How did the sachems of the Narragansett tribe characterize their relationship to the Massachusetts Bay Colony?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The sachems of the Narragansett tribe defined their relationship with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the Act of Submission of 1644, which took the form of a letter to King Charles I of England. The sachems characterized this relationship as one of voluntary submission to British rule in return for protection. They expressed a hope for just and equal treatment under English law.

The chief reason for the sachems' acceptance of this relationship, according to the Act of Submission, was

that noble fame we have heard of that Great and mighty Prince, Charles, King of Great Britaine, in that honorable and princely care he hath of all his servants, and true and loyal subjects...

This is profoundly ironic for at least two reasons. In the first place, Charles was in no position to take care of any colonial subjects in the New World since he was, in 1644, embroiled in the English Civil War, fighting for his crown and his life—both of which he was soon to lose. In the second place, the relations between the British monarchy and the puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were far from cordial in any case. Samuel Gorton, who was charged with delivering the letter, was a controversial figure among both royalists and puritans, and had recently been imprisoned in Boston under sentence of death.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on