Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Beginnings of New England by John Fiske

Part 2 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

to pieces in England, monasteries were suppressed and their abbots
hanged, the authority of the Pope was swept away, and there was no
powerful party, like that of the Guises in France to make such sweeping
measures the occasion for civil war. The whole secret of Henry's swift
success lay in the fact that the English people were already more than
half Protestant in temper, and needed only an occasion for declaring
themselves. Hence, as soon as Catholic Henry died, his youthful son
found himself seated on the throne of a Protestant nation. The terrible
but feeble persecution which followed under Mary did much to strengthen
the extreme Protestant sentiment by allying it with the outraged feeling
of national independence. The bloody work of the grand-daughter of
Ferdinand and Isabella, the doting wife of Philip II., was rightly felt
to be Spanish work; and never, perhaps, did England feel such a sense of
relief as on the auspicious day which welcomed to the throne the great
Elizabeth, an Englishwoman in every fibre, and whose mother withal was
the daughter of a plain country gentleman. But the Marian persecution
not only increased the strength of the extreme Protestant sentiment, but
indirectly it supplied it with that Calvinistic theology which was to
make it indomitable. Of the hundreds of ministers and laymen who fled
from England in 1555 and the two following years, a great part found
their way to Geneva, and thus came under the immediate personal
influence of that man of iron who taught the very doctrines for which
their souls were craving, and who was then at the zenith of his power.
[Sidenote: Secret of Henry VIII.'s swift success in his revolt against
Rome] [Sidenote: Effects of the persecution under Mary]

Among all the great benefactors of mankind the figure of Calvin is
perhaps the least attractive. He was, so to speak, the constitutional
lawyer of the Reformation, with vision as clear, with head as cool, with
soul as dry, as any old solicitor in rusty black that ever dwelt in
chambers in Lincoln's Inn. His sternness was that of the judge who
dooms a criminal to the gallows. His theology had much in it that is in
striking harmony with modern scientific philosophy, and much in it, too,
that the descendants of his Puritan converts have learned to loathe as
sheer diabolism. It is hard for us to forgive the man who burned Michael
Servetus, even though it was the custom of the time to do such things
and the tender-hearted Melanchthon found nothing to blame in it. It is
not easy to speak of Calvin with enthusiasm, as it comes natural to
speak of the genial, whole-souled, many-sided, mirth-and-song-loving
Luther. Nevertheless it would be hard to overrate the debt which mankind
owe to Calvin. The spiritual father of Coligny, of William the Silent,
and of Cromwell must occupy a foremost rank among the champions of
modern democracy. Perhaps not one of the mediaeval popes was more
despotic in temper than Calvin; but it is not the less true that the
promulgation of his theology was one of the longest steps that mankind
have taken toward personal freedom. Calvinism left the individual man
alone in the presence of his God. His salvation could not be wrought by
priestly ritual, but only by the grace of God abounding in his soul; and
wretched creature that he felt himself to be, through the intense moral
awakening of which this stern theology was in part the expression, his
soul was nevertheless of infinite value, and the possession of it was
the subject of an everlasting struggle between the powers of heaven and
the powers of hell. In presence of the awful responsibility of life, all
distinctions of rank and fortune vanished; prince and pauper were alike
the helpless creatures of Jehovah and suppliants for his grace. Calvin
did not originate these doctrines; in announcing them he was but setting
forth, as he said, the Institutes of the Christian religion; but in
emphasizing this aspect of Christianity, in engraving it upon men's
minds with that keen-edged logic which he used with such unrivalled
skill, Calvin made them feel, as it had perhaps never been felt before,
the dignity and importance of the individual human soul. It was a
religion fit to inspire men who were to be called upon to fight for
freedom, whether in the marshes of the Netherlands or on the moors of
Scotland. In a church, moreover, based upon such a theology there was
no room for prelacy. Each single church tended to become an independent
congregation of worshippers, constituting one of the most effective
schools that has ever existed for training men in local self-government.
[Sidenote: Calvin's theology in its political bearings]

When, therefore, upon the news of Elizabeth's accession to the throne,
the Protestant refugees made their way back to England, they came as
Calvinistic Puritans. Their stay upon the Continent had been short, but
it had been just enough to put the finishing touch upon the work that
had been going on since the days of Wyclif. Upon such men and their
theories Elizabeth could not look with favour. With all her father's
despotic temper, Elizabeth possessed her mother's fine tact, and
she represented so grandly the feeling of the nation in its
life-and-death-struggle with Spain and the pope, that never perhaps in
English history has the crown wielded so much real power as during the
five-and-forty years of her wonderful reign.

One day Elizabeth asked a lady of the court how she contrived to retain
her husband's affection. The lady replied that "she had confidence
in her husband's understanding and courage, well founded on her own
steadfastness not to offend or thwart, but to cherish and obey, whereby
she did persuade her husband of her own affection, and in so doing did
command his." "Go to, go to, mistress," cried the queen, "You are
wisely bent, I find. After such sort do I keep the good will of all
my husbands, my good people; for if they did not rest assured of some
special love towards them, they would not readily yield me such good
obedience." [2] Such a theory of government might work well in the hands
of an Elizabeth, and in the circumstances in which England was then
placed; but it could hardly be worked by a successor. The seeds of
revolt were already sown. The disposition to curb the sovereign was
growing and would surely assert itself as soon as it should have some
person less loved and respected than Elizabeth to deal with. The queen
in some measure foresaw this, and in the dogged independence and
uncompromising enthusiasm of the Puritans she recognized the rock on
which the monarchy might dash itself into pieces. She therefore hated
the Puritans, and persecuted them zealously with one hand, while
circumstances forced her in spite of herself to aid and abet them with
the other. She could not maintain herself against Spain without helping
the Dutch and the Huguenots; but every soldier she sent across the
channel came back, if he came at all, with his head full of the
doctrines of Calvin; and these stalwart converts were reinforced by the
refugees from France and the Netherlands who came flocking into English
towns to set up their thrifty shops and hold prayer-meetings in their
humble chapels. To guard the kingdom against the intrigues of Philip and
the Guises and the Queen of Scots, it was necessary to choose the most
zealous Protestants for the most responsible positions, and such men
were more than likely to be Calvinists and Puritans. Elizabeth's great
ministers, Burleigh, Walsingham, and Nicholas Bacon, were inclined
toward Puritanism; and so were the naval heroes who won the most
fruitful victories of that century, by shattering the maritime power of
Spain and thus opening the way for Englishmen to colonize North America.
If we would realize the dangers that would have beset the Mayflower and
her successors but for the preparatory work of these immortal sailors,
we must remember the dreadful fate of Ribault and his Huguenot followers
in Florida, twenty-three years before that most happy and glorious
event, the destruction of the Spanish Armada. But not even the devoted
men and women who held their prayer-meetings in the Mayflower's cabin
were more constant in prayer or more assiduous in reading the Bible than
the dauntless rovers, Drake and Hawkins, Gilbert and Cavendish. In the
church itself, too, the Puritan spirit grew until in 1575-83 it seized
upon Grindal, archbishop of Canterbury, who incurred the queen's
disfavour by refusing to meddle with the troublesome reformers or to
suppress their prophesyings. By the end of the century the majority
of country gentlemen and of wealthy merchants in the towns had become
Puritans, and the new views had made great headway in both universities,
while at Cambridge they had become dominant. [Sidenote: Elizabeth's
policy, and its effects] [Sidenote: Puritan Sea-rovers]

This allusion to the universities may serve to introduce the very
interesting topic of the geographical distribution of Puritanism in
England. No one can study the history of the two universities without
being impressed with the greater conservatism of Oxford, and the greater
hospitality of Cambridge toward new ideas. Possibly the explanation
may have some connection with the situation of Cambridge upon the East
Anglian border. The eastern counties of England have often been remarked
as rife in heresy and independency. For many generations the coast
region between the Thames and the Humber was a veritable _litus
haereticum._ Longland, bishop of Lincoln in 1520, reported Lollardism as
especially vigorous and obstinate in his diocese, where more than two
hundred heretics were once brought before him in the course of a single
visitation. It was in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex, and
among the fens of Ely, Cambridge, and Huntingdon, that Puritanism was
strongest at the end of the sixteenth century. It was as member and
leading spirit of the Eastern Counties Association that Oliver Cromwell
began his military career; and in so far as there was anything sectional
in the struggle between Charles I. and the Long Parliament, it was a
struggle which ended in the victory of east over west. East Anglia was
from first to last the one region in which the supremacy of Parliament
was unquestionable and impregnable, even after the strength of its
population had been diminished by sending some thousands of picked men
and women to America. While every one of the forty counties of England
was represented in the great Puritan exodus, the East Anglian counties
contributed to it far more than all the rest. Perhaps it would not be
far out of the way to say that two-thirds of the American people who can
trace their ancestry to New England might follow it back to the East
Anglian shires of the mother-country; one-sixth might follow it to those
southwestern countries--Devonshire, Dorset, and Somerset--which so
long were foremost in maritime enterprise; one-sixth to other parts of
England. I would not insist upon the exactness of such figures, in a
matter where only a rough approximation is possible; but I do not think
they overstate the East Anglian preponderance. It was not by accident
that the earliest counties of Massachusetts were called Norfolk,
Suffolk, and Essex, or that Boston in Lincolnshire gave its name to the
chief city of New England. The native of Connecticut or Massachusetts
who wanders about rural England to-day finds no part of it so homelike
as the cosy villages and smiling fields and quaint market towns as he
fares leisurely and in not too straight a line from Ipswich toward Hull.
Countless little unobtrusive features remind him of home. The very names
on the sign-boards over the sleepy shops have an unwontedly familiar
look. In many instances the homestead which his forefathers left, when
they followed Winthrop or Hooker to America, is still to be found,
well-kept and comfortable; the ancient manor-house built of massive
unhewn stone, yet in other respects much like the New England farmhouse,
with its long sloping roof and gable end toward the road, its staircase
with twisted balusters running across the shallow entry-way, its low
ceilings with their sturdy oaken beams, its spacious chimneys, and its
narrow casements from which one might have looked out upon the anxious
march of Edward IV. from Ravenspur to the field of victory at Barnet
in days when America was unknown. Hard by, in the little parish church
which has stood for perhaps a thousand years, plain enough and bleak
enough to suit the taste of the sternest Puritan, one may read upon
the cold pavement one's own name and the names of one's friends and
neighbours in startling proximity, somewhat worn and effaced by the
countless feet that have trodden there. And yonder on the village green
one comes with bated breath upon the simple inscription which tells of
some humble hero who on that spot in the evil reign of Mary suffered
death by fire. Pursuing thus our interesting journey, we may come at
last to the quiet villages of Austerfield and Scrooby, on opposite
banks of the river Idle, and just at the corner of the three shires of
Lincoln, York, and Nottingham. It was from this point that the Puritan
exodus to America was begun. [Sidenote: Puritanism was strongest in the
eastern counties] [Sidenote: Preponderance of East Anglia in the Puritan

It was not, however, in the main stream of Puritanism, but in one of its
obscure rivulets that this world-famous movement originated. During the
reign of Elizabeth it was not the purpose of the Puritans to separate
themselves from the established church of which the sovereign was the
head, but to remain within it and reform it according to their own
notions. For a time they were partially successful in this work,
especially in simplifying the ritual and in giving a Calvinistic tinge
to the doctrines. In doing this they showed no conscious tendency toward
freedom of thought, but rather a bigotry quite as intense as that which
animated the system against which they were fighting. The most advanced
liberalism of Elizabeth's time was not to be found among the Puritans,
but in the magnificent treatise on "Ecclesiastical Polity" by the
churchman Richard Hooker. But the liberalism of this great writer, like
that of Erasmus a century earlier, was not militant enough to meet the
sterner demands of the time. It could not then ally itself with the
democratic spirit, as Puritanism did. It has been well said that while
Luther was the prophet of the Reformation that has been, Erasmus was the
prophet of the Reformation that is to come, and so it was to some extent
with the Puritans and Hooker. The Puritan fight against the hierarchy
was a political necessity of the time, something without which no real
and thorough reformation could then be effected. In her antipathy to
this democratic movement, Elizabeth vexed and tormented the Puritans
as far as she deemed it prudent; and in the conservative temper of the
people she found enough support to prevent their transforming the church
as they would have liked to do. Among the Puritans themselves, indeed,
there was no definite agreement on this point. Some would have stopped
short with Presbyterianism, while others held that "new presbyter was
but old priest writ large," and so pressed on to Independency. It was
early in Elizabeth's reign that the zeal of these extreme brethren,
inflamed by persecution, gave rise to the sect of Separatists, who
flatly denied the royal supremacy over ecclesiastical affairs, and
asserted the right to set up churches of their own, with pastors
and elders and rules of discipline, independent of queen or bishop.
[Sidenote: Puritanism was not intentionally allied with liberalism]

In 1567 the first congregation of this sort, consisting of about a
hundred persons assembled in a hall in Anchor Lane in London, was
forcibly broken up and thirty-one of the number were sent to jail and
kept there for nearly a year. By 1576 the Separatists had come to be
recognized as a sect, under the lead of Robert Brown, a man of high
social position, related to the great Lord Burleigh. Brown fled to
Holland, where he preached to a congregation of English exiles, and
wrote books which were smuggled into England and privately circulated
there, much to the disgust, not only of the queen, but of all parties,
Puritans as well as High Churchmen. The great majority of Puritans,
whose aim was not to leave the church, but to stay in it and control
it, looked with dread and disapproval upon these extremists who seemed
likely to endanger their success by forcing them into deadly opposition
to the crown. Just as in the years which ushered in our late Civil War,
the opponents of the Republicans sought to throw discredit upon them by
confusing them with the little sect of Abolitionists; and just as the
Republicans, in resenting the imputation, went so far as to frown upon
the Abolitionists, so that in December, 1860, men who had just voted for
Mr. Lincoln were ready to join in breaking up "John Brown meetings" in
Boston; so it was with religious parties in the reign of Elizabeth. The
opponents of the Puritans pointed to the Separatists, and cried, "See
whither your anarchical doctrines are leading!" and in their eagerness
to clear themselves of this insinuation, the leading Puritans were as
severe upon the Separatists as anybody. It is worthy of note that in
both instances the imputation, so warmly resented, was true. Under the
pressure of actual hostilities the Republicans did become Abolitionists,
and in like manner, when in England it came to downright warfare the
Puritans became Separatists. But meanwhile it fared ill with the little
sect which everybody hated and despised. Their meetings were broken up
by mobs. In an old pamphlet describing a "tumult in Fleet Street, raised
by the disorderly preachment, pratings, and prattlings of a swarm of
Separatists," one reads such sentences as the following: "At length they
catcht one of them alone, but they kickt him so vehemently as if they
meant to beat him into a jelly. It is ambiguous whether they have kil'd
him or no, but for a certainty they did knock him about as if they meant
to pull him to pieces. I confesse it had been no matter if they had
beaten the whole tribe in the like manner." For their leaders the
penalty was more serious. The denial of the queen's ecclesiastical
supremacy could be treated as high treason, and two of Brown's friends,
convicted of circulating his books, were sent to the gallows. In spite
of these dangers Brown returned to England in 1585. William the Silent
had lately been murdered, and heresy in Holland was not yet safe from
the long arm of the Spaniard. Brown trusted in Lord Burleigh's ability
to protect him, but in 1588, finding himself in imminent danger, he
suddenly recanted and accepted a comfortable living under the bishops
who had just condemned him. His followers were already known as
Brownists; henceforth their enemies took pains to call them so and twit
them with holding doctrines too weak for making martyrs. [Sidenote:
Robert Brown and the Separatists]

The flimsiness of Brown's moral texture prevented him from becoming the
leader in the Puritan exodus to New England. That honour was reserved
for William Brewster, son of a country gentleman who had for many
years been postmaster at Scrooby. The office was then one of high
responsibility and influence. After taking his degree at Cambridge,
Brewster became private secretary to Sir William Davison, whom he
accompanied on his mission to the Netherlands. When Davison's public
career came to an end in 1587, Brewster returned to Scrooby, and soon
afterward succeeded his father as postmaster, in which position he
remained until 1607. During the interval Elizabeth died, and James
Stuart came from Scotland to take her place on the throne. [Sidenote:
William Brewster]

The feelings with which the late queen had regarded Puritanism were mild
compared with the sentiments entertained by her successor. For some
years he had been getting worsted in his struggle with the Presbyterians
of the northern kingdom. His vindictive memory treasured up the day when
a mighty Puritan preacher had in public twitched him by the sleeve and
called him "God's silly vassal." "I tell you, sir," said Andrew Melville
on that occasion, "there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland.
There is Christ Jesus the King, and his kingdom the Kirk, whose subject
James VI. is, and of whose kingdom not a king, nor a lord, nor a head,
but a member. And they whom Christ hath called to watch over his kirk
and govern his spiritual kingdom have sufficient power and authority so
to do both together and severally." In this bold and masterful speech
we have the whole political philosophy of Puritanism, as in a nutshell.
Under the guise of theocratic fanaticism, and in words as arrogant as
ever fell from priestly lips, there was couched the assertion of the
popular will against despotic privilege. Melville could say such things
to the king's face and walk away unharmed, because there stood behind
him a people fully aroused to the conviction that there is an eternal
law of God, which kings no less than scullions must obey. [3] Melville
knew this full well, and so did James know it in the bitterness of his
heart. He would have no such mischievous work in England. He despised
Elizabeth's grand national policy which his narrow intellect could not
comprehend. He could see that in fighting Spain and aiding Dutchmen and
Huguenots she was strengthening the very spirit that sought to pull
monarchy down. In spite of her faults, which were neither few nor small,
the patriotism of that fearless woman was superior to any personal
ambition. It was quite otherwise with James. He was by no means
fearless, and he cared more for James Stuart than for either England or
Scotland. He had an overweening opinion of his skill in kingcraft. In
coming to Westminster it was his policy to use his newly acquired
power to break down the Puritan party in both kingdoms and to fasten
episcopacy upon Scotland. In pursuing this policy he took no heed of
English national sentiment, but was quite ready to defy and insult it,
even to the point of making--before children who remembered the Armada
had yet reached middle age--an alliance with the hated Spaniard. In such
wise James succeeded in arraying against the monarchical principle the
strongest forces of English life,--the sentiment of nationality, the
sentiment of personal freedom, and the uncompromising religious fervour
of Calvinism; and out of this invincible combination of forces has been
wrought the nobler and happier state of society in which we live to-day.
[Sidenote: James Stuart and Andrew Melville]

Scarcely ten months had James been king of England when he invited
the leading Puritan clergymen to meet himself and the bishops in a
conference at Hampton Court, as he wished to learn what changes they
would like to make in the government and ritual of the church. In the
course of the discussion he lost his temper and stormed, as was his
wont. [Sidenote: King James's view of the political situation]

The mention of the word "presbytery" lashed him into fury. "A Scottish
presbytery," he cried, "agreeth as well with a monarchy as God and the
Devil. Then Jack and Tom and Will and Dick shall meet, and at their
pleasures censure me and my council and all our proceedings .... Stay,
I pray you, for one seven years, before you demand that from me, and if
then you find me pursy and fat, and my windpipes stuffed, I will perhaps
hearken to you .... Until you find that I grow lazy, let that alone."
One of the bishops declared that in this significant tirade his Majesty
spoke by special inspiration from Heaven! The Puritans saw that their
only hope lay in resistance. If any doubt remained, it was dispelled by
the vicious threat with which the king broke up the conference. "I will
_make_ them conform," said he, "or I will harry them out of the land."

These words made a profound sensation in England, as well they might,
for they heralded the struggle which within half a century was to
deliver up James's son to the executioner. The Parliament of 1604 met
in angrier mood than any Parliament which had assembled at Westminster
since the dethronement of Richard II. Among the churches non-conformity
began more decidedly to assume the form of secession. The key-note of
the conflict was struck at Scrooby. Staunch Puritan as he was, Brewster
had not hitherto favoured the extreme measures of the Separatists. Now
he withdrew from the church, and gathered together a company of men and
women who met on Sundays for divine service in his own drawing-room at
Scrooby Manor. In organizing this independent Congregationalist
society, Brewster was powerfully aided by John Robinson, a native of
Lincolnshire. Robinson was then thirty years of age, and had taken his
master's degree at Cambridge in 1600. He was a man of great learning and
rare sweetness of temper, and was moreover distinguished for a broad and
tolerant habit of mind too seldom found among the Puritans of that day.
Friendly and unfriendly writers alike bear witness to his spirit of
Christian charity and the comparatively slight value which he attached
to orthodoxy in points of doctrine; and we can hardly be wrong in
supposing that the comparatively tolerant behaviour of the Plymouth
colonists, whereby they were contrasted with the settlers of
Massachusetts, was in some measure due to the abiding influence of the
teachings of this admirable man. Another important member of the Scrooby
congregation was William Bradford, of the neighbouring village of
Austerfield, then a lad of seventeen years, but already remarkable for
maturity of intelligence and weight of character. Afterward governor of
Plymouth for nearly thirty years, he became the historian of his colony;
and to his picturesque chronicle, written in pure and vigorous English,
we are indebted for most that we know of the migration that started
from Scrooby and ended in Plymouth. [Sidenote: The congregation of
Separatists at Scrooby]

It was in 1606--two years after King James's truculent threat--that
this independent church of Scrooby was organized. Another year had not
elapsed before its members had suffered so much at the hands of officers
of the law, that they began to think of following the example of former
heretics and escaping to Holland. After an unsuccessful attempt in
the autumn of 1607, they at length succeeded a few months later in
accomplishing their flight to Amsterdam, where they hoped to find a
home. But here they found the English exiles who had preceded them so
fiercely involved in doctrinal controversies, that they decided to
go further in search of peace and quiet. This decision, which we may
ascribe to Robinson's wise counsels, served to keep the society of
Pilgrims from getting divided and scattered. They reached Leyden in
1609, just as the Spanish government had sullenly abandoned the hopeless
task of conquering the Dutch, and had granted to Holland the Twelve
Years Truce. During eleven of these twelve years the Pilgrims remained
in Leyden, supporting themselves by various occupations, while their
numbers increased from 300 to more than 1000. Brewster opened a
publishing house, devoted mainly to the issue of theological books.
Robinson accepted a professorship in the university, and engaged in the
defence of Calvinism against the attacks of Episcopius, the successor
of Arminius. The youthful Bradford devoted himself to the study of
languages,--Dutch, French, Latin, Greek, and finally Hebrew; wishing,
as he said, to "see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in all
their native beauty." During their sojourn in Leyden the Pilgrims were
introduced to a strange and novel spectacle,--the systematic legal
toleration of all persons, whether Catholic or Protestant, who called
themselves followers of Christ. Not that there was not plenty of
intolerance in spirit, but the policy inaugurated by the idolized
William the Silent held it in check by law. All persons who came to
Holland, and led decorous lives there, were protected in their opinions
and customs. By contemporary writers in other countries this eccentric
behaviour of the Dutch government was treated with unspeakable scorn.
"All strange religions flock thither," says one; it is "a common harbour
of all heresies," a "cage of unclean birds," says another; "the great
mingle mangle of religion," says a third. [4] In spite of the relief
from persecution, however, the Pilgrims were not fully satisfied with
their new home. The expiration of the truce with Spain might prove that
this relief was only temporary; and at any rate, complete toleration
did not fill the measure of their wants. Had they come to Holland as
scattered bands of refugees, they might have been absorbed into the
Dutch population, as Huguenot refugees have been absorbed in Germany,
England, and America. But they had come as an organized community, and
absorption into a foreign nation was something to be dreaded. They
wished to preserve their English speech and English traditions, keep up
their organization, and find some favoured spot where they might lay the
corner-stone of a great Christian state. The spirit of nationality was
strong in them; the spirit of self-government was strong in them; and
the only thing which could satisfy these feelings was such a migration
as had not been seen since ancient times, a migration like that of
Phokaians to Massilia or Tyrians to Carthage. [Sidenote: The flight to
Holland] [Sidenote: Why the Pilgrims did not stay there]

It was too late in the world's history to carry out such a scheme upon
European soil. Every acre of territory there was appropriated. The only
favourable outlook was upon the Atlantic coast of America, where English
cruisers had now successfully disputed the pretensions of Spain, and
where after forty years of disappointment and disaster a flourishing
colony had at length been founded in Virginia. The colonization of the
North American coast had now become part of the avowed policy of the
British government. In 1606 a great joint-stock company was formed for
the establishment of two colonies in America. The branch which was to
take charge of the proposed southern colony had its headquarters in
London; the management of the northern branch was at Plymouth in
Devonshire. Hence the two branches are commonly spoken of as the London
and Plymouth companies. The former was also called the Virginia Company,
and the latter the North Virginia Company, as the name of Virginia was
then loosely applied to the entire Atlantic coast north of Florida. The
London Company had jurisdiction from 34 degrees to 38 degrees north
latitude; the Plymouth Company had jurisdiction from 45 degrees down to
41 degrees; the intervening territory, between 38 degrees and 41 degrees
was to go to whichever company should first plant a self-supporting
colony. The local government of each colony was to be entrusted to a
council resident in America and nominated by the king; while general
supervision over both colonies was to be exercised by a council resident
in England. [Sidenote: The London and Plymouth companies]

In pursuance of this general plan, though with some variations in
detail, the settlement of Jamestown had been begun in 1607, and its
success was now beginning to seem assured. On the other hand all the
attempts which had been made to the north of the fortieth parallel had
failed miserably. As early as 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold, with 32 men, had
landed on the headland which they named Cape Cod from the fish found
thereabouts in great numbers. This was the first English name given to
any spot in that part of America, and so far as known these were the
first Englishmen that ever set foot there. They went on and gave names
to Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands in Buzzard's Bay; and
on Cuttyhunk they built some huts with the intention of remaining, but
after a month's experience they changed their mind and went back to
England. Gosnold's story interested other captains, and on Easter
Sunday, 1605, George Weymouth set sail for North Virginia, as it was
called. He found Cape Cod and coasted northward as far as the Kennebec
river, up which he sailed for many miles. Weymouth kidnapped five
Indians and carried them to England, that they might learn the language
and acquire a wholesome respect for the arts of civilization and the
resistless power of white men. His glowing accounts of the spacious
harbours, the abundance of fish and game, the noble trees, the luxuriant
herbage, and the balmy climate, aroused general interest in England, and
doubtless had some influence upon the formation, in the following year,
of the great joint-stock company just described. The leading spirit of
the Plymouth Company was Sir John Popham, chief-justice of England, and
he was not disposed to let his friends of the southern branch excel him
in promptness. Within three months after the founding of Jamestown, a
party of 120 colonists, led by the judge's kinsman George Popham, landed
at the mouth of the Kennebec, and proceeded to build a rude village of
some fifty cabins, with storehouse, chapel, and block-house. When
they landed in August they doubtless shared Weymouth's opinion of the
climate. These Englishmen had heard of warm countries like Italy and
cold countries like Russia; harsh experience soon taught them that there
are climates in which the summer of Naples may alternate with the winter
of Moscow. The president and many others fell sick and died. News came
of the death of Sir John Popham in England, and presently the weary and
disappointed settlers abandoned their enterprise and returned to their
old homes. Their failure spread abroad in England the opinion that
North Virginia was uninhabitable by reason of the cold, and no further
attempts were made upon that coast until in 1614 it was visited by
Captain John Smith. [Sidenote: First exploration of the New England

The romantic career of this gallant and garrulous hero did not end with
his departure from the infant colony at Jamestown. By a curious destiny
his fame is associated with the beginnings of both the southern and the
northern portions of the United States. To Virginia Smith may be said to
have given its very existence as a commonwealth; to New England he
gave its name. In 1614 he came over with two ships to North Virginia,
explored its coast minutely from the Penobscot river to Cape Cod, and
thinking it a country of such extent and importance as to deserve a name
of its own, rechristened it New England. On returning home he made a
very good map of the coast and dotted it with English names suggested by
Prince Charles. Of these names Cape Elizabeth, Cape Ann, Charles River,
and Plymouth still remain where Smith placed them. In 1615 Smith again
set sail for the New World, this time with a view to planting a colony
under the auspices of the Plymouth Company, but his talent for strange
adventures had not deserted him. He was taken prisoner by a French
fleet, carried hither and thither on a long cruise, and finally set
ashore at Rochelle, whence, without a penny in his pocket, he contrived
to make his way back to England. Perhaps Smith's life of hardship may
have made him prematurely old. After all his wild and varied experience
he was now only in his thirty-seventh year, but he does not seem to have
gone on any more voyages. The remaining sixteen years of his life
were spent quietly in England in writing books, publishing maps, and
otherwise stimulating the public interest in the colonization of the New
World. But as for the rocky coast of New England, which he had explored
and named, he declared that he was not so simple as to suppose that any
other motive than riches would "ever erect there a commonwealth or draw
company from their ease and humours at home, to stay in New England."
[Sidenote: John Smith]

In this opinion, however, the bold explorer was mistaken. Of all
migrations of peoples the settlement of New England is preeminently
the one in which the almighty dollar played the smallest part, however
important it may since have become as a motive power. It was left for
religious enthusiasm to achieve what commercial enterprise had failed
to accomplish. By the summer of 1617 the Pilgrim society at Leyden had
decided to send a detachment of its most vigorous members to lay
the foundations of a Puritan state in America. There had been much
discussion as to the fittest site for such a colony. Many were in favour
of Guiana, which Sir Walter Raleigh had described in such glowing
colours; but it was thought that the tropical climate would be
ill-suited to northern men of industrious and thrifty habit, and the
situation, moreover, was dangerously exposed to the Spaniards. Half a
century had scarcely elapsed since the wholesale massacre of Huguenots
in Florida. Virginia was then talked of, but Episcopal ideas had already
taken root there. New England, on the other hand, was considered too
cold. Popham's experience was not encouraging. But the country about
the Delaware river afforded an opportunity for erecting an independent
colony under the jurisdiction of the London Company, and this seemed
the best course to pursue. Sir Edwin Sandys, the leading spirit in the
London Company, was favourably inclined toward Puritans, and through him
negotiations were begun. Capital to the amount of L7000 was furnished
by seventy merchant adventurers in England, and the earnings of the
settlers were to be thrown into a common stock until these subscribers
should have been remunerated. A grant of land was obtained from the
London Company, and the king was asked to protect the emigrants by a
charter, but this was refused. James, however, made no objections to
their going, herein showing himself less of a bigot than Louis XIV.
in later days, who would not suffer a Huguenot to set foot in Canada,
though France was teeming with Huguenots who would have been glad
enough to go. When James inquired how the colonists expected to support
themselves, some one answered, most likely by fishing. "Very good,"
quoth the king, "it was the Apostles' own calling." He declared that no
one should molest them so long as they behaved themselves properly. From
this unwonted urbanity it would appear that James anticipated no trouble
from the new colony. A few Puritans in America could not do much to
annoy him, and there was of course a fair chance of their perishing, as
so many other colonizers had perished. [Sidenote: The Pilgrims at Leyden
decide to make a settlement near the Delaware river]

The congregation at Leyden did not think it wise to cut loose from
Holland until they should have secured a foothold in America. It was but
an advance guard that started out from Delft haven late in July, 1620,
in the rickety ship Speedwell, with Brewster and Bradford, and sturdy
Miles Standish, a trained soldier whose aid was welcome, though he does
not seem to have belonged to the congregation. Robinson remained at
Leyden, and never came to America. After a brief stop at Southampton,
where they met the Mayflower with friends from London, the Pilgrims
again set sail in the two ships. The Speedwell sprang a leak, and they
stopped at Dartmouth for repairs. Again they started, and had put three
hundred miles of salt water between themselves and Land's End, when the
Speedwell leaked so badly that they were forced to return. When they
dropped anchor at Plymouth in Devonshire, about twenty were left on
shore, and the remainder, exactly one hundred in number, crowded into
the Mayflower and on the 6th of September started once more to cross the
Atlantic. The capacity of the little ship was 180 tons, and her strength
was but slight. In a fierce storm in mid-ocean a mainbeam amidships was
wrenched and cracked, and but for a huge iron screw which one of the
passengers had brought from Delft, they might have gone to the bottom.
The foul weather prevented any accurate calculation of latitude and
longitude, and they were so far out in their reckoning that when they
caught sight of land on the 9th of November, it was to Cape Cod that
they had come. Their patent gave them no authority to settle here, as
it was beyond the jurisdiction of the London Company. They turned their
prow southward, but encountering perilous shoals and a stiff headwind
they desisted and sought shelter in Cape Cod bay. On the 11th they
decided to find some place of abode in this neighbourhood, anticipating
no difficulty in getting a patent from the Plymouth Company, which was
anxious to obtain settlers. For five weeks they stayed in the ship while
little parties were exploring the coast and deciding upon the best site
for a town. It was purely a coincidence that the spot which they chose
had already received from John Smith the name of Plymouth, the beautiful
port in Devonshire from which the Mayflower had sailed. [Sidenote:
Founding of Plymouth]

There was not much to remind them of home in the snow-covered coast on
which they landed. They had hoped to get their rude houses built before
the winter should set in, but the many delays and mishaps had served to
bring them ashore in the coldest season. When the long winter came to
an end, fifty-one of the hundred Pilgrims had died,--a mortality even
greater than that before which the Popham colony had succumbed. But
Brewster spoke truth when he said, "It is not with us as with men whom
small things can discourage or small discontentments cause to wish
themselves at home again." At one time the living were scarcely able to
bury the dead; only Brewster, Standish, and five other hardy ones were
well enough to get about. At first they were crowded under a single
roof, and as glimpses were caught of dusky savages skulking among the
trees, a platform was built on the nearest hill and a few cannon were
placed there in such wise as to command the neighbouring valleys and
plains. By the end of the first summer the platform had grown to a
fortress, down from which to the harbour led a village street with seven
houses finished and others going up. Twenty-six acres had been cleared,
and a plentiful harvest gathered in; venison, wild fowl, and fish were
easy to obtain. When provisions and fuel had been laid in for the
ensuing winter, Governor Bradford appointed a day of Thanksgiving.
Town-meetings had already been held, and a few laws passed. The history
of New England had begun.

This had evidently been a busy summer for the forty-nine survivors.
On the 9th of November, the anniversary of the day on which they had
sighted land, a ship was descried in the offing. She was the Fortune,
bringing some fifty more of the Leyden company. It was a welcome
reinforcement, but it diminished the rations of food that could be
served during the winter, for the Fortune was not well supplied. When
she set sail for England, she carried a little cargo of beaver-skins and
choice wood for wainscoting to the value of L500 sterling, as a first
instalment of the sum due to the merchant adventurers. But this cargo
never reached England, for the Fortune was overhauled by a French
cruiser and robbed of everything worth carrying away.

For two years more it was an anxious and difficult time for the new
colony. By 1624 its success may be said to have become assured. That the
Indians in the neighbourhood had not taken advantage of the distress of
the settlers in that first winter, and massacred every one of them, was
due to a remarkable circumstance. Early in 1617 a frightful pestilence
had swept over New England and slain, it is thought, more than half the
Indian population between the Penobscot river and Narragansett bay. Many
of the Indians were inclined to attribute this calamity to the murder of
two or three white fishermen the year before. They had not got over the
superstitious dread with which the first sight of white men had inspired
them, and now they believed that the strangers held the demon of the
plague at their disposal and had let him loose upon the red men in
revenge for the murders they had committed. This wholesome delusion
kept their tomahawks quiet for a while. When they saw the Englishmen
establishing themselves at Plymouth, they at first held a powwow in
the forest, at which the new-comers were cursed with all the elaborate
ingenuity that the sorcery of the medicine-men could summon for so
momentous an occasion; but it was deemed best to refrain from merely
human methods of attack. It was not until the end of the first winter
that any of them mustered courage to visit the palefaces. Then an Indian
named Samoset, who had learned a little English from fishermen and for
his own part was inclined to be friendly, came one day into the
village with words of welcome. He was so kindly treated that presently
Massasoit, principal sachem of the Wampanoags, who dwelt between
Narragansett and Cape Cod bays, came with a score of painted and
feathered warriors and squatting on a green rug and cushions in the
governor's log-house smoked the pipe of peace, while Standish with
half-a-dozen musketeers stood quietly by. An offensive and defensive
alliance was then and there made between King Massasoit and King James,
and the treaty was faithfully kept for half a century. Some time
afterward, when Massasoit had fallen sick and lay at death's door, his
life was saved by Edward Winslow, who came to his wigwam and skilfully
nursed him. Henceforth the Wampanoag thought well of the Pilgrim. The
powerful Narragansetts, who dwelt on the farther side of the bay, felt
differently, and thought it worth while to try the effect of a threat.
A little while after the Fortune had brought its reinforcement, the
Narragansett sachem Canonicus sent a messenger to Plymouth with a bundle
of newly-made arrows wrapped in a snake-skin. The messenger threw it
in at the governor's door and made off with unseemly haste. Bradford
understood this as a challenge, and in this he was confirmed by a
friendly Wampanoag. The Narragansetts could muster 2000 warriors, for
whom forty or fifty Englishmen, even with firearms, were hardly a fair
match; but it would not do to show fear. Bradford stuffed the snake-skin
with powder and bullets, and sent it back to Canonicus, telling him that
if he wanted war he might come whenever he liked and get his fill of it.
When the sachem saw what the skin contained, he was afraid to touch
it or have it about, and medicine-men, handling it no doubt gingerly
enough, carried it out of his territory. [Sidenote: Why the colony was
not attacked by the Indians]

It was a fortunate miscalculation that brought the Pilgrims to New
England. Had they ventured upon the lands between the Hudson and the
Delaware, they would probably have fared worse. They would soon have
come into collision with the Dutch, and not far from that neighbourhood
dwelt the Susquehannocks, at that time one of the most powerful and
ferocious tribes on the continent. For the present the new-comers were
less likely to be molested in the Wampanoag country than anywhere else.
In the course of the year 1621 they obtained their grant from the
Plymouth Company. This grant was not made to them directly but to
the joint-stock company of merchant adventurers with whom they were
associated. But the alliance between the Pilgrims and these London
merchants was not altogether comfortable; there was too much divergence
between their aims. In 1627 the settlers, wishing to be entirely
independent, bought up all the stock and paid for it by instalments
from the fruits of their labour. By 1633 they had paid every penny, and
become the undisputed owners of the country they had occupied.

Such was the humble beginning of that great Puritan exodus from England
to America which had so much to do with founding and peopling the United
States. These Pilgrims of the Mayflower were but the pioneers of a
mighty host. Historically their enterprise is interesting not so much
for what it achieved as for what it suggested. Of itself the Plymouth
colony could hardly have become a wealthy and powerful state. Its growth
was extremely slow. After ten years its numbers were but three hundred.
In 1643, when the exodus had come to an end, and the New England
Confederacy was formed, the population of Plymouth was but three
thousand. In an established community, indeed, such a rate of increase
would be rapid, but it was not sufficient to raise in New England a
power which could overcome Indians and Dutchmen and Frenchmen, and
assert its will in opposition to the crown. It is when we view the
founding of Plymouth in relation to what came afterward, that it assumes
the importance which belongs to the beginning of a new era.

We have thus seen how it was that the political aspirations of James I.
toward absolute sovereignty resulted in the beginnings of the Puritan
exodus to America. In the next chapter we shall see how the still more
arbitrary policy of his ill-fated son all at once gave new dimensions to
that exodus and resulted in the speedy planting of a high-spirited and
powerful New England.



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

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

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

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 L60 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 L3 costs. The captain then sued Mrs. Sherman for
defamation of character and got a verdict for L40 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 L400 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

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

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

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

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.



The Puritan exodus to New England, which came to an end about 1640, was
purely and exclusively English. There was nothing in it that came from
the continent of Europe, nothing that was either Irish or Scotch, very
little that was Welsh. As Palfrey says, the population of 26,000 that
had been planted in New England by 1640 "thenceforward continued to
multiply on its own soil for a century and a half, in remarkable
seclusion from other communities." During the whole of this period New
England received but few immigrants; and it was not until after the
Revolutionary War that its people had fairly started on their westward
march into the state of New York and beyond, until now, after yet
another century, we find some of their descendants dwelling in a
homelike Salem and a Portland of charming beauty on the Pacific coast.
Three times between the meeting of the Long Parliament and the meeting
of the Continental Congress did the New England colonies receive a
slight infusion of non-English blood. In 1652, after his victories at
Dunbar and Worcester, Cromwell sent 270 of his Scottish prisoners to
Boston, where the descendants of some of them still dwell. After the
revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, 150 families of Huguenots
came to Massachusetts. And finally in 1719, 120 Presbyterian families
came over from the north of Ireland, and settled at Londonderry in New
Hampshire, and elsewhere. In view of these facts it may be said that
there is not a county in England of which the population is more purely
English than the population of New England at the end of the eighteenth
century. From long and careful research, Mr. Savage, the highest
authority on this subject, concludes that more than 98 in 100 of the New

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest