England in America, 1580-1652
by Lyon Gardiner Tyler
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Baltimore returned to his plans of colonization, and in 1627 went to Newfoundland with his wife and children. But the country proved too cold for him and he determined to "shift" to a warmer climate. Accordingly, in August, 1629, he wrote to the king for a "grant of a precinct of land in Virginia," with the same privileges as those which King James gave him in Newfoundland.[2] Without waiting for a reply he left Avalon, and in October, 1629, arrived in Virginia, where the governor, Dr. John Pott, and his council received him politely but coldly. Neither his religion nor his past career as a court favorite, nor the design which he made known of establishing an independent state within the confines of Virginia, commended him to the people of Jamestown.

Naturally, they wished to get rid of him, and the council tendered him the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, which, in the various instructions from the king, they were strictly enjoined to require of all new-comers. The oath of allegiance occasioned no difficulty, but the oath of supremacy, which required Baltimore to swear that he believed the king to be "the only supreme governor in his realm in all spiritual or ecclesiastical things or causes," was repugnant to him as a Catholic, and he declined to take it, but offered to subscribe to a modified form. This was refused, and after several weeks' sojourn Lord Baltimore sailed away to England to press his suit in person before the king.[3]

So far as the law of England stood at that time, the effect of the dissolution of the London Company was to extinguish the debts of the corporation and vest all its property undisposed of in the crown. On the other hand, there were the repeated official pledges of Charles and his father not to disturb the interest of either planter or adventurer in any part of the territory formerly conveyed by the charter of 1609.[4] Nevertheless, the king preferred law to equity, and October 30, 1629, granted to Sir Robert Heath the province of Carolana in the southern part of Virginia, between thirty-one and thirty-six degrees.[5] But there was a clause in this charter excepting any land "actually granted or in possession of any of his majesty's subjects."

About the same time Cottington, the secretary of state, was directed to answer Lord Baltimore's letter written from Newfoundland and promise him "any part of Virginia not already granted." Lord Baltimore arrived in London soon after this letter was written, and in December, 1629, petitioned to be permitted to "choose for his part" a tract south of James River and north of Carolana. A charter was made out for him in February, 1631, and would have passed the seals but for the intervention of William Claiborne, one of those Virginia councillors who had offered the oath to Baltimore.[6]

William Claiborne, the second son of Sir Edward Claiborne, of Westmoreland County, England, went over to Virginia with Governor Wyatt in 1621 as surveyor-general of the colony. Shortly afterwards he was made a councillor, and in 1625 secretary of state of the colony. In the Indian war, which began with the massacre in 1622, he was appointed general, and in 1629 received lands in the Pamunkey Neck for valuable military service. Active and fearless, he engaged with great success in the trade for furs in the bay, and was recognized as the foremost man in Virginia. Sent in May, 1630, by the Virginia council to watch the movements of Lord Baltimore, he co-operated in England with ex-Governor Francis West, of Virginia, Sir John Wolstenholme, and other gentlemen who wished the restoration of the London Company.

Aided by these friends, Claiborne defeated the proposed grant, but Baltimore persevered, and, in April, 1632, received from the crown a patent for a portion of the Virginia territory lying north of Point Comfort, and having for bounds the ocean, the fortieth parallel of north latitude, the meridian of the western fountain of the Potomac, the southern bank of the Potomac River, and a line drawn east from Watkins Point. In the grant the land was described as "hitherto unsettled and occupied only by barbarians ignorant of God." The king first proposed to call it Mariana, in honor of his wife, Henrietta Maria, but on Baltimore objecting that it was the name of a Spanish historian who had written against the doctrine of passive obedience, Charles modified the appellation, and said, "Let it be called Terra Mariae—Maryland."[7]

April 15, 1632, George Calvert died, and the charter was made out in the name of his eldest son, Cecilius, and was signed by the king, June 20, 1632. Cecilius Calvert, named after Sir Robert Cecil, was born in 1605, and in 1621 entered Trinity College, Oxford University. He married Anne Arundel, daughter of Lord Thomas Arundel, of Wardour. As Cecilius, unlike his father, never held public positions in England, his character is best revealed by his conduct of his province in America, which shows him to have been a man of consummate prudence and tact.

Baltimore's grant called forth a strong remonstrance from members of the Virginia Company and all the leading planters in Virginia, including Claiborne. The matter was referred by the king to the Commissioners for Foreign Plantations, who heard the complaint, and July 3, 1633, decided to "leave Lord Baltimore to his patent" and "the other partie to the course of the law."[8] This certainly meant a decision against the wholesale claim of Virginia to the ancient limits, and was deemed by Lord Baltimore as authorizing him to go on with his settlement; and his patent authorized a form of government entirely different from anything yet tried in America.

The English colonies of Virginia and Massachusetts were founded by joint-stock companies really or ostensibly for profit. After the suppression of the London Company in 1624, the powers of government in Virginia devolved upon the king, and the government was called a crown government. Had Charles been a Spanish or French king he would have appointed an absolute governor who would have tyrannized over the people. But Charles, as an English king, admitted the colonists into a share of the government by permitting them to elect one of the branches of the law-making body. This concession effectually secured the liberties of the people, for the House of Burgesses, possessing the sole right to originate laws, became in a short time the most influential factor of the government.

Baltimore's government for Maryland, on the other hand, was to be a palatinate similar to the bishopric of Durham, in England, which took its origin when border warfare with Scotland prevailed, and the king found it necessary to invest the bishop, as ruler of the county, with exceptionally high powers for the protection of the kingdom. Durham was the solitary surviving instance in England of the county palatinate, so called because the rulers had in their counties jura regalia as fully as the king had in his palace. In Durham the bishop had the sole power of pardoning offences, appointing judges and other officers, coining money, and granting titles of honor and creating courts. In the other counties of England all writs ran in the king's name, but in Durham they ran in the bishop's. The county had no representation in the House of Commons, and were it not that the bishop was a member of the House of Lords, an officer of the church, paid taxes into the national treasury, and had to submit to appeals to the court of exchequer in London, in cases to which he was a party, he was, to all intents and purposes, a king, and his county an independent nation.

Baltimore by his charter was made even more independent of the king of England than the bishop, for neither he nor his province had any taxes to pay into the British treasury, and he held his territory in free and common socage by the delivery of two Indian arrows yearly at the palace of Windsor and a promise of the fifth part of all gold and silver mined. In legislation the bishop had decidedly the advantage, for his power to make law was practically uncontrolled, while the proprietor of Maryland could only legislate "with the advice, assent, and approbation of the freemen or the greater part of them or their representatives."[9]

One cardinal feature of Lord Baltimore's colony found no expression either in the government of Durham or in his own charter. On their liberality in the question of religion the fame of both George and Cecilius Calvert most securely rests. While neither realized the sacredness of the principle of religious freedom, there is no doubt that both father and son possessed a liberality of feeling which placed them ahead of their age. Had policy been solely their motive, they would never have identified themselves with a persecuted and powerless sect in England. In the charter of Maryland, Baltimore was given "the patronage and advowsons of all churches which, with the increasing worship and religion of Christ within the said region, hereafter shall happen to be built, together with the license and faculty of erecting and founding churches, chapels, and places of worship in convenient and suitable places within the premises, and of causing the same to be dedicated and consecrated according to the ecclesiastical laws of England." This clause was far from establishing religious freedom; but while it permitted Baltimore to found Anglican churches, it did not compel him to do so or prohibit him from permitting the foundation of churches of a different stamp.

About the middle of October, 1633, Baltimore's two ships got under way for America—the Ark, of three hundred tons, and the Dove, of sixty tons. The emigrants consisted of twenty gentlemen and about three hundred laborers; and, while most of the latter were Protestants, the governor, Leonard Calvert, brother of Lord Baltimore, was a Catholic, as were Thomas Cornwallis and Gabriel Harvey, the two councillors associated with him in the government, and the other persons of influence on board. Among the latter were two Jesuit priests, to one of whom, Father Andrew White, we owe a charming account of the voyage. Baltimore, in his written instructions to his brother, manifested his policy of toleration, by directing him to allow no offence to be given to any Protestant on board, and to cause Roman Catholics to be silent "upon all occasions of discourse concerning matters of religion."[10]

The expedition did not get away from England without trouble. The attempt to divide the territory of Virginia was not popular, and Catholics were looked upon as dangerous persons. The effort of the emigrants to sail without subscribing the necessary oaths caused the ships to be brought back by Admiral Pennington.[11] It was not until November 22, 1633, that they got off, and the ships took the old route to Virginia—by way of the West Indies.

February 27, 1634, they reached Point Comfort, where the king's letter addressed to Sir John Harvey insured them a kind reception. Here they learned that the Indians of the Potomac were excited over a rumor that they were Spaniards coming to subdue the country. After a stay of eight or nine days for fresh provisions the emigrants set sail up Chesapeake Bay and soon entered the Potomac River, "in comparison with which the Thames seemed a rivulet." At its mouth they saw natives on shore in arms, and at night their watch-fires blazed throughout the country.

March 25 the settlers landed on St. Clement's Island and erected a cross. Then leaving the Ark with most of the passengers, Governor Calvert, with the Dove, and a pinnace bought at Point Comfort, explored the river and made friends with the Indians. He found that they all acknowledged the sovereignty of the "emperor of Piscataqua," who, relieved of his apprehensions, gave them permission to settle in the country. The final choice of a seating-place was due to Captain Henry Fleet, a well-known member of the Virginia colony, who guided them up St. George's River, about nine miles from its juncture with the Potomac; and there, on its north bank, March 27, 1634, Leonard Calvert laid out the city of St. Mary's.[12]

Though we have little record of the early social and economic conditions of the settlers, the colony appears to have been remarkably free from the sufferings and calamities that befell the Virginians. This exemption was probably due to the following causes: there was no common stock, but the property was held in severalty; there was a proper proportion of gentlemen and laborers, few of one class and many of the other; Virginia was near at hand and provisions and cattle could be easily secured; and they had immediate use of Indian-cleared fields, because when they arrived at St. Mary's, the Yaocomocos, harassed by the Susquehannas, were on the point of removing across the Potomac to Virginia, and were glad to sell what they had ceased to value. It seems, too, that Maryland was healthier than Virginia.

Hence, the very first year they had an excellent crop of corn, and sent a ship-load to New England to exchange for salt fish and other provisions.[13] Imitating the example of the Virginians, they began immediately to plant tobacco, which, as in Virginia, became the currency and leading product. Its cultivation caused the importation of a great number of servants, "divers of very good rank and quality,"[14] who, after a service of four or five years, became freemen. In the assembly of 1638 several of the servants in the first emigration took their seats as burgesses. As the demand for houses and casks for tobacco was great, a good many carpenters and coopers came out at their own expense and received shares of land by way of encouragement.

A state of society developed similar in many respects to that in Virginia. Baltimore, accustomed to the type of life in England, expected the settlements in Maryland to grow into towns and cities; and, under this impression, in January, 1638, he erected the population on the south side of St. George's River into a "hundred," and afterwards created other hundreds in other parts of the colony. But the wealth of watercourses and the cultivation of tobacco caused the population to scatter, and made society from the first distinctly agricultural and rural. St. Mary's and St. George's Hundred, in Maryland, shared the fate of Jamestown and Bermuda Hundred, in Virginia, and no stimulus of legislation could make them grow.

The application of the powers of the palatinate intensified these conditions by creating an agricultural and landed aristocracy. There was a council like that in Durham, whose members, appointed by the lord proprietor, held all the great offices of state.

Outside of the council the most important officer was the sheriff, who, like the sheriff of Durham, executed the commands of the governor and the courts, of which there were (in addition to the council) the county court and the manorial courts, answering respectively to the court of quarter-sessions and the courts baron and leet in Durham. As for the manorial courts, feudal relicts transplanted to America, they sprang from Lord Baltimore's attempt to build up an aristocracy like that which attended upon the bishop in his palace in Durham. In his "Conditions for Plantations," August 8, 1636, after providing liberally for all who brought emigrants to the colony, he directed that every one thousand acres or greater quantity so given to any adventurer "should be erected into a manor with a court-baron and court-leet to be from time to time held within every such manor respectively."

There were many grants of one thousand acres or more, and Maryland "lords of the manor" became quite common. These "lords" were the official heads of numerous tenants and leaseholders who were settled on their large estates. Yet the manor, as a free-governing community, was a stronghold of liberty. At the courts baron and leet the tenants elected the minor officers, tried offences, and made by-laws for their own government. Later, when negroes substituted white laborers, these feudal manors changed to plantations worked by slaves instead of free tenants.[15]

Even great office-holders and a landed aristocracy were insufficient to sustain the regal dignity to which Lord Baltimore aspired. Apparently, his right of initiating legislation and dictating the make-up of the assembly ought to have been sufficient. But political and social equality sprang from the very conditions of life in the New World; and despite the veneering of royalty, Maryland came soon to be a government of the people. The struggle began in the assembly which met in February, 1635, but not much is known of the proceedings of this assembly beyond the fact that it assumed the initiative and drew up a code to which Lord Baltimore refused his assent.

Of subsequent assemblies the record is copious enough. Lord Baltimore had the right under his charter to summon "all the freemen, or the greater part of them, or their representatives," and thus for a long time there was a curious jumble of anomalies, which rendered the assembly peculiarly sensitive to governmental influence. The second assembly met at St. Mary's, January 25, 1638, and consisted of the governor and council, freemen specially summoned, freemen present of their own volition, and proxies.[16] Governor Calvert submitted a code of laws sent from Lord Baltimore, and it was rejected by a vote of thirty-seven to fourteen; but twelve of the minority votes were in two hands, the governor and Secretary Lewger, an illustration of the danger of the proxy system.

Not long after, in a letter August 21, 1638, the proprietor yielded by authorizing Leonard in the future to consent to laws enacted by the freemen, which assent should temporarily make them valid until his own confirmation or rejection should be received. To the next assembly, held February 25, 1639, Leonard Calvert, instead of summoning all the freemen, issued writs to different hundreds for the election of representatives.

Among the laws which they enacted was one limiting seats in the assembly to councillors, persons specially summoned by the proprietor's writ, and burgesses elected by the people of the different hundreds. This law controlled the make-up of the next four assemblies (October, 1640, August, 1641, March and July, 1642). Nevertheless, in September, 1642, Baltimore reverted to the old practice.

In 1649 Baltimore made another and last attempt for his initiative. He sent over a learned and complicated code of sixteen laws which he asked the assembly to adopt; but they rejected his work and sent him a code of their own, begging him in their letter not to send them any more such "bodies of laws, which served to little end than to fill our heads with jealousies and suspicions of that which we verily understand not." The next year, 1650, a constitutional system was perfected not very different from the plan adopted in the mother-country and Virginia. The assembly was divided into two chambers, the lower consisting exclusively of burgesses representing the different hundreds, and the upper of the councillors and those specially summoned by the governor.[17]

[Footnote 1: Brown, Genesis of the United States, II., 841.]

[Footnote 2: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, pp. 83, 93, 100.]

[Footnote 3: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 104; Md. Archives, III., 17.]

[Footnote 4: Md. Archives, III., 19.]

[Footnote 5: Heath's grant, in Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1674, p. 70.]

[Footnote 6: Neill, Founders of Maryland, 46, 47.]

[Footnote 7: Neill, Terra Mariae, 53; Ogilby, America, 183.]

[Footnote 8: Md. Archives, III., 21.]

[Footnote 9: Fiske, Old Virginia and Her Neighbors; Bassett, Constitutional Beginnings of North Carolina; Lapsley, County Palatinate of Durham.]

[Footnote 10: Calvert Papers (Md. Hist. Soc., Fund Publications, No. 28), p. 132.]

[Footnote 11: Md. Archives, III., 23.]

[Footnote 12: White, Relation (Force, Tracts, IV., No. xii.); letter of Leonard Calvert, Calvert Papers (Md. Hist. Soc., Fund Publications, No. 35), pp. 32-35; Baltimore, Relation (London, 1635).]

[Footnote 13: Winthrop, New England, I., 166.]

[Footnote 14: Neill, Founders of Maryland, 80.]

[Footnote 15: Johnson, Old Maryland Manors (Johns Hopkins University Studies, I., No. iii.).]

[Footnote 16: Md. Archives, I., 1-24.]

[Footnote 17: Md. Archives, I., 32, 74, 243, 272.]




The delay in the constitutional adjustment of Maryland, while mainly attributable to the proprietors, was partially due to the prolonged struggle with Virginia, which for years absorbed nearly all the energies of the infant community. The decision of the Commissioners for Foreign Plantations in July, 1633, disallowing the Virginia claim to unoccupied lands, was construed by the Virginians to mean that the king at any rate intended to respect actual possession. Now, prior to the Maryland charter, colonization in Virginia was stretching northward. In 1630, Chiskiack, on the York River, was settled; and in August, 1631, Claiborne planted a hundred men on Kent Island, one hundred and fifty miles from Jamestown.[1]

Though established under a license from the king for trade, Kent Island had all the appearance of a permanent settlement. Its inhabitants were never at any time as badly off as the settlers in the early days at Jamestown and Plymouth, and the island itself was stocked with cattle and had orchards and gardens, fields of tobacco, windmills for grinding corn, and women resident upon it. Had it, however, been only a trading-post, the extension over it of the laws of Virginia made the settlement a legal occupation. And we are told of Kent that warrants from Jamestown were directed there. "One man was brought down and tried in Virginia for felony, and many were arrested for debt and returned to appeare at James City."[2] In February, 1632, Kent Island and Chiskiack were represented at Jamestown by a common delegate, Captain Nicholas Martian.[3] The political existence of the whole Virginia colony, and its right to take up and settle lands, the king expressly recognized.

Accordingly, when Leonard Calvert, on his arrival at Point Comfort in February, 1634, called upon Claiborne to recognize Baltimore's paramount sovereignty over Kent Island, because of its lying within the limits of his charter, the council of Virginia, at the request of Claiborne, considered the claim, and declared that the colony had as much right to Kent Island as to "any other part of the country given by his majesty's patent" in 1609.[4] After this, acquiescence in Baltimore's wishes would have been treason, and Claiborne declined to acknowledge Lord Baltimore's authority in Kent Island, and continued to trade in the bay as freely as formerly.

Calvert's instructions[5] had been, in case of such a refusal, not to molest Claiborne for at least a year. But Captain Fleet, Claiborne's rival in the fur trade, started a story that Claiborne was the originator of the rumor which so greatly alarmed the Indians at the time of the arrival of the emigrants at St. Mary's. Though Claiborne promptly repelled the calumny, Baltimore, in September, 1634, sent an order to his brother Leonard to seize Kent Island, arrest Claiborne, and hold him prisoner.[6] As this mandate was contrary to the order in July, 1633, of the lords commissioners, which enjoined the parties to preserve "good correspondence one with another," Claiborne's partners petitioned the king against it.

Thereupon the king, by an order[7] dated October 8, 1634, peremptorily warned Lord Baltimore, or his agents, "not to interrupt the people of Kent Island in their fur trade or plantation." Nevertheless, April 5, 1635, Thomas Cornwallis, one of the Maryland councillors, confiscated a pinnace of Claiborne's for illegal trading, and this act brought on a miniature war in which several persons on both sides were killed.[8] Great excitement prevailed in both colonies, and in Virginia the people arrested Harvey, their governor, who upheld Cornwallis's conduct, and shipped him off to England; while two of the councillors were sent to Maryland to protest against the violent proceedings affecting Claiborne.[9]

These measures induced a truce, and for nearly three years there were no further hostilities in the bay. Claiborne brought his case before the king, who referred it to the Lords Commissioners for Plantations; then, as his partners feared to take further risk, he carried on the trade in the bay almost solely with his own servants and resources. In December, 1636, these partners, becoming dissatisfied at their loss of profit, made the capital mistake of sending, as their agent to Kent Island, George Evelin, who pretended at first to be an ardent supporter of Claiborne, but presently, under a power of attorney, claimed control over all the partnership stock.

Claiborne, naturally indignant and not suspecting any danger, sailed for England in May, 1637, to settle accounts with his partners, having just previously established another settlement on Palmer's Island at the mouth of the Susquehanna River, believed by him to be north of the Maryland patent. After he was gone, Evelin tried to persuade the inhabitants to disown Claiborne and submit to Lord Baltimore; and when they declined he urged Governor Calvert to attempt the reduction of the island by force. After some hesitation the latter consented, and while the assembly was sitting at St. Mary's, in February, 1638, Calvert made a landing at night with thirty men, and, taking the inhabitants by surprise, succeeded in reducing the island to submission.[10]

Calvert's after-conduct reflects little credit upon his reputation for leniency. In March, 1638, he caused Claiborne to be attainted by the assembly as a rebel and his property confiscated, and Thomas Smith, who commanded one of Claiborne's pinnaces in the battles three years before, was tried and hanged for murder and piracy.[11] In England, in the mean time, Claiborne and Baltimore were contending zealously for the favor of the king. Both had powerful interests behind them, but Baltimore's were the stronger. At last the Commissioners for Foreign Plantations rendered a report (April 4, 1638), giving Kent Island and the right of trade in the bay wholly to Lord Baltimore, leaving all personal wrongs to be redressed by the courts.

The question of title at least seemed settled, and in October, 1638, Sir John Harvey, now restored as governor of Virginia, issued a proclamation recognizing the validity of the decision. Claiborne submitted, and, being left to "the course of the law," empowered George Scovell to recover, if possible, some of the confiscated property in Maryland; but Scovell was told that the law-courts of Maryland were closed against such a rebel as Claiborne.[12] The justice of the English decision depends on the impartiality of the board which made it, and of any board with Bishop Laud at the head only partisanship could be expected.

While these turbulent proceedings were going on, the Jesuit priests introduced into the colony by Lord Baltimore were performing a work of peace and love. They visited the Indian tribes and made many Christian converts. Tayac, chief of the Piscataquas, received baptism, and his example was followed by the chiefs and inhabitants of Port Tobacco. The main trouble came from the Nanticokes on the eastern shore, and the fierce Susquehannas to the north of the settlements, and at different times armed expeditions were sent out against them; but there was nothing like a war.

For sixteen years the only clergy in the colony were priests, who were so zealous in their propaganda that nearly all the Protestants who came in 1638 were converted to Catholicism and many later conversions were made.[13] Nevertheless, the Catholic governor and council acted up to the spirit of the instructions given by Baltimore to his brother on the sailing of the first emigrants from the port of London, and would permit no language tending to insult or breach of peace. Not long after the arrival at St. Mary's a proclamation to this end was issued, of which only two violations appear in the records; in both cases the offenders were Roman Catholics, and they were arrested and promptly punished.[14]

Baltimore would not even exempt the Jesuit priests in Maryland from the ordinary laws as to lands and taxes, and by the "Conditions of Plantations," published in 1648, he prohibited any society, temporal or spiritual, from taking up land.[15] In 1643 his liberality carried him so far as to induce him to extend, through Major Edward Gibbons, an invitation to the Puritans of Massachusetts to emigrate to Maryland, with a full assurance of "free liberty of religion"; but Winthrop grimly writes, "None of our people had temptation that way."[16]

In the year of this invitation the possibility of a new shuffle of the political cards occurred through the breaking out of the war so long brewing in England between the king and Parliament. The struggle of party made itself strongly felt in Maryland, where, among the Protestants, sympathy with Parliament was supplemented by hatred of Catholics. In 1643, Governor Leonard Calvert repaired to England, where he received letters of marque from the king at Oxford commissioning him to seize ships belonging to Parliament. Accordingly, when, three months later, in January, 1644, Captain Richard Ingle arrived in his ship at St. Mary's and uttered some blatant words against the king, he was arrested by Acting Governor Brent, for treason. The charges were dismissed by the grand jury as unfounded, but Brent treated Ingle harshly, and fined and exiled Thomas Cornwallis for assisting the captain in escaping.[17]

In September, 1644, when Calvert returned to Maryland, there were strong symptoms of revolt, which came to a head when Ingle came back to St. Mary's with a commission from Parliament in February, 1645. Chaotic times ensued, during which Catholics were made victims of the cruel prejudices of the Protestants. The two Jesuit priests, Father Andrew White and Father Philip Fisher, were arrested, loaded with irons,[18] and sent prisoners into England, while Leonard Calvert himself was driven from Maryland into Virginia.[19]

During these tumults so many persons went over from Virginia to Maryland that the Virginia assembly sent Captain Edward Hill and Captain Thomas Willoughby to compel the return of the absentees,[20] with curious result. As the province was without a governor, some of the council of Maryland issued, in the name of the refugee Calvert, a commission to Hill to act as governor of Maryland. The revolutionists flattered themselves that a stable government under a Protestant governor was now at hand. But the unexpected came to pass, when, in December, 1646, Governor Calvert suddenly appeared with a strong body of soldiers furnished by Sir William Berkeley and re-established his authority by capturing both Hill and the Protestant assembly then sitting at St. Mary's.

These two years of civil war in Maryland are called the "plundering time." Claiborne again appears, though there is no evidence that he had any part in Ingle's spoliations.[21] He did visit Kent Island about Christmas, 1645, and put Captain Brent, to whom Governor Calvert had assigned his house and property, in a terrible fright. One year later he visited the island a second time, when he offered to aid the Kent Islanders in marching upon St. Mary's with a view of reinstating Hill. When the men of Kent declined to take the risk, Claiborne returned to Virginia, and Kent Island fell once more under the government of Lord Baltimore.[22] On this visit Claiborne, instead of posing as a friend of the Parliament, showed a commission and letter from the king, by whom he appears to have stood till the king's death in 1649. Charles I., in his turn, who deposed Lord Baltimore as a "notorious parliamentarian," appointed Claiborne, in 1642, treasurer of Virginia;[23] and Charles II. included his name among the list of councillors in the commission issued by Sir William Berkeley in 1650.[24]

While Maryland was thus convulsed with civil war an ordinance settling the Maryland government in Protestant hands passed the House of Lords. Before the Commons could concur, Lord Baltimore appeared and asked for time to inquire into the charges. This was after the battle of Marston Moor, and perhaps marks the moment when Lord Baltimore, conceiving the king's cause desperate, began to trim his sails to the parliamentary side. His request was granted, and Parliament, diverted from immediate action, left Baltimore's authority unaffected for several years.[25]

In this interval Baltimore busied himself in reorganizing his government on a Protestant basis. Leonard Calvert died in June, 1647, not long after his coup d'etat at St. Mary's, and upon his deathbed he appointed Thomas Greene, a Catholic and royalist, as his successor. Lord Baltimore removed him and appointed in his stead a Protestant, Captain William Stone, of Northampton County, Virginia, giving him a Protestant secretary and a Protestant majority of councillors. Yet Baltimore took care not to surrender the cardinal principle of his government. Before Stone and his chief officers were allowed to take office they were required to swear not to "molest any person in the colony professing to believe in Jesus Christ for or in respect of his or her religion, and in particular no Roman Catholic."[26]

The famous Toleration Act of 1649 was passed at the first assembly succeeding Stone's appointment. It was very probably in great part a copy of a bill in the code of sixteen laws which Baltimore sent over at this time, and it very nearly repeated the provisions of the oath required of Governor Stone. While the terms of the act did not place the right on that broad plane of universal principle stated later in the Virginia Declaration of Rights, it proclaimed toleration, even if it was a toleration of a very limited nature.[27]

Stone had recommended himself to Calvert by promising to lead five hundred persons of British or Irish descent[28] into Maryland; and this engagement he was soon able to perform through the Puritans, whose story of persecution in Virginia has been already related. The new emigrants called the country where they settled "Providence," from feelings akin to those which led Roger Williams to give that comforting name to his settlement on Narragansett Bay. They were to prove a thorn in Baltimore's flesh, but for the moment they seemed tolerably submissive. In January, 1650, soon after their arrival, Governor Stone called an assembly to meet at St. Mary's in April, and to this assembly the colony at "Providence" sent two representatives, one of whom was made speaker.

Apprehension of William Claiborne was still felt, and the assembly, though dominated by the new-comers, declared their readiness to resist any attempts of his to seize Kent Island.[29] Only in one particular at this time did they oppose Lord Baltimore's policy. The oath of fidelity required them to acknowledge Lord Baltimore as "absolute lord" and his jurisdiction as "royal jurisdiction."[30] The Puritans, having scruples about these words, struck them out and inserted a proviso that the oath "be not in any wise understood to infringe or prejudice liberty of conscience."[31] About this time Charles II., although a powerless exile, issued an order deposing Baltimore from his government and appointing Sir William Davenant as his successor, for the reason that Baltimore "did visibly adhere to the rebels in England and admit all kinds of schismatics and sectaries and ill-affected persons into the plantation."[32]

Thus when Parliament soon after took up his case again, Lord Baltimore came full-handed with proofs of loyalty to the commonwealth. His enemies produced evidence that Charles II., in 1649, was proclaimed in Maryland, but Baltimore showed that it was done without his authority by Thomas Greene, who acted as governor a second time during a brief absence of Captain Stone from Maryland. When they accused him of being an enemy of Protestants he produced the proclamation of Charles II., deposing him from the government on account of his adherence to them. Finally, he exhibited a declaration in his behalf signed by many of the Puritan emigrants from Virginia, among whom were William Durand, their elder, and James Cox and Samuel Puddington, the two burgesses from Providence in the assembly of 1650.[33]

Nevertheless, Baltimore played a losing game. At heart the Puritans in England were unfriendly to him because of his religion; and, when persistent rumors reached Maryland that Baltimore's patent was doomed, some of the men of Providence appeared in England and urged that it be revoked.[34] At length, October 3, 1650, Parliament passed an ordinance authorizing the Council of State to reduce to obedience Barbadoes, Antigua, Bermudas, and "Virginia," the last being a term which in England was often used to include Maryland. Baltimore struggled hard to have Maryland left out of the instructions drawn up afterwards by the Council of State; but though he was apparently successful, a descriptive phrase including his province was inserted, for the commissioners, Curtis, Claiborne, and Bennett, with an armed fleet, were instructed "to use their best endeavors to reduce all the plantations within the Bay of Chesopiack to their due obedience to the Parliament of England."[35]

After the commissioners had reduced Virginia, they found even less resistance in Maryland. The commissioners landed at St. Mary's, and, professing their intention to respect the "just rights" of Lord Baltimore, demanded that Stone should change the form of the writs from the name of Lord Baltimore to that of Parliament. Stone at first declined to comply, and the commissioners, March 29, 1652, put the government into the hands of a council of leading Protestants. Stone then reconsidered his action, and Claiborne and Bennett, returning to St. Mary's, restored him to the government, June 28, 1652, in conjunction with the councillors already appointed. The ascendency of Claiborne seemed complete, but beyond renewing his property claim to Kent and Palmer islands, he did not then further interfere.[36]

Maryland consisted at this time of four counties: St. Mary's, erected in 1634, Kent, 1642, and Charles and Anne Arundelin 1650, and contained a population perhaps of eight thousand. The settlements reached on both sides of the bay, from the Potomac to the Susquehanna. Society was distinctly democratic, for while there were favored families there was no privileged class, and the existence of African slavery and the temporary servitude of convicts and redemptioners tended to place all freemen on an equality. As there was no state church, educational opportunities in the province were small, but it was a land of plenty and hospitality, and charity in religion made the execution of the criminal law singularly mild. In spite of turmoils and dissensions, Maryland prospered and flourished. A home feeling existed, and there were many even among the recent exiles from Virginia who looked with hope to its future and spoke of it as "a country in which I desire to spend the remnant of my days, in which I covet to make my grave."[37]

[Footnote 1: Md. Archives, III., 32.]

[Footnote 2: Md. Archives, V., 158.]

[Footnote 3: Hening, Statutes, I., 154. ]

[Footnote 4: Md. Archives, III., 33. ]

[Footnote 5: Browne, George and Cecilius Calvert, 49.]

[Footnote 6: Md. Archives, V., 164-168.]

[Footnote 7: Ibid., III., 29.]

[Footnote 8: Neill, Founders of Maryland, 51.]

[Footnote 9: Md. Archives III., 37.]

[Footnote 10: Browne, George and Cecilius Calvert, 69.]

[Footnote 11: Md. Archives, V., 187.]

[Footnote 12: Md. Archives, III., 42-93.]

[Footnote 13: White, Relation (Force, Tracts, IV., No. xii.).]

[Footnote 14: Md. Archives, I., 119, IV., 38.]

[Footnote 15: Calvert Papers (Md. Hist. Soc., Fund Publications, No. 35), 166, 216, 217; Md. Archives, III., 227.]

[Footnote 16: Winthrop, New England, II., 179.]

[Footnote 17: Md. Archives, IV., 246-249.]

[Footnote 18: Neill, Founders of Maryland, 75; Md. Archives, III., 165, 177.]

[Footnote 19: Bozman, Maryland, II., 293.]

[Footnote 20: Hening, Statutes, I., 321.]

[Footnote 21: Bozman, Maryland, II., 296.]

[Footnote 22: Md. Archives, IV., 281, 435, 458, 459.]

[Footnote 23: Hazard, State Papers, I., 493.]

[Footnote 24: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 340.]

[Footnote 25: Md. Archives, III., 164, 180, 187.]

[Footnote 26: Md. Archives, III., 211, 214.]

[Footnote 27: Ibid., I., 244-247.]

[Footnote 28: Ibid., III., 201.]

[Footnote 29: Md. Archives, I., 261, 287.]

[Footnote 30: Ibid., III., 196.]

[Footnote 31: Ibid., I., 305.]

[Footnote 32: Neill, Terra Mariae, 88.]

[Footnote 33: Bozman, Maryland, II., 672.]

[Footnote 34: Md. Archives, III., 259.]

[Footnote 35: Md. Archives, III., 265.]

[Footnote 36: Ibid., 271-277.]

[Footnote 37: Hammond, Leah and Rachel (Force, Tracts, III., No. xiv.).]




After the disastrous failure of the Popham colony in 1608 the Plymouth Company for several years was inactive. Its members were lacking in enthusiastic co-operation, and therefore did not attract, like the London Company, the money and energy of the nation. After Sir John Popham's death, in 1607, his son Francis Popham was chiefly instrumental in sending out several vessels, which, though despatched for trade, served to keep up interest in the northern shores of America.

That coast threatened to be lost to Englishmen, for the French, in 1603, began to make settlements in Nova Scotia and in Mount Desert Island, near the mouth of the Penobscot, while their ships sailed southward along the New England shores. The Dutch, too, explored the Hudson (1609) and prepared the way for a colony there. It was, therefore, a great service to England when Captain Argall, under the authority of Sir Thomas Dale, in 1613, dislodged the French at Mount Desert, Port Royal, and St. Croix.

Shortly after Argall's visit John Smith sailed, in 1614, for the northern coast, with two ships fitted out by some private adventurers. While the ships were taking a freight of fish, Smith, with a view to colonization, ranged the neighboring coast, collecting furs from the natives, taking notes of the shores and the islands, and making soundings of the water. Smith drew a map of the country, and was the first to call it "New England" instead of North Virginia, Norumbega, or Canada. This map he submitted to Prince Charles, who gave names to some thirty points on the coast. Only Plymouth, Charles River, and Cape Ann have permanently kept the names thus fastened upon them. Boston, Hull, Cambridge, and some others were subsequently adopted, but applied to localities different from those to which Prince Charles affixed them.

While he was absent one day Thomas Hunt, master of one of his vessels, kidnapped twenty-four savages, and, setting sail, carried them to Spain, where he sold most of them. The outrage soured the Indians in New England, but of the captives, one, named Squanto or Tisquantum, was carried to England, and his later friendliness worked to the benefit of subsequent English colonization.[1]

In 1615 Captain Smith entered into the service of the Plymouth Company and was complimented with the title of "Admiral of New England." With great difficulty they provided two ships and despatched them to effect a settlement, but the result was the old story of misfortune. The ship in which Smith sailed was captured by the French, and Smith himself was detained in captivity for some time. Captain Dormer, with the other vessel, proceeded on his voyage to New England, but did not attempt anything beyond securing a cargo of furs.

Smith tried to stir up interest in another expedition, and travelled about England in 1616, distributing his maps and other writings, but he says "all availed no more than to hew rocks with oyster-shells." Smith's connection with the American coast then ceased altogether; but his plans of colonization were not without fruit, since his literary works, making known the advantages of New England, kept the attention of the public fastened upon that region.[2]

At this time the most prominent member of the Plymouth Company was Sir Ferdinando Gorges, son of Edward Gorges, of Worcestershire, born about 1566. He served at Sluys in 1587, was knighted by Essex before Rouen, in October, 1591, and in 1593 was made governor of the port of Plymouth in England, which office he still held. Despite the ill-fortune attending past efforts, he continued to send out vessels under color of fishing and trade, which ranged the coast of New England and brought news of a calamity to the natives unexpectedly favorable to future colonization. In 1616-1617 the country from Penobscot River to Narragansett Bay was almost left "void of inhabitants" by a pestilence which swept away entire villages of Indians. This information, together with the better knowledge due to Gorges of the value of the fisheries, caused a revival of interest regarding New England among the members of the Plymouth Company.[3]

Under the name of "the Council for New England," they obtained from the king in 1620 a new charter,[4] granting to them all the territory in North America extending "in breadth from forty degrees of northerly latitude, from the equinoctial line, to forty-eight degrees of the said northerly latitude, and in length by all the breadth aforesaid throughout the main-land from sea to sea." In the new grant the number of grantees was limited to forty, and all other persons enjoying rights in the company's lands stood in the position of their tenants. Thus, like the Plymouth Company, the new company proved defective in co-operative power, and the first actual settlement of New England was due to an influence little fancied by any of its members.

Religious opinions during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were great political forces. The Christian church of Europe, before the days of Luther, held the view that the pope of Rome was the only infallible interpreter of the Holy Scriptures, and against this doctrine Luther led a revolt denominated Protestantism, which insisted upon the right of private judgment. Nevertheless, when the reformed churches came to adopt articles and canons of their own they generally discarded this fundamental difference, and, affirming infallibility in themselves, enlisted the civil power in support of their doctrines.

Hence, in 1559, Queen Elizabeth caused her Parliament to pass two famous statutes, the Act of Supremacy, which required all clergymen and office-holders to renounce the spiritual as well as temporal jurisdiction of all foreign princes and prelates; and the Act of Uniformity, which forbade any minister from using any other liturgy or service than that established by Parliament.[5]

These acts, though directed originally against the Roman Catholics, were resented by many zealous English clergymen who, during the reign of Queen Mary, had taken refuge in Switzerland and Germany, and learned while there the spiritual and political doctrines of John Calvin. These English refugees were the first Puritans, and in the beginning the large majority had no desire of separating from the church of which the sovereign was the head, but thought to reform it from within, according to their own views of ecclesiastical policy. They wanted, among other things, to discard the surplice and Book of Common Prayer and to abolish the order of bishops. Queen Elizabeth looked upon their opinions as dangerous, and harassed them before the Court of High Commission, created in 1583 for enforcing the acts of supremacy and uniformity. But her persecution increased rather than diminished the opposition, and finally there arose a sect called Independents, who flatly denied the ecclesiastical supremacy of the queen and claimed the right to set up separate churches of their own. The Scotch Calvinists worked out an elaborate form of Presbyterian government, by synods and assemblies, which later played a great part in England.

For a long time the "Separatists," as they were called, were as unpopular with the great body of Puritans as with the churchmen. Popular aversion was expressed by the derisive name of "Brownists," given them from Robert Browne, the first to set forth their doctrines in a formal pamphlet, entitled The Life and Manners of True Christians. Their meetings were broken up by mobs, and worshippers were subjected to insults.[6]

Holland at that time was the only country enlightened enough to open its doors to all religions professing Jesus Christ; and as early as 1593 a Separatist congregation, which had come into existence at London, took refuge at Amsterdam, and they were followed by many other persons persecuted under the laws of Queen Elizabeth. When she died, in 1603, there were hopes at first of a milder policy from King James, but they were speedily dispelled, and at a conference of Puritans and High Churchmen at Hampton Court in 1604 the king warned dissenters, "I will make them conform or I will harry them out of this land, or else worse"; and he was as good as his word.[7]

Several congregations of Separatists were located in the northeastern part of England, in some towns and villages in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, and Yorkshire. One held meetings, under Rev. John Smith, a Cambridge graduate, at Gainsborough, and another, under Richard Clifton as pastor and John Robinson as teacher, at the small village of Scrooby. Persecuted by the king's officers, these congregations began to consider the advisability of joining their brethren in Holland. That of Gainsborough was the first to emigrate, and, following the example of the London church, it settled at Amsterdam.

In the second, or Scrooby, congregation, destined to furnish the "Pilgrim Fathers" of New England,[8] three men were conspicuous as leaders. The first was John Robinson, a man, according to the testimony of an opponent, of "excellent parts, and the most learned, polished, and modest spirit" that ever separated from the church of England. The second was the elder, William Brewster, like Robinson, educated at Cambridge, who had served as one of the under-secretaries of state for many years. After the downfall of his patron, Secretary Davison, he accepted the position of postmaster and went to live at Scrooby in an old manor house of Sir Samuel Sandys, the elder brother of Sir Edwin Sandys, where, in the great hall, the Separatists held their meetings.[9] The third character was William Bradford, born at Austerfield, a village neighboring to Scrooby, and at the time of the flight from England seventeen years of age, afterwards noted for his ability and loftiness of character.

In 1607 the Scrooby congregation made their first attempt to escape into Holland. A large party of them hired a ship at Boston, in Lincolnshire, but the captain betrayed them to the officers of the law, who rifled them of their money and goods and confined them for about a month in jail. The next year another party made an attempt to leave. The captain, who was a Dutchman, started to take the men aboard, but after the first boat-load he saw a party of soldiers approaching, and, "swearing his countries oath Sacramente, and having the wind faire, weighed anchor, hoysted sayles & away." The little band was thus miserably separated, and men and women suffered many misfortunes; but in the end, by one means or another, all made good their escape from England and met together in the city of Amsterdam.

They found there both the church of the London Separatists and that of the Gainsborough people stirred up over theological questions, which bid fair to tear them to pieces. Hence, Robinson determined to remove his flock, and in May, 1609, they made the city of Leyden, twenty miles distant, their permanent abode. Their pastor, Richard Clifton, remained in Amsterdam, and the care of the congregation in their new home was confided to John Robinson and William Brewster.[10]

In Leyden the Pilgrims were compelled to adapt themselves, as they had in Amsterdam, to conditions of life very different from those to which they had been trained in their own country. As far as they can be traced, a majority seem to have found employment in the manufacture of woollen goods, for which the city was famous. Their uprightness, diligence, and sobriety gave them a good name and pecuniary credit with their Dutch neighbors, who testified twelve years later that in all their stay in Holland "we never had any suit or accusation against any of them."[11]

To Robinson, Brewster, and Bradford the change was a decided gain. As the site of a great university, Leyden furnished them intercourse with learned men and access to valuable libraries. Robinson was admitted a member of the university, and before long appeared as a disputant on the Calvinist side in the public discussions. Brewster taught the English language to the Dutch, and, opening a publishing house, printed many theological books. Bradford devoted himself to the study of the ancient languages, "to see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in all their native beauty."[12]

Their stay at Leyden covered the period of the famous twelve years' truce between Spain and Holland, and their number increased from one hundred to three hundred. Among the new-comers from England were John Carver, Robert Cushman, Miles Standish, and Edward Winslow. Towards the end of the period the exiles began to think of a second emigration, and this time it was not persecution that suggested the thought. In expectation of the renewal of hostilities with Spain, the streets of Leyden sounded with the beating of drums and preparations of war. Although Holland afforded them religious freedom, they won their subsistence at the price of unremitting toil, which might be made even harder by renewal of hostilities. A more sentimental reason was found in the desire to perpetuate their existence as a religious body of Englishmen.

By the summer of 1617 the majority of the Scrooby congregation had fully decided to emigrate, and it only remained to determine the new place of residence. Some talked of Guiana, others of New York, but the majority inclined to Virginia; and the conclusion was to emigrate as a distinct body to a place under the London Company, but not so near Jamestown as to be troubled by the Episcopalian planters there.

With this design they sent two of their number, John Carver and Robert Cushman, to London, and Sir Edwin Sandys tried to obtain for them a patent recognizing their religious rights. To aid him, Robinson and Brewster drew up a confession of faith which, as it contains an admission of the right of the state to control religion, seems strangely at variance with the doctrines of the Separatists. But the king was not easily persuaded, and he promised only that "he would connive at them and not molest them, provided they carried themselves peaceably."[13]

Sandys passed through the London Company two "particular patents" in their behalf, one taken out in the name of John Wincop and the other in that of John Pierce, two of their associates in England; under the latter, granted in February, 1620, the Pilgrims prepared to leave Holland.[14] Capital to the amount of L7000 was furnished by seventy merchant adventurers in London, and it was agreed with them that for several years everything was to be held in joint stock, the shares of which were to be valued at L10 each and to be paid for in money or by personal service.[15]

As they had not resources for all to go, the major part of the congregation, with Robinson, stayed behind, promising to follow later. The emigrants under Carver, Bradford, and Brewster started out from Delft-Haven in July, 1620, in the leaky ship the Speedwell. At Southampton, in England, they met the Mayflower with friends from London, and soon after both ships made an attempt to start to sea. They had not sailed any distance before the Speedwell let in so much water that it was necessary to put in at Dartmouth for repairs. Again they set sail, and this time they had left old England one hundred leagues behind when the captain reported the Speedwell in danger of foundering. There was nothing to do but to bear up again and return to England, where they put in at Plymouth. Upon examination the Speedwell was pronounced unseaworthy and sent to London with about twenty of the company. With the rest, one hundred and two in number, the Mayflower cleared the port, September 6, for America.

Her destination was some point south of the Hudson River, within the Virginia patent; but foul weather prevented any accurate calculation, and November 9, 1620, the emigrants found themselves in the neighborhood of Cape Cod. They tacked and sailed southward, but ran into "dangerous shoals and roaring breakers," which compelled them to turn back and seek shelter in the harbor now called Provincetown. The anxiety of the sailors to be rid of the emigrants prevented any further attempt southward, and forced them to make their permanent habitation near this accidental lodgment.

As the patent under which they sailed had no force in the territory of the Plymouth Company, they united themselves by the so-called "Mayflower compact," November 11, 1620, into a "civill body politic," and promised "submission and obedience to all such ordinances as the general good of the colony might require from time to time." Under the patent John Carver had been chosen governor, and he was now confirmed in that office under the new authority, which followed pretty nearly the terms of the old.[16]

For five weeks they stayed in the ship, while Captain Miles Standish with a small company explored the country. In the third expedition, after an attack from the Indians and much suffering from snow and sleet, Standish's men reached a landing nearly opposite to the point of Cape Cod, which they sounded and "found fit for shipping." There "divers cornfields" and an excellent stream of fresh water encouraged settlement, and they landed, December 11 (Old Style), 1620, near a large bowlder, since known as Plymouth Rock.

By the end of the week the Mayflower had brought over her company of emigrants—seventy-three males and twenty-nine females—and December 25, 1620, they began to erect the first house "for the common use to receive them and their goods." The Indian name of the place was Patuxet, but the emigrants called it New Plymouth "after Plymouth, in old England, the last town they left in their native country";[17] and it was a curious coincidence that the spot had already received from John Smith the name of Plymouth. Later the town was called simply Plymouth, while the colony took the name of New Plymouth.

[Footnote 1: Smith, Works (Arber's ed.), 699; Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 117.]

[Footnote 2: Smith, Works (Arber's ed.), 699-701, 731-742, 745.]

[Footnote 3: Gorges, Description of New England (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 3d series, VI.), 57.]

[Footnote 4: Poore, Charters and Constitutions, I., 921. ]

[Footnote 5: Cf. Cheyney, European Background of Am. Hist., chap. xi.]

[Footnote 6: Neal, Puritans, I., 149-151, 202; cf. Cheyney, European Background of Am. Hist., chap. xii.]

[Footnote 7: Neal, Puritans, I., 232; Hart, Source-Book, No. 15.]

[Footnote 8: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 13.]

[Footnote 9: Hunter, Founders of New Plymouth.]

[Footnote 10: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 15-29.]

[Footnote 11: Ibid., 27.]

[Footnote 12: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 28, 488-493; Mather, Magnolia, I., 113.]

[Footnote 13: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 29-38.]

[Footnote 14: Brown, First Republic, 424.]

[Footnote 15: Smith, Works (Arber's ed.), 783; Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 56-58.]

[Footnote 16: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 90-110; Eggleston, Beginners of a Nation, 184, note 4.]

[Footnote 17: Morton, New England's Memorial, 56.]




During the winter of 1620-1621 the emigrants suffered greatly from scurvy and exposure. More than half the company perished, and the seamen on the Mayflower suffered as much.[1] With the appearance of spring the mortality ceased, and a friendly intercourse with the natives began. These Indians were the Pokanokets, whose number had been very much thinned by the pestilence. After the first hostilities directed against the exploring parties they avoided the whites, and held a meeting in a dark and dismal swamp, where the medicine-men for three days together tried vainly to subject the new-comers to the spell of their conjurations.

At last, in March, 1621, an Indian came boldly into camp, and, in broken English, bade the strangers "welcome." It was found that his name was Samoset, and that he came from Monhegan, an island distant about a day's sail towards the east, where he had picked up a few English words from the fishermen who frequented that region. In a short time he returned, bringing Squanto, or Tisquantum, stolen by Hunt seven years before, and restored to his country in 1620 by Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Squanto, who could speak English, stated that Massasoit was near at hand, and on invitation that chief appeared, and soon a treaty of peace and friendship was concluded; after which Massasoit returned to his town of Sowams, forty miles distant, while Squanto continued with the colonists and made himself useful in many ways.[2]

In the beginning of April, 1621, the Mayflower went back to England, and the colonists planted corn in the fields once tilled by Indians whom the pestilence had destroyed. While engaged in this work the governor, John Carver, died, and his place was supplied by William Bradford, with Isaac Allerton as assistant or councilman. During the summer the settlers were very busy. They fitted up their cabins, amassed a good supply of beaver, and harvested a fair crop of corn. In the fall a ship arrived, bringing thirty-five new settlers poorly provided. It also brought a patent, dated June 1, 1621, from the Council for New England, made out to John Pierce, by whom the original patent from the London Company had been obtained. The patent did not define the territorial limits, but allowed one hundred acres for every emigrant and fifteen hundred acres for public buildings, in the same proportion of one hundred acres to every workman.[3]

The ship tarried only fourteen days, and returned with a large cargo of clapboard and beaver skins of the value of L500, which was, however, captured on the way to England by a French cruiser. After the departure the governor distributed the new-comers among the different families, and because of the necessity of sharing with them, put everybody on half allowance. The prospect for the winter was not hopeful, for to the danger from starvation was added danger from the Indians.

West of the Pokanokets were the Narragansetts, a tribe of two thousand warriors, whose chief, Canonicus, sent to Plymouth in January, 1622, a bundle of arrows tied with a snake's skin, signifying a challenge of war. Bradford knew that it was fatal to hesitate or show fear, and he promptly stuffed the snake's skin with bullets and returned it to the sender with some threatening words. This answer alarmed Canonicus, who thought that the snake's skin must be conjured, and he did not pursue the matter further. But the colonists took warning, and the whole settlement was enclosed with a paling, and strict military watch was maintained. Thus the winter passed and the spring came, but without the hoped-for assistance from the merchant partners in England.[4]

On the contrary, the arrival in May, 1622, "without a bite of bread," of sixty-seven other persons, sent out on his own account under a grant from the Council for New England, by Thomas Weston, one of the partners, plunged them into dire distress, from which they were happily saved by a ship-captain, John Huddleston, from the colony on James River, who shared his supplies with them, and thus enabled them to "make shift till corn was ripe again." Weston's emigrants were a loose set, and before they left in August they stole most of the green corn, and thus Plymouth was threatened with another famine. Fortunately, about this time another ship from Virginia, bearing the secretary of state, John Pory, arrived, and sold the colonists a supply of truck for trading; by which they bought from the Indians not only corn, but beaver, which proved afterwards a source of much profit.

Weston's people removed to Wessagusset (modern Weymouth), on Massachusetts Bay, where they conducted themselves in so reckless a manner that they ran the double risk of starvation and destruction from savages. To save them, Bradford, in March, 1623, despatched a company under Captain Miles Standish, who brought them corn and killed several of the Indians. Then Standish helped Weston's "rude fellows" aboard ship and saw them safely off to sea. Shortly after Weston came over to look after his emigrants, fell into the hands of the Indians, escaped to Plymouth, where the colonists helped him away, and returned in October, 1623, to create more disturbance.

Weston was not the only one of the partners that gave the colonists trouble. John Pierce took advantage of the prominence given him by the patent issued in his name for the benefit of all, to get a new one which made him sole actual owner of the territory. His partners resented this injustice, and the Council for New England, in March, 1623, was induced to revoke the grant to Pierce.[5]

About this time Bradford made a great change in the industrial system of the colony. At Plymouth, as at Jamestown, communism was found to breed "confusion and discontent," and he tried the experiment of assigning to every family, in proportion to its size, a tract of land. In July, 1623, arrived sixty other settlers, and the old planters feared another period of starvation. Nevertheless, when harvest-time arrived, the wisdom of Bradford's appeal to private interest was demonstrated, for instead of misery and scarcity there was joyfulness, and "plentie of corn." Later experience was equally convincing, for, as Bradford wrote many years after, "any general wante or famine hath not been known amongst them since to this day."

While the Pilgrim fathers were overcoming their difficulties in Massachusetts, the Council for New England were struggling with the London Company to maintain the monopoly of fishing and fur trading on the North Atlantic coast granted to them by their charter. The London Company complained to the king in 1620 and to Parliament in 1621, but the king refused any relief, and prevented Parliament from interfering by dissolving it.[6] Thereupon, the Council for New England, appreciating the danger, made a grand effort to accomplish something in America. As a preliminary step they induced the king to publish a proclamation, November 6, 1622, against all unlicensed trading and other infringements upon the rights granted them,[7] and shortly afterwards sent out Francis West as admiral to reduce the fishermen on the coast to obedience. West came to America, but found them "stuberne fellows,"[8] and he returned in about a year to England without effecting anything.

During his absence the Council for New England set to work to send out a colony under Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando; and, June 29, 1623, a division was made among twenty patentees, of the North Atlantic coast from the Bay of Fundy to Narragansett Bay.[9] In September, 1623, Gorges arrived at Plymouth attended by an Episcopal minister, William Morell, and a company of settlers, whom he planted at Wessagusset. He remained in New England throughout the winter, and in the effort to exert his authority had a long wrangle with Weston. In the spring of 1624 he received news from his father that discouraged his further stay. It seems that in March, 1624, a committee of Parliament, at the head of which was Sir Edward Coke, had reported the charter of the Council for New England as a national grievance, which so discouraged the patentees that most of them abandoned the enterprise, and it became, in the language of the elder Gorges, "a carcass in a manner breathless."[10] After Robert Gorges' departure most of his party dispersed, some going to England and some to Virginia, but a few remained at Wessagusset, which was never entirely abandoned.

The relations between the colony and the London merchant adventurers, never very pleasant, became more unsatisfactory as time went on. The colonists naturally wanted to bring over their friends at Leyden, but the partners regarded Robinson as the great leader of the Independents, and London was already rife with rumors of the heretical character of the rulers at Plymouth. It seemed to the partners evidently for their interest to introduce settlers of a different religious opinion from Bradford and Brewster, and to this was largely due the fact that the emigrants who came over after the Mayflower's return in 1621 had little in common with the original band of Pilgrims.

In January, 1624, arrived another miscellaneous cargo, including a minister named John Lyford. Upon his arrival he professed intense sympathy with the settlers, and when they received him as a member of their church he renounced, pursuant to the extreme tenets of Separatism, "all universall, nationall, and diocessan churches."[11] Nevertheless, he joined with John Oldham, who came the year before, in a conspiracy to overturn the government; but was detected and finally banished from the colony. In March, 1625, Lyford and Oldham went to Wessagusset, from which they moved with Roger Conant and other friends to Nantasket, where, in the mean time, a new settlement had sprung up.

In the division of 1623, the region around Cape Ann fell to Lord Sheffield, and the same year he conveyed the country to Robert Cushman and Edward Winslow in behalf of the colonists at Plymouth.[12] The next year the new owners sent a party to establish a fishing stage at Cape Ann, but they found other persons on the spot, for in 1623 some merchants of Dorchester, England, who regularly sent vessels to catch fish in the waters of New England, had conceived the idea of planting a colony on the coast, and in the summer of that year landed fourteen men at Cape Ann, soon increased to thirty-four.

For some months the two parties got along amicably together and fished side by side. An element of discord was introduced in 1625 when the Dorchester men invited Roger Conant and Rev. Mr. Lyford from Nantasket, and made the former manager and the latter minister of their settlement; while John Oldham was asked to become their agent to trade with the Indians. A short time after, the crew of a vessel belonging to the Dorchester adventurers, instigated, it is said, by Lyford, took from the Plymouth men their fishing stage; whereupon Miles Standish came with soldiers from Plymouth, and the rival parties would have come to blows had not Conant interfered and settled the matter.[13] The Plymouth settlers built a new stage, but, as the war with Spain affected the sale of fish, they soon abandoned the enterprise altogether. The Dorchester men had no better fortune, and the discouraged merchants at home, in 1626, broke up their colony and sold their shipping and most of their other property.[14] Lyford went to Virginia, where he soon died, and all the other settlers, except Conant and three others, returned to England.

The colony at Plymouth, in the mean time, was signally prospering, and soon felt strong enough to dissolve the troublesome relations with the merchant partners, who had fallen into dissensions among themselves. For this purpose the colonists made, in 1627, an agreement by which for L1800, to be paid in nine annual instalments of L200 each, the colonists were relieved from all vassalage under their original contract.[15]

Custodians of their own fortunes, they now established trading-posts at several places on the coast—at Manomet, on Buzzard's Bay (1627), at Kennebec (1628), and at Penobscot and Machias Bay (1629). In addition they made arrangements for reunion with their friends in Holland, one party of whom arrived in 1629 and another in 1630, though Robinson, the Moses of the Pilgrims, was never permitted to join them, having died March 1, 1626,[16] in Leyden.

They tried also to obtain a charter from the king, but they never could get anything better than a fresh patent from the Council for New England. This patent,[17] dated January 13, 1630, empowered Bradford and his associates "to incorporate by some usual and fit name and title him and themselves, or the people there inhabiting under him or them, with liberty to them and their successors from time to time to frame and make orders, ordinances, and constitutions" not contrary to the laws of England or to any government established by the council.

The patent had the merit of defining the extent of territory belonging to the Plymouth settlers, and granted "all that part of New England in America aforesaid and Tracte and Tractes of Land that lye within or betweene a certaine Reuolett or Runlett there commonly called Coahassett alias Conahassett towards the North and the Riuer commonly called Narragansett Riuer towards the South and the great Westerne Ocean towards the East, and betweene, and within a Streight Line directly Extending up Into the Maine Land towards the west from the mouth of the said Riuer called Narragansett Riuer to the utmost bounds of a Country or place in New England Commonly called Pokenacutt als Sowamsett, westward, and another like Streight line Extending it Self Directly from the mouth of the said Riuer called Coahassett als Conahassett towards the West so farr up into the Main Land Westwards as the Vtmost Limitts of the said place or Country Commonly called Pokenacutt als Sowamsett Do Extend togeather with one half of the s^d Riuer called Narragansett and the s^d Reuolett or Runlett called Coahassett als Conahassett and all Lands Riuers waters hauens Ports Creeks ffihings fowlings and all hereditaments Proffitts Commodityes and Imoluments Whatsoeuer Scituate Lyeing and being or ariseing within or betweene the said Limitts or bounds or any of them." For trading purposes the patent also gave them a tract extending fifteen miles in breadth on each bank of the Kennebec.

Among the "scattered beginnings" in the neighborhood of Plymouth, the most interesting, because the most contrasted with the Puritan colony at Plymouth, was Captain Wollaston's settlement, established in 1625 a little north of Wessagusset. His men were, for the most part, servants, and Wollaston finding, soon after his arrival, that they could be used to better advantage in Virginia, transported some of them to that colony.

During his absence one Thomas Morton, a lawyer of Clifford's Inn, asserted his authority, freed the rest of the settlers, and engaged in a successful traffic with the Indians for beaver and other skins. This circumstance was itself calculated to excite the jealousy of the Plymouth settlers, but the ceremonies and customs at "Merry Mount," which name Morton gave to the settlement in lieu of "Mount Wollaston," caused them to regard him with even greater disgust. He instituted the Episcopal service and planted a May-pole eighty feet high, around which, for many days together, the settlers "frisked" hand-in-hand with the Indian girls.

As Morton was outside of the Plymouth jurisdiction, the colonists there had no right to interfere except in self-defence. But the Plymouth people asserted that Morton sold arms to the Indians and received runaway servants. This made him dangerous, and all the other "straggling settlements," though, like Morton's, of the church of England, united with the people at Plymouth in suppressing Morton's settlement. In June, 1628, a joint force under Captain Miles Standish was sent against Merry Mount, and Morton was captured and shipped to England in charge of John Oldham, who had made his peace with Plymouth, and now took with him letters to the Council for New England and to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, in which Morton's offences were duly set forth.[18]

The settlements besides Plymouth which took part in the expedition were Piscataqua (Portsmouth); Nantasket (now Hull), then the seat of John Oldham; Naumkeag (now Salem); Winnisimmet (now Chelsea), where Mr. Jeffrey and Mr. Burslem lived; Cocheco, on the Piscataqua, where Edward Hilton lived; Thompson's Island, where the widow of David Thompson lived; and Shawmut (now Boston), where Rev. William Blackstone lived. Besides the settlements, there were in the neighborhood of Plymouth plantations of some solitary settlers whose names do not appear in this transaction. Thomas Walford lived at Mishawum (now Charlestown), and Samuel Maverick on Noddle's Island; Wessagusset also had probably a few inhabitants.

In 1627 De Rasieres, the secretary of state of the Dutch colony at New Netherland, opened a correspondence with Governor Bradford and assured him of his desire to cultivate friendly relations. Bradford gave a kind reply, but questioned the right of the Dutch on the coast, and invited Rasieres to a conference. He accepted the invitation, and in 1628 visited the Puritan settlement. A profitable exchange of merchandise succeeded, and the Dutch taught the Plymouth men the value of wampum in trading for furs, and sold them L50 worth of it. It was found useful both as a currency and commodity, and afterwards the settlers learned to make it from the shells on the sea-shore.[19] It was not till five years later that this peaceful correspondence with the Dutch was disturbed.

Unfriendliness characterized, from the first, the relations with the French. They claimed that Acadia extended as far south as Pemaquid, and one day in 1631, when the manager of the Penobscot factory was away, a French privateer appeared in port and landed its crew. In the story, as told by Bradford, the levity of the French and the solemn seriousness of the Puritans afford a delightful contrast. The Frenchmen were profuse in "compliments" and "congees," but taking the English at a disadvantage forced them to an unconditional surrender. They stripped the factory of its goods, and as they sailed away bade their victims tell the manager when he came back "that the Isle of Rhe gentlemen had been there."[20] In 1633, after Razilly's appointment as governor-general, De la Tour, one of his lieutenants, attacked and drove away the Plymouth men at Machias Bay,[21] and in 1635 D'Aulnay, another lieutenant, dispossessed the English at Penobscot.

The Plymouth people, greatly incensed, sent two armed ships to punish the French, but the expedition proved a failure. Then they appealed to Massachusetts for help, but the great men of that colony, hoping, as Bradford intimates, to arrange a trade with the French on their own account, declined to be at any expense in the matter,[22] and so the Penobscot remained in unfriendly hands for many years.

This appeal to Massachusetts showed that another power had stepped to the front in New England. After John Winthrop set up his government in 1630 on Massachusetts Bay the history of the Plymouth colony ceased to be of first importance, and therefore the remaining events in her annals need not take much space. In 1633 the people of Plymouth established a fort on Connecticut River above the Dutch post, so as to intercept the Indian trade, and in 1639 they renewed the ancient league with Massasoit.[23] In 1640 they had a dispute with Massachusetts over the boundary-line, which was arranged by a compromise, and in 1641 William Bradford deeded to the freemen of the corporation of New Plymouth the patent of 1630, granted by the Council for New England to him as trustee for the colony.[24] Finally, in 1643, Plymouth became a member of the New England confederation.

A survey of these twenty-three years (1620-1643) shows that during the first eleven years the increase in population was very slow. In 1624 there were one hundred and eighty settlers and in 1630 but three hundred. The emigration to Massachusetts, beginning in 1629, brought about a great change. It overflowed into Plymouth, and in twelve years more the population had increased to three thousand.[25] The new settlers were a miscellaneous set, composed for the most part of "unruly servants" and dissipated young men, whose ill conduct caused the old rulers like Bradford to question "whether after twenty years' time the greater part be not grown worser."[26] Nevertheless, the people increased their "outward estate," and as they scattered in search of fertile land, Plymouth, "in which they lived compactly till now, was left very thin and in a short time almost desolate." In 1632 a separate church and town of the name of Duxbury was formed north of Plymouth; and eleven years later the towns of the Plymouth colony were ten in number: Plymouth, Duxbury, Scituate, Taunton, Sandwich, Yarmouth, Barnstable, Marshfield, Seeconck, or Rehoboth, and Nausett.[27]

At the first arrival the executive and judicial powers were exercised by John Carver, without any authorized adviser. After his death, in 1621, the same powers were vested in William Bradford as governor and Isaac Allerton as assistant.[28] In 1624 the number of assistants was increased to five and in 1633 to seven, and the governor was given a double voice.[29] The elective and legislative powers were vested in a primary assembly of all the freemen, called the "General Court," held at short intervals. One of these meetings was called the court of elections, and at this were chosen the governor and other officers of the colony for the ensuing year.

As the number of settlements increased, it became inconvenient for freemen to attend the general courts in person, and in 1638 the representative system was definitely introduced. Plymouth was allowed four delegates, and each of the other towns two, and they, with the governor and his council of assistants, constituted the law-making body of the colony. To be entitled to hold office or vote at the court of elections, the person had to be "a freeman"; and to acquire this character, he had to be specially chosen one of the company at one of the general courts. Thus suffrage was regarded as a privilege and not a right.[30]

Although the first of the colonies to establish a Separatist church, the Puritans of Plymouth did not make church-membership a condition of citizenship; still, there can be no doubt that this restriction practically prevailed at Plymouth, since up to 1643 only about two hundred and thirty persons acquired the suffrage. In the general laws of Plymouth, published in 1671, it was provided as a condition of receiving the franchise that "the candidate should be of sober and peaceable conversation, orthodox in the fundamentals of religion," which was probably only a recognition of the custom of earlier times.[31] The earliest New England code of statutes was that of Plymouth, adopted in 1636. It was digested under fifty titles and recognized seven capital offences, witchcraft being one.[32]

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