20 de junio de 2009


From this time till the American Revolution New York continued a province of the Crown. Royal governor succeeded royal governor, some of them better, some worse. Of the entire line Bellomont was the most worthy official, Cornbury the least so. One of the problems which chiefly worried all of them was how to execute the navigation acts, which, evaded everywhere, were here unscrupulously defied. Another care of the governors, in which they succeeded but very imperfectly, was to establish the English Church in the colony. A third was the disfranchisement of Catholics. This they accomplished, the legislature concurring, and the disability continued during the entire colonial period.

Hottest struggle of all occurred over the question of the colony's right of self-taxation. The democracy stood for this with the utmost firmness, and even the higher classes favored rather than opposed. The governors, Cornbury and Lovelace, most frantically, but in vain, expostulated, scolded, threatened, till at last it became admitted by law in the colony that no tax whatever could, on any pretext, be levied save by act of the people's representatives.

Dutch America, it will be remembered, had reached southward to the Delaware River, and this lower portion passed with the rest to the Duke of York in 1664. The territory between the Hudson and the Delaware, under the name of New Jersey, he made over to Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, proprietaries, who favored the freest institutions, civil and religious. The population was for long very sparse and, as it grew, very miscellaneous. Dutch, Swedes, English, Quakers, and Puritans from New England were represented.
After the English recovery Berkeley disposed of his undivided half of the province, subsequently set off as West Jersey, to one Bylling, a Quaker, who in a little time assigned it to Lawrie, Lucas, Penn, and other Quakers. West Jersey became as much a Quaker paradise as Pennsylvania. Penn with eleven of his brethren, also bought, of Carteret's heirs, East Jersey, but here Puritan rather than Quaker influence prevailed.
The Jersey plantations came of course under Andros, and after his fall its proprietors did not recover their political authority. For twelve years, while they were endeavoring to do this, partial anarchy cursed the province, and at length in 1702 they surrendered their rights to the Crown, the Jerseys, now made one, becoming directly subject to Queen Anne. The province had its own legislature and, till 1741, the same governors as New York. It also had mainly the same political vicissitudes, and with the same result.

William Penn, the famous Quaker, received the proprietorship of Pennsylvania in payment of a claim for sixteen thousand pounds against the English Government. This had been left him by his father, Sir William Penn, a distinguished naval commander in the Dutch war of 1665-67, when he had borne chief part in the conquest of Jamaica.
William Penn was among the most cultivated men of his time, polished by study and travel, deeply read in law and philosophy. He had fortune, and many friends at court, including Charles II. himself. He needed but to conform, and great place was his. But conform he would not. True to the inner light, braving the scoffs of all his friends, expelled from Oxford University, beaten from his own father's door, imprisoned now nine months in London Tower, now six in Newgate, this heroic spirit persistently went the Quaker way. In despair of securing in England freedom for distressed consciences he turned his thoughts toward America, there to try his "holy experiment."
The charter from Charles II. was drawn by Penn's own hand and was nobly liberal. It ordained perfect religious toleration for all Christians, and forbade taxation save by the provincial assembly or the English Parliament. Under William and Mary, greatly to his grief, Penn was forced to sanction the penal laws against Catholics; but they were most leniently administered, which brought upon the large-minded proprietary much trouble with the home government.

As Pennsylvania, owing to the righteous and loving procedure of Penn toward them, suffered nothing from the red men to the west, so was it fortunately beyond Andros's jurisdiction on the east. Once, from 1692, for two years, the land was snatched from Penn and placed under a royal commission. Returning to England in 1684, after a two years' sojourn in America to get his colony started, the Quaker chief became intimate and a favorite with James II., devotedly supporting his Declaration of Indulgence toward Catholics as well as toward all Protestant dissenters.
He tried hard but vainly to win William and Mary to the same policy.
This attitude of his cost him dear, rendering him an object of suspicion to the men now in power in England. Twice was he accused of treasonable correspondence with the exiled James II., though never proved guilty.
From 1699 to 1701 he was in America again, thereafter residing in England till his death in 1718. He had literally given all for his colony, his efforts on its behalf having been to him, so he wrote in 1710, a cause of grief, trouble, and poverty.
But the colony itself was amazingly prosperous. There were internal feuds, mainly petty, some serious. George Keith grievously divided the Quakers by his teachings against slavery, going to law, or service as magistrates on the part of Quakers, thus implying that only infidels or churchmen could be the colony's officials.

Fletcher's governorship in 1693-94, under the royal commission, evoked continual opposition, colonial privileges remaining intact in spite of him. The people from time to time subjected their ground-law to changes, only to render it a fitter instrument of freedom. In everything save the hereditary function of the proprietary, it was democratic. For many years even the governor's council was elective. The colony grew, immigrants crowding in from nearly every European country, and wealth multiplied to correspond.
We have, dating from 1698, a history of Pennsylvania by one Gabriel Thomas, full of interesting information. Philadelphia was already a "noble and beautiful city," containing above 2,000 houses, most of them "stately," made of brick; three stores, and besides a town house, a market house, and several schools. Three fairs were held there yearly, and two weekly markets, which it required twenty fat bullocks, besides many sheep, calves, and hogs, to supply. The city had large trade to New York, New England, Virginia, West India, and Old England. Its exports were horses, pipe-staves, salt meats, bread-stuffs, poultry, and tobacco; its imports, fir, rum, sugar, molasses, silver, negroes, salt, linen, household goods, etc. Wages were three times as high as in England or Wales. All sorts of "very good paper" were made at Germantown, besides linen, druggets, crapes, camlets, serges, and other woollen cloths. All religious confessions were represented.

In 1712, such his poverty, the good proprietary was willing to sell to the Crown, but as he insisted upon maintenance of the colonists' full rights, no sale occurred. English bigots and revenue officials would gladly have annulled his charter, but his integrity had gotten him influence among English statesmen, which shielded the heritage he had left even when he was gone.

It is particularly to be noticed that till our Independence Delaware was most intimately related to Pennsylvania. Of Delaware the fee simple belonged not to Penn, but to the Duke of York, who had conquered it from the Dutch, as they from the Swedes. Penn therefore governed here, not as proprietary but as the Duke's tenant. In 1690-92, and from 1702, Delaware enjoyed a legislature by itself, though its governors were appointed by Penn or his heirs during the entire colonial period.

See also:1686


The English conquest of New Netherland from the Dutch speedily followed the Stuarts' return to the throne. Cromwell had mooted an attack on Dutch America; Connecticut's charter of 1662 extended that colony to include the Dutch lands. England based her claim to the territory on alleged priority of discovery, but the real motives were the value of the Hudson as an avenue for trade, and the desire to range her colonies along the Atlantic coast in one unbroken line. The victory was not bloody, nor was it offensive to the Dutch themselves, who in the matter of liberties could not lose. King Charles had granted the conquered tract to his brother, the Duke of York, subsequently James II., and it was in his honor christened with its present name of New York.

The Duke's government was not popular, especially as it ordered the Dutch land-patents to be renewed--for money, of course; and in 1673, war again existing between England and Holland, the Dutch recovered their old possession. They held it however for only fifteen months, since at the Peace of 1674 the two belligerent nations mutually restored all the posts which they had won.

The reader already has some idea of Sir Edmond Andros's rule in America. New York was the first to feel this, coming under the gentleman's governorship immediately on being the second time surrendered to England. Such had been the political disorder in the province, that Andros's headship, stern as it was, proved beneficial. He even, for a time, 1683-86, reluctantly permitted an elective legislature, though discontinuing it when the legislatures of New England were suppressed. This taste of freedom had its effect afterward.
1688- 1700

7 de junio de 2009


Prayers ended, the "men folks" went forth to the day's toil. It was hard, partly from its then rough character, partly from poverty of appliances. For the hardest jobs neighbors would join hands, fighting nature as they had to fight the Indians, unitedly. Farming tools, if of iron or steel, as axe, mattock, spade, and the iron nose for the digger or the plough, the village blacksmith usually fashioned, as he did the bake-pan, griddle, crane, and pothooks, for indoor use. Tables, chairs, cradles, bedsteads, and those straight-backed "settles" of which a few may yet be seen, were either home-made or gotten up by the village carpenter. Mattresses were at first of hay, straw, leaves, or rushes.
Before 1700, however, feather beds were common, and houses and the entire state of a New England farmer's home had become somewhat more lordly than the above picture might indicate. The colonists made much use of berries, wild fruits, bread and milk, game, fish, and shellfish.
The stock wandered in the forests and about the brooks, to be brought home at night by the boys, whom the sound of the cow-bell led. In autumn bushels upon bushels of nuts were laid by, to serve, along with dried berries and grapes, salted fish and venison, as food for the winter.
Every phase and circumstance of this pioneer life reminded our fathers of their dependence upon nature and the Supreme Power behind nature, while at the same time the continual need and application of neighbor's co-operation with neighbor brought out brotherly love in charming strength and beauty.

But to old New England religion, as a clerical, public, and organized affair, there is a far darker side. In the eighteenth century belief in witchcraft was nearly universal. In 1683 one Margaret Matron was tried in Pennsylvania on a charge of bewitching cows and geese, and placed under bonds of one hundred pounds for good behavior. In 1705 Grace Sherwood was ducked in Virginia for the same offence. Cases of the kind had occurred in New York. There was no colony where the belief in astrology, necromancy, second sight, ghosts, haunted houses and spots, love-spells, charms, and peculiar powers attaching to rings, herbs, etc., did not prevail. Such credulity was not peculiar to America, but cursed Europe as well. It seemed to flourish, if anything, after the Reformation more than before. Luther firmly believed in witchcraft. He professed to have met the Evil One in personal conflict, and to have vanquished him by the use of an inkstand as missile. Perhaps every land in Europe had laws making witchcraft a capital crime. One was enacted in England under Henry VIII., another in James I.'s first year, denouncing death against all persons "invoking any evil spirit, or consulting, covenanting with, entertaining, employing, feeding, or rewarding any evil spirit, or taking up dead bodies from their graves to be used in any witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment, or killing or otherwise hurting any person by such infernal arts." A similar statute was contained in the "Fundamentals" of Massachusetts, probably inspired by the command of Scripture, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." This law, we shall see, was not a dead letter.

No wonder such a law was of more effect in New England than anywhere else on earth. The official religion of the Puritans was not only superstitious in general but gloomy in particular, and most gloomy in New England. Its central tenet, here at least, seemed to be that life ought to furnish no joy, men seeking to "merit heaven by making earth a hell." Sunday laws were severe, and rigidly enforced from six o'clock Saturday evening till the same hour the next. Not the least work was allowed unless absolutely necessary, nor any semblance of amusement.
Boys bringing home the cows were cautioned to "let down the bars softly, as it was the Lord's day." Sunday travellers were arrested and fined.
Men might be whipped for absence from church. A girl at Plymouth was threatened exile as a street-walker for smiling in meeting. Increase Mather traced the great Boston fire of 1711 to the sin of Sunday labor, such as carrying parcels and baking food. In Newport, some men having been drowned who, to say good-by to departing friends, had rowed out to a ship just weighing anchor, Rev. John Comer prayed that others might take warning and "do no more such great wickedness."

Sermons were often two hours long; public prayer half an hour. Worse still was what went by the name of music--doggerel hymns full of the most sulphurous theology, uttered congregationally as "lined off" by the leader--nasal, dissonant, and discordant in the highest imaginable degree. The church itself was but a barn, homely-shaped, bare, and in winter cold as out-of-doors. At this season men wrapped their feet in bags, and women stuffed their muffs with hot stones. Sleepers were rudely awakened by the tithing-man's baton thwacking their heads; or, if females, by its fox-tail end brushing their cheeks. Fast-days were common. Prayer opened every public meeting, secular as well as religious. The doctrine of special providences was pressed to a ridiculous extreme. The devil was believed in no less firmly than God, and indefinitely great power ascribed to him. The Catechism--book second in authority only to the Bible--contained of his Satanic Majesty a cut, which children were left, not to say taught, to suppose as correct a likeness as that of Cromwell, which crowned the mantels of so many homes.

See also: WITCHCRAFT 1675

1 de junio de 2009


The home life of colonial New England was unique. Its like has appeared nowhere else in human history. Mostwise it was beautiful as well. In it religion was central and supreme. The General Court of Plymouth very early passed the following order: "Noe dwelling-howse shal be builte above halfe a myle from the meeting-howse in any newe plantacion without leave from the Court, except mylle-howses and ffermehowses." In laying out a village the meeting-house, as the hub to which everything was to be referred, was located first of all. The minister's lot commonly adjoined. Then a sufficiency of land was parcelled off to each freeholder whereon to erect his dwelling. Massachusetts from the first, and Plymouth beginning somewhat later, also made eminent provision for schools--all in the interest of religion.

The earliest residences were necessarily of logs, shaped and fitted more or less rudely according to the skill of the builder or the time and means at his disposal. There was usually one large room below, which served as kitchen, dining-room, sitting-room, and parlor, and on the same floor with this one or two lodging-rooms. An unfinished attic constituted the dormitory for the rising generation. A huge Stone chimney, terminating below in a still more capacious fireplace, that would admit logs from four to eight feet in length, conveyed away the smoke, and with it much of the heat. This involved no loss, as wood was a drug. Communicating with the chimney was the great stone baking-oven, whence came the bouncing loaves of corn-bread, duly "brown," the rich-colored "pompion" pies, and the loin of venison, beef, or pork.

Over these bounties--and such they were heartily esteemed, however meagre--often as the family drew around the table, its head offered thanks to the heavenly Giver. Each morning, after they had eaten, he read a goodly portion of God's Word, never less than a chapter, and then, not kneeling but standing, led his household in reverent and believing prayer for protection, guidance, stimulus in good, and for every needed grace. What purity, what love of rectitude, what strength of will did not the builders of America carry forth from that family altar! He who would understand the richest side and the deepest moving forces of our national life and development must not overlook those New England fireside scenes.


Turner's victory brought the war to a crisis. The red men lacked resources. The whites had learned the secrets of savage warfare. They could no longer be led into ambush, while their foe at no time during the war ventured to engage them in open field. Large parties of Indians began to surrender; many roving bands were captured. Hostilities continued still many months in Maine, the whites more and more uniformly successful, till the Treaty of Casco, April 12, 1678, at last terminated the war.

Hunted by the English backward and forward, Philip was at last driven to his old home upon Mount Hope. Here Captain Church, one of the most practised of Indian fighters, surprised him on the morning of August 12, 1676, encamped upon a little upland, which it is believed has been exactly identified near a swamp at the foot of the mountain. By residents in the neighborhood it is known as Little Guinea. At the first firing Philip, but partially dressed, seized gun and powder-horn and made for the swamp, Captain Church's ambush was directly in his front.
An Englishman's piece missed fire, but an Indian sent a bullet through the Great Sachem's heart.

In this fearful war at least six hundred of the English inhabitants either fell in battle or were murdered by the enemy, A dozen or more towns were utterly destroyed, others greatly damaged, Some six hundred buildings, chiefly dwelling-houses, were consumed by fire, and over a hundred thousand pounds of colonial money expended, to say nothing of the immense losses in goods and cattle.

Not without propriety has the Pokanoket chief been denominated a king.
If not a Charlemagne or a Louis XIV., he yet possessed elements of true greatness. While he lived his mind evidently guided, as his will dominated and prolonged, the war. This is saying much, for the Indian's disinclination to all strenuous or continuous exertion was pronounced and proverbial. Philip's treatment of Mrs. Rowlandson must be declared magnanimous, especially as, of course, he was but a savage king, who might reasonably request us not to measure him by our rules. The other party to the war we have a right to judge more rigidly, and just sentence in their case must be severe. Philip's sorrowing, innocent wife and son were brought prisoners to Plymouth, and their lot referred to the ministers. After long deliberation and prayer it was decided that they should be sold into slavery, and this was their fate.