According to the custom of the Indians, Wamsutta, the eldest son of Massasoit, succeeded his father as grand sachem of the Wampanoags.

 

King Philip as Grand Sachem

King Philip as Grand Sachem

 

Almost his first act was to go to Plymouth, where he made some requests of the settlers. These were granted. Then he  asked for an English name, and was given the name of Alexander.

 

He was so much pleased with this name that he asked for an English name for his younger brother, Metacomet. The English gave him the name of Philip, by which name we have been calling him in our account of his life.

 

A few days later, ten armed men suddenly appeared at the place where Wamsutta and several of his followers were holding a feast, and arrested them all. Wamsutta was taken to Plymouth immediately, and charged with plotting with the Narragansetts against the English.

 

Being seized by force on their own grounds, and compelled to go to Plymouth to answer charges based on rumor, was a new, experience for the Wampanoags. It was very different from the friendly manner in which they had been treated formerly.

 

The English treated Wamsutta very well at Plymouth. They could prove nothing against him, and hence they soon let him go. On his way home he died.

 

As Wamsutta left no children, he was succeeded by his brother Philip. There was no ceremony of crowning, no procession, no speeches. In fact, there was no crown at all; nor was there any ceremony of any kind. The other Indians merely obeyed Philip just as they had formerly obeyed his father and his brother.

 

Philip and all the members of the Wampanoag tribe believed that Wamsutta’s death was due to poison which had been given him by the whites when he was at Plymouth. According to the belief and custom of the Indians, it was Philip’s duty to take vengeance on those who had caused his brother’s death.

 

Still, Philip made no attempt to injure the whites in any way. But the whites became suspicious, probably because they felt that they had done wrong; and very soon they summoned Philip to Plymouth to answer a charge of plotting against them.

 

Philip acted very honorably in the matter. Instead of hiding in the forest, as he might easily have done, he went to Plymouth. There he had a long talk with the whites. He denied that he had plotted against them. He showed them that it was against his own interests to have any trouble with them, and as proof of his good intentions toward them, he offered to leave his next younger brother with them as a hostage.

 

He agreed to continue the treaty that his father had made forty years before. He went further, and acknowledged himself to be a faithful subject of the King of England, and promised not to make war on any Indian tribe unless the English first gave their consent.

 

For several years Philip was grand sachem of the Wampanoags and kept this treaty with great faithfulness. During this time his duties were similar to those which his father had had, and his life was uneventful. He was consulted by the other sachems of the tribe, and his advice was generally followed by them.

Like his father, the good Massasoit, he was inclined to be conservative; that is, he did not like to change the established order of things. He was very much liked by the Indians, who felt that he tried to treat them all honestly and fairly.

 

He went to Plymouth very frequently, to visit the whites and to trade with them. And, likewise, the whites frequently came to Mount Hope to see him.

 

The relations between the whites and the Indians were such that it was perfectly safe for a white man to go anywhere among the Wampanoags unarmed. This is something that cannot be said of any other Indian tribe in the colonial days. The Indians, acting under orders from King Philip, treated the whites honestly and fairly. In fact, there was a feeling of great friendship between the whites and the Indians.

 

———————-

From: LEGENDS AND STORIES OF MARTHA’S VINEYARD, NANTUCKET AND BLOCK ISLAND – A New Release – PREORDER NOW!

http://abelapublishing.com/legends-and-stories-from-marthas-vineyard-nantucket-and-block-island_p31019862.htm

Cover - Legends and Stories from Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island

Cover – Legends and Stories from Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Block Island

Advertisements