Brief Narrative of the Origin and the Progress of the War with the Indians

No 1. Plymouth Commissioners presented this following narrative, shewing the manner of the beginning of the present war with the Indians of Mount Hope and Pocasset.
A brief narrative of the beginning and progress of the present trouble between us and the Indians, taking its rise in the Colony of New Plymouth in the year of 1675
Not to look back further than the troubles that were between the Colony of New Plymouth and Philip Sachem of Mount Hope in the year 1671.  It may be remembered that the settlement and issue of that controversy was obtained and made (principally) by the mediation and interposed advice of counsel of the other two confederate colonies,[1] who upon a careful inquiry and search into the grounds of that trouble, found that the said Sachem’s pretenses of wrongs and injuries from that Colony were groundless and false, and that he (although first in arms) was the peccant and offending party, and that Plymouth had just cause to take up arms against him.  And it was then agreed that he should pay that Colony a certain sum of money in part of their damage and charge by him occasioned, and he then not only renewed his ancient covenant of friendship with them but made himself and his people absolute subjects to or Sovereign Lord King Charles the Second and to that his Colony of New Plymouth.[2]
Since which time we know not that the English of that or any other Colony have been injurious to him or his, that might justly provoke them to take up arms against, but sometime the last winter, the Governor of Plymouth[3] was informed by Sassamon, a faithful Indian, that the said Philip was undoubtedly endeavoring to raise new troubles and was endeavoring to engage all the sachems round about in a war against us, some of the English also that lived near the said sachem communicated their fears and jealousies concurrent with what the Indian had informed, about a week after John Sassamon had given his information, he was barbarously murdered by some Indians,[4] for his faithfulness (as we have cause to believe) to the interest of God and of the English.  Sometime after Sassamon's death, Philip having heard that the Governor of Plymouth had received some information against him and purported to send to him to appear at their next court that they might inquire into those reports, came down of his own accord to Plymouth a little before their court in the beginning of March last, at which time the Council of that Colony upon a large debate had with him, had great reason to believe that the information against him might be in substance true, but not having full proof thereof, and hoping that the very discovery of it so far, would cause him to desist, they dismissed him friendly, giving him only to understand that if they heard further concerning that matter, they might see reason to demand his arms to be delivered up for their security (which was, according to former agreement between him and them) and he engaged that on their demand they should be surrendered unto them or their order.  At that court, we had many Indians in examination concerning the murder of John Sassamon but had not then testimony in the case, but not long after an Indian appearing to testify, we apprehended three by him charged to be the murderers and secured them to a trial at or next court holden in June, at which time and a little before the court, Philip began to keep his men in arms about him and to gather strangers to him and to march about in arms towards the upper end of the neck on which he lived and near to the English houses, who begun thereby to be something disquieted, but took as yet no further notice, but only to set a military watch in the next towns of Swansea and Rehoboth.   Some hints we had that Indians were in arms whilst our court was sitting,[5] but we hoped it might arise from a guilty feared in Philip, that we would send for him and bring him to trial with the other murderers, and that if he saw the court broke up and he not sent for the cloud might blow over and indeed or innocence made us very secure and confident it would not have broke out into a war, but no sooner was our court dissolved,[6] but we had intelligence from Lieutenant John Brown of Swansea that Philip and his men continued constantly in arms, many strange Indians from several places flocked in to him, that they sent away their wives to Narraganset, and were giving or people frequent alarms by drum and guns in the night and had guarded three passages towards Plymouth and that their young Indians were earnest for a war.  On the seventh of June, Mr. Benjamin Church being on Rhode Island, Weetamoo and some of her chief men told him that Philip intended a war speedily with the English.  Some of them saying that they would help him, and that he had already given them leave to kill Englishmen’s cattle and rob their houses.  About the 14th and 15th June, Mr. James Brown[7] went twice to Philip to persuade him to be quiet, but at both times found his men in arms and Philip very high and not persuadable to peace.  On the 14th June, our Council writ an amicable friendly letter to Philip, shewing our dislike of his practices and advising him to dismiss the strange Indians and command his own men to fall quietly to their business that our people might also be quiet, and not to suffer himself to be abused by reports concerning us who intended no hurt towards him, but Mr. Brown could not obtain any answer from him. On the 17th June, Mr. Paine of Rehoboth and several English going unarmed to Mount Hope to seek their horses at Philips request, the Indians came and presented their guns at them and carried it very insolently though no way provoked by them. On the 18th or 19th, Job Winslow his house at Swansea was broke open and rifled by Philip's men. June the 20th, being the Sabbath day, the people of Swansea were alarmed by the Indians, two of our inhabitants burned out of their houses and their houses rifled, and that the Indians were marching up (as they judged) to assault the town and, therefore, entreated speedy help from us.  We, thereupon the 21th of June, sent up some force to relieve that town and dispatched more with speed. On Wednesday 23 June, a dozen more of their houses at Swansea rifled. On the 24th, Layton was slain at the fall river.  On the 25th June, divers of our people at Swansea slain and many houses burned; until which time and for several days after, though we had a considerable force there, both of our own and of the Massachusetts (to our grief and shame) they took no revenge of the enemy. Thus slow were we and unwilling to engage ourselves and neighbours in a war, having many insolencies almost intolerable from them, at whose hands we had deserved better.
The substance of what is here declared doth clearly and more particularly appear in the record and letters related unto of the several dates abovementioned. 
Orders for Raising Soldiers
1a, 1b, 1c

[1] Commissioners from Plymouth and Massachusetts Colonies interrogated Philip at Taunton, Massachusetts on April 10, 1671.  Charged with preparing for war, the sachem said the actions of his Wampanoag were defensive against the aggressions of the Narragansett. Under a treaty negotiated at Taunton, Philip finally agreed to plege his friendship to the English, pay an annual tribute, and surrender his followers' firearms .  Ellis, King Philip's War, 40-41.

[2] Philip bristled at the thought of being under the jurisdiction of colonial authorities, seeing them in a lesser capacity.  On the other hand, he saw Charles as an equal and called him his brother.  For more discussion, see Pulsipher, Subjects Unto the Same King, 97-100.

[3] Josiah Winslow of Plymouth Colony

[4] Three Indians were charged:  Tobias and his son, Wampapaqun, and Mattashunnamo, Philip's counselor.   Brooks, Our Beloved Kin, 63, 115-117.

[5] The trial was before a Court of Election at Plymouth, which opened on June 1, 1675.  Presiding were Governor Josiah Winslow, John Alden, William Bradford, Thomas Hinkley, John Freeman, Constant Southworth, James Browne, and James Cudworth. Shurtleff, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Court Orders, Vol. V. 1668-1678, 163, 167.

[6] At that court, the three accused , Tobias and his son, Wampapaqun, and Mattashunnamo, were tried by a jury of English colonists and Indians and found guilty.  Tobias and Mattashunnamo were hanged.  By confessing, Wampapaqun escaped immediate execution but was shot a month later.  Brooks, Our Beloved Kin, 115-117, 127.

[7] James Brown was the uncle of the previously mentioned John Brown.