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The Beginnings of New England
Chapter III - The Planting of New England

by Genseric the Vandal

When Captain George Weymouth in the summer of 1605 sailed into the harbour of Plymouth in Devonshire, with his five kidnapped savages and his glowing accounts of the country since known as New England, the garrison of that fortified seaport was commanded by Sir Ferdinando Gorges. The Christian name of this person now strikes us as rather odd, but in those days it was not so uncommon in England, and it does not necessarily indicate a Spanish or Italian ancestry for its bearer. Gorges was a man of considerable ability, but not of high character. On the downfall of his old patron the Earl of Essex he had contrived to save his own fortunes by a course of treachery and ingratitude. He had served in the Dutch war against Spain, and since 1596 had been military governor of Plymouth. The sight of Weymouth's Indians and the recital of his explorations awakened the interest of Gorges in the colonization of North America. He became one of the most active members of the Plymouth, or North Virginia, Company established in the following year. It was he who took the leading part in fitting out the two ships with which John Smith started on his unsuccessful expedition in 1615. In the following years he continued to send out voyages of exploration, became largely interested in the fisheries, and at length in 1620 succeeded in obtaining a new patent for the Plymouth Company, by which it was made independent of the London Company, its old yoke-fellow and rival. This new document created a corporation of forty patentees who, sitting in council as directors of their enterprise, were known as the Council for New England. The president of this council was King James's unpopular favourite the Duke of Buckingham, and its most prominent members were the earls of Pembroke and Lenox, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and Shakespeare's friend the Earl of Southampton. This council was empowered to legislate for its American territory, to exercise martial law there and expel all intruders, and to exercise a monopoly of trade within the limits of the patent. Such extensive powers, entrusted to a company of which Buckingham was the head, excited popular indignation, and in the great struggle against monopolies which was then going on, the Plymouth Company did not fail to serve as a target for attacks. It started, however, with too little capital to enter upon schemes involving immediate outlay, and began almost from the first to seek to increase its income by letting or selling portions of its territory, which extended from the latitude of Philadelphia to that of Quebec, thus encroaching upon regions where Holland and France were already gaining a foothold. It was from this company that the merchant adventurers associated with the Mayflower Pilgrims obtained their new patent in the summer of 1621, and for the next fifteen years all settlers in New England based their claims to the soil upon territorial rights conveyed to them by the Plymouth Company. The grants, however, were often ignorantly and sometimes unscrupulously made, and their limits were so ill-defined that much quarrelling ensued. [Sidenote: Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and the Council for New England]

During the years immediately following the voyage of the Mayflower, several attempts at settlement were made about the shores of Massachusetts bay. One of the merchant adventurers, Thomas Weston, took it into his head in 1622 to separate from his partners and send out a colony of seventy men on his own account. These men made a settlement at Wessagusset, some twenty-five miles north of Plymouth. They were a disorderly, thriftless rabble, picked up from the London streets, and soon got into trouble with the Indians; after a year they were glad to get back to England as best they could, and in this the Plymouth settlers willingly aided them. In June of that same year 1622 there arrived on the scene a picturesque but ill understood personage, Thomas Morton, "of Clifford's Inn, Gent.," as he tells on the title-page of his quaint and delightful book, the "New English Canaan." Bradford disparagingly says that he "had been a kind of petie-fogger of Furnifell's Inn"; but the churchman Samuel Maverick declares that he was a "gentleman of good qualitie." He was an agent of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and came with some thirty followers to make the beginnings of a royalist and Episcopal settlement in the Massachusetts bay. He was naturally regarded with ill favour by the Pilgrims as well as by the later Puritan settlers, and their accounts of him will probably bear taking with a grain or two of salt. [Sidenote: Wessagusset and Merrymount]

In 1625 there came one Captain Wollaston, with a gang of indented white servants, and established himself on the site of the present town of Quincy. Finding this system of industry ill suited to northern agriculture, he carried most of his men off to Virginia, where he sold them. Morton took possession of the site of the settlement, which he called Merrymount. There, according to Bradford, he set up a "schoole of athisme," and his men did quaff strong waters and comport themselves "as if they had anew revived and celebrated the feasts of ye Roman Goddes Flora, or the beastly practices of ye madd Bachanalians." Charges of atheism have been freely hurled about in all ages. In Morton's case the accusation seems to have been based upon the fact that he used the Book of Common Prayer. His men so far maintained the ancient customs of merry England as to plant a Maypole eighty feet high, about which they frolicked with the redskins, while furthermore they taught them the use of firearms and sold them muskets and rum. This was positively dangerous, and in the summer of 1628 the settlers at Merrymount were dispersed by Miles Standish. Morton was sent to England, but returned the next year, and presently again repaired to Merrymount.

By this time other settlements were dotted about the coast. There were a few scattered cottages or cabins at Nantasket and at the mouth of the Piscataqua, while Samuel Maverick had fortified himself on Noddle's Island, and William Blackstone already lived upon the Shawmut peninsula, since called Boston. These two gentlemen were no friends to the Puritans; they were churchmen and representatives of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.

The case was very different with another of these earliest settlements, which deserves especial mention as coming directly in the line of causation which led to the founding of Massachusetts by Puritans. For some years past the Dorchester adventurers--a small company of merchants in the shire town of Dorset--had been sending vessels to catch fish off the New England coast. In 1623 these men conceived the idea of planting a small village as a fishing station, and setting up a church and preacher therein, for the spiritual solace of the fishermen and sailors. In pursuance of this scheme a small party occupied Cape Ann, where after two years they got into trouble with the men of Plymouth. Several grants and assignments had made it doubtful where the ownership lay, and although this place was not near their own town, the men of Plymouth claimed it. The dispute was amicably arranged by Roger Conant, an independent settler who had withdrawn from Plymouth because he did not fully sympathize with the Separatist views of the people there. The next step was for the Dorchester adventurers to appoint Conant as their manager, and the next was for them to abandon their enterprise, dissolve their partnership, and leave the remnant of the little colony to shift for itself. The settlers retained their tools and cattle, and Conant found for them a new and safer situation at Naumkeag, on the site of the present Salem. So far little seemed to have been accomplished; one more seemed added to the list of failures.

But the excellent John White, the Puritan rector of Trinity Church in Dorchester, had meditated carefully about these things. He saw that many attempts at colonization had failed because they made use of unfit instruments, "a multitude of rude ungovernable persons, the very scum of the land." So Virginia had failed in its first years, and only succeeded when settled by worthy and industrious people under a strong government. The example of Plymouth, as contrasted with Wessagusset, taught a similar lesson. We desire, said White, "to raise a bulwark against the kingdom of Antichrist." Learn wisdom, my countrymen, from the ruin which has befallen the Protestants at Rochelle and in the Palatinate; learn "to avoid the plague while it is foreseen, and not to tarry as they did till it overtook them." The Puritan party in England was numerous and powerful, but the day of strife was not far off and none might foretell its issue. Clearly it was well to establish a strong and secure retreat in the New World, in case of disaster in the Old. What had been done at Plymouth by a few men of humble means might be done on a much greater scale by an association of leading Puritans, including men of wealth and wide social influence. Such arguments were urged in timely pamphlets, of one of which White is supposed to have been the author. The matter was discussed in London, and inquiry was made whether fit men could be found "to engage their persons in the voyage." "It fell out that among others they lighted at last on Master Endicott, a man well known to divers persons of good note, who manifested much willingness to accept of the offer as soon as it was tendered." All were thereby much encouraged, the schemes of White took definite shape, and on the 19th of March, 1628, a tract of land was obtained from the Council for New England, consisting of all the territory included between three miles north of the Merrimack and three miles south of the Charles in one direction, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the other. [Sidenote: John White and his noble scheme]

This liberal grant was made at a time when people still supposed the Pacific coast to be not far west of Henry Hudson's river. The territory was granted to an association of six gentlemen, only one of whom--John Endicott--figures conspicuously in the history of New England. The grant was made in the usual reckless style, and conflicted with various patents which had been issued before. In 1622 Gorges and John Mason had obtained a grant of all the land between the rivers Kennebec and Merrimack, and the new grant encroached somewhat upon this. The difficulty seems to have been temporarily adjusted by some sort of compromise which restricted the new grant to the Merrimack, for in 1629 we find Mason's title confirmed to the region between that river and the Piscataqua, while later on Gorges appears as proprietor of the territory between the Piscataqua and the Kennebec. A more serious difficulty was the claim of Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando. That young man had in 1623 obtained a grant of some 300 square miles in Massachusetts, and had gone to look after it, but had soon returned discouraged to England and shortly afterward died. But his claim devolved upon his surviving brother, John Gorges, and Sir Ferdinando, in consenting to the grant to Endicott and his friends, expressly reserved the rights of his sons. No such reservation, however, was mentioned in the Massachusetts charter, and the colonists never paid the slightest heed to it. In these conflicting claims were sown seeds of trouble which bore fruit for more than half a century. In such cases actual possession is apt to make nine points in the law, and accordingly Endicott was sent over, as soon as possible, with sixty persons, to reinforce the party at Naumkeag and supersede Conant as its leader. On Endicott's arrival in September, 1628, the settlers were at first inclined to dispute his authority, but they were soon conciliated, and in token of this amicable adjustment the place was called by the Hebrew name of Salem, or "peace." [Sidenote: Conflicting grants sow seeds of trouble] [Sidenote: John Endicot and the founding of Salem]

Meanwhile Mr. White and the partners in England were pushing things vigorously. Their scheme took a wider scope. They were determined to establish something more than a trading company. From Charles I. it was sometimes easy to get promises because he felt himself under no obligation to keep them. In March, 1629, a royal charter was granted, creating a corporation, under the legal style of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England. The affairs of this corporate body were to be managed by a governor, deputy-governor, and a council of eighteen assistants, to be elected annually by the company. They were empowered to make such laws as they liked for their settlers, provided they did not contravene the laws of England,--a proviso susceptible of much latitude of interpretation. The place where the company was to hold its meetings was not mentioned in the charter. The law-officers of the crown at first tried to insert a condition that the government must reside in England, but the grantees with skilful argument succeeding in preventing this. Nothing was said in the charter about religious liberty, for a twofold reason: the crown would not have granted it, and it was not what the grantees wanted; such a provision would have been liable to hamper them seriously in carrying out their scheme. They preferred to keep in their own hands the question as to how much or how little religious liberty they should claim or allow. Six small ships were presently fitted out, and upon them were embarked 300 men, 80 women, and 26 children, with 140 head of cattle, 40 goats, and abundance of arms, ammunition, and tools. The principal leader of this company was Francis Higginson, of St. John's College, Cambridge, rector of a church in Leicestershire, who had been deprived of his living for non-conformity. With him were associated two other ministers, also graduates of Cambridge. All three were members of the council. By the arrival of this company at Salem, Endicott now became governor of a colony larger than any yet started in New England,--larger than Plymouth after its growth of nearly nine years. [Sidenote: The Company of Massachusetts Bay]

The time was at length ripe for that great Puritan exodus of which the voyage of the Mayflower had been the premonitory symptom. The grand crisis for the Puritans had come, the moment when decisive action could no longer be deferred. It was not by accident that the rapid development of John White's enterprise into the Company of Massachusetts Bay coincided exactly with the first four years of the reign of Charles I. They were years well fitted to bring such a scheme to quick maturity. The character of Charles was such as to exacerbate the evils of his father's reign. James could leave some things alone in the comfortable hope that all would by and by come out right, but Charles was not satisfied without meddling everywhere. Both father and son cherished some good intentions; both were sincere believers in their narrow theory of kingcraft. For wrong-headed obstinacy, utter want of tact, and bottomless perfidy, there was little to choose between them. The humorous epitaph of the grandson "whose word no man relies on" might have served for them all. But of this unhappy family Charles I. was eminently the dreamer. He lived in a world of his own, and was slow in rendering thought into action; and this made him rely upon the quick-witted but unwise and unscrupulous Buckingham, [5] who was silly enough to make feeble attempts at unpopular warfare without consulting Parliament. During each of Charles's first four years there was an angry session of Parliament, in which, through the unwillingness of the popular leaders to resort to violence, the king's policy seemed able to hold its ground. Despite all protest the king persisted in levying strange taxes and was to some extent able to collect them. Men who refused to pay enforced loans were thrown into jail and the writ of habeas corpus was denied them. Meanwhile the treatment of Puritans became more and more vexatious. It was clear enough that Charles meant to become an absolute monarch, like Louis XIII., but Parliament began by throwing all the blame upon the unpopular minister and seeking to impeach him.

On the 5th of June, 1628, the House of Commons presented the most extraordinary spectacle, perhaps in all its history. The famous Petition of Right had been Passed by both Houses, and the royal answer had just been received. Its tone was that of gracious assent, but it omitted the necessary legal formalities, and the Commons well knew what this meant. They were to be tricked with sweet words, and the petition was not to acquire the force of a statute. How was it possible to deal with such a slippery creature? There was but one way of saving the dignity of the throne without sacrificing the liberty of the people, and that was to hold the king's ministers responsible to Parliament, in anticipation of modern methods. It was accordingly proposed to impeach the Duke of Buckingham before the House of Lords. The Speaker now "brought an imperious message from the king, ... warning them ... that he would not tolerate any aspersion upon his ministers." Nothing daunted by this, Sir John Eliot arose to lead the debate, when the Speaker called him to order in view of the king's message. "Amid a deadly stillness" Eliot sat down and burst into tears. For a moment the House was overcome with despair. Deprived of all constitutional methods of redress, they suddenly saw yawning before them the direful alternative--slavery or civil war. Since the day of Bosworth a hundred and fifty years had passed without fighting worthy of mention on English soil, such an era of peace as had hardly ever before been seen on the earth; now half the nation was to be pitted against the other half, families were to be divided against themselves, as in the dreadful days of the Roses, and with what consequences no one could foresee. "Let us sit in silence," quoth Sir Dudley Digges, "we are miserable, we know not what to do!" Nay, cried Sir Nathaniel Rich, "we must now speak, or forever hold our peace." Then did grim Mr. Prynne and Sir Edward Coke mingle their words with sobs, while there were few dry eyes in the House. Presently they found their voices, and used them in a way that wrung from the startled king his formal assent to the Petition of Right. [Sidenote: Remarkable scene in the House of Commons]

There is something strangely pathetic and historically significant [6] in the emotion of these stern, fearless men. The scene was no less striking on the 2d of the following March, when, "amid the cries and entreaties of the Speaker held down in his chair by force," while the Usher of the Black Rod was knocking loudly at the bolted door, and the tramp of the king's soldiers was heard in the courtyard, Eliot's clear voice rang out the defiance that whoever advised the levy of tonnage and poundage without a grant from Parliament, or whoever voluntarily paid those duties, was to be counted an enemy to the kingdom and a betrayer of its liberties. As shouts of "Aye, aye," resounded on every side, "the doors were flung open, and the members poured forth in a throng." The noble Eliot went to end his days in the Tower, and for eleven years no Parliament sat again in England. [7]

It was in one and the same week that Charles I. thus began his experiment of governing without a Parliament, and that he granted a charter to the Company of Massachusetts Bay. He was very far, as we shall see, from realizing the import of what he was doing. To the Puritan leaders it was evident that a great struggle was at hand. Affairs at home might well seem desperate, and the news from abroad was not encouraging. It was only four months since the surrender of Rochelle had ended the existence of the Huguenots as an armed political party. They had now sunk into the melancholy condition of a tolerated sect which may at any moment cease to be tolerated. In Germany the terrible Thirty Years War had just reached the darkest moment for the Protestants. Fifteen months were yet to pass before the immortal Gustavus was to cross the Baltic and give to the sorely harassed cause of liberty a fresh lease of life. The news of the cruel Edict of Restitution in this same fateful month of March, 1629, could not but give the English Puritans great concern. Everywhere in Europe the champions of human freedom seemed worsted. They might well think that never had the prospect looked so dismal; and never before, as never since, did the venture of a wholesale migration to the New World so strongly recommend itself as the only feasible escape from a situation that was fast becoming intolerable. Such were the anxious thoughts of the leading Puritans in the spring of 1629, and in face of so grave a problem different minds came naturally to different conclusions. Some were for staying in England to fight it out to the bitter end; some were for crossing the ocean to create a new England in the wilderness. Either task was arduous enough, and not to be achieved without steadfast and sober heroism. [Sidenote: Desperate nature of the crisis]

On the 26th of August twelve gentlemen, among the most eminent in the Puritan party, held a meeting at Cambridge, and resolved to lead a migration to New England, provided the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company and the government established under it could be transferred to that country. On examination it appeared that no legal obstacle stood in the way. Accordingly such of the old officers as did not wish to take part in the emigration resigned their places, which were forthwith filled by these new leaders. For governor the choice fell upon John Winthrop, a wealthy gentleman from Groton in Suffolk, who was henceforth to occupy the foremost place among the founders of New England. Winthrop was at this time forty-one years of age, having been born in the memorable year of the Armada. He was a man of remarkable strength and beauty of character, grave and modest, intelligent and scholarlike, intensely religious and endowed with a moral sensitiveness that was almost morbid, yet liberal withal in his opinions and charitable in disposition. When his life shall have been adequately written, as it never has been, he will be recognized as one of the very noblest figures in American history. From early youth he had that same power of winning confidence and commanding respect for which Washington was so remarkable; and when he was selected as the Moses of the great Puritan exodus, there was a wide-spread feeling that extraordinary results were likely to come of such an enterprise.

In marked contrast to Winthrop stands the figure of the man associated with him as deputy-governor. Thomas Dudley came of an ancient family, the history of which, alike in the old and in the new England, has not been altogether creditable. He represented the elder branch of that Norman family, to the younger branch of which belonged the unfortunate husband of Lady Jane Grey and the unscrupulous husband of Amy Robsart. There was, however, very little likeness to Elizabeth's gay lover in grim Thomas Dudley. His Puritanism was bleak and stern, and for Christian charity he was not eminent. He had a foible for making verses, and at his death there was found in his pocket a poem of his, containing a quatrain wherein the intolerance of that age is neatly summed up:--

"Let men of God in courts and churches watch O'er such as do a Toleration hatch, Lest that ill egg bring forth a cockatrice To poison all with heresy and vice."

Such was the spirit of most of the Puritans of that day, but in the manifestation of it there were great differences, and here was the strong contrast between Dudley and Winthrop,--a contrast which shows itself in their portraits. In that of Dudley we see the typical narrow-minded, strait-laced Calvinist for whom it is so much easier to entertain respect than affection. In that of Winthrop we see a face expressive of what was finest in the age of Elizabeth,--the face of a spiritual brother of Raleigh and Bacon.

The accession of two men so important as Winthrop and Dudley served to bring matters speedily to a crisis. Their embarkation in April, 1630, was the signal for a general movement on the part of the English Puritans. Before Christmas of that year seventeen ships had come to New England, bringing more than 1000 passengers. This huge wave of immigration quite overwhelmed and bore away the few links of possession by which Gorges had thus far kept his hold upon the country. In January, 1629, John Gorges had tried to assert the validity of his late brother's claim by executing conveyances covering portions of it. One of these was to John Oldham, a man who had been harshly treated at Plymouth, and might be supposed very ready to defend his rights against settlers of the Puritan company. Gorges further maintained that he retained possession of the country through the presence of his brother's tenants, Blackstone, Maverick, Walford, and others on the shores of the bay. In June, 1629, Endicott had responded by sending forward some fifty persons from Salem to begin the settlement of Charlestown. Shortly before Winthrop's departure from England, Gorges had sent that singular personage Sir Christopher Gardiner to look after his interests in the New World, and there he was presently found established near the mouth of the Neponset river, in company with "a comly yonge woman whom he caled his cousin." But these few claimants were now at once lost in the human tide which poured over Charlestown, Boston, Newtown, Watertown, Roxbury, and Dorchester. The settlement at Merrymount was again dispersed, and Morton sent back to London; Gardiner fled to the coast of Maine and thence sailed for England in 1632. The Puritans had indeed occupied the country in force.

Here on the very threshold we are confronted by facts which show that not a mere colonial plantation, but a definite and organized state was in process of formation. The emigration was not like that of Jamestown or of Plymouth. It sufficed at once to make the beginnings of half a dozen towns, and the question as to self-government immediately sprang up. Early in 1631 a tax of 60 was assessed upon the settlements, in order to pay for building frontier fortifications at Newtown. This incident was in itself of small dimensions, as incidents in newly founded states are apt to be. But in its historic import it may serve to connect the England of John Hampden with the New England of Samuel Adams. The inhabitants of Watertown at first declined to pay this tax, which was assessed by the Board of Assistants, on the ground that English freemen cannot rightfully be taxed save by their own consent. This protest led to a change in the constitution of the infant colony, and here, at once, we are introduced to the beginnings of American constitutional history. At first it was thought that public business could be transacted by a primary assembly of all the freemen in the colony meeting four times in the year; but the number of freemen increased so fast that this was almost at once (in October, 1630) found to be impracticable. The right of choosing the governor and making the laws was then left to the Board of Assistants; and in May, 1631, it was further decided that the assistants need not be chosen afresh every year, but might keep their seats during good behaviour or until ousted by special vote of the freemen. If the settlers of Massachusetts had been ancient Greeks or Romans, this would have been about as far as they could go in the matter; the choice would have been between a primary assembly and an assembly of notables. It is curious to see Englishmen passing from one of these alternatives to the other. But it was only for a moment. The protest of the Watertown men came in time to check these proceedings, which began to have a decidedly oligarchical look. To settle the immediate question of the tax, two deputies were sent from each settlement to advise with the Board of Assistants; while the power of choosing each year the governor and assistants was resumed by the freemen. Two years later, in order to reserve to the freemen the power of making laws without interfering too much with the ordinary business of life, the colonists fell back upon the old English rural plan of electing deputies or representatives to a general court. [Sidenote: The question as to self-government raised at Watertown]

At first the deputies sat in the same chamber with the assistants, but at length in 1644 they were formed into a second chamber with increased powers, and the way in which this important constitutional change came about is worth remembering, as an illustration of the smallness of the state which so soon was to play a great part in history. As Winthrop puts it, "there fell out a great business upon a very small occasion." To a certain Captain Keayne, of Boston, a rich man deemed to be hard and overbearing toward the poor, there was brought a stray pig, whereof he gave due public notice through the town-crier, yet none came to claim it till after he had killed a pig of his own which he kept in the same stye with the stray. A year having passed by, a poor woman named Sherman came to see the stray and to decide if it were one that she had lost. Not recognizing it as hers, she forthwith laid claim to the slaughtered pig. The case was brought before the elders of the church of Boston, who decided that the woman was mistaken. Mrs. Sherman then accused the captain of theft, and brought the case before a jury, which exonerated the defendant with 3 costs. The captain then sued Mrs. Sherman for defamation of character and got a verdict for 40 damages, a round sum indeed to assess upon the poor woman. But long before this it had appeared that she had many partisans and supporters; it had become a political question, in which the popular protest against aristocracy was implicated. Not yet browbeaten, the warlike Mrs. Sherman appealed to the General Court. The length of the hearing shows the importance which was attached to the case. After seven days of discussion, the vote was taken. Seven assistants and eight deputies approved the former decisions, two assistants and fifteen deputies condemned them, while seven deputies refrained from voting. In other words, Captain Keayne has a decided majority among the more aristocratic assistants, while Mrs. Sherman seemed to prevail with the more democratic deputies. Regarding the result as the vote of a single body, the woman had a plurality of two; regarding it as the vote of a double body, her cause had prevailed in the lower house, but was lost by the veto of the upper. No decision was reached at the time, but after a year of discussion the legislature was permanently separated into two houses, each with a veto power upon the other; and this was felt to be a victory for the assistants. As for the ecclesiastical polity of the new colony, it had begun to take shape immediately upon the arrival of Endicott's party at Salem. The clergymen, Samuel Skelton and Francis Higginson, consecrated each other, and a church covenant and confession of faith were drawn up by Higginson. Thirty persons joining in this covenant constituted the first church in the colony; and several brethren appointed by this church proceeded formally to ordain the two ministers by the laying on of hands. In such simple wise was the first Congregational church in Massachusetts founded. The simple fact of removal from England converted all the Puritan emigrants into Separatists, as Robinson had already predicted. Some, however, were not yet quite prepared for so radical a measure. These proceedings gave umbrage to two of the Salem party, who attempted forthwith to set up a separate church in conformity with episcopal models. A very important question was thus raised at once, but it was not allowed to disturb the peace of the colony. Endicott was a man of summary methods. He immediately sent the two malcontents back to England; and thus the colonial church not only seceded from the national establishment, but the principle was virtually laid down that the Episcopal form of worship would not be tolerated in the colony. For the present such a step was to be regarded as a measure of self-defence on the part of the colonists. Episcopacy to them meant actual and practical tyranny--the very thing they had crossed the ocean expressly to get away from--and it was hardly to be supposed that they would encourage the growth of it in their new home. One or two surpliced priests, conducting worship in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer, might in themselves be excellent members of society; but behind the surpliced priest the colonist saw the intolerance of Laud and the despotism of the Court of High Commission. In 1631 a still more searching measure of self-protection was adopted. It was decided that "no man shall be admitted to the freedom of this body politic, but such as are members of some of the churches within the limits of the same." Into the merits of this measure as illustrating the theocratic ideal of society which the Puritans sought to realize in New England, we shall inquire hereafter. At present we must note that, as a measure of self-protection, this decree was intended to keep out of the new community all emissaries of Strafford and Laud, as well as such persons as Morton and Gardiner and other agents of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.

By the year 1634 the scheme of the Massachusetts Company had so far prospered that nearly 4000 Englishmen had come over, and some twenty villages on or near the shores of the bay had been founded. The building of permanent houses, roads, fences, and bridges had begun to go on quite briskly; farms were beginning to yield a return for the labour of the husbandman; lumber, furs, and salted fish were beginning to be sent to England in exchange for manufactured articles; 4000 goats and 1500 head of cattle grazed in the pastures, and swine innumerable rooted in the clearings and helped to make ready the land for the ploughman. Political meetings were held, justice was administered by magistrates after old English precedents, and church services were performed by a score of clergymen, nearly all graduates of Cambridge, though one or two had their degrees from Oxford, and nearly all of whom had held livings in the Church of England. The most distinguished of these clergymen, John Cotton, in his younger days a Fellow and Tutor of Emmanuel College, had for more than twenty years been rector of St. Botolph's, when he left the most magnificent parish church in England to hold service in the first rude meeting-house of the new Boston. From Emmanuel College came also Thomas Hooker and John Harvard. Besides these clergymen, so many of the leading persons concerned in the emigration were university men that it was not long before a university began to seem indispensable to the colony. In 1636 the General Court appropriated 400 toward the establishment of a college at Newtown. In 1638 John Harvard, dying childless, bequeathed his library and the half of his estate to the new college, which the Court forthwith ordered to be called by his name; while in honour of the mother university the name of the town was changed to Cambridge.

[Illustration: Founding of Harvard College]

It has been said that the assembly which decreed the establishment of Harvard College was "the first body in which the people, by their representatives, ever gave their own money to found a place of education." [8] The act was a memorable one if we have regard to all the circumstances of the year in which it was done. On every side danger was in the air. Threatened at once with an Indian war, with the enmity of the home government, and with grave dissensions among themselves, the year 1636 was a trying one indeed for the little community of Puritans, and their founding a college by public taxation just at this time is a striking illustration of their unalterable purpose to realize, in this new home, their ideal of an educated Christian society. [Sidenote: Threefold danger in the year 1636]

That the government of Charles I. should view with a hostile eye the growth of a Puritan state in New England is not at all surprising. (1. From the king, who prepares to attack the infant colony but is fueled by dissensions at home.) The only fit ground for wonder would seem to be that Charles should have been willing at the outset to grant a charter to the able and influential Puritans who organized the Company of Massachusetts Bay. Probably, however, the king thought at first that it would relieve him at home if a few dozen of the Puritan leaders could be allowed to concentrate their minds upon a project of colonization in America. It might divert attention for a moment from his own despotic schemes. Very likely the scheme would prove a failure and the Massachusetts colony incur a fate like that of Roanoke Island; and at all events the wealth of the Puritans might better be sunk in a remote and perilous enterprise than employed at home in organizing resistance to the crown. Such, very likely, may have been the king's motive in granting the Massachusetts charter two days after turning his Parliament out of doors. But the events of the last half-dozen years had come to present the case in a new light. The young colony was not languishing. It was full of sturdy life; it had wrought mischief to the schemes of Gorges; and what was more, it had begun to take unheard-of liberties with things ecclesiastical and political. Its example was getting to be a dangerous one. It was evidently worth while to put a strong curb upon Massachusetts. Any promise made to his subjects Charles regarded as a promise made under duress which he was quite justified in breaking whenever it suited his purpose to do so. Enemies of Massachusetts were busy in England. Schismatics from Salem and revellers from Merrymount were ready with their tales of woe, and now Gorges and Mason were vigorously pressing their territorial claims. They bargained with the king. In February, 1635, the moribund Council for New England surrendered its charter and all its corporate rights in America, on condition that the king should disregard all the various grants by which these rights had from time to time been alienated, and should divide up the territory of New England in severalty among the members of the Council. In pursuance of this scheme Gorges and Mason, together with half a dozen noblemen, were allowed to parcel out New England among themselves as they should see fit. In this way the influence of the Marquis of Hamilton, with the Earls of Arundel, Surrey, Carlisle, and Stirling, might be actively enlisted against the Massachusetts Company. A writ of quo warranto was brought against it; and it was proposed to send Sir Ferdinando to govern New England with viceregal powers like those afterward exercised by Andros.

For a moment the danger seemed alarming; but, as Winthrop says, "the Lord frustrated their design." It was noted as a special providence that the ship in which Gorges was to sail was hardly off the stocks when it fell to pieces. Then the most indefatigable enemy of the colony, John Mason, suddenly died. The king issued his famous writ of ship-money and set all England by the ears; and, to crown all, the attempt to read the Episcopal liturgy at St. Giles's church in Edinburgh led straight to the Solemn League and Covenant. Amid the first mutterings of the Great Rebellion the proceedings against Massachusetts were dropped, and the unheeded colony went on thriving in its independent course. Possibly too some locks at Whitehall may have been turned with golden keys, [9] for the company was rich, and the king was ever open to such arguments. But when the news of his evil designs had first reached Boston the people of the infant colony showed no readiness to yield to intimidation. In their measures there was a decided smack of what was to be realized a hundred and forty years later. Orders were immediately issued for fortifying Castle Island in the harbour and the heights at Charlestown and Dorchester. Militia companies were put in training, and a beacon was set up on the highest hill in Boston, to give prompt notice to all the surrounding country of any approaching enemy.

While the ill will of the home government thus kept the colonists in a state of alarm, there were causes of strife at work at their very doors, of which they were fain to rid themselves as soon as possible. Among all the Puritans who came to New England there is no more interesting figure than the learned, quick-witted pugnacious Welshman, Roger Williams. He was over-fond of logical subtleties and delighted in controversy. There was scarcely any subject about which he did not wrangle, from the sinfulness of persecution to the propriety of women wearing veils in church. Yet, with all this love of controversy, there has perhaps never lived a more gentle and kindly soul. Within five years from the settlement of Massachusetts this young preacher had announced the true principles of religious liberty with a clearness of insight quite remarkable in that age. Roger Williams had been aided in securing an education by the great lawyer Sir Edward Coke, and had lately taken his degree at Pembroke College, Cambridge; but the boldness with which he declared his opinions had aroused the hostility of Laud, and in 1631 he had come over to Plymouth, whence he removed two years later to Salem, and became pastor of the church there. The views of Williams, if logically carried out, involved the entire separation of church from state, the equal protection of all forms of religious faith, the repeal of all laws compelling attendance on public worship, the abolition of tithes and of all forced contributions to the support of religion. Such views are to-day quite generally adopted by the more civilized portions of the Protestant world; but it is needless to say that they were not the views of the seventeenth century, in Massachusetts or elsewhere. For declaring such opinions as these on the continent of Europe, anywhere except in Holland, a man like Williams would in that age have run great risk of being burned at the stake. In England, under the energetic misgovernment of Laud, he would very likely have had to stand in the pillory with his ears cropped, or perhaps, like Bunyan and Baxter, would have been sent to jail. In Massachusetts such views were naturally enough regarded as anarchical, but in Williams's case they were further complicated by grave political imprudence. He wrote a pamphlet in which he denied the right of the colonists to the lands which they held in New England under the king's grant. He held that the soil belonged to the Indians, that the settlers could only obtain a valid title to it by purchase from them, and that the acceptance of a patent from a mere intruder, like the king, was a sin requiring public repentance. This doctrine was sure to be regarded in England as an attack upon the king's supremacy over Massachusetts, and at the same time an incident occurred in Salem which made it all the more unfortunate. The royal colours under which the little companies of militia marched were emblazoned with the red cross of St. George. The uncompromising Endicott loathed this emblem as tainted with Popery, and one day he publicly defaced the flag of the Salem company by cutting out the cross. The enemies of Massachusetts misinterpreted this act as a defiance aimed at the royal authority, and they attributed it to the teachings of Williams. In view of the king's unfriendliness these were dangerous proceedings. Endicott was summoned before the General Court at Boston, where he was publicly reprimanded and declared incapable of holding office for a year. A few months afterward, in January, 1636, Williams was ordered by the General Court to come to Boston and embark in a ship that was about to set sail for England. But he escaped into the forest, and made his way through the snow to the wigwam of Massasoit. He was a rare linguist, and had learned to talk fluently in the language of the Indians, and now he passed the winter in trying to instill into their ferocious hearts something of the gentleness of Christianity. In the spring he was privately notified by Winthrop that if he were to steer his course to Narragansett bay he would be secure from molestation; and such was the beginning of the settlement of Providence. [Sidenote: From religious dissensions; Roger Williams]

Shortly before the departure of Williams, there came to Boston one of the greatest Puritan statesmen of that heroic age, the younger Henry Vane. It is pleasant to remember that the man and Anne who did so much to overthrow the tyranny of Strafford, who brought the military strength of Scotland to the aid of the hard-pressed Parliament, who administered the navy with which Blake won his astonishing victories, who dared even withstand Cromwell at the height of his power when his measures became too violent,--it is pleasant to remember that this admirable man was once the chief magistrate of an American commonwealth. It is pleasant for a Harvard man to remember that as such he presided over the assembly that founded our first university. Thorough republican and enthusiastic lover of liberty, he was spiritually akin to Jefferson and to Samuel Adams. Like Williams he was a friend to toleration, and like Williams he found Massachusetts an uncomfortable home. In 1636 he was only twenty-four years of age, "young in years," and perhaps not yet "in sage counsel old." He was chosen governor for that year, and his administration was stormy. Among those persons who had followed Mr. Cotton from Lincolnshire was Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, a very bright and capable lady, if perhaps somewhat impulsive and indiscreet. She had brought over with her, says Winthrop, "two dangerous errors: first, that the person of the Holy Ghost dwells in a justified person; second, that no sanctification can help to evidence to us our justification." Into the merits of such abstruse doctrines it is not necessary for the historian to enter. One can hardly repress a smile as one reflects how early in the history of Boston some of its characteristic social features were developed. It is curious to read of lectures there in 1636, lectures by a lady, and transcendentalist lectures withal! Never did lectures in Boston arouse greater excitement than Mrs. Hutchinson's. Many of her hearers forsook the teachings of the regular ministers, to follow her. [Sidenote: Henry Vane and Anne Hutchinson]

She was very effectively supported by her brother-in-law, Mr. Wheelwright, an eloquent preacher, and for a while she seemed to be carrying everything before her. She won her old minister Mr. Cotton, she won the stout soldier Captain Underhill, she won Governor Vane himself; while she incurred the deadly hatred of such men as Dudley and Cotton's associate John Wilson. The church at Boston was divided into two hostile camps. The sensible Winthrop marvelled at hearing men distinguished "by being under a covenant of grace or a covenant of works, as in other countries between Protestants and Papists," and he ventured to doubt whether any man could really tell what the difference was. The theological strife went on until it threatened to breed civil disaffection among the followers of Mrs. Hutchinson. A peculiar bitterness was given to the affair, from the fact that she professed to be endowed with the spirit of prophecy and taught her partisans that it was their duty to follow the biddings of a supernatural light; and there was nothing which the orthodox Puritan so steadfastly abhorred as the anarchical pretence of living by the aid of a supernatural light. In a strong and complex society the teachings of Mrs. Hutchinson would have awakened but a languid speculative interest, or perhaps would have passed by unheeded. In the simple society of Massachusetts in 1636, physically weak and as yet struggling for very existence, the practical effect of such teachings may well have been deemed politically dangerous. When things came to such a pass that the forces of the colony were mustered for an Indian campaign and the men of Boston were ready to shirk the service because they suspected their chaplain to be "under a covenant of works," it was naturally thought to be high time to put Mrs. Hutchinson down. In the spring of 1637 Winthrop was elected governor, and in August Vane returned to England. His father had at that moment more influence with the king than any other person except Strafford, and the young man had indiscreetly hinted at an appeal to the home government for the protection of the Antinomians, as Mrs. Hutchinson's followers were called. But an appeal from America to England was something which Massachusetts would no more tolerate in the days of Winthrop than in the days of Hancock and Adams. Soon after Vane's departure, Mrs. Hutchinson and her friends were ordered to leave the colony. It was doubtless an odious act of persecution, yet of all such acts which stain the history of Massachusetts in the seventeenth century, it is just the one for which the plea of political necessity may really be to some extent accepted.

We now begin to see how the spreading of the New England colonization, and the founding of distinct communities, was hastened by these differences of opinion on theological questions or on questions concerning the relations between church and state. Of Mrs. Hutchinson's friends and adherents, some went northward, and founded the towns of Exeter and Hampton. Some time before Portsmouth and Dover had been settled by followers of Mason and Gorges. In 1641 these towns were added to the domain of Massachusetts, and so the matter stood until 1679, when we shall see Charles II. marking them off as a separate province, under a royal government. Such were the beginnings of New Hampshire. Mrs. Hutchinson herself, however, with the rest of her adherents, bought the island of Aquedneck from the Indians, and settlements were made at Portsmouth and Newport. After a quarter of a century of turbulence, these settlements coalesced with Williams's colony at Providence, and thus was formed the state of Rhode Island. After her husband's death in 1642, Mrs. Hutchinson left Aquedneck and settled upon some land to the west of Stamford and supposed to be within the territory of the New Netherlands. There in the following year she was cruelly murdered by Indians, together with nearly all her children and servants, sixteen victims in all. One of her descendants was the illustrious Thomas Hutchinson, the first great American historian, and last royal governor of Massachusetts.

To the dangers arising from the ill-will of the crown, and from these theological quarrels, there was added the danger of a general attack by the savages. Down to this time, since the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, the settlers of New England had been in no way molested by the natives. Massasoit's treaty with the Pilgrims was scrupulously observed on both sides, and kept the Wampanoags quiet for fifty-four years. The somewhat smaller tribe which took its name from the Massawachusett, or Great Hill, of Milton, kept on friendly terms with the settlers about Boston, because these red men coveted the powerful aid of the white strangers in case of war with their hereditary foes the Tarratines, who dwelt in the Piscataqua country. It was only when the English began to leave these coast regions and press into the interior that trouble arose. The western shores of Narragansett bay were possessed by the numerous and warlike tribe of that name, which held in partial subjection the Nyantics near Point Judith. To the west of these, and about the Thames river, dwelt the still more formidable Pequots, a tribe which for bravery and ferocity asserted a preeminence in New England not unlike that which the Iroquois league of the Mohawk valley was fast winning over all North America east of the Mississippi. North of the Pequots, the squalid villages of the Nipmucks were scattered over the beautiful highlands that stretch in long ridges from Quinsigamond to Nichewaug, and beyond toward blue Monadnock. Westward, in the lower Connecticut valley, lived the Mohegans, a small but valiant tribe, now for some time held tributary to their Pequot cousins, and very restive under the yoke. The thickly wooded mountain ranges between the Connecticut and the Hudson had few human inhabitants. These hundred miles of crag and forest were a bulwark none too wide or strong against the incursions of the terrible Mohawks, whose name sent a shiver of fear throughout savage New England, and whose forbearance the Nipmucks and Mohegans were fain to ensure by a yearly payment of blackmail. Each summer there came two Mohawk elders, secure in the dread that Iroquois prowess had everywhere inspired; and up and down the Connecticut valley they seized the tribute of weapons and wampum, and proclaimed the last harsh edict issued from the savage council at Onondaga. The scowls that greeted their unwelcome visits were doubtless nowhere fiercer than among the Mohegans, thus ground down between Mohawk and Pequot as between the upper and the nether millstone. [Sidenote: From the Indians: the Pequot supremacy]

Among the various points in which civilized man surpasses the savage none is more conspicuous than the military brute force which in the highest civilization is always latent though comparatively seldom exerted. The sudden intrusion of English warfare into the Indian world of the seventeenth century may well have seemed to the red men a supernatural visitation, like the hurricane or the earthquake. The uncompromising vigour with which the founders of Massachusetts carried on their work was viewed in some quarters with a dissatisfaction which soon thrust the English migration into the very heart of the Indian country.

The first movement, however, was directed against the encroachments of the New Netherlands. In October, 1634, some men of Plymouth, led by William Holmes, sailed up the Connecticut river, and, after bandying threats with a party of Dutch who had built a rude fort on the site of Hartford, passed on and fortified themselves on the site of Windsor. Next year Governor Van Twiller sent a company of seventy men to drive away these intruders, but after reconnoitring the situation the Dutchmen thought it best not to make an attack. Their little stronghold at Hartford remained unmolested by the English, and, in order to secure the communication between this advanced outpost and New Amsterdam, Van Twiller decided to build another fort at the mouth of the river, but this time the English were beforehand. Rumours of Dutch designs may have reached the ears of Lord Say and Sele and Lord Brooke--"fanatic Brooke," as Scott calls him in "Marmion"--who had obtained from the Council for New England a grant of territory on the shores of the Sound. These noblemen chose as their agent the younger John Winthrop, son of the Massachusetts governor, and this new-comer arrived upon the scene just in time to drive away Van Twiller's vessel and build an English fort which in honour of his two patrons he called "Say-Brooke."

Had it not been for seeds of discontent already sown in Massachusetts, the English hold upon the Connecticut valley might perhaps have been for a few years confined to these two military outposts at Windsor and Saybrook. But there were people in Massachusetts who did not look with favour upon the aristocratic and theocratic features in its polity. The provision that none but church-members should vote or hold office was by no means unanimously approved. We see it in the course of another generation putting altogether too much temporal power into the hands of the clergy, and we can trace the growth of the opposition to it until in the reign of Charles II. it becomes a dangerous source of weakness to Massachusetts. At the outset the opposition seems to have been strongest in Dorchester, Newtown, and Watertown. When the Board of Assistants undertook to secure for themselves permanency of tenure, together with the power of choosing the governor and making the laws, these three towns sent deputies to Boston to inspect the charter and see if it authorized any such stretch of power. They were foremost in insisting that representatives chosen by the towns must have a share in the general government. Men who held such opinions were naturally unwilling to increase the political weight of the clergy, who, during these early disputes and indeed until the downfall of the charter, were inclined to take aristocratic views and to sympathize with the Board of Assistants. Cotton declared that democracy was no fit government either for church or for commonwealth, and the majority of the ministers agreed with him. Chief among those who did not was the learned and eloquent Thomas Hooker, pastor of the church at Newtown. When Winthrop, in a letter to Hooker, defended the restriction of the suffrage on the ground that "the best part is always the least, and of that best part the wiser part is always the lesser;" Hooker replied that "in matters which concern the common good, a general council, chosen by all, to transact businesses which concern all, I conceive most suitable to rule and most safe for relief of the whole." It is interesting to meet, on the very threshold of American history, with such a lucid statement of the strongly contrasted views which a hundred and fifty years later were to be represented on a national scale by Hamilton and Jefferson. There were many in Newtown who took Hooker's view of the matter; and there, as also in Watertown and Dorchester, which in 1633 took the initiative in framing town governments with selectmen, a strong disposition was shown to evade the restrictions upon the suffrage.

While such things were talked about in the summer of 1633 the adventurous John Oldham was making his way through the forest and over the mountains into the Connecticut valley, and when he returned to the coast his glowing accounts set some people to thinking. Two years afterward a few pioneers from Dorchester pushed through the wilderness as far as the Plymouth men's fort at Windsor, while a party from Watertown went farther and came to a halt upon the site of Wethersfield. A larger party, bringing cattle and such goods as they could carry, set out in the autumn and succeeded in reaching Windsor. Their winter supplies were sent around by water to meet them, but early in November the ships had barely passed the Saybrook fort when they found the river blocked with ice and were obliged to return to Boston. The sufferings of the pioneers, thus cut off from the world, were dreadful. Their cattle perished, and they were reduced to a diet of acorns and ground-nuts. Some seventy of them, walking on the frozen river to Saybrook, were so fortunate as to find a crazy little sloop jammed in the ice. They succeeded in cutting her adrift, and steered themselves back to Boston. Others surmounted greater obstacles in struggling back through the snow over the region which the Pullman car now traverses, regardless of seasons, in three hours. A few grim heroes, the nameless founders of a noble commonwealth, stayed on the spot and defied starvation. In the next June, 1636, the Newtown congregation, a hundred or more in number, led by their sturdy pastor, and bringing with them 160 head of cattle, made the pilgrimage to the Connecticut valley. Women and children took part in this pleasant summer journey; Mrs. Hooker, the pastor's wife, being too ill to walk, was carried on a litter. Thus, in the memorable year in which our great university was born, did Cambridge become, in the true Greek sense of a much-abused word, the metropolis or "mother town" of Hartford. The migration at once became strong in numbers. During the past twelvemonth a score of ships had brought from England to Massachusetts more than 3000 souls, and so great an accession made further movement easy. Hooker's pilgrims were soon followed by the Dorchester and Watertown congregations, and by the next May 800 people were living in Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield. As we read of these movements, not of individuals, but of organic communities, united in allegiance to a church and its pastor, and fervid with the instinct of self-government, we seem to see Greek history renewed, but with centuries of added political training. For one year a board of commissioners from Massachusetts governed the new towns, but at the end of that time the towns chose representatives and held a General Court at Hartford, and thus the separate existence of Connecticut was begun. As for Springfield, which was settled about the same time by a party from Roxbury, it remained for some years doubtful to which state it belonged. At the opening session of the General Court, May 31,1638, Mr. Hooker preached a sermon of wonderful power, in which he maintained that "the foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people," "that the choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God's own allowance," and that "they who have power to appoint officers and magistrates have the right also to set the bounds and limitations of the power and place unto which they call them." On the 14th of January, 1639, all the freemen of the three towns assembled at Hartford and adopted a written constitution in which the hand of the great preacher is clearly discernible. It is worthy of note that this document contains none of the conventional references to a "dread sovereign" or a "gracious king," nor the slightest allusion to the British or any other government outside of Connecticut itself, nor does it prescribe any condition of church-membership for the right of suffrage. It was the first written constitution known to history, that created a government, [10] and it marked the beginnings of American democracy, of which Thomas Hooker deserves more than any other man to be called the father. The government of the United States today is in lineal descent more nearly related to that of Connecticut than to that of any of the other thirteen colonies. The most noteworthy feature of the Connecticut republic was that it was a federation of independent towns, and that all attributes of sovereignty not expressly granted to the General Court remained, as of original right, in the towns. Moreover, while the governor and council were chosen by a majority vote of the whole people, and by a suffrage that was almost universal, there was for each township an equality of representation in the assembly. [11] This little federal republic was allowed to develop peacefully and normally; its constitution was not violently wrenched out of shape like that of Massachusetts at the end of the seventeenth century. It silently grew till it became the strongest political structure on the continent, as was illustrated in the remarkable military energy and the unshaken financial credit of Connecticut during the Revolutionary War; and in the chief crisis of the Federal Convention of 1787 Connecticut, with her compromise which secured equal state representation in one branch of the national government and popular representation in the other, played the controlling part. [Sidenote: Connecticut Pioneers] [Sidenote: The first written constitution]

Before the little federation of towns had framed its government, it had its Indian question to dispose of. Three years before the migration led by Hooker, a crew of eight traders, while making their way up the river to the Dutch station on the site of Hartford, had been murdered by a party of Indians subject to Sassacus, chief sachem of the Pequots. Negotiations concerning this outrage had gone on between Sassacus and the government at Boston, and the Pequots had promised to deliver up the murderers, but had neglected to do so. In the summer of 1636 some Indians on Block Island subject to the Narragansetts murdered the pioneer John Oldham, who was sailing on the Sound, and captured his little vessel. At this, says Underhill, "God stirred up the hearts" of Governor Vane and the rest of the magistrates. They were determined to make an end of the Indian question and show the savages that such things would not be endured. First an embassy was sent to Canonicus and his nephew Miantonomo, chief sachems of the Narragansetts, who hastened to disclaim all responsibility for the murder, and to throw the blame entirely upon the Indians of the island. Vane then sent out three vessels under command of Endicott, who ravaged Block Island, burning wigwams, sinking canoes, and slaying dogs, for the men had taken to the woods. Endicott then crossed to the mainland to reckon with the Pequots. He demanded the surrender of the murderers, with a thousand fathoms of wampum for damages; and not getting a satisfactory answer, he attacked the Indians, killed a score of them, seized their ripe corn, and burned and spoiled what he could. But such reprisals served only to enrage the red men. Lyon Gardiner, commander of the Saybrook fort, complained to Endicott: "You come hither to raise these wasps about my ears; then you will take wing and flee away." The immediate effect was to incite Sassacus to do his utmost to compass the ruin of the English. The superstitious awe with which the white men were at first regarded had been somewhat lessened by familiar contact with them, as in Aesop's fable of the fox and the lion. The resources of Indian diplomacy were exhausted in the attempt to unite the Narragansett warriors with the Pequots in a grand crusade against the white men. Such a combination could hardly have been as formidable as that which was effected forty years afterward in King Philip's war; for the savages had not as yet become accustomed to firearms, and the English settlements did not present so many points exposed to attack; but there is no doubt that it might have wrought fearful havoc. We can, at any rate, find no difficulty in comprehending the manifold perplexity of the Massachusetts men at this time, threatened as they were at once by an Indian crusade, by the machinations of a faithless king, and by a bitter theological quarrel at home, in this eventful year when they laid aside part of their incomes to establish Harvard College. [Sidenote: Origin of the Pequot War]

The schemes of Sassacus were unsuccessful. The hereditary enmity of the Narragansetts toward their Pequot rivals was too strong to be lightly overcome. Roger Williams, taking advantage of this feeling, so worked upon the minds of the Narragansett chiefs that in the autumn of 1636 they sent an embassy to Boston and made a treaty of alliance with the English. The Pequots were thus left to fight out their own quarrel; and had they still been separated from the English by the distance between Boston and the Thames river, the feud might very likely have smouldered until the drift of events had given a different shape to it. But as the English had in this very year thrown out their advanced posts into the lower Connecticut valley, there was clearly no issue from the situation save in deadly war. All through the winter of 1636-37 the Connecticut towns were kept in a state of alarm by the savages. Men going to their work were killed and horribly mangled. A Wethersfield man was kidnapped and roasted alive. Emboldened by the success of this feat, the Pequots attacked Wethersfield, massacred ten people, and carried away two girls. [Sidenote: Sassacus is foiled by Roger Williams] [Sidenote: The Pequots take the warpath alone]

Wrought up to desperation by these atrocities, the Connecticut men appealed to Massachusetts and Plymouth for aid, and put into service ninety of their own number, under command of John Mason, an excellent and sturdy officer who had won golden opinions from Sir Thomas Fairfax, under whom he had served in the Netherlands. It took time to get men from Boston, and all that Massachusetts contributed to the enterprise at its beginning was that eccentric daredevil John Underhill, with a force of twenty men. Seventy friendly Mohegans, under their chief Uncas, eager to see vengeance wrought upon their Pequot oppressors, accompanied the expedition. From the fort at Saybrook this little company set sail on the twentieth of May, 1637, and landed in brilliant moonlight near Point Judith, where they were reinforced by four hundred Narragansetts and Nyantics. From this point they turned westward toward the stronghold of the Pequots, near the place where the town of Stonington now stands. As they approached the dreaded spot the courage of the Indian allies gave out, and they slunk behind, declaring that Sassacus was a god whom it was useless to think of attacking. The force with which Mason and Underhill advanced to the fray consisted of just seventy-seven Englishmen. Their task was to assault and carry an entrenched fort or walled village containing seven hundred Pequots. The fort was a circle of two or three acres in area, girdled by a palisade of sturdy sapling-trunks, set firm and deep into the ground, the narrow interstices between them serving as loopholes wherefrom to reconnoitre any one passing by and to shoot at assailants. At opposite sides of this stronghold were two openings barely large enough to let any one go through. Within this enclosure were the crowded wigwams. The attack was skilfully managed, and was a complete surprise. A little before daybreak Mason, with sixteen men, occupied one of the doors, while Underhill made sure of the other. The Indians in panic sought first one outlet and then the other, and were ruthlessly shot down, whichever way they turned. A few succeeded in breaking loose, but these were caught and tomahawked by the Indian allies, who, though afraid to take the risks of the fight, were ready enough to help slay the fugitives. The English threw firebrands among the wigwams, and soon the whole village was in a light blaze, and most of the savages suffered the horrible death which they were so fond of inflicting upon their captives. Of the seven hundred Pequots in the stronghold, but five got away with their lives. All this bloody work had been done in less than an hour, and of the English there had been two killed and sixteen wounded. It was the end of the Pequot nation. Of the remnant which had not been included in this wholesale slaughter, most were soon afterwards destroyed piecemeal in a running fight which extended as far westward as the site of Fairfield. Sassacus fled across the Hudson river to the Mohawks, who slew him and sent his scalp to Boston, as a peace-offering to the English. The few survivors were divided between the Mohegans and Narragansetts and adopted into those tribes. Truly the work was done with Cromwellian thoroughness. The tribe which had lorded it so fiercely over the New England forests was all at once wiped out of existence. So terrible a vengeance the Indians had never heard of. If the name of Pequot had hitherto been a name of terror, so now did the Englishmen win the inheritance of that deadly prestige. Not for eight-and-thirty years after the destruction of the Pequots, not until a generation of red men had grown up that knew not Underhill and Mason, did the Indian of New England dare again to lift his hand against the white man. [Sidenote: And are exterminated]

Such scenes of wholesale slaughter are not pleasant reading in this milder age. But our forefathers felt that the wars of Canaan afforded a sound precedent for such cases; and, indeed, if we remember what the soldiers of Tilly and Wallenstein were doing at this very time in Germany, we shall realize that the work of Mason and Underhill would not have been felt by any one in that age to merit censure or stand in need of excuses. As a matter of practical policy the annihilation of the Pequots can be condemned only by those who read history so incorrectly as to suppose that savages, whose business is to torture and slay, can always be dealt with according to the methods in use between civilized peoples. A mighty nation, like the United States, is in honour bound to treat the red man with scrupulous justice and refrain from cruelty in punishing his delinquencies. But if the founders of Connecticut, in confronting a danger which threatened their very existence, struck with savage fierceness, we cannot blame them. The world is so made that it is only in that way that the higher races have been able to preserve themselves and carry on their progressive work.

The overthrow of the Pequots was a cardinal event in the planting of New England. It removed the chief obstacle to the colonization of the Connecticut coast, and brought the inland settlements into such unimpeded communication with those on tide-water as to prepare the way for the formation of the New England confederacy. Its first fruits were seen in the direction taken by the next wave of migration, which ended the Puritan exodus from England to America. About a month after the storming of the palisaded village there arrived in Boston a company of wealthy London merchants, with their families. The most prominent among them, Theophilus Eaton, was a member of the Company of Massachusetts Bay. Their pastor, John Davenport, was an eloquent preacher and a man of power. He was a graduate of Oxford, and in 1624 had been chosen vicar of St. Stephen's parish, in Coleman street, London. When he heard that Cotton and Hooker were about to sail for America, he sought earnestly to turn them from what he deemed the error of their ways, but instead he became converted himself and soon incurred the especial enmity of Laud, so that it became necessary for him to flee to Amsterdam. In 1636 he returned to England, and in concert with Eaton organized a scheme of emigration that included men from Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, and Kent. The leaders arrived in Boston in the midst of the Antinomian disputes, and although Davenport won admiration for his skill in battling with heresy, he may perhaps have deemed it preferable to lead his flock to some new spot in the wilderness where such warfare might not be required. The merchants desired a fine harbour and good commercial situation, and the reports of the men who returned from hunting the Pequots told them of just such a spot at Quinnipiack on Long Island Sound. Here they could carry out their plan of putting into practice a theocratic ideal even more rigid than that which obtained in Massachusetts, and arrange their civil as well as ecclesiastical affairs in accordance with rules to be obtained from a minute study of the Scriptures. [Sidenote: The colony of New Haven]

In the spring of 1638 the town of New Haven was accordingly founded. The next year a swarm from this new town settled Milford, while another party, freshly arrived from England, made the beginnings of Guilford. In 1640 Stamford was added to the group, and in 1643 the four towns were united into the republic of New Haven, to which Southold, on Long Island, and Branford were afterwards added. As being a confederation of independent towns, New Haven resembled Connecticut. In other respects the differences between the two reflected the differences between Davenport and Hooker; the latter was what would now be called more radical than Winthrop or Cotton, the former was more conservative. In the New Haven colony none but church-members could vote, and this measure at the outset disfranchised more than half the settlers in New Haven town, nearly half in Guilford, and less than one fifth in Milford. This result was practically less democratic than in Massachusetts where it was some time before the disfranchisement attained such dimensions. The power of the clergy reached its extreme point in New Haven, where each of the towns was governed by seven ecclesiastical officers known as "pillars of the church." These magistrates served as judges, and trial by jury was dispensed with, because no authority could be found for it in the laws of Moses. The legislation was quaint enough, though the famous "Blue Laws" of New Haven, which have been made the theme of so many jests at the expense of our forefathers, never really existed. The story of the Blue Laws was first published in 1781 by the Rev. Samuel Peters, a Tory refugee in London, who took delight in horrifying our British cousins with tales of wholesale tarring and feathering done by the patriots of the Revolution. In point of strict veracity Dr. Peters reminds one of Baron Munchausen; he declares that the river at Bellows Falls flows so fast as to float iron crowbars, and he gravely describes sundry animals who were evidently cousins to the Jabberwok. The most famous passage of his pretended code is that which enacts that "no woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath," and that "no one shall play on any instrument of music except the drum, trumpet, or jewsharp." [Sidenote: Legend of the "Blue Laws"]

When the Long Parliament met in 1640, the Puritan exodus to New England came to an end. During the twenty years which had elapsed since the voyage of the Mayflower, the population had grown to 26,000 souls. Of this number scarcely 500 had arrived before 1629. It is a striking fact, since it expresses a causal relation and not a mere coincidence, that the eleven years, 1629-1640, during which Charles I. governed England without a parliament, were the same eleven years that witnessed the planting of New England. For more than a century after this there was no considerable migration to this part of North America. Puritan England now found employment for all its energies and all its enthusiasm at home. The struggle with the king and the efforts toward reorganization under Cromwell were to occupy it for another score of years, and then, by the time of the Restoration the youthful creative energy of Puritanism had spent itself. The influence of this great movement was indeed destined to grow wider and deeper with the progress of civilization, but after 1660 its creative work began to run in new channels and assume different forms. [Sidenote: End of the Puritan exodus]

It is curious to reflect what might have been the result, to America and to the world, had things in England gone differently between 1620 and 1660. Had the policy of James and Charles been less formidable, the Puritan exodus might never have occurred, and the Virginian type of society, varied perhaps by a strong Dutch infusion, might have become supreme in America. The western continent would have lost in richness and variety of life, and it is not likely that Europe would have made a corresponding gain, for the moral effect of the challenge, the struggle, and the overthrow of monarchy in England was a stimulus sorely needed by neighbouring peoples. It is not always by avoiding the evil, it is rather by grappling with it and conquering it that character is strengthened and life enriched, and there is no better example of this than the history of England in the seventeenth century.

On the other hand, if the Stuart despotism had triumphed in England, the Puritan exodus would doubtless have been swelled to huge dimensions. New England would have gained strength so quickly that much less irritation than she actually suffered between 1664 and 1689 would probably have goaded her into rebellion. The war of independence might have been waged a century sooner than it was. It is not easy to point to any especial advantage that could have come to America from this; one is rather inclined to think of the peculiarly valuable political training of the eighteenth century that would have been lost. Such surmises are for the most part idle. But as concerns Europe, it is plain to be seen, for reasons stated in my first chapter, that the decisive victory of Charles I. would have been a calamity of the first magnitude. It would have been like the Greeks losing Marathon or the Saracens winning Tours, supposing the worst consequences ever imagined in those hypothetical cases to have been realized. Or taking a more contracted view, we can see how England, robbed of her Puritan element, might still have waxed in strength, as France has done in spite of losing the Huguenots; but she could not have taken the proud position that she has come to occupy as mother of nations. Her preeminence since Cromwell's time has been chiefly due to her unrivalled power of planting self-supporting colonies, and that power has had its roots in English self-government. It is the vitality of the English Idea that is making the language of Cromwell and Washington dominant in the world.
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