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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Remembrance of Special Providences

By Major John Mason (1600–1672)

[From A Brief History of the Pequot War. Written about 1670.]

OUR commons were very short, there being a general scarcity throughout the colony of all sorts of provision, it being upon our first arrival at the place. We had but one pint of strong liquors among us in our whole march, but what the wilderness afforded (the bottle of liquor being in my hand); and when it was empty, the very smelling to the bottle would presently recover such as fainted away, which happened by the extremity of the heat. And thus we marched on in an uncouth and unknown path to the English, though much frequented by Indians. And was not the finger of God in all this, by his special providence to lead us along in the way we should go? Nay, though we knew not where their forts were, how far it was to them, nor the way that led to them, but by what we had from our Indian guides; whom we could not confide in, but looked at them as uncertain. And yet notwithstanding all our doubts, we should be brought on the very fittest season; nay, and which is yet more, that we should be carried in our march among a treacherous and perfidious people, yea, in our lodgement so near the enemy, all night in so populous a country, and not the least notice of us, seemeth somewhat strange, and more than ordinary. Nay, that we should come to their very doors. What shall I say? God was pleased to hide us in the hollow of his hand. I still remember a speech of Mr. Hooker at our going aboard: That they should be bread for us. And thus when the Lord turned the captivity of his people, and turned the wheel upon their enemies, we were like men in a dream; then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing; thus we may say the Lord hath done great things for us among the heathen, whereof we are glad. Praise ye the Lord!

I shall mention two or three special providences that God was pleased to vouchsafe to particular men; viz., two men being one man’s servants, namely, John Dier and Thomas Stiles, were both of them shot in the knots of their handkerchiefs, being about their necks, and received no hurt. Lieutenant Seeley was shot in the eyebrow with a flat-headed arrow, the point turning downwards: I pulled it out myself. Lieutenant Bull had an arrow shot into a hard piece of cheese, having no other defence. Which may verify the old saying, “A little armor would serve if a man knew where to place it.” Many such providences happened; some respecting myself; but since there is none that witness to them, I shall forbear to mention them.

The year ensuing, the colony being in extreme want of provision, many giving twelve shillings for one bushel of Indian corn; the court of Connecticut employing Captain Mason, Mr. William Wadsworth and Deacon Stebbin, to try what providence would afford, for their belief in this great strait. Who notwithstanding some discouragement they met with from some English, went to a place called Pocomtuck, where they procured so much corn at reasonable rates, that the Indians brought down to Hartford and Windsor fifty canoes laden with corn at one time. Never was the like known to this day! So although the Lord was pleased to show his people hard things; yet did he execute judgment for the oppressed, and gave food to the hungry. Oh, let us meditate on the great works of God! ascribing all blessing and praise to his great name, for all his great goodness and salvation! Amen, Amen.