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Danforth, Thomas (fl. 1689) to Charles Frost

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05580 Author/Creator: Danforth, Thomas (fl. 1689) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 17 February 1689 Pagination: 1 p. : address : docket ; 30.5 x 19.4 cm

Summary of Content: Writing to Major Charles Frost in Kittery, Maine, at the beginning of King William's War (1689-1697), Provincial Governor of Massachusetts Thomas Danforth orders him to go to Boston and gather troops: "You shall in all places and by all ways & means to your power take, kill, & destroy ye enemy without limitation of place or time as you shall have opportunity." Mentioned is Lt. Simon Willard (1605-1676). In the margin is a recommendation to Frost of a "Lt. Andrews". It is not known if the date on the piece is old style or new style. Docket reads: "To Maj. Charles Frost in [illegible] In Kittney Lt Andrews. Frost was killed in an Indian ambush in York, Maine, in 1697.

Background Information: Two parallel struggles for power took place in eastern North America during the late seventeenth and early and mid-eighteenth centuries. One was an imperial struggle between France and England. Four ...times between 1689 and 1763, France, England, and their Indian allies engaged in struggles for dominance. The other was a power struggle among Indian groups, pitting the Iroquois and various Algonquian-speaking peoples against one another.
These two struggles were closely interconnected. Both France and England were dependent upon Indian peoples for furs and military support. The English outnumbered the French by about 20 to 1 during this period, and therefore the survival of French Canada depended on the support of Algonquian-speaking nations. For Native Americans, alliances with England and France were a source of wealth, providing presents, supplies, ammunition, and captives whom the Indians either adopted or sold. Such alliances also kept white settlers from encroaching on Indian lands.
During times of peace, however, Indians found it much more difficult to play England and France off against each other. It was during the period of peace in Europe that followed the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 that England and France destroyed the Natchez, the Fox, and the Yamasee nations.
In this letter, Thomas Danforth (1622-1699), who had served as deputy governor of Massachusetts Bay colony and president of Maine, refers to King William's War (1689-1697), the first French and Indian War. Like Queen Anne's War (1702-1713) and King George's War (1744-1748), two later French and Indian wars, this conflict grew out of a struggle in Europe. After Indians allied to the English raided French settlements near Montreal, the French and their Indians allies retaliated by staging raids on New York and New England. Two English assaults on the province of QuÈbec ended in failure and a stalemate ensued. The war was finally ended in 1697 by the Treaty of Ryswick, which returned to England and France all territory each side had lost during the war. "Take, kill, & destroy [th]e enemy without limitation of place or time" Thomas Danforth (1622-1699) emigrated to New England in 1634. From 1659 to 1678 he was an assistant under the Massachusetts government, becoming Deputy Governor in 1679. In the latter year he was elected president in the Province of Maine, then independent of Massachusetts which he served from 1680 to 1686, then again 1689 to 1692. He opened his court at York, and granted several parcels of land. He held the offices of Deputy Governor and president until the arrival of Sir Edmund Andros in 1688. Meanwhile he had also been made a judge of the superior court, and in 1681, with Daniel Gookin, Elisha Cooke and others, opposed the acts of trade and asserted the charter rights of the country. He was also a judge during the 1692 Salem witch trials. Major Charles Frost (1631-1697) of Kittery, Maine represented Maine in the General Court in 1678 and was later named to the Provincial Council of Maine. He was given high command of troops in Maine during the during King William's War, but was killed in an ambush in 1697 in retaliations for the earlier capture and enslavement of several hundred Indians.
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Full Transcript: [draft]
of Mayne. To Major Charles Frost,
Instructions as followeth,
Pursuant to the Comission signed, & bearing [said] date with these & yours

You are with all care & speed to hasten ...the gathering of your soldiers together. and in case Capt. Simon Willard be in any wise disinabled that he cant attend ye service you are to comissionate such other [most] person as you shall judge [most]. & appoint all other officers as you shall have occasion.

You shall in all places & by all wayes & means to your power take, kill, & destroy ye enemy without limitation of place or time as you shall have opportunity. & you are also impowered to comissionate any other person or persons to do the like.

You shall carefully inspect all the Garrisons in yr province, & reduce them to such a number, & appoint such places as shall in yor wisdom most condure to the preservation of the people. And ye yd great charge now expounded for yd [Laws] may be abated.

Commiting you to yr Com[text loss] & pe[text loss] of God almighty upon whom[text loss]d you have all yor dependants, of [subscribre].

Feb. 17. 1689. Yor Loveing friend
Tho: Danforth. Presidt
[written on left margin]
I have prevailed with Lt. Andrews to come back, esteeming him a fitt man for your Lt. & I would yt you accordingly enterntayn him.
[address leaf]
To Majo.r Charles
L.t Andrews
August:19: 1768
Delivered to Pap [text loss]: 6 774 Sect
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Historical Era: Colonization and Settlement, 1585-1763

Subjects: Military HistoryRecruitmentGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsFranceFrench and Indian WarAmerican Indian History

Sub Era: The Thirteen Colonies

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