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[398] of Massachusetts accepted the excuse, and im-
Chap. IX.}
mediately conferred the benefit which was due from civilization to the ignorant and passionate tribes; it reconciled the Pequods with their hereditary enemies, the Narragansetts. No longer at variance with a powerful neighbor, the Pequods again displayed their bit-
1636 July.
ter and imboldened hostility to the English by murdering Oldham, near Block Island. The outrage was punished by a sanguinary but ineffectual expedition. The warlike tribe was not overawed, but rather courted the alliance of its neighbors, the Narragansetts and the Mohegans, that a union and a general rising of the natives might sweep the hated intruders from the ancient hunting-grounds of the Indian race. The design could be frustrated by none but Roger Williams; and the exile, who had been the first to communicate to the governor of Massachusetts the news of the impending conspiracy, encountered the extremity of peril with magnanimous heroism. Having received letters from Vane and the council of Massachusetts, requesting his utmost and speediest endeavors to prevent the league, neither storms of wind nor high seas could detain the adventurous envoy. Shipping himself alone in a poor canoe, every moment at the hazard of his life, he hastened to the house of the sachem of the Narragansetts. The Pequod ambassadors, reeking with blood, were already there; and for three days and nights the business compelled him to lodge and mix with them; having cause every night to expect their knives at his throat. The Narragansetts were wavering; but Roger Williams succeeded in dissolving the formidable conspiracy. It was the most intrepid and most successful achievement in the whole Pequod war—an action as perilous in its execution

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