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A MESSAGE TO OBTAKIEST.
CHAP. nor bid him stay, and fear not, for he should receive
no hurt; and by Hobbamock commanded him to de1623. liver this message to his master : That for our parts it
never entered into our hearts to take such a course with them, till their own treachery enforced us thereunto, and therefore they might thank themselves for their own overthrow ; yet since he had begun, if again by any the like courses he did provoke him, his country should not hold him ; for he would never suffer him or his to rest in peace, till he had utterly consumed them; and therefore should take this as a warning ; further, that he should send to Patuxet the three Englishmen he had, and not kill them ; also that he should not spoil the pale and houses at Wichaguscusset; and that this messenger should either bring the English, or an answer, or both; promising his safe return.
This message was delivered, and the party would have returned with [an] answer, but was at first dissuaded by them, whom afterwards they would, but could not persuade to come to us. At length, though long, a woman came and told us, that Obtakiest was sorry that the English were killed, before he heard from the Governor ; otherwise he would have sent them. Also she said, he would fain make his peace again with us, but none of his men durst come to treat about it, having forsaken his dwelling, and daily removed from place to place, expecting when we would take further vengeance on him.
Concerning those other people, that intended to join with the Massacheuseuks against us, though we never went against any of them ; yet this sudden and unexpected execution, together with the just judgment
THE EFFECTS OF STANDISH'S EXPEDITION.
of God upon their guilty consciences, hath so terri- CHAP. fied and amazed them, as in like manner they forsook their houses, running to and fro like men distracted, 162 3. living in swamps and other desert places, and so brought manifold diseases amongst themselves, whereof very many are dead; as Canacum, the sachim of Manomet, Aspinet, the sachim of Nausct, and lanough, sachim of Mattachiest. This sachim in his life, in the midst of these distractions, said the God of the English was offended with them, and would destroy them in his anger; and certainly it is strange to hear how many of late have, and still daily die amongst them. Neither is there any likelihood it will easily cease; because through fear they set little or no corn, which is the staff of life, and without which they cannot long preserve health and strength. From one of these places a boat was sent with presents to the Governor, hoping thereby to work their peace; but the boat was cast away, and three of the persons drowned, not far from our Plantation. Only one escaped, who durst not come to us, but returned ; so as none of them dare come amongst us.
I fear I have been too tedious both in this and other things. Yet when I considered how necessary a thing it is that the truth and grounds of this action especially should be made known, and the several dispositions of that dissolved colony, whose reports undoubtedly will be as various, I could not but enlarge myself where I thought to be most brief. Neither durst I be too brief, lest I should eclipse and rob God of that honor, glory, and praise, which belongeth to bim for preserving us from falling when we were at the pit's brim, and yet feared nor knew not that we were in danger.
OF THE FIRST ALLOTMENT OF LANDS, AND THE DISTRESSED
STATE OF THE COLONY.
The month of April being now come, on all hands
we began to prepare for corn. And because there was 1623. no corn left before this time, save that was preserved April.
for seed, being also hopeless of relief by supply, we thought best to leave off all other works, and prosecute that as most necessary. And because there was no ' small hope of doing good, in that common course of labor that formerly we were in;? for that the governors, that followed men to their labors, had nothing to give men for their necessities, and therefore could not so well exercise that command over them therein, as formerly they had done ; especially considering that self-love wherewith every man, in a measure more or less, loveth and preferreth his own good before his neighbour's, and also the base disposition of some drones, that, as at other times, so now especially would be most burdenous to the rest; it was therefore thought best that every man should use the
· The word no appears to be an error of the press. F.
• See note ' on page 84.
THE FIRST ALLOTMENT OF LAND.
best diligence he could for his own preservation, both CHAP. in respect of the time present, and to prepare his own corn for the year following; and bring in a competent 1023.
April. portion for the maintenance of public officers, fishermen, &c., which could not be freed from their calling without greater inconveniences. This course was to continue till harvest, and then the governors to gather in the appointed portion, for the maintenance of themselves and such others as necessity constrained to exempt from this condition. Only if occasion served, upon any special service they might employ such as they thought most fit to execute the same, during this appointed time, and at the end thereof all men to be employed by them in such service as they thought most necessary for the general good. And because there is great difference in the ground, that therefore a set quantity should be set down for a person, and each man to have his fall by lot,' as being most just and equal, and against which no man could except.
At a general meeting of the company, many courses were propounded, but this approved and followed, as being the most likely for the present and future good of the company; and therefore before this month began to prepare our ground against seed-time.
In the midst of April we began to set, the weather being then seasonable, which much encouraged us, giving us good hopes of aster plenty. The setting season is good till the latter end of May. But it pleased God, for our further chastisement, to send a great drought; insomuch as in six weeks after the
" This allotment was only for as before, he gives every person an one year. In the spring of the next acre of land.” Bradford, in Prince, year, 1624, “ the people requesting pp. 215 and 226. See this latter ihe Governor to have some land for allotment in Hazard, i. 100, and in continuance, and not by yearly lot, Morton, p. 370.
DROUGHT AND FAMINE.
CHAP. latter setting there scarce fell any rain ; so that the
stalk of that was first set began to send forth the ear, 1623. before it came to half growth, and that which was July.
later not like to yield any at all, both blade and stalk
To add also to this sorrowful estate in which we
other than the same.? So that at once God
I“ But by the time our corn is divide among the company; and in planted, our victuals are spent, the winter are helped with fowl and not knowing at night where to ground-nuts." Bradford, in Prince, have a bit in the morning, and p. 216. have neither bread nor corn for “At length we receive letters three or four months together, yet from the adventurers in England bear our wants with cheerfulness of December 22 and April 9 last, and rest on Providence. Having wherein they say, “It rejoiceth us but one boat left, we divide the much to hear ihose good reports men into several companies, six that divers have brought home of or seven in each ; who take their you ;' and give an account, that last turns to go out with a net and fall, a ship, the Paragon, sailed . T fish, and return not uill they get from London with passengers, for some, though they be five or six New Plymouth ; being filled out duys out; knowing there is nothing by Mr. John Pierce, in whose nanie at home, and to return einpty our first patent was taken, bis namo pl would be a great discouragement. being only used in trust; but when When they stay long or get but he saw we were here hopefully little, the rest go a digging shell- seated, and by the success God fish ; and thus we live the sum gave us, had obtained favor with mer; only sending one or two ihe Council for New England, he to range the woods for deer, they geis another patent pf a larger ex- í 2. now and then get one, which we tent, meaning to keep it io him