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[317] little negotiation, in which an Indian, who had been
Chap VIII.} 1621
carried away by Hunt, had learned English in England, and had, in an earlier expedition, returned to his native land, acted as an interpreter, Massasoit himself, the sachem of the tribe possessing the country north of Narragansett Bay, and between the rivers of Providence and Taunton, came to visit the Pil-
Mar 22.
grims, who, with their wives and children, now amounted to no more than fifty. The chieftain of a race as yet so new to the Pilgrims, was received with all the ceremonies which the condition of the colony permitted. A treaty of friendship was soon completed in few and unequivocal terms. The par ties promised to abstain from mutual injuries, and to deliver up offenders; the colonists were to receive assistance, if attacked; to render it, if Massasoit should be attacked unjustly. The treaty included the confederates of the sachem; it is the oldest act of diplomacy recorded in New England; it was concluded in a day, and, being founded on reciprocal interests, was sacredly kept for more than half a century. Massasoit desired the alliance, for the powerful Narragansetts were his enemies; his tribe, moreover, having become habituated to some English luxuries, were willing to establish a traffic; while the emigrants obtained peace, security, and the opportunity of a lucrative commerce.

An embassy from the little colony to their new ally,

performed, not with the pomp of modern missions, but through the forests and on foot, and received, not to the luxuries of courts, but to a share in the abstinence of savage life, confirmed the treaty of amity, and prepared the wav for a trade in furs. The marks of devastation from a former plague were visible

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