from The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20)
                              by Washington Irving

           As monumental bronze unchanged his look:
           A soul that pity touch'd, but never shook:
           Train'd from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier
           The fierce extremes of good and ill to brook
           Impassive- fearing but the shame of fear-
           A stoic of the woods- a man without a tear.

  IT IS to be regretted that those early writers, who treated of the
discovery and settlement of America, have not given us more particular
and candid accounts of the remarkable characters that flourished in
savage life. The scanty anecdotes which have reached us are full of
peculiarity and interest; they furnish us with nearer glimpses of
human nature, and show what man is in a comparatively primitive state,
and what he owes to civilization. There is something of the charm of
discovery in lighting upon these wild and unexplored tracts of human
nature; in witnessing, as it were, the native growth of moral
sentiment, and perceiving those generous and romantic qualities
which have been artificially cultivated by society, vegetating in
spontaneous hardihood and rude magnificence.
  In civilized life, where the happiness, and indeed almost the
existence, of man depends so much upon the opinion of his
fellow-men, he is constantly acting a studied part. The bold and
peculiar traits of native character are refined away, or softened down
by the levelling influence of what is termed good-breeding; and he
practises so many petty deceptions, and affects so many generous
sentiments, for the purposes of popularity, that it is difficult to
distinguish his real from his artificial character. The Indian, on the
contrary, free from the restraints and refinements of polished life,
and, in a great degree, a solitary and independent being, obeys the
impulses of his inclination or the dictates of his judgment; and
thus the attributes of his nature, being freely indulged, grow
singly great and striking. Society is like a lawn, where every
roughness is smoothed, every bramble eradicated, and where the eye
is delighted by the smiling verdure of a velvet surface; he,
however, who would study nature in its wildness and variety, must
plunge into the forest, must explore the glen, must stem the
torrent, and dare the precipice.
  These reflections arose on casually looking through a volume of
early colonial history, wherein are recorded, with great bitterness,
the outrages of the Indians, and their wars with the settlers of New
England. It is painful to perceive even from these partial narratives,
how the footsteps of civilization may be traced in the blood of the
aborigines; how easily the colonists were moved to hostility by the
lust of conquest; how merciless and exterminating was their warfare.
The imagination shrinks at the idea, how many intellectual beings were
hunted from the earth, how many brave and noble hearts, of nature's
sterling coinage, were broken down and trampled in the dust!
  Such was the fate of PHILIP OF POKANOKET, an Indian warrior, whose
name was once a terror throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut. He
was the most distinguished of a number of contemporary Sachems who
reigned over the Pequods, the Narragansetts, the Wampanoags, and the
other eastern tribes, at the time of the first settlement of New
England; a band of native untaught heroes, who made the most
generous struggle of which human nature is capable; fighting to the
last gasp in the cause of their country, without a hope of victory
or a thought of renown. Worthy of an age of poetry, and fit subjects
for local story and romantic fiction, they have left scarcely any
authentic traces on the page of history, but stalk, like gigantic
shadows, in the dim twilight of tradition.*

  When the pilgrims, as the Plymouth settlers are called by their
descendants, first took refuge on the shores of the New World, from
the religious persecutions of the Old, their situation was to the last
degree gloomy and disheartening. Few in number, and that number
rapidly perishing away through sickness and hardships; surrounded by a
howling wilderness and savage tribes; exposed to the rigors of an
almost arctic winter, and the vicissitudes of an ever-shifting
climate; their minds were filled with doleful forebodings, and nothing
preserved them from sinking into despondency but the strong excitement
of religious enthusiasm. In this forlorn situation they were visited
by Massasoit, chief Sagamore of the Wampanoags, a powerful chief,
who reigned over a great extent of country. Instead of taking
advantage of the scanty number of the strangers, and expelling them
from his territories, into which they had intruded, he seemed at
once to conceive for them a generous friendship, and extended
towards them the rites of primitive hospitality. He came early in
the spring to their settlement of New Plymouth, attended by a mere
handful of followers, entered into a solemn league of peace and amity;
sold them a portion of the soil, and promised to secure for them the
good-will of his savage allies. Whatever may be said of Indian
perfidy, it is certain that the integrity and good faith of
Massasoit have never been impeached. He continued a firm and
magnanimous friend of the white men; suffering them to extend their
possessions, and to strengthen themselves in the land; and betraying
no jealousy of their increasing power and prosperity. Shortly before
his death he came once more to New Plymouth, with his son Alexander,
for the purpose of renewing the covenant of peace, and of securing
it to his posterity.
  At this conference he endeavored to protect the religion of his
forefathers from the encroaching zeal of the missionaries; and
stipulated that no further attempt should be made to draw off his
people from their ancient faith; but, finding the English
obstinately opposed to any such condition, he mildly relinquished
the demand. Almost the last act of his life was to bring his two sons,
Alexander and Philip (as they had been named by the English), to the
residence of a principal settler, recommending mutual kindness and
confidence; and entreating that the same love and amity which had
existed between the white men and himself might be continued
afterwards with his children. The good old Sachem died in peace, and
was happily gathered to his fathers before sorrow came upon his tribe;
his children remained behind to experience the ingratitude of white
  His eldest son, Alexander, succeeded him. He was of a quick and
impetuous temper, and proudly tenacious of his hereditary rights and
dignity. The intrusive policy and dictatorial conduct of the strangers
excited his indignation; and he beheld with uneasiness their
exterminating wars with the neighboring tribes. He was doomed soon
to incur their hostility, being accused of plotting with the
Narragansetts to rise against the English and drive them from the
land. It is impossible to say whether this accusation was warranted by
facts or was grounded on mere suspicion. It is evident, however, by
the violent and overbearing measures of the settlers, that they had by
this time begun to feel conscious of the rapid increase of their
power, and to grow harsh and inconsiderate in their treatment of the
natives. They despatched an armed force to seize upon Alexander, and
to bring him before their courts. He was traced to his woodland
haunts, and surprised at a hunting house, where he was reposing with a
band of his followers, unarmed, after the toils of the chase. The
suddenness of his arrest, and the outrage offered to his sovereign
dignity, so preyed upon the irascible feelings of this proud savage,
as to throw him into a raging fever. He was permitted to return
home, on condition of sending his son as a pledge for his
reappearance; but the blow he had received was fatal, and before he
had reached his home he fell a victim to the agonies of a wounded
  The successor of Alexander was Metacomet, or King Philip, as he
was called by the settlers, on account of his lofty spirit and
ambitious temper. These, together with his well-known energy and
enterprise, had rendered him an object of great jealousy and
apprehension, and he was accused of having always cherished a secret
and implacable hostility towards the whites. Such may very probably,
and very naturally, have been the case. He considered them as
originally but mere intruders into the country, who had presumed
upon indulgence, and were extending an influence baneful to savage
life. He saw the whole race of his countrymen melting before them from
the face of the earth; their territories slipping from their hands,
and their tribes becoming feeble, scattered and dependent. It may be
said that the soil was originally purchased by the settlers; but who
does not know the nature of Indian purchases, in the early periods
of colonization? The Europeans always made thrifty bargains through
their superior adroitness in traffic; and they gained vast
accessions of territory by easily provoked hostilities. An
uncultivated savage is never a nice inquirer into the refinements of
law, by which an injury may be gradually and legally inflicted.
Leading facts are all by which he judges; and it was enough for Philip
to know that before the intrusion of the Europeans his countrymen were
lords of the soil, and that now they were becoming vagabonds in the
land of their fathers.
  But whatever may have been his feelings of general hostility, and
his particular indignation at the treatment of his brother, he
suppressed them for the present, renewed the contract with the
settlers, and resided peaceably for many years at Pokanoket, or, as it
was called by the English, Mount Hope,* the ancient seat of dominion
of his tribe. Suspicions, however, which were at first but vague and
indefinite, began to acquire form and substance; and he was at
length charged with attempting to instigate the various Eastern tribes
to rise at once, and, by a simultaneous effort, to throw off the
yoke of their oppressors. It is difficult at this distant period to
assign the proper credit due to these early accusations against the
Indians. There was a proneness to suspicion, and an aptness to acts of
violence, on the part of the whites, that gave weight and importance
to every idle tale. Informers abounded where talebearing met with
countenance and reward; and the sword was readily unsheathed when
its success was certain, and it carved out empire.

  The only positive evidence on record against Philip is the
accusation of one Sausaman, a renegade Indian, whose natural cunning
had been quickened by a partial education which he had received
among the settlers. He changed his faith and his allegiance two or
three times, with a facility that evinced the looseness of his
principles. He had acted for some time as Philip's confidential
secretary and counsellor, and had enjoyed his bounty and protection.
Finding, however, that the clouds of adversity were gathering round
his patron, he abandoned his service and went over to the whites; and,
in order to gain their favor, charged his former benefactor with
plotting against their safety. A rigorous investigation took place.
Philip and several of his subjects submitted to be examined, but
nothing was proved against them. The settlers, however, had now gone
too far to retract; they had previously determined that Philip was a
dangerous neighbor; they had publicly evinced their distrust; and
had done enough to insure his hostility; according, therefore, to
the usual mode of reasoning in these cases, his destruction had become
necessary to their security. Sausaman, the treacherous informer, was
shortly afterwards found dead, in a pond, having fallen a victim to
the vengeance of his tribe. Three Indians, one of whom was a friend
and counsellor of Philip, were apprehended and tried, and, on the
testimony of one very questionable witness, were condemned and
executed as murderers.
  This treatment of his subjects, and ignominious punishment of his
friend, outraged the pride and exasperated the passions of Philip. The
bolt which had fallen thus at his very feet awakened him to the
gathering storm, and he determined to trust himself no longer in the
power of the white men. The fate of his insulted and broken-hearted
brother still rankled in his mind; and he had a further warning in the
tragical story of Miantonimo, a great Sachem of the Narragansetts,
who, after manfully facing his accusers before a tribunal of the
colonists, exculpating himself from a charge of conspiracy, and
receiving assurances of amity, had been perfidiously despatched at
their instigation. Philip, therefore, gathered his fighting men
about him; persuaded all strangers that he could, to join his cause;
sent the women and children to the Narragansetts for safety; and
wherever he appeared, was continually surrounded by armed warriors.
  When the two parties were thus in a state of distrust and
irritation, the least spark was sufficient to set them in a flame. The
Indians, having weapons in their hands, grew mischievous, and
committed various petty depredations. In one of their maraudings a
warrior was fired on and killed by a settler. This was the signal
for open hostilities; the Indians pressed to revenge the death of
their comrade, and the alarm of war resounded through the Plymouth
  In the early chronicles of these dark and melancholy times we meet
with many indications of the diseased state of the public mind. The
gloom of religious abstraction, and the wildness of their situation,
among trackless forests and savage tribes, had disposed the
colonists to superstitious fancies, and had filled their
imaginations with the frightful chimeras of witchcraft and
spectrology. They were much given also to a belief in omens. The
troubles with Philip and his Indians were preceded, we are told, by
a variety of those awful warnings which forerun great and public
calamities. The perfect form of an Indian bow appeared in the air at
New Plymouth, which was looked upon by the inhabitants as a
"prodigious apparition." At Hadley, Northampton, and other towns in
their neighborhood, "was heard the report of a great piece of
ordnance, with a shaking of the earth and a considerable echo.* Others
were alarmed on a still, sunshiny morning by the discharge of guns and
muskets; bullets seemed to whistle past them, and the noise of drums
resounded in the air, seeming to pass away to the westward; others
fancied that they heard the galloping of horses over their heads;
and certain monstrous births, which took place about the time,
filled the superstitious in some towns with doleful forebodings.
Many of these portentous sights and sounds may be ascribed to
natural phenomena: to the northern lights which occur vividly in those
latitudes; the meteors which explode in the air; the casual rushing of
a blast through the top branches of the forest; the crash of fallen
trees or disrupted rocks; and to those other uncouth sounds and echoes
which will sometimes strike the ear so strangely amidst the profound
stillness of woodland solitudes. These may have startled some
melancholy imaginations, may have been exaggerated by the love for the
marvellous, and listened to with that avidity with which we devour
whatever is fearful and mysterious. The universal currency of these
superstitious fancies, and the grave record made of them by one of the
learned men of the day, are strongly characteristic of the times.

  The nature of the contest that ensued was such as too often
distinguishes the warfare between civilized men and savages. On the
part of the whites it was conducted with superior skill and success;
but with a wastefulness of the blood, and a disregard of the natural
rights of their antagonists: on the part of the Indians it was waged
with the desperation of men fearless of death, and who had nothing
to expect from peace, but humiliation, dependence, and decay.
  The events of the war are transmitted to us by a worthy clergyman of
the time; who dwells with horror and indignation on every hostile
act of the Indians, however justifiable, whilst he mentions with
applause the most sanguinary atrocities of the whites. Philip is
reviled as a murderer and a traitor; without considering that he was a
true born prince, gallantly fighting at the head of his subjects to
avenge the wrongs of his family; to retrieve the tottering power of
his line; and to deliver his native land from the oppression of
usurping strangers.
  The project of a wide and simultaneous revolt, if such had really
been formed, was worthy of a capacious mind, and, had it not been
prematurely discovered, might have been overwhelming in its
consequences. The war that actually broke out was but a war of detail,
a mere succession of casual exploits and unconnected enterprises.
Still it sets forth the military genius and daring prowess of
Philip; and wherever, in the prejudiced and passionate narrations that
have been given of it, we can arrive at simple facts, we find him
displaying a vigorous mind, a fertility of expedients, a contempt of
suffering and hardship, and an unconquerable resolution, that
command our sympathy and applause.
  Driven from his paternal domains at Mount Hope, he threw himself
into the depths of those vast and trackless forests that skirted the
settlements, and were almost impervious to any thing but a wild beast,
or an Indian. Here he gathered together his forces, like the storm
accumulating its stores of mischief in the bosom of the thunder cloud,
and would suddenly emerge at a time and place least expected, carrying
havoc and dismay into the villages. There were now and then
indications of these impending ravages, that filled the minds of the
colonists with awe and apprehension. The report of a distant gun would
perhaps be heard from the solitary woodland, where there was known
to be no white man; the cattle which had been wandering in the woods
would sometimes return home wounded; or an Indian or two would be seen
lurking about the skirts of the forests, and suddenly disappearing; as
the lightning will sometimes be seen playing silently about the edge
of the cloud that is brewing up the tempest.
  Though sometimes pursued and even surrounded by the settlers, yet
Philip as often escaped almost miraculously from their toils, and,
plunging into the wilderness, would be lost to all search or
inquiry, until he again emerged at some far distant quarter, laying
the country desolate. Among his strongholds, were the great swamps
or morasses, which extend in some parts of New England; composed of
loose bogs of deep black mud; perplexed with thickets, brambles,
rank weeds, the shattered and mouldering trunks of fallen trees,
overshadowed by lugubrious hemlocks. The uncertain footing and the
tangled mazes of these shaggy wilds, rendered them almost
impracticable to the white man, though the Indian could thread their
labyrinths with the agility of a deer. Into one of these, the great
swamp of Pocasset Neck, was Philip once driven with a band of his
followers. The English did not dare to pursue him, fearing to
venture into these dark and frightful recesses, where they might
perish in fens and miry pits, or be shot down by lurking foes. They
therefore invested the entrance to the Neck, and began to build a
fort, with the thought of starving out the foe; but Philip and his
warriors wafted themselves on a raft over an arm of the sea, in the
dead of the night, leaving the women and children behind; and
escaped away to the westward, kindling the flames of war among the
tribes of Massachusetts and the Nipmuck country, and threatening the
colony of Connecticut.
  In this way Philip became a theme of universal apprehension. The
mystery in which he was enveloped exaggerated his real terrors. He was
an evil that walked in darkness; whose coming none could foresee,
and against which none knew when to be on the alert. The whole country
abounded with rumors and alarms. Philip seemed almost possessed of
ubiquity; for, in whatever part of the widely-extended frontier an
irruption from the forest took place, Philip was said to be its
leader. Many superstitious notions also were circulated concerning
him. He was said to deal in necromancy, and to be attended by an old
Indian witch or prophetess, whom he consulted, and who assisted him by
her charms and incantations. This indeed was frequently the case
with Indian chiefs; either through their own credulity, or to act upon
that of their followers: and the influence of the prophet and the
dreamer over Indian superstition has been fully evidenced in recent
instances of savage warfare.
  At the time that Philip effected his escape from Pocasset, his
fortunes were in a desperate condition. His forces had been thinned by
repeated fights, and he had lost almost the whole of his resources. In
this time of adversity he found a faithful friend in Canonchet,
chief Sachem of all the Narragansetts. He was the son and heir of
Miantonimo, the great Sachem, who, as already mentioned, after an
honorable acquittal of the charge of conspiracy, had been privately
put to death at the perfidious instigations of the settlers. "He was
the heir," says the old chronicler, "of all his father's pride and
insolence, as well as of his malice towards the English;"- he
certainly was the heir of his insults and injuries, and the legitimate
avenger of his murder. Though he had forborne to take an active part
in this hopeless war, yet he received Philip and his broken forces
with open arms; and gave them the most generous countenance and
support. This at once drew upon him the hostility of the English;
and it was determined to strike a signal blow that should involve both
the Sachems in one common ruin. A great force was, therefore
gathered together from Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Connecticut, and
was sent into the Narragansett country in the depth of winter, when
the swamps, being frozen and leafless, could be traversed with
comparative facility, and would no longer afford dark and impenetrable
fastnesses to the Indians.
  Apprehensive of attack, Canonchet had conveyed the greater part of
his stores, together with the old, the infirm, the women and
children of his tribe, to a strong fortress; where he and Philip had
likewise drawn up the flower of their forces. This fortress, deemed by
the Indians impregnable, was situated upon a rising mound or kind of
island, of five or six acres, in the midst of a swamp; it was
constructed with a degree of judgment and skill vastly superior to
what is usually displayed in Indian fortification, and indicative of
the martial genius of these two chieftains.
  Guided by a renegade Indian, the English penetrated, through
December snows, to this stronghold, and came upon the garrison by
surprise. The fight was fierce and tumultuous. The assailants were
repulsed in their first attack, and several of their bravest
officers were shot down in the act of storming the fortress sword in
hand. The assault was renewed with greater success. A lodgment was
effected. The Indians were driven from one post to another. They
disputed their ground inch by inch, fighting with the fury of despair.
Most of their veterans were cut to pieces; and after a long and bloody
battle, Philip and Canonchet, with a handful of surviving warriors,
retreated from the fort, and took refuge in the thickets of the
surrounding forest.
  The victors set fire to the wigwams and the fort; the whole was soon
in a blaze; many of the old men, the women and the children perished
in the flames. This last outrage overcame even the stoicism of the
savage. The neighboring woods resounded with the yells of rage and
despair, uttered by the fugitive warriors, as they beheld the
destruction of their dwellings, and heard the agonizing cries of their
wives and offspring. "The burning of the wigwams," says a contemporary
writer, "the shrieks and cries of the women and children, and the
yelling of the warriors, exhibited a most horrible and affecting
scene, so that it greatly moved some of the soldiers." The same writer
cautiously adds, "they were in much doubt then, and afterwards
seriously inquired, whether burning their enemies alive could be
consistent with humanity, and the benevolent principles of the
  The fate of the brave and generous Canonchet is worthy of particular
mention: the last scene of his life is one of the noblest instances on
record of Indian magnanimity.
  Broken down in his power and resources by this signal defeat, yet
faithful to his ally, and to the hapless cause which he had
espoused, he rejected all overtures of peace, offered on condition
of betraying Philip and his followers, and declared that "he would
fight it out to the last man, rather than become a servant to the
English." His home being destroyed; his country harassed and laid
waste by the incursions of the conquerors; he was obliged to wander
away to the banks of the Connecticut; where he formed a rallying point
to the whole body of western Indians, and laid waste several of the
English settlements.
  Early in the spring he departed on a hazardous expedition, with only
thirty chosen men, to penetrate to Seaconck, in the vicinity of
Mount Hope, and to procure seed corn to plant for the sustenance of
his troops. This little band of adventurers had passed safely
through the Pequod country, and were in the centre of the
Narragansett, resting at some wigwams near Pawtucket River, when an
alarm was given of an approaching enemy.- Having but seven men by
him at the time, Canonchet despatched two of them to the top of a
neighboring hill, to bring intelligence of the foe.
  Panic-struck by the appearance of a troop of English and Indians
rapidly advancing, they fled in breathless terror past their
chieftain, without stopping to inform him of the danger. Canonchet
sent another scout, who did the same. He then sent two more, one of
whom, hurrying back in confusion and affright, told him that the whole
British army was at hand. Canonchet saw there was no choice but
immediate flight. He attempted to escape round the hill, but was
perceived and hotly pursued by the hostile Indians and a few of the
fleetest of the English. Finding the swiftest pursuer close upon his
heels, he threw off, first his blanket, then his silver-laced coat and
belt of peag, by which his enemies knew him to be Canonchet, and
redoubled the eagerness of pursuit.
  At length, in dashing through the river, his foot slipped upon a
stone, and he fell so deep as to wet his gun. This accident so
struck him with despair, that, as he afterwards confessed, "his
heart and his bowels turned within him, and he became like a rotten
stick, void of strength."
  To such a degree was he unnerved, that, being seized by a Pequod
Indian within a short distance of the river, he made no resistance,
though a man of great vigor of body and boldness of heart. But on
being made prisoner the whole pride of his spirit arose within him;
and from that moment, we find, in the anecdotes given by his
enemies, nothing but repeated flashes of elevated and prince-like
heroism. Being questioned by one of the English who first came up with
him, and who had not attained his twenty-second year, the
proud-hearted warrior, looking with lofty contempt upon his youthful
countenance, replied, "You are a child- you cannot understand
matters of war- let your brother or your chief come- him will I
  Though repeated offers were made to him of his life, on condition of
submitting with his nation to the English, yet he rejected them with
disdain, and refused to send any proposals of the kind to the great
body of his subjects; saying, that he knew none of them would
comply. Being reproached with his breach of faith towards the
whites; his boast that he would not deliver up a Wampanoag nor the
paring of a Wampanoag's nail; and his threat that he would burn the
English alive in their houses; he disdained to justify himself,
haughtily answering that others were as forward for the war as
himself, and "he desired to hear no more thereof."
  So noble and unshaken a spirit, so true a fidelity to his cause
and his friend, might have touched the feelings of the generous and
the brave; but Canonchet was an Indian; a being towards whom war had
no courtesy, humanity no law, religion no compassion- he was condemned
to die. The last words of him that are recorded, are worthy the
greatness of his soul. When sentence of death was passed upon him,
he observed "that he liked it well, for he should die before his heart
was soft, or he had spoken any thing unworthy of himself." His enemies
gave him the death of a soldier, for he was shot at Stoningham, by
three young Sachems of his own rank.
  The defeat at the Narragansett fortress, and the death of Canonchet,
were fatal blows to the fortunes of King Philip. He made an
ineffectual attempt to raise a head of war, by stirring up the Mohawks
to take arms; but though possessed of the native talents of a
statesman, his arts were counteracted by the superior arts of his
enlightened enemies, and the terror of their warlike skill began to
subdue the resolution of the neighboring tribes. The unfortunate
chieftain saw himself daily stripped of power, and his ranks rapidly
thinning around him. Some were suborned by the whites; others fell
victims to hunger and fatigue, and to the frequent attacks by which
they were harassed. His stores were all captured; his chosen friends
were swept away from before his eyes; his uncle was shot down by his
side; his sister was carried into captivity; and in one of his
narrow escapes he was compelled to leave his beloved wife and only son
to the mercy of the enemy. "His ruin," says the historian, "being thus
gradually carried on, his misery was not prevented, but augmented
thereby; being himself made acquainted with the sense and experimental
feeling of the captivity of his children, loss of friends, slaughter
of his subjects, bereavement of all family relations, and being
stripped of all outward comforts, before his own life should be
taken away."
  To fill up the measure of his misfortunes, his own followers began
to plot against his life, that by sacrificing him they might
purchase dishonorable safety. Through treachery a number of his
faithful adherents, the subjects of Wetamoe, an Indian princess of
Pocasset, a near kinswoman and confederate of Philip, were betrayed
into the hands of the enemy. Wetamoe was among them at the time, and
attempted to make her escape by crossing a neighboring river: either
exhausted by swimming, or starved by cold and hunger, she was found
dead and naked near the water side. But persecution ceased not at
the grave. Even death, the refuge of the wretched, where the wicked
commonly cease from troubling, was no protection to this outcast
female, whose great crime was affectionate fidelity to her kinsman and
her friend. Her corpse was the object of unmanly and dastardly
vengeance; the head was severed from the body and set upon a pole, and
was thus exposed at Taunton, to the view of her captive subjects. They
immediately recognized the features of their unfortunate queen, and
were so affected at this barbarous spectacle, that we are told they
broke forth into the "most horrid and diabolical lamentations."
  However Philip had borne up against the complicated miseries and
misfortunes that surrounded him, the treachery of his followers seemed
to wring his heart and reduce him to despondency. It is said that
"he never rejoiced afterwards, nor had success in any of his designs."
The spring of hope was broken- the ardor of enterprise was
extinguished- he looked around, and all was danger and darkness; there
was no eye to pity, nor any arm that could bring deliverance. With a
scanty band of followers, who still remained true to his desperate
fortunes, the unhappy Philip wandered back to the vicinity of Mount
Hope, the ancient dwelling of his fathers. Here he lurked about,
like a spectre, among the scenes of former power and prosperity, now
bereft of home, of family and friend. There needs no better picture of
his destitute and piteous situation, than that furnished by the homely
pen of the chronicler, who is unwarily enlisting the feelings of the
reader in favor of the hapless warrior whom he reviles. "Philip," he
says, "like a savage wild beast, having been hunted by the English
forces through the woods, above a hundred miles backward and
forward, at last was driven to his own den upon Mount Hope, where he
retired, with a few of his best friends, into a swamp, which proved
but a prison to keep him fast till the messengers of death came by
divine permission to execute vengeance upon him."
  Even in this last refuge of desperation and despair, a sullen
grandeur gathers round his memory. We picture him to ourselves
seated among his care-worn followers, brooding in silence over his
blasted fortunes, and acquiring a savage sublimity from the wildness
and dreariness of his lurking-place. Defeated, but not dismayed-
crushed to the earth, but not humiliated- he seemed to grow more
haughty beneath disaster, and to experience a fierce satisfaction in
draining the last dregs of bitterness. Little minds are tamed and
subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above it. The very idea of
submission awakened the fury of Philip, and he smote to death one of
his followers, who proposed an expedient of peace. The brother of
the victim made his escape, and in revenge betrayed the retreat of his
chieftain. A body of white men and Indians were immediately despatched
to the swamp where Philip lay crouched, glaring with fury and despair.
Before he was aware of their approach, they had begun to surround him.
In a little while he saw five of his trustiest followers laid dead
at his feet; all resistance was vain; he rushed forth from his covert,
and made a headlong attempt to escape, but was shot through the
heart by a renegade Indian of his own nation.
  Such is the scanty story of the brave, but unfortunate King
Philip; persecuted while living, slandered and dishonored when dead.
If, however, we consider even the prejudiced anecdotes furnished us by
his enemies, we may perceive in them traces of amiable and lofty
character sufficient to awaken sympathy for his fate, and respect
for his memory. We find that, amidst all the harassing cares and
ferocious passions of constant warfare, he was alive to the softer
feelings of connubial love and paternal tenderness, and to the
generous sentiment of friendship. The captivity of his "beloved wife
and only son" are mentioned with exultation as causing him poignant
misery: the death of any near friend is triumphantly recorded as a new
blow on his sensibilities; but the treachery and desertion of many
of his followers, in whose affections he had confided, is said to have
desolated his heart, and to have bereaved him of all further
comfort. He was a patriot attached to his native soil- a prince true
to his subjects, and indignant of their wrongs- a soldier, daring in
battle, firm in adversity, patient of fatigue, of hunger, of every
variety of bodily suffering, and ready to perish in the cause he had
espoused. Proud of heart, and with an untamable love of natural
liberty, he preferred to enjoy it among the beasts of the forests or
in the dismal and famished recesses of swamps and morasses, rather
than bow his haughty spirit to submission, and live dependent and
despised in the ease and luxury of the settlements. With heroic
qualities and bold achievements that would have graced a civilized
warrior, and have rendered him the theme of the poet and the
historian; he lived a wanderer and a fugitive in his native land,
and went down, like a lonely bark foundering amid darkness and
tempest- without a pitying eye to weep his fall, or a friendly hand to
record his struggle.



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  * While correcting the proof sheets of this article, the author is
informed that a celebrated English poet has nearly finished an
heroic poem on the story of Philip of Pokanoket. [Return to text.]


 * Now Bristol, Rhode Island. [Return to text.]


 * The Rev. Increase Mather's History.  [Return to text.]


 * MS. of the Rev. W. Ruggles. [Return to text.]