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Papers of the Winthrop Family, Volume 3

Roger Williams to John Winthrop1
Williams, Roger Wintrhop, John
For his most honoured Governour these. The second letter

In the morning I wrote by John Throckmorton, what I heard and thought in generall. It hath pleased the Lord now this afternoone to send this Messenger (Assotemuit) with Varietie and Plentie and Strangenes of Newes and Tidings, I hope true and for ought I can discerne, true, blessed be the holy name of the most High who breakes the Bow and cuts the spear etc. Psal. 46.

This man was sent this morning from Miantunnomu and Caunounicus (as I conceaue allso from all their chiefs in Councell) with charge to bring relacion to my selfe of what hath lately happened amongst the Pequts: as allso that with my letter he should make Speede to your selfe with Tidings.

He relates that a Pequat man and some 5 Pequt women came 2 dayes since to the Nanhiggonsick and with their ordinary submission begd their liues, and libertie to declare in the name of many others what had happened amongst them: before that Pequt came one squaw and a second came but was questioned much for their Truth, but vpon the comming and report of the old Pequat, he saith, they all take his report for true.

This man himselfe Assotemuit is a noted messenger from the Sachims and one whome Miantunnomu hath commended to me for an especiall Messenger from him.

This Pequt and the women report that (as I allso heard before) all the Pequts were assembled some 10 dayes since with Sasacous in Councell: some perswaded to fight and fall first vpon the Nanhiggonsicks (this allso I heard before) the greater part dissented and were for Remoovall: Sasacous and about 4 score resolved for Mauquowkit alias Waukhegannick where the Men Eaters are: a hundreth more for Long Island; another Company the least for Qunnihticut some part of it with purpose to take finall leaue of their Countrey.

70 men women and children (of men betweene 20 and thirtie) resolved for the Nanhiggonsicks to beg their liues etc.

Sasacous and his Company were wroth with these resolved for the Nanhiggonsick and a skirmish past betweene them where some were wounded, but away they got, and each Company packt vp and departed their intended iourneyes.


Miantunnomu sent word to this Company remayning in the mid way betweene Pequatit and Nayantakick that he was in leauge with Mr. Governour and therefore of himselfe would say nothing, but desired them there to rest (at Cuppunaugunnit) in the mid way vntill he sent to Mr. Governour, and what he said that he would assent vnto.

They tould Miantunnomu that they had brought 3 guns with them He sent the women for the guns who fetcht them from that place Cuppunnaugunnit, and there they are with him: Only he claimes a promise of one to himselfe which he desires may be out of these 3, as allso some powder and shot to it as indeede was promised when Mr. Vane was Governour. I haue much laboured with this man to find if it were possible any deceit or falsehood, but as he himselfe and the Sachims question not the Pequt man and women so I can not question him.

I aske him (in discourse) what he thincks were best to be done he answereth that as Miantunnomu himselfe when he sent to Canounicus to speake his minde and Caunounicus refusing sent to him to speake first, Miantunnomu would say nothing, but would say as Mr. Governour said so himselfe would likewise say nothing Yet in discourse I fisht out divers hints of their owne desire and good liking.

As first that there is not amongst these any Sachim or any of those who were Murtherers of the English: if there were they should die.

2ndly That if Mr. Governour were so minded, they incline to mercy and to giue them their liues: and I doubt not but your owne breasts are farr more tender, like the mercifull Kings of Israell.

3rdly That divers more beside these remaine in the woods and resolve to come in and submit if these be accepted.

4. For the disposing of them I propounded what if Mr. Governour did desire to send for some of them into the Bay; leaue some at the Nanhiggonsick and so scatter and disperse them: this he liked well that they should liue with the English and themselues as Slaues: I then propounded that if they lived amongst the English or themselues they might hereafter be false to the English etc. and what if therefore they were appointed and limited to liue vpon Nayantacawnick or some other Iland: and this he thought allso well of if not best, because they were most of them families.

5. That they desire you would please to send some English to take possession of the Pequt Countrey and there to inhabite.

6. That for their owne hunting sake Miantunnomu desires that the English would inhabite that part neerest Qunnihticut and that Mistick which is neerest and where the slaughter was and thereabout might be free for them. 448I told him that they might hunt in the woods as they doe at Massachusett and here, notwithstanding the English did generally inhabite: and this satisfied.

7. That they desire the Pequts Corne might be enioyed by the English and themselues as Mr. Governour please.

8. That the Wunnashowatuckoogs are also afraid and fled so that there is hope of a safe passage to Qunnihticut by land.

9. That there is no hope that the Mauquawogs or any other people will euer assist Sasacous or any of the Pequts against the English, because he is now as it were turned Slaue to beg his life.

If all this be true (as I hope it is) we may all see the God of Heaven delights in mercy and to draw by loue and pitie then by fury and wrath: I hope Sir, now that troubles may arise from other parts his holy Majestie is pleased to quench these neerer fires. He be pleased to confirme this newes and tune all hearts to his prayses in the ordering of our Conversation aright. So I rest praying Your Worships vnfained

Roger Williams July 10, 1637

This man relates that yesterday the Lords day in the morning a Pinnace arriued but he knowes not yet what she is.

I pray Sir forget not to reward this messenger with a Coate as allso some Powder for Miantunnomu.

My loving respects to Mrs. Wintrop, Mr. Deputie Mr. Bellingham, and theirs etc.


W. 2. 99; 4 Collections , VI. 198–202; N.C. , VI. 40–44.