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13 January, 2012
A Brief History of the Pequot War|
To The Judicious Reader.
by Mason, Captain John
I never had thought
that this should have come to the Press, until of late: If I had, I should have
endeavoured to have put a little more Varnish upon it: But being over perswaded
by some Friends, I thought it not altogether amiss to present it to your
courteous Disposition, hoping it might find your favourable Entertainment and
Acceptance, though rude and impolished. I wish it had fallen into some better
Hands that might have performed it to the life; I shall only draw the Curtain
and open my little Casement, that so others of larger Hearts and Abilities may
let in a bigger Light; that so at least some small Glimmering maybe left to
Posterity what Difficulties and Obstructions their Forefathers met with in their
first settling these desart Parts of America; how God was pleased to prove them,
and how by his wise Providence he ordered and disposed all their Occasions and
Affairs for them in regard to both their Civils and Ecclesiasticals.
This with some other
Reasons have been Motives to excite me to the enterprizing hereof; no man that I
know of having as yet undertaken to write a general History or Relation; so that
there is no Commemoration of Matters respecting this War; how they began, how
carryed on, and continued, nor what Success they had.* [* The Author Died before the Reverend Mr.
William Hubbard and Mr. Increase Mather Published their accounts of the Pequot
War.] They which think the
mentioning of some Particulars is
sufficient for the understanding of the General, in my Opinion stray no less
from the Truth, than if by the separated Parts of a living Man one should think
by this Means he knew all the Parts and Perfections of the Creature: But these
separated Parts being joyned together having Form and Life, one might easily
discern that he was deceived.
If the Beginning be
but obscure, and the Ground uncertain, its Continuance can hardly perswade to
purchase belief: Or if Truth be wanting in History, it proves but a fruitless
I shall therefore,
God helping, endeavour not so much to stir up the Affections of Men, as to
declare in Truth and Plainness the Actions and Doings of Men; I shall therefore
set down Matter in order as they Began and were carried on and Issued; that so I
may not deceive the Reader in confounding of Things, but the Discourse may be
both Plain and Easy.
And although Some
may think they have Wrote in a high Stile, and done some notable Thing, yet in
my Opinion they have not Spoken truly in some Particulars, and in general to
little Purpose: For how can History find Credit, if in the Beginning you do not
deliver plainly and clearly from whence and how you do come to the Relation
which you presently intend to make of Actions?
As a Rule, although
it hath less length and breadth, yet notwithstanding it retains the Name if it
hath that which is proper to a Rule. When the Bones are Separated from a living
Creature, it becomes unserviceable: So a History, if you take away Order and
Truth, the rest will prove to be but a vain Narration.
I shall not make a
long Discourse, nor labour to hold the Reader in doubt, using a multitude of
Words, which is no sure Way to find out the Truth; as if one should seek for
Verity in the Current of Pratling, having nothing but a conceit worthy to hold
the Reader is suspence: (Sed quo vado) In a word, the Lord was as it were
pleased to say unto us, The Land of Canaan will I give unto thee though but few
and Strangers in it: And when we went from one Nation to another, yea from one
Kingdom to another, he suffered no Man to do us Wrong, but reproved Kings for
our sakes: And so through Mercy at length we were settled in Peace, to the
Astonishment of all that were round about us: unto whom be ascribed all Glory
and Praise for ever and
Norwich, in New England, in