Sunday, March 8, 2015

Roger Williams Letter to John Winthrop Pertaining to Indian Troubles -1637

To John Winthrop.
New Providence,  [1637.]
Sir,— I have nothing certain to acquaint you with at present: there have been reports these ten days, that the Pequots are entered league by the hire of three or four bushels of beads, (black and white,) with the Mauquawogs or Mohawks which signifies men-eaters in their language; These cannibals have been all the talk these ten days, and the Narragansetts are much troubled at them.
Two days since came tidings that these Mohawks and Pequots have slain many, both English and natives, at Connecticut Plantations. As yet I believe it not, and hope in the Lord's mercy it is false, yet since you please to make such good use of (poison) bad and lying news, (which for that end to awaken people I confess) I sent the last: I would not conceal this: I hope to send better in like manner after this; yet I sadly fear if the Lord please to let loose these mad dogs, their practice will render the Pequots cannibals too, and secondly (at the least) cut off all hopes of safe residence at Connecticut, and yet they are one hundred miles to the westward of Connecticut Plantations. I hope it will please the Most High to put his hook into their nose, &c., as also to give wisdom in the managing of the war, that if it be possible a league may rather be firmly struck with them: they are most savage, their weapons more dangerous and their cruelty dreadful, roasting alive, &c.
Sir, I hear of the danger of the innovation of your Government. The God of Heaven be pleased to give you faithfulness and courage in his fear: I fear not so much iron and steel as the cutting of our throats with golden knives. I mean that under the pleasing baits of execution of justice to the eastward, and enlargement of authority, beyond all question, lies hid the hook to catch your invaluable liberties. Better an honorable death than a slave's life.
Sir, I may not forget due thanks for your intended requitals of my poor endeavors towards the barbarous: if it please the Lord to use (with any good success) for dull a tool.
One kindness (yet according to true justice) let me be bold to request. I have not yet got a penny of those two unfaithful ones, James and Thomas Hawkins, of Boston, concerning whom myself and wife have formerly troubled you. Mr. Coxall hath long had their bills: agreement of mitigation hath been made since by arbitrator but to no purpose. Their great earnings (if I had not lovingly released them) were mine own: my own debts lie unpaid, daily called for, and I hear for certain (though they can flatter and lie) they have spent lavishly and fared daintily of my purse, while myself would have been glad of a crust of their leavings, though yet I have not wanted, through his love that feeds the ravens, &c. John Throckmorton hath often demanded but in vain, he will now attend your loving helpfulness, and He who is most holy and blessed, all mercy and all pity, help you mercifully to steer (by his holy compass and also with his own most holy hand) in the ocean of troubles and trials wherein we sail. It is no small favor that once again (though the occasions are sad) we may sail and speak together, but the Harbor (safe and large) will pay for all. Thus praying for our meeting, with best salutes to Mrs. Winthrop and all yours, and my true respects to Mr. Deputy, Mr. Bellingham, and other loving friends, I rest,

Your worship's unfeigned,
Roger Williams.