1 de junio de 2009

WITCHCRAFT 1675

1675.
The home life of colonial New England was unique. Its like has appeared nowhere else in human history. Mostwise it was beautiful as well. In it religion was central and supreme. The General Court of Plymouth very early passed the following order: "Noe dwelling-howse shal be builte above halfe a myle from the meeting-howse in any newe plantacion without leave from the Court, except mylle-howses and ffermehowses." In laying out a village the meeting-house, as the hub to which everything was to be referred, was located first of all. The minister's lot commonly adjoined. Then a sufficiency of land was parcelled off to each freeholder whereon to erect his dwelling. Massachusetts from the first, and Plymouth beginning somewhat later, also made eminent provision for schools--all in the interest of religion.

The earliest residences were necessarily of logs, shaped and fitted more or less rudely according to the skill of the builder or the time and means at his disposal. There was usually one large room below, which served as kitchen, dining-room, sitting-room, and parlor, and on the same floor with this one or two lodging-rooms. An unfinished attic constituted the dormitory for the rising generation. A huge Stone chimney, terminating below in a still more capacious fireplace, that would admit logs from four to eight feet in length, conveyed away the smoke, and with it much of the heat. This involved no loss, as wood was a drug. Communicating with the chimney was the great stone baking-oven, whence came the bouncing loaves of corn-bread, duly "brown," the rich-colored "pompion" pies, and the loin of venison, beef, or pork.

Over these bounties--and such they were heartily esteemed, however meagre--often as the family drew around the table, its head offered thanks to the heavenly Giver. Each morning, after they had eaten, he read a goodly portion of God's Word, never less than a chapter, and then, not kneeling but standing, led his household in reverent and believing prayer for protection, guidance, stimulus in good, and for every needed grace. What purity, what love of rectitude, what strength of will did not the builders of America carry forth from that family altar! He who would understand the richest side and the deepest moving forces of our national life and development must not overlook those New England fireside scenes.

1678

Turner's victory brought the war to a crisis. The red men lacked resources. The whites had learned the secrets of savage warfare. They could no longer be led into ambush, while their foe at no time during the war ventured to engage them in open field. Large parties of Indians began to surrender; many roving bands were captured. Hostilities continued still many months in Maine, the whites more and more uniformly successful, till the Treaty of Casco, April 12, 1678, at last terminated the war.

Hunted by the English backward and forward, Philip was at last driven to his old home upon Mount Hope. Here Captain Church, one of the most practised of Indian fighters, surprised him on the morning of August 12, 1676, encamped upon a little upland, which it is believed has been exactly identified near a swamp at the foot of the mountain. By residents in the neighborhood it is known as Little Guinea. At the first firing Philip, but partially dressed, seized gun and powder-horn and made for the swamp, Captain Church's ambush was directly in his front.
An Englishman's piece missed fire, but an Indian sent a bullet through the Great Sachem's heart.

In this fearful war at least six hundred of the English inhabitants either fell in battle or were murdered by the enemy, A dozen or more towns were utterly destroyed, others greatly damaged, Some six hundred buildings, chiefly dwelling-houses, were consumed by fire, and over a hundred thousand pounds of colonial money expended, to say nothing of the immense losses in goods and cattle.

Not without propriety has the Pokanoket chief been denominated a king.
If not a Charlemagne or a Louis XIV., he yet possessed elements of true greatness. While he lived his mind evidently guided, as his will dominated and prolonged, the war. This is saying much, for the Indian's disinclination to all strenuous or continuous exertion was pronounced and proverbial. Philip's treatment of Mrs. Rowlandson must be declared magnanimous, especially as, of course, he was but a savage king, who might reasonably request us not to measure him by our rules. The other party to the war we have a right to judge more rigidly, and just sentence in their case must be severe. Philip's sorrowing, innocent wife and son were brought prisoners to Plymouth, and their lot referred to the ministers. After long deliberation and prayer it was decided that they should be sold into slavery, and this was their fate.