On March 22/April 1, 1621, Samoset and Squanto appeared in the little colony with three other Indians. They brought with them a few skins and some red herrings newly taken and dried to trade. They told the Pilgrims that the Great Leader, the Massasoit Ousamequin, was nearby with his brother, Quadequina, and about sixty men. They were able to arrange a meeting between Massasoit Ousamequin and the first governor of Plymouth Colony, John Carver.
Following introductory ceremonies, Carver and Massasoit Ousamequin agreed upon the terms of a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Pokanokets.
About an hour after noon on a fair, warm day on March 22/April 1, 1621, Samoset and Squanto appeared in the village of Plymouth with some skins and newly caught and dried herrings to trade. They told the colonists that Massasoit Ousamequin was nearby with his brother, Quadequina, and some of their men. About an hour later Massasoit Ousamequin came to the top of the hill with some sixty of his men. However, the Pilgrims were not willing to send their governor to meet them, and the Indians were unwilling to come to them. Squanto went again to Massasoit Ousamequin and brought back word that Massasoit Ousamequin wished to have trade and peace with them, asking the Pilgrims to send someone to parley with him.
Edward Winslow agreed to serve as diplomatic ambassador and went to Massasoit Ousamequin. The scene was described by Winslow in his Journal as follows:
“We sent to the King a payre of Knives, and a Copper Chayne, with a jewell at it. To Quadequina we sent likewise a Knife and a Jewell to hang in his eare, and withall a Pot of strong water, a good quantity of Bisket, and some butter, which were all accepted: our Messenger made a speech unto him, that King James saluted him with words of love and Peace, and did accept him as his Friend and Alie, and that our Governour desired to see him and to trucke with him, and to confirme a Peace with him, and his next neighbour: he liked well of the speech and heard it attentively, though the Interpreters did not well expresse it; after he had eaten and drunke himselfe, and given the rest to his company, he looked upon his messengers sword and armour which he had on, with intimation of his desire to buy it, but on the other side, our messenger shewed his unwillingness to part with it: In the end he left him in the custodie of Quadequina his brother, and came over the brooke, and some twentie men following him, leaving all their Bowes and Arrowes behind them. We kept six or seaven as hostages for our messenger.”
Peace Talks between the Pokanokets and the Pilgrims, - Massasoit Ousamequin and Govenor John Carver Captain Standish and William Brewster met Massasoit Ousamequin and his men at the brook with half a dozen musketeers, where they saluted him and he them. With Standish on one side of Massasoit Ousamequin and Brewster on the other, they escorted Massasoit Ousamequin to a house which was just being built. On the floor, the Pilgrims had placed a green rug and three or four cushions.
Winslow described Massasoit Ousamequin and his men as “...a very lustie man, in his best yeares, an able body, grave of countenance, and spare of speech: In his Attyre little or nothing differing from the rest of his followers, only a great Chaine of white bone Beades about his neck, and at it behind his necke, hangs a little bagg of Tobacco, which he dranke and gave us to drinke; his face was paynted with a sad [dark] red like murray, and oyled both head and face, that he looked greasily: All his followers were likewise, were in their faces, in part or in whole painted, some blacke, some red, some yellow, and some white, some with crosses and other Antick workes, some had skins on them, and some naked, all strong, tall, all men in appearance…”
Immediately, Governor Carver came to the house with drum and trumpet after him and a few musketeers. Governor Carver kissed the hand of Massasoit Ousamequin and he kissed Carver before they sat down.
Governor Carver called for some strong water, and made a toast to Massasoit Ousamequin. He drank deeply of the liquor which made him sweat. Then, Carver called for fresh meat, which Massasoit Ousamequin ate and shared with his followers. Later in the text, Winslow remembered additional details: “...one thing I forgot, the King had in his bosome hanging in a string, a great long knife, hee marvelled much at our Trumpet, and some of his men would sound it as well as they could…”
TERMS OF THE TREATY
Following the introductory ceremonies, Carver and Massasoit Ousamequin agreed upon the terms of a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Pokanokets. The treaty of mutual support they negotiated said in part:
1. That he nor any of his should do hurt to any of their people.
2. That if any of his did hurt any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
3. That if anything were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored; and they should do the like to his.
4. If any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; if any did war against them, he should aid them.
5. He should send to his neighbors confederates to certify them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise compromised in the conditions of peace.
6. That when their men came to them, they should leave their bows and arrows behind them.
7. That King James would esteem Massasoit (Ousamequin) as his friend and ally.
Winslow concluded his account of the treaty signing as follow: “Wee cannot yet conceive, but that he is willing to have peace with us, for they have seene our people sometimes alone two or three in the woods at worke and fowling, when as they offered them no harme as they might easily have done, and especially because hee hath a potent Adversary the Narowhiganseis , that are at warre with him, against whom hee thinkes wee may be some strength to him…”
When the treaty ceremonies were ended, a number of Indians remained behind as hostages while Governor Carver escorted Massasoit Ousamequin to the edge of the brook. The Pilgrims thought that Winslow would rejoin them as soon as the Great Leader was with his own people, but Squanto soon reappeared at the settlement to let them know that Quadequina was also coming to see them. It is interesting to note that Quadequina was so adamant that the English put away their guns, just like the Indians had done so with their bows and especially since the new peace treaty had just been agreed upon by both sides, that he would not sit down until they took their weapons to another building in compliance with the new peace treaty. When this last round of formalities was over, Quadequina returned to where the others were waiting, and Winslow was released.
The Eventual Signing of the Treaty of Mutual Protection
September 13th, 1621
After the departure of Massasoit Ousamequin, his brother, Quadaquina, and his men, Squanto remained in Plymouth to teach the Pilgrims how to survive in New England, for example using dead fish to fertilize the soil. Shortly after the departure of the Mayflower, Governor Carver suddenly died. William Bradford was elected to replace him and went on to lead the colony through much of its formative years.
As promised by Massasoit Ousamequin, numerous Native Americans arrived at Plymouth throughout the middle of 1621 with pledges of peace. On July 2, a party of Pilgrims, led by Edward Winslow (who later became the chief diplomat of the colony), set out to continue negotiations with the Great Leader Ousamequin. The delegation also included Squanto, who acted as a translator. After traveling for several days, they arrived at Massasoit Ousamequin's capital, the village of Sowams at Mount Hope near Narragansett Bay. After meals and an exchange of gifts, Massasoit Ousamequin agreed to an exclusive trading pact with the English (and thus the French, who were also frequent traders in the area, were no longer welcome). Squanto remained behind and traveled the area to establish trading relations with several tribes in the area.
In late July, a boy by the name of John Billington became lost for some time in the woods around the colony. It was reported he was found by the Nauset, the same group of Native Americans on Cape Cod from whom the Pilgrims had stolen corn seed the prior year upon their first explorations. The English organized a party to return Billington to Plymouth. The Pilgrims agreed to reimburse the Nauset for the stolen goods in return for the Billington boy. This negotiation did much to secure further peace with the Native Americans in the area.
During their dealings with the Nausets over the release of John Billington, the Pilgrims learned of troubles that Massasoit Ousamequin was experiencing. Massasoit Ousamequin, Squanto, and several other Wampanoags had apparently been captured by Corbitant, Sachem of the Narragansett tribe. A party of ten men, under the leadership of Captain Myles Standish, set out to find and execute Corbitant. While hunting for Corbitant, they learned that Squanto had escaped and Massasoit Ousamequin was back in power. Several Native Americans had been injured by Standish and his men and were offered medical attention in Plymouth. Though they had failed to capture Corbitant, the show of force by Standish had garnered respect for the Pilgrims, and as a result nine of the most powerful Sagamores and Sachems in the area, including Massasoit Ousamequin's brother, Quadaquina, and Corbitant, signed a treaty in September that pledged their loyalty to King James for the purposes of mutual protection. This second treaty was signed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on September 13th, 1621. Massasoit Ousamequin was the key person to facilitate and arrange this second treaty and signing, but never signed the document himself and had his brother, Quadaquina, sign the document for the Pokanoket Nation.
TERMS OF THE TREATY
"Known all men by these present, that we whose names are underwritten, do acknowledge ourselves to be the royal subjects of king James, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. In witness whereof, and a a testimonial of the same, we have subscribed our names, or marks, as follows:-
Cawnacome Caunbatant Huttmoiden
Obbatinnua Chikkatabak Apannow