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CHAP. VI. Of the disposition of the natives of America in New Eng
land, with the conjectures about their passage hither.
When God first made man, he gave him a command, with a secret promise, to encrease and inultiply, and replenish the earth ; of which it is noe question butt America was intended as a part, although probably it was long before any of his posterity found the way thither, which in the shortest cutt they can be suposed to take from Eden or Armenia, could not bee less than a jorney of eight or ten thousand miles. Butt in what age or by what meanes, or by whose conduct they found theire passage over hither, is not easy, if possible, in this age, to finde: unless the astrologers.can find it in the starrs, or that itt can be gathered from the motion [of] the celestiall bodyes, that lighted them hither; none of the inhabitants being ever knowne to have keept any annals or records of things done in fore past tymes. Nor is it less to bee wondered att, that any of the posterity of Adam should ly hid so long from the knowledge of the rest of the world. It will be impertinent to trouble ourselves with uncertaine guesses of all those that have busyed themselves to make enquiry into this matter. Mr. Mede's opinion about the passage of the natives into this remote region carryes the greatest probability of truth with it; of whose conjecture it may be said, in a sense as sometimes of Achithopell's counsell in those dayes, that itt was as the oracle of God. His conceitt is, that when the devill was putt out of his throne in the other part of the world, and that the mouth of all his oracles were stopt in Europe, Asia, and Africa, hee seduced a company of silly wretches to follow his conduct into this un. knowne part of the world, where hee might lye hid and not bee disturbed in the idolatrous and abominable, or rather diabolicall service hee expected from those his fol. lowers ; for here are noe foote stepes of any religion before the English came, butt meerely diabolicall. Storyes were delivered by the people of Mexico, the seat of Montezuma's Empire, when the Spaniards first seized itt, which seemes to intimate the passage of theire ancestors from some other remote place aboute nine hundred yeeres before it was possessed by them, Anno 1498 or 1500. Butt which way those people should come is hard to say, for the streights of Magallan wee may thinke are too neere one of the frigid zones to give opportunity of such a passage ; although it bee certaine that on the south continent, called Nova Guena, there are people inhabiting, as Sir Francis Drake relates in his voyage through the Pacificke Sea, towards China and the East Indies : others therefor more probably conceive, that they might finde some passage out of Tartaria by the streights of Anian beyond California. And that which gives not a little countenance to this opinion is, that the natives upon this continent do in their manners more resemble the Salvage Tartar, then any other people what. soever ; though possitively to affirm any thing in a matter so uncertaine is not convenient.
If any observation bee made of their manners and dispositions, its easyer to say from what nations they did not, then from whom they did derive theire orriginall. Doubtless theire conjecture who fansy them to be descended from the ten tribes of the Israelites, carried captive by Salamaneser and Esarhaddon, hath the least shew of reason of any other, there being noe footsteps to bee observed of their propinquity to them more than to any other of the tribes of the earth, either as to their language or manners. ' No instance can bee given of any nation in the world that hath so fare degenerated from the purity of their orriginall tongue in 1500 or 2000 yeeres, butt that there may be observed some rudiments of the ancient language, as may bee seene in the Greeke and Latine tongues, though they are now utterly lost as to the purity of them; yett it is easy to trace either of them amongest the nations since descended from those that naturally spoke the language; butt here can noe such thinge bee observed amonge the natives of America. Besides, here is found no footsteps of the idolatry or rites of any religious worship the people had
degenerated into, nor are any other customes here to bee observed, that bespeake any relation to that stocke, more then to any other people, unless it be poligamy, which yett was no more peculiar to the Jews then to all other nations of the East. It is certainly knowne also, that within 200 miles compasse theire language is nothing akin; so as one nation of the natives can no more under. stand the language of them that live a 100 miles from them, unlesse a little upon the sea coast, then if they spake Greeke or Welch; as is evident to them that have been ainongst the Mohawks, who live not above 100 miles westwards froin the sea coast : yett their language is different one from the other, as the English is from the Welch. In generall theire disposition, and temper or inclination is much what the same all over New England, being neither so sottish as those amongst the ne. groes, nor yett so firce and warlike as some of the northern Tartars and Scythians. They are indifferently affable and courtous, yett subtill and strangely, revengful, and malicious. A small kindness will oblige them for an whole generation ; and as little an injury, or suspicion thereof, will worke in them a deadly hatred and opposition ; in whom if once a spirit of jealousy arrise against any person or people, it is scarce possible to allay it. They are so very treacherous, deceitefull, and cruell withall, when they get any of their enimies into theire hands; itt being theire ussall course to torture them with cutting and mangling their flesh, whom they intend to sacrifice to their malicious genius, and burning the wounded parts with coales and hot embers, as it were carbonadeing theire flesh while they are alive ; yet so obdurate are they that they never use to expresse any sense of payne, while the most exquisite torments of that nature are inflicted upon them. Butt for eating of man's flesh, it was never of use amongst any of them since the English had any interest here. Many of them are very active and quick of apprehension in any mechanicall science, which with a little observation they attayne, working in iron, brasse, pewter, as well as in timber; but have been accustomed to such lazy, idle kinde of life, leaving all
theire drudgery and laborious worke to their womer, that it is rare to finde any of them that care to bee held to any constant imployment or bodily labour a whole day togeather. As for our religion, some, yet a few of them, have seemed seriously to embrace itt ; butt until they bee reduced to more civility, some judicious persons have conceived no great harvest is to be expected of reall converts, which, for the future, must be left to the observation of them that come after, there being little progresse made that way for the present, notwithstanding that many endeavours have been made in that kinde; of which more afterwards.
CHAP. VII. Of the severall nations of the Indians found in New-England upon the first discovery thereof, with a touch upon their laws, government, and successions.
The northern parts of America were never observ. ed, by any of the first discoverers, to be alike populous with the southern, the land there being less fruitfull, and the winters mure tedious and severe, so as such multitudes could not herd together as was found about Mexico and Peru, where little care need be taken either for meat or clothing, and not onely the soyle, being fare more rich, but the season, being allwayes summer in those parts, and affording more crops in a yeere then one, greater numbers might more easily be maintayned to. gether. Butt for those parts that lie more northward, they were, when the English first discovered them, never observed to bee any thinge so populous, nor were any great numbers ever knowne to bec reduced under any one generall head, theire government being rather patri. archall then monarchicall; that is, some family is commonly found to predominate above others, of which the eldest heire hath the sole and absolute government and rule over the rest, whom they use to call sagamore or sachem. The Indians of every noated plase, so combined, make a kinde of a petty lordship, and are cominonly united under one chiefe person, who hath the rule over all those lesser fraternities or companies.
In the places
more eastward they called the chief rulers that commanded the rest, bashabeas, as in the more westward plantations they called them sagamores and sachems, and that government they have is likewise rather arbitrary and costomary, then limitted by any lawes or constitution knowne before hand: so as they depend upon the absolute will of theire chieftains. As for succession, it is rather collaterall than direct. When the English first settled any plantations along the coast since called New England, there were severall nations of these Indians that were in some kinde of confederacy one with another, against some other of theire potent neighbors, that were att enmity, and commonly they agreed to be at peace with those that spake the same language. Those that were seated more eastward about Pemmaquid and Kenrebecke were called Tarratines, betwixt whom and those that lived about Piscataqua, Merrimacke, and Agawam, now called Ipswich, had arisen some deadly feud, upon the accompt of some trechery used by those western Indians against the others; so as 'every year they were afraid of being surprised by them, which made them upon every occasion to hide themselves among the English, after they were settled in any of those places.
Every noated place of fishing or hunting was usually a distinct seigniory, and thither all theire friends and allyes of the neighboring provinces used to resort in the time of yeere to attend those seasons, partly for recrea. tion, and partly to make provission for the yeere. Such places as they chose for their abode, were usually at the falls of great rivers, or near the sea side, where was any convenience of catching such fish as every summer and winter used to come upon the coast : att which times they used, like good fellows, to make all common; and then those who had entertained their neighbors by the sea side, expected the like kindness from them againe, up higher in the country : and they were wont to have theire great dances for mirth at those generall meetings. With such kinde ofentercourse were theiraffayresand com. merce carriedon, between those that lived up in the country, and those that were seated on the sea coast, about