Gateway to the Classics: Ruth of Boston by James Otis
Ruth of Boston by  James Otis

Pequot Indians

The Englishmen who had settled in the colony known as Connecticut, soon found that the Pequot savages could do much of wickedness, even though the Narragansetts had said they would be friends with the white people, for within a very short time after Master Roger Williams had sent the Indians to us in peace, did a season of murder begin.

Because of my being a girl, who is not supposed to understand affairs of state, and who could only cower in fear and trembling by the side of her mother when word was brought of the dreadful deeds done by the Pequot savages, I shall not set down anything whatsoever concerning that terrible winter, when we heard nothing save stories of blood and direst suffering.

No one could say whether, despite all Master Roger Williams might be able to do, the savages nearabout would not fall upon us of Boston as they had upon the white people of Connecticut, and, therefore, as soon as the shadows of evening had begun to gather, we girls sought the protection of our mothers.

Seated before the roaring fires, not daring to move about the house even after the doors and shutters were securely barred, we started in alarm at every sound, hearing in the roaring of the wind, or the crackling of the fire, some token that the brown people were skulking around striving to get inside that they might shed our blood.


It was far worse than the time of the famine, for then we knew just what might come to us, and if death entered the house, we would meet it in the arms of those we loved; but from all which had been told by those affrighted people who came to us from Connecticut, we realized that horrors such as could not even be imagined, would be upon us with the coming of those savages who had sworn to make an end of the white settlers in the New World.

It is not well even that I set down in words the distress of mind which was ours during that long dreadful winter; but this I may say in all truth, as the parting word, that nowhere in the Massachusetts Bay Colony could have been found a more distressed or unhappy girl, than this same Ruth of Boston.

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