The Plymouth settlers were destined to be dispossessed, not by the Dutch, but by their own countrymen. The people of Massachusetts were now fully aroused, and the news that came to Boston in the summer of 1634 that the small-pox had practically destroyed the Indians on the river increased "the hankering" after the coveted territory. The people of Watertown, Dorchester, and Newtown (Cambridge) had long been restless under the Massachusetts authority, and were anxious for a change. Dorchester was the residence of Captain Israel Stoughton, and Watertown the residence of Richard Brown and John Oldham, all three of whom had been under the ban of the orthodox Puritan church. At Watertown also had sprung up the first decided opposition to the aristocratic claim of the court of assistants to lay taxes on the people. As for Newtown (now Cambridge), its inhabitants could not forget that, though selected in the first instance as the capital of the colony, it had afterwards been discarded for the town of Boston.
In all three towns there was a pressure for arable lands and more or less jealousy among the ministers. Some dissatisfaction also with the requirement in Massachusetts of church-membership for the suffrage may have been among the motives for seeking a new home. At the head of the movement was the Rev. Thomas Hooker, a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, who had lived in Holland, and while there had imbibed a greater share of liberality than was to be found among most of the clergy of Massachusetts. Cotton declared that democracy was "no fit government either for church or commonwealth," and the majority of the ministers agreed with him. Winthrop defended his view in a letter to Hooker on the ground that "the best part is always the least, and of that best part the wiser part is always the lesser." But Hooker replied that "in matters which concern the common good a general council, chosen by all, to transact business which concerns all, I conceive most suitable to rule and most safe for the relief of the whole."
Hooker arrived in the colony in September, 1633, and in May, 1634, at the first annual general court after his arrival, his congregation at Newtown petitioned to be permitted to move to some other quarters within the bounds of Massachusetts. The application was granted, and messengers were sent to Agawam and Merrimac to look for a suitable location. After this, when the epidemic on the Connecticut became known, a petition to be permitted to move out of the Massachusetts jurisdiction was presented to the general court in September, 1634. This raised a serious debate, and though there can be little doubt that Winthrop and the other leaders in Massachusetts shrewdly cherished the idea of pre-empting in some way the trade of the Connecticut, against both the Plymouth people and the Dutch, an emigration such as was proposed appeared too much like a desertion. The fear of the appointment by the crown of a governor-general for New England was at its height, and so the application, though it met with favor from the majority of the deputies, was rejected by the court of assistants.
The popularity of the measure, however, increased mightily, and there is a tradition that in the winter of 1634-1635 some persons from Watertown went to Connecticut and managed to survive the winter in a few huts erected at Pyquag, afterwards Wethersfield. The next spring the Watertown and Dorchester people imitated the Newtown congregation in applying to the general court for permission to remove. They were more successful, and were given liberty to go to any place, even outside of Massachusetts, provided they continued under the Massachusetts authority.
Then began a lively movement, and Jonathan Brewster, in a letter written from the Plymouth fort at Windsor in July, 1635, tells of the daily arrival by land and water of small parties of these adventurous settlers. Their presence around the fort caused Brewster much uneasiness, since some began to cast covetous eyes upon the very spot which the Plymouth government had bought from the Mohegans and held against the Dutch.
As their numbers grew their confidence increased; and finally the men of Dorchester, headed by Roger Ludlow, one of the richest men in Massachusetts, pretending that the land was theirs as the "Lord's waste," upon which "the providence of God" had cast them, intruded themselves into the actual midst of the Plymouth people. The emigrants from Plymouth protested, but were finally glad to accept a compromise, though, as Bradford remarks, "the unkindness was not soon forgotten." The Massachusetts settlers held on to fifteen-sixteenths of the land, while they magnanimously conceded to the Plymouth people one-sixteenth, in addition to their block-houses.
The emigration in the summer of 1635 was preliminary to a much larger exodus in the fall. In October a company of about sixty men, women, and children, driving before them their cows, horses, and swine, set out by land and reached the Connecticut "after a tedious and difficult journey"; but the winter set in very early, and the vessels which were to bring their provisions by water not appearing, they were forced to leave their settlement for fear of famine. They were fortunate to find a ship frozen up in the river, which they freed from the ice and used to return to Boston. The other settlers who remained upon the river suffered very much, and were finally reduced to the necessity of eating acorns and ground-nuts, which they dug out of the snow. A great number of the cattle perished, and the Dorchester Company "lost near L2000 worth."
These calamities were soon forgotten; and as soon as the first flowers of spring suggested the end of the dreary winter season, the Newtown people prepared to move. Selling their lands on the Charles River to the congregation of Rev. Thomas Shepard, the whole body, in June, 1636, emigrated through the green woods, musical with birds and bright with flowers, under the leadership of their two eminent ministers, Thomas Hooker and Samuel Stone. Among the lay members of the community were Stephen Hart, Thomas Bull, and Richard Lord. A little later the churches of Dorchester and Watertown completed their removal, while a settlement was made by emigrants from Roxbury under William Pynchon at Agawam, afterwards Springfield, just north of the boundary between Massachusetts and Connecticut.
At the beginning of the winter of 1636-1637 about eight hundred people were established in three townships below Springfield. These townships were first called after the towns from which their inhabitants removed—Newtown, Watertown, and Dorchester; but in February, 1637, their names were changed to Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor. The settlements well illustrate the general type of New England colonization. The emigration from Massachusetts was not of individuals, but of organized communities united in allegiance to a church and its pastor. Carrying provisions and supplies, erecting new villages, as communities they came from England to Massachusetts, and in that character the people emigrated to Connecticut.
In the mean time, the silence of the Connecticut woods was broken by other visitors. The lands occupied by the Massachusetts settlers upon the Connecticut lay within a grant executed March 19, 1631, by the earl of Warwick, as president of the Council for New England for "all that part of New England in America which lies and extends itself from a river there called Narragansett River, the space of forty leagues upon a straight line near the seashore towards the southwest, west, and by south, or west, as the coast lieth towards Virginia, accounting three English miles to the league; and also all and singular the lands and hereditaments whatsoever, lying and being within the lands aforesaid, north and south in latitude and breadth, and in length and longitude of and within, all the breadth aforesaid, throughout the main-lands there, from the western ocean to the south sea." The grantees included Lord Say and Sele, Lord Brooke, and Sir Richard Saltonstall.
Probably some report of the unauthorized colonies reached them and hastened Saltonstall to send out a party of twenty men in July, 1635, to plant a settlement on the Connecticut. But the Dorchester settlers treated them with even less consideration than they had the Plymouth men. They set upon them and drove them out of the river. Then, in October, 1635, John Winthrop, Jr., the eldest son of John Winthrop of Massachusetts, came from England with a commission to be governor of the "river Connecticut in New England" for the space of one year.
He was, however, a governor in theory, and made but one substantial contribution to the permanent possession of Connecticut by the English. In November, 1635, he erected at the mouth of the river a fort called after Lord Say and Sele and Lord Brooke—Saybrook—which in the spring of 1636 he placed under the command of Lyon Gardiner, an expert military engineer, who had seen much service in the Netherlands. Hardly had the English mounted two cannon on their slight fortification when a Dutch vessel sent from New Amsterdam on a sudden errand arrived in the river. Finding themselves anticipated, the Dutch returned home, and the scheme of cutting off the English settlements on the upper Connecticut from the rest of New England was frustrated.
For a year the towns on the Connecticut, including Springfield, were governed by a commission issued by the general court of Massachusetts, in concert with John Winthrop, Jr., as a representative of the patentees. When the year expired the commission was not renewed, but a general court representing the three towns of Massachusetts and consisting of six assistants and nine delegates, three for each town, was held at Hartford in May, 1637. They became from this time a self-governing community under the name of Connecticut, and the union happened just in time to be of much service in repelling a great danger.
[Footnote 1: Clarke, Ill Newes from New England (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 4th series, II., 1-113).]
[Footnote 2: R.I. Col. Records, I., 52.]
[Footnote 3: R.I. Col. Records, I., 87, 100, 108.]
[Footnote 4: Ibid., 127. In 1614 the Dutch navigator Adrian Block gave to the country of Narragansett Bay the name of Rhode Island—the Red Island—because of the red clay in some portions of its shores.]
[Footnote 5: R.I. Col. Records, I., 27.]
[Footnote 6: Winthrop, New England, II., 24; Mass. Col. Records, I., 305.]
[Footnote 7: Plymouth Col. Records, IX., 23, 110.]
[Footnote 8: Sparks, American Biographies, VI., 333, 352; Arnold, Rhode Island, I., 66, n.]
[Footnote 9: Sparks, American Biographies, V., 326-340.]
[Footnote 10: Winthrop, New England, II., 71.]
[Footnote 11: Ibid., 102; Mass. Col. Records, II., 22.]
[Footnote 12: Simplicities Defence Against Seven-Headed Policy (Force, Tracts, IV., No. vi.), 24.]
[Footnote 13: Mass. Col. Records, II., 40, 41.]
[Footnote 14: Simplicities Defence.]
[Footnote 15: Winthrop, New England, II., 157-162; Acts of the Federal Commissioners, I., 10-12.]
[Footnote 16: Fiske, Beginnings of New England, 171.]
[Footnote 17: Simplicities Defence (Force, Tracts, IV., No. vi.), 86; Winthrop, New England, II., 165, 188.]
[Footnote 18: Winthrop, New England, II., 387-390.]
[Footnote 19: R.I. Col. Records, I., 241.]
[Footnote 20: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 325.]
[Footnote 21: Winthrop, New England, II., 236.]
[Footnote 22: Richard Scott's letter, in Fox, New England Fire Brand Quenched, App.]
[Footnote 23: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 354.]
[Footnote 24: Winthrop, New England, I., 352.]
[Footnote 25: Palfrey, New England, II., 346.]
[Footnote 26: Mass. Col. Records, II., 85.]
[Footnote 27: Clarke, Ill Newes from New England (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 4th series, II., 1-113).]
[Footnote 28: Backus, New England, I., 277.]
[Footnote 29: R.I. Col. Records, I., 328.]
[Footnote 30: Mass. Col. Records, IV., pt. i., 333.]
[Footnote 31: R.I. Col. Records, I., 364.]
[Footnote 32: Doyle, English Colonies, II., 319.]
[Footnote 33: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 370, 371.]
[Footnote 34: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 41.]
[Footnote 35: Ibid., 31; Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 371.]
[Footnote 36: Winthrop, New England, I., 62.]
[Footnote 37: Ibid., 132, 162.]
[Footnote 38: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 373; Brodhead, New York, I., 241.]
[Footnote 39: Winthrop, New England, I., 133.]
[Footnote 40: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 373; Brodhead, New York, I., 242.]
[Footnote 41: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 388, 402.]
[Footnote 42: Winthrop, New England, I., 129.]
[Footnote 43: Mass. Col. Records, I., 119.]
[Footnote 44: Winthrop, New England, I., 159.]
[Footnote 45: Ibid., 167.]
[Footnote 46: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 59.]
[Footnote 47: Mass. Col. Records, I., 146.]
[Footnote 48: Bradford, Plimoth Plantation, 402-406.]
[Footnote 49: Winthrop, New England, I., 204.]
[Footnote 50: Ibid., 208, 219.]
[Footnote 51: Winthrop, New England, I., 223.]
[Footnote 52: Trumbull, Memorial History of Hartford County.]
[Footnote 53: Palfrey, New England, I., 454.]
[Footnote 54: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 495.]
[Footnote 55: Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 4th series, VI., 579.]
[Footnote 56: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 497.]
[Footnote 57: Winthrop, New England, I., 207.]
[Footnote 58: Brodhead, New York, I., 260.]
[Footnote 59: Mass, Col. Records, I., 170.]
FOUNDING OF CONNECTICUT AND NEW HAVEN
The establishment of the new settlements on the Connecticut projected the whites into the immediate neighborhood of two powerful and warlike Indian nations—the Narragansetts in Rhode Island and the Pequots in Connecticut. With the first named there existed friendly relations, due to the politic conduct of Roger Williams, who always treated the Indians kindly. With the latter, conditions from the first were very threatening.
As early as the summer of 1633, Stone, a reckless ship-captain from Virginia, and eight of his companions, were slain in the Connecticut River by some Pequots. When called to account by Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts, the Indians justified themselves on the ground that Stone was the aggressor. Thereupon Winthrop desisted, and referred the matter to the Virginia authorities. In 1634, when the settlements were forming on the Connecticut, a fresh irritation was caused by the course of the emigrants in negotiating for their lands with the Mohegan chiefs instead of with the Pequots, the lords paramount of the soil.
The Pequots were greatly embarrassed at the time by threatened hostilities with the Narragansetts and the Dutch, and in November, 1634, they became reduced to the necessity of seeking the alliance of the Massachusetts colony. That authority inopportunely revived the question of Stone's death and required the Pequots to deliver annually a heavy tribute of wampum as the price of their forgiveness and protection. Had the object of the Massachusetts people been to promote bad feeling, no better method than this could have been adopted.
In July, 1636, John Oldham, who had been appointed collector of the tribute from the Pequots, was killed off Block Island by some of the Indians of the island who were subject to the Narragansett tribe. Although the Pequots had nothing whatever to do with this affair, the Massachusetts government, under Harry Vane, sent a force against them, commanded by John Endicott. After stopping at Block Island and destroying some Indian houses, he proceeded to the main-land to make war on the Pequots, but beyond burning some wigwams and seizing some corn he accomplished very little.
The action of Massachusetts was heartily condemned by the Plymouth colony and the settlers on the Connecticut, and Gardiner, the commander of the Saybrook fort, bluntly told Endicott that the proceedings were outrageous and would serve only to bring the Indians "like wasps about his ears." His prediction came true, and during the winter Gardiner and his few men at the mouth of the river were repeatedly assailed by parties of Indians, who boasted that "Englishmen were as easy to kill as mosquitoes."
Danger was now imminent, especially to the infant settlements up the river. For the moment it seemed as if the English had brought upon themselves the united power of all the Indians of the country. The Pequots sent messengers to patch up peace with their enemies, the Narragansetts, and tried to induce them to take up arms against the English. They would have probably succeeded but for the influence of Roger Williams with the Narragansett chiefs. In this crisis the friendship of Governor Vane for the banished champion of religious liberty was used to good effect. To gratify the governor and his council at Boston, Williams, at the risk of his life, sought the wigwams of Canonicus and Miantonomoh, and "broke to pieces the Pequot negotiations and design." Instead of accepting the overtures of the Pequots, the Narragansetts sent Miantonomoh and the two sons of Canonicus to Boston to make an alliance with the whites.
In the spring of 1637 the war burst with fury. Wethersfield was first attacked at the instance of an Indian who had sold his lands and could not obtain the promised payment. In revenge he secretly instigated the Pequots to attack the place, and they killed a woman, a child, and some men, besides some cattle; and took captive two young women, who were preserved by the squaw of Mononotto, a Pequot sachem, and, through the Dutch, finally restored to their friends.
By May, 1637, when the first general court of Connecticut convened at Hartford, upward of thirty persons had fallen beneath the tomahawk. The promptest measures were necessary; and without waiting for the assistance of Massachusetts, whose indiscretion had brought on the war, ninety men (nearly half the effective force of the colony) were raised, and placed under the command of Captain John Mason, an officer who had served in the Netherlands under Sir Thomas Fairfax. The force sailed down the river in three small vessels, and were welcomed at Fort Saybrook by Lieutenant Gardiner.
The Indian fort was situated in a swamp to the east of the Connecticut on the Mystic River; but instead of landing at the Pequot River, as he had been ordered, Mason completely deceived the Indian spies by sailing past it away from the intended prey. Near Point Judith, however, in the Narragansett country, Mason disembarked his men; and, accompanied by eighty Mohegans and two hundred Narragansetts, turned on his path and marched by land westward towards the Pequot country. So secretly and swiftly was this movement executed that the Indian fort was surrounded and approached within a few feet before the Indians took alarm.
The victory of Mason was a massacre, the most complete in the annals of colonial history. The English threw firebrands among the wigwams, and in the flames men, women, and children were roasted to death. Captain Underhill, who was present, wrote that "there were about four hundred souls in this fort, and not above five of them escaped out of our hands." Only two white men were killed, though a number received arrow wounds.
Mason, as he went to the Pequot harbor to meet his vessels, met a party of three hundred Indians half frantic with grief over the destruction of their countrymen, but contented himself with repelling their attack. Finally, he reached the ships, where he found Captain Patrick and forty men come from Massachusetts to reinforce him. Placing his sick men on board to be taken back by water, Mason crossed the Pequot River and marched by land to Fort Saybrook, where they were "nobly entertained by Lieutenant Gardiner with many great guns," and there they rested the Sabbath. The next week they returned home.
The remnant of the Pequots collected in another fort to the west of that destroyed by Mason. Attacked by red men and white men alike, most of them formed the desperate resolve of taking refuge with the Mohawks across the Hudson. They were pursued by Mason with forty soldiers, joined by one hundred and twenty from Massachusetts under Captain Israel Stoughton. A party of three hundred Indians were overtaken and attacked in a swamp near New Haven, and many were captured or put to death. Sassacus, the Pequot chief, of whom the Narragansetts had such a dread as to say of him, "Sassacus is all one God; no man can kill him," contrived to reach the Mohawks, but they cut off his head and sent it as a present to the English.
The destruction of the Pequots as a nation was complete. All the captive men, women, and children were made slaves, some being kept in New England and others sent to the West Indies, and there remained at large in Connecticut not over two hundred Pequots. September 21, 1638, a treaty was negotiated between the Connecticut delegates and the Narragansetts and Mohegans, by the terms of which the Pequot country became the property of the Connecticut towns, while one hundred Pequots were given to Uncas, and one hundred to Miantonomoh and Ninigret, his ally, to be incorporated with their tribes.
So far as the whites of Connecticut were concerned the effect of the war was to remove all real danger from Indians for a period of forty years. Not till the Indians became trained in the use of fire-arms were they again matched against the whites on anything like equal terms. Among the Indian tribes, the result of the Pequot War was to elevate Uncas and his Mohegans into a position of rivals of Miantonomoh, and his Narragansetts, with the result of the overthrow and death of Miantonomoh. In the subsequent years war broke out several times, but by the intervention of the federal commissioners, who bolstered up Uncas, hostilities did not proceed.
On the conclusion of the Pequot War the freemen of the three towns upon the Connecticut convened at Hartford, January 14, 1639, and adopted "the Fundamental Orders," a constitution which has been justly pronounced the first written constitution framed by a community, through its own representatives, as a basis for government. This constitution contained no recognition whatever of any superior authority in England, and provided that the freemen were to hold two general meetings a year, at one of which they were to elect the governor and assistants, who, with four deputies from each town, were to constitute a general court "to make laws or repeal them, to grant levies, to admit freemen, to dispose of lands undisposed of to several towns or persons, call the court or magistrate or any other person whatsoever into question for any misdemeanor, and to deal in any other matter that concerned the good of the commonwealth, except election of magistrates," which was "to be done by the whole body of freemen."
Till 1645 the deputies voted with the magistrates, but in that year the general court was divided into two branches as in Massachusetts. In one particular the constitution was more liberal than the unwritten constitution of Massachusetts: church-membership was not required as a condition of the suffrage, and yet in the administration of the government the theocracy was all-powerful. The settlers of Connecticut were Puritans of the strictest sect, and in the preamble of their constitution they avowed their purpose "to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus, which we now profess, as also the discipline of the churches, which, according to the truth of the said gospel, is now practised among us." In 1656 the law of Connecticut required the applicant for the franchise to be of "a peaceable and honest conversation," and this was very apt to mean a church-member in practice.
No one but a church-member could be elected governor, and in choosing assistants the vote was taken upon each assistant in turn, and he had to be voted out before any nomination could be made. In none of the colonies was the tenure of office more constant or persevering. In a period of about twenty years Haynes was governor eight times and deputy governor five times, Hopkins was governor six times and deputy governor five times, while John Winthrop, the younger, served eighteen years in the chief office.
The Connecticut government thus formed rapidly extended its jurisdiction. Although Springfield was conceded to Massachusetts the loss was made up by the accession, in 1639, of Fairfield and Stratford, west of New Haven, and, April, 1644, of Southampton, on Long Island, and about the same time of Farmington, near Hartford. In 1639 a town had been founded at Fort Saybrook by George Fenwick, who was one of the Connecticut patentees. In the confusion which ensued in England Fenwick found himself isolated; and, assuming to himself the ownership of the fort and the neighboring town, he sold both to Connecticut in 1644, and promised to transfer the rest of the extensive territory granted to the patentees "if it ever came into his power to do so." As the Connecticut government was entirely without any legal warrant from the government of England, this agreement of Fenwick's was deemed of much value, for it gave the colony a quasi-legal standing.
In 1649 East Hampton, on Long Island, was annexed to the colony, and in 1650 Norwalk was settled. In 1653 Mattabeseck, on the Connecticut, was named Middletown; and in 1658 Nameaug, at the mouth of the Pequot River, settled by John Winthrop, Jr., in 1646, became New London. In 1653 Connecticut had twelve towns and seven hundred and seventy-five persons were taxed in the colony.
While Connecticut was thus establishing itself, another colony, called New Haven, controlled by the desire on the part of its leading men to create a state on a thoroughly theocratic model, grew up opposite to Long Island. The chief founder of the colony was John Davenport, who had been a noted minister in London, and with him were associated Theophilus Eaton, Edward Hopkins, and several other gentlemen of good estates and very religiously inclined. They reached Boston from England in July, 1637, when the Antinomian quarrel was at its height, and Davenport was a member of the synod which devoted most of its time to the settlement, or rather the aggravation, of the Antinomian difficulty.
Owing to Davenport's reputation and the wealth of his principal friends, the authorities of Massachusetts made every effort to retain them in that colony, and offered them their choice of a place for settlement. These persuasions failed, and after a nine months' stay Davenport and his followers moved away, nominally because they desired to divert the thoughts of those who were plotting for a general governor for New England, but really because there were too many Antinomians in Massachusetts, and the model republic desired by Davenport could never be brought about by accepting the position of a subordinate township under the Massachusetts jurisdiction..
One of the results of the Pequot War was to make known the country west of Fort Saybrook, and in the fall of 1637 Theophilus Eaton and some others went on a trip to explore for themselves the coasts and lands in that direction. They were so much pleased with what they saw at "Quinnipiack" that in March, 1638, the whole company left Boston to take up their residence there, and called their new settlement New Haven. Soon after their arrival they entered into a "plantation covenant," preliminary to a more formal engagement. This agreement pledged the settlers to accept the teachings of Scripture both as a civil system and religious code.
Having no charter of any kind, they founded their rights to the soil on purchases from the Indians, of which they made two (November and December, 1638). The next summer they proceeded to the solemn work of a permanent government. June 4, 1639, all the free planters met in a barn, and Mr. Davenport preached from the text, "Wisdom hath builded her home; she hath hewn out her seven pillars." He then proposed a series of resolutions which set forth the purpose of establishing a state to be conducted strictly according to the rules of Scripture. When these resolutions were adopted Davenport proposed two others designed to reduce to practice the theory thus formally approved. It was now declared that only church-members should have the right of citizenship, and that a committee of twelve should be appointed to choose seven others who were to be the constitution-makers.
These articles were subscribed by one hundred and thirteen of the people, and after due time for reflection the twelve men chosen as above elected the "seven pillars," Theophilus Eaton, Esq., John Davenport, Robert Newman, Matthew Gilbert, Thomas Fugill, John Punderson, and Jeremiah Dixon, who proceeded in the same solemn and regular manner to reorganize the church and state. First they set up the church by associating with themselves nine others, and then after another interval, on October 25, 1639, a court was held at which the sixteen church-members proceeded to elect Theophilus Eaton as governor for a year and four other persons to aid him as "deputies," who were thereupon addressed by Davenport in what was called a charge.
Under the government thus formed a general court of the freemen was held every year for the election of governor and assistants, and to these officers was confided the entire administration of affairs. There was no body of statutes till many years later, and during this time the only restriction on the arbitrary authority of the judges was the rules of the Mosaic law. The body of the free burgesses was very cautiously enlarged from court to court.
Hardly had the people of New Haven settled themselves in their new government before two other towns, Guilford, seventeen miles north, and Milford, eleven miles south, sprang up in their neighborhood. Though practically independent, their constitution was modelled after that of New Haven. Besides Guilford and Milford another town called Stamford, lying west of the Connecticut territory and loosely connected with New Haven, was also settled. In the political isolation of these towns one sees the principle of church independence, as held by Davenport and his followers.
In April, 1643, apprehension from the Indians, the Dutch, and their neighbor Connecticut caused a union of these towns with New Haven. The new commonwealth was organized just in time to become a member of the greater confederation of the colonies founded in May, 1643. It was not, however, till October 27, 1643, that a general constitution was agreed upon. It confined the suffrage to church-members and established three courts—the plantation court for small cases, consisting of "fitt and able" men in each town; the court of magistrates, consisting of the governor, deputy governor, and three assistants for weighty cases; and the general court, consisting of the magistrates and two deputies for each of the four towns which were to sit at New Haven twice a year, make the necessary laws for the confederation, and annually elect the magistrates. Trial by jury was dispensed with, because no such institution was found in the Mosaic law.
In 1649 Southold, on Long Island, and in 1651 Branford, on the main-land, were admitted as members of the New Haven confederacy; and in 1656 Greenwich was added. And the seven towns thus comprehended gave the colony of New Haven the utmost extent it ever obtained.
[Footnote 1: Winthrop, New England, I., 146.]
[Footnote 2: Winthrop, New England, I., 176, 177.]
[Footnote 3: Ibid., 225, 226; Gardiner, Pequot Warres (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 3d series, III.), 131-160.]
[Footnote 4: Gardiner, Pequot Warres; Winthrop, New England, I., 231-233, 238, 259.]
[Footnote 5: Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 1st series, I., 175.]
[Footnote 6: Winthrop, New England, I., 234-236.]
[Footnote 7: Ibid., 267, 312; Mason, Pequot War (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VIII.), 132.]
[Footnote 8: Conn. Col. Records, I., 9.]
[Footnote 9: Mason, Pequot War (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d. series, VIII.), 134-136.]
[Footnote 10: Ibid.; Underhill, Pequot War (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 3d series, VI.), 25.]
[Footnote 11: Mason, Pequot War (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, III.), 144.]
[Footnote 12: Ibid.; Winthrop, New England, I., 268, 278-281.]
[Footnote 13: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 92.]
[Footnote 14: Mason, Pequot War (Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VIII.), 148.]
[Footnote 15: Conn. Col. Records, I., 20-25, 119.]
[Footnote 16: The same rule prevailed in Massachusetts. For the result, see Baldwin, Early History of the Ballot in Connecticut (Amer. Hist. Assoc. Papers, IV.), 81; Perry, Historical Collections of the American Colonial Church, 21; Palfrey, New England, II., 10.]
[Footnote 17: Winthrop, New England, I., 368.]
[Footnote 18: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 507-510.]
[Footnote 19: Palfrey, New England, II., 377.]
[Footnote 20: Winthrop, New England, I., 283, 312, 484.]
[Footnote 21: New Haven Col. Records, I., 12.]
[Footnote 22: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 98.]
[Footnote 23: New Haven Col. Records, I., 11-17.]
[Footnote 24: Trumbull, Connecticut, I., 107; Doyle, English Colonies, II., 196.]
[Footnote 25: New Haven Col. Records, I., 69.]
[Footnote 26: Ibid., 112.]
NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MAINE
After the charter granted to the Council for New England in 1620, Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason procured, August 10, 1622, a patent for "all that part of y^e maine land in New England lying vpon y^e Sea Coast betwixt y^e rivers of Merrimack & Sagadahock and to y^e furthest heads of y^e said Rivers and soe forwards up into the land westward untill threescore miles be finished from y^e first entrance of the aforesaid rivers and half way over that is to say to the midst of the said two rivers w^ch bounds and limitts the lands aforesaid togeather w^th all Islands and Isletts w^th in five leagues distance of y^e premisses and abutting vpon y^e same or any part or parcell thereoff."
Mason was a London merchant who had seen service as governor of Newfoundland, and was, like Gorges, "a man of action." His experience made him interested in America, and his interest in America caused him to be elected a member of the Council for New England, and ultimately its vice-president. The two leaders persuaded various merchants in. England to join them in their colonial projects; and in the spring of 1623 they set up two settlements within the limits of the present state of New Hampshire, and some small stations at Saco Bay, Casco Bay, and Monhegan Island, in the present state of Maine.
Of the settlements in New Hampshire, one called Piscataqua, at the mouth of the river of that name, was formed by three Plymouth merchants, Colmer, Sherwell, and Pomeroy, who chose a Scotchman named David Thompson as their manager. They obtained a grant, October 16, 1622, for an island, and six thousand acres on the main, near the mouth of Piscataqua; and here Thompson located in the spring of 1623. He remained about three years, and in 1626 removed thence to an island in Boston harbor, where he lived as an independent settler. The other plantation, called Cocheco, was established by two brothers, Edward and William Hilton, fish-mongers of London, and some Bristol merchants, and was situated on the south side of the Piscataqua about eight miles from the mouth of the river.
November 7, 1629, Captain Mason obtained a patent from the Council for New England for a tract extending sixty miles inland and lying between the Merrimac and Piscataqua rivers, being a part of the territory granted to Gorges and himself in 1622. He called it New Hampshire in honor of Hampshire, in England, where he had an estate. Seven days later the same grantors gave to a company of whom Mason and Gorges were the most prominent merchants, a patent for the province of Laconia, describing it as "bordering on the great lake or lakes or rivers called Iroquois, a nation of savage people inhabiting into the landward between the rivers Merrimac and Sagadahoc, lying near about forty-four or forty-five degrees." And in 1631 Gorges, Mason, and others obtained another grant for twenty thousand acres, which included the settlement at the mouth of the Piscataqua.
Under these grants Gorges and Mason spent upward of L3000 in making discoveries and establishing factories for salting fish and fur trading; but as very little attention was paid to husbandry at either of the settlements on the Piscataqua, they dragged out for years a feeble and precarious existence. At Piscataqua, Walter Neal was governor from 1630 to 1633 and Francis Williams from 1634 to 1642, and the people were distinctly favorable to the Anglican church. At Cocheco, Captain Thomas Wiggin was governor in 1631; and when, in 1633, the British merchants sold their share in the plantation to Lord Say and Sele, Lord Brooke, and two other partners, Wiggin remained governor, and the transfer was followed by the influx of Puritan settlers.
After the Antinomian persecution in Massachusetts some of Mrs. Hutchinson's followers took refuge at Cocheco, and prominent among them were Captain John Underhill and Rev. John Wheelwright. Underhill became governor of the town in 1638, and his year of rule is noted for dissensions occasioned by the ambitious actions of several contentious, immoral ministers. Underhill was the central figure in the disturbances, but at the next election, in 1639, he was defeated and Roberts was elected governor of Cocheco. Dissensions continued, however, till in 1640 Francis Williams, governor of Piscataqua, interfered with an armed force. Underhill returned to Boston, and by humbly professing repentance for his conduct he was again received into the church there. He then joined the Dutch, but when Connecticut and New Haven were clamorous for war with the Dutch in 1653 he plotted against his new master, was imprisoned, and escaped to Rhode Island, where he received a commission to prey on Dutch commerce.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wheelwright left Cocheco, and in 1638 established southeast of it, at Squamscott Falls, a small settlement which he and his fellow-colonists called Exeter. In October, 1639, after the manner of the Rhode Island towns, the inhabitants, thirty-five in number, entered a civil contract to "submit themselves to such godly and Christian lawes as are established in the realm of England to our best knowledge, and to all other such lawes which shall, upon good ground, be made and enacted among us according to God." This action was followed in 1641 by their neighbors at Cocheco, where the contract was subscribed by forty-one settlers; and about the same time, it is supposed, Piscataqua adopted the same system.
This change of fishing and trading stations into regular townships was a marked political advance, but as yet each town was separate and independent. The next great step was their union under one government, which was hastened by the action of Massachusetts. In the assertion of her claim that her northern boundary was a due east and west line three miles north of the most northerly part of the Merrimac, Massachusetts as early as 1636 built a house upon certain salt marshes midway between the Merrimac and Piscataqua. Subsequently, when Mr. Wheelwright, in 1638, proposed to extend the township of Exeter in that direction, he was warned off by Governor Winthrop, and in 1641 Massachusetts settled at the place a colony of emigrants from Norfolk, in England, and called the town Hampton.
Massachusetts in a few years took an even more decided step. At Cocheco, or Dover, as it was now called, where the majority of the people were Nonconformists, the desire of support from Massachusetts caused the policy of submission to receive the approval of both contending parties in town; and in 1639 the settlers made overtures to Massachusetts for incorporation. The settlers at Piscataqua, or Strawberry Bank (Portsmouth), being Anglicans, were opposed to incorporation, but submitted from stress of circumstances. After the death of Captain Mason, in 1635, his widow declined to keep up the industries established by him, and sent word to his servants at Strawberry Bank to shift for themselves.
Several years later Lord Say and Sele and Lord Brooke, who were the chief owners of Dover, obtained from Mason's merchant partners in England the title to Strawberry Bank, and being in sympathy with Massachusetts they offered, in 1641, to resign to her the jurisdiction of both places. The proposal was promptly accepted, and two commissioners, Symonds and Bradstreet, went from Massachusetts to arrange with the inhabitants the terms of incorporation. The towns were guaranteed their liberties, allowed representation in the Massachusetts general court, and exempted from the requirements of the Massachusetts constitution that all voters and officers must be members of the Congregational church.
In 1643 Exeter followed the example of Dover and Strawberry Bank by accepting the protection of Massachusetts, but it thereby lost its founder. Being under sentence of banishment, Mr. Wheelwright withdrew to the territory of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, where, having obtained a patent, he founded the city of Welles. In 1644 he applied to Winthrop, and was permitted on a slight submission to take charge of the church at Hampton. After several years he visited England, where he was a favorite of Cromwell. At the Restoration he returned and settled at Salisbury, in Massachusetts, where he died in 1679. He is perhaps the single bright light in the ecclesiastical history of early New Hampshire.
The four towns—Dover, Strawberry Bank, Exeter, and Hampton, with Salisbury and Haverhill on the northern banks of the Merrimac—were, in 1643, made to constitute the county of Norfolk, one of the four counties into which Massachusetts was then divided.
A similar fortune at a later date overtook the townships to the north of the Piscataqua. The origin of the name "Maine," applied to the regions of these settlements, has never been satisfactorily explained. Possibly it was a compliment to Henrietta Maria, the French wife of Charles I.; more probably the fishermen used it to distinguish the continent from the islands. The term "Maine" first occurs in the grant to Gorges and Mason, August 22, 1622, which embraced all the land between the Merrimac and the Sagadahoc, or Kennebec. By Mason's patent in 1629 the country west of the Piscataqua was called New Hampshire, and after that Maine was a name applied to the region between the Piscataqua and Kennebec. In more modern times it was extended to the country beyond, as far as the St. Croix River.
Under Gorges' influence Christopher Levett made a settlement in 1623 on an island in Saco Bay which has been called "the first regular settlement in Maine." The same year some Plymouth merchants planted a colony upon Monhegan Island, which had been long a place of general resort for fishermen. And about the same time Gorges made a settlement on the "maine" at Saco, under the management of Richard Vines. By two patents, both dated February 12, 1630, this settlement was divided into two parts—one to Vines and Oldham, one to Lewis and Bonighton—each extending four miles along by the sea-shore and eight miles along the river-banks. These two tracts formed the township of Saco, a part of which now bears the name of Biddeford. In 1625 the settlement of Pemaquid is known to have occurred, but it was not patented till February 14, 1631, by the Bristol merchants Aldsworth and Elbridge. Next in order of settlement was probably the trading-post of the Plymouth colony at Kennebec, for which a patent was obtained in 1628.
Many other patents were issued by the Council for New England. Thus, March 13, 1630, John Beauchamp and Thomas Leverett obtained a grant of ten leagues square, between Muscongus and Penobscot Bay upon which they set up a factory for trading with the Indians; while the modern city of Scarboro, on Casco Bay, occupies a tract which was made the subject of two conflicting grants, one to Richard Bradshaw, November 4, and the other to Robert Trelawney and Moses Goodyear, December 1, 1631.
Three other patents issued by the Council for New England, and having an important connection with subsequent history, remain to be mentioned. The first, December, 1631, granted twenty-four thousand acres ten miles distant from Piscataqua to Ferdinando Gorges (son and heir of John Gorges), Samuel Maverick, and several others. Many settlers came over, and the first manager was Colonel Norton, but in a short time he appeared to have been superseded by William Gorges, nephew of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.
After the division in 1635, by which his title between the Piscataqua and the Kennebec was affirmed, Sir Ferdinando Gorges erected the coast from Cape Elizabeth, a few miles north of Saco, as far as Kennebec, into a district called New Somersetshire. Two years later Gorges obtained from King Charles a royal charter constituting him proprietor of the "province or county of Maine," with all the rights of a count palatine. The provisions of this charter are more curious than important. The territory granted, which included Agamenticus, was embraced between the Piscataqua and Kennebec, and extended inland one hundred and twenty miles. The lord proprietor had the right to divide his province into counties, appoint all officers, and to execute martial law. But while his rights were thus extensive, the liberties of the people were preserved by a provision for a popular assembly to join with him in making laws.
The charter certainly was out of keeping with the conditions of a distant empire inhabited only by red savages and a few white fishermen; but Gorges' elaborate plan for regulating the government seemed even more far-fetched. He proposed to have not only a lieutenant-governor, but a chancellor, a marshal, a treasurer, an admiral, a master of ordnance, and a secretary, and they were to act as a council of state.
To this wild realm in Norumbega, Thomas Gorges, "a sober and well-disposed young man," nephew of the lord proprietor, was commissioned in 1640 to be the first governor, and stayed three years in the colony. Agamenticus (now York) was only a small hamlet, but the lord proprietor honored it in March, 1652, by naming it Gorgeana, after himself, and incorporating it as a city. The charter of this first city of the United States is a historical curiosity, since for a population of about two hundred and fifty inhabitants it provided a territory covering twenty-one square miles and a body of nearly forty officials.
The second of the three important patents led to the absorption of Maine by the government of Massachusetts. The claim of Massachusetts to jurisdiction over the settlements in New Hampshire as readily applied to Maine; and, in addition, the patent granted in June, 1632, by the Council for New England, to George Way and Thomas Purchas, gave a tract of land along the river "Bishopscot" or "Pejepscot," better known as the Androscoggin. In 1639 Massachusetts, by buying this property, secured her first hold on the land within Gorges' patent. The revival in 1643 of another patent, believed to have been abandoned, but with rights conflicting with the patent of Gorges, both prompted and excused the interference of Massachusetts.
The third great patent was a grant made by the Council for New England, in June, 1630, for a tract extending from Cape Porpoise to Cape Elizabeth, and hence taking in Gorges' settlement at Saco. This patent was known as the Lygonian, or "Plough patent," the latter commemorating the name of the vessel which brought over the first settlers, who after a short time gave up the settlement and went to Boston in July, 1631. For twelve years the patent was neglected, but in 1643 the rights of the original patentees were purchased by Alexander Rigby, a prominent member of Parliament. He sent over as his agent George Cleves, but when he arrived in America in 1644 his assumption of authority under the Plough patent was naturally resisted by the government of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.
Cleves set up his government at Casco, and Vines, his rival, organized his at Saco. When Cleves sent his friend Tucker to Vines with a proposal to settle the controversy, Vines arrested the envoy and threw him into prison. Both parties appealed to the government of Massachusetts, who gave them advice to remain quiet. The contention continued, however, and at last the Massachusetts court of assistants, in June, 1646, consented to refer the case to a jury. Then it appeared that there were six or eight patentees in the original Plough patent, and Mr. Rigby's agent could only show an assignment from two. On the other hand, Vines could not produce the royal patent of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, which was in England, and had only a copy attested by witnesses. On account of these defects the jury declined to bring in a verdict.
Cleves had better fortune with the parliamentary commissioners for foreign plantations, to whom he carried the dispute, since before this tribunal the veteran Gorges, who had taken the king's side, had little chance to be heard. In March, 1646, they decided in favor of Rigby, and made the Kennebunk River the boundary-line between the two rival proprietors, thus reducing Gorges' dominions in Maine to only three towns—Gorgeana, Welles, and Kittery, which had grown up at the mouth of the Piscataqua opposite to Strawberry Bank.
The year following this decision Gorges died, and the province of Maine was left practically without a head. The settlers wrote to his heirs for instruction, but owing to the confusion of the times received no reply. In this state of doubt and suspense the general court was, in 1649, convoked at Welles, when Edward Godfrey was elected governor. Then another address was prepared and transmitted to England, but it met with no better fortune than the first. Accordingly, in July, 1649, the settlers of the three townships met at Gorgeana and declared themselves a body politic. Edward Godfrey was re-elected governor, and a council of five members were chosen to assist him in the discharge of his duties.
In this state of affairs, deserted by their friends in England, the Maine settlements looked an inviting prey to Massachusetts. In October, 1651, three commissioners were appointed to proceed to Kittery to convey the warning of Massachusetts "against any further proceeding by virtue of their combination or any other interest whatsoever." Godfrey declined to submit, and in behalf of the general court of the colony addressed a letter, December 5, 1651, to the Council of State of Great Britain praying a confirmation of the government which the settlers had erected. Cleves, at the head of the Rigby colony, made common cause with Godfrey and carried the petition to England, but he met with no success. The death of Rigby rendered Cleves's influence of no avail against the Massachusetts agent, Edward Winslow, who showed that Cleves's mission had originated among American royalists.
This opposition, in fact, served only to hasten the action of Massachusetts. In May, 1652, surveyors were appointed by the general court who traced the stream of the Merrimac as far north as the parallel of 43 deg. 40' 12". Then, despite the protests of Godfrey, commissioners were again sent to Kittery, where they opened a court, November 15, and shortly after received the submission of the inhabitants. They next proceeded to Gorgeana, where the like result followed, Governor Godfrey reluctantly submitting with the rest. Gorgeana was made a town under the Massachusetts jurisdiction, by the name of York, and all the country claimed by Massachusetts beyond the Piscataqua was made into a county of the same name.
Next year, 1653, commissioners were sent to Welles, the remaining town in the Gorges jurisdiction, to summon to obedience the inhabitants there and at Saco and Cape Porpoise, in the Lygonian patent, and the conditions made resistance unlikely. Disregarding the Rigby claims, the settlers in southern Maine accepted the overture of the Massachusetts commissioners. Accordingly, Welles, Saco, and Cape Porpoise followed the example of Kittery and Gorgeana, and came under the government of Massachusetts.
The inhabitants north of Saco about Casco Bay remained independent for several years after. Cleves and other leading inhabitants would not submit, and they tried to secure the interference of Cromwell. When they failed in this attempt, the people of Casco Bay, in 1658, recognized the authority of Massachusetts. It was at this time that the plantations at Black Point, at Spurwink, and Blue Point were united and received the name of Scarboro and those at Casco Bay received that of Falmouth.
Whatever judgment we may pass on the motives of Massachusetts in thus enlarging her borders to the farthest limits of settled territory north of Plymouth, it must be acknowledged that her course inured to the benefit of all parties concerned. The unruly settlements of the north received in time an orderly government, while each successive addition of territory weakened the power of the religious aristocracy in Massachusetts by welcoming into the body politic a new factor of population.
[Footnote 1: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 65-72.]
[Footnote 2: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 210.]
[Footnote 3: Mass. Hist. Soc, Proceedings (year 1876), 358.]
[Footnote 4: Belknap, New Hampshire, 20.]
[Footnote 5: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 96-98.]
[Footnote 6: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 98-107, 143-150.]
[Footnote 7: Winthrop, New England, I., 137.]
[Footnote 8: Ibid., I., 394, II., 33, 49, 76.]
[Footnote 9: Plymouth Col. Records, X., 31, 32, 426.]
[Footnote 10: Winthrop, New England, I., 349.]
[Footnote 11: N.H. Hist. Soc., Collections, 1st series, I., 321, 324.]
[Footnote 12: Winthrop, New England, I., 349, 384.]
[Footnote 13: N.H. Col. Records, I., 113.]
[Footnote 14: Mass. Col. Records, I., 332, 342, II., 29.]
[Footnote 15: Mass. Col. Records, II., 67; Winthrop, New England, II., 195.]
[Footnote 16: Palfrey, New England, I., 594.]
[Footnote 17: Mass. Col. Records, II., 38.]
[Footnote 18: Doyle, English Colonies, II., 215.]
[Footnote 19: Williamson, Maine, I., 226.]
[Footnote 20: Gorges, Description of New England, 79; Doyle, English Colonies, II., 215.]
[Footnote 21: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 125, 150, 160, 163; Doyle, English Colonies, II., 324.]
[Footnote 22: Gorges, Description of New England, 79.]
[Footnote 23: Winthrop, New England, I., 276.]
[Footnote 24: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 222-243.]
[Footnote 25: Gorges, Description of New England, 83.]
[Footnote 26: Winthrop, New England, II., 11.]
[Footnote 27: Hazard, State Papers, I., 470.]
[Footnote 28: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 152.]
[Footnote 29: Mass. Col. Records, I., 272.]
[Footnote 30: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 133-136.]
[Footnote 31: Winthrop, New England, I., 69, II., 186.]
[Footnote 32: Winthrop, New England, II., 186, 313, 390.]
[Footnote 33: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 266, 267.]
[Footnote 34: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 266, 267; Williamson, Maine, I., 326.]
[Footnote 35: Mass. Col. Records, IV., pt. i., 70.]
[Footnote 36: Williamson, Maine, I., 336.]
[Footnote 37: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 273.]
[Footnote 38: Ibid., 274; Mass. Col. Records, IV., pt. i., 122-126.]
[Footnote 39: Mass. Col. Records, IV., pt. i., 129.]
[Footnote 40: Williamson, Maine, I., 340, 341.]
[Footnote 41: Mass. Col. Records, IV., pt. i., 157-165, 359-360.]
Although the successive English colonies—Virginia, Maryland, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Haven, New Hampshire, and Maine—each sprang from separate impulses, we have seen how one depended upon another and how inextricably their history is connected each with the other. Even the widely separated southern and northern groups had intercourse and some transmigration. Thus the history of each colony is a strand in the history of England in America.
In the same way the history of each colony and of the colonies taken together is interwoven with that of colonies of other European nations—the Spaniards, French, and Dutch—planted at first distant from the English settlements, but gradually expanding into dangerous proximity. It was from a desire to protect themselves against the danger of attack by their foreign neighbors and to press their territorial claims that the New England group of English colonies afforded the example of the first American confederation.
Danger to the English colonization came first from the Spaniards, who claimed a monopoly of the whole of North America by virtue of discovery, the bull of Pope Alexander VI., and prior settlement. When Sir Francis Drake returned from his expedition in 1580 the Spanish authorities in demanding the return of the treasure which he took from their colonies in South America vigorously asserted their pre-emptive rights to the continent. But the English government made this famous reply—"that prescription without possession availed nothing, and that every nation had a right by the law of nature to freely navigate those seas and transport colonies to those parts where the Spaniards do not inhabit."
The most northerly settlement of the Spaniards in 1580 was St. Augustine, in Florida, for, though in 1524 Vasquez de Ayllon had planted a settlement called San Miguel on James River, starvation, disease, and Indian tomahawk soon destroyed it. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada and the subsequent terrible punishment inflicted on the Spanish marine England was less disposed than ever to listen to the claims of Spain. Reduced in power, the Spaniards substituted intrigue for warlike measures, and while they entangled King James in its web and hastened a change in the form of government for Virginia, they did not inflict any permanent injury upon the colony.
In 1624 England declared war against Spain, and English emigrants invaded the West Indies and planted colonies at Barbadoes, St. Christopher, Nevis, Montserrat, and other islands adjoining the Spanish settlements. Till the New England Confederation the chief scene of collision with the Spanish was the West Indies. In 1635 the Spanish attacked and drove the English from the Tortugas, and Wormeley, the governor, and many of the inhabitants took refuge in Virginia.
Because of their proximity the danger from the French colonies was far more real. Small fishing-vessels from Biscay, Brittany, and Normandy were in the habit of visiting the coast of Newfoundland and adjacent waters from as early as 1504. Jean Denys, of Honfleur, visited the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1506, and in 1508 Thomas Aubert sailed eighty leagues up the St. Lawrence River. In 1518 Baron de Lery attempted to establish a colony on Sable Island, and left there some cattle and hogs, which multiplied and proved of advantage to later adventurers. Then followed the great voyage of John Verrazzano, who, in 1524, in a search for the East Indies, sailed up the coast from thirty-four to fifty-four degrees. In 1534 Jacques Cartier visited Newfoundland and advanced up the river St. Lawrence till he reached the western part of Anticosti Island. The next year Cartier came again and ascended the great river many miles, visiting Stadacone (Quebec) and Hochelaga (Montreal). At Quebec he encamped with his men, and, after a winter rendered frightful by the cold and the ravages of the scurvy, he returned in the spring to St. Malo.
No further attempt was made till a short peace ended the third desperate struggle between Charles V. and Francis I. In 1540 King Francis created Francis de la Roque, Sieur de Roberval, lord of Norumbega and viceroy of "Canada, Hochelaga, Saguenay, Newfoundland, Bell Isle, Carpunt, Labrador, Great Bay, and Baccalaos"; and Cartier was made "captain-general." The expedition sailed in two divisions, Cartier commanding the first, which left St. Malo May 23, 1541. Again he passed a winter of gloom and suffering on the St. Lawrence, and in June of the following year set out to return.
On the coast of Newfoundland he met Roberval, who had charge of the second division of the ships and two hundred colonists. The viceroy ordered him to return, but Cartier slipped past him at night and left Roberval to hold the country the best he could. Undismayed, Roberval pursued his way, entered the St. Lawrence, and established his colony at Quebec. He sent Jean Alefonse to explore Norumbega, a term applied to the coast of Maine, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland; and he himself explored the river Saguenay. Lescarbot tells us that in the course of 1543 the king sent out Cartier, who brought home the wretched survivors of the company.
Then for nearly fifteen years the civil wars in France prevented any further effort at settlement on the St. Lawrence. Scores of French vessels, however, visited the region of the northwest for fish and furs, and as soon as the civil wars were ended the work of colonization was taken up anew. Failure as of old attended the first experiments. In 1598 Marquis de la Roche landed forty convicts at Sable Island, but after seven years the few survivors received a pardon and returned home. In 1600 Chauvin and Pontgrave promised to establish a colony on the St. Lawrence, and obtained from King Henry IV. a grant of the fur trade, but Chauvin died and the undertaking came to an end.
In 1603 the first systematic effort to found French colonies in America was made. A company was formed at the head of which was Aymar de Chastes, governor of Dieppe, who sent over Samuel Champlain. He visited the St. Lawrence, and after careful exploration returned to France with a valuable cargo of furs. On his arrival he found De Chastes dead, but Pierre du Guast, Sieur de Monts, a patriotic Huguenot, took up the unfinished work. He received from Henry IV. a patent "to represent our person as lieutenant-general in the country of Acadia from the fortieth to the forty-sixth degree," with governmental authority, and the exclusive privileges of traffic with the Indians.
April 7, 1604, De Monts, accompanied by Champlain, sailed from Havre de Grace, and May 1 came in sight of Sable Island. They sailed up the Bay of Fundy and entered a harbor on the north coast of Nova Scotia. Poutrincourt, one of the leading men, was so pleased with the region that he obtained a grant of it from De Monts, and named it Port Royal (now Annapolis). After further exploration De Monts planted his settlement on the Isle of St. Croix, at the mouth of the St. Croix River, where he passed the winter; but half the emigrants died from exposure and scurvy, and in the spring the colony was transferred to Port Royal. After three years spent in the country, during which time the coast was explored thoroughly by Champlain and Poutrincourt as far as Nausett Harbor, the Acadian emigrants went back to France, which they reached in October, 1607.
The design was not abandoned. Poutrincourt returned in 1610 and re-established his colony at Port Royal, which he placed in charge of his son. In 1611 two Jesuit priests, Biard and Masse, came over, under the patronage of Madame de Guercheville, and in 1613 they planted a Jesuit station at Mount Desert Island, on the coast of Maine.
Champlain did not return to Port Royal, but was employed in another direction. In April, 1608, De Monts sent out Champlain and Pontgrave to establish a colony on the St. Lawrence and traffic with the Indians of that region. Of this expedition Champlain was constituted lieutenant-governor, and he was successful in planting a settlement at Quebec in July, 1608. It was a mere trading-post, and after twenty years it did not number over one hundred persons. But Champlain looked to the time when Canada should be a prosperous province of France, and he was tireless and persistent. Aided by several devout friars of the Franciscan order, he labored hard to Christianize the Indians and visited lakes Champlain, Nipissing, Huron, and Ontario. While he made the fur trade of great value to the merchant company in France, he committed the fatal mistake of mixing up with Indian quarrels. Between the Five Nations of New York and the Hurons and their allies, the Algonquins of the St. Lawrence, perpetual war prevailed, and Champlain by taking sides against the former incurred for the French the lasting hatred of those powerful Indians.
The progress of the colony was not satisfactory to Champlain or to the authorities in France, and in 1627 Cardinal Richelieu dissolved the company which had charge of affairs, and instituted a new one with himself at its head. In the spring of 1628 he despatched to Canada four armed vessels and eighteen transports laden with emigrants, stores, and cannon, but war had broken out between the English and French the year before, and on their way the fleet was intercepted and the ships and goods confiscated.
The English had not recognized the claims of the French to any part of the North American continent, and the very year that the Jesuit station was planted at Mount Desert Island Samuel Argall came twice from Virginia and burned the houses of the intruding French at all of their settlements in Acadia: Mount Desert Island, Isle de Croix, and Port Royal. The French rebuilt Port Royal, and at the death of Poutrincourt's son Biencourt, about the year 1623, his possessions and claims fell to his friend and companion Claude de la Tour.
Meanwhile, in 1621, Sir William Alexander obtained a grant from King James for New Scotland, being that part of Acadia now comprising the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; and he sent over from time to time a few Scotch emigrants. De la Tour and the French submitted, and English rule seemed firmly established in Acadia when war was declared in 1628. In February, 1629, Alexander received a patent for St. Lawrence River and "fifty leagues of bounds on both sides thereof," and on both sides of its tributary lakes and rivers as far as the Gulf of California.
After the failure of the expedition sent by Cardinal Richelieu, Alexander and his partners despatched an English fleet commanded by David Kirke, which appeared before Quebec in July, 1629. Champlain and his small garrison were compelled to surrender, and all New France fell under English power. Unfortunately for Alexander and Kirke, war between the two nations had ceased, and the articles of peace provided that all conquests made subsequent to April 24, 1629, should be restored to the former owner. This insured the loss of Quebec and was the forerunner of other misfortunes. In 1632 a treaty was made at St. Germain by which, despite the protest of Sir William Alexander and a memorial from the Scottish Parliament, King Charles consented "to give up and restore all the places occupied in New France, Acadia, and Canada" by his subjects.
In 1632 Champlain returned to his government at Quebec, and with him arrived a number of zealous Jesuit priests, who began that adventurous career of exploration which, after Champlain's death in 1635, connected the fame of their order with the great lakes and the Mississippi. The king of France appointed Chevalier Razilly governor of Acadia, who designated as his lieutenants Claude de la Tour's son Charles, for the portion west of St. Croix; and Charles de Menou, Sieur d'Aulnay Charmise, for the portion to the east. They claimed dominion for France as far as Cape Cod.
Subsequently the two rivals quarrelled, and in 1641 D'Aulnay obtained an order from the king deposing De la Tour, but the latter refused obedience and sent an envoy to Boston in November, 1641, to solicit aid. This envoy was kindly treated, and some of the Puritan merchants despatched a pinnace to trade with De la Tour; but they met with D'Aulnay at Pemaquid, who threatened to make prize of any vessel which he caught engaged in the fur trade in Acadia.
The Dutch claim to America was comparatively recent, as it was not until 1597 that voyages were undertaken from Holland to the continent. In 1602 the Dutch East India Company was chartered, and in 1609 sent out Henry Hudson, an Englishman by birth, to seek a way to India by the northeast. After sailing to Nova Zembla, where fogs and fields of ice closed against him the strait of Veigatz, he changed his course for Newfoundland and coasted southward to Chesapeake Bay. Returning on his path he entered the Hudson in September, 1609, and stayed four weeks exploring the river and trafficking with the natives.
The reports brought by him to Europe of a newly discovered country abounding in fur-bearing animals created much interest, and in 1612 some merchants in Holland sent Christiansen and Blok to the island of Manhattan, where they built a little fort, which, it is stated, Argall attacked in 1613. Losing his ship by fire, Blok built a yacht of sixteen tons at Manhattan, and with this small craft was the first explorer (1614) of the Connecticut River. He also visited Narragansett Bay, and gave to its shores the name of Roode Eiland (now Rhode Island).
After his return home the merchants obtained from the States-General a charter for three years' monopoly of the trade of New Netherland, as the present New York was now first formally called. It was defined as extending between New France and Virginia, from the fortieth to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude. After this New Netherland continued to be resorted to by Dutch traders, though no regular settlement was formed for some years.
In 1619 Thomas Dermer visited the Hudson and brought news to England of the operations of the Dutch and the value of the fur trade. Thereupon Captain Samuel Argall, with many English planters, prepared to make a settlement on the Hudson, and when the Dutch government, in June, 1621, chartered the Dutch West India Company, the English court, on Argall's complaint, protested against Dutch intrusion within what was considered the limits of Virginia. The States-General at first evaded a reply, but finally declared that they had never authorized any settlement on the Hudson. The charter, in fact, gave the company only an exclusive right to trade for twenty-four years on the coasts of Africa and America.
Nevertheless, the company proceeded to send over, in 1622, a number of French Walloons, who constituted the first Dutch colony in America. One party, under the command of Captain Cornelius Jacobson May, the first Dutch governor, sailed to the South, or Delaware River, where, four miles below the present Philadelphia, they erected a fort called Nassau; and another party under Adrian Joris went up the Hudson, and on the site of Albany built Fort Orange. Peter Minuit succeeded May in 1626, and bought from the Indians the whole of Manhattan Island, and organized a government with an advisory council.
The population of New Netherland was only two hundred, and though trade was brisk there was little agriculture. The company met this difficulty by obtaining a new charter and seeking to promote emigration by dividing up the country among some great patroons: Samuel Godyn, Killiaen van Renssalaer, Michael Pauw, David Pieterson de Vries, and other rich men. In 1631 De Vries settled Swaanendael, on the South River, as the Dutch called the Delaware; but in a few months the Indians attacked the place and massacred the settlers. Soon the patroons became rivals of the West India Company in the fur trade, and in 1632 Minuit, who favored them, was recalled and Wouter van Twiller was made governor. His accession marks the first real clash between the rival claims of the Dutch and English.
In 1632 Lord Baltimore obtained a patent for Maryland which included all the south side of Delaware Bay and river; and a month later Sir Edmund Plowden obtained a grant from the English king for "Long Isle and also forty leagues square of the adjoining continent," including the very site of Manhattan. In April, 1633, Jacob Eelkens, in command of an English vessel, forced his way past Fort Amsterdam, on Manhattan Island, and traded with the Indians, until the incompetent Van Twiller at length stripped him of his goods and drove him from the river. The same year Van Twiller, as we have seen, planted a fort near the site of the present city of Hartford, which served as the seed of future troubles.
In 1634 Captain Thomas Young visited the Delaware and lorded it over the Dutch vessels which he found in the river. Then in 1635, while settlers from Massachusetts poured into Connecticut, and the Council for New England, preliminary to its dissolution, assigned Long Island, despite the Dutch claim, to Sir William Alexander, men came from Virginia to Delaware Bay and seized Fort Nassau, then abandoned by the Dutch; but Van Twiller soon drove them away. Thus step by step English progress encroached upon the territories of the Dutch.
In 1638 Van Twiller was recalled and William Kieft was sent over. He had to deal with Swedes as well as English, for in 1626 King Gustavus Adolphus was persuaded by Usselinx, an Amsterdam merchant, to form the Swedish West India Company, and after his death Oxenstierna, his prime-minister, renewed the scheme. In 1638 he sent out a Swedish expedition under Peter Minuit, the late governor of New Netherland, who established a fort on the Delaware near the present Wilmington, and called it "Christina," and the Swedes paid no attention to the protest of Governor Kieft.
In 1640 a party of English settlers from New Haven obtained deeds to the soil on Long Island from Farrett, agent of Sir William Alexander, and settled at Southold; and another party from Massachusetts, more daring still, settled at Schouts Bay, almost opposite to Manhattan. When a force of Dutch troops was sent against them they retired to the east end of the island and settled Southampton. A more adventuresome proceeding was attempted in 1641 when another party from New Haven took the Dutch in the flank by settling on the Delaware. Dutch and Swedes united to drive the intruders away. As if these were not troubles enough, Kieft, in 1642, provoked war with the Indians all along the Hudson.
[Footnote 1: Brown, Genesis of the United States, I., 8.]
[Footnote 2: Bourne, Spain in America, chap. x.]
[Footnote 3: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, pp. 75, 85, 98.]
[Footnote 4: Charlevoix, New France (Shea's ed.), I., 106.]
[Footnote 5: Hakluyt, Voyages, III., 250-297; Charlevoix, New France (Shea's ed.), I., 129-131; cf. Bourne, Spain in America, chap. x.]
[Footnote 6: Parkman, Pioneers of France in the New World, 213, 218.]
[Footnote 7: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 2-6.]
[Footnote 8: Charlevoix, New France (Shea's ed.), I., 247-263.]
[Footnote 9: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 57.]
[Footnote 10: Ibid., 82.]
[Footnote 11: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, pp. 119, 130.]
[Footnote 12: Hannay, Acadia, 140.]
[Footnote 13: Winthrop, New England, II., 106, 109.]
[Footnote 14: Purchas, Pilgrimes, III., 581-596.]
[Footnote 15: Brodhead, New York, I., 57-62.]
[Footnote 16: N.Y. Docs. Rel. to Col. Hist., III., 6-8.]
[Footnote 17: Maine Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, VII., 53-56.]
[Footnote 18: N.Y. Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, III., 16, 22.]
[Footnote 19: Brodhead, New York, I., 222.]
[Footnote 20: Cal. of State Pap., Col., 1574-1660, p. 154.]
[Footnote 21: Brodhead, New York, I., 230.]
[Footnote 22: Mass. Hist. Soc., Collections, 4th series, IX., 125-128.]
[Footnote 23: N.Y. Hist. Soc., Collections, 2d series, III., 77.]
[Footnote 24: Winsor, Narr. and Crit. Hist., IV., 443-452.]
THE NEW ENGLAND CONFEDERATION
These Dutch settlements brought about a political union of the New England colonies, although the first cause of the New England confederation was the Indian tribes who lay between the Dutch and the English. In August, 1637, during the war with the Pequots, some of the Connecticut magistrates and ministers suggested to the authorities at Boston the expediency of such a measure. The next year Massachusetts submitted a plan of union, but Connecticut demurred because it permitted a mere majority of the federal commissioners to decide questions. Thereupon Massachusetts injected the boundary question into the discussions, and proposed an article not relished by Connecticut, that the Pequot River should be the line between the two jurisdictions. Thus the matter lay in an unsettled state till the next year, when jealousy of the Dutch stimulated renewed action.
In 1639 John Haynes, of Connecticut, and Rev. Thomas Hooker came to Boston, and again the plan of a confederation was discussed, but Plymouth and Massachusetts quarrelled over their boundary-line, and the desirable event was once more postponed. Nearly three more years passed, and the founding of a confederacy was still delayed. Then, at a general court held at Boston, September 27, 1642, letters from Connecticut were read "certifying us that the Indians all over the country had combined themselves to cut off all the English."
At this time the war between De la Tour and D'Aulnay was at its height, and the Dutch complaints added to the general alarm. Thus the Connecticut proposition for a league received a more favorable consideration and was referred to a committee "to consider" after the court. At the next general court which met in Boston, May 10, 1643, a compact of confederation in writing was duly signed by commissioners from Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven. The settlement of Gorges and Mason at Piscataqua and the plantations about Narragansett Bay were denied admission into the confederacy—the former "because they ran a different course from us both in their ministry and administration," and the latter because they were regarded as "tumultuous" and "schismatic."
After a preamble setting forth that "we live encompassed with people of several nations and strange languages," that "the savages have of late combined themselves against us," and that "the sad distractions in England prevent the hope of advice and protection," the document states that the contracting parties' object was to maintain "a firm and perpetual league of friendship and amity, for offence and defence, mutual advice and succor upon all just occasions both for preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the gospel, and for their own mutual safety and walfare." It then declared the name of the new confederation to be "the United Colonies of New England," and in ten articles set out the organization and powers of the federal government. The management was placed in the hands of eight commissioners, two for each colony, "all in church-fellowship with us," who were to hold an annual meeting in each of the colonies by rotation, and to have power by a vote of six "to determine all affairs of war or peace, leagues, aids, charges, and number of men for war, division of spoils, or whatever is gotten by conquest," the admission of new confederates, etc. All public charges were to be paid by contributions levied on the colonies proportioned to the number of inhabitants in each colony between sixteen and sixty; and for this purpose a census was to be taken at stated times by the commissioners. In domestic affairs the federal government was not to interfere, but each colony was guaranteed the integrity of its territory and local jurisdiction.
Two defects were apparent in this constitution: the federal government had no authority to act directly upon individuals, and thus it had no coercive power; the equal number of votes allowed the members of the confederation in the federal council was a standing contradiction of the measure of contribution to the burdens of government. The confederacy contained a population of about twenty-three thousand five hundred souls, of which number fifteen thousand may be assigned to Massachusetts, three thousand each to Connecticut and Plymouth, and two thousand five hundred to New Haven. Massachusetts, with two out of eight commissioners, possessed a population greater than that of the other three colonies combined.
There was really no Indian combination in 1643 against the colonists, but the rivalry between the Narragansetts and the Mohegans gave grounds for uneasiness. After the death of Miantonomoh, under the circumstances already related, the fear of an Indian attack was temporarily removed. But the Narragansetts were grief-stricken over the loss of their chieftain and thought only of revenge upon the hated Uncas and his Indians, at whose door they laid all the blame. To give opportunity for intended operations, they made Gorton and others intermediaries for a complete cession of their country to the king of England in April, 1644. Then, when summoned by the general court of Massachusetts to Boston, Canonicus and Pessacus, the two leading chiefs, pleaded the king's jurisdiction and declined to appear. Two envoys sent by the general court in May, 1644, to the wigwam of Canonicus, were compelled to stay out in the rain for two hours before being admitted, and Pessacus, instead of giving them satisfaction, persisted in his threat of hostilities against Uncas, agreeing only not to attack Uncas "till after next planting-time," nor then till after due notice given to the English.
The truce did not restrain the Narragansetts, and in the spring of 1645 they attacked the Mohegans and defeated them, and thereupon the federal commissioners, in July, 1645, met at Boston, and upon the refusal of the Narragansetts to make peace with Uncas they made preparations for war. A force of three hundred men was raised, one hundred and ninety from Massachusetts, forty each from Plymouth and Connecticut, and thirty from New Haven.
Upon the question of appointment of a commander-in-chief colonial independence came in conflict with federal supremacy. In 1637 Massachusetts was the champion of the principle that all questions should be decided by a simple majority vote of the commissioners; but now the Massachusetts general court asserted that no appointment of a commander should be valid without their confirmation. The federal commissioners stood stoutly for their rights, and the issue was evaded for a time by the appointment of Major Gibbons, who was a citizen of Massachusetts.
The report of these warlike preparations brought the Narragansetts to terms; but uneasiness still continued, and the subsequent years, though free from bloodshed, were full of rumors and reports of hostilities, compelling frequently the interference of the commissioners in behalf of their friend Uncas. In all these troubles the question is not so much the propriety of the particular measures of the federal commissioners as their conduct in making the confederation a party to the disputes of the Indians among themselves. The time finally came when Uncas, "the friend of the white man," was regarded by his former admirers as a hopeless marplot and intriguer.
More commendable were the services of the federal commissioners with the Indians in another particular. One of the professed designs of the charter of Massachusetts was to Christianize the heathen savages, but more than twelve years elapsed after the coming of Winthrop and his colonists before New England was the scene of anything like missionary work. Then the first mission was established in 1643 by Thomas Mayhew at the island of Martha's Vineyard, which was not included in any of the New England governments and was under the jurisdiction of Sir William Alexander. In 1651 Mayhew reported that one hundred and ninety-nine men, women, and children of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket were "worshippers of the great and ever living God."