Copy of the Act and Deed of Submission of the Narragansett to the Protection of England

A true copy of the act and deed of the voluntary and free submission of the chief sachem and the rest of the princes with the whole people of the Narragansetts unto the government and protection of that honorable State of Old England set down here verbatim.

Know all men, colonies, peoples, and nations unto whom the same hereof shall come, that we, the chief sachems, princes, or governors of the Narragansett (in that part of America now called New England), together with the joint and unanimous consent of all our people and subjects, inhabitants thereof, do upon serious consideration, mature and deliberate advise and counsel, great and weighty grounds and reasons moving us thereunto, whereof one most effectual unto us is that noble fame we have heard of that great and mighty Prince Charles, King of Great Britain in that honorable and princely care he hath of all his servants, and true and loyal subjects, the consideration whereof moveth and bendeth our hearts with one consent, freely, voluntarily, and most humbly to submit, subject, and give over ourselves, peoples, lands, rights, inheritances, and possessions whatsoever, in ourselves and our heirs, successively forever unto the protection, care, and government of that worthy and royal Prince Charles, King of Great Britain and Ireland, his heirs and successors forever to be ruled and governed according to those ancient and honorable laws and customs established in that so renowned Realm and Kingdom of Old England.  We do therefore by these presents confess and most willingly and submissively acknowledge ourselves to be the humble, loving, and obedient servants and subjects of his Majesty to be ruled, ordered, and disposed of in ourselves and ours, according to his princely wisdom, counsel, and laws of that honorable State of Old England, upon condition of His Majesty’s royal protection and righting of us in what wrong is or may be done unto us, according to his honorable laws and customs exercised amongst his subjects in their preservation and safety, and in the defeating and overthrow of his and their enemies.  Not that we find ourselves necessitated hereunto in respect of our relation or oration we have, or may have, with any of the Natives in these parts, knowing ourselves sufficient defense and able to judge in any matter or cause in that respect but have just cause of jealousy and suspicion of some of His Majesty’s pretended subjects. Therefore, our desire is to have our matters and causes heard and tried according to his just and equal laws in that way and order His Highness shall please to appoint, nor can we yield over ourselves unto any that are subjects themselves in any case, having ourselves been the chief sachems or princes successively of the country, time out of mind, and for our present and lawful enacting hereof, being so far remote from His Majesty, we have by joint consent made choice of four of his loyal and loving subjects, our trusty and well-beloved friends, Samuel Gorton, John Wickes, Randall Holden, and John Warner, whom we have deputed and made our lawful attorneys or commissioners, not only for the acting and performing of this our deed in the behalf of His Highness, but also for the safe custody, careful conveyance, and declaration hereof unto His Grace, being done upon the lands of the Narragansett at a court or general assembly called and assembled together of purpose for the public enacting and manifestation hereof.  And for the further confirmation and establishing of this our act and deed, we the abovesaid sachems or princes have according to that commendable custom of English men subscribed our names and set our seals hereunto, as so many testimonies of our faith and truth, our love and loyalty to that our Dread Sovereign, and that according to the English men’s account dated the nineteenth day of April one thousand six hundred forty four.

Pessicus, his mark
Chief Sachem and successor of that late deceased Miantonomo                               
The mark of that ancient Canonicus
Protector of that late deceased Miantonomo during the time of his nonage

The mark of Mixan, son and heir of that abovesaid Canonicus


Witnessed by two of the chief counselors to Sachem Pessicus,

Indians:  Awashoosse, his mark / Tomanick, his mark    


Sealed and delivered in the presence of these persons

English:  Christopher Helme / Robert Potter / Richard Carder


April 19, 1644 / New England / B. C. N. 28


438, 430 / 427

Editors’ Note

Another copy of the act appears in Bundle A, Paper 1 [See doc 1644.04.19.00]