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perfons of diftinction. Incredible were the hardships they endured. Expofed to the relentless cruelties of the Indians, who, a few months before, had entered into a general confpiracy to extirpate the English-reduced to a fcanty pittance of provifions, and that of a kind to which they had not been accustomed, and deftitute of neceffary accommodations, numbers fickened and died; fo that before the end of the year, they loft 200 of their number. About this time fettlements were made at Charleston, Eofton, Dorchefter, Cambridge, Roxbury and Medford. The firft general court of Maffachusetts was held on the 19th of October, 1631, not by reprefentation, but by the freemen of the corporation at large. At this court, they agreed that, in future, the freemen fhould choose the affiftants, and that the affiftants fhould choose, from among themselves, the governor and deputy governor. The court of afliftants were to have the power of making laws, and appointing officers. This was a departure from their charter. One hundred and nine freemen were admitted this court. At the next general court of election, in the fame year, the freemen, notwithstanding their former vote, refolved to choose their own governor, deputy, and affiftants, and paffed a moft extraordinary law,
that none but church members fhould be admitted to the freedom of the body politic.' This law continued in force until the diffolution of the government; with this alteration, however, that, inftead of being church members, the candidates for freedom must have a certificate from the minifter, that they were of orthodox principles, and of good lives and converfations.
In the years 1632 and 1633, great additions were made to the colony. Such was the rage for emigration to New England, that the king in council thought fit to iffue an order, (February 7, 1633,) to prevent it. This order, however, was not ftrictly obeyed; for this year came over Meffrs. Cotton, Hooker and Stone, three of the most famous pillars of the church. Mr. Cotton fettled at Bofton, and the other two at Cambridge. Mr. Hooker, and 100 others, removed in 1636, and fettled at Hartford, on Connecticut river.
In 1634, twenty-four of the principal inhabitants appeared in the general court for elections, as the reprefentatives of the body of freemen, and refolved, That none but the general court had power to make and eftablish laws-to elect officers-to raise monies, and confirm properties ;' and determined that four general courts be held yearly, to be fummoned by the governor, and not be diffolved without the confent of the major part of the court-that it be lawful for the freemen of each plantation to choofe two or three perfons as their reprefentatives, to tranfact, on their behalf, the affairs of the commonwealth, &c. Thus was fettled the legiflative body, which, except an alteration of the number of general courts, which were foon reduced to two only in a year, and other not very material circumflances, continued the fame as long as the charter lafted.
In 1636 Mrs. Hutchinfon, a very extraordinary woman, who came to New England with Mr. Cotton, made great disturbances in the churches. Two capital errors with which the was charged, were, That the Holy Ghoft dwells perfonally in a juftified perfon; and that nothing of fancti
fication, can help to evidence to believers their juftification.' Difputes ran high about the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace, and involved both the civil and religious affairs of the colony in great confufion. The final refult was, a fynod was appointed to be held at Cambridge, in Auguft, 1637, where were prefent both minifters and meffengers of churches and magiftrates, who, after three weeks difputing, con. demned, as erroneous, above eighty points or opinions, faid to have been maintained by fome or other in the country. The refult was figned by all the members but Mr. Cotton. In confequence of this, Mrs. Hutchinfon and fome of her principal followers were fentenced to banishment. She, with her husband and family, fhortly after removed to Aquidnick, (Rhode-Ifland) where, in 1642, Mr. Hutchinfon died. She being diffatisfied with the people or place, removed to the Dutch country, beyond New-Haven, and the next year, fhe and all her family, being fixteen fouls, were killed by the Indians, except one daughter, who was carried into captivity.
The year 1637, was diftinguifhed by the Pequot wars, in which were flain five or fix hundred Indians, and the tribe almoft wholly destroyed. This ftruck fuch terror into the Indians, that for forty years fucceeding, they never openly commenced hoftilities with the English.
The year 1638, was rendered memorable by a very great earthquake throughout New-England.
In 1640, the importation of fettlers ceafed. The motives for emigrating to New-England were removed by a change in the affairs of England. They who then profeffed to give the beft accounts fay, that in 298 fhips, which were the whole number from the beginning of the colony, there arrived 21,200 paffengers, men, women, and children, perhaps about 4000 families. Since then more perfons have removed from New-England to other parts of the world, than have arrived from thence hither. The prefent inhabitants therefore of New-England, are juftly to be estimated a natural increase, by the bleffing of Heaven, from the firft 21,000 that arrived in the year 1640. It was judged that they had, at this time, 12,000 neat cattle, and 3000 fheep. The charge of tranfporting the families and their fubftance, was computed at 192,000 l. fterling.
In 1641, many difcouragements were given to the fettlers by their former benefactors, who withheld their affiftance from them, and endeavoured, though without fuccefs, to perfuade them to quit their new establishments. The following year, the Indians confederated under Miantinomo, a leader of the Narragansett Indians, for the extirpation of the English. The confederacy was fortunately difcovered in its infancy and produced no mifchief.
This year (1643) great difturbance was made in the colony by a fect which arofe from the afhes of Antinomianifm. The members of it, by their imprudence, expofed themfelves to the intolerant fpirit of the day, and Gorton, the leader of the party, was fentenced to be confined to Charleston, there to be kept at work, and to wear fuch bolts and irons as might hinder his efcape, and was threatened with feverer punishment in cafe of a repetition of his crime. The reft were confined to different towns, one in a town, upon the fame conditions with Gorton. These fentences were cruel and unjustifiable; yet much of the apparent severity is removed, when the character and conduct of Gorton is taken into view.
All who have published any thing concerning him, except Mr. Calender, have represented him as an infamous character.
About this time, the French of Acadie, or Nova-Scotia, who had differed among themselves repeatedly, and engaged the English occafionally with them, awakened the fears of the colony. But these were foon happily compofed. The Indians were this year (1644) and the following, at war among themselves.
In 1646, the colony was disturbed by fome of its principal inhabitants, who had conceived a diflike of fome of the laws and the government. Several of thefe difaffected perfons were imprifoned, and the reft compelled to give fecurity for their future good behaviour.
An epidemical fickness paffed through the country the next year, and fwept away many of the English, French, and Dutch.
In 1648, we have the first instance of the credulity and infatuation refpecting witchcraft, which, for fome time, prevailed in this colony.
Margaret Jones, of Charleston, was accufed of having fo malignant a quality, as to caufe vomiting, deafnefs, and violent pains by her touch. She was accordingly tried, condemned, and executed. Happy would it have been, if this had been the only inftance of this infatuation. But why fhall we wonder at the magiftrates of New-England, when we find the celebrated Lord Chief Juftice Hale, and others of high rank, in OldEngland, fhortly after, chargeable with as great delufion. The truth is, it was the fpirit of the times; and the odium of the witchcraft and other infatuations, ought never to have been mentioned as peculiar to NewEngland, or ascribed to their fingular bigotry and superstition, as has been injuriously done by many European historians. The fame fpirit prevailed at this time in England, and was very probably brought from thence, as were most of the laws and cuftoms of the first settlers in America. The fame infatuation sprang up in Pennsylvania foon after its settlement.
*The following extracts from the records of Pennsylvania, fhew that the method of proceeding with fuppofed witches, was equally ridiculous in the infancy of that colony as in New-England.
"Council Book A. Page 43.
7th 12th Mo. 1683. Margaret Mattfon and Yethro Hendrickfon exJamined, and about to be proved Witches, where upon this Board ordered that Neels Mattfon fhould enter into a Recognizance of fifty pounds for his Wiffs appearance before this bord the 271b inftant. Hendrick Jacobjon doth the fame for his Wife.
"27th of the 12th Month.
Page 44. Margarit Mattfon's Indictment was read, and she pleads not guilty, and will be tryed by the Country.
Page 45. "The Jury went forth and upon their Returne brought her in guilty of having the Common fame of a Witch, but not guilty in manner and form as fe ftands indicted.
Page 46. "Neels Mattfon and Antho Neelfon enters into a Recognizance of fifty pounds a piece for the good behaviour of Margaret Mattson for fix months. "Jacob Hendrickfon enters into a Recognizance of fifty pounds for the good behaviour of Getro Hendrickson for fix Months."
The fcrupuloufnefs of the people appears to have arifen to its height in 1649, and was indeed ridiculous. The cuftom of wearing long hair, < after the manner of ruffians and barbarous Indians,' as they termed it, was deemed contrary to the word of God, which fays it is a fhame for a man to wear long hair.' This expreffion of the Apostle Paul, induced thefe pious people to think this cuftom criminal in all ages and nations. In a clergyman it was peculiarly offenfive, as they were required in an efpecial manner to go patentibus auribus, with open ears.
The ufe of tobacco was prohibited under a penalty; and the fmoke of it, in fome manufcripts, is compared to the fmoak of the bottomlefs pit. The fickness frequently produced by fmoaking tobacco was confidered as a fpecies of drunkennefs, and hence what we now term fmoaking, was then often called drinking tobacco.' At length fome of the clergy fell into the practice of fmoaking, and tobacco, by an act of government,
was fet at liberty.'
In 1650, a corporation in England, conftituted for propagating the gofpel among the Indians, began a correfpondence with the commiffioners of the colonies, who were employed as agents for the corporation as long as the union of the colonies continued. In confequence of this correfpondence, the colonists, who had too long neglected their duty, renewed their attempts to inftruct the Indians in the knowledge of the Chriftian religion. These attempts were attended with little fuccefs.
While the English and Dutch were at war in Europe, in 1653, information was given to the governor of Massachusetts, that the Dutch governor had been endeavouring to engage the Indians in a confederacy against the English, to expel or deftroy them. This created an alarm through the colonies. An examination was made, and preparations for a war enfued, which the pacification at home prevented.
In 1655, a diftemper, like to that of 1647, went through the plan
In 1656 began what has been generally called the perfecution of the Quakers. The firft who openly profeffed the principles of this feet in this colony, were Mary Fisher and Ann Auftin, who came from Barbadoes in July of this year. A few weeks after, nine others arrived in the fhip Speedwell, of London. On the 8th of September, they were brought before the court of Affiftants. It seems they had before affirmed, that they were fent by God to reprove the people for their fins; they were accordingly questioned how they could make it appear that God fent them? After paufing, they answered, that they had the fame call that Abraham had to go out of his country. To other questions they gave rude and contemptuous anfwers, which is the reafon aligned for committing them to prifon. A great number of their books which they had brought over
The author of the European fettlements in America, among many errors as to biftorical facts, judiciously observes, on the subject of the New England perfecu Such is the manner of proceeding of religious parties towards each other, and in this refpect the New-England people are not worse than the rest of man◄ kind; nor was their feverity any just matter of reflection upon that mode of religion which they profefs. No religion whatsoever, true or falfe, can excufe its own members, or accufe thofe of any other, upon the fcare of perfecution."
with intent to fcatter them about the country, were feized and referved for the fire. Soon after this, as the governor was going from public worship on the Lord's-day to his own houfe, feveral gentlemen accompanying him, Mary Prince called to him from a window of the prifon, railing at and reviling him, faying, Woe unto thee, thou art an oppreffor; and denouncing the judgments of God upon him. Not content with this, fhe wrote a letter to the governor and magiftrates, filled with opprobrious ftuff. The governor fent for her twice from the prifon to his house, and took much pains to perfuade her to defift from fuch extravagancies. Two of the minifters were prefent, and with much moderation and tenderness endeavoured to convince her of her errors, to which fhe returned the groffeft railings, reproaching them as hirelings, deceivers of the people, Baal's pricfts, the feed of the ferpent, of the brood of Ishmael, and the
At this time there was no fpecial provifion made in the laws for the punishment of the Quakers. But in virtue of a law which had been made again't heretics in general, the court paffed fentence of banishment upon them all. Afterwards other fevere laws were enacted, among which were the following; any Quaker, after the first conviction, if a man, was to lofe one ear, and for the fecond offence, the other-a woman to be each time feverely whipped-and the third time, whether man or woman, to have their tongues bored through with a red hot iron.
The perfecution of any religious fect ever has had, and ever will have a tendency to increase their number. Mankind are compaffionate beings; and from a principle of pity, they will often advocate a caufe which their judgment difowns. Thus it was in the cafe of the Quakers; the spectators compaffionated their fufferings, and then adopted their fentiments. Their growing numbers induced the legislature, in their October feffion, to pals a law to punish with death all Quakers who fhould return into the jurifdiction after banishment. Under this impolitic as well as unjust law, four perfons only fuffered death, and thefe had, in the face of prudence as well as of law, returned after having been banished. That fome provifion was neceffary against thefe people, fo far as they were disturbers of civil peace and order, every one will allow; but fuch fanguinary laws againft particular doctrines or tenets in religion, are not to be defended. The moit that can be faid for our ancestors is, that they tried gentler means at first, which they found utterly ineffectual, and that they followed the examples of the authorities in moft other ftates and in most ages of the world, who, with the like abfurdity, have fuppofed every perfon could and ought to think as they did, and with the like cruelty have punifhed fuch as appeared to differ from them. We may add, that it was with reluctance that these unnatural laws were carried into execution.
The laws in England, at this time, were very fevere against the Quakers; and though none were actually put to death by public execution, yet many were confined in prisons where they died in confequence of the rigor of the law. King Charles the fecond alfo, in a letter to the colony of Maffachufetts, approved of their feverity. The conduct of the Quakers, at
Extract from the King's Letter, dated the 28th of June, 1662.