Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick

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Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick  (1690) 
by Richard Pierce
The only issue of the first major newspaper in the American continent. It was published for the first time and last on September 25, 1690, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was intended to be published monthly, "or, if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener." Edited by Benjamin Harris.

Numb. 1.

PUBLICK

OCCURRENCES

Both F O R R E I G N and D O M E S T I C K.


Boſton, Thurſday Sept. 25th. 1690.


IT is designed, that the Countrey shall be furnished once a moneth ( or if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener, ) with an Account of such considerable things as have arrived unto our Notice.

In order hereunto, the Publiſher will take what pains he can to obtain a Faithful Relation of all ſuch things; and will particularly make himſelf beholden to ſuch Perſons in Boſton whom he Knows to have been for their own uſe the diligent Obſervers of ſuch matters.

That which is herein propoſed, is, Firſt, That Memorable Occurrents of Divine Providence may not be neglected or forgotten, as they too often are. Secondly, That people every where may better underſtand the Circumstances of Publique Affairs, both abroad and at home; which may not only direct their Thoughts at all times, but at ſome times alſo to to aſſiſt their Buſineſſes and Negotiations.

Thirdly, That ſome thing may be done towards the Curing, or at leaſt the Charming, of that Spirit of Lying, which prevails amongſt us wherefore nothing ſhall be entered, but what we have reaſon to believe is true, repairing to the beſt fountains for our Information. And when there appears any material miſtake in any thing that is collected, it ſhall be corrected in the next.

Moreover, the Publiſher of theſe Occurrences is willing to engage, that whereas, there are many Falſe Reports, maliciouſly made, and ſpread among us, if any well-minded perſon will be at the pains to trace any such false Report ſo far as to find out and Convict the Firſt Raiſer of it, he will in this Paper ( unleſs juſt Advice be given to the contrary ) expoſe the Name of ſuch perſon, as A malicious Raiſer of a falſe Report. It is ſuppos'd that none will dislike this Propoſal, but ſuch as intend to be guilty of ſo villainous a Crime.


THE Crisſtianized Indians in ſome parts of Plimouth, have newly appointed a day of Thanksgiving to God for his Mercy in ſupplying their extream and pinching Neceſſities under their late want of Corn, & for His giving them now a proſpect of a very Comfortable Harveſt. Their Example may be worth Mentioning.

Tis obſerved by the Husbandmen, that altho' the With-draw of ſo great a ſtrength from them, as what is in the Forces lately gone for Canada, made them think it almoſt inpoſſible for them to get well through the Affairs of their Husbandry at this time of the year, yet the Seaſon has been ſo unuſually favourable that they ſcarce find any want of the many hundreds of hands, that are gone from them ; which is looked upon as a Merciful Providence

While the barbarous Indians were lurking about Chelmsford, there were miſſing about the beginning of this month a couple of Children belonging to a man of that Town, one of them aged about eleven, the other aged about nine years, both of them ſuppoſed to be fallen into the hands of the Indians.

A very Tragical Accident happened at Water-Town, the beginning of this Month, an Old man, that was of ſomewhat a Silent and Moroſe Temper, but one that had long Enjoyed the reputation of a Sober and a Pious Man, having newly buried his Wife, The Devil took advantage of the Melancholly which he thereupon fell into, his Wives diſcretion and induſtry had long been the ſupport of his Family, and he ſeemed hurried with an impertinent fear that he ſhould now come to want before he dyed, though he had very careful friends to look after him who kept a ſtrict eye upon him, leaſt he should do himſelf any harm. But one evening eſcaping from them into the Cow-houſe, they there quickly followed him found him hanging by a Rope, which he had uſed to tye their Calves withal, he was dead with his feet near touching the Ground.

Epidemical Fevers and Agues grow very common, in ſome parts of the Country, whereof, tho' many dye not, yet they are ſorely unfitted for their impolyments; but in ſome parts a more malignant Fever ſeems to prevail in ſuch ſort that it uſually goes thro' a Family where it comes, and proves Mortal unto many.

The Small-pox which has been raging in Boſton, after a manner very Extraordinary is now very much abated. It is thought that far more have been ſick of it then were viſited with it, when it raged ſo much twelve years ago, nevertheleſs it has not been ſo Mortal, The number of them that have dyed in Boſton by this laſt Viſitation is about three hundred and twenty, which is not perhaps half ſo many as fell by the former. The Time of its being moſt General, was in the Months June, July, and Auguſt, then 'twas that ſometimes in ſome one Congregation on a Lords-day there would be Bills Deſiring prayers for above an hundered Sick. It ſeized upon all ſorts of people that came in the way of it, it infected even Children in the bellies of Mothers that had themſelves undergone this Diſeaſe many years ago; for ſome ſuch where now born full of the Diſtemper. 'Tis not eaſy to relate the Trouble and Sorrow that poor Boſton has felt by this Epidemical Contagion. But we hope it will be pretty high Extinguished, by the time twelve month when it firſt began to Spread. It now unhappily ſpreads in ſeveral other places, among which our Garriſons in the Eaſt are to be reckoned ſome of the greateſt Sufferers.

Altho' Boſton did a few weeks ago, meet with a Diſaſter by Fire, which conſumed about twenty Houſes near the Mill-Creek, yet about midnight, between the ſixteenth and ſeventeenth Inſtant, another Fire broke forth near the South-Meeting-Houſe, which conſumed about five or ſix houſes, and had almoſt carried the Meeting-houſe it ſelf, one of the fairest Edifices in the Country, if God had not remarkably aſſiſted the Endeavours of the People to put out the Fire. There were two Calamities of this Fire, one was that a young man belonging to the Houſe where the Fire began, unhappily periſhed in the Flames; it ſeems that tho' he might ſooner awake then ſome others who did eſcape, yet he ſome way loſt thoſe Wits that ſhould have taught him to help himſelf. Another was that the beſt furniſhed PRINTING-PRESS, of thoſe few that we know of in America, was loſt; a loſs not preſently to be repaired.

There lately arrived from Piſcataqua, one Papoon from Pebobſcot, in a ſmall Shallop, wherein he had uſed to attend upon the pleaſure of Caſteen, but took his opportunity to run away, and reports: That a Veſſel of ſmall Bulk bound from Briſtol to Virginia, having been ſo long at Sea, till they were preſt with want, put in at the Penobſcot inſtead of Piſcataqua, where the Indians and French ſeized her, and Butchered the Maſter, and ſeveral of the men : but that himſelf who belonged unto the Ships Crew, being a Jerſey-man, what more farourably uſed, & found at length an advantage to make his Eſcape.

The chief diſcourse this month has been about the affairs of the Weſtern Expedition against Canada. The Albanians, New-Yorkers and the five Nations of Indians, in the Weſt, had long been preſſing of the Maſſachusers, to make an Expedition by Sea, into Canada, and ſtill made us believe, that they ſtayed for us, and that while we aſſaulted Quebeck, they would paſs the Lake, and by Land make a Deſcent upon Mount Real. Accordingly the Colony with ſome aſſiſtance from our kind Neighbours of Plimouth; fitted out an Army of near five and twenty hundred men, and a Navy of two and thirty Sail ; which went from hence the beginning of the laſt Auguſt, under the Command of the Honourable Sir William Phips.

In the mean time the Engliſh Colonies & Provinces in the Weſt raiſed Forces, the Numbers whereof have been reported five or ſix hundred. The Honourable General Winthrop was Head of theſe, and advanced within a few miles of the Lake; He there had ſome good Number of Maqua's to joyn his Forces, but contrary to his Expectation, it was found that the Canoo's to have been ready for the Tranſportation of the Army over the Lake, were not prepared, and the other Nations of Indians, that ſhould have come to this Campaign, ſent their Excuſes, pretending that the Small-pox was among them, and ſome other Trifles. The General Meeting with ſuch vexing diſappointments, called a Councel of War, wherein 'twas agreed, That it was impoſſible for them to Proſecute their Intended Expedition. However he diſpatched away the Maqua's to the French Territories, who returned with ſome Succeſs, having ſlain ſeveral of the French, and brought home ſeveral Priſoners, whom they uſed in a manner to barbarous for any Engliſh to approve. The General coming back to Albany, there happened a miſunderſtanding, between him and the Lieutenant Governour of New-york which occaſioned much diſcourſe, but produced not thoſe effects which were feared of it. Where lay the bottom of theſe miſcarriages is variouſly conjectured, if any people further Weſt then Albany have been Tampering with the Indians, to deſert the buſineſs of Canada, we hope time will diſcover it. And if Almighty God will have Canada ſubdu'd without the aſſiſtance of thoſe miſerable Salvages, in whom we have too much conſided, we ſhall be glad, that there will be no Sacrifice offered up to the Devil, upon this occaſion; God alone will have all the Glory.

'Tis poſſible, we have not ſo exactly related the Circumſtances of this buſineſs, but this Account, is as near exactneſs, as any that could be had, in the midſt of many various reports about it.

Another late matter of diſcourſe, has been an unaccountable deſtruction befalling a body of Indians, that were our Enemies. This body of French Indians had a Fort ſomewhere far up the River, and a party of Maqua's returning from the Eaſt Country, where they have a great rate purſued and terrified those Indians which have been invading of our North-Eaſt Plantations, and Killed their General Hope Hood among the reſt; reſolved to viſit this Fort; but they found the Fort ruined, the Canoo's cut to pieces, and the people all either Butchered or Captived, This gave them no little ſurprize, and they give the Engliſh this accounts of it. That a body of Maqua's lately returning from the Spoil of Canada brought ſeveral French Priſoners with them; That calling at this Fort in their way, the Indians there ſeeing themſelves unable to reſiſt them did paſs divers Complements with them and partake of their Booties, That a French Captive after this, eſcaping from the Maqua's informed the French that theſe Indians and revolted unto the Maqua's, and hereupon the French or their Indians made a ſudden Sally forth upon them, and utterly deſtroyed them, tho' they were in reality of their own party still.

Two Engliſh Captives eſcaped from the hands of the Indians and French at Piſcadamoquady, come into Portſmouth on the ſixteenth Inſtant & ſay, That when Capt Maſon was at Port Real, he cut the faces, and ript the bellies of two Indians, and threw a third Over-board in the ſight of the French, who informing the other Indians of it, they have in revenge barbarouſly Butcher'd forty Captives of ours that were in their hands.

Theſe two Captives eſcapes in a Shallop, which our Enemies intended to have ſet out with all the Circumſtances of a Fiſhing Shallop but to have indeed fill'd with Indians that ſhould have Clap't on board any English Veſſel that came in their way; They ſay that about three of four weeks ago, ſome Indians were coming this way to War, but croſſing a path which they ſuppoſed to be of the Maqua's, they followed it until they diſcovered a place where ſome Canoo's where making, whereupon twenty Kennebeck Indian Warriors went to look further after the buſineſs, who never yet returned. Which gives hope that they may come ſhort home but upon this the Squaws are ſent to Penobſcot, and the men ſtand on their Defence.

Portſmouth Sept. 20th. Two days ſince arrived here a ſmall Veſſel from Barbadoes, in which is a Letter to Captain H. K. of 19th Auguſt that ſpeaks thus,

Chriſtophers is wholly taken from the French as alſo a ſmall Iſland called Stacia; we are very ſtrong in Shipping, and our Ships of War are now gone for Tobago, a very good place to ſhelter from any Storms, after the ſuſpicious months are over, they will Attack the reſt of the French places. We have News here that K. William is ſafe arrived in Ireland, and is marched with one hundred and forty thousand Foot and Horſe. Himſelf leads the Body, Duke Scomburgh the right Wing, and the Earl of Oxford the left Wing, Duke Hamilton of Scotland leads the forlorn Hope with ten thouſand men under him. Great victory they dayly have, and much people dayly come in to him, with ſubmission: He has 200 Shipping with him of one ſort or other, above one hundred Sail dayly run between Ireland and England, with meat for Man and Beaſt; His Majeſty being unwilling to truſt falſe Ireland for it. France is in much trouble (and fear) not only with us but alſo with his Son, who has revolted againſt him lately, and has great reaſon,) if reports be true, that the Father uſed to lie with the Sons Wife. He has got all the Hugonots, and all the diſſatisfied Papiſts, with the great force of the D. of Lorraign, and are now againſt him, reſolving to depoſe him of his life and Kingdom.

It's Report that the City of Cork in Ireland, has proclaimed K. William, and turned their French Landlords out of Doors; of this there wants further Confirmation.

From Plimouth Sept. 22 We have an Accounts, that on Friday the 12th Inſtant, in the night, our Force Landing privately, forthwith ſurrounded Pegypſcot Fort; but finding no Indians there, they March d to Amonoſcoggin. There on the Lords-day, they kill'd and took 15 or 16 of the Enemy, and recovered five Engliſh Captives, mostly belonging to Oyſter-River; who adviſed, that the men had gone about ten days down to a River, to meet with the French, and the French Indians; where they expected to make up a Body of 300 men, and deſign a firſt againſt Wells or Piſcataqua.

On Tueſday, the Army came to our Veſſels at Macquoit, but one of the Veſſels touching a Ground ſtopt a Tide; by which means, young Bracket, who was a conſiderable diſtance up the River, above Amonoſcoggin, that an Engliſh Army was there attempted his Eſcape, and came down the Sloop, juſt as they came on their Sail.

On Thurſday, they landed at Saco; a Scout of 60 men of ours diſcover a party of the Enemy, and had the Advantage of killing three of them, and of taking nine Canoos, and an Engliſh captive named, Thomas Baker, who informed, that the Enemy had left a conſiderable Plunder at Pegypſcut-Plains, which he ſuppoſed the Enemy was gone to ſecure. Whereupon the Army immediately embark'd, and arriving there that night, the next morning found the Bever-Plunder accordingly.

While our Veſſels were at Anchor in Caſcoe-Bay, our Auxiliary Indians lodging on ſhore, and being too careleſs in their Watch, the Enemy made an Attaque upon them. The Engliſh forth with repair'd to their Relief; but were ſorely faled, by an Embuſcado of Indians, The Enemy ſoon quitted the Field, eſcaping with their Canoo's, whereof ours took ſeveral. In the Surpriſe, we loſt 9 men, and had about 20 wounded; the blow chiefly fell on our dear Friends, the Plimouth Forces, 15 being kill'd and wounded of Captain Southworth's Company

Boſton, Printed by R. Pierce, for Benjamin Harris, at the London-Coffee-Houſe. 1690

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.