Letter from the Governor and Assistants of Connecticut
Much Honored Gentlemen,
You please to be informed that the Reverend Mr. James Fitch of Norwich some time since, had several servants run away from him, which had been disposed to him by order from our authority in the year 1677. By desire of Mr. Fitch, a former request was made, by some of our authority to some of yours that those servants of his, if they were found within your government, they might be returned to their master, which hath not yet been done, but they are still at Natick, as the Worshipful Major General Gookin and the Reverend Mr. Eliot certified by their letters in the spring; and yet they are not returned but detained from their master, upon what grounds we know not. Gentlemen, we do inform you, that those servants were disposed by Major John Talcott to Mr. Fitch, June 8, 1677, which dispose was confirmed by us afterwards, and indeed Mr. Fitch did deserve a greater gratification (then we were capable, of bestowing on him) in that day of difficulty for his pains in reference to the Indians, and we were glad when we heard that placing those Indians with him was acceptable to him, we expected they might been serviceable and advantageous to him, but they running from him and being sheltered under the Natick Indians, except Your Honors please to exert your authority and cause them to be returned. He will be greatly damnified by them, who are not only run away themselves but took others with him that he purchased of the Indians.
Gentlemen, we do once more request that you would be pleased to order to Mr. Fitch his servants that are fled from him and are now within your government, or that you would cause him or them that harbor them to give Mr. Fitch satisfaction for them, which we believe, he will as readily take, as his servants, and will therein be contented with as moderate a price as can rationally be desired, yourselves being judges thereof. If the servants have anything to object against their master for ill-usage or to their being placed with him, that it was unjust, let them be returned and a fair hearing they shall have and as good justice as any of our inhabitants, which is enough (if not too much) for such treacherous villains, as they have manifested themselves to be.
Gentlemen, we request you would be pleased in this case to do by us, as we in the like case have upon your desire, done for yours that is forthwith granted. All needful assistance to return such runaways to the places from whence they come, and without such neighborhood be maintained between the colonies, one colony will be a sanctuary to the discontented servants of another colony, which we know you will endeavor to prevent. We leave the matter before your Honors and question not but you will do right to Mr. Fitch in the case, which with our best respects is all the needful from Honored Sirs.
Your Honors’ most affectionate neighbors and humble servants, the Governor and Assistants of his
Majesty’s Colony of Connecticut per their order and appointment,
John Allyn, Secretary
Hartford, July 2, 1684