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The Beginnings of New England
by Genseric the Vandal
An interesting account of the Barons' War and the meeting of the first
House of Commons is given in Prothero's Simon de Montfort, London,
1877. For Wyclif and the Lollards, see Milman's Latin Christianity,
The ecclesiastical history of the Tudor period may best be studied in
the works of John Strype, to wit, Historical Memorials, 6 vols.;
Annals of the Reformation, 7 vols.; Lives of Cranmer, Parker,
Whitgift, etc., Oxford, 1812-28. See also Burnet's History of the
Reformation of the Church of England, 3 vols., London, 1679-1715;
Neal's History of the Puritans, London, 1793; Tulloch, Leaders of the
Reformation, Boston, 1859. A vast mass of interesting information is
to be found in The Zurich Letters, comprising the Correspondence
of Several English Bishops, and Others, with some of the Helvetian
Reformers, published by the Parker Society, 4 vols., Cambridge, Eng.,
1845-46. Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity was published in London, 1594;
a new edition, containing two additional books, the first complete
edition, was published in 1622.
For the general history of England in the seventeenth century, there are
two modern works which stand far above all others,--Gardiner's History
of England, 10 vols., London, 1883-84; and Masson's Life of Milton,
narrated in connection with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary
History of his Time, 6 vols., Cambridge, Eng., 1859-80. These are
books of truly colossal erudition, and written in a spirit of judicial
fairness. Mr. Gardiner's ten volumes cover the forty years from the
accession of James I. to the beginning of the Civil War, 1603-1643. Mr.
Gardiner has lately published the first two volumes of his history of
the Civil War, and it is to be hoped that he will not stop until he
reaches the accession of William and Mary. Indeed, such books as his
ought never to stop. My friend and colleague, Prof. Hosmer, tells me
that Mr. Gardiner is a lineal descendant of Cromwell and Ireton. His
little book, The Puritan Revolution, in the "Epochs of History"
series, is extremely useful, and along with it one should read Airy's
The English Restoration and Louis XIV., in the same series, New York,
1889. The best biography of Cromwell is by Mr. Allanson Picton, London,
1882; see also Frederic Harrison's Cromwell, London, 1888, an
excellent little book. Hosmer's Young Sir Henry Vane, Boston, 1888,
should be read in the same connection; and one should not forget
Carlyle's Cromwell. See also Tulloch, English Puritanism and its
Leaders, 1861, and Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in
England in the Seventeenth Century, 1872; Skeats, History of the
Free Churches of England, London, 1868; Mountfield, The Church and
Puritans, London, 1881. Dexter's Congregationalism of the Last Three
Hundred Years, New York, 1880, is a work of monumental importance.
On the history of New England the best general works are Palfrey,
History of New England, 4 vols., Boston, 1858-75; and Doyle, The
English in America--The Puritan Colonies, 2 vols., London, 1887. In
point of scholarship Dr. Palfrey's work is of the highest order, and
it is written in an interesting style. Its only shortcoming is that it
deals somewhat too leniently with the faults of the Puritan theocracy,
and looks at things too exclusively from a Massachusetts point of view.
It is one of the best histories yet written in America. Mr. Doyle's work
is admirably fair and impartial, and is based throughout upon a careful
study of original documents. The author is a Fellow of All Souls
College, Oxford, and has apparently made American history his specialty.
His work on the Puritan colonies is one of a series which when completed
will cover the whole story of English colonization in America. I have
looked in vain in his pages for any remark or allusion indicating that
he has ever visited America, and am therefore inclined to think that he
has not done so. He now and then makes a slight error such as would
not be likely to be made by a native of New England, but this is very
seldom. The accuracy and thoroughness of its research, its judicial
temper, and its philosophical spirit make Mr. Doyle's book in some
respects the best that has been written about New England.
Among original authorities we may begin by citing John Smith's
Description of New England, 1616, and New England's Trial, 1622,
contained in Arber's new edition of Smith's works, London, 1884.
Bradford's narrative of the founding of Plymouth was for a long time
supposed to be lost. Nathaniel Morton's New England's Memorial,
published in 1669, was little more than an abridgment of it. After two
centuries Bradford's manuscript was discovered, and an excellent edition
by Mr. Charles Deane was published in the Massachusetts Historical
Collections, 4th series, vol. iii., 1856. Edward Winslow's Journal of
the Proceedings of the English Plantation settled at Plymouth, 1622,
and Good News from New England, 1624, are contained, with other
valuable materials, in Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers,
Boston, 1844. See also Shurtleff and Pulsifer, Records of Plymouth,
12 vols., ending with the annexation of the colony to Massachusetts in
1692; Prince's Chronological History of New England, ed. Drake, 1852;
and in this connection Hunter's Founders of New Plymouth, London,
1854; Steele's Life of Brewster, Philadelphia, 1857; Goodwin's
Pilgrim Republic, Boston, 1887; Bacon's Genesis of the New England
Churches, New York, 1874; Baylies's Historical Memoir, 1830;
Thacher's History of the Town of Plymouth, 1832.
Sir Ferdinando Gorges wrote a Briefe Narration of the Originall
Undertakings of the advancement of plantations into the parts of
America, especially showing the beginning, progress, and continuance
of that of New England, London, 1658, contained in his grandson's
collection entitled America Painted to the Life. Thomas Morton, of
Merrymount, gave his own view of the situation in his New English
Canaan, which has been edited for the Prince Society, with great
learning, by C.F. Adams. Samuel Maverick also had his say in a valuable
pamphlet entitled A Description of New England, which has only come
to light since 1875 and has been edited by Mr. Deane. Maverick is, of
course, hostile to the Puritans. See also Lechford's Plain Dealing in
New England, ed. J.H. Trumbull, 1867.
The earliest history of Massachusetts is by Winthrop himself, a work of
priceless value. In 1790, nearly a century and a half after the author's
death, it was published at Hartford. The best edition is that of 1853.
In 1869 a valuable life of Winthrop was published by his descendant
Robert Winthrop. Hubbard's History of New England (Mass. Hist.
Coll., 2d series, vols. v., vi.) is drawn largely from Winthrop and
from Nathaniel Morton. There is much that is suggestive in William
Wood's New England's Prospect, 1634, and Edward Johnson's
Wonder-working Providence of Zion's Saviour in New England, 1654; the
latter has been ably edited by W.F. Poole, Andover, 1867. The records
of the Massachusetts government, from its founding in 1629 down to the
overthrow of the charter in 1684, were edited by Dr. Shurtleff in 6
vols. quarto, 1853-54; and among the documents in the British Record
Office, published since 1855, three volumes--Calendar of State Papers,
Colonial America, vol. i., 1574-1660; vol. v., 1661-1668; vol. vii.,
1669--are especially useful. Of the later authorities the best is
Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, the first volume of which,
coming down to 1689, was published in Boston in 1764. The second volume,
continuing the narrative to 1749, was published in 1767. The third
volume, coming down to 1774, was found among the illustrious author's
MSS. after his death, and was published in London in 1828. Hutchinson
had access to many valuable documents since lost, and his sound judgment
and critical acumen deserve the highest praise. In 1769 he published
a volume of Original Papers, illustrating the period covered by the
first volume of his history. Many priceless documents perished in the
shameful sacking of his house by the Boston rioters, Aug. 26, 1765. The
second volume of Hutchinson's History was continued to 1764 by G.R.
Minot, 2 vols., 1798, and to 1820 by Alden Bradford, 3 vols., 1822-29.
Of recent works, the best is Barry's History of Massachusetts, 3
vols., 1855-57. Many original authorities are collected in Young's
Chronicles of Massachusetts, Boston, 1846. Cotton Mather's Magnolia
Christi Americana, London, 1702 (reprinted in 1820 and 1853), though
crude and uncritical, is full of interest.
Many of the early Massachusetts documents relate to Maine. Of later
books, especial mention should be made of Folsom's History of Saco and
Biddeford, Saco, 1830; Willis's History of Portland, 2 vols., 1831-33
(2d ed. 1865); Memorial Volume of the Popham Celebration, Portland,
1862; Chamberlain's Maine, Her Place in History, Augusta, 1877. On New
Hampshire the best general work is Belknap's History of New Hampshire,
3 vols., Phila., 1784-92; the appendix contains many original
documents, and others are to be found in the New Hampshire Historical
Collections, 8 vols., 1824-66.
The Connecticut Colonial Records are edited by Dr. J.H. Trumbull,
12 vols., 1850-82. The Connecticut Historical Society's Collections,
1860-70, are of much value. The best general work is Trumbull's History
of Connecticut, 2 vols., Hartford, 1797. See also Stiles's Ancient
Windsor, 2 vols., 1859-63; Cothren's Ancient Woodbury, 3 vols.,
1854-79. Of the Pequot War we have accounts by three of the principal
actors. Mason's History of the Pequod War is in the Mass. Hist.
Coll., 2d series, vol. viii.; Underhill's News from America is in the
3d series, vol. vi.; and Lyon Gardiner's narrative is in the 3d series,
vol. iii. In the same volume with Underhill is contained A True
Relation of the late Battle fought in New England between the English
and the Pequod Savages, by Philip Vincent, London, 1638. The New Haven
Colony Records are edited by C.J. Hoadly, 2 vols., Hartford, 1857-58.
See also the New Haven Historical Society's Papers, 3 vols., 1865-80;
Lambert's History of New Haven, 1838; Atwater's History of New
Haven, 1881; Levermore's Republic of New Haven, Baltimore, 1886;
Johnston's Connecticut, Boston, 1887. The best account of the Blue
Laws is by J.H. Trumbull, The True Blue Laws of Connecticut and New
Haven, and the False Blue Laws invented by the Rev. Samuel Peters,
etc., Hartford, 1876. See also Hinman's Blue Laws of New Haven Colony,
Hartford, 1838; Barber's History and Antiquities of New Haven, 1831;
Peters's History of Connecticut, London, 1781. The story of the
regicides is set forth in Stiles's History of the Three Judges [the
third being Colonel Dixwell], Hartford, 1794; see also the Mather
Papers in Mass. Hist. Coll., 4th series, vol. viii.
The Rhode Island Colonial Records are edited by J.R. Bartlett, 7
vols., 1856-62. One of the best state histories ever written is that
of S.G. Arnold, History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations, 2 vols., New York, 1859-60. Many valuable documents are
reprinted in the Rhode Island Historical Society's Collections. The
History of New England, with particular reference to the denomination
called Baptists, by Rev. Isaac Backus, 3 vols., 1777-96, has much
that is valuable relating to Rhode Island. The series of Rhode Island
Historical Tracts, issued since 1878 by Mr. S.S. Rider, is of great
merit. Biographies of Roger Williams have been written by J.D. Knowles,
1834; by William Gammell, 1845; and by Romeo Elton, 1852. Williams's
works have been republished by the Narragansett Club in 6 vols., 1866.
The first volume contains the valuable Key to the Indian Languages of
America, edited by Dr. Trumbull. Williams's views of religious liberty
are set forth in his Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, London, 1644; to
which John Cotton replied in The Bloudy Tenent washed and made White in
the Blood of the Lamb, London, 1647; Williams's rejoinder was entitled
The Bloudy Tenent made yet more Bloudy through Mr. Cotton's attempt
to Wash it White, London, 1652. The controversy was conducted on both
sides with a candour and courtesy rare in that age. The titles of
Williams's other principal works, George Fox digged out of his
Burrowes, Boston, 1676; Hireling Ministry none of Christ's, London,
1652; and Christenings make not Christians, 1643; sufficiently
indicate their character. The last-named tract was discovered in the
British Museum by Dr. Dexter and edited by him in Rider's Tracts,
No. xiv., 1881. The treatment of Roger Williams by the government
of Massachusetts is thoroughly discussed in Dexter's As to Roger
Williams, Boston, 1876. See also G.E. Ellis on "The Treatment of
Intruders and Dissentients by the Founders of Massachusetts," in Lowell
Lectures, Boston, 1869.
The case of Mrs. Hutchinson is treated, from a hostile and somewhat
truculent point of view, in Thomas Welde's pamphlet entitled A Short
Story of the Rise, Reign, and Ruin of Antinomians, Familists, and
Libertines that infected the Churches of New England, London, 1644. It
was answered in an anonymous pamphlet entitled Mercurius Americanus,
republished for the Prince Society, Boston, 1876, with prefatory notice
by C.H. Bell. Cotton's view of the theocracy may be seen in his Milk
for Babes, drawn out of the Breasts of both Testaments, London, 1646;
Keyes of the Kingdom of Heaven; and Way of the Congregational
Churches Cleared, London, 1648. See also Thomas Hooker's Survey of the
Summe of Church Discipline, London, 1648. The intolerant spirit of the
time finds quaint and forcible expression in Nathaniel Ward's satirical
book, The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam, 1647.
For the Gorton controversy the best original authorities are his own
book entitled Simplicitie's Defence against Sevenheaded Polity,
London, 1646; and Winslow's answer entitled Hypocracie Unmasked,
London, 1646. See also Mackie's Life of Samuel Gorton, Boston, 1845,
and Brayton's Defence of Samuel Gorton, in Rider's Tracts, No. xvii.
For the early history of the Quakers, see Robert Barclay's Inner Life
of the Religious Societies of the Commonwealth, London, 1876,--an
admirable book. See also New England a Degenerate Plant, 1659;
Bishop's New England judged by the Spirit of the Lord, 1661; Sewel's
History of the Quakers, 1722; Besse's Sufferings of the Quakers,
1753; The Popish Inquisition newly erected in New England, London,
1659; The Secret Works of a Cruel People made Manifest, 1659; and the
pamphlet of the martyrs Stevenson and Robinson, entitled A Call from
Death to Life, 1660. John Norton's view of the case was presented in
his book, The Heart of New England Rent at the Blasphemies of the
Present Generation, London, 1660. See also J.S. Pike's New Puritan,
New York, 1879; Hallowell's Pioneer Quakers, Boston, 1887; and his
Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts, Boston, 1883; Brooks Adams, The
Emancipation of Massachusetts, Boston, 1887; Ellis, The Puritan Age
and Rule, Boston, 1888.
Some additional light upon the theocratic idea may be found in a
treatise by the apostle Eliot, The Christian Commonwealth; or, the
Civil Polity of the Rising Kingdom of Jesus Christ, London, 1659. An
account of Eliot's missionary work is given in The Day breaking, if not
the Sun rising, of the Gospel with the Indians in New England, London,
1647; and The Glorious Progress of the Gospel amongst the Indians in
New England, 1649. See also Shepard's Clear Sunshine of the Gospel
breaking forth upon the Indians, 1648; and Whitfield's Light appearing
more and more towards the Perfect Day, 1651.
The principal authority for Philip's war is Hubbard's Present State of
New England, being a Narrative of the Troubles with the Indians, 1677.
Church's Entertaining Passages relating to Philip's War, published in
1716, and republished in 1865, with notes by Mr. Dexter, is a charming
book. See also Mrs. Rowlandson's True History, Cambridge, Mass.,
1682; Mather's Brief History of the War, 1676; Drake's Old Indian
Chronicle, Boston, 1836; Gookin's Historical Collections of the
Indians in New England, 1674; and Account of the Doings and Sufferings
of the Christian Indians, in Archchaeologia Americana, vol. ii.
Batten's Journal is the diary of a citizen of Boston, sent to England,
and it now in MS. among the Colonial Papers. Mrs. Mary Pray's letter
(Oct. 20, 1675) is in Mass. Hist. Coll., 5th series, vol. i. p. 105.
The great storehouse of information for the Andros period is the Andros
Tracts, 3 vols., edited for the Prince Society by W.H. Whitmore. See
also Sewall's Diary, Mass. Hist. Coll., 5th series, vols. v.--viii.
Sewall has been appropriately called the Puritan Pepys. His book is a
mirror of the state of society in Massachusetts at the time when it was
beginning to be felt that the old theocratic idea had been tried in the
balance and found wanting. There is a wonderful charm in such a book. It
makes one feel as if one had really "been there" and taken part in the
homely scenes, full of human interest, which it so naively portrays.
Anne Bradstreet's works have been edited by J.H. Ellis, Charlestown,
For further references and elaborate bibliographical discussions, see
Winsor's Narrative and Critical History of America, vol. iii.; and his
Memorial History of Boston, 4 vols., Boston, 1880. There is a good
account of the principal New England writers of the seventeenth century,
with illustrative extracts, in Tyler's History of American Literature,
2 vols., New York, 1878. For extracts see also the first two volumes of
Stedman and Hutchinson's Library of American Literature, New York,
In conclusion I would observe that town histories, though seldom written
in a philosophical spirit and apt to be quite amorphous in structure,
are a mine of wealth for the philosophic student of history.