first settlement at Plymouth,
to the acceptance of the
a general sketch of the
Printed for the , by
H. Mann and J. H. Adams.
To the Reader.
Many, eſpecially in early life, may wiſh to peruſe a ſketch of American affairs, before they have time or ability t o acquire more enlarged knowledge. Though the compiler of the enſuing work is impreſſed with the many difficulties attending it, yet ſhe hopes the charge of arrogance will not be incurred, ſince her deſign is merely to encourage and gratify ſuch a wiſh, by giving the outlines of the intereſting hiſtory of New-England. In the proſecution of this work, ſhe has, with great care and aſſiduity, ſearched the ancient Histories of New-England. She has alſo had recourſe to various manuſcripts, particularly, thoſe which throw light on the hiſtory of Rhode-Iſland. For more modern information, ſhe has recurred to Belknap’s Hiſtory of New-Hampſhire, Trumbull’s Hiſtory of Connecticut, Ramsay’s Hiſtory of the American Revolution, Gordon’s Hiſtory of the American War, Minot’s Hiſtory of the Inſurrection, and his Continuation of Hutchinſon; Williams’ Hiſtory of Vermont, Sullivan’s Hiſtory of the Diſtrict of Maine, and Morſe’s Geography. In abridging the works of thoſe excellent authors, ſhe is ſenſible of her inability to do them juſtice, and has ſometimes made uſe of their own words. The reader is always referred, for further information, to thoſe ingenious performances; and the higheſt ambition of the compiler is, that her imperfect ſketch may excite a more general attention to the large and valuable hiſtories of the country. In giving a ſketch of the American war, her ignorance of military terms has rendered it neceſſary to tranſcribe more literally from the word of the authors, 3 A2r than in other parts of the hiſtory. But though a female cannot be ſuppoſed to be accurate in deſcribing, and muſt ſhrink with horror in relating the calamities of war, yet ſhe may be allowed to feel a lively intereſt in the great cauſe, for which the ſword was drawn in America. The compiler is apprized of the numerous defects of the work, and ſenſible it will not bear the teſt of criticiſm. Her incapacity for executing it has been heightened by a long interval of ill health, which has precluded much of that ſtudious application, which, in a work of this kind, is indiſpenſably neceſſary. She hopes, therefore, that generous humanity will ſoften the aſperity of cenſure, and that the public will view with candor the aſſiduous, though, perhaps, unſucceſsful efforts of a female pen.
Diſcovery of America by Columbus. Diviſions in England after the reformation. Perſecution under the reigns of Elizabeth and James. Mr. Robinſon and his congregation remove to Holland. Part of his congregation embark for America. Their ſettlement at Plymouth, and the hardſhips they endured. They are joined by a ſmall party. Treaty of alliance with the Indian princes. Death and character of Mr. Robinſon. A number of the Leyden congregation arrive at Plymouth. The colony obtain a patent. Character, government and religion of the ſettlers.
The diſcovery of America is one of the moſt celebrated achievements in the annals of hiſtory. Chriſtopher Columbus, the diſcoverer, was a native of the Republic of Genoa. He was born in 14471447, and, at the age of fourteen, entered upon a ſeafaring life, in which profeſſion he was eminently diſtinguiſhed. After a long and fruitleſs application to ſeveral courts of Europe, his plan of exploring new regions obtained the approbation of Iſabella, Queen of Caſtile. Through B 10 B1v 10 her patronage he ſet ſail, 14921492, with three ſmall veſſels, which contained one hundred and twenty ſeamen. The formidable difficulties, which attended his voyage to regions hitherto unexplored, were, at length, ſurmounted by his aſtonishing fortitude and perſeverance. After diſcovering ſeveral of the West-India iſlands, he built a fort, and left a garriſon of thirty-five men in Hiſpaniola, to maintain the Spaniſh pretenſions in that country. He ſet out on his return to Spain in 14931493, and arrived in March, with the joyful intelligence of a new world, excelling the kingdoms of Europe in gold and ſilver, and bleſt with a luxuriant ſoil.
The voyages of Columbus paved the way for other European adventurers, who were ſtimulated by ambition and avarice to make further diſcoveries; till, finally, the rich empires of Mexico and Peru were ſubdued by lawleſs invaders. The feeling heart bleeds in reviewing the hiſtory of South-America, and is filled with horror at the ſucceſsful villainy of its intrepid conquerors.See Hiſtory of South-America.
The hiſtory of North-America exhibits a very different ſcene. Many of the firſt ſettlers of this country were animated, by the deſire of poſſeſſing religious liberty, to abandon their native land, where they enjoyed eaſe and affluence; and to ſtruggle through a variety of hardſhips, in an uncultivated wilderneſs inhabited by ſavages.
The ſettlements of New-England, which are the particular object of the enſuing hiſtory, owe 11 B2r 11 their riſe to the religious diſputes that attended the reformation in England.
When King Henry VIII. renounced the papal ſupremacy, he tranſferred to himſelf the ſpiritual power which had been exerciſed by the Biſhops of Rome. He ſet up himſelf as ſupreme head of the Engliſh church, and commanded all his ſubjects to pay allegiance to him in his newly aſſumed character.
This claim was maintained by his ſon and ſucceſſor Edward VI. in whoſe reign the reformation made great progreſs, and a ſervice book was publiſhed by royal authority, as the ſtandard of worſhip and diſcipline. His ſiſter Mary, who ſucceeded him, reſtored the papal ſupremacy, and raiſed ſuch a violent perſecution againſt the reformers, that numbers of them fled into Germany and the Netherlands, where they departed from the uniformity eſtablished in England, and became divided in their ſentiments and practice reſpecting religious worſhip.
At the acceſſion of Elizabeth, they returned to their native country with ſanguine hopes of reforming the church of England, according to the reſpective opinions which they had embraced in their exile. But they ſoon found that the Queen was fond of the eſtabliſhment made in the reign of her brother, Edward, and ſtrongly prejudiced in favor of pomp and ceremony in religion. She aſſerted her ſupremacy in the moſt abſolute terms, and erected an high commiſſion court, with extenſive12 B2v 12 ſive juriſdiction in eccleſiaſtical affairs. In conſequence of the rigorous meaſures which were purſued to enforce uniformity, a ſeparation from the eſtablished church took place. Thoſe who were deſirous of a further reformation from the Romiſh ſuperſtitions, and of a more pure and perfect form of religion, were denominated Puritans.Hiſtory of the Puritans. — Hiſtory of New Hampſhire, Vol. I. p. 61, 62, 63.
During the reign of Elizabeth, the Puritans, or Non-Conformiſts, as they were called, from their refuſing to conform to the ceremonies of the church of England, were ſeverely perſecuted. Some were caſt into priſon, where a number periſhed; others were baniſhed, and a few were put to death. Thoſe Proteſtants who, during the bloody reign of Mary, ſuffered all the rigor of perſecution, now encountered each other with the ſame cruel animoſity. The manner of proceeding was indeed ſoftened; baniſhment, fines and impriſonment were ſubſtituted for the unrelenting vengeance of the ſtake. But the principle was the ſame, and produced a ſimilar effect. In both reigns the number of thoſe who refuſed to conform to the eſtabliſhed worſhip increaſed.See Hiſtory of the Puritans.
The perſecution of the Puritans was continued with great ſeverity during the reign of James I. until, deſpairing of redreſs, they determined to ſeek an aſylum in a foreign land, where they could enjoy the free exerciſe of their religious opinions.13B3r13
16081608.At the period, when the perſecution in this reign had ariſen to its higheſt degree under Archbiſhop Bancroft, Mr. Robinſon, a diſſenting clergyman in England, with part of his congregation, removed to Amſterdam, in Holland, and, with permiſſion of the magiſtrates, ſettled at Leyden the ſubſequent year. There they formed a church, and enjoyed religious liberty. After twelve years reſidence in Holland, they meditated a removal to America, becauſe they judged it unſafe to educate their children in a country, where the day devoted by Chriſtians to religious reſt, was treated, by too many of the inhabitants, as a day of levity and diverſion. The other motives, which induced them to emigrate to America were, to preſerve the morals of the youth; to prevent them from leaving their parents, and engaging in buſineſs unfriendly to religion, from want of employment at home; to avoid the inconvenience of incorporating with the Dutch; to lay a foundation for propagating the goſpel in the remote parts of the world; and, by ſeparating from all the exiſting eſtabliſhments in Europe, to form the model of a pure church, free from the admixture of human additions; and a ſyſtem of civil policy unfettered by the arbitrary inſtitutions of the old world. Chronological Hiſtory of New England, Vol. I. p. 82.
As the new world appeared the proper theatre for the execution of their deſigns, after ſerious and repeated addreſſes to Heaven for direction, they reſolved to croſs the Atlantic. They applied14 B3v 14 16081608.ed to the Virginia company for permiſſion to eſtabliſh themſelves in America within their limits, and petitioned King James to allow them liberty of conſcience.
The Virginia company freely conſented to give them a patent, with as ample privileges as were in their power to grant. But ſuch was the prevailing bigotry of the age, that the ſolicitations of ſome of the moſt reſpectable characters in the kingdom could not prevail on the King and Biſhops to allow the refugees liberty of conſcience under the royal ſeal. His Majeſty, however, at laſt gave private aſſurance, that they ſhould live unmoleſted, provided they behaved peaceably, but perſiſted in refuſing to tolerate them by public authority. The hope that the diſtance of their ſituation would ſecure them from the juriſdiction of eccleſiaſtical courts, induced them, notwithſtanding, to put their plan in execution; and, after long attendance, much expence, and labor, they obtained a patent. Magnalia, Book I. p. 6.
16201620.Whilſt preparations were making for the departure of the adventurers for New-England, a day was appointed for ſolemn prayer, on which occaſion Mr. Robinſon, in a diſcourse from the 1ſt of Samuel, xxiii. 3—4, endeavoured to diſpel their apprehenſions, and inſpire them with Chriſtian fortitude. As it was not convenient for all to remove at firſt, the majority, with their paſtor,15 B4r 15 16201620.tor, concluded to remain for the preſent in Leyden. Mr. John Brewſter, aſſiſtant to Mr. Robinſon, was choſen to perform miniſterial offices to the firſt adventurers. Two ſhips were prepared, one of which was fitted out in Holland, the other hired in London. When the time of ſeparation drew nigh, their paſtor preached a farewell diſcourſe from Ezra viii. 21. A large concourſe of friends from Leyden and Amſterdam accompanied the emigrants to the ſhip, which lay at Delft-Haven. The night was ſpent in fervent and affectionate prayers, and in that pathetic intercourſe of ſoul, which the feeling heart can better conceive than deſcribe. The affecting ſcene drew tears even from the eyes of ſtrangers. When the period, in which the voyagers were about to depart, arrived, they all, with their beloved paſtor, fell on their knees, and, with eyes, hands and hearts raiſed to heaven, fervently commended their adventuring brethren to the bleſſing of the Lord. Thus, after mutual embraces, accompanied with many tears, they bade a long, and to many of them a final adieu. Chronology, Vol. I. p. 66.
On the 1620-07-2222d of July, they ſailed for Southampton, where they met the ſhip from London, with the reſt of the emigrants.
On the 1620-08-055th of Auguſt, both veſſels proceeded to ſea, but returned twice into port, on account of defects in the one from Delft, which was diſmiſſed.16B4v16
16201620.An ardent deſire of enjoying religious liberty finally overcame all difficulties. A company of an hundred and one perſons betook themſelves to the London ſhip, and ſailed from Plymouth the 1620-09-066th of September. After many delays, difficulties and dangers, they made Cape-Cod on the 1620-11-099th of November, at break of day, and entered the harbor on the 1620-11-1010th.
It was their intention to ſettle at the mouth of Hudſon’s River; but the Dutch, with the view of planting a colony in that place, bribed the pilot to conduct them to theſe northern coaſts, and then, under various pretences, to diſcourage them from proſecuting their former plan. New England’s Memorial, p. 13.
As they were not within the limits of their patent from the Virginia company, they ſaw the neceſſity of eſtabliſhing a ſeparate government for themſelves. Accordingly, having offered their devout and ardent acknowledgements to God for their ſafe arrival, they formed themſelves into a body politic, under the crown of England, whilſt on board, for the purpoſe of eſtabliſhing juſt and equal laws, ordinances, acts, conſtitutions and offices. On the 1620-11-1010th of November the adventurers ſubſcribed this contract, thereby making it the baſis of their government. They choſe Mr. John Carver, a gentleman of piety and approved abilities, to be their governor the firſt year; and the practice of an annual election continued17 C1r 17 16201620.tinued unchanged during the exiſtence of their government. B. I., p. 8. ,
The firſt object of the emigrants, after diſembarkation, was to fix on a convenient place for ſettlement. In this attempt they were obliged to encounter numerous difficulties, and to ſuffer incredible hardſhips. Many of them were ſick in conſequence of the fatigues of a long voyage; the proviſions were bad; the ſeaſon was uncommonly cold; the Indians, thought afterwards friendly, were now hoſtile, and the adventurers were unacquainted with the coaſt. Theſe difficulties they ſurmounted, and on the 1620-12-3131ſt of December were all ſafely landed at a place, which they called Plymouth, in grateful remembrance of the laſt town they left in their native country. Geography, Vol. I. p. 344.
The hiſtorians of New-England relate two remarkable events, which wonderfully facilitated the ſettlement of Plymouth and Maſſachuſetts. The one was a war begun by the Tarratenes, a nation who reſided eaſtward of Penobſcot. Theſe formidable people ſurpriſed the chief ſachem at his head-quarters, and deſtroyed him with all his family; upon which all the other ſachems, who were ſubordinate to him, contended among themſelves for the ſovereignty; and in theſe diſſenſions many of them, as well as their unhappy people periſhed. Hiſtorical Collections, p. 348. The other was a mortal and contagious diſtemper C 18 C1v 18 16201620.which prevailed among the Indians two or three years previouſly to the arrival of the English at Plymouth, and proved fatal to ſuch numbers, that ſome tribes were almoſt extinct. The extent of this peſtilence was between Penobſcot in the eaſt, and Narraganſet in the weſt. Theſe two tribes eſcaped, while the intermediate people were waſted and deſtroyed. Memorial, p. 18, 19, 20. American Biography, Vol. I. p.358 1 lineflawed-reproduction
The proſpects and ſituation of the Plymouth ſettlers were gloomy beyond expreſſion. The whole company, which landed conſiſted of but one hundred and one ſouls. They were three thouſand miles from their native country, with a dreary winter in proſpect, in an uncultivated wilderneſs, ſurrounded with hoſtile barbarians, and without any hope of human ſuccour. Their only civilized neighbors were a French ſettlement at Port Royal, and an English settlement at Virginia; the neareſt of which was five hundred miles diſtant, much too remote to afford a hope of relief in a time of danger or famine. To obtain a ſupply of proviſions by cultivating the ſtubborn ſoil required an immenſity of previous labor, and was, at beſt, a diſtant and uncertain dependence. They were denied the aid or favor of the court of England—without a patent—without a public promiſe of a peaceable enjoyment of their religious liberties. In this melancholy ſituation, forty-five of their number died before the opening of the next ſpring, of diſorders occaſioned by their tedious 19 C2r 19 16201620.voyage, with inſufficient accomodations, and their uncommon exertions and fatigues. Chronology, Vol. I p. 98.
The new colony ſupported theſe complicated hardſhips with heroic fortitude. To enjoy full liberty to worſhip God, according to the dictates of their conſciences, was eſteemed by them the greateſt of bleſſings. And the religious fervor, which induced them to abandon their native country fortified their minds, and enabled them to ſurmount every difficulty, which could prove their patience, or evince their firmneſs.
To their unſpeakable ſatisfaction, their aſſociation in England ſent them a ſupply of neceſſaries, and a reinforcement of coloniſts the ſubſequent year. Political Annals, p. 88.
16211621.The prudent, friendly and upright conduct of the Plymouth ſettlers towards the natives ſecured their friendſhip and alliance. As early as 1621-03March Maſſaſſoiet, one of the moſt powerful ſagamores of the neighboring Indians, with ſixty attendants, paid them a viſit, and entered into a treaty of peace and amity. They reciprocally agreed, to avoid injuries, to puniſh offenders, to reſtore ſtolen goods, to afford mutual aſſiſtance in all juſtifiable wars, to promote peace among their neighbors, &c. Maſſaſſoiet, and his ſucceſſors, for fifty years inviolably obſerved this treaty. His example was followed by others. On the 1621-09-1313th of September nine ſachems declared allegiance to King James. Maſſaſſoiet and many of his ſub-ſachems, who inhabited round the bays of Plymouth and Maſſachuſetts20 C2v 20 16211621.chuſetts, ſubſcribed a writing, acknowledging ſubjection to the king of England. Book I. p. 10. ,
The Plymotheans early agreed, and purchaſed a right to the lands, which they cultivated from the Indian proprietors. Declarations reſpecting the proceedings of the government of Plymouth.
For several years after their arrival the whole property of the colony was in common, from which every perſon was furniſhed with neceſſary articles. In the beginning of each year a certain quantity of land was ſelected for planting, and their proportion of labor was aſſigned to each one. Hiſtory of Maſſachuſetts Bay, Vol. II. p. 474.
At the close of the year 16241624 the plantation conſiſted of one hundred and eighty perſons. They had built a town conſiſting of thirty-two dwelling houſes, erected a citadel for its defence, and laid out farms for its ſupport. p. 89. ,
16251625.The following year the new colony received the melancholy intelligence of the death of the Rev. Mr. Robinſon, who died at Leyden in the moth of 1625-03March, in the 50th year of his age. The character of this excellent man, who was diſtinguiſhed both by his natural abilities and an highly cultivated mind, was greatly dignified by the mild and amiable virtues of Chriſtianity. He poſſeſſed a liberality of ſentiment which was uncommon for the age, in which he lived.See Robinſon’s farewell charge to his flock, when embarking for America, in Hiſtory of New-England, Vol. I. p. 84. He was 21 C3r 21 16251625.revered and eſteemed by the Dutch divines, venerated and beloved by his people; and the harmony which ſubſiſted between them was perfect and uninterrupted. His death was greatly lamented by the people at Plymouth, who were flattering themſelves with the pleaſing hope of his ſpeedy arrival in New-England. In the beginning of the year 16291629, they choſe Mr. Ralph Smith for their paſtor. Previouſly to his ordination, Mr. Brewſter, who had been ruling elder to the church at Leyden, performed all the miniſterial offices among them, except adminiſtering the ſacraments.
After the death of Mr. Robinſon, another part of his congregation joined their brethren in America.
16301630.When the plantation amounted to about three hundred perſons, they obtained a patent from the council of Plymouth. By this grant their lands were ſecured againſt all Engliſh claims. Book I. p. 12. ,
It is a diſtinguiſhed trait in the ſettlements of New-England, that they were eſtabliſhed from religious motives, by perſons of piety and information.
The Plymotheans were a plain, induſtrious, conſcientious and pious people. Though their piety was fervent, yet it was alſo rational, and diſpoſed them to a ſtrict obſervance of the moral and ſocial duties. The leading characters among them were men of ſuperior abilities and undaunted fortitude. The reſpectable names of Carver, 22 C3v 22 16301630.Bradford, Winſlow, Prince and others, are immortalized in the annals of New-England.
Respecting their civil principles, an ardent love of liberty, an unſhaken attachment to the rights of men, with a deſire to tranſmit them to their lateſt poſterity, were the principles, which governed their conduct.See an account of the church in Plymouth, in the Hiſtorical Collections for the year 17941794. See alſo Dr. Robbins’ anniverſary Sermon preached in Plymouth, 17961796.
They made the general laws of England their rule of government, and never eſtablished a diſtinct code for themſelves. They added, however, ſuch municipal laws as were, from time to time, found neceſſary to regulate new and emergent caſes, which were unprovided for by the common and ſtatute laws of England.
During the infancy of the colony, the whole body of male inhabitants were frequently aſſembled, to determine affairs both legiſlative and judicial. When their increaſe rendered this method impracticable, the governor and aſſiſtants were the ſupreme judiciary power, and ſole in judging high offences. Crimes of leſs magnitude were cognizable before inferior courts and ſingle magiſtrates; and in civil matters appeals could be made from inferior juriſdictions to the ſupreme. In the year 16391639, they eſtabliſhed a houſe of repreſentatives, compoſed of deputies from the ſeveral towns. Vol. II p. 467. , p. 88. ,
As the profeſſed deſign of the ſettlement of the colony was the advancement of religion, their 23 C4r 23 16301630.principal object was to form churches on what they ſuppoſed to be the goſpel plan. Part of the Plymouth settlers had imbibed the opinions of the Browniſts; but the inſtructions of Mr. Robinſon leſſened their attachment to their former ſentiments, and they embraced the congregational ſyſtem, which was maintained by this pious and benevolent divine. They were of opinion, that no churches or church officers had any power to controul other churches or officers; and that all church members had equal rights and privileges. Their church officers were paſtors, ruling elders and deacons. In doctrinal points they agreed with the articles of the church of England, which are ſtrictly Calvinian. Chronology, Vol. I. p. 93.
Agreeably to the prevailing prejudices of the age in which they lived, they aſſerted the neceſſity of uniformity in religious worſhip. Yet, however rigid the Plymotheans might have been at their firſt ſeparation from the church of England, they never diſcovered ſo great a degree of intolerance as, at a ſubſequent period, was exhibited in the Maſſachuſetts colony. Vol. II. p. 478. ,
Perſecution in England. Settlement of the Maſſachuſetts colony. A charter obtained. Salem is founded, and a church incorporated. Large additions are made to the plantation. Sufferings of the emigrants. Boſton founded. Correſpondence ſettled between Plymouth and Maſſachuſetts. Great numbers arrive from England. Of the Maſſachuſetts government. Of the religion of the firſt ſettlers of that colony. Their character.
16301630.Whilst the firſt ſettlers of New- England were encountering various difficulties, their brethren, the Puritans, in England were ſuffering a ſevere perſecution. Under the reign of Charles I. the government of the church was committed to Archbiſhop Laud, a man of warm paſſions and ſtrong prejudices. Through his influence the royal prerogative was ſtrained to the higheſt deſpotiſm. He was ambitious in his adminiſtration to imitate the ſplendor of the church of Rome. He entertained exalted ideas of the authority of the eccleſiaſtical hierarchy, and was determined to ſupport it by coercive meaſures. His averſion to the Puritans impelled him to proſecute them with rigorous ſeverity. In the high commiſſion court and ſtar-chamber they were impriſoned,25 D1r 25 priſoned, fined and baniſhed, in an arbitrary and illegal manner.See Hiſtory of England, and Hiſtory of the Puritans.
The Laudean perſecution, which cauſed the deſtruction of thouſands in England, proved to be a principle of life and vigor to the infant ſettlements in America. Geography. The oppreſſive government, which was exerciſed in England, both in church and ſtate, induced ſeveral men of eminence to meditate a removal to America, if the meaſures they purſued for eſtabliſhing civil and religious liberty in their native country ſhould prove abortive. For this purpoſe, they ſolicited and obtained grants of land in New-England, and were aſſiduouſly engaged in ſettling them. Among theſe patentees were the Lords Brook, Say and Seal, the Pelhams, the Hampdens, and the Pyms; names which have ſince been greatly diſtinguiſhed in the annals of their country.
16271627.Actuated by religious motives, a ſmall party emigrated from the weſt of England, under the conduct of Mr. Roger Conant. They firſt came to Plymouth, and, upon their removal from thence, in the year 16261626, they ſettled on that part of the American coaſt, which afterwards acquired the name of Salem. The various difficulties which they were obliged to encounter induced them to form the deſign of abandoning their ſettlement, and returning to England. In the mean time the Rev. Mr. White, miniſter of Dorcheſter, had D 26 D1v 26 16271627.projected an aſylum for the ſilenced Non-Conformiſt clergy in Maſſachuſetts-Bay. In order to facilitate his deſign, he uſed all his influence to perſuade Mr. Conant and his party to remain, promiſing to ſend them ſpeedily a patent, neceſſaries and friends. Relying on theſe aſſurances, and encouraged under their preſent hardſhips by the ſoft perſuaſions of hope, they determined to await the event. p. 288. ,
Mr. White engaged a number of influential characters to intereſt themſelves in his plan. On the 1627-03-1919th of March, Sir Henry Roſwel, and ſeveral other gentlemen, who dwelt about Dorcheſter, received a patent of Maſſachuſetts-Bay from the council of Plymouth.
16281628.These gentlemen petitioned for a royal charter, under the idea that their exiſtence and powers would be thereby ſecured and promoted. They ſucceeded; and a charter of incorporation was granted by King Charles I. conſtituting them a body politic, by the name of the Governor and Company of the Maſſachuſetts-Bay, in New-England, with as ample powers as any other corporation in the realm of England. The patent recited the grant of American territory to the council of Plymouth in 16201620. It re-granted Maſſachuſetts-Bay to Sir Henry Roſwel and others. The whole executive power of the corporation was inveſted in a governor, deputy-governor, and eighteen aſſiſtants; and, until the annual election of 27 D2r 27 16281628.the company could commence, the governor, deputy-governor, and eighteen aſſiſtants were ſpecified. The governor and ſeven or more aſſiſtants were authorized to meet in monthly courts, for diſpatching ſuch buſineſs, as concerned the company or ſettlement. But the legiſlative powers of the corporation were veſted in a more popular aſſembly, compoſed of the governor, deputy-governor, the aſſiſtants and freemen of the company. This aſſembly, to be convened on the laſt Wedneſday of each of the four annual terms, by the title of the general court, was empowered to enact laws and ordinances for the good of the body politic, and the government of the plantation, and its inhabitants, provided they ſhould not be repugnant to the laws and ſtatutes of England. This aſſembly was empowered to elect their governor, deputy-governor, and other neceſſary officers, and to confer the freedom of the company. The company was allowed to tranſport perſons, merchandize, weapons,&c. to New-England, exempt from duty, for the term of ſeven years; and emigrants were entitled to all the privileges of Engliſhmen. Such are the general outlines of the charter.See Maſſachuſetts Colony Charter, in Collection of Papers, p. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
About the time in which the patent of Maſſachuſetts received the royal confirmation, Captain John Endicot, with one hundred perſons, was ſent over by the patentees, to prepare the way for the ſettlement of a permanent colony in that part of 28 D2v 28 16281628.New-England. After their arrival, they began a ſettlement, which they named Salem. This was the firſt town in Maſſachuſetts, the ſecond in New- England.
16291629.The ſubſequent year, two hundred perſons came over and joined Mr. Endicot’s colony. Soon after an hundred of the planters removed, and ſettled Charleſtown. Vol. I. p. 9. ,
Agreeably to the profeſſed deſign of their emigration, the colony made it their primary concern to form a church at Salem, upon a ſimilar plan of order and diſcipline with that of their brethren at Plymouth. The church of Plymouth was convoked to be preſent by their meſſengers at the ordination of Meſſrs. Shelton and Higginſon. The day was ſpent in faſting and prayer. Thirty perſons, who deſired to join the communion, profeſſed their aſſent to a confeſſion of faith prepared by Mr. Higginſon, and ſubſcribed a covenant drawn up by the same gentleman. Meſſrs. Shelton and Higginſon were then ordained paſtor and teacher. The Plymouth meſſengers gave the right hand of fellowſhip, by which ceremony the two churches profeſſed mutual affection and communion. p. 18, 19. ,
Several gentlemen of fortune and diſtinguiſhed reputation made propoſals to the Maſſachuſetts company for ſettling with their families in America, on condition that the government ſhould be transferred to the inhabitants, and not continued in the hands of the company in London. Mr. 29 D3r 29 16291629.Matthew Craddock, the governor, communicated this propoſal to the general court. After ſome debate, their plan was accepted, and the company proceeded to a new election of officers, who were to repair to and ſettle in New-England. John Winthrop, Eſq. of Groton, in Suffolk, a gentleman of diſtinguiſhed piety and ability, was choſen governor. Mr. Thomas Dudley was elected deputy-governor; and other worthy characters were choſen for their council. The buſineſs of transferring the patent and corporation, and procuring new ſettlers, was proſecuted with vigor. Vol. I. p. 12, 13, 14. , Journal.
16301630.Previously to leaving their native country, the new adventurers agreed upon a reſpectful addreſs to their brethren of the church of England. Their object was to remove prejudices, conciliate the minds of the diſaffected, and recommend themſelves and their expedition to the favorable regards of ſerious Chriſtians of the Epiſcopal perſuaſion. In this addreſs they deſired to be called their brethren; they requeſted their prayers; and, in energetic language, profeſſed the moſt affectionate regard for their welfare.See this addreſs in Hiſtory, Vol. I. p. 487.
On the 1630-06-1212th of June, the company arrived at Salem, with the governor, deputy-governor, aſſiſtants and charter. Before the cloſe of the year the number of paſſengers amounted to ſeventeen hundred. In this and the preceding year two thouſand planters arrived in New-England. Theſe ſettled about nine or ten towns and villages.30D3v30
16301630.Many of the firſt ſettlers of Maſſachuſetts were poſſeſſed of large fortunes in their native country, and enjoyed the elegant accommodations of life. The ſtriking contraſt between their former eaſe and affluence, and the hardſhips they now endured, muſt have augmented their diſtreſs. They were obliged to diſpoſe of their large and valuable eſtates to make proviſion for their enterprize. The rigor of the climate, together with the fatigues and exertions unavoidable in a new ſettlement, occaſioned diſeaſes, which proved fatal to a large number the firſt winter after their arrival. Their ſtock of proviſions falling ſhort, the dreadful apprehenſion of periſhing by famine was added to their other calamities. Vol. I. p. 19. ,
Towards the cloſe of the year the colony of Charleſtown removed to a peninſula, to which they gave the name of Boſton, from a town in Lincolnſhire, in England, the native reſidence of ſome of the firſt ſettlers, and from whence they expected the Rev. John Cotton, a celebrated Puritan clergyman. They eſtabliſhed a civil government, and congregational church, over which the Rev. John Wilſon officiated as the firſt paſtor.
16311631.The ſubſequent ſummer a number of paſſengers arrived from England, among whom was the Rev. John Elliot. This eminent divine ſpent his firſt year in Boſton, and performed miniſterial offices to the church in that place, in the abſence of Mr. Wilſon, then on a voyage to England. A 31 D4r 31 16311631.number of his particular friends having formed a ſettlement, and collected a church, in a town which they called Roxbury, he was ordained their paſtor the year after his arrival in New-England. Book III. p. 175. ,
16321632.In order to eſtabliſh a union between the colonies, the governor, accompanied by Mr. Wilſon, and other gentlemen, walked forty miles through the woods as far as Plymouth. Mr. Bradford, the governor of Plymouth, received them with great reſpect; and the interview produced a permanent friendſhip between the two plantations.
1633–16351633 to 1635.In the three following years great additions were made to the Maſſachuſetts colony. Among which were ſeveral famous Non-Conformiſt divines, viz. the Rev. John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, and Samuel Stone. Mr. Cotton was immediately choſen aſſiſtant to Mr. Wilſon, in Boſton, and continued with him till his death. Mr. Hooker was elected paſtor of a church in Newtown, ſince called Cambridge, and Mr. Stone was his aſſiſtant. The ſettlement of these celebrated clergymen, joined with the unrelenting ſeverity of Archbiſhop Laud’s adminiſtration, produced great emigrations. New plantations were formed, and congregational churches eſtabliſhed in various parts of the country. Ibid.
Sir Henry Vane, who afterwards acted ſo conſpicuous a part in his native country, was among the paſſengers who arrived at this period. In compliment to his talents and family, he was choſen governor the ſubſequent year. p. 37. ,32D4v32
16351635.The ſettlers of Maſſachuſetts purchaſed their lands of the native proprietors, and gave what was deemed by thoſe ſavages an adequate compenſation. The ſoil was to them of ſmall value, as they ſubſiſted chiefly by hunting, and did not poſſeſs the patient induſtry, which agriculture requires. In the year 16331633, the colony paſſed an act, prohibiting the purchaſe of the lands from the natives, without having previouſly obtained a licence from government. Hiſtory of the Diſtrict of Maine, p. 140.
After the governor and company removed from London to Maſſachuſetts, the change of place and circumſtances induced them to vary in certain inſtances from the directions of the charter. They apprehended themſelves ſubject to no other law or rule of government, than what aroſe from natural reaſon and the principles of equity, except any poſitive rules from the word of God. 1762-12-07December 7, 1762. Letter of Influential characters among them maintained, that birth was no neceſſary cauſe of ſubjection; for that the ſubject of any prince or ſtate had a natural right to emigrate to any other ſtate, or quarter of the world, when deprived of liberty of conſcience, and that upon ſuch removal his allegiance ceaſed. They called their own a voluntary civil ſubjection, ariſing merely from a mutual compact between them and the king, founded upon the charter. They acknowledged that this compact obligated them not to be ſubject to, or ſeek protection from, any other prince, nor to 33 E1r 33 16351635.enact laws repugnant to thoſe of England,&c. On the other hand, they maintained, that they were to be governed by laws made by themſelves, and by officers of their own electing. Hiſtory of the American War, Vol. I. p. 30.
When the Maſſachuſetts colony completed their ſyſtem of government, inſtead of making the laws of England the foundation of their code, they preferred the laws of Moſes. They alſo created a repreſentative body of their own motion in ſix years after the grant of their charter, which was wholly ſilent upon ſo important an inſtitution. And although it gave them no power to judge and determine capital offences, the judicatories they eſtabliſhed aſſumed this act of ſovereign authority. In the ſame manner they ſupplied a defect of authority to erect judicatories for the probate of wills; to conſtitute courts with admiralty juriſdiction; to impoſe taxes on the inhabitants, and to create towns and other bodies corporate. Continuation of Hutchinſon, p. 20.
In 16441644, the general courts were reduced to two in a year; and except in this, and a few other unimportant circumſtances, the government continued the ſame until the people were deprived of their charter. Vol. II. p. 3. ,
Most of the Maſſachuſetts ſettlers had, while in their native country, lived in communion with the eſtabliſhed church. The rigorous ſeverity uſed to enforce ceremonies, by them deemed unlawful, occaſioned their removal to New-England. The E 34 E1v 34 16351635.Maſſachuſetts churches, in general, were formed on the congregational model, and maintained Calvinian doctrines. The colony had no ſettled plan of church diſcipline till after the arrival of Mr. Gordon, whoſe opinion, in civil and ſacred concerns, was held in the higheſt eſtimation. He gradually modelled all their church adminiſtrations, and determined their eccleſiaſtical conſtitutions. Chronology, p. 285. New-England’s Proſpect, p. 3. ,
This great man earneſtly pleaded, that the government might be conſidered as a theocracy, wherein the Lord was judge, lawgiver, and king; that the laws he gave Iſrael might be adopted, ſo far as they were of moral and perpetual equity; that the people might be conſidered as God’s people, in covenant with him; that none but perſons of approved piety and eminent abilities ſhould be choſen rulers; that the clergy ſhould be conſulted in all matters of religion; and that the magiſtrates ſhould have a ſuperintending and coercive power over the churches. Collection of Papers, p. 162.
In conſequence of the union thus formed between the church and ſtate, on the plan of the Jewiſh theocracy, the miniſters were called to ſit in council, and give their advice in matters of religion, and caſes of conſcience, which came before the court, and without them they never proceeded to any act of an eccleſiaſtical nature. As none were allowed to vote in the election of rulers 35 E2r 35 16351635.but freemen, and freemen muſt be church members; and as none could be admitted into the church but by the elders, who firſt examined, and then propounded them to the brethren for their vote, the clergy acquired hereby a vaſt aſcendency over both rulers and people, and had, in effect, the keys of the ſtate as well as the church in their hands. The magiſtrates, on the other hand, regulated the gathering of the churches, interpoſed in the ſettlement and diſmiſſion of miniſters, arbitrated in eccleſiaſtical controverſies, and controuled ſynodical aſſemblies. This coercive power in the magiſtrates was deemed abſolutely neceſſary to preſerve the order of the goſpel. Vol. I. p. 81. ,
The rigorous meaſures which, agreeably to theſe principles, were uſed to enforce colonial uniformity, and the effects they produced, will be related in a future chapter.
Though the conduct of our anceſtors, in the application of the power of the civil magiſtrate to religious concerns, was fraught with error, and the liberal ſentiments of the preſent age place their errors in the moſt conſpicuous point of view; their memory ought ever to be held in veneration. And while we review the imperfections which, at preſent, caſt a ſhade over their characters, we ought to recollect thoſe virtues, by which they gave luſtre to the age in which they lived, viz. their ardent love of liberty when tyranny prevailed in church and ſtate; the fortitude with which they 36 E2v 36 ſacrificed eaſe and opulence, and encountered complicated hardſhips in order to enjoy the ſacred rights of conſcience; their care to lay a foundation for ſolid learning, and eſtabliſh wiſe and uſeful inſtitutions in their infant ſtate; the immenſe pains they took in ſettling and cultivating their lands, and defending the country againſt the depredations of ſurrounding Indians; and, above all, their ſupreme regard for religion. As an eminent author obſerves, Religious to ſome degree of enthuſiaſm it may be admitted they were, but this can be no peculiar derogation from their character, becauſe it was at that time almoſt the univerſal character not only of England, but of Chriſtendom. Had this, however, been otherwiſe, their enthuſiaſm, conſidering the principles, on which it was founded, and the ends, to which it was directed, far from being a reproach, was greatly to their honor. For I believe it will be found univerſally true, that no great enterprize for the honor and happineſs of mankind was ever achieved without a large mixture of that noble infirmity. Whatever imperfections may be juſtly aſcribed to them, which, however, are as few as any mortals have diſcovered, their judgment in forming their policy was founded on wiſe and benevolent principles; it was founded on revelation and reaſon too; it was conſiſtent with the beſt, greateſt and wiſeſt legiſlators of antiquity. Boſton Gazette, 17651765. on the Canon and Feudal Law.37E3r37
The Maſſachuſetts colony rapidly increaſed. A dreary wilderneſs in the ſpace of a few years had become a comfortable habitation, furniſhed with the neceſſaries and conveniences of life. It is remarkable that previouſly to this period, all the attempts at ſettling the northern patent, upon ſecular views, proved abortive. They were accompanied with ſuch public diſcouragement as would probably have loſt the continent to England, or have permitted only the ſharing of it with the other European powers, as in the West-India iſlands, had not the ſpirit of religion given riſe to an effectual colonization.
Of the ſettlement of New-Hampſhire, and the Diſtrict of Maine. The plantation and civil government of Connecticut and New-Haven. Of their attention to the promotion of learning and religion. The religious tenets in which the New-England ſettlers were agreed. The king and council in England prohibit the Puritans from embarking for America.
Whilst religious principles animated the ſettlers of Plymouth and Maſſachuſetts to encounter hardſhips in a dreary wilderneſs, a ſpirit of enterprize and ambition induced others to attempt ſettlements in different parts of the new world. As early as 16221622, grants of land had been made by the Plymouth council to two of their moſt active members, viz. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and Captain John Maſon. The ſubſequent year they, in conjunction with ſeveral Engliſh merchants, who ſtiled themſelves the company of Laconia, attempted the eſtabliſhment of a colony and fiſhery at the river Piſcataqua. This was the beginning of the ſettlement known ſince by the name of New-Hampſhire. Vol. I. p. 10. ,
16291629.Several years after, ſome of the ſcattered planters in the Bay of Maſſachuſetts procured a general meeting of the Indians at Squamſcot falls, 39 E4r 39 16291629.where they obtained from the Indian ſachems deeds of a tract of land between the rivers Piſcataqua and Merrimak. Vol. I. p. 8—10. , These lands, at a future period, afforded an aſylum for a number of exiles whom perſecution had driven from Maſſachuſetts.
In this, and the two following years, the Plymouth council made ſeveral grants of the lands on the river Piſcataqua to different proprietors. Diſpirited by the difficulties they were obliged to encounter, the major part of the other adventurers either relinquiſhed their deſign, or ſold their ſhares to Maſon and Gorges, who were more ſanguine than the reſt, and became, either by purchaſe, or tacit conſent of the others, the principal, if not ſole, proprietors. Theſe gentlemen renewed their exertions with greater vigor; ſent over a freſh ſupply of ſervants and materials for carrying on the ſettlement; and appointed Francis Williams, a gentleman of good ſenſe and diſcretion, to be their governor.
16341634.The new ſettlers formed themſelves into a body politic, and entered into a voluntary aſſociation for government. Ibid, p. 23.
Voluntary agreements formed a very important title in the ancient juriſprudence of New-England. Wherever the Britiſh emigrants ſettled a colony without the authority of a charter, they founded their police on a contract to which every one agreed.
The Diſtrict of Maine was ſettled by Sir Ferdinando Gorges in nearly the ſame period with New- 40 E4v 40 16341634.Hampſhire. This gentleman was of an ambitious and enterprizing ſpirit, a firm royaliſt, and ſtrongly attached to the national church. The adventurers who repaired to this plantation entertained ſimilar opinions, though in the neighborhood of the other colonies, they began to waver in their ſentiments. Gorges united with Maſon, who was alſo a royaliſt and Epiſcopalian, in an unſucceſsful attempt to obtain a general government over the New-England ſettlements, which were intended to be divided into twelve diſtricts. When he found his plan could not be effected, he ſolicited and obtained 16391639.a charter from King Charles I. This patent of the crown to Gorges, is ſaid to have contained more and greater powers than had ever been granted by a ſovereign to a ſubject. It enjoined little elſe, in particular, than an eſtabliſhment of the Epiſcopal religion. Under this delegated authority, Gorges appointed counſellors for the ordering the affairs of the ſettlement. To perpetuate his reputation, as land proprietor, he gave the plantation of York the name of Gorgiana.
There was never any religious perſecution in the Diſtrict of Maine, nor was it conſidered an object of great importance to eſtabliſh a regular ſupport for the clergy. The early want of religious inſtruction proved highly detrimental to the inhabitants of this country. p. 78, 79, 237, 307. ,
The rapid increaſe of Maſſachuſetts ſettlement induced a number from that colony to form the 41 F1r 41 deſign of effecting a new plantation on Connecticut river; the land there ſituated being celebrated for its luxuriancy. The firſt grant of this country was made by the Plymouth council to the Earl of Warwick, in 16301630, and confirmed by his Majeſty 16311631.in council the ſame year. The ſucceeding year the Earl aſſigned the grant to Lords Say and Seal, Lord Brook, and nine others, who reſerved it as an aſylum for the Puritan emigrants from England. Vol. I. p. 465. ,
16351635.Several families from Roxbury, Dorcheſter, Cambridge and Watertown, began to remove their families to Connecticut. After a tedious and difficult journey through ſwamps and rivers, over mountains and rough grounds, which were paſſed with great difficulty and fatigue, they arrived ſafely at the places of their reſpective deſtination; and commenced the ſettlement of the towns of Windſor, 16351635. Hartford16361636. and Weathersfield.16361636. The Rev. Mr. Hooker, a reſpectable and pious clergyman, was the leader in this enterprize.
The hardſhips and diſtreſſes, of the firſt planters of Connecticut, ſays Dr. Trumbull, ſcarcely admit of a deſcription. To carry much proviſion or furniture through a pathleſs wilderneſs was impracticable. Their principal proviſions and houſehold furniture were therefore put on board ſeveral ſmall veſſels, which by reaſon of delays and the tempeſtuouſneſs of the ſeaſon, were either caſt away, or did not arrive. Several veſſels were wrecked on the coaſt of New-England, F 42 F1v 42 16351635.by the violence of the ſtorms. Every reſource appeared to fail, and the people were under the dreadful apprehenſion of periſhing by famine.” They ſupported themſelves, in this diſtreſſing period, with that heroic firmneſs and magnanimity for which the firſt ſettlers of New-England had been ſo eminently diſtinguiſhed. Hiſtory of Connecticut, Vol. I. p. 52.
The Connecticut planters at firſt ſettled under the general government of Maſſachuſetts; but finding themſelves without the limits of their patent, and being at full liberty to govern themſelves by their own inſtitutions, they formed themſelves, by voluntary compact, into a diſtinct commonwealth.
16391639.The conſtitution of Connecticut ordained, that there ſhould be annually two general courts, or aſſemblies; one on the ſecond Thurſday in April, and the other on the ſecond Thurſday in September; that the firſt ſhould be the court of election, in which ſhould be annually choſen, at leaſt ſix magiſtrates, and all other public officers. It ordained, that a governor ſhould be choſen diſtinct from the ſix magiſtrates, for one year, and until another ſhould be choſen and ſworn; and that the governor and magiſtrates ſhould be ſworn to a faithful execution of the laws of the colony, and in caſes in which there was no expreſs law eſtabliſhed, to be governed by the divine word. Agreeably to the conſtitution, the choice of theſe officers was to be made by the whole body of freemen convened43 F2r 43 16391639.vened in general election. It provided that all perſons, who had been received as members of the ſeveral towns, by a majority of the inhabitants, and had taken the oath of fidelity to the commonwealth, ſhould be admitted freemen of the colony. This was the moſt material point, in which the conſtitution of Connecticut differed from that of Maſſachuſetts, which confined the privileges of freemen to the communion of the churches.See original conſtitution of Connecticut, formed by voluntary compact, in Appendix to Hiſtory, p. 528.
Agreeably to the conſtitution, the freemen convened at Hartford on the ſecond Thurſday in April, and elected their officers for the enſuing year. John Haynes, Eſq. a gentleman of unblemiſhed integrity, ſound judgment and eminent piety, was choſen for the governor of the colony. Vol. I. p. 95, 96. , .
About the time of the above mentioned emigration from Maſſachuſetts, the frontiers of Connecticut were ſtrengthened by the exertions of the Puritan noblemen Lords Say and Brook. After having obtained a grant, they deputed George Fenwick, Eſq. who conducted their affairs, to build a fort near the confluence of the river Connecticut. He called the building Saybrook, in honor of his noble patrons. John Winthrop, jun. Eſq. ſon of the firſt governor of Maſſachuſetts, aſſiſted him in this undertaking, and was appointed governor. Some of the grantees contemplated tranſporting their families and effects to this territory; but relinquiſhed their deſign when affairs 44 F2v 44 began to take a new turn in their native country. After the ardor of emigration ceaſed, Mr. Fenwick, agent for Lords Brook and Say, was authoriſed to diſpoſe of their lands, which were purchaſed in 16441644 by the people who had removed from Maſſachuſetts. .
16371637.Whilst the planters of Connecticut were thus exerting themſelves in proſecuting and regulating the affairs of that colony, another was projected and ſettled at Quinnipiak, afterwards called New- Haven. This year two large ſhips arrived in the Maſſachuſetts-Bay, with paſſengers from London and its vicinities. Amongſt theſe paſſengers were a number of celebrated characters, in particular Mr. Eaton and Mr. Hopkins, who had been opulent merchants in London, and were eminent for abilities and integrity, and Mr. John Davenport, a famous clergyman in the city of London, who was diſtinguiſhed for piety, learning, and the uprightneſs of his conduct.
The reputation and opulence of the principal gentlemen of this company, made the people of Maſſachuſetts exceedingly deſirous of their ſettlement in that commonwealth. To effect this purpoſe great pains were taken by particular perſons and towns; and the general court offered them their choice of a place of reſidence. Influenced, however, by the delightful proſpects, which the country afforded, and flattering themſelves that by removing to a conſiderable diſtance, they 45 F3r 45 16371637.ſhould be out of the juriſdiction of a general governor, with which the plantations were then threatened, they were determined to ſettle a diſtinct colony. In the autumn of this year Mr. Eaton and others, who were of the company, made a journey to Connecticut, to explore the lands and harbors on the ſea coaſt. They pitched upon Quinnipiak for the place of their ſettlement.
16381638.On the 1638-04-1818th of April they kept their firſt Sabbath in New-Haven. The people aſſembled under a large ſpreading oak, and Mr. Davenport preached to them from Matthew iv. I.
The New-Haven adventurers were the moſt opulent company, which came into New-England, and they deſigned to plant a capital colony. They laid out their town plat in ſquares, deſigning it for a great and elegant city. In the centre was a large, beautiful ſquare. This was compaſſed with others, making nine in the whole. Vol. I. p. 89, 90, 94. ,
The colony, like Connecticut, formed a government by voluntary agreement, without any charter or authority from the crown. On the 1639-07-044th 16391639.of July all the free planters aſſembled at Quinnipiak, to lay the foundations of their civil and religious policy.
The Rev. Mr. Davenport introduced this important tranſaction, by a diſcourſe from Proverbs ix. I. His deſign was to ſhew, that the church, or houſe of God, ſhould be formed of ſeven pillars, or principal brethren, to whom all the other 46 F3v 46 16391639.members of the church ſhould be added. After this diſcourſe the planters formed a number of reſolutions, the fundamental article of which was, that the ſcriptures hold forth a perfect rule for the direction and government of all men in their civil and religious duties, as well in families and commonwealth, as in eccleſiaſtical affairs. Hence the people bound themſelves to ſettle civil government according to the divine word. After full deliberation it was determined,
That church members only ſhould be free burgeſſes; and that they only ſhould chuſe magiſtrates among themſelves, to have power of tranſacting all the public civil affairs of the plantation; of making and repealing laws, dividing inheritances, deciding of differences, and tranſacting all buſineſs of a ſimilar nature.
That civil officers might be choſen, and government proceed according to theſe reſolutions, it was neceſſary a church ſhould be formed. Without this there could be neither freemen nor magiſtrates. Mr. Davenport then proceeded to make propoſals relative to the formation of a church, and it was reſolved to this effect:
That twelve men ſhould be choſen, that their fitness for the foundation work might be tried; and that it ſhould be in the power of theſe twelve men to chuſe ſeven to begin the church.
It was agreed that if ſeven men could not be found among the twelve qualified for the foundation work, that ſuch other perſons ſhould be taken 47 F4r 47 16391639.into the number, upon trial, as ſhould be judged moſt ſuitable. The form of a ſolemn charge, or oath, was drawn up and agreed upon at this meeting, to be given to all the freemen. Vol. I. p. 99, 100. ,
Further, it was ordered, that all perſons, who ſhould be received, as free planters of that corporation, ſhould ſubmit to the fundamental agreement above related, and in teſtimony of their ſubmiſſion ſhould ſubſcribe their name among the freemen. After a proper term of trial, a number of the moſt diſtinguiſhed characters were choſen for the ſeven pillars of the church.
On the 1639-10-2525th of October, the court, as it was termed, conſiſting of theſe ſeven perſons only, convened, and, after a ſolemn addreſs to the Supreme Being, they proceeded to form the body of freemen, and to elect their civil officers.
In the firſt place, all former truſt, for managing the public affairs of the plantation, was declared to ceaſe, and to be utterly abrogated. Then all thoſe who had been admitted to the church after the gathering of it, in the choice of the ſeven pillars, and all the members of other approved churches, who deſired it, and offered themſelves, were admitted members of the court. A ſolemn charge was then publicly given them, to the ſame effect as the freemen’s charge, or oath, which they had previouſly adopted. Mr. Davenport expounded ſeveral ſcriptures to them, deſcribing the characters of civil magiſtrates given in the ſacred 48 F4v 48 16391639.oracles. To this ſucceeded the election of officers. Theophilus Eaton, Eſq. was choſen the firſt governor of this colony.
It was decreed by the freemen, that there ſhould be a general court annually in the plantation, on the laſt week in October. This was ordained a court of election, in which all the officers of the colony were to be choſen. This court determined, that the word of God ſhould be the only rule for ordering the affairs of government in that commonwealth.
This was the original, fundamental conſtitution of the government of New-Haven. All government was veſted in the church. The members of the church elected the governor, magiſtrates and all other officers. The magiſtrates, at firſt, were not more than aſſiſtants of the governor; they might not act in any ſentence or determination of the court. No deputy-governor was choſen, nor were any laws enacted, except the general reſolutions which have been noticed; but as the plantation enlarged, and new towns were ſettled, recent orders were given; the general court received another form; laws were enacted, and the civil policy of this juriſdiction gradually advanced, in its eſſential parts, to a near reſemblance of the government of Connecticut. Vol. I. p. 101, 102, 103. See fundamental articles in the original conſtitution of New-Haven, in Appendix to Hiſtory, p. 633. ,
The firſt ſettlers in New-Haven had all things common; all purchaſes were made in the name, 49 G1r 49 and for the use, of the whole plantation; and the lands were apportioned out to each family, according to their number and original ſtock. Vol. I. p. 409. ,
The colonies of Connecticut and New-Haven from their firſt ſettlement rapidly increaſed. From 1635–16401635 to 1640, ſix towns were ſettled, viz. Windſor, Hartford and Weathersfield, in Connecticut; New-Haven, Milford and Stamford, in New-Haven. They ſubſiſted two diſtinct governments till they were united by one charter.
Connecticut and New-Haven were embarraſſed with no political reſtrictions. They were free ſettlers under Lord Say’s patent, which granted the privilege of purchaſing the native right of the Aboriginals, and reſerved no juriſdiction for the crown, as in the charter of Maſſachuſetts. Manuſcripts of the late .
Dr. Trumbull obſerves, that the fathers of Connecticut, as to politics, were republicans. They rejected with abhorrence the doctrines of the divine right of kings, paſſive obedience, and non-reſiſtance. With Sidney, Hampden, and other great writers, they believed that all civil power and government was originally in the people. Upon theſe principles they formed their civil conſtitutions.
Laws were enacted, both by Connecticut and New-Haven, prohibiting all purchaſes of the Indians by private perſons or companies, without the conſent of their reſpective general courts. G 50 G1v 50 Theſe were to authoriſe and direct the manner of every purchaſe. Vol. I. p. 296. ,
From their firſt plantation, ſchools were inſtituted by law in every town and pariſh of Connecticut and New-Haven. Indeed the ſettlers of New- England, in general, were diſtinguiſhed by the attention, which they paid to the promotion of learning. They early inſtituted ſchools, and made the education of youth an important object.
This country was originally deſigned as an aſylum for the Puritan religion; and the planters of both colonies, from their firſt riſe, were aſſiduouſly engaged in gathering congregational churches, and ſettling paſtors and church officers. Beſides a paſtor, a teacher and deacons, ruling elders were eſtabliſhed in each church, whoſe buſineſs was to aſſiſt the paſtor in church government, to pray with the congregation, and expound the ſcriptures in his abſence. In the next ſucceeding churches, teachers and ruling elders were diſuſed.
The New-England churches agreed in adopting Calvinian doctrines—in maintaining the power of each particular church to govern itſelf—the validity of preſbyterian ordination, and the expediency of ſynods on certain great occaſions. From their commencement, they uſed eccleſiaſtical councils convoked by particular churches for advice, but not for the judicial determination of controverſies. .
16371637.The perſecution in England ſtill continued, and occaſioned ſuch numbers of Puritans to go over 51 G2r 51 16371637.to New-England, that the king and council, by a proclamation dated 1637-04-30April 30, forbade any further emigration. An order was diſpatched to detain eight ſhips lying in the river Thames, which were prepared to ſail. Among the paſſengers on board were Sir Arthur Hazeltig, John Hampden, John Pym, and Oliver Cromwell. Diſguſted with the preſent adminiſtration, they had determined to abandon their native country, and ſeek an aſylum in America; but by this impolitic ſeverity they were detained, and were afterwards the cauſe of the king’s ruin, and the overthrow of the eccleſiaſtical hierarchy. Notwithſtanding this prohibition (ſo difficult is it to reſtrain men whoſe minds are agitated by fear or hope) great numbers found means to elude the vigilance of government, and tranſported themſelves to Maſſachuſetts. From the ſame motives, the eſtabliſhment of the colony of New-Haven was undertaken, and extenſive ſettlements in New-England formed at this period. p. 38. ,
From reviewing the above ſettlements, we are led to admire the wiſdom of Divine Providence, in rendering the bigotry and intolerance of the Engliſh nation ſubſervient to the planting of flouriſhing colonies in the new world. By theſe means, the regions before inhabited by ſavages, now became peopled by men of piety and information. Hence a ſcene opened unparalleled in the annals of hiſtory. No nation ever enjoyed ſo much liberty and opportunity of forming civil and religious 52 G2v 52 eſtabliſhments, as the firſt ſettlers of New-England. The increaſe of their numbers was rapid beyond example. No other influence can be produced of any other people, who at their firſt ſettlement, were ſo aſſiduouſly engaged in promoting uſeful learning, and in making early improvements in the arts and ſciences. It is remarkable, that at this period, when the emigration from England ceaſed, the ſettlements were ſtill further extended by ſimilar means, viz. the bigotry and intolerance of the new ſettlers. This gave riſe to the plantations of Providence and Rhode-Iſland, an account of which will be given in the ſubſequent chapter.
Of the intolerant principles of the Maſſachuſetts colony. Baniſhment of Mr. Roger Williams, and his ſettlement at Providence. Of the Antinomian diſſenſions in Maſſachuſetts, and the ſettlement of Rhode-Iſland. Of the plantations of Exeter, Hampton and Warwick. The inhabitants of Narraganſet-Bay obtain a patent from the crown of England.
The inhabitants of New-England, who abandoned their native country, and encountered a variety of hardſhips to avoid perſecution, ſoon diſcovered a determined reſolution to enforce uniformity in religious worſhip, among all who inhabited their territories. At the firſt general court which was held in Maſſachuſetts, 16301630, a number had been admitted to the privileges of freemen who were not in communion with the churches. 16311631.But as early as the ſecond general court, after the arrival of the governor and company, they reſolved, that in future, none ſhould be admitted to the freedom of the body politic, but ſuch as were church members. They ſoon after concluded, that none but ſuch ſhould ſhare in the adminiſtration of civil government, or have a voice in any election. A few years after, they ſo far forgot54 G3v 54 16311631.got their own ſufferings as to perſecute thoſe who refuſed to accede to their religious ſentiments. Vol. I. p. 26, 27. ,
Mr. Roger Williams, a Puritan clergyman, arrived this year from England at Salem, where he was immediately choſen aſſiſtant to Mr. Shelton. The magiſtrates oppoſed his ſettlement, becauſe he refuſed to join with the church at Boſton, unleſs they would make a public declaration of their repentance for maintaining communion with the church of England while in their native country. This occaſioned Mr. Williams’ removal to Plymouth, where he was elected aſſiſtant to Mr. Smith, in which office he continued between two and three years. Upon a diſagreement with ſome of the moſt influential characters in this church, and an invitation to Salem, he requeſted a diſmiſſion, and returned to that town. As Mr. Shelton, the former clergyman, was now deceaſed, he was choſen to ſucceed him. The magiſtrates ſtill oppoſed his ſettlement, as they had previouſly done. They made great objections to his ſentiments. He was charged by his opponents with maintaining, That it is not lawful for a godly man to have communion in family prayer, or in an oath, with ſuch as they judge unregenerate; therefore he refuſed the oath of fidelity, and taught others to follow his example; that it is not lawful for an unregenerate man to pray; that the magiſtrate has nothing to do in matters of the firſt table; that there ſhould be general and unlimited55 G4r 55 16311631.ited toleration of all religions, and that to puniſh a man for following the dictates of his conſcience was perſecution; that the patent which was granted by King Charles was invalid, and an inſtrument of injuſtice which they ought to renounce, being injurious to the natives; the king of England having no power to diſpoſe of their lands to his own ſubjects. On account of theſe ſentiments, and for refuſing to join in communion with the Maſſachuſetts churches, he was, at length, 16311636.baniſhed the colony, as a diſturber of the peace of the church and commonwealth. Vol. I. p. 37. , Hiſtory of New-England, Vol. I. p. 158.
Whilst Mr. Williams reſided at Plymouth and Salem, he cultivated an acquaintance with the Indians in thoſe towns, and learned their language. Previouſly to his leaving the colony, he preſented a variety of gifts to Canonicus and Oſamaquin, two Narraganſet ſachems, and privately treated with them for land, with which they aſſured him he ſhould be ſupplied, provided he would ſettle in their country. This encouraged him, after his baniſhment, to remove with four companions to Narraganſet-Bay. He firſt came to Seconk, now Rehoboth, and obtained a grant of the land from Oſamaquin, the chief ſachem at Mount-Hope. As this grant was within the limits of Plymouth patent, Mr. Winſlow, the governor, in a friendly manner, adviſed him to remove. He then croſſed Seconk river, and landed among the Indians, by 56 G4v 56 16311636.whom he was moſt hoſpitably received. He named the place of his reſidence Providence, in a ſenſe of God’s merciful providence to him in his diſtreſs. Strongly impreſſed with the importance of religious liberty, the grand object, which he aſſerts he had in view, was, to provide a refuge for perſons deſtitute for conſcience ſake. ſecond deed to the ſettlers, 16611661. Plea to the Court of Commiſſioners, 16771677.
This ſmall company was ſoon augmented by parties from Maſſachuſetts. The new emigrants greatly ſuffered through fatigue and want. They ſupported their affliction with heroic fortitude, and effected a ſettlement, the government of which was founded on the broad baſis of univerſal toleration.
Mr. Williams embraced the ſentiments of the Baptiſts a few years after his arrival in Providence, 16391639.and was inſtrumental in forming a church of that denomination, which was the firſt Baptiſt church in New-England. He ſoon after relinquiſhed their opinions, and became a Seeker. But, though his ſtrong feelings, and deep reſearches in the mazes of ſpeculation, led him to be wavering and undecided in his religious ſentiments, yet his conduct exhibited the goodneſs of his heart, and purity of his intentions. He exerted himſelf to the utmoſt that others might enjoy that freedom of opinion which he himſelf exerciſed; and uniformly condemned every kind and degree of perſecution on account of religion.See letter from Major Maſon, publiſhed in Collections of the Hiſtorical Society for 17921792. to57H1r57
16361636. He juſtly claims the honor of being the firſt legiſlator in the world, in its latter ages, who effectually provided for and eſtabliſhed a free, full and abſolute liberty of conſcience.
Mr. Williams generouſly made twelve of his companions equal proprietors with himſelf, both in the lands given by the ſachem, and thoſe he purchaſed of him. The next ſettlers of Providence were admitted to be equal ſharers in the greater part of his lands for thirty pounds, until the whole number of proprietors amounted, at length, to an hundred. Gazette.
The firſt form of government eſtabliſhed by Mr. Williams and the people of Providence appears to have been a voluntary agreement, that each individual ſhould ſubmit to, and be governed by, the reſolutions of the whole body. All public matters were tranſacted in their town-meetings, and there all private diſputes and controverſies were heard, adjudged and finiſhed. Ibid.
Mr. Williams lived in Providence almoſt half a century,Roger Williams died 16831683, aged 84. part of which period he enjoyed the authority of chief magiſtrate. He employed himſelf continually in acts of kindneſs to thoſe who had endeavoured to deprive him of the ſacred rights of conſcience; in affording relief to the diſtreſſed, and offering an aſylum to the perſecuted. Vol. I. p. 38. , p. 270. ,
Soon after the ſettlement was begun in Providence, the commonwealth of Maſſachuſetts was H 58 H1v 58 16361636.diſturbed by inteſtine diviſions. The male members of the church in Boſton had been accuſtomed to convene, in order to repeat and debate on the diſcourſes which were delivered on Sundays. Mrs. Anne Hutchinſon, a very extraordinary woman, eſtabliſhed a ſimilar meeting for her own ſex, founding her practice on Titus ii. 4. Her cuſtom was to repeat paſſages of Mr. Cotton’s ſermons, and make her remarks and expoſitions. Theſe lectures for ſome time were received with general approbation, and were attended by a numerous audience. At length it appeared, that ſhe diſtinguiſhed the miniſters, and members of churches through the country, a ſmall part of whom ſhe allowed to be under a covenant of grace, and the others under a covenant of works. The whole colony was ſoon divided into two parties, differing in ſentiment, and ſtill more alienated in affection. They ſtiled each other Antinomians and Legaliſts. Mrs. Hutchinſon was charged with maintaining, that the Holy-Ghost dwells perſonally in a juſtified perſon; and that the ſanctification is not an evidence to believers of their juſtification. Vol. II. p. 482. ,
16371637.The Antinomians exerted themſelves to keep in office Sir Henry Vane, who adopted their ſentiments, and protected their preachers. On the other hand, the oppoſite party uſed every effort to diſcontinue him, and ſubſtitute John Winthrop, Eſq. After ſome difficulty, they ſucceeded in the election of this gentleman. Vol. I. p. 67.59H2r59
16371637.The diſputes which divided the country were, according to Dr. Mather, about the order of things in our union to our Lord Jeſus-Chriſt; the influence of our faith in the application of his righteouſneſs; the uſe of our ſanctification in evidencing our juſtification; and the conſideration of our Lord Jeſus-Chriſt by men yet under the covenant of works; briefly, they were about the points whereupon depend the grounds of our aſſuredneſs of bleſſedneſs in a better world. B. VII. p. 18. ,
Those religious tenets were diſputed with ſo much warmth, that it was judged adviſable to call a ſynod to give their opinion upon the controverted points. A council was accordingly called to meet at Newtown the 1637-08-3030th of Auguſt. This was the firſt ſynod appointed in New-England. Miniſters, delegates, and alſo magiſtrates, under pretence of keeping the peace, were preſent on this occaſion; and as many of the people as choſe were permitted to attend the debates. After diſputing for three weeks, the ſynod condemned eighty erroneous opinions, ſaid to have been maintained in the colony. The reſult was ſigned by all the members except Mr. Cotton, who, though he declined cenſuring the whole, expreſſed his diſapprobation of the greater part of theſe opinions. Vol. I. p. 67. ,
The general court, at their ſeſſion the 1637-10-022d of October, cited the principals of the Antinomian party to appear before them. The court was held in Newtown, ſince Cambridge, from an apprehenſion60 H2v 60 16371637.henſion that the Antinomians had a large number of partiſans in Boſton. The Rev. John Wheelright, brother to Mrs. Hutchinſon, was firſt convoked before this aſſembly. He had been a preacher at Braintree, which was then part of Boſton, and was a gentleman of learning, piety and zeal. Vol. I. p. 36. , He had warmly advocated the new doctrines, and in a late diſcourſe ſeverely cenſured the magiſtrates and miniſters in the colony. Upon his refuſal either to acknowledge his offence, or to go into voluntary exile, the court ſentenced him to be disfranchiſed, and baniſhed the juriſdiction.
Mrs. Hutchinſon was next cited to her trial before the court, and a large number of the clergy. Her ſentence upon record is as follows: Mrs. Hutchinſon, the wife of Mr. William Hutchinſon, being convented for traducing the clergymen and their miniſtry in the country, ſhe declared voluntarily her revelations, and that ſhe ſhould be delivered and the court ruined with their poſterity; and thereupon was baniſhed, and in the mean time was committed to Mr. Joſeph Weld, of Roxbury, until the court ſhould diſpoſe of her. Having received her ſentence from the court, ſhe was obliged to undergo a further trial in the church. She was firſt admoniſhed, and preſented to the church a recantation of the errors with which ſhe was charged; yet at the ſame time profeſſed ſhe never maintained any other ſentiments than what were there exhibited. Upon this ſhe was excommunicated61 H3r 61 16371637.municated as a lyar by the church of Boſton, to which ſhe belonged. Vol. I. p. 70. See Mrs. Hutchinſon’s trial in Appendix to Hutchinſon’s Hiſtory. ,
Mrs. Hutchinſon, with a large number of the Antinomian party, ſome of whom had been baniſhed, and other diſfranchiſed, removed from the juriſdiction of the Maſſachuſetts colony. Mr. Roger Williams received and entertained them with the moſt friendly attention at Providence. His benevolence was ever active, and with the aſſiſtance of Sir Henry Vane, he procured for them Aquednock, now Rhode-Iſland, of the Indian 16381638.ſachems. On the 1638-03-2424th of March they signed a deed, conveying this iſland to the Engliſh. Though Mr. Williams, and a number of his friends, with the permiſſion of the Narraganſet ſachems, had been ſettled at Providence almoſt two years, the firſt deed of the place, now extant, is dated the ſame day with that of Rhode-Iſland. Records in the Secretary’s office in Providence.
The exiles from Maſſachuſetts found a comfortable aſylum in that country, and ſoon effected a ſettlement. They formed themſelves into a body politic, and entered into a voluntary aſſociation for government.
Mr. William Coddington was choſen to be their judge and chief magiſtrate. This gentleman was one of the moſt diſtinguiſhed characters among the exiles. He came over to America in 16301630, ſettled at Boſton, and was one of the principal merchants in that town. After his removal to 62 H3v 62 16381638.Rhode-Iſland, he embraced the ſentiments of the Friends. He appears to have been a warm advocate for liberty of conſcience.See New-England, written in 16741674, in Sufferings of the Quakers. Letter to the Governor of
Mr. John Clark was another leading character among the ſettlers of Rhode-Iſland. In order to enjoy peace and liberty of conſcience, he voluntarily abandoned the colony of Maſſachuſetts. He was choſen agent for the newly eſtabliſhed plantation, and, after the reſtoration of King Charles II. was inſtrumental in procuring a charter.
The ſettlement of this iſland was commenced on the north-eaſterly ſide, oppoſite to Mount- Hope, and was named Portſmouth, from the narrow entrance of the harbor. The ſame year conſiderable numbers arrived from Maſſachuſetts. At 16391639.the opening of the next year they moved towards the ſouth-weſtern part of the iſland. There they began a ſettlement, and, having found another fine harbor, they named the place Newport. The fertility of its lands, its beautiful ſituation, the convenience of its harbor, and the affluent circumſtances of its firſt inhabitants, conſpired to render it more pleaſant than the other ſettlement. It became in a few years the metropolis of the colony. Mr. John Clark, and ſome others, in 16441644, formed a church in this town, on the principles of the Baptiſts.
The government eſtabliſhed in Rhode-Iſland was ſaid to be ſimilar to that of Providence. For, though the people choſe one chief magiſtrate, or 63 H4r 63 16391639.governor, and four aſſiſtants, yet theſe appear, like the deputies in Providence, to have been veſted only with ſome of the executive powers. The chief of the legiſlative, executive and judiciary powers were exerciſed by the body of the people in their town-meetings. Gazette.
16401640.Four years after Maſſachuſetts ſettled Providence, the inhabitants of that colony began a plantation at Patuxet, a place adjoining, and comprehended within their grant.
The ſettlements of Providence and Rhode-Iſland at different periods received large acceſſions from the denominations of Baptiſts and Friends, who were perſecuted in the other colonies.
The ſettlers of this country emigrated from England with the ſame views as the other Puritans, and they left Maſſachuſetts to purſue the objects of their removal to America. p. 90. ,
Dr. Belknap obſerves, that the diſtinguiſhing trait in this colony is, that it was ſettled on a plan of entire religious liberty; men of every denomination being equally protected and countenanced, and enjoying the honors and office of government. Vol. I. p. 89. .
16381638.The intolerance of Maſſachuſetts, which gave riſe to the ſettlement of Rhode-Iſland and Providence Plantations, proved the occaſion of enlarging New-Hampſhire. The Rev. John Wheelright, after his baniſhment, ſought an aſylum in that colony. He had previouſly purchaſed lands of the 64 H4v 64 16381638.Indians at Squamſcot falls; and with a number of his adherents he now began a plantation, which, according to the agreement made with Maſon’s agents, was called Exeter. Having obtained a diſmiſſion from the church in Boſton, they formed themſelves into a church, and judging themſelves without the juriſdiction of Maſſachuſetts, they aſſociated under a ſeparate government, and choſe rulers and aſſiſtants, who were ſworn to the due diſcharge of their office, and whom the people were ſworn to obey.
About the ſame time a number of perſons, chiefly from Norfolk, in England, made a ſettlement in a place which they called Hampton. They began by laying out a townſhip in one hundred and forty-ſeven ſhares; and, having formed a church, choſe one Stephen Bachelor for their miniſter, with whom Stephen Dalton was ſoon after aſſociated. The number of the firſt inhabitants was fifty-ſix. Vol. I. p. 37, 39. ,
Religious tenets similar to thoſe which cauſed diſſenſions in Maſſachuſetts, were, in nearly the ſame period, taught in Plymouth by one Samuel Gorton, who arrived in Boſton in 16361636, and from thence removed to Plymouth, where he treated their paſtor, Mr. Smith, in ſuch a manner that the authority required him to give bonds for his good behavior. This occaſioned his departure to Rhode-Iſland; where his diſreſpectful behavior to the court involved him in recent difficulties. From 65 I1r 65 16411641.Rhode-Iſland he removed to Providence; and was received by Roger Williams, with that humanity, which diſtinguiſhed his character. Gorton, and a number of his friends, then ſettled at Patuxet, which excited great uneaſineſs in ſome of the inhabitants, who complained to the government of Maſſachuſetts of his conduct, and ſolicited the protection of that colony. Upon this, he and his aſſociates were cited to appear at the court in Boſton. They refuſed to obey; and alledged that they were out of the juriſdiction, both of Plymouth and Maſſachuſetts. The next ſtep taken by Gorton, and his friends, was the purchaſing of Miantinomo, a Narraganſet ſachem, a tract 16421642.of land called Shawomet, and removing to that place. This land was claimed by the government of Plymouth. Two of the Narraganſet ſachems, who dwelt there, and at Patuxet, came to Boſton to complain of Gorton for infringing on their property; and ſubmitted themſelves, and their country, to the juriſdiction of Maſſachuſetts. This cauſed him to be again cited to court; and, upon his peremptory refuſal to obey the ſummons, he, and a number of his adherents, were apprehended, 16431643.conveyed to Boſton, and impriſoned. They were charged with being virulent enemies to religion and civil government. The writings of Gorton and his party were produced as evidence againſt them. Vol. I. p. 118, 119, 120, 121. ,I66I1v66
16431643.Gorton was ordered to be confined to hard labor at Charleſtown; and to wear ſuch bolts and irons as might prevent his eſcape. If he broke his confinement, or endeavoured to make proſelytes to his religious ſentiments; if he ſhould reproach the churches, or civil government in the colonies, after conviction thereof, upon by trial by jury, it was ordained, that he ſhould ſuffer death.
The aſſociates of Gorton were confined in different towns, upon ſimilar conditions.
A message was ſent to Miantinomo, the Narraganſet ſachem, of whom Gorton and his party had purchaſed Shawomet, to repair to Boſton. He obeyed, but the court refuſed to admit the juſtice of his claim to the Indian country. Vol. I. p. 122. ,
16441644.After a ſevere confinement during the winter, Gorton and his friends were baniſhed from the juriſdiction of Maſſachuſetts, and from the lands they had purchaſed of the Indian ſachem. Gorton’s next reſource was to repair to England, and, having obtained an order from the Britiſh government that he ſhould be ſuffered to poſſeſs the lands he had purchaſed in Narraganſet-Bay, returned and there effected a ſettlement. The chief town was named Warwick, in honor of his patron the Earl of Warwick. Ibid, Vol. I. p. 23. p. 43, 44. ,
16431643.The inhabitants of Narraganſet-Bay being deſtitute of a patent or any legal authority, Mr. Williams went to England as their agent, and, 67 I2r 67 16431643.by the aſſiſtance of Sir Henry Vane, jun. obtained of the Earl of Warwick (then governor and admiral of all the plantations) and his council, a free and abſolute charter of civil incorporation of Providence Plantations, in Narraganſet-Bay. They were empowered to form their own government, and enact laws agreeable to the laws and ſtatutes of England. Hiſtorical Collections, Vol. I. p. 540.
Of the war with the Pequod Indians. Cambridge college founded. Of the union of New-Hampſhire with Maſſachuſetts. The Province of Maine ſubmits to Maſſachuſetts’ juriſdiction. Settlement of Martha’s Vineyard. The confederation of four of the New-England colonies. The civil war in England puts a ſtop for the preſent to the further increaſe of the plantations. Noble ſpeech of Governor Winthrop.
When our anceſtors had, with unconquered perſeverance, ſurmounted the obſtacles to their firſt ſettlement, they had ſtill an arduous taſk to ſecure themſelves from the malevolence and jealouſy of the natives. They had taken every precaution to avoid a war; and the interpoſition of Divine Providence was viſible in reſtraining the ſavages from deſtroying their infant ſettlements.
In the ſpring of 16301630, a great conſpiracy was entered into by the Indians from the Narraganſetts to the eaſtward, to extirpate the Engliſh. The colony of Plymouth was the principal object of this conſpiracy. They well knew that if they could effect the deſtruction of Plymouth, the infant ſettlement at Maſſachuſetts would fall an eaſy ſacrifice. They laid their plan with much art. 69 I3r 69 Under color of having ſome diverſion at Plymouth, they intended to fall upon the inhabitants, and thus to effect their deſign. But their plot was diſcloſed to the people of Charleſtown by John Sagamore, an Indian, who had always been a great friend to the Engliſh. The preparations made to prevent any ſuch fatal ſurprize in future, and the firing of the great guns, ſo terrified the Indians that they diſperſed, relinquiſhed their deſign, and declared themſelves the friends of the English. Vol. I. p. 322. ,
16371637.At length, when the colonies had acquired ſome degree of ſtrength, they were involved in a war with the Pequods, a powerful Indian tribe, who inhabited the ſouth-eaſt part of Connecticut, and were governed by Saſſacus, a prince of an haughty, independent ſpirit. They had the ſagacity to ſee their own deſtruction in the progreſs of the Engliſh. Both the Engliſh and Indians courted the friendſhip of the Narraganſets with the greateſt aſſiduity. The Pequods urged them to forget their former animoſity; and repreſented that one magnanimous effort would, with facility, and without danger, oblige the ſtrangers to abandon the lands, which they had ſeized with ſuch avidity. They expreſſed their apprehenſions, that without their friendly aſſiſtance both tribes would be deſtroyed. Theſe cogent reaſons had ſuch an effect on the Narraganſet Indians, that they began to waver. But as they had recently been engaged in war with the Pequods, the love of revenge, ſo 70 I3v 70 16371637.congenial to the ſavage mind, overpowered all intereſted motives, and induced them to join the Engliſh. Narrative of the Indian Wars, p. 21. p. 290. , Vol. I. p. 65. ,
Actuated by the moſt inveterate hatred to the coloniſts, the Pequods ſurprized and killed ſeveral of the ſettlers on Connecticut river. Alarmed at theſe hoſtile proceedings, the colonies of Maſſachuſetts, Plymouth and Connecticut united their forces, in order to carry the war into their country, and attempt the entire deſtruction of the whole tribe. Troops were accordingly raiſed in all the colonies, but thoſe of Connecticut, on account of their vicinity to the enemy, were firſt in motion. Captain Maſon, with ninety Engliſhmen and ſeventy Indians from Connecticut river, proceeded by water to the Narraganſet country, where he was joined by two hundred of that tribe. During the ſummer of this year the war was conducted with great energy. The Pequods were entrenched in two ſtrong forts, one of which was ſituated on the banks of the river Myſtic. The other, eight miles further, was the head quarters of Saſſacus, their ſachem. It was determined firſt to aſſault Myſtic fort. One of the Pequods, who reſided with the Narraganſets, conducted the army in their march to the deſtruction of his countrymen. The attack commenced on the morning of the 1637-05-2222d of May. The Indians after a midnight revel were buried in a deep ſleep. The barking of a dog diſcovered the approach of their enemies.71 I4r 71 16371637.mies. The battle was warm and bloody; and though the Pequods defended themſelves with the ſpirit of a people contending for their country and exiſtence, yet the Engliſh gained a complete victory. The fort was taken; about ſeventy wigwams were burnt, and five or ſix hundred Indians periſhed. Of all who belonged to the fort, ſeven only eſcaped, and ſeven were made priſoners. Vol. I. p. 58, 60, 76, 77, 78. , Vol. I. p. 78. ,
Saſſacus and his warriors at Pequod were filled with conſternation at the news of this defeat. They demoliſhed their principal fort, burnt their wigwams, and fled with precipitation to the weſtward. Captain Stoughton, from Maſſachuſetts, arrived at Saybrook the latter part of June. He with his forces joined Captain Maſon, and ſurrounded a large body of Indians in a ſwamp near Fairfield. A ſachem, with a company of two hundred old men, women and children, came voluntarily and ſurrendered to the Engliſh. Terms of peace were offered to the reſt. The Pequod warriors rejected them with diſdain, and, upon the renewal of hoſtilities, fought with obſtinate bravery. They were, however, overpowered by the Engliſh. Part eſcaped by the darkneſs of the night; the reſt were killed or taken captive. Saſſacus fled to the Mohawks, by whom he was murdered. Many of the Indian captives were ſent to Bermudas, and ſold as ſlaves. About ſeven hundred of the Pequods were deſtroyed. This ſucceſsful expedition terrified the remaining Indians72 I4v 72 16371637.dians to ſuch a degree, as reſtrained them from open hoſtilities nearly forty years. p. 41. ,
The Pequod war was the moſt formidable attempt ever made by the Indians to extirpate the Engliſh, conſidering the infant ſtate of the colonies. On this occaſion Mr. Roger Williams did New-England eſſential ſervice. By his great application he made himſelf maſter of the Indian language; and his exertions prevented the Narraganſet ſachems from joining the Pequods. Gazette.
16381638.Though ſurrounded with dangers, and embarraſſed with a variety of difficulties, yet our anceſtors paid great attention to the intereſts of learning. They were, Boſton Gazette, 17651765. on the Feudal and Canon Law, ſays an eminent author, convinced by their knowledge of human nature, derived from hiſtory and their own experience, that nothing could preſerve their poſterity from the encroachments of tyranny but knowledge diffuſed generally through the whole body of the people. Their civil and religious principles, therefore, conſpired to prompt them to uſe every meaſure, and take every precaution in their power to propagate and perpetuate knowledge. They made an early proviſion by law, that every town conſiſting of ſo many families, ſhould be always furniſhed with a grammar ſchool. They made it a crime for ſuch a town to be deſtitute of a grammar ſchoolmaſter for a few months, and ſubjected it to a heavy penalty.73K1r73
In the year 16361636, the general court of Maſſachuſetts contemplated a public ſchool at Newtown; and appropriated four hundred pounds for that object. But Mr. John Harvard, miniſter of Charleſtown, dying two years after, increaſed this ſum by the addition of a great part of his ſtate, valued at ſeven or eight hundred pounds. Thus endowed, this ſchool was exalted to a college. Like thoſe of Europe it took the name of its founder; and Newtown was changed to Cambridge, in compliment to the college, and in memory of the place where many of our fathers received their education. Letters to a Student in the Univerſity of Cambridge, p. 13.
16391639.After the college was erected, a foundation was laid for a public library; the firſt furniture of which was the works of Dr. William Ames, the famous profeſſor of divinity at Franequar, whoſe widow and children, after the Doctor’s death, tranſported themſelves and their effects to New- England. Several Engliſh gentlemen made valuable preſents, both of books and mathematical inſtruments, to this new univerſity. Before the cloſe of the century, the number of books it contained amounted to between three and four thouſand volumes. Vol. I. p. 202. ,
16401640.This year the general court granted the income of Charleſtown ferry as a perpetual revenue to the college; and the ſame year the Rev. Henry Dunſter was appointed preſident, there having K 74 K1v 74 been before that time only a preceptor or profeſſor, and an aſſiſtant.
16421642.About two years after, the firſt claſs finiſhed their literary courſe, and the degree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred on them. The general court paſſed an act conſtituting a board of overſeers, for the well ordering and managing of the ſaid college, conſiſting of the governor and deputy-governor for the time being, and all the magiſtrates of the juriſdiction, together with the teaching elders of Cambridge, Watertown, Charleſtown, Boſton, Roxbury, and Dorcheſter, and this preſident of the college for the time being.
In 16501650, the college received its firſt charter from the court, appointing a corporation conſiſting of ſeven perſons, viz. a preſident, five fellows and a treaſurer, to have perpetual ſucceſſion by election to their offices. Their ſtyle is, The Preſident and Fellows of Harvard College. To this body were committed all the affairs of the college, and they have the care of all donations and bequeſts to the inſtitution. After this charter was granted, the board of overſeers continued a diſtinct branch of the government; and theſe two bodies form the legiſlature of the college. Vol. I. p. 416. ,
In the mean time the colony of Maſſachuſetts was increaſing; and a number of new townſhips were formed. In 16371637, Dedham was incorporated into a townſhip, and in 16381638 a church was there gathered. In 16501650, Medfield was made a 75 K2r 75 townſhip. Century Sermon, 17881788. The other colonies were alſo increaſing in riches and population.
In 16441644, South-Hampton, on Long-Iſland, was, by the advice of the commiſſioners, taken under the juriſdiction of Connecticut. This town was ſettled in 16401640. The inhabitants of Lynn, in Maſſachuſetts, became ſo much ſtraitened at home, that, about the year 16391639, they contracted with the agent of Lord Sterling, for a tract of land on the weſt ſide of Long-Iſland. They alſo made a treaty with the Indians, and commenced a ſettlement; but the Dutch gave them ſo much trouble, that they were obliged to deſert it and remove farther eaſtward. They collected nearly an hundred families, and effected a permanent ſettlement at South-Hampton. By the advice of the general court of Maſſachuſetts, they entered into a combination among themſelves to maintain civil government. A number of them regularly formed themſelves into a church ſtate, before they removed to the iſland, and called Mr. Abraham Pierſon to be their paſtor. Vol. I. p. 149. ,
16401640.Four diſtinct governments (including one at Kittery, on the north ſide of the river) were formed on the ſeveral branches of Piſcataqua. Theſe being only voluntary aſſociations, and liable to be broken, or ſubdivided, on the firſt popular diſcontent, there could be no ſafety in their continuance. The moſt conſiderate amongſt them adviſed to apply to Maſſachuſetts, and ſolicit their 76 K2v 76 16401640.protection. The ſubſequent year the ſettlements voluntarily ſubmitted themſelves to the juriſdiction of that government, upon condition that they might enjoy all the privileges with the inhabitants of Maſſachuſetts, and have a court of juſtice erected amongſt them. An union having been formed between the ſettlements on the Piſcataqua, and the colony of Maſſachuſetts, their hiſtory, for the ſucceeding forty years, is in a great meaſure blended. Vol. I. p. 54. ,
16411641.At this period, Sir Ferdinando Gorges incorporated the plantation of Gorgiana into a city, to be governed by a mayor and eight aldermen; his couſin, Thomas Gorges, was appointed mayor of the city, but had no ſucceſſor in the office. p. 238. ,
The civil diſſenſions in England, with the ſubſequent events, obliged Sir Ferdinando Gorges to relinquiſh the idea of obtaining a general government over the colonies. He had ever been a firm royaliſt, and engaged perſonally in the ſervice of the crown, till his own ruin was involved in that of the royal cauſe which he eſpouſed. From the commencement of the civil wars, Gorges neglected the concerns of his plantation. The towns in the Province of Maine fell into a ſtate of confuſion. Moſt of the commiſſioners, who had been appointed to govern the province, deſerted it; and the remaining inhabitants were, in 16491649, obliged to combine for their own ſecurity. The Maſſachuſetts embraced this opportunity to encourage the diſpoſition which prevailed in many of the 77 K3r 77 16411641.inhabitants, to ſubmit to their juriſdiction. As a powerful motive to induce them to take this ſtep, they granted them greater privileges, than their own coloniſts enjoyed, admitting them to be freemen upon taking the oath of allegiance only, and not requiring them to be of the communion of any church. After this province had ſubmitted to Maſſachuſetts, in 16521652, it was made a county by the name of Yorkſhire, and the towns ſent repreſentatives to the general court at Boſton. Though the majority were perſuaded to conſent, yet great oppoſition was made by ſome principal perſons, who ſeverely reproached Maſſachuſetts for the meaſures they had taken to reduce the province. The people, however, in general, were contented, and experienced the benefit of the regulation. American Biography, p. 390. Vol. I. p. 40. ,
16421642.So great was the diligence and induſtry of the New-England ſettlers, that they had already ſettled fifty towns and villages, erected between thirty and forty churches, and a larger number of parſonage houſes. They had built a caſtle, forts, priſons,&c. and had founded a college, all at their own expence. They had furniſhed themſelves with comfortable dwelling-houſes, had laid out gardens, orchards, corn-fields, paſtures and meadows, and lived under the regular adminiſtration of their own government and laws.
The population of the country increaſed with ſuch rapidity, that it was time to take poſſeſſion of the iſlands upon the coaſt. Mr. Mayhew having 78 K3v 78 16421642.obtained a grant of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Elizabeth’s Iſles, ſettled his ſon in the former of theſe iſlands, with a ſmall number of planters. Vol. I. p. 218, 219. ,
16431643.The New-England colonies were ſenſible of the advantages of an union, at a very early period. The commiſſioners from Maſſachuſetts, Plymouth, Connecticut and New-Haven, held both ſtated and occaſional meetings, and kept regular journals of their proceedings, which have acquired the name of the records of the United Colonies of New-England. Rhode-Iſland was deſirous of joining in the confederacy, but Maſſachuſetts, for particular reaſons, refuſed to admit their commiſſioners. Hiſt.Hiſtorical Collections.
16441644.The civil wars, which raged in England at this period, retarded for a time the further increaſe of the colonies. Though the ſettlers of New-England were on the parliament ſide, their ſituation precluded them from taking an active part. As diſtant ſpectators, they beheld their native country involved in the horrors of civil war, while they enjoyed the bleſſings of peace and plenty in their American aſylum. Vol. I. p. 238. ,
16441645.The affairs of New-England were at this period in ſo flouriſhing a ſituation, that the people were intoxicated with proſperity, and the liberty they enjoyed threatened their ruin. The inhabitants of Hingham, in Suffolk county, having broken the peace, Mr. Winthrop, the deputy-governor of Maſſachuſetts, committed the rioters to priſon 79 K4r 79 16441645.for refuſing to give bond to appear at the quarter ſeſſions, and to anſwer for words ſpoken in defamation of the general court of Maſſachuſetts. This produced a petition from the inhabitants of the town, ſigned by ſeven of them, of whom ſix, being cited to the court, appealed to the Engliſh parliament, and offered bail for ſtanding to its award. The members of the general court were ſenſible that this was a dangerous precedent, and fined and impriſoned the petitioners, whoſe chief complaints were leveled againſt the deputy-governor Winthrop. The general court, however, with a true republican ſpirit, commanded Winthrop to deſcend from his dignity on the bench, to clear his conduct at the bar. He complied, and made the following ſpeech, which the authors of the Univerſal Hiſtory obſerve, is equal to any thing of antiquity, whether we conſider it as coming from a philoſopher or a magiſtrate.
16441645.I will not look back to the paſt proceedings of this court, nor to the perſons therein concerned; I am ſatiſfied that I was publicly accuſed, and that I am now publicly acquitted; but give me leave to ſay ſomething on the occaſion, that may rectify the opinion of the people, from whom theſe diſtempers of the ſtate have ariſen. The queſtions, that have troubled the country of late have been about the authority of the magiſtrate, and the liberty of the people. Magiſtracy is certainly an appointment of God, and I entreat you to conſider 80 K4v 80 Modern Univerſal Hiſtory, Vol. XIX. p. 292, 293. Book II. p. 12, 13. , that you chuſe your rulers from among yourſelves, and that we take an oath to govern you according to God’s laws and the laws of our country, to the beſt of our ſkill; if we commit errors, not willingly, but for want of ability, you ought to bear with us. Nor would I have you miſtake your own liberty. There is a liberty in doing what we liſt, without regard to law or juſtice; this liberty is indeed inconſiſtent with authority; but civil, moral, federal liberty conſiſts in every one’s enjoying his property, and having the benefit of the laws of his country; this is what you ought to contend for with the hazard of your lives; but this is very conſiſtent with a due ſubjection to the civil magiſtrate, and paying him that reſpect which his character requires.
This noble ſpeech was of equal benefit to the reputation of Mr. Winthrop, and the peace of the colony. It ſettled him firmly in the eſteem and the affections of the people, and the general court. A ſeverer fine was added to the puniſhment of the offenders; and, by his well timed condeſcenſion, the governor became more powerful than ever. New-England was at this period in a ſtate of perfect tranquility, which was improved for the converſion of the Indians, an account of which will be given in the ſubſequent chapter.
Of the natives of New-England, and their converſion to Chriſtianity by the Rev. Mr. Eliot. A ſociety is eſtabliſhed for propagating the goſpel in New- England. The town of Natick built. An Indian church formed. Converſion of the Indians at Martha’s Vineyard, and at Plymouth. Number of Indian churches. Of the ſynod held at Cambridge, and their platform of church diſcipline. The colonies of Maſſachuſetts, Connecticut, New-Haven and Rhode-Iſland, eſtabliſh a code of laws.
When the European adventurers firſt ſettled in New-England, the natives were a wild and ſavage people. Their mental powers were wholly uncultivated; their paſſions ſtrong, impetuous and ungoverned; and they were immerſed in the thickeſt gloom of ignorance and ſuperſtition.
Their religious ideas were extremely weak and confuſed. They admitted, however, the exiſtence of one Supreme Being, whom they denominated the Great Spirit, the Great Man above, and appeared to have ſome general, but very obſcure ideas of his government, providence, univerſal power and dominion.
The immortality of the ſoul was univerſally believed among the Indian tribes. Hence it was L 82 L1v 82 their general cuſtom to bury with the dead their bows, arrows, ſpears, and ſome veniſon, which they ſuppoſed would be beneficial to them in a future ſtate. Hiſtory of Vermont, p. 174.
They believed in a number of ſubordinate deities. Their prieſts began and dictated their religious worſhip, and the people joined alternately in a laborious exerciſe, till they were extremely fatigued, and the prieſts exhauſted even to fainting. Key to the Language of the Indians of New- England. See Collections of the Maſſachuſetts Hiſtorical Society for 17941794. They had neither temples, altars, nor any fixed ſeaſons for devotional exerciſes.
16461646.The planters of New-England were aſſiduouſly engaged in endeavouring their converſion to Chriſtianity. This was one of the obligations of their patent, and one of the profeſſed deſigns of their ſettlement. Among thoſe, who exerted themſelves with the greateſt energy in this work, the Rev. John Eliot, of Roxbury, claims a diſtinguiſhed rank; and he was ſtiled the apoſtle of the American Indians.
In order to proſecute this benevolent deſign, he applied himſelf with perſevering diligence to ſtudying the Indian language, and became ſo complete a maſter of it, as to publiſh an Indian grammar. Thus prepared, he began, on the 1646-10-2828th of October, to inſtruct the natives in the Chriſtian religion at Nonantum, which, at preſent, is included in the town of Newton. His reception 83 L2r 83 16461646.among them encouraged him to hope for ſucceſs. The Indians welcomed his arrival, heard him with attention, and aſked a variety of queſtions reſpecting the important ſubjects of his diſcourſe.
Actuated by a diſintereſted concern for the ſalvation of the natives, Mr. Eliot continued indefatigably to labor for their converſion. He frequently preached to the different tribes, and, in order to facilitate his deſign, endeavoured to civilize their manners, and teach them a more regular method of living. He procured the eſtabliſhment of ſchools to inſtruct them in reading and writing, and ſupplied them with ſuitable ſchool books, which he tranſlated into their language. Book III. p. 196. ,
In his miniſterial capacity he travelled through all parts of Plymouth and Maſſachuſetts, as far as Cape-Cod. In theſe fatiguing excurſions his life was in continual danger, from the inveterate enmity of the Indian princes and prieſts, who were bent upon his deſtruction, and would certainly have ſubjected him to the moſt tormenting death, if they had not been awed by the power and ſtrength of the Engliſh colonies. However, he received innumerable inſults and affronts from the Indian ſachems and prieſts, who had conſpired to retard the progreſs of Chriſtianity.
Notwithstanding various diſcouragements, the Chriſtian religion ſpread both in Maſſachuſetts and Plymouth. The new converts were diſtinguiſhed by the name of the praying Indians. After 84 L2v 84 16461646.they removed paganiſm, they abandoned their ſavage way of living, and imitated the habits and manners of their civilized neighbors.p. 197. See , Hiſtorical Collection, p. 170.
16491649.In order to encourage the deſign of converting the Indians, the parliament of England this year paſſed an act, incorporating a number of perſons, by the name of the Preſident and Society for propagating the Goſpel in New-England. The affairs of this ſociety were conducted by a preſident, a treaſurer, and fourteen aſſiſtants. By authority of this act of Parliament, a collection was made in all the pariſhes in England, which produced ſuch a ſum of money, as enabled the ſociety to purchaſe an eſtate in land of between five and ſix hundred pounds a year. Their firſt preſident was Judge Steele, and firſt treaſurer Mr. Henry Aſhhurſt.
Upon the reſtoration of King Charles II. they ſolicited and obtained a new charter, which ordained, that there be forever hereafter, within the kingdom of England, a ſociety or company for propagating the goſpel in New-England, and the parts adjacent in America.See this chapter in the appendix to Life of Boyle, p. 319, 335. The members of this ſociety were not to exceed forty-five. They were made a body corporate, and empowered to appoint commiſſioners reſiding in New-England to tranſact affairs relating to the benevolent deſign of converting the natives. The new charter ſubſtituted a governor for a preſident, and the 85 L3r 85 16491649.Honorable Robert Boyle was elected to that office. Vol. I. p. 280. ,
In 16501650, the corporation were at the expence of erecting another building near the former college, in order to give the Indians a liberal education. But though a few of them were there educated, yet it was found impracticable to perſuade the Indian youth to a love of literature.
16511651.This year a number of Mr. Eliot’s converts united and built a town, which they called Natick. Having formed a ſettlement, they eſtabliſhed a civil government upon the ſcripture plan. The new converts continued ſeveral years under the character of catechumens, during which time Mr. Eliot, and ſome other divines, were indefatigable in inſtructing them in the principles of Chriſtianity. At length, upon their repeated deſires, after a ſtrict examination, they were formed into a regular church. Mr. Eliot was held in the higheſt veneration by the new converts; they loved him with ardent affection, exerted themſelves to ſerve him, and conſulted him as an oracle in all difficult caſes.p. 196. See , Letters from Mr. Eliot to Mr. Boyle. See Collections of the Hiſtorical Society for 17941794.
Mr. Eliot labored with perſevering induſtry to tranſlate the Bible into the Indian language. In the year 16641664, he accompliſhed this arduous work, which does immortal honor to his memory. Hiſtorical Collection.
16461646.Whilst Mr. Eliot was employed in converting the Indians within the Maſſachuſetts juriſdiction, 86 L3v 86 16461646.Mr. Leverich was promoting the ſame benevolent deſign in Plymouth, and Mr. Mayhew in Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Elizabeth’s Iſles. The firſt convert to Chriſtianity in Martha’s Vineyard was one Hiaccomes, a man of about thirty years of age. His religion expoſed him to the contempt of his countrymen, till, in the year 16451645, a general ſickneſs prevailed in the iſland, from which Hiaccomes and his family were exempted. This event induced the Indians to entertain a favorable opinion of the Chriſtian religion. A number of them deſired to receive inſtructions from Hiaccomes. Some time after, the ſachem ſent for Mr. Mayhew, and requeſted him, in his own and in his people’s names, to teach them the principles of Chriſtianity, in the Indian language. Mr. Mayhew readily complied, and his labors were crowned with great ſucceſs. He informs us, that numbers of Indian families reſorted to him, deſiring that they and their houſes might ſerve the Lord; that eight prieſts and two hundred and eighty adult perſons had embraced the Chriſtian faith. Letter to the Corporation, 16511651, p. 31.
Mr. Mayhew’s method of inſtructing the natives was ſimilar to Mr. Eliot’s. He catechiſed their children, prayed, preached and ſung pſalms in their public meetings, and then anſwered their queſtions. He purſued his deſign with unwearied application for ten or fourteen years; till at length intending a ſhort voyage to England, he ſailed in 87 L4r 87 16571657; but the ſhip and paſſengers were both loſt. The death of Mr. Mayhew was exceedingly lamented by his Indian converts. Vol. I. p. 266. ,
Mr. Mayhew’s father, though no clergyman, aſſiſted his ſon in the execution of his miſſion. By his influence, within a few years a civil government was eſtabliſhed among the new converts. 16501650.The princes, with their nobles, ſubmitted to the king of England, reſerving, as ſubordinate princes, the privilege of governing their people, according to the laws of God and the king.
In 16661666, three Indian churches were eſtabliſhed. One at Plymouth, another at Nantucket, and one at Martha’s Vineyard, under the paſtoral care of Hiaccomes. Ibid.
The light of the goſpel was introduced into Nantucket, and an Indian church eſtabliſhed in that iſland, under the paſtoral care of Mr. John Gibbs. Hiſt. Collection.
The Rev. Abraham Pierſon, and the Rev. James Fitch, preached the goſpel to the Connecticut Indians. But neither of theſe gentlemen met with great ſucceſs.
Mr. Roger Williams was highly venerated and beloved by the Indians, and endeavoured to convert the natives of Providence and Rhode-Iſland to the Chriſtian religion; but his exertions were, in general, unſucceſsful.
Mr. Richard Bourne preached the goſpel to the Indians at Plymouth, and converted large 88 L4v 88 numbers. In the year 16851685, the praying Indians in that plantation amounted to fourteen hundred and thirty-nine, beſides children under twelve years of age, who were ſuppoſed to have been more than three times the number. Hiſtorical Collection, p. 201.
Mr. Eliot, in a letter to the Hon. Mr. Boyle, dated 16841684, aſſerts, that the Indians had four ſtated places for worſhip in Maſſachuſetts, ſix in Nantucket, ten in Plymouth, and ten in Martha’s Vineyard.
A letter of Dr. Increaſe Mather, to Dr. Leuſden, of Utrecht, dated 16871687, gives an idea of the progreſs of the goſpel among the Indians for twenty years. In this letter he ſays, that there are ſix churches of baptiſed Indians in New-England, and twelve aſſemblies of catechumens. There are twenty-four Indian preachers, and four Engliſh miniſters, who preach in the Indian language.
Dr. Cotton Mather aſſerts, that in the year 16951695, there were three thouſand adult Indian converts in the iſlands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. That there were three churches in Nantucket, and five conſtant aſſemblies. That in Maſſachuſetts alone there were above thirty Indian congregations, and more than three thouſand converts; and that their numbers were very conſiderable in other parts of the country. p. 294. ,
It does not appear that the Chriſtian Indians returned to paganiſm, but that they gradually 89 M1r 89 waſted away, till at length they became almoſt extinct.
The religious character of the inhabitants of New-England was alſo exhibited, by their ſolicitude to eſtabliſh their churches on what they ſuppoſed to be the ſcripture foundation. In 16481648, a ſynod was convened at Cambridge, for the formation, or rather declaration of their churches’ faith, order and diſcipline. This ſynod adopted the confeſſion of faith publiſhed by the aſſembly of divines at Weſtminſter, and recommended it to the conſideration and acceptance of the New-England churches.
The principal object of the ſynod was, to agree upon a model of church diſcipline. To accompliſh this deſign, they choſe the Rev. John Cotton, Richard Mather and Ralph Partridge, three celebrated divines, to form ſeparately a ſcriptural plan of church government. All theſe performances were preſented to the ſynod for their reviſion and correction; and from them the New- England platform of church diſcipline was collected; and being approved of by the majority of the ſynod, was recommended to the general court and to the churches. Book V. p. 22. ,
The fundamental article in the platform of church diſcipline, is, that each particular church has authority from Chriſt, for exerciſing government, and enjoying all the ordinances of worſhip within itſelf. Eccleſiaſtical councils were to be M 90 M1v 90 convoked for advice, on emergent occaſions. The platform maintained, that the offices of paſtors, teachers and ruling elders were diſtinct. Paſtors were to attend to exhortations, and teachers to doctrine; yet both were to adminiſter ordinances and church cenſures. Ruling elders were, in a ſpecial manner, to aſſiſt the paſtors and teachers in the diſcipline of the church.See the platform of church government, in Magnalia, Book V. p. 23. See an abridgment of the platform in Hiſtory, Vol. II. Appendix, p. 294.
In the next general council in New-England, ten years after, the miniſters and churches of Connecticut and New-Haven were preſent, and united in the form of church government, which it recommended. The churches of New-England, in general, acceded to this platform of church diſcipline for more than thirty years. This, with the eccleſiaſtical laws, formed the religious conſtitution of the colonies.
Whilst the colonies were increaſing in numbers and ſettlements, regular codes of laws were neceſſary for the advancement, order and happineſs of their reſpective juriſdictions.
In the year 16421642, the capital laws of Connecticut were nearly completed, and put upon record. TheThe ſeveral paſſages of ſcripture on which they were founded were particularly noticed in the ſtatute.
At a general court in New-Haven, the 1643-04-055th of April, 1643, a conſiderable progreſs was made in the laws of that colony. Deputies were ſent to 91 M2r 91 the general court, and an addition was made to the number of magiſtrates. Vol. I. p. 121, 182. ,
16471647.At this period, the general aſſembly of the province of Rhode-Iſland eſtabliſhed a code of laws agreeable to the Engliſh ſtatute books, and erected a form of civil government, for the adminiſtration of theſe laws, and for enacting ſuch others as ſhould be found neceſſary. The ſupreme power was veſted in the people aſſembled; a court of commiſſioners, conſiſting of ſix persons, choſen by the four towns of Providence, Portſmouth, Newport and Warwick, had a legiſlative authority. Their acts were to be in force, unleſs repealed within a limited period, by the vote of the major part of the freemen of the province, to be collected at their reſpective town-meetings, appointed for that purpoſe.
A president and four aſſiſtants were annually choſen, to be preſervers of the peace, with all civil power. By a ſpecial commiſſion, they were judges of the court of trials, aſſiſted by the two wardens or juſtices of the particular town, in which the court from time to time was convened.
Each town choſe a council of ſix perſons, to conduct their affairs, and their town court had the trial of ſmall caſes; but with an appeal to the court of the preſident and aſſiſtants. p. 42, 45. ,
16481648.This year the colony of Maſſachuſetts firſt publiſhed their code of laws. At the requeſt of the general court, the Rev. John Cotton had compiled92 M2v 92 16481648.piled a ſyſtem, founded chiefly on the laws of Moſes, which was publiſhed in London, 16451645. This abſtract was conſidered by the legiſlative body as the general ſtandard, though they never formally adopted it, and even varied from it in many inſtances. They profeſſed to follow Moſes’ plan, ſo far only as it was of a moral nature, and obligatory on all mankind.See Collection of Papers, p. 161.
16491649.At the ſeſſion of the general court of Connecticut, a code of laws was eſtabliſhed, and this colony had the appearance of a well regulated commonwealth. Until this time puniſhments, in many inſtances, had been left wholly to the diſcretion of the court. But from this period, the laws, in general, became fixed, and the puniſhment of particular crimes was ſpecified, ſo that delinquents might know what to expect, when they had the temerity to tranſgreſs. Vol. I. p. 82. ,
The celebrated John Winthrop, Eſq. died the beginning of this year, aged ſixty-three. His death was greatly lamented in Maſſachuſetts, and he was ſtiled, the Father of the colony. He was educated in the profeſſion of the law, in which he was eminent for his abilities and integrity. The high place he held in the public eſteem was evinced by his being appointed juſtice of peace at the early age of eighteen. When a number of influential characters formed the deſign of removing to New-shy; England, he put himſelf at the head of the undertaking, and devoted his eſtate and ſtrength to the 93 M3r 93 public ſervice. The inhabitants of Maſſachuſetts manifeſted their high ſenſe of his worth, by chuſing him eleven times to be their governor. Prudence and juſtice marked his conduct in that ſtation. He was diſtinguiſhed for temperance, frugality and economy, and ever exhibited a ſupreme regard for religion. The only error which has been charged upon his adminiſtration reſulted from his maintaining the neceſſity of uſing coercive meaſures in religion. However, he finally roſe ſuperior to the prejudices of the age in which he lived, and, in his dying moments, feelingly regretted that his conduct had been tinged by the ſpirit of religious intolerance. Vol. I. p. 151. , Vol. I. p. 294. ,
The fatal effects, which were produced by enforcing uniformity in religious worſhip, will be related in the ſubſequent chapter.
Of the intolerant principles of the ſettlers of New- England. Of the ſeparation of the Baptiſts, and the perſecution they ſuffered. The Quakers began to reſort to Maſſachuſetts colony. Severe laws enacted againſt them. Four Quakers put to death in Boſton. Conduct of the other colonies towards them. King Charles II. puts a ſtop to the further execution of the ſanguinary laws.
In the preceding chapter we had the ſatiſfaction of ſeeing our pious anceſtors aſſiduouſly engaged in converting the Indians to the Chriſtian religion; in forming a model of church diſcipline, and eſtabliſhing a regular code of laws, on what they ſuppoſed to be the ſcripture foundation. We muſt, at preſent, contemplate them in a light which ſtrongly exhibits the imperfection of human nature, and the influence of error and prejudice upon the mind.
Actuated by the miſtaken idea, that it was their duty to uſe coercive meaſures to ſuppreſs erroneous opinions, the colony of Maſſachuſetts had already manifeſted a determined reſolution to enforce uniformity in religion. They had already proceeded a ſtep farther than the hierarchy in their native country had ever attempted. No teſt law had as yet taken place in England; but they had at one blow cut off all but thoſe of their own communion95 M4r 95 munion from the privileges of civil offices, however otherwiſe qualified. Vol. I. p. 80. , They had baniſhed from their juriſdiction thoſe who were charged with maintaining Antinomian tenets. We ſhall now ſee their intolerant ſentiments produce farther extremes in conduct.
Notwithstanding all their precaution to maintain colonial uniformity, they found a number who took the liberty to diſſent from their religious 16501650.opinions. This year ſome of the inhabitants of Rehoboth adopted the ſentiments of the Baptiſts, withdrew from the eſtabliſhed worſhip, and ſet up a ſeparate meeting. Upon this Mr. Obadiah Holmes, one of the principal diſſenters, was firſt admoniſhed, and afterwards excommunicated by the Rev. Mr. Newman, miniſter of Rehoboth. Immediately after, he and two of his aſſociates were cited to appear before the court at Plymouth, where four petitions were lodged againſt them. One from their native town, ſigned by thirty-five perſons; one from the church at Taunton; another from all the clergymen but two in Plymouth colony; and a fourth from the court at Boſton, under their ſecretary’s hand, urging the Plymouth rulers ſpeedily to ſuppreſs this growing ſchiſm. Hiſtory of the Baptiſts, Vol. I. p. 213.
16511651.With theſe ſtimulations to ſeverity, the court of Plymouth charged Holmes and his friends to deſiſt from their ſeparation; and neither to ordain officers, adminiſter the ſacraments, or aſſemble 96 M4v 96 16511651.for public worſhip. They viewed theſe reſtrictions as arbitrary violations of their Chriſtian liberty, and alledged, that they were actuated by the conviction of their own conſciences, and that it was better to obey God than man.
Some time after Mr. Clark (who had founded a Baptiſt church in Rhode-Iſland) with Mr. Holmes and Mr. Cranfield, travelled into the juriſdiction of Maſſachuſetts. They were all apprehended when aſſembled for public worſhip on the Lord’s day. The conſtable took them into cuſtody, and in the afternoon carried them, by compulſion, to the congregational meeting. Mr. Clark had previouſly aſſured him, that, if forced to a meeting, which he diſapproved, he ſhould be obliged publicly to declare the reaſons of his diſſent. He pulled off his hat when he entered the aſſembly, but, after he was ſeated, he put it on again, and employed himſelf in reading while the miniſter was praying. The officers took off his hat, but he poſitively refuſed to join in the ſervice. After ſermon, he addreſſed the congregation, and aſſigned the reaſons of his conduct. Vol. I. p. 299. , Narrative of the New-England Perſecution.
About a fortnight after, the court of aſſiſtants paſſed the following ſentences, viz. that Mr. Clark ſhould pay a fine of twenty pounds, Mr. Holmes of thirty, and Mr. Cranfield of five pounds, or be publicly whipped upon their refuſal to pay their fines. The priſoners agreed to refuſe, and to receive corporeal puniſhment. Some of Mr. Clark’s 97 N1r 97 16511651.friends paid his fine without his conſent, and Cranfield was releaſed upon his promiſe to appear again at the next court; but the ſentence of the law was executed on Holmes. Several of his friends were ſpectators; among others John Spurr and John Hazell, who, as they were attending him back to priſon, took him by the hand in the market place, and praiſed God for his courage and conſtancy. For this offence they were cited before the general court the next day, and each of them ſentenced to pay a fine of forty ſhillings, or be publicly whipped. They refuſed to pay the money; but it was paid by their friends. They were then diſmiſſed, and returned to Rhode- Iſland. Vol. I. p. 33. , Vol. I. p. 231. ,
The following law was enacted againſt the Baptiſts, on this occaſion, by the general court of Maſſachuſetts:
It is ordered by the court and authority thereof, that if any perſon or perſons within this juriſdiction ſhall either openly condemn or oppoſe the baptiſing of infants, or go about ſecretly to ſeduce others from the approbation or uſe thereof, or ſhall purpoſely depart the congregation at the adminiſtration of the ordinance, or ſhall deny the ordinance of magiſtracy, or their lawful right or authority to make war, or puniſh the outward breaches of the firſt table, and ſhall appear to the court wilfully and obſtinately to continue therein after due means of conviction, every N 98 N1v 98 16511651.ſuch perſon or perſons ſhall be ſentenced to baniſhment. Narrative of the New-England Perſecution, p. 35.
Neither this, nor other ſevere penal laws made againſt ſectaries, could prevent the increaſe of the Baptiſt denomination.
After the ſettlers of New-England had exerted themſelves to ſuppreſs the Baptiſts, they exhibited ſimilar intolerant principles in their behavior to the Quakers. The firſt of this ſociety who came into Maſſachuſetts were Mary Fiſher and Anna Auſtin, who arrived from Barbados the beginning 16561656.of 1656-07July. The books, which theſe women brought over, were burnt by the hangman, and they were committed to priſon by the deputy-governor. It is aſſerted, that they gave rude and contemptuous anſwers to the queſtions put to them by the court of aſſiſtants; and this is the reaſon aſſigned, by the oppoſite party, for their impriſonment. Vol. I. p. 169. ,
On the other hand, an hiſtorian of their own denomination affirms, that the deputy-governor committed them to priſon, upon no other proof of their being Quakers, than that one of them ſaid thee to him; and that their confinement was ſo rigorous, that no perſon was permitted to converſe with them even through the window. 5-9 wordsflawed-reproduction After about five weeks confinement, one William Chicheſter, maſter of a veſſel, was bound in a bond of one hundred pounds, to carry them back to Barbados; and the jailer kept their beds and their bible for his fees.99N2r99
A few days after the departure of theſe women, eight others of the ſame profeſſion arrived at Boſton. After ſome examination, the were sentenced to baniſhment, and to be detained in priſon till they could be conveyed out of the colony. They were impriſoned about eleven weeks, the jailer being empowered to ſearch their boxes for pen, ink and paper as often as he thought proper, and take them away. When they were in priſon, a law was enacted to puniſh them, which was the firſt general law againſt the Quakers.16561656.
By this law it was enacted, that if any maſter or commander of any ſhip, bark,&c. ſhould thenceforth bring into any harbor within their juriſdiction any Quakers, he ſhould pay the ſum of one hundred pounds to the treaſurer of the county, or be impriſoned till the payment ſhould be made or ſecured. That any Quaker coming into the country, ſhould be committed to the houſe of correction, ſeverely whipped, conſtantly kept to hard labor, and debarred of all intercourſe with any perſon whatever. Vol. I. p. 347. ,
16571657.This act, and the baniſhment of the Quakers, proving inſufficient, other ſanguinary laws were enacted, as cutting off the ears, and boring the tongue with an hot iron. Through a miſtaken zeal to extirpate hereſy, theſe cruel laws were, in various inſtances, put in execution. Ibid, p. 372.
The ſeverity, with which this denomination was treated, appeared rather to invite than to deter 100 N2v 100 16571657.them from flocking to the colony. The perſecution exerciſed againſt them had a direct tendency to increaſe their numbers. People firſt compaſſionated their ſufferings, admired the fortitude with which they endured them; and, from theſe cauſes, were induced to examine and embrace their ſentiments.
16581658.Large numbers in Boſton, Salem and other places, joined this ſociety. Their rapid increaſe induced the magiſtrates to reſort to the laſt extremity, and to enact a law to baniſh them upon pain of death. Great oppoſition, however, was made to this law, and it was finally paſſed by a majority of only one perſon. Vol. I. p. 198. , New-England judged by the Spirit of the Lord.
16591659.Four Quakers were put to death in Boſton, by this unjuſt and impolitic law. They died with the utmoſt fortitude, profeſſing the ſatiſfaction and joy they felt in ſuffering for the cauſe of truth. They proteſted, in the moſt ſolemn manner, that their return from baniſhment was by divine direction, to warn the magiſtrates of their errors, and entreat them to repeal their unjuſt laws. They denounced the judgment of God upon them for ſhedding innocent blood, and foretold that others would riſe up in their room. Mary Dyer, one of the priſoners, was reprieved at the gallows by the interceſſion of her ſon, and conveyed to Rhode- Iſland. But, to use the words of Gouth, finding herſelf under a neceſſity laid on her from the requirings of the ſpirit of the Lord to go 101 N3r 101 Vol. I. p. 402. , Hiſtory of the Quakers. back to Boſton, ſhe returned and was executed. 16601660.
The colony of Plymouth copied after Maſſachuſetts in their treatment of the Quakers, but did not carry their ſeverity to ſuch an extent as to put any of them to death.
The general court of Connecticut, in 1656-10October, 1656, paſſed an act, which prohibited the towns in their juriſdiction from entertaining any Quakers, Ranters, or other heretics, or ſuffering them to continue in any town above fourteen days, upon the penalty of five pounds per week. Thoſe towns were empowered to impriſon ſuch perſons till they could conveniently be ſent out of their juriſdiction. All maſters of veſſels were forbidden to land this denomination; and after landing them, were obliged to tranſport them out of the colony, upon penalty of twenty pounds.
The court at New-Haven paſſed a ſimilar law. In 16581658, both courts made an addition to this law, increaſing the penalties, and prohibiting all converſation of the common people with any of thoſe heretics, and all perſons from giving them any entertainment upon the penalty of five pounds. The law, however, was of ſhort continuance, and nothing of importance appears to have been tranſacted upon it in either of the colonies. p. 314. ,
When the colony of Rhode-Iſland was applied to, by the four united colonies, in 16561656, to join them in taking effectual methods to ſuppreſs 102 N3v 102 the Quakers, and prevent their pernicious doctrines being ſpread in the country, the aſſembly returned for anſwer, we ſhall ſtrictly adhere to the foundation principle on which this colony was firſt ſettled. Vol. I. p. 37. ,
16611661.These unhappy diſturbances continued till the friends of the Quakers in England interpoſed, and obtained an order from King Charles II. requiring that a ſtop ſhould be put to all capital or corporeal puniſhment of his ſubjects, called Quakers. This occaſioned a repeal of the cruel laws which had been enacted againſt them. Vol. I. p. 374. ,
To us, who live in an enlightened age, where the principles of religious toleration are clearly underſtood, the conduct of the early ſettlers of New- England muſt appear truly aſtoniſhing; and we may be led to aſperſe them with unmerited cenſure. In reviewing the conduct of thoſe, who have appeared on the theatre of life before us, we ought ever to conſider the influence which the prevailing prejudices of the age, in which they lived, muſt naturally have had upon their minds. It was late before the true grounds of liberty of conſcience were known by any party of Chriſtians. The bloody perſecutions in the annals of Popery, fill the mind with horror; and we find traits of the ſame intolerant ſpirit in the conduct of the reformers. The church of England, by enforcing uniformity in religion, had driven the Puritans to ſeek an aſylum in the new world, where, after 103 N4r 103 ſuffering various hardſhips, they had eſtabliſhed a religious ſyſtem, to which they were warmly attached. Influenced by the prejudices of education, they conſidered it as a duty to ſuppreſs thoſe religious tenets, which they ſuppoſed diametrically oppoſite to Chriſtianity, and ſubverſive of the peace and happineſs of the newly eſtabliſhed colonies. The principles they had imbibed appeared to them in a light ſo important, that they took every precaution to tranſmit them pure and uncorrupted to the lateſt poſterity.
The inhabitants of New-England were not, however, diſtinguiſhed by their intolerance from other American ſettlers. Several acts of the Virginia aſſembly of 16591659, 16621662, and 16631663, had made it penal in the parents to refuſe to have their children baptiſed; had prohibited the unlawful aſſembling of Quakers; had made it penal for any maſter of a veſſel to bring a Quaker into the ſtate; had ordered thoſe already there, and ſuch as ſhould come thereafter, to be impriſoned till they ſhould abjure the country; provided a milder puniſhment for their firſt and ſecond return, but death for the third; had inhibited all perſons from ſuffering their meetings in or near their houſes, entertaining them individually, or diſpoſing of books which ſupported their tenets. If no capital puniſhment took place here as in New- England, it was not owing to the moderation of the church, or ſpirit of the legiſlature, as may be inferred from the law itſelf; but to hiſtorical circumſtances104 N4v 104 cumſtances which have not been handed down to us. Geography, Vol. I. p. 625. A review of the diſtreſſing ſcenes, which perſecution has occaſioned, both in Europe and America, ought to inſpire our minds with the moſt lively gratitude to Divine Providence, for the entire liberty of conſcience, which is at preſent enjoyed by each individual ſtate; and which conſtitutes a diſtinguiſhed excellence in the federal conſtitution. As Judge Minot obſerves, in his ingenious continuation of Hutchinſon, The intellect of men, in its progreſs in this country, firſt diſcovered the abſurdity of religious teſts, and wiped away this blot upon human reaſon, whilſt the mother country remains, in this reſpect, in her ancient abſurdity. p. 30. ,
The colonies congratulate King Charles II. on his reſtoration. Of the ſecond ſynod in New-England. Act of uniformity takes place in England. A number of Diſſenters ſeek an aſylum in the colonies. Two of the judges of Charles I. take refuge in New-Haven. Connecticut and New-Haven are united by a charter. Of the charter granted to Rhode-Iſland. Four commiſſioners ſent to New- England by the King. Perſecution of the Baptiſts revived. The diſſenting clergy in England intercede in favor of the Baptiſts and Quakers.
16611661.During the frequent changes in the government of England, for the laſt twenty years, the colonies acted with great caution and prudence. They acknowledged ſubjection to parliament, and afterwards to Cromwell, only ſo far as was neceſſary to eſcape their reſentment. After Cromwell’s death, they avoided joining with any of the prevailing parties, and waited till a permanent ſettlement could be eſtabliſhed. Upon the reſtoration of King Charles II. the general court of Maſſachuſetts diſpatched Simon Bradſtreet, Eſq. and the Rev. John Norton with a loyal addreſs of congratulation to his majeſty, in which they endeavoured to juſtify the conduct of the colony, O 106 O1v 106 16611661.and petitioned for the continuance of their civil and religious liberties. Vol. I. p. 219. ,
16621662.The reception of the agents was favorable, and they returned next autumn with the king’s anſwer to the addreſs. His majeſty confirmed the charter, and promiſed to renew it under the great ſeal. He granted pardon to all his ſubjects for treaſons committed during the late troubles, thoſe only excepted, who were attainted by act of parliament. But he required the general court to review its ordinances, and to repeal ſuch laws, as were repugnant to the royal authority. He alſo ordered, that the oath of allegiance ſhould be duly adminiſtered; that the adminiſtration of juſtice ſhould be performed in his name; that liberty ſhould be granted to all who deſired it, to perform their devotions after the manner of the church of England; that all perſons of honeſt lives and converſation ſhould be admitted to the ſacrament of the Lord’s ſupper, according to the book of common prayer, and their children to baptiſm; that in the office of governor and aſſiſtants the only influential conſideration ſhould be the wiſdom, virtue and integrity of the perſons, without any reference to their diſtinguiſhing religious tenets; that all freeholders, not vicious, and of competent eſtates, ſhould be allowed to vote in the election of officers, civil and military, though of different perſuaſions reſpecting church government; and, finally, that this letter ſhould be publiſhed. Ibid. p. 255. ,107O2r107
16621662.Many of the requiſitions contained in the king’s letter were exceedingly diſagreeable to our anceſtors. The favors obtained by the agents were depreciated, and their merits were ſoon obliterated. It was ſuppoſed that they had neglected the intereſt of their country, and made unneceſſary conceſſions. Mr. Norton was ſo much affected with this treatment, that it occaſioned a melancholy habit, which is ſuppoſed to have haſtened his death. Book III. p. 38. ,
At this ſeſſion of the general court, the only compliance with the king’s orders, except publiſhing his letter, was giving directions that all writs, proceſſes,&c. ſhould be in his majeſty’s name. A committee was afterwards appointed to conſider the propriety of conforming to the other particulars, and liberty was given to the clergy and the other inhabitants to tranſmit their opinions.
Whilst the colonies were alarmed with apprehenſions for their civil liberties, their churches were agitated by religious controverſies. Great debates aroſe among the clergy, concerning the right of the grand-children of church members to the ſacrament of baptiſm, whoſe immediate parents had not entered into the communion. This diſpute commenced in the colony of Connecticut, and ſpread with rapidity through New-England. Vol. I. p. 223. ,
In order to ſettle the controverted points, the general court in Maſſachuſetts convoked a ſynod, or general council of all the churches, to be asſembled108 O2v 108 16621662.ſembled at Boſton. The two leading queſtions referred to their deciſion were as follows:
1ſt. Who are the ſubjects of baptiſm?
2d. Whether, according to the word of God, there ought to be a conſociation of churches; and in what manner ſhould ſuch an union be formed?
In anſwer to the firſt queſtion, the majority of the ſynod agreed, that the children of good moral parents, who ſolemnly owned the covenant before the church, though not in full communion, might be admitted to baptiſm. Vol. I. p. 223. ,
However, the council were not unanimous; ſeveral learned and pious clergymen proteſted againſt the determination relative to baptiſm. The Rev. Charles Chauncey, preſident of Harvard college, Mr. Increaſe Mather, Mr. Mather, of North- Hampton, and others, were warmly in the oppoſition. Preſident Chauncey wrote a tract againſt the reſolutions reſpecting baptiſm, entitled, Anti- Synodalia. Mr. Increaſe Mather alſo wrote in oppoſition to the council. Mr. Davenport, and all the miniſters in the colony of New-Haven, and numbers in Connecticut, were againſt the reſolutions. Mr. Davenport wrote againſt them. The churches were more generally oppoſed to them than the clergy.
The general court of Connecticut took no notice of the ſynod, nor of the diſpute, but left the elders and churches at liberty to act their own ſentiments. They were attempting to form an 109 O3r 109 16621662.union with New-Haven, and as the miniſters and churches of that colony were unanimous in their oppoſition to the ſynod, they, probably, judged it impolitic, at that time, to decide any thing relative to theſe eccleſiaſtical points. Trumbull, Vol. I p.235
The churches, at this period, profeſſed to maintain communion with each other in the following particulars.
- 1ſt, In affectionate care, and fervent prayer for each other.
- 2dly, In affording reilief, by communicating their gifts in temporal and ſpiritual neceſſities.
- 3dly, In maintaining unity and peace, by mutually recounting their public actions when requeſted, in order to ſtrengthen one another in their regular adminiſtrations, in particular, by a concurrent teſtimony againſt perſons juſtly cenſured.
- 4thly, To ſeek and accept help from, and afford aſſiſtance to each other in diviſions and contentions, and in their moſt important concerns; ſuch as ordaining, inſtalling, removing and depoſing paſtors and teachers; in rectifying mal-adminiſtration, healing error and ſcandal, and deciding difficult queſtions, both doctrinal and practical.
- 5thly, In charitably noticing the errors and difficulties of another church, and, when the caſe manifeſtly requires it, to adminiſter help, even though they ſhould ſo far neglect their duty as not to ſeek aſſiſtance.
- 6thly, In admoniſhing one another when there is ſufficient cauſe, and after a due courſe of means patiently to withdraw from a church, or peccant party therein, obſtinately perſiſting in error or ſcandal.
Mather, Book V, p.75110O3v110
16621662.At this time the perſecution was renewed in England againſt the Puritans. By an act of uniformity which took place on St. Bartholomew’s day, about two thouſand clergymen were turned out of their benefices, deſtitute of the ſmalleſt proviſion for themſelves and families. Soon after they were baniſhed at five miles diſtance from every corporation in England. A number were impriſoned for exerciſing their miniſtry contrary to law; ſeveral died in confinement, and others ſought aſylum in New-England. The learned divine, Dr. John Owen, was ſhipping his effects for that country, where he was invited to be preſident of Harvard college. He was, however, prohibited from leaving England by an expreſs order from King Charles II.
Many of the clergymen who received this ignominious treatment were diſtinguiſhed by their abilities and zeal, and had labored indefatigably for his majeſty’s reſtoration. Abridgement.
Just before the reſtoration of Charles II. generals Whaley and Goffe, two of the judges of Charles I. took refuge in New-England. They were gentlemen of diſtinguiſhed abilities, and had moved in an exalted ſphere. They arrived at Boſton in 1660-07July, 1660, and came to New-Haven the following year, and retired and concealed themſelves behind Weſt Mountain, three miles from New-Haven. They ſoon after removed to Milford, where they lived concealed until 1664-10October, 1664, when 111 O4r 111 they returned to New-Haven, and immediately proceeded to Hadley, where they remained concealed for about ten years, in which time Whaley died, and Goffe ſoon after fled. In 16651665, John Dixwell, Eſq. another of the king’s judges, viſited them while at Hadley, and afterwards proceeded to New-Haven, where he lived many years, and was known by the name of John Davids. Here he died, and was interred in the public burying- place, where his grave-ſtone is ſtanding to this day.See the late Hiſtory of the Judges, and Geography, Vol. II. p. 458.
Connecticut and New-Haven had continued two diſtinct governments for many years. At length the general court of Connecticut determined to prefer an addreſs and petition to Charles II. profeſſing their ſubmiſſion and loyalty, and ſoliciting a royal charter. John Winthrop, Eſq. who had been elected governor, was appointed to negociate the affair with the king. He ſucceeded, 16621662.and obtained a charter, which conſtituted the two colonies one united commonwealth, by the name of the Governor and Company of Connecticut. New-Haven for ſome time declined the union; but 16651665.at length all difficulties were amicably ſettled. At this period, the united colonies conſiſted of eighteen towns. Vol. I. p. 24.. ,
By the royal charter every power, legiſlative, judicial and executive, was veſted in the freemen of the corporation, or their delegates, and the colony112 O4v 112 ony was under no obligation to communicate the acts of their local legiſlature to the king. The government, which they had previouſly exerciſed, was eſtabliſhed, and when the other New-England ſtates renovated their politics, the charter of Connecticut was continued as the baſis of their unchanging policy, and remains ſo to the preſent day.See an account of the Conſtitution of Connecticut, in Conſtitutions of the United States, p. 46. An account of the charter in p. 259.,
16631663.The royal charter which was granted to Rhode- Iſland and Providence Plantations the ſubſequent year, was ſimilar to that of Connecticut. They differed, however, in one reſpect; the charter of Connecticut was ſilent with regard to religion; by that of Rhode-Iſland liberty of conſcience was granted in its fulleſt extent.See Charter of Rhode Iſland.
By the charter of Rhode-Iſland, the ſupreme legiſlative power was veſted in an aſſembly, the conſtituent members of which were to conſiſt of the governor, the aſſiſtants, and ſuch of the freemen as ſhould be choſen by the people. This aſſembly was empowered to enact laws, and forms of government and magiſtracy, provided they were not repugnant to the laws of England. They were to erect ſuch courts of juſtice as they ſhould ſee fit, to determine matters within the colony. To regulate the manner of election to places of truſt, and of freemen to the aſſembly. To impoſe lawful puniſhments, and grant pardon to ſuch criminals as they ſhould think proper. p. 252. ,113P1r113
16631663.At this period an act was paſſed, declaring the privileges of the inhabitants of Rhode-Iſland. No freeman ſhall be impriſoned, judged or condemned but by the judgment of his peers or laws of the colony. And no tax ſhall be levied on any of his majeſty’s ſubjects within the plantation, or upon their eſtates, or any pretence whatever, but by the act or aſſent of the general aſſembly.Providence Court Records.
16651665.From the commencement of the reign of Charles II. the general court of Maſſachuſetts entertained alarming apprehenſions of being deprived of their privileges. Their enemies in England gave exaggerated accounts of every intereſting occurrence, and the king was prejudiced by their repreſentations. Notwithſtanding all his fair pretenſions, the world was convinced, ſoon after his reſtoration, that he deſigned to reign upon the ſame principles, which had brought his father to the ſcaffold. His intention with regard to the colonies was, to reduce them to the plan of twelve royal provinces, according to the ideas adopted by his father in 16351635, and to have a viceroy over the whole. Agreeably to this deſign he diſpatched commiſſioners this year, with authority to reduce the Dutch ſettlements on the Hudſon, to ſettle peace, and to eſtabliſh good government in the colonies. Colonel Richard Nevils, who was afterwards governor of New-York, was joined with Sir Robert Carr, George Cartwright, and Samuel Marverick in the commiſſion.P114P1v114
16651665.The authority of theſe commiſſioners was highly diſreliſhed by the colonies, who entertained a ſtrong averſion to arbitrary power. The inhabitants of New-England may emphatically be ſaid to be born free. They were ſettled originally upon the principle expreſſed at this day in all their forms of government, that all men are born free, equal and independent. p. 285. ,
When the commiſſioners arrived in Maſſachuſetts, their proceedings excited the irritability natural to a people jealous for their liberty; and they ſuppoſed the powers granted them an infringement of their charter. The general court, however, altered the law that all freemen ſhould be church members; and having reſolved to bear true allegiance to their ſovereign, and adhere to their patent, they agreed upon an addreſs to the king, p. 44. , in which they profeſſed their loyalty and ſubjection to his majeſty, deſcribed the difficulties they had encountered in ſettling the country; and appealed to Heaven that they were not actuated by intereſted motives. They aſſerted that they had done all to ſatiſfy his majeſty, that they ſuppoſed conſiſtent with their duty towards God, and the juſt liberties and privileges of their patent. They expreſſed a determined reſolution to ſtruggle for their privileges, which they declared were far dearer to them than life. They exhibited the ſame firmneſs of mind and reſolution in their conduct to the commiſſioners, who, after much 115 P2r 115 16651665.altercation, left the colony diſſatiſfied and enraged. Vol. I. p. 229, 230, 231. ,
The commiſſion was alſo exceedingly diſagreeable to the inhabitants of New-Hampſhire, at that time under the government of Maſſachuſetts. When the commiſſioners arrived in that colony, they flattered a party who were diſſatisfied with Maſſachuſetts’ government, with being freed from their juriſdiction; and prevailed on them to ſign a petition to the king for that purpoſe. But as the majority of the people exhibited a determined oppoſition to a ſeparation, the deſign proved abortive. Vol. I. p. 106, 107, 108. ,
The commiſſioners were as unſucceſsful in Connecticut as in Maſſachuſetts. They were more favorably received at Plymouth and Rhode-Iſland. They ſat as a court at Providence and Warwick, and ſpent ſome time in the colony, examining the purchaſes and titles of lands from the Indians; hearing the allegations of Gorton and his party againſt Maſſachuſetts; enquiring into the proceedings of the executive powers of the plantation, and receiving complaints from diſaffected perſons. Vol. I. p. 229. ,
When the commiſſioners arrived in New-England, the former claim under Gorges began to revive. They came into the Province of Maine, and attempted to erect a government. They appointed courts, and commiſſioned magiſtrates under the Duke of York, and in the name of the king. This kind of government continued till 116 P2v 116 the year 16681668, when ſome of the principal inhabitants, being greatly oppreſſed with the tyranny of the commiſſioners in their ſupport of Gorges’ claim, made application to the general court of Maſſachuſetts to take the country again under their protection and juriſdiction. p. 374. ,
16681668.When the commiſſioners had concluded their buſineſs, they were recalled by an order from the king. His majeſty was highly diſpleaſed with the treatment they received from the government of Maſſachuſetts. By a letter to the colony, he ordered them to ſend over four or five agents, promiſing to hear all the allegations, that could be made in their behalf, and intimating that he was far from deſiring to invade their charter. He commanded that all things ſhould remain, as the commiſſioners had ſettled them, till his further orders; and that thoſe perſons who had been impriſoned for petitioning or applying to the commiſſioners, ſhould be releaſed. Vol. I. p. 547. ,
Neither the gloomy aſpect of their civil affairs, nor their experience of the pernicious tendency of intolerant meaſures, could deter the colony of Maſſachuſetts from reviving the perſecution againſt the Baptiſts. This denomination had gathered one church at Swanſey, and another at Boſton. The general court was very ſevere in executing the penal laws, in conſequence of which many worthy characters were ruined by fines, impriſonment and baniſhment. Complaints of this 117 P3r 117 16681668.ſeverity were tranſmitted to England, which induced the diſſenting clergy in London to appear, at length, in their favor. A letter was accordingly ſent to the governor of Maſſachuſetts, ſubſcribed by Dr. Owen, Mr. Nye, Mr. Caryl, and nine other celebrated Puritan miniſters. They earneſtly requeſted, that thoſe, who were impriſoned on account of their religious tenets, might be reſtored to liberty, and that the ſevere laws might not in future be executed. This excellent letter produced no ſalutary effect. The priſoners were not releaſed, nor the execution of the penal laws ſuſpended. Vol. I. p. 373. ,
16691669.The Quakers, alſo, about this time made heavy complaints of the ſufferings of their friends in New-England. Though ſince the king’s letter in 16611661, none of the penal laws had been executed againſt them; yet the government treated their itinerant preachers as vagabonds. The chief of the London Quakers obtained a letter, ſigned by eleven of the moſt eminent diſſenting clergymen, in favor of their brethren. But intolerant principles were ſo deeply implanted in the inhabitants of New-England, that all efforts to eradicate them at this period proved ineffectual. Ibid, p. 377.
Riſe and progreſs of the war with Philip, king of the Wampanoags. The death of Philip puts a period to hoſtilities. His character. Of the war with the Eaſtern Indians. Peace ratified with all the Indian tribes. Flouriſhing ſtate of New- England. Of the third ſynod in Maſſachuſetts.
Since the conteſt with the Pequod Indians, the terror of the Engliſh arms had reſtrained the natives from hoſtilities. In the mean time, Providence had ſmiled upon the New- England ſettlements, and multiplied their churches. The ſeaſon was now arrived, in which the colonies were alarmed with the gloomy proſpect of being again involved in an Indian war.
16741674.It was the prevailing opinion of the Engliſh at this period, that Philip, ſachem of the Wampanoags, an artful and aſpiring man, partly by intrigue, and partly by example, excited his countrymen to a general combination againſt them. There is, however, a conſtant tradition among the poſterity of thoſe people, who lived near, and were familiarly converſant with him, and with thoſe of his Indians who ſurvived the war, that he was impelled to hoſtile meaſures by his young men, entirely againſt his own judgment and that of his chief counſellors. Though he had penetration119 P4r 119 16741674.tion enough to foreſee that the Engliſh would, in time, eſtabliſh themſelves, and extirpate the Indians, yet he thought making war upon them would only haſten the deſtruction of his own people. When he found it impoſſible to reſiſt any longer the importunity of his warriors, he uſed every exertion to render their enterprize effectual; eſpecially by his early endeavours to perſuade the other Indians to unite their forces againſt the colonies. It is ſaid, he diſſembled his hoſtile purpoſes, and was ready, upon every ſuſpicion of his infidelity, to renew his ſubmiſſion, and teſtify it even by the delivery of his arms, till he had ſecretly infuſed a cruel jealouſy into many of the neighbouring Indians, which excited them to attempt recovering their country by extirpating the new poſſeſſors. Vol. I. p. 129. , p. 73, 74. ,
16751675.The war was precipitated by the revenge which Philip cauſed to be taken upon John Sauſaman, a praying Indian. He had been educated in the profeſſion of the Chriſtian religion, was ſome time at college, and employed as a ſchoolmaſter at Natick. At length, upon ſome miſconduct, he fled to Philip, who made him ſecretary, chief counſellor and confidant. He remained ſeveral years with this Indian prince, till Mr. Eliot, who had been his ſpiritual father, prevailed upon him to return to the Chriſtian Indians at Natick. There he manifeſted public repentance for his apoſtacy, became a preacher, and was diſpatched 120 P4v 120 16751675.upon the Wampanoag miſſion. Having diſcovered the Indian conſpiracy, he revealed it to the Engliſh governor. Not long after, he was murdered by ſome of Philip’s counſellors, while travelling the country. An Indian, who was accidentally on a hill at ſome diſtance, ſaw the murder committed. The murderers were apprehended, and, being tried upon the Indian’s teſtimony, and other circumſtances, were convicted and executed. Vol. I. p. 285. ,
This event excited the keeneſt reſentment in King Philip, and he determined to be revenged. The Indians reſorted to him from various parts, which animated him with freſh courage, and ſtimulated him to commence hoſtilities. He firſt threatened the Engliſh at Swanſey, then killed ſome of their cattle, and at length rifled their houſes. Irritated by this inſult, one of the Engliſh diſcharged his gun, and wounded an Indian. When the governor of Plymouth received intelligence that the war was begun, he diſpatched a party for the defence of thoſe parts; and proclaimed a general faſt throughout the colony. As the inhabitants of Swanſey were returning from public worſhip, a number of Indians, who lay in ambuſcade, fired upon them, killed one of their company, and wounded another. They next intercepted and killed two men, who were ſent for a ſurgeon. The ſame night they entered the town of Swanſey, and murdered ſix men.121Q1r121
16751675.As the war was now inevitable, the governor of Plymouth demanded aſſiſtance from the confederated colonies. Maſſachuſetts detached Capt. Prentice, with a troop of horſe, and Capt. Henchman, with a company of foot. They were followed by a number of volunteers, under Capt. Moſeley. They marched to Swanſey, and joined the Plymouth forces, who were commanded by Capt. Cudworth. The Indians, who ſeldom could be induced to engage the Europeans in their own manner, ſoon retreated with precipitation; while the Engliſh took poſſeſſion of Mount Hope, and ravaged the adjacent country.
The Maſſachuſetts forces marched into the Narraganſet country, and compelled the inhabitants to renounce their alliance with King Philip, and ſign a treaty of peace and amity with the Engliſh. They engaged to exert themſelves to deſtroy Philip and his adherents, and deliver up his ſubjects, who ſhould enter their territories. Vol. I. p. 289. ,
As a reward, they were promiſed two coats for every living, and one for every dead Wampanoag, and twenty valuable coats for Philip’s head.
In the mean time Capt. Cudworth, with the Plymouth forces, was detached to deter the Pocaſſet Indians from joining with Philip; but upon his arrival, he found they had already taken an active part. Capt. Church, of Plymouth colony, who publiſhed an account of his exploits,See Hiſtory of Philip’s War. with Capt. Fuller, and two ſmall detachments, ranged Q 122 Q1v 122 16751675.the woods, in order to engage the enemy. They were overpowered by an army of twenty times their number. Capt. Fuller and his men fled to an houſe by the water ſide, which they endeavoured to defend till a ſloop from Rhode-Iſland relieved them from that dangerous ſituation. Capt. Church, with fifteen men, was ſurrounded in a peaſe-field by two hundred Indians. Notwithſtanding the inequality of numbers, he fought with invincible courage and reſolution. At length he arrived at the water ſide, and defended himſelf behind a barricado of ſtones, till he was removed in a ſloop to Rhode-Iſland, without the loſs of one of his men. When he had refreſhed his men a few days in the iſland, he paſſed over to the continent, and borrowing three files of men from the Maſſachuſetts forces, again engaged the Pocaſſet Indians, and killed thirteen or fourteen upon the ſpot. This event terrified them to ſuch a degree, that the remainder retired into the woods, and appeared no more in a body in the open country. Vol. I. p. 67. , Hiſtory of Philip’s War, p. 18, 19, 20.
The detachment, which was ſent againſt the Pocaſſets, joined the army as ſoon as the treaty with the Narraganſets was completed. At that period, information being given by ſome deſerters, that Philip and his men were in a ſwamp at Pocaſſet, it was determined to beſiege him. The Engliſh army reſolutely entered the thicket, but when they had advanced a few paces, the Indians fired upon 123 Q2r 123 16751675.them from behind the buſhes, and at one diſcharge killed five, and mortally wounded ſix or ſeven of their number. This induced them to turn their attack into a blockade, which they formed with an hundred men, hoping that famine would in that caſe oblige the Indian prince to ſurrender.
Philip had the addreſs to baffle this attempt. There was a large river, which ran by the ſide of the thicket, which a party of Engliſh, poſted on the other ſide, were to obſerve. Philip and his men, having cut down ſome rafts of timber, took advantage of a low tide, and in the night croſſed the river without being obſerved, and eſcaped into the Nipmuck country.—One hundred of his warriors, however, were made priſoners. Book VII. p. 47. ,
The Nipmuck Indians inhabited the inland parts between the ſea coaſts and Connecticut river, within the juriſdiction of the colony of Maſſachuſetts. The Engliſh had in vain endeavoured to detach them from Philip’s intereſt. After they heard of that prince’s arrival in their country, they fired upon Capt. Hutchinſon, one of the officers ſent to negociate with them. He was mortally wounded, eight of his men killed on the ſpot, and the reſt obliged precipitately to retreat. Philip, who was reinforced, purſued and drove about ſeventy of them into an houſe, where they muſt probably have been taken or burnt, had they not fortunately been relieved by Major Willard, who engaged the Indians with a ſmall party, killed eighty of them, and obliged Philip and his army to retreat. Ibid, p. 48.124Q2v124
16751675.During the remainder of the year, this bloody war ſpread over New-England. The Indians in the ſeveral colonies were rouſed to arms, and their progreſs through the country was marked with terror and deſolation. Philip and his allies conducted the war with energy, in this, and part of the following year. In 1675-09September, they burnt and deſtroyed the plantation of Deerfield. Encouraged by this ſucceſs, they ſoon after burnt thirty-two houſes at Springfield, and, had not their deſign been diſcovered, would have maſſacred all the inhabitants. They alſo laid the town of Mendon in 16761676.aſhes. On the 1676-02-1010th of February, they plundered the town of Lancaſter, burnt ſeveral houſes, and killed and captured forty-two perſons.
Soon after they did great miſchief in Marlborough, Sudbury and Chelmsford. On the 1676-02-2121ſt of February, two or three hundred Indians ſurprized Medfield, burnt half the town, and killed twenty of the inhabitants. Four days after, they burnt ſeven or eight houſes in Weymouth. In the beginning of 1676-03March they burnt the whole town of Groton. The ſame month they burnt five houſes, and killed five perſons in Northampton; ſurprized part of the town of Plymouth, and murdered two families in the night. They laid the town of Warwick in aſhes, burnt forty houſes in Rehoboth, and thirty in Providence. p. 17. ,
On the other hand, large numbers of Indians were deſtroyed by the coloniſts. Particularly in 125 Q3r 125 16751675, when Philip and his army retreated into the Narraganſet country, the Engliſh purſued them, and attacked a fort, which the Indians deemed impregnable. The fort was burnt down, and the fortifications levelled; ſeven hundred Indian warriors periſhed in the action, among whom were above twenty of their chief captains. There were alſo three hundred who died of their wounds, beſides a vaſt number of defenceleſs old men, women and children, who had repaired to the fort for refuge. The English had ſix captains and eighty-five men killed; and an hundred and fifty men wounded. Book VII. p. 50. , Modern Univerſal History, Vol. XIX. p. 305.
In 16761676, the affairs of the coloniſts were a leſs gloomy aſpect. In 1676-05May and 1675-06June, the Indians appeared in arms in various parts of the country, but their energy abated, and their diſtreſſes for want of proviſions increaſed. At the ſame period a war with the Mohawks deranged all their meaſures. It is reported, that after Philip had in vain urged every motive to induce this nation to commence hoſtilities with the colonies, he killed a party of their men, and informed their prince, that the Engliſh had invaded his lands, and were murdering his ſubjects. He expected by this artifice to irritate them againſt the colonies; but one of the Indians, who was left for dead, revived, and eſcaped to his countrymen, and informed them of the truth. This event exaſperated them to the higheſt degree againſt Philip, and ſtimulated them 126 Q3v 126 16761676.to revenge. They immediately formed an alliance with the Engliſh, which was of eſſential ſervice to their affairs.
After this event the arms of the Connecticut, Maſſachuſetts and Plymouth forces, were, in various inſtances, crowned with ſucceſs. No commander performed greater exploits in this war, than Capt. Church, of Plymouth colony. But Philip was the ſoul of the Indian confederacy. Upon his life or death war or peace depended. The colonies received intelligence, that, after a year’s abſence, he had returned to Mount Hope, and that large numbers of Indians were repairing to him, with intent to aſſault the neighboring towns. Maſſachuſetts and Plymouth ordered their forces to purſue Philip. The former returned to Boſton, without accompliſhing the moſt important purpoſe of their expedition; but they had killed and captured an hundred and fifty men, and the Indians were ſo diſpirited, that they were continually arriving and ſurrendering themſelves, upon promiſe of mercy. Philip was at this time in an extremely melancholy ſituation. He was obliged to flee for ſafety from one ſwamp to another. He had loſt his chief counſellors, his uncle and ſiſter, and, at length, his wife and ſon were taken priſoners. One of his allies, the queen of Pocaſſet, on being ſurprized by the Engliſh, magnanimouſly animated her men to hold out to the laſt extremity; but they meanly deſerted her, and ſhe was drowned in endeavouring to eſcape. . .127Q4r127
16761676.Soon after this event, Philip himſelf was betrayed by one of his friends and counſellors, whom he had exaſperated by killing an Indian, who preſumed to mention to him an expedient for making peace with the colonies. He effected his eſcape to Rhode-Iſland, and diſcovered where Philip was concealed, and the means by which he might be ſurprized. Capt. Church, on receiving this intelligence, went with a ſmall party, and found him in a ſwamp near Mount Hope. He attempted in vain to eſcape; one of his men whom he had offended, and who had deſerted to the Engliſh, ſhot him through the heart. p. 71. ,
Thus died Philip, ſachem of the Wampanoags, an implacable enemy to the Engliſh nation. He has been repreſented as a bold and daring prince, having all the pride, fierceneſs and cruelty of a ſavage in his diſpoſition, with a mixture of deep cunning and deſign. . But that undaunted courage, energy of mind, and love of country which adorned his character, and which have immortalized monarchs in the civilized world, have been little celebrated in this Indian prince; and we have been led to contemplate only his vices, which, deſtitute of the colorings of poliſhed life, appear in their native deformity.
About the ſame period in which Philip began hoſtilities in Plymouth colony, the eaſtern Indians were inſulting the inhabitants of New-Hampſhire and the Province of Maine. The fraudulent 128 Q4v 128 16751675.methods of trading with the natives, and ſome other injuries, were alledged as the grounds of this war. The Indians for ſome time diſſembled their reſentment, but the inſurrection at Plymouth inſpired them with courage, and they ſpread diſtreſs and deſolation in their extenſive ravages. To deſcribe the effects of the war in the words of an elegant author, All the plantations at Piſcataqua, with the whole eaſtern country, were now filled with fear and confuſion; buſineſs was ſuſpended, and every man was obliged to provide for his own and his family’s ſafety. The only way was to deſert their habitations, and retire together within the larger and more convenient houſes, which they fortified with a timber wall and flankarts, placing a ſentry-box on the roof. Thus the labor of the field was exchanged for the duty of the garriſon, and they, who had long lived in peace and ſecurity, were upon their guard night and day, ſubject to continual alarms, and the moſt fearful apprehenſions. Vol. I. p. 137. ,
The narrow limits of this work will not admit of giving particular accounts of the Indian wars. The autumn of this year was ſpent in ſmall but irritating aſſaults and ſkirmiſhes, till the end of 1675-11November, when the number of people killed and taken from Kennebec and Piſcataqua amounted to upwards of fifty.
16761676.The ſubſequent winter, the ſeverity of the ſeaſon, and the ſcarcity of their proviſions, reduced 129 R1r 129 16761676.the Indians to the neceſſity of ſuing for peace. By the mediation of Major Waldron, to whom they applied, a peace was concluded with the whole body of eaſtern Indians, which continued till the next 1677-08Auguſt.
The renewal of hoſtilities, induced the Maſſachuſetts government to ſend a body of troops to the eaſtward in the beginning of autumn. They ſurprized four hundred Indians, at the houſe of Major Waldron, with whom they had made the peace, and whom they conſidered as their friend and father. They were ſeized and diſarmed without the loſs of a man on either ſide. A ſeparation was made, and thoſe Indians who had previouſly joined in concluding a peace were peaceably diſmiſſed. Two hundred of thoſe who had fled from the ſouthward, and taken refuge among them, were made priſoners; and being ſent to Boſton, ſeven or eight of them, who were known to have killed ſeveral Engliſhmen, were condemned and executed; the reſt were tranſported and ſold for ſlaves in foreign parts. Vol. I. p. 143. ,
16771677.The war was continued the remainder of this, and the ſubſequent year; in which period the Indians ravaged the country, and greatly reduced the eaſtern ſettlements. Ibid, p. 154—156.
16781678.In the ſpring of this year, commiſſioners were appointed to ſettle a formal treaty of peace with the Indian chiefs, which was done at Cafco, whither they had brought the remainder of the captives.R 130 R1v 130 16781678.tives. It was ſtipulated in the treaty, that the inhabitants ſhould return to their deſerted ſettlements, on condition of paying one peck of corn, annually, for each family, by way of acknowledgment to the Indians for the poſſeſſion of their lands, and one buſhel to Major Pendleton, who was a great proprietor. Thus an end was put to a tedious and diſtreſſing war, which had ſubſiſted three years. Vol. I. p. 158. ,
After the ratification of peace, commerce began to flouriſh, and the population of the country rapidly increaſed. Several new towns were ſettled in New-Hampſhire and the Province of Maine. Rhode-Iſland alſo greatly increaſed, and the townſhips of Kingſtown,16741674. Eaſt-Greenwich16771677. and Jameſtown, 16781678. were incorporated in that colony.Providence Colony Records.
16771677.Whilst the New-England forces were in the field, the churches frequently obſerved days of faſting and prayer, for the ſucceſs of their arms. After peace was eſtabliſhed, a licentiouſneſs of manners prevailed, which was highly alarming to ſerious and devout people. The general court of Maſſachuſetts convened a ſynod to examine the ſtate of religion, and prevent the increaſe of profaneneſs and impiety. The ſynod agreed, that there was a general decay of piety, and a prevalence of pride, intemperance, profaneneſs and other vices. They adviſed, that in order to promote a reformation, the clergy ſhould be exhorted to bear the ſtrongeſt teſtimony againſt the vices 131 R2r 131 16771677.of the age, in their public diſcourſes, and that the magiſtrates ſhould be vigilant in putting the laws in execution. Book. V. p. 85—91. ,
In the ſame ſynod the platform of church diſcipline, prepared in the year 16581658, was recognized and confirmed by the following vote. A ſynod of the churches of the colony of Maſſachuſetts being called to meet at Boſton, 1679-09September, 1679, having read and conſidered a platform of church diſcipline agreed upon by the ſynod aſſembled at Cambridge, 16581658, do unanimouſly approve of the ſame platform as to the ſubſtance of it, deſiring that the churches may continue ſtedfaſt in the order of the goſpel, according to what is therein declared from the word of God. Reſult of the Maſſachuſetts Synod, p. 6.
This year, the agents of Maſſachuſetts being in England, the general court preſented ſeveral addreſſes to the king, and made ſeveral laws to remove ſome of the exceptions which were taken againſt them by the Britiſh government.
The government of New-Hampſhire ſeparated from Maſſachuſetts, and made a royal province. Of Cranfield’s oppreſſive government. The colonies are deprived of their charters. Colonel Dudley appointed preſident of New-England. He is ſuperſeded by Sir Edmund Andros, who is appointed governor. His arbitrary proceedings. The revolution in England puts a period to the oppreſſion of the colonies.
Whilst the Indian tribes were endeavouring to extirpate the Engliſh, enemies of another kind were uſing every effort to deprive them of their privileges, by artful and exaggerated accounts of their conduct to the government of England.
16791679.New-Hampſhire had long ſubſiſted under the government of Maſſachuſetts, and the union was, in general, ſatiſfactory to both colonies. This year a ſeparation took place, by means of one Mr. Maſon, who claimed a right to the country, from his grandfather, Capt. John Maſon, who had obtained grants of New-Hampſhire from the council of New-England. Maſon was aſſiſted in his claim by Edward Randolph, his kinſman, a man of great addreſs and penetration, who was reſolute and indefatigable in buſineſs. This gentleman, by ſevere invectives, inflamed the prejudices which had 133 R3r 133 16791679.been conceived in England againſt the colony; and though agents were diſpatched to obviate the effects of his miſrepreſentations, yet his artful and malevolent attempts were crowned with ſucceſs. Vol. I. p. 165—168. ,
On the 1679-09-1818th of September, a commiſſion paſſed the great ſeal for the government of New-Hampſhire, which ſeparated this colony from the juriſdiction of Maſſachuſetts. A preſident and council were appointed by the king for the government of the province. The ſaid preſident and every ſucceeding one to appoint a deputy to preſide in his abſence; the preſident or his deputy, with any five, to be a quorum. They were to meet at Portſmouth in twenty days after the arrival of the commiſſion, and publiſh it. They were conſtituted a court of record for the adminiſtration of juſtice, according to the laws of England, ſo far as circumſtances would permit; reſerving a right of appeal to the king in council for actions of fifty pounds value. They were empowered to appoint military officers, and take all needful meaſures for defence againſt enemies. Liberty of conſcience was allowed to all Proteſtants, thoſe of the church of England to be particularly encouraged. For the ſupport of government they were to continue the preſent taxes, till an aſſembly could be convoked, to which end they were, within three months, to iſſue writs under the province ſeal, for calling an aſſembly, to whom the preſident ſhould recommend paſſing ſuch laws as ſhould eſtabliſh134 R3v 134 16791679.tabliſh their allegiance, order and defence, and raiſing taxes in ſuch a manner as they ſhould ſee fit. All laws to be approved by the preſident and council, and to remain in force till the king’s pleaſure ſhould be known, for which purpoſe they ſhould be tranſmitted to England by the firſt ſhips. In caſe of the preſident’s death, his deputy to ſucceed, and on the death of a counſellor, the remainder to elect another, and ſend over his name, with the names of two other ſuitable perſons, that the king might appoint one of the three. The king engaged, for himſelf and ſucceſſors, to continue the privilege of an aſſembly, in the ſame manner and form, unleſs by inconveniences ariſing therefrom, he or his heirs ſhould think proper to make an alteration. Vol. I. p. 170—172. ,
The ingenious author of the Hiſtory of New- Hampſhire obſerves, that the form of government deſcribed in this commiſſion, conſidered abſtractedly from the immediate intentions, characters, and connexions of the perſons concerned, appears to be of as ſimple a kind as the nature of a ſubordinate government and the liberty of the ſubject can admit. The people, who are the natural and original ſource of power, had a repreſentation in a body choſen by themſelves; and the king was repreſented by a preſident and council of his own appointment; each had the right of inſtructing their repreſentatives, and the king had the ſuperior prerogative of diſannulling the acts of 135 R4r 135 16791679.the whole at his pleaſure. The principal blemiſh in the commiſſion was the right claimed by the king of diſcontinuing the repreſentation of the people, whenever he ſhould find it inconvenient, after he had ſolemnly engaged to continue this privilege.
16801680.The commiſſion was brought to Portſmouth on the 1680-01-011ſt of January, by Edward Randolph, whoſe known enmity to the privileges of the people rendered him a moſt unwelcome meſſenger. In order to conciliate the minds of the people to this government, the king nominated for the firſt council gentlemen of the moſt diſtinguiſhed characters, who had ſuſtained the principal offices, civil and military, under the colonial government. Theſe gentlemen received the commiſſion with great reluctance; but the unavoidable neceſſity of ſubmitting to changes, and the apprehenſion that upon their refuſal to accept the appointment, others would be ſubſtituted who were inimical to their country, induced them to qualify themſelves to act in their new capacity. Vol. I. p. 176. ,
This change of government gratified the diſcontented few, but was greatly diſreliſhed by the people in general, as they ſaw themſelves deprived of the privilege of chuſing their own rulers, which was ſtill enjoyed by the other colonies of New- England, and as they expected an invaſion of their property ſoon to follow.
A general aſſembly was convoked in 1680-02February, who at their firſt meeting, on the 1680-03-1616th of 136 R4v 136 16801680.March, wrote to the general court at Boſton, gratefully acknowledging their obligations to Maſſachuſetts, and their entire ſatiſfaction in their paſt connexion, aſſerting, that ſubmiſſion to Divine Providence, and his majeſty’s commands, alone induced them to comply with the preſent ſeparation, and deſiring that a mutual correſpondence might be ſettled.
Their next care was to frame a code of laws, of which the firſt, conceived in the ſtyle becoming freemen, was, That no act, impoſition, law or ordinance, ſhould be made or impoſed upon them, but ſuch as ſhould be made by the aſſembly, and approved by the preſident and council. Vol. I. p. 177. ,
During this adminiſtration, affairs were conducted as nearly as poſſible in the ſame manner as before the ſeparation. The people kept a jealous watch over their privileges, and every encroachment was withſtood to the utmoſt. Hence the arbitrary proceedings of Randolph, who was appointed collector, ſurveyor and ſearcher of the cuſtoms throughout New-England, excited univerſal diſtruſt. Ibid, p. 181.
16821682.After Maſon was convinced that the new government would not be adminiſtered in a manner favorable to his views, on his return to England, he made it his buſineſs to ſolicit a change. He ſucceeded, and Edward Cranfield, Eſq. was appointed lieutenant-governor and commander in chief of New-Hampſhire.137S1r137
16801680.In this commiſſion, which bears date the 1680-05-099th of May, the governor was empowered to call, adjourn, prorogue and diſſolve general courts; to have a negative voice in all acts of government; to ſuſpend any of the council, when he ſhould ſee juſt cauſe; (and every counſellor ſo ſuſpended was declared incapable of being elected into the general aſſembly;) to appoint a deputy-governor, judges, juſtices, and other officers, by his ſole authority, and to execute the powers of vice-admiral.
Cranfield arrived and publiſhed his commiſſion on the 1680-10-044th of October. He ſoon exhibited his arbitrary principles, by removing ſeveral influential popular characters from the council, and appointed ſuch as he could render ſubſervient to his purpoſes.
16821682.After this, he convoked an aſſembly, and diſſolved them upon their refuſing to accede to his meaſures. Some time after, he called another aſſembly, and diſſolved them in the ſame manner. He with his council aſſumed the whole legiſlative power. He even ventured to tax the people without their conſent. Thoſe, who oppoſed his arbitrary government, were impriſoned, and treated with rigorous ſeverity. Vol. I. p. 193—197. ,
16841684.After Cranfield had infringed upon the civil rights of the people, he determined to ſuppreſs their eccleſiaſtical privileges. He had attempted to impoſe the 1684-01-1313th of January as a faſt, and reſtrain them from manual labor at Chriſtmas; but S 138 S1v 138 16841684.his capital ſtroke was to iſſue an order in council, that after the 1684-01-011st of January, the clergy ſhould admit all perſons of ſuitable years, and not vicious, to the Lord’s ſupper, and their children to baptiſm; and that if any perſon ſhould deſire baptiſm or the other ſacrament to be adminiſtered according to the liturgy of the church of England, it ſhould be done, in purſuance of the king’s command to the colony of Maſſachuſetts; and any miniſter refuſing ſo to do, ſhould ſuffer the penalty of the ſtatutes of non-conformity.
Mr. Moody, miniſter of Portſmouth, was marked out by the governor, as an object of peculiar vengeance. He had for ſome time rendered himſelf obnoxious by the freedom and plainneſs of his pulpit diſcourſes, and his ſtrictneſs in adminiſtering the diſcipline of the church.
An inſtance of church diſcipline, by which Mr. Moody irritated Cranfield in the higheſt degree, is thus related by Dr. Belknap. Randolph having ſeized a veſſel, ſhe was in the night carried out of the harbor. The owner, who was a member of the church, ſwore that he knew nothing of it; but upon trial, there appeared ſtrong ſuſpicion that he had perjured himſelf. He found means to make up the matter with the governor and collector; but Moody, being concerned for the purity of his church, requeſted of the governor copies of the evidence, that the offender might be called to account in the way of eccleſiaſtical diſcipline. Cranfield ſternly refuſed, ſaying, that 139 S2r 139 16841684.he himſelf had forgiven him, and that neither the church nor miniſter ſhould meddle with him; and even threatened Moody in caſe he ſhould. Not intimidated, Moody conſulted the church, and preached a ſermon againſt falſe ſwearing. Then the offender, being called to account, was cenſured, and, at length, brought to a public confeſſion. Vol. I. p. 205. ,
The act, which had lately paſſed, afforded Cranfield an opportunity to gratify his reſentment. He ſignified to Mr. Moody, that himſelf, with Maſon and Hinckes, intended to partake of the Lord’s ſupper the next Sunday; requiring him to adminiſter it to them according to the liturgy. Agreeably to their expectation, he refuſed a compliance. Mr. Moody was then proſecuted, and impriſoned for thirteen weeks. At length he obtained a releaſe, though under a ſtrict charge to preach no more within the province, upon penalty of farther impriſonment. He then accepted an invitation from the firſt church in Boſton, where he was highly eſteemed, and continued till 16921692. Upon a change of government, he returned to his charge in Portſmouth, where he ſpent the remainder of his days in uſefulneſs, love and peace. Ibid, p. 209.
16851685.At length, the governor, being diſappointed in his plans of enriching himſelf, and fearing the iſſue of the people’s remonſtrances to the court of Great-Britain, privately embarked for Jamaica, and thence to England, where he obtained the collectorſhip of Barbados. Barefoote, the deputy- governor, ſucceeded at his departure.140S2v140
New-Hampshire was not the only colony which felt the oppreſſion of arbitrary power. The people of Maſſachuſetts had long been viewed with a jealous eye. Though the king had repeatedly aſſured them of his protection, and ſolemnly confirmed their charter privileges, yet their ſpirit and principles were ſo totally diſſonant to the corrupt views of the court, that intriguing men found eaſy acceſs to the royal ear, with complaints againſt them. Of theſe, the moſt inveterate and indefatigable was Randolph, who made no leſs than eight voyages in nine years acroſs the Atlantic, on this miſchievous buſineſs. They were accuſed of extending their juriſdiction beyond the bounds of their patent; of invading the prerogative by coining money; of not allowing appeals to the king from their courts, and of obſtructing the execution of the navigation and trade laws. By the king’s command agents were ſent over, to anſwer theſe complaints. They found the prejudice againſt the colony ſo ſtrong, that it was in vain to withſtand it; and ſolicited inſtructions whether to ſubmit to the king’s pleaſure, or reſiſt his arbitrary deſigns. After a ſolemn conſultation, the laſt meaſure was determined upon, and the agents quitted England. Vol. I. p. 229. , Collec. of Papers, p. 377.
16831683.Soon after a writ of quo warranto was iſſued againſt the colony, which Randolph conveyed across the Atlantic. When arrived in Boſton, the general court once more conſidered the critical ſituation141 S3r 141 16831683.uation of affairs. The governor and majority of the aſſiſtants, actuated by the caution of age, reſolved to ſubmit to the royal pleaſure, and prepared an addreſs for that purpoſe. The repreſentatives, animated by the principles natural to a republican body, refuſed their aſſent. p. 414. ,
16841684.This year a writ of ſeire facias was preſented in the court of chancery againſt the governor and company, and judgment given that the charter ſhould be annihilated. Vol. I. p. 339. ,
Judge Minot, in his ingenious continuation of Hutchinſon’s Hiſtory, obſerves on this occaſion, thus fell the good old charter, valuable for its defects ſo happily ſupplied, as well as its powers. But with it fell not the habits it had engendered, nor the principles which the ſettlement of the country had inſpired. Theſe were for a time ſlightly hidden in its fall, but ſoon ſprung up again more deeply rooted, and renovated with perennial ſtrength; nor have they ceaſed to flouriſh till, in their turn, they have overrun, and probably forever buried, every germ of deſpotiſm and royal authority, in this republican ſoil. Continuation of Hutchinſon, p. 52.
The other colonies, though leſs obnoxious, 16851685.ſhared the ſame fate. This year, a writ of quo warranto was iſſued againſt the colony of Rhode- Iſland, which was brought in 1686-06-26June 26, 1686. The aſſembly determined not to ſtand ſuit. Their reaſons were, their poverty and inability to bear the expence of ſuch a lawſuit in England; and 142 S3v 142 16851685.the example of thoſe corporations in England, which had ſurrendered their charters. p. 47. ,
In 1685-07July a quo warranto was iſſued againſt the governor and company of Connecticut. The ſubſequent year two writs were ſerved by Mr. Randolph, and after them a third in 1685-12December. 16861686.The colony received an offer of being annexed to Maſſachuſetts or New-York. In return, they humbly petitioned his majeſty for the continuance of their chartered rights; but if this could not be obtained, they expreſſed a preference to being annexed to Maſſachuſetts. This ſubmiſſive language, (which, contrary to their intentions, was conſtrued into a ſurrender of their charter) probably prevented the quo warranto’s being proſecuted with effect. Vol. I. p. 390. ,
King Charles II. died ſoon after the colony of Maſſachuſetts was deprived of its charter. Upon the acceſſion of James II. Col. Joſeph Dudley, a native of the colony, was promoted, becauſe while agent, he had favored the views of the court. He was appointed preſident of New-England, and new counſellors were nominated by the king. Their juriſdiction extended over Maſſachuſetts, New-Hampſhire, Maine, and the Narraganſet or King’s country. No houſe of repreſentatives was mentioned in this commiſſion. Dudley was received with leſs reluctance, from the general apprehenſion of Col. Kirk, as governor, who had been appointed previouſly to the death of Charles, 143 S4r 143 16861686.and from whom they expected ſomething ſimilar to the tragedy he had been acting in the weſt of England. Vol. I. p. 241. ,
The people ſuffered little from the loſs of their privileges, during Col. Dudley’s ſhort adminiſtration. Their courts of juſtice were continued upon their former plan. Trials were by juries as uſual. In general, the former laws and eſtabliſhed cuſtoms were obſerved, though the government which formed them was diſſolved. The intention of theſe proceedings was, to conciliate the minds of the people to the long meditated introduction of a governor-general. Ibid, p. 242.
After Col. Dudley had enjoyed his new honors eight or nine months, Sir Edmund Andros, who had been governor of New-York, arrived in Boſton, with a large commiſſion, appointing him captain general and governor in chief of Maſſachuſetts, Plymouth, Rhode-Iſland, Connecticut, &c. The governor, with four of his council, were empowered to grant lands on ſuch terms, and ſubject to ſuch quit-rents as ſhould be appointed by the king.
Sir Edmund Andros began his adminiſtration with high profeſſions of regard for the public welfate. He ſoon, however, exhibited his arbitrary character, and enriched himſelf and his followers by the moſt daring violations of the rights of the people. Thoſe of his council, who were backward in aiding his rapacious intentions, were neglected. 144 S4v 144 Seven being ſufficient for a full board, he ſelected ſuch only as were devoted to him, and would concur with whatever he propoſed. Vol. I. p. 282. ,
16871687.The aſſembly of Connecticut met as uſual in 1687-10October, and the government continued according to charter till the laſt of the month. About this time Sir Edmund Andros, with this ſuit, and more than ſixty regular troops, came to Hartford, where the aſſembly were ſitting, demanded the charter, and declared the government under it to be diſſolved. The aſſembly were extremely unwilling to ſurrender the charter, and found expedients to protract the time for bringing it forth. The tradition is, that governor Treat ſtrongly repreſented the great expence and hardſhips of the coloniſts in planting the country; the blood and treaſure which they had expended in defending it; the difficulties and dangers he himſelf had been expoſed to for that purpoſe; and that it was like giving up his life to ſurrender the patent and privileges ſo dearly purchaſed, and long enjoyed. The important affair was debated and kept in ſuſpence till the evening, when the charter was brought and laid upon the table, where the aſſembly were ſitting. By this time great numbers of people were aſſembled, and men ſufficiently bold to execute whatever might be neceſſary or expedient. The lights were inſtantly extinguiſhed, and one Capt. Wadſworth, of Hartford, in the moſt ſilent and ſecret manner, carried off the charter, and 145 T1r 145 16871687.ſecreted it in a large hollow tree, fronting the houſe of the hon. Samuel Wyllis, then one of the magiſtrates of the colony. The people appeared peaceable and orderly. The candles were officiouſly relighted, but the patent was gone, and no diſcovery could be made of it, or of the perſon who had conveyed it away.
Sir Edmund, however, aſſumed the government, and appointed officers, civil and military, through the colony, according to his pleaſure. Vol. I. p. 390. ,
16881688.Numerous were the oppreſſions which the country ſuffered, during Andros’ government. The preſs was reſtrained; liberty of conſcience infringed; exorbitant fees and taxes were demanded, without the voice or conſent of the people, who had no privilege of repreſentation. Thoſe who refuſed to aſſiſt, in collecting illegal taxes, were threatened and impriſoned. The charter being vacated, it was pretended, that all titles to land were annulled. Landholders were obliged to take out patents for their eſtates, which they had poſſeſſed forty or fifty years; and for theſe patents extravagant fees were extorted, and thoſe who would not ſubmit to this impoſition, had writs of intruſion brought againſt them, and their lands patented to others. To deter the people from conſulting about the redreſs of their grievances, town-meetings were prohibited, except one in the month of May, for the choice of town-officers. The people were told by the judges in open T 146 T1v 146 16881688.court, that they had no more privileges left them, than not to be ſold for ſlaves; and that the benefit of the laws of England did not follow them to the end of the earth. To prevent complaints being tranſmitted to England, no perſon was permitted to go out of the country, without expreſs leave from the governor. But, notwithſtanding all the vigilance of the governor, his emiſſaries and guards, the reſolute and indefatigable Dr. Increaſe Mather, miniſter of the ſecond church in Boſton, and preſident of the college, ſailed to England with complaints in the name of the people, againſt the governor, which he delivered with his own hand to the king; but finding no hope of redreſs, he waited the event of the revolution, which was then expected. Vol. I. p. 234. Revolution in New-England juſtified. ,
16891689.The country ſuffered under the oppreſſive government of Sir Edmund Andros about three years. At length, the report of the prince of Orange’s expedition into England reached Boſton, and diffuſed univerſal joy. The governor took every precaution to conceal the change of affairs from the people. He impriſoned the man who brought a copy of the prince’s declaration, and publiſhed a proclamation, commanding all perſons to be prepared to oppoſe any invaſion from Holland. The former magiſtrates and influential characters ſecretly wiſhed , and fervently prayed for the ſucceſs of the glorious undertaking, and determined quietly to wait the event. The body of the people, however,147 T2r 147 16891689.ever, were too impatient to be reſtrained by prudential conſiderations. A rumor was ſpread of an intended maſſacre in Boſton, by the governor’s guards, which exaſperated them in the higheſt degree. On the morning of the 1689-04-1818th of April, the town was in arms, and the country flocking in to their aſſiſtance. Andros and a number of his accomplices, who had fled for refuge to a fort, were obliged to ſurrender, and were impriſoned till they could be conveyed to England, to be diſpoſed of according to the king’s pleaſure. Vol. I. p. 373, 374. , Modern Univerſal Hiſtory, Vol. XX. p. 314 Under pretence of the charges exhibited againſt them before the king and council not being ſigned by the colonial agents, both parties were diſmiſſed, and this tyrant of New-England was afterwards appointed governor of Virginia. p. 55 ,
The gentlemen who had been magiſtrates under the charter, with Bradſtreet, the late governor, at their head, affirmed the name of the council of ſafety, and kept up a form of government, in the exigency of affairs, till orders arrived from England.
The revolution at Boſton, though extremely pleaſing to the people of New-Hampſhire, left them in an unſettled ſtate. After waiting in vain for orders from England, they choſe deputies, in order to reſolve upon ſome method of government. They, at length, concluded to return to their ancient union with Maſſachuſetts. Vol. I. p. 238. ,148T2v148
16891689.This union, however, was of ſhort continuance. In 16921692, Samuel Allein, a London merchant, obtained a commiſſion for the government of New-Hampſhire; and John Uſher, his ſon-in- law, was appointed lieutenant-governor. Mr. Allein had, previouſly, purchaſed of Maſon’s heirs a title to the New-Hampſhire lands. This event produced new controverſies, concerning the property of the lands, which embroiled the province ſeveral years.See a particular account of theſe controverſies in Hiſtory of New-Hampſhire.
The intelligence of King William and Queen Mary’s acceſſion to the throne, occaſioned great rejoicing in New-England. The people entertained ſanguine expectations, that under their government, they ſhould obtain the reſtoration of their former invaluable privileges.
Of the war with the eaſtern Indians. Treaty concluded with them at fort Pemaquid. The New- England agents ſolicit the reſtoration of their charter. A new charter is granted. Connecticut and Rhode-Iſland reſume their former charters. The king compliments the agents with the nomination of their governor. They elect Sir William Phips. Thankſgiving appointed after his arrival in Boſton.
Previously to the revolution in government, which was related in the foregoing chapter, a freſh Indian war broke out in the frontiers of New-England, in 16881688. As a pretence for commencing hoſtilities, the Indians charged the Engliſh with neglecting to pay the tribute of corn, which had been ſtipulated by the treaty of 16781678; with obſtructing the fiſh in Saco river with ſeines; with defrauding them in trade, and with granting their lands without their conſent. Vol. I. p. 242. ,
The French uſed every effort to inflame their reſentment, in order to revenge the recent injuries they had received from the Engliſh.
By the treaty of Breda, the territory from Penobſcot to Nova-Scotia was ceded to the French, in exchange for the iſland of St. Chriſtophers. On 150 T3v 150 theſe lands the baron de St. Caſtine had long reſided, as an influential ſachem among the Indians, with whom he was intimately connected. The grant which had been made to the duke of York, who at the time of the above mentioned treaty was called James II. comprehended all the land between Kennebec and St. Croix. Collections, p. 546.
16881688.Upon a diſpute ariſing reſpecting the landing of a cargo of wine, which the owners ſuppoſed to be landed within the French government, a new line was run, which took Caſtine’s plantation into the duke’s territory. Upon this pretext, Sir Edmund Andros went in the Roſe frigate, and plundered Caſtine’s houſe and fort of all his goods and implements of war. This inſult provoked the French ſachem to uſe all his influence with the Indians to excite them to ravage the frontiers of New-England. p. 258. ,
The firſt acts of hoſtility commenced at North- Yarmouth, by killing cattle, and threatening the people. Juſtice Blackman ordered ſixteen of the Indians to be ſeized, and kept under guard at Falmouth; but others continued robbing and captivating the inhabitants. Upon this, Andros, finding milder meaſures ineffectual, meant to intimidate them with an army of ſeven hundred men, which he led into the eaſtern country in the month of 1688-11November. The rigor of the ſeaſon proved fatal to ſome of his troops, but he never ſaw an Indian in his whole march, the enemy remaining quiet during the winter.151T4r151
16891689.After the revolution, the gentlemen who aſſumed the government took ſome precaution to prevent the renewal of hoſtilities. They ſent meſſengers and preſents to ſeveral tribes of Indians, who anſwered them with fair promiſes; but their prejudices againſt the Engliſh were too inveterate to be allayed by theſe meaſures. Vol. I. p. 244. ,
Thirteen years had almoſt elapſed ſince the ſeizure of the four hundred Indians at Cocheco, by Major Waldron, during which time they had cheriſhed an inextinguiſhable thirſt for revenge. Some of thoſe Indians, who were then ſeized and ſold into ſlavery abroad, had found their way home, and could not reſt till they had gratified their reſentment.
A confederacy, for this purpoſe, was formed between ſeveral Indian tribes; and it was determined to ſurprize the Major and his neighbors, among whom they had all this time been peaceably converſant. Ibid, p. 245.
There were five garriſoned houſes in the town of Dover. That in which Major Waldron was lodged was ſurprized by the treachery of Meſandoit, a ſagamore, whom he had that night entertained in a friendly manner at his houſe. During the night the Indians lay in ambuſh in the neighboring woods. When all was quiet the gates were opened, and the ſignal given. They entered, ſurprized the ſecure garriſon, and barbarouſly murdered the Major. Twenty-three people were 152 T4v 152 16891689.killed in this ſurprizal, and twenty-nine were captured; five or ſix houſes, with their mills, were burned, and before the people could be collected from the other parts of the town to oppoſe them, they fled with their priſoners and plunder. The majority of the priſoners were carried to Canada, and ſold to the French. Vol. I. p. 245. ,
The neceſſity of rigorous meaſures, impelled the colonies to raiſe forces to check the depredations of their ſavage enemies. The Maſſachuſetts and Plymouth forces proceeded to the eaſtward, ſettled garriſons at convenient places, and had ſome ſkirmiſhes with the natives at Caſco- Bay and Blue-Point. The Indians did much miſchief by their flying parties, but no important actions were performed on either ſide during the remainder of the year.
16901690.The greateſt danger was at this time apprehended from encouragement given to the Indians by the French, which nation was then at war with England. The inhabitants of New-England were thence induced to plan an enterprize againſt Canada, where the French had formed extenſive ſettlements. They exerted themſelves to the utmoſt, and equipped an armament in ſome degree equal to the ſervice. Ibid, p. 248.
The command of the forces employed in this expedition was committed to Sir William Phips. Unavoidable accidents retarded the arrival of the fleet at Quebec till the ſeaſon was too far advanced153 U1r 153 16901690.ed to proſecute their deſigns. The troops were ſickly and diſcouraged, and, after ſome ineffectual parade, the enterprize was abandoned. Vol. I. p. 400, 401. ,
The inhabitants of New-England were greatly diſpirited by this diſappointment. The equipment of the fleet and army had occaſioned a great expence, which they were little able to ſupport; and a thouſand men periſhed in the expedition. In this melancholy ſtate of the country, it was an happy circumſtance that the Indians voluntarily came in with a flag of truce, and deſired a ceſſation of hoſtilities. A conference being held at Sagadahok, they brought in ten captives, and ſettled a truce 16911691.till the 1691-05-011ſt of May, which they obſerved till the 1691-06-099th of June; then, they again commenced, and continued their deſtructive ravages, during this and the ſubſequent year. Vol. I. p. 263. ,
16921692.In 1692-01January, the Indians entirely deſtroyed the town of York, killed fifty of the people, and carried one hundred into captivity. To review the cruel treatment they inflicted on their unfortunate priſoners, muſt deeply wound the feelings of every perſon of ſenſibility; and they muſt turn with horror from a ſcene, which ſo ſtrongly exhibits the ſavage ferocity of which human nature is capable.
16931693.This year a peace was concluded with the Indians at the fort of Pemaquid. They acknowledged ſubjection to the crown of England; engaged to abandon the French intereſt; to forbear private revenge; to reſtore all captives; and even went U 154 U1v 154 ſo far as to deliver hoſtages for the due performance of their engagements. p. 241. ,
16911691.After the revolution in England, the general court of Maſſachuſetts diſpatched two of their members, to join with Sir Henry Aſhhurſt and Mr. Mather, in ſoliciting the reſtoration of their ancient charter; and endeavouring to obtain ſuch additional privileges, as might be beneficial to the colony.
Whilst the colony was involved in the Indian war, which has been briefly related, their enemies in England took advantage of their difficulties, by imputing them to the imprudent adminiſtration of government, and argued thence againſt the reſtoration of their charter. The agents, however, purſued their buſineſs with indefatigable application, and uſed all their intereſt in court and city to accompliſh it; but found all their endeavours to obtain a reſtoration of their ancient charter ineffectual. Vol. I. p. 405. ,
The king, from the firſt application, exhibited a determined reſolution to have the nomination of the governor, and other officers, reſerved to the crown. He ordered his attorney-general to form the draught of a new charter, according to his pleaſure expreſſed in council. This the attorney- general preſented to the council board 1691-06-08June 8. It was rejected, and a new draught ordered to be made, by which the people of New-England were deprived of ſeveral eſſential privileges contained in their former charter. Book II. p. 56. ,155U2r155
16911691.Mr. Mather proteſted againſt it, but was informed, that the agents of New-England were not plenipotentiaries from a ſovereign ſtate. Notwithſtanding this reprimand, the agents drew up their objections, and tranſmitted them to the king, earneſtly requeſting that certain clauſes might be altered. The queen herſelf interceded with him in behalf of the colony; but nothing could alter his majeſty’s determined purpoſe. The agents ſucceeded only in procuring a few articles to be added, which they ſuppoſed would promote the welfare of their country. Book II. p. 56. ,
The colony of Maſſachuſetts was made a province, which contained the whole of the old colony. To this were added the colony of New-Plymouth, the Province of Maine, the Province of Nova-Scotia, and all the country between the Province of Maine and Nova-Scotia, as far northward as the river St. Lawrence; alſo Elizabeth Iſlands, and the iſlands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The colonies of Rhode-Iſland and Connecticut were allowed to reſume their former charters. As no judgment had been entered againſt them, the king recognized their policy as regular and legal. Vol. I. p. 93. ,
The colony of Maſſachuſetts was greatly diſappointed by the new charter, and it was conſidered as a ſingular hardſhip, that the effects of the late deſpotiſm ſhould be felt by them alone. However, the majority were induced to accept it, from an apprehenſion of the ill conſequences, which might reſult from their refuſal. .156U2v156
16921692.When the charter had paſſed the ſeals, the king was pleaſed to compliment the New-England agents, for the firſt time, with the nomination of their governor. After mature conſultation, they agreed to elect Sir William Phips, who, with the Rev. Increaſe Mather, arrived in Boſton the 1692-05-1515th of May. The general court appointed a day of ſolemn thankſgiving for their ſafe arrival; and for the ſettlement of the province. .
The civil government of New-England ſuſtained a conſiderable alteration by their new charter. Previouſly to their obtaining it, all their magiſtrates and officers of ſtate were choſen annually by their general aſſembly. In the new charter, the appointment of the governor, lieutenant-governor, ſecretary, and all the officers of the admiralty, was veſted in the crown; the power of the militia was wholly in the hands of his majeſty’s governor, as captain general. All judges, juſtices and ſheriffs, were to be nominated by the governor, with the advice of the council. The governor had a negative upon the choice of counſellors; and upon all laws and elections made by the council and houſe of repreſentatives. The laws, even when thus ſanctioned, were ſubject to rejection by the king, within the term of three years from their paſſing. The difference between the old charter and new alſo conſiſted in an expreſs authority for exerciſing powers, which had been in conſtant uſe, from ſuppoſed neceſſary implication. 157 U3r 157 16921692.Theſe were the privilege of a houſe of repreſentatives as a branch of the legiſlature, the levying of taxes, and erecting courts for the trial of capital crimes, and the probate of wills, and granting of adminiſtrations on inteſtate eſtates, which were expreſsly given to the governor and council.See Charter of William and Mary, in Appendix to Hiſtory. Continuation of Hutchinſon, p. 57.
Liberty of conſcience, which was not mentioned in the firſt charter, was expreſsly granted in the ſecond. All the various denominations of Chriſtians were tolerated in the colonies after the revolution took place in England. And the people were informed by the beſt civilians, that their religious liberties were unalterably ſecured.
The firſt act of the Maſſachuſetts legiſlature, after the arrival of the charter, was a kind of magna charta, aſſerting and ſetting forth their general privileges, and contained the following clauſe: No aid, tax, tollage, aſſeſſment, cuſtom, loan, benevolence, or impoſition whatſoever, ſhall be laid, aſſeſſed, impoſed, or leveled on any of his majeſty’s ſubjects, or their eſtates, on any pretence whatever, but by the act and conſent of the governor, council and repreſentatives of the people, aſſembled in general court. Vol. II. p. 63. ,
Other acts favorable to liberty, were paſſed by the general court, at this ſeſſion.
At the time when the colony of Maſſachuſetts received the new charter, ſeventy-two years had elapſed ſince the firſt ſettlement at Plymouth. 158 U3v 158 16921692.During this period the colonies enjoyed the privilege of chuſing their own rulers, and enacting their own laws. They had eſtabliſhed excellent regulations for the promotion of learning and religion. They had exhibited great courage in the Indian wars, and their efforts to repel their ſavage enemies were crowned with ſucceſs. After forty years from the firſt ſettlement, the greateſt part of the early emigrants had terminated their earthly exiſtence. Vol. I. p. 258. , They had, however, the ſatisfaction of ſurviving till they beheld the fruits of their aſſiduous labors in the increaſe of the ſettlements and multiplication of the churches. In 16431643, the firſt twenty thouſand ſouls, who came over from England, had ſettled thirty-ſix churches. In 16501650, there were forty churches in New- England, which contained ſeven thouſand ſeven hundred and fifty communicants. Late Manuſcript Lectures on Eccleſiaſtical Hiſtory. Many of the clergymen, who came from England at the firſt ſettlement, were not only diſtinguiſhed for their piety, but for their abilities and learning. Among whom we view a Cotton, Hooker, Davenport, Eliot, and others, who illuminated the churches of New- England. And though many have depreciated the merit of our anceſtors, yet a modern Britiſh author has obſerved, that, The victories they obtained over the complicated obſtructions which they met with upon their arrival in America, have raiſed their character to a level with that of the 159 U4r 159 braveſt people recorded in hiſtory, in the eſtimation of the few, who can conſider facts diveſted of that ſplendor which time, place and circumſtances are apt to beſtow upon them, and from which they derive their luſtre with the generality of mankind. Hiſtory of the War with America.
Of the ſuppoſed witchcrafts in New-England. Sir William Phips recalled. His death and character. War with the Indians renewed. The French project an invaſion of New-England. Peace concluded with the Indians. The Earl of Bellamont appointed governor of the plantations of New-York, Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire.
New-England from its firſt ſettlement never experienced ſuch complicated difficulties as at the commencement of Sir William Phips’ government. The country was involved in the war with the eaſtern Indians, which has been briefly mentioned in the preceding chapter. In 16921692.the ſame period a new ſpecies of diſtreſs filled the minds of the people with gloom and horror, which in ſome reſpects appeared more replete with calamity, than even the devaſtations of war.
Previously to the tragic ſcene at Salem, about to be related, ſeveral perſons, in different parts of New-England, had been executed for the ſuppoſed crime of witchcraft. Thoſe, who think the whole to be an impoſture, account for it by the prevailing credulity of the age; the ſtrength of prejudice; the force of imagination, operating on minds not ſufficiently enlightened by reaſon and philoſophy, which all conſpired to produce this fatal deluſion.161W1r161
In the year 16921692, a daughter and niece of Mr. Parris, miniſter of Salem, girls of ten or eleven years of age, and two other girls in the neighborhood, were ſeized, with uncommon and unaccountable complaints. A conſultation of phyſicians was called, one of whom was of opinion that they were bewitched. An Indian woman, who was brought from New-Spain, and then reſided with Mr. Parris, had recourſe to ſome experiments, which ſhe pretended were uſed in her own country, in order to diſcover the witch. The children, being informed of this circumſtance, accuſed the Indian woman of pinching, pricking and tormenting them in various ways. She acknowledged that ſhe had learnt how to diſcover a witch, but denied herſelf to be one. This firſt inſtance was the occaſion of ſeveral private faſts at Mr. Parris’ houſe, of ſeveral others, which were obſerved by the whole village, and of a general faſt through the colony. The attention, paid to the children, with the compaſſion, expreſſed by their viſitors, it is ſuppoſed, induced them, and allured others to continue their impoſture. Hence the number of complainants, who pretended to be ſeized with ſimilar diſorders, increaſed, and they accuſed certain perſons of being the authors of their ſufferings. From theſe ſmall beginnings, the diſtemper ſpread through ſeveral parts of the province, till the priſons were ſcarcely capable of containing the number of the accuſed. Vol. II. p. 25—29. , Modeſt Inquiry Into the Nature of Witchcraft, p. 19.W162W1v162
16921692.The moſt effectual method to prevent an accuſation was, to become an accuſer; hence the number of the afflicted continually augmented, and the number of the accuſed increaſed in the ſame proportion.
The accuſed in general perſiſted in aſſerting their innocence. Some, however, were induced to confeſs their guilt, being warmly importuned by their friends to embrace this expedient, as the only poſſible way to ſave their lives. The confeſſion of witchcraft increaſed the number of the ſuſpected; for aſſociates were always pretended by the party confeſſing. Theſe pretended aſſociates were immediately ſent for and examined. By theſe means, more than an hundred women, many of them of fair characters, and of the moſt reſpectable families in Salem, Beverly, Andover, Billerica, and in other towns, were apprehended, examined, and generally committed to priſon. Vol. II. p. 30. , p. 26. ,
Though the number of priſoners had been augmenting, from 1692-02February to 1692-06June, yet none of them had as yet been brought to trial. Soon after the arrival of the charter, commiſſioners of oyer and terminer were appointed for this purpoſe. At the firſt trial, there was no colony, nor provincial law, in force againſt witchcraft. The ſtatute of James I. muſt therefore have been conſidered as in force, in the province, witchcraft not being an offence at common law. Before the adjournment of the general court, the old colony law, 163 W2r 163 16921692.which makes witchcraft a capital offence, was received and adopted by the whole province.
In this diſtreſſing period, nineteen perſons were executed, one preſt to death, and eight more condemned; the whole number amounted to twenty- eight, of whom above a third part were members of ſome of the churches in New-England, and more than half ſuſtained excellent characters. Among thoſe, who were executed, was Mr. Burroughs, formerly miniſter at Salem, who left his people upon ſome difference in religious ſentiments. All who ſuffered death aſſerted their innocence in the ſtrongeſt terms. Yet this circumſtance was inſufficient to open the eyes of the people; and their fury augmented in proportion as the gloom of imagination increaſed.See Wonders of the Inviſible World.
Instead of acting with that deliberate coolneſs and caution, which the importance of the affair demanded, and ſuſpecting and croſs examining the witneſſes, by whoſe evidence the pretended witches were condemned; the authority made uſe of leading queſtions, which helped them to anſwers. Moſt of the examinations, though in the preſence of one or more of the magiſtrates, were taken by Mr. Parris. The court allowed the witneſſes to relate accidents, which had befallen them twenty or thirty years paſt, upon ſome difference with the accuſed.Vol. II. p. 129; and , More Wonders of the Inviſible World, p. 185.164W2v164
16921692.The affairs of Maſſachuſetts were now in ſuch a wretched ſituation, that no man was ſure of his life and fortune for an hour. An univerſal conſternation prevailed. Some charged themſelves with witchcraft, in order to prevent accuſation, and eſcape death; ſome abandoned the province, and others were preparing to follow their example. p. 33. , .
In this ſcene of perplexity and diſtreſs, thoſe, who were accuſed of witchcraft, were generally of the loweſt order in ſociety. A number, however, of reſpectable women ſtill remained in priſon: at length the pretended ſufferers had the audacity to accuſe ſeveral perſons of ſuperior rank and character. The authority then began to be leſs credulous. The priſoners were liberated; thoſe, who had received ſentence of death, were reprieved, and afterwards pardoned. The whole country became by degrees ſenſible of their miſtake; and the majority of actors in this tragedy declared their repentance for their conduct.
16931693.Whilst a review of the conduct of the inhabitants of New-England in this diſtreſſing period induces us to accuſe them of credulity and ſuperſtition, we ought to ſoften the aſperity of our cenſure by remembering, that, ſuppoſing the whole to have been an impoſture, they were led into this deluſion by the opinion of the greateſt civilians and divines in Europe. A ſimilar opinion reſpecting witchcraft was at the ſame time prevalent in Great- 165 W3r 165 16931693.Britain; the law, by which witches were condemned, was copied from the Engliſh ſtatutes, and the practice of courts in New-England, was regulated by precedents eſtabliſhed in the parent country. Theſe ſtatutes continued in force in England ſome time in the reign of George II., when it was enacted, That no proſecution ſhould in future be carried on againſt any perſon for conjuration, witchcraft, ſorcery, or enchantment. Vol. II. , p. 133. ,
No public notice was taken of the authors of this calamity; ſome of the ſuppoſed ſufferers became profligate characters; others paſſed their days in obſcurity and contempt. Mr. Parris, in whoſe houſe the pretended witchcraft began, felt the effects of popular reſentment. Though he made a public and private penitent acknowledgment of his error, his congregation inſiſted upon his diſmiſſion, declaring that they never would ſit under the miniſtry of a man, who had been the inſtrument of ſuch complicated diſtreſs. Vol. IV. p. 61. ,
Thus, in about fifteen months, ended an affair, which not only confounded the minds of the people of New-England, but filled Europe with aſtoniſhment and horror.
16941694.The treaty, which was concluded with the Indians at fort Pemaquid, had, for almoſt a twelve- month, relieved the frontiers from the calamities of war. Whilſt the peace continued, Sir William Phips exerted himſelf to the utmoſt to detach them from the French intereſt. For this purpoſe 166 W3v 166 16941694.he took a journey to the eaſtward; preſented gifts to their ſachems; opened free trade with them; and offered to leave a preacher, acquainted with the Indian language, to inſtruct them in the Proteſtant religion.
On the other hand, the French labored more ſucceſsfully to prejudice their minds againſt the Engliſh. This year the Sieur de Villien was in command at Penobſcot, and with the aſſiſtance of Thury, the religious miſſionary, perſuaded the eaſtern ſachems to break their treaty, and to prepare for hoſtilities. Book II. p. 66. ,
Whilst the war with the Indians was impending, the people became diſſatiſfied with Sir William Phips’ government, and aſcribed the calamities they ſuffered to his miſconduct. The uneaſineſs aroſe to ſuch a degree, that his enemies drew up articles of impeachment againſt him, which they tranſmitted to the king and council. His Majeſty declared he would himſelf hear his cauſe; and cited Sir William and his accuſers to repair to Whitchall. He embarked for England, 1694-11-17November 17, having obtained a recommendation from the general aſſembly. Previouſly to the hearing of his cauſe, he was ſuddenly ſeized with a malignant fever, which put a period to his life, in the fifty-fourth year of his age. Ibid, p. 71.
Sir William Phips was born of poor and obſcure parents in the eaſtern parts of New-England. 167 W4r 167 16941694.His education furniſhed him with few advantages for improvement. His firſt employment was keeping ſheep; he was afterwards a ſhip carpenter; but he gave up his trade, and followed the ſeas. After ſeveral ſmall adventures, he amaſſed a conſiderable fortune, by finding a Spaniſh wreck near Port de la Plata. This event introduced him to men of rank and fortune; and he had the dignity of knighthood conferred upon him by king James II. Notwithſtanding this, he uniformly oppoſed the arbitrary meaſures of that monarch; and was an ardent friend to the revolution. Though unverſed in the arts of government, and deſtitute of deep penetration, yet he was a man of great induſtry, enterprize and firmneſs. He conſtantly attended the exerciſes of devotion; and was ſtudious to promote piety and virtue in others. Book II. p. 68. Life of Sir William Phips. ,
After Sir William Phips left the province, the authority devolved upon lieutenant-governor Stoughton. Previouſly to his entering on his adminiſtration, the country was again involved in the calamities of war. The French had recently ſupplied the Indians with a variety of warlike ſtores. At length, the neceſſary preparations being made, Villien, with a body of two hundred and fifty Indians, collected from the tribes of St. John, Penobſcot and Norridgwog, marched againſt the people on Oyſter River, in New-Hampſhire. Here they killed and captured between ninety 168 W4v 168 16941694.and an hundred perſons, and burned above twenty houſes, of which five were garriſons. Vol. II. p. 82. , Vol. I. p. 275. ,
During the remainder of this, and the ſubſequent winter, the Indians continued to ravage the frontiers. In 16961696, they, in conjunction with the French, took and demoliſhed Pemaquid fort; and, exulting in their ſucceſs, threatened to involve the country in ruin and deſolation.See Modern Univerſal Hiſtory, Vol. XIX. p. 325 .
16971697.This year an invaſion of the country was projected by the French. A fleet was to ſail from France to Newfoundland, and thence to Penobſcot, where, being joined by an army from Canada, an attempt was to be made on Bſton, and the ſea coaſt ravaged from there to Piſcataqua. The fleet proceeded no further than Newfoundland, when the advanced ſeaſon, and ſcantineſs of proviſion, obliged them to relinquiſh the deſign. The people of New-England were apprized of the danger, and made the beſt poſſible preparations to avert the impending evil. They ſtrengthened their fortifications on the coaſt, and raiſed a body of men to defend the frontiers againſt the Indians, who were expected to co-operate with the French. Vol. I. p. 281. ,
16981698.After the peace at Ryſwick, between England and France, Count Frontenac, governor of Canada, informed the Indians, that he was no longer at liberty to ſupport them in their wars againſt the Engliſh, with whom his nation was now at peace. He therefore adviſed them to bury the hatchet, 169 X1r 169 16981698.and reſtore their captives. Having ſuffered much by famine, and being divided in their opinion reſpecting the proſecution of the war, they were 16991699.at length brought to a treaty at Caſco, where they ratified their former engagements; and acknowledged ſubjection to the crown of England. Book VII. p. 92. , Vol. I. p. 281. ,
When the war in Europe was terminated, the king appointed the earl of Bellamont governor of New-York, Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire, and the earl made New-York the place of his reſidence. Mr. Stoughton, the lieutenant-governor, conducted the affairs of New-England.
Thus, after a long and expenſive war, attended with the moſt alarming internal diviſions, the affairs of the country were ſettled on a ſolid baſis. Trade began to flouriſh, and peace and plenty again bleſſed the New-England ſettlements.
Lord Bellamont’s arrival in Boſton. His character and behavior. His death at New-York. Mr. Dudley appointed governor. War with the French and Indians renewed. The reduction of Port- Royal. Unſucceſsful expedition againſt Canada. Peace concluded with the French and their Indian allies. New townſhips incorporated in Maſſachuſetts. Flouriſhing ſtate of the colonies.
Lord Bellamont arrived in Boſton, 16991699.from New-York, 1699-05-26May 26; to ſee a nobleman at the head of government was a novelty to the inhabitants of New-England. He was a firm friend to the revolution, and a favorite of king William. His religious ſentiments were liberal; and though a member of the church of England, he attended the congregational lectures with great reſpect. The politeneſs of his manners, and affability of his behavior, conciliated the minds of the people, who treated him with the utmoſt deference. There was a perfect harmony in the general court whilſt he preſided. By avoiding offence to particular perſons, and conforming to the prevailing diſpoſition and opinion, he obtained a larger ſalary than either of his predeceſſors, or any of the ſubſequent governors of the province.171X2r171
16991699.He viſited and publiſhed his commiſſion in New- Hampſhire, to the great joy of the inhabitants. Vol. II. p. 112. , Vol. I. p. 304. ,
Lord Bellamont this year held two ſeſſions of the general court. The firſt was on the anniverſary for the election of counſellors. The ſecond was occaſioned by the prevailing report, that there was a general confederacy of the Indians, for the total extirpation of the Engliſh. Such was the conſternation in Maſſachuſetts, that ſeveral acts paſsed the general court, viz. for levying ſoldiers; for puniſhing mutiny and deſertion; for having all the militia prepared for the war; and for enabling the governor to march them out of the province, from which by charter he was reſtrained without an act of the aſſembly. The general terror ſoon after ſubſided, which prevented the execution of thoſe laws.
17001700.Soon after the ſeſſion of the general court in 1700-05May, Lord Bellamont took his leave of Maſſachuſetts, and went to New-York, where he died on the 1701-03-055th of March the ſubſequent year. His death was greatly regretted by the people in his ſeveral governments, among whom he had rendered himſelf very popular. Vol. II. p. 121. ,
17021702.After the intelligence of Lord Bellamont’s death reached England, Queen Anne, who ſucceeded upon the death of king William, appointed Joſeph Dudley, Eſq. formerly preſident of New- England, to be governor of Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire. He was received in Maſſachuſetts172 X2v 172 17021702.ſetts with ceremony and reſpect, even by thoſe who had been his greateſt oppoſers in the reign of James II.
Upon the accesſion of governor Dudley, he produced inſtructions, among other things, that the ſalaries of the governor and lieutenant-governor, for the time being, ſhould be ſettled and fixed; but the conſequence of this meaſure, as tending to eſtabliſh the control of the crown over the proceedings of the legiſlature, was too well underſtood to be adopted; and it was oppoſed both by the council and the houſe of repreſentatives. p. 59. ,
The conduct of Lewis XIV. in proclaiming the Pretender king of England, rendered a war with France inevitable. There was the greateſt probability that the Indians would join. The governor of Canada, who aſſumed the character of their father and protector, inſtigated them to prevent the ſettlement of the Engliſh on the eaſt of Kennebec. A French miſſion was eſtabliſhed, and a chapel erected at Norridgwog, on the upper part of Kennebec, which ſerved to extend the influence of the French among the Indians. Vol. II. p. 134. ,
17031703.The ſavage tribes were preparing for hoſtilities when Dudley entered on his government. The firſt ſummer after his arrival, he viſited all the eaſtern frontiers as far as Pemaquid, accompanied with a number of gentlemen from both his provinces. He held a conference at Caſco with delegates from a number of the Indian tribes. They gave 173 X3r 173 17031703.him the ſtrongeſt aſſurances of their pacific intentions, and declared, that though the French emiſſaries had endeavoured to diſſolve the union, yet it was firm as a mountain, and ſhould continue as long as the ſun and moon. Notwithſtanding theſe fair appearances, in the ſpace of six weeks, five hundred of the French and Indians attacked all the ſettlements from Caſco to Wells, and killed and took nearly one hundred and thirty people. They burnt and deſtroyed the places before them in their deſtructive ravages. .
The country at this period was in terror and confuſion. The women and children retired to their garriſons. The men went armed to their work, and poſted centinels in the fields. Troops of horſe were quartered at Portſmouth, and in the province of Maine. Alarms were frequent; the whole frontier country, from Deerfield on the weſt, to Caſco on the eaſt, was kept in continual terror by ſmall parties of the enemy. Hiſtory of the Wars of New-England. Vol. I. p. 332. ,
It was principally againſt Maſſachuſetts-Bay and New-Hampſhire that the Indians, during a ten years war, exerted all their ſtrength. Rhode- Iſland, from its local ſituation, has ever been leſs expoſed to the excurſions of the French and Indians than thoſe colonies. In the wars of Philip, of king William, and queen Anne, Connecticut loſt only the buildings and part of the effects of one town. In the preſent war, not a ſingle town 174 X3v 174 17031703.in that colony was loſt, nor had any conſiderable number of the inhabitants fallen by the hands of the enemy. Vol. I. p. 474. ,
Before the cloſe of the year, the Indians made a deſcent upon Deerfield, a remote ſettlement on Connecticut river. After putting forty of the inhabitants to death, and capturing an hundred, they departed, leaving a conſiderable number of the buildings in flames. They conducted the priſoners to Canada, and murdered about twenty of thoſe unfortunate captives, who were unable to travel with the expedition they required. Vaudreuil, the French governor of Canada, treated the priſoners with great humanity. Vol. II. p. 138. ,
17041704.The depredations of the Indians ſtimulated the colonies to raiſe forces, to repel their ſavage attacks. The chief command was given to Col. Church, who had rendered himſelf famous by his exploits in the Philipic war. By governor Dudley’s order, he conducted his army in an expedition to the eaſtern ſhores. At Piſcataqua, he was joined by a body of men under Major Hilton, who did him eminent ſervice. The Engliſh army deſtroyed the towns of Minas and Chiegnecto, and did conſiderable damage to the French and Indians at Penobſcot and Paſſamaquody. .Hiſtory of the Indian War, p. 168.
17051705.The governor, at this period, deputed ſeveral gentlemen to take a journey to Canada for the exchange of priſoners. They returned with a number of the inhabitants of Deerfield, and other 175 X4r 175 17051705.captives. Vaudreuil, the French governor, diſpatched a commiſſioner to Boſton, with propoſals of neutrality, which were communicated to the general court. As their favorite object was the reduction of Canada, they did not diſcover any diſpoſition to accede to his plan. Dudley protracted the negociation, under pretence of conſulting with the other governments; and thus the frontiers were preſerved tolerably quiet during the remainder of the year. Vol. II. p. 158. ,
17061706.In 1706-04April, the Indians killed eight, and wounded two people in an houſe at Oyſter-River, in New-Hampſhire. The garriſon was near, but not a man in it. The women, however, ſeeing nothing but death before them, fired an alarm, and then putting on hats and looſening their hair, that they might not appear like men, they fired ſo briſkly, that the enemy, apprehending the people were alarmed, fled without burning, or even plundering the houſe they had attacked. Vol. I. p. 339. ,
17071707.When Col. Church went to Nova-Scotia, he very earneſtly deſired leave to make an attempt on Port-Royal; but Dudley would not conſent, and the reaſon he gave was, that he had written to the miniſtry in England, and expected orders and naval aſſiſtance to reduce the place. His enemies, however, aſſigned another reaſon for his refuſal; which was, that a clandeſtine trade was carried on by his connivance, and to his emolument, with the French in Port-Royal,. This report gained 176 X4v 176 17071707.credit, and occaſioned a vehement demand for juſtice. See governor Dudley, in Collections of the Maſſachuſetts Hiſtorical Society, 17041704. and letters to Thoſe who were directly concerned in the illegal traffic were proſecuted and fined; and the governor ſuffered much in his reputation. To remove theſe aſperſions, he determined to make an attempt upon Port-Royal, even though he ſhould not receive any aſſiſtance from England.
Early in the ſpring, the governor applied to the aſſemblies of both his provinces, and to the colonies of Rhode-Iſland and Connecticut, requeſting them to raiſe one thouſand men for the expedition. Connecticut declined; but the other three raiſed the whole number. The chief command of this army was given to Col. March. A jealouſy and diſagreement among the officers, and a miſapprehenſion of the ſtate of the fort and garriſon, rendered this expedition abortive. Vol. I. p. 341. ,
The war continued the two following years, during which period the colonies were greatly diſtreſſed by the devaſtations of the French and their Indian allies. In 17101710, the territory of Acadie was ſubdued by the capture of Port-Royal. England, at length, aſſiſted the colonies, to raiſe a force ſufficient for the reduction of that place. The chief command of this combined army was given to Francis Nicolſon, Eſq. who had been lieutenant- governor of Virginia. After the ſurrender of Port- Royal, it was called Annapolis, in honor of the 177 Y1r 177 17101710.queen. Samuel Vetch, who had been Colonel in the late army, was appointed governor. Hiſtory of the Britiſh Empire in America, Vol. I. p. 496.
17111711.The ſurrender of Port-Royal encouraged the inhabitants of New-England to attempt the reduction of Quebec. General Nicolſon made a voyage to England, to ſolicit for this purpoſe, and received a favorable anſwer from the Britiſh court. The combined army of Engliſh and Americans, engaged in this enterprize, made a body of about ſix thouſand five hundred men; and the fleet conſiſted of fifteen ſhips of war. The ſanguine hopes of ſucceſs, which had been entertained by the nation, and the colonies, were all blaſted in one fatal night. For as the fleet was on its paſſage to Canada, eight tranſports were wrecked on Egg- Iſland, near the north ſhore; and one thouſand people periſhed, among whom there was but one man, who belonged to New-England. The expedition was relinquiſhed, in conſequence of this melancholy event. On this occaſion the colonies felt the keeneſt diſappointment and regret. Some pious minds were hence induced to give up the idea of ſubjecting Canada. They imagined that their unſucceſsful attempts clearly indicated, that Providence never deſigned the whole northern continent for one European nation. Vol. II. p. 196. ,
17121712.The failure of this expedition encouraged the Indians to harraſs the frontiers, as ſoon as the ſeaſon would permit. But the Americans had becomeY 178 Y1v 178 17121712.come vigilant in diſcovering, and active in baffling their plans.
In autumn, intelligence of the peace of Utrecht arrived in America; and on the 1712-10-2929th of October the ſuſpenſion of arms was proclaimed at Portſmouth. The Indians being informed of this event, came in with a flag of truce to Capt. Moody, and deſired a treaty, which the governor, with the 17131713.council of each province, held at Portſmouth, where the chiefs and deputies of the ſeveral belligerent tribes, by a formal writing under hand and ſeal, agreed upon articles of ſubmiſſion and pacification. Vol. I. p. 333. ,
This event was peculiarly welcome to the inhabitants of New-England, who had been greatly diſtreſſed by the war; Maſſachuſetts and New- Hampſhire in particular. Their population bore no proportion to the other colonies; the difference was chiefly owing to the conſtant ſtate of war, in which thoſe provinces, eſpecially Maſſachuſetts, had been involved. From 16751675, when the Philipic war commenced, to 17131713, five or ſix thouſand of the youth of the country had periſhed by the enemy, or by diſtempers contracted in the ſervice. The province, during the war, was ſubjected to heavy taxes, which they ſuſtained without any relief or compenſation from the parent ſtate.Vol. II. p. 202. The colony tax of , Maſſachuſetts, in 16931693, was twenty-four thouſand pounds.
Notwithstanding theſe difficulties retarded the population of the province of Maſſachuſetts, 179 Y2r 179 it greatly increaſed; and a number of new townſhips were formed. Wrentham,16991699. Needham,17011701. Bellingham 17191719. and Walpole,17741774. were, at different periods, ſet off from Dedham, and incorporated into ſeparate townſhips. Century Sermon.
The New-England churches were alſo rapidly increaſing. In 16961696, there were an hundred and thirty churches in the colonies, thirty-five of which were in Connecticut. Late Lectures on Eccleſiaſtical Hiſtory. manuſcript
17131713.At this period, Connecticut had ſettled forty- five towns under its own juriſdiction. Forty of them ſent deputies. The houſe of repreſentatives, when full, conſiſted of eighty members.
The number of ordained clergymen in this colony the preſent year, excluſive of thoſe in the towns under the government of Maſſachuſetts, was forty-three. Upon the loweſt computation, there was one ordained miniſter to every four hundred perſons, or to every eighty families. It does not appear that there was one bereaved church in the colony. Beſides, there was a conſiderable number of candidates preaching in the new towns and pariſhes, in which churches were not yet formed.
The whole number of inhabitants in Connecticut, at this time, amounted to about ſeventeen thouſand. Vol. I. p. 476, 318. ,
About this period, the greateſt part of the town of Boſton was laid in aſhes by an accidental fire. Though the inhabitants of New-England were conſiderably180 Y2v 180 17131713.ſiderably in debt, on account of the late war, it was ſoon rebuilt in a far more elegant and commodious manner than before. This evinced the prodigious acquiſitions the people had made in commerce and induſtry ſince the foundation of the colony. The peace of Utrecht greatly increaſed the wealth and happineſs of New-England. The authors of the Univerſal Hiſtory obſerve, that, the inhabitants of thoſe colonies, to their native love of liberty, added now the polite arts of life; induſtry was embelliſhed by elegance; and, what would have been hardly credible in ancient Greece and Rome, in leſs than fourſcore years, colonies, almoſt unaſſiſted by their mother country, aroſe in the wilds of America, which, if tranſplanted to Europe, and rendered an independent government, would have made no mean figure amidſt her ſovereign ſtates. Univerſal Hiſtory, Vol. XIX. p. 334.
Of the attention paid to the promotion of learning in New-England. New buildings erected for the univerſity of Cambridge. Yale college founded, and ſettled at New-Haven. The Connecticut churches are convened in a ſynod at Saybrook. The Epiſcopalian mode of worſhip is introduced into Connecticut. Of the different religious denominations in Rhode-Iſland. An Epiſcopalian church is erected at Portſmouth, in New-Hampſhire. Line of juriſdiction ſettled between Maſſachuſetts and Connecticut. Death of Queen Anne, and acceſſion of George I. Appointment of governor Shute. Removal and character of governor Dudley.
It may afford ſome relief to the mind, to take leave for the preſent of the diſtreſſing Indian wars, and turn the attention to a more pleaſing ſubject.
The inhabitants of New-England, from their firſt ſettlement, were eminently diſtinguiſhed by their attention to the promotion of learning, and neither their frequent conteſts with the natives, nor the other difficulties which they were obliged to encounter, could divert their attention from this important object.182Y3v182
16991699.The univerſity of Cambridge was, at this period, in a flouriſhing ſituation. The Hon. William Stoughton, lieutenant-governor of the province, erected a building for the accommodation of the ſtudents, which filled the ſpace between Harvard and Maſſachuſetts halls. It was called Stoughton hall, after his name, and ſerved to perpetuate his memory.
In 17451745, the widow and daughters of Samuel Holden, one of the directors of the bank of England, were at the expence of erecting Holden chapel, which commemorates their pious liberality. Letters, p. 18.
In no part of the world, ſays Dr. Morſe, is the education of all ranks of people more attended to than in Connecticut. From the firſt ſettlement of this colony, ſchools have been eſtabliſhed by law in every town and pariſh in it, for inſtructing all the children in reading, writing and arithmetic. The law alſo directs that a grammar ſchool ſhould be kept in every county town. Geography, Vol. I. p. 438.
In 16541654, Mr. Davenport brought forward the inſtitution of a college, to which the town of New- Haven made a donation of land and meadows, diſtinguiſhed to this day by the name of college land. Upon a donation of four or five hundred pounds sterling, by governor Hopkins, the general aſſembly erected the colony ſchool into a college, for teaching the learned languages and ſciences. Mr. Davenport took the care of this ſchool for ſeveral years; till the truſtees, with the magiſtrates and 183 Y4r 183 miniſters, eſtabliſhed the Rev. Mr. Peck, according to act of the aſſembly. This gentleman met with ſuch a variety of diſcouragements, that the college was broken up in 16641664, and terminated in a public grammar ſchool, which continues to this day. Hiſtory of the Judges, p. 40.
17001700.In the beginning of the preſent century, ten of the principal divines in Connecticut were nominated and agreed upon, by a general conſent both of the miniſters and people, to ſtand as truſtees, or undertakers, to found, erect and govern a college. The miniſters, ſoon after their nomination, met in New-Haven, accepted the charge, and eſtabliſhed 17011701.the inſtitution. The ſubſequent year, they obtained a charter from the general aſſembly of Connecticut, and a grant of money for the encouragement of this infant ſeminary.
Soon after the reception of the charter, the truſtees met, and eſtabliſhed certain rules for the regulation of the ſeminary; and from their own number choſe the Rev. Mr. Pierſon, miniſter of Killingworth, to the office of inſtructing and governing the collegiate ſchool, under the title and character of Rector. They fixed on Saybrook, as the moſt convenient place, at preſent, for the college; and here the firſt commencement was holden, on the 1702-09-1313th of September, 1702.
Several attempts were made to effect the removal of Rector Pierſon to Saybrook, but without ſucceſs; the ſmallneſs of the collegiate finances,184 Y4v 184 17031703.ces, and the oppoſition of his own congregation to the meaſure, prevented its execution. Although, therefore, the commencement was holden at Saybrook, the ſtudents, during Rector Pierſon’s adminiſtration, reſided at Killingworth.
The college continued at Saybrook about ſeven years, without any remarkable alteration or occurrence. In 17161716, the people ſubſcribed large ſums for the erection of a college edifice, where it would beſt accommodate them. The truſtees, ſoon after, voted to remove the college from Saybrook, to New-Haven; and accordingly, for the firſt time, held the commencement there on the 1717-09-1111th of September, 1717.See a particular account of Yale college in the appendix to Life of Preſident Stiles.
17171717.The truſtees, having received a number of valuable donations, were now enabled to finiſh a large and commodious edifice, which they had raiſed in 1716-10October the preceding year; and which, within a year after, was fit for the reception of the ſtudents. At a ſplendid commencement, 1718-09-12September 12, 1718, in the preſence of governor Saltonſtall, and a large and reſpectable aſſembly, the truſtees, in commemoration of governor Yale’s great generoſity (who had made large preſents of books, and other valuable articles to the ſeminary) called the edifice after his name, Yale college. Life of Preſident Stiles, p. 386.
For a few years the infant college contained, on an average, but twelve or fifteen ſcholars. At the period of its removal to New-Haven, the number185 Z1r 185 ber had increaſed to about thirty. In the year 17271727, it contained fifty or ſixty; and in the year 17401740, about ninety ſtudents. Manuſcript of the late Preſident Stiles.
In 17451745, an act was paſſed by the legiſlature of Connecticut, for the more full and complete eſtabliſhment of Yale college; and for enlarging its powers and privileges. By this act, the rector and truſtees were incorporated, by the name of The Preſident and Fellows of Yale College, in New-Haven; and they ſtill retain the appellation. Life of Preſident Stiles, p. 391.
In 17501750, by means of a lottery, and a liberal grant from the legiſlature, the corporation was enabled to erect another edifice, for the accommodation of the ſtudents. In grateful acknowledgment of the generoſity of the government, the preſident and fellows, at the commencement in 17521752, ordered, that the new college be named Connecticut hall. Ibid.
The inhabitants of Connecticut paid great attention to the religious, as well as to the literary ſtate of their colony. In the year 17081708, a ſynod was convened at Saybrook, compoſed of the miniſters and delegates from the churches of the four counties of Hartford, New-Haven, Fairfield and New-London, together with two or more meſſengers from a convention of the churches of each of the four counties. This ſynod drew up the form of church government and diſcipline, which is known by the name of the Saybrook platform; Z 186 Z1v 186 17081708.this was preſented to the general court, paſſed into a law of the colony, and became the eſtabliſhed conſtitution of the churches of Connecticut. Manuſcript of the late Preſident Stiles.
Dr. Trumbull obſerves, That though the council were unanimous in paſſing the platform of diſcipline, yet they were not all of one opinion. Some were for high conſociational government, and in their ſentiments, nearly Preſbyterian; others were much more moderate, and rather verging on Independency; but they exerciſed great Chriſtian condeſcenſion towards each other. .
During the term of about ſeventy years from the ſettlement of Connecticut, the congregational was the only mode of worſhip in the colony. But the ſociety for propagating the goſpel in foreign parts, in 17041704, fixed the Rev. Mr. Muirſon as a miſſionary at Rye. Some of the people at Stratford, who had been educated in the Epiſcopalian worſhip, made an earneſt application to Mr. Muirſon to viſit at Stratford, and preach and baptize among them. About the year 17061706, upon their invitation, he came to Stratford, accompanied with Colonel Heathcote, a gentleman zealouſly engaged in promoting the Epiſcopal church. The miniſters and people in that, and the adjacent towns, were alarmed at his arrival, and uſed their exertions to prevent their neighbors and families from attending his preaching. However, the novelty of the affair, and other circumſtances, brought together a conſiderable aſſembly; and 187 Z2r 187 17061706.Mr. Muirſon baptized five and twenty perſons, principally adults. This was the firſt ſtep towards introducing the church worſhip into this colony. In 1707-04April, 1707, he made another viſit to Stratford. He alſo preached at this time in Fairfield, and in both towns baptized a number of children and adult perſons. Both the magiſtrates and clergymen oppoſed the introduction of Epiſcopacy, and adviſed the people not to attend the preaching of the church miſſionaries. The oppoſition only increaſed the zeal of the churchmen. Mr. Muirſon, after this, made ſeveral journies to Connecticut, till the year 17221722, when Mr. Pigot was appointed miſſionary at Stratford. The Epiſcopalians at firſt in that place conſiſted of about fifteen families, among whom were a few huſbandmen, but much the greater number were tradeſmen, who had been born in England, and came and ſettled in that town. Some of their neighbors joined them, ſo that Mr. Pigot had twenty communicants, and about an hundred and fifty hearers. In 17231723, Chriſt Church, in Stratford, was founded, and the Rev. Mr. Johnſon, afterwards Dr. Johnſon, was appointed to ſucceed Mr. Pigot. .
Rhode-Island, from its firſt ſettlement, was diſtinguiſhed by liberality of ſentiment; and by the variety of religious denominations, which found an aſylum in that colony.
In 16711671, a number of the members of Mr. Clark’s church, who had embraced the opinions 188 Z2v 188 16711671.of the ſeventh day Baptiſts, ſeparated from their brethren, and erected a church under the paſtoral care of Mr. William Hiſcex. p. 65. ,
In 17001700, the Friends, or Quakers meeting-houſe was built at Newport. Their yearly meeting, till governor Coddington’s death, was held in his houſe, and he died a member of that body, in 16881688.
In 17201720, there was a congregational church gathered at Newport, and the Rev. Nathaniel Clap was ordained its paſtor. Out of this church another was formed in 17281728. The worſhip of God, according to the rites of the church of England, was inſtituted here in 17061706, by the ſociety for propagating the goſpel in foreign parts. And in 17381738, there were ſeven worſhiping aſſemblies in this town, and a large ſociety of Quakers at Portſmouth, at the other end of the iſland. p. 446. ,
There had not been any Epiſcopal church in the province of New-Hampſhire, from its firſt ſettlement till about the year 17321732, when ſome gentlemen, who were attached to the mode of worſhip in the church of England, contributed to the erection of a neat building on a commanding eminence at Portſmouth, which they called the queen’s chapel. It was conſecrated in 17341734; and in 17361736 they ordained Mr. Arthur Brown for their miniſter, with a ſalary from the ſociety for propagating the goſpel in foreign parts. .
17131713.For ſeveral years ineffectual attempts had been made for ſettling a line of juriſdiction between the 189 Z3r 189 17131713.province of Maſſachuſetts and the colony of New- Haven. This object was now accompliſhed; and the lands granted by Maſſachuſetts to Connecticut were applied for the ſupport of Yale college, and other public uſes. The controverted towns, for many years after, continued without moleſtation under the juriſdiction by which they were firſt ſettled.
17141714.On the 1714-09-1515th of September arrived the news of Queen Anne’s death; and the acceſſion of King George I. who was then proclaimed in New- England. Colonel Burgeſs was commiſſioned governor of Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire; but for the conſideration of a thouſand pounds ſterling, he reſigned, and Col. Samuel Shute was appointed governor of both provinces. Mr. Dudley was removed, and having paſſed through many ſcenes of active life, retired to paſs the remainder of his days in a private ſtation. Vol. II. p. 206. ,
Mr. Dudley has been characteriſed by governor Hutchinſon as a man in whom ambition was the ruling paſſion. His friends, ſays that author, were laviſh in their encomiums on his diligence, frugality, and his judgment in the adminiſtration of affairs; while he was charged by his enemies with bribery, corruption and other crimes. His arbitrary principles were extremely diſagreeable to the people under his government. During his adminiſtration he had frequent altercations with the council. The high ideas of liberty imbibed by the 190 Z3v 190 inhabitants of New-England occaſioned their being extremely jealous of thoſe governors who were appointed by the crown. They early exhibited penetration in diſcovering, and firmneſs in oppoſing, every encroachment on their civil and religious privileges.
Arrival of governor Shute. He renews the treaty with the Indians. Of his altercation with the people. His departure to England. Of the ſmallpox. War with the French and Indians. Death of the Jeſuit Ralle. Peace concluded. Fort Dummer built. Appointment and character of governor Burnet. Of his controverſy with Maſſachuſetts reſpecting a fixed ſalary. His death. Appointment of governor Belcher.
17161716.Col. Shute arrived in Boſton 1716-10-04October 4, and was received with the uſual parade. The ſubſequent ſummer, attended by ſeveral of the council both of Maſſachuſetts and New- Hampſhire, and other gentlemen, he met the Indians at Arrowſwick iſland. This interview with them was thought expedient, to confirm them in their friendſhip to the Engliſh; and, if poſſible, engage them to relinquiſh the Roman Catholic, and embrace the Proteſtant religion. Vol. II. p. 218. ,
17171717.At the opening of the conference, the governor offered them an Indian bible, and a Proteſtant miſſionary. They rejected both, ſaying, God had given them teaching already, and if they ſhould depart from it, they would incur his diſpleaſure.192 Z4v 192 17171717.pleaſure. All attempts to induce them to change their religion proved ineffectual. They complained of the encroachments which the Engliſh had made upon their lands, and diſcovered the aſcendency which French counſels had gained upon their minds. However, as their aged men were extremely averſe to a new war, they agreed, after ſome altercation, to renew the treaty which was made at Portſmouth. Vol. II. p. 121. ,
Several months paſſed after Col. Shute’s arrival, without open oppoſition to his adminiſtration. It was ſoon, however, inſinuated, that he was a man of narrow underſtanding; and under the influence of men of arbitrary ſentiments. The people were hence exhorted to guard their privileges with the utmoſt vigilance.
Subjects of contention aroſe from time to time, and there was much altercation between the governor and council during the two ſubſequent years. A particular relation of thoſe debates would be unentertaining to the generality of readers, and inconſiſtent with the brevity of this work.
17201720.This year the diſſentions in government aroſe to a greater height than they had done ſince the religious diſputes in 16371637. The governor irritated the houſe of repreſentatives by negativing their choice of Mr. Cook, for a ſpeaker; and upon their refuſing to elect another, he diſſolved the court. This meaſure excited the keeneſt popular reſentment.193Aa1r193
17201720.Agreeably to the inſtructions, which the governor had received from England, he recommended to the aſſembly the eſtabliſhing of a fixed ſalary for his ſupport; but all his attempts to this purpoſe proved ineffectual. Vol. II. p. 245. ,
A controversy aroſe in New-Hampſhire between governor Shute, and George Vaughan, Eſq. the lieutenant-governor of that colony. Vaughan contended, that when the governor was preſent in his other province, he was abſent from New-Hampſhire, and conſequently the adminiſtration devolved on him. Shute alleged, that he had the power of commander in chief over both provinces during his reſidence in either. The controverſy was determined in England in favor of governor Shute. Vaughan was diſplaced, and John Wentworth, Eſq. appointed to ſucceed him. Vol. II. p. 21—25. ,
The people of New-Hampſhire were ſatisfied with governor Shute’s adminiſtration as far as it reſpected them; and they contributed more towards his ſupport in proportion to their population, than his other government. Ibid, p. 42.
17221722.The inhabitants of Maſſachuſetts continued ſtrenuouſly to oppoſe his adminiſtration, and gave him ſo much vexation, that he was induced this year to leave the province, and return to England.
17231723.Upon his arrival he exhibited a variety of complaints againſt the houſe of repreſentatives. He Aa 194 Aa1v 194 17231723.alleged, that they had invaded the royal prerogative, by refuſing to admit the governor’s negative in the choice of a ſpeaker; by aſſuming the power of appointing days of faſting and thankſgiving; and in adjourning themſelves to a diſtant day by their own act. Their conduct reſpecting their military affairs; and other parts of their behavior, were alſo repreſented in an unfavorable light. Vol. II. p. 42. ,
The Britiſh miniſtry were greatly offended with the conduct of the Maſſachuſetts province towards governor Shute, and concluded from thence that it was their object to be independent of the crown. The reſult was, that the government of the province was obliged to accept an explanatory charter, dated 1724-08-12Auguſt 12, 1724, confirming the right of the governor to approve or diſapprove of the ſpeaker of the houſe, and declaring their right of adjourning without his conſent, to mean only from day to day, or at moſt for a term not exceeding two days. p. 60. ,
Whilst the province was diſtreſſed by internal diviſions, and alarmed with the apprehenſion of a fourth Indian war, the prevalence of an infectious diſeaſe was the ſource of additional calamities.
17211721.At this period the ſmall-pox proved very mortal in Boſton, and ſome of the adjacent towns. The ſpread of this diſease being prevented for almoſt twenty years, all born within that time, beſides195 Aa2r 195 17211721.ſides numbers who had previously eſcaped it, were expoſed to the diſtemper. Of 5889, who caught the infection in Boſton, 844 died. Inoculation was introduced on this occaſion, and was generally ſo vehemently oppoſed, that thoſe who promoted it hazarded their lives from popular reſentment. Dr. Cotton Mather, one of the principal clergymen in Boſton, had ſeen ſome accounts of the practice of inoculation, in Conſtantinople, publiſhed in the tranſactions of the Royal Society, from which he received a very favorable idea of this method. This induced him, when the ſmall- pox firſt began to ſpread, to recommend a trial to the phyſicians of the town. They all declined it except Dr. Boylſton, who, to evince his confidence in the utility of this operation, ventured to make the important experiment in his own family. The ſucceſs was equal to his expectations. Many expoſed to the infection were encouraged to receive it in the ſame way. Dr. Boylſton practiſed inoculation in Boſton before it was known in that town, that it had ever been attempted in England, or in any part of Europe, out of the Turkiſh dominions. Many pious people were ſtruck with horror, and were of opinion, that if any of his patients ſhould die, he ought to be treated as a murderer. The vulgar were exaſperated to ſuch a degree, that his family were ſcarcely ſecure in his houſe, and he was frequently inſulted in the ſtreets. Boſton Gazette for 1766-03-10March 10, 1766, p. 360.196Aa2v196
17211721.Governor Hutchinſon remarks, that, ſuch was the force of prejudice, that all orders of men, at that period, condemned a practice, which is at preſent generally approved, and to which ſo many thouſands owe the preſervation of their lives. Vol. II. p. 273—275. ,
Meantime the Indians were preparing for war. The French furniſhed them with ammunition and proviſions; and were conſtantly inſtigating them to commence hoſtilities.
The Engliſh found an active enemy in the perſon of one Sebaſtian Ralle, a French Jeſuit, who had eſtabliſhed a church at Norridgwog, where he reſided. He was a man of good ſenſe, learning and addreſs; and an enthuſiaſtic for his country and religion. By a compliance with the Indian mode of life, and a gentle condeſcending deportment, he gained their affections; and they implicitly followed his dictates. Knowing the power of ſuperſtition over the ſavage mind, he took advantage of this, and of their prejudice againſt the Engliſh, in order to ſtrengthen their attachment to the French intereſt. He even made the offices of devotion ſerve as incentives to their ferocity, and kept a flag, on which was depictured a croſs, ſurrounded by bones and arrows, which he uſed to hoiſt on a pole at the door of his church, when he gave them abſolution, previouſly to their engaging in any warlike enterprize. Vol. II. p. 48. ,
As the paſſions of the Indians were inflamed by Ralle, and they received every encouragement 197 Aa3r 197 from the French, they began in the year 17201720 to moleſt the Engliſh ſettlers in a variety of ways.
17211721.In the ſucceeding winter, a party was ordered to Norridgwog, to ſeize Ralle. He eſcaped before they could ſurround the houſe, leaving his box of papers, which they conveyed away upon their return, without doing any other damage. Among thoſe papers were his letters of correſpondence with the governor of Canada, by which it clearly appeared, he was deeply engaged in exciting the Indians to a rupture, and had promiſed to aſſiſt them.
17221722.This attempt to ſeize their ſpiritual father ſtimulated the Indians to revenge. After committing ſeveral hoſtile acts, they made a furious attack on the town of Brunſwick, which they deſtroyed. This action determined the government to iſſue a declaration of war againſt them, which was publiſhed at Boſton and Portſmouth, on the 1722-07-2525th of July. Vol. II. p. 51, 52. ,
The devaſtations of the Indians during this, and the ſubſequent year, cauſed the government to reſolve on an expedition to Norridgwog. The captains Moulton and Harman, both of York, each at the head of a company of one hundred men, executed their orders with great addreſs. They completely inveſted and ſurprized that village; killed the obnoxious Jeſuit with about eighty of his Indians; recovered three captives; deſtroyed the chapel, and brought away the plate and furniture198 Aa3v 198 17241724.ture of the altar, and the devotional flag, as trophies of their victory. Vol. II. p. 60. ,
17251725.The ſucceſs of this expedition induced ſeveral volunteer companies to engage againſt the Indians. One of thoſe companies, under the command of Capt. John Lovewell, of Dunſtable, was greatly diſtinguiſhed, firſt by their ſucceſs, and afterwards by their miſfortunes. After performing ſeveral brave actions, the captain, with more than one quarter of his company, were killed in one of the moſt fierce and obſtinate battles, which was fought with the ſavages. Notwithſtanding this ſevere diſcouragement, the Engliſh refuſed to ſurrender, till the enemy, awed by their brave reſiſtance, and weakened by their own loſs, yielded them the honor of the field. Ibid, Vol. II. p. 66—70.
The conduct of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, governor of Canada, was ſo flagrant a breach of the treaty of peace, ſubſiſting between the crowns of England and France, that the provinces of Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire thought proper to ſend commiſſioners to Canada. They were to demand of the French governor reſtitution of the captives under his government; to remonſtrate to him on his injuſtice and breach of friendſhip, in countenancing the Indians in their hoſtilities againſt the people of New-England; and to inſiſt upon his withdrawing his aſſiſtance for the future. Ibid, p. 71.
The governor of Canada received the commiſſioners with great politeneſs. They were ſucceſsful199 Aa4r 199 17251725.ceſsful in redeeming a number of Engliſh captives. The good effects produced by this miſſion were ſoon viſible. 1725-12-15December 15, a treaty was held at Boſton, and the ſubſequent ſpring ratified at Falmouth, in which a peace was concluded with the Indians.
None of the colonies of New-England, except Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire, bore any ſhare in the calamities and expences of this war; and New-Hampſhire did not ſuffer ſo much as in former wars. The enemy at this period directed their greateſt fury againſt the eaſtern parts of Maſſachuſetts. Vol. II. p. 79—81. ,
After the departure of governor Shute, Mr. William Dummer, the then lieutenant-governor, ſucceeded him in the adminiſtration of Maſſachuſetts. Mr. Wentworth, lieutenant-governor of New-Hampſhire, managed the concerns of that province.
In the year 17241724, a ſettlement was firſt made within the preſent limits of Vermont. The government of Maſſachuſetts then built fort Dummer, upon Connecticut river. This fort was at that time admitted to be within Maſſachuſetts. It was afterwards found to be in New-Hampſhire, and is now included in the ſtate of Vermont. Hiſtory of Vermont, p. 211.
17271727.Upon the acceſſion of King Geroge II. Mr. William Burnet, ſon of the celebrated Biſhop of Sarum, was appointed governor of Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire. He is characterized as a 200 Aa4v 200 17271727.man of good underſtanding and polite literature; fond of books, and of the converſation of literary men; but an enemy to oſtentation and parade. .
He had been governor of New-York and New- Jerſey; and his adminiſtration had, in general, been very popular in thoſe colonies, and approved 17281728.in England. He was received with much parade at Boſton, whither the lieutenant-governor of New-Hampſhire, with a committee of the council and aſſembly, went to compliment him on his arrival. Vol. II. p. 93. ,
Mr. Burnet had poſitive inſtructions from the crown to inſiſt on the eſtabliſhment of a permanent ſalary in both his provinces. He began with Maſſachuſetts, and there was a warm altercation between him and the general court on that ſubject. The inhabitants of Maſſachuſetts always declined complying with that requiſition, being apprehenſive that diſagreeable conſequences might enſue from the independency of the governor on the people over whom he was placed.See a particular account of the controverſies between the governors and council, in Hiſtory of Maſſachuſetts. The inhabitants of New-Hampſhire were more pliable; and granted the governor a fixed ſalary on certain conditions. 17291729.His death, which happened this year, was ſuppoſed to be occaſioned by the ill effects, which his controverſy with Maſſachuſetts, and the diſappointment which he ſuffered had upon his nerves. Vol. II. p. 95. ,201Bb1r201
17301730.When the death of governor Burnet was known in England, the reſentment againſt the province of Maſſachuſetts for their conduct towards him was very high. It was even propoſed to reduce them to a more abſolute dependence on the crown. However, a ſpirit of moderation prevailed, and Mr. Jonathan Belcher, a native of the province, was appointed governor of Maſſachuſetts and New- Hampſhire. Vol. II. p. 95. ,
Whilst the provinces of Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire were engaged in altercations with the governors, who were appointed by the crown, the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode-Iſland enjoyed, under their ancient charters, the privilege of chuſing their own rulers.
Though the altercations between the governors appointed by the crown, and the general aſſemblies of Maſſachuſetts afford little entertainment, ſimply conſidered; yet they appear more intereſting when viewed as reſulting from that love of liberty which ever formed a diſtinguiſhed trait in the character of the inhabitants of New-England. The oppoſition, which was made, to fixing a ſalary on the royal governors, nurtured a ſpirit of independence; and early habits of reſiſting the encroachments of Britain, prepared them for that arduous conteſt which finally terminated in a ſeparation from the parent ſtate.
Arrival of governor Belcher. His character. He endeavours in vain to obtain a fixed ſalary. A party are diſſatiſfied with his government. Controverſy between Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire, reſpecting the diviſional line. New-Hampſhire formed into a ſeparate government. Removal of Mr. Belcher. Mr. Shirley appointed governor. Reduction of Louiſbourg. Expedition projected againſt Canada. The French ſend a powerful armament againſt America, which is diſperſed by a violent tempeſt. Treaty of Aix la Chapelle. Plan of introducing biſhops in America. Settlement of Bennington.
Mr. Belcher arrived the beginning 17301730.of 1730-08Auguſt, and was received with great joy. He was a merchant of large fortune, and unblemiſhed reputation; graceful in his perſon, elegant and polite in his manners. He was a ſteady generous friend; a vindictive, but not implacable, enemy, though his frankneſs and ſincerity led him to be extremely liberal in his cenſures both in converſation and letters. Being of an aſpiring diſpoſition, he entertained a high ſenſe of the dignity of his commiſſion, and was determined to ſupport it, even at the expence of his private fortune; the emoluments203 Bb2r 203 17301730.ments of office, in both provinces, being inadequate to the ſtyle in which he choſe to live. Vol. II. p. 96. ,
In the beginning of his adminiſtration, he attempted to obtain a fixed ſalary from Maſſachuſetts; but he was as unſucceſsful as his predeceſſors. The aſſembly of that province continued their oppoſition to this meaſure with perſevering firmneſs. What he received from New-Hampſhire was fixed, and paid out of the exciſe. Ibid.
17311731.After Mr. Belcher relinquiſhed the idea of receiving a fixed ſalary from Maſſachuſetts, he endeavoured to obtain a relaxation of his inſtructions. A conſent to receive particular ſums was given for two or three years; and, at length, a general permiſſion to receive ſuch ſums as ſhould be granted. Thus the tedious controverſy reſpecting the governor’s ſalary was terminated. Vol. II. p. 374. ,
Though Mr. Belcher’s talents were of the popular kind, a party was formed againſt him, who tranſmitted complaints of his conduct to England. He and his friends had projected an union of New-Hampſhire with Maſſachuſetts; but they had not yet concerted the means of accompliſhing this purpoſe.
Mr. Dunbar, the lieutenant governor of New- Hampſhire, was at the head of the oppoſition againſt Mr. Belcher. This party contemplated not only the continuance of a ſeparate government, but the appointment of a diſtinct governor, who ſhould reſide in the province, and have no connexion with 204 Bb2v 204 17311731.Maſſachuſetts. In order to remove the obſtacle, which aroſe fropm the ſmallneſs and poverty of their province, they were zealous to have the bounds of territory not only fixed, but enlarged. Their avowed intention was to terminate a tedious controverſy, which had proved a ſource of inconvenience to the people, who reſided on the diſputed lands; or thoſe, who ſought an intereſt in them; but their ſecret deſign was to diſplace Belcher, and obtain a ſeparate government. Vol. II. p. 104, 105. ,
The provinces of Maſſachuſetts and New- Hampſhire had a long and tedious controverſy reſpecting the diviſional line. The queſtion was 17371737.referred to commiſſioners appointed by the crown, who, after diſplaying much parade, and cauſing great expence, left the matter undecided. It remained a ſubject of intrigue and altercation during the two ſubſequent years. At length, the affair 17401740.was left to the deciſion of the lords of the council. Their determination exceeded the moſt ſanguine expectations of New-Hampſhire, as it gave them a tract of country, fourteen miles in breadth, and above fifty in length, more than they had ever claimed. Ibid., p. 170,
On the other hand, the politicians of Maſſachuſetts were chagrined and enraged at this determination, which curtailed their province. They diſpatched Mr. Thomas Hutchinſon, afterwards governor of Maſſachuſetts, for an agent to petition the king, that he would reannex to their government205 Bb3r 205 17401740.ment the twenty-eight new townſhips, and the diſtricts of the ſix old towns, which had been cut off by the diviſion. The petition was finally rejected, and New-Hampſhire formed into a ſeparate government. Vol. II. p. 172, 173. ,
17411741.In the mean time Mr. Belcher’s enemies were indefatigable in their endeavours to remove him; and Dr. Belknap obſerves, that, by their inceſſant applications to the miniſtry; by taking every advantage of his miſtakes; by falſehood and miſrepreſentation; and finally, by the diabolical arts of forgery and perjury, they accompliſhed their views.
He was ſucceeded in the government of Maſſachuſetts by William Shirley; and in New- Hampſhire by Benning Wentworth. Ibid., p. 176,
After Mr. Belcher was ſuperceded in the government, he repaired to court, where he had an opportunity to exhibit the moſt convincing evidence of his integrity, and of the baſe deſigns of his enemies. He was, at length appointed governor of New-Jerſey; where he ſpent the remaining years of his life; and where his memory has been treated with merited reſpect.
News being received in Maſſachuſetts that war was declared againſt France and Spain, it was reſolved 17441744.by the general court, then ſitting, to make proviſion for raiſing forces for Nova-Scotia. Governor Shirley projected an enterprize againſt Louiſbourg, a fortified town in the iſland of Cape-Breton206 Bb3v 206 17441744.ton. Twenty-five years had been devoted to erecting its fortifications, which, though not entirely finiſhed, had coſt the crown of France thirty millions of livres. The place was ſo ſtrong as to be called the Dunkirk of America. Modern Univerſal Hiſtory, Vol. XIX. p. 340. In order to reduce this town, governor Shirley ſolicited and obtained naval aſſiſtance from England. The forces employed by Maſſachuſetts conſiſted of upwards of three thouſand two hundred of their own men. The colonies of New-Hampſhire and Rhode-Iſland furniſhed each three hundred; and Connecticut five hundred. New-York ſent a ſupply of artillery, and Pennſylvania of proviſions.
William Pepperell, Eſq. of Kittery, a reſpectable merchant, and a colonel of the militia, was appointed to command the land forces in this expedition. They were joined by a ſmall ſquadron, under the command of Commodore Warren.
The final reſolution for this enterprize againſt Louiſbourg, was carried but by the majority of one. After they had embarked, the hearts of many began to fail. Some repented that they had voted for the expedition, or promoted it; and the moſt thoughtful were involved in the greateſt perplexity. Vol. II. p. 214. , Thanksgiving Sermon, in 2-4 wordsflawed-reproduction
17451745.Towards the end of the month of 1745-04April, Commodore Warren arrived from the West-Indies, with a ſixty-four gun ſhip, and two of forty. He was ſoon after joined by another of forty, which had reached Canſo a ſhort time before. The men 207 Bb4r 207 17451745.of war ſailed immediately to cruiſe before Louiſbourg. The forces ſoon followed, and landed at Chapeaurouge-Bay, the laſt day of 1745-04April. The tranſports were diſcovered from the town early in the morning, which gave the inhabitants the firſt knowledge of the deſign.
The ſecond day after landing, four hundred men marched round behind the hills, to the northeaſt part of the harbor, in the night; where they burned the warehouſes containing the naval ſtores. The clouds of thick ſmoke, proceeding from pitch, tar, and other combuſtibles, driven by the wind into the great battery, terrified the French to ſuch a degree, that they abandoned it, and retired to the city, after having ſpiked the guns, and thrown their powder into a well. The hardſhips of the ſiege were without parrallel in all preceding American operations. The army was employed for fourteen nights, ſucceſſively, in drawing cannon, mortars, &c. for two miles through a moraſs to their camp. The Americans were yoked together, and performed labor beyond the power of oxen; which labor could be done only in the night, or in a foggy day; the place being within clear view and random ſhot of the enemy’s walls.
Whilst the forces were buſily employed on ſhore, the men of war and other veſſels were cruiſing off the harbor, as often as the weather would permit. On the 1745-05-1919th of May they captured, chiefly by the addreſs of the gallant Capt. Rous, 208 Bb4v 208 17451745.a Maſſachuſetts naval officer, the Vigilant, a French ſixty-gun ſhip, having 560 men on board, and a great variety of military ſtores for the relief of the garriſon. Vol. I. p. 113. ,
The capture of the Vigilant threw the enemy into great perturbation. This event, with the erection of a battery on the high cliff at the lighthouſe, under the direction of Lieut. Col. Gridley, by which the iſland battery was much annoyed, and the preparations which were evidently making for a general aſſault, determined Duchambon, the French officer, to ſurrender; and accordingly, on the 1745-06-1717th of June, he capitulated. See letters relating to the expedition againſt Cape Breton, in the Collections of the Maſſachuſetts Hiſtorical Society, Vol. I.. See alſo Vol. II. p. 221, 222.,
Upon entering the fortreſs, and viewing its ſtrength, and the plenty and variety of its means of defence, the moſt courageous were appalled, and the impracticability of carrying it by aſſault was fully demonſtrated.
As this was a time, when veſſels were expected from all parts at Louiſbourg, the French flag was kept flying as a decoy. Two Eaſt-Indiamen, and one South-ſea ſhip, eſtimated at 600,000 l. ſterling, were taken by the ſquadron at the mouth of the harbor, into which they ſailed as uſual, not knowing that the place had ſurrendered to the Engliſh.
The weather was remarkably fine during the ſiege; but the rains began the day after the ſurrender, and continued ten days inceſſantly, which 209 Cc1r 209 17451745.would undoubtedly have proved fatal to the expedition, had not the capitulation prevented.
The religious inhabitants of New-England contemplated with pious gratitude the remarkable interpoſitions of divine Providence, in the reduction of this town; and the almoſt miraculous preſervation of the army from deſtruction.
The news of this important victory occaſioned great rejoicings in America, and filled Europe with aſtoniſhment. The enterprizing ſpirit of New- England gave a ſerious alarm to thoſe jealous fears, which had long predicted the independence of the colonies. Great pains were taken in England to aſcribe all the glory to the navy, and depreciate the merit of the army. However, Pepperell received the title of a baronet, as well as Warren. The latter was promoted to be an admiral; the former had a commiſſion as colonel in the Britiſh eſtabliſhment, and was empowered to raiſe a regiment in America, to be in the pay of the crown. The ſame emolument was given to Shirley, and both he and Wentworth acquired ſo much reputation as to be confirmed in their places. And after much difficulty and delay, parliament reimburſed the colonies for their expences. Vol. II. p. 223. ,
Whilst the Britiſh colonies, elated by ſucceſs, planned a new expedition againſt Canada, the loſs of Louiſbourg ſtimulated the French to revenge.
17451746.In the ſubſequent year a very formidable French fleet ſailed for the American coaſt, under the commandCc 210 Cc1v 210 17451746.mand of the Duke d’Anville, a nobleman of ability and courage. This was the moſt powerful armament ever ſent into North-America, having twenty men of war, an hundred tranſports, about eight thouſand diſciplined troops, with veteran officers, and all kinds of military ſtores. It was ſuppoſed that the French government had formed the deſign of recovering Louiſbourg, taking Annapolis, breaking up the ſettlements on the eaſtern coaſt of Maſſachuſetts; and of diſtreſſing, if not attempting the conqueſt of New-England. On this alarming occaſion, the troops which were deſtined for Canada found ſufficient employment at home; and vigorous exertions were uſed to repel the attempts of their enemies. The colonies were diſappointed in their expectation of a Britiſh ſquadron for their defence; and their ſituation appeared extremely dangerous. They were, however, at length providentially relieved. The French fleet was viſited by ſuch a mortal ſickneſs, that thirteen hundred died at ſea; and the greateſt part of thoſe who remained were extremely weakened and diſpirited. In addition to this calamity, the fleet was diſperſed by a violent tempeſt. The commander, in deſpair, put a period to his life by poiſon; and the ſecond in command fell on his ſword. Part of the ſhips were loſt, and thoſe which eſcaped deſtruction, were obliged to return ſingly to France. Thankſgiving Sermon, p. 20.
Dr. Belknap obſerves, Never was the hand of divine Providence more viſible, than on this 211 Cc2r 211 17451746.occaſion. Never was a diſappointment more ſevere on the ſide of an enemy; nor a deliverance more complete, without human help, in favour of this country. Vol. II. p. 230, 232. ,
When the alarm occaſioned by the French fleet had ſubſided, the ſeaſon was too far advanced to proſecute the expedition againſt Canada. Governor Shirley was ſo intent upon attacking Crown- Point, that he had even propoſed to march thither in the winter, and had the addreſs to draw the aſſembly of Maſſachuſetts into an approbation of his project; but the plan was fruſtrated by the prudence of the Connecticut aſſembly, who deemed the winter an improper ſeaſon for ſo great an undertaking, and deferred their aſſiſtance till the enſuing ſpring. The termination of the war prevented the renewal of the plan. By the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, in 17481748, it was ſtipulated, that all things ſhould be reſtored on the footing they were before the war. Ibid, p. 234.
17491749.No ſooner were the diſtreſſes of war cloſed, by the renewal of peace, than the colonies, particularly of New-England, were alarmed with the report of an American Epiſcopacy; which it was the moſt earneſt deſire of Dr. Thomas Secker, late archbiſhop of Canterbury, to accompliſh. The colonies were oppoſed to the introduction of Epiſcopacy; becauſe they ſuppoſed it would be accompanied with ſuch a degree of civil power, as would, at length, infringe upon the rights of other denominations. .212Cc2v212
17491749.The political reaſon on which the deſign of ſending biſhops to America was founded, was the circumſtance of ſeveral nonjuring clergymen, in the intereſt of the Pretender, having come into the country from Great-Britain, whoſe influence it was neceſſary to counteract and deſtroy. But ſome leading perſons in the miniſtry being oppoſed to it, the project was laid aſide in the cabinet. Nevertheleſs, the ſociety for propagating the goſpel, from different views, took it under their patronage. p. 136. ,
In order to obviate the objections which they ſuppoſed the colonies would make to the introduction of Epiſcopacy, they ſtated,
That the biſhops to be ſent to the colonies ſhould not be veſted with any authority, but that of a ſpiritual and eccleſiaſtical nature. That this authority ſhould operate only on the clergy, and not on the laity, or diſſenters of any denomination. That the biſhops ſhould not interfere with the property or privileges, whether civil or religious, of churchmen or diſſenters. That their maintenance ſhould not be ſettled in places where the government is in the hands of diſſenters, as in New-England. That their authority ſhould extend only to ordain clergy over Episcopal congregations; to inſpect the manners and behavior of ſuch clergy, and to confirm the members of the church of England. Ibid, p. 137.
The deſign of introducing biſhops in America, was, however, laid aſide at this period.213Cc3r213
17491749.This year Benning Wentworth, governor of New-Hampſhire, made a grant to that colony of a townſhip ſix miles ſquare, by the name of Bennington, in alluſion to his own name. For the ſpace of four or five years, he made ſeveral other grants on the weſt ſide of Connecticut river. The application for new grants was ſuſpended for a time, in conſequence of the war between France and the Britiſh colonies, which will be briefly related in the ſubſequent chapter. Hiſtory of Vermont, p. 212.
Revival of the diſputes between the French and Britiſh colonies. Congreſs appointed. They form a plan of union, which is rejected. Of the four expeditions againſt the French. Mr. Pitt appointed prime miniſter. American affairs wear a more favorable aſpect. Louiſbourg taken. Several French forts are reduced. Defeat of the Engliſh troops at Ticonderoga.
The treaty of Aix la Chapelle had terminated none of the controverted points between the French and Engliſh concerning the limits of their reſpective colonies. To accompliſh this purpoſe, commiſſioners were mutually choſen. Theſe commiſſioners met at Paris, but came to no deciſion. The French were in poſſeſſion of all Canada, had ſettlements in Louiſiana, and they meditated to join theſe diſtant colonies, by a chain of forts and poſts from the St. Lawrence to the Miſſiſippi, and to extend the limits of Canada as far eaſtward as to command navigation in the winter, when the great river St. Lawrence is impaſſable. Theſe claims of territory were a ſubject of complaint to the Engliſh and Americans, and threatened to revive the flames of war. Vol. II. p. 284. ,215Cc4r215
17541754.In this alarming criſis of affairs, a Congreſs was held at Albany, conſiſting of delegates from Maſſachuſetts, New-Hampſhire, Rhode-Iſland, Connecticut, Pennſylvania and Maryland; with the lieutenant-governor, and council of New-York. One member from each colony was appointed, to draw a plan of union. The ſubſtance of this plan was, that application be made, for an act of parliament, to form a grand council, conſiſting of delegates from the ſeveral legiſlative aſſemblies, ſubject to the control of a preſident-general, to be appointed by the crown, with a negative voice. That this council ſhould enact general laws; apportion the quotas of men and money, to be raiſed by each colony; determine the building of forts, regulate the operation of armies, and concert all meaſures for the common protection and ſafety. The delegates of Connecticut alone, entered their diſſent to the plan, becauſe of the negative voice of the preſident-general. It is, ſays Dr. Belknap, worthy of remark, that this plan for the union of the colonies was agreed to, on the 1754-07-04fourth day of July; exactly twenty-two years before the declaration of American independence; and that the name of Franklin appears in both. Vol. II. p. 286. , p. 191. ,
This plan of union was rejected in America, becauſe it was ſuppoſed to put too much power into the hands of the king; and it was rejected in England, becauſe it was thought to give too much authority to the aſſemblies of the colonies. The 216 Cc4v 216 17541754.miniſtry made another propoſal, that the governor, with one or two members of the council of each colony, ſhould aſſemble, and conſult for the common defence, and draw on the Britiſh treaſury for the ſums expended, which ſhould be raiſed by a general tax, laid, by parliament, on the colonies. But this was not a time to puſh ſuch an alarming innovation, and when it was found impracticable, the miniſtry determined to employ their own troops to fight their battles in America, rather than to let their colonies feel their own ſtrength, and be directed by their own counſels.
As it was neceſſary to draw aid from the colonies, they reſolved to permit their militia to ſerve inferior offices; but Britiſh troops, commanded by Britiſh officers, muſt have the honor of reducing the French dominions in North-America. Vol. II. p. 287. ,
The depredations of the French and their Indian allies rendered it neceſſary to drive them from the Ohio. The reduction of Niagara, Crown- Point, and their forts in Nova-Scotia, was alſo reſolved upon. Vol. II. p. 45. ,
17551755.Although the war was not yet formally declared, General Braddock was ſent from Ireland to Virginia, with two regiments of foot; when joined, upon his arrival, by the provincial troops, he found himſelf at the head of 2200 men. He was a brave officer, but deficient in many qualifications neceſſary for the ſervice to which he was appointed. The ſeverity of his diſcipline made 217 Dd1r 217 17551755.him unpopular among the regulars. His pride and haughtineſs induced him to deſpiſe the country militia, and to ſlight the advice of the Virginia officers. Vol. II. p. 45. ,
Col. Waſhington (who began to exhibit thoſe great abilities, which ſo eminently diſtinguiſhed him at a future period) was then aid-de-camp to General Braddock. When the army was marching for Fort-du-Queſne, he earneſtly begged the general to admit of his preceding the Britiſh regulars, and ſcouring the woods with his rangers. This was contemptuouſly refuſed. The general had been cautioned by the Duke of Cumberland, and his own officers, to guard againſt a ſurprize, and yet he puſhed on heedleſsly with the firſt diviſion, conſiſting of 1400 men, till he fell into an ambuſcade of four hundred, chiefly Indians, by whom he was defeated, and mortally wounded. The regulars were put into the greateſt panic, and fled in the utmoſt confuſion. The militia were accuſtomed to Indian fighting, and were not terrified to ſuch a degree. The general had diſdainfully turned them into the rear, where they continued in a body unbroken, and under the conduct of Col. Waſhington, ſerved as a moſt uſeful rear guard, covered the retreat of the Britiſh troops, and prevented their being entirely cut off. General Hiſtory of the French War, Vol. I. p. 143, 144. Vol. II. p. 41, 42. ,
Previously to the defeat of General Braddock, the Maſſachuſetts aſſembly raiſed a body of troops Dd 218 Dd1v 218 17551755.who were diſpatched to Nova-Scotia, to aſſiſt lieutenant-governor Lawrence in expelling the French from their ſeveral encroachments in that province. This expedition was undertaken and conducted at the expence of the crown; and the command given to lieutenant-colonel Monckton; but the Maſſachuſetts forces acted as a diſtinct body, under their own officers, with a promiſe of the ſame pay, and being treated in every reſpect as others in the ſame ſervice. The ſecrecy and diſpatch uſed in this expedition were rewarded with ſucceſs. p. 217. ,
Governor Shirley commanded the expedition againſt Niagara. Part of the troops devoted to the execution of this ſcheme did not arrive till the ſeaſon was ſo far advanced, that it was unanimouſly agreed to defer the attempt till the ſubſequent year.
Colonel, afterwards Sir William, Johnſon, was appointed to go againſt Crown-Point. The ſlowneſs and deficiency of preparations, prevented the ſeveral colonies joining their troops till about 1755-08Auguſt. Meanwhile the active enemy, having tranſported forces from France to Canada, marched down to meet the provincials, and attacked them; but being repulſed, they loſt ſix hundred men, beſides having their general, Baron Dieſkau, wounded and made priſoner.
17571757.This year war was formally declared againſt France; and Maſſachuſetts raiſed a great armament219 Dd2r 219 17571757.ment to attack Crown-Point. Lord Loudon, who at this period was commander in chief of the Britiſh forces in North-America, did not think proper that the troops ſhould proceed, till the American army was reinforced. This delay gave the enemy time to ſtrengthen Crown-Point, to recruit and refreſh their forces, and to improve ſome ſucceſs, which had lately attended their military movements. In the courſe of the year, the French received a reinforcement of near three thouſand men, under the command of General Montcalm, an officer of ſuperior talents from Europe. Vol. I. p. 494, 495. ,
The Engliſh miniſtry were greatly diſſatisfied with the conduct of the war in America; Lord Loudon was recalled, and the chief command devolved upon General Abercrormbie.
17581758.At this period American affairs began to aſſume a more favorable aſpect. Happily for the Britiſh nation the great Mr. Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, was placed at the head of the miniſtry. The people of England confided in him for the ſalvation of their country. His adminiſtration united all parties, and reſtored ſuch order, unanimity and deciſion to the public councils, that the force of the empire was directed with ſucceſs in every quarter of the globe. Life of the Earl of Chatham, p. 68, 69, 70.
The reduction of Louiſbourg, which had been reſtored to the French by the treaty of Aix la Chapelle, was undertaken with enthuſiaſm and zeal, and was effected by the ſpirited exertions of the 220 Dd2v 220 17581758.ſea and land forces, under Admiral Boſcawen and General Amherſt. Five or ſix ſhips of the line were taken. The French governor, finding it impoſſible to ſupport an aſſault, ſurrendered by capitulation. Here the brave General Wolfe, who afterwards acted ſo diſtinguiſhed a part at Quebec, diſplayed his eminent military abilities. Vol. II. p. 80. ,
In the mean time the military operations on the continent were conducted with equal vigor. Frontenac and Fort-du-Queſne fell into the hands of the Britiſh; acquiſitions which overbalanced the check which they had received at Ticonderoga, where General Abercrombie was defeated, and a conſiderable number killed and wounded, whilſt attacking the lines in that place.
The proſperous events of this year, however, opened a pleaſing proſpect of ſucceſs to the Britiſh and Americans, and encouraged and animated them to vigorous exertions to expel the French from their poſſeſſions in the new world.
The war againſt the French proſecuted with vigor and ſucceſs. Of the reduction of Fort Niagara. Ticonderoga and Crown-Point evacuated. Quebec taken by the Engliſh after a ſevere battle, in which the Generals Wolfe and Montcalm are killed. Character of General Wolfe. All Canada conquered by the Britiſh and American arms. Several of the French iſlands ſubdued. General peace.
17591759.At the opening of this year, the Britiſh miniſtry uſed the moſt vigorous exertions to reduce the French dominions in North-America. Preparations were made, and expeditions brought forward againſt three different parts at the ſame period. General Wolfe was to proceed up the river St. Lawrence, with a body of eight thouſand men, and a ſtrong ſquadron of ſhips from England, to beſiege Quebec, the capital of the French dominions in America, and the central point of the Britiſh operations. General Amherſt, the commander in chief, at the head of twelve thouſand troops, was to reduce Ticonderoga and Crown-Point, then croſs lake Champlain, and, proceeding along the banks of the river Richlien, to the river St. Lawrence, join General Wolfe before Quebec. Brigadier-General Prideaux, with a third body of troops, aſſiſted by a conſiderable 222 Dd3v 222 17591759.number of Indians, aſſembled by the influence, and under the command of Sir William Johnſon, had orders to attack a French fort near the cataract of Niagara, which, in a manner commanded all the interior parts of North-America, and was a key to the whole continent. Vol. II. p. 93. ,
The laſt named expedition was the firſt which ſucceeded. General Prideaux, with his army, advanced to the cataract of Niagara, without meeting with the leaſt obſtruction, and, inveſting the fort about the middle of 1759-07July, carried on his approaches with great vigor, till the 1759-07-2020th of that month, when, viſiting the trenches, he was unfortunately killed by the burſting of a mortar. After his death, the whole command of the expedition devolved upon General Johnſon, who omitted nothing to bring forward the ſpirited operations of his predeceſſor. A body of French troops, who were ſenſible of the importance of this fort, attempted to relieve it; but Johnſon attacked them with intrepidity and ſucceſs, ſo that in leſs than an hour their whole army was defeated. The garriſon, ſoon after perceiving the fate of their countrymen, ſurrendered priſoners of war.
The ſucceſs of General Amherſt was leſs ſplendid, though not leſs ſerviceable. On his arrival before Ticonderoga, the French firſt appeared determined to defend the place; but finding the Engliſh general prudent, reſolute, and acquainted with the ſtrength of their forces, they abandoned 223 Dd4r 223 17591759.this ſtrong poſt, and retired to Crown-Point, which, from ſimilar motives, they were ſoon after induced to evacuate. Vol. II. p. 99. ,
There now, therefore, remained but one grand and deciſive blow, to put all North-America into the poſſeſſion of the Engliſh. This was the taking of Quebec, the capital of Canada, a city handſomely built, populous and flouriſhing. Admiral Saunders was appointed to command the naval part of this expedition. The ſiege by land was committed to the conduct of General Wolfe, of whom the nation had great expectations. This young ſoldier, who was not yet thirty-five, had diſtinguiſhed himſelf on many former occaſions; and without being indebted to family or connexions, had raiſed himſelf by merit to his preſent command. Hiſtory of England, p. 218.
This enterprize was attended with a combination of formidable difficulties. General Wolfe was oppoſed, with far ſuperior force, by the Marquis de Montcalm, the moſt brave and ſucceſsful general the French poſſeſſed. Though the ſituation of the country which Wolfe was to attack, and the works which the French erected, to prevent the deſcent of the Engliſh, were deemed impregnable, yet Montcalm never relaxed in his vigilance. The city of Quebec was ſtrongly fortified, ſecured with a numerous garriſon, and plentifully ſupplied with proviſions and ammunition. The French army conſiſted of upwards of twelve thouſand men, excluſive of large bodies of Indians. Vol. IV. p. 96. ,224Dd4v224
17591759.With this force Montcalm took the field, and encamped in a very advantageous ſituation. The troops extended along the ſhore of Beauport, from the river St. Charles to the falls of Montmorency, and were entrenched in every acceſſible place, with the river and ſand-banks in front, and impracticable woods in the rear. The poſt was not only impregnable, but it enabled the enemy, whenever they pleaſed, to throw ſuccours into the city.
The only proſpect of attempting the town with ſucceſs, was by landing a body of troops in the night above the town, who were to aſcend the banks of the river, and take poſſeſſion of the ground on the back of the city. This attempt, however, appeared peculiarly diſcouraging. The ſtream was rapid, the ſhore ſhelving, the bank above lined with centinels, the landing place ſo narrow as to be eaſily miſſed in the dark, and the ſteepneſs of the ground, ſuch as hardly to be ſurmounted in the day time. Theſe formidable difficulties were overcome by the conduct of the general, and the bravery of his troops. Col. Howe, with the light infantry and the Highlanders, aſcended the woody precipices with admirable courage and activity, and diſlodged a ſmall body of troops that defended a narrow path-way up the bank. Having cleared the path, they gained the top of the hill without further interruption. As faſt as they aſcended they formed themſelves, ſo that the whole army was in order of battle by day-break. Vol. II. p. 121. , p. 349. ,225Ee1r225
17591759.Monsieur de Montcalm, the French commander, was no ſooner apprized that the Engliſh had gained theſe heights, which he had confidently deemed inacceſſible, than he reſolved to hazard a battle; and a furious encounter quickly began. This was one of the moſt deſperate engagements during the war. The Engliſh withſtood the attacks of their enemies with the greateſt intrepidity and firmneſs. Having been ordered to load with double ball, they poured in a terrible diſcharge, and continued their fire with ſuch deliberation and ſpirit, that the French gave way, and fled with precipitation. The Marquis de Montcalm was ſlain; and the ſecond in command ſhared the ſame fate. General Wolfe was ſtationed on the right, where the attack was moſt warm; and ſtanding conſpicuous in the front line, had been aimed at by the enemy’s markſmen, and at laſt received a ſhot in the wriſt, which, however, did not oblige him to quit the field. Having wrapped an handkerchief round his arm, he continued giving orders without the leaſt emotion, and advanced at the head of the grenadiers with their bayonets fixed; but a ſecond ball, more fatal, pierced the breaſt of this young hero, juſt as the French began to retreat. Unable to proceed, he leaned on the ſhoulder of a lieutenant, who was next him. Now ſtruggling in the agonies of death, and juſt expiring, he heard a voice cry, they run! upon which he ſeemed for a moment to revive, and aſking who ran, was informedEe 226 Ee1v 226 17591759.ed the French. Expreſſing his wonder that they ran ſo ſoon, and unable to gaze any longer, he ſunk on the officer’s breaſt, and his laſt words were, I thank God, I die happy. Vol. IV.. , Vol. II. p. 123. , p. 349. , Univerſal Hiſtory, Vol. XIX.
Brigadier-general Monckton, the ſecond Engliſh officer, was dangerouſly wounded, while emulating the courage of his predeceſſor. The chief command devolved upon General Townſend, who completed the defeat of the French. Quebec ſurrendered by capitulation to the Engliſh, after a ſevere campaign of three months.
This important victory was gained at the expence of ſixty-one men killed, including nine officers; and of five hundred and ninety-eight wounded. The death of General Wolfe was a national loſs; and univerſally lamented. He poſſeſſed a genius of the firſt rank in the military line, and was the pattern of the officer, and delight of the ſoldier. He was generous, affable and humane; and added the amiable virtues to his military greatneſs. His conſtitutional courage was uniform and daring; and he poſſeſſed a ſtrength, ſteadineſs and activity of mind, which no dangers could diſcourage. In the expedition againſt Quebec, his abilities ſhone with the brighteſt luſtre. Notwithſtanding the great ſuperiority of numbers, the unforeſeen difficulties from the nature of the ſituation, the ſtrength of the place, and his own bad ſtate of health, he perſevered with indefatigable induſtry in forming and executing that dangerous227 Ee2r 227 17591759.gerous and important plan, which cauſed the defeat of the French; and will forever denominate him the Conqueror of Canada. .Vol. II. p. 126. ,
17601760.The ſubſequent ſeaſon the French made a vigorous effort to retake Quebec; but by the reſolution of governor Murray, and the appearance of an Engliſh fleet, under the command of Lord Colville, they were rendered unable to proſecute the enterprize.
The whole province of Canada was ſoon after reduced by the prudence and activity of General Amherſt, who obliged the French army to capitulate. It has ſince remained annexed to the Britiſh empire. p. 50. ,
To theſe conqueſts, about the ſame time, was added the reduction of the iſland of Guadaloupe, under Commodore Moore and General Hopſon, an acquiſition of great importance; but which was reſtored at the general peace.
17621762.This year Martinico was taken by Admiral Rodney and General Monckton, and alſo the iſlands of Grenada, St. Vincents and others. The capture of theſe iſlands was followed by the ſurrender of the Havannah, the capital of the iſland of Cuba.
The ſucceſs, which attended the Britiſh army in the Weſt-India iſlands, terminated the war. The 17631763.ſubſequent year a definitive treaty of peace was concluded at Paris between Great-Britain, France and Spain. By this treaty, the Engliſh ceded to the French ſeveral iſlands, which had been taken 228 Ee2v 228 17631763.from them in the Weſt-Indies. Yet the whole continent of North-America was left in the poſſeſſion of the Britiſh crown. Vol. II. p. 149. ,
During the war, the colonies in general, and the Maſſachuſetts in particular, complied with the requiſitions of the Britiſh miniſter, and exhibited a readineſs to ſupport his plans for the reduction of the French power. Many of the ſeveral privates who gained ſuch laurels, by their ſingular bravery on the plains of Abraham, when Wolfe died in the arms of victory, were natives of Maſſachuſetts. When Martinico was attacked, in 17611761, and the Britiſh force was greatly weakened by ſickneſs and death, the timely arrival of the New-England troops, enabled the former to proſecute the reduction of that iſland with ſucceſs. They alſo arrived at the Havannah at a critical period, and by their junction with the Britiſh, facilitated the conqueſt of that place. Their fidelity, activity and courage were ſuch as to gain the approbation and confidence of the Britiſh officers. Vol. I. p. 137, 146. ,
In the proſecution of the war, the advantages which Great-Britain derived from her colonies were ſeverely felt by her enemies. Upwards of four hundred privateers, which were fitted out of the ports of the Britiſh colonies, ſucceſsfully attacked the French commerce. Theſe not only ravaged the Weſt-India iſlands, belonging to his moſt Chriſtian Majeſty, but made many captures on the coaſt of France. Beſides diſtreſſing the French 229 Ee3r 229 nation by privateering, the colonies furniſhed 23,800 men, to co-operate with the Britiſh regular forces in North-America. The ſucceſs of their privateers—the co-operation of their land forces— the convenience of their harbors, and their continuity to the Weſt-India iſlands, made the colonies great acquiſitions to Britain, and formidable enemies to France. From their growing importance the latter had much to fear. Their continued union with Great-Britain threatened the ſubverſion of the commerce, and the American poſſeſſions of the French nation. Hiſtory of the American Revolution, Vol. I. p. 40.
This war, ſays a late author, was one of the moſt glorious and ſucceſsful for Great-Britain, that had ever been carried on, in any age, or by any nation. In the ſpace of eight years ſhe had made herſelf miſtreſs of almoſt the whole continent of North-America. She had conquered twenty-five iſlands, all of them remarkable for their magnitude, their produce, or the importance of their ſituation. She had won by ſea and land twelve great battles; ſhe had reduced nine fortified cities and towns, and nearly forty forts and caſtles. She had deſtroyed or taken above an hundred ſhips of war from her enemies, and acquired, as it is ſuppoſed, about twelve millions in plunder. Vol. I. p. 252. ,
Though the military glory of Great-Britain roſe to its higheſt pitch, yet the ſame thence acquired was bought at a high price. The lives of two hundred and eighty thouſand men, including a great number 230 Ee3v 230 of brave and able officers, an incredible quantity of treaſure, and an increaſe of the national debt from ſeventy-two to one hundred and twenty-two millions ſterling, excluſive of thirteen millions unfunded. Encyclopedia Brit.
At this period the arms of Great-Britain had recently been ſucceſsful in every part of the globe. Power, however, like all things human, has its limits; and there is an elevated point of grandeur which ſeems to indicate a deſcent. The kingdoms of Europe looked with a jealous eye upon Britain, after the acquiſition of ſuch immenſe power and territory. A tide of proſperity has a ſimilar effect upon nations, as upon individuals. Hence the haughtineſs of Britain was heightened by her late conqueſts, while the high ideas of liberty and independence which were nurtured in the colonies by their local ſituation, and the ſtate of ſociety in the new world, were increaſed by the removal of hoſtile neighbors. Thus prepared, the ſeeds of diſcord were ſoon planted between the parent ſtate and the colonies, which ſpeedily ſprung up to the rending of the empire, and reducing the power and grandeur of the Britiſh nation.
State of the colonies at the termination of the French war. The ſettlement of Vermont. The college founded at Providence, in Rhode-Iſland. Of Dartmouth college. An account of the cauſes which produced the American revolution.
The ſtate of the Britiſh colonies, at the concluſion of the war, in 17631763, attracted the attention of all the politicians in Europe. Their flouriſhing condition at that period was remarkable and ſtriking. Their trade had proſpered in the midſt of all the difficulties and diſtreſſes of a war, in which they were ſo nearly, and ſo immediately concerned. Their population continued advancing, notwithſtanding the ravages and depredations of the French and their Indian allies. They abounded with ſpirited and active individuals of all denominations. They were elated with the uncommon proſperity that had attended them in their commercial affairs, and military tranſactions. Hence they were ready for all kinds of undertakings, and ſaw no limits to their hopes and expectations. Vol. I. p. 253. ,
During the progreſs of the war, the New- England troops cut a road through Charleſtown, in New-Hampſhire, to Crown-Point. They were frequently paſſing through theſe lands; and their fertility and value became generally known. 232 Ee4v 232 Upon the ceſſation of hoſtilities, they were eagerly ſought after by adventurers and ſpeculators. By the advice of his council, the governor of New- Hampſhire directed a ſurvey to be made of Connecticut river, for ſixty miles; and three lines of townſhips to be laid out on each ſide.
The application for lands conſtantly increaſed, and new ſurveys were made. So rapid was the progreſs, that during the year 17611761, ſixty townſhips, of ſix miles ſquare, were granted on the weſt of Connecticut river. The whole number of grants, in one or two years more, amounted to one hundred and thirty-eight, and their extent was, from Connecticut river, to what was eſteemed eaſt of Hudſon’s river, ſo far as that extended to the northward; and after that, as far weſt as the eaſtern ſhore of lake Champlain. The cultivation of the country, and the number of the ſettlers, increaſed with ſurprizing rapidity. p. 212. ,
This tract of country which was called Vermont, was claimed both by New-York and New- Hampſhire. The claim of New-York was founded upon a grant which Charles II. in 16641664, and 16741674, made to his brother, the Duke of York; containing, among other parts of America, all the lands from the weſt ſide of Connecticut river, to the eaſt ſide of Delaware bay. This grant was inconſiſtent with the charters, which had previouſly been given to Maſſachuſetts and Connecticut; and neither of them admitted it to have any effect, with regard to the lands which 233 Ff1r 233 they had ſettled or claimed to the weſt of Connecticut river. p. 212. ,
On a final ſettlement of a diſpute between Maſſachuſetts and New-Hampſhire, the preſent juriſdictional line between Vermont and Maſſachuſetts, was run and eſtabliſhed, in the year 17411741. From that time until the year 17641764, this territory was conſidered as lying within the juriſdiction of New- Hampſhire. During this period numerous grants were made, and, after the year 17601760, ſome conſiderable ſettlements were begun under the authority of that province. In the year 17641764, by order of the king of Britain, this territory was annexed to New-York. The government of that province pretended to claim the right of ſoil as well as juriſdiction, and held the grants formerly made under New-Hampſhire to be void. This occaſioned a long ſeries of altercation between the ſettlers and claimants under New-Hampſhire, and the government of New-York, and which, at the commencement of the late revolution, terminated in the eſtabliſhment of a ſeparate juriſdiction in the preſent ſtate of Vermont. A particular account of this controverſy would be inconſiſtent with the brevity of this work. Geography, Vol. I. p. 360.
17641764.After the eſtabliſhment of peace, the American colonies increaſed in knowledge, as well as in opulence and population. This year a charter was granted, by the general aſſembly of Rhode- Iſland, for founding a ſeminary of learning, by the Ff 234 Ff1v 234 17641764.name of the Truſtees and Fellows of the college or univerſity in the Engliſh colony of Rhode- Iſland and Providence Plantations, in conſequence of the petition of a large number of the moſt reſpectable characters in the ſtate. By the charter, the corporation of the college conſiſts of two ſeparate branches, with diſtinct, ſeparate and reſpective powers. The number of truſtees is thirty- ſix, of whom twenty-two are of the denomination called Baptiſts, five of the denomination of Friends, five Epiſcopalians, and four Congregationaliſts. The ſame proportion of the different denominations to continue in perpetuum. The number of the fellows (incluſive of the preſident, who is a fellow ex officio) is twelve, of whom eight are Baptiſts; the others choſen indiſcriminately from any denomination. The concurrence of both branches, by a majority of each, is neceſſary for the validity of an act, except adjudging and conferring degrees, which excluſively belongs to the fellowſhip as a learned faculty. The preſident must be a Baptiſt; profeſſors and other officers of inſtruction are not limited to any particular denomination. There is annually a general meeting of the corporation, on the firſt Wedneſday in September, at which time the public commencement is held. Geography, Vol. I. p. 437.
It is thus expreſſed in the college charter: All the members of this inſtitution ſhall forever enjoy full, free, abſolute and uninterrupted, liberty of conſcience, and that the places of profeſſors, tutors,235 Ff2r 235 17641764.tors, and all other officers, the preſident excepted, ſhall be free and open for all denominations of Proteſtants. Charter of Providence College.
This inſtitution was firſt founded at Warren, in the county of Briſtol, and the firſt commencement held there in 17691769.
In the year 17701770, the college was removed to Providence, where a large elegant building was erected for its accommodation, by the generous donations of individuals, moſtly from the town of Providence. It is ſituated upon a hill to the eaſt of the town, and while its elevated ſituation renders it delightful, by commanding an extenſive variegated proſpect, it furniſhes it with a pure ſalubrious air. p. 437 ,
The inhabitants of New-Hampſhire, like thoſe of the other New-England ſettlements, were diſtinguiſhed by their attention to the promotion of learning. The ancient laws of the colony required every town of one hundred families to keep a grammar ſchool, in which the learned languages ſhould be taught, and youth prepared for admiſſion to an univerſity. .
17691769.During the adminiſtration of governor Wentworth, a ſeminary of literature was eſtabliſhed in the province of New-Hampſhire. It was founded on a projection of Doctor Eleazer Wheelock, of Lebanon, in Connecticut, for the removal of the Indian charity ſchool. Ibid, Vol. II. p. 349.236Ff2v236
17691769.The firſt deſign of a ſchool of this kind was conceived by Mr. John Sergeant, miſſionary to the Indians at Stockbridge. A rambling mode of life, and a total want of letters, were ever unfriendly to the propagation of religious knowledge among the ſavages of America. The worthy miſſionary, intent on the buſineſs of his profeſſion, procured benefactions from many benevolent perſons, and began a ſchool at Stockbridge; where the Indian youth were to be maintained and inſtructed, both in literature and agriculture. Death put an end to the labors of this excellent man, before his plan could be accompliſhed.
This deſign was revived by Wheelock. Having made ſome experiments, he was encouraged to proceed by the tractable diſpoſition of the Indian youths, and their proficiency in learning; but eſpecially, by the numerous benefactions, which he received from the friends of religion and humanity.
As an improvement on the original deſign, a number of Engliſh youths were educated with the Indians, both in literary and agricultural exerciſes; that their example might invite the Indians to the love of thoſe employments, and abate the prejudice, which they have univerſally imbibed, that it is beneath the dignity of man to delve in the earth. Vol. II. p. 351. ,
As the number of ſcholars increaſed, it became neceſſary to erect buildings, and extend cultivation. That part of the country in which the ſchool was 237 Ff3r 237 17691769.firſt placed, being filled with inhabitants, a removal was contemplated. The founder was induced to accept an invitation made by the governor and other gentlemen in New-Hampſhire; hence the townſhip of Hanover, on the eaſtern bank of Connecticut river, was finally determined upon, as the moſt convenient ſituation for the ſchool, to which the governor annexed a charter of incorporation for an univerſity, which was named Dartmouth college, after the Earl of Dartmouth, one of its principal benefactors. Vol. II. p. 351. ,
Doctor Wheelock was declared the founder and preſident of this univerſity, with power to nominate his ſucceſſor, in his laſt will. A board of twelve truſtees was conſtituted, with perpetual ſucceſſion; and the college was endowed with a large landed eſtate. In 17711771, a commencement was firſt held at this place. Ibid.
Previously to the eſtabliſhment of the above mentioned ſeminary of learning, the political calm, which the colonies had ſo long enjoyed, was overcaſt with a cloud. Great-Britain, elated with her proſperity, had already formed, and propoſed a plan, which tended to ſubvert their privileges; and they, animated with an ardent love of liberty, had already exhibited a determined ſpirit of reſiſtance.
Before an hiſtorical ſketch is given of the impolitic meaſures which were taken by the Britiſh miniſtry, it may, perhaps, be proper to mention 238 Ff3v 238 ſome of the cauſes, which produced that ardent love of liberty, which ſtimulated the New-England colonies to reſiſt the arbitrary encroachments of the parent ſtate.
New-England was firſt ſettled by thoſe, who groaned under the yoke of oppreſſion and religious perſecutions in their native country. They had been zealous aſſerters of the cauſe of liberty during the arbitrary reigns of James and Charles. The tyranny of the Britiſh government, which impelled them to ſeek an aſylum in the new world, impreſſed their minds with high ideas of their civil and religious privileges, and the care they took to preſerve them inviolate was evinced by their early policy and eſtabliſhments. As their charters gave them the power of chuſing their own officers, thoſe ideas were confirmed and heightened by the habits of acting as freemen. Whenever they conceived their liberties in danger, we find traits of the ſame ſpirit which finally ſevered them from Britain. When the new charter of Maſſachuſetts deprived that colony of the privilege of chuſing their rulers, we find a continual altercation between the people and royal governors. Theſe habits of reſiſting every encroachment in its infancy, invigorated their minds, and prepared them for greater exertions, when the tyranny of Britain attempted to ſubjugate them to further innovations. The long period, which elapſed between the ſtamp-act, and the commencement of hoſtilities, called forth the moſt diſtinguiſhed abilities, and developed characters, 239 Ff4r 239 which will be remembered with immortal honor in the annals of America. The writings of theſe eminent characters diffuſed knowledge among the great body of the people, and they became well acquainted with the grounds of the diſpute between Britain and the colonies. The ſtance of liberty, which was firſt kindled in New-England, enlightened the continent; and to their early exertions, the other colonies, in a great meaſure, owe their liberty and independence. The force of public opinion; the energy of American counſels; and their final ſucceſs in arms, gave riſe to one of the moſt extraordinary revolutions in hiſtory, which is replete with the moſt important conſequences to mankind.
Riſe of the controverſy between Great-Britain and the colonies. Of the ſtamp-act. Spirited oppoſition made to it. Congreſs appointed. The ſtamp-act repealed. Rejoicing on that occaſion.
In the two preceding chapters we have ſeen Britain extending her conqueſts, and the colonies riſing in population and knowledge. At preſent we muſt reverſe the proſpect, and view the parent ſtate, elated by her late proſperity, and impelled by avarice and ambition, uſing every exertion to deprive the colonies of their invaluable priviliges. On the other hand, we may contemplate the Americans, with unſhaken firmneſs, perſevering in defending their juſt rights, and reſiſting the arbitrary impoſitions of the Britiſh nation.
In the foregoing hiſtory, we have ſeen the deſigns of Dudley, Randolph, Andros, and others, to eſtabliſh an arbitrary government in New- England. Ever jealous of encroachments upon their privileges, the American ſettlers baffled all their ſchemes. Their inſidious deſigns were buried with them for a long period. At length, they were revived during the adminiſtration of governor Shirley, who, being an enterprizing character, formed great deſigns of aggrandizing himſelf and his connexions. Mr. Thomas Hutchinſon and 241 Gg1r 241 Mr. Oliver were his principal miniſters, joined with other ſubordinate inſtruments. The capital ſcheme was to raiſe a revenue in America, by authority of parliament.See a conciſe account of the firſt movers of the plan to tax America, and the gradual ſteps taken to effect this purpoſe, in Hiſtory of the Diſputes with America, written in 17741774.
In the year 17541754, Mr. Shirley communicated to Dr. Franklin the grand deſign of taxing the colonies, by act of parliament. This diſtinguiſhed patriot returned an anſwer in writing, in which he reaſoned with energy againſt the execution of this impolitic plan. Ibid, p. 4, 5, 6.
The project of taxing the colonies was, for a time, laid aſide; Mr. Shirley was removed, and Mr. Pownall appointed to ſucceed him in the government. As this gentleman was a friend to liberty and the conſtitution, thoſe who wiſhed to revive the deſign of taxing the colonies, endeavoured to excite an uneaſineſs againſt his government. Mr. Pownall, averſe to altercation, ſolicited to be recalled, and after ſome time, Mr. Bernard, a man of arbitrary principles, was removed from New-Jerſey to the chair of this province.
Whilst the war laſted, theſe ſimple provinces were of too much importance in the conduct of it to be disguſted by an open attempt againſt their liberties. The party, therefore, who were inimical to their country, prepared the way, by extending their connexions and correſpondencies in England, by conciliating the friendſhip of the crown officers Gg 242 Gg1v 242 occaſionally here, and inſinuating that their deſigns were neceſſary to be undertaken at ſome future favorable opportunity, for the good of the empire, as well as of the colonies.
The termination of the French war, which involved the Britiſh nation in an immenſe load of debt, was ſelected as a proper time for thoſe who wiſhed to introduce an arbitrary government, to ſuggeſt to the Britiſh financier, the project of taxing the colonies by act of parliament. Hiſtory of the Diſputes with America, p. 11.
Whilst theſe men were privately ſeeking the eſtabliſhment of an American nobility, out of which an intermediate branch of legiſlation, between the royal and democratic powers, ſhould be appointed; they pretended, that the tax in America, would afford aſſiſtance in diſcharging the national debt of Britain. Ibid.
Mr. Iſrael Mauduit, the Maſſachuſetts agent, in 17631763, gave early notice of the miniſterial intentions to tax the colonies; but the general court not being called together, till the latter end of the year, inſtructions to the agent, though ſolicited by him, could not be tranſmitted in proper time. Vol. I. p. 148. ,
17641764.The ſubſequent year, the houſe of repreſentatives came to the following reſolutions. That the ſole right of giving and granting the money of the people of that province, was veſted in them, as their legal repreſentatives; and that the impoſition of duties and taxes, by the parliament of Great-Britain, upon a people who are not repreſented243 Gg2r 243 17641764.ſented in the houſe of commons, is abſolutely irreconcileable with their rights. That no man can juſtly take the property of another without his conſent; upon which original principle, the right of repreſentation, in the ſame body, which exerciſes the power of making laws for levying taxes, one of the main pillars of the Britiſh conſtitution, is evidently founded. Vol. I. p. 148. ,
The oppoſition to the claims of the Britiſh parliament was not confined to Maſſachuſetts; but it was a prevailing ſentiment through the colonies, that taxation and repreſentation were inſeparable, and that they could be neither free nor happy, if their property could be taken from them, without their conſent. The common people in America reaſoned on this ſubject in a ſummary way: If a Britiſh parliament, said they, in which we are unrepreſented, and over which we have no control, can take from us any part of our property, by direct taxation, they may take as much as they pleaſe, and we have no ſecurity for any thing, that remains, but a forbearance, on their part, leſs likely to be exerciſed in our favor, as they lighten themſelves of the burthens of government, in the ſame proportion that they impoſe them upon us.
On the other hand, Great-Britain contended, that her parliament had ſupreme power, and was inveſted with authority to lay taxes on every part of the royal dominions.
As the principle of taxing the colonies had been for ſome time determined upon, at length Mr. Grenville244 Gg2v 244 17651765.ville brought into the houſe of commons his long expected bill, for laying a ſtamp duty upon America. By this, after paſſing through the uſual forms, it was enacted, that the inſtruments of writing, which are in daily uſe among a commercial people, ſhould be null and void, unleſs they were executed on ſtamped paper, or parchment, charged with a duty, impoſed by the Britiſh parliament.
When the bill was brought in, Mr. Charles Townſend concluded a ſpeech in its favor, with words to the following effect: And now will theſe Americans, children planted by our care, nouriſhed by our indulgence, until they are grown to a degree of ſtrength and opulence; and protected by our arms; will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from the heavy weight of that burthen which we lie under?
Col. Barre took up Mr. Townſend’s concluding words in a moſt ſpirited and inimitable manner, ſaying, They planted by your care! No, your oppreſſions planted them in America. They fled from your tyranny, to a then uncultivated and inhoſpitable country, where they expoſed themſelves to almoſt all the hardſhips to which human nature is liable, and among others, to the cruelty of a ſavage foe, the moſt ſubtle, and I will take upon me to ſay, the moſt formidable of any people upon the face of God’s earth; and yet, actuated by principles of true Engliſh liberty, they met all hardſhips with pleaſure, compared with thoſe they ſuffered in 245 Gg3r 245 17651765.their own country from the hands of them, that ſhould have been their friends. They nouriſhed by your indulgence! They grew by your neglect of them. As ſoon as you began to care about them, that care was exerciſed in ſending perſons to rule them in one department and another, who were perhaps the deputies of deputies to ſome members of this houſe, ſent to ſpy out their liberties, to miſrepreſent their actions, and to prey upon them; men whoſe behavior, on many occaſions, has cauſed the blood of thoſe ſons of liberty to recoil within them; men promoted to the higheſt ſeats of juſtice, ſome, who, to my knowledge, were glad, by going to a foreign country, to eſcape being brought to a court of juſtice in their own. They protected by your arms! They have nobly taken up arms in your defence, have exerted a valor, amidſt their conſtant and laborious induſtry, for the defence of a country, whoſe frontier was drenched in blood, while its interior parts yielded all its little ſavings to your emolument. And believe me, remember I this day told you ſo, that the ſame ſpirit of freedom, which actuated that people at firſt, will accompany them ſtill; but prudence forbids me to explain myſelf farther. God knows I do not ſpeak at this time from any motives of party heat. What I deliver are the genuine ſentiments of my heart. However ſuperior to me in general knowledge and experience, the reſpectable body of this houſe may be, yet I claim to know more of America, than moſt of you, having ſeen and been converſant in that 246 Gg3v 246 17651765.country. The people, I believe, are as truly loyal as any ſubjects the king has; but a people jealous of their liberties, and who will vindicate them, if ever they ſhould be violated; but the ſubject is too delicate. I will ſay no more. Vol. I. p. 57. ,
When the queſtion upon the bill, in its laſt ſtage, was brought to a vote, there were about 250 for, and 50 againſt it, in the houſe of commons.
The bill met with no oppoſition in the houſe of lords, and on the 1765-03-2222d of March, it received the royal aſſent. The night after it was paſſed, Dr. Franklin, wrote to Mr. Charles Thompſon, afterwards ſecretary of congreſs, The ſun of liberty is ſet; you muſt light up the candles of induſtry and economy. Mr. Thompſon anſwered, He was apprehenſive that other lights would be the conſequence, and predicted the oppoſition, that followed.
The framers of the ſtamp-act flattered themſelves, that the confuſion which would ariſe upon the diſuſe of writing, and the inſecurity of property, would compel the colonies to uſe the ſtamped paper, and, therefore, to pay the taxes impoſed. Thus they were induced to pronounce it a law which would execute itſelf. .
By the terms of the ſtamp-act, it was not to take place till the 1765-11-01firſt day of November, a period of more than ſeven months after its paſſing. This gave the coloniſts an opportunity for leiſurely canvaſſing the ſubject, and examining it fully on every ſide. Virginia led the way in oppoſition to the ſtamp-act. 247 Gg4r 247 17651765.Their aſſembly paſſed a number of ſpirited reſolves, aſſerting their excluſive right to tax the inhabitants of their colony.
The colonies of New-England, ſays Dr. Ramſay, exhibited themſelves the warmeſt defenders of liberty, and boldeſt oppoſers of the ſtamp-act. They conſidered their obligations to their mother country for paſt favors to be very inconſiderable. They were fully informed, that their forefathers were driven by perſecution to the woods of America; and, without any expence to the parent ſtate, had there effected a ſettlement on bare creation. Their reſentment for the invaſion of the accuſtomed right of taxation was not ſo much mitigated by the recollection of paſt favors, as it was heightened by the tradition of grievous ſufferings, to which their anceſtors had been ſubjected by the rulers of England. The deſcendants of the exiled, perſecuted Puritans of the laſt century, oppoſed the ſtamp-act with the ſame ſpirit, with which their forefathers were actuated, when they ſet themſelves againſt the arbitrary impoſitions of the houſe of Stuart. Vol. I. p. 61. ,
A new mode of diſplaying reſentment againſt the friends of the ſtamp-act, began in Maſſachuſetts, and was followed by the other colonies.
A few gentlemen hung out, early in the morning, on the limb of a large tree, towards the entrance of Boſton, two effigies, one deſigned for the ſtamp-maſter, the other for a jack-boot, with a head and horns peeping out at the top. Great 248 Gg4v 248 17651765.numbers, both from town and country, came to ſee them. A ſpirit of enthuſiaſm was diffuſed among the ſpectators. In the evening the whole was cut down and carried in proceſſion by the populace, ſhouting, liberty and property forever, no ſtamps. They next pulled down a new building, lately erected by Mr. Oliver, the ſtamp-maſter. They then went to his houſe, before which they beheaded his effigy, and at the ſame time broke his windows. Eleven days after, the mob attacked the houſe of Mr. William Storey, deputy-regiſter of the court of admiralty; and Benjamin Hallowel, comptroller of the cuſtoms, and repeated ſimilar exceſſes. They afterwards proceeded to the houſe of Mr. Hutchinſon, and ſoon demoliſhed it. They carried off his plate, furniture and apparel, and ſcattered and deſtroyed manuſcripts and other curious and uſeful papers, which he had been collecting for thirty years. Vol. I. p. 65. ,
Similar diſturbances broke out in the adjacent colonies, nearly about the ſame period.
As opportunities offered, the aſſemblies of the colonies generally paſſed reſolutions, aſſerting their excluſive right to lay taxes on their conſtituents. Ibid, p. 66.
The expediency of calling a continental congreſs, to be compoſed of deputies from each of the provinces, had early occurred to the people of Maſſachuſetts. The aſſembly of that province paſſed a reſolution in favor of that meaſure, and fixed on New- York as the place, and the ſecond Tueſday of October, as the time for holding their firſt meeting.249Hh1r249
17651765.The aſſemblies of Virginia, North-Carolina and Georgia were prevented by their governors, from ſending a deputation to this congreſs. Twenty- eight deputies from Maſſachuſetts, Rhode-Iſland, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jerſey, Pennſylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and South-Carolina, met at New York; and, after mature deliberation, agreed on a declaration of their rights, and a ſtatement of their grievances. They aſſerted, in energetic terms, their exemption from all taxes not impoſed by their own repreſentatives. They alſo concurred in a petition to the king, a memorial to the houſe of lords, and a petition to the houſe of commons. The colonies that were prevented from ſending their repreſentatives to this congreſs, forwarded petitions, ſimilar to thoſe adopted by the deputies who attended. Vol. I. p. 68. ,
Whilst a variety of legal and illegal methods were adopted to oppoſe the ſtamp-act, the 1765-11-011ſt of November, on which it was to commence its operation, approached. This in Boſton was uſhered in by a funeral tolling of the bells. Many ſhops and ſtores were ſhut. The effigies of the planners and friends of the ſtamp-act, were carried about the ſtreets in public deriſion, and then torn in pieces by the enraged populace. It was remarkable, that though a large crowd were aſſembled, there was not the leaſt violence or diſorder. Ibid.
In New-Hampſhire, the morning was uſhered in, with tolling all the bells in Portſmouth, New- Hh 250 Hh1v 250 17651765.Caſtle, and Greenland. In the courſe of the day, notice was given to the friends of Liberty to attend her funeral. A coffin was prepared, and neatly ornamented, on the lid of which was inſcribed the word Liberty, in capitals, aged one hundred and forty-five years, computing from the time of our anceſtors landing in Plymouth. The funeral proceſſion began from the ſtate-houſe, attended with two unbraced drums. While the inhabitants, who followed the coffin, were in motion, minute guns were fired, and continued till the corpſe arrived at the place of interment. Then an oration in favor of the deceaſed was pronounced. It was ſcarcely ended before the corpſe was taken up, it having been perceived that ſome remains of life were left, at which the inſcription was immediately altered to Liberty revived. The bells ſuddenly changed their melancholy, for a more joyful ſound, and ſatiſfaction appeared in every countenance. The whole was conducted with decency, and without injury or inſult to any man’s perſon or property.
At Rhode-Iſland, the funeral of liberty was attended in a ſimilar manner as in Portſmouth. Boſton Gazette, 1765-11Nov. 31, 1765, p. 265.
Though the ſtamp-act was to have operated from the 1765-11-011ſt of November, yet moſt departments of buſineſs were conducted as uſual, the people having formed the moſt ſpirited reſolutions to riſk all conſequences, rather than to uſe the paper required by law. Whilſt theſe matters were in agitation, the coloniſts entered into aſſociations againſt importing Britiſh manufactures, till the ſtamp-act 251 Hh2r 251 17651765.ſhould be repealed. By theſe means they made it the intereſt of merchants and manufacturers, to ſolicit in their favor. In order to remedy the deficiency of Britiſh goods, the coloniſts applied themſelves to a variety of domeſtic manufactures; and foreign luxuries were generally diſuſed.
In conſequence of the rigid obſervance of theſe reſtrictions, multitudes of artificers in England were reduced to great diſtreſs, and ſome of their moſt flouriſhing manufactures were, in a great meaſure, at a ſtand. An aſſociation was entered into, by many of the ſons of liberty, the name given to thoſe, who were oppoſed to the ſtamp-act, by which they agreed to march with the utmoſt expedition, at their own proper expence, and with their whole force, to the relief of thoſe, who ſhould be in danger from the ſtamp-act, or from its promoters and abettors, on account of any thing that may have been done in oppoſition to its obtaining. This was ſubſcribed by ſuch multitudes in New-York and New-England, that nothing but a repeal could have prevented the immediate commencement of a civil war. Vol. I. p. 71. ,
From the decided oppoſition of the Americans to the ſtamp-act, it became neceſſary for Great- Britain to enforce, or repeal it. Both methods of proceeding had ſupporters. The moſt diſtinguiſhed advocates for the coloniſts were Lord Camden, in the houſe of peers, and Mr. Pitt, in the houſe of commons. The former, in energetic language, declared, My poſition is this, I repeat252 Hh2v 252 17651765.peat it, I will maintain it to my laſt hour, taxation and repreſentation are inſeparable. This poſition is founded on the laws of nature. It is more, it is itſelf an eternal law of nature. For whatever is a man’s own, is abſolutely his own. No man has a right to take it from him without his conſent. Whoever attempts to do it, attempts an injury; whoever does it, commits a robbery.
Mr. Pitt, with an original boldneſs of expreſſion, juſtified the coloniſts in oppoſing the ſtamp- act. You have no right, ſaid he, to tax America. I rejoice, that America has reſiſted. Three millions of our fellow ſubjects ſo loſt to every ſenſe of virtue, as tamely to give up their liberties, would be fit inſtruments to make ſlaves of the reſt. He concluded with giving his advice, that the ſtamp-act be repealed abſolutely, totally, and immediately; that the reaſon for the repeal be aſſigned, that it was founded on an erroneous principle. At the ſame time, ſaid he, let the ſovereign authority of this country, over the colonies, be aſſerted in as ſtrong terms as can be deviſed, and be made to extend to every point of legiſlation whatſoever; that we may bind their trade, confine their manufactures, and exerciſe every power, except that of taking their money out of their pockets without their conſent. The approbation of this illuſtrious ſtateſman inſpired the Americans with courage, and emboldened them at a future period, to reſiſt the tyranny of Great- Britain.See Life of the Earl of Chatham.253Hh3r253
17661766.After much debating, and two proteſts, in the houſe of lords, and paſſing an act called the declaratory act, for ſecuring the dependence of America on the parent country, the repeal of the ſtamp-act was finally carried the 1766-03-1818th of March. This event occaſioned great joy in London. Ships on the river Thames diſplayed their colors, and houſes were illuminated through the city. Vol. I. p. 73, 74. ,
The intelligence of the repeal of the ſtamp-act was received in America with the moſt lively emotions of joy. The coloniſts recommenced their mercantile intercourſe with Great-Britain. Their churches reſounded with thankſgivings, and by letters, addreſſes and other means, they exhibited unequivocal marks of acknowledgment and gratitude.
New plan of raiſing a revenue in America. Determined oppoſition of the colonies. Their new importation agreement. Arrival of the Britiſh troops. The parliament, in an addreſs to the king, applaud the meaſures taken by the Britiſh miniſtry. In conſequence of the non-importation agreement, all the duties are repealed, excepting that on tea. Maſſacre on the 1766-03-055th of March. Proviſion made in Great-Britain for rendering the governor and judges independent of the people. Burning of the Gaſpee. Diſcovery of confidential letters written by governor Hutchinſon and others to leading characters in England. Committees of correſpondence revived.
The ſtamp-act was not repealed on American principles. The declaratory act, which was paſſed previouſly to its repeal, annulled the reſolutions and acts of the provincial aſſemblies, in which they had aſſerted their right to exemption from all taxes, not impoſed by their own repreſentatives, and alſo enacted, That the parliament had, and of right ought to have, power to bind the colonies in all caſes whatſoever.
17671767.An American revenue was ſtill a favorite object in Great-Britain, and they were deſirous of carrying their point without diſturbing the public tranquility.255 Hh4r 255 1767-05-13May 13.ty. For this purpoſe, Mr. Charles Townſend, chancellor of the exchequer, brought into parliament a bill for granting duties in the Britiſh colonies, on glaſs, paper, painters’ colors, and tea. The bill for the new taxes was quickly paſſed, and tranſmitted 17681768.to America the ſubſequent year. In order to manage the revenue collected by thoſe duties, the chancellor brought in a bill for eſtabliſhing a cuſtom-houſe, and a board of commiſſioners in America, which alſo paſſed into an act at the ſame time with the former. This board was placed at Boſton, among a people, who, it is ſaid, were of all others, the moſt jealous of infringements on their privileges. Vol. I. p. 214—216. ,
The miniſter, who planned theſe duties, might preſume, that they were too inconſiderable to give any alarm. But the late diſcuſſions occaſioned by the ſtamp-act, had produced among the coloniſts, not only an animated conviction of their exemption from parliamentary taxation, but a jealouſy of the deſigns of Great-Britain. They conſidered thoſe ſmall duties as introductory to others, that would be greater. It was now demonſtrated by ſeveral writers, particularly by Mr. Dickinſon, author of the Pennſylvania Farmer,See Farmer’s Letters. a judicious and ſpirited pamphlet, which had a rapid and extenſive circulation through the colonies, that a ſmall tax, though more ſpecious, was equally dangerous with the ſtamp-act, as it eſtabliſhed a precedent which eventually annihilated American property.” Vol. I. p. 75—77. ,256Hh4v256
17681768.The revenue act produced reſolves, petitions, addreſſes and remonſtrances, ſimilar to thoſe, with which the coloniſts oppoſed the ſtamp-act. It alſo gave riſe to a ſecond aſſociation for ſuſpending farther importation of Britiſh manufactures, till theſe offenſive duties ſhould be taken off. Uniformity 1768-02-11Feb. 11.in theſe meaſures was promoted by a circular letter from the aſſembly of Maſſachuſetts, to the ſpeakers of the other aſſemblies. This ſtated the oppoſition they had made to the late duties, their pernicious conſequences, and requeſted a free communication on public affairs. Moſt of the provincial aſſemblies, as they had opportunities of deliberating on the ſubject, approved of the proceedings of the Maſſachuſetts aſſembly, and adopted ſimilar methods to obtain redreſs. Vol. I. p. 78. ,
The circular letter of the Maſſachuſetts aſſembly highly irritated the Britiſh miniſtry. Lord Hillſborough, ſecretary to the American department, wrote letters to the governors of the reſpective provinces, urging them to exert their influence to prevent the aſſemblies from taking any notice of it; and he called on the Maſſachuſetts aſſembly, to reſcind their proceedings on that ſubject.
The propoſition for reſcinding was negatived by a majority of ninety-two to ſeventeen. Upon which the governor, as the ſecretary had threatened, immediately diſſolved the aſſembly.
1768-06-10June 10.The public diſſenſions at this period were greatly increaſed, on occaſion of the ſeizure of Mr. Hancock’s ſloop Liberty, for not having entered all the 257 Ii1r 257 17681768.wines ſhe had brought from Madeira. The popularity of her owner, the name of the ſloop, and the general averſion to the board of commiſſioners, and parliamentary taxation, concurred to inflame the minds of the people. They reſented the removal of the ſloop from the wharf, as implying an apprehenſion of a reſcue. They uſed every method in their power to interrupt the officers in the execution of their buſineſs, and numbers ſwore they would be revenged. Three of the commiſſioners eſcaped with the utmoſt hazard of their lives. They attacked the houſes of the other commiſſioners, deſtroyed the collector’s boats, and obliged the cuſtom-houſe officers to take refuge in caſtle William, ſituated at the entrance of the harbor. Vol. I. p. 79. ,
The conſtant diſagreement between the commiſsioners and the inhabitants of Boſton, induced the friends of the American revenue to ſolicit the protection of a regular force, to be ſtationed in that town. In compliance with their wiſhes, his majeſty ordered two regiments, and ſome armed veſſels, to repair thither, for ſupporting and aſſiſting the officers of the cuſtoms in the execution of their duty. Ibid, p. 80.
When it was reported in Boſton that one or more regiments were ordered thither, the inhabitants of that town were exceedingly alarmed. A town-meeting was called, and a committee appointed to requeſt the governor to convene a general aſſembly. He poſitively refuſed to comply with their requeſt, till he received his majeſty’s commandIi 258 Ii1v 258 1768-09-131768. Sep. 13.mand for that purpoſe. In conſequence of his refuſal, ſome ſpirited reſolutions were adopted. In particular, it was voted, that the ſelect-men of Boſton ſhould wait on the ſelect-men of other towns, to propoſe, that a convention be held of deputies from each, to meet at Faneuil-hall, in Boſton, 1768-09-22September 22. It was afterwards voted, That as there is apprehenſion in the minds of many of an approaching war with France, thoſe inhabitants, who are not provided, be requeſted to furniſh themſelves immediately with arms. Vol. I. p. 81. , Vol. I. p. 245—249. ,
Ninety-six towns, and eight diſtricts, agreed to this propoſal, and appointed deputies to attend a convention; but the town of Hatfield refuſed its concurrence. When the deputies met, they diſclaimed all legiſlative authority, adviſed the people to pay the greateſt deference to government, and to wait patiently for a redreſs of their grievances, from his majeſty’s wiſdom and moderation. Having ſtated to the world the cauſes of their meeting, and an account of their proceedings, they diſſolved themſelves, after a ſhort ſeſſion, and returned to their reſpective places of abode.
Within a day after the convention broke up, the expected regiments arrived, and were peaceably received, contrary, as is ſuppoſed, to the wiſhes of thoſe, who were inimical to American liberty. That party, probably, hoped for an opportunity of giving the Boſtonians ſome naval and military correction.
17691769.Whilst the Americans exhibited a determined reſolution to reſiſt the encroachments of arbitrary 259 Ii2r 259 17691769.power, the Britiſh miniſtry appeared obſtinately bent upon ſubverting their privileges. In 1769-02February, both houſes of parliament concurred in a joint addreſs to his majeſty, in which they applauded the meaſures he had taken; gave the ſtrongeſt aſſurances that they would effectually ſupport his government in Maſſachuſetts-Bay. Finally, they propoſed, the bringing of delinquents from Maſſachuſetts, to be tried at a tribunal in Great-Britain. Vol. I. p. 82. ,
The province of Maſſachuſetts continued with undaunted firmneſs to aſſert their rights. The other colonies followed their example; and entered into a ſimilar non-importation agreement.
This agreement had now laſted ſome time, and by degrees became general. In conſequence of which, the manufactures in Great-Britain experienced a renewal of the diſtreſſes, which followed the adoption of ſimilar reſolutions in 17651765. A repeal of thoſe duties was, therefore, ſolicited by the ſame influence which had procured the repeal of the ſtamp-act. The rulers of Great-Britain acted without deciſion. Though anxious to eſtabliſh parliamentary ſupremacy, yet they were afraid to ſtem the torrent 17701770.of oppoſition. At length they conſented to repeal all the duties, impoſed in 17671767, excepting that of three pence per pound on tea.
The declaratory-act, and the reſervation of the duty on tea, left the cauſe of contention between the two countries undecided. The ſtationing a military force in Maſſachuſetts was (as might be expected) attended with ſerious conſequences. The 260 Ii2v 260 17701770.royal army had been taught to look upon the inhabitants of that province as a factious turbulent people, who aimed at renouncing all ſubordinations to Great-Britain; they, on the other hand, were accuſtomed to regard the ſoldiers as inſtruments of tyranny, ſent on purpoſe to deſtroy their liberties. Vol. I. p. 85—90. ,
On the 1770-03-022d of March, an affray took place near Mr. Gray’s rope-walk, between a private ſoldier of the 29th regiment, and an inhabitant of Boſton; the former was ſupported by his comrades, the latter by the rope-makers, till ſeveral on both ſides were involved in the conſequences. On the 1770-03-055th, a more dreadful ſcene enſued; the king’s ſoldiers fired upon the mob, who were collected to inſult them, killed three, and dangerouſly wounded five of the number. The town was immediately in commotion, and nothing but an engagement to remove the troops, together with the advice of moderate men, prevented the inhabitants from falling on the ſoldiers. In order to expreſs their indignation at this event, the killed were buried in one vault, in a moſt reſpectful manner. Captain Preſton, who commanded this party of ſoldiers, was committed to priſon, and afterwards tried. A Britiſh author obſerves on this occaſion, Let it be remembered to the praiſe of American virtue, that on this trial, notwithſtanding popular prejudice and apprehenſion, the captain and ſix of his men were acquitted, two only being found guilty of manſlaughter. Hiſt. of the American Revolution from the Encyclopedia, p. 126. It appeared on 261 Ii3r 261 17701770.the trial, that the ſoldiers were abuſed, inſulted, threatened and pelted before they fired. It was alſo proved, that only ſeven guns were fired by the eight priſoners. Theſe circumſtances induced the jury to make a favorable verdict. The reſult of this verdict reflected great honor on John Adams and Joſiah Quincy, Eſqrs. the priſoners’ council; gentlemen who had invariably devoted the warmeſt zeal, and the moſt ſplendid talents, to the cauſe of freedom; and alſo on the integrity of the jury, who ventured to give an upright verdict, in defiance of popular opinions. Vol. I. p. 91. ,
17711771.The conſequences of this tragical event were made ſubſervient to important purpoſes. Eloquent orators were ſucceſſively employed to deliver an annual oration on this occaſion. Theſe orations were expreſſed in energetic language; and heightened the enthuſiaſm for liberty, which pervaded the great body of the people.
At this period, the inhabitants of Maſſachuſetts were highly irritated, by the proviſion which was made in Great-Britain, for paying the ſalaries of the governor and judges by the crown, and thus rendering them independent of the people. This was reſented as a dangerous innovation, as an infraction of their charter, and as deſtoying that balance of power, which is eſſential to free government.Ibid.
17721772.Whilst the province of Maſſachuſetts was active in reſiſting the encoachments made upon their liberties, the inhabitants of Rhode-Iſland manifeſted a ſimilar ſpirit. The Gaſpee, an armed 262 Ii3v 262 17721772.ſchooner, which had been stationed at Providence, was bunt, and lieutenant Dudington, the commander, was wounded by a party, who were exaſperated at the vigilance he had exhibited in the execution of his office. A reward of five hundred pounds, together with a pardon, if claimed by an accomplice, was offered by proclamation for diſcovering and apprehending any of the perſons concerned; but ſo agreeable was this action to the people, that not one man was found to accept the offered reward. Vol. I. p. 311, 312. ,
17731773.Whilst ſucceſſive irritations kept alive the contention between Great-Britain and the colonies, a ſpecies of warfare was carried on in Maſſachuſetts, between the royal governors and provincial aſſemblies, and each watched the other with ſtrong jealouſy and diſtruſt. This year the public diſturbances in that province, were greatly heightened by a diſcovery of ſome confidential letters, written by governor Hutchinſon, lieutenant-governor Oliver and others, to leading characters in England, complaining of the behavior of the province, recommending vigorous meaſures againſt them; aſſerting that there muſt be an abridgment of what is called Britiſh liberty; and that there was a neceſſity of changing the chartered ſyſtems of government, to ſecure their obedience. Theſe letters fell into the hands of Dr. Franklin, agent of Maſſachuſetts, who tranſmitted them to Boſton. The indignation of the people was excited to ſuch a degree, that the houſe of aſſembly diſpatched a petition263 Ii4r 263 17731773.tion and remonſtrance to the king, in which they charged the governor and lieutenant-governor with betraying their truſt, and giving falſe information. They alſo requeſted their ſpeedy removal from their places.
This petition and remonſtrance was tranſmitted to England, and diſcuſſed before his majeſty’s privy-council. After an hearing before that board, the governor and lieutenant-governor were acquitted. Vol. I. p. 92. See , Speeches of governor Hutchinſon to the Council of Maſſachuſetts-Bay.
In order to cement a union among the colonies, a committee of correſpondence was, at this eventful period, revived in Boſton, Connecticut, New- Hampſhire and Rhode-Iſland. This inſtitution increaſed their reſolution to reſiſt the impoſitions of the Britiſh miniſtry.
The Eaſt-India company ſend tea to America. The tea thrown into the ſea at Boſton. Proceedings of the Britiſh parliament. Boſton port-bill, and other arbitrary acts. Meaſures taken by Maſſachuſetts to cement the union of the colonies. General Gage appointed governor and commander in chief. Contributions raiſed for the diſtreſſes of Boſton. Generous behavior of Salem and Marblehead. Oppoſition of the people to the new counſellors. General Gage fortifies Boſton neck. Of the ſpirited behavior of Maſſachuſetts. That province calls a provincial congreſs. Of their proceedings.
At the period when the duties on glaſs, paper, and painters’ colors were repealed, the only reaſon aſſigned by the Britiſh miniſter for retaining that on tea, was to ſupport the parliament’s right of taxation. The Americans, therefore, to be conſiſtent with themſelves, in denying their right, diſcontinued the importation of that commodity. The American merchants, however, found means of ſupplying their countrymen with this article, ſmuggled from countries to which the power of Britain did not extend. Vol. I. p. 93. ,
The Eaſt-India company, feeling the bad effects of the colonial ſmuggling trade, in the large quantities of tea, which remained in their warehouſes 265 Kk1r 265 17731773.unſold, requeſted the repeal of the three pence per pound in America; and ordered that, on its being complied with, government ſhould retain ſix pence in the pound on the exportation. Thus the company preſented the happieſt opportunity, that could have been offered, for honorably removing the cauſe of difference with America, without infringing the claims on either ſide. The miniſter was requeſted and entreated, by a gentleman of great weight in the company, and a member of parliament, to embrace this method, but it was obſtinately rejected.
New contrivances were ſet on foot, to introduce the tea attended with the duty, into all the colonies. Various intrigues and ſolicitations were uſed to induce the Eaſt-India company to undertake this raſh and fooliſh buſineſs. It was proteſted againſt, as contrary to the principle of the company’s monopoly; but the power of the miniſtry prevailed, and the inſignificant duty of three pence per pound on tea was doomed to be the fatal cauſe of contention between Great-Britain and her colonies.
A bill was paſſed into an act for enabling the Eaſt-India company to export their own teas; in conſequence of which they ſent ſix hundred cheſts of tea to Philadelphia, beſides what was conſigned to other places. Several ſhips were alſo freighted for different colonies, and agents appointed for the diſpoſal of the commodity. Vol. I. p. 324, 325. ,Kk266Kk1v266
17731773.The firſt oppoſition to the execution of the ſcheme adopted by the Eaſt-India company, began with the American merchants. They ſaw a profitable branch of their trade likely to be loſt, and the benefits of it to be tranſferred to people in Great-Britain. They alſo felt for the wound, that would be inflicted on their country’s claim of exemption from parliamentary taxation. The great body of the people, from principles of the pureſt patriotiſm, were induced to ſecond their wiſhes. They conſidered the whole ſcheme, as calculated to ſeduce them into an acquieſcence with the views of parliament, for raiſing an American revenue.
The coloniſts reaſoned with themſelves, that as the duty and the price of the commodity were inſeparably blended, if the tea was ſold, every purchaſer would pay a tax impoſed by the Britiſh parliament. To obviate this evil, and to prevent the liberties of a great country from being ſacrificed by inconſiderate purchaſers, meaſures were adopted to prevent the landing of their cargoes. The tea conſignees, appointed by the Eaſt-India company, were, in ſeveral places, compelled to relinquiſh their appointments, and no others could be found who dared to act in their capacity. The pilots in the river Delaware were warned not to conduct any of the tea-ſhips into their harbor. The whole cargoes of tea were returned from New-York and Philadelphia, and that, which was ſent to Charleſton, was landed and ſtored, but not offered for ſale. Vol. I. p. 97. ,267Kk2r267
17731773.It was otherwiſe in Maſſachuſetts. The tea- ſhips, deſigned for the ſupply of Boſton, were conſigned to the ſons, couſins and particular friends of governor Hutchinſon. When they were called upon to reſign, they anſwered, that it was out of their power. The collector refuſed to give a clearance, unleſs the veſſels were diſcharged of dutiable articles. The governor refuſed to give a paſs for the veſſels, unleſs properly qualified from the cuſtom-houſe. The governor likewiſe requeſted admiral Montague to guard the paſſages out of the harbor, and gave orders to ſuffer no veſſels, coaſters excepted, to paſs the fortreſs from the town, without a paſs ſigned by himſelf. From a combination of theſe circumſtances, the return of the tea-veſſels from Boſton, was rendered impoſſible. The ſons of liberty were apprehenſive that if this article was landed and ſtored, it would obtain at ſale; and were induced to venture upon a deſperate remedy. About ſeventeen perſons, dreſſed as Indians, repaired to the tea-ſhips, broke open three hundred and forty-two cheſts, and, without doing any other damage, diſcharged their content into the water. Vol. I. p. 99. ,
17741774.Intelligence of theſe proceedings was, on the 1774-03-077th of March, communicated, in a meſſage from the throne, to both houſes of parliament. In this communication, the conduct of the coloniſts was repreſented as not only obſtructing the commerce of Great-Britain, but as ſubverſive of its conſtitution. The meſſage was accompanied with 268 Kk2v 268 17741774.a number of papers, containing copies and extracts of letters from the ſeveral royal governors and others, from which it appeared that the oppoſition to the ſale of the tea was not peculiar to Maſſachuſetts, but common to all the colonies. Vol. I. p. 101. ,
It was well known that the throwing of the tea into the water did not originate with the perſons, who were the immediate inſtruments of that act of violence; that the whole had been concerted at a public meeting; and was, in a qualified ſenſe, the act of the town. The parliament of Great- Britain were tranſported with indignation againſt the people of Boſton; and conſidered this a proper moment for humbling them, and taking revenge for the oppoſition, which they had long exhibited againſt their authority.
Disregarding the forms of her own conſtitution, by which none are to be condemned unheard, or puniſhed without a trial, a bill was finally paſſed, on the 17th day after it was firſt moved for, by which the port of Boſton was virtually blocked up; for it was legally precluded from the privilege of landing and diſcharging, or of lading and ſhipping of goods, wares and merchandize.
Soon after a bill was introduced, for the better regulating the government of Maſſachuſetts- Bay. The purport of it was, to alter the conſtitution of the province, to take the whole executive power out of the hands of the democratic part, and to veſt the nomination of counſellors, judges, and magiſtrates of all kinds, including ſheriffs, in the 269 Kk3r 269 17741774.crown, and in ſome caſes in the king’s governor; and all to be removeable at the royal pleaſure. Vol. I. p. 353. ,
The miniſtry of Great-Britain were apprehenſive that riots would take place in attempting the execution of the above mentioned acts. A bill was therefore paſſed for the impartial adminiſtration of juſtice in the caſes of perſons queſtioned for any act done by them in the execution of the law, or for the ſuppreſſion of riots and tumults in the Maſſachuſetts-Bay. This bill provided, that in caſe any perſon was indicted in that province for murder, or any other capital offence, and it ſhould appear to the governor, that the fact was committed in the exerciſe or aid of magiſtracy in ſuppreſſing tumults and riots, and that a fair trial could not be had in the province, he ſhould ſend the perſon ſo indicted, to any other colony, or to Great- Britain, to be tried. Vol. I. p. 110. ,
Before the parliament concluded this memorable ſeſſion, they paſſed an act, for making more effectual proviſion for the government of the province of Quebec, in North-America. By this act, the government of that province was made to extend ſouthward to the Ohio, weſtward, to the banks of the Miſſiſippi, and northward, to the boundary of the Hudſon’s bay company. The principal objects of this act were, to form a legiſlative council for all the affairs of the province, except taxation, which council ſhould be appointed by the crown; the office to be held during pleaſure, and his majeſty’s Roman Catholic ſubjects to be 270 Kk3v 270 17741774.entitled to a place therein; to eſtabliſh the French laws, and a trial without jury in civil caſes, and the Engliſh laws, with a trial by jury, in criminal; to ſecure to the Roman Catholic clergy, except the regulars, the legal enjoyment of their eſtates, and their tythes from all, who were of their religion.
No ſooner were theſe oppreſſive laws publiſhed in America, than they cemented the union of the colonies almoſt beyond the poſſibility of diſſolving it, and heightened the oppoſition to the arbitrary proceedings of the Britiſh miniſtry. Copies of a vote, which the town of Boſton paſſed, ſoon after they received the news of the port-bill, to engage the other colonies to ſtop all importation from Great-Britain and the Weſt-Indies, till the act for blocking up this harbor be repealed, were tranſmitted from ſtate to ſtate. Pamphlets, eſſays, addreſſes, and newſpaper diſſertations, were daily preſented to the public, proving that Maſſachuſetts was ſuffering in the common cauſe, and that intereſt and policy, as well as good neighborhood, required the united exertions of all the colonies, in ſupport of that much injured province. Vol. I. p. 112, 113. ,
In the three firſt months, which followed the ſhutting up of the port of Boſton, the inhabitants of the colonies, in hundreds of ſmall circles, as well as in their provincial aſſemblies and congreſſes, expreſſed their abhorrence of the late proceedings of the Britiſh parliament againſt Maſſachuſetts, their concurrence in the propoſed meaſure of appointing deputies for a general congreſs, and their willingneſs271 Kk4r 271 17741774.neſs to do and ſuffer whatever ſhould be judged conducive to the eſtabliſhment of their liberties.
While the combination of the other colonies to ſupport Boſton was gaining ſtrength, new matter of diſſenſion daily took place in Maſſachuſetts. The reſolution for ſhutting the port of Boſton, was no ſooner taken, than it was determined to order a military force to that town. General Gage, the commander in chief of the royal forces in North- America, was alſo ſent thither in the additional capacity of governor of Maſſachuſetts. He arrived in Boſton on the third day after the inhabitants received the firſt intelligence of the Boſton port- bill. Though the people were irritated by that meaſure, and though their republican jealouſy was hurt by the combination of the civil and military character in one perſon, yet the general was received will all the honors, which had been uſually paid to his predeceſſors. Soon after his arrival, two regiments of foot, with a detachment of artillery and ſome cannon, were landed in Boſton. Theſe troops were, by degrees, reinforced with others from Ireland, New-York, Halifax and Quebec. Vol. I. p. 122. ,
The governor announced; that he had the king’s particular command for holding the general court at Salem, after the 1774-06-011ſt of June. When that eventful day arrived, the act for ſhutting up the port of Boſton commenced its operation. This day was devoutly kept at Williamſburgh, in Virginia, as a day of faſting and humiliation. In 272 Kk4v 272 17741774.Philadelphia, it was ſolemnized with ever manifeſtation of public calamity. It was obſerved in other places as a day of mourning.
The inhabitants of Boſton, who had hitherto lived in affluence, were, by the bill for blocking up their port, deprived of all means of ſubſiſtence. They ſuſtained this fatal blow with inflexible fortitude; and their determination to perſiſt in the ſame line of conduct, which had been the occaſion of their ſufferings, was unabated.
Liberal contributions for the diſtreſſes of the Boſtonians, had been raiſed through America; and they were regarded as ſufferers for the common cauſe of liberty. The inhabitants of Salem, in an addreſs to governor Gage, concluded with theſe noble and diſintereſted expreſſions: By ſhutting up the port of Boſton, ſome imagine that the courſe of trade might be turned hither, and to our benefit. But nature, in the formation of our harbor, forbids our becoming rivals in commerce with that convenient mart; and were it otherwiſe, we muſt be dead to every idea of juſtice, and loſt to all feelings of humanity, could we indulge the thought of ſeizing on wealth, and raiſing our fortunes on the ruins of our ſuffering neighbors. Vol. I. p. 123. , .
The people of Marblehead generouſly offered the merchants of Boſton the uſe of their harbor, wharves, warehouſes, and alſo their perſonal attendance on the lading or unlading of their goods, free from all expence.273Ll1r273
17741774.The Boſtonians were, by theſe meaſures, encouraged and ſupported in their oppoſition to Britiſh tyranny. Their committee of correſpondence apprehended themſelves ſo fixed in the good opinion of the public, that they ventured to frame and publiſh an agreement entitled a ſolemn covenant. The ſubſcribers of this bound themſelves to ſuſpend all commercial intercourſe with Great-Britain, till the late obnoxious laws were repealed, and the colony of Maſſachuſetts reſtored to its chartered rights. Vol. I. p. 127. ,
Gen. Gage attempted, in vain, to counteract this plan by a proclamation, which declared it an unlawful and traitorous combination; and threatened all who ſubſcribed or countenanced it with penalties of legal proſecution.
The people continued to defend their privileges with inflexible reſolution. Several of the new counſellors declined an acceptance of the appointment, Thoſe who accepted were obliged to reſign their offices, in order to preſerve their lives and properties from the fury of the multitude. The new judges were rendered incapable of proceeding in their official duty. Upon opening the courts, the juries refuſed to be ſworn, or to act in any manner, either under them, or in conformity to the late regulations. In ſome places, the people aſſembled, and filled the court-houſes and avenues to them in ſuch a manner, that neither the judges, nor their officers could obtain entrance; and upon the ſheriff’s commanding them to make way for Ll 274 Ll1v 274 17741774.the court, they anſwered, that they knew no court independent of the ancient laws of their country, and to none other would they ſubmit.
The proceedings and apparent diſpoſitions of the people, together with the military preparations which were daily made through the province, induced General Gage to fortify the neck of land which joins Boſton to the continent. He alſo ſeized upon the powder which was lodged in the arſenal at Charleſtown. Vol. I. p. 127. ,
This excited a moſt violent and univerſal ferment. Several thouſands of the people aſſembled at Cambridge, and with difficulty were they reſtrained from marching directly to Boſton, to demand a delivery of the powder, with a reſolution, in caſe of refuſal, to attack the troops.
The people thus aſſembled, proceeded to lieutenant-governor Oliver’s houſe, and to the houſes of ſeveral of the new counſellors, and obliged them to reſign, and to declare that they would no more act under the laws lately enacted. In the confuſion of theſe tranſactions, a rumor was ſpread, that the royal fleet and troops were firing upon the town of Boſton. This was probably deſigned by the popular leaders on purpoſe to aſcertain what aſſiſtance they might expect from the country, in caſe of extremities. The reſult exceeded their moſt ſanguine expectations. In leſs than twenty-four hours there were upwards of thirty thouſand men in arms, and marching towards the capital. Other riſings of the people took place in 275 Ll2r 275 17741774.different parts of the colony, and their violence was ſuch, that in a ſhort time the new counſellors, the commiſſioners of the cuſtoms, and all who had taken an active part in favor of Great-Britain, were obliged to ſcreen themſelves in Boſton. Vol. I. p. 128. ,
About this period, the governor’s company of cadets, conſiſting of Boſton gentlemen, diſbanded themſelves, and returned him the ſtandard he preſented to them upon his arrival; on account of his depriving Mr. Hancock, who was colonel of the corps, of his commiſſion. A ſimilar inſtance alſo occurred, upon a provincial colonel’s acceptance of a ſeat in the new council, in conſequence of which, twenty-four officers of his regiment reſigned their commiſſions in one day. Vol. I. p. 389. ,
About this time, delegates from every town and diſtrict in the county of Suffolk, of which Boſton is the ſhire town, had a meeting, in which they prefaced a number of ſpirited reſolves, with a general declaration, that no obedience was due from the province to either, or any part of ſaid acts, but that they ſhould be rejected, as the attempts of a wicked adminiſtration to enſlave America.
Governor Gage had iſſued writs for holding a general aſſembly at Salem; but ſubſequent events, and the violence which every where prevailed, made him think it expedient to counteract the writs by a proclamation for ſuſpending the meeting of the members. This meaſure, however, was deemed illegal; the aſſembly convened at Salem, 276 Ll2v 276 17741774.and, after waiting a day for the governor, voted themſelves into a provincial congreſs, of which Mr. Hancock was choſen preſident. A committee was inſtantly appointed, who waited on the governor, with a remonſtrance concerning the fortifications of Boſton neck. In the governor’s reply, he expreſſed indignation at the idea that the lives, liberties or property of the people could be endangered by Engliſh troops, and warned the aſſembly to deſiſt from their proceedings, which he ſtiled illegal and unconſtitutional. Vol. I. p. 129. ,
The governor’s admonitions were unavailing. The provincial congreſs appointed a committee to draw up a plan for the immediate defence of the province. It was reſolved to enliſt a number of the inhabitants under the name of minute-men, who were to be under obligations to turn out at a minute’s warning. Three general officers were elected to command theſe minute-men and the militia, in caſe they ſhould be called out into action. A committee of ſafety, and a committee of ſupplies were appointed. The firſt was inveſted with an authority to aſſemble the militia when they thought proper, and were to recommend to the committee of ſupplies the purchaſe of ſuch articles as the public exigencies required; the laſt were limited to the ſmall ſum of fifteen thouſand ſix hundred and twenty-ſeven pounds, fifteen ſhillings, ſterling, which was all the money at firſt voted to oppoſe the power and wealth of Great- Britain. Under this authority, and with theſe 277 Ll3r 277 17741774.means, the committees of ſafety, and of ſupplies, acting in concert, laid in a quantity of ſtores, partly at Worcester, and partly at Concord.
After a ſhort adjournment, the ſame congreſs met again, and ſoon after reſolved to get in readineſs twelve thouſand men, to act on any emergency, and that a fourth part of the militia ſhould be enliſted as minute-men, and receive pay. John Thomas and William Heath were appointed general officers. They alſo ſent perſons to New- Hampſhire, Rhode-Iſland and Connecticut, to inform them of the meaſures they had taken, and to requeſt their co-operation in collecting an army of twenty thouſand men. Committees from theſe ſeveral colonies met, with a committee from the provincial congreſs of Maſſachuſetts, and ſettled their plans. The proper period of commencing oppoſition to General Gage’s troops, was determined to be, whenever they marched out with their baggage, ammunition and artillery. Vol. I. p. 130. ,
Throughout this whole ſeaſon, the provincial congreſs exerciſed all the ſemblance of government which exiſted in Maſſachuſetts. From their coincidence with the prevailing diſpoſition of the people, their reſolutions had the weight and efficacy of laws. Under the ſimple ſtyle of recommendations, they organized the militia, made ordinances reſpecting public monies, and ſuch further regulations as were neceſſary for preſerving order, and for defending themſelves againſt the Britiſh troops. Ibid.278Ll3v278
17741774.During theſe tranſactions in Maſſachuſetts, effectual meaſures had been taken by the colonies for convening a continental congreſs, which was, at this period, in ſeſſion at Philadelphia. The proceedings of this auguſt aſſembly will be related in the ſubſequent chapter.
The continental congreſs convened at Philadelphia. Of their proceedings. Meaſures taken by the Britiſh parliament. The colonies prepare for war.
17741774.The meaſures purſued by the Britiſh miniſtry for ſubjecting America to parliamentary authority, in all caſes whatever, united the twelve colonies, from New-Hampſhire to South-Carolina, incluſively, into a compact body. Within four months from the day in which the firſt intelligence of the Boſton port-bill reached America, the deputies of eleven provinces had convened in Philadelphia, and in four days more, by the arrival of delegates from North-Carolina, there was a complete repreſentation of twelve colonies, containing nearly three millions of people, diſſeminated over two hundred and ſixty thouſand ſquare miles of territory. Some of the delegates were appointed by the conſtitutional aſſemblies; in other provinces, where they were embarraſſed by royal governors, the appointments were made involuntary meetings of the people. Vol. I. p. 133. ,
One half of the deputies which formed the congreſs of 17741774 were lawyers. Gentlemen of that profeſſion had acquired the confidence of the inhabitants, by their exertions in the common cauſe. The previous meaſures in the reſpective provinces had 280 Ll4v 280 17741774.been planned and carried into effect, more by lawyers than by any other order of men. The novelty and importance of this aſſembly excited univerſal attention; and their tranſactions rendered them truly reſpectable. Perhaps, ſays Dr. Ramsay, there never was a body of delegates more faithful to the intereſts of their conſtituents than the congreſs of 17741774. The public voice elevated none to a ſeat in that auguſt aſſembly, but ſuch as, in addition to conſiderable abilities, poſſeſſed that aſcendency over the minds of their fellow citizens, which can neither be acquired by birth, nor purchaſed by wealth. Vol. I. p. 133. ,
On the meeting of congreſs, they choſe Peyton Randolph their preſident, and Charles Thompſon their ſecretary. They agreed, as one of their rules of doing buſineſs, that no entry ſhould be made on their journals of any propoſitions diſcuſſed before them, to which they did not finally aſſent. Ibid, p. 134.
The Suffolk reſolutions were tranſmitted to congreſs, after which that aſſembly unanimouſly reſolved, that they moſt thoroughly approved the wiſdom and fortitude with which oppoſition to wicked miniſterial meaſures had been hitherto conducted in Maſſachuſetts, and recommended to them perſeverance in the ſame firm and temperate conduct.
In their ſubſequent reſolutions they declared, that if the late acts of parliament ſhall be attempted to be carried into execution by force, all America ought to ſupport the inhabitants of Maſſachuſetts-Bay281 Mm1r 281 17741774. ſachuſetts-Bay in their oppoſition: that, if it be found abſolutely neceſſary to remove the people of Boſton into the country, all America ought to contribute toward recompenſing them for the injury they may ſuſtain: and that every perſon, who ſhall accept or act under any commiſſion or authority derived from the act of parliament, changing the form of government, and violating the charter, ought to be held in deteſtation.
Congress next addreſſed a letter to General Gage, in which, having ſtated the grievances of the people of Maſſachuſetts colony, they informed him of the unalterable determination of all the other provinces to ſupport their brethren, and to oppoſe the Britiſh acts of parliament; that they themſelves were appointed to watch over the liberties of America. They entreated him to deſiſt fom military operations, leſt hoſtilities might be brought on, and fruſtrate all hopes of reconciliation with the parent ſtate.
Congress, ſoon after their meeting, agreed upon a declaration of their rights. Theſe they ſummed up in the privileges belonging to Engliſhmen. They declared, that the foundation of Engliſh liberty, and all free government, was a right in the people to participate in their legiſlative council, and that as the Engliſh coloniſts were not, and could not be properly repreſented by the Britiſh parliament, they were entitled to a free and excluſive power of legiſlation in their ſeveral provincial legiſlatures, in all caſes of taxation and internal polity, Mm 282 Mm1v 282 17741774.ſubject only to the negative of their ſovereign. They then run the line, between the ſupremacy of parliament, and the independency of the colonial legiſlatures, by proviſos and reſtrictions, in the following words. But from the neceſſity of the caſe, a regard to the mutual intereſts of both countries, we cheerfully conſent to the operation of ſuch acts of the Britiſh parliament, as are bona fide, reſtrained to the regulation of our external commerce, for the purpoſe of ſecuring the commercial advantages of the whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial benefits of its reſpective members, excluding every idea of taxation, internal and external, for raiſing a revenue on the ſubjects in America, without their conſent. Extract from the proceedings of the continental congreſs,p. 8.
They proceeded, in behalf of themſelves and conſtituents, to inſiſt on the foregoing articles as their indiſputable rights, which could not be legally taken from them, altered, or abridged by any power whatever, without their conſent, by their repreſentatives, in their ſeveral provincial legiſlatures.
Congress then reſolved, that ſundry acts of parliament are infringements and violations of the rights of the coloniſts; and that the repeal of them is eſſentially neceſſary, in order to reſtore harmony between Great-Britain and the American colonies. The Canada act, they particularly pointed out, as being extremely inimical to the colonies, by whoſe aſſiſtance it had been conquered. Vol. I. p. 140. ,283Mm2r283
17741774.They then entered into an aſſociation, by which they bound themſelves and their conſtituents, to diſcontinue the importation of Britiſh goods, till the late obnoxious acts of parliament were repealed.
Their next proceedings were to frame a petition to the king, an addreſs to the Britiſh nation, to the colonies, and to the French inhabitants of Canada. A Britiſh author obſerves, that, thoſe papers were executed with uncommon energy and addreſs; and in vigor of ſentiment, and the nervous language of patriotiſm, would not have diſgraced any aſſembly, that ever exiſted.See theſe addreſſes in the proceedings of congreſs. See Life of the Earl of Chatham.
Congress having finiſhed their deliberations in leſs than eight weeks, diſſolved themſelves, after giving their opinion, That another congreſs ſhould be held on the 1774-05-1010th of May next enſuing, at Philadelphia, unleſs the redreſs of their grievances ſhould be previouſly obtained.
The reſolutions of the continental congreſs were ſanctioned with the univerſal approbation of the provincial congreſs and ſubordinate committees, which were every where inſtituted; and inſtitutions were formed under their direction, to carry their reſolves into effect. Vol. I. p. 150. ,
17751775.The congreſſional proceedings reached Great- Britain ſoon after the new parliament was convened. The ſpeech from the throne, at the meeting of parliament, repreſented the conduct of the Americans, particularly the inhabitants of Maſſachuſetts-Bay, in the moſt atrocious light. A majority of both houſes were reſolved to compel the 284 Mm2v 284 17751775.colonies to obedience; but a reſpectable minority in their favor were ſtrongly ſeconded by the merchants and manufacturers through the kingdom, and particularly by thoſe of London and Briſtol.
Lord Chatham zealouſly eſpouſed the cauſe of the Americans; and exerted his unrivalled eloquence in the houſe of lords, in order to diſſuade his countrymen from attempting to ſubjugate them by force of arms. He introduced the ſubject with ſome general obſervations on the importance of the American conteſt. He enlarged on the dangerous events that were coming on the nation, in conſequence of the preſent diſpute. He arraigned the conduct of the miniſters with great ſeverity; reprobated their whole ſyſtem of American politics; and moved that an addreſs be preſented to his majeſty, moſt humbly to adviſe and beſeech him to diſpatch orders to General Gage, to remove his majeſty’s forces from the town of Boſton. His lordſhip ſupported this motion in a pathetic and animated ſpeech; but it was rejected by a great majority. Vol. I. p. 157. ,
The petitions from the Engliſh merchants were preſented, and conſigned to what the oppoſition termed, the committee of oblivion.
A petition was offered by Mr. Bollan, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Lee, three American agents, ſetting forth, that they were authorized by the American continental congreſs, to preſent a petition from the congreſs to the king; which his majeſty had referred to that houſe. They were 285 Mm3r 285 17751775.enabled, they ſaid, to throw great light upon the ſubject; and prayed to be heard at the bar in ſupport of it. Their application was treated with the utmoſt indifference and contempt. The motion for receiving the petition was rejected by a large majority. Vol. I. p. 451. , Vol. I. p. 329. ,
Lord Chatham perſevered in the proſecution of his conciliatory ſcheme with America, and accordingly brought into the houſe of lords the outlines of a bill, which he hoped would anſwer that ſalutary purpoſe, under the title of A proviſional act for ſettling the troubles in America, and for aſſerting the ſupreme legiſlative authority, and ſuperintending power of Great-Britain over the colonies.See Life of the Earl of Chatham, p. 228 - 230.
This bill legalized the holding a congreſs in the enſuing 1775-05May, for the double purpoſe of recognizing the ſupreme legiſlative authority, and ſuperintending power of parliament over the colonies, and for making a free grant to the king, his heirs and ſucceſſors, of a certain and perpetual revenue, ſubject to the diſpoſitions of parliament, and applicable to the alleviation of the national debt. On theſe conditions, it reſtrained the powers of the admiralty courts to their ancient limits, and without repealing, ſuſpended for a limited time, thoſe acts, which had been complained of by congreſs. It propoſed to place the judges in America on the ſame footing, as to holding their ſalaries and offices, with thoſe in England, and ſecuring to the colonies all the privileges, franchiſes and immunities,286 Mm3v 286 17751775.ties, granted by their ſeveral charters and conſtitutions. His lordſhip introduced this plan with a ſpeech, in which he explained and ſupported every part of it, in energetic language. The plan propoſed by Lord Chatham was rejected by a majority of 64 to 32, and without being admitted to lie on the table. Vol. I. p. 151, 152, 153. ,
After long and warm debates, and one or two proteſts, the miniſterial plans were carried by great majorities. In conſequence thereof, on the 1775-02-099th of February, a joint addreſs from both lords and commons was preſented to the king, in which they returned thanks for the communication of the papers relative to the ſtate of the Britiſh colonies in America, and gave it as their opinion, that a rebellion actually exiſted in the province of Maſſachuſetts, and beſeeched his majeſty that he would take the moſt effectual meaſures to enforce due obedience to the laws and authority of the ſupreme legiſlature, and begged in the moſt ſolemn manner to aſſure him, that it was their fixed reſolution, at the hazard of their lives and properties, to ſupport his majeſty in the maintenance of the juſt rights of the crown, and the two houſes of parliament. Ibid, p. 157.
Soon after this addreſs, the New-England colonies were prohibited, by an act of parliament, from carrying on any fiſhery on the banks of Newfoundland; and they were reſtrained from any trade to Great-Britain, Ireland, and the Britiſh iſlands in the Weſt-Indies. The reaſons aſſigned287 Mm4r 287 17751775.ed by Lord North for extending this bill to New- Hampſhire, Connecticut and Rhode-Iſland, were, that they had aided and abetted their offending neighbors, and were ſo near to them, that the intentions of parliament would be fruſtrated, unleſs they were comprehended in the propoſed reſtraints. Vol. I. p. 159. ,
The fiſhery bill was ſpeedily followed by another, for reſtraining the trade and commerce of the colonies and provinces of New-Jerſey, Pennſylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and South-Carolina. The reaſons aſſigned for this were ſimilar to thoſe, which were offered for reſtraining the trade of the New-England colonies.
A respectable minority in parliament continued to oppoſe theſe oppreſſive acts; and in the courſe of the debates, Lord North introduced a conciliatory propoſition, permitting each colony ſeparately to offer a certain income to government, which ſhould be raiſed by the authority of the general aſſemblies of the colonies; and which, if approved, might be accepted in lieu of a parliamentary revenue. When this plan was tranſmitted to America, it was univerſally rejected.
As matters had proceeded ſo far, as to preclude all hopes of accommodation with Great-Britain, the New-England colonies were aſſiduous in preparing for war. The diſtruſt and animoſity between the people and the army ſtationed in Boſton increaſed. From every appearance it became daily more evident, that arms muſt ultimately decide the conteſt. Ibid, p. 162.288Mm4v288
17751775.Dr. Ramſay remarks, that it was a fortunate circumſtance for the colonies, that the royal army was poſted in New-England. The people of that northern country have their paſſions more under the command of reaſon and intereſt, than in the ſouthern latitudes, where a warmer ſun excites a greater degree of iraſcibility. One raſh offenſive action againſt the royal forces, at this early period, though ſucceſsful, might have done great miſchief to the cauſe of America. It would have loſt them European friends, and weakened the diſpoſition of the other colonies to aſſiſt them. The patient and the politic New-England-men, fully ſenſible of their ſituation, ſubmitted to many inſults, and bridled their reſentment. In civil wars or revolutions, it is a matter of much conſequence who ſtrikes the firſt blow. The compaſſion of the world is in favor of the attacked, and the diſpleaſure of good men on thoſe, who are the firſt to embrue their hands in human blood. For the ſpace of nine months after the arrival of Gen. Gage, the behavior of the people of Boſton is particularly worthy of imitation, by thoſe, who wiſh to overturn eſtabliſhed government. They conducted their oppoſition with exquiſite addreſs. They avoided every kind of outrage and violence, preſerving peace and good order among themſelves, ſucceſsfully engaged the other colonies to make a common cauſe with them, and counteracted General Gage ſo effectually, as to prevent his doing any thing for his royal maſter, while by 289 Nn1r 289 17751775.patience and moderation they ſcreened themſelves from cenſure. Though reſolved to bear as long as prudence and policy dictated, they were all the time preparing for the laſt extremity. They were furniſhing themſelves with arms and ammunition, and training their militia. Vol. I. p. 187. ,
On the 1775-02-2626th of February, General Gage, having received intelligence that ſome military ſtores were depoſited in Salem, diſpatched a party to ſeize them. Their road was obſtructed by a river, over which was a draw-bridge. This the people had pulled up, and refuſed to let down; upon which the ſoldiers ſeized a boat to ferry them over; but the people cut out her bottom. Hoſtilities would immediately have commenced, had it not been for the interpoſition of a clergyman, Rev. Thomas Bernard. who repreſented to the military, on the one hand, the folly of oppoſing ſuch numbers; and to the people, on the other, that, as the day was far ſpent, the military could not execute their deſign, ſo that they might without any fear leave them the poſſeſſion of the draw-bridge. This was complied with; and the ſoldiers, after having remained for ſome time at the bridge, returned without executing their orders. Vol. I. p. 407. ,
In this alarming ſituation of affairs, the colonies in general were making preparations for hoſtilities; and the inhabitants of the Maſſachuſetts province uſed every device for conveying ſafely from Boſton into the country, all kinds of military articles, which might be wanted in the expected war.Nn290Nn1v290
In reviewing the diſpute between Great-Britain and America, which for fourteen years was conducted by the pen, or at moſt by aſſociations, and legiſlative acts, we are led to admire the determined reſolution, with which the colonies reſiſted every encroachment on their privileges. Many of the productions of that period diſcover great energy of mind, and political information; and it ought to be remembered, to the honor of the Americans, that, whilſt they made a ſpirited oppoſition to the arbitrary views of Britain, their firmneſs was blended with prudence and moderation. Their ſagacity alſo in diſcovering deſigns againſt their liberties, before they were fully developed, is greatly to be admired. It has been juſtly obſerved, that the annals of other nations have produced inſtances of ſucceſsful ſtruggles againſt a yoke previouſly impoſed; but the records of hiſtory do not furniſh an example of a people, whoſe penetration had anticipated the operations of tyranny; and whoſe ſpirit had diſdained to ſuffer an infringement upon their liberties.See Oration, 1793-07-04July 4, 1793, p. 10.
The commencement of hoſtilities at Lexington. General Gage receives the arms of the inhabitants of Boſton—fails in his engagement. Boſton inveſted by a provincial army. Public faſt. Ticonderoga and Crown-Point taken. Reinforcements arrive from Great-Britain. Bunker’s-hill battle. Burning of Charleſtown, and death of General Warren.
17751775.The important æra, at length, arrived, in which the Americans had no alternative, but to ſubmit to the impoſitions of arbitrary power, or refer their cauſe to the deciſion of arms.
1775-04-18Apr. 18.Stores had been depoſited at Worceſter and Concord, for the ſupport of the provincial army. To the latter of thoſe places, which was about twenty miles from Boſton, General Gage ſent a detachment of Britiſh troops, in order to deſtroy the ſtores, and, as was reported, to ſeize Mr. Hancock and Mr. Samuel Adams, leading characters in the oppoſition. Vol. I. p. 187. ,
The general wiſhed to accompliſh his deſign without bloodſhed, and planned the expedition with the greateſt ſecrecy, to prevent the country from being alarmed. At eleven o’clock at night, eight hundred grenadiers and light infantry, the flower of the royal army, embarked at the common, landed at Phipps’ farm, and marched for 292 Nn2v 292 17751775.Concord, under the command of lieut. col. Smith. The utmoſt precaution could not prevent intelligence of theſe movements from being tranſmitted to the country militia.
About two in the morning, 130 of the Lexington militia had aſſembled to oppoſe them; but the air being chilly, and intelligence reſpecting the regulars uncertain, they were diſmiſſed, with orders to appear again at beat of drum. About 70 collected a ſecond time, between four and five o’ clock in the morning, and the Britiſh troops ſoon after made their appearance. Major Pitcairn, who led the advanced corps, rode up to them, and called out, diſperſe, you rebels; throw down your arms and diſperſe. They ſtill continued in a body, on which he advanced nearer, diſcharged his piſtol, and ordered his ſoldiers to fire. This was done with a huzza. A diſperſion of the militia was the conſequence; but the firing of the regulars was, nevertheleſs, continued. Individuals, finding they were fired upon, though diſperſing, returned the fire. Three or four of the militia were killed on the green. A few more were killed, after they had begun to diſperſe. The royal detachment proceeded to Concord, and executed their commiſſion. They diſabled two twenty-four pounders, threw five hundred pounds of ball into rivers and wells, and broke in pieces about ſixty barrels of flour.
Mr. John Butterick, major of a minute regiment, not knowing what had paſſed at Lexington, ordered his men not to give the firſt fire, that 293 Nn3r 293 17751775.they might not be the aggreſſors. Upon his approaching near the regulars, they fired and killed capt. Iſaac Davis, and one private of the provincial minute-men. The fire was returned, and a ſkirmiſh enſued. The king’s troops having done their buſineſs, began their retreat towards Boſton. This was conducted with expedition, for the inhabitants of the adjacent towns had aſſembled in arms, and began to attack them in every direction. In their return to Lexington, they were exceedingly annoyed, both by thoſe, who preſſed on the rear, and others who poured in from all ſides, and fired from behind ſtone-walls, and ſuch like coverts, which ſupplied the place of lines and redoubts. Vol. I. p. 189. ,
At Lexington the Britiſh were joined by a detachment of 900 men, under Lord Percy, who had been ſent out by General Gage to ſupport lieut. col. Smith. This reinforcement, having two pieces of cannon, awed the provincials, and kept them at a greater diſtance; but they continued a conſtant, though irregular and ſcattering fire, which did great execution. The cloſe firing from behind the walls, by good markſmen, put the royal troops in no ſmall confuſion; but they nevertheleſs kept up a briſk retreating fire on the militia and minute-men.
A little after ſunſet the regulars reached Bunker’s-hill, worn down with exceſſive fatigue, having marched that day between thirty and forty miles. On the next day they returned to Boſton, acroſs Charleſtown ferry.294Nn3v294
17751775.There never were more than 400 provincials engaged at one time, and often not ſo many. As ſome tired and gave out, others came up and took their places. There was ſcarcely any diſcipline obſerved among them. Officers and privates fired when they were ready, and ſaw a royal uniform, without waiting for the word of command. Their knowledge of the country enabled them to gain opportunities, by croſſing fields and fences, and to act as flanking parties againſt the king’s troops, who kept to the main road.
The Britiſh had 65 killed, 180 wounded, and 28 made priſoners. Of the provincials 50 were killed, and 38 wounded and miſſing. Dr. Ramſay remarks, as arms were to decide the controverſy, it was fortunate for the Americans that the firſt blood was drawn in New-England. The inhabitants of that country are ſo connected with each other by deſcent, manners, religion, politics, and a general equality, that the killing of an individual intereſted the whole, and made them conſider it as a common cauſe. The blood of thoſe, who were killed at Lexington and Concord, proved the firm cement of an extenſive union.Vol. I. p. 189. See alſo , .
To prevent the people in Boſton from joining their countrymen in the vicinity, in an attack which was threatened, General Gage agreed with a committee of the town, that upon the inhabitants lodging their arms in Faneuil-hall, or any other convenient place, under the care of the ſelect-men, all, who were inclined, might remove 295 Nn4r 295 17751775.with their families and effects. A large number complied with the condition; and the agreement was punctually obſerved at firſt, but, in a ſhort time, the general detained many; and when he admitted the departure of others, he would not allow them to remove their families and effects. The ſeparation of near and dear connexions occaſioned many diſtreſſing ſcenes. The provincial congreſs in vain remonſtrated on the infraction of the agreement. He was in ſome meaſure compelled to adopt this diſhonorable expedient, from the clamor of the tories, who alledged, that when the enemies to the Britiſh government were removed, and were all ſafe with their families and effects, the town would be ſet on fire.
The provincial congreſs of Maſſachuſetts, which was in ſeſſion at the time of Lexington battle, diſpatched an account of it to Great-Britain, accompanied with many depoſitions to prove, that the Britiſh troops were the aggreſſors. They alſo made an addreſs to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, in which, after complaining of their ſufferings, they declare the attachment they ſtill feel for their ſovereign; they appeal to heaven for the juſtice of their cauſe, and aſſert their determined reſolution to die or be free. Vol. I. p. 191. ,
The congreſs alſo voted, that an army of 30,000 men be immediately raiſed; that 13,600 be of their own province, and that a letter and delegates be ſent to the ſeveral colonies of New-Hampſhire, Connecticut and Rhode-Iſland. In conſequence296 Nn4v 296 17751775.quence of this vote, the buſineſs of recruiting was began, and an army raiſed ſuperior in number to that of the Britiſh. The command of this force was given to General Ward.
The battle at Lexington ſpread the flame of civil diſcord through the colonies. The martial ſpirit ſhown by the American militia on this occaſion, afforded matter of exultation. Dr. Ramſay remarks, that perhaps in no ſubſequent engagement did the Americans appear to greater advantage than in their firſt eſſay at Lexington. It is almoſt without parallel in military hiſtory, for the yeomanry of the country to come forward in a ſingle diſjointed manner, without order, and for the moſt part without officers, and by an irregular fire to put to flight troops equal in diſcipline to any in the world. Vol. I. p. 195. ,
The ſpirits of the people were raiſed to that degree, that they meditated a total expulſion of the Britiſh troops from Boſton. An army of 20,000 men was aſſembled, who formed a line of encampment from Roxbury to Myſtic; and here they were ſoon after joined by a large body of Connecticut troops, under General Putnam, an old officer of great bravery and experience. By this formidable force, was the town of Boſton blocked up. General Gage, however, had ſo ſtrongly fortified it, that the provincials, powerful as they were, durſt not make an attack; while, on the other hand, his force was by far too inſignificant to meet ſuch an army in the field. Vol. II. p. 21. ,297Oo1r297
17751775.The forces, which had been collected in Maſſachuſetts, were ſtationed in convenient places for guarding the country from further excurſions of the regulars from Boſton. Breaſt-works were alſo erected, in different places, for the ſame purpoſe. Some ſkirmiſhes, in the mean time, took place on the iſlands lying off Boſton harbor, which, by habituating the Americans to danger, were of real ſervice to their cauſe. Vol. I. p. 200. ,
At the ſame time that the organization of an army was reſolved on by the continental congreſs, a public faſt was recommended to be obſerved on the 1775-07-2020th of July, throughout the united colonies, a day of humiliation, faſting and prayer to Almighty God, to implore a bleſſing on their rightful ſovereign, King George; and that the Britiſh nation, before it was too late, might form juſt ideas of their real intereſt. That, by the gracious interpoſition of Heaven, America might obtain a redreſs of her various grievances, a reſtoration of her invaded rights, and a reconciliation with the parent ſtate, on terms conſtitutional and honorable to both countries. Ibid.
The clergy of New-England, who were a numerous, learned and reſpectable body, in their prayers and ſermons, repreſented the cauſe of America as the cauſe of heaven; and their exertions in the public cauſe were important and effectual.
The neceſſity of ſecuring Ticonderoga, was early attended to, by many in New-England; but ſome Connecticut gentlemen were firſt in attemptingOo 298 Oo1v 298 17751775.ing the meaſure. Col. Arnold was ſent from Connecticut, to engage the people on the New-Hampſhire grants upon this expedition. Col. Ethan Allen, of Bennington, undertook to raiſe a body of troops for that purpoſe. General Gage had ſet the example of attempting to ſeize upon military ſtores, and by ſo doing had commenced hoſtilities; retaliation, therefore, ſeemed warrantable.
Col. Allen was at Caſtleton, with about 270 men, 230 of whom belonged to the New-Hampſhire grants. Centinels were immediately placed on all the roads, to prevent intelligence being carried to Ticonderoga. Col. Arnold, who arrived at this time, had heard ſuch an account of the ſtate of the garriſon in that place as encouraged the expedition. It was then ſettled that Allen ſhould have the ſupreme command, and Arnold was to be his aſſiſtand. Vol. II. p. 10. ,
They arrived at Lake Champlain, oppoſite Ticonderoga, on the 1775-05-099th of May, at night. Boats were with difficulty procured, when he and Col. Arnold croſſed over with 83 men, and landed near the garriſon. The two colonels advanced ſide by ſide, and entered the fort at the dawning of day. 1775-05-10May 10.A centinel ſnapped his piece at Col. Allen, and then retreated through the covered way to the parade. The main body of the Americans then followed, and drew up. Captain de la Place, the commander, was ſurprized in his bed, and called upon to ſurrender the fort. He aſked, by what authority? Col. Allen replied, I demand it in 299 Oo2r 299 17751775.the name of the great Jehovah, and of the continental congreſs. No reſiſtance was made, and the fort, with its valuable ſtores, and forty-eight priſoners, fell into the hands of the Americans. Vol. II. p. 11—14. , Vol. I. p. 226. ,
Col. Seth Warner was ſent off with a party to take poſſeſſion of Crown-Point, in which there was a garriſon of 12 men. This was ſpeedily effected. They took, alſo, two ſmall veſſels, and found materials at Ticonderoga for building others. By this expedition the provincials acquired great quantities of ammunition and military ſtores; and obtained the command of Lake Champlain, which ſecured them a paſſage into Canada.
About the latter end of 1775-05May, a great part of the reinforcements ordered from Great-Britain arrived at Boſton. Three Britiſh generals, Howe, Burgoyne and Clinton, whoſe behavior in the preceding war, had gained them great reputation, alſo arrived about the ſame time. General Gage, thus reinforced, prepared for acting with more deciſion. Before he proceeded to extremities, he iſſued a proclamation, wherein he offered pardon, in the king’s name, to all, who ſhould immediately lay down their arms, and return to their reſpective occupations; excepting only from the benefit of that pardon, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, whoſe offences were ſaid to be of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other conſideration than that of condign puniſhment. He alſo proclaimed, that not only the perſons above named and excepted, but alſo all their adherents, aſſociates and correſpondents,300 Oo2v 300 17751775.reſpondents, ſhould be deemed guilty of treaſon and rebellion, and treated accordingly. By this proclamation, it was alſo declared, that as the courts of judicature were ſhut, martial law ſhould take place, till a due courſe of juſtice ſhould be re-eſtabliſhed. Vol. I. p. 210. ,
The Americans, ſuppoſing this proclamation to be a prelude to hoſtilities, prepared for action. Orders were, therefore, iſſued, by the provincial commanders, that a detachment of one thouſand men ſhould entrench upon Bunker’s-hill, a conſiderable height, juſt at the entrance of the peninſula at Charleſtown, the ſituation of which rendered the poſſeſſion of it of great importance to either party. By ſome miſtake Breed’s-hill, high and large as the other, but ſituated nearer Boſton, was marked out for the entrenchments.
In the night of the 1775-06-1616th of June, the provincials took poſſeſſion of Breed’s-hill, and labored with ſuch diligence and alacrity, that by the dawn of day they had thrown up a ſmall redoubt, about eight rods ſquare. Such was the extraordinary ſilence that reigned among them, that they were not heard by the Britiſh on board their veſſels in the neighboring waters. The dawn of day only diſcovered the work when near completion. Upon 1775-06-10Jun. 17.which the Britiſh began an heavy firing from their ſhips, and from a fortification on Cop’s-hill, in Boſton. An inceſſant ſhower of ſhot and bombs was poured upon the American works, and yet but one man was killed. Vol. II. p. 39, 40. ,301Oo3r301
17751775.The Americans ſuſtained this fire with the intrepidity of veteran ſoldiers; and continued laboring indefatigably till they had thrown up a ſmall breaſt-work, extending from the eaſt ſide of the redoubt to the bottom of the hill; but they were prevented completing it, from the intolerable fire of the enemy. By ſome unaccountable error, the detachment, which had been working for hours, was neither relieved, nor ſupplied with refreſhments, but was left to engage, under theſe diſadvantages. Vol. II. p. 41. ,
1775-06-10Jun. 17.Between twelve and one o’clock (the day being exceedingly hot) a number of boats and barges, filled with regular troops, from Boſton, approached Charleſtown, when the men were landed at Moreton’s point. They conſiſted of four battalions, two companies of grenadiers, and ten of light infantry, with a proportion of field artillery. Ibid.
Major Gen. Howe, and brigadier Gen. Pigot, had the command of thoſe troops, which were the flower of the royal army. They formed and remained in that poſition, till joined by a ſecond detachment of light infantry and grenadier companies, a battalion of land forces, and a battalion of marines, amounting in the whole to about 3000 men. The Generals Clinton and Burgoyne took their ſtand upon Cop’s-hill, to contemplate the bloody and deſtructive operations that were now commencing. The king’s troops formed in two lines, and advanced deliberately in order to give their artillery time to demoliſh the American works.302Oo3v302
17751775.Whilst the Britiſh were advancing nearer to the attack, they received orders from Gen. Gage to burn Charleſtown. This was done from the military policy of depriving enemies of a cover in their approaches. The town was ſet on fire by a battery on Cop’s-hill, in Boſton, and a party from the Somerſet man of war, lying in Charles river, and nearly four hundred houſes, including ſix public buildings, were conſumed. The lofty ſteeple of the meeting-houſe, formed a pyramid of fire above the reſt, and ſtruck the aſtoniſhed eyes of numerous beholders with a magnificent but awful ſpectacle.
In Boſton, the heights of every kind were covered with citizens, and ſuch of the king’s troops as were not on duty. The hills around the adjacent country, which afforded a ſafe and diſtinct view of the momentous conteſt, were occupied by Americans of all ages and orders. The honor of the Britiſh troops beat high in the breaſts of many, while others, with a keener ſenſibility, felt for the liberties of a great and growing country.
The Britiſh derived no advantage from the ſmoke of the conflagration at Charleſtown; for the wind ſuddenly ſhifting, carried it in another direction, ſo that it could not cover them in their approach.
The Americans were miſerably armed, with ſcarce a bayonet to their muſkets. They were, however, moſtly markſmen, having been accuſtomed to gunning from their youth. The redoubt 303 Oo4r 303 17751775.and the breaſt-work neareſt it were chiefly occupied with Maſſachuſetts men. Col. Stark, with the New-Hampſhire ſoldiers under his command; capt. Knowlton, of Aſhford, with a party from Connecticut; and a few Maſſachuſetts men, were ſtationed on the left of the breaſt-work, and open ground ſtretching beyond its point to the water ſide, through which there was no chance of carrying the works. Vol. II. p. 42. , Vol. I. p. 202. ,
The Britiſh moved on ſlowly to the attack, which gave the provincials the advantage of taking ſurer and cooler aim. Theſe reſerved their fire till the regulars came within ten or twelve rods, when they began a furious diſcharge of ſmall arms, by which the Britiſh were checked in their advance. The diſcharge from the Americans was inceſſant, and did ſuch execution, that the king’s troops retreated in diſorder, and with great precipitation. The officers rallied them, and puſhed them forward with their ſwords; but they returned to the attack with extreme reluctance. The Americans again reſerved their fire, till the Britiſh were near, and then put them a ſecond time to flight. Such was the loſs already ſuſtained, that ſeveral of the officers exclaim, It is downright butchery to lead the men on afreſh againſt the lines. But, animated with a high ſenſe of Britiſh honor, the royal army determined to carry their point in ſpite of all oppoſition. Ibid, p. 44.
General Howe and the officers redoubled their exertions, and General Clinton arrived at 304 Oo4v 304 17751775.this critical moment, and joined them in time to be of ſervice. The united and ſtrenuous efforts of the different officers were again ſucceſsful, notwithſtanding the men diſcovered an almoſt inſuperable averſion to renewing the attack. By this time the powder of the Americans began to fail. This deficiency diſabled them from making the ſame defence as before; while the Britiſh reaped a further advantage by bringing ſome cannon to bear ſo as to rake the inſide of the breaſt-work from end to end. The fire from the ſhips, batteries, and field artillery was redoubled. The officers in the rear goaded on the ſoldiers, and the redoubt was attacked on three ſides at once. Under theſe circumſtances a retreat from it was ordered; but the provincials delayed, and made reſiſtance with their diſcharged muſkets, as if they had been clubs, ſo long that the king’s troops, who eaſily mounted the works, had half filled the redoubt, before it was given up to them. Vol. II. p. 44. ,
Whilst theſe operations were going on at the breaſt-work and redoubt, the Britiſh light infantry were attempting to force the left point of the former, that they might take the American line in flank. Though they exhibited the most undaunted courage, they met with an oppoſition which called for its greateſt exertions. The provincials reſerved their fire till the adverſaries were near, and then poured it upon the light infantry in ſuch an inceſſant ſtream, and in ſo true a direction, as mowed down their ranks. The engagement305 Pp1r 305 17751775.gagement was kept up on both ſides with great reſolution. The perſevering exertions of the king’s troops could not compel the Americans to retreat, till they obſerved that their main body had left the hill. Vol. I. p. 203. ,
The retreat of the Americans could not be effected but by marching over Charleſtown neck, every part of which was raked by the ſhot of the Glaſgow man of war, and of two floating batteries. They ſuffered but little, however, from this formidable artillery, though the fear of it had prevented ſome regiments, who were ordered to ſupport them, from fulfilling their duty. Vol. II. p. 41. ,
The number of Americans engaged amounted only to 1500; but the Boſton ſpectators were led to apprehend, at that diſtance, that they conſiſted of ſome thouſands.
It was feared by the Americans, that the Britiſh troops would puſh the advantage they had gained, and march immediately to the head-quarters at Cambridge, about two miles diſtant, and in no ſtate of defence. But they advanced no further than Bunker’s-hill, where they threw up works for their own ſecurity. The provincials did the ſame on Proſpect hill, in front of them, about half way to Cambridge. Ibid.
The loſs of the peninſula depreſſed the ſpirits of the Americans, and their great loſs of men produced the ſame effect on the Britiſh. Dr. Gordon obſerves, that there have been few battles Pp 306 Pp1v 306 17751775.in modern wars, in which, all circumſtances conſidered, there was a greater deſtruction of men than in this ſhort engagement. A veteran officer, who was at the battles of Dettingen and Minden, and at ſeveral others in Germany, has ſaid, that for the time that the action laſted, and the number of men engaged in it, he never knew any thing equal to it. The action continued about an hour; during that ſhort period the loſs of the Britiſh, as acknowledged by Gen. Gage, amounted to 1054. Nineteen commiſſioned officers were killed, and 70 more were wounded. The battle of Quebec, in 17591759, which gave Great-Britain the province of Canada, was not ſo deſtructive to Britiſh officers as this affair of a flight entrenchment, the work only of a few hours. Vol. II. p. 47, 48. ,
The Britiſh officers, by their ſpirited behavior in this engagement, merited and obtained great applauſe. But, ſurely, the provincial troops were entitled to a larger ſhare of admiration. Though in general they had never before ſeen an engagement, yet their experienced adverſaries, with their utmoſt exertions, could ſcarcely diſlodge them from lines, the work of a ſingle night.
The Americans loſt in this engagement five pieces of cannon. They had 77 killed, and 278 wounded and miſſing. Thirty of the latter number fell into the hands of the conquerors. p. 304. ,
The death of General Warren, who fought that day as a volunteer, was particularly regretted. To the pureſt patriotiſm and moſt undaunted307 Pp2r 307 17751775.ed bravery, he added the virtues of domeſtic life, the eloquence of an accompliſhed orator, and the wiſdom of an able ſtateſman. Vol. I. p. 205. ,
Dr. Ramſay obſerves, that the burning of Charleſtown, though a place of great trade, did not diſcourage the provincials. It excited reſentment and execration, but not any diſpoſition to ſubmit. Such was the high toned ſtate of the public mind, and ſo great the indifference for property, when put in competition with liberty, that military conflagrations, though they diſtreſſed and impoveriſhed, had no tendency to ſubdue the coloniſts. Ibid.
The undaunted courage which the New-England militia exhibited at Lexington and Breed’s- hill, affords a convincing proof how much may be done by men inſpired with an enthuſiaſm for liberty, without the aid of military diſcipline. The diſpute between Britain and her colonies had long been a popular ſubject. The prevailing ideas at that time were a deteſtation of arbitrary power, and a determined reſolution to reſiſt, even with the ſword. The people, in general, were well informed reſpecting the cauſes of the conteſt, and they had been highly irritated by repeated encroachments upon their privileges. Whilſt their minds were wrought to this high pitch, thoſe, who previouſly to this period, had never ſeen a battle, dared to encounter the well diſciplined forces of the Britiſh nation.
The ſecond continental congreſs meet, and organize a regular army. Of their proceedings. Georgia accedes to the confederacy. General Waſhington is appointed commander in chief, and joins the continental army. Succeſsful attempts of the Americans at ſea. Falmouth burnt by the Britiſh. Reſolutions of the Rhode-Iſland aſſembly.
17751775.Asecond American or continental congreſs was convened at Philadelphia, on the 1775-05-1010th of May, as was recommended at their diſſolution. The primary object of their deliberations, was the general ſtate of affairs in the colonies.
On their meeting they choſe Peyton Randolph for their preſident, and Charles Thompſon for their ſecretary. On the next day, Mr. Hancock laid before them a variety of depoſitions, proving that the king’s troops were the aggreſſors in the late battle at Lexington, together with ſundry papers relative to the great events, which had lately taken place in Maſſachuſetts. Whereupon congreſs reſolved itſelf into a committee of the whole, to take into conſideration the ſtate of America.
The new congreſs had been convened but a few days, when their venerable preſident, Peyton Randolph, was under a neceſſity of returning home. On his departure, John Hancock was 309 Pp3r 309 17751775.unanimouſly choſen his ſucceſſor. The objects of deliberation preſented to this new congreſs were, if poſſible, more important than thoſe, which, in the preceding year, had engaged the attention of their predeceſſors. They found a new parliament diſpoſed to run all riſks in enforcing their ſubmiſſion; and determined to proceed in that vigorous manner which would intimidate oppoſition. They alſo underſtood that adminiſtration was united againſt them, and its members firmly eſtabliſhed in their places. Hoſtilities were commenced, reinforcements had arrived, and more were daily expected. Added to this, they had information that their adverſaries had taken meaſures to ſecure the friendſhip and co-operation of the Indians and Canadians.
In this awful criſis, congreſs had no alternative, but either to renounce the cauſe of American freedom; or ſupport it by rendering the war general, and involving all the provinces in one promiſcuous ſtate of hoſtility.
The reſolution of the people in favor of the latter, was fixed, and only wanted a public ſanction for its operation. Congreſs, therefore, reſolved, that for the expreſs purpoſe of defending and ſecuring the colonies, and preſerving them in ſafety againſt all attempts to carry the late acts of parliament into execution, by force of arms, they be immediately put in a ſtate of defence; but as they wiſhed for a reſtoration of the harmony formerly ſubſiſting between the mother country and the colonies, to the promotion of this moſt deſirable310 Pp3v 310 17751775.ble reconciliation, an humble and dutiful petition be preſented to his majesty. To diſſuade the Canadians from co-operating with the Britiſh, they again addreſſed them, repreſenting the pernicious tendency of the Quebec act, and apologizing for their taking Ticonderoga and Crown-Point, as meaſures, which were dictated by the great law of ſelf- preſervation. About the ſame time, to prevent the Indians from diſturbing the frontier inhabitants, congreſs diſpatched commiſſioners, who explained the controverſy with Britain in an Indian ſtyle; informed them that they had no concern in the family quarrel, and urged them, by the ties of ancient friendſhip, and a common birth place, to remain at home, keep the hatchet buried deep, and to join neither ſide. Vol. I. p. 210. ,
Whilst congreſs were making arrangements for their purpoſed continental army, it was thought expedient once more to addreſs the inhabitants of Great-Britain, and to publiſh to the world a declaration, exhibiting their reaſons for taking up arms; to addreſs the ſpeaker and gentlemen of the aſſembly of Jamaica, and the inhabitants of Ireland, and alſo to prefer a ſecond humble petition to the king.
When this laſt mentioned petition was preſented, in 1775-09September, 1775, by Mr. Penn and Mr. Lee, Lord Dartmouth informed them, that to it no anſwer would be given. The rejection of this petition greatly contributed to the union and perſeverance of the colonies. Ibid, p. 214311Pp4r311
17751775.A military oppoſition to the armies of Great- Britain being reſolved upon, it became an object of conſequence to fix on a perſon to conduct that 1775-06-15Jun 15.oppoſition. George Waſhington, a native of Virginia, was, by an unanimous vote, appointed commander in chief of all the forces raiſed for the defence of the colonies. This great man was born in Weſtmoreland county, on the 1732-02-1111th of February, 1732. His education and youthful exerciſes tended to form a ſolid mind, and a vigorous body. Early in life his inclination prompted him to enter the military line. He acquired conſiderable experience in the command of different parties of the provincial troops, during the late French war. He poſſeſſed genius without excentricity, and energy of mind, always guided by ſound judgment. His diſtinguiſhed abilities derived their greateſt luſtre from the qualities of his heart. He diſplayed a concentration of ſublime virtues, exempt from thoſe weakneſſes and irregularities, which often ſully the moſt illuſtrious characters. A diſintereſted regard for the welfare of his country appears to have animated his exertions, while engaged in the moſt hazardous ſervices. But his heroic actions are his ampleſt panegyric. During the long conteſt with Britain, we contemplate him exhibiting unconquerable perſeverance under the moſt embarraſſing circumſtances; and undaunted courage under the greateſt dangers. He united every qualification neceſſary to render him eminent in his exalted 312 Pp4v 312 17751775.ſtation; and appears raiſed up by heaven at this critical period, to be the ſavior of his country.The following beautiful lines are ſelected from Mrs. Morton’s deſcription of General Waſhington, in her truly ſublime and elegant Poem, ſtiled Beacon Hill. His was the firſt of Fortune’s gifts to claim,And his the triumph of unbounded Fame;Indulgent nature emulouſly kind,Gave to his form the graces of his mind;While his bold ſtature towers ſupremely high,And like his genius claims the lifted eye;The kindly features peace and truth impart,Calm as his reaſon, open as his heart.
After the appointment of Gen. Waſhington, Artemas Ward, Charles Lee, Philip Schuyler, and Iſrael Putnam, were conſtituted major-generals, and Horatio Gates adjutant-general. Seth Pomeroy, Richard Montgomery, David Wooſter, William Heath, Joſeph Spencer, John Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathaniel Greene, were appointed brigadier-general at the ſame time.
The 1775-06-1414th of June, twelve companies of riflemen were ordered to be raiſed in Pennſylvania, Maryland and Virginia. The men, to the number of 1430, were procured, and forwarded to the American army at Cambridge with great expedition.
It was alſo reſolved, that a ſum not exceeding two millions of Spaniſh milled dollars be emitted by the congreſs, in bills of credit, for the defence of America; and that the twelve confederated colonies be pledged for the redemption of the bills. Vol. I. p. 218, 219. ,313Qq1r313
17751775.Congress eſtabliſhed a poſt-office, to reach from Falmouth, in New-England, to Savannah, in Georgia; and then unanimouſly elected Benjamin Franklin poſtmaſter-general.
They proceeded to the eſtabliſhment of an hoſpital, for an army of 20,000 men; and elected Benjamin Church to be director of, and phyſician in it. Vol. II. p. 77. ,
Congress had alſo the ſatiſfaction to receive deputies from the whole colony of Georgia, in 1775-07July, expreſſing a deſire to join the confederacy.
Gen. Waſhington, ſoon after his appointment to the command of the American army, ſet out for the camp at Cambridge. In his progreſs, he was treated with the higheſt honors in every place through which he paſſed, both by public bodies, and by individuals. Large detachments of volunteers, compoſed of private gentlemen, turned out, to eſcort him. A committee from the Maſſachuſetts congreſs received him about one hundred miles from Boſton, and conducted him to the army. He was ſoon after addreſſed by the congreſs of that colony, in the moſt affectionate manner. In his anſwer, he feelingly expreſſed his gratitude for their kind congratulations. He aſſerted, that in leaving the enjoyments of domeſtic life, and accepting the appointment, he imitated the public ſpirit which the province of Maſſachuſetts had exhibited; and that, his higheſt ambition was to be the happy inſtrument of vindicating their rights, Qq 314 Qq1v 314 17751775.and to ſee the devoted province again reſtored to peace, liberty and ſafety.
1775-07-30July 30.When Gen. Waſhington arrived at Cambridge, he was received with the joyful acclamations of the American army. At the head of his troops, he publiſhed a declaration previouſly drawn up by congreſs, in the nature of a manifeſto, exhibiting the reaſons for taking up arms. In this, after enumerating various grievances of the colonies, and vindicating them from a premeditated deſign of eſtabliſhing independent ſtates, it was added, in our own native land, in defence of the freedom which is our birthright, and which we ever enjoyed, till the late violation of it; for the protection of our property; acquired ſolely by the induſtry of our forefathers and ourſelves, againſt violence actually offered, we have taken up arms; we ſhall lay them down, when hoſtilities ſhall ceaſe on the part of the aggreſſors, and all danger of their being renewed ſhall be removed, and not before. .
At this time the Britiſh were entrenched on Bunker’s-hill, having alſo three floating batteries in Myſtic river, and a twenty gun ſhip below the ferry, between Boſton and Charleſtown. They had the neck ſtrongly fortified, and a battery on Cop’s-hill.
The continental army, under the command of Gen. Waſhington, amounted to about 14,500 men. They were entrenched at Winter hill, Proſpect hill, and Roxbury, communicating with one another by ſmall poſts, over a diſtance of ten miles. 315 Qq2r 315 17751775.Parties were likewiſe ſtationed in ſeveral towns, along the ſea coaſt. This whole force was thrown into three grand diviſions: Gen. Ward commanded the right wing, at Roxbury; Gen. Lee, the left, at Proſpect hill; and the centre was commanded by Gen. Waſhington. Theſe diſpoſitions were ſo judiciouſly made, that the Britiſh were pent up in the town, and excluded from the proviſions and forage which the adjacent country, and iſlands in Boſton bay afforded. .
Great embaraſſments occurred in forming the continental army into a regular ſyſtem. Enterprizing leaders had come forward with their followers, without a ſcrupulous attention to rank; but it was impoſſible to aſſign to every officer the ſtation, that his ſervices merited, or to which his vanity aſpired; to introduce diſcipline and ſubordination among freemen, who were accuſtomed to think for themſelves, was an arduous taſk. Thoſe difficulties were in ſome meaſure ſurmounted by the perſeverance and reſolution of the commander in chief. The troops gradually acquired the mechaniſm and movements as well as the name of an army. Method and punctuality began to be introduced. In arranging the army, the military ſkill of adjutant-general Gates was of great ſervice. Ibid, Vol. I. p. 224
It was found, on the 1775-08-044th of Auguſt, that the whole ſtock of powder throughout the four New- England provinces, could make but little more than nine rounds a man, to the army inveſting 316 Qq2v 316 17751775.Boſton. This was generally known among themſelves, and was alſo communicated to the Britiſh, by a deſerter; but they did not preſume to rely on this intelligence. Though they had met with unexpected proofs of American courage; yet they could not believe that the coloniſts were poſſeſſed of ſuch conſummate aſſurance as to continue inveſting them, while ſo deſtitute of ammunition.
At length the Americans received a ſupply of a few tons, which was ſent from the committee of Elizabethtown; and ſoon after ſeveral thouſand pounds weight was obtained from Africa, in exchange for New-England rum. This was managed with ſo much addreſs, that every ounce for ſale in the Britiſh forts on the African coaſts, was purchaſed, and brought off for the uſe of the coloniſts.
1775-11Nov.The Maſſachuſetts aſſembly and continental congreſs both reſolved, to fit out armed veſſels to cruiſe on the American coaſts, for the purpoſe of interrupting warlike ſtores and ſupplies, deſigned for the uſe of the Britiſh army. The object was at firſt limited, but as the proſpect of accommodation vaniſhed, it was extended to all Britiſh property afloat on the high ſeas.
Whilst the Americans were fitting out armed veſſels, previouſly to their making any captures, Falmouth, a town in the north-eaſtern part of Maſſachuſetts, was burnt by captain Mowat, under the orders of the Britiſh admiral at Boſton. The inhabitants, in compliance with a reſolve of the provincial congreſs to prevent tories conveying out their effects, gave violent obſtruction to the 317 Qq3r 317 17751775.loading of a maſt-ſhip, which drew upon them the indignation of the admiral. This event ſpread an alarm upon the ſea coaſt; but produced no diſpoſition to ſubmit to the arbitrary impoſitions of Great-Britain. Vol. II. p. 132. ,
In a few days after the burning of Falmouth, the old ſouth meeting-houſe, in Boſton, was taken into poſſeſſion by the Britiſh, and deſtined for a riding ſchool, and the ſervice of the light dragoons. Theſe proceedings tended to irritate the coloniſts, and added energy to their determined ſpirit of reſiſtance.
The firſt naval attempts of the Americans were crowned with ſucceſs. On the 1775-11-2929th of November, the Lee privateer, commanded by captain Manly, belonging to Marblehead, captured the brig Nancy, containing ſuch a variety of military ſtores, that had congreſs ſent an order for the articles moſt wanted, they could not have made out a more ſuitable invoice. The whole value of the veſſel and cargo was computed at 50,000l. and this loſs in particular occaſioned much diſcontent in Britain.
Soon after, ſeveral ſtore-ſhips were captured by the Americans, which were deſigned for the uſe of the Britiſh army in Boſton. Theſe events increaſed the diſtreſſes of the royal troops in that town; furniſhed ſupplies for the continental army; and encouraged the inhabitants of New-England to undertake this hazardous buſineſs.318Qq3v318
17751775.Before the cloſe of the year, congreſs determined to build five veſſels of thirty-two guns, five of twenty-eight, and three of twenty-four, in order to diſtreſs the enemy, and protect their own coaſts. Vol. I. p. 225. ,
In the month of 1775-11November, the general aſſembly of Rhode-Iſland paſſed an act for the capital puniſhment of perſons, who ſhould be found guilty of holding a traitorous correſpondence with the miniſtry of Great-Britain, or any of their officers or agents, or of ſupplying the miniſterial army or navy, employed againſt the united colonies, with proviſions, arms, &c. or of acting as pilots on board any of their veſſels. They alſo paſſed an act for ſequeſtering the eſtates of ſeveral perſons, whom they conſidered as avowed enemies to the liberties of America. Vol. II. p. 123. ,
The Canada expedition. Death of General Montgomery. Diſputes of Lord Dunmore with the Virginians. Scheme of Connelly to bring the Ohio Indians to a junction with Lord Dunmore at Alexandria. North and South-Carolina expel their governors.
17751775.The ſucceſs, which had hitherto attended the Americans, now emboldened them to think not only of defending themſelves, but likewiſe of acting offenſively againſt Great-Britain. The conqueſt of Canada appeared an object within their reach, and one that would be attended with many advantages. As an invaſion of that province was already facilitated by the taking of Crown-Point and Ticonderoga, it was reſolved, if poſſible, to penetrate that way into Canada, and reduce Quebec during the winter, before the fleets and armies, which they were well aſſured would fail thither from Britain, ſhould arrive.
Congress committed the management of their military arrangements in this northern department to Gen. Schuyler and Gen. Montgomery. While the former remained at Albany, to attend an Indian treaty, the latter was ſent forward to Ticonderoga, with a body of troops from New-York and New-England. At length Gen. Schuyler was taken ill, and the ſole command devolved upon 320 Qq4v 320 17751775.Gen. Montgomery. He was oppoſed by General Carlton, governor of Canada, an active and experienced officer.
After receiving the full number of troops appointed for his expedition, Gen. Montgomery determined to beſiege St. John’s, the firſt Britiſh poſt in Canada. This attempt was facilitated by the reduction of Chamblee, a ſmall fort in the neighborhood, where he found a ſupply of ſix tons of gunpowder. Whilſt Gen. Montgomery was proſecuting the ſiege, the governor of the province prepared to oppoſe him; and for that purpoſe collected, at Montreal, about 800 men, chiefly militia and Indians. While Gen. Carlton and his forces were on their march, they were attacked by col. Warner, and three hundred of the green mountain boys, and totally defeated. In conſequence of this event the garriſon of St. John’s conſented to ſurrender; the priſoners amounted to about 700, and were treated with great humanity.
Col. Allen attended Gen. Montgomery at the ſiege of St. John’s. The ſucceſs which this gentleman met with at Ticonderoga and Crown-Point, emboldened him to make a ſimilar attempt at Montreal. He was there attacked by the militia of the place, ſupported by a detachment of regulars; and though he defended himſelf with great bravery, was under the neceſſity of ſurrendering, with 38 of his men. The colonel was loaded with irons, and in that condition ſent to England. Vol. I. p. 230—232. , Vol. II. p. 55. ,321Rr1r321
17751775.On the 1775-11-1212th of November, Gen. Montgomery preſſed on to Montreal, which, not being capable of making any defence, governor Carlton quitted it one day, and the American general entered it the next.
1775-09-13Sep. 13.About the ſame time that Canada was invaded in the uſual route from New-York, col. Arnold was detached with a thouſand men from Cambridge, to penetrate into Canada by the way of the Kennebeck. Up the river, they proceeded with great labor and difficulty, being impeded by a very rapid ſtream, with rocky ſides and bottom, cataracts, carrying-places, and other obſtacles. In their march by land, they were obliged alternately to encounter deep ſwamps, thick woods, difficult mountains, and craggy precipices; ſo that the general progreſs was only from four to ten miles a day. This inceſſant labor cauſed many to fall ſick. One third of the number, which ſet out, were, from want of neceſſaries, obliged to return; the others proceeded with unabated fortitude and conſtancy. Proviſions became, at length, ſo ſcarce, that ſome of the men ate their dogs, and ſome their ſhoes and cartouch-boxes. Col. Arnold, however, and the few, who adhered to him, ſcarcely four hundred in number, were determined to ſurmount every obſtacle. After marching three hundred miles, through an uninhabited country, they came to an houſe, which was the firſt they had ſeen for thirty-one days. By this bold enterprize,Rr 322 Rr1v 322 17751775.prize, Arnold acquired the name of the American Hannibal. Vol. I. p. 234. ,
Upon colonel Arnold’s arrival, he circulated among the inhabitants of Canada a manifeſto, ſubſcribed by Gen. Waſhington, which had been ſent from Cambridge with this detachment.
1775-12-01Dec. 1.Gen. Montgomery having effected a junction with col. Arnold, commenced the ſiege of Quebec. Upon his arrival before the town, he wrote a letter to the Britiſh governor, recommending an immediate ſurrender, to prevent the dreadful conſequences of a ſtorm. Though the flag, which conveyed this letter, was fired upon, and all communication refuſed, Gen. Montgomery found other means to convey a letter of the ſame tenor into the garriſon; but the inflexible firmneſs of the governor could not be moved either by threats or dangers. The Americans ſoon after commenced a bombardment with five ſmall mortars, but with very little effect. In a few days, Gen. Montgomery opened a ſix gun battery, at the diſtance of ſeven hundred yards from the walls; but his metal was too light to make any impreſſion. Ibid, p. 240
The upper part of Quebec was ſurrounded with very ſtrong works, and the acceſs from the lower town was exceſſively difficult, from its almoſt perpendicular ſteepneſs. Gen. Montgomery, from a native intrepidity, and an ardent thirſt for glory, overlooked all theſe dangers, and reſolved at once either to carry the place or periſh in the attempt. Truſting much to his good fortune, confiding in 323 Rr2r 323 17751775.the bravery of his troops, and their readineſs to follow whitherſoever he ſhould lead; and depending ſomewhat on the extenſiveneſs of the works, he determined to attempt the town by eſcalade. Vol. I. p. 241. ,
The garriſon of Quebec, at this time, conſiſted of about 1520 men, of which 800 were militia. The American army, conſiſting of about 800 men, was divided into four bodies, of which two were directed to make falſe attacks on the upper town; one by col. Livingſton, at the head of the Canadians, againſt St. John’s gate; and the other by major Brown, againſt Cape-Diamond; whilſt Gen. Montgomery and col. Arnold were to make two real ones againſt the lower town. Signals were to be made for the combination of the attacks, which were to begin exactly at five o’clock in the morning. Vol. I. p. 184. ,
The different routes the aſſailants had to make, the depth of the ſnow, and other obſtacles, prevented the execution of Livingſton’s command. 1775-12-30Dec. 30.Gen. Montgomery moved with his diviſion, and paſſed the firſt barrier; he then advanced boldly to attack the ſecond, which was much ſtronger. A violent diſcharge of grape-ſhot from ſeveral cannon, together with a well directed fire of muſketry, here put an end to the life and hopes of this enterprizing officer. His aid-de-camp, capt. John McPherſon, capt. Cheefman, and moſt of his other officers, fell at the ſame time. This ſo diſpirited the men, that col. Campbell, on whom the command devolved, thought proper to order a retreat. .324Rr2v324
17751775.In the mean time col. Arnold, at the head of 350 men, paſſed through St. Roques, and made a furious attack upon a two gun battery, which, although well defended, was, at length, carried, with conſiderable loſs. In this attack col. Arnold received a wound, which made it neceſſary to carry him off the field of battle. His party, however, continued the aſſault with great energy, and made themſelves maſters of a ſecond barrier. Theſe brave men ſuſtained the force of the whole garriſon for three hours, but finding themſelves hemmed in, and without hopes either of ſucceſs, relief or retreat, they yielded to numbers, and the advantageous ſituation of their adverſaries. Vol. I. p. 242. ,
The loſs of the Americans, in killed and wounded, was about 100, and 300 were taken priſoners. It is remarked, even by a Britiſh hiſtorian, that the valor of the provincial troops could not be exceeded.
The death of Gen. Montgomery was greatly and ſincerely regretted. He was of a good family in Ireland, and ſerved with reputation in the late war with France. He engaged in the American conteſt from a ſincere attachment to the cauſe of liberty, and quitted the enjoyment of an eaſy fortune, and the higheſt domeſtic felicity, for the fatigues and dangers of war. In his military ſtation, he gained the love, eſteem and confidence of the whole army; and while his amiable qualities conciliated an uncommon ſhare of private affection, his great abilities procured an equal 325 Rr3r 325 17751775.proportion of public eſteem. His name was even mentioned, in the Britiſh parliament, with ſingular reſpect.Vol. II. p. 188. , Vol. I. p. 243. See , Annual Regiſter, 17761776, p. 15.
Sir Guy Carlton treated the American priſoners with the utmoſt humanity. He liberally ſupplied the ſick and wounded with every neceſſary accommodation; and ſoothed their minds with the pleaſing aſſurance, that, upon their recovery, they ſhould have free liberty to depart. This generous line of conduct redounded more to his honor than his brave and judicious defence, in a dangerous and critical ſituation.
The collected remnant of the American army, after their unſucceſsful attack, agreed in a council of war, that col. Arnold ſhould command, and ſhould continue the ſiege, or rather the blockade, which was accordingly done, apparently at no ſmall riſk, as they had not more than four hundred men fit for duty; they retired about three miles from the city, and poſted themſelves advantageouſly.
Whilst hoſtilities were conducted with vigor in the north, the flame of contention was gradually extending to the ſouth. Lord Dunmore, the governor of Virginia, was involved in diſputes ſimilar to thoſe, which had taken place in the other colonies. The inhabitants of Virginia, in common with the other provinces, had been aſſiduous in preparing their militia for the purpoſes of defence. Whilſt they were purſuing this object, Lord Dunmore removed the powder from Williamſburg326 Rr3v 326 17751775. liamſburg. The people were alarmed, and aſſembled with arms to demand its reſtitution. By the interpoſition of the mayor and corporation of Williamſburg, extremities were prevented. Reports were ſoon after circulated, that a ſecond attempt to rob the magazine was intended. The inhabitants again took arms, and inſtituted nightly patroles, with a determined reſolution to protect it. The governor was irritated at theſe commotions, and threatened to ſet up the royal ſtandard, enfranchiſe the negroes, and arm them againſt their maſters. Theſe unguarded expreſſions greatly increaſed the public ferment. Vol. I. p. 245. , Vol. II. p. 65. ,
The people held frequent aſſemblies. A number of gentlemen of Hanover and the neighboring counties convened in arms, with a deſign to force the governor to reſtore the powder, and to take the public money into their own poſſeſſion. On their way to Williamſburg for this purpoſe, they were met by the receiver general, who became ſecurity for the payment of the gunpowder, and the citizens engaged to guard the magazine and public revenue. Ibid.
Lord Dunmore was ſo much intimidated by this inſurrection, that he ſent his family on board the Fowey man of war. About the ſame period his lordſhip, with the aſſiſtance of a detachment of marines, fortified his palace, and ſurrounded it with artillery. He ſoon after iſſued a proclamation, in which the perſon, who promoted the late tumult, and his aſſociates, were charged with 327 Rr4r 327 17751775.treaſonable practices. About this time copies of ſome of his letters to the miniſter of the American department, were made public, and produced conſequences ſimilar to thoſe, which had been occaſioned by thoſe of Mr. Hutchinſon, at Boſton. Vol. I. p. 246. , Vol. II. p. 65. ,
In this ſtate of diſorder, the governor convened the general aſſembly, in order to lay before them Lord North’s conciliatory plan; which was unanimouſly rejected. The aſſembly began their ſeſſion by enquiries into the ſtate of the magazine. They found moſt of the remaining powder buried, and the muſkets deprived of their locks. Theſe diſcoveries irritated the people to ſuch a degree, 1775-05-08May 8.that Lord Dunmore retired on board the man of war, which then lay near Yorktown. He left a meſſage for the aſſembly, acquainting them, that he thought it prudent to retire, as he apprehended himſelf in danger of falling a ſacrifice to popular reſentment. This produced a tedious altercation, which ended in a poſitive refuſal of the governor to truſt himſelf again in Williamſburg. In his turn, he requeſted them to meet him on board the man of war, for the purpoſe of giving his aſſent to ſuch bills as he ſhould approve. This propoſal the aſſembly peremptorily rejected; and the royal government in Virginia came to a period.
After Lord Dunmore abandoned his government, ſome of the moſt ſtrenuous adherents to the Britiſh cauſe repaired to him. He was alſo joined by numbers of black ſlaves. With theſe, and the aſſiſtance of the Britiſh ſhipping, he was, 328 Rr4v 328 17751775.for ſome time, enabled to carry on a kind of predatory war. After ſome inconſiderable attempts on land, proclaiming liberty to the ſlaves, and ſetting up the royal ſtandard, he and his party took up their reſidence at Norfolk. Vol. I. p. 249, 250. , Vol. II. p. 207. ,
A considerable force collected againſt them, by whom they were utterly defeated. Lord Dunmore abandoned Norfolk, and retired with his people on board the ſhips. The provincials took poſſeſſion of the place, and greatly diſtreſſed thoſe on board, by refuſing to ſupply them with neceſſaries, and by firing on them from behind the buildings and warehouſes on the wharves. Theſe proceedings drew a remonſtrance from Lord Dunmore, in which he alſo inſiſted, that his fleet ſhould be furniſhed with neceſſaries; but his requeſt being denied, a reſolution was taken to ſet fire to the 1776-01-011776, Jan. 1.town. This was carried into effect, and Norfolk by his order was reduced to aſhes. The town contained about ſix thouſand inhabitants, and ſome in affluent circumſtances. The whole loſs was eſtimated at three hundred thouſand pounds ſterling.
In the mean time, a plan was formed by one Mr. Connelly, a Pennſylvanian royaliſt, in which Lord Dunmore was a party. Having previousſly entered into a league with the Ohio Indians, the plan in general was, that Connelly ſhould return to the Ohio, where, by the aſſiſtance of the Britiſh and Indians in thoſe parts, he was to penetrate through the back ſettlements into Virginia, and join Lord Dunmore at Alexandria. Whilſt on his 329 Ss1r 329 17751775.way to the ſcene of action, Connelly was diſcovered, and taken priſoner.
In the colonies of North and South-Carolina, the royal governors were expelled, and obliged, like Lord Dunmore, to take refuge on board of men of war. Governor Martin, of North-Carolina, attempted to raiſe the back ſettlers, conſiſting chiefly of Scotch Highlanders, againſt the colony. They prematurely took arms, and in an engagement which took place, their leader was taken priſoner, and the whole of the party broken or diſperſed. Vol. I. p. 253. ,
In the courſe of this year, a ſeries of diſaſters followed the royal cauſe. General Gage’s army was cloſely beſieged in Boſton, and rendered uſeleſs. There was a general termination of the royal government; and Great-Britain beheld all the colonies united againſt her in the moſt determined oppoſition.Ss
A new army is raiſed. Boſton attacked and evacuated. Canada recovered by the royal army. Charleſton, in South-Carolina, beſieged by a Britiſh fleet and army. They are obliged to retreat with great loſs. Proceedings of the Britiſh parliament.
As the year 17751775 drew near to a cloſe, the friends of congreſs were embarraſſed with a new difficulty. Their army was temporary, and only engaged to ſerve out the year. From a variety of cauſes the new enliſtments went on ſlowly. So many difficulties retarded the recruiting ſervice, that on the laſt day of the year, the whole American army amounted only to 9650 men. Gen. Waſhington, in his official letters to the American congreſs on this occaſion, thus expreſſes himſelf. It is not in the pages of hiſtory, perhaps, to furniſh a caſe like ours; to maintain a poſt within muſket-ſhot of the enemy, for ſix months together, without ,Left blank in the original, to guard againſt the danger of miſcarriage. Read without powder. and at the ſame time to diſband one army, and recruit another, within that diſtance of twenty-odd Britiſh regiments, is more, probably, than ever was attempted. But if we ſucceed as well in the laſt, as we have heretofore in the firſt, I ſhall think it the moſt fortunate event of my whole life.331Ss2r331
17761776.At this period the Britiſh troops in Boſton were ſuffering the inconveniency of a blockade;Gen. Gage had departed for England, and was ſucceeded by Gen. Howe. they were reduced to great diſtreſs for want of proviſions and fuel. The ſupplies from Britain did not arrive till a long time after they were expected; and ſeveral ſtore-ſhips were intercepted by the Americans.
The American army, including the militia, which were collected on this occaſion, made an operating force of about 17,000 men, before Boſton; but they labored under great inconveniencies from the want of arms and ammunition. On the 1776-02-1616th of February, 1776, the ſtrength of the ice having been tried in one place, and the froſt continuing, Gen. Waſhington was deſirous of embracing the ſeaſon for paſſing over it, from Cambridge ſide, into Boſton. He laid before the council of war, the following queſtion. A ſtroke well aimed at this critical juncture may put a final period to the war, and reſtore peace and tranquility, ſo much to be wiſhed for; and, therefore, whether, part of Cambridge and Roxbury bays being frozen over, a general aſſault ſhould not be made on Boſton? Vol. II. p. 189. , Letters, Vol. I. p. 197.
A negative being put to this queſtion, the next point to be conſidered was, whether they ſhould attempt to poſſeſs themſelves of Dorcheſter heights; this was unanimouſly agreed upon, and conducted with the utmoſt expedition.332Ss2v332
17761776.To conceal the deſign, and divert the attention of the garriſon, a very heavy ſervice of cannon and mortars began to play upon the town from other directions, and was continued for three days.
The night of the 1776-03-044th of March was fixed upon for taking poſſeſſion of Dorcheſter heights. A covering party of about 800 men led the way. Theſe were followed by the carts with the entrenching tools, and 1200 of a working party, commanded by Gen. Thomas.
In the rear there were more than 200 carts, loaded with faſcines and hay in bundles. While the cannon were playing in other parts, the greateſt ſilence was kept in this working party.
By morning the induſtrious provincials completed lines of defence, on Dorcheſter heights, which aſtoniſhed the garriſon. Some of our officers, ſays a Britiſh author, have acknowledged, that the expedition, with which theſe works were thrown up, with their ſudden and unexpected appearance, recalled to their minds thoſe wonderful ſtories of enchantment and inviſible agency, which are ſo frequent in eaſtern romances. Annual Regiſter, 17761776, p. 148. General Howe, in particular, was ſeized with conſternation; and was heard to ſay, I know now what I ſhall do; the rebels have done more in one night than my whole army could have done in months.
The admiral informed Gen. Howe, that if the Americans kept poſſeſſion of theſe heights, he ſhould not be able to keep one of his majeſty’s ſhips in the harbor. It was therefore determined, in a council333 Ss3r 333 17761776.cil of war, to attempt to diſlodge them. An engagement was hourly expected. It was intended by General Waſhington, in that caſe, to force his way into Boſton with 4000 men, who were to have embarked at the mouth of Cambridge river. The militia had come forward with great alertneſs, each bringing three days proviſion, in expectation of an immediate aſſault. The men were in high ſpirits, and impatiently waiting for the appeal. Vol. I. p. 262. , Vol. II. p. 193. ,
They were reminded that it was the 1776-03-055th of March, and were called upon to avenge the death of their countrymen killed on that day. The many eminences in and near Boſton, which overlooked the ground on which it was expected that the contending parties would engage, were crowded with numerous ſpectators. But Gen. Howe did not intend to attack till the ſubſequent day. In order to be ready for it, the tranſports went down in the evening towards the caſtle. In the night a moſt violent ſtorm, and towards morning a heavy flood of rain, came on, which providentially prevented a dreadful waſte of lives. In this ſituation it was agreed by the Britiſh, in a council of war, to evacuate the town as ſoon as poſſible.
On the 1776-03-077th of March, there was a general hurry and confuſion in Boſton; the Britiſh troops and many of the inhabitants, who were attached to the royal cauſe, being buſy in preparing to quit the town, and carry off all they could of their military 334 Ss3v 334 17761776.ſtores and valuable effects. A flag was ſent out from the ſelect-men, acquainting Gen. Waſhington with the intention of the troops, and that Gen. Howe was diſpoſed to leave the town ſtanding, provided he could retire uninterrupted. Gen. Waſhington bound himſelf under no obligation, but expreſſed himſelf in words, which admitted of a favorable conſtruction, and intimated his good wiſhes for the preſervation of Boſton.
The Britiſh troops, who evacuated Boſton, amounted to more than 7000 men. They were accompanied by a large number of tories. Their embarkation was attended with many circumſtances of diſtreſs and embaraſſment. Their intended voyage to Halifax ſubjected them to great dangers. The coaſt, at all times hazardous, was eminently ſo at that tempeſtuous equinoctial ſeaſon. Notwithſtanding theſe unfavorable appearances, their voyage was ſhort and proſperous. Vol. I. p. 263—265. ,
The boats employed in the embarkation of the Britiſh troops, had ſcarcely completed their buſineſs, when General Waſhington, with his army, marched into Boſton. He was received by the inhabitants, with every mark of reſpect and gratitude, which could be paid to a deliverer. He was honored by congreſs with a vote of thanks. They alſo ordered a medal to be ſtruck, with ſuitable devices, to perpetuate the remembrance of this great event. The Maſſachuſetts council, and houſe of repreſentatives, complimented him in a joint address, in which they expreſſed their good wiſhes in 335 Ss4r 335 17761776.the following words: may you ſtill go on approved by heaven, revered by all good men, and dreaded by thoſe tyrants, who claim their fellow men as their property. Vol. I. p. 265. ,
Though congreſs and the ſtates made great exertions to ſupport the war in Canada, yet, from the fall of Montgomery, their intereſt in that province daily declined. The reduction of Quebec was an object to which their reſources were inadequate. General Carlton had received ſeveral reinforcements from England; and the Britiſh forces in Canada were eſtimated at about 13,000 men. The provincial army amounted to 3000, and, from the prevalence of the ſmall-pox, there were only 900 fit for duty. With this ſmall army Gen. Thompſon projected an attack on the Britiſh force at Three Rivers; which is half way between Quebec and Montreal. Though the Americans conducted this enterprize with great bravery, they were ſoon repulſed, and obliged to yield to ſuperior force. Gen. Sullivan conducted the retreat with ſo much judgment, that the baggage and public ſtores were ſaved, and the numerous ſick brought off. The American army reached Crown-Point on the 1776-07-011ſt of July, and at that place made their firſt ſtand. Ibid, p. 267—274.
With this unfavorable event, the Americans reluctantly relinquiſhed Canada. They demoliſhed their works, and carried off their artillery. with the utmoſt expedition. When the Britiſh general arrived at St. John’s, he found the place abandoned336 Ss4v 336 17761776.ed and burnt. Chamblee ſhared the ſame fate, and all Canada was recovered by the king’s troops.
After the expulſion of the American army from Canada, they exerted themſelves to the utmoſt to maintain a naval ſuperiority on Lake Champlain; for this purpoſe, a fleet was conſtructed, and put under the command of Gen. Arnold. The command of this lake was a great object with the Britiſh, towards accompliſhing their deſigns on the northern frontiers of New-York. Hence they were induced to proceed up the lake, and engage 1776-10-03Oct. 3.the Americans. A ſmart naval action enſued, in which the Americans reſiſted a ſuperior force, with a ſpirit approaching to deſperation. When Gen. Arnold ſaw that it was impoſſible to eſcape, and unavailing to reſiſt, he ran the Congreſs galley, on board of which he was, together with the five gondolas on ſhore, in ſuch a poſition, as enabled him to land his men, and blow up the veſſels. In the execution of this perilous enterprize, he paid a romantic attention to a point of honor. He did not quit his own galley, till ſhe was in flames, leſt the Britiſh ſhould board her and ſtrike his flag. Though the reſult of this action was unfavorable to the Americans, yet thereby Gen. Arnold, in addition to the fame of a brave ſoldier, acquired that of an able naval officer. Vol. I. p. 277, 278. ,
The bad ſucceſs of the Americans in the North was in ſome meaſure compenſated by the advantage they had gained in another quarter. At this period, a ſquadron of ſhips, commanded by Sir Peter 337 Tt1r 337 17761776.Parker, and a body of troops under Gen. Clinton, reſolved to attempt the reduction of Charleſton. They had 2800 land forces, which they hoped, with the co-operation of their ſhipping, would be fully ſufficient. Vol. I. p. 288. ,
For ſome months paſt every exertion had been made to put the colony of South-Carolina, and eſpecially its capital, Charleſton, in a reſpectable poſture of defence. In ſubſerviency to this view, works had been erected on Sullivan’s iſland, which is ſituated ſo near the channel leading up to the town, as to be a convenient poſt for annoying veſſels upon their approaching. Ibid.
1776-07-28July 28.Sir Peter Parker attacked the fort on that iſland, with a large naval force. The action commenced between ten and eleven before noon, and was continued for upwards of ten hours. The garriſon, conſiſting of 375 regulars, and a few militia, under the command of colonel Moultrie, made a moſt gallant defence. They fired deliberately, for the moſt part took aim, and ſeldom miſſed their object. The ſhips were torn almoſt to pieces, and the killed and wounded on board exceeded 200 men. The loſs of the garriſon was only 10 men killed and 22 wounded. During this deſperate engagement, it was found impoſſible for the Britiſh land forces to give the leaſt aſſiſtance to the fleet. The American works were found to be much ſtronger, than they had imagined, and the depth of water effectually prevented them from making any attempt. Before morning, the ſhips had retired Tt 338 Tt1v 338 17761776.about two miles diſtant from the iſland, and in a few days more, the troops reimbarked, and the whole ſailed for New-York. Vol. I. p. 288. ,
The Americans, on this occaſion, juſtly boaſted of their heroes. A ſerjeant, obſerving the flagſtaff ſhot away in the beginning of the action, jumped from one of the embraſures upon the beach, took up the flag, and fixing it upon a ſponge ſtaff, put it in its proper place, in the midſt of the dreadful fire already mentioned. For this diſtinguiſhed act of bravery, he was preſented with a ſword by congreſs.
Another, whilſt exerting himſelf in a very diſtinguiſhed manner, was cruelly ſhattered by a cannon ball; when about to expire, my friends, ſaid he, I am dying, but do not let the cauſe of liberty expire with me. Vol. II. p. 286. ,
The thanks of congreſs were given to Gen. Lee, who had been ſent to take the command in Carolina, and alſo to colonels Moultrie and Thompſon, for their good conduct in this memorable action. In compliment to the commanding officer, the fort from that time was called fort Moultrie.
By the repulſe of this armament, the ſouthern ſtates obtained a reſpite of the calamities of war for two years and an half.
Whilst the coloniſts exhibited the moſt determined reſolution in defending their liberties, the Britiſh miniſtry purſued with energy their fixed deſign of ſubduing them by force of arms. In the ſeſſion of parliament in 17751775, it was voted to employ339 Tt2r 339 17751775.ploy 28,000 men, and 55,000 land forces, for the vigorous proſecution of the American war. A bill was ſoon after brought into parliament, interdicting all trade and intercourſe with the thirteen united colonies. By it all property of Americans, whether of ſhips or goods, on the high ſeas, or in harbor, was declared, to be forfeited to the captors, being the officers and crews of his majeſty’s ſhips of war. It further enacted, that the maſters, crews and other perſons found on board captured American veſſels, ſhould be entered on board his majeſty’s veſſels of war, and there conſidered to be in his majeſty’s ſervice, to all intents and purpoſes, as if they had entered of their own accord. This bill alſo authorized the crown to appoint commiſſioners, who, over and above granting pardon to individuals, were empowered to enquire into general and particular grievances, and to determine whether any colony or part of a colony was returned to that ſtate of obedience, which might entitle it to be received within the king’s peace and protection. In that caſe, upon a declaration from the commiſſioners, the reſtrictions of the propoſed law were to ceaſe. Vol. I. p. 283. ,
In the progreſs of the debates on this bill, Lord Mansfield declared that the queſtions of original right and wrong, were no longer to be conſidered—that they were engaged in a war, and muſt uſe their utmoſt efforts to obtain the ends propoſed by it—that they muſt either fight or be 340 Tt2v 340 17751775.purſued, and that the juſtice of their cauſe muſt give way to their preſent ſituation.
The declaration of this illuſtrious oracle of law, whoſe great abilities were known and admired in America, excited the aſtoniſhment, and cemented the union of the coloniſts. Great-Britain, ſaid they, has commenced war againſt us, for maintaining our conſtitutional liberties, and her lawgivers now declare, they muſt proceed without any retroſpect to the merits of the original ground of diſpute. Our peace and happineſs muſt be ſacrificed to Britiſh honor and conſiſtency, in their continuing to proſecute an unjuſt invaſion of our rights. A number of lords, as uſual, entered a ſpirited proteſt againſt the bill; but it was carried by a great majority in both houſes of parliament, and ſoon after received the royal aſſent. Vol. I. p. 284, 285. ,
17761776.The Britiſh parliament proceeded yet further, and concluded treaties with the landgrave of Heſſe Caſſel, the duke of Brunſwick, and the hereditary prince of Heſſe Caſſel, for hiring their troops to the king of Great-Britain, to be employed in order to effect the ſubjugation of the American colonies.
The American independence declared. Formation of the ſtate conſtitutions. The inhabitants of Vermont declare their territory to be a free and independent ſtate.
The Americans were irritated to the higheſt degree, by the late acts of parliament, which placed them out of the royal protection, end engaged 16,000 foreign mercenaries to aſſiſt in effecting their conqueſt. They aſſerted that protection and allegiance were reciprocal, and that the refuſal of the firſt was a legal ground of juſtification for withholding the laſt. They reaſoned, that if Great-Britain called in the aid of ſtrangers to cruſh them, they muſt ſeek a ſimilar relief for their own preſervation; and reflected, that, while they continued to acknowledge themſelves ſubjects to the Britiſh empire, they were regarded as rebels, and this might preclude them from forming alliances with foreign ſtates. Vol. I. p. 337. ,
17761776.The motion for declaring the colonies free and independent, was firſt made in congreſs, by Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia. He was warranted in making this motion, by the particular inſtructions of his immediate conſtituents, and alſo by the general voice of the people of all the colonies.342 Tt3v 342 17761776.nies. When the time for taking the ſubject under conſideration arrived, much knowledge, ingenuity and eloquence were diſplayed on both ſides of the queſtion. The debates were continued for ſome time, and with great animation. In theſe, John Adams, the preſent preſident of the United States, and John Dickinſon, took leading and oppoſite parts. The former began one of his ſpeeches, by invoking all the powers of eloquence, to aſſiſt him in defending the claims, and in enforcing the duty of his countrymen. He ſtrongly urged the immediate diſſolution of all political connexion of the colonies with Great-Britain, from the voice of the people, from the neceſſity of the meaſure, in order to obtain aſſiſtance, from a regard to conſiſtency, and from a proſpect of glory and happineſs which opened beyond the war, to a free and independent people. Vol. I. p. 340, 341. ,
After a full diſcuſſion, the meaſure of declaring the colonies free and independent, was approved by nearly an unanimous vote. And the 1776-07-044th of July announced to the world, the erection of this new empire. This great event took place two hundred and eighty-four years after the diſcovery of America by Columbus—one hundred and ſixty- ſix from the firſt effectual ſettlement in Virginia—and one hundred and fifty-ſix from the firſt ſettlement of Plymouth, in Maſſachuſetts, which were the earlieſt Engliſh ſettlements in America. Geography, Vol. I. p. 309.343Tt4r343
17761776.The act of the united colonies, for ſeparating themſelves from the government of Great-Britain, and declaring their independence, was expreſſed in the following words:When, in the courſe of human events, it becomes neceſſary for one people to diſſolve the political bands, which have connected them with another, and to aſſume, among the powers of the earth, the ſeparate and equal ſtation, to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent reſpect to the opinions of mankind requires, that they ſhould declare the cauſes which impel them to the ſeparation. We hold theſe truths to be ſelf evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among theſe are life, liberty, and the purſuit of happineſs; that to ſecure theſe rights, governments are inſtituted among men, deriving their juſt powers from the conſent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes deſtructive of theſe ends, it is the right of the people to alter, or to aboliſh it, and to inſtitute a new government, laying its foundation on ſuch principles, and organizing its power in ſuch form, as to them ſhall ſeem moſt likely to effect their ſafety and happineſs. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments long eſtabliſhed ſhould not be changed for light and tranſient cauſes; and accordingly all experience hath ſhewn, that mankind are more diſpoſed to ſuffer, while evils are ſufferable, than to 344 Tt4v 344 17761776.right themſelves by aboliſhing the forms, to which they are accuſtomed. But when a long train of abuſes and uſurpations, purſuing invariably the ſame object, evinces a deſign to reduce them under abſolute deſpotiſm, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off ſuch government, and to provide new guards for their future ſecurity. Such has been the patient ſufferance of theſe colonies, and ſuch is now the neceſſity, which conſtrains them to alter their former ſyſtems of government. The hiſtory of the preſent king of Great-Britain is a hiſtory of repeated injuries and uſurpations, all having in direct object the eſtabliſhment of an abſolute tyranny over theſe ſtates. To prove this, let facts be ſubmitted to a candid world. He has refuſed his aſſent to laws, the moſt wholeſome and neceſſary for the public good. He has forbidden his governors to paſs laws of immediate and preſſing importance, unleſs ſuſpended in their operation till his aſſent ſhould be obtained; and whe ſo ſuſpended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refuſed to paſs other laws for the accommodation of large diſtricts of people, unleſs thoſe people would relinquiſh the right of repreſentation in the legiſlature, a right ineſtimable to them, and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legiſlative bodies at places unuſual, uncomfortable, and diſtant from the depoſitory of their public records, for the purpoſe of fatiguing them into compliance with his meaſures. 345Uu1r34517761776.He has diſſolved repreſentative houſes repeatedly, for oppoſing, with manly firmneſs, his invaſions on the rights of the people. He has refuſed, for a long time after ſuch diſſolutions, to cauſe others to be elected; whereby the legiſlative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exerciſe; the ſtate remaining in the mean time expoſed to all the danger of invaſions from without, and convulſions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of theſe ſtates; for that purpoſe obſtructing the laws for naturalization; refuſing to paſs others to encourage their migration hither, and raiſing the conditions of new appropriations of land. He has obſtructed the adminiſtration of juſtice, by refuſing his aſſent to laws for eſtabliſhing judiciary powers. He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their ſalaries. He has erected a multitude of new offices, and ſent hither ſwarms of officers, to haraſs our people, and eat out their ſubſtance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, ſtanding armies, without the conſent of our legiſlatures. He has affected to render the military independent of, and ſuperior to, the civil power. He has combined with others to ſubject us to juriſdiction foreign to our conſtitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his aſſent to their acts of pretended legiſlation: Uu346Uu1v34617761776.For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock trial, from puniſhment from any murders which they ſhould commit on the inhabitants of theſe ſtates: For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world: For impoſing taxes on us without our conſent: For depriving us, in many caſes, of the benefits of trial by jury: For tranſporting us beyond ſeas to be tried for pretended offences: For aboliſhing the free ſyſtem of Engliſh laws in a neighboring province, eſtabliſhing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries, ſo as to render it at once an example and fit inſtrument for introducing the ſame abſolute rule into theſe colonies: For taking away our charters, aboliſhing our moſt valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the form of our governments: For ſuſpending our legiſlatures, and declaring themſelves inveſted with power to legiſlate for us in all caſes whatſoever. He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and waging war againſt us. He has plundered our ſeas, ravaged our coaſts, burnt our towns, and deſtroyed the lives of our people. He is, at this time, tranſporting large armies of foreign mercenaries, to complete the works of 347 Uu2r 347 17761776.death, deſolation and tyranny, already begun with circumſtances of cruelty and perfidy, ſcarcely paralleled in the moſt barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. He has conſtrained our fellow citizens, taken captive on the high ſeas, to bear arms againſt their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themſelves by their hands. He has excited domeſtic inſurrections amongſt us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the mercileſs Indian ſavages, whoſe known rule of warfare is an undiſtinguiſhed deſtruction of all ages, ſexes and conditions. In every ſtage of theſe oppreſſions, we have petitioned for redreſs in the moſt humble terms: our repeated petitions have been anſwered only by repeated injuries. A prince, whoſe character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have we been wanting in attention to our Britiſh brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts made by their legiſlature, to extend an unwarrantable juriſdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumſtances of our emigration and ſettlement here. We have appealed to their native juſtice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them, by the ties of our common kindred, to diſavow theſe uſurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connexions and correſpondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of juſtice and conſanguinity. We muſt therefore348 Uu2v 348 17761776.fore acquieſce in the neceſſity, which denounces our ſeparation, and hold them, as we hold the reſt of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends. We, therefore, the repreſentatives of the United States of America, in general congreſs aſſembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people in theſe colonies, ſolemnly publiſh and declare, that theſe united colonies are, and of right ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are abſolved from all allegiance to the Britiſh crown; and that all political connexion between them and the ſtate of Great-Britain is and ought to be totally diſſolved; and that, as free y and independent ſtates, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, eſtabliſh commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent ſtates may of right do. And for the ſupport of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our ſacred honor. Vol. I. p. 341—345. ,
The above declaration was ſigned by the repreſentatives of the United States.
The declaration of independence was read publicly in all the ſtates, and met with a welcome reception. It was alſo publicly read to the American army, and received by them with unfeigned acclamations of joy. Though it was well known that Great-Britain had employed a force of 55,000 349 Uu3r 349 17761776.men, to war upon the new-formed ſtates, and that the continental army was not near equal to half that number, and only engaged for a few months, and that congreſs was without any aſſurance of foreign aid, yet both the American officers and privates gave every evidence of their hearty approbation of the decree, which ſevered the colonies from Great-Britain, and ſubmitted to the deciſion of the ſword, whether they ſhould be free ſtates, or conquered provinces. Vol. I. p. 291. ,
The declaration of independence was perfectly agreeable to the republican habits and ſentiments of the New-England ſtates. A Britiſh author obſerves, that of all the American colonies, New-England, from its independent ſpirit in religion, had probably longeſt cheriſhed the wiſh, and even entertained hopes of becoming independent in government. .
Previously to the declaration of independence, congreſs had recommended to the reſpective aſſemblies and conventions of the United States, to adopt ſuch governments as ſhould, in their opinion, beſt conduce to the happineſs and ſafety of their conſtituents. Accordingly new inſtitutions of government began to take place this year in the different ſtates. Though the kingly office was aboliſhed, yet, in moſt of the ſubordinate departments of government, ancient forms and names were retained. Each ſtate appointed a ſupreme executive head, with the title of governor or preſident. They agreed, likewiſe, in deriving the 350 Uu3v 350 17761776.whole powers of government, either mediately or immediately, from the people. Vol. I. p. 350—353. ,
As a further ſecurity for the continuance of republican principles, in the American conſtitutions, they united in prohibiting any hereditary honors and diſtinction of ranks. All religious eſtabliſhments were alſo aboliſhed.
The rejection of Britiſh ſovereignty not only involved a neceſſity of erecting independent conſtitutions, but of centering the whole United States by ſome common bond of union. The act of independence did not hold out to the world thirteen ſovereign ſtates, but a common ſovereignty of the whole, in their united capacity. It therefore became neceſſary to run the line of diſtinction, between the local legiſlatures, and the aſſembly of the ſtates in congreſs. A committee was appointed for digeſting articles of confederation between the ſtates, or united colonies, as they were then called. Whilſt the propriety of declaring independence was under debate, and ſome weeks previouſly to the adoption of that meaſure, a committee met as above; but the plan was not for ſixteen months after ſo far digeſted, as to be ready for communication to the ſtates. Nor was it finally ratified, by the acceſſion of all the ſtates, till nearly three years more had elapſed. Ibid, p. 357.
The declaration of independence, which was made by the united colonies, left the people on the New-Hampſhire grants in a ſituation more uncertain and critical than they were previouſly to 351 Uu4r 351 this event. Senſible of the difficulties they had to encounter, the inhabitants of theſe grants were induced to take a deciſive ſtep. In 1777-01January, 1777, a general convention of repreſentatives, from the towns on both ſides of the mountains, met at Weſtminſter. Being perfectly acquainted with the ſentiments of their conſtituents, after a ſerious debate and conſultation, they publicly proclaimed, that the diſtrict of territory, uſually known by the name of the New-Hampſhire grants, of right ought to be, and is hereby declared, forever hereafter to be conſidered as a free and independent juriſdiction, or ſtate, to be forever hereafter called, known and diſtinguiſhed, by the name of New-Connecticut, alias Vermont. And that the inhabitants ſhall be entitled to the ſame privileges, as ſhall be allowed to the inhabitants of any of the free and independent ſtates of America. And that ſuch privileges and immunities ſhall be regulated by a bill of rights, and by a form of government, to be eſtabliſhed at the next ſeſſion of the convention. Hiſtory of Vermont, p. 232.
Thus was freedom and independence eſtabliſhed, by the general voice of the people in the American ſtates. A Britiſh author has obſerved, that, as the diſcovery of the American continent was one of the moſt important diſcoveries in natural: ſo the emancipation of North-America from the authority of Great-Britain, with the effects which the event muſt produce on the weſtern world, is one of the greateſt in civil hiſtory. .
Battle at Long-Iſland. The Americans retreat to New-York. Capt. Hale ſent for a ſpy to Long- Iſland, and is executed by the Britiſh. The royal commiſſioners hold a conference with a committee of congreſs. New-York abandoned. Battle at the White Plains. The Britiſh overrun the Jerſies. The deſperate ſituation of American affairs. Rhode- Iſland taken, and commodore Hopkins’ ſquadron blocked up. General Lee taken priſoner, and cloſely confined. Proceedings of the American congreſs. General Waſhington gives a new turn to the affairs of America, by ſurprizing and defeating the Britiſh in the battles of Trenton and Princeton.
The Americans were ſenſible that the moſt vigorous exertions were neceſſary to maintain that independence which they had boldly proclaimed. Though that meaſure detached ſome timid friends from ſupporting them in their oppoſition to Great-Britain, it increaſed the vigor and union of thoſe who poſſeſſed more fortitude and perſeverance. Vol. I. p. 349. ,
As it had early occurred to Gen. Waſhington, that the poſſeſſion of New-York would be to the Britiſh a favorite object; great pains were taken to fortify that city, and the adjacent iſlands. The 353 Ww1r 353 17761776.greateſt part of the American army was ordered thither; and Gen. Waſhington himſelf fixed his head quarters in that city. Vol. I. p. 292. ,
The force, deſtined to operate againſt New- York, was far ſuperior to any, which had ever before appeared in America. It conſiſted of thirty thouſand excellent troops, among whom were great numbers of experienced veterans. They were amply provided with artillery, military ſtores, and warlike materials of every kind, and were ſupported by a numerous fleet. The fleet was commanded by Lord Howe, and the land forces by his brother, Gen. Howe; men of approved valor and experience in the art of war. The admiral and general, in addition to their military powers, were appointed commiſſioners for reſtoring peace to the colonies. Vol. II. p. 304. ,
On the 1776-07-022d of July, Gen. Howe landed his troops on Stated-Iſland, where he was ſoon joined by Lord Howe, with the grand armament. Thence his lordſhip ſent on ſhore by a flag to Amboy a circular letter, together with a declaration to ſeveral of the late governors of the colonies, acquainting them with the powers with which he and his brother were intruſted, of granting general or particular pardons to all thoſe, who, though they had deviated from their allegiance, were willing to return to their duty; and of declaring any colony, province, county or town, port, diſtrict or place, to be at the peace of his Ww 354 Ww1v 354 17761776.majeſty. The late governors were requeſted to publiſh this declaration. Congreſs, impreſſed with a belief, that the propoſals of the commiſſioners, inſtead of diſuniting the people, would produce a contrary effect, ordered them to be ſpeedily publiſhed, in the ſeveral American newſpapers. Vol. I. p. 296. ,
Lord Howe and his brother alſo ſent two letters to General Waſhington on the ſubject, which he refuſed to accept, becauſe they were not directed in a ſtyle ſuitable to the dignity of his ſtation. Upon receiving the firſt letter, he wrote to congreſs on the ſubject as follows: I would not on any occaſion ſacrifice eſſentials to punctilio; but in this inſtance, I deemed it a duty to my country and appointment to inſiſt on that reſpect, which, in any other than a public view, I would willingly have waved. Adjutant-general Paterſon, who was the bearer of the laſt letter, had an interview with Gen. Waſhington, and obſerved to him, that the commiſſioners were armed with great powers, and would be very happy in effecting an accommodation. They received for anſwer, that from what appeared, their powers were only to grant pardon; that they, who had committed no fault, wanted no pardon. Letters, Vol. I. p. 185. Soon after this interview, a letter from Lord Howe, reſpecting priſoners, which was properly addreſſed to General Waſhington, was received. Vol. I. p. 297. ,
The whole continental army, in and near New- York, at this critical period, amounted only to 355 Ww2r 355 17761776.17,225 men. Theſe were chiefly new troops, and were much ſcattered, ſome being fifteen miles apart.
1776-08-27Aug. 27.The deciſion of the controverſy was now, by conſent of both parties, left to the ſword. The Britiſh army reſolved to make their firſt attempt on Long-Iſland; and landed without oppoſition between two ſmall towns, Utrecht and Graveſend. The night before the battle commenced, Gen. Clinton found means to ſecure a paſs of great importance, which lay at a diſtance, and was not ſufficiently guarded by the Americans. This gave an opportunity to a large body of troops, under Lord Percy and Gen. Clinton, to attack the Americans in the rear, while they were engaged with the Heſſians in the front. An action commenced ſoon after day-break, in which the Americans were ſurrounded on all ſides, and entirely defeated. Thoſe, who were engaged with the Heſſians’ firſt began a retreat towards their camp; but the paſſage was intercepted by the Britiſh troops, who drove them back into the woods. Here they were met by the Heſſians; and thus for many hours ſlaughtered between the two parties. The only way to eſcape was by breaking through the Britiſh troops, and thus regaining their camp. This was effected by ſome of the regiments. Vol. II. p. 306—309. ,
The Americans under Lord Stirling, who were engaged with Gen. Grant, fought with great reſolution for about ſix hours. They were ſo late in their knowledge of Gen. Clinton’s movements, that their retreat was intercepted by ſome of the 356 Ww2v 356 17761776.Britiſh troops, who had traverſed the whole extent of country in their rear. Several, notwithſtanding, broke through the enemy’s line, and got into the woods. Numbers threw themſelves into the marſh at Gorvan’s cove; ſome were drowned, and others periſhed in the mud; but a conſiderable body eſcaped by this way to their lines. Vol. II. p. 310. ,
The loſs of the Britiſh and Heſſians was about 450. The killed, wounded and priſoners of the Americans, including thoſe, who were drowned and periſhed in the woods or mud, conſiderably exceeded 1000. Gen. Sullivan, Lord Stirling, and a number of other officers, were among the priſoners. A regiment, conſiſting of young gentlemen of fortune and family in Maryland, was almoſt entirely cut in pieces, and of the ſurvivers not one eſcaped without a wound. The Britiſh after their victory were ſo impetuous, that it was with difficulty that they could be reſtrained, by General Howe’s orders, from attacking the American lines. Vol. I. p. 307. ,
1776-08-30Aug. 30.After this unfortunate engagement, GenWaſhington called a council of war, who determined upon an immediate retreat to New-York. The intention was prudently concealed from the army, who knew not whither they were going, but imagined it was to attack the enemy. The field artillery, tents, baggage, and about 9000 men, were conveyed to the city of New-York, over Eaſt-river, more than a mile wide, in leſs than thirteen hours, and without the knowledge of the Britiſh, though not six hundred yards diſtant. 357 Ww3r 357 17761776.Providence, in a remarkable manner, favored the retreating army. The wind, which ſeemed to prevent the troops getting over at the appointed hour, afterwards ſhifted to their wiſhes. Towards morning an extreme thick fog came on, which hovered over Long-Iſland, and, by concealing the Americans, enabled them to complete their retreat without interruption, though the day had begun to dawn ſome time before it was finiſhed. In about half an hour after the iſland was finally abandoned, the fog cleared off, and the Britiſh were ſeen taking poſſeſſion of the American lines. Vol. II. p. 314. , Vol. I. p. 302. ,Perhaps the fate of America was never ſuſpended on a more brittle thread, than previouſly to this memorable retreat. A ſpectacle is here preſented of an army, deſtined for the defence of a great continent, driven to the narrow borders of an iſland, with a victorious army of double its numbers in front, with navigable waters in its rear; conſtantly liable to have its communication cut off by the enemy’s navy, and every moment expoſed to an attack. The preſence of mind, which animated the commander in chief, in this critical ſituation; the prudence, with which all the neceſſary meaſures were executed, redounded as much, or more to his honor, than the moſt brilliant victories. An army, to which America looked for ſafety, preſerved! A general, who was conſidered as an hoſt himſelf, ſaved for the future neceſſities of his country. Had not, however, the circumſtances of the night, of the wind and weather,358 Ww3v 358 17761776.ther, been favorable to this operation, the plan, however well concerted, muſt have been defeated. The good Providence, therefore, are the people of America indebted for the complete succeſs of an enterprize ſo important in its conſequences. This retreat left the Britiſh in complete poſſeſſion of Long-Iſland. What would be their future operations, remained uncertain. To obtain information of their ſituation, their ſtrength and future movements, was of high importance. For this purpoſe, General Waſhington applied to col. Knowlton, who commanded a regiment of light infantry, which formed the van of the American army, and deſired him to adopt ſome mode of gaining the neceſſary information. Col. Knowlton communicated this requeſt to captain Nathan Hale, of Connecticut, who was then a captain in his regiment. This young officer, animated by a ſenſe of duty, and conſidering that an opportunity preſented itſelf, by which he might be uſeful to his country, at once offered himſelf a volunteer for this hazardous ſervice. He paſſed in diſguiſe to Long-Iſland, examined every part of the Britiſh army, and obtained the beſt poſſible information reſpecting their ſituation and future operations. In his attempt to return he was apprehended, carried before Sir William Howe, and the proof of his object was ſo clear, that he frankly acknowledged who he was, and what were his views. Sir William Howe at once gave an order to the provoſt marſhal to execute him the next morning. 359Ww4r35917761776.This order was accordingly executed, in a moſt unfeeling manner, and by as great a ſavage as ever diſgraced humanity. A clergyman, whoſe attendance he deſired, was refuſed him; a bible for a few moments devotion was not procured, although he requeſted it. Letters, which, on the morning of his execution, he wrote to his mother, and other friends, were deſtroyed; and this very extraordinary reaſon given by the provoſt marſhal, that the rebels ſhould not know they had a man in their army who could die with ſo much firmneſs. Unknown to all around him, without a ſingle friend to offer him the leaſt conſolation, thus fell as amiable and as worthy a young man as America could boaſt, with this, as his dying obſervation, that he only lamented, that he had but one life to loſe for his country. Although the manner of this execution will ever be abhorred by every friend to humanity and religion, yet there cannot be a queſtion but that the ſentence was conformable to the rules of war, and the practice of nations in ſimilar caſes. It is, however, a juſtice due to the character of captain Hale to obſerve, that his motives for engaging this ſervice were entirely different from thoſe, which generally influence others in ſimilar circumſtances. Neither expectation of promotion, nor pecuniary reward, induced him to this attempt. A ſenſe of duty, a hope that he might in this way be uſeful to his country, and an opinion, which he 360 Ww4v 360 17761776.had adopted, that every kind of ſervice neceſſary to the public good, became honorable, by being neceſſary, were the great motives, which induced him to engage in an enterprize, by which his connexions loſt a moſt amiable friend, and his country one of its moſt promiſing ſupporters. The fate of this unfortunate young man excites the moſt intereſting reflections. To ſee ſuch a character, in the flower of youth, cheerfully treading in the moſt hazardous paths, influenced by the pureſt intentions, and only emulous to do good to his country, without the imputation of a crime, fall a victim to policy, muſt have been wounding to the feelings, even of his enemies. Should a compariſon be drawn between major Andre and captain Hale, injuſtice would be done to the latter, ſhould he not be placed on an equal ground with the former. Whilſt almoſt every hiſtorian of the American revolution has celebrated the virtues, and lamented the fate of Andre, Hale has remained unnoticed, and it is ſcarcely known ſuch a character ever exiſted.Dr. Dwight, however, has the following beautiful lines on capt. Hale, in his Conqueſt of Canaan, Book I. p. 3, 4. Thus, while fond virtue wiſhed in vain to ſave,Hale, bright and generous, found a hapleſs grave;With genius’ living flame his boſom glow’d,And ſcience charm’d him to her ſweet abode,In worth’s fair path his feet adventur’d far,The pride of peace, the riſing grace of war.In duty firm, in danger calm as even,To friends unchanging, and ſincere to heaven.How ſhort his courſe, the prize how early won,While weeping Friendſhip mourns her favorite gone. 361Xx1r36117761776.To the memory of Andre, his country have erected the moſt magnificent monuments, and beſtowed on his family the higheſt honors, and moſt liberal rewards. To the memory of Hale, not a ſtone has been erected, nor an inſcription to preſerve his aſhes from inſult. The compiler of the Hiſtory of New England is indebted to Major-General Hall, of Newton, for the intereſting account of captain Hale.
Under the idea that the victory at Long-Iſland would intimidate the congreſs into a compliance with his terms, Lord Howe ſent Gen. Sullivan on parole, with a meſſage to that body, importing, that, though he could not conſiſtently treat with them as a legal aſſembly, he was deſirous of conferring with ſome of their members, in their private capacity; ſetting forth, at the ſame time, the nature and extent of the powers, that were veſted in him and his brother, as commiſſioners. They replied, that the congreſs of the free and independent ſtates of America could not, with propriety, ſend any of its members in any other capacity than that, which they had publicly aſſumed; but that, ever deſirous of eſtabliſhing peace on equitable conditions, they would appoint a committee of their body, to hear what propoſals he could make for that purpoſe. .
The committee, appointed by congreſs, was compoſed of John Adams, the preſent preſident of the United States, Dr. Franklin, and Edward Rutledge. They met Lord Howe on Staten-Iſland, and were received with great politeneſs. The Xx 362 Xx1v 362 17761776.committee behaved with dignity, and explicitly aſſured his lordſhip, that neither they, nor the congreſs which ſent them, had authority to treat in any other capacity, than as independent ſtates. Lord Howe ended the conference on his part, by expreſſing his regard for America, and the extreme pain he ſhould ſuffer, in being obliged to diſtreſs thoſe, whom he ſo much regarded. Dr. Franklin thanked him for his regards, and aſſured him, that the Americans would ſhew their gratitude, by endeavouring to leſſen, as much as poſſible, all pain he might feel on their account, by exerting their utmoſt abilities, in taking good care of themſelves. Vol. I. p. 304. ,
The unſucceſsful termination of the battle on Long-Iſland greatly diſpirited the continental army. Whole companies of militia relinquiſhed the camp. Their example infected the regular regiments. General Mercer, who commanded the flying camp, in a letter dated 1776-09-04September 4, gives the following deſcription: General Washington has not, as far as I have ſeen, five thouſand men to be depended on for the ſervice of the campaign; and I have not a thouſand. Both our armies are compoſed of raw militia, perpetually fluctuating between the camp and their farms; poorly armed, and ſtill worſe diſciplined. In this critical ſituation, it was determined to act on the defenſive, and not riſk the army for the ſake of New-York. The public ſtores were removed to Dobbs’ ferry, about twenty-ſix miles 363 Xx2r 363 17761776.from the city. Twelve thouſand men were ordered to the northern extremity of New-York iſland, and four thouſand five hundred were left in the city. Before the Britiſh landed, it was impoſſible to tell what place would be firſt attacked. For this reaſon, works were erected for the defence of a variety of places, as well as New-York; and theſe were occupied by the remainder of the troops. Vol. II. p. 316-325. , Vol. I. p. 304, 305. , Letters, Vol. I. p. 231, 237.
1776-09-15Sep. 15.General Howe, having prepared every thing for a deſcent on New-York iſland , began to land his men under cover of ſhips of war, between Kepp’s bay and Turtle bay, where breaſt-works had been erected, and a party ſtationed to oppoſe the Britiſh. General Waſhington, in his letters to congreſs, thus deſcribes the ſcene which enſued. As ſoon as I heard the firing, I rode with all poſſible diſpatch towards the place of landing, when, to my great ſurprize and mortification, I found the troops, that had been poſted in the lines, retreating with the utmoſt precipitation, and thoſe ordered to ſupport them (Parſons’ and Fellows’ brigades) flying in every direction, and in the greateſt confuſion, notwithſtanding the exertions of their generals to form them. I uſed every means in my power to rally and get them in ſome order; but my attempts were fruitleſs and ineffectual; and on the appearance of a ſmall party of the enemy (not more than ſixty or ſeventy) their diſorder increaſed, and they ran away in the greateſt confuſion, without firing a ſingle gun. Ibid, p. 240.364Xx2v364
17761776.General Waſhington was highly diſtreſſed by this cowardly conduct, and under the moſt lively apprehenſions of its fatal conſequences. Impreſſed with theſe ideas, he hazarded his perſon for ſome conſiderable time in the rear of his own men, and in front of the enemy, with his horſe’s head towards the latter, as if in expectation, that, by an honorable death, he might eſcape the infamy he dreaded, from the daſtardly conduct of troops on whom he could place no dependance. His aids, and the confidential friends around his perſon, by indirect violence, compelled him to retire; in conſequence of which, his life was preſerved for public ſervice. Vol. I. p. 306, 307. ,
The ſubſequent day, a ſkirmiſh took place between two battalions of light infantry and Highlanders, commanded by brigadier-general Leſlie, and ſome detachments from the American army, under the command of lieutenant-col. Knowlton, of Connecticut, and major Leitch, of Virginia. The colonel was killed, and the major dangerouſly wounded. Their men behaved with great bravery, and fairly beat the enemy from the field. Moſt of theſe were the ſame men, who had diſgraced themſelves the day before by flight. Struck with a ſenſe of ſhame, they had offered themſelves as volunteers, and requeſted the commander in chief to give them an opportunity to retrieve their honor. In this manner the general employed his troops in continual ſkirmiſhes, in order to annoy the enemy, and inure them to actual ſervice; by 365 Xx3r 365 17761776.which means they ſoon recovered their ſpirits, and behaved with their uſual boldneſs. Vol. I. p. 307. , Vol. II. p. 114. ,
1776-10-12Oct. 12.The Americans having evacuated New-York, a brigade of the Britiſh marched into it. In order to cut off General Waſhington’s communication with the eaſtern ſtates, General Howe left Lord Percy, with a ſufficient force to garriſon this city, and embarking his army in flat-bottomed boats, paſſed through Hell-gate, and landed on Frogs- neck, in Weſt-Cheſter county. Two days after the movement of the royal army, General Lee arrived from Charleſton, and, at a council of war, preſſed the neceſſity of evacuating Fort-Waſhington, and the whole iſland of New-York. General Greene oppoſed the evacuation of Fort-Waſhington and Fort-Lee, oppoſite to the Jerſey ſhore, as they would divert a large body of the enemy from joining their main force; and would alſo cover the tranſportation of proviſions and ſtores up the North-river, for the ſervice of the American troops. His opinion prevailed. New-York iſland was evacuated; but garriſons were left in Fort- Waſhington and Fort-Lee; three thouſand men being aſſigned for the defence of the former. Vol. II. p. 336—338. , Vol. II. p. 116. ,
Gen. Waſhington, while retreating from New- York iſland, was careful to make a front towards the Britiſh, from Eaſt-Cheſter almoſt to White Plains, in order to ſecure the march of thoſe, who were left behind, and to defend the removal of the ſick, the cannon and ſtores of the army. A conſiderable366 Xx3v 366 17761776.ſiderable action enſued at White Plains, in which ſeveral hundreds fell, but nothing deciſive took place.
1776-11-12Nov. 12.The Britiſh met with complete ſucceſs in reducing the forts, which the Americans retained in New- York iſland. Fort-Waſhington, which was commanded by col. Magaw, was attacked in four different places at once, and quickly reduced. The number of priſoners amounted to about 2700. They were conſidered by the articles of capitulation as priſoners of war, and the officers were allowed to keep their baggage and ſide arms. Soon after, Lord Cornwallis, with a conſiderable force, paſſed 1776-11-18Nov. 18.over to attack Fort-Lee, on the oppoſite Jerſey shore. The garriſon were ſaved, by immediate evacuation, at the expence of their artillery and ſtores.
These diſaſtrous events, and the diminution of the American army, by the departure of thoſe, whoſe time of ſervice had expired, encouraged the Britiſh, notwithſtanding the ſeverity of the winter, and the badneſs of the roads, to purſue the remaining inconſiderable continental force, with the proſpect of annihilating it. By this turn of affairs, the interior country was ſurprized into confuſion, and found an enemy within its bowels, without a ſufficient army to oppoſe it. To retreat was the only expedient left. This having commenced, Lord Cornwallis followed, and was cloſe in the rear of Gen. Waſhington, as he retreated ſucceſſively to Newark, to Brunſwick, to Princeton, to Trenton, and to the Pennſylvania ſide of 367 Xx4r 367 17761776.the Delaware. The purſuit was urged with ſo much rapidity, that the rear of the one army, pulling down bridges, was often within ſight and ſhot of the van of the other, building them up. Vol. I. p. 312. ,
This retreat into and through New-Jerſey commenced in a few days after the reduction of Fort- Waſhington. The army was almoſt conſtantly diminishing; and the ſmall force, which remained, in want of neceſſary articles. In this gloomy ſtate of public affairs, numbers changed ſides, and went over to the Britiſh. Some of the leading men in New-Jerſey and Pennſylvania adopted this expedient.
During the royal ſucceſſes in the Jerſies, Gen. Clinton, with four brigades of Britiſh and Heſſian troops, and a ſquadron of men of war under Sir Peter Parker, was ſent to attempt the conqueſt of Rhode-Iſland. It was taken without the loſs of a man; the American forces being incapable of making effectual reſiſtance. Hence, on the day that Gen. Waſhington croſſed the Delaware, the Britiſh took poſſeſſion of the iſland, and at the ſame time blocked up commodore Hopkins’ ſquadron, and a number of privateers at Providence. Ibid, p. 313. Vol. II. p. 369. ,
In this alarming ſituation of affairs, Gen. Lee was taken priſoner at Baſkenridge, by a party of Britiſh light-horſe, commanded by col. Harcourt. This event greatly depreſſed the ſpirits of the Americans, who had repoſed extravagant confidence in his military talents, and experience of regular European war. Memoirs, p. 14.368Xx4v368
17761776.Every circumſtance ſeemed, at this period, unfavorable to the Americans. The northern forces at Ticonderoga were in a diſagreeable ſituation. After they were expelled from Canada, their naval force was nearly deſtroyed, and the Britiſh had undiſputed poſſeſſion of Lake Champlain. With the cloſe of this year, a retreating half naked army was to be diſmiſſed, and the proſpect of a new one was both diſtant and uncertain. The recently aſſumed independence of the ſtates was apparently on the verge of diſſolution.
1776-12-19Dec. 19.In proportion as difficulties increaſed, congreſs redoubled their exertions; and evinced that firmneſs and energy of mind, which no dangers could diſcourage. They addreſſed the ſtates in animated language, calculated to remove their deſpondency, renew their hopes, and confirm their reſolutions. At the ſame time they diſpatched gentlemen of character and influence, to excite the militia to take the field. They alſo recommended to the United States to appoint a day of ſolemn faſting and prayer. Vol. I. p. 315. ,
1776-12-27Dec. 27.In this dangerous ſituation of affairs, congreſs transferred extraordinary powers to Gen. Waſhington, for the limited term of ſix months, unleſs ſooner determined by their authority. He was empowered to diſplace and appoint all officers under the rank of brigadier-general; to reform and new model the military arrangements, in ſuch a manner as he judged beſt for the public ſervice; to raiſe 16 battalions of infantry, 3000 light-horſe, 369