31 New English Canaan (Excerpt)

Thomas Morton

Chap. XVI. Of their acknowledgment of the Creation, and immortality of the Soule.

Although these salvages are found to be without religion, law, and king (as Sir William Alexander has well observed) they are not altogether without the knowledge of God (historically.) 1: For they have it amongst them by tradition that God made one man and one woman, and had them live together and get children, kill deer, beasts, birds, fish and fowl, and what they would at their pleasure and that their posterity was full of evil and made God so angry that he let in the sea upon them, and drowned the greater part of them, that were naughty men, (the Lord destroyed so) and they went to Sanaconquam, who feeds upon them (pointing to the Center of the Earth, ‘savages‘ where they imagine is the habitation of the Devil) the other, (which were not destroyed) increased the world, and when they died (because they were good) went to the house of Kytan, pointing to the setting of the sun; 2 where they ate all manner of dainties, and never take pains (as now) to provide it. Kytan makes provision (they say) and saves them that labor; and there they shall live with him forever, void of care. And they are persuaded that Kytan is he that makes corn grow, trees grow, and all manner of fruits. And that we that use the book of Common prayer do it to declare to them, that cannot read, what Kytan has commanded us, and that we do pray to him with the help of that book; and do make so much account of it, that a savage (who had lived in my house before he had taken a wife, by whom he had children) made this request to me, (knowing that I always used him with much more respect: than others,) that I would let his son be brought up in my not savage house, that he might be taught to read in that book : which request of his I granted; and he was a very joyful man to think that his son would thereby (as he said) my prayer – become an Englishman ; and then he would be a good man. I asked him who was a good man ; his answer was that he would not lie, nor steal. These, with them, are all the capital crimes that can be imagined; all other are nothing in respect; of those ; 1 and he that is free from these must live with Kytan forever, in all manner of pleasure.

Chap. XX. That the Salvages live a contended life.

I must needs commend them in this particular, that, though they buy many commodities of our Nation, yet they keep but few, and those of special use. They love not to be cumbered with many utensils, and although every proprietor knows his own, yet all things, (for long as they will last), are used in common amongst them : A biscuit cake given to one, that one breaks it equally into for many parts as there be persons in his company, and distributes it. Plato’s Commonwealth is for much practiced by these people. According to humane reason, guided only by the light of nature, these people lead the more happy and freer. They lead a life, being void of care, which torments the minds of many Christians: They are not delighted in baubles, but care ‘in useful things…

I have observed that they will not be troubled with superfluous commodities. Such things as they find they are taught by necessity to make use of, they will make choice of, and seek to purchase with industry. So that, in respect: that their life is so void of care, and they are so loving also that they make use of those things they enjoy, (the wife only excepted,) as common goods, and are therein so compassionate that, rather than one could starve through want, they would starve all. Thus doe they pass away the time merrily, not regarding our pope, (which they fee daily before their faces,) but are better content with their own, which some men esteem so meanly of. They may be rather accustomed to live richly, wanting nothing that is needful; and to be commended for leading a contented life…

Chap. V. Of a Massacre made upon the Salvages at Wessaguscus.

But the Plimmoth men, intending no good to him, (as appeared by the consequence,) came in the mean time to Wessaguscus, a pit from and there pretended to feast the Salvages of those parties, Plimmoth – bringing with them pork and things for the purpose, which they felt before the Salvages. They eat thereof without suspicion of any mischief, who were taken upon a watchword given, and with their own knives, (hanging salvages about their necks,) were by the Plimmoth planters, one of which were hanged up there, after the weapons – slaughter.  In the mean time the Sachem had knowledge of this act- News car- dent, by one that ran to his Countrymen, at the Massachusetts, and gave them intelligence of the news..

The Salvages of the Massachusetts, that could not imagine from whence these men should come, or to what end, seeing them perform such unexpected actions ; neither could tell by what name properly to distinguish them; did from that time afterwards call the English Planters Wotawquenange, which in their language signifieth stabbers, or Cutthroats: and this name was received by those that came thereafter for good, being then unacquainted with the signification of it, for many years following…

Chap. VII. Of Thomas Mortons entertainment at Plimmouth, and casting away upon an Island

This man arrived in those parts, and, hearing news of a Town that was much praised, he was delirious to go thither, and see how things stood; where his entertainment, Brave entertainment, was in a wilderness… There he bestowed sometime in the survey of this plantation…

His new come servants, in the mean time, were tame to take, to have their zeal appear, and questioned what preacher was among their company; and finding none, did seem to condole their estate as if undone, because no man among them had the gift to be in Iona’s stead, nor they the means to keep them in that path for hard to keep. Our Master, say they, recalls the Bible and the word of God, and uses the Book of Common Prayer: but this is not the means, the answer is: the means, they cried, alas, poor Souls where is the means? You seem as if betrayed, to be without the means: how can you be flayed from falling headlong to perdition? Facile descensus avemi: 2 the book of common prayer, says they, what poor thing is that, for a man to read in a book? No, no, good firs, I would you were near us, you might receive comfort by destruction: give me a man hath the gifts of the spirit, not a book in hand. I do profess says one, to live without the means is dangerous, the Lord doth know. By there insinuations, like the Serpent, they did creep and wind into the good opinion of the illiterate multitude, that were desirous to be freed and gone to them, no doubt, (which some of them after confessed); and little good was to be done one them after this charm was used: now plots and factions how they might get look: and here was some Stout knaves; and some plotted how to steal Master Weston’s baroque, others, exasperated knavishly to work, would precariousness tried how to get their Master to an Inland, and there leave Him; which he had notice of, and fitted him to try what would be done; and steps aboard his gallop bound for Cape Anne, to the Massachusetts, with an Hogshead of Wine; Sugar he took along, the Sails hoist up, and one of the Conspirators aboard to steer; who in the mid way pretended foul weather at the harbored mouth, and therefore, for a time, he would put in to an Inland near, and make some flay where he thought to tempt his Master to walk the woods, and for be gone: but their Master to prevent them caused the sails and oars to be brought ashore, to Prevented make a tilt if need should be, and kindled fire, broached that Hogshead, and caused them fill the can with lusty liquor, Claret sparkling neat; which was not suffered to grow pale and flat, but tippled of with quick dexterity : the Master and discover makes a flew of keeping round, but with clove reading drinker. Lips did seem to make long draughts, knowing the wine would make them Protestants; and for the plot was then at large disclosed and discovered, and they made drowsy…


DRinke and be merry, merry, merry boycs ;

Let all your delight be in the Hymens ioyes ;

Jo to Hymen, now the day is come,

About the merry Maypole take a Roome.


Make greene garlons, bring bottles out

And fill fweet Neclar freely about.

Vncover thy head and feare no harme,

For hers good liquor to kccpe it warme.


Then drinke and be merry, &c. lb to Hymen, &c.


Neclar is a thing aJJigiHd

By the Deities owne minde

To cure the hart opprejl with greife,

And of good liquors is the cheife.


Then drinke, &c. lb to Hymen, &c.


Give to the Mellancolly man

A cup or two of V now and than ;

This phyfick willfoone revive his bloud,

And make him be of a merrier moode.


Then drinke, &c. lb to Hymen, &c.


Give to the Nymphe t hats free from fcorne

No IrifJi fluff nor Scotch over worne.

Laffes in beaver coats come away,

YcefJiall be welcome to us night and day.


To drinke and be merry &c. Jo to Hymen, &c.


This harmeles mirth made by younge men, (that lived in hope to have wifes brought over to them, that would save them a labour to make a voyage to fetch any over,) was much distasted of the precise Separatists…

Chap. XV. Of a great Monster supposed to be at Ma-re-Mount ; and the preparation made to destroy it

The Separatists, envying the prosperity and hope of the Plantation at Ma-re Mount, (which they perceived began to come forward, and to be in a good way for gain in the Beaver trade,) conspired together against mine host especially, (who was the owner of that Plantation) and made up a party against him; and mustered up what aide they could, accounting of him as of a great monster. Many threatening speeches were given out both against his person and his habitation, which they divulged should be consumed with fire: And taking advantage of the time when his company, (which seemed little to regard their threats,) were gone up into the Inlands to trade with the Salvages for Beaver, they set upon my honest host at a place called Wesaguscus, where, by accident, they found him. The inhabitants there were in good hope of the subversion of the plantation at Mare Mount, (which they principally aimed at) and the rather because my host was a man that endeavored to advance the dignity of the Church of England; which they, (on the contrary part) would labor to vilify with uncivil terms: envying against the sacred book of common prayer, and my host that used it in a laudable manner amongst his family, as a practice of piety. There he would be a mean to bring sacks to their mill, (such is the thirst after Beaver,) and helped the conspirators to surprise mine host, (who was there all alone) and they charged him, (because they would seem to have some reasonable cause against him to set a gloss upon their malice,) with criminal things ; which indeed had been done by such a person, but was of their conspiracy; mine host demanded of the conspirators who it was that was author of that information, that seemed to be their ground for what they now intended. And because they answered they would not tell him, he as peremptorily replied, that he would not say whether he had, or he had not done as they had been informed.

The answer made no matter, (as it seemed,) whether it had been negatively or affirmatively made; for they had resolved what he would suffer, because, (as they boasted,) they were now become the greater number: they had shaked of their shackles of servitude, and were become Mailers, and mailerles people. It appears they were like bears whelps in former time, when mine host’s plantation was of as much strength as theirs, but now, (theirs being stronger,) they, (like overgrown bears,) seemed monsterous. In brief, mine host must endure to be their prisoner until they could contrive it so that they might send him for England, (as they said,) there to suffer according to the merit of the fact which they intended to father upon him; supposing, (belike,) it would prove a heinous crime. Much rejoicing was made that they had gotten their capital enemy, (as they concluded him;) whom they purposed to hamper in such sort that he would not be able to uphold his plantation at Ma-re Mount. The Conspirators sported themselves at my honest host, that meant them no hurt, and were so jocund that they feasted their bodies, and fell to tippling as if they had obtained a great prize; like the Trojans when they had the custody of Hippeus pine-tree horse. Mine host feigned grief, and could not be persuaded either to eat or drink; because he knew emptiness would be a means to make him as watchful as the Geese kept in the Roman Capital: whereon, the contrary part, the conspirators would be so drowsy that he might have an opportunity to give them a flip, instead of a teller. Six persons of the conspiracy were set to watch him Mine Host at Weffagufcus: But he kept waking; and in the dead of prison night, (one lying on the bed for further surety,) up gets mine Host and got to the second door that he was to pass, which, notwithstanding the lock, he got open, and shut it after him with such violence that it affrighted some of the conspirators. The word, which was given with an alarm, was, he’s gone, he’s gone, what shall we do, he’s gone! The rest, (half asleep,) start up in a maze, and, like rams, ran their heads one at another full butt in the dark.

Their grand leader, Captain Shrimp, took on most fury- The Captain ripped and tore his clothes for anger, to see the empty nest, and their bird gone. The rest were eager to have torn their hair from their heads; but it was so short that it would give them no hold. Now Captain Shrimp thought in the loss of this prize, (which he accounted his mail) his entire honor would be lost forever. In the meantime Hofl was got home to Ma-re Mineko/i Mount through the woods, eight miles round about the head Ma-rc’mount of the river Monatoquit that parted the two Plantations, finding his way by the help of the lightening, (for it thundered as he went terribly) and there he prepared powder, three pounds dried, for his present employment, and four good guns for him and the two affirmants left at his house. He provides bullets of several sizes, three hundred or there- Zs. ume ‘ about, to be used if the conspirators should pursue him there: and these two persons promised their aides in the quarrel, and confirmed that promise with health in good rofa folis. Now Captain Shrimp, the first Captain in the Land, (as he supposed,) must do some new act to repair this loss and to vindicate his reputation, which had sustained blemish by this oversight, begins now to study, how to repair or survive his honor: in this manner, calling of Council, they conclude.

He takes eight persons more to him, and, (like the nine Worthies of New Canaan,) they embark with preparation against Ma-re-Mount, where this Monster of a man, as their phrase was, had his den; the whole number, had the rest not been from home, being but seven, would have given Captain Shrimpe, (a quondam Drummer,) such a welcome as would have made him with for a Drum as big as Diogenes tub, that he might have crept into it out of fight. Now the nine Worthies are approached, and mine Host prepared: having intelligence by a Salvage, that hastened in love from Wessaguscus to give him notice of their intent. One of mine Hosts men proved a craven: the other had proved his wits to purchase a little valor, before mine Host had observed his posture.

The nine worthies coming before the Denne of this Supposed Monster, (this seven headed hydra, as they termed him,) and began, like Don Quixote against the Windmill, to beat a parly, and to offer quarter, if mine Host would yield ; for they resolved to send him for England ; and had him lay by his arms. But he, (who was the Son of a Solder,) having taken up arms in his just defense, replied that he would not lay by those arms, because they were so needful at Sea, if he should be sent over. Yet, to save the effusion of so much worthy blood, as would have issued out of the veins of these nine worthies of New Canaan, if mine Host should have played upon them out at his port holes, (for they came within danger like a flock of wild geese, as if they had been tayled one to another, as coults to be fold at a faier,) mine Host was content to yield upon quarter ; and did capitulate with them in what manner it should be for more certainty, because he knew what Captain Shrimpe was.

Shrimpe promised that he expressed that no violence should be offered to his no violence…But mine Host no sooner had felt open the door, and issued out, but instantly Captain Shrimpe and the rest of the war- ties stepped to him, laid hold of his arms, and had him down : and so eagerly was every man bent against him, (not regarding any agreement made with such a carnal man,) that they fell upon him as if they would have eaten him : some of them were so violent that they would have a slice with scabbard and all for haste ; until The Worthies an old soldier, (of the Queens, as the Proverb is,) that was there by accident, clapt his gun under the weapons and sharply rebuked these worthies for their unworthy practices. So the matter was taken into more deliberate consideration. Captain Shrimpe, and the rest of the nine worthies, made themselves, (by this outrageous riot,) Matters of mine Host of Ma-re Mount, and disapproved of what he had at his plantation. This they knew, (in the eye of the Salvages,) would add to their glory, and diminish the reputation of mine honest Host ; whom they practiced to be rid of upon any terms, as willingly as if he had bin the very Hidra of the time.

Chap. XVI. How the 9 worthies put mine Host of Ma-re-Mount into the enchanted Castle at Plimmouth, and terrified him with the Monster Briareus.

The nine worthies of New Canaan having now the Law in their own hands, (there being no general Governour in the Land ; nor none of the Separation that regarded the duty they owe their Sovereign, whose natural born Subjects they were, though translated out of Holland, from whence they had learned to work all to their own ends, and make a great show of Religion, but no humanity,) for they were now to fit in Counsel on the cause. And much it flood mine honest Hoft upon to be very circumspect, and to take Eacus to task ; for that his voice was more allowed of then both the other : and had not mine Host confounded all the arguments that Eacus could make in their defence, and confuted him that swayed the rest, they would have made him unable to drink in such manner of merriment any more. So that following this private counsel, given him by one that knew who ruled the rest, the Hiracano ceased that else would split his pinace. A conclusion was made and sentence given that mine Host should be sent to England a prisoner. But when he was brought to the ships for that purpose, no man durst be so foolhardy as to undertake carry him. So these Worthies set mine Host upon an Island, without gun, powder, or shot or dog or so much as a knife to get anything to feed upon, or any other clothes to shelter him with at winter then a thin suit which he had one at that time. Home he could not get to Ma-re-Mount. Upon this Island he stayed a month at lead, and was relieved by Salvages that took notice that mine Host was a Sachem of Passonagesit, and would bring bottles of strong liquor to him, and unite themselves into a league of brotherhood with mine Host ; so full of humanity are these infidels before those Christians. From this place for England failed mine Host in a Plimmouth ship, (that came into the Land to fish upon the Coast,) that landed him safe in England at Plimmouth : and he stayed in England until the ordinary time for shipping to set forth for these parts, and then returned: No man being able to tax him of any thing. But the Worthies, (in the meantime,) hoped they had been rid of him.


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New English Canaan (Excerpt) Copyright © 2015 by Thomas Morton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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