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us 10555.260 

I Weeden. Indian money as a feictor 
in New England civilization. 

U% '6&'ae>'- Abo 



I-IL Metbadi arHUtarica] Study. Hv Omuukt I}.\iiu<;^ PIuD. (ITrii 
bCT5), Jomurvauil Ketin»rv,; [,p. 137. fViw AOoaMa. 

lit. ThK Put «nd the Pruent t>f Political Economr. HyUi 
Ki.r, Fliil). {UuUclluuK), Aloreli. 1()»4| i>|k OJ. iVfH3GNnb. 

IV. SkiniMl Ad«Bia, Tha Mtui of thi; Tawn Meellns. By Juisa K. B 

iaytnu t'ninniijr, .SL l<KiU. April, 18tM; p|i. CO. iH» STr («i>i«. 

V-VI. ThuUIim in tlie UniUd SUHa. Kj Itnnir CAitrnt AlMxa, Vh.% 
(ItnltliMirf); l*tuni)K)r iif I^>Ulin•l KfUtiiiw;, Univiinlv ■t' Wctii«i 
XUy ftiii] Jiuif, 18H4; pji. Ttf. iVin; M em'k 

Vll. IiutitDtuKul BeginnliiKS In m Weatera Statr. Rjr Jbkk Mao 

VIII-nL Indiaa Moncj ma a Factor lu New EngUnd ClvlllMtlsn. 

\fnjJUM tt Wamor, A. M. (Bniwa L'liiit.) Aagwn uail HvpUtulM 
1B84| ni.Gl. fHoMMUi. 



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New England Civilization 

"Gold all is not that doth golden aeemj*— Spenser, 

Wampum— "Coyne, mone2sh« from the English money." — Roger WUliami, 

The issue was cItII government or savagery, and the Puritans won it. 


^ IN 

Historical and Political Science 


History is past Politics and Politics present History — Freeman 




New England Civilization 

J /• 



N. HuKBAT, Publication Aoemt, Johns Hopkins Univxbsitt 

Avgrust and September, 1884 

M iosr3^.x(^^ 

^1 -'f ^1 ^1-11 


/"^/.rJ ^ >i^^A -^ 


// y 




»»!■* r» ,*, 





Commerce abides by great waters, and the sea shore has 
been its natural home from very early times. New England 
owed much to the sea, and especially to the fish which her 
skilful hand drew from its deep waters; but there was a 
marine treasure, of the shore and already at hand, which has 
not received the attention due to it, in considering the de- 
velopment of our early history. 

All new communities suffer for a currency. Capital must 
be scarce, but a circulating medium is yet rarer. The increas- 
ing wants of a new life constantly send off the valuable 
medium and tend to deprive enterprise and industry of the 
needed stimulus of money. This marine treasure was in the 
Indian money — " coyne, Mon^ash, from the English money," 
as Roger Williams^ quaintly terms it. These beads made 
from sea shells strung, or embroidered, on belts and garments, 
were the coveted treasures of Indian life. Tradition gives to 
the Narragansetts the honor of inventing these valued articles, 
valuable both for use and exchange. This tribe was one of 
the most powerful, and it is asserted that their commercial 
use of wampum gave them their best opportunities of wealth. 
The Long Island Indians^ manufactured the beads in large 

* This paper was presented to the Historical and Political Science Asso- 
ciation of the J. H. U. November 9, 1883, and is an important chapter in 
the Economic History of New England, to which Mr. Weeden is now 
devoting special attention. — Ed. 

»R. I. Hist. Coll. I., 1827, Key, p. 128. 

' In this and other details I have freely used Dr. Woodward's iateresting 
essay on Wampum, Albany, 1878» 


6 Indian Money as a Factor in [386 

quantities and then were forced to pay them away in tribute 
to tne Mohawks and the fiercer tribes of the interior. Furs 
were readily exchanged for these trinkets, which carried a 
permanent value, through the constancy of the Indian desire 
for them. The holder of wampum always compelled trade to 
come to him. 

Wampum a Legal Tender. 

After the use of wampum was established in colonial life, 
contracts were made payable at will in wampum,* beaver, or 
silver. It is not the presence and free interchange of this 
shell currency, significant as it is, which chiefly interests us. 
This curious article, half natural, half artificial, getting its 
value from labor on the one hand and the desires fomented 
by the rude civilization of the barbarians on the other, played 
back and forth between the greedy Indian and the poor 
colonist for a long period. The use began in New England 
in 1627. It was a legal tender until 1661, and for more than 
three quarters of a century the wampum was current in small 
transactions. For more than a century, indeed, this currency 
entered into the intercourse of Indian and colonist, and there- 
fore aflected the whole development of that industry and com- 
merce which we are studying. We must remember that, 
though Indian barbarities were cruel and destructive, they 
generally occurred on the frontiers. If we except the Pequot 
and Narragansett wars, th^ daily life of the settled portions 
of the colonies and provinces of New England was very little 
disturbed by Indian difficulties during long periods. In 
every day life, English and natives managed to live peace- 
fully. The Indian was often brought into the colonial courts 
for minor offences, was fined, and generally paid his penalties 
when he had personal effects wherewith to pay. In 1673 
the courts made him work out debts in daily labor. The 
Narragansett war was then gathering. 

» 4 Mass. Hist. CoU., VII. 

387] New England Civilization. 7 

National and tribal civilizations have never dwelt long 
together. The political power of the nation necessarily domi- 
nates the lesaer civilized force of the tribe, and finally sub- 
verts the race which lingers in the ruder form, however 
humane individuals of either polity may be. 

Wampum and Indian Labor. 

We have seen that money or currency is necessary to a new 
people. Another element is needed yet more. Labor* is a 
chief factor in civilized society* and the labor of the Indian^ 
was made available through wampum. As Winthrop* shows, 
10,000 beaver skins* annually came to the Dutch from the 
Great Lake. The chase was the primitive form of Indian 
industry and fur^ were the most conspicuous feature of foreign 
trade, as gold is xo-day, but wampum played a much larger 
part in the vital trade of the time. Wampum, or the things 
it represented, carried dee^ meat and Indian corn to the New 
England men. Corn and pork went for fish ; fish went for 
West India rum, molasses, and the silver which Europe 
coveted. West India products, or the direct exchange of fish 

^ E. Downing to Gov. Winthrop, 1637/8, 4 Mass. H. C. VI., p. 65 : "I do not 
see how wee can thrive untill wee gett into a stock of slaves sufficient to 
doe all our business for our children's children will hardly see thi^ great 
continent filled with people, soe that our servants will still desire freedom 
to plan for themselves, and not stay but for verie great wages." 

•This was not so easily comprehended at first. Plymouth in 1646 
repealed an order against employing Indians. C!ol. Bee, 1646, p. 64. 

' "The Narragansetts, the most numerous people in those parts, the most 
rich also and the most industrious," ..." they employed most of their 
time in catching of beavers, otters and musquashes, which they traded for 
English commodities, of which they make a double profit, by selling them 
to more remote Indians, who are ignorant." Wood's New Eng. Prospect, 
p. 2, ch. 3, 1634. 

* I., 113. 

*Cal. St. Papers, Colonial, 1660, p. 144. "It is reported that they have / 
exported thence (Manhatan) to Holland this year, 1632, 15,000 beaver ' 
skins, besides other commodities." These were partly from New England. • 

8 Indian Money as a Fa/stor in [388 

with the Catholic countries of Europe, brought back the 
goods needed to replenish and extend colonial industries and 

The first contact with the hardy New England colonist 
benefitted the native Indian.^ The fur trade has attracted 
most notice. But the steel hoe, substituted for a wooden or 
clam shell tool in the squaw's hand, must have produced more 
corn to the acre, and have afiForded a surplus for trade. It 
went to the nearest market and, by the process indicated, 
increased quickly the productive wealth of the colonists. 

The coastwise manufacture of wampum afforded a ready 
means of exchange which the colonists used at their trading 
posts with the distant Indians. The Indian dialect is meagre 
enough, but Roger Williams gives a good share of words and 
phrases which describe the manufacture, enumeration, and 
exchange of wampum. Natouwdmpitees^ quite trippingly 
"makes money or coyne;'' another guttural signifies "to bore 
through,'^ which term, before the English came, represented 
the passage of a stone drill. Afterward the unpronounceable 
PuckwhegonnaiUicky "the awle blade sticks,'' shows the con- 
tact of the civilized tooP with the barbarian manufacture. 
If peltry was scarce, shells were always plenty and, for a long 
time, there was an almost unlimited demand for the genuine 
wampum. Alcohol, tjie fire water of the native, undid this 
benefit, but the process was gradual. The first influence of 
the incoming civilization was to quicken the Indian life 
proper, and to stimulate its barbarian labor to greater exer- 
tion, in order to obtain the largest share of the coveted 
civilized goods. In this view we have treated the Indian on 

*Canonicus, in 1636, offered John Oldham, the daring Indian trader 
afterward murdered, Prudence or Chibacuwese Island in Narragansett Bay, 
if he would establish himself in trade there. Arnold, I., 8. 

•Key, p. 131. 

'"Six awl blades I pay to a native to carry to Ninigret and pray you to 
pay six more to him that brings them to you." R. Williams to J. W., Jr., 
at Pequot, 1648/9, Narra. Qub, VI., 164. 

389] New England OivUization* 9 

his own ground, as a producer by his own methods. In other 
connections he enters as a porter, courier, and guide, as an 
occasional laborer, as an ally and friendly warrior, thus 
becoming a partial adjunct of the growing colonial life. 

Definition and uses op Wampum. 

Wampum, or wompamy according to Trumbull was the 
name of the white beads made from stems or inner whorls of 
the Pyrukb Oarica or OanaUcvIata periwinkle shells so com- 
mon on all the south coast of New England. When strung 
they were called wampon or wampom — peage or peake or peg, 
equivalent to "strings of white beads" for peage means 
" strung beads.'^ Color was the basis of the nomenclature, as 
well as of the difference in value. Wompi was white; Scicki 
was black ; SuckaHhock was the black beads made from the 
dark part^ of the poquaHiliocky the common quahog, Venus^ 
rnercenaiia or round clam shell. The value of the black was 
generally twice that of the white. The original use of the 
words is not altogether clear; some contend that there was no 
generic word among the Indians signifying beads. The 
white was dyed sometimes to counterfeit black. The word ^ 
generally used among the Dutch who led in introducing the 
bead currency of the Indians, Sewan or Zeewand was more 
general in its application than wampum. But whatever the 
difficult Indian linguistic process may have been, the New 

' " Toward anterior end is a deep purple or brownish — black scar indi- 
cating the point of muscular attachment — fishermen call it the eye." Am. 
Nat., XVIL, 470. 

• Hiqua consisted of strings of a moUusk (DerUcdium) called by concho- 
logists "tusk-shells," used in Br. Columbia, two inches and smaller. "The 
larger the size the greater the value ; forty to the fathom was the standard, 
fifty to the fathom being worth scarcely half so much." Am. Nat., XVII., 
476. "Wampum [i. e., Hiqua] however was not equally distributed [on the 
Pacific coast] any more than are riches in civilized communities — a point 
for communists to consider." Am. Nat., XVII., 479. 

.10 Indian Money as a Fa/stor in [390 

England men soon settled on wampum and peage as the 
working names for this currency. 

The shell cylinders, black or white, were about one-eighth 
of an inch in diameter and one-quarter long. There were 
shorter beads used for ornaments, but there is hardly any 
trace of them in the currency. To bore these with a stone 
drilP was the work of a deft artisan, who must then polish 
them on stones in a weary round of labor, for all accounts 
agree that the finished product had a certain elegance of its 
own. It would interest us to know whether this work was 
done by the braves or the squaws. The beads were often 
used to pay the warriors for their services. Obedience was 
uncertain when an Indian sachem gave a command and he 
reinforced his authority by gifts. Canonicus says of wam- 
pum, "his wars keep him bare,"^ and he says directly that 
he has paid his soldiers^ in this currency as the colonists 
rewarded theirs. Roger Williams never mentions the women 
in connection with this work, as he does in describing those 
Indian operations which were carried on by the women 
exclusively. The product* was so highly prized and became 
so dignified by use in adorning the highest Indian personages 


' "In the shell heaps along the New England Coast are hidden these old 
flint awls of prehistoric design, which may have been spun in some cases 
by a small bow such as jewelers employ at present." Lawson describes the 
drilling "which the Indians manage with a nail stuck in a cane or reed. 
Thus they roll it continually^ on their thighs with their right hand, hold- 
ing the bit of shell with their left." Am. Nat., XVII., 471. 

«R. Williams to Gov. Vane, 1637. Narra. CI., VI., 26. 

^Ibid., p. 58. "Canonicus replied that, though he and Miantonomo had 
paid many hundred fathoms to their soldiers as Mr. Governor did, yet he 
had not received one yard of beads nor a Pequot." 

*Am. Nat., XVII., 468. "An Indian^s utmost manufacture amounted 
only to a few pence a day ; and all Mrriters enlarged upon the great labor 
and patience needed to make it especially at the South. Hence, the pur- 
^ chasing power of a wampum bead was far in advance of that of a cowrie, 
the dentalium of the Pacific coast, or any other unwrought shell used as 
money." IngersolL Many archeologists believe fresh water shells found 
in mounds and graves were used for currency in the Mississippi valley. 

391] New Efngland CivUizaHon. 11 

that we may with reason imagine the braves themselves lend- 
ing their doughty hands to bring out these works of art from 
Neptune's raw material. Natouw6mpitea/ another inflection 
of the word we have cited, denotes "a coyner or minter." 
While it is probable that Williams carried the figure of coin- 
age and the analogy of the mint too far in rendering the 
Narragansett sounds into English words, it is certain that the 
office or duty he describes had weight and importance among 
the natives. Every one made the beads aft will ; there was no 
seigniorage, nothing like our meaning of minting and coinage. 
But the terms Williams adopts to convey his notion of this 
business of making money show that it was not a mere 
menial labor, like the squaws' planting of corn or dressing 
of game. 

Wampum Belts. 

The Indians strung the beads on fibres of hemp or tendons 
taken from the flesh of their forest meat. These strings were 
hung about the necks and wrists of the warriors and adorned 
their wives ^ and children^ as well. They placed the beads 
under their heads when they slept.* The strings of peage 
were embroidered on strips of deer-skin making the Mdche- 
quoGCy a girdle or belt " of five inches tl|icknesse,''* or more, and 
to the value of ten pounds sterling or more, which was worn 
about the waist dr thrown over the shoulders like a scarf. 
More than ten thousand beads were wrought into a single belt 
four inches wide. These belts were in common use like the 
gold and jewelry of our day.^ They also played the same 

> E. W., Key, p. 130. 

* " They (the cheefe ladies) weare a chaine of great pearls, or beades of 
copper, or smoothe bones, 6 or 6 fold about their necks bearinge one arm in 
the same." Hariot's Virginia, VIII. 

»R.W., Keyp.131. 

^ Ibid., p. 52. 


*"A Sagamore with a humbird in his ear for a pendant, a black eagle in 
his occipit for a plume, a good store of wampum-petige begirting his loins, 

12 Indian Mcmey as a Fa/ior in [392 

symbolic part which survives in the crown jewels and other 
regalia of civilized nations. The kingly office betokened 
personal prowess and power, w/hether the incumbent was of 
Algonquin or Aryan lineage. When a superior sachem — ^the 
king of a later and higher civilization — took his seat, he must 
bear with him the evidence of power and the symbols of the 
love of his toiling subjects. The greater cross made the 
greater crown and each member of the tribe felt himself 
exalted by the emblems of dignity which his chieftain 
proudly bore in the rude assemblies of the aboriginal time. 
There must be wampum of the best kind and in abundance, 
just as the Czar at Moscow must have a gorgeous surround- 
ing at his coronation. 

The scene was pathetic when the Wampanoag Anawon sur- 
rendered Philip's regalia to Capt. Church in the fastnesses 
of Bristol County. The chieftain was dead. History has 
made him "King '' Philip, to commemorate the heroism of his 
life and death. He almost made himself a king by his 
marvellous energy and state-craft put forth among the 
New England tribes. Had the opposing power been a little 
weaker, he might have founded a temporary kingdom on the 
ashes of the colonies. But the military science of Standish, 
the political wisdom of Winthrop, the steadfast endurance of 
English Puritans, the organized power of monied commerce 
and industry, — ^all these elements combined to create a« 
national life too strong to be overcome by the personal 
prowess of Philip. Anawon was not obliged to surrender the 
wampum belts to Church. They were safely concealed and 
there was no demand for these articles so dear to the Indian 
in ordinary life. But Philip was gone, his power was 
broken, the headship and chieftaincy of his race had faded 
away in the stronger light of the incoming European's power. 

his bow in hand, his quiver at his back, with six naked spatter lashes at 
his heels for his guard, thinks he is one with King Charles/' Wood's New 
England Prospect, p. 66, 1634. 

393] New England (XvUizaMon. 13 

The most trusted warrior, councillor and friend of Philip 
went out quietly, brought the three or four wampum scarfs — 
splendid in his eyes — ^and gave them to his conqueror. The 
trinkets were not only valuable in themselves; they also 
symbolized and embodied a complete submission to the more 
mighty men, whose prowess had prevailed over the Indian. 
The largest scarf, nine inches wide, pictured with birds and 
beasts and flowers, when laid over the shoulders of the sturdy 
Rhode Islander swept his ankles. Another belt designed for 
the head carried two flags attached to it. Governor Winslow, 
in his letter to the king accompanying the spoils of Philip, 
speaks of them as "being his Crowne, his Gorge and two 
Belts of their own making of their goulde and silver.^' ^ 

Gold it was not, coin it was not, but the governor correctly 
described it as " their gold." This quality gave it the attri- 
butes of a currency in the growing intercourse with the colon- 
ists. It was this quality, this costliness, which impressed the 
barbaric imagination and made the wampum a high symbol 
in every ceremony, political or religious. Whenever the 
Indians made an important statement in their frequent nego- 
tiations, they presented a belt to prove it, to give force to 
their words. " The hatchet fixed in the head "—one of the 
most forcible of their many figures, expressing a sense of 
wrong, a l^itimate grievance — ^this hatchet must be removed 
by something more powerful than words. A belt was pre- 
^nted to discharge the grievance, and not by mere purchase. 
The value of the beads could hardly have been of conse- 
quence to a haughty confederacy like the Iroquois or Five 
Nations. It marked the gravity of the apology. It gave to 
the words the weight of hard physical facts and made the 
expressson an emblem of great force and significance. 

The philologists call this literary office, this symbolic func- 
tion of wampum, an elementary mnemonic record.^ The same 
was fulfilled by the quippus, knotted strings or quipu of 

*June26, 1677. Arnold, I., 378. Citing original in B. S. P. O. 
•Taylor, The Alphabet, I., 18. 

14 Indian Money as a Factor in [394 

the ancient Peruvians which were buried in their graves.^ 
It is an ideogram in the bud ; the expression of an idea by 
association to a mind which has not yet conceived those 
abstractions, we express through writing. "This belt pre- 
serves my^ words" was a common remark of the Iroquois 
Chief* in council. It conveyed the words, giving warrant 
and sanction to the first communication, then preserved the 
facts by this symbolic association. The Iroquois were a 
mighty nation, almost an incipient state. Their only records* 
were in these mnemonic beads. To preserve them was a 
solemn office, and in important councils, the wampum keepers 
walked through the serried ranks of councillors reading from 
the belts the facts suggested to their memory. These facts 
had been "talked into" the beads, literally.* A mystic 
power animated the beads, thus quickened by the acts and 
deeds of this simple but intense savage life. The summons 
to war was in red or black, while peace messages were Voven 
in purer white. When a communication excited anger, men 
kicked the belt about, in contempt, and a black belt accom- 
panied words of condolence, becoming a sad token of mourn- 
ing and sympathy.* 

' Dawson, Fossil Men. 

* Morgan, Ancient Society, p. 139. 

^" Of wampum as a substitute for letters, we have as yet no trace in 
Europe." Dawson, Fossil Men, p. 144. 

*" According to the Indian conception, these belts could tell, by means of 
an interpreter, the exact rule, provision or transaction talked into them at 
the time, and of which they were the exclusive record. A strand of wam- 
pum consisting of purple and white shell beads, or a belt woven with 
figures formed by beads of different colors, operated on the principle of 
associating a particular fact with a particular string or figure ; thus giving 
a serial arrangement to the facts as well as fidelity to the memory. These 
strands and belts were the only visible records of the Iroquois; but they 
required those trained interpreters who could draw from their strings and 
figures locked up in their remembrance." A Sachem was Keeper, and he 
had two aids. Morgan, Ancient Society, p. 142. 

*" Their most mysterious fabric was wampum." Parkman, Jesuits in 
North America, p. xxxi. 

• Parkman's Pontiac I., pp. 145, 148, II., .272. 

395] New England Civilization. 1$ 

Wampum in Exchange for Beavee. 

We must consider these potent principles which lie at the 
base of all currencies, in estimating the character and influ- 
ence of the intercourse between Indians and colonists which 
was regulated and sustained by wampum. Value in use, 
and value in exchange, both enter into the foundation of a 
currency.^ The Long Island, Pcquot and Narragansett 
tribes, had an article which was desirable in itself and which 
enforced a barter with those inland tribes rendering an equiv- 
alent to obtain it. Barter began, but this did not constitute a 
currency. The article useful and desirable in itself, must 
liave an essence of exchange, a force within itself which could 
compel not only that particular exchange but any exchange 
at the will of the owner.^ This exchangeable quality was 
contributed by furs and especially by beaver. The colonist 
desired com and venison, but all the world desired beaver. 
Wampum was the magnet which drew the beaver out of 
the interior forests. The beaver went to Europe; but the 
wampum remained, an equivalent value, as long as the Indian 
was a sufficient force in the rising colonial civilization, to 
maintain the circulation. The European possessed arms 
and gun-powder which far surpassed the ruder aboriginal 

' The reverse principle prevailed recently on the Pacific coast, where it 
was hoarded, as a superior deferred value. On the Pacific coast "a young 
fellow sometimes procures it as an investment, laying away a few strings of 
it, for he knows that he cannot squander it at the stores ; whereas if he 
really needs a few dollars of current cash he can always negotiate his shells 
with some old Indian who happens to have gold or greenbacks." Am. 
Nat., XVII., p. 479. Merchandise of any kind, even specie, may not inspire 
the local demand necessary in a good currency. We can see this in quite 
recent times. The Cowry Oypraea Monetay a native of the Pacific and the 
Eastern seas, is used for money in Hindostan and many parts of Africa. In 
1849 nearly 300 tons were imported into Liverpool and India ports, then 
exported for barter with the coast of Africa. Stearns, Am. Nat., Ill, 5. 

'Some writers call the original use of wampum among the natives a cur- 
rency. I think this is not a proper use of the word. 

16 Indian Money as a Factor in [396 

weapons, and he possessed stores of strange goods and wares, 
never imagined in aboriginal life. But he likewise possessed 
a talisman more potent than either or all of these things. 
Organized commerce could compel industry, could exact all 
the spasmodic labor possible to the barbarian. Fish, lumber, 
beaver, all equally desirable in Europe, could be obtained by 
the co-operation of the red men with the white. Wampum 
was the latent force which compelled the other products into 
action and kept up the equilibrium. Wampum had a certain 
dignity, which its usefulness, its exchangeable value, and 
ceremonial observance had engrafted upon it. It was a jewel, 
first used for personal adornment; then it became an emblem 
significant and powerful in all the phases of native life. 
They counted and cast it by a well developed and convenient 
system of numerals. By using grains of corn^ to tally the 
calculation, they ran up into high numbers quickly and 
correctly. Nquittdmpscat^ was one penny, at six pence they 
condensed the inflected Quttashdumscat into QuUauatu? At 
twelve pence, one shilling, with the same process they 
dropped the agglutinating numeral, denominating it neew,* 
that is two sixpences. At five shillings the long word 
changes again into Piik^kquat which equals ten sixpences. 
PiUck meaning ten. "This PiUuikquat being sixtie pence, 
they call NquitUmvpeg, or Nquitnishcalisu^ that is one fathom. 

' R. W., Key, p. 42. 

•Since writing out, my view of Williams' measures, Hon. J. Hammond 
Trumbull has favored me with the following and other suggestions: "The 
unit of measure, as he gives it, is ompacat or aumacatj which Eliot and 
Williams both use as the Indian equivalent for a 'penny.' This word 
seems to have originally denoted a span, or a hand's breadth ; though I am 
not quite certain of this. Eliot in Matt., 20: 2, wrote negut-(mi8kot {-nquit- 
t&mp8cat of Williams) for a * penny.' To this name or measure all the 
values given in Williams' table are referable." 

'So he says, they call two sixpences "their quUauatues^ne^, which seems 
to stand* for a 'couple' or 'double.' " Trumbull. 

^ A form of the simple numeral Ne^sse two. 

397] New England Civilization. 17 

five shillings.'^ ^ NquUtemittctnnug was one thousand, and 
Nquitpausuck^emittdnug was one hundred thousand. 

Williams' system of enumeration was written down, after 
this long process of trade t have described had worked itself 
into custom, and had been defined in law. His Indian words, 
as well as his translations, are names of operations, which had 
been going on before his eyes, for a dozen years or more. 
They are the results of mutual intercourse. How much is 
strictly aboriginal, and how much came from his own con- 
sciousness, we can never know. 

Unit of Measure and Unit of Value. 

The unit of measure,^ first used among the natives, had no 
closer connection with an English foot than twelve linear 
inches have to do with the foot on which the European 
stands. The cubit was used among the Iroquois in early 
transactions, and we wonder that the New England men did 
not put it among the remarkable evidences of prophecy, by 
which they fondly identified the North American natives 
with the ten lost tribes and the old testament of the Hebrews. 
This unit of measurement was customary in aboriginal traffic 
and extended from the end of the little finger to the elbow 
joint. Probably the standard came from the easy process, 
which catches the string of beads in the first knuckle of the 
little finger, runs it down the forearm and marks at the elbow 
with the other hand ; then it hangs the elbow mark on the 

^ " Many, probably all Indian tribes had names of measure corresponding 
more or less nearly to the English iTvchj 8pan,footf cubit smd fathoniy but none 
of these names are used in Williams* list of wampum values, except 
6mpscat." Trumbull. 

* Says Lindstrom in New Jersey, in 1640 : " Their way of trying them is 
to rub the whole thread full on their noses ; if they find them full and even, 
like glass beads, then they are considered good, otherwise they break and 
throw them away. Their manner of measuring their strings is by the 
length of their thumbs ; from the end of the nail to the first joint makes 
six beads." Am. Naturalist, XVII., 468. 

2 . 

18 Indian Money as a Factor in [398 

knuckle, repeating the operation rapidly and at will. It was 
literally a handy ^ method of measurement. In theory a 
short man was equal to a long one, like the custom of our 
modern tailors in selling a suit. . But the North Americans 
were shrewd as well as cautious, and the slow Dutch com- 
plained that when a trade came to final adjustment, the tallest 
aboriginal man appeared to measure and receive the wam- 
pum. Apparently this unit of measure merged into the unit 
of count or value, as easily as the English pound of the cur- 
rency changes from weight to value. We hear nothing of 
this cubit as a measurement in any recorded transactions with 
the Indians, after the period^ when wampun attained the 
dignity of a legal currency. 

The Fathom of Wampum. 

The fathom was a name for a count, an enumeration of 
beads. "This Piilckquat being sixtie pence, they call Nquit- 
t6mpeg, that is one fathom, five shillings."^ Sixty pence, the 
fathom of beads, was more or less, according to the number of 
beads allowed by the statute to be equivalent to a penny. If 
the number was six, then the fathom was 360, but if it was 
four, as under the Massachusetts standard of 1640, then the 
fathom numbered 240 beads. We are not to forget that this 
was a fluctuating standard of value. The tributes of the 
Indian tribes to the colonists were usually payable in 

* Am. Nat., XVII., p. 477. Quite recently " among the Hupas in Oregon, 
nearly every man had ten lines tatooed across the inside of his left arm, 
about half way between the wrist and the elbow ; in measuring shell-money 
he drew one end over his left thumb nail, and if the other end reached to 
the uppermost of the tattoo lines, the five shells (in 1873) were worth $25 
in gold or even more." - 

*"The Capt's (Atherton's) demand was 300 fathoms for the debt, and 
200 for this expedition. They paid 140, and said it was the whole, and 
that the difference was made by the measure," that is by the count. B. 
W. to J. W., Jr., Oct. 17, 1650, Nar. CI., VI., 203. 

3R. W., Key, p. 129. 

399] New England Civilization. 19 

fathoms. Contracts for the sale of lands were made by the 
Indians for considerations of all kinds, wampum, coats, guns, 
bullets, and wares of all sorts. The island of Conanicut in 
Narragansett Bay was sold to Coddington and his associates 
in 1657 for "one hundred pounds in wampum peage." 

The unit of the fathom^ of wampum brought it into cor- 
relation with the other currencies used in the colonies. The 
beads were at first worth more than five shillings a fathom, 
the price at which they passed current when Williams wrote 
in 1643.^ A few years before, the fathom was worth nine or 
ten shillings. But beaver fell in England,^ and that reduced 
the price of wampum in the colonies. The wampum was 
virtually redeemable in beaver, as these changes of value 
show. As long as the natives were active and furs were 
plenty, there appears to have been no difficulty in passing 
any quantity of wampum in common with other currencies. 
The Bay annulled its Statutes, making the beads a legal 
tender in 1661.^ Rhode Island and Connecticut followed 
this example soon after. In 1667,* the conspiracy of Philip 
with the Narragansetts and other powerful tribes, was re- 
ported and became a grave cause of uneasiness in all the 
colonies. We can see the vacillating policy of the Plymouth 
colonists in their statute against selling powder and shot to 
the natives. It was repealed in 1665, re-enacted in 1667, 
and repealed again in 1669. It was not because the Indian's 
wampum was refused that he began to conspire and finally 

1 R W., Key, p. 129. 


^The fall of beaver in England probably occurred between 1635 and 1640. 
In 1630, according to Felt, they failed in regulating the price for colonial 
trade at 6s. per pound. Freed from the artificial regulation, it rose to 10s. 
@ 20s. Gov. Bradford says, coat beaver was fully 20s. in 1634, and Bel- 
knap puts common at 128. in N. H., the same year, 1635. Felt makes the 
price lOs. 1638, Connecticut Colony rates it at 9s. In 1640, the price was 
6s. to 8s. in Casco, Me. 

*Rec. Mass., IV., part 2, pp. 4, 5. 

* Arnold, R. I., I., 331. 

20 Indian Mmrnj as a Factor in [400 

fought unto extermination. But, as he ceased to be useful, 
he had to fight, and the relegation of his precious toil-won 
beads to the rank of common commodities marks the decline 
of the savage in New England life. The men of Rhode 
Island said in 1662, of the article in question that "it is a 
commodity."^ It was always that and nothing more. It 
continued in common use for more than half a century after 
its lawful tenor was changed. 

The colonists would not have been more reluctant to 
receive it in 1660 than in 1640, if the same facility of 
redemption had existed, if its final value had remained cer- 
tain, for its continued use as an accessory 9urrency shows 
that it was convenient and desirable. Labor had become 
better organized; corn was more abundant among the colo- 
nists; furs^ were more remote and inaccessible. The poor 
Indian had become a worse savage and not a better civilized 
man ; above all, the improving civilization of the colonies had 
outgrown him. It had left him struggling like a fish in the tide 
falling on the strand. There is not water enough to help him 
to swim, there is enough to keep him gasping for life. The 
statute only marks the date of the social change. It does not 
change the essential nature of wampum, beaver or silver. 

Indian Trade of Plymouth and Massachusetts. 

In 1627 De Rasi^res^ with a Dutch trading vessel came 
into Plymouth from New Amsterdam. In her cargo w^as a 

^"It cannot but' be judged that it is but a commodity, and that it is 
unreasonable that it should be forced upon any man." R. I. Col. Rec, 
1662, I., 474. 

* As early as 1645, Johnson declares the beaver trade outgrown at Spring- 
field, Mass., "fitly seated for a Beaver trade with the Indians, till the mer- 
chants encreased so many that it became little worth, by reason of their 
out buying one another, which hath caused them to live upon husbandry.*' 
Wonder Working Providence, p. 199. 

^Palfrey, I., 238, cites De Rasieres' letter written to the Hague. "They 
have built a Shallop [at Manomet on Buzzard's Bay] in order to go and 

401] New England CivilizaMon. 21 

lot of wampum valued at £50, for the Dutch had learned its 
uses as a currency in their traffic with the natives. They 
sent this first instalment to the trading post on the river 
Kennebec, where it was kept in hand for two years.^ Mean- 
while the interior Indians heard of it, and the assured supply 
brought a demand. For some years after, the Plymouth men 
could hardly furnish wampum enough,^ and the control of 
this currency gave them an advantage which virtually 
excluded the fishermen and other traders from competing 
for the trade of the river. They obtained constant supplies 
from Connecticut^ and probably from Long Island and Nar- 
ragansett. In 1634* Winslow was enabled to send twenty 
hogsheads of beaver^ to England, nearly all of which had 
come through an exchange of wampum. In 1637^ the trade 
in maize with the Indians up the Connecticut river was so 
important to the Colonies below, that they recorded an ordi- 
nance with penalties restricting it. No man was allowed to 
go among them or to make any public or private contract of 
any kind, lest " the market for corne may be greatly advanced 
to the prejudice of these plantacons/' In 1638 '^ the same 

look after the trade in Sewan in Sloup's Bay [an inlet of Narragansett 
Bay] * * * which I have prevented for this year by selling them 50 
fathoms of Sewan, because the seeking after sewan by them is prejudi- 
cial to us, inasmuch as they would, by so doing, discover the trade in 
furs ; which if they were to find out, it would be a great trouble to us to 

* Baylies* Hist. Plymouth, I., 151. 

* Bradford, Hist. Plymouth, p. 234. 
'Baylies, Plymouth, I., 48. 

*The first recognition of the beads as money, I find was in 1634, when 
the Patrons represented to the Assembly at Hague that Sewan being in a 
measure the only money of the country be permitted. O'Callaghan, New 
Neth., p. 161. 

*From 1631 to 1636 they sent to England 12,530 Beaver and Otter. 
Coat beaver sold at 20s. to 24s. per pound, the skin at 14s. to 16s. Bradford, 
Hist. Plym., p. 346, Mass. H. C. 

«Col. Rec. Conn., 1637, p. 11. 

'Col. Rfec. Conn., 1638, p. 18. 

22 Indian Money as a Factor in [402 

authority^ fixed the price of corn brought in by any one- 

except Mr. Pynchon at Springfield, with whom there was a 
special contract — at 5s. 6d. per bushel in money, at 6s. per 
bushel in wampum at 3 a penny, or if in beaver according to 
the order at 9s. per pound. All the variations and compara- 
tive values of currencies in the colonial transactions are inter- 
esting, and I can only refer to them here. This particular 
instance shows that wampum had then made itself nearly 
equal in purchasing power to money of any kind. The Bay 
authorities^ had fixed the rate in 1637^ at six beads for a 
penny for any sum under 12d. In the early statutes only 
one rate is mentioned. Probably it was understood that the 
black was included at double the rate fixed for the white. In 
many of the later laws, the two colors are mentioned in that 
proportion. The usual difficulty caused by a standard of 
value fluctuating between different markets was experienced 
now. Connecticut received wampum for taxes in 1637* at 
four a penny. They tried to bring it to the Massachusetts 
standard, for the ordinance of 1640* says "the late order 
concerning Wampu at sixe a penny shall be dissolued, and 
the former of fower a penny and two pence to be paid in the 
shilling shall be established.'' In the same year Massachu- 
setts^ came to the Connecticut standard, the white to pass at 
four and the "bleuse" at two a penny, not above 12d. at a 
time, except at the will of the receiver. In 164H they sub- 
mitted to the inevitable and made the shell beads a legal 
tender at six a penny in sums of £10. 

^ And at Plymouth, 1636-7, certain persons "did contrary to the ancient 
laws of this colony, trade with the Indians for come," one-half the penalty 
was remitted and half the forfeited corn returned to them. PI. Ck)l. Kec, 
I., 50. 

*In 1636 "the trade of beaver and wampum was to be farmed and all 
others restrained from trading." Winthrop, I., 193. 

3 Mass. Kec, I., 238. 

*Ck)l. Rec. Conn., 1637, p. 12. 

'^Col. Rec. Conn., 1640, p. 64. 

•Kec, I., p. 329. 

'Kec, I., 302. 

403] New England Civilization. 23 

Evidently the proud merchants and capitalists of the Bay 
had adopted the Indian money, only when the absolute 
necessity of their community demanded the sanction of law. 
The precious maize which many writers have designated as 
an essential factor in the prosperity of the early colonists had 
yielded the first place, and shell money became the principal 
medium of intercourse with the natives. Stringent necessity 
forced men like Winthrop and Endicott to receive these bar- 
baric trinkets on a par with solid coin of the old English 
realm. Englishmen learn late, but they learn thoroughly. 
The coin marks, the £ s. d. of their money, they adopted 
from the Loqibard merchants who settled in London, and 
taught them the larger commerce. They brought these mys- 
tic symbols of civilization across the seas and stamped them 
on the shell treasures of Canonicus and Sassacus. 

This currency reveals to us through its vagaries, two 
aspects of colonial life. (1), The intercourse with the natives 
which was so important a factor in developing the opportuni- 
ties of wealth in the infant settlements of New England ; (2), 
the growing wealth and traffic of these communities, which 
were forced to use the aboriginal currency, yet were con- 
stantly tending to throw it off and substitute the more cur- 
rent and universal silver which flow^ed in from the increasing 
West India trade about the middle of the century. The 
standard, even after it was recognized by law, was always 
fluctuating. Probably the colonists never fully believed in its 
value or permanency, and kept it for as brief periods and in 
as small amounts as possible. It circulated literally. Once 
I heard an inn-keeper remark that he never scrutinized the 
bank bills offered by his customers, too closely. But "we 
put the doubtful ones on the top of the layer in our till : and 
at the end of the season we never have any bad money on 
hand.'' The ethics of this practice may be matter for argu- 
ment, but there is not the slightest doubt that it stimulates 

24 Indian Money as a Factor in [404 

Regulation of the Curkency. 

The legislators tinkered at the money question constantly. 
In 1640/ the Bay adopts four a penny for the white, and two 
for the blue. In 1641,^ this was changed to six a penny, and 
the beads were made lawful money for any sum under £10. 
This year the trade was farmed out and one of the conditions 
obliged the lessees to redeem from Harvard College all ac- 
cumulations of wampum in its treasury under £25. In 
1642,^ the rate was six a penny in Connecticut. This year the 
farmers of the beaver trade in the Bay were ordered to give 
an account of the wampum.* The £10 allowance instituted 
in 1641, lasted only two years, for we find that in 1643,* "it 
shall passe, but to the value of — .'^ Unfortunately this 
amount is left blank in the record. Doubtless it was found 
in Boston, the central market of exchange, that shabby 
debtors availed themselves of this legal privilege to force the 
Indian currency into transactions where the ordinary and 
customary usage of trade would not admit it fairly. £10 
was quite a large sum in the every day transactions of that 
period. Apparently this change of legal status did not affect 
the current use of this money throughout the New England 
colonies, as well as other districts. 

Wampum had become a universal currency, elxchangeable 
for merchandise, for labor, for taxes. By 1645,^ the inven- 
tories of deceased colonists commonly contained items of 
peage, and frequently there was no other money. The story 
was that in 1647,^ an old English shilling was picked up in 
the highway at Flushing, Long Island. It was so great a 

1 Mass. Rec, I., 302. 

•Ibid., I., 329. 

n642, Col. Rec. Conn., p. 79. 

*Rec Mass., IT., 27. 

»Ibid., p. 48. 

* Felt's Mass. Currency, p. 27. 

'^Thompson, Long Island, U., p. 11, 

405] New England Civilization. 25 

curiosity that the public attention was attracted, many never 
having seen a similar coin. Judgments^ of the courts were 
made payable in shell money. Wild animals, wolves and 
bears especially, were a serious impediment to agriculture. 
The rewards offered for their diestruction generally went to 
the Indians; often these were made payable to the natives 
directly, by the terms of the ordinance.^ The Dutch in New 
York had hardly any other effective currency in the smaller 
sums, and it was common in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Decline of Wampum. 

In 1644 the Indian trade was at its height in New England, 
if we may judge from the action of the United Colonies.^ 
The Commissioners endeavored in vain to create a large cor- 
poration of share holders, with ample funds and numerous 
agents to work this traffic by systematic methods. The Bay* 
orders this proposition to be "established and confirmed for 

» Col. R«c. Conn., 1649, p. 193. 

'Thompson, Lpng Island, I., 470. 

' Winthrop, 1644, II., IjSO. Palfrey thinks Winthrop refers to the scheme 
of Corporation for Indian trade in the United Colonies. Boston merchants 
saw great trade in beaver, coming from the North -West. They " petitioned 
the court to be a company for that design, and to have the trade which 
they should discover to themselves for 21 years. The Court was very 
unwilling to grant any monopoly but perceiving that without it, they would 
not proceed, granted their desire." In 1643 or 1642 there was "great 
store of beaver " from Boston for London. Winthrop, II., 150. 

1644, Jt. Stock Co. for Indian trade. "This scheme appears to have 
originated in Massachusetts. (Mass. Rec, 60. Comp. Win., II., 160.) I 
do not know that anything came of it, though Connecticut agreed to engage 
in it, * if other jurisdictions do the like.* Plymouth declined on account of 
insufficient means, as well as of doubts about its success." 

Palfrey, II., 152. Plym. Rec, II., 82. 

1644. "The propositions of the Commissioners concerning a general 
Indian trade (except come, fishe and venison) is. also approved and settled 
by the Court, vppon the terms therein propounded, if other jurisdictions 
doe the like." Col. Rec. Conn., I., 113. 

*Mass. Rec., II., 86. 

26 Indian Money as a Factor in [406 

ten years." No changes were registered in the legislation 
until 1649, when the receipt of wampum in the Massachusetts 
was forbidden for taxes or "to country rate."^ But in the 
same year the same authority ordained that, "it shall remayne 
passable from man to man."^ When the State puzzles over 
a rickety currency, a common device is to pass it out, and 
refuse to pass it in. We cannot ascertain certainly whether 
the fluctuations in the value of the beads or the rating per 
penny noted in the statutes were occasioned by an over supply 
of the article, or by other causes. Probably many causes 
combined to change the faith of the merchants in this bar- 
baric medium. During our civil war, the legal tender notes 
of the United States fluctuated violently in their gold value; 
the changes were often illogical and the causes were hard to 
trace. I think it is clear that, as the colonist increased, the 
native had less relative power in maintaining his own money. 
In the early statutes the Indian is not mentioned as differing 
from other persons in the exchange of wampum, whether for 
receipt or payment. There was no occasion to single him 
out, while the red man had corn, furs, and meat in plenty. 
All men were then economically free and equal before the 
law. In 1644 as we have seen, the trade with him received 
the best attention and called forth all the energies of the 
State. By 1649^ his money dropt from the tax gatherer's 
list, and the aboriginal man is no longer financially equal to 
the European intruder as we shall farther see. 

Roger Williams reflects the anxiety prevailing in the native 
mind when he asks the younger Winthrop whether " the peag 
will be sold at under rates." ^ To understand this fully, we 

^Ibid., 167, May 16, 1649, also II., 279, May 2, 1649. 

'Mass. Rec, III., p. 153. 

'In 1655 the Colony allowed to the Treasurer £35.10 for peag burnt with 
the Treasurer's house, showing that it was still in circulation in Massachu- 
setts. Felt, Mass. Currency, p. 37. 

In 1659 Kehoboth makes a town contract for £8, payable in wampum. 
Bliss, p. 48. v 

* R. WilUams' letter, March, 1648/9, Nar. a., VI., 171. 

407] New England Civilization. . 27 


must consider the relations of the two governments, Indian 
and Colonial. The shrewd administrators of the United 


Colonies had devised a scheme by which the native, while 
being improved off the face of the land, should pay in money 
for the protection of that paternal government, which gently, 
piously, but firmly did the work. The Wampanoag, Narra- 
gansett, Pequot and other tribes agreed to pay, and often did 
pay substantial tributes in wampum to the various authorities 
in the United Colonies, which were able to exact them. This 
matter of tribute has created much discussion, and the equity 
of these transactions has been seriously questioned. If any 
one can discover a univei'sal standard of justice between 
opposing civilizations, he will be able to render a final 
verdict in this question, as well as other Indian problems. 
In this same year, Williams continuing the sentence cited 
above that Punhommin coming from the Bay reports that 
"they must pay great black at thirteen to the penny, and 
small black at fifteen, and white at eight. I tell them last 
year it was measured, and so word was sent to me they should 
pay it by measure." Probably the rate of depreciation was 
exaggerated, for at other times Roger ^ freely and forcibly 
expressed his conviction that his native friends could not be 
depended upon. It will be noted that, in the violent fluctua- 
tions of value in the beads going on at Boston, which this 
report shows, both parties were forced to abandon the unit by 
count in pennies, and go back to the unit of measure in 
settling tribute. The terms of the tribute were almost always 
stated in fathoms of wampum, but Williams' correspondence 
would indicate that sometimes the payment was made by 
count,^ or market value and sometimes by measure. 

Rhode Island and Providence were more affected by the 
Indian community than all the other colonies, for many 

*"A11 Indians are extremely treacherous." To Gen. Ct. Mass., 1G54, 
Nar. Col., VI., 276. 

*"In 1649 Ninigret alledged that about 600 fathom was paved by measure 
which he accompted by tale wherein ther was a considerable difference." 
Hazard, H. C, II., 131. 

28 Indian Money as a Factor in [408 

reasons. The circumstances of their foundation, their weak- 
ness and location amid the most powerful tribes, the friendly 
intercourse of Williams and their leaders with the sachems,- — 
all these facts combined to enforce harmonious relations with 
the diminishing aboriginal power. Accordingly the Rhode 
Island statute,^ made only two months later, shows that they 
made the Indian equal to the colonist, and kept his money at 
better rates than prevailed in Boston. 

Counterfeit Wampum. 

When wampum commanded the market and was most 
available, much trouble was occasioned by the introduction of 
bad, counterfeit, and ill-made beads. The Indian, always a 
cautious and astute trader, knew the article best, and would 
refuse any but regular specimens. This compelled the colo- 
nists to struggle with the inferior portion, which had no 
value for them, except as a medium of exchange. Massachu- 
setts ordered in 1648,^ that it "shall be intire, without 
breaches, both the white and the black without deforming 
spotts." And they now instituted a process more like coinage 
than any thing which Williams found among the Indians, 
and described in the familiar terms of the mint. They 
enacted that the beads should be properly strung into eight 

* Noe person within this Collonie, after the tenth of June next, shall 
take any black peage of the Indians, but at four a penny ; «nd if any shall 
take black peage of the Indians under four a penny, he shall forfeit the 
said peage, one-halfe to the informer, and the other halfe to the State." 
R. I. Col. Rec, I., 217. 

May 23, 1649. Roger Williams gives a version of this law differing from 
the plain construction of it. He says to J. Winthrop, Jr., " one law passed 
(at Warwick), that the natives should no longer abuse us, but that their 
black should go with us as with themselves at four a penny." Nar. CI., 
VI., 180, May 26, 1649. His motive may have been to impress on Win- 
throp that the Providence Colony would not be too favorable to the natives, 
as the United Colonies were pressing them for tribute. 

^Mass. Rec, IIL, 146. 

409] New Dngland Civilization. 29 

known parcels: Id. 3d. 12d. 5s. in white; 2d. 6d. 2s. 
6d. and 10s. in blacke. This made a complete series of 
"change.^' This was in consequence of the suggestion of 
President Dunster, of " the College at Cambridge," who had 
in the same year called the attention of the Commissioners of 
the United Colonies to the matter of bad, false and un- 
finished peage, recommending the General Courts to remedy 
it. Connecticut in 1649,^ ordains that it be "strunge, and in 
some measure strunge sutably, and not small and great, 
vncomely and disorderly mixt, as formerly it hath been." 
The loose and imperfect, driven from New England, went 
West and passed at a slight discount in Kew Netherlands, 
aggravating the difficulties already existing there. No cur- 
rency can maintain its functions, unless it is sustained by 
some community or body of a community which believes in 
its value, and with sufficient ability to uphold the conviction. 
As already intimated,^ the time must come when the power 
of the native, as an economic agent and producer in the 
mixed colonial society, must fail. This occurred in 1661 
and 1662, when all the New England colonies ceased to 
receive wampum as a lawful currency. 

Survival of Wampum. 

This action did not drive it out of circulation. It had a 
quad legal foundation long after .^ In 1 666 * Connecticut grants 

' Col. Rec. Coun., 1649, p. 546. 

*See previous portion of this monograph. 

' Rhode Island recognizes it in Statutes, 

At six per pen. 1655, R. I. C. R., I., 308. 

" eight " 1658, for court fees, I., 400. 

" six " 1659, " " 1., 412. 

" sixteen " 1670, " fines, II., 297. 

In 1669 Long Island Indians paid Ninigret five pounds tribute in peage 
at six a penny. Ibid., II., 270. 
*Col. Rec, Ck)nn., 1666, p. 52. 


30 Indian Money as a Factxyi' in [410 

" to Norridge 50 fathom of Wompom or the effects thereof/' 
According to the reports of a renegade white, Philip^ failed 
in some of his projected arrangements for ammunition in his 
great campaign, because New England money would not pass 
with the French as readily as wampum or beaver. New York 
continued the beads in circulation longer than the regular use 
prevailed in New England. In 1693 they were recognized 
in the definite rates of the Brooklyn ferry .^ They continued 
to be circulated in the more remote districts of New England 
through the century, and even into the beginning of the 
eighteenth. Madame Knight found " Wampom^ viz., Indian 
beads which serves for change," classed as money in Connec- 
ticut in 1704.* She notes definitely that it was current with 
silver, and was not in the class of "country pay," which 
included provisions and other produce.* 

Results of the Use and Disuse of Wampum. 

The use and disuse of wampum indicated in these pages 
shows that: (1.) There was an intimate intercourse of white 
and red men in colonial life during half a century, which 
largely increased the resources of the new community. (2.) 

» Nart. a., VI, 382-167. R. Wms. to Gov. Leverett. 

* " In 1693, the ferriage of each single person from New York to Brook- 
lyn was eight stivers in wampum, or a silver two pence. Further than this 
we are unable to trace, though we have good reason to believe that it cir- 
culated to a limited extent, for sometime thereafter." Woodward, Wam- 
pum, p. 58. 

^ Journey Ed., 1865, p. 56. 

*"Kalm saw it among the Hurons and also below Quebec in 1748. So 
slow, in fact, were the red men to relinquish this currency, that wampum 
continued to be fabricated until within fifty years in several towns of New 
York State (chiefly at Babylon, L. I.) to meet the demand for it by western 
fur-traders." Am. Nat., XVII, 476. 

^ Am. Nat., XVII, 475. In 1673, when the true wampum had become 
very scarce, owing to the hoarding of it by the Indians and its disposal to 
remote tribes, ''the Dutch council, therefore, issued an edict advancing its 
legal value twenty-five per cent." 

411] New England Cwilizaiion. 31 

After the commercial, industrial, or purely economic element 
in this life had worked itself out, there was little wholesome 
or prosperous intercourse between the two races. (3.) The 
efforts of the colonists to turn the natives to another civil and 
religious system, to tear them out of aboriginal life and plunge 
them into the Hebrew-European living of the new comers, — 
to civilize them into copper-colored Puritans — failed, and 
from the nature of the case must have failed. 

The first proposition proves itself in the facts, we have 
already seen. The second is suiBciently apparent in the 
decay of the great aboriginal trade which culminated about 
1645 in the declining export of beaver and aboriginal prod- 
ucts, in the growing export of the products of colonial agri- 
culture and industry. These are the homely economical fea- 
tures of the life of the time. There are some larger linea- 
ments of humanity, which the history of the epoch tortures 
into tragedy, and stains with blood, shed by infamous 
treachery. We may only allude to the peaceful life aud 
death of Canonicus of Narragansett, of Chickatauout of the 
Massachusetts, and of Totanimo of Connecticut, contrasted 
with the melancholy end of Miantonomo and the tragic death 
of Philip, to illustrate the good and the ill of that momen- 
tous contact of races on New England soil. Philip met 
death after a manly struggle, which any Aryan or Indian 
might be proud to have made. But no descendant of Bayard 
or Sydney, and especially no Rhode Islander can read the 
story of Miantonomo,^ without that tingling of the blood 
which sends pain through his fingers, and that melting in his 
eyes which sends a thrill to his heart. Winthrop found a 

* " In all his answers he (Miantonomo) was very deliberate and showed 
good understanding in the principles of justice and equity, and ingenuity 
withal. He demanded that his accusers might be brought." Winthrop, 
II., 80. "None has been so painful in the whole progress of my labours, 
as this which relates to the treatment of Miantunnomoh by our fathers. 
Such a case of perfidy, or cruelty, or both, it is impossible to pass without 
animadversion." Mr. Savage's note. Winthrop, U., 133. 

32 Indian Money as a Factor in (^412 

man in the noble savage, and his candid editor, after the 
softened life of two centuries, calmly admits and regrets that 
fierce treachery, which animated the New England men in 
this horrid aflkir. These astute men of the United Colonies, 
more cunning than Uncas, sacrificed the friendly Miantonomo 
for the good of the State, as they conceived it. Yet it was 
not that larger necessity which has sometimes forced leaders 
to do an immediate wrong for the ultimate good of the whole. 
They killed the native Prince in a theologico-political delu- 
sion, in a hunt after the heterodoxy of Gorton at Warwick. 
It was not even a direct punishment of heresy. It was, as 
Mr. Savage^ suggests/ the slaughter of an innocent man of 
another race and different religion, because he had dared to 
befriend the believers in an anti-Puritan dogma. The sad 
death of Miantonomo was comparatively early in the mixed 
aboriginal and colonial life we have been treating. But the , 
principle which animated it, belongs to the essence of our 
main proposition. If Miantonomo had been false, if the 
Commissioners at Hartford had been more humane, if Philip^ 

» Winthrop, II., 134, ed. 1826. 

• It adds little to the magnificent work of Dr. Palfrey to say that his con- 
clusions, in his statement of native and colonial conflicts, are on the whole 
well-grounded. But his view of Philip is hardly consistent with itself. He 
describes him " with a strenuous purpose, a capacity for political combina- 
tion, and an aptness for influencing the action of men, such as belong to 
minds of a high class, he slowly matured a conspiracy," &c. &c. (III., 222). 
This is all that one would claim for him now, and it is all that he could 
have been, if the present writer's view of the two civilizations be correct. 
In combating Hubbard and the later writers, he rates Philip too low politi- 
cally. The inconsistent details in Palfrey's picture proceed from the tacit 
assumption that the native ought to have been a better convert to the 
colonial system of living, of civil government, and of worship. He admits 
" it were to be wished that the Colonists had borne their superiority with 
more meekness." (HI., 218, note). But this in the small type of the notes. 
The humane side of the story is written small while the political necessity 
is in the larger expression of the text. And he says, "He (the Indian) was 
not ready, it is true, to be transformed from a hunter into a herdsman.'* 
(III., 140). I presume he means an agricultural herdsman. That is 

413] New England OivilizoMon. 33 

had been less bold and sagacious, the final result would not 
have been different substantially. " Canonicus, the old high 
Sachim of the Narragansett Bay, (a wise and peaceable 
Prince) often repeat^ this word Wunnaunewayedn, English- 
man/^ " If the Englishman speaks true, if hee means truly, 
then shall I goe to my grave in peace, and hope that the 
English and my posteritie shall live in love and peace to- 
gether," ^ says Roger Williams. 

C0NFI.1CT OF Eace. 

It was not a matter of morals, as this gentle natured son of 
the forest fancied. Good intentions mitigate, but they cannot 
avert the inevitable conflict between races in different stages 
of civilization. While the conflict was in abeyance, the better 
individuals of both races tried to keep the peace and to main- 
tain the best concord possible. On the one side was a rude 
system of justice administered through the courts by due 
process of law ; on the other, private war and the blood feud 
were not only allowed by the totem system, but they rested 

always true, for there is no instance where a tribe has passed from hunting 
and savagery to quiet agriculture. We have succeeded most imperfectly 
in attempting this with Indians, in territories whose grazing lands are to 
those of early Massachusetts ns a sloop-s main sail is to a pocket handker- 
chief. When the conflict was gathering, Philip plotted, dissembled, gained 
time, lied even worse than the Hartford Commissioners did in 1643. How, 
otherwise, could a good savage have conducted the war ? Ulysses would 
have blamed him, if he had gone into Plymouth and told Winslow that 
he should attack him on a certain day. Because Philip was dirty, the 
Massachusetts historian dislikes him. Probably some of the dirt reported 
clinging to Philip was metaphorical : in any event it did not neutralize his 
rights as a man. Whether the Creator of men made them all free and 
equal or no, it is certain that he did not create them clean. Cleanliness is 
a thing of slow growth and painful administration. Let us treat the 
savage according to his own ideal, and not constrain him to some Impossi- 
ble standard, derived from weak parts of all the races who have dealt with 

*R. W., Key, p. 64, R. I. H. C. 


34 Indian Money as a Fo/ctor in £414 

on each individual native as a solemn duty. We forget that 
bloody crimes caused by these hereditary and structural differ- 
ences of government, could not be atoned for by any process 
satisfactory to both parties. Negotiations, alliances, treaties, 
so called, were only paltry expedients to bridge over a con- 
stantly widening gap between the two systems.^ If the bar- 
barian could have ignored the vices of his Puritan neighbor, 
and could have adopted his virtues only, all might have gone 
well, and the blood of the American might have commingled 
with the Aryan stream. But generally the worst Indians 
and the worst colonists dwelt together, then fought themT 
selves apart, and the power of each community was gradually 
enlisted, until the weaker was exterminated. When the nar- 
rowing land contracted so much that the rude hoe could not 
keep pace with the incoming plow of the agriculturist, the 
end came. 

There was an absolute and actual conflict, not of good and 
bad men, not of will and the conduct of government, but of 
race, social structure, and of hereditary civilization. And I 
use civilization in a large sense including the system devel- 
oped among the natives of New England ; the native Narra- 
gansett way of living was as far above that of the dirt-eating 
Indians, as the Homeric Greeks excelled the Thracians. The 
stately historian of New England^ is right, beyond a doubt, 
when he says that no sentimental admiration of Philip or the 
splendid Canonchet, should warp our judgment of the mighty- 
issues of this time. Then, as always, the grand features of 
the contest were not in the heroes, not in the exponents like 
Sachem Philip, or Church, or Winslow. The essential con- 

* In July, 1673, the court ordered that the Indians, especially young men, 
running in debt to the English for necessary articles, should be compelled 
to work it out at reasonable rates (12d. per day), "if they have not else to 
discharge their just debts." Baylies' Plym., II., 106. 

.*Hi8 picture of the infant community in its "general appearance of 
security, prosperity, sobriety, good order, and content," (III., 137) is true 
historically, as it is complete rhetorically. 

415] New England Civilization^ 35 

stituents, the permanent symbols of history, were in the social 
system of Winthrop and Bradford contending with the inferior 
system of Lenape and Mohawk. The Puritans were uncer- 
tain in interpreting the weird light of their exclusive provi- 
dence. Its flashes lighted them darkly. They groped 
mainly in painful darkness, as we stumble through the shin- 
ing circles of the electric lamp into darkness made deeper 
by its glow. ' But be assured they made no mistake in their 
main course and direction. The issue was civil government 
or savagery, and the Puritans won it. Roger Williams and 
the Quaker Coddington created a wonderful outgrowth in 
Rhode Island. This " lively experiment " had results reach- 
ing beyond the wildest dreams of its founders. But New 
England could not have been constructed entirely by Wil- 
liamses and Quakers. There was a great force existing here, 
in the might of the native races; it must be met by the 
counter-force of law and organic government. The gentle- 
natured Williams — lovely man but pugnacious citizen — ^and 
the Quakers, with their vine-like love, clung to the strong 
natives, when thrust out. from Massachusetts by the fierce- 
administration of the Bay, just as the ivy clings to the oak. 
We shall believe that this love can overcome the tomahawk 
and firelock, when we see the lamb prevail over the lion. 
And yet God made them both. 

Modern writers either censure our forefathers severely, or 
say vaguely that there were two sides to the question. True, 
but unfortunately the Indian's was the losing side always. 
The more solid justice he carried into a quarrel, the more 
powder and shot, organized military and accumulated social 
force, was poured into the scale to overcome him. Justice, 
there was none. The red and white man differed so essen- 
tially that one must kick the beam. There was no standard 
of balance between the two races. The sentiment of Chris- 
tianity has never solved this terrible problem of race when 
government and public interest have been involved. When 
alien races meet, there must be either the serene justice of 

36 Indian Money as a Factor in [416 

superiors, like the Romans blind alike to love and to revenge, 
or the mild, endogenous love of the Quakers, yielding, but 
supported by another's strength. There is no middle ground 
of mixed native and cultivated forces in the history of civili- 
zation. We could not reach the results of this economical 
discussion without touching upon the greater issues which 
underlay the mere trade and intercourse of the time. The 
passions which inspire trade are not the largest, but they are 
the most certain and continuous in human historv. 

Indian Land Sales. 

Nothing, perhaps, has befogged American moralists more 
than Indian land sales. Land is worth so much in all solid 
social systems that every age overrates the value of barbaric 
uncultivated territory. We forget that the value of every 
soil is in the atmosphere of intelligence, industry, and virtue 
diffused over it, by resolute and patient citizens. We fight 
for land, then give it away to settlers, railways, manufact- 
urers, anyone, who can and will bring in civilization. Were 
the lands of the Narragansetts and of the Iroquois worth 
more than those controlled by the imperial governments of 
England, the United States and France to-day ? Yet these 
powers freely part with land for a slight consideration, and 
the first colonists almost always lose their ready capital. 
Those who criticize the colonists for their land transactions 
with the Indians, in that they purchased it for beads and 
other articles of trifling value in the eyes of critics, haj:dly 
comprehend the time we are studying. Moreover, they have 
slight knowledge of the power of a currency at any time, or 
of that force, inherent in the market which compels the move- 
ment of property, beyond the control of legislation or treaties. 
Land was abundant^ and beads were scarce; coats and gun- 

* "He generally retained his rights of hunting and fishing, and in these 
consisted the whole value which most of his land had to him hefore he 
received pay for it." Palfrey, III., 138. 

417] New Efogland OivUizcUion. 37 

powder were scarcer yet. To apply the ethics of other systems 
of living to these transactions is even more silly than the 
foolishness of the Indians themselves. The man who paid 
ten shillings for a beaver cap in London was foolish in the 
eyes of him who wore a knit cap worth one shilling. The 
furs became more abundant and he got his cap for five 
shillings. All the colonial trade changes its character in 
consequence of this fall in the value of beaver. We might 
say, with as much truth, that the London citizen whenever he 
bought a cap, cheated a poor Indian out of half its value. 

Land titles vary with the social power which occasions 
them. Boston peninsula was worth so little to the settlers, 
that they never troubled Chickataubut,^ the native suzerain 
to make a deed of it, though he never objected to the occupa- 
tion. Half a century later in 1685, when Dudley and 
Audros were shaking the political foundations of the colony, 
then the citizens thought of the original owners of the soil. 
They resorted to the living representative of Chickataubut, 
his grandson Charles Josias, obtaining a deed, which they 
recorded giavely in 1708, that it might become a corner stone 
of Suffolk County. This historic evolution is an epitome of 
the changing process through which Indian lands passed. It 
was not the soil, it was the things on the soil, which trans- 
muted shell beads into gold. 

Purchase of Newport and Khode Island. 

Aquidneck, now lighted by the brilliant villas of New- 
port, was conveyed in more legitimate and continuous fashion. 
The " liberty of conscience ^^ men outlawed from Massachu- 
setts, were forced to plant their homes on the most stable 
political foundation attainable. They extinguished the native 
titles to the land formally, and it was a curious process re- 
vealing the shading and intersecting lines of Indian owner- 

»Mem. His. Bos. (EUis) I., 249. 

38 Indian Money as a Fojdcr in [418 

ship. Coddington testified in 1677/ that in 1636/7 he went 
to the local Sachem, Wonnumetonomey, to buy the island. 
"His answer was that Canonicus and Miantonomy were the 
Chief sachems, and he could not sell the lands ; whereupon 
this deponent with some others went from Aquidneck Island 
into the Narragansett, and bought the Island of them/' 
Canonicus* with a bow and arrow, Miantonpmo with an 
arrow signed the deed, March 24, 1636/7, Roger Williams, 
Kandall Holden, Mishammoh, son of Canonicus, witnessing 
by marks. The consideration Avas forty fathoms of white 
beads to be equally divided between Canonicus and Mian- 
tonomo. And a further item " that by giveinge by Miantu- 
nomus' (hand) ten coates and twenty howes to the present 
inhabitants, they shall remove themselves off the Island 
before next winter/' In 1638,* Wanamataunewit witnesseth 
that he has " received five fathom of wampum and doe con- 
sent to the contents." 6th fifth month, 1638, Ousamequin* 
or Massasoit, the Wampanoag or Pokanoket Sachem of 
Mount Hope, freely consents that "Coddington and his 
friends united shall make use of any grasse or trees on yee 
Maine land on Powakasick side, and doe promise loveinge 
and just carriage of myselfe and all my men to the said Mr. 
Coddington and English his friends united to him, havinge 
received five fathom of wampum as gratuity." All this was 
by the advice of Williams, who directed them to propitiate 
all the Indians by every means. We remark that the native 
prince sells loving carriage and justice for five fathom of 
beads. May 11, 1639, Miantunnomu* receipts for "tenn 
fathom of wampum peage and one broad cloth coate (as a 
gratuity) for my paines and travell in removeing of the 

^E.I.Col.R, I., 51. 
«R. I. Col. Rec, I., 46. 
Hbid., p.47. 
*KI. Col. Rec, L, 46. 
»R. I. Col. Rec, I., p. 48. 

419] New Efngland Civilization. 39 

natives off the Island of Aquednecke." Three days later 
Weshaganesett receives five fathom and a coate " in full satis- 
faction for ground broken up or any other title or clainje." 
Wanimenatoni with the symbol of a snake, inasmuch as he 
had received previous payments, releases the same claims for 
five fathoms without any coat. Then it seems that the 
princely word of Canonicus and of Miantonomo, to free the 
land of the actual inhabitants for 10 coats and 20 hoes did 
not hold out. For although Miantonomo had received in 
May an additional ten fathoms and a fine coat for his paines, 
he acknowledges, May 22, 1639, the receipt of 23 coats 
instead of the 10 contracted for, 13 hoes instead of the origi- 
nal 20 to distribute. These transactions complete the trans- 
fer of the fair island of Rhode Island. Theorists like Henry 
George, complaining of modern capitalists and landlords, of 
the much to a few and the little to the many in these later 
times, sighing for a return to primitive nature, may take 
heart. These princely native landowners seem to have given 
little to actual cultivators and occupants, and to have grasped 
seigniorage and brokerage with equal ^reed. Times are 
changed, and the white broker ha^ somewhat improved upon 
his red prototype, for he makes but one contract, and gener- 
ally sticks to it faithfully, if the principal survives to receive 
his share. 

Indian Polity. 

This land, this districted portion of the earth's surface was 
the foundation of a rude polity, which was breaking down 
and yielding gradually under the pressure of New England 
society. Much sympathy has been expended upon the native 
inhabitant; not so much intelligence has been applied to 
investigate fairly his system of living. We have looked 
backward, from our system to his, while we should have 
divested ourselves of prejudices inbred with civilization. We 
should try to view the barbaric social system, as it looked 
before the more complex societies, which we call civilized, 

40 Indian Money as a Factor in [42 

existed. We are beginning to look into institutions fro 
this point of view, to trace the wonderful development o 
custom into law, to respect that slow growth of usage, which 
forms social organisms. How could the Puritan conceive of 
this intellectual largeness of the social eye, nay, how could he 
act on a large charity begotten of its discoveries? He re- 
garded each concrete act of importance, as directly inspired 
by God or the Devil. 

The Indian's system was so deficient in the large organs 
and functions, which we now think essential in a state that the 
wonder is, it accomplished so much.^ The French observers, 
not likely to over-rate any system not their own, compared 
that of the Iroquois to the organism of a watch, in the nice 
adjustments of its parts to the ordered movement of the 
whole.* While they condemned justly the barbaric system of 
punishing crime through one's relatives and friends, instead 
of through the guilty criminal, yet they admitted that bad 
crimes were not so common as they were under the splendid 
imperialism of France. 

Wampum marks the passage of ideas into symbols. The belt 
is arrested literature, a crude germ of that ultimate statement 
of ideas and abstractions, which evolve in the matured imag- 
ination and instructed intelligence of civilized man. The 
regulated custom of a tribe is the foreshadowing of future law 
and formulated justice. But the illuminated wampum stops 
far short of the abstractions conveyed in letters, written 
words, logical thoughts. So the organism of tribal law and 
justice stops before it achieves a thoroughly social abstraction, 
before it subjects the individual to the whole of society. Per- 
sons stand for formulated ideas of social justice ; personal ven- 
geance must atone for personal wrong. Revenge,^ the claim- 

* Parkman, Jesuits in North America, p. Ixviii. 

•Parkman, Jesuits in North America, p. Ix. 

' "Among the Iroquis and other Indian tribes generally, the obligation 
to avenge the murder of a kinsman was universally recognized." Morgan 
Anc. Society, p. 77. 

New England Civilization. 41 

^ng back something for wrongs suffered, underlies the 
\)arbaric idea of justice. A child learns directly or by 
Tieredity the motive, " I give you this for love." The sav- 
8^ child says, " I give this fruit for that sugar, this blow 
for that taunt." This direct responsibility, instant revenge 
for immediate wrong, liability of person to person was the 
main forming principle of savage communities. There were 
rude, political, religious, and social obligations, consolidated 
into tribal government, but underlying these was this earlier 
and more ' imperative scheme of accountability. It worked 
itself out in a clan organization within the tribes. 

The Totem System. 

The Iroquois confederacy^ was originally in five tribes: 
Mohawks, Onondagas, etc., and in eight clans. Wolf, Tortoise, 
etc. A Mohawk Wolf might marry an Oneida Tortoise, 
or a Mohawk Tortoise, but he could not marry one of his own 
clan. These clans were not equal ; three excelled in rank so 
much that the traces of the lower ones are almost lost. Each 
was known by its totem mark, tortoise, etc., often tatooed on 
the skin. The members^ could elect or depose a sachem or 
chief; could not marry within their own totem] could inherit 
property mutually ; must help and defend each other, redress 
and avenge wrong; could give names' to members; could 
adopt strangers ; and had other privileges and duties. This 
totem system was one of the very oldest human institutions. 

* Parkman^ Jesuits ia North America, p. IV. 

* Morgan, Anc. Society, p. 71. 

'This conferring of names had much significance in savagery, where a 
man carried his record with him. The personal name of John, borne by a 
Smith or Brown, indicates no connection with other Smiths. Indian per- 
sonal names frequently indicated the clan or totem of the individual, i, 6., 
some boy-names of the Omaha totem "Pigeon Hawk" were "Ix)ng Wing," 
" Hawk balancing itself in the air," " White Eyed Bird." See Morgan, 
Anc. Society, p. 78. 

42 Indian Money as a Factor in [422 

historic or prehistoric. It^ has been found in all parts of the 
world, marking the passage of the lowest tribes into a higher 
barbaric state. It differed from all other kinds of organiza- 
tion, and it was a grouping force of tremendous power. It 
was founded in kinship, but it adopted and, as it never in- 
termarried, it gave the extension of adoption to the force 
of blood and kin. It built up and consolidated barbaric 
society;^ it was fitted to rend and destroy the better parts 
of civilized communities. The New England tribes^ were 
not as highly developed as those master barbarians the 
Iroquois, but they had the same kind of totemic sys- 

'"Their most distinct characteristics are, that they mark their bodies 
with some common mark or totem, and that the members of the same group 
never intermarry ; and thus they resembled a Sex rather than any other 
combination of human beings now familiar to us." Maine, Early Laws aud 
Customs, p. 286. 

*" Besides their generall subjection to the highest Sachems, to whom 
they carry presents. They have also particular Protectors under Sachems, 
to whom they also carry presents, and upon any injury received, and com- 
plaint made, these Protectors will revenge it." E. Wms., Key, p. 121, ed. 

' Morgan, Anc. Society, p. 173. " Since the Mohegans are organized into 
gentes (clans), there is a presumption that the Pequots, Narragansetts, and 
other minor tribes were not only similarly organized, but had the same 
gentes. The Mohegans have the same three with the Delawares, the Wolf 
(totem), the Turtle, and the Turkey, each of which is composed of a num- 
ber of gentes. Descent is in the female line, intermarriage in the gens is 
forbidden, and the office of sachem is hereditary in the gens, the office pass- 
ing either from brother to brother, or from uncle to nephew. Among the 
Pequots and Narragansetts, descent was in the female line." Schoolcrafl 
terms Morgan's gens a " totemic system." 

*The self-ruling qualities in Indian Society have impressed all observers. 
"An Indian tribe is a singular homogeneous body — ^socially not politi- 
cally — and if not disturbed by the intrusion of alien and discordant ele- 
ments, is susceptible of being governed and controlled with the greatest 
ease and effect. The public sentiment of an Indian community is abso- 
lutely conclusive upon all the members of it." F. A. Walker, then Indian 
Com., N. A. Rev., CXVI., 366. 

423] New Ungland CivUization. 43 

The Puritan System and the Conflict. 

The Puritans, if we consider their ecclesiastiGal system to 
be a part of their civil code, which it was in practice, had the 
most elaborate civic society then prevailing. It was the 
resultant of Teutonic representation, Judaism, Feudalism and 
Roman law, all combined. This complex octopus spread its 
arms about the totem of the poor native, tortured him for half 
a century, and finally crushed him. Mark that many of the 
acts and customs we ascribe to Indian treachery, or to their 
tribal and rude national politics, grew out of this peculiar 
social organism. The object of civil law is to make me tes- 
tify against my own brother, in behalf of the state ; the object 
of protection under a barbaric toteniy is to prevent the state or 
any other power from injuring one of us. The intercourse 
of the two races began with the best traits, the most charita- 
ble virtues of either. No community has enough of these for 
every day life; the supply fails and law reinforces love. 
This intercourse ended in the vices and worst passions of 
both Indian and European. It could not have been other- 
wise, but it is instructive to study the process by which the 
two races tried to abide together. 

The New England savage was a man of the woods, the 
Puritans would have made him into a peasant, a man of the 
fields ; they did not contemplate in him a citizen, a represen- 
tative man of the state. This possibility was beyond their 
ken ; this common privilege of citizenship, the slow develop- 
ment of later time, was even beyond the reach of the lower 
members of their own race. At best, the contact of the two 
races was a vexed and vexatious question. We must con- 
sider the efforts of the New England men, toward a solution, 
in the light of their own century, and give them credit for an 
honest effort to make a better man out of the Indian. This 
effort was made within the narrow limits of their own con- 
sciousness, under inevitable conditions, which this century 
recognizes as the conditions of opposing social systems. The 

44 Indian Money as a Fador in [424 

savages were indeed children of a larger growth. Their 
remarkable patience, stolid endurance under torture, was a 
factitious virtue, bred out of manners, not out of morals. 
They had little of what we call moral restraint.^ Their wills 
moved within certain inflexible limits of custom, but it was 
will nevertheless. Passionate in aflection, their own children 
ruled them. Williams asks for a drink of water,^ his host 
directs his son eight years old to bring it. The boy refuses, 
and Williams delivers a moral lecture on the duties of parents 
and children ; the Indian takes a stick to flog the boy into 
obedience, the boy another to fight it out. The father suflfers 
more than the child in this effort to bring manners to a for- 
eign standard of morals. With this defective moral culture, 
the Indians were thrown into a complex legal system devised 
to keep a few rascals from hindering the easy practice of vir- 
tue among the better people, the great majority of the 
colonial community. The whole legal procedure was a 
dreaded constraint. The patriarchal judgment of Mian- 
tonomo,^ sitting at the gate metaphorically, was better in 
native eyes than the best rendering of statute* and precedent 
by Winthrop and Bradford. The Indians were tempted in 
every way; the virtue of the Europeans was not their virtue, 
the white rascals were preying on them always, while red 
men were punished for crimes which hardly differed in their 
eyes from the petty virtues of the whites. Then there was 
the overwhelming tendency toward injustice to the Indian I 
have indicated already. For example, Plymouth* fines 40s. 
and condemns to the stocks a cunning citizen of Rehoboth 
" for goeing into an Indian house, and taking away an Indian 
child and som goods, in lue of a debt." There is a muddle 

' Parkman, Jesuits in North America, p. Ixxviii. 
*R. Wms., Key, p. 45. 

^R. I. C. R., I., 107. R. I. tried to meet this, by giving Miantonomo 
power to " see the Tryal " in matters involving over ten fathoms. 
*See R. I. C. R., II., 362, in 1670. 
*Col. Rec., IIL, 74. 

425] New England Civilization. 45 

of barbarism and the forms of civilization; debt lawfully 
incurred, says Pecksniff; child-ravishing and plunder, says 
every man in any age. How many such wrongs went un- 
punished; how many similar, but not indictable offences 
rankled in the Wampanoag and Narragansett bosom, when 
they stood at bay in the Swamp fight ? Wherever there was 
a difference between man and man, it was against the native. 
Rhode Island enacted in 1666,^ that no Indian should keep a 
hog with cut marks in his ears; nor could any one sell a 
sheep, swine or other skin, without the ears, under severe 
penalties. Thet inference was plain that Indians would steal 
pigs, if they could, and the colonists thus prevented their 
availing of the opportunity. But what a condition for the 
race, once haughty and proprietary, now dropping into sub- 
jection after 30 years of joint occupancy. The pressure of the 
superior race was constant and cumulating. In 1664 Ply- 
mouth fines five Indians 20s. each for misdemeanors; in 1665 
five Indians owe £5; in 1668 £25 is brought forward as 
" remain es of the forty pound from the Indians."^ They 
were condemned by the Greneral Court to work out debts at 
12d. per day. Statistics prove nothing directly, but they 
indicate the facts which go to the proof. In seven years 
from 1661-68, at Plymouth there are fifteen prosecutions 
against Indians for trespass and stealing, while there were 
only three prosecutions against whites for trespass on the 
Indians. These dates are all in the crucial time, when the 
aboriginal mind was seething and inflaming itself for the 
final revolt. Nevertheless the colonists tried with all their 
might to work out the problem according to their own ideas 
of justice and fairness.* 

» K. I. C. E., II., 172. 

'Plymouth Col. Eec, VIII., Ill, 113, 124. 

' Khode Island voted in 1673 to try an Indian for murder, by a jury of 
six Englishmen and six Indians, and that Indian testimony should be 
received. I do not find that the experiment was repeated. E. I. C. E., 
II., 509. 

46 Indian Money as a Factor in [42& 

Behind all these civil processes, a dark institution older by 
centuries, loomed up and perplexed the councils of the jurists. 
The blood feud and vendetta meant treachery and vengeance 
to the ecclesiastical lawyer of Massachusetts, but to an out- 
raged Indian it meant swift and certain justice. Citations 
from Samuel and all the Jewish law-givers would not con- 
vince a burly brave that he should not avenge his wounded 
honor, whenever he could, upon any individual of these 
powerful interlopers. A man bearing a hatchet in his head^ 
and sorrow in his heart would not reason long in texts from 
the word of the Lord, when he met an enemy in the dark, or 
surprised him asleep in a lonely homestead. The colonists 
tried to soothe the pride of the natives by carrying the prin- 
ciple of the honor-price into their statutes.^ Torts ^ went 
back to their original source to satisfy the crude justice of the 
aboriginal mind. 

The Eeligious Conflict. 

We have sketched the economic and civil phases of abori- 
ginal-colonial life, and it is not too satisfactory, either to 

1 O^Callaghan, Doc'y. Col. N. Y., VII., 44. 

'As early as 1645, certain persons are fined by the men of Plymouth one- 
half bushel of com " for aflfray with Vssamaquine and men." Plym. Col. 
Eec, II., 89. "1664. It appearing that Nathaniel York did strike 
*Obediah, the Indian, several stripes, he is satisfied from him by hcdf a 
bushel of comi and his fine is left to the town^s determination." Thompson, 
Long Island, I., 314. And in Plym. Col. Rec.,V., p. 31. 1669, one Mathews 
is " fined for beating Indian Ned, the King's peace 38. 4d. for abuse said 
Indian, and his charges Mathews ordered to pay him 14s." Mark the dif- 
ference in the nature of the two fines, one is to vindicate the State in an 
ordinary civil offence, the other is strictly an honor-price awarded to the 
Indian to recompense him for his personal injury. p 

^"If therefore the criterion of a delictf wrong, or tortj be that the person 
who suffers it, and not the State, is conceived to be wronged, it may be 
asserted that in the infancy of jurisprudence the citizen depends for protec- 
tion against violence or fraud not on the Law of Crime, but on the Law of 
Tort." Maine, Ancient Law, p. 369. 

427] New England CwUizaJtUm. 47 

the seventeenth centnry or to the nineteenth. The religious 
phase of this life was worse. Perhaps no change in the mental 
atmosphere of the two centuries is relatively so great as the 
alteration in our purely religious consciousness. Philosophers 
and theologians then regarded a barbaric religion as a mum- 
merj'- or an abomination. Few intelligent persons now would 
look upon the rudest man in any sincere act of worship, 
without a feeling of awe and respect. In 1646/ the Massa- 
chusetts by a positive act, forbid the natives to worship their 
false gods, i. e., the Puritan Devil. They laid severe penal- 
ties against blasphemy, defining it to be the denial of their 
god, Jehovah. It is true while wampum was current and 
land abundant that the practically minded sachems would 
not regard these restrictions as vital. All people have a way 
of keeping their religions in abeyance, while pushing for the 
main chance ; but none the less the inbred beliefs of centuries 
abide, and do their work in the fulness of time. Human 
desires represented in trade are common, prevalent like shoal 
water; the desires of the soul are deep and living springs, 
revealing themselves when the surface ponds are dry. When 
proprietary possession waned, when barbaric commodities were 
superseded by civilized thrift, when sons and cousins toiled 
in enforced servitude, when, in 1660 to 1670, the ancestral 
money ceased to command the market, then the Indian must 
have brooded over the wrongs done to his outraged faith. 
He had found that the garments^ of civilization did not 
always cover an honest heart; was the Jehovah of the 

* " No Indian shall at any time paw waw, or pforme outward worship to 
their false gods, or y« devill." This was after minute provisions against 
blasphemy, defined as " obstinate deniing y« true God, or his creation or 
government of y« world." Col. Rec. Mass., II., 177. 

* Ganett, alias Wequascooke, complains to the Court of Connecticut, of " such 
men that weare hats and cloaths like Englishmen, but have dealt with us 
like wolves and bears." Col. Rec. Conn., 1667, p. 529. Coat-men was a 
common designation of the English among the Indians. 

48 Indian Matiey as a Fo/dbor in [428 

powder-horn surely a better god than the Great Spirit or 
Spirits^ of the clouds? 

The effort of John Eliot ^ is one of the noblest monuments 
of Christian faith and devotion in all history. Whatever 
came of it, however meagre the result, however poor a crea- 
ture was made in the praying Indian, the devotion and 
Christ-like trust of Eliot and his missionaries, was a mighty 
thing. The more sagacious colonists doubted the whole 
movement, but Eliot worked on and prayed. Whatever 
became of the poor native converts, he made New England 
better for all time. Eliot preached in the Indian tongue, 
but made his first prayer in English, not being familiar 
enough with the strange dialect to trust his emotions to it. 
A puzzled native who asked the apostle whether God would 
understand a prayer in the Indian dialect, penetrated deeper 
into the essence of things than he knew. The lips pray, but 

* History varies, as observers vary. Mr. Parkman, certainly the best 
individual authority says, (Jesuits in North America, Ixxvii), "The 
Indian belief, if developed, would have developed into a system of polythe- 
ism." A late writer, Mr. Doyle (Eng. Col's in Amer., p. 14), says, " The 
belief in one overruling spirit, and also in the personal existence of the 
various powers of nature, is established by a wide consensus of opinion." 

'After about thirty years trial of Eliot's experiment, Philip's war broke 
out. Then there were seven tolerably well-established, tolerably christian- 
ized villages of praying Indians. Seven others were in a crut^e way work- 
ing toward this standard. Some left the villages and took part with Philip, 
This occasioned a panic among the colonists and a wild prejudice against 
them all. After the war, the stated places for Indian Church settlements 
were reduced to four ; there were other temporary stations. There were 
ten stations in Plymouth Colony, ten at the Vineyard, five at Nantucket. 
In 1687, President Mather says there were in New England, six churches 
of baptized Indians. In 1698 there was reported at Natick a church of seven 
native men and three women with a native minister ordained by Eliot ; in 
the village were fifty-nine men, fifty-one women arid seventy children. 
Up to 1733, all the town officers were Indians. In 1792, there was only 
one Indian family. In 1846, the two hundredth anniversary of Eliot's first 
service, a girl of sixteen was the only known native descendant at Natick, 
other stations lasted a little longer, with life still more forlorn. Dr. Ellis' 
account, Mem. Hist. Boston, I., 271-74. 

429] New JEngland OiviMzaiion. 49 

the heart speaketh. The god of the Puritan consciousness 
sympathized little with the deities controlling Indian life, 
however earnest souls like Eliot and Williams might labor to 
negotiate an alliance of the two unseen powers. There is a 
tract/ " Christenings make not Christians/^ written by Wil- 
liams, long lost, and lately discovered in the British Museum. 
Though mainly a polemic against ritualism of all kinds, it is 
catholic, and throws light on the actual life of that time. It 
was written in 1645, just as Eliot's work began. It is plain 
that Williams, knowing more of native life and thought, fore- 
saw more clearly than the Massachusetts men, and especially 
the English Puritans, could see, the difficulties surrounding 
Indian regeneration, spiritual or temporal. The change* in 
his eyes must not only convert them in the technical sense, 
it must remodel the whole structure of the men and their 
race. It was in the golden days, after the Pequot war, while 
aboriginal-colonial intercourse was at the flood, while it was 
mutual and both parties benefitting thereby, that Miantonomo 
and the Connecticut sachem inclined toward the Christian 
way. Later on, in 1654, Ninigret and the Narragansett 

' '* They (the People of America) are intelligent, many very ingenuous, 
plain-hearted, inquisitive and prepared with many convictions." Under this 
caption, a discourse concerning the Indian's conversion, we find, ** For it is 
not a forme, nor the change of one forme into another, a finer and a finer, 
and yet more fine, that makes a man a convert, I mean such a convert as is 
acceptable to God in Jesus Christ. ..." Why, then, if this be eonversUm, 
and you have such a key of Languagej and such a dore of opportunity in the 
knowledge of the country and the inhabitants, why proceed you not ? . . . 
In matters of Earth, men will helpe to spell out each other, but in matters 
of Heaven (to which the soule is naturally so averse), how far are the eares 
of man hedged up from listening to all improper Language?" B. I. Hist. 
Tracts, No. 14, pp. 10, 13, 18. The whole tract is open minded and far in 
advance of the prevailing dogmas and prejudices of the time. 

* " The said Sachem, and the chief of his people, discoursed by them- 
selves of keeping the Englishman's day of worship, which I could easily 
have brought the country to, but that I was persuaded, and am, that God's 
way is first to tume a soule from its Idolls both of heart, worship and con- 
versation. . . ," B. Wms., Key, p. 117. 


50 Indian Money as a Fador in [430 

sachems begged Williams to intercede with the king in Eng- 
land, "that they might not be forced from their religion, and 
for not changing their religion, be invaded by war ; for they 
said they were daily visited with threatenings by Indians 
that came from about the Massachusetts, that if they would 
not pray they should be destroyed by war." ^ All successful 
"conversions" have been hastened by the temporal power. 
The sword of state was in the hands of men who prayed, 
traded, and fought — men of many affairs. Land was desirable 
and the Narragansetts held some of the best in the colonies. 
The Great Pettiquamscutt Purchase was made by Massachu- 
setts men in 1657, the Atherton purchases in 1659, all in 
that country. Ninigret feared the approaching Christian who 
prayed so often and struck so hard in the fight, and whose appe- 
tite for land knew no satiety. Probably the praying Indians 
were not the best native stock. The men who wore the old 
clothes that Eliot carried to Natick tied to his saddle crupper, 
were not the men to make a new nation or to save an old one. 
If we try to think so, certainly Philip and Ninigret thought 
otherwise. Sausamon, one of the converts, informed the 
colonists of the rising conspiracy and Philip^s men waylaid 
and killed him. When the revolt broke out, some of the pray- 
ing Indians took the war-path with their blood relatives; after 
the war, these poor savages halting between two ways, neither 
Christian nor barbarian, declined and dwindled into decay. 
This was the fate of those who adopted a mongrel Chris- 
tianity. The proud Xarragansetts mingled their blood with 
that of negro slaves, and the result was not better. The 
great Jesuit Missions in the North West, inspired by a pro- 
found spirit of devotion, worked with all the skill of that 
powerful Order, produced no permanent results. We have 
treated Narragansetts and Wampanoags mainly, for they 
were the chief tribes ; the principle was the same throughout 
all New England. The natives ceased to be fierce barbarians 
to become coarse dependents of an alien civilization. 

» R. W. to Gen. Ct., Mass. R. I. Col. Rec, I., 292. 

431] New England Civilization. 51 

The little shell bead with which we began is the symbol of 
the rise and fall of aboriginal-colonial life. Trade means to 
tread. With the wampum beads, red and white men trod 
along familiar paths in ways easy to both. Individual man 
met his neighbor, prompted by a common universal passion. 
Not for gain merely, do men strive so hard and endure so 
much in the intercourse of trade. Common desires draw men 
together in a commerce of love ; gold or wampum is a sym- 
bol of that love, which if not altogether pure is peaceable, and 
^ on the whole healthful. This kind of intercourse can serve 
only between man and man. When communities meet, sys- 
tems clash. Land settlement, the foundation of property; 
civil law, the instrument of social order ; religion, the out- 
ward form of the souFs being ; all combine to weave the com- 
plicated and involved tissues of national or race life. In the 
fulness of time, this providential product, this evolution of 
the centuries comes. It meets another and inferior system. 
The barbarian reels under the shock and his system crumbles 
into dust, which feeds the growth of a new and stronger race. 


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