Letter from John Endicott to the General Court of Connecticut

Honored Friends,1

We have received your letter2 and considered the contents thereof, and as for the difference between the Massachusetts and you,3 it was referred (according to the Articles of Confederation) to the Commissioners of Plymouth and New Haven, who after a due hearing of all pleas, have issued the same as you may see, which we hope may give satisfaction to both the jurisdictions.  Concerning the affronts, offered to your messengers, by the Pocumptuck captain,4 we understand he was in drink, and that before they came away it seems there was a pacification and reconciliation; though afterwards in their way home, he committed a second offence5. We shall therefore let the Pocumptuck sachems understand how ill we resent these injurious passages.6 As also the taking away the basket of corn at Wethersfield,7 and the children from Chawquat which we desire you to take care that it be clearly and plainly made known to them.  We have also enquired what we may concerning the treachery of the Pequots in alluring the Mohegans to come to shore, whereby a canoe, and some persons were surprised and slain by the Northern Indians,8 but cannot find just matter of offence to charge them withal.  One of them (hearing the report thereof) came on purpose to this meeting to clear himself, and to answer such accusations as should be laid to his charge but we having no witness, nor anything more than your letter mentioneth, (he utterly denying any such intent, and professing also that he knew not what canoes they were till they came on shore) he was dismissed.9

Concerning the orders of your Court, in reference to the Indians,10 we approve of the first, as concurring with the order of the Commissioners at Boston the last year, which we shall again make known to the several sachems, and hope it will be effectual for the preservation of peace betwixt the English and them; but think your second is too strait, and not safe to ground a quarrel upon, if it should not be observed.  Our desire is, and endeavour shall be, that the English in the several Colonies may not suffer any injuries or affronts from the Indian or others, whereby their pride and insolency may be increased, or the honor of the English impaired; nor would wee willingly doe or suffer that to be done, that may give them just cause to think, we are either afraid of them, or seek a quarrel with them.  We therefore judge it meet, that such provisions as are made for the preservation of the peace of the country be so moderately engraved and prudently managed as that it may attain the ends aimed at, which is the desire of.11Endicott, John

John Endicott, present in the name and with the consent of the rest of the Commissioners

Boston, September 18, 1658   

Address:

To the honored General Court of Connecticut at Hartford these present

Endorsement:

A letter from the Commissioners to this General Court / Massachusetts letter from Commissioners, September 18, 1658

Notation:

Checked in the manuscript       

Cataloguing:

3

 
  • 1. Copy in Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 207-208, with slight spelling alterations.
  • 2. The General Court of Connecticut to the Commissioners of the United Colonies, August 2, 1658, which in part complained about the Pocumptuck Indian sachems.  Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 207.
  • 3. Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut were contesting the division of the Pequot Country and their interests therein. The commissioner’s reply in the matter was dated Sept 16, 1658.  Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 209.
  • 4. Connecticut authorities complained about the behavior of Annapecom/Wonopequen, a Pocumptuck sachem and captain, who, at the time, had been harassing a number of English and Mohegan messengers.  See Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 211.
  • 5. Annapecom’s other insult to the colony was in assaulting a group of Mohegans returning home from Hartford in the company of some English and taking captive one of the Indians.  Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 211.  For more on these events, see George Sheldon, “The Pocumptuck Confederacy,” Papers and Proceedings of the Connecticut Valley Historical Society, 1882-1903, Vol. 2 (Springfield, Mass., 1904), 89.
  • 6. Message from the Commissioners of the United Colonies to the Pocumptuck Sachems, September 18, 1658, in Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 211.
  • 7. Subsequently, Annapecom and his men attacked a farm house in Wethersfield and stole some corn.  When the colonists demanded the return of the corn, the Pocumptucks “returned nothing but Scoffes and Jeers.”  Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 211.
  • 8. The Iroquois were sometimes known as the Northern Indians.  William N. Fenton, “Northern Iroquoian Culture Patterns,” Bruce G. Trigger, vol. ed., Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 15 (Washington, D.C.: 1978), 320.
  • 9. The meeting with this Indian is not part of the printed record.
  • 10. At their meeting at Hartford on August 18, 1658, the Connecticut General Court transmitted two orders regarding the “hostile pursuits” of the Tunxis Indians at Farmington and their “entertaining of strange Indians.”   The first required the Tunxis to remove from where they were then garrisoned, with those disobeying to attend a future session of court; the second forcing the Tunxis to send away all stranger Indians who were not local residents. J.H. Trumbull, The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, Vol. 1 (Hartford: 1850), 318-319.
  • 11. The United Colonies copy in Pulsipher includes the following ending “gentlemen/youer loveing ffrinds Commissioners for the united Collonies.”  Pulsipher II, Acts of the United Colonies, 208.