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come as solid, fundamental, and useful a staple of the New England seas, as the granite should be of the New England continent. An honest, hearty, homely, enduring fish, susceptible of much salt, and the better for keeping. The Cod and the Granite are no ignoble symbols of New England wealth and character.
“ Therefore honorable and worthy countrymen,” said Captain Smith to the people of England, at the close of one of his relations of his voyages, “let not the meanness of the word fish distaste you; for it will afford as good gold as the mines of Guiana or Potassie, with less hazard and charge, and more certainty and facility.” By the discipline of industry and piety God would make the rocky coasts and harbors of New England a Potosi of riches, such as all the mountain mines of silver and gold in the world could not create. But of this, either Bart. Gosnold or Captain Smith thought little. And what mind at that period could have been sagacious enough to cast even a guess over the future of the two centuries?
Cape Cod contains now about 32,000 inhabitants. Here and at Nantucket and New Bedford, as well as around Cape Ann, are the cradles of our seamen; yea, the Capes themselves, far stretching into the Atlantic, are almost rocked by its magnificent tempests. As long as the English language lasts, the enthusiastic eulogy will never be forgotten, passed by the great mind of Edmund Burke, upon the seamen of the coasts of New England, near a hundred years ago, while dwelling upon the wealth which the colonies had drawn from the sea by their fisheries. He told the British Government that if their envy was excited by those great acquisitions, yet the spirit with which that enterprising employment had been exercised, ought rather to have raised their esteem and admiration ; for what in the world was equal to it? “ Neither the perseverance of Holland, nor the activity of France, nor the dexterous and fine sagacity of English enterprise ever carried this most perilous mode of hard industry to the extent to which it had been pushed by this recent people ; a people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle, and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood. Through a wise and salutary neglect, a generous nature has been suffered to take her own way to perfection. The colonies have not been squeezed into their happy form by the constraints of watchful and suspicious government." The moment those constraints began to be applied, then the generous nature that had grown up without them, spurned them, and England lost her whole colonial possessions south of Canada, by attempting despotically to do what she pleased with them.
When our fathers first landed at Cape Cod, there seem to have been plenty of whales and seals, as well as codfish, in those seas. They found the Grampus so abundant, that at one place they were minded, on that account, to call the harbor Grampus Bay. Sometimes they had a shot at a whale, but never enjoyed the sport of catching one: when the whale saw her time,” says their quaint description, “ she gave a snuff and away.”
Out of Gosnold's discovery grew an incorporated trading company for North Virginia in 1606, but no settlement. In 1608 came the attempted settlement and failure on the banks of the Sagadahock, under Popham and Gilbert. In 1614, Captain John Smith made his survey of the country and presented a plan of it to King Charles, then the Prince Royal, who gave it the name of New England ; well baptized for the Pilgrims, but a miserable godfather. From its very first discovery, every attempt to colonize or settle this country for mere purposes of gain or trade, failed, and at length all thoughts of it seemed to be abandoned, except as far as concerned the keeping of small summer stations by private adventurers for traffic with the Indians. so it went on, till the year 1620, when God had brought his own vine out of Egypt, and was ready to plant it in the region which he and not man had chosen for it.
He had not only put the mark of discovery upon that region, but also, a few years afterwards, in a very signal manner cast out the heathen” before the Vine which was to be planted. Just after the survey by Captain Smith and the naming of the country, New England, the whole extent of sea-coast from Maine to Rhode Island was almost depopulated by the visitation of a deadly plague. Turn ing to the Journal of the Pilgrims under date of March 16th, 1621, we find the first personal conversation recounted, which any of the Pilgrims were able to hold with the natives; the first intelligible word uttered from the man's lips being the sweet English word “Welcome !” which, from a savage in the wilderness, must have seemed a miracle. This stark naked barbarian, whose name was Samoset, of the Massasoits, had learned enough English from various fishermen at different times to hold a broken conversation, and he was “a man free in speech,” considering the limited extent of his acquisitions.
He spoke, among other things, of the pestilence.. "He told
“ us that about four years ago all the inhabitants died of an extraordinary plague, and there is neither man, woman, nor child remaining, as indeed we have found none; so as there is none to hinder our possession, or to lay claim unto it."
The accounts of this devastating death had reached England before the Pilgrims embarked for America, and the providence of God in regard to it was named in the very patent given by the king, as a reason for giving it, under the assurance that God's time had come for the possession of the country by the subjects of England, the whole territory being so completely depopulated and thrown out of ownership by “that wonderful plague.” Out of the bosom of that death came that refreshing word, “welcome.” For in all probability death itself, by fierce savage war, would have greeted our fathers, instead of welcome, had those thirty thousand fighting men of the native tribe of the Massachusetts, whom the pestilence is said to have re
duced down to three hundred, been living. The treachery of the English at various times, and especially the infamous kidnapping expedition under T. Hunt, in the absence of Captain Smith, had enraged the natives, and inspired them with a deadly purpose of revenge; so that, if this terrific pestilence had not cut them down, they would, in all likelihood, have massacred every man, woman, and child of the colony, the very first opportunity.
But even out of that infamous former treachery and cruelty of the English, God would bring a blessing to those whom he had chosen, and who were acting on the principles of love and uprightness revealed in his word. Here comes into notice the oft-mentioned Squanto, remarkable for his attachment to the colony. He was the only native left of Patuxet, or Plymouth, all the rest of the inhabitants, man, woman, and child, having been carried off by the plague; and he probably would have shared in the same death, had he not been one of the twenty Indians mentioned in the journal, whom the villain Hunt carried into Spain and sold for slaves, about the year 1615. He sold them, it appears, for twenty pounds a piece, “like a wretched man, that cares not what mischief he doth for his profit." But Squanto, by the good providence of God, escaped from his captivity, and got into England, where he dwelt awhile at Cornhill, in London, with Mr. Slaine, a merchant, and learned to speak English. In the year 1619, Squanto was brought back to New England by Mr. Dormer, whose object was to quiet the enraged Indians, and re-establish the trade that had been broken up by the war, which grew out of Hunt's villany. Squanto at that time did all he could to pacify his countrymen, informing them that Hunt's treachery had been condemned by the English, but that the other English were not like him; but he did not succeed, for the Indians fell upon Mr. Dormer and his company, and would have killed Dormer himself, “ had not Squanto entreated hard for him." Squanto was also the means of
saving two Frenchmen about the same time.* It is said that at his native country Squanto found them “all dead," and here the Pilgrims found him their friend, the only native of that place, whither God had brought them for their settlement. He acted as their interpreter, helped them in the planting of their corn, showed them how to set, dress, and tend it (their Indian corn), and in every possible way seems to have befriended them. Sometimes in the midst of want, he would bring them eels, which he had caught in the mud. He often acted as their guide, and he and Captain Standish seem to have been great friends to one another. But he was not long spared, for in November, 1622, he fell sick of a fever and died, to the great sorrow of the Pilgrims. Before Squanto's death, Hobbamock, one of Massasoit's chief captains, had come to live with the Pilgrims as their friend, and continued always faithful to their interests. The few words in which Gov. Bradford has noticed Squanto's death are exceedingly touching. It was at the Indian Hamlet at Manamoyk, near Cape Cod, whither Squanto and the Governor had gone to trade with the Indians and get some corn. Here Squanto was seized with a fatal illness, “and here in a few days he died, desiring the Governor to pray that he might go to the Englishman's God in heaven; bequeathing his things to sundry of his English friends, as remembrances of his love ; of whom we have a great loss.”+
“ Desiring the Governor to pray that he might go to the Englishman's God in Heaven.” How truly affecting is this memorial of the untutored, but affectionate and friendly Indian! Perhaps he was taught of God, and he knew Gov. Bradford to be a good man. Squanto may have been the first fruit of the prayers and instructions of the Pilgrims, the forerunner of that descent of the Holy Spirit upon the
* Prince's New England Chronology, vol. i., pages 63, 99, 100. Neal's History of New England, vol. i., pages 20, 21. | Prince, vol. i., p. 124.