Plain Dealing or news from New England
Thomas Lechford of Clements Inne
Created for the Northeastern University course Literature and Digital Diversity Spring, 2021
Plain Dealing or newes from New England
W. E.and I. G.
Bull neere S. Austins gate
Transcribed from a facsimile in Early English Books Online
Plain dealing or newes from New-England
A Short view of New-Englands
prersent Government, both Ecclesiasticall and Civil,
compared with the anciently-received and
estalished Government of England, in
some material points; fit for the gravest
consideration in these times.
By Thomas Lechford of Clemments Inne, in the County in Middlesex, Gent.
Printed for W. E. and I. G.1642
at the signer of the pyde Bull neere S. Austins gate.
Concerning the Indians, or Natives
They are of body tall, proper, and straight;
they goe naked, saving about their middle,
somewhat to cover shame. Seldome they are
abroad in extremity of Winter, but keep in their
wigwamstill necessity drives them forth; and
then they wrap themselves in skins, or some of
our English coorse cloth: and for the Winter they
have boots , or a kind of laced tawed-leather stockins.
They are naturally proud, and idle , given
much to singing, dancing, and playes; they are
governed by Sachems, Kings; and Saggamore,
petie Lords; by an absolute tyrannie. Their women
are of comely feature, industrious, and doe
most of the labour in planting, carrying of
burdens; their husbands hold them in great slavery,
yet never knowing other, it is the lesse grievous
to them. They say, Englishman much foole,
for spoiling goodworking creatures, meaning women;
And when they see any of our English women
sewing with their needles, or working coifes,
or such things, they will cry out, Lazie Squaes!
but they are much the kinder to their wives, by
the example of the English. Their children, they
will not part with, upon any terms, to be taught.
They are of complexion swarthy and tawny;
their children are borne white, but they bedawbe
them with oyle, and colours, presently.
They have all black haire, that I saw.
In times of mourning, they paint their faces
with black lead, black, all about the eye-brows,
and part of their cheeks . In time of rejoycing, they
paint red, with a kind of vermilion. They cut
their hair of divers formes, according to their
Nation or people, so that you may know a people
by their cut; and ever they have a long lock
on one side of their heads, and weare feathers of
Peacocks, and such like, and red cloath, or ribbands
at their locks; beads of wampompeag about
their necks, and a girdle of the same, wrought
with blew and white wampom, after the manner of
chequer work, two fingers broad, about their
loynes: Some of their chiefe men goe so, and
pendants of wampom, and such toyes in their ears.
And their women, some of wampom. Men and women,
of them, come confidently among the English.
Since the Pequid war, they are kept in very
good subjection, and held to strict points of Justice,
so that the English may travail safely among
them. But the French in the East, and the Dutch
in the South, sell them guns, powder and shot.
They have Powahes, or Priests, which are Witches,
and a kind of Chirurgions, but some of them,
notwithstanding, are faine to be behodling to the
English Chirurgions. They will have their times
of powaheing, which they will, of late, have called
Prayers, according to the English word. The
Powahe labours himselfe in his incantations, to extreame
sweating and wearinesse, even to extasie.
The Powahes cannot work their witchcrafts, if any
of the English be by; neither can any of their incantations
lay hold on, or doe any harme to the
English, as I have been credibly informed.The
Powahe is next the King, or Sahcem, and commonly
when he dies, the Powahe marries the Squa
Sachem, that is, the queene. They have marriages
among them; they have many wives; they
say, they commit much filthinesse among themselves.
But for every marrriage, the Saggamore
hath a fadome of wampom, which is about seven
or eight shillings value. Some of them will diligently
attend to any thing they can understand
by any of our Religion, and are very willing to
teach their language to any English. The live
much the better, and peacebly, for the English;
and themselves know it, or at least their Sachems,
and Saggamoes know so much, for before they
do nothing but spoile and destroy one another.
They live in Wigwams, or houses made of mats
like little hutts, the fire in the midst of the house.
They cut downe a tree with axes and hatchets,
bought of the English, Dutch, or French, & bring in
the butt-end into the wigwam, upon the hearth,
and so burne it by degrees. They live upon parched
corne, (of late, they grinde at our English
mill.) Venison, Bevers, Otters, Oysters,
Clammes, Lobsters, and other fish, Groundnuts,
Akornes, they boyle all together in a kettle.
Their riches are their wampom, bolles, trayes,
kettles, and spoones, bever, furres, and canoos.
He is a Sachem, whose wife hath her cleane spoons
in a chest , for some chief English men, when they
come on guest wife to the wigwam. They lye upon
a mat, with a stone, or a piece of wood under
their heads; they will give the best entertainment
they can make to any English comming amongst
them. They will not taste sweet things, nor alter
their habit willingly; only they are taken
with tobacco, wine, and strong waters; and I
have seen some of them in English, or French
cloathes. Their ordinary weapons are bowes
and arrowes, and long staves, or halfe pykes,
with pieces of swords, daggers, or knives in the
ends of them: They have Captaines, and are very
good at a short mark, and nimble of foot to
run away. Their manner of fighting is, most
commonly, all in one fyle. They are many in
number, and worship Kitan, their good god,
or Hobbamocco, their evill god; but more feare
Hobbamocco, because he doth them most harme.
Some of their Kings names are Canonicus, Meantimiomy,
Owshamequin, Cushamequin, Webbacowitts,
and Squa Sachem his wife: She is the Queen,
and he is Powahe, and King, in right of his wife.
Among some of these Nations, their policie
is to have two Kings at a time; but I thinke,
of one family, the one aged for counsell, the
other younger for action. Their Kings succeed
Master Henry Dunster, Schoolmaster of Cambridge,
deserves commendations above many; he
hath the plat-forme and way of conversion of the
Natives, indifferent right, and much studies the
fame, wherein yet he wants no opposition, as
some other also have met with: He will without
doubt prove an instrument of much good in the
Countrey, being a good Scholar, and having skill
in the Tongues , He will make it good, that the
way to instruct the Indians, must be in their owne
language, not English; and that their language
may be perfected
References to Native words or terminology
Neutral descriptive words used for Native Americans
Positive descriptive words used for Native Americans.
Negative descriptive words used for Native Americans.
References to the Native religion.
References to colonial religion
Gendered language or references to gender.
References to colonists/English ideas.
Reference to nature.