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Massasoit sick and visited. 59
In the spring of 1623, Massasoit Fell sick, and sent intelligence of it to the governor, who immediately sent Mr. Win-slow^ and Mr. John Hamdjn> (the same man who afterwards distinguished himself by his opposition to the arbitrary, and unjust demands of Charles I.) to pay him a visit* They carried with them presents, and some cordials for his relief. Their visit and presents were very consolatory to the venerable chief, and were the means of his recovery,
In return for their kindness, he informed them of a dangerous conspiracy among the neighbouring Indians, the otye£t of which was, the total extirpation of the English, By means of this timely discovery,, and the consequent spirited exertions of the governor, whose wise plans were executed by the brave capt, Standish, the colony was once more saved from destruction. Afterwards, in 1639, at the termination of the Pequod war, Massasoit, who had then changed his name to Woosamequen, brought his son Mooanam to Plymouth, and desired that the league which he had formerly made, might be renewed, and made inviolable. The sachem and his son voluntarily promised, "for themselves and their successors, that they would not needlessly, nor unjustly raise any quarrels, or do any wrong to other natives to provoke them to a war against the colony > and that they would not give, sell or convey any of their lands, territories* or possessions whatever, to any person or persons whomsoever, without the privity or consent of the 430 Ifew patent obtained,
government of Plymouth, other than to such as the said government should send or appoint. The whole court did then ratify and confirm the aforesaid league, and promise, to the said Woosamequen, his son and successors, that they would defend them against all such as should unjustly rise up against them, to wrong or oppress them."* The "contrail," entered into by the colonists at Cape Cod, on their arrival, was intended only as a temporary substitute for legal authority from their sovereign. Accordingly as soon as they were informed of the establishment of the "council at Plymouth, for planting New England," before mentioned, they applied for, and obtained a patent. It was taken out, in the name of John Pierce, in trust for the colony. "When he saw that they were well seated, and that there was a prospect of success to their undertaking, he went, without their knowledge, but in their name, and solicited the council for another patent of greater extent; intending to keep it to himself, and allow them no more than he pleased, holding them as his tenants, to sue and be sued at his courts. In pursuance of this design, having obtained a patent^ he bought a ship, which he named the Paragon; loaded her with goods, took on board upwards of sixty pas* sengers, and sailed from London, for the colony of New Plymouth. In the Downs he was overtaken by a tempest, which so damaged the ship that he was obliged to put her into dock; where
Alarming Drought. $t
she lay several weeks, and her repairs cost hiifr one hundred pounds. In December, 1622, he sailed a second time, having onboard one hundred and nine persons; but a series of tempestuous weather, which continued fourteen days, disabled his ship, and forced him back to Portsmouth. These repeated disappointments proved so discouraging to him, that he was easily prevailed upon by the company of adventurers to assign his patent to them, for five hundred pounds. The passengers came over in other -ships."*
This spring (1623) there was an alarming drought. For six weeks after planting, there was scarcely a drop of rain. The corn changed its colour and was just withering to death. They had changed their mode of labouring in common, which they had before practised, and each laboured by himself on his own plot. By this they hoped to compel the idle to diligence, and to excite all to greater exertions. But the drought threatened to blast all. In this crisis of trouble the wreck of a vesse. was driven on the coast, which they supposed was the one, which they heard had sailed several months before to bring them relief. A deep concern was fixed on every countenance. Individuals examined their hearts before God. The magistrates appointed a day of fasting and prayer. In the morning the heavens were clear, the earth powder and dust. The religious exercises continued eight or nine hours. Before they separated the sun was obscured, the clouds gathered, and 62 Charter attacked.
the next morning began soft and gentle showers* which continued with some intervals of delightful weather for 14 days. The corn revived and grew luxuriantly, and the hearts of the people were filled with hope and praise. The Indians in town inquired the cause of the public solemnity, and were deeply impressed with the consequences; saying that their " conjurations" for rain were followed with storms and tempests, which often did more harm than good^
In July and August arrived two ships with supplies, and a number of new settlers. In September one of the ships returned in which Mr. Winslow went passenger, as an agent for the colony. The other went south on a vojrage of discovery.
In the year 1624, the charter of the Plymouth council was attacked by the British parliament, and some vigorous resolutions were passed in the House of Commons, which so far deprived the council of their resources, that, it seems, they no longer thought it practicable to settle a plantation, though it appointed a governor general for NewEngland. In consequence the patentees prudently concluded to divide the country among themselves. Accordingly, in the presence of King James, they drew lots for the shares that each one was to possess, as his exclusive property; the royal confirmation was to be obtained to each particular portion. This was not, however, immediately given, and they continued a few years longer to a& as a body politic, and to make grants Death of Rev* Mr. Robinson. 63
of different portions o£ the country ta various so* cieties.
In Marchj 1624, Mr. Win'slow, who had been previously sent to England for the purpose, arrived with a supply of clothing, and brought with him a bull and three heifers, which were the first neat cattle imported into New England. None of the domestic animals were found in America, by the first European settlers.
At the close of this year, the Plymouth colony consisted of 180 persons only, who lived in 32 dwelling houses. Their stock consisted of the cattle-brought over by Mr. Winslow, a few goats and a plenty of swine and poultry. Their town, half a mile in compass, was impaled. On a high mount in the town, they had ere&ed a fort of wood, lime, and stone, and a handsome watch tower.
- The year following, (March, 1*625) that truly venerable and good man, the Rev. Mr. Robinson, whose memory is precious in New England, died at .Leyden, in the 50th year of his age, greatly lamented, both in Holland and by that part of his congregation who had settled at Plymouth. In a few years after, part of his people, who had remain, ed with him in Holland, removed, and joined their brethren at Plymouth.
Among these were his widow and children* His son Isaac lived to be 90, and left male posterity in the county of Barnstable. Mr. Robinson^ though never in the country, deserves to he aum