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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 Discourse.

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 ever.

Norwich, in New England, in America.


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