The United Colonies of New England, 1643-90

By Harry M. Ward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
Quest for Indian Policy

Inimical clouds of war loomed on the horizon of the infant Confederacy. The Union of 1643 had been conceived in a decade of Indian unrest, during which time the colonists experienced the terrors of the Pequot uprising. The civilizations of the white man and the red man were not destined to live side by side. As settlers swarmed over the New England hills--making themselves at home in the hunting grounds of proud Indian tribes-- the friction between the two races mounted until the inevitable flames of war engulfed the countryside. Massachusetts was confronted by potentially hostile tribes in several quarters: the Nipmucks and remnants of various tribes within her midst, the deadly Iroquois League on the west, and the Abenakis spurred on by the French from the northeast. Plymouth was ill at ease with the Pokanokets (Wampanoags), who later produced King Philip; near New Haven were the Quinnipiacs; and on the upper Connecticut were the Pocomtucks. The great Narragansett alliance of tribes in southern New England was a concern for all the United Colonies. The Mohegans of the lower Connecticut River constantly vied for the support of the English against their Narragansett enemies. Everywhere it appeared there were legions of the Devil, whom in time Jehovah would lead into the hands of a faithful People.

The year 1643 saw a fresh outbreak of Indian wrath. Anne Hutchinson of Antinomian fame, who after her exile from the Bay had found a haven on Long Island, was massacred with her family. The Dutch Governor at New Amsterdam was having his hands full with Indian vengeance against his indiscreet policy; and within the confines of New England a great war was shaping up between the Mohegans and the Narragansetts. Once the powder keg of local Indian warfare was touched off, it was feared a conflagration throughout the countryside would bring all of the Algonquian tribes in one grand alliance against the snug English settlements. Every tree was suspected to conceal

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