The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

II. The Historians, 1607–1783

§ 16. Daniel Gookin

With 1690, when the French and Indian wars began, a new kind of warfare fell on the colonies. Bands of Indians, sometimes accompanied by Frenchmen, came out of Canada, destroyed isolated settlements, and escaped to the north with large trains of captives. The victims suffered much from the strenuous marches of their captors, and from actual cruelty. Most of them were redeemed after years of exile, and they returned with thrilling stories in their mouths. Here was a new field for the historian, and it was well worked.

A distinct place must be reserved for Daniel Gookin, a Virginia Puritan who moved to Massachusetts to escape the persecutions of Governor Berkeley. He was made superintendent of Indians in his new home and showed a humane and intelligent interest in the natives that entitles him to rank with John Eliot. The retaliation of the whites in Philip’s War grieved him sorely, but the tide of wrath was so strong that his protests only made him unpopular. He wrote two books on the Indians, Historical Collections of the Indians in New England, written in 1674 (published 1792), and The Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians, completed in 1677 (published 1836). Gookin also wrote a History of New England which remained in manuscript and was unhappily destroyed without having been published. The author was a man of great breadth of mind and not deeply touched by the narrow ecclesiasticism of the day. He was also in a position to know about the public events of his time. His history of New England, had it been published, must have given us an important view of the subject.