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“ [77] April or May, A. D. 1630, there was a great design of the Indians, from the Narragansetts, and all round about us to the eastward in all parts, to cut off the English, which John Sagamore (who always loved the English) revealed to the inhabitants of this town.”

Such threats as these induced Mr. Cradock's men to build brick houses which would answer the uses of forts. For this reason, Charlestown this year “erected a small fort on the top of Town Hill;” the women helped the men to dig and build.

So destructive had been “the plague” (or yellow fever) that Mr. Higginson says, 1629: “The greatest Sagamores about us cannot make above three hundred men (warriors), and other less Sagamores have not above fifteen subjects, and others near about us but two.” Gov. Dudley, in 1631, says: “Upon the river Mistick is situated Sagamore John ; and upon the river Saugus, Sagamore James, his brother. Both these brothers command not above thirty or forty men, for aught I can learn.” We have it from Gov. Winthrop, that in 1633 Sagamores John and James, and most of their people, died of the small pox. Of the subjects of John, thirty were buried in one day by Mr. Maverick. The disease spread to Piscatoqua, where it proved mortal to all the Indians, except two or three.

Thus we learn that the region round Mystic River was “almost wholly deserted.” It became a dreaded region, and Indian superstition kept it so; for Johnson says, “The neighboring Indians did abandon those places for fear of death.” A writer of 1632 says the “peninsular,” meaning the space between Boston and Medford, “is full of Indians.” We apprehend that this statement needs qualification. Thus reduced and disheartened, it was not difficult for our Medford ancestors to govern them. Wisdom virtue, and valor have a natural right to govern. The strong characters of our fathers carried a magnetic influence to the Indian's heart. He saw that they had intelligence to plan, courage to persevere, and power to execute; and the natural consequence was submission. But it was not the rule of tyrants on the one hand, nor the subjection of slaves on the other: it was the friendly influence of Christian missionaries among heathen, for whose conversion they labored and prayed. Gov. Cradock writes to his agents here, “Above all, we pray you be careful there be none in our precincts permitted to do any ”

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