Page:Yule Logs.djvu/290

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274
A NEW ENGLAND RAID

news, which I must communicate to my father. Will you see that Narburton has food and drink, for he has travelled a long distance to do us service?"

"Gladly," answered Mrs. Blackstone. "Go ye round to the kitchen, Will; if Mary be not there, I will open to you and see to your needs myself. Your father will be down directly, Josh," she added, addressing her son, and then she hastened away intent upon her household duties.

The Blackstones had been amongst the first settlers on the borders of Connecticut. By the banks of the river Seek-ouk they had built a house and named it "Study Hill"; they had also planted orchards, and the fruitful land rewarded their labour with rich harvests. It was but a few weeks since the grandsire had been laid to rest among his apple-trees, and his son, Nathan Blackstone, now reigned in his stead. Josh was the only surviving son of this third generation; he dwelt at home, and was his father's right hand. Nathan was an elder of the Church and a civil magistrate, revered by the settlers, and scarcely less so by the Indians, to whom he had always been well inclined; declaring the safety of the English lay in a just recognition of the natural rights of the natives, and attaching much blame to those who would have had the red man rooted out as being of the accursed race of Ham. Nevertheless he deemed it necessary they should be watched, feeling by no means assured that they were other than the children of the devil, more especially as the effects of Christianity and civilisation on the Indian were far from conducive to virtue.

The Puritan fathers were remarkably unsuccessful in their efforts to propagate Christianity, may-be because of the harshness of their doctrines; but it is a fact that after fifty years' labour amongst the thousands of natives in New England, less than 1500 Indians were converted. These were known as the "Praying Indians," and their position was far from enviable, they being despised by their own