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to their astonishment, the man-of-war so unexpectedly overtaking them, about 40 of their men went on shore and were disarmed and seized by the people that dwelt near the place, and sent prisoners to Boston. The others on board Captain Dobbins took and made prisoners of war, and their ship became a rich prize, which we saw about three days after following him into Newport, where she was condemned.
These French privateers, or some others, came a fourth time, and landed on Block Island, in the former war with France; but the people on the island took courage, and encountered them in an open pitched battle, and drove them off from the shore, without any hurt to the English, except one man slightly wounded in his finger. They never after that troubled the people any more.
The great spoil made on the island by the French, in their repeated visits, and particularly on my father's interest, occasioned my staying from school six years (when I intended only a short visit to my friends). In this time I turned my hand to husbandry, and sometimes to handicraft. I helped to build a vessel, among other things, for the West India trade, and caulked one side and the master-workman the other; and she proved very tight, and answerable to the design. After the space of six years thus employed, I returned again to school, so that, by reason of this delay, I was near two-and-twenty years old when I entered into the College at Cambridge, the reverend Dr. Increase Mather then being President,—and Mr. John Leverett, afterward President, and Mr. William Brattle, after the reverend pastor of Cambridge church, were the only fellows. The kindness of these worthy gentlemen I hope not to forget, who, I conclude, favored me the more, as I was the first that came to college from Rhode Island government.
To return to an enumeration of the slaughtered English people in the country by the French and Indians, which is principally intended. While the French and Indians were infesting Newfoundland, as before is shown, the poor people in the frontiers on the main land were great sufferers; for at Spruce Creek, in Kittery, they killed five and carried as many captive. Among the slain was Mrs. Hoel, a gentlewoman of good extract and education. But the greatest sufferer was Enoch Hutchins, in the loss of his wife and children. John Rogers was dangerously wounded, James Toby killed. About this time one Captain Crepoa, a French privateer, took seven vessels and a sloop, and carried them all to Port Royal, as it was then called, except the sloop, which was retaken by Captain Harris at Richmond's Island. About the same time also, one Michael Royal, a fisherman of Marblehead, as he went ashore to get wood, was hewed to pieces and barbarously murdered. On October 15th following, the Indians fell on Cape Neddick, and took four children of Mr. Stovers, a little distance from the garrison; the youngest, not able to travel, they knocked on the head, and carried the other three captive; but being attacked by Lieutenant March, and losing one of their company, so enraged them, that in way of revenge they killed another of the children. The English by this time becoming skilful in wearing snow-shoes, terrified the Indians to such a degree that they came not again in the winter. But in the spring, April 17,1706, a small party fell on an out-house in Oyster river, and killed eight and wounded two. The garrison had not a man in it at that time; but the women assumed an Amazonian courage; seeing nothing but death before them, they manfully ascended the watch-box and made an alarm; they put on hats, with their hair hanging down, and fired so smartly as struck a terror to the enemy, so that they drew off. The principal sufferer at this time was John Wheeler, who, supposing they were friendly Indians, unhappily fell under their fury. Two days after, Mr. Shapleigh and his son fell into their hands as they were going to Kittery; him they killed, and carried away his son to Canada, and in their march they were so inhuman and barbarously cruel as to bite off the tops of his fingers, and to stop the blood they seared them with hot tobacco pipes.
June 1, Mr. Walker, being laden with provisions from Connecticut, was chased by a French privateer. To shun being taken by him, he ran ashore in his boat, and as he hastened to Rhode Island, alarmed the country round about. The people there were so expeditious, that in a few hours (by beat of the drum) 100 men, well equipped, voluntarily entered on board two sloops, under the command of Major Wanton, (after Governor there), and Captain Paine, the same famous old warrior that, with Captain Godfrey (as before is related) put to flight the French fleet of privateers from Block Island. The very next day they made a prize of her, wherein were 37 men under the command of Captain Ferrel, bound for Port Royal, as it was called while in the hands of the French, but now Annapolis.
The year after, they did another brave exploit in taking a sloop from Placentia, with four guns, four patteraroes, and 49 men, which undoubtedly prevented much mischief which otherwise would have befallen the country by these pickaroon rovers.
Near this time, one Captain Rouse, of Charlestown, was sent by the Government to fetch captives from Port Royal, who made two voyages thither for that purpose. But his long stay there, and the few captives he brought home—the first time 17, and the second time but 7—together with many other circumstances concurring therewith in several parts of his conduct, gave just ground of suspicion thatvhe, with others, had carried on a private trade with the French; which plainly appeared when examined into, and made great uneasiness and trouble in the Court. The General Assembly then sitting, many were indicted, with him, of treasonable correspondence with the enemy, and a proclamation was issued for the seizure of all persons suspected in the affair. The country was thrown into a great ferment; the generality greatly condemning the practice as traitorous and destructive to the land; some, and those probably who were confederates in these illicit contraband proceedings, endeavored to extenuate and put a favorable gloss and construction on his actions, moving that they might not be styled traitorous, but rather acts of high misdemeanor. He, with some others, were imprisoned and fined, and so the matter issued; but not without great uneasiness on the minds of the Court and country, that after the vast charge and effusion of blood, there was such found among us that, for their own private advantage, had sacrificed the lives of their neighbors, and clandestinely strengthened the hands of the enemy against us, with powder, shot, and other materials of war.
Colonel Schuyler, who probably had intelligence of the designs of the French and Indians against our frontiers by Albany Indians, or others in those parts, and was of great service in advising us of their motions and intents, advised us of 270 of the enemy making their advances on the cotmtry. Their first descent was on Dunstable, the 3d of July, where they fell on a garrison that had 20 troopers to defend it; but through their negligence and folly, not keeping a good watch, they suffered them to enter; they killed one half of them. They then attacked Daniel Galeucia's house, which he defended for some time, but at last surrendered; upon which he acquainted them with the weakness of the garrison they had made an attempt on before, as there were but two men and a boy in it; one they had killed. Upon this information, they returned with greater courage and resolution, and assaulted the garrison; upon which one of them, with the boy, made their escape on the back side, leaving only Jacob to fight the battle; who for some time bravely defended himself, but being overpowered, and finding none to assist him, made his escape also; but before he had got far, the enemy laid hold of him twice, yet with much struggling he rescued himself and escaped their fury. The next day a party of the enemy fell on Amesbury, where they killed eight. Two that were at work in the field, hearing the outcry, hastened to their relief; but being pursued, they ran for shelter to a deserted house, which had two flankers. To these they repaired, in each of which they found an old gun, unfit for use, without powder or shot. Thrusting the muzzles of their guns out at the port-holes, they cried out, "Here they are, but do not fire till they come nearer;" which put the enemy into such a fright, that they instantly drew off.
One Joseph English, a friendly Indian, was slain, in company with a man and his wife on horseback, going from Dunstable to Chelmsford; the woman was taken prisoner, but the man made his escape. On July 8, five Indians surprised a woman with eight children in an out-house in Reading; they instantly killed four, the woman with the three youngest; the rest they carried off. But the youngest of them, not able to travel, they knocked on the head, and left in a swamp, concluding it was dead,—but after was found alive. They made severe strokes on Chelmsford, Sudbury, and Groton, where they waylaid three soldiers as they were going to the public worship; two of the company were killed, the third made an escape. The people in the neighborhood pursued them the next morning so close that they recovered three of the captives, and put the enemy into such a terror that they quitted their plunder and several blankets, and the other captives.
At Exeter, a company of French Mohawks lay lurking about Captain Hilton's garrison, and observing some to go with their scythes to mow, lay in ambush till they laid their arms by and were at work; they then rushed on suddenly, and intercepting them from their arms, killed four of them, wounded one, and carried three captive; so that out of ten two only escaped. The two that escaped were Mr. Edward Hall and Samuel Myals, who after some time found means to make their flight from the enemy; but the fatigue and difficulty they went through, besides the terror and fear of being taken again, was almost incredible, for in three weeks together they had nothing to subsist on excepting a few lily roots and the bark of trees.
Several captives still remaining in the hands of the French and Indians, Mr. Sheldon went a second time with a flag of truce to Canada, and brought 45 with him, and might have brought more away, had not the Jesuits prevented him.
The poor captives, in the hands both of the French and Indians, many of them, met with hard usage, according to the tempers and dispositions of those who had the command of them; for scarce a day passed but some act of cruelty was committed, insomuch that through fear of the continuance of life on the one hand, and the terrors of death on the other, they were continued daily martrydoms, as Mr. Penhallow expresses it.
It would be endless to relate the cruelties and hardships that the captives underwent in their travels and insults of their heathen and savage masters, especially some of them into whose hands they fell, and many signal deliverances granted in the wise and merciful overruling providence of God, when in utmost hazard, which ought never to be forgotten. I shall here insert two or three, superadded to some spoken of before, and which may be further added in the course of this narrative.
The first I shall mention is of one Rebecca Taylor, according to her own account after she returned from her captivity. One Captain Sampson, before mentioned, that was her cruel master, resolved to hang her (without any provocation that she knew of), and for want of a rope he made use of his girdle, putting it about her neck; but in hoisting