Monday, February 27, 2012

Captain Roger Clapp's Memoirs

There was also one Capt. Stone, about the year 1633 or 1634, who carried himself very proudly, and spake contemptuously of our magistrates, and carried it lewdly in his conversation. For his misdemeanour, his ship was stayed; but he fled, and would not obey authority; and there came warrants to Dorchester to take him dead or alive. So all our soldiers were in arms, and sentinels were set in divers places; and at length he was found in a great cornfield, where we took him and carried him to Boston; but for want of one witness, when he came to his trial, he escaped with his life. He was said to be a man of great relation, and had great favor in England and he gave out threatening speeches. Though he escaped with his life, not being hanged for adultery, there being but one witness, yet for other crimes he was fined, and payed it; and being dismissed, he went towards Virginia. But by the way putting into the Pequot country, to trade with them, the Pequots cut off both him and his men, took his goods, and burnt his ship. Some of the Indians reported that they roasted him alive. Thus did God destroy him that so proudly threatened to ruin us, by complaining against us when he came to England. Thus God destroyed him, and delivered us at that time also.

About that time, or not long after, God permitted. Satan to stir up the Pequot Indians to kill divers Englishmen, as Mr. Oldham, Mr. Tilly, and others; and when the murderers were demanded, instead of delivering them, they proceeded to destroy more of our English about Connecticut; which put us upon sending out soldiers, once and again, whom God prospered in their enterprises until the Pequot people were destroyed.

John Winthrop. History of New England


January 21.] News came from Plimouth, that Capt. Stone, who this last summer went out of the bay or lake, and so to Aquamenticus, where he took in Capt. Norton, putting in at the mouth of Connecticut, in his way to Virginia, where the Pequins inhabit, was there cut off by them, with all his company, being eight. The manner was thus: Three of his men, being gone ashore to kill fowl, were cut off. Then the sachem, with some of his men, came aboard, and staid with Capt. Stone in his cabin, till Capt. Stone (being alone with him) fell on sleep. Then he knocked him on the head, and all the rest of the English being in the cook's room, the Indians took-such pieces as they found there ready charged, and bent them at the English; whereupon one took a piece, and by accident gave fire to the powder, which blew up the deck; but most of the Indians, perceiving what they went about, shifted overboard, and after they returned, and killed such as remained, and burned the pinnace. We agreed to write to the governor of Virginia, (because Stone was one of that colony,) to move him to revenge it, and upon his answer to take further counsel.

This year (in the forepart of the same) they sent forth a barke to trade at the Dutch-Plantation; and they met there with on Captain Stone, that had lived in Christopher’s, one of the West-Ende Islands, and now had been some time in Virginia, and came from thence into these parts. He kept company with the Dutch Governor, and, I know not in what drunken fit, he got leave of the Governor to cease on their barke, when they were ready to come ( away, and had done their market, having the value of : 500li. worth of goods aboard her; having no occasion at all, or any color of ground for such a thing, but having made the Governor drunk, so as he could scarce speak a right word; and when he urged him hear about, he answered him, Als't u beleeft. (That is, if you please.) So he gat aboard, (the chief of their men and merchant being ashore,) and with some of his own men, made the rest of theirs weigh anchor, set sail, and carry her away towards Virginia. But diverse of the Dutch sea-men, which had been often at Plimouth, and kindly entertained there, said one to another, “Shall we suffer our friends to be thus abused, and have their goods carried away, before our faces, whilst our Governor is drunk? They vowed they would never suffer it; and so got a vessel of two and pursued him, and brought him in again, and delivered them their bark and goods again.

Afterwards Stone came into the Massachusetts, and they sent and commenced suite against him for this fact; but by mediation of friends it was taken up, and the suite let fall. And in the company of some other gentlemen Stone came afterwards to Plimouth, and had friendly and civil entertainment amongst them, with the rest; but revenge boiled with his brest, (though concealed,) for some conceived he had a purpose (at one time) to have stabbed the Governor, and put his hand to his dagger for that end, but by Gods providence and the vigilance of some was prevented. He afterward returned to Virginia, in a pinass, with one Captain Norton & some others; and, I know not for what occasion, they would need go up Conigtecutt River; and how they carried themselves I know not, but the Indeans knocked him in the head, as he lay in his cabin, and had thrown the covering over his face (whether out of fear or desperation is uncertain); this was his end. They likewise killed all the rest, but Captain Norton defended him self a long time against them all in the cook-room, till by accident the gunpowder took fire, which (for readiness) he had set in an open thing before him, which did so burn, & scald him, & blind his eyes, as he could make no longer resistance, but was slain also by them, though they much commended his valor. And having killed the men, they made a pray of what they had, and chaffered away some of their things to the Dutch that lived there. But it was not long before a quarrel fell between the Dutch & them, and they would have cut of their bark; but they slue the chief sachem with the shot of a murderer.

20.] Hall and the two others, who went to Connecticut November 3, came now home, having lost themselves and endured much misery. They informed us, that the small pox was gone as far as any Indian plantation was known to the west and much people dead of it, by reason whereof they could have no trade.

At Narragansett, by the Indians' report, there died seven hundred; but, beyond Pascataquack, none to the eastward.


1.] Such of the Indians’ children as were left were taken by the English, most whereof did die of the pox soon after, three only remaining, whereof one, which the governor kept, was called Know-God, (the Indians usual answer being, when they were put in mind of God, Me no-know God.)


15.] Those of Newtown complained of straightness for want of land, especially meadow, and desired leave of the court to look out either for enlargement or removal, which was granted ; whereupon they sent men to see Agawam and Merrimack, and gave out they would remove.


Six of Newtown went in the Blessing, (being bound to the Dutch plantation,) to discover Connecticut River, intending to remove their town thither.


4.] The general court began at Newtown, and continued a week, and then was adjourned fourteen days. The main business which spent the most time, and caused the adjourning of the court, was about the removal of Newtown. They had leave, the last general court, to look out some place for enlargement or removal, with promise of having it confirmed to them, if it were not prejudicial to any other plantation; and now they moved that they might have leave to remove to Connecticut. This matter was debated divers days, and many reasons alleged pro and con. The principal reasons for their removal were, 1. Their want of accommodation for their cattle, so as they were not able to maintain their ministers, nor could receive any more of their friends to help them; and here it was alleged by Mr. Hooker, as a fundamental error, that towns were set so near each to other.

2. The fruitfulness and commodiousness of Connecticut, and the danger of having it possessed by others, Dutch or English.

3. The strong bent of their spirits to remove thither.

Against these it was said, 1. That, in point of conscience, they ought not to depart from us, being knit to us in one body, and bound by oath to seek the welfare of this commonwealth. 2. That, in point of state and civil policy, we ought not to give them leave to depart. 1. Being well were now weak and in danger to be assailed. 2. The departure of Mr. Hooker would not only draw many from us, but also divert other friends that would come to us. 3. We should expose them to evident peril, both from the Dutch (who made claim to the same river, and had already built a fort there) and from the Indians, and also from our own state at home, who would not endure they should sit down without a patent in any place which our king lays claim unto. 3. They might be accommodated at home by some enlargement which other towns offered. 4. They might remove to Merrimack, or any other place within our patent. 5. The removing of a candlestick is a great judgment, which is to be avoided.

Upon these and other arguments the court being divided, it was put to vote; and, of the deputies, fifteen were for their departure, and ten against it. The governour and two assistants were for it, and the deputy and all the rest of the assistants were against it, (except the secretary, who gave no vote ;) whereupon no record was entered, because there were not six assistants in the vote, as the patent requires. Upon this grew a great difference between the governour and assistants, and the deputies. They would not yield the assistants a negative voice, and the others (considering how dangerous it might be to the commonwealth, if they should not keep that strength to balance the greater number of the deputies) thought it safe to stand upon it. So, when they could proceed no further, the whole court agreed to keep a day of humiliation to seek the Lord, which accordingly was done, in all the congregations, the 18th day of this month; and the 24th the court met again. Before they began, Mr. Cotton preached, (being desired by all the court, upon Mr. Hooker's instant excuse of his unfitness for that occasion.) He took his text out of Hag. ii. 4, &c. out of which he laid down the nature or strength (as he termed it) of the magistracy, ministry and people, viz.—the strength of the magistracy to be their authority; of the people, their liberty; and of the ministry, their purity; and showed how all of these had a negative voice, &c. and that yet the ultimate resolution, &c. ought to be in the whole body of the people, &c. with answer to all objections, and a declaration of the people's duty and right to maintain their true liberties against any unjust violence, &c. which gave great satisfaction to the company. And it pleased the Lord so to assist him, and to bless his own ordinance, that the affairs of the court went on cheerfully; and although all were not satisfied about the negative voice to be left to the magistrates, yet no man moved aught about it, and the congregation of Newtown came and accepted of such enlargement as had formerly been offered them by Boston and Watertown; and so the fear of their removal to Connecticut was removed.