A rhode Island Quaker Sympathizes with the Indians 1675




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A Rhode Island Quaker Sympathizes with the Indians 1675

We said we knew—the English said the Indians wronged them and the Indians said the English wronged them, but our desire was the quarrel might rightly be decided in the best way, and not as dogs decided their quarrels. The Indians owned that fighting was the worst way; then they propounded how right might take place, we said by arbitration. They said all English agreed against them, and so by arbitration they had had much wrong, many miles square of land so taken from them; for English would have English arbitrators, and once they were persuaded to give in their arms, that thereby jealousy might be removed, and the English having their arms would not deliver them as they had promised, until they consented to pay a 100 pounds, and now they had not so much land or money, that they were as good to be killed as to leave all their livelihood.‡ We said they might choose an Indian king, and the English might choose the Governor of New York*; that neither had cause to say either were parties in the difference. They said they had not heard of that way, and said we honestly spoke, so we were persuaded if that way had been tendered they would have accepted. We did endeavor not to hear their complaints, and said it was not convenient for us now to consider of; but to endeavor to prevent war, we said to them when in war against the English blood was spilt that engaged all Englishmen, for we were to be all under one king. We knew what their complaints would be, and in our colony had removed some of them in sending for Indian rulers insfar as the crime concerned Indians’ lives, which they very lovingly accepted, and agreed with us to their execution, and said so they were able to satisfy their subjects when they knew an Indian suffered duly, but said in whatever was only between their Indians and not in townships that we had purchased, they would not have us prosecute, and that they had a great fear lest any of their Indians should be called or forced to be Christian Indians.† They said that such were in everything more mischievous, only dissemblers, and that then the English made them not subject to their own kings, and by their lying to wrong their kings.


We knew it to be true, and we promising them that however in government to Indians all should be alike and that we knew it was our king’s will it should be so, that although we were weaker than other colonies, they having submitted to our king to protect them, others dared not other- wise to molest them; so they expressed that they took that to be well, that we had little cause to doubt but that to us under the king they would have yielded to our determinations in whatever any should have complained to us against them; but Philip charged it to be dishonesty in us to put off the hearing of their complaints; and therefore we consented to hear them.
They said they had been the first in doing good to the English, and the English the first in doing wrong; they said when the English first came, their king’s father was as a great man and the English as a little child. He constrained other Indians from wronging the English and gave them corn and showed them how to plant and was free to do them any good and had let them have a 100 times more land than now the king had for his own people. But their king’s brother, when he was king, came miserably to die by being forced into court and, as they judged, poisoned. And another grievance was if 20 of their honest Indians testified that a Englishman had done them wrong, it was as nothing; and if but one of their worst Indians testified against any Indian or their king when it pleased the English, that was sufficient.
Another grievance was when their kings sold land the English would say it was more than they agreed to and a writing must be proof against all them, and some of their kings had done wrong to sell so much that he left his people none, and some being given to drunkeness, the English made them drunk and then cheated them in bargains, but now their kings were forewarned not to part with land for nothing in comparison to the value thereof. Now whomever the English had once owned for king or queen, they would later disinherit, and make another king that would give or sell them their land, that now they had no hopes left to kepe any land.
Another grievance was that the English cattle and horses still increased so that when they removed 30 miles from where the English had anything to do, they could not keep their corn from being spoiled, they never being used to fence, and thought that when the English bought land of them that they would have kept their cattle upon their own land. Another grievance was that the English were so eager to sell the Indians liquors that most of the Indians spent all in drunkeness and then ravened upon the sober Indians and, they did believe, often did hurt the English cattle, and their kings could not prevent it. We knew beforehand that these were their grand complaints, but then we only endeavored to persuade them that all complaints might be righted without war, but could get no other answer but that they had not heard of that way for the governer of New York and an Indian king to have the hearing of it. We had cause to think that had it been tendered, it would have been accepted. We endeavored however that they should lay down their arms, for the English were too strong for them. They said, then the English should do to them as they did when they were too strong for the English.


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