WHEN the English became first acquainted with that tract comprised within the settled part of Connecticut, it was a vast wilderness. There were no pleasant fields, nor gardens, no public roads, nor cleared plats. Except in places where the timber had been destroyed, and its growth prevented by frequent fires, the groves were thick and lofty. The Indians so often burned the country, to take deer and other wild game, that in many parts of the plain, dry parts of it, there was but little small timber. Where lands were thus burned there grew bent grass, or as some called it, thatch, two, three and four feet high, according to the strength of the land. This, with other combustible matter, which the fields and groves produced, when dry, in the spring and fall, burned with violence and killed all the small trees. The large ones es-caped, and generally grew to a notable height and magnitude. In this manner the natives so thinned the groves, that they were able to plant their corn and obtain a crop.

The constant fall of foliage, with the numerous kinds of weeds and wild grass, which annually died and putrified on the lands, yielded a constant manure, and exceedingly enriched them. Vege-tation was rapid, and all the natural productions of the country luxuriant.

It abounded with the finest oaks of all kinds, with chestnut, walnut and wild cherry trees, with all kinds of maple, beech, birch, ash and elm. The butternut tree, buttonwood, basswood, poplar and sassafras trees, were to be found generally upon all tracts in Connecticut. White, yellow and pitch pine, white and red cedar, hemlock and spruce, grew plenteously in many places. In the north and northwestern part of the colony were excellent groves of pine, with spruce and fir trees. The white wood tree also, notable for its height and magnitude, making excellent boards and clapboards, was the natural growth of the country. In some towns white wood trees have grown in great abundance. All other kinds of small trees, of less utility, common to New-England, flourish in Connecticut.

The country abounded with a great variety of wild fruit. In the groves were walnuts, chestnuts, butternuts, hazlenuts and acorns in great abundance. Wild cherries, currants and plums, were natural productions. In the low lands, on the banks of the rivers, by the brooks and gutters, there was a variety and plenty of grapes. The country also abounded with an almost endless variety of esculent and medicinal berries, herbs and roots. Among the principal and most delicious of these were strawberries, black-berries of various kinds, raspberries, dewberries, whortleberries,




bilberries, blueberries and mulberries. Cranberries also grew plenteously in the meadows, which when well prepared furnish a rich and excellent sauce. Juniperberries, barberries and bayber-ries, which are of the medicinal kind, grow spontaneously in Con-necticut. The latter is an excellent and useful berry, producing a most valuable tallow. It is of a beautiful green, and has a fine perfume. Beside these, there was a profusion of various other kinds of berries of less consideration. Some even of these, how-ever, are very useful in various kinds of dyes and in certain medici-nal applications.

The earth spontaneously produced ground nuts, artichokes, wild leeks, onions, garlicks, turnips, wild pease, plantain, radish, and other esculent roots and herbs.

Among the principal medicinal vegetables of Connecticut are the blood root, seneca snakeroot, liquorice root, dragon root, pleurisy root,1 spikenard, elecampane, Solomon's seal, sarsaparilla, senna, bittersweet, ginseng, angelica, masterwort, motherwort, lungwort, consumption root,2 great and small canker weed, high and low centaury, sweet and blue flag, elder, maidenhair, penny-royal, celandine, mallow, marsh mallow, slippery elm, adder's tongue and rattlesnake weed. Indeed a great proportion of the roots and plants of the country, with the bark, buds and roots of many of the trees, are used medicinally. There is a great variety of plants and flowers, the names and virtues of which are not known.3

The country was no less productive of animals, than of natural fruit. In the groves there were plenty of deer, moose, fat bears, turkeys, herons, partridges, quails, pigeons, and other wild game, which were excellent for food. There were such incredible num-bers of pigeons in New-England, when the English became first acquainted with it, as filled them with a kind of astonishment. Such numerous and extensive flocks would be seen flying for some hours, in the morning, that they would obscure the light. An American historian writes, "It passeth credit, if but the truth were written."

Connecticut abounded in furs. Here were otters, beaver, the black, gray, and red fox, the racoon, mink, muskrat, and various other animals, of the fur kind. The wolf, wild cat, and other ani-mals, common in New-England, were equally so in Connecticut. Wolves were numerous in all parts of New-England, when the

1Esclepias decumbens.

2This is the Geum Urbanum of Linnaeus. It is known in Britain by the name of Herb Bennet, or common Avens. Dr. Buchhave, from long experience, recom-mends it as much superior to the Peruvian bark, in the cure of periodical and other diseases. Medical commentaries by a society of Physicians in Edinburgh, vol. vii. p. 279 to 288. He represents three ounces of this root, as equal to a pound of the cortex.

3The roots and flowers of America, would be the most valuable addition to the works of the celebrated Linnaeus, which could be made.




settlements commenced, and did great damage to the planters, killing their sheep, calves, and young cattle.

The country afforded an almost incredible plenty of water fowl. In the bays, creeks, rivers, and ponds, were wild geese, and ducks of all kinds, wigeons, sheldrakes, broadbills, teal of various sorts, and other fowl, which were both wholesome and palatable. In the waters, on the shores, and in the sands, were lobsters, oysters, clams, and all kinds of shell fish in abundance. Most of these are reckoned among the dainties of the table.

In the seas, bays, rivers, and ponds, there was a variety, and an innumerable multitude of fish. Connecticut river, in particu-lar, was distinguished for that plenty and variety which it afforded in the proper season: especially for those excellent salmon, with which its waters were replenished.

As Connecticut abounded in wild animals, so it did also with wild and savage men. In no part of New-England were the Ind-ians so numerous, in proportion to the extent of territory, as in Connecticut. The sea coast, harbors, bays, numerous ponds and streams, with which the country abounded, the almost incredible plenty of fish and fowl which it afforded, were exceedingly adapted to their convenience and mode of living. The exceeding fertility of the meadows, upon several of its rivers, and in some other parts of it, the excellence of its waters, and the salubrity of the air, were all circumstances, which naturally collected them in great num-bers to this tract. Neither wars, nor sickness, had so depopulated this, as they had some other parts of New-England.

From the accounts given of the Connecticut Indians, they can-not be estimated at less than twelve or sixteen thousand. They might possibly amount to twenty. They could muster, at least, three or four thousand warriors.1 It was supposed, in 1633, that the river Indians only could bring this number into the field.2 These were principally included within the ancient limits of Wind-sor, Hartford, Weathersfield, and Middletown. Within the town of Windsor only, there were ten distinct tribes, or sovereignties. About the year 1670, their bowmen were reckoned at two thou-sand. At that time, it was the general opinion, that there were nineteen Indians, in that town, to one Englishman.3 There was a great body of them in the centre of the town. They had a large fort a little north of the plat on which the first meeting-house was erected. On the east side of the river, on the upper branches of the Podunk, they were very numerous. There were also a great number in Hartford. Besides those on the west side of the river, there was a distinct tribe in East-Hartford. These were princi-

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 51.

2Manuscripts from Windsor.

3This estimate is considered by Stiles (Ancient Windsor, 1st ed. p. 86) as ab-surd. From church records unknown to Trumbull, Stiles shows that this compu-tation would make the number of Indians in Windsor alone from 11,000 to 13,000, or as many as the whole colony of Connecticut was supposed to hold at that time. -J.T.




pally situated upon the Podunk, from the northern boundary of Hartford, to its mouth, where it empties into Connecticut river. Totanimo, their first sachem with whom the English had any acquaintance, commanded two hundred bowmen. These were called the Podunk Indians.

At Mattabesick, now Middletown, was the great sachem Sow-heag. His fort, or castle, was on the high ground, facing the river, and the adjacent country, on both sides of the river, was his sachemdom. This was extensive, comprehending the ancient boundaries of Weathersfield, then called Pyquaug, as well as Mid-dletown. Sequin was sagamore at Pyquaug, under Sowheag, when the English began their settlements. On the east side of the river, in the tract since called Chatham, was a considerable clan, called the Wongung Indians. At Machemoodus, now called East-Haddam, was a numerous tribe, famous for their pawaws, and worshipping of evil spirits.1 South of these, in the eastern-most part of Lyme, were the western Nehanticks. These were confederate with the Pequots. South and east of them, from Connecticut riyer to the eastern boundary line of the colony, and north-east or north, to its northern boundary line, lay the Pequot and Moheagan. country. This tract was nearly thirty miles square, including the counties of New-London, Windham, and the prin-cipal part of the county of Tolland.2

Historians have treated of the Peqtiots and Moheagans, as two distinct tribes, and have described the Pequot country, as lying principally within the three towns of New-London, Groton, and Stonington. All the tract above this, as far north and east as has been described, they have represented as the Moheagan country. Most of the towns in this tract, if not al! of them, hold their lands by virtue of deeds from Uncas, or his successors, the Moheagan sachems. It is, however, much to be doubted, whether the Mo-heagans were a distinct nation from the Pequots. They appear to have been a part of the same nation, named from the place cf their situation. Uncas was evidently of the royal line of the Pequots, both by his father and mother; and his wife was daugh-ter of Tatobam, one of the Pequot sachems.3 He appears to have been a captain, or petty sachem, under Sassacus, the great prince of the nation. When the English first came to Connecticut, he was in a state of rebellion against him, in consequence of some misunderstanding between them; and of little power or conse-quence among the Indians.

The Pequots were, by far, the most warlike nation in Connecti-cut, or even in New-England, The tradition is, that they were,

1Manuscripts "of 'the Rev. Mr. Hosmer.

2President Clap's manuscripts, and Chandler's map of the Moheagan country.

3Preface to Capt. Mason's history, and genealogy of Uncas, upon the records of Connecticut.




originally, an inland tribe; but, by their prowess, came down and settled themselves, in that fine country along the sea coast, from Nehantick to Narraganset bay. When the English began their settlements at Connecticut, Sassacus had twenty-six sachems, or principal war captains, under him. The next to himself, in dig-nity, was Mononottoh. The chief seat of these Indians, was at New-London and Groton. New-London was their principal har-bor, and called Pequot harbor. They had another small harbor at the mouth of Mystic river. Their principal fort was on a com-manding and most beautiful eminence, in the town of Gro-ton, a few miles south-easterly from fort Griswold. It com-manded one of the finest prospects of the sound and the adjacent country, which is to be found upon the coast. This was the royal fortress, where the chief sachem had his residence. He had an-other fort near Mystic river, a few miles to the eastward of this, called Mystic fort. This was also erected upon a beautiful hill, or eminence, gradually descending towards the south and south-east. The Pequots, Moheagans, and Nehanticks, could, doubt-less, muster a thousand bowmen. The Pequots only were esti-mated at seven hundred warriors. Upon the lowest computation we therefore find at least three thousand warriors on the river Connecticut, and in the eastern part of the colony. If we reckon every third person a bowman, as some have imagined, then the whole number of Indians, in the town and tract mentioned, would be nine thousand; but if there were but one to four or five, as is most probable, then there were twelve or fifteen thousand.

West of Connecticut river and the towns upon it, there were not only scattering families in almost every part, but, in several places, great bodies of Indians. At Simsbury and New-Hartford, they were numerous; and upon those fine meadows, formed by the meanders of the little river, at Tunxis, now Farmington, and the lands adjacent, was another very large clan. There was a small tribe at Guilford, under the sachem squaw, or queen, of Menunkatuck. At Branford and East-Haven there was another. They had a famous burying ground at East-Haven, which they visited and kept up, with much ceremony, for many years after the settlement of New-Haven.

At Milford, Derby, Stratford, Norwalk, Stamford, and Green-wich, their numbers were formidable.

At Milford, the Indian name of which was Wopowage, there were great numbers; not only in the centre of the town, but south of it, at Milford point. In the fields there, the shells brought on by the original inhabitants are said to be so deep, that they never have been ploughed, or dug through, even to this day. On the west part of the town was another party. They had a strong fortress, with flankers at the four corners, about half a mile north of Stratford ferry. This was built as a defence against the Mo-



hawks. At Turkey hill, in the north-west part of Milford, there was another large settlement.

In Derby, there were two large clans. There was one at Pau-gusset. This clan erected a strong fort against the Mohawks, situated on the bank of the river, nearly a mile above Derby ferry. At the falls of Naugatuck river, four or five miles above, was another tribe.

At Stratford, the Indians were equally, if not more numerous. In that part of the town only, which is comprised within the limits of Huntington, their warriors, after the English had knowledge of them, were estimated at three hundred; and, before this time, they had been much wasted by the Mohawks.

The Indians at Stamford and Greenwich, and in that vicinity, probably, were not inferior in numbers to those at Stratford. There were two or three tribes of Indians in Stamford, when the English began the settlement of the town. In Norwalk were two petty sachemdoms; so that within these towns, there was a large and dangerous body of savages. These, with the natives between them and Hudson's river, gave extreme trouble to the Dutch. The Norwalk and Stamford Indians gave great alarm, and occa-sioned much expense to the English, after they made settlements in that part of the colony.

In the town of Woodbury, there were also great numbers of Indians. The most numerous body of them was in that part of the town, since named South-Britain.

It would doubtless be a moderate computation, to reckon all these different clans at a thousand warriors, or four or five thou-sand people. There must therefore have been sixteen, and it may be, twenty thousand Indians in Connecticut, when the settlement of it commenced.

East of Connecticut were the Narraganset Indians: these were a numerous and powerful body. When the English settled Plymouth, their fighting men were reckoned at three or four thousand.1 Fifty years after this time, they were estimated at two thousand. The Pequots and Narragansets maintained perpetual war, and kept up an implacable animosity between them. The Narragansets were the only Indians in the vicinity of the Pequots, which they had not conquered. To these their very name was dreadful. They said Sassacus was "all one God; no man could kill him."2

On the northeasterly and northern part of the colony, were the Nipmuek Indians. Their principal seat was about the great ponds in Oxford, in Massachusetts, but their territory extended southward into Connecticut, more than twenty miles. This was called the Wabbequasset and Whetstone country; and some-

1Prince's Chron. p. 116.

2Major Mason's history of the Pequot war.




times, the Moheagan conquered country, as Uncas had conquered and added it to his sachemdom.1

The Connecticut, and indeed all the New-England Indians, were large, straight, well proportioned men. Their bodies were firm and active, capable of enduring the greatest fatigues and hardships. Their passive courage was almost incredible. When tortured in the most cruel manner; though flayed alive, though burnt with fire, cut or torn limb from limb, they would not groan, nor show any signs of distress. Nay, in some instances they would glory over their tormentors, saying that their hearts would never be soft until they were cold, and representing their torments as sweet as Englishmen's sugar.2 When travelling in summer, or winter, they regarded neither heat nor cold. They were ex-ceedingly light of foot, and would travel or run a very great distance in a day. Mr. Williams says, "I have known them run between eighty and a hundred miles in a summer's day and back again within two days." As they were accustomed to the woods, they ran in them nearly as well as on plain ground. They were exceedingly quick sighted, to discover their enemy, or their game, and equally artful to conceal themselves. Their features were tolerably regular. Their faces are generally full as broad as those of the English, but flatter; they have a small, dark coloured good eye, coarse black hair, and a fine white set of teeth. The Indian children, when born, are nearly as white as the English children; but as they grow up their skin grows darker and becomes nearly of a copper colour. The shapes both of the men and women, es-pecially the latter, are excellent. A crooked Indian is rarely if ever to be seen.

The Indians in general were quick of apprehension, ingenious, and when pleased, nothing could exceed their courtesy and friendship. Gravity and eloquence distinguished them in council, address and bravery in war. They were not more easily provoked than the English; but when once they had received an injury, it was never forgotten. In anger they were not, like the English, talkative and boisterous, but sullen and revengeful. Indeed, when they were exasperated, nothing could exceed their revenge and cruelty. When they have fallen into the power of an enemy, they have not been known to beg for life, nor even to accept it when offered them. They have seemed rather to court death.3 They were exceedingly improvident. If they had a supply for the present, they gave themselves no trouble for the future. The men declined all labor, and spent their time in hunting, fishing, shooting, and warlike exercises. They were excellent marksmen, and rarely missed their game, whether running or flying.

1President Clap's manuscripts, and Chandler's map of the Moheagan country.

2Hubbard's Narrative, p. 130 and 172. Jefferson's notes, p. 108, 109, and Hubbard's Narrative, p. 130, 172.




They imposed all the drudgery upon their women. They gath-ered and brought home their wood, planted, dressed and gathered in their corn. They carried home the venison, fish and fowl, which the men took in hunting. When they travelled, the women carried the children, packs and provisions. The Indian women submitted patiently to such treatment, considering it as the hard lot of the woman. This ungenerous usage of their haughty lords, they repaid with smiles and good humour.

It has been common among all heathen nations, to treat their women as slaves, and their children, in infancy, with little tender-ness. The Indian men cared little for their children when young, and were supposed at certain times, to sacrifice them to the devil. Christianity only provides for that tender and honorable treat-ment of the woman, which is due to the sex formed of man. This alone provides for the tender care, nursing and education of her offspring, and is most favorable to domestic happiness, to the life and dignity of man.

The Indian women were strong and masculine; and as they were more inured to exercise and hardship than the men, were even more firm and capable of fatigue and suffering than they. They endured the pains of child-bearing without a groan. It was not uncommon for them, soon after labor, to take their children upon their backs and travel as they had done before.1

The clothing of the Indians in New-England, was the skins of wild beasts. The men threw a light mantle of skins over them, and wore a small flap which was called Indian breeches. They were not very careful, however, to conceal their nakedness. The women were much more modest. They wore a coat of skins, girt about their loins, which reached down to their hams.-They never put this off in company. If the husband chose to sell his wife's beaver petticoat, she could not be persuaded to part with it, until he had provided another of some sort.

In the winter, their blanket of skins, which hung loose in the summer, was tied or wrapped more closely about them. The old men in the severe seasons also wore a sort of trowsers made of skins and fastened to their girdles. They wore shoes without heels, which they called mockasins. These were made generally of moose hide, but sometimes of buck skin. They were shaped entirely to the foot, gathered at the toes and round the ankles, and made fast with strings.

Their ornaments were pendants in their ears and nose, carved of bone, shells and stone. These were in the form of birds, beasts and fishes. They also wore belts of wampompeag upon their arms, over their shoulders and about their loins. They cut their hair into various antic forms and stuck them with feathers. They

1Wood's prospect of New-England, Neal and Hutchinson, Neal's Hist. N. E. vol. 1. p. 45. Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 462 to 467.




also, by Incisions into which they conveyed a black or blue, un-changeable ink, made on their cheeks, arms, and other parts of their bodies, the figures of moose, deer, bears, wolves, hawks, eagles and all such living creatures as were most agreeable to their fancies. These pictures were indelible, and lasted during life. The sachems, on great days, when they designed to show themselves in the full splendor of majesty, not only covered them-selves with mantles of moose, or deer skins, with various em-broideries of white beads, and with paintings of different kinds; but they wore the skin of a bear, wild cat or some terrible creature upon their shoulders and arms. They had also necklaces of fish bones, and painting themselves in a frightful manner, made a most ferocious and horrible appearance. The warriors who, on public occasions, dressed themselves in the most wild and terrific forms, were considered as the best men.

The Indian houses or wigwams, were, at best, but poor smoky cells. They were constructed generally like arbours, of small young trees, bent and twisted together, and so curiously covered with mats or bark, that they were tolerably dry and warm. The Indians made their fire in the centre of the house, and there was an opening at the top, which emitted the smoke. For the con-venience of wood and water, these huts were commonly erected in groves, near some river, brook or living spring. When the wood failed, the family removed to another place.

They lived in a poor low manner: their food was coarse and simple, without any kind of seasoning: they had neither spice, salt, nor bread: they had neither butter, cheese, nor milk: they drank nothing better than the water which ran in the brook, or spouted from the spring: they fed on the flesh and entrails of moose, deer, bears, and all kinds of wild beasts and fowls; on fish, eels, and creeping things: they had good stomachs, and nothing came amiss. In the hunting and fishing seasons, they had venison, moose, fat bears, racoons, geese, turkeys, ducks, and fish of all kinds. In the summer, they had green corn, beans, squashes, and the various fruits which the country naturally pro-duced. In the winter they subsisted on corn, beans, fish, nuts, groundnuts, acorns, and the very gleanings of the grove.

They had no set meals, but like other wild creatures, ate when they were hungry, and could find any thing to satisfy the cravings of nature. Some times they had little or nothing for several days; but when they had provisions, they feasted. If they fasted for some time, they were sure at the next meal to make up for all they had lost before. They had but little food from the earth, except what it spontaneously produced. Indian corn, beans and squashes, were the only eatables for which the natives in New-England labored. The earth was both their seat and their table. With trenchers, knives, and napkins, they had no acquaintance.




Their household furniture was of small value. Their best bed was a mat or skin: they had neither chair nor stool. They ever sat upon the ground, commonly with their elbows upon their knees: this is the manner in which their great warriors and coun-cillors now sit, even in the most public treaties with the English. A few wooden and stone vessels and instruments, serve all the purposes of domestic life. They had no steel nor iron instrument. Their knife was a sharp stone, shell, or kind of reed, which they sharpened in such a manner, as to cut their hair, make their bows and arrows, and served for all the purposes of a knife. They made them axes of stone: these they shaped somewhat similar to our axes; but with this difference, that they were made with a neck, instead of an eye, and fastened with a withe, like a blacksmith's chisel. They had mortars, and stone pestles, and chisels: great numbers of these have been found in the country, and kept by the people, as curiosities. They dressed their corn with a clam-shell, or with a stick, made flat and sharp at one end. These were all the utensils which they had, either for domestic use, or for husbandry.

Their arts and manufactures were confined to a very narrow compass. Their only weapons were bows and arrows, the toma-hawk and the wooden sword or spear. Their bows were of the common construction: their bowstrings were made of the sinews of deer, or of the Indian hemp. Their arrows were constructed of young elder sticks, or of other straight sticks and reeds: these were headed with a sharp flinty stone, or with bones. The arrow was cleft at one end, and the stone or bone was put in and fastened with a small cord. The tomahawk was a stick of two or three feet in length, with a knob at one end. Some times it was a stone hatchet, or a stick, with a piece of deer's horn at one end, in the form of a pick axe. Their spear was a straight piece of wood, sharpened at one end, and hardened in the fire, or headed with bone or stone.

With respect to navigation, they had made no improvements beyond the construction and management of the hollow trough of canoe. They made their canoes of the chestnut, whitewood, and pine trees. As these grew straight to a great length, and were exceedingly large as well as tall, they constructed some, which would carry sixty or eighty men:1 these were first rates; but commonly they were not more than twenty feet in length, and two in breadth. The Pequots had many of these, in which they passed over to the Islands, and warred against, and plundered the Islanders. The Indians upon Long-Island had a great num-ber of canoes, of the largest kind.

The construction of these, with such miserable tools as the Indians possessed, was a great curiosity. The manner was this:

1Winthrop's Journal, p. 54.




when they had found a tree to their purpose, to fell it they made a fire at the root, and kept burning it and cutting it with their stone axe, until it fell: then they kindled a fire at such a distance from the butt as they chose, and burned it off again. By burning and working with their axe, and scraping with sharp stones and shells, they made it hollow and smooth. In the same manner they shaped the ends, and finished it to their wishes.

They constructed nets, twenty and thirty feet in length, for fish-ing; especially for the purpose of catching sturgeon: these were wrought with cords of Indian hemp, twisted by the hands of the women. They had also hooks, made of flexible bones, which they used for fishing.

With respect to religion and morals, the Indians in New-Eng-land were in the most deplorable condition. They believed that there was a great spirit, or god, whom they called kitchtan. They imagined that he dwelt far away in the southwest, and that he was a good god. But they worshipped a great variety of gods. They paid homage to the fire and water, thunder and lightning, and to whatever they imagined to be superior to themselves, or capable of doing them an injury.1 They paid their principal homage to Hobbamocko. They imagined that he was an evil spirit and did them mischief; and so, from fear, they worshipped him, to keep him in good humour. They ap-peared to have no idea of a sabbath, and not to regard any par-ticular day more than another. But in times of uncommon dis-tress, by reason of pestilence, war, or famine, and upon occasion of great victories and triumph, and after the ingathering of the fruits, they assembled in great numbers, for the celebration of their superstitious rites.2 The whole country, men, women and children, came together upon these solemnities. The manner of their devotion was, to kindle large fires in their wigwams, or more commonly in the open fields, and to sing and dance round them in a wild and violent manner. Sometimes they would all shout aloud, with the most antic and hideous notes. They made rattles of shells, which they shook, in a wild and violent manner, to fill up the confused noise. After the English settled in Con-necticut, and they could purchase kettles of brass, they used to strain skins over them, and beat upon them, to augment their wretched music. They often continued these wild and tumultu-ous exercises incessantly, for four or five hours, until they were worn down and spent with fatigue. Their priests, or powaws, led in these exercises. They were dressed in the most odd and sur-prising manner, with skins of odious and frightful creatures about their heads, faces, arms, and bodies. They painted themselves in the most ugly forms which could be devised. They sometimes sang, and then broke forth into strong invocations, with starts,

1Magnalia, b. iii. p. 192.





and strange motions and passions. When these paused, the other Indians groaned, making wild and doleful sounds. At these times, they sacrificed their skins, Indian money, and the best of their treasures. These were taken by the powaws, and all cast into the fires and consumed together. After the English came into the country, and they had hatchets and kettles, they sacri-ficed these in the same manner. The English were also per-suaded, that they, sometimes, sacrificed their children, as well as their most valuable commodities. No Indians in Connecticut were more noted for these superstitions than those of Wo-powage and Machemoodus. Milford people observing an Indian child, nearly at one of these times of their devotion, dressed in an extraordinary manner, with all kinds of Indian finery, had the curiosity to inquire what could be the reason. The Indians an-swered, that it was to be sacrificed, and the people supposed that it was given to the devil. The evil spirit, which the New-Eng-land Indians called Hobbamocko, the Virginia Indians called Okee. So deluded were these unhappy people, that they be-lieved these barbarous sacrifices to be absolutely necessary. They imagined that, unless they appeased and conciliated their gods in this manner, they would neither suffer them to have peace, nor harvests, fish, venison, fat bears, nor turkeys; but would visit them with a general destruction.

With respect to morals, they were indeed miserably depraved. Mr. Williams and Mr. Callender, who, at an early period, were acquainted with the Indians in Rhode-Island, Mr. Hooker, and others, have represented them as sunk into the lowest state of moral turpitude, and as the very dregs of human nature.1 Though the character which they gave them was, in some respects, exag-gerated and absurd, yet it cannot be denied, that they were wor-shippers of evil spirits, liars, thieves, and murderers. They cer-tainly were insidious and revengeful, almost without a parallel; and they wallowed in all the filth of wantonness. Great pains were taken with the Narraganset and Connecticut Indians, to civilize them, and teach them Christianity; but the sachems re-jected the gospel with indignation and contempt. They would not suffer it to be preached to their subjects. Indeed, both made it a public interest to oppose its propagation among them. Their policy, religion, and manners, were directly opposed to its pure doctrines and morals.

The manner of their courtship and marriages manifested their impurity. When a young Indian wished for marriage, he pre-sented the girl with whom he was enamoured, with bracelets, belts, and chains of wampum. If she received his presents, they cohabited together for a time, upon trial. If they pleased each other, they were joined in marriage; but if, after a few weeks,

1Williams' manuscripts, and Mr. Callender's sermon.




they were not suited, the man, leaving his presents, quitted the girl, and sought another mistress, and she another lover.1 In this manner they courted, until two met who were agreeable to each other. Before marriage the consent of the sachem was obtained, and he always joined the hands of the young pair in wedlock.

The Indians in general kept many concubines, and never thought they had too many women.2 This especially was the case with their sachems. They chose their concubines agreeably to their fancy, and put them away at pleasure. When a sachem grew weary of any of his women, he bestowed them upon some of his favourites, or chief men. The Indians, however, had one wife, who was the governess of the family, and whom they generally kept during life. In cases of adultery, the husband either put away the guilty wife, or satisfied himself by the infliction of some severe punishment. Husbands and wives, parents and children, lived together in the same wigwams, without any different apart-ment, and made no great privacy of such actions as the chaster animals keep from open view.

The Indian government, generally, was absolute monarchy. The will of the sachem was his law. The lives and interests of his subjects were at his disposal. But in all-important affairs, he con-sulted his counsellors. When they had given their opinions, they deferred the decision of every matter to him. Whatever his de-terminations were, they applauded his wisdom, and without hesi-tation obeyed his commands. In council, the deportment of the sachems was grave and majestic to admiration. They appeared to be men of great discernment and policy. Their speeches were cautious and politic. The conduct of their counsellors and ser-vants was profoundly respectful and submissive.

The counsellors of the Indian kings in New-England, were termed the paniese. These were not only the wisest, but largest and bravest men to be found among their subjects. They were the immediate guard of their respective sachems, who made neither war nor peace, nor attempted any weighty affair, without their advice. In war, and all great enterprises, dangers, and suf-ferings, these discovered a boldness and firmness of mind exceed-ing all the other warriors.

To preserve this order among the Indians, great pains were taken. The stoutest and most promising boys were chosen, and trained up with peculiar care, in the observation of certain Indian rites and customs. They were kept from all delicious meats, trained to coarse fare, and made to drink the juice of bitter herbs, until it occasioned violent vomitings. They were beaten over their legs and shins with sticks, and made to run through bram-bles and thickets, to make them hardy, and, as the Indians said, to render them more acceptable to Hobbamocko.

1Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 461, 462.

2Neal's Hist. N. E. p. 38, 39.




These paniese, or ministers of state, were in league with the priests, or powaws. To keep the people in awe, they pretended, as well as the priests, to have converse with the invisible world, and that Hobbamocko often appeared to them.

Among the Connecticut Indians, and among all the Indians in New-England, the crown was hereditary, always descending to the eldest son. When there was no male issue, the crown de-scended to the female. The blood royal was held in such venera-tion, that no one was considered as heir to the crown, but such as were royally descended on both sides. When a female acceded to the crown, she was called the sunk squaw, or queen squaw. There were many petty sachems, tributary to other princes, on whom they were dependent for protection, and without whose consent they made neither peace, war, nor alliances with other nations.

The revenues of the crown consisted in the contributions of the people. They carried corn, and the first fruits of their harvest of all kinds, beans, squashes, roots, berries, and nuts, and pre-sented them to their sachem. They made him presents of flesh, fish, fowl, moose, bear, deer, beaver and other skins. One of the paniese was commonly appointed to receive the tribute. When the Indians brought it, he gave notice to his sachem, who went out to them, and by good words and some small gifts, expressed his gratitude. By these contributions, his table was supplied; so that he kept open house for all strangers and travellers. Besides, the prince claimed an absolute sovereignty over the seas within his dominion. Whatever was stranded on the coast, all wrecks and whales floating on the sea, and taken, were his.1 In war, the spoils of the enemy, and all the women and royalties of the prince conquered, belonged to him who made the conquest.

The sachem was not only examiner, judge, and executioner, in all criminal cases, but in all matters of justice between one man and another. In cases of dishonesty, the Indians proportioned the punishment to the number of times in which the delinquent had been found guilty. For the first offence, he was reproached for his villainy in the most disgraceful manner; for the second, he was beaten with a cudgel upon his naked back. If he still per-sisted in his dishonest practices, and was found guilty a third time, he was sure, besides a sound drubbing, to have his nose slit, that all men might know and avoid him. Murder was, in all cases, punished with death. The sachem whipped the delinquent, and slit his nose, in cases which required these punishments; and he killed the murderer, unless he were at a great distance. In this case, in which execution could not be done with his own hands, he sent his knife, by which it was effected. The Indians would not receive any punishment which was not capital, from the hands

1Magnalia, B. VI. p. 51.




of any except their sachems. They would neither be beaten, whipped, nor slit by an officer: but their prince might inflict these punishments to the greatest extremity, and they would neither run, cry, nor flinch. Indeed, neither the crimes nor the punishments are esteemed so infamous, among the Indians, as to groan or shrink under suffering. The sachems were so absolute in their government, that they contemned the limited authority of the English governors.

The Indians had no kind of coin; but they had a sort of money, which they called wampum, or wampumpeag. It consisted of small beads, most curiously wrought out of shells, and perforated in the centre, so that they might be strung on belts, in chains and bracelets. These were of several sorts. The Indians in Connecti-cut, and in New-England in general, made black, blue and white wampum. Six of the white beads passed for a penny, and three of the black or blue ones for the same. The five nations made another sort, which were of a purple colour. The white beads were wrought out of the inside of the great conchs, and the purple out of the inside of the muscle shell. They were made perfectly smooth, and the perforation was done in the neatest manner. In-deed, considering that the Indians had neither knife, drill, nor any steel or iron instrument, the workmanship was admirable, After the English settled in Connecticut, the Indians strung these beads on belts of cloth, in a very curious manner. The squaws made caps of cloth, rising to a peak over the top of the head, and the fore part was beautified with wampum, curiously wrought up-on them. The six nations now weave and string them in broad belts, which they give in their treaties, as a confirmation of their speeches and the seals of their friendship.1

The Indians of Connecticut and New-England, although con-sisting of a great number of different nations and clans, appear all to have spoken radically the same language. From Piscataqua to Connecticut, it was so nearly the same, that the different tribes could converse tolerably together.2 The Moheagan or Pequot lan-guage was essentially that of all the Indians in New-England, and of a great part of the Indians in the United States.3 The word Moheagans, is a corruption of Muhhekaneew, in the singular, or of Muhhekaneok in the plural number. Not only the natives of New-England, but the Penobscots, bordering on Nova-Scotia, the Indians of St. Francis, in Canada, the Delawares, in Pennsyl-vania, the Shawanese, on the Ohio, and the Chippewaus, at the westward of lake Huron, all spoke the same radical language. The same appears evident also with respect to the Ottowaus, Nanticooks, Munsees, Menomonees, Missifaugas, Saukies, Otta-

1Golden's history, vol. i. p. 3, 4, 71, 72.

2Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 479.

3Dr. Edwards' observations on the language of the Muhhekaneew Indians.




gaumies, Killistinoes, Nipegons, Algonkins, Winnebagoes and other Indians. The various tribes, who evidently spoke the same original language, had different dialects; yet, perhaps, they dif-fered little more from each other, than the style of a Londoner now does from that of his great grandfather. The want of letters and of a sufficient correspondence between the several nations may well account for all the variations to be found among the natives in New-England, and between them and the other tribes which have been mentioned. All the New-England Indians ex-pressed the pronouns both substantive and adjective by prefixes and suffixes, or by letters or syllables added at the beginnings or ends of their nouns.1 In this respect there is a remarkable coin-cidence between this and the Hebrew language, in an instance in which the Hebrew entirely differs from all the ancient and modern languages of Europe.

From this affinity of the Indian language, with the Hebrew, from their anointing their heads with oil, their dancing in their devotions, their excessive howlings and mourning for their dead, their computing time by nights and moons, their giving dowries to their wives, and causing their women at certain seasons to dwell by themselves, and some other circumstances, the famous Mr. John Eliot, the Indian apostle, was led to imagine that the American Indians were the posterity of the dispersed Israelites.2 They used many figures and parables in their discourses, and some have reported that, at certain seasons, they used no knives, and never brake the bones of the creatures which they ate. It has also been reported, that in some of their songs the word Hallelujah might be distinguished.3

The Indian language abounds with gutturals and strong aspira-tions, and their words are generally of a great length,4 which render it peculiarly bold and sonorous. The Indian speeches, like those of the eastern nations, generally were adorned with the most bold and striking figures, and have not been inferior to any which either the English or French have been able to make to them. The Indians in general, throughout the continent, were much given to speech making. As eloquence and war were, with them, the foundations of all consequence, the whole force of their genius was directed to these acquisitions. In council, their opin-ions were always given in set speeches; and to persons whom they highly respected, it was not unusual, on meeting and parting, or on matters of more than common importance, to address their

1Dr. Edwards' observations on the Indian language.

2Magnalia, b. iii. p. 192, 193.

3Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 478.

4Nummatchekodtantamoonganunonash was a single word, which in English, signifies, Our lusts. Noowomantammoonkanunnonnash was another, signifying, Our loves. Kummogkodonattoottummooctiteaongannunnonash was another, ex-pressing no more than, Our question. Magnalia, b. iii. p. 193.




compliments and opinions in formal harangues. The Indians commonly spake with an unusual animation and vehemence.

The Indians in New-England, rarely if ever admitted the letters L and R into their dialect; but the Mohawks, whose language was entirely different, used them both. Some of the western Ind-ians, who speak the same language radically, with the Mohea-gans, use the L. The Moheagan language abounds with labials, but the Mohawk differs entirely from this, and perhaps from every other, in this respect, that it is wholly destitute of labials. The Mohawks esteemed it a laughable matter indeed, for men to shut their mouths that they might speak.1

The Indians in Connecticut, and in all parts of New-England, made great lamentations at the burial of their dead. Their man-ner of burial was to dig holes in the ground with stakes, which were made broad and sharpened at one end. Sticks were laid across the bottom, and the corpse, which was previously wrapped in skins and mats, was let down upon them. The arms, treasures, utensils, paint and ornaments of the dead, were buried with them, and a mound of earth was raised upon the whole. In some in-stances the Indians appear to have used a kind of embalming, by wrapping the corpse in large quantities of a strong scented red powder.2 In some parts of New-England, the dead were buried in a sitting posture with their faces towards the east. The women on these occasions painted their faces with oil and charcoal, and while the burial was performing, they, with the relatives of the dead, made the most hideous shrieks, howlings and lamentations. Their mourning continued, by turns, at night and in the morning, for several days. During this term all the relatives united in be-wailing the dead.

When the English began the settlement of Connecticut, all the Indians both east and west of Connecticut river, were tributaries, except the Pequots, and some few tribes which were in alliance with them. The Pequots had spread their conquests over all that part of the state east of the river. They had also subjugated the Indians on the sea coast, as far westward as Guilford. Uncas therefore, after the Pequots were conquered, extended his claims as far as Hammonasset, in the eastern part of that township.3 The Indians in these parts were therefore tributaries to the Pequots.

The Mohawks had not only carried their conquests as far southward as Virginia, but eastward, as far as Connecticut river. The Indians therefore, in the western parts of Connecticut, were their tributaries. Two old Mohawks, every year or two, might be seen issuing their orders and collecting their tribute, with as much authority and haughtiness as a Roman dictator.

1Golden's history, vol. i. p. 16.

2Neal's history N. E. vol. i. p.29

3Manuscripts of Mr. Ruggles.




It is indeed difficult to describe the fear of this terrible nation, which had fallen on all the Indians in the western parts of Con-necticut. If they neglected to pay their tribute, the Mohawks would come down against them, plunder, destroy, and carry them captive at pleasure. When they made their appearance in the country, the Connecticut Indians would instantly raise a cry from hill to hill, a Mohawk! a Mohawk! and fly like sheep before wolves, without attempting the least resistance.1 The Mohawks would cry out, in the most terrible manner, in their language, im-porting "We are come, we are come, to suck your blood."2 When the Connecticut Indians could not escape to their forts, they would immediately flee to the English houses for shelter, and sometimes the Mohawks would pursue them so closely as to enter with them, and kill them in the presence of the family. If there was time to shut the doors they never entered by force, nor did they, upon any occasion, do the least injury to the English.

When they came into this part of the country for war, they used their utmost art to keep themselves undiscovered. They would conceal themselves in swamps and thickets, watching their opportunity, and all on a sudden, rise upon their enemy and kill or captivate them, before they had time to make any resistance.

About the time when the settlement of New-Haven com-menced, or not many years after, they came into Connecticut, and surprised the Indian fort at Paugusset. To prevent the Connec-ticut Indians from discovering them, and that not so much as a track of them might be seen, they marched in the most secret manner, and when they came near the fort travelled wholly in the river. Secreting themselves near the fort, they watched their op-portunity, and suddenly attacking it, with their dreadful yellings and violence, they soon took it by force, and killed and captivated whom they pleased. Having plundered and destroyed, at their pleasure, they returned to their castles, west of Albany.

As the Indians in Connecticut were slaughtered and oppressed, either by the Pequots or Mohawks, they were generally friendly to the settlement of the English among them. They expected, by their means, to be defended against their terrible and cruel op-pressors. They also found themselves benefited by trading with them. They furnished themselves with knives, hatchets, axes, hoes, kettles and various instruments and utensils which highly contributed to their convenience. They could, with these, per-form more labor in one hour or day, than they could in many days without them. Besides, they found that they could exchange an old beaver coat, or blanket, for two or three new ones of English manufacture. They found a much better market for their furs, corn, peltry, and all their vendible commodities.

1Colden's history, vol. i, p. 3.

2Wood's prospect of N. England.



The English were also careful to treat them with justice and humanity, and to make such presents to their sachems and great captains, as should please and keep them in good humor.

By these means, the English lived in tolerable peace with all the Indians in Connecticut, and New-England, except the Pe-quots, for about forty years.

The Indians, at their first settlement, performed many acts of kindness towards them. They instructed them in the manner of planting and dressing the Indian corn. They carried them upon their backs, through rivers and waters; and, as occasion required, served them instead of boats and bridges. They gave them much useful information respecting the country, and when the English or their children were lost in the woods, and were in danger of perishing with hunger or cold, they conducted them to their wig-wams, fed them, and restored them to their families and parents. By selling them corn, when pinched with famine, they relieved their distresses and prevented their perishing in a strange land and uncultivated wilderness.