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it was Sunday, and the murderers had just come out of church.
The most wholesale destructions of the Indians took place during King Philip's war. More than two thousand were killed or taken in a single year. Witamo, the squaw-sachem of Pocasset, and friend of Philip, was drowned, but her body was saved, the head cut off and stuck upon a pole at Taunton, amid the jeers and scoffs of the colonists. Philip's dead body was beheaded and quartered; one of his hands was given to the Indian who shot him, and his head was carried in triumph to Plymouth, on a public day of thanksgiving, (August 17, 1676.) “Oh that men would praise the Lord,” says Secretary Morton, “ for his goodness and wonderful works unto them !" His wife and son were taken prisoners. What should be done with the lad, a boy nine years old ? The opinion of the clergy was asked. Cotton, of Plymouth, and Arnold, of Marshfield, thought in general “ that rule (Deuteronomy 24: 16) to be moral and therefore perpetually binding,” and the crime of the parent did not attaint the son. Yet they say:
“ Yet, upon serious consideration, we humbly conceive that the children of notorious traitors, rebells, and murtherers, especially of such as have bin principal leaders and actors in such horrid villainies, and that against a whole nation, yea, the whole Israel of God, may be involved in the guilt of their parents, and may, salva republica, be adjudged to death, as to us seems evident by the Scripture instances of Saul, Achan, Haman, the children of whom were cut off, by the sword of Justice, for the transgressions of their parents, although, concerning some of those children, it be manifest, that they were not capable of being co-acters therein.”Morton's Memorial, Davis' Edition, p. 454, No. 1.
Increase Mather says:
“I should have said something about Philip's son. It is necessary that some effectual course should be taken about him. He makes me think of Hadad, who was a little child when his father (the chief sachem of the Edomites) was killed by Joab; and, had not others fied away with him, I am apt to think that David would have taken a course that Hadad should never have proved a scourge to the next generation."-16., No. 2.
Keith, of Bridgewater, gave a milder counsel, which was followed. The boy was sold into slavery, and the money deposited in the treasury of the colony. Philip's wife also shared the same fate. The State of Massachusetts is so much richer at this day. We wonder the money arising from the sale, this price of blood, was not given to “ The Society for propagating the Gospel among the Indians." In 1725, a premium of one hundred pounds was offered for each Indian scalp. It was estimated that each scalp, in the war of 1704, had cost one thousand pounds. The treatment the Indians receive at the hands of Massachusetts, at this day, is a terrible reproach to us.
There is another matter of a good deal of importance we wish to refer to, namely, the indented servants brought to New England. Governor Bradford, in one of his poetical inspirations, thus alludes to them:
“ Another cause of our declining here
Is a mixed multitule, as doth appear.
Tho’some were brought to know God and his name." “These servants,” says Mr. Hildreth,“ seem in general to have had little sympathy with the austere manners and opinions of their masters, and their frequent transgressions of Puritan decorum gave its magistrates no little trouble.” In 1622, Weston sent out nearly sixty of them; Gorges brought many the next year; Sir William Brewster sent several more in 1628; nearly two hundred came in 1629; Richard Saltonstall sent twenty in 1635. It was one of the offences of Morton, that his “merry mount” was a refuge for "
runaway servants.' At one time, a master received a grant of fifty acres of land for each servant he brought over. About two hundred servants were once set free on their arrival in New England, in consequence of the scarcity of provisions in the colony !
In 16+1, the law allowed any man to harbor servants flying from the tyranny of their masters, until the master could be judicially examined ; notice must be given to the master and the nearest constable. A faithful and diligent service, for seven years, entitled the servant to a dismissal. He must not be sent off“ empty-handed,” says the humane statute, following the Mosaic code in this particular. If a master maimed or disfigured his servant, he was entitled to liberty and to damages also. Still, the law was not very precise in regard to the treatment of this anomalous class of persons.
In 1613, “the united colonies of New England,” forgetting the Old Testament, when property was at stake, agreed to surrender runaway servants. In 1650, the law pursued such servants and arrested them at the public expense; they were required to make up, threefold, the time of their absence.
In 1665, the condition of servants in New York is remarkable.
“Under a provision borrowed from the Connecticut code, fugitive servants might be pursued by hue and cry at the public charge; but this was presently found too expensive, and the cost was imposed on the parties concerned. Runaway servants were to forfeit double the time of their absence, and the cost of their recapture. All who aided in concealing them were liable to a fine. Tyrannical masters and mistresses might be complained of to the overseers, and proceeded against at the Sessions; and servants maimed by their masters were entitled to freedom and damages. During servitude, they were forbidden to sell or buy. Any master of a vessel carrying any person out of the colony without a pass was liable for his debts; and, by a subsequent provision, any unknown person travelling through any town without a pass was liable to be arrested as a runaway, and detained till he proved his freedom, and paid, by work and labor, if not otherwise able, the cost of his arrest.”- - Vol. II. p. 48.
The importation of this class of persons continued till after the middle of the eighteenth century.
“The colonial enactments for keeping these servants in order, and especially for preventing them from running away, were often very harsh and severe. They were put, for the most part, in these statutes, on the same level with the slaves, but their case in other respects was very different. In all the colonies, the term of indented service, even where no express contract had been entered into, was strictly limited by law, and, except in the case of very young persons, it seldom or never exceeded seven years. On the expiration of that term, these freed servants were absorbed into the mass of white inhabitants, and the way lay open before them and their children to wealth and social distinction. One of the future signers of the Declaration of Independence was brought to Pennsylvania as a redemptioner. In Virginia, at the expiration of his term of service, every redemptioner, in common with other immigrants to the colony, was entitled to a free grant of fifty acres of land, and in all the colonies certain allowances of clothing were required to be made by the late masters.”— Ib. p.
428. The subject demands a distinct and entire treatise, for which we have no space at present; but the following document, copied for us by a friend, from the Court-records at Salem, throw some light on the age of which we have been speaking:
“10 May 1654 Be it known unto all men by these presents that I George Dill, master of the ship Goodfellow; have sould unto Mr. Samuel Symonds two of the Irish youthes I brought over by order of the State of England, the name of one of them is William Dalton, the other Edward Welch, to serve him, his heirs, executors or assignes for the space of 9 years, And the said Samuel in consideration hereof doth promise & engage to be paid unto the said master the sum of £26 in corn merchantable or live cattle at or before the end of October next, provided he give good assurance for the enjoying of them.”
At the end of seven years, the "two Irish youthes” ran away, or refused to work any longer. It was to recover the two years' service, or their value, that the action was brought in 1661. The following is their reply, or defence. It will be seen that their names do not agree with the names mentioned by the Captain.
"1661 To the Honoured Court & Jury now assembled the humble defence of W. Downeing & Philip Welch in the action between them & their Master Wm Symonds ; That which we say in defence of ourselves is that we were brought out of our own country, contrary to our own will & minds, & sold here to Mr. Symonds, by ye Master of the ship, Mr. Dill, but what agreement was made between Mr. Symonds & ye said Master, was never acted by our consent or knowledge, yet notwithstanding we have endeavoured to serve him the best service we could these 7 compleat yeares, which is 3 yeares more than the Spirits* used to sell them for at Barbadoes, when they are stolen in England, And for our service we have noe calling or wages but meate & cloathes. Now 7 yeares' service being so much as is the practice of old England, & thought meet in this place, & we being 21 yeares of age we hope the Honored Court & Jury will seriously consider our conditions.”
“ THE TESTIMONY OF John Ring. “ This deponent saith that he with divers others were stolen in Ireland by some of ye English soldiers in ye night out of their beds and brought to Mr. Dill's ship, where the boate lay ready to receive them and in the way as they went some others they tooke with them against their consents & brought them aboard the said ship, where there were divers others of their countrymen, weeping & crying because they were stolen from their friends, they all declaring the same & amongst the rest were these two men, Wm Downing & Philip Welch, & there they were kept until upon a Lord's day in the morning yo master set saile & left some of his vessels behind for haste as I understood.
*“At the Court held in Whitehall December 13th, 1682.
" Whereas it has been Represented to His Majesty that by reason of the frequent Abuses of a lewd sort of people called Spirits in Seducing many of His Majesty's Subjects to go on Shipboard, where they have been seized & Carried by Force to His Majesty's Plantations in America, & that many idle persons, who have Listed themselves voluntarily to be Transported thither & have received money upon their entering into Service for that purpose have afterwards pretended they were Betrayed & Carried away against their wills & procured their friends to prosecute the Merchants, who brought them," &c. &c.
“ Sworne in Court 26 June 1661.” There were similar servants in the other colonies. Of the hundred and five persons who settled in Virginia in 1606, forty-eight were “ gentlemen,” “ brought up to esteem manual labor degrading. There were but twelve laborers, four carpenters, and four other mechanics, the rest were soldiers and servants.” In 1608, one hundred and twenty men of the same sort arrived in Virginia ; " vagabond gentlemen, unaccustomed to labor, and disdainful of it, with three or four bankrupt London jewellers, goldsmiths, and refiners, sent out to seek for mines." Governor Smith said of them, that it was better to send out thirty mechanics than a thousand such men! Servants were indispensable in such a community. In 1613, the Governor of Virginia had for his support a plantation cultivated by one hundred servants. In 1619, ninety young women,“ pure and uncorrupt,” were sent out to be disposed of as wives for the planters. The price was a hundred pounds of tobacco, about seventy-five dollars. A similar cargo, the next year, however, brought only about half that price. We think that was the last adventure of the sort sent to Virginia, - a woman for fifty pounds of tobacco was certainly too cheap.
About the same time, by the order of the king, a hundred dissolute vagabonds were taken from the jails and sent to Virginia, to be disposed of as servants. They were known by the name of “jail-birds.” In 1643, the law forbade dealing with any servants without consent of their masters, and punished such as married without the master's consent. They once planned an insurrection in Virginia, which was detected beforehand; and the 13th of September, “ the day the villainous plot should have been put in execution,” was declared a perpetual holiday.
“Servants sold for the custom,' that is, having no indentures, if over nineteen years of age, are to serve five years; if under nineteen, till twenty-four-their ages to be adjudged by the county