Entradas

Mostrando las entradas de abril, 2009

1688

1688.
There is no describing the joy which pervaded New England as the news of the Revolution of 1688 flew from colony to colony. Andros slunk away from Boston, glad to escape alive. Drums beat and gala-day was kept. Old magistrates were reinstated. Town meetings were resumed. All believed that God had interposed, in answer to prayer, to bring deliverance to his people from popery and thraldom.

This revolution, ushering in the liberal monarchy of William and Mary, restored to Rhode Island and Connecticut their old charter governments in full. New Hampshire, after a momentary union with Massachusetts again, became once more a royal province. As to Massachusetts itself, a large party of the citizens now either did not wish the old state of things renewed, or were too timid to agree in demanding back their charter as of right. Had they been bold and united, they might have succeeded in this without any opposition from the Crown. Instead, a new charter was conferred, creating Massachusett…

1685

Rhode Island had worse troubles than Connecticut. It, too, had boundary disputes, serious and perpetual; but graver by much were its internal feuds, caused partly by the mutual jealousy of its four towns, partly by the numerous and jarring religious persuasions here represented.
Government was painfully feeble. Only with utmost difficulty could the necessary taxes be raised. Warwick in particular was for some time in arrears to John Clark, of Newport, for his invaluable services in securing the charter of 1663. Quakers and the divers sorts of Baptists valiantly warred each against other, using, with dreadful address, those most deadly of carnal weapons, tongue and pen. On George Fox's visit to the colony, Roger Williams, zealous for a debate, pursued the eminent Quaker from Providence to Newport, rowing thither in his canoe and arriving at midnight, only to find that his intended opponent had departed, The latter's champion was ready, however, and a discussion of four days ens…

1668-1680

1668.

Vengeance for such defiance was delayed by Charles II.'s very vices. Clarendon's fall had left him surrounded by profligate aides, too timid and too indolent to face the resolute men of Massachusetts. They often discussed the contumacy of the colony, but went no further than words. Massachusetts was even encouraged, in 1668, forcibly to reassert its authority in Maine, against rule either by the king or by Sir Ferdinanda Gorges's heir as proprietary.

Its charter had assigned to the colony land to a point three miles north of the Merrimac. Bold in the favor of the Commonwealth, the authorities measured from the head-waters of that river. But Plymouth had originally claimed all the territory west of the Kennebec, and had sold it to Gorges. Charles II. favored the Gorges heirs against Massachusetts, and for some years previous to 1668 Massachusetts' power over Maine had been in abeyance. Ten years later, in 1678, to make assurance doubly sure, Massachusetts bought o…

1662-1664

1662.

These territorial assumptions on the part of Massachusetts much increased the king's hostility. This probably would not have proved fatal had it not been re-enforced by the determination of the merchants and manufacturers of the mother-country to crush what they feared was becoming a rival power beyond seas. They insisted upon full enforcement of the Navigation Laws, which made America's foreign trade in a cruel degree subservient to English interest. So incorrigible was the colony, it was found that this end could be compassed only by the abrogation of the charter, so that English law might become immediately valid in Massachusetts, colonial laws to the contrary notwithstanding.
Accordingly, in 1684, the charter was vacated and the colonists ceased to be free, their old government with its popular representation giving way to an arbitrary commission.

The other New England colonies--Plymouth, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Haven--had made haste to proclaim Charles II…

1660-1661

[1660]

The Commonwealth in England went to pieces at the death of Oliver Cromwell, its founder. The Stuart dynasty came back, but, alas! unimproved. Charles II. was a much meaner man than his father, and James II. was more detestable still. The rule of such kings was destined to work sad changes in the hitherto free condition of Massachusetts. This colony had sympathized with the Commonwealth more heartily than any of the others. Hither had fled for refuge Goffe and Whalley, two of the accomplices in the death of Charles I. Congregational church polity was here established by law, to the exclusion of all others, even of episcopacy, for whose sake Charles was harrying poor Covenanters to death on every hillside in Scotland. Nor would his lawyers let the King forget Charles I.'s attack on the Massachusetts charter, begun so early as 1635, or the grounds therefor, such as the unwarranted transfer of it to Boston, or the likelihood that but for the outbreak of the Civil War it would h…

1645-1660

[1645]

The colony was in extremity. New Haven refused to aid, because, as a member of the New England confederacy, it could not act alone, and because it was not satisfied that the Dutch war was just. An appeal was made by Kieft's eight advisers to both the States-General and the West India Company in Holland. The sad condition of the colonists was fully set forth, and the responsibility directly ascribed to the mismanagement of Kieft. At the same time, undismayed by the gloomy outlook, the courage of the sturdy Dutchmen rose with the emergency. Small parties were sent out against the Connecticut savages in the vicinity of Stamford. Indian villages on Long Island were surprised and the natives put to the sword. In two instances at least the victors disgraced humanity by torturing the captured.
In these engagements Underhill was conspicuous and most energetic.
Having made himself familiar with the position of the Indians near Stamford, he sailed from Manhattan with one hundred and …

1640-1643

1640-1643.

The Dutch, too, as we have to some extent seen already, felt the horrors of Indian warfare. Kieft, the Dutch director-general, a man cruel, avaricious, and obstinate, angered the red men by demanding tribute from them as their protector, while he refused them guns or ammunition. The savages replied that they had to their own cost shown kindness to the Dutch when in need of food, but would not pay tribute. Kieft attacked. Some of the Indians were killed and their crops destroyed. This roused their revengeful passions to the utmost. The Raritan savages visited the colony of De Vries, on Staten Island, with death and devastation. Reward was offered for the head of anyone of the murderers. An Indian never forgot an injury. The nephew of one of the natives who twenty years before had been wantonly killed went to sell furs at Fort Amsterdam, and while there revenged his uncle's murder by the slaughter of an unoffending colonist. Spite of warlike preparations by Kieft and his …

1638-1642

l638.

For nearly forty years the New England colonies were not again molested, the merciless vigor with which they had fought making a lasting impression upon their blood-thirsty foes. The cruel slavery to which the surviving natives were subjected, the English justified by the example of the Jews in their treatment of the Canaanites.
1642.

The Narraganset chief, Miantonomoh, had become the friend and ally of the English by a treaty ratified in 1636, mainly through the good offices of Roger Williams, In 1638, after the destruction of the Pequots, there was a new treaty, embracing Uncas with his bold Mohegans, and stipulating that any quarrel between Miantonomoh and Uncas should be referred to the English. In 1642 Miantonomoh was accused of plotting against the English, and summoned before the General Court at Boston.
Though acquitted he vowed revenge upon Uncas as the instigator of the charge. His friendship for Roger Williams, as also for Samuel Gorton, the purchaser of Shawomet, or …