Narrative of the Pequot War, by Lion Gardiner (1660) - Part 3

Narrative of the Pequot War,
by Lion Gardiner

(Part 3)


Waiandance told me many years ago, and that was this; that seeing all the plots of the Narragansets were always discovered, he said they would let us alone 'till they had destroyed Uncas, and him, and then they, with the Mowquakes and Mowhakues and the Indians beyond the Dutch, and all the Northern and Eastern Indians, would easily destroy us, man and mother's son. This have I informed the Governors of these parts, but all in vain, for I see they have done as those of Wethersfield, not regarding till they were impelled to it by blood; and thus we may be sure of the fattest of the flock are like to go first, if not altogether, and then it will be too late to read Jer. XXV. -- for drink we shall if the Lord be not the more merciful to us for our extreme pride and base security, which cannot but stink before the Lord; and we may expect this, that if there should be war again between England and Holland, our friends at the Dutch and our Dutch Englishmen would prove as true to us now, as they were when the fleet came out of England; but no more of that, a word to the wise is enough.

And now I am old, I would fain die a natural death, or like a soldier in the field, with honor, and not to have a sharp stake set in the ground, and thrust into my fundament, and to have my skin flayed off by piecemeal, and cut in pieces and bits, and my flesh roasted and thrust down my throat, as these people have done, and I know will be done to the chiefest in the country by hundreds, if God should deliver us into their hands, as justly he may for our sins.

I going over to Meantacut, upon the eastern end of Long Island, upon some occasion that I had there, I


found four Narragansets there talking with the Sachem and his old counsellors. I asked an Indian what they were? He said that they were Narragansets, and that one was Miannemo [Miantunnomoh], a Sachem. What came they for? said I. He said he knew not, for they talked secretly; so I departed to another wigwam. Shortly after came the Sachem Waiandance to me and said, Do you know what these came for? No, said I; then he said, They say I must give no more wampum to the English, for they are no Sachems, nor none of their children shall be in their place if they die; and they have no tribute given them; there is but one king in England, who is over them all, and if you would send him 100,000 fathom of wampum, he would not give you a knife for it, nor thank you. And I said to them, Then they will come and kill us all, as they did the Pequits; then they said No, the Pequits gave them wampum and beaver, which they loved so well, but they sent it them again, and killed them because they had killed an Englishman; but you have killed none, therefore give them nothing. Now friend, tell me what I shall say to them, for one of them is a great man. Then said I, Tell them that you must go first to the farther end of Long-Island, and speak with all the rest, and a month hence you will give them an answer. Meantime you may go, to Mr. Haines, and he will tell you what to do, and I will write all this now in my book that I have here; and so he did, and the Narragansets departed, and this Sachem came to me at my house, and I wrote this matter to Mr. Haines, and he went up with it to Mr. Haines, who forbid him to give any thing to the Nar-


raganset, and writ to me so. -And when they came again they came by my Island, and I knew them to be the same men; and I told them they might go home again, and I gave them Mr. Haynes his letter for Mr. Williams to read to the Sachem. So they returned back again, for I had said to them, that if they would go to Mantacut I would go likewise with them, and that Long-Island must not give wampum to Narraganset.

A while after this came Miantenomie from Block-Island to Mantacut with a troop of men, Waiandance being not at home; and instead of receiving presents, which they used to do in their progress, he gave them gifts, calling them brethren and friends, for so are we all Indians as the English are, and say brother to one another; so must we be one as they are, otherwise we shall be all gone shortly, for you know our fathers had plenty of deer and skins, our plains were full of deer, as also our woods, and of turkies, and our coves full of fish and fowl. But these English having gotten our land, they with scythes cut down the grass, and with axes fell the trees; their cows and horses eat the grass, and their hogs spoil our clam banks, and we shall all be starved; therefore it is best for you to do as we, for we are all the Sachems from east to west, both Moquakues and Mohauks joining with us, and we are all resolved to fall upon them all, at one appointed day; and therefore I am come to you privately first, because you can persuade the Indians and Sachem to what you will, and I will send over fifty Indians to Block-Island, and thirty to you from thence, and take an hundred of Southampton Indians with


an hundred of your own here; and when you see the three fires that will be made forty days hence, in a clear night, then do as we, and the next day fall on and kill men, women, and children, but no cows, for they will serve to eat till our deer be increased again.--And our old men thought it was well. So the Sachem came home and had but little talk with them, yet he was told there had been a secret consultation between the old men and Miantenomie, but they told him nothing in three days. So he came over to me and acquainted me with the manner of the Narragansets being there with his men, and asked me what I thought of it; and I told him that the Narraganset Sachem was naught to talk with his men secretly in his absence, and I bid him go home, and told him a way how he might know all, and then he should come and tell me; and so he did, and found out all as is above written, and I sent intelligence of it over to Mr. Haynes and Mr. Eaton; but because my boat was gone from home it was fifteen days before they had any letter, and Miantenomie was gotten home before they had news of it. And the old men, when they saw how I and the Sachem had beguiled them, and that he was come over to me, they sent secretly a canoe over, in a moon-shine night, to Narraganset to tell them all was discovered; so the plot failed, blessed be God, and the plotter, next Spring after, did as Ahab did at Ramoth-Gilead.-- So he to Mohegin, and there had his fall.

Two years after this, Ninechrat sent over a captain of his, who acted in every point as the former; him the Sachem took and bound and brought him to me,


and I wrote the same to Governor Eaton, and sent an Indian that was my servant and had lived four years with me; him, with nine more, I sent to carry him to New-Haven, and gave them food for ten days. But the wind hindered them at Plum-Island; then they went to Shelter-Island, where the old Sachem dwelt - Waiandance's elder brother, and in the night they let him go, only my letter they sent to New-Haven, and thus these two plots was discovered; but now my friend and brother is gone, who will now do the like?

But if the premises be not sufficient to prove Waiandance a true friend to the English, for some may say he did all this out of malice to the Pequits and Narragansets; now I shall prove the like with respect to the Long-Islanders, his own men. For I being at Meantacut, it happened that for an old grudge of a Pequit, who was put to death at Southampton, being known to be a murderer, and for this his friends bear a spite against the English. So as it came to pass at that day I was at Mantacut, a good honest woman was killed by them at Southampton, but it was not known then who did this murder. And the brother of this Sachem was Shinacock Sachem could or would not find it out. At that time Mr. Gosmore and Mr. Howell, being magistrates, sent an Indian to fetch the Sachem thither; and it being in the night, I was laid down when he came, and being a great cry amongst them, upon which all the men gathered together, and the story being told, all of them said the Sachem should not go, for, said they, they will either bind you or kill you, and then us, both men, women and children; therefore let your brother find it out, or let them kill


you and us, we will live and die together. So there was a great silence for a while, and then the Sachem said, Now you have all done I will hear what my friend will say, for [he] knows what they will do. So they wakened me as they thought, but I was not asleep, and told me the story, but I made strange of the matter, and said, If the magistrates have sent for you why do you not go? They will bind me or kill me, saith he. I think so, said I, if you have killed the woman, or known of it, and did not reveal it; but you were here and did it not. But was any of your Mantauket Indians there to-day? They all answered, Not a man these two days, for we have inquired concerning that already. Then said I, Did none of you ever hear any Indian say he would kill English? -- No, said they all; then I said, I shall not go home 'till tomorrow, though I thought to have been gone so soon as the moon was up, but I will stay here till you all know it is well with your Sachem; if they bind him, bind me, and if they kill him, kill me. But then you must find out him that did the murder, and all that know of it, them they will have and no more. Then they with a great cry thanked me, and I wrote a small note with the Sachem, that they should not stay him long in their houses, but let him eat and drink and be gone, for he had his way before him. So they did, and that night he found out four that were consenters to it, and knew of it, and brought them to them at Southampton, and they were all hanged at Harford, whereof one of these was a great man among them, commonly called the Blue Sachem.
A further instance of his faithfulness is this; about


the Pequit war time one William Hamman [Hammond], of the Bay, killed by a giant-like Indian towards the Dutch. I heard of it, and told Waiandance that he must kill him or bring him to me; but he said it was not his brother' s mind, and he is the great Sachem of all Long-Island, likewise the Indian is a mighty great man, and no man durst meddle with him, and hath many friends. So this rested until he had killed another, one Thomas Farrington. After this the old Sachem died, and I spake to this Sachem again about it, and he answered, He is so cunning, that when he hears that I come that way a hunting, that his friends tell him, and then he is gone. --But I will go at some time when nobody knows of it, and then I will kill him; and so he did --and this was the last act which he did for us, for in the time of a great mortality among them he died, but it was by poison; also two thirds of the Indians upon Long-Island died, else the Narragansets had not made such havoc here as they have, and might not help them. And this I have written chiefly for our own good, that we might consider what danger we are all in, and also to declare to the country that we have found an heathen, yea an Indian, in this respect to parallel the Jewish Mordecai. But now I am at a stand, for all we English would be thought and called Christians; yet, though I have seen this before spoken, having been these twenty-four years in the mouth of the premises, yet I know not where to find, or whose name to insert, to parallel Ahasuerus lying on his bed and could not sleep, and called for the Chronicles to be read; and when he heard Mordecai named, said, What hath been done


for him? But who will say as he said, or do answerable to what he did? But our New-England twelve-penny Chronicle is stuffed with a catalogue of the names of some, as if they had deserved immortal fame; but the right New-England military worthies are left out for want of room, as Maj. Mason, Capt Undrill [Underhill], Lieut. Sielly [Seely], &c., who undertook the desperate way and design to Mistick Fort, and killed three hundred, burnt the fort and took many prisoners, though they are not once named. But honest Abraham thought it no shame to name the confederates that helped him to war when he redeemed his brother Lot; but Uncas of Mistick, and Waiandance, at the Great Swamp and ever since your trusty friend, is forgotten, and for our sakes persecuted to this day with fire and sword, and Ahasuerus of New-England is still asleep, and if there be any like to Ahasuerus, let him remember what glory to God and honor to our nation hath followed their wisdom and valor. Awake! awake Ahasuerus, if there be any of thy seed or spirit here, and lot not Haman destroy us as he hath done our Mordecai! And although there hath been much blood shed here in these parts among us, God and we know it came not by us. But if all must drink of this cup that is threatened, then shortly the king of Sheshack shall drink last, and tremble and fall when our pain will be past. O that I were in the countries again, that in their but twelve years truce, repaired cities and towns, made strong forts, and prepared all things needful against a time of war like Solomon. I think the soil hath almost infected me, but what they or our enemies will do hereafter I know not. I hope I shall


not live so long to hear or see it, for I am old and out of date, else I might be in fear to see and hear that I think ere long will come upon us.

Thus for our tragical story, now to the comedy. When we were all at supper in the great hall, they (the Pequits) gave us alarm to draw us out three times before we could finish our short supper, for we had but little to eat, but you know that I would not go out; the reasons you know.

2ndly. You Robert Chapman, you know that when you and John Bagley were beating samp at the Garden Pales, the sentinels called you to run in, for there was a number of Pequits creeping to you to catch you; I hearing it went up to the Redoubt and put two cross-bar shot into the two guns that lay above, and levelled them at the trees in the middle of the limbo and boughs, and gave order to John Freud and his man to stand with hand-spikes to turn them this or that way, as they should hear the Indians shout, for they should know my shout from theirs for it should be very short. Then I called six men, and the dogs, and went out, running to the place, and keeping all abreast, in sight, close together. And when I saw my time I said, Stand! and called all to me saying, Look on me; and when I hold up my hand, then shout as loud as you can, and when I hold down my hand, then leave; and so they did. Then the Indians began a long shout, and then went off the two great guns and tore the limbs of the trees about their ears, so that divers of them were hurt, as may yet appear, for you told me when I was up at Harford this present year, '60, in the month of September, that there is one of


them lyeth above Hartford, that is fain to creep on all four, and we shouted once or twice more; but they would not answer us again, so we returned home laughing. Another pretty prank we had with three great doors of ten feet long and four feet broad, being bored full of holes and driven full of long nails, as sharp as awl blades, sharpened by Thomas Hurlbut. These we placed in certain places where they should come, fearing lest they should come in the night and fire our redoubt or battery, and all the place, for we had seen their footing, where they had been in the night, when they shot at our sentinels, but could not hit them for the boards; and in a dry time and a dark night they came as they did before, and found the way a little too sharp for them; and as they skipped from one they trod upon another, and left the nails and doors dyed with their blood, which you know we saw the next morning, laughing at it.--And this I write that young men may learn, if they should meet with such trials as we met with there, and have not opportunity to cut off their enemies; yet they may, with such pretty pranks, preserve themselves from danger, --for policy is needful in wars as well as strength.

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This page last updated August 9, 2000.