In 1644, Edward Winslow is chosen governor of Plymouth. The original Plymouth settlement has become small and bare, since most of the population has moved to surrounding towns. A group of church leaders agrees to move the new Plymouth church to a nearby place called Nauset, some fifty miles away. Realizing that nobody will come to such a remote church, the leaders change their decision. However, the new church is already under construction by this time. When it’s finally completed, almost nobody attends it.
The Pilgrims again face logistical challenges: the community is becoming more and more spread out, and therefore less culturally and economically unified. But although the pilgrims become more spread out geographically, they’re still united in their opposition to Native Americans—as Bradford will show later in the following chapter.
The same year, a conflict breaks out with the Narragansett Indians. The Narragansett urge the Massachusetts Governor to support a retaliatory war against Uncas. The Governor forbids such a conflict, and threatens to start a war if the Narragansett harm Uncas. However, the Narragansett kill many of Uncas’s men. Uncas asks for support from the United Council, and the Council agrees, but makes it known that they’ll enforce peace between tribes. The Narragansett seem to accept peace, and promise to send their men to the United Council for punishment if they should attempt to attack Uncas’s Monhig tribe.
The United Council bills itself as a peacekeeping force, whose sole purpose is to protect its own citizens. Indeed, the Council was partly designed to promote peaceful trade, to the collective advantage of the English settlers in New England. The Council had an incentive to intervene in the conflict between the Native Americans, then, because the conflict interfered with trading.