Complaint of the Praying Indians at Natick against the Mohawks and Uncas



The Indians at Natick and other towns near us that have yielded themselves up to worship 3 God and have lately been and at present are very much molested by the Mohawks who have slain two of their people, a man and a woman, and that very near unto the English houses also we have very good ground to fear that these Mohawks that [ illegible ] from afar and their adherents have lately killed two oxen and a cow and driven away four more and wounded other four at an English town of our colony called Groton, about thirty miles from Boston.  We have pursued the [ illegible ]ed spoils but cannot yet take them. 4 Now the occasion of our writing to you is not only to give you intelligence of these things that 5you may be circumspect.  But also to signify that the Praying Indians complain that Uncas doth secretly assist and hold correspondence with the Mohawks, and that some of his people are at present with them, and that lately some of the Mohawks were with him, and that he received at their hands a great deal of wampum and girdles of wampum to engage him with them, and although he dare not openly appear (say the Indians) yet he doth secretly help them, and doth envy the quietness and peace of the Praying Indians.  Whether the French or Jesuits, now among the Mohawks, who are no friends to the professors of the Gospel, have any hand in these motions of Mohawks, we cannot tell, but suspect it may be so.  Sir, our earnest desire to you is that you will deal fully with Uncas about this matter and do not easily admit his excuses for there is too much probability that he is guilty, by many testimonies. 6 We know not what the issue of these things may be, but we fear trouble to the English as well as these poor Praying Indians.  You know the care and cost of the corporation in England for furtherance of the Gospel among the Indians and how great a care hath been here about that matter, and now if these vile men without any just cause shall destroy all this work.  We know Satan, that always opposes the Gospel, will stir them up hereunto.  We shall not trouble you any further at present, but desire the exercise of your wisdom, in searching out Uncas and discovering the bottom of the design and return us a few lines of your sense thereof to our Honored Governor7 and Deputy Governor.8 

With our best respects to you, remain, Sir

  • 1. This undated unsigned petition may be a version of a letter sent by Massachusetts Governor Richard Bellingham to John Winthrop, Jr. and John Mason, the Governor and Deputy Governor of Connecticut. The letter is held at the Connecticut State Library, Connecticut Archives, Indian Paper Series, I:8 and is published in the Portal as document 1668.06.25.00.
  • 2. Deleted Text: Honored Sir
  • 3. Deleted Text: and pray to
  • 4. Deleted Text: your
  • 5. Deleted Text: your people
  • 6. At this point in the document a hashmark is inserted. The Connecticut Archives copy includes the following which the petition omits: As for instance two of the Mohawk and one of Uncas’ men that spake that language came and surprised an Indian woman at Wamesit and spake of killing her but not agreeing to that, carried her captive to their rendezvous or wigwam and there tied her legs, arms and neck, with a purpose to kill and eat part of her. One was to watch her and being so fast tied that her hands and wrists swelled, she showed her hands to the watching Indian, making as if she understood him not, he loosed her hands a little and fell asleep so she got one hand out and by degrees loosed herself; slipped out and ran, but not going above ten rod finding an old rotten tree, lay flat on the Earth. They presently waked, pursued and came to the tree; got on the top of it; looked about and listened. [She] heard the Mohawk Indian speak, and having formerly married one of Uncas’ men knew he was one of them, but they, not seeing nor hearing, ran three several ways. They no sooner gone, but she went there forth and is got home.
  • 7. John Winthrop, Jr.
  • 8. John Mason