Report of Indian Affairs (Fragment)

1 Sir,

We 2 conceive it necessary to acquaint you with our thoughts touching the present motions abroad and what may probably be our troubles here at home.  The Dutch, as we are informed by several Indians of diverse parts, have sent to Ninigret and to Uncas (either by way of gift or sale or both) a great quantity of powder, guns and other ammunition together with other presents, to encourage and arm them against the English.  Other news we have in a couranto3 that the Dutch are setting forth to sail of ships to visit several parts of the West Indies as 4 Barbados and other western English plantations.  We have, therefore, 5 sent 6 this enclosed to the Dutch governor 7 unsealed.  What you have read and considered, we 8 entreat you to send forthwith by a messenger on purpose, unless you know some weighty and just cause to the contrary, which we at present may be ignorant of.  And that the said messenger you send to the Dutch may be such as may inquire into the cause of Captain Underhill’s restraint or any other thing that you can think of which is material. 9 We desire you to open the Dutch governor’s 10answer  in the return thereof.  That accordingly you may advise what present course is to be taken either with him or the Indians.  We doubt not but you have better intelligence of all the actings between the Dutch and Indians than ourselves.  We cannot have as yet full proof of any of the promises by reason of our distance from them.  However, we judge it meet and necessary, and accordingly do desire, that the Commissioners of the United Colonies do not fail to meet at Boston the 11th day of May next to the end that all the United Colonies may be settled in such a posture of defense and offence if God call thereunto, as he shall please direct, and 11 many made use of the best means he shall in his good providence put into our hands and leave the success to him who (we believe) will never leave us nor forsake us.  We desire further that you will please to send us the certainty (if it may be) of Ninigret’s being reconciled to Uncas and upon what terms and what other intelligence you have and upon what grounds the Dutch have engaged the Indians, if there be such a thing.  For we hear of many reports which yet we give not credit unto till we can 12 have more certain intelligence. We have appointed a military watch throughout the country and restrained trading of grain and of provisions either with Dutch or French or other strangers without special license from authority and are resolved that 13 none shall be carried to the Dutch nor shall any have leave so to do.  We have also written to the Governor of Plymouth acquainting him with the substance of the promise.



  • 1. Editorial Note: This document is undated, but an index attributes it to 1651. However, document 27a--a separate, but possibly related item in the same Massachusetts Archives collection, has an internal date of April 1653. This date raises the question of whether this fragment may be part of John Haynes' report to the Commissioners of the United Colonies mentioned in the record of the Commissioners' special order session at Boston on April 19, 1653. Pulsifer, RCNP 1: 11.
  • 2. Deleted Text: think
  • 3. The Oxford English Dictionary defines couranto or coranto as "a letter or paper containing public news; a gazette, news-letter, or newspaper." What publication the author references is unclear.
  • 4. Deleted Text: and other Islands and Virginia and New England
  • 5. Deleted Text: a message
  • 6. Deleted Text: of purpose
  • 7. Deleted Text: to the Dutch Governor with the letter here enclosed
  • 8. Deleted text: we refer it to your wisdom to send or
  • 9. Deleted Text: suppress if you judge it meet it should be sent
  • 10. Deleted Text: you of in
  • 11. Deleted Text: use
  • 12. Deleted Text: hear further
  • 13. Deleted Text: the Du[tch]