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William Wood's Impressions of New England Indians, 1639

     To enter into a serious discourse concerning the natural conditions of these Indians might procure admiration from the people of any civilized nations, in regard of their civility and good natures. If a tree may be judged by his fruit, and dispositions calculated by exterior actions, then may it be concluded that these Indians are of affable, courteous, and well-disposed natures, ready to communicate the best of their wealth to the mutual good of one another;  .  .  .
      If it were possible to recount the courtesies they have showed the English since their first arrival in those parts, it would not only steady belief that they are a loving people, but also win the love of those that never saw them, and wipe off that needless fear that is too deeply rooted in the conceits of many who think them envious and of such rancorous and inhumane dispositions that they will one day make an end of their English inmates. The worst indeed may be surmised, but the English hitherto have had little cause to suspect them but rather to be convinced of their trustiness, seeing they have as yet been the disclosers of all such treacheries as have been practised by other Indians. And whereas once there was a proffer of an universal league amongst all the Indians in those parts, to the intent that they might all join in one united force to extirpate the English, our Indians refused the motion, replying they had rather be servants to the English, of whom they were confident to receive no harm and from whom they had received so many favors and assured good testimonies of their love, than equals with them who would cut their throats upon the least offence and make them the shambles of their cruelty. Furthermore, if any roving ships be upon the coasts and chance to harbor either eastward, northward, or southward in any unusual port, they will give us certain intelligence of her burthen and forces, describing their men either by language or features, which is a great privilege and no small advantage. Many ways hath their advice and endeavor been advantageous unto us, they being our first instructors for the planting of their Indian corn, by teaching us to cull out the finest seed, to observe the fittest season, to keep distance for holes and fit measure for hills, to worm it and weed it, to prune it and dress it as occasion shall require.  .  .  .
      Such is the wisdom and policy of these poor men that they will be sure to keep correspondence with our English magistrates, expressing their love in the execution of any service they command them (so far as lies in their power).  .  .  .
      These people be of a kind and affable disposition, yet are they very wary with whom they strike hands in friendship. Nothing is more hateful to them than a churlish disposition, so likewise is dissimulation; he that speaks seldom and opportunely, being as good as his word, is the only man they love. The Spaniard they say is all one aramouse (viz., all one as a dog); the Frenchman hath a good tongue but a false heart; the Englishman all one speak, all one heart, wherefore they more approve of them than of any nation. Garrulity is much condemned of them, for they utter not many words, speak seldom, and then with such gravity as is pleasing to the ear. Such as understand them not desire yet to hear their emphatical expressions and lively action.  .  .  .

Wiilliam Wood, New England's Prospect: A True, Lively, and Experimental Description of That Part of America, commonly called New England (London: John Dawson, 1639).
 

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