LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THIS HISTORICAL SOCIETY: I remember when I first saw Pemaquid. I was cruising eastward in the yacht of the Hon. Benjamin Dean of Boston, and, owing to the fog, we ran in by Pemaquid Point until we reached the outer harbor. Here we caught mackerel and waited for the fog to lift. On the shore an abandoned porgy factory, perfumed as unlike a bank of violets as possible, occupied one chop of the harbor; on the other stood a large, square house, more pretentious than a farm-house, and in front could be traced some slight ridges and a few bunches of bushes.
We sailed the next morning, bound east, and on our starboard hand, as we neared the point, a lofty island some four leagues away attracted our attention,-it was Monhegan. When we returned from our explorations of the islands of the Penobscot and Mount Desert, we sighted the island, the morning sun playing on its top, bathed it in light; amid a peaceful ocean it rose like an island of the blessed; anon the lighthouse and then as with flowing sail we neared it, houses and then windows could be made out. The wind was fair, but on my suggestion that this was the hallowed ground, the germ of New England, we, hauled up a little closer to the wind and dashed up to the head of the harbor, tacked and stood off on our course, westward, ho! We had seen the cradle of New England.
My theme to-night is specially the history of the Forts of Pemaquid.
Before entering on this recital of the conflict of races and of nations, of civilization and savage life, to control the destinies of this continent, I should refer briefly to the discovery of this coast.
After Columbus had astonished Europe, and rivalled the Portugese explorations of the East, the Pope divided the new-found territories, giving the west to the Spaniards and the east to the Portugese. France and England, being left unsatisfied and dissatisfied, went for their shares in several ways. They captured the Spanish treasure ships and confiscated their cargo,-that is private gentlemen did it in an unofficial way. When they got captured, the Spaniards hung them promptly at the yard-arm, and when the Spaniards were taken after a resistance, an old Norwegian or Viking method of sending captives "home by sea " was resorted to, and they were made to walk the plank!
In the north, the fisheries of Newfoundland and Cape Breton were pursued by French, Portugese and Spaniards, to whom were added, in the last third of the sixteenth century, the English, - all well armed, holding their fares of fish not merely by the hook but by the sword, as the national law of the fisheries.
The coast between Nova Scotia and the ubiquitous Florida was little frequented, and very dangerous, except to heavily armed vessels. The sight of a sail was signal for a fight or a flight. The few armed traders or piratical explorers who touched its shores brought to Europe the rumor that somewhere on what we now know as the coast of Maine there was a great, rich native city called Norumbega, a myth like the Island of the Seven Cities that Cabot pursued.
South of 40° north latitude the French had been beaten off from forming a settlement, and Sir Walter Raleigh had been defeated by vicissitudes and perils in a like purpose. We need not consider Cortoreal, Gomez and Verezano, nor Cartier, Roberval or Gilbert and the like adventurers.
Practically, our knowledge of the coast of New England begins with 1600, and we may leave the sixteenth century out of consideration, and begin here. In 1600, Sir Walter Raleigh and his relative; Sir Humphrey Gilbert, had stirred up the English, and the French had equally awoke to the determination to have some part of the North American coast south of 45º, whether the Spaniards liked it or not. Patents were readily granted by princes for territory "in remote heathen and barbarous lands," but it was as difficult for the patentee to take possession as it would have been for the Royal Grantor to show any color of title in himself. At this date the trade of fishing at Newfoundland and Cape Breton and adjacent shores had been thoroughly exploited during the preceding century by French and English (Parkhurst, in 1578, estimates 530 sail fishing on these coasts); and it was almost side by side that these two nations now explored the riches of the New England coast, and grasped for its exclusive control.
In 1602, Gosnold made a voyage on this coast and touched the coast of Maine at York Nubble. His historiographer writes that as they neared the shore a Biscayan shallop under sail dashed out from the other side of the great rock and ran down to them, having on board some half dozen Indians with about two suits of European clothes divided between them. They held a very pleasant interview, the Indians making them quite a chart of the coast with chalk on a board, and Gosnold, finding himself at Lat. 43°, further north than his object, the Vineyard Sound and Island, bore away southward, leaving two isles (Boon and Isle of Shoals) on his port hand. This fixes the location; it also fixes the fact that French or Basque traders had been there before him, and that the natives had learned to handle the sloop. In 1603 Martyn Pryng was on the coast, and in 1604 Weymouth was at Monhegan, and at Damarel's Cove Islands. In the same year, De Monts and Champlain were also at these points. The issue was shaping between the French and the English.
The French king, in 1603, had granted a charter to De Monts for all the region from latitude 40The French king, in 1603, had granted a charter to De Monts for all the region from latitude 40° to 48° or 49°, which we now call New York and New England.
The English king (James I.), in 1606, had granted the Virginia charter, divided into two sections, one, North Virginia, having nearly the same boundaries as the New France granted by the French. The Indians, were in actual possession; the Spaniards claimed the coast. Here were two new titles. Who would get the actual possession of the land they all wanted?
De Monts and that skilful navigator, Champlain, came over in 1604, skirted the Coast of Nova Scotia, round into Port Royal, crossed to the other side of the Bay of Fundy and settled at the mouth of the St. Croix River. In 1605 they explored the coast as far south as the Nantucket Shoals; sighting the island Monhegan, "La Nef," they called it, and entering Boothbay Harbor, explored the Sheepscot and the Kennebec. Here on their return they learned of Weymouth's gross outrage. In the following year, after moving their residence to Port Royal, they again explored these coasts.
Shall it become New England or New France? It required an hundred and fifty years to settle this question.
The English Company, of whom Chief Justice Popham was the head, and whose members were West of England people, sent out two vessels under Raleigh Gilbert and George Popham, with settlers who made their first landfall at the island of Monhegan, where they celebrated religious services according to the Church of England, and then came over to the mouth of the Kennebec, and settled on an island which is now Fort Popham. From Monhegan they paid their first visit to Pemaquid.
The Indians of the country were of the Abnaki tribes, whose tributaries extended westward, and south through Maine, New Hampshire and part of Massachusetts. Their chief head was the Bashaba, who lived at Pemaquid, a few miles up the river.
Here let me interject! Weymouth had kidnapped and carried off some Indians to England, where Sir Fernando Gorges got two of them, and, when they knew enough English, drew from them a knowledge of the country, the tribes and their power, etc., which was of great benefit in the future. One of these, Skitwares, found his way back to the Bashaba; another had come with the expedition as interpreter, and their intercourse was easy, and became very friendly; another, Saggamore Nahandu, had also been in England. It was clear the beaver trade was good and profitable. The Indians east of the Penobscot were called Tarrantines, were enemies of the Bashaba, and held rather to the French.
In the autumn of 1608, the settlement at the Kennebec broke up and the most of the settlers returned to England, but that did not close business operations. Sir Francis Popham, Gorges and others continued in the trade, and running the remarkably fine fishing, which the waters from Cape Newwagen to Pemaquid and to Monhegan afforded. Hither also the South Virginia Company soon sent vessels every year to fish for their own supply. In 1609, Zuringu notes one ship and a tender sailing for North Virginia, probably Sir Francis Popham's. The coast and trade were thoroughly explored on each side. Champlain's journals and maps were published in France in 1611, Lescarbot's history in 1609, and Martyn Pryng's admirable researches of 1606, and maps, were fully known to the North Virginia Company adventurers.
In 1610, Captain Arga1, from Virginia, fished on the coast, in latitude 43° 40'. Another ship, his companion, was also on this coast.
In 1611, two captains, Harlie and Hobson, sailed for this coast from England. In this year the French visited the abandoned settlement of Popham at Fort St. George twice, under M. de Biancourt from Port Royal. Father Biard states they found some English sloops fishing, but did not attack them. The first collision took place this year, when a French vessel under Captain Platrier was captured by two English vessels, near Emmetonic, an island about eight leagues from the Kennebec. These vessels were probably those of Mr. Williams, Popham's agent, and may have been those of Captains Hobson and Harlie.
1612. Williams is stated to have been on the coast this year also.
1613. The French had made a settlement at Mount Desert. Captain Arga1, who was fishing from Virginia about Monhegan, heard of it and ran down, captured their vessels and many of the settlers, including Father Biard, broke up the plantation and took his prizes to Virginia.
1614. Arga1 also attacked the French settlement at Port Royal. There was a resolute spirit astir under each flag. Perhaps its sole inducement was glory, but the value of the fishery and of the fur trade was practically held out to those who came the best armed and the best manned to partake in its profits. Neither side was disposed to invite the public into their confidence; it was too good a thing to be thrown open.
In 1614, John Smith came out with two vessels for trade, fish and whaling; also Captain Hobson was here with an interpreter; and in the fall Sir Richard Hawkins and two vessels camp out to try the winter fishing and trade. They all came to Monhegan, and Captain Smith says that at Pemaquid, opposite him, was a ship of Sir Francis Popham that had traded there for several years. Smith states that he learned two French ships were trading about the Merrimack and that he did not go in sight of them,- judicious navigator!
Smith had the weakness of literature. He wrote well, and when he returned he wrote and published. Thus, what with him and Champlain, the trade secrets and profits of this coast were opened to the public, and a new era soon set in.
There was another effective cause also, which was the most important stimulus to the making of permanent settlements.
THE WINTER FISHERY.
The course of the English fishermen had been to leave home in January and reach Monhegan, or Damrel's Cove, in March, set up their stages and begin fishing. By June their fish were caught and by August or September dried, so that they could sail for Spain and obtain an early market. They brought out double crews, forty to sixty men, thus speeding their fishing. It transpired that the winter fishing was the best in quantity and quality. As the adventurers were business people with an eye to profit, good grounds were opened to them for permanent establishments about these charmed fishing-grounds, from Cape Newwagen and Damrel's Cove Islands to Pemaquid, and off shore to Monhegan,-where all the English fishing then was carried on. Sir Richard Hawkins was president of the North Virginia Council, and with his two ships wintered here, but in which harbor is now unknown, caught cargo for both ships, and sailed the following spring,-one ship for Spain, the other for Virginia. It was a success.
It is difficult to say how many vessels were yearly here before this, but Smith states he had six or seven maps given him before he sailed, which shows they were more numerous than have been recorded. The vessels anchored in harbors, built stages, fishhouses and flakes on shore, and sent out their crews in small boats daily to fish. Their fares were then brought to the stages, cleaned, salted and dried there, and shipped when ready for market. With the winter fishery the stages and small boats could be occupied all the year round, and the half crew left there be earning instead of lying idle.
Pemaquid was the best place for the fur trade, because of its proximity to the Bashaba; also it could in a great degree command the fur trade of the Kennebec. There is every reason to suppose that Sir Francis Popham's people built some blockhouse or trade station there, as he had traded there for several years, but no statement of the fact has come down to us.
In 1615, Smith states that four or five ships from London,- one sent by Sir Francis Gorges from Plymouth, and two under his command - sailed for Monhegan. Smith was captured in one of them by the French. How many came fishing from Virginia we do not learn. Smith wrote his book this year, and it was published in 1616. He was reproached bitterly for disclosing the secrets of the country. This publication gave impetus to the voluntary fishermen, not connected with the great companies, to come here and try their fortunes. In this year the Dutch sloop Restless, built at New York in 1611 by Adrian Block, came as far as the Penobscot on a trading voyage. Her captain, Hendrickson, made a map of the coast.
The first vessel built in the country was the Virginia, built 1607-08, at the Kennebec settlement; the Restless was the next. Of course pinnaces had been taken out by fishermen and set up after arriving here, but these two were actually built here.
The contingencies of trade and the fishery were now developing the original
purpose of the North Virginia Company. Sir
Francis Popham's trading headquarters had been all this time at Pemaquid, as both Smith and Gorges state.
Sir Fernando Gorges now took up the matter of wintering there. Let me cite his own language, "I bought a ship for fishing and trade. I sent Vines and others, my own servants, with their provision, for trade and discovery, appointing them to leave the ship and ship's company for to follow their business in the usual place. By these, and by the help of the natives formerly sent over, I came to be truly informed of so much as gave me the assurance that in time I should want no undertakers, though, as yet, I was forced to hire men to stay there the winter quarter at extreme rates, and not without danger; for that the war had consumed the Bashaba," (and the plague, etc.), "notwithstanding Vines and the rest with him that lay in the cabins with the people that died, some more or less mightily, not one of them ever felt their heads to ache, and this course I held some years together."
This appears to make it clear that Pemaquid was occupied for trade purposes from the departure of the Popham Gilbert Colony from the Kennebec in 1608, and at an early date permanently, with a view of establishing English settlements on the main land of the grant. Some writers say that it was at Saco that Vines with his men lay, during the winter of 1617-18. This plague raged about three years, killing nine-tenths of the Indians living between the Penobscot and Cape Cod.
In 1619, Captain Rowcroft left three men at Saco, who made their way eastward and crossed to Monhegan, where they were found in the spring. They must have had a boat, and probably the reason why they crossed from Pemaquid or Cape Newwagen was to join winter fishermen remaining there.
In 1616, Smith states four ships of London and two of Plymouth and Sir Richard Hawkins were again in these waters. He does not give the vessels from South Virginia. Vines also came in command of a ship.
In 1617, eight tall ships came there from England.
In 1618, six or seven volunteer ships came from the west of England, and those of the two companies. Captain Rowcroft also seized a French barque. Smith also states that in 1614, 1616 and 1617 he was prepared with ten or fifteen men to stay in the country, but his purposes were defeated. In 1619, he says one went from the West, those of London not stated.
In 1620, six or seven sail went from the west country, those of London not stated.
The prospect of establishing settlements was so flattering that early in this year the company applied for a new charter, obtained a warrant therefor, and the charter passed the Great Seal, November, 1620, creating them the Great Council of Plymouth, with boundaries from north latitude 40° to 48°, and powers of government, title to the lands, and also giving them a monopoly of the trade and the fishery. Before I pass to this charter I will continue the preceding subject.
In 1619, Gorges sent out Captain Dormer, who was to have met Captain Rowcroft, but found he was gone. Dormer took his pinnace and, with an interpreter, coasted as far as Virginia.
In 1620, he visited the harbor where the Pilgrims arrived in the following December. Captain Pryng had called it, in 1603, Mount Aldworth, Champlain, in 1605, had named it Bay St. Louis, but the Pilgrim settlers called it New Plymouth. Dermer went from here with his interpreter and squaw to a distance into the interior, and rescued from the savages two Frenchmen who had been shipwrecked in a French barque some time before. "Mourt's Relation" states that the Pilgrims, when on Cape Cod, found one or two plank houses. Possibly these were of the South Virginia attempts to establish their cod fishery.
This new monopoly, the Great Council of Plymouth, caused a great row. The South Virginia Company fought it in parliament, claimed they, too, spent £5000 in establishing their fishery on the east coast, and were now cut off by this grant. The voluntary fishermen fought it, both in parliament and on the coast, as a monopoly. Gorges defended the charter bravely. The House of Commons was against him, but the king and the House of Lords were for him, and the charter stood. The Pilgrims had a charter from Virginia, but their settlement was in the New England jurisdiction. Gorges obtained a charter for them here and helped them. But this branch of history is not within the scope of this discourse. The French ambassador also objected to the King against this charter, as an infringement on the territory of the French. The question whether it should be New England or New France was pressed with renewed vigor.
Pemaquid became now the forefront of our array. A force of 1500 to 3000 armed fishermen, hanging on its flanks half the year, was more than ever impenetrable and imposing. The great profits of the fishing for all the round season drew settlements at convenient points. The Isles of Shoals, the Piscataqua, Saco, Casco, Monhegan and the Damrel's Cove Islands, even also Cape Ann, felt the balmy influence of profit and protection, and rallied settlers behind the overshadowing eyes of Pemaquid and Monhegan. Plymouth was not a good fishing place, nor was the Massachusetts, but on the eastern coast the fishermen rallied.
The younger Gorges came out governor for New England in 1623, and visited Pemaquid, but the council at home gave up the fishing monopoly and the voluntary fishermen thrived. I must not cumber you with details. The ships came to Monhegan or the Isles of Shoals and sent up to the bay in their pinnaces the passengers and freight due there. Those who wished to go to England generally sailed "down East" and took shipping there. For trade goods and fishing prior to 1630 Pemaquid was without an equal on the coast. The petition of the inhabitants there in 1684, to the Duke of York, concludes: "and that Pemaquid may still remain metropolis of these parts, because it ever have been so before Boston was settled." Grants were made at Pemaquid and Monhegan as early as 1623 surely; the Earl Arundel had this section assigned as his dividend in 1622, and Abram Jennings of Plymouth, who was then a member of the council, we recognize in 1626 as selling out his great trading establishment at Monhegan, and a flock of goats, which the Pilgrims and Mr. Thompson of Piscataqua came down and bought between them, also some £800 of goods.
We find Pierce with a patent of strange origin at Pemaquid, also Brown earlier than 1625, the latter rejoicing in a title deed from Captain John Somerset, the chief of that ilk, him whom the Pilgrims called "Samoset," who welcomed them in English and introduced them to 'one of Gorges' Indians, Tisquantum or Squanto, who was afterwards their interpreter and diplomat for years among their neighbor tribes. There is no need to dwell on the land titles of Aldworth, Elbridge and Shurtz. There was a mechanic and farming population here, workers of iron, makers of clay pipes, tanners, shipwrights, adjunct to the fur traders and "ye fishermen," but the place being free had no archives. Mr. Shurtz, the Justice of Peace, appears to have been the total of government, unless they had also a town meeting. The Pilgrims, when starved near to death in 1622, saw a shallop come into the harbor which they feared was a French man of war. She proved to be from Damrel's Cove Islands. They followed her back in their own boat and got provisions from the generous fishermen to supply their needs. They had, states Bradford, the further benefit of finding their way there for, future use. They came again in 1623, and when their boat was stove and sunk at Damrel's Cove Islands in 1624, the jolly fishermen joined in raising and repairing her for them. We infer that these voluntary fishermen were neither Brownists nor Puritans, as Phineas Pratt in his narrative states he arrived at these islands in 1622, and found that "the fishermen had set up a Maypole and were very merry." The Plymouth people soon set up a trade there and at the Kennebec, and supported their colony by its profits. They owed something to the merry fishermen as well as to Sir Fernando Gorges.
WINTHROP, in 1630, writes in his journal that, on the day the Arbella got into Nahumkeik Harbor, Mr. Atherton, in his sloop bound to Pemaquid, dropped in and called on them. Mr. Shurtz of Pemaquid, in the next year, sent to the bay an Indian woman who had been taken by the Tarantines at Agawam. In 1635, Winthrop states only thirty ploughs were running in the bay. In 1640, he writes in his journal that one Graften, in a sloop, had sailed to Pemaquid and brought back to the bay twenty cows and oxen with hay and water for them. In 1635, he states that the ship, the Angel Gabriel, was lost at Pemaquid in a great storm. She was intended for the bay, and her consort, the James, was nearly lost at the Isles of Shoals. Thus one can see that, though the bay settlements had much direct trade with Great Britain, they had not displaced the ancient leadership of Pemaquid in the fish and fur trades. Its exports and casual passenger trade long flourished.
France, under the strong hands of Richelieu, had organized her settlements in North America and, not renouncing her claim to New England, was active in reducing all she could into actual possession. Consequently, Pemaquid became a frontier station of the utmost importance to the future of the English possessions westward on the coast. Undoubtedly, some stockades and a few guns had long been maintained at Pemaquid to oppose the onslaughts of French, Indians and pirates, but this was individual work, rather than public preparation.
I may add here that the New Plymouth people made two efforts to establish trading ports on the Penobscot, and that the French captured each and broke up their trade, in 1631 and 1635.
THE FORTS OF PEMAQUID.
It is not my purpose to trace the long history of the French and Indian wars, but reverting to the subject I began with, the ruins of Pemaquid, I will trace the succession of the forts and the vicissitudes they endured, briefly, because my limits are narrow, and because numerous general histories of New England fill out the surrounding events which I must omit.
In 1630, we learn that a more pretentious fort was built at Pemaquid, where the farmers and resident fishermen had largely increased.
In 1632, one Dixey Bull, a dissatisfied Englishman, turned pirate, and with fifteen others surprised and plundered the settlement at Pemaquid and raised great disturbance on the coast. Bull lost one of his principal men in the attack. Captain Neale of Piscataqua went with forty men to the relief of Pemaquid. After this Pemaquid seems to have had better protection, as we hear no more of such attacks. In 1664, this country east of the Kennebec came under the patent of the Duke of York, who paid small attention to it, for in 1675 one hundred discontented citizens petitioned to Massachusetts for, "wherein some times past we have had some kind of government settled amongst us, but for these several years we have not had any at all," etc., and therefore ask to be taken under the protection of Massachusetts. Eleven of the signers are of Pemaquid, fifteen are of Damrel's Cove Islands, sixteen of Cape Newwagen (Bonawagon in the petition), eighteen are of Monhegan, twenty-one of Kennebec and fifteen of the Sheepscot. How many were of the opposite opinion does not appear: probably it was the more numerous party.
In 1675, the Indian War, known as King Phillip's War, began.
In 1676, the settlers at Pemaquid and on the adjacent islands were surprised by an organized, extensive Indian attack. Pemaquid was deserted, as was the country and coast, by all who could escape the merciless tomahawk. The survivors, about three hundred in number, took refuge at Damrel's Cove Islands, where they held out about a fortnight, when, realizing the impracticability of defence, they sailed in various vessels west to Piscataqua, or Boston, and all east of the Sagadahoc was desolate.
Major Waldron with a strong force was sent down to redeem captives and to retaliate. He had a sharp brush with the Indians at Pemaquid,-a Fort Gardner is spoken of as being then in their control, probably a block-house. They had burnt Pemaquid directly on its being abandoned. An affidavit in my possession of one John Cock, born east of the Kennebec and driven off in 1676 by the Indians, speaks of a Mr. Padishal having been killed at Pemaquid by the Indians. The Duke of York's government at New York now awoke from their apathy and prepared a formidable force to retake his possessions, and in 1677 took possession of the country and established a government. A new fort, on the site of the old one, was erected,-a wooden redoubt with two guns aloft, an outwork with two bastions, each carrying two guns, and one gun at the gate. Fifty soldiers were stationed as a garrison, and the fort was named
Under this protection, Pemaquid was made the capital of the duke's territory; a custom-house, licenses for fishing, and a Justice of Peace established. The Indians were awed, and a kind of treaty made with them. The smacks that had been captured were restored, captives released and a delusive hope of peace indulged.
1684 found "they of Pemaquid" much delighted with the glories, military and civil, of their capital, as well as their returning trade, petitioning the duke for more favors, "and that Pemaquid may still remain the metropolis of these parts because it ever have been so, before Boston was settled." Alas for this dream of the revival of the traditional capital, Norumbega, politics in 1686 enforced the jurisdiction of these parts to be ceded to the new royal Massachusetts charter, and the love-lorn Pemaquid was divorced from New York.
1687 brought a solace for their woe. The thirsty Bay Puritans under the orders of the judge of Pemaquid made a raid on the French settlement at Bagaduce, on the Penobscot, where the Baron Castine lived, and carried off to Pemaquid a ship and cargo of wines, etc., imported by him. This spoliation caused serious complaints from the French ambassador at London. I will not say that free rum flowed at Pemaquid. The perfumed and stimulating red wines of Gascony and Burgundy shed their nectar on the parched gullets of the judge, collectors, tide waiters and bailiffs,-the official aristocracy, - in biblical phrase, "without money and without price." Even the soldiers of the garrison, or at least the officers, got more than a sniff at the aromatic fluid. On Darwin's doctrine of heredity one might well claim that the Maine officials thus early were imbued with, and transmitted to their successors, the habit of seizing other people's wines and liquors and drinking them without paying for them.
In 1689, Fort Charles was surprised by the Indians, who cut off the most of the garrison as they were engaged in some ordinary affairs outside the fort, and with a second body made an energetic attack on the fort, which was vigorously resisted by the small remnant within the fort. The next day the attack was continued, and finally, through Madocawando's efforts, Captain Weems was induced to surrender on terms for all within the fort, viz: fourteen men and some women and children who had been fortunate enough to get in there for protection. They were immediately put on board a sloop and sent to Boston. Sixteen men had been killed in the attacks on the fort; of those outside who had been cut off, the French Indians carried off about fifty captives; the number of killed is unknown. It took Captain Weems three years to obtain the pay for his men and himself and twice he petitioned to London. This was a serious calamity to the frontier, and the necessity of rebuilding and restoring Pemaquid was urgent.
In 1693, Governor Phipps, who was born in that neighborhood (his father had lived at Pemaquid), directed the fort to be rebuilt in a solid way of stone. It took in the great stone at the southwest that was outside the old stockade and so unfortunate for it in the last attack, and was heavily armed and strongly garrisoned. He named it
FORT WILLIAM HENRY.
The long Indian and French war had devastated the frontier on either side, but the two rival nations still opposed a threatening front at Pemaquid and at the Penobscot. Predatory and bloody skirmishing was maintained on both sides against the settlements of their opponent.
In 1696, Fort William Henry was attacked by two French frigates and five hundred French and Indians, and on the second day it surrendered to them on terms. Chubb, the commander was held long in jail in Boston on his return, his conduct having been unsatisfactory. The French destroyed the fort by tipping over the walls, and retired.
In 1697, the Treaty of Ryswick was made, and the possession of Nova Scotia was restored to France, whose claims to a predominant title over New England had never been abandoned. Renewed efforts were made on the English side to settle eastern Maine again. What with the attacks and counter attacks stimulated by the national antipathy and the determination of the Indian tribes to limit the white man's occupancy to the mere fishing stations on the coast, regardless of treaties or prior sales by them, there was a constant turmoil. Treaties were violated directly the pressure that induced them was removed. The hardy New Englanders, grown skilful in Indian fighting, struck fiercely at the citadels of Indian power-their villages-besides maintaining defensive attitude around their own homesteads.
Let me generalize. In 1700-03, there were attacks on our towns; 1704-07, attacks by us on Port Royal. In 1709-10, Port Royal was recaptured by us. In 1711, our disastrous attack on Canada, In 1712 hostilities ceased, and 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht was made, whereby France ceded "all Nova Scotia or Acadia comprehended within its antient boundaries; as also the city of Port Royal, now called Annapolis Royal," etc. There was a bright hope for peace, but the indefinite limits of the cession soon led to further difficulty.
In 1716, an order to re-establish the Fort at Pemaquid was issued, but not executed.
In 1717, a treaty with the Indians was renewed, and in 1719 the old settlers and land holders at Pemaquid began to return.
In 1722, Lovewell's War broke out; the great successes at Norridgewock and at Pigwackat broke the Indian power. Some fishing vessels after hard fighting were captured and rescued. The bounty for scalps went up to £100.
In 1724, the Indians captured two fishing vessels at the Isles of Shoals and eight at Fox Island thoroughfare, in all twenty-two sail; killed twenty-two fishermen, and made twenty-eight prisoners. In 1725 more were surprised and taken.
In 1726, Dummer's Treaty was signed with the Indian tribes. It was not popular, but Pemaquid, after lying waste for over twenty years, began to revive.
In 1729, Dunbar, the governor, under a royal order of the province of Sagadahoc, fixed his headquarters at Pemaquid. He rebuilt the fallen fort and called it
In 1735, the jurisdiction was turned over again to Massachusetts, and in 1737 the fort was dismantled. In 1740 it was repaired, and in 1744 it was strengthened for the French War, in which the colonial forces captured Louisburg. Canada remained still a potential instigator of frontier troubles.
In 1745, there were attacks on Fort Frederic; 1746, two more; 1747, two more, but 1748 brought the peace of Aix la Chapelle.
In 1750, another Indian War broke out, and in 1755 the new French War broke out which, after the most intense struggle of the two powers, closed by the capture of Quebec in 1759, and the surrender of all Canada and the obliteration of the frontier.
The ancestors of the most of us were in this war of conquest for the sake of that peace which the reunion of the whole settled continent under one flag affords to the industrious and home-loving citizen, and around the old hearthstones family traditions are yet proudly handed down of the gallant deeds that made the forts at Pemaquid a military supernumerary.
In 1758, the troops were withdrawn from Pemaquid; 1762, the cannon of Fort Frederic were taken out and shipped to Boston. The broken Indian power lost all hope when Canada fell; the remnant of their tribes were compelled to rely on the colonials for trade and supplies. The swords were beaten into ploughshares. The old fort leisurely rotted away, standing as a souvenir of the fierce and dubious struggle during a century and a half in which Pemaquid had been the hope or the stay of the English race in New England, the fore front of our battle for supremacy on this continent.
1775 yields us one more glimpse of the old fort. The men of the duke's country were all patriots; their worthies like the fighting O'Brians, the Sprouls, and others, live yet in the local annals of Bristol and the state.
The coast was exposed to the piratical devastations of the navy of Great Britain; we could not match it, and it was apprehended that, could they fortify a good harbor as a base of operations, the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts might be lighted with the flames of burning houses and plundered as it had been in King Phillip's War. The English have ever shown a constitutional partiality for this kind of warfare in their contests with the American people. It was felt that the old fort was too big to be defended by Pemaquid, and too dangerous in an enemy's hands. A town meeting voted to pull down the fort, and strong hands quickly toppled over its old walls. The gates and platforms were already rotted, and in a few weeks the ruins of Fort Frederic were much in the condition that I beheld them more than a hundred years afterwards.
In 1812, Captain Sproul's company made their camp at the old fort, but did not rebuild it. They had several skirmishes during the war with plundering boat expeditions from British Men-of-War, which are duly narrated in the excellent History of Bristol.
Pemaquid has for half a century been frequented by historians, and antiquaries. Rows of almost obliterated cellars mark where houses once stood. A paved way has partly been laid bare by the removal of a foot or more of earth which had accumulated above it which seems to have led from the shore past the fort. Curious eyes also think they see evidences of a Spanish occupation earlier than the French or English era. A collection of relics is slowly accumulating there. The mossy stones of the old graveyard join in the chorus that Pemaquid is dead, engulfed in victory!
The frontier has been moved a hundred miles eastward of the Penobscot. The beaver and the Indian have been wiped out. The fishery has changed its character except at Monhegan. The former elements of its prosperity have ceased to exist.
In its harbor a stray coaster or a placid yachtsman seeks perhaps a refuge from fog or storm. And on a sunny day many a lively sloop or cat-boat from the city-peopled islands around Boothbay, Mouse or Squirrel, Heron or Capital, Rutherford, Isle of Spring, or Fisherman, laden with happy, laughing, holiday residents, steers boldly through the reef-bound "thread of life" and speeds to these relics of New England's early struggle for existence. On those who have read its story these scenes make a deep impression.
Nine or ten miles off Pemaquid Point Monhegan towers like a cathedral. Westward, about the like distance, lay the Damrel's Cove Islands and Cape Newwagen. A half dozen miles beyond is the Sagadahoc of the Popham settlement, almost within signal distance lie these points of the triangle, within whose theatre were developed the struggles for the settlement and dominion of New England I have crudely laid before you. Here from the West of England, Devon and Somerset, gentlemen and fishermen, drove their keels first to its shores, and strove, gaining inch by inch, never relenting until the New England homesteads gathered under their lee to enjoy the blessings of civil and religious liberty.
The martial din is over. No flag flaunts from its bastions on the breeze, no wide-mouthed cannon stares over barbette or through port-hole, no morning gun wakes the sleepy inhabitants or the cruising sailor from his watch below. The mailed cavalier, the grim Puritan, the feathered Abnaqui chief, the French man-at-arms, the rollicking, May-pole planting fishermen of the West of England, the trading Dutchman, the land pirate and the sea pirate walk no more by daylight on the shores of Pemaquid; but when the spirits of the past come back at midnight the old Bashaba and these mighty men of past generations may gather in the mystic vision like the wild huntsmen of the Hartz Mountains. But other realistic visions might be also mirrored forth; the sky be relighted with the blaze of burning houses, barns and ships; the air wearied with the war whoop and the screams of wounded or dying men, the wail of women and children, the cries of battle and of the despair of plundered farmers and drowning fishermen. It was in blood, tears, pain, labor, and unrelenting perseverance that this land was won by the fishermen and the colonists. As the fruit of their sacrifices, in peace, plenty and prosperity we look back on the past. May I not ask of the warm-hearted members of the Historical Society of Hyde Park a tribute to the memory of those hardy fishermen and landsmen, who breasted the storm of war by Pemaquid, until this land became, in fact, New England and not New France.