Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

mained there until his removal to New England, as is supposed, he could not well have borne arms in Kent.

The Non-conformists were banished from Virginia in 1643; and in the following year, an “ Indian Massacre " occurred in the same colony. “Upon these troubles,” says Governor Winthrop, writing at that period, “divers godly disposed persons came from thence to New England.” A ship containing a party of these exiles arrived at Boston, May 20th, 1644; and, as Gookin was admitted a freeman of the Colony on the 29th of the same month, he is supposed to have arrived in that ship.* He resided at first in Boston, and subsequently in Cambridge, where he was placed in command of the military force of the town. It seems probable from this circumstance that he brought with him some reputation for skill in the art of war, especially since he is described by a contemporary historian as a very forward man to advance martial discipline.” At a subsequent date, he was elected to the office of Major-General, or Commander-in-chief of the Colony; the governor at that period exercising no military command.

Soon after his settlement in Cambridge, Gookin was elected by the freemen of that town to represent them in the General Court, and, in 1651, he was chosen Speaker of the House of Deputies. The succeeding year, he became an assistant, or one of the general magistrates of the Colony. But the office to which he devoted the energies of the residue of a long life, was that of Superintendent of the Indians within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. With the exception of two or three years passed in England, during the ascendency of Oliver Cromwell, he sustained this relation towards the Indians of the colony from the date of his first appointment in 1656, to his death, a period of more than thirty years. In conjunction with the excellent Eliot, he watched over their interests with the most unwearied care and anxiety, and sought every means to spread among them the blessings of civilization and Christianity.

The Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England, who were the agents of an English Corporation for Propagating the Gospel among the Indians, recommended, in one of their despatches to the government of the corporation, that a pecuniary allowance should be made to Gookin for his useful labors. “We have spoken,” they write, “ with Mr. Eliot and others, concerning Captain Gookin's employment among the Indians, in governing of them in several plantations, ordering their town affairs (which they are not able to do themselves), taking account of their labor and expense of their time, and how their children profit

[ocr errors]

2 Winthrop's Hist. N. England, p. 165. Note by Mr. Savage.

[ocr errors]

in their learning, with many things of a like nature, and find it is to be of much use and benefit to them, and therefore could not but desire him to go on in that work, and have ordered £15 to be paid him towards his expenses for the year past.” This letter was dated at Boston, Sept. 18th, 1663. The recommendation was approved by the Corporation, who directed a similar sum to be paid to Mr. Gookin for another year.

Unfortunately, however, the policy adopted by Gookin towards the 'Indians did not at all times escape the censure of the public; for, during the troubles that arose from the aggressions of the hostile tribes, the people could with difficulty be restrained from involving in one common destruction the whole race; and, while it required the most determined spirit on the part of the Superintendent to stem the torrent of popular violence, he did not fail to draw on himself undeserved odium and reproach. Gookin was eminently the friend of the Indians, and never hesitated to interpose his own safety between the infuriated white man, and the unoffending object of his vengeance. But the following pages will tell the story with the guileless simplicity of truth, and the sober dignity of conscious rectitude.

There is some satisfaction in knowing, that, during the latter part of his active career, Gookin enjoyed a full return of public favor and confidence. The same unshaken spirit of resistance to oppression, that had led him to protect the sons of the forest against popular injustice, again aniinated him when the agents of the Crown invaded the chartered rights of the Colony ; but in this contest his zealous efforts were rewarded by the smiles of general approbation. He died at Cambridge, on the 19th of March, 1687, aged seventy

A handsome monument was erected to his memory in the churchyard adjacent to the University, where he lies buried. He left three sons, one of whom was Sheriff of the County of Middlesex, and the others were reputable clergymen. One of his posterity, bearing the name of Daniel Gookin, was an officer in the American army during the Revolutionary war. There are now living, in various parts of the country, numerous lineal descendants of General Gookin, of the fifth and sixth generation.

Beside the present work, Gookin wrote a history of New England, which was never printed, and is now probably lost. The original manuscript, and only copy of it, is supposed to have been destroyed in the dwelling-house of his son, at Sherburne, Mass., which, with its contents, was consumed by fire. Another work, entitled “Historical

five years.

* 1 Hazard's State Papers, pp. 474 — 491.

Collections of the Indians in New England,” &c., was first published by the Massachusetts Historical Society, in 1792.

For their MS. copy of the present work, the Antiquarian Society are indebted to Mr. JARED SParks, the learned editor of the Writing3 OF WASHINGTON, and other valuable works, well known to the public. The following letter from Mr. Sparks to a member of the Council of the Society, contains all the information relating to the original MS. that has been obtained.

LETTER OF MR. SPARKS.

Cambridge, Sept. 4th, 1835. Dear Sir, “The Rev. Dr. Harris has requested me to state to you what I know respecting the manuscript letter of Daniel Gookin to Robert Boyle, on the Praying Indians, which is about to be printed by the Antiquarian Society. I have very little knowledge of the matter. Five years ago, I obtained the manuscript from the Rev. Mr. Campbell, of Pittsburg, who had recently brought it from England. It was put into his hands by a clergyman in that country. Mr. Campbell loaned it to me. А copy was taken, and the original was returned to him. It bore every mark of antiquity, and I have no doubt of its genuineness.

The manuscript was examined by Mr. Savage and Dr. Harris, who were also satisfied that the letter was written by Gookin. In short, the internal evidence is of itself a sufficient proof. Mr. Campbell told me that he had promised to return the original to its owner in England.

“I am, Sir, very respectfully,
“ Your obedient servant,

“ JARED SPARKS. “ JOSEPH WILLARD, Esq.,

Boston." The notes to the work have been chiefly supplied by Mr. Samuel G. Drake, of Boston, author of The Book of THE INDIANs, (of which the fifth edition has recently appeared,) to whom the Publishing Committee would here express their obligations.

The valuable documents immediately succeeding the History, it is believed, are now for the first time printed. The originals were furnished to the Committee by Mr. Lemuel Shattuck, of Boston, author of a History of the Town of Concord.

PuelishING COMMITTEE.

[ocr errors]

EPISTLE DEDICATORY.

For the Honorable ROBERT BOYLE, Esq., Governor

of the Right Honorable Corporation for Gospelizing the Indians in New England.

Right Honorable: A few years since I presumed to transmit to your honors a few historical collections concerning the Indians in New England, especially the Christian or Praying Indians, which script (as things then stood) was a true account of that matter. And were I to write it again (as things were then circumstanced), I could not add or diminish from the substance of it.* But since the war began between the barbarous heathen and the English, the state of affairs is much altered with respect to the poor Christian Indians, who are much weakened or diminished, especially in the colony of Massachusetts in New England. A true, impartial narrative whereof, and of their doings and sufferings and present condition, I have endeavoured to collect, and here humbly to offer

* Now contained in 1 Vol. 1st Sor. Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc.

1

1

for your Honors' perusal, who are, under God, as nursing fathers to this despised orphan : the reason of this my undertaking is intimated in the first page. All that is defective is the inability and unworthiness of the penman. I humbly entreat your honors to pardon my boldness and weakness, and accept of the matter clothed in a wilderness dress, yet I trust agreeing with truth and verity. The God of heaven and earth bless your Honors, and crown you all with spiritual, temporal, and eternal felicity, and make you more and more tender nursing fathers to Christ's interests and concerns among the English and Indians in New England; so prays

Your obliged servant

in this work of the
Lord Jesus Christ,

D. G.
Cambridge, in New England,

December 18th, 1677.

« PreviousContinue »