Trent and Wells, eds. Colonial Prose and Poetry. 1901.Vol. II. The Beginnings of Americanism: 16501710
[The First Preaching.]
Thus after three hours’ time thus spent with them, we asked them if they were not weary and they answered, No, but we resolved to leave them with an appetite. The chief of them, seeing us conclude with prayer, desired to know when we would come again, so we appointed the time, and having given the children some apples and the men some tobacco and what else we then had at hand, they desired some more ground to build a town together, which we did much like of, promising to speak for them to the General Court that they might possess all the compass of that hill upon which their wigwams stood, and so we departed with many welcomes from them.
… Methinks now that it is with the Indians, as it was with our New English ground when we first came over, there was scarce any man that would believe that English grain would grow or that the plow could do any good in this woody and rocky soil…. so we have thought of our Indian people and therefore have been discouraged to put plow to such dry and rocky ground, but God having begun thus with some few, it may be they are better soil for the Gospel than we can think. I confess I think no great good will be done till they be more civilized, but why may not God begin with some few to awaken others by degrees? Nor do I expect any great good will be wrought by the English (leaving secrets to God) although the English surely begin and lay the first stones of Christ’s kingdom and temple amongst them, because God is wont ordinarily to convert nations and people by some of their own countrymen who are nearest to them and can best speak and most of all pity their brethren and countrymen. But yet if the least beginnings be made by the conversion of two or three it is worth all our time and travails and cause of much thankfulness for such seeds, although no great harvest should immediately appear.
1. That it is pretty heavy and chargeable to educate and train those children that are already offered us, in schooling, clothing, diet and attendance which they must have.
2. That in all probability many Indians in other places, especially under our jurisdiction will be provoked by this example … also to send their children to us….
3. That if any shall do anything to encourage this work that it may be given to the college for such an end and use that so from the college may arise the yearly revenue for their yearly maintenance. I would not have it placed in any particular man’s hands for fear of cozenage or misplacing or careless keeping and improving; but at the college it’s under many hands and eyes the chief and best of the country who have been and will be exactly careful of the right and comely disposing of such things; and therefore if anything be given let it be put in such hands as may immediately direct it to the president of the college who you know will soon acquaint the rest with it; and for this end if any in England have given anything for this end I would have them speak to those who have received it to send it this way, which if it be withheld I think ’tis no less than sacrilege: but if God moves no hearts to such work, I doubt not then but that more weak means shall have the honor of it in the day of Christ.
[A Letter to Rev. Thomas Shepard.]
First, I catechise the children and youth; wherein some are very ready and expert; they can readily say all the Commandments, so far as I have communicated them, and all other principles about the creation, the fall, the redemption by Christ, etc., wherein also the aged people are pretty expert, by the frequent repetition thereof to the children, and are able to teach it to their children at home, and do so.
Secondly, I preach unto them out of some texts of Scripture, wherein I study all plainness and brevity, unto which many are very attentive.
Thirdly, if there be any occasion, we in the next place go to admonition and censure; unto which they submit themselves reverently, and obediently, and some of them penitently confessing their sins with much plainness, and without shiftings and excuses. I will instance in two or three particulars; this was one case, a man named Wampoowas, being in a passion upon some light occasion, did beat his wife, which was a very great offence among them now (though in former times it was very usual) and they had made a law against it, and set a fine upon it; whereupon he was publicly brought forth before the assembly, which was great that day, for our Governor and many other English were then present. The man wholly condemned himself without any excuse: and when he was asked what provocation his wife gave him, he did not in the least measure blame her but himself, and when the quality of the sin was opened, that it was cruelty to his own body, and against God’s Commandment, and that passion was a sin, and much aggravated by such effects, yet God was ready to pardon it in Christ, etc., he turned his face to the wall and wept, though with modest endeavor to hide it; and such was the modest, penitent, and melting behavior of the man, that it much affected all to see it in a barbarian, and all did forgive him, only this remained, that they executed their law notwithstanding his repentance, and required his fine, to which he willingly submitted, and paid it.
Another case of admonition was this, Cutshamaquin the Sachem having a son of about fourteen or fifteen years old, he had been drunk, and had behaved himself disobediently and rebelliously against his father and mother, for which sin they did blame him, but he despised their admonition. And before I knew of it, I did observe when I catechised him, when he should say the fifth Commandment, he did not freely say, “Honor thy father,” but wholly left out “mother,” and so he did the lecture day before, but when this sin of his was produced, he was called forth before the Assembly, and he confessed that what was said against him was true, but he fell to accuse his father of sundry evils, as that he would have killed him in his anger, and that he forced him to drink sack, and I know not what else: which behavior we greatly disliked, showed him the evil of it, and Mr. Wilson being present labored much with him, for he understood the English, but all in vain, his heart was hard and hopeless for that time. Therefore using due loving persuasions, we did sharply admonish him of his sin, and required him to answer further the next lecture day, and so left him; and so stout he was, that when his father offered to pay his fine of ten shillings for his drunkenness according to their law, he would not accept it at his hand. When the next day was come, and other exercises finished, I called him forth, and he willingly came, but still in the same mind as before. Then we turned to his father, and exhorted him to remove that stumbling-block out of his son’s way, by confessing his own sins whereby he had given occasion of hardness of heart to his son; which thing was not sudden to him, for I had formerly in private prepared him thereunto, and he was very willing to hearken to that counsel, because his conscience told him he was blameworthy; and accordingly he did, he confessed his main and principal evils of his own accord: and upon this advantage I took occasion to put him upon confession of sundry other vices which I knew he had in former times been guilty of, and all the Indians knew it likewise; and put it after this manner, Are you now sorry for your drunkenness, filthiness, false dealing, lying, etc., which sins you committed before you knew God? unto all which cases he expressed himself sorrowful, and condemned himself for them: which example of the Sachem was profitable for all the Indians. And when he had thus confessed his sins, we turned again to his son and labored with him, requiring him to confess his sin, and entreat God to forgive him for Christ his sake, and to confess his offence against his father and mother, and entreat them to forgive him, but he still refused; and now the other Indians spake unto him soberly and affectionately, to put him on, and divers spake one after another, and some several times. Mr. Wilson again did much labor with him, and at last he did humble himself, confessed all, and entreated his father to forgive him, and took him by the hand, at which his father burst forth into great weeping. He did the same also to his mother, who wept also, and so did divers others; and many English being present, they fell a-weeping, so that the house was filled with weeping on every side; and then we went to prayer, in all which time Cutshamaquin wept, insomuch that when we had done the board he stood upon was all dropped with his tears.
Another case of admonition was this, a hopeful young man who is my servant, being upon a journey, and drinking sack at their setting forth, he drank too much, and was disguised; which when I heard I reproved him, and he humbled himself, with confession of his sin, and tears. And the next lecture day I called him forth before the Assembly, where he did confess his sin with many tears.
Before I leave this point of admonition, if I thought it would not be too tedious to you, I would mention one particular more, where we saw the power of God awing a wicked wretch by this ordinance of admonition. It was George that wicked Indian, who, as you know, at our first beginnings sought to cast aspersions upon religion, by laying slanderous accusations against godly men, and who asked that captious question, “Who made sack?” and this fellow having killed a young cow at your town, and sold it at the college instead of moose, covered it with many lies, insomuch as Mr. Dunster was loath he should be directly charged with it when we called him forth, but that we should rather inquire. But when he was called before the Assembly, and charged with it, he had not power to deny it, but presently confessed, only he added one thing which we think was an excuse; thus God hath honored this ordinance among them.
Fourthly, the last exercise, you know, we have among them, is their asking us questions, and very many they have asked, which I have forgotten, but some few that come to my present remembrance I will briefly touch.
One was Wabbakoxet’s question, who is reputed an old Powwaw; it was to this purpose, seeing the English had been twenty-seven years (some of them) in this land, why did we never teach them to know God till now? “Had you done it sooner,” said he, “we might have known much of God by this time, and much sin might have been prevented, but now some of us are grown old in sin,” etc. To whom we answered, that we do repent that we did not long ago, as now we do, yet withal we told them, that they were never willing to hear till now, and that seeing God hath bowed their hearts to be willing to hear, we are desirous to take all the pains we can now to teach them.
Another question was, that of Cutshamaquin, to this purpose, “Before I knew God,” said he, “I thought I was well, but since I have known God and sin, I find my heart full of sin, and more sinful than ever it was before, and this hath been a great trouble to me; and at this day my heart is but very little better than it was, and I am afraid it will be as bad again as it was before, and therefore I sometimes wish I might die before I be so bad again as I have been. Now my question is, whether is this a sin or not?” This question could not be learned from the English, nor did it seem a coined feigned thing, but a real matter gathered from the experience of his own heart, and from an inward observation of himself.
Another question was about their children, Whither their little children go when they die, seeing they have not sinned?
Which question gave occasion more fully to teach them original sin, and the damned state of all men. And also, and especially it gave occasion to teach them the Covenant of God, which he hath made with all his people, and with their children, so that when God chooses a man or a woman to be his servant, he chooses all their children to be so also; which doctrine was exceeding grateful unto them.
Declaring their Constant Love and Zeal to the Truth with a Readiness to give Account of their Faith and Hope as of their Desires in Church Communion to be Partakers of the Ordinances of Christ, being a Narrative of the Examination of the Indians about their Knowledge in Religion by the Elders of the Churches. Related by Mr. John Eliot, published by the Corporation, established by Act of Parliament for propagating the Gospel there. [London, 1655.]
[Scandal among the Converted.]
When Toteswamp heard of this, it was a great shame and breaking of heart unto him, and he knew not what to do. The rest of the rulers with him considered of the matter, they found a complication of many sins together.
1. The sin of drunkenness, and that after many former punishments for the same.
2. A wilful making of the child drunk, and exposing him to danger also.
3. A degree of reproaching the rulers.
Word was brought to me of it, a little before I took horse to go to Natick to keep the Sabbath with them, being about ten days before the appointed meeting. The tidings sunk my spirit extremely, I did judge it to be the greatest frown of God that ever I met withal in the work, I could read nothing in it but displeasure, I began to doubt about our intended work: I knew not what to do, the blackness of the sins, and the persons reflected on, made my very heart fail me. For one of the offenders (though least in the offence) was he that hath been my interpreter, whom I have used in translating a good part of the Holy Scriptures; and in that respect I saw much of Satan’s venom, and in God I saw displeasure. For this and some other acts of apostasy at this time, I had thoughts of casting him off from that work, yet now the Lord hath found a way to humble him. But his apostasy at this time was a great trial, and I did lay him by for that day of our examination, I used another in his room. Thus Satan aimed at me in this their miscarrying; and Toteswamp is a principal man in the work, as you shall have occasion to see anon, God willing.
By some occasion our ruling elder and I being together, I opened the case unto him, and the Lord guided him to speak some gracious words of encouragement unto me, by which the Lord did relieve my spirit; and so I committed the matter and issue unto the Lord, to do what pleased him, and in so doing my soul was quiet in the Lord. I went on my journey being the sixth day of the week; when I came at Natick, the rulers had then a court about it. Soon after I came there, the rulers came to me with a question about this matter, they related the whole business unto me, with much trouble and grief.
Then Toteswamp spake to this purpose, “I am greatly grieved about these things, and now God trieth me whether I love Christ or my child best. They say they will try me; but I say God will try me. Christ saith, He that loveth father, or mother, or wife, or child, better than me, is not worthy of me. Christ saith, I must correct my child, if I should refuse to do that, I should not love Christ. God bid Abraham kill his son, Abraham loved God, and therefore he would have done it, had not God withheld him. God saith to me, only punish your child, and how can I love God, if I should refuse to do that?” These things he spake in more words, and much affection, and not with dry eyes. Nor could I refrain from tears to hear him. When it was said, The child was not so guilty of the sin, as those that made him drunk; he said, that he was guilty of sin, in that he feared not sin, and in that he did not believe his councils that he had often given him, to take heed of evil company; but he had believed Satan and sinners more than him, therefore he needed to be punished. After other such like discourse, the rulers left me, and went unto their business, which they were about before I came, which they did bring unto this conclusion and judgment, They judged the three men to sit in the stocks a good space of time, and thence to be brought to the whipping-post, and have each of them twenty lashes. The boy to be put in the stocks a little while, and the next day his father was to whip him in the school, before the children there; all which judgment was executed. When they came to be whipped, the constable fetched them one after another to the tree (which they make use of instead of a post) where they all received their punishments: which done, the rulers spake thus, one of them said, “The punishments for sin are the Commandments of God, and the work of God, and his end was, to do them good, and bring them to repentance.” And upon that ground he did in more words exhort them to repentance, and amendment of life. When he had done, another spake unto them to this purpose, “You are taught in catechism, that the wages of sin are all miseries and calamities in this life, and also death and eternal damnation in hell. Now you feel some smart as the fruit of your sin, and this is to bring you to repentance, that so you may escape the rest.” And in more words he exhorted them to repentance. When he had done, another spake to this purpose, “Hear all ye people” (turning himself to the people who stood round about, I think not less than two hundred, small and great) “this is the commandment of the Lord, that thus it should be done unto sinners; and therefore let all take warning by this, that you commit not such sins, lest you incur these punishments.” And with more words he exhorted the people. Others of the rulers spake also, but some things spoken I understood not, and some things slipped from me. But these which I have related remained with me.
When I returned to Roxbury, I related these things to our elder, to whom I had before related the sin, and my grief: who was much affected to hear it, and magnified God. He said also, That their sin was but a transient act, which had no rule, and would vanish. But these judgments were an ordinance of God, and would remain, and do more good every way, than their sin could do hurt, telling me what cause I had to be thankful for such an issue. Which I therefore relate, because the Lord did speak to my heart, in this exigent, by his words.
Or an Essay to Bring the Indian Language into Rules, for the help of such as desire to learn the Same, for the Furtherance of the Gospel among Them.” [Cambridge, 1666.]
There be four several sorts of sounds or tones uttered by mankind.
1. Articulation in speech.
3. Lætation and joy: of which kind of sounds our music and song is made.
4. Ululation, howling, yelling, or mourning: and of that kind of sound is their music and song made.
In which kind of sound they also hallow and call, when they are most vociferous.
And that it is thus, it may be perceived by this, that their language is so full of (oo) and ô nasal.
They have harmony and tunes which they sing, but the matter is not in metre.
They are much pleased to have their language and words in metre and rhythm, as it now is in the singing Psalms in some poor measure, enough to begin and break the ice withal: These they sing in our musical tone.
So much for the sounds and characters.
Now follows the consideration of syllables and the Art of spelling.
The formation of syllables in their language, doth in nothing differ from the formation of syllables in the English, and other languages.
When I taught our Indians first to lay out a word into syllables, and then according to the sound of every syllable to make it up with the right letters, viz. if it were a simple sound, then one vocal made the syllable; if it were such a sound as required some of the consonants to make it up, then the adding of the right consonants either before the vocal, or after it, or both. They quickly apprehended and understood this epitome of the art of spelling, and could soon learn to read.
The men, women, and up-grown youth do thus rationally learn to read: but the children learn by rote and custom, as other children do.
Such as desire to learn this language, must be attentive to pronounce right, especially to produce that syllable that is first to be produced; then they must spell by art, and accustom their tongues to pronounce their syllables and words; then learn to read such books as are printed in their language. Legendo, scribendo, loquendo, are the three means to learn a language.
So much for the rule of making words.
Touching the principal parts of speech, this may be said in general, That nouns are the names of things, and verbs are the names of actions; and therefore their proper attendants are answerable. Adnouns are the qualities of things, and adverbs are the qualities of actions.
And hence is that wise saying, That a Christian must be adorned with as many Adverbs as Adjectives: He must as well do good as be good. When a man’s virtuous actions are well adorned with Adverbs, every one will conclude that the man is well adorned with virtuous Adjectives.
I shall give no other description of them but this, They are such words as do express all the persons, both singular and plural: as
There be also other pronouns of frequent use:
The variation of nouns is not by male and female, as in other learned languages, and in European nations they do.
Nor are they varied by cases, cadencies, and endings: herein they are more like to the Hebrew.
Yet there seemeth to be one cadency or case of the first declination of the form animate, which endeth in oh, uh, or ah; viz. when an animate noun followeth a verb transitive whose object that he acteth upon is without himself. For example: Gen. 1. 16. the last word is anogqsog, stars. It is an erratum: it should be anogqsoh, because it followeth the verb ayim, He made. Though it be an erratum in the press, it is the fitter in some respects for an example.
The kinds of nouns are two; according to which there be two declensions of nouns, for the variation of the number.
Numbers are two: singular and plural.
The first kind of nouns is, when the thing signified is a living creature.
The second kind is, when the thing signified is not a living creature.
Therefore I order them thus:
The animate form or declension is, when the thing signified is a living creature: and such nouns do always make their plural in (og); as,
Wosketomp, Man. Wosketompaog (a) is but for Euphony.
Mittamwossis, A Woman. Mittamwossissog.
The stars they put in this form:
Anogqs, A Star. Anogqsog.
Some few exceptions I know.
[A Letter to the Commissioners for the Propagation of the Gospel.]
Ponkipog, or Pakeunit, is our second town, where the Sachems of the Blood (as they term their chief royal-line) had their residence and rights, which are mostly alienated to the English towns: The last chief man, of that line, was last year slain by the Mauquzogs, against whom he rashly (without due attendants and assistance, and against counsel) went; yet all, yea, his enemies say, he died valiantly; they were more afraid to kill him, than he was to die; yet being deserted by all (some knowingly say through treason) he stood long, and at last fell alone: Had he had but ten men, yea five in good order with him, he would have driven all his enemies before him. His brother was resident with us in this town, but he is fallen into sin, and from praying to God. Our chief ruler is Ahauton, an old stedfast and trusty friend to the English, and loveth his country. He is more loved than feared; the reins of his bridle are too long. Wakan is sometimes necessarily called to keep courts here, to add life and zeal in the punishment of sinners. Their late teacher, William, is deceased; he was a man of eminent parts, all the English acknowledge him, and he was known to many: he was of a ready wit, sound judgment, and affable; he is gone unto the Lord; and William, the son of Ahauton, is called to be teacher in his stead. He is a promising young man, of a single and upright heart, a good judgment, he prayeth and preacheth well, he is studious and industrious, and well accounted of among the English….
Nashope is our next praying town, a place of much affliction; it was the chief place of residence, where Tahattawans lived, a sachem of the blood, a faithful and zealous christian, a strict yet gentle ruler; he was a ruler of fifty in our civil order; and when God took him, a chief man in our Israel was taken away from us. His only son was a while vain, but proved good, expert in the Scripture, was elected to rule in his father’s place, but soon died, insomuch that this place is now destitute of a ruler. The teacher of the place is John Thomas, a godly understanding christian, well esteemed of by the English: his father was killed by the Mauquaogs, shot to death as he was in the river doing his eel-weirs. This place lying in the road-way which the Mauquaogs haunted, was much molested by them, and was one year wholly deserted; but this year the people have taken courage and dwell upon it again.
In this place after the great earthquake, there was some eruption out of the earth, which left a great hiatus or cleft a great way together, and out of some cavities under great rocks, by a great pond in that place, there was a great while after often heard an humming noise, as if there were frequent eruptions out of the ground at that place: yet for healthfulness the place is much as other places be. For religion, there be amongst them some godly christians, who are received into the church, and baptized, and others looking that way.
Panatuket is the upper part of Merimak-Falls; so called, because of the noise which the waters make. Thither the Penagwog-Indians are come, and have built a great fort; their sachems refused to pray to God, so signally and sinfully, that Captain Gookin and myself were very sensible of it, and were not without some expectation of some interposure of a Divine Hand, which did eminently come to pass; for in the forenamed expedition they joined with the northern sachems, and were all of them cut off; even all that had so signally refused to pray unto God were now as signally rejected by God, and cut off. I hear not that it was ever known, that so many sachems and men of note were killed in one imprudent expedition, and that by a few scattered people; for the Mauquaogs were not imbodied to receive them, nor prepared, and few at home, which did much greaten the overthrow of so many great men, and shews a divine over-ruling hand of God. But now, since the Penaguog-Sachems are cut off, the people (sundry of them) dwelling at Panatuket-Fort do bow the ear to hear, and submit to pray unto God; to whom Jethro, after he had confest Christ and was baptized, was sent to preach Christ to them.
This last gift of four hundred pounds for the reimpression of the Indian Bible doth set a diadem of beauty upon all your former acts of pious charity, and commandeth us to return unto your Honors all thankful acknowledgments, according to our abilities. It pleased the worshipful Mr. Stoughton to give me an intimation, that your honors desired to know the particular present estate of the praying Indians; and also, when Moses’s Pentateuch is printed, to have some copies sent over, to evidence the real and good progress of the work.
Your Honor’s intimation hath the force of a command upon me, and therefore I shall briefly relate the religious walking and ways of the praying Indians. They do diligently observe and keep the Sabbath, in all the places of their public meetings to worship God. The example of the English churches, and the authority of the English laws, which Major Gookin doth declare unto them, together with such mulcts, as are inflicted upon transgressors; as also and especially, the clear and express command of God, which they and their children learn and rehearse daily in their catechisms; these all together have fully possessed and convinced them of their duty, to keep holy the Sabbath day. So that the sanctifying of the Sabbath is a great and eminent part of their religion. And though some of the vain and carnal sort among them are not so girt to it, as were to be desired, yet the grave and religious sort do constantly worship God, every Sabbath day, both morning and evening, as the English do….
Moreover, Major Gookin hath dedicated his eldest son, Mr. Daniel Gookin, unto this service of Christ; he is a pious and learned young man, about thirty-three years old, hath been eight years a fellow of the college; he hath taught and trained up two classes of our young scholars unto their commencement; he is a man, whose abilities are above exception, though not above envy. His father, with his inclination, advised him to Sherburne, a small village near Natick, whose meeting-house is about three miles, more or less, from Natick meeting-house. Mr. Gookin holdeth a lecture in Natick meeting-house once a month; which lecture, many English, especially of Sherburne, do frequent. He first preacheth in English, to the English audience, and then the same matter is delivered to the Indians, by an interpreter, whom, with much pains, Mr. Gookin hath fore-prepared. We apprehend, that this will (by God’s blessing) be a means to enable the Indians to understand religion preached in the English tongue, and will much further Mr. Gookin in learning the Indian tongue. Likewise Major Gookin holdeth and manageth his courts in the English tongue; which doth greatly further the Indians in learning law and government in the English tongue; which is a point of wisdom in civilizing them, that your Honors have manifested your desires, that it might be attended.
As for the sending any numbers of Moses’s Pentateuch, I beseech your Honors to spare us in that; because so many as we send, so many Bibles are maimed, and made incomplete, because they want the five books of Moses. We present your Honors with one book, so far as we have gone in the work, and humbly beseech, that it may be acceptable, until the whole be finished; and then the whole impression (which is two thousand) is at your Honors command. Our slow progress needeth an apology. We have been much hindered by the sickness this year. Our workmen have been all sick, and we have but few hands, one Englishman, and a boy, and one Indian; and many interruptions and diversions do befall us; and we could do but little this very hard winter. But I shall give your Honors no further trouble at this time, only requesting the continuance of your prayers and protection. So I remain,