This measure excited very earnest discussion in the colony. Many condemned it as atrocious, others defended it as a necessity; but the Indians universally were indignant. Even those, two hundred in number, who were set at liberty as acting in good faith, declared that it was an act of infamy which they would never forget nor forgive. The next day these troops proceeded by water to Falmouth, touching at important points by the way.
On the 23d of September, a scouting party of seven visited Mountjoy's Island. An Indian party fell upon them, and all were massacred. These men were all heads of families, and their deaths occasioned wide-spread woe. Two days after this, on the 25th, a large party of Indians ravaged Cape Neddock, in the town of York, and killed or carried into captivity forty persons. The cruelties they practiced upon the inhabitants are too revolting to be described.
Winter now set in again with tremendous severity. All parties experienced unheard-of sufferings. An Indian chieftain by the name of Mugg, notorious for his sagacity and his mercilessness, now came to the Piscataqua River and proposed peace. The English were eager to accept any reasonable terms. On the 6th of November the treaty was concluded. Its terms were these:
1. All acts of hostility shall cease.
2. English captives and property shall be restored.
3. Full satisfaction shall be rendered to the English for damages received.
4. The Indians shall purchase ammunition only of those whom the governor shall appoint.
5. Certain notorious murderers were to be surrendered to the English.
6. The sachems included in the treaty engaged to take arms against Indians who should still persist in the war.
Notwithstanding this treaty, the aspect of affairs still seemed very gloomy. The Indians were sullen, the conduct of Mugg was very suspicious, threats of the renewal of hostilities were continually reaching the English, and but few captives were restored. Appearances continued so alarming that, on the 7th of February, 1677, a party of one hundred and fifty English and sixty Natick Indians sailed for Casco Bay and the mouth of the Kennebec, to overawe the Indians and to rescue the English captives who might be in their hands. On the 18th of February, Captain Waldron, who commanded this expedition, landed upon Mair Point, about three miles below Maquoit, in Brunswick. They had hardly landed ere they were hailed by a party of Indians. After a few words of parley, in which the Indians appeared far from friendly, they retired, and the English sought for them in vain. About noon the next day a flotilla of fourteen canoes was discovered out in the bay pulling for the shore. The savages landed, and in a few moments a house was seen in flames. The English party hastened to the rescue, fell upon the savages from an unexpected quarter, and killed or wounded several. A flag of truce was presented, which produced another parley.
"Why," inquired Captain Waldron, "do you not bring in the English captives as you promised, and why do you set fire to our houses, and begin again the war?"
"The captives," the Indians replied, "are a great way off, and we can not bring them through the snow; and your soldiers fired upon us first; the house took fire by accident. These are our answers to you."
Captain Waldron, unwilling to exasperate the Indians by useless bloodshed, and finding that no captives could be recovered, sailed to the mouth of the Kennebec, then the Sagadahock. Here he established a garrison on the eastern bank of the river, opposite the foot of Arrowsic Island. With the remainder of his force he proceeded in two vessels to Pemaquid. Here he met a band of Indians, and sending to them a flag of truce, which they respected, the two parties entered into a conference. The Indians, under the guise of peace, were plotting a general massacre. Though both parties had agreed to meet without arms, the savages had concealed a number of weapons, which at a given signal they could grasp.
Captain Waldron, suspecting treachery, was looking around with an eagle eye, when he saw peering from the leaves the head of a lance. Going directly to the spot, he saw a large number of weapons concealed. He immediately brandished one in the air, exclaiming,
"Perfidious wretches! You intended to massacre us all."
A stout Indian sprang forward and endeavored to wrest the weapon from Waldron's hand. Immediately a scene of terrible confusion ensued. All engaged in a hand to hand fight, with any weapons which could be grasped. The Indians were soon overcome, and fled, some to the woods and others to their canoes. Eleven Indians were killed in this fray, and five were taken captive. The expedition then returned to Arrowsic, where they put on board their vessels some guns, anchors, and other articles which had escaped the flames, and then set sail for Boston.
As soon as the snow melted, the savages renewed their depredations, but Maine was now nearly depopulated. With the exception of the garrison opposite Arrowsic, there was no settlement east of Portland. There was a small fort at Casco, and a few people in garrison at Black Point and Winter Harbor. A few intrepid settlers still remained in the towns of York, Wells, Kittery, and South Berwick. The Indians harassed them during the whole summer with robberies, conflagrations, and murders. Winter again came with its storms and its intensity of cold. The united sagamores now, with apparent sincerity, implored peace. On the 12th of February, 1678, Squando, with all the sachems of the tribes upon the Androscoggin and the Kennebec, met the commissioners from Massachusetts at the fort at Casco. The English were so anxious for peace that they agreed to the following terms, which many considered very humiliating, but which were nevertheless vastly preferable to the longer continuance of this horrible warfare.
1. The captives were to be immediately released, without ransom.
2. All offenses on both sides, of every kind, were to be forgiven and forgotten.
3. The English were to pay the Indians, as rent for the land, a peck of corn for every English family, and for Major Phillips, of Saco, who was a great proprietor, a bushel of corn.
Thus this dreadful war was brought to a close. It is estimated that during its continuance six hundred men lost their lives, twelve hundred houses were burned, and eight thousand cattle destroyed. But the amount of misery created can never be told or imagined. The midnight assault, the awful conflagration, the slaughter of women and children, the horrors of captivity in the wilderness, the impoverishment and moaning of widows and orphans, the diabolical torture, piercing the wilderness with the shrill shriek of mortal agony, the terror, universal and uninterrupted by day or by night—all, all combined in composing a scene in the awful tragedy of human life which the mind of Deity alone can comprehend.
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1. Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors and to ensure consistent spelling and punctuation in this etext; otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the original book.
2. The sidenotes used in this text were originally published as banners in the page headers, and have been moved to the relevant paragraph for the reader's convenience.