| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
KING PHILIP'S WAR
 MEANWHILE the people of New England had another foe to fight.
You remember that the Pilgrim Fathers had made a treaty with the
Indians when they first arrived. As long as the old Chief Massasoit
lived he kept that treaty. But now he was dead, and his son Philip
You will wonder, perhaps, why an Indian chief should have a name
like Philip. But Philip's real name was Metacomet. He, however,
wanted to have an English name, and to please him the English called
him Philip. And by that name he is best known.
For a time all went well. But very soon Philip and his tribe grew
restless and dissatisfied. When they saw the white men coming in
always greater and greater numbers, and building towns and villages
further and further into the land, they began to fear them and long
to drive them away. And at length all their thoughts turned to war.
Friendly Indians and "praying Indians," as those who had become
Christians were called, came now to warn the Pale-faces and tell
them that Philip was gathering his braves, and that he had held a
war dance lasting for several weeks. In the night, too, people in
lonely farms awoke to hear the wild sound of drums and gun shots.
But still the English hoped to pacify Philip. So they sent him a
friendly letter telling him to send away his braves, for no white
man wished him ill.
But Philip returned no answer.
 Then one Sunday while the people were at church and the houses were
all deserted Indians attacked the little town of Swansea, burning
and plundering. The next day and the next they returned, tomahawk
and firebrand in hand, and so the war began.
Other tribes joined with King Philip, and soon New England was
filled with terror and bloodshed. The men of New England gathered
in force to fight the Indians. But they were a hard foe to fight,
for they never came out to meet the Pale-faces in open field.
At first when the British began to settle in America they had made
it a rule never to sell firearms to the Indians. But that rule had
long ago been broken through. Now the Indians not only had guns,
but many of them were as good shots as the British. Yet they kept
to their old ways of fighting, and, stealthily as wild animals, they
skulked behind trees, or lurked in the long grass, seeking their
enemies. They knew all the secret forest ways, they were swift of
foot, untiring, and mad with the lust of blood. So from one lonely
village to another they sped swiftly as the eagle, secretly as the
fox. And where they passed they left a trail of blood and ashes.
At night around some lonely homestead all would seem quiet. Far as
the eye could see there would be no slightest sign of any Redman,
and the tired labourer would go to rest feeling safe, with his
wife and children beside him. But ere the first red streaks of dawn
shivered across the sky he would be awakened by fiendish yells.
Ere he could seize his gun the savages would be upon him. And the
sun when it rose would show only blackened, blood-stained ruins
where but a few hours before a happy home had been.
Yet with this red terror on every side the people went on quietly
with their daily life. On week days they tilled their fields and
minded their herds, on Sundays they went, as usual, to church,
leaving their homes deserted. But even
 to church they went armed,
and while they knelt in prayer or listened to the words of their
pastor their guns were ever within reach of their hands.
One Sunday, while in the village of Hadley the people were all
at church, the Indians crept up in their usual stealthy fashion.
Suddenly the alarm was given, and, seizing their guns which stood
by their sides, the men rushed out of the meeting-house. But they
were all in confusion: the attack was sudden, they were none of
them soldiers, but merely brave men ready to die for their homes
and their dear ones, and they had and they had no leader.
Then suddenly a stranger appeared amongst them. He was dressed
in quaint old-fashioned clothes. His hair and beard were long and
streaked with grey. He was tall and soldierly, and his eyes shone
with the joy of battle.
At once he took command. Sharply his orders rang out. Unquestioningly
the villagers obeyed, for he spoke as one used to command. They were
no longer an armed crowd, but a company of soldiers, and, fired by
the courage and skill of their leader, they soon put the Indians
When the fight was over the men turned to thank their deliverer.
But he was nowhere to be found. He had vanished as quickly and
mysteriously as he had come.
"What did it mean?" they asked. "Who was the strange leader? Had
God in His mercy sent an angel from heaven to their rescue?"
No one could answer their questions, and many decided that indeed
a miracle had happened, and that God had sent an angel to deliver
This strange leader was no other than the regicide, Colonel Goffe,
who, as we know, had for many years lived hidden in the minister's
house. From his attic window he had seen the Indians creeping
stealthily upon the village. And when he saw the people standing
leaderless and bewildered, he had been seized with his old fighting
spirit, and had
 rushed forth to lead them. Then, the danger being
over, he had slipped quietly back to his hiding-place. There he
remained hidden from all the world as before, until he died and
was buried beside his friend.
Autumn passed and winter came, and the Indians gathered to their
forts, for the bare forests gave too little protection to them in
their kind of warfare. When spring came they promised themselves
to come forth again and make an end of the Pale-faces. But the
Pale-faces did not wait for spring.
The Indians had gathered to the number of over three thousand
into a strong fortress. It was surrounded by a marsh and the only
entrance was over a bridge made by a fallen tree.
This fortress the New Englanders decided to attack and take. So,
a thousand strong, they set out one morning before dawn and, after
hours of weary marching through the snow, they reached the fort.
Across the narrow bridge they rushed, and although many of their
leaders fell dead, the men came on, nothing daunted. A fierce fight
followed, for each side knew that they must win or die. Shut in on
all sides by impassable swamps there was no escape. But not till
dark was falling did the white men gain the victory. The ground
was strewn with dead and dying, and in the gathering darkness the
remaining Indians stole quietly away, and vanished like shadows.
Then the New Englanders set fire to the wigwams, and, taking their
wounded, marched back to their headquarters.
This was a sad blow to the Indians, but it did not by any means end
the war which, as spring came on, broke out again in full fury. But
gradually the white men got the upper hand. Instead of attacking,
the Redmen fled before them. They lost heart and began to blame King
Philip for having led them into war, and at length he was slain by
one of his own followers.
 Soon after this the war came to an end. But whole tracts of New
England were a desert, a thousand of the bravest and best of the
young men were killed. Many women and children, too, had been slain,
and there was hardly a fireside in the whole of Massachusetts where
there was not a vacant place. Numbers of people were utterly ruined
and the colonies were burdened with a great debt.
As to the Indians their power was utterly broken, and their tribes
were almost wiped out. Except the Mohegans, who had remained
friendly throughout the war, there were few Indians left in south
New England, where there was never again a war between white men
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