Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Letter from John Mason to the Commissioners of the United Colonies - July 1649

To the Righte worshipfull the Comissionrs of the United Colonyes at Massathusetts wth trust present.

Righte worshipful,

I thought good being desired by Oncos to prsent Somethings to yor consideracon shortly after hee was wounded by Cuttaquin I being at Monheag sent for the men that sayled in the Bark wherin he was hurt and Did then examine Cuttaquine before them Wm. Lord alsoe being he then confessed that hee had wounded Oncos wth a Sword and that he had beene hired to Doe it two yeares since, by Webetomauge Nynicunnett Pessicus and meeksaw, and was to have for his paynes 1000 fathom of wampom of wch he had already recd two hundred he alsoe said that hee was frequently urged by them to Doe the thing especially Seaven dayes before the fact, I alsoe asked by one Valentine whoe is a good Indian interpreter how he Durst attempt Such a thing soe neare monheag sd he Said was necessitated for eyther he must kill Oncos or be kild himselfe he alsoe then confessed that he had received two hundred fathem of wampon already and that he had played away ten fathome at one time and the foresd Sachems payd it for him hee alsoe confessed the same voluntary at Hartford before me Will Ruscoe being present that he was hyred by the foresd Sachems to kill Oncos & Oncos Still complaynes of his being Deprived of his men whoe lived Nameag ten or twelve of them being harboured at fishers Island the reſs are wth Nynicunnett: and that Severall of his men being lately at Mr. Winthrops weare threatened in his presence by his servant Jno. Auſtin that if any of the Monheags came to fishers Island he would kill them, and alsoe that he would come to Monheag and shoote them there. hee is much trobled that those that should be helpfull to him are now held and maynteined to be his greatest professed enemies may it please yor worships at yor last sitting at Plymouth I acquainted you that Wequashcook Declyned the Nannogansett and protested agst their plotting and that hee Desired the favor of the English provided hee weare inocent he hath hitherto kept at a Distance wth them haveing combyned wth Oncos, he Desireth that you would please to take his case into consideration: he sayth and indeed I have been enformed severall times that he is a Sachem as great as any at Nannogansett but they have usurped and Tiranized over him meerely because hee Did somewt favor Oncos forceing him to fight with Oncos agt his will telling him if hee would not goe wth them to fighte they would cutt of him and his and that the Sachems of Nayantuck have forcibly Deprived him of his prop rights Driveing him out of his native countrey takeing from him not only the ground but wth all the privledges that Did proply belong to his father and himself, haveing noe other place he is constrayned to live in a parte of Pequott countrey neare adjoyneing Notwthstanding he heareth that the Nannogansett would put him to pay two hundred of wampom as parte of the 2000 Due by covenant he doth ernestly Desire that his condicion may be weighed by your worships hee alsoe sayth that Robbin Servant to Mr. Winthrop threaten him that his Mr. shall there build and keepe Cowes and so force him from thence alsoe, Oncos Doth alsoe complayne that the English of Nameag hath forbid and will at noe time pmitt him to fish in Pequot (Thames) River, and he hath had two Cannoes about tenne weekes since being ceazed the one halfe way to monheag taken from him by Robt Bradle, and forceibly Kept the other ceazed about three miles from Nameag taken by a short man as he Describes him of Nameag and is alsoe Deteyned to this present; I shall alsoe adventure to acquaint yor worships concerneing Some other passages shortly after the Nannogansett strange attempt and plotting the last yeare Mr. Winthrop wrott to me for approbacon that Nymcunnet might hunt in Pequot countrey. I utterly Disallowed of such a course and protested agt, it as farre as it any way cocerned me and wth all acquainted Mr Wintrhop that I thought would be very Displeasing to the English considering theire late insolencies and the present condicion in wch they weare, under breach of Covenant wth the Comissionrs. Shortly after he wrott to Mr Haynes whoe was then at Seabrooke to that purpose and recd the like answer not long after I was enformed that Mr. Winthrops Servant as he is caled possessed and gave out that by his Masters allowance the Nannogansett had liberty to hunt Pequot countrey often being enformed that they weare resolved alsoe to Doe accordingly where upon Mr. Haynes wth my selfe acquainted the Court at Hartford whoe being Some what affected wth it, that it should be Soe acted by those Nannogansetts considering the present state of things: I had then liberty to endevor to prevent theyr intended purpose, and soe my Selfe for I must confess I was much trobled about it went to Monheag to that end heereing the Nannogansett weare sodaynly to hunt. I wrott from thence to acquaint Mr. Winthrop wt was my busines whoe Sent mee a protest agst proceeding If I went in right of Connecticott I thought wth my self it weare much to suffer standing in theire condicon a people to hunt in any English ground but was not all I thought morevoer that Pequot Did proply belong to Connecticott, by pattent and I conceive under correcon that if there should be warre upon a people in the Massathuset pattent wherin Connecticott might have a hand to conquer and soe force put the Indians to flighte I suppose I say it will not be granted that they have conquered the right of the pattent but I shall leave that to yor worships I what I say is in my owne Defence supposing the thing may be questioned only shewing the ground on wch I went: I humbly Desire the Lord to Direct you as I Doubt not but hee will yor occasions very waighty as I conceive I shall cease to troble further but leave all to yor wisedomes and you to the Lord hoping that peace wth righteousnes may still flourish amongst us.
John Mason

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