony confronted basic differ- ences over religious and civil liberties, social organ ization, and po liti cal structure. The colony also engaged in a brutal war with its Pequot neighbors.

Winthrop was governor for much of this de cade, and he was closely involved with all of these condicts. The frictions in the colony took a personal turn in 1645, when a group of leaders from the town of Hingham challenged Winthrop, then serv- ing as deputy governor, over issues of local autonomy and representative govern- ment. Winthrop withstood the resulting impeachment threat and responded in the General Court with a trenchant speech distinguishing between natu ral liberty and civil or federal liberty, a distinction that remains a classic formulation. These and other disputes are detailed in the journal that he kept from 1630 until his death. Once the Winthrop family made the manuscript available to the colony’s historians, including Cotton Mather and William Hubbard, the journal joined Wil- liam Bradford’s manuscript history, Of Plymouth Plantation, as a semiof”cial history of New Eng land.

Mather’s account of Winthrop helped keep his memory alive. Beginning in 1790, when Noah Webster of dictionary fame published the “rst two volumes of Win- throp’s journal, several New Eng land intellectuals af”liated with the Mas sa chu- setts Historical Society (founded in 1791) worked to recover his words for future generations. James Savage published the “rst complete edition of the journal in 1825–26, though the achievement was marred when a “re at Savage’s of”ce destroyed the second volume of the manuscript. The “rst printed edition of A Model of Christian Charity appeared in the Collections of the Mas sa chu setts Historical Society



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1. The text is from Old South Leadets, Old South Association, Old South Meeting house, Boston, Mas sa chu setts, No. 207 (n.d.), edited by Samuel Eliot Morison. 2. Humanity lost its natu ral innocence when Adam and Eve fell; that state is called unregen- erate. When Jesus Christ came to ransom humankind from Adam and Eve’s sin, he offered salvation for those who believed in him and who thus became regenerate, or saved. 3. “Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels made of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst

commit whoredom with them.” Textual evidence shows that Winthrop used the Geneva Bible, with occasional variants from the text of the 1599 edi- tion. (The Geneva Bible, also known as the En glish Bible, was translated by Reformed En glish Protestants living in Switzerland; this version, used by the Puritans, was outlawed by the Church of Eng land.) 4. “Honor the Lord with thy riches, and with the “rst fruits of all thine increase. So shall thy barns be “lled with abundance, and thy presses shall burst with new wine” (Proverbs 3.9–10).

in 1838. Eventually, this little- known sermon acquired the status it has today, as an expression of the ideal suggested by its most resonant phrase, “a city upon a hill.”

A Model of Christian Charity1


a model hereof

God Almighty in His most holy and wise providence, hath so disposed of the condition of mankind, as in all times some must be rich, some poor, some high and eminent in power and dignity; others mean and in subjection.

the reason hereof

First, to hold conformity with the rest of His works, being delighted to show forth the glory of His wisdom in the variety and difference of the creatures; and the glory of His power, in ordering all these differences for the preser- vation and good of the whole; and the glory of His greatness, that as it is the glory of princes to have many of”cers, so this great King will have many stewards, counting Himself more honored in dispensing His gifts to man by man, than if He did it by His own immediate hands.

Secondly, that He might have the more occasion to manifest the work of His Spirit: “rst upon the wicked in moderating and restraining them, so that the rich and mighty should not eat up the poor, nor the poor and despised rise up against their superiors and shake off their yoke; secondly in the regenerate,2 in exercising His graces, in them, as in the great ones, their love, mercy, gentleness, temperance, etc., in the poor and inferior sort, their faith, patience, obedience, etc.

Thirdly, that every man might have need of other, and from hence they might be all knit more nearly together in the bonds of brotherly affection. From hence it appears plainly that no man is made more honorable than another or more wealthy, etc., out of any par tic u lar and singular re spect to himself, but for the glory of his Creator and the common good of the crea- ture, man. Therefore God still reserves the property of these gifts to Him- self as [in] Ezekiel: 16.17. He there calls wealth His gold and His silver.3 [In] Proverbs: 3.9, he claims their ser vice as His due: honor the Lord with thy riches, etc.4 All men being thus (by divine providence) ranked into two sorts, rich and poor; under the “rst are comprehended all such as are able to live comfortably by their own means duly improved; and all others are poor according to the former distribution.



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5. Matthew 5.43, 19.19. 6. “Therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do to you: even so do ye to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7.12). 7. In Judges 19.16–21, an old citizen of Gibeah offered shelter to a traveling priest or Levite and defended him from enemies from a neighboring city. Abraham entertains the angels in Genesis 18: “Again the Lord appeared unto him in the plain of Mamre, as he sat in his tent door about the heat of the day. And he lifted up his eyes, and looked: and lo, three men stood by him, and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground” (Genesis 18.1–2). Lot was Abraham’s nephew, and he escaped the destruction of the city of Sodom because he defended from a mob two angels who

were his guests (Genesis 19.1–14). 8. People who lived in Canaan, the biblical promised land for the Israelites. 9. “And they sold their possessions, and goods, and parted them to all men, as every one had need” (Acts 2.45). 1. “We do you also to wit, brethren, of the grace of God bestowed upon the Churches of Macedo- nia. Because in great trial of afdiction their joy abounded, and their most extreme poverty abounded unto their rich liberality. For to their power (I bear rec ord) yea, and beyond their power they were willing. And prayed us with great instance that we would receive the grace, and fellowship of the ministering which is toward the Saints” (2 Corinthians 8.1–4).

There are two rules whereby we are to walk one towards another: justice and mercy. These are always distinguished in their act and in their object, yet may they both concur in the same subject in each re spect; as sometimes there may be an occasion of showing mercy to a rich man in some sudden danger of distress, and also doing of mere justice to a poor man in regard of some par tic u lar contract, etc.

There is likewise a double law by which we are regulated in our conversa- tion one towards another in both the former re spects: the law of nature and the law of grace, or the moral law or the law of the Gospel, to omit the rule of justice as not properly belonging to this purpose other wise than it may fall into consideration in some par tic u lar cases. By the “rst of these laws man as he was enabled so withal [is] commanded to love his neighbor as himself.5 Upon this ground stands all the precepts of the moral law, which concerns our dealings with men. To apply this to the works of mercy, this law requires two things: “rst, that every man afford his help to another in every want or distress; secondly, that he performed this out of the same affection which makes him careful of his own goods, according to that of our Savior. Mat- thew: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you.”6 This was practiced by Abraham and Lot in entertaining the Angels and the old man of Gibeah.7

The law of grace or the Gospel hath some difference from the former, as in these re spects: First, the law of nature was given to man in the estate of innocency; this of the Gospel in the estate of regeneracy. Secondly, the for- mer propounds one man to another, as the same desh and image of God; this as a brother in Christ also, and in the communion of the same spirit and so teacheth us to put a difference between Christians and others. Do good to all, especially to the house hold of faith: Upon this ground the Israel- ites were to put a difference between the brethren of such as were strangers though not of Canaanites.8 Thirdly, the law of nature could give no rules for dealing with enemies, for all are to be considered as friends in the state of innocency, but the Gospel commands love to an enemy. Proof. If thine Enemy hunger, feed him; Love your Enemies, do good to them that hate you. Matthew: 5.44.

This law of the Gospel propounds likewise a difference of seasons and occasions. There is a time when a Christian must sell all and give to the poor, as they did in the Apostles’ times.9 There is a time also when a Chris- tian (though they give not all yet) must give beyond their ability, as they of Macedonia, Corinthians: 2.8.1 Likewise community of perils calls for



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2. Ecclesiastes 2.14. Solomon was the son of David and successor to David as king of Israel. 3. “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for after many days thou shalt “nd it. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight: for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth” (Ecclesiastes 11.1–2). 4. The passage in Luke refers to a servant who is about to lose his job managing his boss’s accounts. To guarantee that he will be welcome in the houses of his master’s debtors, he cuts their bills in half. Jesus explains: “And I say unto

you, Make you friends with the riches of iniq- uity, that when ye shall want, they may receive you into everlasting habitations” (Luke 16.9). 5. Originally a mea sure of money (as in the weight of gold). 6. “Lay not up trea sures for yourselves upon the earth, where the moth and canker corrupt, and where thieves dig through and steal. But lay up trea sures for yourselves in heaven, where neither the moth nor canker corrupteth, and where thieves neither dig through nor steal” (Matthew 6.19–20).

extraordinary liberality, and so doth community in some special ser vice for the Church. Lastly, when there is no other means whereby our Christian brother may be relieved in his distress, we must help him beyond our abil- ity, rather than tempt God in putting him upon help by miraculous or extraordinary means.

This duty of mercy is exercised in the kinds, giving, lending and forgiving.— Quest. What rule shall a man observe in giving in re spect of the mea sure? Ans. If the time and occasion be ordinary, he is to give out of his abun-

dance. Let him lay aside as God hath blessed him. If the time and occasion be extraordinary, he must be ruled by them; taking this withal, that then a man cannot likely do too much, especially if he may leave himself and his family under probable means of comfortable subsistence.

Objection. A man must lay up for posterity, the fathers lay up for poster- ity and children and he “is worse than an in”del” that “provideth not for his own.”

Ans. For the “rst, it is plain that it being spoken by way of comparison, it must be meant of the ordinary and usual course of fathers and cannot extend to times and occasions extraordinary. For the other place, the Apostle speaks against such as walked inordinately, and it is without question, that he is worse than an in”del who through his own sloth and voluptuousness shall neglect to provide for his family.

Objection. “The wise man’s eyes are in his head” saith Solomon, “and fore- seeth the plague,”2 therefore we must forecast and lay up against evil times when he or his may stand in need of all he can gather.

Ans. This very argument Solomon useth to persuade to liberality, Eccle- siastes: “Cast thy bread upon the waters,” and “for thou knowest not what evil may come upon the land.”3 Luke: 16.9. “Make you friends of the riches of iniquity.” 4 You will ask how this shall be? very well. For “rst he that gives to the poor, lends to the Lord and He will repay him even in this life an hundred fold to him or his— The righ teous is ever merciful and lendeth and his seed enjoyeth the blessing; and besides we know what advantage it will be to us in the day of account when many such witnesses shall stand forth for us to witness the improvement of our talent.5 And I would know of those who plead so much for laying up for time to come, whether they hold that to be Gospel, Matthew: 6.19: “Lay not up for yourselves trea sures upon earth,” 6 etc. If they acknowledge it, what extent will they allow it? if only to those primitive times, let them consider the reason whereupon our Savior grounds it. The “rst is that they are subject to the moth, the rust, the thief. Secondly, they will steal away the heart; where the trea sure is there will the heart be also. The reasons are of like force at all times. Therefore the exhortation must be general and perpetual, with always in re spect of the love and affection



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7. The son of Jacob and Rachel, who stored up the harvest in the seven good years before the famine (Genesis 41). 8. Matthew 21.5–7. 9. 1 Kings 17.8–24. 1. “If one of thy brethren with thee be poor within any of thy gates in thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand unto him, and shalt lend him suf”cient for his need which he hath” (Deuteronomy 15.7–8). 2. According to Mosaic law (Leviticus 25.8–13), the Jubilee year followed a cycle of seven sab-

batical years. In the “ftieth year, the lands would lie fallow, all work would cease, and all debts would be canceled. 3. “Beware that there be not a wicked thought in thine heart, to say, The seventh year, the year of freedom is at hand: therefore it grieveth thee to look on thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought, and he cry unto the Lord against thee, so that sin be in thee: Thou shalt give him, and let it not grieve thine heart to give unto him: for because of this the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand to” (Deuteronomy 15.9–10).

to riches and in regard of the things themselves when any special ser vice for the church or par tic u lar distress of our brother do call for the use of them; other wise it is not only lawful but necessary to lay up as Joseph7 did to have ready upon such occasions, as the Lord (whose stewards we are of them) shall call for them from us. Christ gives us an instance of the “rst, when He sent his disciples for the ass, and bids them answer the owner thus, the Lord hath need of him.8 So when the tabernacle was to be built He sends to His people to call for their silver and gold, etc.; and yields them no other reason but that it was for His work. When Elisha comes to the widow of Sareptah and “nds her preparing to make ready her pittance for herself and family, He bids her “rst provide for Him; he challengeth “rst God’s part which she must “rst give before she must serve her own family.9 All these teach us that the Lord looks that when He is pleased to call for His right in anything we have, our own interest we have must stand aside till His turn be served. For the other, we need look no further than to that of John: 1: “He who hath this world’s goods and seeth his brother to need and shuts up his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him,” which comes punctually to this conclusion: if thy brother be in want and thou canst help him, thou needst not make doubt, what thou shouldst do, if thou lovest God thou must help him.

Quest. What rule must we observe in lending? Ans. Thou must observe whether thy brother hath pres ent or probable, or

pos si ble means of repaying thee, if there be none of these, thou must give him according to his necessity, rather than lend him as he requires. If he hath pres ent means of repaying thee, thou art to look at him not as an act of mercy, but by way of commerce, wherein thou art to walk by the rule of justice; but if his means of repaying thee be only probable or pos si ble, then is he an object of thy mercy, thou must lend him, though there be danger of losing it, Deuteronomy: 15.7: “If any of thy brethren be poor,” etc., “thou shalt lend him suf”cient.”1 That men might not shift off this duty by the apparent hazard, He tells them that though the year of Jubilee2 were at hand (when he must remit it, if he were not able to repay it before) yet he must lend him and that cheerfully: “It may not grieve thee to give him” saith He; and because some might object; “why so I should soon impoverish myself and my family,” He adds “with all thy work,”3 etc.; for our Savior, Matthew: 5.42: “From him that would borrow of thee turn not away.”

Quest. What rule must we observe in forgiving? Ans. Whether thou didst lend by way of commerce or in mercy, if he have

nothing to pay thee, [you] must forgive, (except in cause where thou hast a



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4. Nehemiah was sent by King Artaxerxes to repair the walls of the city of Jerusalem; he saved the city as governor when he persuaded those

lending money to charge no interest and to think “rst of the common good (see Nehemiah 3). 5. Vari ous. The names are of Christian martyrs.

surety or a lawful pledge) Deuteronomy: 15.2. Every seventh year the credi- tor was to quit that which he lent to his brother if he were poor as appears— verse 8: “Save when there shall be no poor with thee.” In all these and like cases, Christ was a general rule, Matthew: 7.12: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye the same to them also.”

Quest. What rule must we observe and walk by in cause of community of peril?

Ans. The same as before, but with more enlargement towards others and less re spect towards ourselves and our own right. Hence it was that in the primitive church they sold all, had all things in common, neither did any man say that which he possessed was his own. Likewise in their return out of the captivity, because the work was great for the restoring of the church and the danger of enemies was common to all, Nehemiah exhorts the Jews to liberal- ity and readiness in remitting their debts to their brethren, and disposing liberally of his own to such as wanted, and stand not upon his own due, which he might have demanded of them.4 Thus did some of our forefathers in times of persecution in Eng land, and so did many of the faithful of other churches, whereof we keep an honorable remembrance of them; and it is to be observed that both in Scriptures and later stories of the churches that such as have been most bountiful to the poor saints, especially in these extraordinary times and occasions, God hath left them highly commended to posterity, as Zacheus, Cornelius, Dorcas, Bishop Hooper, the Cuttler of Brussells and divers5 others. Observe again that the Scripture gives no caution to restrain any from being over liberal this way; but all men to the liberal and cheerful practice hereof by the sweetest promises; as to instance one for many, Isaiah: 58.6: “Is not this the fast I have chosen to loose the bonds of wickedness, to take off the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke, to deal thy bread to the hungry and to bring the poor that wander into thy house, when thou seest the naked to cover them. And then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall grow speedily, thy righ teousness shall go before God, and the glory of  the Lord shall embrace thee; then thou shalt call and the Lord shall answer thee” etc. [Verse] 10: “If thou pour out thy soul to the hungry, then shall thy light spring out in darkness, and the Lord shall guide thee con- tinually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; thou shalt be like a watered garden, and they shalt be of thee that shall build the old waste places” etc. On the contrary, most heavy curses are laid upon such as are straightened towards the Lord and His people, Judges: 5.[23]: “Curse ye Meroshe because ye came not to help the Lord,” etc. Proverbs: [21.13]: “He who shutteth his ears from hearing the cry of the poor, he shall cry and shall not be heard.” Matthew: 25: “Go ye cursed into everlasting “re” etc. “I was hungry and ye fed me not.” 2 Corinthians: 9.6: “He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly.”

Having already set forth the practice of mercy according to the rule of God’s law, it will be useful to lay open the grounds of it also, being the other part of the commandment, and that is the affection from which this exercise



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6. Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Romans 13.8.

of mercy must arise. The apostle6 tells us that this love is the ful”lling of the law, not that it is enough to love our brother and so no further; but in regard of the excellency of his parts giving any motion to the other as the soul to the body and the power it hath to set all the faculties on work in the outward exercise of this duty. As when we bid one make the clock strike, he doth not lay hand on the hammer, which is the immediate instrument of the sound, but sets on work the “rst mover or main wheel, knowing that will certainly produce the sound which he intends. So the way to draw men to works of mercy, is not by force of argument from the goodness or neces- sity of the work; for though this course may enforce a rational mind to some pres ent act of mercy, as is frequent in experience, yet it cannot work such a habit in a soul, as shall make it prompt upon all occasions to produce the same effect, but by framing these affections of love in the heart which will as natively bring forth the other, as any cause doth produce effect.

The de”nition which the Scripture gives us of love is this: “Love is the bond of perfection.” First, it is a bond or ligament. Secondly it makes the work perfect. There is no body but consists of parts and that which knits these parts together gives the body its perfection, because it makes each part so contiguous to others as thereby they do mutually participate with each other, both in strength and in”rmity, in plea sure and pain. To instance in the most perfect of all bodies: Christ and His church make one body. The several parts of this body, considered apart before they were united, were as disproportionate and as much disordering as so many contrary qualities or ele ments, but when Christ comes and by His spirit and love knits all these parts to Himself and each to other, it is become the most perfect and best proportioned body in the world. Ephesians: 4.16: “Christ, by whom all the body being knit together by every joint for the furniture thereof, according to the effectual power which is the mea sure of every perfection of parts,” “a glorious body without spot or wrinkle,” the ligaments hereof being Christ, or His love, for Christ is love (1 John: 4.8). So this de”nition is right: “Love is the bond of perfection.”

From hence we may frame these conclusions. 1. First of all, true Chris- tians are of one body in Christ, 1 Corinthians: 12.12, 27: “Ye are the body of Christ and members of their part.” Secondly: The ligaments of this body which knit together are love. Thirdly: No body can be perfect which wants its proper ligament. Fourthly: All the parts of this body being thus united are made so contiguous in a special relation as they must needs partake of each other’s strength and in”rmity; joy and sorrow, weal and woe. 1 Corin- thians: 12.26: “If one member suffers, all suffer with it, if one be in honor, all rejoice with it.” Fifthly: This sensibleness and sympathy of each other’s conditions will necessarily infuse into each part a native desire and endeavor to strengthen, defend, preserve and comfort the other.

To insist a little on this conclusion being the product of all the former, the truth hereof will appear both by precept and pattern. 1 John: 3.10: “Ye ought to lay down your lives for the brethren.” Galatians: 6.2: “bear ye one another’s burthens and so ful”ll the law of Christ.” For patterns we have that “rst of our Savior who out of His good will in obedience to His father,



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7. 2 Corinthians 11.29. 8. Saint Paul tells the Philippians he will send them a spiritual guide: “But I supposed it neces- sary to send my brother Epaphroditus unto you my companion in labor, and fellow soldier, even your messenger, and he that ministered unto me such things as I wanted” (Philippians 2.25).

9. A Christian woman praised by Saint Paul in Romans 16.1. 1. I.e., in his innocence. 2. Predominance. 3. Jesus Christ has traditionally been called the New Adam to signify the redemption of human- kind from the original sin of Old Adam.

becoming a part of this body, and being knit with it in the bond of love, found such a native sensibleness of our in”rmities and sorrows as He willingly yielded Himself to death to ease the in”rmities of the rest of His body, and so healed their sorrows. From the like sympathy of parts did the apostles and many thousands of the saints lay down their lives for Christ. Again, the like we may see in the members of this body among themselves. Romans: 9. Paul could have been contented to have been separated from Christ, that the Jews might not be cut off from the body. It is very observable what he professeth of his affectionate partaking with every member: “who is weak” saith he “and I am not weak? who is offended and I burn not;”7 and again, 2 Corinthians: 7.13. “therefore we are comforted because ye were comforted.” Of Epaphroditus he speaketh,8 Philippians: 2.30. that he regarded not his own life to do him ser vice. So Phoebe9 and others are called the servants of the church. Now it is apparent that they served not for wages, or by con- straint, but out of love. The like we shall “nd in the histories of the church in all ages, the sweet sympathy of affections which was in the members of this body one towards another, their cheerfulness in serving and suffering together, how liberal they were without repining, harborers without grudg- ing and helpful without reproaching; and all from hence, because they had fervent love amongst them, which only make the practice of mercy constant and easy.

The next consideration is how this love comes to be wrought. Adam in his “rst estate1 was a perfect model of mankind in all their generations, and in him this love was perfected in regard of the habit. But Adam rent himself from his creator, rent all his posterity also one from another; whence it comes that every man is born with this princi ple in him, to love and seek himself only, and thus a man continueth till Christ comes and takes possession of the soul and infuseth another princi ple, love to God and our brother. And this latter having continual supply from Christ, as the head and root by which he is united, gets the predomining2 in the soul, so by little and little expels the former. 1 John: 4.7. “love cometh of God and every one that loveth is born of God,” so that this love is the fruit of the new birth, and none can have it but the new creature. Now when this quality is thus formed in the souls of men, it works like the spirit upon the dry bones. Ezekiel: 37: “bone came to bone.” It gathers together the scattered bones, of perfect old man Adam,3 and knits them into one body again in Christ, whereby a man is become again a living soul.

The third consideration is concerning the exercise of this love which is twofold, inward or outward. The outward hath been handled in the former preface of this discourse. For unfolding the other we must take in our way that maxim of philosophy simile simili gaudet, or like will to like [Latin]; for as it is things which are turned with disaffection to each other, the ground of it is from a dissimilitude arising from the contrary or dif fer ent nature of



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4. The story of Jonathan and David is told in 1 Samuel 19 ff. 5. Naomi was Ruth’s mother- in- law; when

Ruth’s husband died, she refused to leave Naomi (Ruth 1.16).

the things themselves; for the ground of love is an apprehension of some resemblance in things loved to that which affects it. This is the cause why the Lord loves the creature, so far as it hath any of His image in it; He loves His elect because they are like Himself, He beholds them in His beloved son. So a mother loves her child, because she thoroughly conceives a resem- blance of herself in it. Thus it is between the members of Christ. Each dis- cerns, by the work of the spirit, his own image and resemblance in another, and therefore cannot but love him as he loves himself. Now when the soul, which is of a sociable nature, “nds anything like to itself, it is like Adam when Eve was brought to him. She must have it one with herself. This is desh of my desh (saith the soul) and bone of my bone. She conceives a great delight in it, therefore she desires nearness and familiarity with it. She hath a great propensity to do it good and receives such content in it, as fearing the miscarriage of her beloved she bestows it in the inmost closet of her heart. She will not endure that it shall want any good which she can give it. If by occasion she be withdrawn from the com pany of it, she is still looking towards the place where she left her beloved. If she heard it groan, she is with it presently. If she “nd it sad and disconsolate, she sighs and moans with it. She hath no such joy as to see her beloved merry and thriving. If she see it wronged, she cannot hear it without passion. She sets no bounds to her affections, nor hath any thought of reward. She “nds recompense enough in the exercise of her love towards it. We may see this acted to life in Jonathan and David.4 Jonathan, a valiant man endowed with the spirit of Christ, so soon as he discovers the same spirit in David, had presently his heart knit to him by this lineament of love, so that it is said he loved him as his own soul. He takes so great plea sure in him, that he strips himself to adorn his beloved. His father’s kingdom was not so precious to him as his beloved David. David shall have it with all his heart, himself desires no more but that he may be near to him to rejoice in his good. He chooseth to converse with him in the wilderness even to the hazard of his own life, rather than with the great courtiers in his father’s palace. When he sees danger towards him, he spares neither rare pains nor peril to direct it. When injury was offered his beloved David, he would not bear it, though from his own father; and when they must part for a season only, they thought their hearts would have broke for sorrow, had not their affections found vent by abundance of tears. Other instances might be brought to show the nature of this affection, as of Ruth and Naomi,5 and many others; but this truth is cleared enough.

If any shall object that it is not pos si ble that love should be bred or upheld without hope of requital, it is granted; but that is not our cause; for this love is always under reward. It never gives, but it always receives with advantage; “rst, in regard that among the members of the same body, love and affec- tion are reciprocal in a most equal and sweet kind of commerce. Secondly, in regard of the plea sure and content that the exercise of love carries with it, as we may see in the natu ral body. The mouth is at all the pains to receive and mince the food which serves for the nourishment of all the other parts of the body, yet it hath no cause to complain; for “rst the other parts send



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6. The Waldenses took their name from Pater Valdes, an early French reformer of the Church. They still survive as a religious community. 7. Solent amare is closer to the Latin than is

ament, the suggestion of the original editor, Samuel Eliot Morison. Aeneas Sylvius Piccolo- mini (1405–1464), historian and scholar, became Pope Pius II.

back by several passages a due proportion of the same nourishment, in a better form for the strengthening and comforting the mouth. Secondly, the labor of the mouth is accompanied with such plea sure and content as far exceeds the pains it takes. So is it in all the labor of love among Christians. The party loving, reaps love again, as was showed before, which the soul covets more than all the wealth in the world. Thirdly: Nothing yields more plea sure and content to the soul than when it “nds that which it may love fervently, for to love and live beloved is the soul’s paradise, both here and in heaven. In the state of wedlock there be many comforts to bear out the trou- bles of that condition; but let such as have tried the most, say if there be any sweetness in that condition comparable to the exercise of mutual love.

From former considerations arise these conclusions. First: This love among Christians is a real thing, not imaginary. Secondly: This love is as absolutely necessary to the being of the body of

Christ, as the sinews and other ligaments of a natu ral body are to the being of that body.

Thirdly: This love is a divine, spiritual nature free, active, strong, coura- geous, permanent; undervaluing all things beneath its proper object; and of all the graces, this makes us nearer to resemble the virtues of our Heavenly Father.

Fourthly: It rests in the love and welfare of its beloved. For the full and certain knowledge of these truths concerning the nature, use, and excellency of this grace, that which the Holy Ghost hath left recorded, 1 Corinthians: 13, may give full satisfaction, which is needful for every true member of this lovely body of the Lord Jesus, to work upon their hearts by prayer, medita- tion, continual exercise at least of the special [induence] of His grace, till Christ be formed in them and they in Him, all in each other, knit together by this bond of love.


It rests now to make some application of this discourse by the pres ent design, which gave the occasion of writing of it. Herein are four things to be pro- pounded: “rst the persons, secondly the work, thirdly the end, fourthly the means.

First, For the persons. We are a com pany professing ourselves fellow mem- bers of Christ, in which re spect only though we were absent from each other many miles, and had our employments as far distant, yet we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love, and live in the exercise of it, if we would have comfort of our being in Christ. This was notorious in the practice of the Christians in former times; as is testi”ed of the Waldenses,6 from the mouth of one of the adversaries Æneas Sylvius “mutuo [ament]7 penè antequam norunt,” they used to love any of their own religion even before they were acquainted with them.

Secondly, for the work we have in hand. It is by a mutual consent, through a special overvaluing providence and a more than an ordinary approbation



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8. “But Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor, and put “re therein, and put incense thereupon, and offered strange “re before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. Therefore a “re went out from the Lord, and devoured them: so they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10.1–2). Winthrop’s point is that the chosen people are often pun- ished more severely than unbelievers. 9. I.e., made an agreement with him on parts of

a contract. Saul was instructed to destroy the Amalekites and all they possessed, but he spared their sheep and oxen, and in doing so disobeyed God’s commandment and was rejected as king (1 Samuel 15.1–34). 1. A legal contract. The Israelites entered into a covenant with God in which he promised to pro- tect them if they kept his word and were faithful to him.

of the Churches of Christ, to seek out a place of cohabitation and consort- ship under a due form of government both civil and ecclesiastical. In such cases as this, the care of the public must oversway all private re spects, by which, not only conscience, but mere civil policy, doth bind us. For it is a true rule that par tic u lar estates cannot subsist in the ruin of the public.

Thirdly. The end is to improve our lives to do more ser vice to the Lord; the comfort and increase of the body of Christ whereof we are members; that ourselves and posterity may be the better preserved from the common corruptions of this evil world, to serve the Lord and work out our salvation under the power and purity of His holy ordinances.

Fourthly, for the means whereby this must be effected. They are twofold, a conformity with the work and end we aim at. These we see are extraordi- nary, therefore we must not content ourselves with usual ordinary means. Whatsoever we did or ought to have done when we lived in Eng land, the same must we do, and more also, where we go. That which the most in their churches maintain as a truth in profession only, we must bring into familiar and constant practice, as in this duty of love. We must love brotherly with- out dissimulation; we must love one another with a pure heart fervently. We must bear one another’s burthens. We must not look only on our own things, but also on the things of our brethren, neither must we think that the Lord will bear with such failings at our hands as he doth from those among whom we have lived; and that for three reasons.

First, In regard of the more near bond of marriage between Him and us, where-in He hath taken us to be His after a most strict and peculiar man- ner, which will make Him the more jealous of our love and obedience. So He tells the people of Israel, you only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you for your transgressions. Secondly, because the Lord will be sancti”ed in them that come near Him. We know that there were many that corrupted the ser vice of the Lord, some setting up altars before His own, others offering both strange “re and strange sacri”ces also; yet there came no “re from heaven or other sudden judgment upon them, as did upon Nadab and Abihu,8 who yet we may think did not sin presump- tuously. Thirdly. When God gives a special commission He looks to have it strictly observed in every article. When He gave Saul a commission to destroy Amaleck, He indented with him upon certain articles,9 and because he failed in one of the least, and that upon a fair pretense, it lost him the kingdom which should have been his reward if he had observed his commission.

Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into cove- nant1 with Him for this work. We have taken out a commission, the Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enter- prise these actions, upon these and those ends, we have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring



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2. An eighth- century- b.c.e. prophet who, in the Book of Micah, speaks continually of God’s judgment and the need to hope for salvation: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee: surely to do justly, and to love mercy, and to humble thyself, to walk with thy God” (Micah 6.8). 3. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill, cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a can- dlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Matthew 5.14–15). 4. “Behold, I have set before thee this day life and good, death and evil, In that I command thee this day, to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandment, and his ordi- nances, and his laws, that thou mayest live, and be

multiplied, and that the Lord thy God may bless thee in the land, whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not obey, but shalt be seduced and worship other gods, and serve them, I pronounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, ye shall not prolong your days in the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to possess it. I call heaven and earth to rec- ord this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live, By loving the Lord thy God, by obeying his voice, and by cleaving unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days, that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abra- ham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deuteron- omy 30.15–20).

us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He rati”ed this covenant and sealed our commission, [and] will expect a strict per for mance of the arti- cles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this pres ent world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us; be revenged of such a perjured people and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.

Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our poster- ity, is to follow the counsel of Micah,2 to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together in this work as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superduities, for the supply of other’s necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other, make other’s conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suf- fer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with. We shall “nd that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, “the Lord make it like that of New England.” For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.3 The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to with- draw His pres ent help from us, we shall be made a story and a by- word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God’s sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God’s worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are agoing.

And to shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faith- ful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deuteronomy 30.4 Beloved, there is now set before us life and good, death and evil, in that we



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1. The text is from The Journal of John Win- throp, 1630–1649 (1996), abridged ed., edited by Richard S. Dunn and Laetitia Yeandle. 2. Winthrop saw Mount Desert Island, Maine. The En glish named it after a British admiral, Sir Robert Mansell (1573–1656); the French explorer Samuel de Champlain (see the “First Encounters” cluster, above) named it Île des

Monts Déserts. 3. Air. 4. Several. 5. The Reverend John Wilson (1588–1667), then beginning a pastorate that lasted thirty- seven years. 6. Winthrop.

are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His ordinance and His laws, and the articles of our covenant with Him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that our Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other gods, our pleasures and prof- its, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it.

Therefore let us choose life, that we and our seed

may live by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him,

for He is our life and our prosperity.

1630 1838

From The Journal of John Winthrop1

[Sighting Mount Desert Island, Maine]

[June 8, 1630] About 3 in the after noon we had sight of land to the NW about 15 leagues, which we supposed was the Isles of Monhegen, but it proved Mount Mansell.2 Then we tacked and stood WSW. We had now fair sunshine weather and so pleasant a sweet ether3 as did much refresh us, and there came a smell off the shore like the smell of a garden. There came a wild pigeon into our ship and another small land bird.

[Overcoming Satan]

[July 5, 1632] At Watertown there was (in the view of divers4 witnesses) a great combat between a mouse and a snake, and after a long “ght the mouse prevailed and killed the snake. The pastor of Boston, Mr. Wilson,5 a very sin- cere, holy man, hearing of it gave this interpretation: that the snake was the devil, the mouse was a poor contemptible people which God had brought hither, which should overcome Satan here and dispossess him of his kingdom. Upon the same occasion he told the governor6 that before he was resolved to come into this country he dreamed he was here, and that he saw a church arise out of the earth, which grew up and became a marvelous goodly church.



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7. Roger Williams, a Puritan theologian who had emigrated to New Eng land in 1630 and expressed radical views on Church reform and colonialism (his writing is excerpted later in this volume). 8. In 1633, Edward Winslow was governor in Plymouth (see the “First Encounters” cluster). 9. Arranged to make a “nancial settlement. 1. Summoned to appear.

2. Abbreviation for videlicet: namely (Latin). 3. John Endecott (c. 1588–1665): governor to the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony’s advance settlement in Salem from 1628 until Winthrop arrived. 4. Not further identi”ed. 5. John Hays (1594–1654). Winthrop was elected governor again in 1637.

[Charges Made against Roger Williams]

[December 27, 1633] The governor and assistants met at Boston and took into consideration a treatise which Mr. Williams7 (then of Salem) had sent to them, and which he had formerly written to the governor8 and Council of Plymouth, wherein among other things he disputes their right to the lands they possessed here, and concluded that claiming by the King’s grant they could have no title, nor other wise except they compounded9 with the natives. For this, taking advice with some of the most judicious ministers (who much condemned Mr. Williams’s error and presumption), they gave order that he should be convented1 at the next Court to be censured, etc. There were 3 passages chiedy whereat they were much offended: 1. For that he chargeth King James to have told a solemn public lie, because in his patent he blessed God that he was the “rst Christian prince that had discovered this land; 2. For that he chargeth him and others with blasphemy for calling Eu rope Christendom or the Christian world; 3. For that he did personally apply to our pres ent King Charles these 3 places in the Revelation, viz.2

Mr. Endecott3 being absent, the governor wrote to him to let him know what was done, and withal added divers arguments to confute the said errors, wishing him to deal with Mr. Williams to retract the same, etc. Whereunto he returned a very modest and discreet answer. Mr. Williams also wrote very submissively, professing his intent to have been only to have written for the private satisfaction of the governor, etc., of Plymouth without any purpose to have stirred any further in it if the governor here had not required a copy of him; withal offering his book or any part of it to be burnt, etc. So it was left and nothing done in it.

[A Smallpox Epidemic]

[January 20, 1634] Hall and the 2 others4 who went to Connecticut Novem- ber 3 came now home, having lost themselves and endured much misery. They informed us that the smallpox was gone as far as any Indian planta- tion was known to the W[est], and much people dead of it, by reason whereof they could have no trade. At Narragansett by the Indians’ report there died 700, but beyond Pascataquack none to the E[ast].

[A Warrant for Roger Williams]

[January 11, 1636] The governor5 and assistants met at Boston to consult about Mr. Williams, for that they were credibly informed that notwithstand- ing the injunction laid upon him (upon the liberty granted him to stay till the spring) not to go about to draw others to his opinions, he did use to enter- tain com pany in his house and to preach to them, even of such points as he



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6. Misguided teachings. Providence Plantation, the colony Williams started in Rhode Island, received its patent in 1644. 7. I.e., returned to Boston by ship. 8. John Underhill (c. 1597–1672), soldier who or ga nized the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony mili- tia. “Pinnace”: a small, light vessel, usually with two masts. 9. Anne Hutchinson (1591–1643) held the radi- cal view that the “ justi”ed”— those elected or chosen for salvation by God— were joined in per- sonal union with God and superior to those lacking such inspiration. 1. I.e., that proper moral conduct is no sign of justi”cation.

2. I.e., that good works are not a sign of God’s favor; justi”cation is by faith alone and has noth- ing to do with either piety or worldly success. 3. John Wheelwright (c. 1592–1679) had been a vicar near Alford, Eng land, where Anne Hutchinson and her husband, William, lived before emigrating to Amer i ca. Wheelwright was removed from his ministry, prob ably because he refused to sign an oath of loyalty to the Church of Eng land, and went to Boston in 1636. 4. Satis”ed their doubts about him. The sermons of the Reverend John Cotton (1584–1652), a prom- inent Boston theologian, were admired by the Hutchinsons, which worried his fellow ministers.

had been censured for; and it was agreed to send him into Eng land by a ship then ready to depart. The reason was because he had drawn above 20 per- sons to his opinion and they were intended to erect a plantation about the Narragansett Bay, from whence the infection6 would easily spread into these churches (the people being many of them much taken with the apprehen- sion of his godliness). Whereupon a warrant was sent to him to come pres- ently to Boston to be shipped,7 etc. He returned answer (and divers of Salem came with it) that he could not come without hazard of his life, etc., where- upon a pinnace was sent with commission to Captain Underhill,8 etc., to apprehend him and carry him aboard the ship (which then rode at Nantas- ket), but when they came at his house they found he had been gone 3 days before, but whither they could not learn.

[The Case of Anne Hutchinson]

[October 21, 1636] * * * One Mrs. Hutchinson, a member of the church of Boston, a woman of a ready wit and bold spirit, brought over with her two dangerous errors: 1. That the person of the Holy Ghost dwells in a justi”ed person.9 2. That no sancti”cation can help to evidence to us our justi”cation.1— From these two grew many branches; as, 1, Our union with the Holy Ghost, so as a Christian remains dead to every spiritual action, and hath no gifts nor graces, other than such as are in hypocrites, nor any other sancti”cation but the Holy Ghost Himself.2

There joined with her in these opinions a brother of hers, one Mr. Wheel- wright, a silenced minister sometimes in Eng land.3

[Rev. John Cotton Explains His Position]

[October 25, 1636] The other ministers in the bay, hearing of these things, came to Boston at the time of a general court, and entered conference in private with them, to the end they might know the certainty of these things; that if need were, they might write to the church of Boston about them, to prevent (if it were pos si ble) the dangers which seemed hereby to hang over that and the rest of the churches. At this conference, Mr. Cotton was pres- ent, and gave satisfaction4 to them, so as he agreed with them all in the point of sancti”cation, and so did Mr. Wheelwright; so as they all did hold that sancti”cation did help to evidence justi”cation. The same he had delivered plainly in public, divers times; but, for the indwelling of the person of the



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5. To qualify her statements. 6. Seventy- “ve people were disarmed, a severe

punishment for this time and place. 7. Near Boston.

Holy Ghost, he held that still, but not union with the person of the Holy Ghost, so as to amount to a personal union.

[Charges Brought against Mrs. Hutchinson and Others]

[November 1, 1637] * * * There was great hope that the late general assem- bly would have had some good effect in pacifying the trou bles and dissen- sions about matters of religion; but it fell out other wise. For though Mr. Wheelwright and those of his party had been clearly confuted and con- founded in the assembly, yet they persisted in their opinions, and were as busy in nourishing contentions (the principal of them) as before. * * *

The court also sent for Mrs. Hutchinson, and charged her with divers matters, as her keeping two public lectures every week in her house, whereto sixty or eighty persons did usually resort, and for reproaching most of the ministers (viz., all except Mr. Cotton) for not preaching a covenant of free grace, and that they had not the seal of the spirit, nor were able ministers of the New Testament; which were clearly proved against her, though she sought to shift it off.5 And after many speeches to and fro, at last she was so full as she could not contain, but vented her revelations; amongst which this was one, that she had it revealed to her that she should come into New Eng land, and she should here be persecuted, and that God would ruin us and our pos- terity and the whole state for the same. So the court proceeded and ban- ished her; but because it was winter, they committed her to a private house where she was well provided, and her own friends and the elders permitted to go to her, but none else.

The court called also Capt. Underhill and some “ve or six more of the principal, whose hands were to the said petition; and because they stood to justify it they were disfranchised, and such as had public places were put from them.

The court also ordered, that the rest, who had subscribed the petition, (and would not acknowledge their fault, and which near twenty of them did,) and some others, who had been chief stirrers in these contentions, etc., should be disarmed.6 This troubled some of them very much, especially because they were to bring them in themselves; but at last, when they saw no remedy, they obeyed.

All the proceedings of this court against these persons were set down at large, with the reasons and other observations, and were sent into Eng land to be published there, to the end that our godly friends might not be dis- couraged from coming to us, etc. * * *

[Mrs. Hutchinson Admonished Further]

[March 1638] While Mrs. Hutchinson continued at Roxbury,7 divers of the elders and others resorted to her, and “nding her to persist in maintaining those gross errors beforementioned and many others to the number of thirty or thereabout, some of them wrote to the church at Boston, offering to make proof of the same before the church, etc., [March] 15; whereupon she was



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8. Winthrop. Newtown was soon thereafter renamed Cambridge. 9. I.e., from the beginning. Orthodox believers hold that the soul is always immortal. 1. Her son Edward Hutchinson and her son- in- law Thomas Savage, both of whom moved to

Rhode Island. 2. John Davenport (1597–1670), a minister. 3. Because Anne Hutchinson’s beliefs threat- ened both civil and ecclesiastical law. 4. Warned.

called, (the magistrates being desired to give her license to come,) and the lecture was appointed to begin at ten. (The general court being then at New- town, the governor8 and the trea surer, being members of Boston, were per- mitted to come down, but the rest of the court continued at Newtown.) When she appeared, the errors were read to her. The “rst was that the souls of men are mortal by generation,9 but after made immortal by Christ’s pur- chase. This she maintained a long time; but at length she was so clearly convinced by reason and scripture, and the whole church agreeing that suf- “cient had been delivered for her conviction, that she yielded she had been in an error. Then they proceeded to three other errors: That there was no resurrection of these bodies, and that these bodies were not united to Christ, but every person united hath a new body, etc. These were also clearly con- futed, but yet she held her own; so as the church (all but two of her sons)1 agreed she should be admonished, and because her sons would not agree to it, they were admonished also.

Mr. Cotton pronounced the sentence of admonition with great solemnity, and with much zeal and detestation of her errors and pride of spirit. The assembly continued till eight at night, and all did acknowledge the special presence of God’s spirit therein; and she was appointed to appear again the next lecture day. * * *

[Mrs. Hutchinson Banished]

[March 22, 1638] Mrs. Hutchinson appeared again; (she had been licensed by the court, in regard she had given hope of her repentance, to be at Mr. Cot- ton’s house that both he and Mr. Davenport2 might have the more opportu- nity to deal with her;) and the articles being again read to her, and her answer required, she delivered it in writing, wherein she made a retractation of near all, but with such explanations and circumstances as gave no satisfaction to the church; so as she was required to speak further to them. Then she declared that it was just with God to leave her to herself, as He had done, for her slighting His ordinances, both magistracy and ministry;3 and con- fessed that what she had spoken against the magistrates at the court (by way of revelation) was rash and ungrounded; and desired the church to pray for her. This gave the church good hope of her repentance; but when she was examined about some particulars, as that she had denied inherent righ- teousness, etc., she af”rmed that it was never her judgment; and though it was proved by many testimonies that she had been of that judgment, and so had persisted and maintained it by argument against divers, yet she impu- dently persisted in her af”rmation, to the astonishment of all the assembly. So that after much time and many arguments had been spent to bring her to see her sin, but all in vain, the church with one consent cast her out. Some moved to have her admonished4 once more; but, it being for manifest evil in matter of conversation, it was agreed other wise; and for that reason also the



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5. I.e., read in public by John Wilson. 6. Cast out of the congregation. 7. William Hutchinson and several others laid out plans for the town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. 8. Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island.

9. Dr. John Clarke came to Boston in 1637 and was disarmed, having been declared an antino- mian (believer that faith alone, not morality, is necessary for salvation). 1. In a heavy discharge from the womb (Latin). 2. Swim bladders.

sentence was denounced by the pastor,5 matter of manners belonging prop- erly to his place.

After she was excommunicated,6 her spirits which seemed before to be somewhat dejected revived again, and she gloried in her sufferings, saying that it was the greatest happiness next to Christ that ever befell her. Indeed it was a happy day to the churches of Christ here, and to many poor souls who had been seduced by her, who by what they heard and saw that day were (through the grace of God) brought off quite from her errors, and settled again in the truth.

At this time the good providence of God so disposed, divers of the con- gregation (being the chief men of the party, her husband being one) were gone to Narragansett to seek out a new place for plantation, and taking lik- ing of one in Plymouth patent, they went thither to have it granted them; but the magistrates there, knowing their spirit, gave them a denial, but con- sented they might buy of the Indians an island in the Narragansett Bay.7

After two or three days the governor sent a warrant to Mrs. Hutchinson to depart this jurisdiction before the last of this month, according to the order of court, and for that end set her at liberty from her former constraint, so as she was not to go forth of her own house till her departure; and upon the 28th she went by water to her farm at the Mount, where she was to take water with Mr. Wheelwright’s wife and family to go to Pascataquack; but she changed her mind, and went by land to Providence, and so to the island in the Narragansett Bay which her husband and the rest of that sect had purchased of the Indians, and prepared with all speed to remove unto. For the court had ordered, that except they were gone with their families by such a time they should be summoned to the general court, etc.

[Mrs. Hutchinson Delivers a Child]

[September 1638] * * * Mrs. Hutchinson, being removed to the Isle of Aqui- day8 in the Narragansett Bay, after her time was ful”lled that she expected deliverance of a child, was delivered of a monstrous birth. Hereupon the governor wrote to Mr. Clarke,9 a physician and a preacher to those of the island, to know the certainty thereof, who returned him this answer: Mrs.  Hutchinson, six weeks before her delivery, perceived her body to be greatly distempered and her spirits failing and in that regard doubtful of life, she sent to me etc., and not long after (in immoderato “uore uterino)1 it was brought to light, and I was called to see it, where I beheld innumerable dis- tinct bodies in the form of a globe, not much unlike the swims2 of some “sh, so confusedly knit together by so many several strings (which I conceive were the beginning of veins and nerves) so that it was impossible either to number the small round pieces in every lump, much less to discern from whence every string did fetch its original, they were so snarled one within another. The small globes I likewise opened, and perceived the matter of them (setting



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3. Afterbirth. 4. Lectured. 5. After the death of her husband in 1642, Anne Hutchinson moved to Dutch territory: Pelham Bay, now a part of the Bronx in New York City. 6. Winthrop. The governor in 1645 was Thomas Dudley (1576–1653). The “ little speech” that fol-

lows is one of Winthrop’s most impor tant medita- tions on Christian liberty. Several residents of the town of Hingham argued that “words spoken against the General Court” had been unfairly used and hoped that Winthrop would be impeached for misusing his power as deputy. Winthrop was fully acquitted.

aside the membrane in which it was involved) to be partly wind and partly water. The governor, not satis”ed with this relation, spake after with the said Mr. Clarke, who thus cleared all the doubts: The lumps were twenty- six or twenty- seven, distinct and not joined together; there came no secundine3 after them; six of them were as great as his “st, and the smallest about the bigness of the top of his thumb. The globes were round things, included in the lumps, about the bigness of a small Indian bean, and like the pearl in a man’s eye. The two lumps which differed from the rest were like liver or con- gealed blood, and had no small globes in them, as the rest had.

[An Earthquake at Aquiday]

[March 16, 1639] * * * At Aquiday also Mrs. Hutchinson exercised4 pub- licly, and she and her party (some three or four families) would have no mag- istracy. She sent also an admonition to the church of Boston; but the elders would not read it publicly because she was excommunicated. By these exam- ples we may see how dangerous it is to slight the censures of the church; for it was apparent that God had given them up to strange delusions. . . . Mrs. Hutchinson and some of her adherents happened to be at prayer when the earthquake was at Aquiday, etc., and the house being shaken thereby, they were persuaded (and boasted of it) that the Holy Ghost did shake it in coming down upon them, as He did upon the apostles.

[The Death of Mrs. Hutchinson and Others]

[September 1643] The Indians near the Dutch, having killed 15 men, began to set upon the En glish who dwelt under the Dutch. They came to Mrs. Hutchinson’s5 in way of friendly neighborhood, as they had been accus- tomed, and taking their opportunity, killed her and Mr. Collins, her son- in- law (who had been kept prisoner in Boston, as is before related), and all her family, and such [other] families as were at home; in all sixteen, and put their cattle into their houses and there burnt them. These people had cast off ordi- nances and churches, and now at last their own people, and for larger accommodation had subjected themselves to the Dutch and dwelt scatter- ingly near a mile asunder. * * *

[Winthrop’s Speech to the General Court]

[July 3, 1645] * * * Then was the deputy governor6 desired by the Court to go up and take his place again upon the bench, which he did accordingly. And the Court being about to rise, he desired leave for a little speech which was to this effect.



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7. Termination. 8. Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. “And the Lord said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed

seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again” (Numbers 12.14). 9. Format agreement.

I suppose something may be expected from me upon this charge that is befallen me, which moves me to speak now to you. Yet I intend not to inter- meddle in the proceedings of the Court, or with any of the persons con- cerned therein. Only I bless God that I see an issue7 of this troublesome business. I also acknowledge the justice of the Court, and for mine own part I am well satis”ed. I was publicly charged, and I am publicly and legally acquitted, which is all I did expect or desire. And though this be suf”cient for my justi”cation before men, yet not so before the Lord, who hath seen so much amiss in any dispensations (and even in this affair) as calls me to be humbled. For to be publicly and criminally charged in this Court is matter of humiliation (and I desire to make a right use of it), notwithstanding I be thus acquitted. If her father had spit in her face (saith the Lord concerning Miriam), should she not have been ashamed 7 days?8 Shame had lain upon her what ever the occasion had been. I am unwilling to stay you from your urgent affairs, yet give me leave (upon this special occasion) to speak a little more to this assembly. It may be of some good use to inform and rectify the judgments of some of the people, and may prevent such distempers as have arisen amongst us. The great questions that have troubled the country are about the authority of the magistrates and the liberty of the people. It is your- selves who have called us to this of”ce, and being called by you we have our authority from God in way of an ordinance, such as hath the image of God eminently stamped upon it, the contempt and violation whereof hath been vindicated with examples of divine vengeance. I entreat you to consider that when you choose magistrates you take them from among yourselves, men subject to like passions as you are. Therefore, when you see in”rmities in us, you should redect upon your own, and that would make you bear the more with us, and not be severe censurers of the failings of your magistrates when you have continual experience of the like in”rmities in yourselves and others. We account him a good servant who breaks not his covenant.9 The covenant between you and us is the oath you have taken of us, which is to this purpose, that we shall govern you and judge your causes by the rules of God’s laws and our own, according to our best skill. When you agree with a workman to build you a ship or house, etc., he undertakes as well for his skill as for his faithfulness, for it is his profession, and you pay him for both. But when you call one to be a magistrate, he doth not profess nor undertake to have suf”cient skill for that of”ce, nor can you furnish him with gifts, etc. Therefore you must run the hazard of his skill and ability. But if he fail in faithfulness, which by his oath he is bound unto, that he must answer for. If it fall out that the case be clear to common apprehension and the rule clear also, if he transgress here the error is not in the skill but in the evil of the will; it must be required of him. But if the case be doubtful, or the rule doubtful, to men of such understanding and parts as your magistrates are, if your magistrates should err here yourselves must bear it.

For the other point concerning liberty, I observe a great mistake in the country about that. There is a twofold liberty: natu ral (I mean as our nature



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1. Because we are fallen and subject to death. 2. We are all the worse for license (Latin). From the ancient Roman dramatist Terence, Heauton Timorumenos (The Self- Tormentor) 3.1.74. 3. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled

again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5.1). 4. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11.30). “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her hus- band” (Revelation 21.2).

is now corrupt),1 and civil or federal. The “rst is common to man with beasts and other creatures. By this, man as he stands in relation to man simply, hath liberty to do what he list. It is a liberty to evil as well as to good. This liberty is incompatible and inconsistent with authority, and cannot endure the least restraint of the most just authority. The exercise and maintaining of this liberty makes men grow more evil, and in time to be worse than brute beasts, omnes sumus licentia deteriores.2 This is that great enemy of truth and peace, that wild beast which all the ordinances of God are bent against, to restrain and subdue it.

The other kind of liberty I call civil or federal. It may also be termed moral, in reference to the covenant between God and man in the moral law, and the politic covenants and constitutions amongst men themselves. This lib- erty is the proper end and object of authority and cannot subsist without it, and it is a liberty to that only which is good, just, and honest. This liberty you are to stand for, with the hazard not only of your goods but of your lives, if need be. Whatsoever crosseth this is not authority, but a distemper thereof. This liberty is maintained and exercised in a way of subjection to authority. It is of the same kind of liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.3 The woman’s own choice makes such a man her husband, yet being so chosen he is her lord and she is to be subject to him, yet in a way of liberty, not of bondage, and a true wife accounts her subjection her honor and freedom, and would not think her condition safe and free but in her subjection to her husband’s authority. Such is the liberty of the church under the authority of Christ her King and husband. His yoke is so easy and sweet to her as a bride’s ornaments,4 and if through frowardness or wantonness, etc., she shake it off at any time, she is at no rest in her spirit until she take it up again. And whether her Lord smiles upon her and embraceth her in His arms, or whether He frowns, or rebukes, or smites her, she apprehends the sweetness of His love in all and is refreshed, supported, and instructed by every such dispen- sation of His authority over her. On the other side, you know who they are that complain of this yoke and say: let us break their bands, etc.; we will not have this man to rule over us. Even so, brethren, it will be between you and your magistrates. If you stand for your natu ral corrupt liberties, and will do what is good in your own eyes, you will not endure the least weight of author- ity, but will murmur and oppose and be always striving to shake off that yoke. But if you will be satis”ed to enjoy such civil and lawful liberties, such as Christ allows you, then will you quietly and cheerfully submit unto that authority which is set over you in all the administrations of it for your good; wherein if we fail at any time, we hope we shall be willing (by God’s assis- tance) to hearken to good advice from any of you, or in any other way of God. So shall your liberties be preserved in upholding the honor and power of authority amongst you.

The deputy governor having ended his speech, the Court arose, and the magistrates and deputies retired to attend their other affairs. * * *



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[A Daughter Returned]

[July 1646] * * * A daughter of Mrs. Hutchinson was carried away by the Indians near the Dutch, when her mother and others were killed by them; and upon the peace concluded between the Dutch and the same Indians, she was returned to the Dutch governor, who restored her to her friends here. She was about 8 years old when she was taken, and continued with them about 4 years, and she had forgot her own language, and all her friends, and was loath to have come from the Indians.

1630–49 1825–26


The Protestant Reformation sparked a revival of psalm- and hymn- singing that held impor tant consequences for English- language poetry. Church music had previously been reserved for choirs and other selective ensembles, rather than prac- ticed by the full congregation. The shift in the language of worship from Latin to the vernacular allowed for a more demo cratic participation in the singing of sacred songs. Protestant denominations differed as to who should be allowed to sing— every one all the time, or smaller groups in speci”c contexts— and what kinds of works should be performed in religious settings. This second question hinged on issues of source and of translation. Many of the leading New Eng land ministers believed that only psalms, which were drawn directly from the Bible, and not hymns on religious themes with no speci”c scriptural source, should be permitted in worship ser vices. They also wanted the psalms to redect the original Hebrew as closely as pos si ble.

When the “rst printing press arrived in Cambridge, Mas sa chu setts, in 1638, the ministers in the area took the opportunity to produce their own psalm book. Two years later they issued what has been famous ever since as the “rst book printed in the En glish colonies: The Whole Book of Psalms Faithfully Translated into En glish Meter (1640), familiarly known today as the Bay Psalm Book. The translators, whose individual efforts have never been fully identi”ed, strug gled with some knotty issues. The Reverend John Cotton, a leading theologian, stressed in his preface to the 1640 volume that the translators had not “taken liberty or poetical license to depart from the true and proper sense of David’s word.” (David, the second king of ancient Israel, was traditionally considered the author of the biblical Book of Psalms.) At the same time, Cotton reassured the public that “as it can be no just offence to any good conscience to sing David’s Hebrew songs in En glish words,” it ought to be equally unobjectionable to employ En glish metrical forms in transla- tions of the psalms. Purity was desirable, but so were comprehensibility and tune- fulness. The psalms were performed a capella, often using a system called “lining out,” where a leader sang a phrase and the congregation repeated it. This method enabled church members who could not read, or who could not afford a psalter, to participate in the song. The tunes sometimes used to accompany the words were mostly of common origin and simple form, enhancing the earnest, self- restrained beauty of the per for mance.



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1. The texts are from The Bay Psalm Book: A Facsimile Reprint of the First Edition of 1640 (1956). The numbers in the left margin corre-

spond to the Bible verses. 2. Think (of).

A comparison of one of the most familiar psalms as it appears in the Bay Psalm Book and in the King James Bible shows how the rough Puritan translation lends itself to vocal per for mance in a way that its Anglican counterpart does not. Here is part of Psalm 23 from the Bay Psalm Book:

For me a table thou hast spread, In presence of my foes; Thou dost anoint my head with oil, My cup it overdows.

Here is that same part of Psalm 23, from the King James Bible:

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Worshipers in the New Eng land colonies and abroad embraced the Bay Psalm Book, which was revised several times and widely reprinted. However, the book has always had detractors. In 1829, in the “rst impor tant anthology of American poetry, the editor Samuel Kettell called the versi”cation of the Bay volume “harsh and unmusical to the last degree.” But the simple lines in the sturdy En glish of the Puri- tan preachers, whether read aloud or sung, evince an energy that is missing in more polished versions. The rough lines were designed to connect the reader to God, and their awkwardness was a means to an end.

Both versions of the psalms induenced American poetry. Echoes of the King James Bible translations of the psalms occur in, for example, Walt Whitman’s free verse. The more metrical versions of the Bay Psalm Book induenced the writings of Anne Bradstreet and resonate in Emily Dickinson’s poems about God and belief.

From The Bay Psalm Book1

Psalm 2

1 Why rage the Heathen furiously? Muse2 vain things people do; 2 Kings of the earth do set themselves, Princes consult also: With one consent against the Lord, 5 And his anointed one. 3 Let us asunder break their bands, Their cords be from us thrown. 4 Who sits in heav’n shall laugh; the Lord Will mock them; then will he 10 5 Speak to them in his ire, and wrath; And vex them suddenly. 6 But I anointed have my King Upon the holy hill 7 Of Zion: The established 15 Counsel declare I will. God spoke to me, thou art my Son:



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3. Inheritance. 4. Shards, fragments. 5. Wrathful. 6. I.e., fail to be saved. 7. Trust.

1. Sky. 2. Temporary place of worship. 3. Established. 4. From his. 5. Range.

This day I thee begot. 8 Ask thou of me, and I will give The Heathen for thy lot:3 20 And of the earth thou shalt possess The utmost coasts abroad. 9 Thou shalt them break as potter’s sherds4 And crush with iron rod. 10 And now ye Kings be wise, be learn’d 25 Ye judges of th’earth (Hear!). 11 Serve ye the Lord with reverence, Rejoice in him with fear. 12 Kiss ye the Son, lest he be wroth,5 And ye fall in the way.6 30 When his wrath quickly burns, oh blest Are all that on him stay.7

Psalm 19

to the chief musician, a psalm of david

1 The heavens do declare The majesty of God: Also the “rmament1 shows forth His handi work abroad. 2 Day speaks to day, knowledge 5 Night hath to night declar’d. 3 There neither speech nor language is, Where their voice is not heard. 4 Through all the earth their line Is gone forth, and unto 10 The utmost end of all the world, Their speeches reach also: A Tabernacle2 he In them pitched3 for the Sun, 5 Who bridegroom- like from’s4 chamber goes 15 Glad giants- race to run. 6 From heaven’s utmost end, His course and compassing;5 To ends of it, and from the heat Thereof is hid nothing. 20


7 The Lord’s law perfect is, The soul converting back: God’s testimony faithful is,



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6. The Lord’s judgments (verse 9). 7. An instance in which sense is interrupted by poor proofreading and the need to force rhymes (know/thou). The revised edition of 1651 has

“And from presumptuous sins also / Keep thou thy servant free.” 8.  I.e., do not let those presumptuous sins (or sins of pride) have power over me.

Makes wise who wisdom lack. 8 The statutes of the Lord, 25 Are right, and glad the heart: The Lord’s commandment is pure, Light doth to eyes impart. 9 Jehovah’s fear is clean, And doth endure forever: 30 The judgments of the Lord are true, And righ teous altogether. 10 Than gold, than much “ne gold, More to be prized are, Than honey, and the honeycomb, 35 Sweeter they are by far. 11 Also thy servant is Admonished from hence: And in the keeping of the same6 Is a full recompense. 40 12 Who can his errors know? From secret faults cleanse me. 13 And from presumptuous sins, let thou Kept back thy servant be:7 Let them not bear the rule 45 In me,8 and then shall I Be perfect and shall cleansed be From much iniquity. 14 Let the words of my mouth, And the thoughts of my heart, 50 Be pleasing with thee, Lord, my rock, Who my redeemer art.

Psalm 23

a psalm of david

1 The Lord to me a shepherd is, Want therefore shall not I, 2 He in the folds of tender grass, Doth cause me down to lie: To waters calm me gently leads 5 3 Restore my soul doth He: He doth in paths of righ teousness: For His name’s sake lead me. 4 Yea, though in valley of death’s shade I walk, none ill I’ll fear: 10 Because Thou art with me, Thy rod And staff my comfort are. 5 For me a table thou hast spread,



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In presence of my foes: Thou dost anoint my head with oil, 15 My cup it overdows. 6 Goodness and mercy surely shall All my days follow me: And in the Lord’s house I shall dwell So long as days shall be. 20

Psalm 100

a psalm of praise

1 Make ye a joyful sounding noise Unto Jehovah, all the earth: 2 Serve ye Jehovah with gladness: Before His presence come with mirth. 3 Know, that Jehovah He is God, 5 Who hath us formed, it is He, And not ourselves: His own people And sheep of His pasture are we. 4 Enter into His gates with praise, Into His courts with thankfulness 10 Make ye confession unto Him And His name rev er ent ly bless. 5 Because Jehovah He is good, For evermore is His mercy: And unto generations all 15 Continue doth His verity.

another [version] of the same

1 Make ye a joyful noise unto Jehovah all the earth: 2 Serve ye Jehovah with gladness: Before Him come with mirth. 3 Know, that Jehovah He is God, 5 Not we ourselves, but He Hath made us: His people, and sheep Of His pasture are we. 4 O enter ye into His gates With praise, and thankfulness 10 Into His courts: confess to Him, And His name do ye bless. 5 Because Jehovah He is good, His bounteous mercy Is everlasting: and His truth 15 Is to eternity.




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ROGER WILLIAMS c. 1603–1683

Roger Williams is the preeminent “gure associated with freedom of conscience and religious liberty in early New Eng land. Banished from the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony in 1636 for spreading opinions that the colony’s leadership considered dangerous, Williams went on to build Rhode Island into a model of inclusive self- government and a haven for religious minorities, opening it to dissenting refugees from the Puritan colonies and to the “rst Jewish and Quaker settlers in British North Amer i ca. Williams also developed close relationships with indigenous lead- ers in the region, living at times in Native communities and mediating condicts with other En glish colonies. In 1643, Williams produced A Key into the Language of Amer i ca, a dictionary and cultural guide to the Algonquian peoples of New Eng land that offers comparative social commentary, including redections on the moral short- comings of the En glish.

Williams was also a brilliant polemicist. A prominent genre in Williams’s day, polemic involves a vigorous attack on an individual or an idea. Polemical writings on colonization and on religion contributed importantly to the rise of popu lar print cul- ture in Eng land. In controversial pamphlets such as “The Bloody Tenet of Persecu- tion” (1644) and “The Hireling Ministry None of Christ’s” (1652), Williams took strongly worded positions challenging many of the foundational assumptions of his Puritan neighbors. And in “Christenings Make Not Christians” (1645), Williams the- orized about the formation of a truly consent- based religious community, which would not be restricted by race or cultural heritage, compelled by physical vio lence, or shaped by intellectual and emotional coercion. This work reveals a mind preoccu- pied with fundamental questions about human consciousness and will. In his life as in his writings, Williams pursued his understanding of liberty of conscience with striking integrity.

The son of a London merchant, Williams took an unexpected turn in 1617 when he met Sir Edward Coke, a leading legal thinker whose advocacy for the common law tradition and challenge to the authority of the king fundamentally shaped the era and transformed En glish law. Prob ably impressed by Williams’s sharp intellect, Coke helped the young man get a “rst- rate education. After graduating from Cambridge University in 1627 and taking holy orders, Williams became involved in Church reform. Years later, he said that Archbishop William Laud, the preeminent clergyman in the Church of Eng land under King Charles I, “pursued” him “out of this land.” Laud required all clerics to pledge an oath of loyalty to the Church of Eng land, sparking a crisis for dissenting clergy and contributing to the “ Great Migra- tion” of Puritans to New Eng land.

In 1631 Williams arrived in Boston with his wife, Mary. He was at “rst a valued addition to the new colony at Mas sa chu setts Bay, which badly needed men of his intellectual capabilities and educational attainments. Soon, however, Williams refused to minister at the prestigious First Church of Boston because he “durst not of”ciate to an unseparated people”— that is, a church that retained af”liations with the Anglican orthodoxy. This episode gave Mas sa chu setts authorities their “rst taste of Williams’s deep re sis tance to the established Church and his enormous con”dence in matters of belief. Over the next four years, he ministered to the com- munities at Plymouth and then Salem. In 1635, while he was at Salem, the Bay



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Colony leaders accused him of holding “new and dangerous opinions against the authority of magistrates.”

Williams had infuriated and threatened the leaders of Mas sa chu setts by taking four positions, any one of which seriously undermined the theocracy that was at the heart of the Bay Colony government. He denied, “rst, that Mas sa chu setts had a proper title to its land, arguing that King Charles I could not bestow a title to something that belonged to the Natives. Second, he argued that no unregenerate person (that is, anyone who had not been “born again”) could be required either to pray or to swear a legal oath; third, that Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony ministers, who had persuaded the king of Eng land that they wished to remain part of the Church of Eng land, should not only separate from the Church but repent that they had ever served it; and last, that civil authority was limited to civil matters and that magis- trates had no jurisdiction over the soul. Williams wanted to create a barrier between Church and state to prevent Chris tian ity from being contaminated by worldly inter- ests. The position was disturbing to Separatist and non- Separatist alike, and it made Williams unwelcome in both Plymouth and Boston.

In his journal for January 1636, John Winthrop notes that when the governor of Mas sa chu setts and his assistants met to reconsider the charge of divisiveness against Williams, they agreed that they could not wait until spring to banish him from the commonwealth. His opinions were dangerous and spreading, so they needed to send him back to Eng land immediately. When they went to Salem to “carry him aboard the ship,” however, they found he “had been gone 3 days before, but whither they could not learn.” Williams had ded Mas sa chu setts for Rhode Island— reportedly with Winthrop’s aid. He found shelter there with the Narragansett Indi- ans and, from that time until his death almost “fty years later, Williams and Providence Plantation were synonymous with the spirit of religious liberty. In 1663, Rhode Island received a royal charter from King Charles II in which freedom of conscience was guaranteed, giving the colony an exceptional status in the English- speaking world.

The Mas sa chu setts authorities did not cite Williams’s attitude toward the Ameri- can Indians in their charges against him, but in this regard as well, his position was antithetical to their own. From the beginning, he wrote, his “soul’s desire was to do the natives good, and to that end to have their language.” Although he was not interested in assimilating into their culture, Williams presented American Indians as no better or worse than the En glish “rogues” who dealt with them, and stressed that they possessed complex cultures with their own forms of civility. Williams knew that A Key into the Language of Amer i ca would prove useful to those who wished to convert Native Americans to Chris tian ity. He was not primarily interested in such efforts, and in “Christenings Make Not Christians” he argued against a line of thinking that promoted missionary work, which was ostensibly a central reason for the foundation of the Puritan colonies. Anyone not regenerate, Williams argued, was outside the people of God, and to refer to the American Indians as “heathen” was “improperly sinful” and “unchristianly.”

He was greatly disappointed when, despite his efforts to befriend the Narragan- setts, they burned the settlements at both Warwick and Providence during King Philip’s War. By the time Williams died, the future looked grave for the Narragan- setts. The great tribe would never recover from the losses incurred during that war. Despite this failure, Williams’s efforts to separate religious and civil life, and to promote peaceful interactions among dif fer ent groups, produced a lasting legacy. The Rhode Island charter offered a model that would be taken up in the U.S. Bill of Rights, which mandates the separation of Church and state and guarantees free- dom of speech, of the press, and of assembly.



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1. The text is from the “rst edition (1643), reprinted by the Rhode Island and Providence Tercentenary Committee (1936).

2. Shaped. 3. Place of origin. 4. Aboriginal.

From A Key into the Language of Amer i ca1

To My Dear and Well- Beloved Friends and Countrymen, in Old and New Eng land

I pres ent you with a key; I have not heard of the like, yet framed,2 since it pleased God to bring that mighty continent of Amer i ca to light. Others of my countrymen have often, and excellently, and lately written of the coun- try (and none that I know beyond the goodness and worth of it).

This key, re spects the native language of it, and happily may unlock some rarities concerning the natives themselves, not yet discovered.

I drew the materials in a rude lump at sea, as a private help to my own memory, that I might not, by my pres ent absence, lightly lose what I had so dearly bought in some few years hardship, and charges among the barbar- ians. Yet being reminded by some, what pity it were to bury those materials in my grave at land or sea; and withal, remembering how oft I have been impor- tuned by worthy friends of all sorts, to afford them some helps this way. I resolved (by the assistance of The Most High) to cast those materials into this key, pleasant and pro”table for all, but especially for my friends residing in those parts.

A little key may open a box, where lies a bunch of keys. With this I have entered into the secrets of those countries, wherever

En glish dwell about two hundred miles, between the French and Dutch plan- tations; for want of this, I know what gross mistakes myself and others have run into.

There is a mixture of this language north and south, from the place of my abode, about six hundred miles; yet within the two hundred miles (afore- mentioned) their dialects do exceedingly differ; yet not so, but (within that compass) a man may, by this help, converse with thousands of natives all over the country: and by such converse it may please the Father of Mercies to spread civility, (and in His own most holy season) Chris tian ity. For one candle will light ten thousand, and it may please God to bless a little leaven to season the mighty lump of those peoples and territories.

It is expected, that having had so much converse with these natives, I should write some little of them.

Concerning them (a little to gratify expectation) I shall touch upon four heads:

First, by what names they are distinguished. Secondly, their original3 and descent. Thirdly, their religion, manners, customs, etc. Fourthly, that great point of their conversion. To the “rst, their names are of two sorts: First, those of the En glish giving: as natives, savages, Indians, wildmen (so

the Dutch call them wilden), Abergeny4 men, pagans, barbarians, heathen. Secondly, their names which they give themselves.



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5. After the great dood described in the Bible, only Noah and his family remained. 6. I.e., in Chapter XXI of Williams’s Key, which

has thirty- two chapters. 7. Mongolia.

I cannot observe that they ever had (before the coming of the En glish, French or Dutch amongst them) any names to difference themselves from strangers, for they knew none; but two sorts of names they had, and have amongst themselves:

First, general, belonging to all natives, as Nínnuock, Ninnimissinnûwock, Eniskeetomparwog, which signi”es Men, Folk, or People.

Secondly, par tic u lar names, peculiar to several nations, of them amongst themselves, as Nanhiggan̔uck, Massachusêuck, Cawasumsêuck, Cowwes̔uck, Quintikóock, Qunnipi̔uck, Pequttóog, etc.

They have often asked me, why we call them Indians, natives, etc. And understanding the reason, they will call themselves Indians, in opposition to En glish, etc.

For the second head proposed, their original and descent: From Adam and Noah5 that they spring, it is granted on all hands. But for their later descent, and whence they came into those parts, it seems

as hard to “nd, as to “nd the wellhead of some fresh stream, which running many miles out of the country to the salt ocean, hath met with many mix- ing streams by the way. They say themselves, that they have sprung and grown up in that very place, like the very trees of the wilderness.

They say that their great god Kautántowwìt created those parts, as I observed in the chapter of their religion.6 They have no clothes, books, nor letters, and conceive their fathers never had; and therefore they are easily persuaded that the God that made En glishmen is a greater God, because He hath so richly endowed the En glish above themselves. But when they hear that about sixteen hundred years ago, Eng land and the inhabitants thereof were like unto themselves, and since have received from God, clothes, books, etc. they are greatly affected with a secret hope concerning themselves.

Wise and judicious men, with whom I have discoursed, maintain their original to be northward from Tartaria:7 and at my now taking ship, at the Dutch plantation, it pleased the Dutch Governor, (in some discourse with me about the natives), to draw their line from Iceland, because the name Sackmakan (the name for an Indian prince, about the Dutch) is the name for a prince in Iceland.

Other opinions I could number up: under favor I shall pres ent (not mine opinion, but) my observations to the judgment of the wise.

First, others (and myself) have conceived some of their words to hold af”n- ity with the Hebrew.

Secondly, they constantly anoint their heads as the Jews did. Thirdly, they give dowries for their wives, as the Jews did. Fourthly (and which I have not so observed amongst other nations as

amongst the Jews, and these:) they constantly separate their women (during the time of their monthly sickness) in a little house alone by themselves four or “ve days, and hold it an irreligious thing for either father or husband or any male to come near them.

They have often asked me if it be so with women of other nations, and whether they are so separated: and for their practice they plead nature and



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8.  I.e., the constellation known as Ursa Major ( Great Bear), the Big Dipper, or Charlemagne’s wagon (“wain”). 9. Asserted, proffered (with none of the modern

connotations of deceit). 1. Conversations. 2. Connecticut.

tradition. Yet again I have found a greater af”nity of their language with the Greek tongue.

2. As the Greeks and other nations, and ourselves call the seven stars (or Charles’ Wain, the Bear,)8 so do they Mosk or Paukunnawaw, the Bear.

3. They have many strange relations of one Wétucks, a man that wrought great miracles amongst them, and walking upon the waters, etc., with some kind of broken resemblance to the Son of God.

Lastly, it is famous that the Sowwest (Sowaniu) is the great subject of their discourse. From thence their traditions. There they say (at the southwest) is the court of their great god Kautántowwìt: at the southwest are their forefathers’ souls: to the southwest they go themselves when they die; from the southwest came their corn, and beans out of their great god Kautántow- wìt’s “eld: and indeed the further northward and westward from us their corn will not grow, but to the southward better and better. I dare not con- jecture in these uncertainties. I believe they are lost, and yet hope (in the Lord’s holy season) some of the wildest of them shall be found to share in the blood of the Son of God. To the third head, concerning their religion, customs, manners etc. I shall here say nothing, because in those 32 chap- ters of the whole book, I have briedy touched those of all sorts, from their birth to their burials, and have endeavored (as the nature of the work would give way) to bring some short observations and applications home to Eu rope from Amer i ca.

Therefore fourthly, to that great point of their conversion, so much to be longed for, and by all New- English so much pretended,9 and I hope in truth.

For myself I have uprightly labored to suit my endeavors to my pretenses: and of later times (out of desire to attain their language) I have run through va ri e ties of intercourses1 with them day and night, summer and winter, by land and sea, par tic u lar passages tending to this, I have related divers, in the chapter of their religion.

Many solemn discourses I have had with all sorts of nations of them, from one end of the country to another (so far as opportunity, and the little lan- guage I have could reach).

I know there is no small preparation in the hearts of multitudes of them. I know their many solemn confessions to myself, and one to another of their lost wandering conditions.

I know strong convictions upon the consciences of many of them, and their desires uttered that way.

I know not with how little knowledge and grace of Christ the Lord may save, and therefore, neither will despair, nor report much.

But since it hath pleased some of my worthy countrymen to mention (of late in print) Wequash, the Péquot captain, I shall be bold so far to second their relations, as to relate mine own hopes of him (though I dare not be so con”dent as others).

Two days before his death, as I passed up to Qunníhticut2 River, it pleased my worthy friend Mr. Fenwick, (whom I visited at his house in Saybrook Fort



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3. Came to the end of my talk. 4. I.e., until Judgment Day. 5. Japhet was the third son of Noah and, in some traditions, the progenitor of the Indo- European

race (see Genesis 9.18). 6. “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles” (Malachi 1.11).

at the mouth of that river) to tell me that my old friend Wequash lay very sick. I desired to see him, and himself was pleased to be my guide two miles where Wequash lay.

Amongst other discourse concerning his sickness and death (in which he freely bequeathed his son to Mr. Fenwick) I closed3 with him concerning his soul: he told me that some two or three years before he had lodged at my house, where I acquainted him with the condition of all mankind, & his own in par tic u lar; how God created man and all things; how man fell from God, and of his pres ent enmity against God, and the wrath of God against him until repentance. Said he, “your words were never out of my heart to this pres ent;” and said he “me much pray to Jesus Christ.” I told him so did many En glish, French, and Dutch, who had never turned to God, nor loved Him. He replied in broken En glish: “Me so big naughty heart, me heart all one stone!” Savory expressions using to breathe from compunct and broken hearts, and a sense of inward hardness and unbrokenness [sic]. I had many discourses with him in his life, but this was the sum of our last parting until our General Meeting.4

Now, because this is the great inquiry of all men: what Indians have been converted? what have the En glish done in those parts? what hopes of the Indians receiving the knowledge of Christ?

And because to this question, some put an edge from the boast of the Jesu- its in Canada and Mary land, and especially from the wonderful conver- sions made by the Spaniards and Portugals in the West- Indies, besides what I have here written, as also, beside what I have observed in the chapter of their religion, I shall further pres ent you with a brief additional discourse concerning this great point, being comfortably persuaded that that Father of Spirits, who was graciously pleased to persuade Japhet (the Gentiles) to dwell in the tents of Shem (the Jews),5 will, in His holy season (I hope approaching), persuade these Gentiles of Amer i ca to partake of the mercies of Eu rope, and then shall be ful”lled what is written by the prophet Mala- chi,6 from the rising of the sun (in Eu rope) to the going down of the same (in Amer i ca), My name shall be great among the Gentiles. So I desire to hope and pray,

Your unworthy countryman, Roger Williams

Directions for the Use of the Language

1. A dictionary or grammar way I had consideration of, but purposely avoided, as not so accommodate to the bene”t of all, as I hope this form is.

2. A dialogue also I had thoughts of, but avoided for brevity’s sake, and yet (with no small pains) I have so framed every chapter and the matter of it, as I may call it an implicit dialogue.

3. It is framed chiedy after the Narragansett dialect, because most spoken in the country, and yet (with attending to the variation of peoples and dia- lects) it will be of great use in all parts of the country.



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7. Page. 8. Mostly.

9. Over. 1. Divide among.

4. What ever your occasion be, either of travel, discourse, trading etc. turn to the table which will direct you to the proper chapter.

5. Because the life of all language is in the pronunciation, I have been at the pains and charges to cause the accents, tones or sounds to be af”xed, (which some understand, according to the Greek language, acutes, graves, circumdexes) for example, in the second leaf7 in the word Ewò He: the sound or tone must not be put on E, but wò where the grave accent is.

In the same leaf, in the word Ascowequássin, the sound must not be on any of the syllables, but on quáss, where the acute or sharp sound is.

In the same leaf in the word Anspaumpmaûntam, the sound must not be on any other syllable but maûn, where the circumdex or long sounding accent is.

6. The En glish for every Indian word or phrase stands in a straight line directly against the Indian: yet sometimes there are two words for the same thing (for their language is exceeding copious, and they have “ve or six words sometimes for one thing) and then the En glish stands against them both: for example in the second leaf:

Cowáunckamish & Cuckqué na mish I pray your favor.

From An Help to the Native Language of that Part of Amer i ca Called New Eng land

from chapter i. of salutation

1. The courteous pagan shall condemn Uncourteous En glishmen, Who live like foxes, bears and wolves, Or lion in his den.

2. Let none sing blessings to their souls, 5 For that they courteous are: The wild barbarians with no more Than nature, go so far.

3. If nature’s sons both wild and tame, Humane and courteous be: 10 How ill becomes it Sons of God To want humanity?

from chapter ii. of eating and entertainment

1. Coarse bread and water’s most,8 their fare, O Eng land’s diet “ne; Thy cup runs ore9 with plenteous store Of wholesome beer and wine.

2. Sometimes God gives them Fish or Flesh, 5 Yet they’re content without; And what comes in, they part to1 friends And strangers round about.



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2. Also (archaic). 3. “And about the eleventh hour he [Christ] went out, and found others standing idle, and said unto them, ‘Why stand ye here all the day

idle?’ They said unto him, ‘ Because no man hath hired us.’ He said unto them, ‘Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive’ ” (Matthew 20.6–7).

3. God’s providence is rich to his, Let none distrustful be; 10 In wilderness, in great distress, These ravens have fed me.

from chapter vi. of the family and business of the house

1. How busy are the sons of men? How full their heads and hands? What noise and tumults in our own, And eke2 in Pagan lands?

2. Yet I have found less noise, more peace 5 In wild Amer i ca, Where women quickly build the house, And quickly move away.

[3] En glish and Indians busy are, In parts of their abode: 10 Yet both stand idle, till God’s call Set them to work for God. Mat. 20.7.3

from chapter xi. of travel

1. God makes a path, provides a guide, And feeds in wilderness! His glorious name while breath remains, O that I may confess.

2. Lost many a time, I have had no guide, 5 No house, but hollow tree! In stormy winter night no “re, No food, no com pany:

3. In him I have found a house, a bed, A table, com pany: 10 No cup so bitter, but’s made sweet, When God shall sweet’ning be.

from chapter xviii. of the sea

[1] They see God’s won ders that are call’ed Through dreadful seas to pass, In tearing winds and roaring seas, And calms as smooth as glass.

[2] I have in Eu rope’s ships, oft been 5 In King of terror’s hand; When all have cried, “Now, now we sink,” Yet God brought safe to land.

[3] Alone ’mongst Indians in canoes, Sometime o’er- turn’d, I have been 10 Half inch from death, in ocean deep, God’s won ders I have seen.



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4. Conversation.

from chapter xxi. of religion, the soul, etc.

Manìt- manittó, wock. God, Gods. Obs. He that questions whether God made the world, the Indians will

teach him. I must acknowledge I have received in my converse4 with them many con”rmations of those two great points, Hebrews II. 6. viz:

1. That God is. 2. That He is a rewarder of all them that diligently seek Him. They will generally confess that God made all, but them in special,

although they deny not that En glishman’s God made En glishmen, and the heavens and earth there! yet their Gods made them and the heaven, and earth where they dwell.

Nummusquauna- múckqun manìt. God is angry with me? Obs. I have heard a poor Indian lamenting the loss of a child at break of

day, call up his wife and children, and all about him to lamentation, and with abundance of tears cry out! “O God thou hast taken away my child! thou art angry with me: O turn Thine anger from me, and spare the rest of my children.”

If they receive any good in hunting, “shing, harvest etc. they acknowl- edge God in it.

Yea, if it be but an ordinary accident, a fall, etc. they will say God was angry and did it, musquàntum manit God is angry. But herein is their misery:

First, they branch their God- head into many gods. Secondly, attribute it to creatures. First, many gods: they have given me the names of thirty seven which I

have, all which in their solemn worships they invocate, as: Kautántowwìt the great Southwest God, to whose house all souls go, and

from whom came their corn, beans, as they say.

Wompanand. The Eastern God. Chekesuwànd. The Western God. Wunnanaméanit. The Northern God. Sowwanànd. The Southern God. Wetuómanit. The House God.

Even as the papists have their he and she saint protectors as St. George, St. Patrick, St. Denis, Virgin Mary, etc.

Squáuanit. The Woman’s God. Muckquachuckquànd. The Children’s God.

Obs. I was once with a native dying of a wound, given him by some mur- derous En glish who robbed him and ran him through with a rapier, from whom in the heat of his wound, he at present escaped from them, but dying of his wound, they suffered death at New Plymouth, in New En gland, this native dying called much upon Muckquachuckquànd, which of other natives I understood (as they believed) had appeared to the dying young man, many years before, and bid him whenever he was in distress call upon him.

Secondly, as they have many of these fained deities; so worship they the creatures in whom they conceive doth rest some deity:



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Keesuckquànd. The Sun God. Nanepaûshat. The Moon God. Paumpágussit. The Sea. Yotáanit. The Fire God.

Supposing that deities be in these, etc.

* * * They have a modest religious persuasion not to disturb any man, either

themselves En glish, Dutch, or any in their conscience, and worship, and therefore say:

Aquiewopwarwash. Peace, hold your peace. Aquiewopwarwock. Peeyàuntam. He is at prayer. Peeyaúntamwock. They are praying. Cowwéwonck. The soul.

Derived from cowwene to sleep, because say they, it works and operates when the body sleeps. Míchachunck, the soul, in a higher notion which is of af”nity, with a word signifying a looking glass, or clear resemblance, so that it hath its name from a clear sight or discerning, which indeed seems very well to suit with the nature of it.

Wuhóck. The body Nohòck: cohòck My body, your body Awaunkeesitteoúwincohòck: Tunna- awwa commítchichunck-

kitonckquèan? Whether goes your soul when you

die? An. Sowánakitaúwaw. It goes to the southwest.

Obs. They believe that the souls of men and women go to the southwest, their great and good men and women to Kautántowwìt, his house, where they have hopes (as the Turks have of carnal joys). Murderers, thieves and liars, their souls (say they) wander restless abroad.

Now because this book (by God’s good providence) may come into the hand of many fearing God, who may also have many an opportunity of occa- sional discourse with some of these, their wild brethren and sisters, and may speak a word for their and our glorious Maker, which may also prove some preparatory mercy to their souls: I shall propose some proper expressions concerning the creation of the world, and man’s estate, and in par tic u lar theirs also, which from myself many hundreds of times, great numbers of them have heard with great delight, and great convictions; which, who knows (in God’s holy season), may rise to the exalting of the Lord Jesus Christ in their conversion, and salvation?

Nétop Kunnatótemous. Friend, I will ask you a question. Natótema: Speak on. Tocketunnântum? What think you? Awaun Keesiteoûwin

Kéesuck? Who made the heavens?

Aûke Wechêkom? The earth, the sea? Míttauke. The world.



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Some will answer Tattá, I cannot tell, some will answer Manittôwock, the gods.

Tà suóg Maníttôwock How many gods be there? Maunarog Mishaúnawock. Many, great many. Nétop machàge. Friend, not so. Parsuck narnt manìt. There is only one God. Cuppíssittone. You are mistaken. Cowauwaúnemun. You are out of the way.

A phrase which much pleaseth them, being proper for their wandering in the woods, and similitudes greatly please them.

Kukkakótemous, wâchit quáshouwe. I will tell you, presently. Kuttaunchemókous. I will tell you news. Paûsuck narnt manit kéesittin

keesuck, etc. One only God made the heavens

etc. Napannetashèmittan naugecautúm-

monab nshque. Five thousand years ago and

upwards. Nargom narnt wukkesittínnes-

wâme teâgun. He alone made all things.

Wuche mateâg. Out of nothing. Quttatashuchuckqún- nacau-

skeesitínnes wâme. In six days He made all things.

Nquittaqúnne. The “rst day He made the light. Wuckéesitin wequâi. Néesqunne. Wuckéesitin Keésuck.

The second day He made the “rmament

Shúckqunnewuckéesitin Arke kà wechêkom

The third day He made the earth and sea.

Yóqunne wuckkéesitin Nippauus kà Naneparshat.

The fourth day He made the sun and the moon.

Neenash- mamockíuwash wêquan- antíganash.

Two great lights.

Kà wáme anócksuck. And all the stars. Napannetashúckqunne Wuckéesit

tin pussuckseésuck wâme. The “fth day He made all the

fowl. Keesuckquíuke. In the air, or heavens. Ka wáme namarsuck. Wechekom-

míuke. And all the “sh in the sea.

Quttatashúkqunne wuckkeésittin penashímwock wamè.

The sixth day He made all the beasts of the “eld.

Wuttàke wuchè wuckeesittin pau- suck Enìn, or, Eneskéetomp.

Last of all he made one man.

Wuche mishquòck. Of red earth, Ka wesuonckgonnakaûnes Adam,

túppautea mishquòck. And called him Adam, or red

earth. Wuttàke wuchè, Câwit míshquock, Then afterward, while Adam, or

red earth, slept, Wuckaudnúmmenes manìt

peetar- gon wuche Adam. God took a rib from Adam, or red

earth. Kà wuchè peteaúgon. Wukkeesitín-

nes pausuck squàw. And of that rib he made one

woman. Kà pawtouwúnnes Adâmuck And brought her to Adam.



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5. “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in daming “re taking ven- geance on them that know not God, and that obey

not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes- salonians 1.7–8). 6. See 2 Samuel 14.26 and 2 Kings 9.30.

Nawônt Adam wuttúnnawaun nup- peteâgon ewò.

When Adam saw her, he said, “This is my bone.”

Enadatashúckqunne, aquêi, The seventh day He rested, Nagaû wuchè quttatashúckqune

anacaûsuock En glishmánuck. And, therefore, En glishmen work

six days. Enadatashuckqunnóckat tauba-

tarmwock. On the seventh day they praise

God. Obs. At this relation they are much satis”ed, with a reason why (as they

observe) the En glish and Dutch, etc., labor six days, and rest and worship the seventh.

Besides, they will say, we never heard of this before: and then will relate how they have it from their fathers, that Kautántowwìt made one man and woman of a stone, which disliking, he broke them in pieces, and made another man and woman of a tree, which were the fountains of all mankind.

* * * [1.] Two sorts of men shall naked stand

Before the burning ire 2 Thes. 1.85 Of him that shortly shall appear, In dreadful daming “re.

[2.] First, millions know not God, nor for His knowledge care to seek: Millions have knowledge store, but in Obedience are not meek.

[3.] If woe to Indians, where shall Turk, Where shall appear the Jew? O, where shall stand the Christian false? O blessed then the true.

* * * from chapter xxx. of their paintings

[1.] Truth is a native, naked beauty; but Lying inventions are but Indian paints; Dissembling hearts their beauty’s but a lie. Truth is the proper beauty of God’s saints.

2. Foul are the Indians’ hair and painted faces, 5 More foul such hair, such face in Israel. En gland so calls herself, yet there’s Absalom’s foul hair and face of Jezebel.6

[3.] Paints will not bide Christ’s washing dames of “re, Feigned inventions will not bide such storms: 10 O that we may prevent him, that betimes, Repentance tears may wash off all such forms.




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1. The text used here was originally published in London in 1645 and was reprinted as no. 14  in the series Rhode Island Historical Tracts (1881). 2. In the archaic sense of not being Christian or Jewish. 3. “Typical” in the sense of symbolizing a “holy nation.” 4. 1 Peter 2.9 concerns the idea of a holy nation. “&c”: i.e., et cetera.

5. Williams says that all peoples have some mem- bers who are saved (i.e., “Christians”) and some who are not (i.e., “heathens”). He refers speci”- cally to 1 Corinthians 5:12: “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

From Christenings Make Not Christians Or a Brief Discourse Concerning That Name Heathen,

Commonly Given to the Indians1

As Also Concerning that Great Point of Their Conversion

I shall “rst be humbly bold to inquire into the name heathen, which the En glish give them, & the Dutch approve and practise in their name hey- denen, signifying heathen or nations.

How oft have I heard both the En glish and Dutch (not only the civil, but the most debauched and profane) say, These heathen dogs, better kill a thou- sand of them than that we Christians should be endangered or troubled with them; better they were all cut off, & then we shall be no more troubled with them: They have spilt our Christian blood, the best way to make rid- dance of them, cut them all off, and so make way for Christians.

I shall therefore humbly entreat my country- men of all sorts to consider, that although men have used to apply this word heathen to the Indians that go naked, and have not heard of that one God, yet this word heathen is most improperly, sinfully, and unchristianly so used in this sence. The word hea- then signi”eth no more than nations or gentiles; so do our translations from the Hebrew כךים and the Greek ௞ԹഢӪ in the Old and New Testaments pro- miscuously render these words gentiles, nations, heathens.

Why nations? Because the Jews being the only people and nation of God, esteemed (and that rightly) all other people, not only those that went naked, but the famous Babylonians, Caldeans, Medes, and Persians, Greeks and Romans, their stately cities and citizens, inferior [to] themselves, and not partakers of their glorious privileges, but ethnick,2 gentiles, heathen, or the nations of the world.

Now then we must inquire who are the people of God, his holy nation, since the coming of the Lord Jesus, and the rejection of his “rst typical holy nation, the Jews.3

It is confessed by all, that the Christians, the followers of Jesus, are now the only people of God, his holy nation, &c. ௞ԹഢԒز ஃۻϑԒഢ; 1. Pet. 2. 9.4

Who are then the nations, heathen, or gentiles, in opposition to this people of God? I answer, All people, civilized as well as uncivilized, even the most famous states, cities, and kingdoms of the world: For all must come within that distinction; 1. Cor. 5; within or without.5

* * * Now * * * for the hopes of conversion, and turning the people of Amer-

i ca unto God: There is no re spect of persons with him, for we are all the work of his hands; from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, his



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6. I.e., physical resources such as churches and Bibles. “Respect”: consider. 7. Ephesians 4. 8. Williams condemns the Catholic practice of mass conversion of Natives in the Amer i cas. 9. I.e., the Christian sabbath. “The chapter . . . reli- gion”: i.e., Chapter XXI of Williams’s Key. 1. Religious ser vice.

2. Williams traces the shifting religious estab- lishments under a series of En glish monarchs, from King Henry VII (1457–1509; reigned 1485– 1509) to Queen Elizabeth I (1533–1603; reigned 1558–1603). 3. Williams alludes to the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25.14–30).

name shall be great among the nations from the east and from the west, &c. If we re spect their sins, they are far short of Eu ro pean sinners: They neither abuse such corporal mercies,6 for they have them not; nor sin they against the Gospel light (which shines not amongst them), as the men of Eu rope do: And yet if they were greater sinners than they are, or greater sinners than the Eu ro pe ans, they are not the further from the great ocean of mercy in that re spect.

Lastly, they are intelligent, many very ingenuous, plain- hearted, inquisi- tive, and (as I said before) prepared with many convictions, &c.

Now * * * for the Catholics’ conversion, although I believe I may safely hope that God hath his in Rome, in Spain, yet if Antichrist be their false head (as most true it is) the body, faith, baptism, hope (opposite to the true; Ephes. 4.)7 are all false also; yea, consequently their preachings, conversions, salvations (leaving secret things to God) must all be of the same false nature likewise.

If the reports (yea, some of their own historians) be true, what monstrous and most inhumane conversions have they made; baptizing thousands, yea, ten thousands of the poor Natives, sometimes by wiles and subtle devices, sometimes by force compelling them to submit to that which they understood not, neither before nor after such their monstrous Christening of them.8 * * * For our New Eng land parts, I can speak uprightly and con”dently, I know it to have been easy for my self long ere this, to have brought many thousands of these Natives, yea, the whole country, to a far greater Antichris- tian conversion than ever was yet heard of in Amer i ca. I have reported some- thing in the chapter of their religion, how readily I could have brought the whole country to have observed one day in seven;9 I add to have received a baptisme (or washing), though it were in Rivers (as the “rst Christians and the Lord Jesus himself did), to have come to stated church meeting,1 main- tained priests and forms of prayer, and a whole form of Antichristian worship in life and death. Let none won der at this, for plausible persuasions in the mouths of those whom natu ral men esteem and love: for the power of prevail- ing forces and armies hath done this in all the nations (as men speak) of Christendom. Yea, what la men ta ble experience have we of the turnings and turnings of the body of this land in point of religion in [a] few years?

When Eng land was all popish under Henry the seventh, how easy is con- version wrought to half- papish half- Protestant under Henry the eighth?

From half- Protestanism half- popery under Henry the eighth, to absolute Protestanism under Edward the sixth: from absolute Protestation under Edward the sixth to absolute popery under Quen Mary, and from absolute popery under Queen Mary (just like the weathercock, with the breath of every prince), to absolute Protestanism under Queen Elizabeth &c.2

For all this, yet some may ask, why hath there been such a price in my hand not improved?3 Why have I not brought them to such a conversion as I speak of? I answer, Woe be to me if I call light darkness, or darkness light;



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sweet bitter, or bitter sweet; woe be to me if I call that conversion unto God which is indeed subversion of the souls of millions in Christendom, from one false worship to another, and the profanation of the holy name of God, his holy Son and blessed ordinances. Amer i ca (as Eu rope and all nations) lies dead in sin and trespasses: It is not a suit of crimson satin will make a dead man live; take off and change his crimson into white he is dead still; off with that, and shift him into cloth of gold, and from that to cloth of dia- monds, he is but a dead man still: For it is not a form, nor the change of one form into another, a “ner, and a “ner, and yet more “ne, that makes a man a convert; I meane such a convert as is acceptable to God in Jesus Christ, according to the vis i ble rule of his last will and testament. * * *

* * * * * * It must not be (it is not pos si ble it should be in truth) a conversion

of people to the worship of the Lord Jesus by force of arms and swords of steel: So indeed did Nebuchadnezzer deal with all the world; Dan. 3. So doth his antitype and successor the beast deal with all the Earth; Rev. 13. &c.

But so did never the Lord Jesus bring any unto his most pure worship, for he abhors (as all men, yea, the very Indians do) an unwilling spouse, and to enter into a forced bed: The will in worship, if true, is like a free vote, nec cogit, nec cogitur:4 Jesus Christ compels by the mighty persuasions of his messengers to come in, but other wise with earthly weapons he never did compel nor can be compelled.

The not discerning of this truth hath let out the blood of thousands in civil combustions in all ages; and made the whore5 drunk & the Earth drunk with the blood of the saints, and witnesses of Jesus.


4. Neither does he compel, nor is he compelled (Latin).

5. The biblical whore of Babylon; here, the Roman Catholic Church.

ANNE BR ADSTREET c. 1612–1672

Anne Bradstreet produced the “rst sustained body of poetry in British North Amer i ca. In Bradstreet’s day, many people wrote and read poetry for plea- sure, and poems were often included in prose works. (Consider John Smith’s writ- ings, Thomas Morton’s New En glish Canaan [1637], and Roger Williams’s A Key into the Language of Amer i ca [1643], which are excerpted above.) When Brad- street’s The Tenth Muse appeared in London in 1650, it became the “rst pub- lished volume of poems in En glish written by a resident of Amer i ca. It was widely read in Eng land and the colonies, notably by the New Eng land minister- poet Edward Taylor, who had a copy of the second edition of Bradstreet’s poems (1678) in his library.



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Bradstreet’s work continues to resonate with readers and writers. In the twentieth century, the American poets John Berryman, Susan Howe, and Adrienne Rich all wrote about Bradstreet and her work, inspired by her achievement. In her preface to the 1967 edition of Bradstreet’s writings, Rich captured the drama of Bradstreet’s life as a woman and a poet in the new British colonies: “To have written poems, the “rst good poems in Amer i ca, while rearing eight children, lying frequently sick, keeping house at the edge of wilderness, was to have managed a poet’s range and extension within con”nes as strict as any American poet has confronted.” These circumstances, Rich continued, “forced into concentration and permanence a gifted energy that might, in another context, have spent itself in other, less enduring, directions.”

Bradstreet’s social position helped mitigate the “con”nes” that Rich described, and her En glish education provided intellectual resources that fueled her achieve- ment. Her father, Thomas Dudley, man ag er of the country estate of the Puritan earl of Lincoln, enabled his daughter to receive an education superior to that of most young women of the time, including training in the classics. As a young girl, Bradstreet wrote poems to please her father. Her earliest surviving poems engage with such major literary works as Sir Walter Raleigh’s History of the World (1614), as well as the writings of the leading En glish poets Sir Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser and the French Protestant poet Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas.

At sixteen she married Simon Bradstreet, a recent gradu ate of Cambridge Univer- sity, who worked with Thomas Dudley. She continued to write poetry after their marriage. Simon assisted in preparing the Mas sa chu setts Bay Com pany for its departure for Amer i ca, and in 1630 the Bradstreets and the Dudleys sailed with John Winthrop’s deet. Bradstreet writes that when she “rst “came into this coun- try” she “found a new world and new manners,” at which her “heart rose” in re sis- tance. “But after I was convinced it was the way of God, I submitted to it and joined the church at Boston.”

Bradstreet’s new circumstances posed many challenges and physical trials. As a child, she had endured a bout of rheumatic fever, which led to recurrent periods of severe fatigue. Even so, she eventually bore eight children. Simon’s travels and her family’s prominence doubtless placed demands on her as well. Her father served several terms as the Bay colony’s governor and held other public of”ces. Her husband, who was secretary to the com pany and later governor of the colony, was involved in numerous diplomatic missions that took him away from home, including an extended trip to Eng land in 1661. The frequent absence of her husband was one challenge among many. In 1666, she lost most of her worldly possessions when her house burned. She may also have lost manuscripts in the “re.

Like any good Puritan, Bradstreet routinely examined her conscience and wres- tled to make sense of events, such as the house “re, in relation to a divine plan. According to one of the “Meditations” Bradstreet wrote for her children, she was troubled many times about the truth of the Scriptures, she never saw any convinc- ing miracles, and she always wondered if the miracles she read about “ were feigned.” Eventually she came to believe that her eyes gave her the best evidence of God’s existence. She is the “rst in a long line of American poets who took their consola- tion not from theology but from, as she wrote, the “wondrous works, that I see, the vast frame of the heaven and the earth, the order of all things, night and day, sum- mer and winter, spring and autumn, the daily providing for this great house hold upon the earth, the preserving and directing of all to its proper end.”

Bradstreet’s poems circulated in manuscript until, without her knowledge, her brother- in- law John Woodbridge had them printed in London as The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in Amer i ca (1650). Bradstreet expressed her ambivalence about the print publication of her work in the poem “The Author to Her Book,” which she seems to have written in connection with a proposed second edition of The Tenth Muse. That volume was published posthumously, in Boston, as Several Poems Com-



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1. Humble. 2. Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas (1544– 1590), a French Protestant writer much admired by the Puritans. He was most famous as the author of The Divine Weeks, an epic poem recounting great moments in Christian history.

3. In Greek my thol ogy, the nine goddesses of the arts and sciences. “Fool”: i.e., like a fool. 4. Accord, harmony of sound. 5. The ancient Greek orator De mos the nes con- quered a speech defect.

piled with Great Wit and Learning (1678). This edition shows the growing induence of the Bay Psalm Book on Bradstreet’s prosody and diction, and it includes a number of new poems in a more lyrical or elegiac vein that contrasts with her early works on public and philosophical themes. The more intimate poems highlight her concern for her family and home and reveal the pleasures that she took in everyday life.

The following texts are from The Works of Anne Bradstreet (1967), edited by Jean- nine Hensley.

The Prologue


To sing of wars, of captains, and of kings, Of cities founded, commonwealths begun, For my mean1 pen are too superior things: Or how they all, or each their dates have run Let poets and historians set these forth, 5 My obscure lines shall not so dim their worth.


But when my wond’ring eyes and envious heart Great Bartas’2 sugared lines do but read o’er, Fool I do grudge the Muses3 did not part ’Twixt him and me that overduent store; 10 A Bartas can do what a Bartas will But simple I according to my skill.


From schoolboy’s tongue no rhet’ric we expect, Nor yet a sweet consort4 from broken strings, Nor perfect beauty where’s a main defect: 15 My foolish, broken, blemished Muse so sings, And this to mend, alas, no art is able, ’Cause nature made it so irreparable.


Nor can I, like that duent sweet tongued Greek, Who lisped at “rst, in future times speak plain.5 20 By art he gladly found what he did seek, A full requital of his striving pain. Art can do much, but this maxim’s most sure: A weak or wounded brain admits no cure.



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I am obnoxious to each carping tongue 25 Who says my hand a needle better “ts, A poet’s pen all scorn I should thus wrong, For such despite they cast on female wits: If what I do prove well, it won’t advance, They’ll say it’s stol’n, or else it was by chance. 30


But sure the antique Greeks were far more mild Else of our sex, why feigned they those nine And poesy made Calliope’s6 own child; So ’mongst the rest they placed the arts divine: But this weak knot they will full soon untie. 35 The Greeks did nought, but play the fools and lie.


Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are; Men have precedency and still excel, It is but vain unjustly to wage war; Men can do best, and women know it well 40 Preeminence in all and each is yours; Yet grant some small acknowl edgment of ours.


And oh ye high down quills7 that soar the skies, And ever with your prey still catch your praise, If e’er you deign these lowly lines your eyes 45 Give thyme or parsley wreath, I ask no bays;8 This mean and unre”ned ore of mine Will make your glist’ring gold but more to shine.


In Honor of That High and Mighty Princess Queen Elizabeth1 of Happy Memory

The Proem2

Although, great Queen, thou now in silence lie, Yet thy loud herald Fame doth to the sky

6. The muse of epic poetry. 7. Pens. 8. Garlands of laurel, used to crown a poet.

1. Elizabeth I (1533–1603), queen of Eng land, ascended to the throne in 1558. 2. Prelude.



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3. Enraptures. 4. Loud. “Hecatombs”: sacri”cial offerings of one hundred beasts, made in ancient Greece. 5. An elaborate framework erected over a royal tomb, to which verses or epitaphs were attached. 6. William Camden (1551–1623) wrote Annales, translated in 1630 as The History of the Most Renowned and Victorious Princess Elizabeth. “No Phoenix pen”: perhaps a reference to the En glish poet Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586), the subject of one of Bradstreet’s poems, but she may also be referring to any immortal poet’s work. (The phoenix is a mythological bird that dies in dames and rises from its ashes.) “Spenser’s”: Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599), author of The Faerie Queen (1590, 1596), whose title honors

Elizabeth. “Speed’s”: John Speed (1552?–1629), author of Historie of Great Britain (1611). 7. Reduce to manageable space. 8. Elizabeth I reigned for forty- four years. “Olympiads”: four- year intervals between Olym- pic games; in ancient Greece, dates were calcu- lated by them. 9. King (Latin). 1. Philip II (1527–1598) was Spain’s monarch when Queen Elizabeth’s navy defeated his “host” (the many ships of the Spanish Armada) in 1588. 2. A law of the Salian Franks that excluded women from succession to the French Crown. 3. Learned men. 4. I.e., never- “nished course. 5. I.e., Earth has a new face each spring.

Thy wondrous worth proclaim in every clime, And so hath vowed while there is world or time. So great’s thy glory and thine excellence, 5 The sound thereof rapts3 every human sense, That men account it no impiety, To say thou wert a deshly deity. Thousands bring offerings (though out of date) Thy world of honors to accumulate; 10 ’Mongst hundred hecatombs of roaring4 verse, Mine bleating stands before thy royal hearse.5 Thou never didst nor canst thou now disdain T’ accept the tribute of a loyal brain. Thy clemency did erst esteem as much 15 The acclamations of the poor as rich, Which makes me deem my rudeness is no wrong, Though I resound thy praises ’mongst the throng.

The Poem

No Phoenix pen, nor Spenser’s poetry, No Speed’s nor Camden’s learned history,6 20 Eliza’s works, wars, praise, can e’er compact;7 The world’s the theatre where she did act. No memories nor volumes can contain The ’leven Olympiads of her happy reign.8 Who was so good, so just, so learn’d, so wise, 25 From all the kings on earth she won the prize. Nor say I more than duly is her due, Millions will testify that this is true. She hath wiped off th’ aspersion of her sex, That women wisdom lack to play the rex.9 30 Spain’s monarch, says not so, nor yet his host; She taught them better manners, to their cost.1 The Salic law,2 in force now had not been, If France had ever hoped for such a queen. But can you, doctors,3 now this point dispute, 35 She’s argument enough to make you mute. Since “rst the Sun did run his ne’er run race,4 And earth had, once a year, a new old face,5



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6. Disturbances. 7. Don Antonio of Crato (1531–1595), who laid claim to the Portuguese throne. 8. Henri IV (1553–1610), Protestant king of France. 9. A reference to the Netherlands, whose national assembly was called the States General. Elizabeth I came to their aid in the wars against Spain. 1. Female warrior. 2. The Irish chieftain Hugh O’Neill (c. 1540– 1616), second earl of Tyrone, was defeated by En glish forces in 1601. 3. The Roman goddess of war, wisdom, chastity, the arts, and justice; in Greece, known as Pallas Athena. 4. Unknown land (Latin). 5. Robert Devereux (1566–1601), second earl of Essex, captured the Spanish port Cadiz, near the legendary Pillars of Hercules at Gibraltar, in 1596. Essex was the patron of the poet Edmund Spenser, who famously declared that the con-

queror’s name “through all Spain did thunder, / And Hercules’ two pillars, standing hear, / Did make to quake and fear.” “Drake”: the explorer Sir Francis Drake (1540?–1596) brought back to Eng land Spanish gold from Chile and Peru. 6. Late- ninth- century queen of Assyria, said to have built Babylon. 7. The tower of Babel was built to win fame for its builders (Genesis 11). 8. Tomyris was queen of the Massagetae, a Scythian tribe, whose armies defeated Cyrus the Great of Persia in 529 b.c.e. According to some accounts, Tomyris had Cyrus beheaded and his head thrown into a pot of blood because it was a “tting end to a bloodthirsty man. 9. In 1588, anticipating a Spanish invasion, Eliza- beth I reportedly addressed the En glish troops at Tilbury, on the north bank of the Thames River, dressed like the mythological female warriors known as Amazons and wearing a silver breast- plate.

Since time was time, and man unmanly man, Come show me such a Phoenix if you can. 40 Was ever people better ruled than hers? Was ever land more happy freed from stirs?6 Did ever wealth in Eng land more abound? Her victories in foreign coasts resound; Ships more invincible than Spain’s, her foe, 45 She wracked, she sacked, she sunk his Armado; Her stately troops advanced to Lisbon’s wall, Don Anthony7 in’s right there to install. She frankly helped Frank’s brave distressed king;8 The states united9 now her fame do sing. 50 She their protectrix was; they well do know Unto our dread virago,1 what they owe. Her nobles sacri”ced their noble blood, Nor men nor coin she spared to do them good. The rude untamed Irish, she did quell, 55 Before her picture the proud Tyrone fell.2 Had ever prince such counsellors as she? Herself Minerva3 caused them so to be. Such captains and such soldiers never seen, As were the subjects of our Pallas queen. 60 Her seamen through all straits the world did round; Terra incognita4 might know the sound. Her Drake came laden home with Spanish gold; Her Essex took Cadiz, their Herculean hold.5 But time would fail me, so my tongue would too, 65 To tell of half she did, or she could do. Semiramis6 to her is but obscure, More infamy than fame she did procure. She built her glory but on Babel’s walls,7 World’s won der for a while, but yet it falls. 70 Fierce Tomris (Cyrus’ headsman) Scythians’ queen,8 Had put her harness off, had she but seen Our Amazon in th’ Camp of Tilbury,9 Judging all valor and all majesty



1. The Latin poet Virgil (70–19 b.c.e.), in book 4 of his Aeneid, tells the tale of the fabled queen of Carthage and her self- immolation after she was abandoned by Aeneas. 2. In Greek, Cleopatra— the name of the famous, licentious Egyptian queen (69–30 b.c.e.)— means “glory to the father.” Bradstreet extends the meaning to “fatherland.” 3. Queen of Palmyra, Syria, famous for her wars of expansion and defeated by the Roman emperor Aurelian in 273. 4. The Hippocrene spring—on Mount Helicon, home of the Muses— was the source of poetic inspiration.

5. The Latin poets’ name for the sun god. 6. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the “rst heaven and the “rst earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Revelation 21.1). 7. Eng land. 8. Queen Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII (1491– 1547), descended from the House of Lancaster, iden- ti”ed with the symbol of the red rose; her mother, Anne Boleyn (1507?–1536), was from the House of York, identi”ed with a white rose. The two houses were at war with each other for many years. Brad- street suggests that the damask rose of Elizabeth is formed by the intermingling of these two colors.

Within that princess to have residence, 75 And prostrate yielded to her excellence. Dido, “rst foundress of proud Carthage walls1 (Who living consummates her funerals), A great Eliza, but compared with ours, How vanisheth her glory, wealth, and powers. 80 Profuse, proud Cleopatra, whose wrong name,2 Instead of glory, proved her country’s shame, Of her what worth in stories to be seen, But that she was a rich Egyptian queen. Zenobya,3 potent empress of the East, 85 And of all these without compare the best, Whom none but great Aurelius could quell; Yet for our Queen is no “t parallel. She was a Phoenix queen, so shall she be, Her ashes not revived, more Phoenix she. 90 Her personal perfections, who would tell Must dip his pen in th’ Heleconian well,4 Which I may not, my pride doth but aspire To read what others write and so admire. Now say, have women worth? or have they none? 95 Or had they some, but with our Queen is’t gone? Nay masculines, you have thus taxed us long, But she, though dead, will vindicate our wrong. Let such as say our sex is void of reason, Know ’tis a slander now but once was treason. 100 But happy Eng land which had such a queen; Yea happy, happy, had those days still been. But happiness lies in a higher sphere, Then won der not Eliza moves not here. Full fraught with honor, riches and with days 105 She set, she set, like Titan5 in his rays. No more shall rise or set so glorious sun Until the heaven’s great revolution;6 If then new things their old forms shall retain, Eliza shall rule Albion7 once again. 110

Her Epitaph

Here sleeps the queen, this is the royal bed Of th’ damask rose, sprung from the white and red,8

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1. I.e., a founder of the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony. 2. I.e., estate; position in life.

Whose sweet perfume “lls the all- “lling air. This rose is withered, once so lovely fair. On neither tree did grow such rose before, 115 The greater was our gain, our loss the more.


Here lies the pride of queens, pattern of kings, So blaze it, Fame, here’s feathers for thy wings. Here lies the envied, yet unparalleled prince, Whose living virtues speak (though dead long since). 120 If many worlds, as that fantastic framed, In every one be her great glory famed.

1643 1650

To the Memory of My Dear and Ever Honored Father Thomas Dudley Esq. Who Deceased, July 31, 1653, and of His Age 77

By duty bound and not by custom led To celebrate the praises of the dead, My mournful mind, sore pressed, in trembling verse Pres ents my lamentations at his hearse, Who was my father, guide, instructor too, 5 To whom I ought what ever I could do. Nor is’t relation near my hand shall tie; For who more cause to boast his worth than I? Who heard or saw, observed or knew him better? Or who alive than I a greater debtor? 10 Let malice bite and envy gnaw its “ll, He was my father, and I’ll praise him still. Nor was his name or life led so obscure That pity might some trumpeters procure Who after death might make him falsely seem 15 Such as in life no man could justly deem. Well known and loved, where e’er he lived, by most Both in his native and in foreign coast, These to the world his merits could make known, So needs no testimonial from his own; 20 But now or never I must pay my sum; While others tell his worth, I’ll not be dumb. One of Found ers, thy1 him New Eng land know, Who stayed thy feeble sides when thou wast low, Who spent his state,2 his strength and years with care 25 That after- comers in them might have share. True patriot of this little commonweal, Who is’t can tax thee aught, but for thy zeal? Truth’s friend thou wert, to errors still a foe,



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3. Though. 4. Gray- haired.

5. Hammer or club. “Sectaries”: opposing believers. 6. Store house.

Which caused apostates to malign so. 30 Thy love to true religion e’er shall shine; My father’s God, be God of me and mine. Upon the earth he did not build his nest, But as a pilgrim, what he had, possessed. High thoughts he gave no harbor in his heart, 35 Nor honors puffed him up when he had part; Those titles loathed, which some too much do love, For truly his ambition lay above. His humble mind so loved humility, He left it to his race for legacy; 40 And oft and oft with speeches mild and wise Gave his in charge that jewel rich to prize. No ostentation seen in all his ways, An3 in the mean ones of our foolish days, Which all they have and more still set to view, 45 Their greatness may be judged by what they shew. His thoughts were more sublime, his actions wise, Such vanities he justly did despise. Nor won der ’twas, low things ne’er much did move For he a mansion had, prepared above, 50 For which he sighed and prayed and longed full sore He might be clothed upon for evermore. Oft spake of death, and with a smiling cheer He did exult his end was drawing near; Now fully ripe, as shock of wheat that’s grown, 55 Death as a sickle hath him timely mown, And in celestial barn hath housed him high, Where storms, nor show’rs, nor aught can damnify. His generation served, his labors cease; And to his fathers gathered is in peace. 60 Ah happy soul, ’mongst saints and angels blest, Who after all his toil is now at rest. His hoary4 head in righ teousness was found; As joy in heaven, on earth let praise resound. Forgotten never be his memory, 65 His blessing rest on his posterity; His pious footsteps, followed by his race, At last will bring us to that happy place Where we with joy each other’s face shall see, And parted more by death shall never be. 70

His Epitaph

Within this tomb a patriot lies That was both pious, just, and wise, To truth a shield, to right a wall, To sectaries a whip and maul,5 A magazine6 of history, 75



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1. The capital that yields interest. 2. “Stock” and “bond” include puns on “worth” and “contract,” respectively, in their emotional and “nancial senses.

3. The smallest pos si ble denomination. 1. Apollo, the Greek and Roman sun god. 2. Knew.

A prizer of good com pany, In manners pleasant and severe; The good him loved, the bad did fear, And when his time with years was spent, If some rejoiced, more did lament. 80


To Her Father with Some Verses

Most truly honored, and as truly dear, If worth in me or aught I do appear, Who can of right better demand the same Than may your worthy self from whom it came? The principal1 might yield a greater sum, 5 Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb; My stock’s so small I know not how to pay, My bond2 remains in force unto this day; Yet for part payment take this simple mite,3 Where nothing’s to be had, kings lose their right. 10 Such is my debt I may not say forgive, But as I can, I’ll pay it while I live; Such is my bond, none can discharge but I, Yet paying is not paid until I die.




Some time now past in the autumnal tide, When Phoebus1 wanted but one hour to bed, The trees all richly clad, yet void of pride, Were gilded o’er by his rich golden head. Their leaves and fruits seemed painted, but was true, 5 Of green, of red, of yellow, mixed hue; Rapt were my senses at this delectable view.


I wist2 not what to wish, yet sure thought I, If so much excellence abide below, How excellent is He that dwells on high, 10 Whose power and beauty by His works we know?



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3. Furnished, adorned. 4. The sun “is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a

race” (Psalm 19.5). 5. I.e., as well as plant life. 6. I.e., I know the feeling of (the sun).

Sure He is goodness, wisdom, glory, light, That hath this under world so richly dight;3 More heaven than earth was here, no winter and no night.


Then on a stately oak I cast mine eye, 15 Whose rufding top the clouds seemed to aspire; How long since thou wast in thine infancy? Thy strength, and stature, more thy years admire, Hath hundred winters past since thou wast born? Or thousand since thou brakest thy shell of horn? 20 If so, all these as nought, eternity doth scorn.


Then higher on the glistering Sun I gazed, Whose beams was shaded by the leafy tree; The more I looked, the more I grew amazed, And softly said, “What glory’s like to thee?” 25 Soul of this world, this universe’s eye, No won der some made thee a deity; Had I not better known, alas, the same had I.


Thou as a bridegroom from thy chamber rushes, And as a strong man, joys to run a race;4 30 The morn doth usher thee with smiles and blushes; The Earth redects her glances in thy face. Birds, insects, animals with vegative,5 Thy heat from death and dullness doth revive, And in the darksome womb of fruitful nature dive. 35


Thy swift annual and diurnal course, Thy daily straight and yearly oblique path, Thy pleasing fervor and thy scorching force, All mortals here the feeling knowledge hath.6 Thy presence makes it day, thy absence night, 40 Quaternal seasons causéd by thy might: Hail creature, full of sweetness, beauty, and delight.


Art thou so full of glory that no eye Hath strength thy shining rays once to behold?



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7. Either. 8. Amazed. 9. Short lyric or narrative poems intended to be sung. 1. I.e., those who.

2. Apprehension, the pro cesses of thought. 3. Thought to have lived 969 years (Genesis 5.27). 4. Slave. For the story of Adam and Eve in Eden, where they ate the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, see Genesis 1–3.

And is thy splendid throne erect so high, 45 As to approach it, can no earthly mold? How full of glory then must thy Creator be, Who gave this bright light luster unto thee? Admired, adored for ever, be that Majesty.


Silent alone, where none or7 saw, or heard, 50 In pathless paths I lead my wand’ring feet, My humble eyes to lofty skies I reared To sing some song, my mazéd8 Muse thought meet. My great Creator I would magnify, That nature had thus decked liberally; 55 But Ah, and Ah, again, my imbecility!


I heard the merry grasshopper then sing. The black- clad cricket bear a second part; They kept one tune and played on the same string, Seeming to glory in their little art. 60 Shall creatures abject thus their voices raise And in their kind resound their Maker’s praise Whilst I, as mute, can warble forth no higher lays?9


When pres ent times look back to ages past, And men in being fancy those1 are dead, 65 It makes things gone perpetually to last, And calls back months and years that long since ded. It makes a man more aged in conceit2 Than was Methuselah,3 or’s grandsire great, While of their persons and their acts his mind doth treat. 70


Sometimes in Eden fair he seems to be, Sees glorious Adam there made lord of all, Fancies the apple, dangle on the tree, That turned his sovereign to a naked thrall.4 Who like a miscreant’s driven from that place, 75 To get his bread with pain and sweat of face, A penalty imposed on his backsliding race.



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5. Fortune, circumstances. As an adult, Eve’s elder son, Cain, slew his brother, Abel (Genesis 4.8). 6. Satan. 7. Animals fattened for slaughter.

8.  I.e., at a (holy) tribunal; facing God’s judg- ment. 9. An unidenti”ed region east of Eden where Cain dwelled after slaying Abel (Genesis 4.16).


Here sits our grandame in retired place, And in her lap her bloody Cain new- born; The weeping imp oft looks her in the face, 80 Bewails his unknown hap5 and fate forlorn; His mother sighs to think of Paradise, And how she lost her bliss to be more wise, Believing him that was, and is, father of lies.6


Here Cain and Abel come to sacri”ce, 85 Fruits of the earth and fatlings7 each do bring. On Abel’s gift the “re descends from skies, But no such sign on false Cain’s offering; With sullen hateful looks he goes his ways, Hath thousand thoughts to end his brother’s days, 90 Upon whose blood his future good he hopes to raise.


There Abel keeps his sheep, no ill he thinks; His brother comes, then acts his fratricide: The virgin Earth of blood her “rst draught drinks, But since that time she often hath been cloyed. 95 The wretch with ghastly face and dreadful mind Thinks each he sees will serve him in his kind, Though none on earth but kindred near then could he “nd.


Who fancies not his looks now at the bar,8 His face like death, his heart with horror fraught, 100 Nor malefactor ever felt like war, When deep despair with wish of life hath fought, Branded with guilt and crushed with treble woes, A vagabond to Land of Nod9 he goes. A city builds, that walls might him secure from foes. 105


Who thinks not oft upon the father’s ages, Their long descent, how nephew’s sons they saw, The starry observations of those sages, And how their precepts to their sons were law, How Adam sighed to see his progeny, 110



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1. Neither.

Clothed all in his black sinful livery, Who neither guilt nor yet the punishment could dy.


Our life compare we with their length of days Who to the tenth of theirs doth now arrive? And though thus short, we shorten many ways, 115 Living so little while we are alive; In eating, drinking, sleeping, vain delight So unawares comes on perpetual night, And puts all pleasures vain unto eternal dight.


When I behold the heavens as in their prime, 120 And then the earth (though old) still clad in green, The stones and trees, insensible of time, Nor1 age nor wrinkle on their front are seen; If winter come and greenness then do fade, A spring returns, and they more youthful made; 125 But man grows old, lies down, remains where once he’s laid.


By birth more noble than those creatures all, Yet seems by nature and by custom cursed, No sooner born, but grief and care makes fall That state obliterate he had at “rst; 130 Nor youth, nor strength, nor wisdom spring again, Nor habitations long their names retain, But in oblivion to the “nal day remain.


Shall I then praise the heavens, the trees, the earth Because their beauty and their strength last longer? 135 Shall I wish there, or never to had birth, Because they’re bigger, and their bodies stronger? Nay, they shall darken, perish, fade, and die, And when unmade, so ever shall they lie, But man was made for endless immortality. 140


Under the cooling shadow of a stately elm Close sat I by a goodly river’s side, Where gliding streams the rocks did overwhelm, A lonely place, with pleasures digni”ed.



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2. Dif”culties. 3. Anything. 4. I.e., the sea, home of the sea nymph Thetis.

5. Roman god of the ocean. “Eftsoon”: soon after- ward.

I once that loved the shady woods so well, 145 Now thought the rivers did the trees excel, And if the sun would ever shine, there would I dwell.


While on the stealing stream I “xt mine eye, Which to the longed- for ocean held its course, I marked, nor crooks, nor rubs,2 that there did lie 150 Could hinder aught,3 but still augment its force. “O happy dood,” quoth I, “that holds thy race Till thou arrive at thy beloved place, Nor is it rocks or shoals that can obstruct thy pace,


Nor is’t enough, that thou alone mayst slide 155 But hundred brooks in thy clear waves do meet, So hand in hand along with thee they glide To Thetis’ house,4 where all embrace and greet. Thou emblem true of what I count the best, O could I lead my rivulets to rest, 160 So may we press to that vast mansion, ever blest.”


Ye “sh, which in this liquid region ’bide, That for each season have your habitation, Now salt, now fresh where you think best to glide To unknown coasts to give a visitation, 165 In lakes and ponds you leave your numerous fry; So nature taught, and yet you know not why, You wat’ry folk that know not your felicity.


Look how the wantons frisk to taste the air, Then to the colder bottom straight they dive; 170 Eftsoon to Neptune’s5 glassy hall repair To see what trade they great ones there do drive, Who forage o’er the spacious sea- green “eld, And take the trembling prey before it yield, Whose armor is their scales, their spreading “ns their shield. 175


While musing thus with contemplation fed, And thousand fancies buzzing in my brain,



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6. I.e., the nightingale. In Greek my thol ogy, Philomela, the daughter of King Attica, was transformed into a nightingale after her brother- in- law raped her and tore out her tongue.

7. I.e., excruciating, painful. 8. Anticipate. 9. Transformation.

The sweet- tongued Philomel6 perched o’er my head And chanted forth a most melodious strain Which rapt me so with won der and delight, 180 I judged my hearing better than my sight, And wished me wings with her a while to take my dight.


“O merry Bird,” said I, “that fears no snares, That neither toils nor hoards up in thy barn, Feels no sad thoughts nor cruciating7 cares 185 To gain more good or shun what might thee harm. Thy clothes ne’er wear, thy meat is everywhere, Thy bed a bough, thy drink the water clear, Reminds not what is past, nor what’s to come dost fear.”


“The dawning morn with songs thou dost prevent,8 190 Sets hundred notes unto thy feathered crew, So each one tunes his pretty instrument, And warbling out the old, begin anew, And thus they pass their youth in summer season, Then follow thee into a better region, 195 Where winter’s never felt by that sweet airy legion.”


Man at the best a creature frail and vain, In knowledge ignorant, in strength but weak, Subject to sorrows, losses, sickness, pain, Each storm his state, his mind, his body break, 200 From some of these he never “nds cessation, But day or night, within, without, vexation, Trou bles from foes, from friends, from dearest, near’st relation.


And yet this sinful creature, frail and vain, This lump of wretchedness, of sin and sorrow, 205 This weatherbeaten vessel wracked with pain, Joys not in hope of an eternal morrow; Nor all his losses, crosses, and vexation, In weight, in frequency and long duration Can make him deeply groan for that divine translation.9 210



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1. Destroyer. 2. Vanity. “Parts”: features. “Ports”: places of refuge. 3. “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna and will give him a white

stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Revelation 2.17). “Scape”: escape. 1. In Latin, lacrima means “tear.”


The mari ner that on smooth waves doth glide Sings merrily and steers his bark with ease, As if he had command of wind and tide, And now become great master of the seas: But suddenly a storm spoils all the sport, 215 And makes him long for a more quiet port, Which ’gainst all adverse winds may serve for fort.


So he that saileth in this world of plea sure, Feeding on sweets, that never bit of th’ sour, That’s full of friends, of honor, and of trea sure, 220 Fond fool, he takes this earth ev’n for heav’n’s bower. But sad afdiction comes and makes him see Here’s neither honor, wealth, nor safety; Only above is found all with security.


O Time the fatal wrack1 of mortal things, 225 That draws oblivion’s curtains over kings; Their sumptuous monuments, men know them not, Their names without a rec ord are forgot, Their parts, their ports, their pomp’s2 all laid in th’ dust Nor wit nor gold, nor buildings scape time’s rust; 230 But he whose name is graved in the white stone3 Shall last and shine when all of these are gone.


The Flesh and the Spirit

In secret place where once I stood Close by the banks of Lacrim1 dood, I heard two sisters reason on Things that are past and things to come; One Flesh was called, who had her eye 5 On worldly wealth and vanity; The other Spirit, who did rear Her thoughts unto a higher sphere: Sister, quoth Flesh, what liv’st thou on, Nothing but meditation? 10



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2. Thought. 3. Fool. “Art fancy sick”: i.e., do you have hallu- cinations? 4. Monuments. 5. Unrepentant, unsaved.

6. In Puritan theology, humankind was lost to sin after the fall of “old Adam,” but was redeemed by the sacri”ce of the “new Adam,” Jesus Christ. 7. Exhibitions, displays.

Doth contemplation feed thee so Regardlessly to let earth go? Can speculation satisfy Notion2 without real ity? Dost dream of things beyond the moon, 15 And dost thou hope to dwell there soon? Hast trea sures there laid up in store That all in th’ world thou count’st but poor? Art fancy sick, or turned a sot3 To catch at shadows which are not? 20 Come, come, I’ll show unto thy sense, Industry hath its recompense. What canst desire, but thou may’st see True substance in variety? Dost honor like? Acquire the same, 25 As some to their immortal fame, And trophies4 to thy name erect Which wearing time shall ne’er deject. For riches doth thou long full sore? Behold enough of precious store. 30 Earth hath more silver, pearls, and gold, Than eyes can see or hands can hold. Affect’s thou plea sure? Take thy “ll, Earth hath enough of what you will. Then let not go, what thou may’st “nd 35 For things unknown, only in mind.

Spirit: Be still thou unregenerate5 part, Disturb no more my settled heart, For I have vowed (and so will do) Thee as a foe still to pursue. 40 And combat with thee will and must, Until I see thee laid in th’ dust. Sisters we are, yea, twins we be, Yet deadly feud ’twixt thee and me; For from one father are we not, 45 Thou by old Adam6 wast begot. But my arise is from above, Whence my dear Father I do love. Thou speak’st me fair, but hat’st me sore, Thy datt’ring shows7 I’ll trust no more. 50 How oft thy slave, hast thou me made, When I believed what thou hast said, And never had more cause of woe Than when I did what thou bad’st do. I’ll stop mine ears at these thy charms, 55 And count them for my deadly harms.



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8. In classical times, a crown of laurel was a sign of victory for poets, heroes, and athletes. 9. The food sent by God to the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 16.15).

1. Lines 85 to 106 follow the description of the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21–22.

Thy sinful pleasures I do hate, Thy riches are to me no bait, Thine honors do, nor will I love; For my ambition lies above. 60 My greatest honor it shall be When I am victor over thee, And triumph shall with laurel head,8 When thou my captive shalt be led, How I do live, thou need’st not scoff, 65 For I have meat thou know’st not of; The hidden manna9 I do eat, The word of life it is my meat. My thoughts do yield me more content Than can thy hours in plea sure spent. 70 Nor are they shadows which I catch, Nor fancies vain at which I snatch, But reach at things that are so high, Beyond thy dull capacity: Eternal substance I do see, 75 With which enrichéd I would be. Mine eye doth pierce the heavens and see What is invisible to thee. My garments are not silk nor gold, Nor such like trash which earth doth hold, 80 But royal robes I shall have on, More glorious than the glist’ring sun; My crown not diamonds, pearls, and gold, But such as angels’ heads enfold. The city1 where I hope to dwell, 85 There’s none on earth can parallel; The stately walls both high and strong, Are made of precious jasper stone; The gates of pearl, both rich and clear, And angels are for porters there; 90 The streets thereof transparent gold, Such as no eye did e’er behold; A crystal river there doth run, Which doth proceed from the Lamb’s throne. Of life, there are the waters sure, 95 Which shall remain forever pure, Nor sun, nor moon, they have no need, For glory doth from God proceed. No candle there, nor yet torchlight, For there shall be no darksome night. 100 From sickness and in”rmity For evermore they shall be free; Nor withering age shall e’er come there,



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1. Bradstreet is thought to have written this poem in 1666, when the second edition of The Tenth Muse was contemplated.

2. I.e., metrical feet; thus to smooth out the lines. 3. The common people.

But beauty shall be bright and clear; This city pure is not for thee, 105 For things unclean there shall not be. If I of heaven may have my “ll, Take thou the world and all that will.


The Author to Her Book1

Thou ill- formed offspring of my feeble brain, Who after birth didst by my side remain, Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, Who thee abroad, exposed to public view, Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge, 5 Where errors were not lessened (all may judge). At thy return my blushing was not small, My rambling brat (in print) should mother call, I cast thee by as one un”t for light, Thy visage was so irksome in my sight; 10 Yet being mine own, at length affection would Thy blemishes amend, if so I could: I washed thy face, but more defects I saw, And rubbing off a spot still made a daw. I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,2 15 Yet still thou run’st more hobbling than is meet; In better dress to trim thee was my mind, But nought save homespun cloth i’ th’ house I “nd. In this array ’mongst vulgars3 may’st thou roam. In critic’s hands beware thou dost not come, 20 And take thy way where yet thou art not known; If for thy father asked, say thou hadst none; And for thy mother, she alas is poor, Which caused her thus to send thee out of door.


Before the Birth of One of Her Children

All things within this fading world hath end, Adversity doth still our joys attend; No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet, But with death’s parting blow is sure to meet. The sentence past is most irrevocable, 5



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1. I.e., stepmother’s.

A common thing, yet oh, inevitable. How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend, How soon’t may be thy lot to lose thy friend, We both are ignorant, yet love bids me These farewell lines to recommend to thee, 10 That when that knot’s untied that made us one, I may seem thine, who in effect am none. And if I see not half my days that’s due, What nature would, God grant to yours and you; The many faults that well you know I have 15 Let be interred in my oblivious grave; If any worth or virtue were in me, Let that live freshly in thy memory And when thou feel’st no grief, as I no harms, Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms, 20 And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains Look to my little babes, my dear remains. And if thou love thyself, or loved’st me, These O protect from stepdame’s1 injury. And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse, 25 With some sad sighs honor my absent hearse; And kiss this paper for thy love’s dear sake, Who with salt tears this last farewell did take.


To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can. I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold 5 Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense. Thy love is such I can no way repay, The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. 10 Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere That when we live no more, we may live ever.




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1. Ware house. 2. Ipswich, Mas sa chu setts. Her husband may have been in Eng land when she wrote this poem. 3. Capricorn, the tenth of the twelve signs of the zodiac, represents winter. “Sol”: sun.

4. Cancer, the fourth sign of the zodiac, repre- sents summer. 1. Lacks. “Hind”: female deer. “Hartless” puns on hart (male deer) and heart.

A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment

My head, my heart, mine eyes, my life, nay, more, My joy, my magazine1 of earthly store, If two be one, as surely thou and I, How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lie?2 So many steps, head from the heart to sever, 5 If but a neck, soon should we be together. I, like the Earth this season, mourn in black, My Sun is gone so far in’s zodiac, Whom whilst I ’ joyed, nor storms, nor frost I felt, His warmth such frigid colds did cause to melt. 10 My chilled limbs now numbed lie forlorn; Return, return, sweet Sol, from Capricorn;3 In this dead time, alas, what can I more Than view those fruits which through thy heat I bore? Which sweet contentment yield me for a space, 15 True living pictures of their father’s face. O strange effect! now thou art southward gone, I weary grow the tedious day so long; But when thou northward to me shalt return, I wish my Sun may never set, but burn 20 Within the Cancer4 of my glowing breast, The welcome house of him my dearest guest. Where ever, ever stay, and go not thence, Till nature’s sad decree shall call thee hence; Flesh of thy desh, bone of thy bone, 25 I here, thou there, yet both but one.


Another [Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment]

As loving hind that (hartless) wants1 her deer, Scuds through the woods and fern with hark’ning ear, Perplext, in every bush and nook doth pry, Her dearest deer, might answer ear or eye; So doth my anxious soul, which now doth miss 5 A dearer dear (far dearer heart) than this, Still wait with doubts, and hopes, and failing eye, His voice to hear or person to descry. Or as the pensive dove doth all alone



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2. I.e., turtledove. 3. A common species of “sh.

(On withered bough) most uncouthly bemoan 10 The absence of her love and loving mate, Whose loss hath made her so unfortunate, Ev’n thus do I, with many a deep sad groan, Bewail my turtle2 true, who now is gone, His presence and his safe return still woos, 15 With thousand doleful sighs and mournful coos. Or as the loving mullet,3 that true “sh, Her fellow lost, nor joy nor life do wish, But launches on that shore, there for to die, Where she her captive husband doth espy. 20 Mine being gone, I lead a joyless life, I have a loving peer, yet seem no wife; But worst of all, to him can’t steer my course, I here, he there, alas, both kept by force. Return my dear, my joy, my only love, 25 Unto thy hind, thy mullet, and thy dove, Who neither joys in pasture, house, nor streams, The substance gone, O me, these are but dreams. Together at one tree, oh let us browse, And like two turtles roost within one house, 30 And like the mullets in one river glide, Let’s still remain but one, till death divide. Thy loving love and dearest dear, At home, abroad, and everywhere.


In Reference to Her Children, 23 June 1659

I had eight birds hatched in one nest, Four cocks there were, and hens the rest. I nursed them up with pain and care, Nor cost, nor labor did I spare, Till at the last they felt their wing, 5 Mounted the trees, and learned to sing; Chief of the brood then took his dight To regions far and left me quite. My mournful chirps I after send, Till he return, or I do end: 10 Leave not thy nest, thy dam and sire, Fly back and sing amidst this choir. My second bird did take her dight, And with her mate dew out of sight; Southward they both their course did bend, 15 And seasons twain they there did spend, Till after blown by southern gales, They norward steered with “lled sails. A prettier bird was nowhere seen,



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1. Trees. 2. The Roman goddess of the dawn. 3. Either. 4. Bird catcher’s.

5. Unruly, fractious. 6. I.e., caught by means of birdlime (a sticky substance) spread on twigs.

Along the beach among the treen.1 20 I have a third of color white, On whom I placed no small delight; Coupled with mate loving and true, Hath also bid her dam adieu; And where Aurora2 “rst appears, 25 She now hath perched to spend her years. One to the acad emy dew To chat among that learned crew; Ambition moves still in his breast That he might chant above the rest, 30 Striving for more than to do well, That nightingales he might excel. My “fth, whose down is yet scarce gone, Is ’mongst the shrubs and bushes down, And as his wings increase in strength, 35 On higher boughs he’ll perch at length. My other three still with me nest, Until they’re grown, then as the rest, Or3 here or there they’ll take their dight, As is ordained, so shall they light. 40 If birds could weep, then would my tears Let others know what are my fears Lest this my brood some harm should catch, And be surprised for want of watch, Whilst pecking corn and void of care, 45 They fall un’wares in fowler’s4 snare, Or whilst on trees they sit and sing, Some untoward5 boy at them do ding, Or whilst allured with bell and glass, The net be spread, and caught, alas. 50 Or lest by lime- twigs they be foiled,6 Or by some greedy hawks be spoiled. O would my young, ye saw my breast, And knew what thoughts there sadly rest, Great was my pain when I you bred, 55 Great was my care when I you fed, Long did I keep you soft and warm, And with my wings kept off all harm, My cares are more and fears than ever, My throbs such now as ’fore were never. 60 Alas, my birds, you wisdom want, Of perils you are ignorant; Oft times in grass, on trees, in dight, Sore accidents on you may light. O to your safety have an eye, 65 So happy may you live and die. Meanwhile my days in tunes I’ll spend,



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7. Ballads, poems. 8. Winged angels.

1. Since.

Till my weak lays7 with me shall end. In shady woods I’ll sit and sing, And things that passed to mind I’ll bring. 70 Once young and pleasant, as are you, But former toys (no joys) adieu. My age I will not once lament, But sing, my time so near is spent. And from the top bough take my dight 75 Into a country beyond sight, Where old ones instantly grow young, And there with seraphims8 set song; No seasons cold, nor storms they see; But spring lasts to eternity. 80 When each of you shall in your nest Among your young ones take your rest, In chirping language, oft them tell, You had a dam that loved you well, That did what could be done for young, 85 And nursed you up till you were strong, And ’fore she once would let you dy, She showed you joy and misery; Taught what was good, and what was ill, What would save life, and what would kill. 90 Thus gone, amongst you I may live, And dead, yet speak, and counsel give: Farewell, my birds, farewell adieu, I happy am, if well with you.


In Memory of My Dear Grand child Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August, 1665, Being a Year and a Half Old


Farewell dear babe, my heart’s too much content, Farewell sweet babe, the plea sure of mine eye, Farewell fair dower that for a space was lent, Then ta’en away unto eternity. Blest babe, why should I once bewail thy fate, 5 Or sigh thy days so soon were terminate, Sith1 thou art settled in an everlasting state.


By nature trees do rot when they are grown, And plums and apples thoroughly ripe do fall, And corn and grass are in their season mown, 10



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And time brings down what is both strong and tall. But plants new set to be eradicate, And buds new blown to have so short a date, Is by His hand alone that guides nature and fate.


In Memory of My Dear Grand child Anne Bradstreet, Who Deceased June 20, 1669, Being Three Years and

Seven Months Old

With troubled heart and trembling hand I write, The heavens have changed to sorrow my delight. How oft with disappointment have I met, When I on fading things my hopes have set. Experience might ’fore this have made me wise, 5 To value things according to their price. Was ever stable joy yet found below? Or perfect bliss without mixture of woe? I knew she was but as a withering dower, That’s here today, perhaps gone in an hour; 10 Like as a bubble, or the brittle glass, Or like a shadow turning as it was. More fool then I to look on that was lent As if mine own, when thus impermanent. Farewell dear child, thou ne’er shall come to me, 15 But yet a while, and I shall go to thee; Meantime my throbbing heart’s cheered up with this: Thou with thy Savior art in endless bliss.


On My Dear Grand child Simon Bradstreet, Who Died on 16 November, 1669, Being But a Month, and One Day Old

No sooner came, but gone, and fall’n asleep. Acquaintance short, yet parting caused us weep; Three dowers, two scarcely blown, the last i’ th’ bud, Cropped by th’ Almighty’s hand; yet is He good. With dreadful awe before Him let’s be mute, 5 Such was His will, but why, let’s not dispute, With humble hearts and mouths put in the dust, Let’s say He’s merciful as well as just. He will return and make up all our losses, And smile again after our bitter crosses. 10 Go pretty babe, go rest with sisters twain; Among the blest in endless joys remain.




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1. I.e., when nothing was spared. 2. Cleanse. “Thou”: God.

3. Hell. 4. Ever.

For Deliverance from a Fever

When sorrows had begirt me round, And pains within and out, When in my desh no part was found,1 Then didst Thou rid2 me out. My burning desh in sweat did boil, 5 My aching head did break, From side to side for ease I toil, So faint I could not speak. Beclouded was my soul with fear Of Thy dis plea sure sore, 10 Nor could I read my evidence Which oft I read before. “Hide not Thy face from me!” I cried, “From burnings keep my soul. Thou know’st my heart, and hast me tried; 15 I on Thy mercies roll.” “O heal my soul,” Thou know’st I said, “Though desh consume to nought, What though in dust it shall be laid, To glory ’t shall be brought.” 20 Thou heard’st, Thy rod Thou didst remove And spared my body frail, Thou show’st to me Thy tender love, My heart no more might quail. O, praises to my mighty God, 25 Praise to my Lord, I say, Who hath redeemed my soul from pit,3 Praises to Him for aye.4


Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10th, 1666

Copied Out of a Loose Paper

In silent night when rest I took For sorrow near I did not look I wakened was with thund’ring noise And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice. That fearful sound of “Fire!” and “Fire!” 5 Let no man know is my desire. I, starting up, the light did spy,



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1. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1.21). 2. Empty, worthless. Cf. Ecclesiastes 1.2.

3. Possessions, usually in the sense of being falsely gained.

And to my God my heart did cry To strengthen me in my distress And not to leave me succorless. 10 Then, coming out, beheld a space The dame consume my dwelling place. And when I could no longer look, I blest His name that gave and took,1 That laid my goods now in the dust. 15 Yea, so it was, and so ’twas just. It was His own, it was not mine, Far be it that I should repine; He might of all justly bereft But yet suf”cient for us left. 20 When by the ruins oft I past My sorrowing eyes aside did cast, And here and there the places spy Where oft I sat and long did lie: Here stood that trunk, and there that chest, 25 There lay that store I counted best. My pleasant things in ashes lie, And them behold no more shall I. Under thy roof no guest shall sit, Nor at thy table eat a bit. 30 No pleasant tale shall e’er be told, Nor things recounted done of old. No candle e’er shall shine in thee, Nor bridegroom’s voice e’er heard shall be. In silence ever shall thou lie, 35 Adieu, Adieu, all’s vanity.2 Then straight I ’gin my heart to chide, And did thy wealth on earth abide? Didst “x thy hope on mold’ring dust? The arm of desh didst make thy trust? 40 Raise up thy thoughts above the sky That dunghill mists away may dy. Thou hast an house on high erect, Framed by that mighty Architect, With glory richly furnished, 45 Stands permanent though this be ded. It’s purchaséd and paid for too By Him who hath enough to do. A price so vast as is unknown Yet by His gift is made thine own; 50 There’s wealth enough, I need no more, Farewell, my pelf,3 farewell my store. The world no longer let me love, My hope and trea sure lies above.




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1. I.e., my body. 2. Christ is the bridegroom, and the soul is mar- ried to him. “And Jesus said unto them, Can the

children of the bridechamber fast, while the bride- groom is with them? As long as they have the bride- groom with them, they cannot fast” (Mark 2.19).

As Weary Pilgrim

As weary pilgrim, now at rest, Hugs with delight his silent nest, His wasted limbs now lie full soft That mirey steps have trodden oft, Blesses himself to think upon 5 His dangers past, and travails done. The burning sun no more shall heat, Nor stormy rains on him shall beat. The briars and thorns no more shall scratch. Nor hungry wolves at him shall catch. 10 He erring paths no more shall tread, Nor wild fruits eat instead of bread. For waters cold he doth not long For thirst no more shall parch his tongue. No rugged stones his feet shall gall, 15 Nor stumps nor rocks cause him to fall. All cares and fears he bids farewell And means in safety now to dwell. A pilgrim I, on earth perplexed With sins, with cares and sorrows vext, 20 By age and pains brought to decay, And my clay house1 mold’ring away. Oh, how I long to be at rest And soar on high among the blest. This body shall in silence sleep, 25 Mine eyes no more shall ever weep, No fainting “ts shall me assail, Nor grinding pains my body frail, With cares and fears ne’er cumb’red be Nor losses know, nor sorrows see. 30 What though my desh shall there consume, It is the bed Christ did perfume, And when a few years shall be gone, This mortal shall be clothed upon. A corrupt carcass down it lies, 35 A glorious body it shall rise. In weakness and dishonor sown, In power ’tis raised by Christ alone. Then soul and body shall unite And of their Maker have the sight. 40 Such lasting joys shall there behold As ear ne’er heard nor tongue e’er told. Lord make me ready for that day, Then come, dear Bridegroom,2 come away.

August 31, 1669 1867



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1. I.e., stop speaking. 2. I.e., worldly.

To My Dear Children

This book by any yet unread, I leave for you when I am dead, That being gone, here you may “nd What was your living mother’s mind. Make use of what I leave in love, And God shall bless you from above.

A. B.

My dear children, I, knowing by experience that the exhortations of parents take most

effect when the speakers leave to speak,1 and those especially sink deepest which are spoke latest, and being ignorant whether on my death bed I shall have opportunity to speak to any of you, much less to all, thought it the best, whilst I was able, to compose some short matters (for what else to call them I know not) and bequeath to you, that when I am no more with you, yet I may be daily in your remembrance (although that is the least in my aim in what I now do), but that you may gain some spiritual advantage by my experience. I have not studied in this you read to show my skill, but to declare the truth, not to set forth myself, but the glory of God. If I had minded the former, it had been perhaps better pleasing to you, but seeing the last is the best, let it be best pleasing to you.

The method I will observe shall be this: I will begin with God’s dealing with me from my childhood to this day.

In my young years, about 6 or 7 as I take it, I began to make conscience of my ways, and what I knew was sinful, as lying, disobedience to parents, etc., I avoided it. If at any time I was overtaken with the like evils, it was as a great trou ble, and I could not be at rest till by prayer I had confessed it unto God. I was also troubled at the neglect of private duties though too often tardy that way. I also found much comfort in reading the Scriptures, especially those places I thought most concerned my condition, and as I grew to have more understanding, so the more solace I took in them.

In a long “t of sickness which I had on my bed I often communed with my heart and made my supplication to the most High who set me free from that afdiction.

But as I grew up to be about 14 or 15, I found my heart more carnal,2 and sitting loose from God, vanity and the follies of youth take hold of me.

About 16, the Lord laid His hand sore upon me and smote me with the smallpox. When I was in my afdiction, I besought the Lord and confessed my pride and vanity, and He was entreated of me and again restored me. But I rendered not to Him according to the bene”t received.

After a short time I changed my condition and was married, and came into this country, where I found a new world and new manners, at which my heart rose. But after I was convinced it was the way of God, I submitted to it and joined to the church at Boston.

After some time I fell into a lingering sickness like a consumption together with a lameness, which correction I saw the Lord sent to humble and try me and do me good, and it was not altogether ineffectual.



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3. Toil, labor. 4. Financial losses. 5. Cf. Psalm 139.23–24. 6. Unruly. “Circumspection”: Prudence. 7. Cf. Psalm 119.8.

8. In 1 Samuel 7.12, a stone monument to com- memorate a victory over the Philistines. “Manna”: the “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16.4) that fed the Israelites in the wilderness.

It pleased God to keep me a long time without a child, which was a great grief to me and cost me many prayers and tears before I obtained one, and after him gave me many more of whom I now take the care, that as I have brought you into the world, and with great pains, weakness, cares, and fears brought you to this, I now travail3 in birth again of you till Christ be formed in you.

Among all my experiences of God’s gracious dealings with me, I have con- stantly observed this, that He hath never suffered me long to sit loose from Him, but by one afdiction or other hath made me look home, and search what was amiss; so usually thus it hath been with me that I have no sooner felt my heart out of order, but I have expected correction for it, which most commonly hath been upon my own person in sickness, weakness, pains, sometimes on my soul, in doubts and fears of God’s dis plea sure and my sin- cerity towards Him; sometimes He hath smote a child with a sickness, some- times chastened by losses in estate,4 and these times (through His great mercy) have been the times of my greatest getting and advantage; yea, I have found them the times when the Lord hath manifested the most love to me. Then have I gone to searching and have said with David, “Lord, search me and try me, see what ways of wickedness are in me, and lead me in the way everlasting,”5 and seldom or never but I have found either some sin I lay under which God would have reformed, or some duty neglected which He would have performed, and by His help I have laid vows and bonds upon my soul to perform His righ teous commands.

If at any time you are chastened of God, take it as thankfully and joyfully as in greatest mercies, for if ye be His, ye shall reap the greatest bene”t by it. It hath been no small support to me in times of darkness when the Almighty hath hid His face from me that yet I have had abundance of sweetness and refreshment after afdiction and more circumspection in my walking after I have been afdicted. I have been with God like an untoward6 child, that no longer than the rod has been on my back (or at least in sight) but I have been apt to forget Him and myself, too. Before I was afdicted, I went astray, but now I keep Thy statutes.7

I have had great experience of God’s hearing my prayers and returning comfortable answers to me, either in granting the thing I prayed for, or else in satisfying my mind without it, and I have been con”dent it hath been from Him, because I have found my heart through His goodness enlarged in thankfulness to Him.

I have often been perplexed that I have not found that constant joy in my pilgrimage and refreshing which I supposed most of the servants of God have, although He hath not left me altogether without the witness of His holy spirit, who hath oft given me His word and set to His seal that it shall be well with me. I have sometimes tasted of that hidden manna that the world knows not, and have set up my Ebenezer,8 and have resolved with myself that against such a promise, such tastes of sweetness, the gates of hell shall never prevail; yet have I many times sinkings and droopings, and



2 4 8 | A N N E B R A D S T R E E T

9. In spite of. “Divers”: vari ous ( people). “Con- temned”: despised.

1. Unbelievers, heretics. 2. Cf. John 13.19 and 14.29, Matthew 24.25.

not enjoyed that felicity that sometimes I have done. But when I have been in darkness and seen no light, yet have I desired to stay myself upon the Lord, and when I have been in sickness and pain, I have thought if the Lord would but lift up the light of His countenance upon me, although He ground me to powder, it would be but light to me; yea, oft have I thought were I in hell itself and could there “nd the love of God toward me, it would be a heaven. And could I have been in heaven without the love of God, it would have been a hell to me, for in truth it is the absence and presence of God that makes heaven or hell.

Many times hath Satan troubled me concerning the verity of the Scrip- tures, many times by atheism how I could know whether there was a God; I never saw any miracles to con”rm me, and those which I read of, how did I know but they were feigned? That there is a God my reason would soon tell me by the wondrous works that I see, the vast frame of the heaven and the earth, the order of all things, night and day, summer and winter, spring and autumn, the daily providing for this great house hold upon the earth, the preserving and directing of all to its proper end. The consideration of these things would with amazement certainly resolve me that there is an Eternal Being. But how should I know He is such a God as I worship in Trinity, and such a Savior as I rely upon? Though this hath thousands of times been suggested to me, yet God hath helped me over. I have argued thus with myself. That there is a God, I see. If ever this God hath revealed himself, it must be in His word, and this must be it or none. Have I not found that operation by it that no human invention can work upon the soul, hath not judgments befallen divers who have scorned and contemned it, hath it not been preserved through all ages maugre9 all the heathen tyrants and all of the enemies who have opposed it? Is there any story but that which shows the beginnings of times, and how the world came to be as we see? Do we not know the prophecies in it ful”lled which could not have been so long fore- told by any but God Himself?

When I have got over this block, then have I another put in my way, that admit this be the true God whom we worship, and that be his word, yet why may not the Popish religion be the right? They have the same God, the same Christ, the same word. They only interpret it one way, we another.

This hath sometimes stuck with me, and more it would, but the vain fool- eries that are in their religion together with their lying miracles and cruel persecutions of the saints, which admit were they as they term them, yet not so to be dealt withal.

The consideration of these things and many the like would soon turn me to my own religion again.

But some new trou bles I have had since the world has been “lled with blasphemy and sectaries,1 and some who have been accounted sincere Christians have been carried away with them, that sometimes I have said, “Is there faith upon the earth?” and I have not known what to think; but then I have remembered the works of Christ that so it must be, and if it were pos si ble, the very elect should be deceived. “Behold,” saith our Savior, “I have told you before.”2 That hath stayed my heart, and I can now say,



M I C H A E L W I G G L E S W O R T H | 2 4 9

“Return, O my Soul, to thy rest, upon this rock Christ Jesus will I build my faith, and if I perish, I perish”; but I know all the Powers of Hell shall never prevail against it. I know whom I have trusted, and whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that I have committed to His charge.

Now to the King, immortal, eternal and invisible, the only wise God, be honor, and glory for ever and ever, Amen.

This was written in much sickness and weakness, and is very weakly and imperfectly done, but if you can pick any bene”t out of it, it is the mark which I aimed at.



In 1662, twenty- two years after the Boston- area publication of the Bay Psalm Book and twelve years after the London publication of Anne Bradstreet’s The Tenth Muse, an obscure minister from Malden, Mas sa chu setts, created a sensation with The Day of Doom, a poem about Judgment Day. Michael Wigglesworth’s volume has been called the “rst American best seller. The initial edition of eigh teen hun- dred copies quickly sold out. Roughly one colonist out of twenty in New Eng land seems to have purchased a copy at that time, and many more read the poem or heard it read aloud. No complete copies of the “rst edition survive, for it was liter- ally read to pieces. New editions began to appear on both sides of the Atlantic in 1666— the year of the Great Fire of London, a cataclysm that suggested an earthly day of judgment— and The Day of Doom continued to be reprinted for over a century.

Brought up in New Haven, Connecticut, Wigglesworth entered Harvard College at sixteen with the plan of becoming a physician, but his introspective, bookish, and didactic nature drew him to the ministry. In 1655 he accepted a call to minister at the Malden church, and he remained there for the next “fty years. On the day Wigglesworth died, the Boston merchant Samuel Sewall noted in his diary that the minister “was very useful as a physician” and described him as “the author of the poem entitled The Day of Doom, which has been so often printed.” Wigglesworth’s poem was so popu lar at least partly because it marked a new development in Puri- tan poetry. The poem dramatizes the “nal days of humanity, interweaving passages and phrases from the Bible to create an integrated vision of Christian end- times. Like the En glish poet John Milton in his great epic Paradise Lost (1667) and the En glish prose writer John Bunyan in his allegory The Pilgrim’s Pro gress (1678), Wig- glesworth let his imagination range far beyond the scriptural words transformed in his work.

Wigglesworth’s dramatic imagination is evident in the diary that he kept in his early twenties, where he recorded a number of psychological and emotional crises. At times he was almost para lyzed with anxiety and self- doubt. He was also troubled by erotic feelings, including an attraction to men that he recorded in a special shorthand in his diary but other wise felt compelled to suppress. Never physically



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1. The text is from The Day of Doom or a Poeti- cal Description of the Great and Last Judgment with Other Poems (1929), edited by Kenneth  B. Murdock, which reprints the only complete American edition (1701). The marginal glosses

are part of the original text. 2. The rationalizations of the desh as opposed to spiritual “right reason.” 3. Ever.

strong, he fretted over numerous illnesses, including syphilis. Some of his afdic- tions were real, but others were imaginary. The diary also reveals that Judgment Day was never far from Wigglesworth’s mind, a preoccupation that emerges most clearly in his response to his father’s death, in 1653. Shortly after hearing the news, which he acknowledged had made him “secretly glad,” Wigglesworth “dreamed of the approach of the great and dreadful Day of Judgment.” When he awoke, he wept and determined to “follow God with tears and cries until He gave me some hopes of His gracious good will toward me.” But two months later, he despaired of his “senselessness” toward this loss and bewailed his “secure, hard heart.” “The death of the righ teous unlamented,” he notes, “is a forerunner of evil to come.” Wiggles- worth’s strug gle to maintain a suitable level of attention toward God’s will was a challenge familiar to many Puritans, and his vivid imagining of Judgment Day cap- tured their attention.

The Day of Doom so captivated colonial- era readers that many people learned its verses by heart. The minister and poet Edward Taylor said that one of the reasons he loved his wife was that “the Doomsday verses much perfumed her breath.” Com- mitting the poem to memory was a formidable task, made easier by Wigglesworth’s use of common hymn meter (“fourteeners”— alternating rhymed lines of eight and six syllables) and because the subject of his poem was familiar to Puritans from sermons. Although Wigglesworth published other poems, notably Meat Out of the Eater (1670), nothing he wrote achieved the popularity of these “Doomsday verses.” The poem’s great appeal to this generation of Puritans is sometimes attributed to its vivid picture of hell”re; but its popularity also derived from its assurance that heaven is a “glorious place! where face to face / Jehovah may be seen,” and where the regenerate will reign with Christ eternally, embraced by God “in arms of love.” At the end, the poem is as comforting as it is frightening.

From The Day of Doom1


Still was the night, serene and bright, when all men sleeping lay; Calm was the season, and carnal reason2 thought so ’twould last for ay.3 Soul, take thine ease, let sorrow cease, 5 much good thou hast in store: This was their song, their cups among, the eve ning before.


Wallowing in all kind of sin, vile wretches lay secure: 10 The best of men had scarcely then

The security of the world before Christ’s coming to judgment Luk. 12.19



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4. Use, condition. 5. Despise. 6. Broke.

7. I.e., their lower bodies trembled. 8. In full force. “Train”: retinue. 9. Living.

their lamps kept in good ure.4 Virgins unwise, who through disguise amongst the best were number’d, Had closed their eyes: yea, and the wise 15 through sloth and frailty slumber’d.


Like as of old, when men grow bold God’s threat’nings to contemn,5 Who stopped their ear, and would not hear, when Mercy warned them: 20 But took their course, without remorse, till God began to pour Destruction the world upon in a tempestuous shower.


They put away the evil day, 25 and drowned their care and fears, Till drowned were they, and swept away by vengeance unawares: So at the last, whilst men sleep fast in their security, 30 Surprised they are in such a snare as cometh suddenly.


For at midnight brake6 forth a light, which turned the night to day, And speedily an hideous cry 35 did all the world dismay. Sinners awake, their hearts do ache, trembling their loins surpriseth;7 Amazed with fear, by what they hear, each one of them ariseth. 40


They rush from beds with giddy heads, and to their win dows run, Viewing this light, which shines more bright then doth the noon- day sun. Straightway appears (they see’t with tears) 45 the Son of God most dread; Who with His train comes on amain8 to judge both quick9 and dead.

Mat 25.5

Mat. 24.37– 38

1 Thes. 5.3

The sudden- ness, majesty, & terror of Christ’s appearing. Mat. 25.6 2 Pet. 3.10

Mat. 24.29– 30



2 5 2 | M I C H A E L W I G G L E S W O R T H

1. Their accustomed places. 2. Trust, believe. 3. Pierced.

4. Haughty and de”ant souls. 5. Ordinary.


Before his face the Heav’ns gave place, and skies are rent asunder, 50 With mighty voice, and hideous noise, more terrible than thunder. His brightness damps Heav’n’s glorious lamps and makes them hide their heads, As if afraid and quite dismayed, 55 they quit their wonted steads.1


Ye sons of men that durst contemn the threat’nings of God’s word, How cheer you now? your hearts, I trow,2 are thrilled3 as with a sword. 60 Now atheist blind, whose brutish mind a God could never see, Dost thou perceive, dost now believe, that Christ thy Judge shall be?


Stout courages4 (whose hardiness 65 could death and hell out- face) Are you as bold now you behold your Judge draw near apace? They cry, no, no: alas! and woe! our courage all is gone: 70 Our hardiness (fool hardiness) hath us undone, undone.


No heart so bold, but now grows cold and almost dead with fear: No eye so dry, but now can cry, 75 and pour out many a tear. Earth’s potentates and power ful states, captains and men of might Are quite abashed, their courage dashed at this most dreadful sight. 80


Mean5 men lament, great men do rent their robes, and tear their hair:

2 Pet. 3.10

Rev. 6.16



T H E D A Y O F D O O M | 2 5 3

6. I.e., stupid people (who think they can escape God’s judgment).

7. I.e., whose daming eyes do espy hidden things.

They do not spare their desh to tear through horrible despair. All kindreds wail: all hearts do fail: 85 horror the world doth “ll With weeping eyes, and loud out- cries, yet knows not how to kill.


Some hide themselves in caves and delves, in places under ground: 90 Some rashly leap into the deep, to scape by being drowned: Some to the rocks (O senseless blocks!)6 and woody mountains run, That there they might this fearful sight, 95 and dreaded presence shun.


In vain do they to mountains say, “Fall on us, and us hide From Judge’s ire, more hot than “re, for who may it abide?” 100 No hiding place can from His face, sinners at all conceal, Whose daming eyes hid things doth ’spy,7 and darkest things reveal.


The Judge draws nigh, exalted high 105 upon a lofty throne, Amidst the throng of angels strong, lo, Israel’s Holy One! The excellence of Whose presence and awful Majesty, 110 Amazeth Nature, and every creature, doth more than terrify.


The mountains smoke, the hills are shook, the earth is rent and torn, As if she should be clean dissolved, 115 or from the center borne. The sea doth roar, forsakes the shore, and shrinks away for fear;

Mat. 24.30

Rev. 6.15– 16

Mat. 25.31



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8. Trumpet. 9. Offer.

1. Standing, place.

The wild beasts dee into the sea, so soon as He draws near. 120


Whose glory bright, whose wondrous might, whose power imperial, So far surpass what ever was in realms terrestrial; That tongues of men (nor Angel’s pen) 125 cannot the same express, And therefore I must pass it by, lest speaking should transgress.


Before His throne a trump8 is blown, proclaiming the Day of Doom: 130 Forthwith He cries, “Ye dead arise, and unto Judgment come.” No sooner said, but ’tis obeyed; sepulchers opened are: Dead bodies all rise at His call, 135 and’s mighty power declare.


Both sea and land, at His command, their dead at once surrender: The “re and air constrainéd are also their dead to tender.9 140 The mighty word of this great Lord links body and soul together Both of the just, and the unjust, to part no more forever.

* * *


Thus every one before the throne of Christ the Judge is brought, Both righ teous and impious that good or ill had wrought. A separation, and differing station1 165 by Christ appointed is (To sinners sad) ’twixt good and bad, ’twixt heirs of woe and bliss.

Rev. 6.14

1 Thes. 4.16 Resurrection of the dead. Joh. 5.28– 29

2 Cor. 5.10 The sheep separated from the goats. Mat. 25



T H E D A Y O F D O O M | 2 5 5

2. Dressed.


At Christ’s right hand the sheep do stand, His holy martyrs, who 170 For His dear name suffering shame, calamity and woe, Like champions stood, and with their blood their testimony sealed; Whose innocence without offense, 175 to Christ their Judge appealed.


Next unto whom there “nd a room all Christ’s afdicted ones, Who being chastised, neither despised nor sank amidst their groans: 180 Who by the rod were turned to God, and lovéd Him the more, Not murmuring nor quarreling when they were chastened sore.


Moreover, such as lovéd much, 185 that had not such a trial, As might constrain to so great pain, and such deep self- denial: Yet ready were the cross to bear, when Christ them called thereto, 190 And did rejoice to hear His voice, they’re counted sheep also.


Christ’s dock of lambs there also stands, whose faith was weak, yet true; All sound believers (Gospel receivers) 195 whose grace was small, but grew: And them among an infant throng of babes, for whom Christ died; Whom for His own, by ways unknown to men, He sancti”ed. 200


All stand before their Savior in long white robes yclad,2 Their countenance full of pleasance,

Who are Christ’s sheep. Mat. 5.10– 11

Heb. 12.5– 7

Luk. 7.41,47

Joh. 21.15 Mat. 19.14 Joh. 3.3

Rev. 6.11 Phil. 3.21



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3. Spirits. 4. Turncoats. 5. I.e., with seven accomplices more evil than he. 6. Inveterate.

7. I.e., tried. 8. Attempts to gain admittance to their souls. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Revela- tion 3.20).

appearing wondrous glad. O glorious sight! Behold how bright 205 dust heaps are made to shine, Conforméd so their Lord unto, whose glory is divine.


At Christ’s left hand the goats do stand, all whining hypocrites, 210 Who for self- ends did seem Christ’s friends, but fostered guileful sprites;3 Who sheep resembled, but they dissembled (their hearts were not sincere); Who once did throng Christ’s lambs among, 215 but now must not come near.


Apostates4 and run- aways, such as have Christ forsaken, Of whom the devil, with seven more evil,5 hath fresh possession taken: 220 Sinners ingrain,6 reserved to pain and torments most severe: Because ’gainst light they sinned with spite, are also placéd there.


There also stand a num’rous band, 225 that no profession made Of godliness, nor to redress their ways at all essayed:7 Who better knew, but (sinful crew) Gospel and law despised; 230 Who all Christ’s knocks8 withstood like blocks and would not be advised.


Moreover, there with them appear a number, numberless Of great and small, vile wretches all, 235 that did God’s Law transgress; Idolaters, false worshipers, profaners of God’s name,

The goats described or the several sorts of repro- bates on the left hand. Mat. 24.51

Luk. 11.24,26 Heb. 6.4– 6 Heb. 10.29

Luk. 12.47 Prov. 1.24,26 Joh. 3.19

Gal. 3.10 1 Cor. 6.9 Rev. 21.8



T H E D A Y O F D O O M | 2 5 7

9. Those chosen by God for eternal life. 1. I.e., appropriate.

2. Accustom. 3. I.e., the pain of being cruci”ed.

Who not at all thereon did call, or took in vain the same. 240

* * *


All silence keep, both goats and sheep, before the Judge’s throne; With mild aspect to His elect9 then spake the Holy One: 300 “My sheep draw near, your sentence hear, which is to you no dread, Who clearly now discern, and know your sins are pardonéd.


“ ’Twas meet1 that ye should judgéd be, 305 that so the world may spy No cause of grudge, when as I judge and deal impartially. Know therefore all, both great and small, the ground and reason why 310 These men do stand at My right hand, and look so cheerfully.


“ These men be those My Father chose before the world’s foundation, And to Me gave, that I should save 315 from death and condemnation. For whose dear sake I desh did take, was of a woman born, And did inure2 Myself t’endure, unjust reproach and scorn. 320


“For them it was that I did pass through sorrows many one: That I drank up that bitter cup, which made Me sigh and groan. The cross his pain3 I did sustain; 325 yea more, My Father’s ire I underwent, My blood I spent to save them from hell “re.

* * *

The saints cleared & justi#ed.

2 Cor. 5.10 Eccles. 3.17 Joh. 3.18

Joh. 17.6 Eph. 1.4

Rev. 1.5



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4. Encompass. 5. Good deeds; merits.


A wond’rous crowd then ’gan aloud, thus for themselves to say, 850 “We did intend, Lord to amend, and to reform our way: Our true intent was to repent, and make our peace with Thee; But sudden death stopping our breath, 855 left us no liberty.


“Short was our time, for in his prime our youthful dower was cropped: We died in youth, before full growth, so was our purpose stopped. 860 Let our good will to turn from ill, and sin to have forsaken, Accepted be, O Lord, by Thee, and in good part be taken.”


To whom the Judge: “Where you allege 865 the shortness of the space, That from your birth you lived on earth, to compass4 saving grace: It was free grace that any space was given you at all 870 To turn from evil, defy the devil, and upon God to call.


“One day, one week, wherein to seek God’s face with all your hearts, A favor was that far did pass 875 the best of your deserts.5 You had a season, what was your reason such precious hours to waste? What could you “nd, what could you mind that was of greater haste? 880

* * *

Those that pretend want of opportunity to repent. Prov. 27.1 Jam. 4.13

Are confuted and convinced.

Eccles. 12.1 Rev. 2.21

Luk. 13.24 2 Cor. 6.2 Heb. 3.7– 9



T H E D A Y O F D O O M | 2 5 9


“Had your intent been to repent, and had you it desired, 900 There would have been endeavors seen, before your time expired. God makes no trea sure, nor hath he plea sure, in idle purposes: Such fair pretenses are foul offenses, 905 and cloaks for wickedness.”

* * *


Others argue, and not a few, “Is not God gracious? His equity and clemency 1035 are they not marvelous? Thus we believed; are we deceived? cannot His mercy great, (As hath been told to us of old) assuage His anger’s heat? 1040

* * *


“Can God delight in such a sight as sinners’ misery? 1050 Or what great good can this our blood bring unto The Most High? Oh, Thou that dost Thy glory most in pard’ning sin display! Lord, might it please Thee to release, 1055 and pardon us this day?”

* * *


But all too late, grief’s out of date, 1065 when life is at an end. The glorious King thus answering, all to His voice attend: “God gracious is,” quoth He, “like His no mercy can be found; 1070 His equity and clemency to sinners do abound.

Luk. 13.24– 25 etc. Phil. 2.12

Others plead for pardon both from God’s mercy and justice Psal. 78.38

Psal. 30.9 Mic. 7.18

They answered.



2 6 0 | M I C H A E L W I G G L E S W O R T H

6. Lashes. 7. Acquitted. 8. Similar. 9. Growing.

1. Familiar, usual. 2. Spiritless, inanimate. 3. Blocks of wood; speechless persons.


“As may appear by those that here are placed at My right hand; Whose stripes6 I bore, and cleared the score, 1075 that they might quitted7 stand. For surely none, but God alone, whose grace transcends men’s thought, For such as those that were His foes like8 won ders would have wrought. 1080

* * *


“With cords of love God often strove your stubborn hearts to tame: 1090 Nevertheless your wickedness, did still resist the same. If now at last mercy be past from you forevermore, And justice come in mercy’s room, 1095 yet grudge you not therefore.


“If into wrath God turnéd hath His long long- suffering, And now for love you vengeance prove, it is an equal thing. 1100 Your waxing9 worse, hath stopped the course of wonted1 clemency: Mercy refused, and grace misused, call for severity.”

* * *


These words appall and daunt them all; dismayed, and all amort,2 Like stocks3 they stand at Christ’s left hand, and dare no more retort.

* * *

Mercy that now shines forth in the vessels of mercy. Mic. 7.18 Rom. 9.23

Luk. 13.34 The day of grace now past.

Luk. 19.42– 43 Jud. 4



T H E D A Y O F D O O M | 2 6 1

4. Hurt. 5. Souls, persons. 6. Never. “ ’T”: that.

7. Animals were not believed to possess souls and thus could not be damned.


Thus all men’s pleas the Judge with ease doth answer and confute, 1450 Until that all, both great and small, are silencéd and mute. Vain hopes are cropped, all mouths are stopped, sinners have naught to say, But that ’tis just, and equal most 1455 they should be damned for ay.


Now what remains, but that to pains and everlasting smart,4 Christ should condemn the sons of men, which is their just desert; 1460 Oh, rueful plights of sinful wights!5 oh wretches all forlorn: ’T had happy been they ne’re6 had seen the sun, or not been born.


Yea, now it would be good they could 1465 themselves annihilate, And cease to be, themselves to free from such a fearful state. Oh happy dogs, and swine, and frogs: yea serpent’s generation, 1470 Who do not fear this doom to hear, and sentence of damnation!7


This is their state so desperate: their sins are fully known; Their vanities and villanies 1475 before the world are shown. As they are gross and impious, so are their numbers more Than motes i’th’ air, or than their hair, or sands upon the shore. 1480


Divine justice offended is and satisfaction claimeth:

Behold the formidable estate of all the ungodly, as they stand hopeless & helpless before an impartial Judge, expect- ing their #nal sentence. Rev. 6.16– 17

Psal. 139.2– 4 Eccles. 12.14



2 6 2 | M I C H A E L W I G G L E S W O R T H

8. Dismiss from fellowship 9. Either. 1. Punish. 2. Those who experienced saving grace and in

this life felt assurance of salvation; not to be confused with the canonized saints of the Cath- olic Church. 3. Dazed.

God’s wrathful ire kindled like “re, against them “ercely dameth. Their Judge severe doth quite cashier8 1485 and all their pleas off take, That never a man, or9 dare, or can a further answer make.


Their mouths are shut, each man is put to silence and to shame: 1490 Nor have they aught within their thought, Christ’s justice for to blame. The Judge is just, and plague1 them must, nor will He mercy show (For mercy’s day is past away) 1495 to any of this crew.

* * *


Unto the saints2 with sad complaints should they themselves apply? They’re not dejected, nor ought affected 1555 with all their misery. Friends stand aloof, and make no proof what prayers or tears can do: Your godly friends are now more friends to Christ than unto you. 1560


Where tender love men’s hearts did move unto a sympathy, And bearing part of other’s smart in their anxiety; Now such compassion is out of fashion 1565 and wholly laid aside: No friends so near, but saints to hear their sentence can abide.


One natu ral brother beholds another in this astonied3 “t, 1570 Yet sorrows not thereat a jot, nor pities him a whit.

Mat. 25.45

Mat. 22.12 Rom. 2.5–6 Luk. 19.42

Psal. 58.10

Rev. 21.4

1 Cor. 6.2

Compare Prov. 1.26 with



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4. At one time. 5. I.e., that God should sustain injury by sparing

the graceless son. 6. Spirits.

The godly wife conceives no grief, nor can she shed a tear For the sad state of her dear mate, 1575 When she his doom doth hear.


He that was erst4 a husband pierced with sense of wife’s distress, Whose tender heart did bear a part of all her grievances, 1580 Shall mourn no more as heretofore because of her ill plight; Although he see her now to be a damned forsaken wight.


The tender mother will own no other 1585 of all her num’rous brood, But such as stand at Christ’s right hand acquitted through His blood. The pious father had now much rather his graceless son should lie 1590 In hell with dev ils, for all his evils burning eternally,


Than God most high should injury, by sparing him sustain;5 And doth rejoice to hear Christ’s voice 1595 adjudging him to pain; Who having all, both great and small, convinc’d and silencéd, Did then proceed their doom to read, and thus it utteréd: 1600


“Ye sinful wights, and cursed sprights,6 that work iniquity, Depart together from me forever to endless misery; Your portion take in yonder lake, 1605 where #re and brimstone “ameth: Suffer the smart, which your desert as its due wages claimeth.”

* * *

1 Joh. 3.2 &

2 Cor. 5.16

Luk. 16.25

Psal. 58.10

The Judge pronounceth the sentence of condemna- tion. Mat. 25.41



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7. Wretched. 8. Despite their wishes. 9. Reluctant to do so.

1. Resolute, brave. 2. This wicked deeing mob.


They wring their hands, their caitiff 7 hands and gnash their teeth for terror; They cry, they roar for anguish sore, 1635 and gnaw their tongues for horror. But get away without delay, Christ pities not your cry: Depart to hell, there may you yell, and roar eternally. 1640


That word, Depart, maugre their heart,8 drives every wicked one, With mighty power, the selfsame hour, far from the Judge’s throne. Away they’re chased by the strong blast 1645 of His death- threat’ning mouth: They dee full fast, as if in haste, although they be full loath.9


As chaff that’s dry, and dust doth dy before the northern wind: 1650 Right so are they chaséd away, and can no refuge “nd. They hasten to the pit of woe, guarded by angels stout;1 Who to ful”ll Christ’s holy will, 1655 attend this wicked rout.2


Whom having brought, as they are taught, unto the brink of hell (That dismal place far from Christ’s face, where death and darkness dwell: 1660 Where God’s “erce ire kindleth the “re, and vengeance feeds the dame With piles of wood, and brimstone dood, that one can quench the same),


With iron bands they bind their hands, 1665 and curséd feet together,

Luk. 13.28

Prov. 1.26

It is put in execution.

Mat. 25.46

Mat. 13.41–42

HELL. Mat. 25.30 Mar. 9.43 Isa. 30.33 Rev. 21.8

Wicked men and dev ils



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3. Songs.

And cast them all, both great and small, into that lake forever. Where day and night, without respite, they wail, and cry, and howl 1670 For tort’ring pain, which they sustain in body and in soul.


For day and night, in their despite, their torment’s smoke ascendeth. Their pain and grief have no relief, 1675 their anguish never endeth. There must they lie, and never die, though dying every day: There must they dying ever lie, and not consume away. 1680

* * *


Thus shall they lie, and wail, and cry, tormented, and tormenting Their galléd hearts with poisoned darts but now too late repenting. 1740 There let them dwell i’th’ dames of hell; there leave we them to burn, And back again unto the men whom Christ acquits, return.


The saints behold with courage bold, 1745 and thankful wonderment, To see all those that were their foes thus sent to punishment: Then do they sing unto their King a song of endless praise: 1750 They praise His name, and do proclaim that just are all His ways.


Thus with great joy and melody to heav’n they all ascend, Him there to praise with sweetest lays,3 1755 and hymns that never end, Where with long rest they shall be blest, and nought shall them annoy:

cast into it forever. Mat. 22.13 & 25.46

Rev. 14.10–11

Mar. 9.44 Rom. 2.15

The saints rejoice to see judgment exe cuted upon the wicked world. Psal. 58.10 Rev. 19.1–3

They ascend with Christ into heaven triumphing. Mat. 25.46 1 Joh. 3.2



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4. Once, earlier. 5. Reborn.

6. Channel bed.

Where they shall see as seen they be, and whom they love enjoy. 1760


O glorious place! where face to face Jehovah may be seen, By such as were sinners whilere4 and no dark veil between. Where the sun shine, and light divine, 1765 of God’s bright countenance, Doth rest upon them every one, with sweetest induence.


O blessed state of the renate!5 O wondrous happiness, 1770 To which they’re brought, beyond what thought can reach, or words express! Grief’s water- course,6 and sorrow’s source, are turned to joyful streams. Their old distress and heaviness 1775 are vanishéd like dreams.


For God above in arms of love doth dearly them embrace, And “lls their sprights with such delights, and pleasures in His grace; 1780 As shall not fail, nor yet grow stale through frequency of use: Nor do they fear God’s favor there, to forfeit by abuse.


For there the saints are perfect saints, 1785 and holy ones indeed, From all the sin that dwelt within their mortal bodies freed: Made kings and priests to God through Christ’s dear love’s transcendency, 1790 There to remain, and there to reign with Him eternally.


1 Cor. 13.12

Their eternal happiness and incomparable glory there.

Rev. 21.4

Psal. 16.11

Heb. 12.23

Rev. 1.6 & 22.5



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M ARY ROWL ANDSON c. 1637–1711

On June 20, 1675, the Wampanoag leader Metacom, who was sometimes called King Philip, or ga nized the “rst of a series of attacks on New Eng land settle- ments. These attacks, which lasted for more than a year, have become known as “King Philip’s War.” They were occasioned by the execution in Plymouth of three Wam- panoag tribesmen, but the grievances behind them had been growing for de cades. Crowded off their lands by the En glish colonists, the region’s Algonquian com- munities, including the Wampanoag, had begun to experience severe food short-

ages. Metacom and his allies wanted to regain sovereignty over their territory and to stop further colonial expansion. By the end of the war, in August 1676, three thousand Native Americans were dead, including Metacom, who was killed by a Native ally of the En glish. Colonial leaders had sold Metacom’s wife and children into slavery in the West Indies, along with many other pris- oners of the war. The En glish had suf- fered major losses as well. More than twelve hundred houses had been burned, and about six hundred colonials were dead. The war to restore Native sover- eignty in New Eng land had instead sharply diminished it, though Metacom and his forces had posed an existential challenge to the colonies.

The most famous account of these attacks is A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, written by the wife of the minister of the town of Lancaster, Mas sa chu setts, “fty miles west of Boston. Rowlandson spent eleven weeks as the Wampanoag’s cap- tive. Born in Somersetshire, in the south of Eng land, she moved to New Eng land with her family in 1639. Her father, John White, became a wealthy landholder in the Mas sa chu setts Bay Colony, and in 1653 he settled in Lancaster. Around 1656, she married the Reverend Joseph Rowlandson. The attack on Lancaster occurred on February  20, 1676, while Joseph was away from home. Several members of Rowlandson’s family were killed in the attack, and she and three of

A Narrative. Mary Rowlandson, whose narrative “rst appeared in 1682, had refused to resist—or even try to escape from— her Native American captors. But in this illustration from around 1773, shortly before the beginning of the American Revolution, she has been given a gun and thus elevated into a defender of her realm — like the male patriots who at that time were opposing British policy.



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her children were taken captive; her daughter Sarah was badly wounded and died a few days later. During her captivity, Rowlandson was separated from her older children and saw them only occasionally. She was ransomed and released on the second of May, and after several weeks her surviving children were returned. In 1677 she and Joseph moved to Wethers”eld, Connecticut, where he died the next year. The town voted to pay her an annuity as their minister’s widow. She married Captain Samuel Talcott in Wethers”eld on August 6, 1679, and died in that Con- necticut Valley town, thirty “ve years after her famous ordeal.

Shortly after her release by the Wampanoags, Rowlandson began writing about her captivity, prompted by leading members of the clergy, including one who wrote a preface designed to “nd meaning for the colony in Rowlandson’s experiences. (That anonymous author was prob ably Increase Mather, who is discussed in the headnote for his son, Cotton Mather, below.) Published in 1682, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson became one of the most popu lar prose works of the seventeenth century in both British North Amer i ca and Eng land. The narrative combines high adventure with tragedy and exemplary piety, while also revealing complex psychological and social dynamics. Using “removes” (i.e., depar- tures, movings from place to place) to structure her account, Rowlandson shows how she adjusted to the shock of the attack, the death of her daughter, and her own situation. As Rowlandson recovers and acclimates, she takes more interest in the unfamiliar people and activities around her, recognizing that some actions that initially seemed to redect the “savagery” of her captors were instead necessitated by their desperate circumstances. She includes striking portrayals of Metacom, who treats her graciously; her master, Quinnapin, who becomes something of a protec- tor for her; and Quinnapin’s wife Weetamoo, the “squaw sachem,” who treats her more harshly. She also vividly describes a “powwow” and other rituals and practices that were unfamiliar to her and many of her readers. She has some harsh words for “Praying Indians,” that is, Native Christians who sided with Metacom against the En glish. Her closing redections suggest her lingering trauma and her effort to make sense of her experiences as part of a divine plan. They offer some of the most mov- ing passages about grief and ac cep tance in American literature.

Several editions of the narrative appeared around the time of the American Revo- lution, suggesting that part of the work’s appeal is its connecting of an individual’s experience to a group identity. Its continued popularity contributed to a revival of the genre of the captivity narrative in the early nineteenth century, as Indian Removal and westward expansion created new pressures on Native communities. One of the major descendants in the genre is A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison (1824), the story of a captive white woman who made a life with the Iroquois. Rowlandson’s narrative also exerted a lasting induence on American “ction, through works such as James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie: Or, Early Times in the Mas sa chu setts (1827), which were inspired in part by the genre that Rowlandson so powerfully brought to life.



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1. The text is from Original Narratives of Early American History, Narratives of Indian Wars 1675–1699 (1952), vol. 14, edited by  C.  H. Lin- coln. All copies of Rowlandson’s original edition have been lost. Like most modern editors, Lin- coln reprints the second “Addition,” “rst printed in Cambridge, Mas sa chu setts, in 1682. The full title is The sovereignty and goodness of GOD, together with the faithfulness of his promises dis- played; being a narrative of the captivity and res- toration of Mrs.  Mary Rowlandson, commended by her, to all that desires to know the Lord’s doings to, and dealings with her. Especially to her dear children and relations. The second Addition Cor- rected and amended. Written by her own hand for

her private use, and now made public at the ear- nest desire of some friends, and for the bene#t of the af”icted. Deut. 32.39. See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me; I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal, neither is there any can deliver out of my hand. 2. Thursday, February  20, 1676, according to the Gregorian calendar, which was adopted in 1752. 3. Then a frontier town of about “fty families. 4. I.e., houses in the town where people gath- ered for defense. 5. Belly. 6. Projecting forti”cations.

A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson1

On the tenth of February 1675,2 came the Indians with great numbers upon Lancaster:3 their “rst coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning, and the smoke ascending to heaven. There were “ve persons taken in one house; the father, and the mother and a sucking child, they knocked on the head; the other two they took and carried away alive. There were two others, who being out of their garrison4 upon some occasion were set upon; one was knocked on the head, the other escaped; another there was who running along was shot and wounded, and fell down; he begged of them his life, promising them money (as they told me) but they would not hearken to him but knocked him in head, and stripped him naked, and split open his bowels.5 Another, seeing many of the Indians about his barn, ventured and went out, but was quickly shot down. There were three others belonging to the same garrison who were killed; the Indians getting up upon the roof of the barn, had advantage to shoot down upon them over their forti”cation. Thus these murderous wretches went on, burning, and destroying before them.

At length they came and beset our own house, and quickly it was the dole- fulest day that ever mine eyes saw. The house stood upon the edge of a hill; some of the Indians got behind the hill, others into the barn, and others behind anything that could shelter them; from all which places they shot against the house, so that the bullets seemed to dy like hail; and quickly they wounded one man among us, then another, and then a third. About two hours (according to my observation, in that amazing time) they had been about the house before they prevailed to “re it (which they did with dax and hemp, which they brought out of the barn, and there being no defense about the house, only two dankers6 at two opposite corners and one of them not “nished); they “red it once and one ventured out and quenched it, but they quickly “red it again, and that took. Now is the dreadful hour come, that I have often heard of (in time of war, as it was the case of others), but now mine eyes see it. Some in our house were “ghting for their lives, others wal- lowing in their blood, the house on “re over our heads, and the bloody hea- then ready to knock us on the head, if we stirred out. Now might we hear mothers and children crying out for themselves, and one another, “Lord, what shall we do?” Then I took my children (and one of my sisters’, hers) to



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7. I.e., eager to return the gun”re. 8. Hollered, yelled.

9. Psalm 46.8.

go forth and leave the house: but as soon as we came to the door and appeared, the Indians shot so thick that the bullets rattled against the house, as if one had taken an handful of stones and threw them, so that we were fain to give back.7 We had six stout dogs belonging to our garrison, but none of them would stir, though another time, if any Indian had come to the door, they were ready to dy upon him and tear him down. The Lord hereby would make us the more acknowledge His hand, and to see that our help is always in Him. But out we must go, the “re increasing, and coming along behind us, roaring, and the Indians gaping before us with their guns, spears, and hatchets to devour us. No sooner were we out of the house, but my brother- in- law (being before wounded, in defending the house, in or near the throat) fell down dead, whereat the Indians scornfully shouted, and hallowed,8 and were presently upon him, stripping off his clothes, the bullets dying thick, one went through my side, and the same (as would seem) through the bowels and hand of my dear child in my arms. One of my elder sisters’ children, named William, had then his leg broken, which the Indians perceiving, they knocked him on [his] head. Thus were we butchered by those merciless heathen, standing amazed, with the blood running down to our heels. My eldest sister being yet in the house, and seeing those woeful sights, the in”dels hauling mothers one way, and children another, and some wallowing in their blood: and her elder son telling her that her son William was dead, and myself was wounded, she said, “And Lord, let me die with them,” which was no sooner said, but she was struck with a bullet, and fell down dead over the threshold. I hope she is reap- ing the fruit of her good labors, being faithful to the ser vice of God in her place. In her younger years she lay under much trou ble upon spiritual accounts, till it pleased God to make that precious scripture take hold of her heart, “And he said unto me, my Grace is suf”cient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12.9). More than twenty years after, I have heard her tell how sweet and com- fortable that place was to her. But to return: the Indians laid hold of us, pull- ing me one way, and the children another, and said, “Come go along with us”; I told them they would kill me: they answered, if I were willing to go along with them, they would not hurt me.

Oh the doleful sight that now was to behold at this house! “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he has made in the earth.”9 Of thirty- seven persons who were in this one house, none escaped either pres ent death, or a bitter captivity, save only one, who might say as he, “And I only am escaped alone to tell the News” (Job 1.15). There were twelve killed, some shot, some stabbed with their spears, some knocked down with their hatchets. When we are in prosperity, Oh the little that we think of such dreadful sights, and to see our dear friends, and relations lie bleeding out their heart- blood upon the ground. There was one who was chopped into the head with a hatchet, and stripped naked, and yet was crawling up and down. It is a solemn sight to see so many Christians lying in their blood, some here, and some there, like a com- pany of sheep torn by wolves, all of them stripped naked by a com pany of hell- hounds, roaring, singing, ranting, and insulting, as if they would have torn our very hearts out; yet the Lord by His almighty power preserved a number of us from death, for there were twenty- four of us taken alive and carried captive.



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1. Close. 2. I.e., Mas sa chu setts Bay, or Boston. 3. On August 30, 1675, Captain Samuel Mosely, encouraged by a number of people who were skep- tical of converted American Indians, brought to

Boston by force “fteen Christianized American Indians who lived on their own lands in Marlbor- ough, Mas sa chu setts, and accused them (prob ably unjustly) of an attack on the town of Lancaster on August 22.

I had often before this said that if the Indians should come, I should choose rather to be killed by them than taken alive, but when it came to the trial my mind changed; their glittering weapons so daunted my spirit, that I chose rather to go along with those (as I may say) ravenous beasts, than that moment to end my days; and that I may the better declare what happened to me during that grievous captivity, I shall particularly speak of the several removes we had up and down the wilderness.

The First Remove

Now away we must go with those barbarous creatures, with our bodies wounded and bleeding, and our hearts no less than our bodies. About a mile we went that night, up upon a hill within sight of the town, where they intended to lodge. There was hard1 by a vacant house (deserted by the En glish before, for fear of the Indians). I asked them whether I might not lodge in the house that night, to which they answered, “What, will you love En glish men still?” This was the dolefulest night that ever my eyes saw. Oh the roar- ing, and singing and dancing, and yelling of those black creatures in the night, which made the place a lively resemblance of hell. And as miserable was the waste that was there made of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, calves, lambs, roasting pigs, and fowl (which they had plundered in the town), some roasting, some lying and burning, and some boiling to feed our merciless enemies; who were joyful enough, though we were disconsolate. To add to the dolefulness of the former day, and the dismalness of the pres ent night, my thoughts ran upon my losses and sad bereaved condition. All was gone, my husband gone (at least separated from me, he being in the Bay;2 and to add to my grief, the Indians told me they would kill him as he came home- ward), my children gone, my relations and friends gone, our house and home and all our comforts— within door and without— all was gone (except my life), and I knew not but the next moment that might go too. There remained nothing to me but one poor wounded babe, and it seemed at pres ent worse than death that it was in such a pitiful condition, bespeaking compassion, and I had no refreshing for it, nor suitable things to revive it. Little do many think what is the savageness and brutishness of this barbarous enemy, Ay, even those that seem to profess more than others among them, when the En glish have fallen into their hands.

Those seven that were killed at Lancaster the summer before upon a Sabbath day, and the one that was afterward killed upon a weekday, were slain and mangled in a barbarous manner, by one- eyed John, and Marlbor- ough’s Praying Indians, which Capt. Mosely brought to Boston, as the Indi- ans told me.3



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4. West to Prince ton, Mas sa chu setts, near Mount Wachusett. 5. February 12–27; they stopped at a Native American village on the Ware River, near New

Braintree. 6. Abbreviation for videlicet: that is to say, namely (Latin).

The Second Remove4

But now, the next morning, I must turn my back upon the town, and travel with them into the vast and desolate wilderness, I knew not whither. It is not my tongue, or pen, can express the sorrows of my heart, and bitterness of my spirit that I had at this departure: but God was with me in a wonderful manner, carry ing me along, and bearing up my spirit, that it did not quite fail. One of the Indians carried my poor wounded babe upon a horse; it went moaning all along, “I shall die, I shall die.” I went on foot after it, with sorrow that cannot be expressed. At length I took it off the horse, and carried it in my arms till my strength failed, and I fell down with it. Then they set me upon a horse with my wounded child in my lap, and there being no furniture upon the horse’s back, as we were going down a steep hill we both fell over the horse’s head, at which they, like inhumane creatures, laughed, and rejoiced to see it, though I thought we should there have ended our days, as overcome with so many dif”culties. But the Lord renewed my strength still, and carried me along, that I might see more of His power; yea, so much that I could never have thought of, had I not experienced it.

After this it quickly began to snow, and when night came on, they stopped, and now down I must sit in the snow, by a little “re, and a few boughs behind me, with my sick child in my lap; and calling much for water, being now (through the wound) fallen into a violent fever. My own wound also growing so stiff that I could scarce sit down or rise up; yet so it must be, that I must sit all this cold winter night upon the cold snowy ground, with my sick child in my arms, looking that every hour would be the last of its life; and having no Christian friend near me, either to comfort or help me. Oh, I may see the wonderful power of God, that my Spirit did not utterly sink under my afdic- tion: still the Lord upheld me with His gracious and merciful spirit, and we were both alive to see the light of the next morning.

The Third Remove5

The morning being come, they prepared to go on their way. One of the Indi- ans got up upon a horse, and they set me up behind him, with my poor sick babe in my lap. A very wearisome and tedious day I had of it; what with my own wound, and my child’s being so exceeding sick, and in a la men ta ble con- dition with her wound. It may be easily judged what a poor feeble condition we were in, there being not the least crumb of refreshing that came within either of our mouths from Wednesday night to Saturday night, except only a little cold water. This day in the after noon, about an hour by sun, we came to the place where they intended, viz.6 an Indian town, called Wenimesset, northward of Quabaug. When we were come, Oh the number of pagans (now merciless enemies) that there came about me, that I may say as David, “I had fainted, unless I had believed, etc.” (Psalm 27.13). The next day was the Sab- bath. I then remembered how careless I had been of God’s holy time; how many Sabbaths I had lost and misspent, and how evilly I had walked in



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7. A colonial town. 8. Captain Beers had attempted to save the gar- rison of North”eld, Mas sa chu setts, on September 4, 1675. “Albany”: then a colony in New York.

9. In Job 16.2, Job says: “I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.” 1. A subordinate chief.

God’s sight; which lay so close unto my spirit, that it was easy for me to see how righ teous it was with God to cut off the thread of my life and cast me out of His presence forever. Yet the Lord still showed mercy to me, and upheld me; and as He wounded me with one hand, so he healed me with the other. This day there came to me one Robert Pepper (a man belonging to Roxbury)7 who was taken in Captain Beers’s “ght, and had been now a considerable time with the Indians; and up with them almost as far as Albany, to see King Philip, as he told me, and was now very lately come into these parts.8 Hearing, I say, that I was in this Indian town, he obtained leave to come and see me. He told me he himself was wounded in the leg at Captain Beers’s “ght; and was not able some time to go, but as they carried him, and as he took oaken leaves and laid to his wound, and through the blessing of God he was able to travel again. Then I took oaken leaves and laid to my side, and with the blessing of God it cured me also; yet before the cure was wrought, I may say, as it is in Psalm 38.5–6, “My wounds stink and are corrupt, I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long.” I sat much alone with a poor wounded child in my lap, which moaned night and day, having nothing to revive the body, or cheer the spirits of her, but instead of that, sometimes one Indian would come and tell me one hour that “your master will knock your child in the head,” and then a second, and then a third, “your master will quickly knock your child in the head.”

This was the comfort I had from them, miserable comforters are ye all, as he said.9 Thus nine days I sat upon my knees, with my babe in my lap, till my desh was raw again; my child being even ready to depart this sorrowful world, they bade me carry it out to another wigwam (I suppose because they would not be troubled with such spectacles) whither I went with a very heavy heart, and down I sat with the picture of death in my lap. About two hours in the night, my sweet babe like a lamb departed this life on Feb. 18, 1675. It being about six years, and “ve months old. It was nine days from the “rst wounding, in this miserable condition, without any refreshing of one nature or other, except a little cold water. I cannot but take notice how at another time I could not bear to be in the room where any dead person was, but now the case is changed; I must and could lie down by my dead babe, side by side all the night after. I have thought since of the wonderful goodness of God to me in preserving me in the use of my reason and senses in that dis- tressed time, that I did not use wicked and violent means to end my own miserable life. In the morning, when they understood that my child was dead they sent for me home to my master’s wigwam (by my master in this writ- ing, must be understood Quinnapin, who was a Sagamore,1 and married King Philip’s wife’s sister; not that he “rst took me, but I was sold to him by another Narragansett Indian, who took me when “rst I came out of the gar- rison). I went to take up my dead child in my arms to carry it with me, but they bid me let it alone; there was no resisting, but go I must and leave it. When I had been at my master’s wigwam, I took the “rst opportunity I could get to go look after my dead child. When I came I asked them what they had done with it; then they told me it was upon the hill. Then they went and



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2. Jacob’s lamentation in Genesis 42.36. 3. This colonial town in Mas sa chu setts was

attacked on February 21. 4. Whooping.

showed me where it was, where I saw the ground was newly digged, and there they told me they had buried it. There I left that child in the wilderness, and must commit it, and myself also in this wilderness condition, to Him who is above all. God having taken away this dear child, I went to see my daughter Mary, who was at this same Indian town, at a wigwam not very far off, though we had little liberty or opportunity to see one another. She was about ten years old, and taken from the door at “rst by a Praying Ind. and afterward sold for a gun. When I came in sight, she would fall aweeping; at which they were provoked, and would not let me come near her, but bade me be gone; which was a heart- cutting word to me. I had one child dead, another in the wilderness, I knew not where, the third they would not let me come near to: “Me (as he said) have ye bereaved of my Children, Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin also, all these things are against me.”2 I could not sit still in this condition, but kept walking from one place to another. And as I was going along, my heart was even over- whelmed with the thoughts of my condition, and that I should have children, and a nation which I knew not, ruled over them. Whereupon I earnestly entreated the Lord, that He would consider my low estate, and show me a token for good, and if it were His blessed will, some sign and hope of some relief. And indeed quickly the Lord answered, in some mea sure, my poor prayers; for as I was going up and down mourning and lamenting my condi- tion, my son came to me, and asked me how I did. I had not seen him before, since the destruction of the town, and I knew not where he was, till I was informed by himself, that he was amongst a smaller parcel of Indians, whose place was about six miles off. With tears in his eyes, he asked me whether his sister Sarah was dead; and told me he had seen his sister Mary; and prayed me, that I would not be troubled in reference to himself. The occa- sion of his coming to see me at this time, was this: there was, as I said, about six miles from us, a small plantation of Indians, where it seems he had been during his captivity; and at this time, there were some forces of the Ind. gath- ered out of our com pany, and some also from them (among whom was my son’s master) to go to assault and burn Med”eld.3 In this time of the absence of his master, his dame brought him to see me. I took this to be some gra- cious answer to my earnest and unfeigned desire. The next day, viz. to this, the Indians returned from Med”eld, all the com pany, for those that belonged to the other small com pany, came through the town that now we were at. But before they came to us, Oh! the outrageous roaring and hooping4 that there was. They began their din about a mile before they came to us. By their noise and hooping they signi”ed how many they had destroyed (which was at that time twenty- three). Those that were with us at home were gathered together as soon as they heard the hooping, and every time that the other went over their number, these at home gave a shout, that the very earth rung again. And thus they continued till those that had been upon the expedition were come up to the Sagamore’s wigwam; and then, Oh, the hideous insult- ing and triumphing that there was over some En glishmen’s scalps that they had taken (as their manner is) and brought with them. I cannot but take notice of the wonderful mercy of God to me in those afdictions, in sending



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5. A chapter concerned with blessings for obedi- ence to God and curses for disobedience. 6. I.e., in place of the blessings. 7. “That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations” (Deuteronomy 30.3), referring to the Israelites’ Babylonian captivity, or exile.

8. I.e., the mistress of a house. 9. Food. “One . . . reckon”: i.e., before she was expected to give birth. 1. Verse 14. “Ver. ult.”: last verse (Latin abbrev.) 2. February  28 to March  3. The camp was between Ware River and Miller’s River, in pres ent- day Petersham, Mas sa chu setts. 3. I.e., so soon after giving birth.

me a Bible. One of the Indians that came from [the] Med”eld “ght, had brought some plunder, came to me, and asked me, if I would have a Bible, he had got one in his basket. I was glad of it, and asked him, whether he thought the Indians would let me read? He answered, yes. So I took the Bible, and in that melancholy time, it came into my mind to read “rst the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy,5 which I did, and when I had read it, my dark heart wrought on this manner: that there was no mercy for me, that the blessings were gone, and the curses come in their room,6 and that I had lost my opportunity. But the Lord helped me still to go on reading till I came to Chap. 30, the seven “rst verses, where I found, there was mercy promised again, if we would return to Him by repentance;7 and though we were scattered from one end of the earth to the other, yet the Lord would gather us together, and turn all those curses upon our enemies. I do not desire to live to forget this Scrip- ture, and what comfort it was to me.

Now the Ind. began to talk of removing from this place, some one way, and some another. There were now besides myself nine En glish captives in this place (all of them children, except one woman). I got an opportunity to go and take my leave of them. They being to go one way, and I another, I asked them whether they were earnest with God for deliverance. They told me they did as they were able, and it was some comfort to me, that the Lord stirred up children to look to Him. The woman, viz. goodwife8 Joslin, told me she should never see me again, and that she could “nd in her heart to run away. I wished her not to run away by any means, for we were near thirty miles from any En glish town, and she very big with child, and had but one week to reckon, and another child in her arms, two years old, and bad rivers there were to go over, and we were feeble, with our poor and coarse enter- tainment.9 I had my Bible with me, I pulled it out, and asked her whether she would read. We opened the Bible and lighted on Psalm 27, in which Psalm we especially took notice of that, ver. ult., “Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine Heart, wait I say on the Lord.”1

The Fourth Remove2

And now I must part with that little com pany I had. Here I parted from my daughter Mary (whom I never saw again till I saw her in Dorchester, returned from captivity), and from four little cousins and neighbors, some of which I never saw afterward: the Lord only knows the end of them. Amongst them also was that poor woman before mentioned, who came to a sad end, as some of the com pany told me in my travel: she having much grief upon her spirit about her miserable condition, being so near her time,3 she would be often asking the Indians to let her go home; they not being willing to that, and yet vexed with her importunity, gathered a great com pany together about her and stripped her naked, and set her in the midst of them, and when they had sung



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4. March 3 to March 5. 5. Mas sa chu setts and Connecticut forces. 6. King of Israel (c. 843–816 b.c.e.) who killed the kings Jehoram and Ahaziah (cf. 2 Kings

9.20). 7. Pres ent- day Miller’s River, in Orange, Mas sa- chu setts. 8. Weetamoo.

and danced about her (in their hellish manner) as long as they pleased they knocked her on [the] head, and the child in her arms with her. When they had done that they made a “re and put them both into it, and told the other children that were with them that if they attempted to go home, they would serve them in like manner. The children said she did not shed one tear, but prayed all the while. But to return to my own journey, we traveled about half a day or little more, and came to a desolate place in the wilderness, where there were no wigwams or inhabitants before; we came about the middle of the after noon to this place, cold and wet, and snowy, and hungry, and weary, and no refreshing for man but the cold ground to sit on, and our poor Indian cheer.

Heart- aching thoughts here I had about my poor children, who were scat- tered up and down among the wild beasts of the forest. My head was light and dizzy ( either through hunger or hard lodging, or trou ble or all together), my knees feeble, my body raw by sitting double night and day, that I cannot express to man the afdiction that lay upon my spirit, but the Lord helped me at that time to express it to Himself. I opened my Bible to read, and the Lord brought that precious Scripture to me. “Thus saith the Lord, refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, and they shall come again from the land of the enemy” (Jeremiah 31.16). This was a sweet cordial to me when I was ready to faint; many and many a time have I sat down and wept sweetly over this Scripture. At this place we continued about four days.

The Fifth Remove4

The occasion (as I thought) of their moving at this time was the En glish army,5 it being near and following them. For they went as if they had gone for their lives, for some considerable way, and then they made a stop, and chose some of their stoutest men, and sent them back to hold the En glish army in play whilst the rest escaped. And then, like Jehu,6 they marched on furiously, with their old and with their young: some carried their old decrepit mothers, some carried one, and some another. Four of them carried a great Indian upon a bier; but going through a thick wood with him, they were hin- dered, and could make no haste, whereupon they took him upon their backs, and carried him, one at a time, till they came to Banquaug river.7 Upon a Friday, a little after noon, we came to this river. When all the com- pany was come up, and were gathered together, I thought to count the num- ber of them, but they were so many, and being somewhat in motion, it was beyond my skill. In this travel, because of my wound, I was somewhat favored in my load; I carried only my knitting work and two quarts of parched meal. Being very faint I asked my mistress8 to give me one spoonful of the meal, but she would not give me a taste. They quickly fell to cutting dry trees, to make rafts to carry them over the river: and soon my turn came to go over. By the advantage of some brush which they had laid upon the raft to sit upon, I did not wet my foot (which many of themselves at the other end were mid-



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9. Monday, March  6, ending near North”eld, Mas sa chu setts. 1. Lot’s wife looked back on the wicked city of

Sodom and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19.24).

leg deep) which cannot but be acknowledged as a favor of God to my weak- ened body, it being a very cold time. I was not before acquainted with such kind of doings or dangers. “When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overdow thee” (Isaiah 43.2). A certain number of us got over the river that night, but it was the night after the Sabbath before all the com pany was got over. On the Saturday they boiled an old horse’s leg which they had got, and so we drank of the broth, as soon as they thought it was ready, and when it was almost all gone, they “lled it up again.

The “rst week of my being among them I hardly ate anything; the second week I found my stomach grow very faint for want of something; and yet it was very hard to get down their “lthy trash; but the third week, though I could think how formerly my stomach would turn against this or that, and I could starve and die before I could eat such things, yet they were sweet and savory to my taste. I was at this time knitting a pair of white cotton stockings for my mistress; and had not yet wrought upon a Sabbath day. When the Sabbath came they bade me go to work. I told them it was the Sabbath day, and desired them to let me rest, and told them I would do as much more tomorrow; to which they answered me they would break my face. And here I cannot but take notice of the strange providence of God in pre- serving the heathen. They were many hundreds, old and young, some sick, and some lame; many had papooses at their backs. The greatest number at this time with us were squaws, and they traveled with all they had, bag and baggage, and yet they got over this river aforesaid; and on Monday they set their wigwams on “re, and away they went. On that very day came the En glish army after them to this river, and saw the smoke of their wigwams, and yet this river put a stop to them. God did not give them courage or activ- ity to go over after us. We were not ready for so great a mercy as victory and deliverance. If we had been God would have found out a way for the En glish to have passed this river, as well as for the Indians with their squaws and children, and all their luggage. “Oh that my people had hearkened to me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should soon have subdued their ene- mies, and turned my hand against their adversaries” (Psalm 81.13–14).

The Sixth Remove9

On Monday (as I said) they set their wigwams on “re and went away. It was a cold morning, and before us there was a great brook with ice on it; some waded through it, up to the knees and higher, but others went till they came to a beaver dam, and I amongst them, where through the good provi- dence of God, I did not wet my foot. I went along that day mourning and lamenting, leaving farther my own country, and traveling into a vast and howling wilderness, and I understood something of Lot’s wife’s temptation, when she looked back.1 We came that day to a great swamp, by the side of which we took up our lodging that night. When I came to the brow of the hill, that looked toward the swamp, I thought we had been come to a great Indian



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2. Near Beers Plain, in North”eld, Mas sa chu- setts. 3. I.e., bent (with a crackling sound).

4. Proverbs 27.7. 5. To Coasset, in South Vernon, Vermont.

town (though there were none but our own com pany). The Indians were as thick as the trees: it seemed as if there had been a thousand hatchets going at once. If one looked before one there was nothing but Indians, and behind one, nothing but Indians, and so on either hand, I myself in the midst, and no Christian soul near me, and yet how hath the Lord preserved me in safety? Oh the experience that I have had of the goodness of God, to me and mine!

The Seventh Remove

After a restless and hungry night there, we had a wearisome time of it the next day. The swamp by which we lay was, as it were, a deep dungeon, and an exceeding high and steep hill before it. Before I got to the top of the hill, I thought my heart and legs, and all would have broken, and failed me. What, through faintness and soreness of body, it was a grievous day of travel to me. As we went along, I saw a place where En glish cattle had been. That was comfort to me, such as it was. Quickly after that we came to an En glish path, which so took with me, that I thought I could have freely lyen down and died. That day, a little after noon, we came to Squakeag,2 where the Indians quickly spread themselves over the deserted En glish “elds, glean- ing what they could “nd. Some picked up ears of wheat that were crickled3 down; some found ears of Indian corn; some found ground nuts, and others sheaves of wheat that were frozen together in the shock, and went to thresh- ing of them out. Myself got two ears of Indian corn, and whilst I did but turn my back, one of them was stolen from me, which much troubled me. There came an Indian to them at that time with a basket of horse liver. I asked him to give me a piece. “What,” says he, “can you eat horse liver?” I told him, I would try, if he would give a piece, which he did, and I laid it on the coals to roast. But before it was half ready they got half of it away from me, so that I was fain to take the rest and eat it as it was, with the blood about my mouth, and yet a savory bit it was to me: “For to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”4 A solemn sight methought it was, to see “elds of wheat and Indian corn forsaken and spoiled and the remainders of them to be food for our merciless enemies. That night we had a mess of wheat for our supper.

The Eighth Remove5

On the morrow morning we must go over the river, i.e. Connecticut, to meet with King Philip. Two canoes full they had carried over; the next turn I myself was to go. But as my foot was upon the canoe to step in there was a sudden outcry among them, and I must step back, and instead of going over the river, I must go four or “ve miles up the river farther northward. Some of the Indians ran one way, and some another. The cause of this rout was, as I thought, their espying some En glish scouts, who were thereabout. In this travel up the river about noon the com pany made a stop, and sat down; some to eat, and others to rest them. As I sat amongst them, musing of things



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6. Job 1.21. 7. Rowlandson prob ably has in mind Psalm 145.4: “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”

8. I.e., among believers (“saints”) as well as the unregenerate. 9. A colonial town in Western Mas sa chu setts.

past, my son Joseph unexpectedly came to me. We asked of each other’s wel- fare, bemoaning our doleful condition, and the change that had come upon us. We had husband and father, and children, and sisters, and friends, and relations, and house, and home, and many comforts of this life: but now we may say, as Job, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return: the Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”6 I asked him whether he would read. He told me he earnestly desired it, I gave him my Bible, and he lighted upon that comfortable Scripture “I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord: the Lord hath chastened me sore, yet he hath not given me over to death” (Psalm 118.17–18). “Look here, mother,” says he, “did you read this?” And here I may take occasion to mention one principal ground of my setting forth these lines: even as the psalmist says, to declare the works of the Lord, and His wonderful power in carry ing us along, preserving us in the wilderness, while under the enemy’s hand, and returning of us in safety again. And His goodness in bringing to my hand so many comfortable and suitable scriptures in my distress.7 But to return, we traveled on till night; and in the morning, we must go over the river to Philip’s crew. When I was in the canoe I could not but be amazed at the numerous crew of pagans that were on the bank on the other side. When I came ashore, they gathered all about me, I sitting alone in the midst. I observed they asked one another questions, and laughed, and rejoiced over their gains and victories. Then my heart began to fail: and I fell aweeping, which was the “rst time to my remembrance, that I wept before them. Although I had met with so much afdiction, and my heart was many times ready to break, yet could I not shed one tear in their sight; but rather had been all this while in a maze, and like one astonished. But now I may say as Psalm 137.1, “By the Rivers of Babylon, there we sate down: yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.” There one of them asked me why I wept. I could hardly tell what to say: Yet I answered, they would kill me. “No,” said he, “none will hurt you.” Then came one of them and gave me two spoonfuls of meal to comfort me, and another gave me half a pint of peas; which was more worth than many bush- els at another time. Then I went to see King Philip. He bade me come in and sit down, and asked me whether I would smoke it (a usual compliment nowa- days amongst saints and sinners)8 but this no way suited me. For though I had formerly used tobacco, yet I had left it ever since I was “rst taken. It seems to be a bait the devil lays to make men lose their precious time. I remember with shame how formerly, when I had taken two or three pipes, I was presently ready for another, such a bewitching thing it is. But I thank God, He has now given me power over it; surely there are many who may be better employed than to lie sucking a stinking tobacco- pipe.

Now the Indians gather their forces to go against Northampton.9 Over night one went about yelling and hooting to give notice of the design. Where- upon they fell to boiling of ground nuts, and parching of corn (as many as had it) for their provision; and in the morning away they went. During my abode in this place, Philip spake to me to make a shirt for his boy, which I



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1. Food. 2. Husband. 3. Relation, i.e., wife.

4. I.e., “ve kernels of corn in place of it. 5. To the Ashuelot Valley, in New Hampshire.

did, for which he gave me a shilling. I offered the money to my master, but he bade me keep it; and with it I bought a piece of horse desh. Afterwards he asked me to make a cap for his boy, for which he invited me to dinner. I went, and he gave me a pancake, about as big as two “n gers. It was made of parched wheat, beaten, and fried in bear’s grease, but I thought I never tasted pleasanter meat1 in my life. There was a squaw who spake to me to make a shirt for her sannup,2 for which she gave me a piece of bear. Another asked me to knit a pair of stockings, for which she gave me a quart of peas. I boiled my peas and bear together, and invited my master and mistress to dinner; but the proud gossip,3 because I served them both in one dish, would eat nothing, except one bit that he gave her upon the point of his knife. Hear- ing that my son was come to this place, I went to see him, and found him lying dat upon the ground. I asked him how he could sleep so? He answered me that he was not asleep, but at prayer; and lay so, that they might not observe what he was doing. I pray God he may remember these things now he is returned in safety. At this place (the sun now getting higher) what with the beams and heat of the sun, and the smoke of the wigwams, I thought I should have been blind. I could scarce discern one wigwam from another. There was here one Mary Thurston of Med”eld, who seeing how it was with me, lent me a hat to wear; but as soon as I was gone, the squaw (who owned that Mary Thurston) came running after me, and got it away again. Here was the squaw that gave me one spoonful of meal. I put it in my pocket to keep it safe. Yet notwithstanding, somebody stole it, but put “ve Indian corns in the room of it;4 which corns were the greatest provisions I had in my travel for one day.

The Indians returning from Northampton, brought with them some horses, and sheep, and other things which they had taken; I desired them that they would carry me to Albany upon one of those horses, and sell me for powder: for so they had sometimes discoursed. I was utterly hopeless of getting home on foot, the way that I came. I could hardly bear to think of the many weary steps I had taken, to come to this place.

The Ninth Remove5

But instead of going either to Albany or homeward, we must go “ve miles up the river, and then go over it. Here we abode a while. Here lived a sorry Indian, who spoke to me to make him a shirt. When I had done it, he would pay me nothing. But he living by the riverside, where I often went to fetch water, I would often be putting of him in mind, and calling for my pay: At last he told me if I would make another shirt, for a papoose not yet born, he would give me a knife, which he did when I had done it. I carried the knife in, and my master asked me to give it him, and I was not a little glad that I had anything that they would accept of, and be pleased with. When we were at this place, my master’s maid came home; she had been gone three weeks into the Narragansett country to fetch corn, where they had stored up some in the ground. She brought home about a peck and half of corn. This was



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6. To another location in the Ashuelot Valley.

about the time that their great captain, Naananto, was killed in the Narra- gansett country. My son being now about a mile from me, I asked liberty to go and see him; they bade me go, and away I went; but quickly lost myself, traveling over hills and through swamps, and could not “nd the way to him. And I cannot but admire at the wonderful power and goodness of God to me, in that, though I was gone from home, and met with all sorts of Indians, and those I had no knowledge of, and there being no Christian soul near me; yet not one of them offered the least imaginable miscarriage to me. I turned homeward again, and met with my master. He showed me the way to my son. When I came to him I found him not well: and withal he had a boil on his side, which much troubled him. We bemoaned one another a while, as the Lord helped us, and then I returned again. When I was returned, I found myself as unsatis”ed as I was before. I went up and down mourning and lamenting; and my spirit was ready to sink with the thoughts of my poor children. My son was ill, and I could but not think of his mournful looks, and no Christian friend was near him, to do any of”ce of love for him, either for soul or body. And my poor girl, I knew not where she was, nor whether she was sick, or well, or alive, or dead. I repaired under these thoughts to my Bible (my great comfort in that time) and that Scripture came to my hand, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee” (Psalm 55.22).

But I was fain to go and look after something to satisfy my hunger, and going among the wigwams, I went into one and there found a squaw who showed herself very kind to me, and gave me a piece of bear. I put it into my pocket, and came home, but could not “nd an opportunity to broil it, for fear they would get it from me, and there it lay all that day and night in my stinking pocket. In the morning I went to the same squaw, who had a kettle of ground nuts boiling. I asked her to let me boil my piece of bear in her kettle, which she did, and gave me some ground nuts to eat with it: and I cannot but think how pleasant it was to me. I have sometime seen bear baked very handsomely among the En glish, and some like it, but the thought that it was bear made me tremble. But now that was savory to me that one would think was enough to turn the stomach of a brute creature.

One bitter cold day I could “nd no room to sit down before the “re. I went out, and could not tell what to do, but I went in to another wigwam, where they were also sitting round the “re, but the squaw laid a skin for me, and bid me sit down, and gave me some ground nuts, and bade me come again; and told me they would buy me, if they were able, and yet these were strang- ers to me that I never saw before.

The Tenth Remove6

That day a small part of the com pany removed about three- quarters of a mile, intending further the next day. When they came to the place where they intended to lodge, and had pitched their wigwams, being hungry, I went again back to the place we were before at, to get something to eat, being encouraged by the squaw’s kindness, who bade me come again. When I was there, there came an Indian to look after me, who when he had found me,



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7. April 1676, near Chester”eld, New Hamp- shire—as far north as Rowlandson was taken. 8. Sunday, April 9.

9. Yes. 1. Outraged.

kicked me all along. I went home and found venison roasting that night, but they would not give me one bit of it. Sometimes I met with favor, and some- times with nothing but frowns.

The Eleventh Remove7

The next day in the morning they took their travel, intending a day’s journey up the river. I took my load at my back, and quickly we came to wade over the river; and passed over tiresome and wearisome hills. One hill was so steep that I was fain to creep up upon my knees, and to hold by the twigs and bushes to keep myself from falling backward. My head also was so light that I usually reeled as I went; but I hope all these wearisome steps that I have taken, are but a forewarning to me of the heavenly rest: “I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afdicted me” (Psalm 119.75).

The Twelfth Remove8

It was upon a Sabbath- day morning, that they prepared for their travel. This morning I asked my master whether he would sell me to my husband. He answered me “Nux,” 9 which did much rejoice my spirit. My mistress, before we went, was gone to the burial of a papoose, and returning, she found me sitting and reading in my Bible; she snatched it hastily out of my hand, and threw it out of doors. I ran out and catched it up, and put it into my pocket, and never let her see it afterward. Then they packed up their things to be gone, and gave me my load. I complained it was too heavy, whereupon she gave me a slap in the face, and bade me go; I lifted up my heart to God, hoping the redemption was not far off; and the rather because their insolency grew worse and worse.

But the thoughts of my going homeward (for so we bent our course) much cheered my spirit, and made my burden seem light, and almost nothing at all. But (to my amazement and great perplexity) the scale was soon turned; for when we had gone a little way, on a sudden my mistress gives out; she would go no further, but turn back again, and said I must go back again with her, and she called her sannup, and would have had him gone back also, but he would not, but said he would go on, and come to us again in three days. My spirit was, upon this, I confess, very impatient, and almost outrageous.1 I thought I could as well have died as went back; I cannot declare the trou- ble that I was in about it; but yet back again I must go. As soon as I had the opportunity, I took my Bible to read, and that quieting Scripture came to my hand, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.10). Which stilled my spirit for the pres ent. But a sore time of trial, I concluded, I had to go through, my master being gone, who seemed to me the best friend that I had of an Indian, both in cold and hunger, and quickly so it proved. Down I sat, with my heart as full as it could hold, and yet so hungry that I could not sit neither; but going out to see what I could “nd, and walking among



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2. Worthless things. 3. To Hinsdale, New Hampshire, near the

Connecticut River. 4. Job 19.21.

the trees, I found six acorns, and two chestnuts, which were some refresh- ment to me. Towards night I gathered some sticks for my own comfort, that I might not lie a- cold; but when we came to lie down they bade me to go out, and lie somewhere else, for they had com pany (they said) come in more than their own. I told them, I could not tell where to go, they bade me go look; I told them, if I went to another wigwam they would be angry, and send me home again. Then one of the com pany drew his sword, and told me he would run me through if I did not go presently. Then was I fain to stoop to this rude fellow, and to go out in the night, I knew not whither. Mine eyes have seen that fellow afterwards walking up and down Boston, under the appearance of a Friend Indian, and several others of the like cut. I went to one wigwam, and they told me they had no room. Then I went to another, and they said the same; at last an old Indian bade me to come to him, and his squaw gave me some ground nuts; she gave me also something to lay under my head, and a good “re we had; and through the good providence of God, I had a comfort- able lodging that night. In the morning, another Indian bade me come at night, and he would give me six ground nuts, which I did. We were at this place and time about two miles from [the] Connecticut River. We went in the morning to gather ground nuts, to the river, and went back again that night. I went with a good load at my back (for they when they went, though but a little way, would carry all their trumpery2 with them). I told them the skin was off my back, but I had no other comforting answer from them than this: that it would be no matter if my head were off too.

The Thirteenth Remove3

Instead of going toward the Bay, which was that I desired, I must go with them “ve or six miles down the river into a mighty thicket of brush; where we abode almost a fortnight. Here one asked me to make a shirt for her papoose, for which she gave me a mess of broth, which was thickened with meal made of the bark of a tree, and to make it the better, she had put into it about a handful of peas, and a few roasted ground nuts. I had not seen my son a pretty while, and here was an Indian of whom I made inquiry after him, and asked him when he saw him. He answered me that such a time his master roasted him, and that himself did eat a piece of him, as big as his two “n gers, and that he was very good meat. But the Lord upheld my Spirit, under this discouragement; and I considered their horrible addictedness to lying, and that there is not one of them that makes the least conscience of speaking of truth. In this place, on a cold night, as I lay by the “re, I removed a stick that kept the heat from me. A squaw moved it down again, at which I looked up, and she threw a handful of ashes in mine eyes. I thought I should have been quite blinded, and have never seen more, but lying down, the water run out of my eyes, and carried the dirt with it, that by the morn- ing I recovered my sight again. Yet upon this, and the like occasions, I hope it is not too much to say with Job, “Have pity upon me, O ye my Friends, for the Hand of the Lord has touched me.”4 And here I cannot but remember how many times sitting in their wigwams, and musing on things past, I



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5. Judges 16.20. “Wist”: knew. 6. A colonial town southeast of Northampton.

7. I.e., Satan.

should suddenly leap up and run out, as if I had been at home, forgetting where I was, and what my condition was; but when I was without, and saw nothing but wilderness, and woods, and a com pany of barbarous heathens, my mind quickly returned to me, which made me think of that, spoken con- cerning Sampson, who said, “I will go out and shake myself as at other times, but he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.”5 About this time I began to think that all my hopes of restoration would come to noth- ing. I thought of the En glish army, and hoped for their coming, and being taken by them, but that failed. I hoped to be carried to Albany, as the Indi- ans had discoursed before, but that failed also. I thought of being sold to my husband, as my master spake, but instead of that, my master himself was gone, and I left behind, so that my spirit was now quite ready to sink. I asked them to let me go out and pick up some sticks, that I might get alone, and pour out my heart unto the Lord. Then also I took my Bible to read, but I found no comfort here neither, which many times I was wont to “nd. So easy a thing it is with God to dry up the streams of Scripture comfort from us. Yet I can say, that in all my sorrows and afdictions, God did not leave me to have my impatience work towards Himself, as if His ways were unrigh- teous. But I knew that He laid upon me less than I deserved. Afterward, before this doleful time ended with me, I was turning the leaves of my Bible, and the Lord brought to me some Scriptures, which did a little revive me, as that [in] Isaiah 55.8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” And also that [in] Psalm 37.5: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” About this time they came yelping from Hadley,6 where they had killed three En glishmen, and brought one captive with them, viz. Thomas Read. They all gathered about the poor man, asking him many questions. I desired also to go and see him; and when I came, he was crying bitterly, supposing they would quickly kill him. Whereupon I asked one of them, whether they intended to kill him; he answered me, they would not. He being a little cheered with that, I asked him about the welfare of my husband. He told me he saw him such a time in the Bay, and he was well, but very melan- choly. By which I certainly understood (though I suspected it before) that whatsoever the Indians told me respecting him was vanity and lies. Some of them told me he was dead, and they had killed him; some said he was mar- ried again, and that the Governor wished him to marry; and told him he should have his choice, and that all persuaded I was dead. So like were these barbarous creatures to him who was a liar from the beginning.7

As I was sitting once in the wigwam here, Philip’s maid came in with the child in her arms, and asked me to give her a piece of my apron, to make a dap for it. I told her I would not. Then my mistress bade me give it, but still I said no. The maid told me if I would not give her a piece, she would tear a piece off it. I told her I would tear her coat then. With that my mistress rises up, and take up a stick big enough to have killed me, and struck at me with it. But I stepped out, and she struck the stick into the mat of the wigwam. But while she was pulling of it out I ran to the maid and gave her all my apron, and so that storm went over.



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8. A colonial town southwest of Hadley. 9. Dysentery.

Hearing that my son was come to this place, I went to see him, and told him his father was well, but melancholy. He told me he was as much grieved for his father as for himself. I wondered at his speech, for I thought I had enough upon my spirit in reference to myself, to make me mindless of my husband and every one else; they being safe among their friends. He told me also, that awhile before, his master (together with other Indians) were going to the French for powder; but by the way the Mohawks met with them, and killed four of their com pany, which made the rest turn back again, for it might have been worse with him, had he been sold to the French, than it proved to be in his remaining with the Indians.

I went to see an En glish youth in this place, one John Gilbert of Spring- “eld.8 I found him lying without doors, upon the ground. I asked him how he did? He told me he was very sick of a dux,9 with eating so much blood. They had turned him out of the wigwam, and with him an Indian papoose, almost dead (whose parents had been killed), in a bitter cold day, without “re or clothes. The young man himself had nothing on but his shirt and waistcoat. This sight was enough to melt a heart of dint. There they lay quiv- ering in the cold, the youth round like a dog, the papoose stretched out with his eyes and nose and mouth full of dirt, and yet alive, and groaning. I advised John to go and get to some “re. He told me he could not stand, but I persuaded him still, lest he should lie there and die. And with much ado I got him to a “re, and went myself home. As soon as I was got home his mas- ter’s daughter came after me, to know what I had done with the En glishman. I told her I had got him to a “re in such a place. Now had I need to pray Paul’s Prayer “That we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men” (2 Thessalonians 3.2). For her satisfaction I went along with her, and brought her to him; but before I got home again it was noised about that I was running away and getting the En glish youth, along with me; that as soon as I came in they began to rant and domineer, asking me where I had been, and what I had been doing? and saying they would knock him on the head. I told them I had been seeing the En glish youth, and that I would not run away. They told me I lied, and taking up a hatchet, they came to me, and said they would knock me down if I stirred out again, and so con”ned me to the wigwam. Now may I say with David, “I am in a great strait” (2 Samuel 24.14). If I keep in, I must die with hunger, and if I go out, I must be knocked in [the] head. This distressed condition held that day, and half the next. And then the Lord remembered me, whose mercies are great. Then came an Indian to me with a pair of stockings that were too big for him, and he would have me ravel them out, and knit them “t for him. I showed myself willing, and bid him ask my mistress if I might go along with him a little way; she said yes, I might, but I was not a little refreshed with that news, that I had my liberty again. Then I went along with him, and he gave me some roasted ground nuts, which did again revive my feeble stomach.

Being got out of her sight, I had time and liberty again to look into my Bible; which was my guide by day, and my pillow by night. Now that comfort- able Scripture presented itself to me, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee” (Isaiah 54.7). Thus the Lord carried me along from one time to another, and made good to me this precious



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1. Lack. Cf. Psalm 23.1. 2. Isaiah 38.3. 3. Psalm 51.4. 4. Luke 18.13. 5. Luke 15.21.

6. Isaiah 54.7. 7. The fourteenth to nineteenth removes (April 20 to April 28) retrace the path taken ear- lier. The “Baytowns” are the towns near Boston.

promise, and many others. Then my son came to see me, and I asked his master to let him stay awhile with me, that I might comb his head, and look over him, for he was almost overcome with lice. He told me, when I had done, that he was very hungry, but I had nothing to relieve him, but bid him go into the wigwams as he went along, and see if he could get anything among them. Which he did, and it seems tarried a little too long; for his master was angry with him, and beat him, and then sold him. Then he came running to tell me he had a new master, and that he had given him some ground nuts already. Then I went along with him to his new master who told me he loved him, and he should not want.1 So his master carried him away, and I never saw him afterward, till I saw him at Piscataqua in Portsmouth.

That night they bade me go out of the wigwam again. My mistress’s papoose was sick, and it died that night, and there was one bene”t in it— that there was more room. I went to a wigwam, and they bade me come in, and gave me a skin to lie upon, and a mess of venison and ground nuts, which was a choice dish among them. On the morrow they buried the papoose, and afterward, both morning and eve ning, there came a com pany to mourn and howl with her; though I confess I could not much condole with them. Many sorrowful days I had in this place, often getting alone. “Like a crane, or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove, mine eyes ail with looking upward. Oh, Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me” (Isaiah 38.14). I could tell the Lord, as Hezekiah, “Remember now O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth.”2 Now had I time to examine all my ways: my conscience did not accuse me of unrigh teousness toward one or other; yet I saw how in my walk with God, I had been a careless creature. As David said, “Against thee, thee only have I sinned”:3 and I might say with the poor publi- can, “God be merciful unto me a sinner.”4 On the Sabbath days, I could look upon the sun and think how people were going to the house of God, to have their souls refreshed; and then home, and their bodies also; but I was destitute of both; and might say as the poor prodigal, “He would fain have “lled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him” (Luke 15.16). For I must say with him, “ Father, I have sinned against Heaven and in thy sight.”5 I remembered how on the night before and after the Sabbath, when my family was about me, and relations and neighbors with us, we could pray and sing, and then refresh our bodies with the good creatures of God; and then have a comfortable bed to lie down on; but instead of all this, I had only a little swill for the body and then, like a swine, must lie down on the ground. I cannot express to man the sorrow that lay upon my spirit; the Lord knows it. Yet that comfortable Scripture would often come to mind, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.”6

The Fourteenth Remove7

Now must we pack up and be gone from this thicket, bending our course toward the Baytowns; I having nothing to eat by the way this day, but a few



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8. Steaming. 9. Fastidious.

1. Slovenly (unclean) practice. 2. I.e., it so happened.

crumbs of cake, that an Indian gave my girl the same day we were taken. She gave it me, and I put it in my pocket; there it lay, till it was so moldy (for want of good baking) that one could not tell what it was made of; it fell all to crumbs, and grew so dry and hard, that it was like little dints; and this refreshed me many times, when I was ready to faint. It was in my thoughts when I put it into my mouth, that if ever I returned, I would tell the world what a blessing the Lord gave to such mean food. As we went along they killed a deer, with a young one in her, they gave me a piece of the fawn, and it was so young and tender, that one might eat the bones as well as the desh, and yet I thought it very good. When night came on we sat down; it rained, but they quickly got up a bark wigwam, where I lay dry that night. I looked out in the morning, and many of them had lain in the rain all night, I saw by their reeking.8 Thus the Lord dealt mercifully with me many times, and I fared better than many of them. In the morning they took the blood of the deer, and put it into the paunch, and so boiled it. I could eat nothing of that, though they ate it sweetly. And yet they were so nice9 in other things, that when I had fetched water, and had put the dish I dipped the water with into the kettle of water which I brought, they would say they would knock me down; for they said, it was a sluttish trick.1

The Fifteenth Remove

We went on our travel. I having got one handful of ground nuts, for my sup- port that day, they gave me my load, and I went on cheerfully (with the thoughts of going homeward), having my burden more on my back than my spirit. We came to Banquang river again that day, near which we abode a few days. Sometimes one of them would give me a pipe, another a little tobacco, another a little salt: which I would change for a little victuals. I cannot but think what a wolvish appetite persons have in a starving condi- tion; for many times when they gave me that which was hot, I was so greedy, that I should burn my mouth, that it would trou ble me hours after, and yet I should quickly do the same again. And after I was thoroughly hungry, I was never again satis”ed. For though sometimes it fell out,2 that I got enough, and did eat till I could eat no more, yet I was as unsatis”ed as I was when I began. And now could I see that Scripture veri”ed ( there being many Scrip- tures which we do not take notice of, or understand till we are afdicted) “Thou shalt eat and not be satis”ed” (Micah 6.14). Now might I see more than ever before, the miseries that sin hath brought upon us. Many times I should be ready to run against the heathen, but the Scripture would quiet me again, “ Shall there be evil in a City and the Lord hath not done it?” (Amos 3.6). The Lord help me to make a right improvement of His word, and that I might learn that great lesson: “He hath showed thee (Oh Man) what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God? Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it” (Micah 6.8–9).



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3. Porridge made of Indian corn. 4. I.e., the refuse, that which he was casting away.

The Sixteenth Removal

We began this remove with wading over Banquang river: the water was up to the knees, and the stream very swift, and so cold that I thought it would have cut me in sunder. I was so weak and feeble, that I reeled as I went along, and thought there I must end my days at last, after my bearing and getting through so many dif”culties. The Indians stood laughing to see me stagger- ing along; but in my distress the Lord gave me experience of the truth, and goodness of that promise, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overdow thee” (Isaiah 43.2). Then I sat down to put on my stockings and shoes, with the tears running down mine eyes, and sorrowful thoughts in my heart, but I got up to go along with them. Quickly there came up to us an Indian, who informed them that I must go to Wachusett to my master, for there was a letter come from the council to the Sagamores, about redeeming the captives, and that there would be another in fourteen days, and that I must be there ready. My heart was so heavy before that I could scarce speak or go in the path; and yet now so light, that I could run. My strength seemed to come again, and recruit my feeble knees, and aching heart. Yet it pleased them to go but one mile that night, and there we stayed two days. In that time came a com pany of Indians to us, near thirty, all on horse back. My heart skipped within me, thinking they had been En glishmen at the “rst sight of them, for they were dressed in En glish apparel, with hats, white neckcloths, and sashes about their waists; and ribbons upon their shoulders; but when they came near, there was a vast difference between the lovely faces of Christians, and foul looks of those heathens, which much damped my spirit again.

The Seventeenth Remove

A comfortable remove it was to me, because of my hopes. They gave me a pack, and along we went cheerfully; but quickly my will proved more than my strength; having little or no refreshing, my strength failed me, and my spirits were almost quite gone. Now may I say with David, “I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down like the locust; my knees are weak through fasting, and my desh faileth of fatness” (Psalm 119.22–24). At night we came to an Indian town, and the Indians sat down by a wigwam discours- ing, but I was almost spent, and could scarce speak. I laid down my load, and went into the wigwam, and there sat an Indian boiling of horses’ feet (they being wont to eat the desh “rst, and when the feet were old and dried, and they had nothing else, they would cut off the feet and use them). I asked him to give me a little of his broth, or water they were boiling in; he took a dish, and gave me one spoonful of samp,3 and bid me take as much of the broth as I would. Then I put some of the hot water to the samp, and drank it up, and my spirit came again. He gave me also a piece of the ruff or rid- ding4 of the small guts, and I broiled it on the coals; and now may I say with Jonathan, “See, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because



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I tasted a little of this honey” (1 Samuel 14.29). Now is my spirit revived again; though means be never so inconsiderable, yet if the Lord bestow His blessing upon them, they shall refresh both soul and body.

The Eigh teenth Remove

We took up our packs and along we went, but a wearisome day I had of it. As we went along I saw an En glishman stripped naked, and lying dead upon the ground, but knew not who it was. Then we came to another Indian town, where we stayed all night. In this town there were four En glish children, captives; and one of them my own sister’s. I went to see how she did, and she was well, considering her captive condition. I would have tarried that night with her, but they that owned her would not suffer it. Then I went into another wigwam, where they were boiling corn and beans, which was a lovely sight to see, but I could not get a taste thereof. Then I went to another wigwam, where there were two of the En glish children; the squaw was boiling horses feet; then she cut me off a little piece, and gave one of the En glish children a piece also. Being very hungry I had quickly eat up mine, but the child could not bite it, it was so tough and sinewy, but lay sucking, gnawing, chewing and slabbering of it in the mouth and hand. Then I took it of the child, and eat it myself, and savory it was to my taste. Then I may say as Job 6.7, “The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.” Thus the Lord made that pleasant refreshing, which another time would have been an abomination. Then I went home to my mistress’s wig- wam; and they told me I disgraced my master with begging, and if I did so any more, they would knock me in the head. I told them, they had as good knock me in [the] head as starve me to death.

The Nineteenth Remove

They said, when we went out, that we must travel to Wachusett this day. But a bitter weary day I had of it, traveling now three days together, without resting any day between. At last, after many weary steps, I saw Wachusett hills, but many miles off. Then we came to a great swamp, through which we traveled, up to the knees in mud and water, which was heavy going to one tired before. Being almost spent, I thought I should have sunk down at last, and never got out; but I may say, as in Psalm 94.18, “When my foot slipped, thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.” Going along, having indeed my life, but little spirit, Philip, who was in the com pany, came up and took me by the hand, and said, two weeks more and you shall be mistress again. I asked him, if he spake true? He answered, “Yes, and quickly you shall come to your master again; who had been gone from us three weeks.” After many weary steps we came to Wachusett, where he was: and glad I was to see him. He asked me, when I washed me? I told him not this month. Then he fetched me some water himself, and bid me wash, and gave me the glass to see how I looked; and bid his squaw give me something to eat. So she gave me a mess of beans and meat, and a little ground nut cake. I was wonderfully revived with this favor showed me: “He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives” (Psalm 106.46).



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5. Rowlandson spells the name “Wattimore” here. 6. Beads of polished shells used by some Ameri- can Indians as currency. 7. I.e., the anticipated ransom money.

8. Christian Indians. 9. I.e., I’ll hang that rogue. 1. In imitation of the colonial assembly of Mas- sa chu setts.

My master had three squaws, living sometimes with one, and sometimes with another one, this old squaw, at whose wigwam I was, and with whom my master had been those three weeks. Another was Weetamoo5 with whom I had lived and served all this while. A severe and proud dame she was, bestowing every day in dressing herself neat as much time as any of the gen- try of the land: powdering her hair, and painting her face, going with neck- laces, with jewels in her ears, and bracelets upon her hands. When she had dressed herself, her work was to make girdles of wampum6 and beads. The third squaw was a younger one, by whom he had two papooses. By the time I was refreshed by the old squaw, with whom my master was, Weetamoo’s maid came to call me home, at which I fell aweeping. Then the old squaw told me, to encourage me, that if I wanted victuals, I should come to her, and that I should lie there in her wigwam. Then I went with the maid, and quickly came again and lodged there. The squaw laid a mat under me, and a good rug over me; the “rst time I had any such kindness showed me. I understood that Weetamoo thought that if she should let me go and serve with the old squaw, she would be in danger to lose not only my ser vice, but the redemption pay7 also. And I was not a little glad to hear this; being by it raised in my hopes, that in God’s due time there would be an end of this sorrowful hour. Then came an Indian, and asked me to knit him three pair of stockings, for which I had a hat, and a silk handkerchief. Then another asked me to make her a shift, for which she gave me an apron.

Then came Tom and Peter,8 with the second letter from the council, about the captives. Though they were Indians, I got them by the hand, and burst out into tears. My heart was so full that I could not speak to them; but recov- ering myself, I asked them how my husband did, and all my friends and acquaintance? They said, “They are all very well but melancholy.” They brought me two biscuits, and a pound of tobacco. The tobacco I quickly gave away. When it was all gone, one asked me to give him a pipe of tobacco. I told him it was all gone. Then began he to rant and threaten. I told him when my husband came I would give him some. Hang him rogue9 (says he), I will knock out his brains, if he comes here. And then again, in the same breath they would say that if there should come an hundred without guns, they would do them no hurt. So unstable and like madmen they were. So that fearing the worst, I durst not send to my husband, though there were some thoughts of his coming to redeem and fetch me, not knowing what might follow. For there was little more trust to them than to the master they served. When the letter was come, the Sagamores met to consult about the captives, and called me to them to inquire how much my husband would give to redeem me. When I came I sat down among them, as I was wont to do, as their manner is. Then they bade me stand up, and said they were the Gen- eral Court.1 They bid me speak what I thought he would give. Now knowing that all we had was destroyed by the Indians, I was in a great strait. I thought if I should speak of but a little it would be slighted, and hinder the matter;



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