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A Brief History of King Philip's War
Page 4
by Bodge, George M.


tians to convert their people. Indirectly one of these converted Indians was the immediate cause of the opening of hostilities. There were many grievances of which the Indians complained; but they had not the foresight to see the inevitable result of the constantly increasing power of the English, in their acquisition of land, and multiplying of settlements. It was only when they felt the pressure of actual privation or persecution that they began to think of opposition or revenge. Their chiefs had been summoned frequently before the English courts to answer for some breach of law by their subjects; several times the English had demanded that whole tribes should give up their arms because of the fault of one or a few. The Indians lived mostly by hunting and fishing, and at the time of the war used firearms almost wholly. They had learned their use and bought the arms of the English nearly always at exhorbitant prices. They were expert in the use of their guns, and held them as the most precious of their possessions. The order to give these over to the English, with their stock of ammunition, was regarded by them as robbery, as indeed in most cases it was, as they seldom regained their arms when once given up. We can now see that from their standpoint there were grievances enough to drive them to rebellion. But our forefathers seem to have been unable to see any but their own side. But now to the story.

John Sassamon (Mr. Hubbard says Sausaman) was the son of a Wampanoag Indian who with his wife and family lived in Dorchester. They had been taught by Mr. Eliot and professed the Christian faith. The son John was the pupil of Mr. Eliot from his early youth and was made a teacher among the Christian Indians at Natick. Mr. Hubbard says that "upon some misdemeanor" there, he went to the Wampanoags where he became the secretary and interpreter of the chief, to whom he was a most valuable assistant and trusted adviser. He was soon prevailed upon by Mr. Eliot to return to Natick, where he became a preacher, while still preserving friendly relations with Philip and his tribe. In 1672/3 he was at Namasket as preacher among the Indians, whose chief was Tuspaquin, whose daughter Sassamon had married. While here he discovered that a plot was in process, extending among many tribes to exterminate or drive away the English settlers from the country. This plot Sassamon disclosed to the authorities at Plymouth and afterwards the story was told to the Massachusetts authorities; and Philip was summoned to answer to the charge. At the examination, where nothing positive could be proved against Philip, he found by the evidence that Sassamon had betrayed him, and he immediately condemned him to death in his council. The sentence was carried out January 29, 1674/5 while Sassamon was fishing through the ice upon Assawomeet Pond. His executioners were brought to punishment and it was discovered that the deed was done by Philip's order. The trial was in March, 1675

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