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ON THE PUNCTILIO OF THE SAVAGE

by Thomas Morton

 

REPUTATION is such a thingthat it keeps many men in aweeven amongstcivilized nationsand is very much stood upon. It is (as one hath very wellnoted) the awe of great men and of kingsand since I have observed it to bemaintained amongst savage peopleI can not choose but give an instance thereofin this treatiseto confirm the common received opinion thereof.

The sachem or sagamore of Sagus made choicewhen he came to man's estateofa lady of noble descentdaughter to Papasiquineothe sachem or sagamore of theterritories near Merrimac Rivera man of the best note and estimation in allthose parts (and as my countryman Mr. Wood declares in his prospect) a greatNigromancer. This lady the young sachemwith the consent and good liking of herfathermarries and takes for his wife. Great entertainment he and his receivedin those parts at her father's handswhere they were feasted in the best mannerthat might be expectedaccording to the custom of their nation with revellingand such other solemnities as is usual amongst them. The solemnity being endedPapasiquineo causes a selected number of his men to wait upon his daughter homeinto those parts that did properly belong to her lord and husbandwhere theattendants had entertainment by the sachem of Sagus and his countrymen; thesolemnity being endedthe attendants were gratified.

Not long afterthe new married lady had a great desire to see her fatherand her native countryfrom whence she came. Her lordwilling to pleasure herand not deny her requestamongst them thought to be reasonablecommanded aselected number of his own men to conduct his lady to her father; where withgreat respect they brought her: and having feasted there awhilereturned totheir own country againleaving the lady to continue there at her own pleasureamongst her friendsand old acquaintancewhere she passed away the time forawhile; and in the end desired to return to her lord again. Her fatherthe oldPapasiquineohaving notice of her intentsent some of his men on ambassage tothe young sachemhis son-in-lawto let him understand that his daughter wasnot willing to absent herself from his company any longer; and therefore (as themessengers had in charge) desired the young lord to send a convoy for her. Buthe standing upon terms of honorand the maintaining of his reputationreturnedto his father-in-law this answerthat when she departed from himhe caused hismen to wait upon her to her father's territoriesas it did become him: but nowshe had an intent to returnit did become her father to send her back with aconvoy of his own people: and that it stood not with his reputation to makehimself or his men so servileto fetch her again. The old sachem Papasiquineohaving this message returnedwas enraged to think that his young son-in-law didnot esteem him at a higher rate than to capitulate with him about the matterand return him this sharp replythat his daughter's blood and birth deserved nomore respect than to be so slightedand thereforeif he would have hercompanyhe were best to send or come for her.

The young sachem not willing to undervalue himselfand being a man of astout spiritdid not stick to saythat he should either send herby his ownconvoyor keep her; for he was not determined to stoop so low.

So much these two sachems stood upon terms of reputation with each othertheone would not send herand the other would not send for herlest it should beany diminishing of honor on his partthat should seem to complythat the lady(when I came out of the country) remained still with her father; which is athing worth the notingthat savage people should seek to maintain theirreputation so much as they do.

THE END