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THIS COUNTRY OF OURS

The Story of the United States

by Henrietta Elizabeth MARSHALL - 1917


Parts 1 - 2       Chapters 1-21 Parts 5 - 6       Chapters 45-63
Parts 3 - 4       Chapters 22-44 Part  7       Chapters 64-99
Part 3: Chapter:      22     23     24     25     26     27     28     29     30     31     32     33     34 Part 4: Chapter: 35     36     37     38     39     40     41     42     43     44

CONTENTS

PART III    STORIES OF NEW ENGLAND

22. THE STORY OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS
23. THE FOUNDING OF MASSACHUSETTS
24. THE STORY OF HARRY VANE
25. THE STORY OF ANNE HUTCHINSON AND THE FOUNDING OF RHODE ISLAND
26. THE FOUNDING OF HARVARD
27. HOW QUAKERS FIRST CAME TO NEW ENGLAND
28. HOW MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE WERE FOUNDED
29. THE FOUNDING OF CONNECTICUT AND WAR WITH THE INDIANS
30. THE FOUNDING OF NEW HAVEN
31. THE HUNT FOR THE REGICIDES
32. KING PHILIP'S WAR
33. HOW THE CHARTER OF CONNECTICUT WAS SAVED
34. THE WITCHES OF SALEM

PART IV    STORIES OF THE MIDDLE AND SOUTHERN COLONIES

35. THE FOUNDING OF MARYLAND
36. HOW NEW AMSTERDAM BECAME NEW YORK
37. HOW A GERMAN RULED NEW YORK
38. PIRATES!
39. THE FOUNDING OF NEW JERSEY
40. THE FOUNDING OF PENNSYLVANIA
41. HOW BENJAMIN FRANKLIN CAME TO PHILADELPHIA
42. THE FOUNDING OF NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA
43. WAR WITH THE INDIANS IN NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA
44. THE FOUNDING OF GEORGIA


PART III: STORIES OF NEW ENGLAND


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CHAPTER 22
THE STORY OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS

WHILE the Colony of Virginia was fighting for life, and struggling against tyranny, other colonies were taking root upon the wide shores of America.

 

You will remember that in 1606 a sort of double company of adventurers was formed in England, one branch of which–the London Company–founded Jamestown. The other branch–the Plymouth Company–also sent out an expedition, and tried to found a colony at the mouth of the Kennebec River. But it was a failure. Some of the adventurers were so discouraged with the cold and bleak appearance of the land that they sailed home again in the ship which had brought them out. Only about forty-five or so stayed on. The winter was long and cold, and they were so weary of it, so homesick and miserable, that when in the spring a ship came out with provisions they all sailed home again. They had nothing good to say of Virginia, as the whole land was then called by the English. It was far too cold, and no place for Englishmen, they said.

 

Still some of the adventurers of the Plymouth Company did not give up hope of founding a colony. And nine years after this first attempt, our old friend Captain John Smith, recovered from his wounds received in Virginia and as vigorous as ever, sailed out to North Virginia. In the first place be went "to take whales, and also to make trials of a mine of gold and of copper" and in the long run he hoped to found a colony.

Captain John Smith again

It was he who changed the name from North Virginia to New England, by which name it has ever since been known. He also named the great river which he found there Charles River after Prince Charles, who later became King Charles I, and all along the coast he marked places with the names of English towns, one of which he named Plymouth.

The name New England first used, 1615;

But Smith did not succeed in founding a colony in New England; and several adventurers who followed him had no better success. The difficulties to be overcome were great, and in order to found a colony on that inhospitable coast men of tremendous purpose and endurance were needed. At length these men appeared.

 

Nowadays a man may believe what he likes either in the way of politics or religion. He may belong to any political party he pleases, or he may belong to none. He may write and make speeches about his opinions. Probably no one will listen to him; certainly he will not be imprisoned for mere opinions. It is the same with religion. A man may go to any church he likes, or go to none. He may write books or preach sermons, and no one will hinder him.

religion and politics in far-off days

But in the days of King James things were very different. In those days there was little freedom either in thought or action, in religion or politics. As we have seen King James could not endure the thought that his colony should be self-governing and free to make laws for itself. Consequently he took its charter away. In religion it was just the same. In England at the Reformation the King had been made head of the Church. And if people did not believe what the King and Clergy told them to believe they were sure, sooner or later, to be punished for it.

 

Now in England more and more people began to think for themselves on matters of religion. More and more people found it difficult to believe as King and Clergy wished them to believe. Some found the Church of England far too like the old Church of Rome. They wanted to do away with all pomp and ceremony and have things quite simple. They did not wish to separate from the Church; they only wanted to make the Church clean and pure of all its errors. So they got the name of Puritans. Others however quite despaired of making the Church pure. They desired to leave it altogether and set up a Church of their own. They were called Separatists, or sometimes, from the name of a man who was one of their chief leaders, Brownists.

The Puritans

The Separatists

These Brownists did not want to have bishops and priests, and they would not own the King as head of the Church. Instead of going to church they used to meet together in private houses, there to pray to God in the manner in which their own hearts told them was right. This of course was considered treason and foul wickedness. So on all hands the Brownists were persecuted. They were fined and imprisoned, some were even hanged. But all this persecution was in vain, and the number of Separatists instead of decreasing increased as years went on.

They are persecuted

Now at Scrooby, a tiny village in Nottinghamshire, England, and in other villages round, both in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, there were a number of Separatists. Every Sunday these people would walk long distances to some appointed place, very likely to Scrooby, or to Babworth, where there was a grave and reverent preacher, to hold their meetings.

 

But they were never left long in peace. They were hunted and persecuted on every side, till at length they decided to go to Holland where they heard there was freedom of religion for all men.

They resolve to go to Holland, 1608

To many of them this was a desperate adventure. In those days few men traveled. For the most part people lived and died without once leaving their native villages. To go into a new country, to learn a new language, to get their living they knew not how, seemed to some a misery almost worse than death. Still they determined to go, such was their eagerness to serve God aright.

 

The going was not easy. They were harassed and hindered in every fashion. Again and again evil men cheated them, and robbed them of almost all they possessed, leaving them starving and penniless upon the sea shore. But at length, overcoming all difficulties, in one way or another, they all reached Amsterdam.

 

Even here however they did not find the full freedom and peace which they desired, and they next moved to Leyden.

They reach Leyden;

They found it "a beautiful city and of a sweet situation." Here they settled down and for some years lived in comfort, earning their living by weaving and such employments, and worshipping God at peace in their own fashion.

 

But after about eleven or twelve years they began once more to think of moving. They had many reasons for this, one being that if they stayed longer in Holland their children and grandchildren would forget how to speak English, and in a few generations they would no longer be English, but Dutch. So they determined to go to some place where they could still remain English, and yet worship God as they thought right.

 

And the place their thoughts turned to was the vast and unpeopled country of America. But which part of America they could not at first decide. After much talk however they at length decided to ask the Virginian Company to allow them to settle in their land, but as a separate colony, so that they might still have religious freedom.

they determine to go to America

Two messengers were therefore despatched to London to arrange matters with the company. The Virginian Company was quite willing to have these Separatists as settlers. But do what they would they could not get the King to promise them freedom to worship God. All that they could wring from him was a promise that he would take no notice of them so long as they behaved peaceably. To allow or tolerate them by his public authority, under his broad seal, was not to be thought of.

 

That was the best the Virginian Company or any of their friends could do for the Separatists. And with this answer the messengers were obliged to return to Leyden. When the English men and women there heard it they were much disturbed. Some felt that without better assurance of peace they would be foolish to leave their safe refuge. But the greater part decided that poor though the assurance was they would be well to go, trusting in God to bring them safely out of all their troubles. And after all they reflected "a seal as broad as the house floor would not serve the turn" if James did not wish to keep his promise, so little trust did they put in princes and their oaths.

 

So it was decided to go to the New World, and after much trouble everything was got ready. A little ship called the Speedwell was bought and fitted up. Then those who had determined to go went down to the sea shore accompanied by all their friends.

The Speedwell is bought

Their hearts were heavy as they left the beautiful city which had been their home for the last twelve years. But they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers upon the earth, and they looked only to find in heaven an abiding place. So steadfastly they set their faces towards the sea. They went on board, their friends following sorrowfully. Then came the sad parting. They clung to each other with tears, their words of farewell and prayers broken by sobs. It was so pitiful a sight that even among the Dutchmen who looked on there was scarce a dry eye.

Farewells are said

At length the time came when the last farewell had to be said. Then their pastor fell upon his knees on the deck, and as they knelt round him he lifted his hands to heaven, and with tears running down his cheeks prayed God to bless them all.

 

So the sails were hoisted and the Speedwell sailed away to Southampton. Here she found the Mayflower awaiting her, and the two set forth together. But they had not gone far before the captain of the Speedwell complained that his ship was leaking so badly that he dared not go on. So both ships put in to Dartmouth, and here the Speedwell was thoroughly overhauled and mended, and again they set out.

 

But still the captain declared that the Speedwell was leaking. So once more the pilgrims put back, this time to Plymouth. And here it was decided that the Speedwell was unseaworthy, and unfit to venture across the great ocean. That she was a rotten little boat is fairly certain, but it is also fairly certain that the Captain did not want to sail to America, and therefore he made the worst, instead of the best, of his ship.

 

If it is true that he did not want to cross the ocean he now had his way. For the Speedwell was sent back to London with all those who had already grown tired of the venture, or who had grown fearful because of the many mishaps. And the Mayflower, taking the rest of the passengers from the Speedwell, and as many of the stores as she could find room for, proceeded upon her voyage alone.

The Mayflower sails alone, 1620

Among those who sailed in her were Captain Miles Standish and Master Mullins with his fair young daughter Priscilla. I daresay you have read the story Longfellow made about them and John Alden. At the first John Alden did not go as a Pilgrim. He was hired at Southampton as a cooper, merely for the voyage, and was free to go home again if he wished. But he stayed, and as we know from Longfellow's poem he married Priscilla.

 

Now at length these Pilgrim Fathers as we have learned to call them were really on their way. But all the trouble about the Speedwell had meant a terrible loss of time, and although the Pilgrims had left Holland in July it was September before they finally set sail from Plymouth, and their voyage was really begun.

 

And now instead of having fair they had foul weather. For days and nights, with every sail reefed, they were driven hither and thither by the wind, were battered and beaten by cruel waves, and tossed helplessly from side to side. At length after two months of terror and hardships they sighted the shores of America.

The Pilgrims are buffeted by storms

They had however been driven far out of their course, and instead of being near the mouth of the Hudson River, and within the area granted to the Virginian Company, they were much further north, near Cape Cod, and within the area granted to the Plymouth Company, where they had really no legal right to land. So although they were joyful indeed to see land, they decided to sail southward to the mouth of the Hudson, more especially as the weather was now better.

 

Soon however as they sailed south they found themselves among dangerous shoals and roaring breakers, and, being in terror of shipwreck, they turned back again. And when they once more reached the shelter of Cape Cod harbour they fell on their knees and most heartily thanked God, Who had brought them safely over the furious ocean, and delivered them from all its perils and miseries.

 

They vowed no more to risk the fury of the tempest, but to settle where they were in the hope of being able to make things right with the Plymouth Company later on. So in the little cabin of the Mayflower the Pilgrims held a meeting, at which they chose a Governor and drew up rules, which they all promised to obey, for the government of the colony. But this done they found it difficult to decide just what would be the best place for their little town, and they spent a month or more exploring the coast round about. At length they settled upon a spot.

 

On Captain John Smith's map it was already marked Plymouth, and so the Pilgrims decided to call the town Plymouth because of this, and also because Plymouth was the last town in England at which they had touched. So here they all went ashore, choosing as a landing place a flat rock which may be seen to this day, and which is now known as the Plymouth Rock.

              "Which had been to their feet as a doorstep,
Into a world unknown–the corner-stone of a nation!"

 

They land at Plymouth;

The Pilgrim Fathers had now safely passed the perils of the sea. But many more troubles and miseries were in store for them. For hundreds of miles the country lay barren and untilled, inhabited only by wild Redmen, the nearest British settlement being five hundred miles away. There was no one upon the shore to greet them, no friendly lights, no smoke arising from cheerful cottage fires, no sign of habitation far or near. It was a silent frost-bound coast upon which they had set foot.

their first troubles

The weather was bitterly cold and the frost so keen that even their clothes were frozen stiff. And ere these Pilgrims could find a shelter from the winter blasts, trees had to be felled and hewn for the building of their houses. It was enough to make the stoutest heart quake. Yet not one among this little band of Pilgrims flinched or thought of turning back. They were made of sterner stuff than that, and they put all their trust in God.

 

"May not and ought not the children of those fathers rightly say," writes William Bradford, who was their Governor for thirty-one years, "our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean and were ready to perish in the wilderness? But they cried unto the Lord and He heard their voice." The winter was an unusually severe one. And so, having no homes to shelter them or comfort of any kind, many of the Pilgrims died. Many more became seriously ill. Indeed at one time there were not more than six or seven out of a hundred and more who were well and able to work. And had it not been for the wonderful devotion and loving kindness of these few the whole colony might have perished miserably. But these few worked with a will, felling trees, cooking meals, caring for the sick both day and night.

William Bradford, Governor

The first winter the Pilgrim Fathers, it was said, "endured a wonderful deal of misery with infinite patience." But at length spring came, and with the coming of warmth and sunshine the sickness disappeared. The sun seemed to put new life into every one. So when in April the Mayflower, which had been in harbour all winter, sailed homeward not one of the Pilgrims sailed with her.

 

The little white-winged ship was the last link with home. They had but to step on board to be wafted back to the green hedgerows and meadows gay with daisies and buttercups in dear old England. It was a terrible temptation. Yet not one yielded to it. With tears streaming down their faces, the Pilgrims knelt upon the shore and saw the Mayflower go, following her with prayers and blessings until she was out of sight. Then they went back to their daily labours. Only when they looked out to sea the harbour seemed very empty with no friendly little vessel lying there.

The Mayflower sails homeward

Meanwhile among all the miseries of the winter there had been one bright spot. The Pilgrims had made friends with the Indians. They had often noticed with fear Redmen skulking about at the forest's edge, watching them. Once or twice when they had left tools lying about they had been stolen. But whenever they tried to get speech with the Indians they fled away.

 

What was their surprise then when one morning an Indian walked boldly into the camp and spoke to them in broken English!

A visit from Indians

He told them that his name was Samoset, and that he was the Englishmen's friend. He also said he could tell them of another Indian called Squanto who could speak better English than he could. This Squanto had been stolen away from his home by a wicked captain who intended to sell him as a slave to Spain. But he had escaped to England, and later by the help of Englishmen had been brought back to his home. All his tribe however had meantime been swept away by a plague, and now only he remained.

 

Samoset also said that his great chief named Massasoit or Yellow Feather wished to make friends with the Pale-faces. The settlers were well pleased to find the Indian ready to be friendly and, giving him presents of a few beads and bits of coloured cloth, they sent him away happy. But very soon he returned, bringing Squanto and the chief, Yellow Feather, with him. Then there was a very solemn pow-wow; the savages gorgeous in paint and feathers sat beside the sad-faced Englishmen in their tall black hats and sober clothes, and together they swore friendship and peace. And so long as Yellow Feather lived this peace lasted.

 

After the meeting Yellow Feather went home to his own wigwams, which were about forty miles away. But Squanto stayed with the Englishmen. He taught them how to plant corn; he showed them where to fish and hunt; he was their guide through the pathless forests. He was their staunch and faithful friend, and never left them till he died. Even then he feared to be parted from his white friends, and he begged them to pray God that he too might be allowed to go to the Englishmen's heaven.

Squanto becomes a friend

Besides Yellow Feather and his tribe there were other Indians who lived to the east of the settlement, and they were by no means so friendly. At harvest time they used to steal the corn from the fields and otherwise harass the workers. As they went unpunished they grew ever bolder until at length one day their chief, Canonicus, sent a messenger to the Governor with a bundle of arrows tied about with a large snakeskin. This was meant as a challenge. But the Governor was not to be frightened by such threats. He sent back the snakeskin stuffed with bullets and gunpowder, and with it a bold message.

A warlike message

"If you would rather have war than peace," he said, "you can begin when you like. But we have done you no wrong and we do not fear you."

 

When the chief heard the message and saw the gunpowder and bullets he was far too much afraid to go to war. He was too frightened to touch the snakeskin or even allow it to remain in his country, but sent it back again at once.

 

This warlike message however made the settlers more careful, and they built a strong fence around their little town, with gates in it, which were shut and guarded at night. Thus the Pilgrims had peace with the Redmen. They had also set matters right with the Plymouth Company, and had received from them a patent or charter allowing them to settle in New England. Other Pilgrims came out from home from time to time, and the little colony prospered and grew, though slowly.

 

They were a grave and stern little company, obeying their Governor, fearing God, keeping the Sabbath and regarding all other feast days as Popish and of the evil one.

 

It is told how one Christmas Day the Governor called every one out to work as usual. But some of the newcomers to the colony objected that it was against their conscience to work on Christmas Day.

The keeping of Christmas Day

The Governor looked gravely at them. "If you make it a matter of conscience," he said, "I will release you from work upon this day until you are better taught upon the matter."

 

Then he led the others away to fell trees and saw wood. But when at noon he returned he found those, whose tender consciences had not allowed them to work, playing at ball and other games in the streets. So he went to them, and took away their balls and other toys. "For," said he, "it is against my conscience that you should play while others work."

 

And such was the power of the Governor that he was quietly obeyed, "and," we are told, "since that time nothing hath been attempted that way, at least openly."

 

They were stern, these old settlers, and perhaps to our way of thinking narrow, and they denied themselves much that is lovely in life and quite innocent. Yet we must look back at them with admiration. No people ever left their homes to go into exile for nobler ends, no colony was ever founded in a braver fashion. And it is with some regret we remember that these brave Pilgrim Fathers have given a name to no state in the great union. For the Colony of Plymouth, having held on its simple, severe way for many years, was at length swallowed up by one of its great neighbours, and became part of the State of Massachusetts. But that was not till 1692. Meanwhile, because it was the first of the New England colonies to be founded, it was often called the Old Colony.

 


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CHAPTER 23
THE FOUNDING OF MASSACHUSETTS

FOR ten years after the coming of the Pilgrim Fathers charters were constantly granted to "adventurers" of one kind or another for the founding of colonies in New England. And, driven by the tyranny of King James and of his son Charles I, small companies of Puritans began to follow the example of the Pilgrim Fathers and go out to New England, there to seek freedom to worship God. For King James, although brought up as a Presbyterian himself, was bitter against the Puritans. "I shall make them conform themselves," he had said, "or I will harry them out of the land."

King James and the Puritans

And as he could not make them conform he "harried" them so that many were glad to leave the land to escape tyranny. King James has been called the British Solomon, but he did some amazingly foolish things. This narrow-minded persecution of the Puritans was one. Yet by it he helped to form a great nation. So perhaps he was not so foolish after all.

 

As has been said many companies were formed, many land charters granted for Northern Virginia, or New England, as it was now called. At length a company of Puritans under the name of the Massachusetts Bay Company got a charter from Charles I, granting them a large tract of land from three miles south of the Charles River to three miles north of the Merrimac, and as far west as the Pacific. Of course no one in those days realised what a huge tract that would be. For no man yet guessed how great a continent America was, or by what thousands of miles the Pacific was separated from the Atlantic. This charter was not unlike that given to Virginia. But there was one important difference. Nowhere in the charter did it say that the seat of government must be in England.

The Massachusetts Bay Company, 1629;

So when Charles dismissed his Parliament, vowing that if the members would not do as he wished he would rule without them, a great many Puritans decided to leave the country. They decided also to take their charter with them and remove the Company of Massachusetts Bay, bag and baggage, to New England.

they decide to take their charter to New England

Charles did nothing to stop them. Perhaps at the time he was pleased to see so many powerful Puritans leave the country, for without them he was all the freer to go his own way. So in the spring of 1630 more than a thousand set sail, taking with them their cattle and household goods.

 

Many of these were cultured gentlemen who were thus giving up money, ease and position in order to gain freedom of religion. They were not poor labourers or artisans, not even for the most part traders and merchants. They chose as Governor for the first year a Suffolk gentleman named John Winthrop. A new Governor was chosen every year, but John Winthrop held the post many times, twice being elected three years in succession. Although we may think that he was narrow in some things, he was a man of calm judgement and even temper, and was in many ways a good Governor. From the day he set forth from England to the end of his life he kept a diary, and it is from this diary that we learn nearly all we know of the early days of the colony.

John Winthrop, 1588-1649

It was in June of 1630 that Winthrop and his company landed at Salem, and although there were already little settlements at Salem and elsewhere this may be taken as the real founding of Massachusetts. Almost at once Winthrop decided that Salem would not be a good centre for the colony, and he moved southward to the Charles River, where he finally settled on a little hilly peninsula. There a township was founded and given the name of Boston, after the town of Boston in Lincolnshire, from which many of the settlers had come.

Boston founded

Although these settlers had more money and more knowledge of trading, the colony did not altogether escape the miseries which every other colony had so far suffered. And, less stout-hearted than the founders of Plymouth, some fled back again to England. But they were only a few, and for the most part the new settlers remained and prospered.

 

These newcomers were not Separatists like the Pilgrim Fathers but Puritans. When they left England they had no intention of separating themselves from the Church of England. They had only desired a simpler service. But when they landed in America they did in fact separate from the Church of England. England was so far away; the great ocean was between them and all the laws of Church and King. It seemed easy to cast them off, and they did.

 

So bishops were done away with, great parts of the Common Prayer Book were rejected, and the service as a whole made much more simple. And as they wished to keep their colony free of people who did not think as they did the founders of Massachusetts made a law that only Church members might have a vote.

 

With the Plymouth Pilgrims, however, Separatists though they were, these Puritans were on friendly terms. The Governors of the two colonies visited each other to discuss matters of religion and trade, and each treated the other with great respect and ceremony.

The Puritans friendly with the Pilgrim Fathers

We read how when Governor Winthrop went to visit Governor Bradford the chief people of Plymouth came forth to meet him without the town, and led him to the Governor's house. There he and his companions were entertained in goodly fashion, feasting every day and holding pious disputations. Then when he departed again, the Governor of Plymouth with the pastor and elders accompanied him half a mile out of the town in the dark.

 

But although the Puritans of Massachusetts were friendly enough with dissenters beyond their borders they soon showed that within their borders there was to be no other Church than that which they had set up.

 

Two brothers for instance who wanted to have the Prayer Book used in full were calmly told that New England was no place for them, and they were shipped home again. Later a minister named Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts, for he preached that there ought to be no connection between Church and State; that a man was responsible to God alone for his opinions; and that no man had a right to take from or give to another a vote because of the Church to which he belonged.

Roger Williams, 1600(?)-1683

It seemed to him a deadly sin to have had anything whatever to do with the Church of England, a sin for which every one ought to do public penance. He also said that the land of America belonged to the natives, and not to the King of England. Therefore the King of England could not possibly give it to the settlers, and they ought to bargain for it with the natives. Otherwise they could have no right to it.

 

This idea seemed perfectly preposterous to those old settlers, for, said they, "he chargeth King James to have told a solemn, public lie, because in his patent he blessed God that he was the first Christian prince that had discovered this land." They might think little enough of their King in their hearts, but it was not for a mere nobody to start such a ridiculous theory as this.

 

We, looking back, can see that Williams was a good and pious man, a man before his time, right in many of his ideas, though not very wise perhaps in his way of pressing them upon others who did not understand them. But to his fellow colonists he seemed nothing but a firebrand and a dangerous heretic. So they bade him be gone out of their borders. He went southward to what is now Rhode Island, made friends with the Indians there, bought from them some land, and founded the town of Providence.

is cast out of the colony, 1636


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CHAPTER 24
THE STORY OF HARRY VANE

ABOUT this time there came to Massachusetts a handsome young adventurer named Sir Harry Vane. His face "was comely and fair," and his thick brown hair curly and long, so that he looked more like a Cavalier than a Puritan. He was in fact the eldest son of a Cavalier, one of the King's chosen councilors. But in spite of his birth and upbringing, in spite even of his looks, Harry Vane was a Puritan. And he gave up all the splendour of life at court, he left father and mother and fortune, and came to New England for conscience' sake.

Harry Vane, 1613-62;

"Sir Henry Vane hath as good as lost his eldest son who is gone to New England for conscience' sake," wrote a friend. "He likes not the discipline of the Church of England. None of our ministers would give him the Sacrament standing: no persuasions of our Bishops nor authority of his parents could prevail with him. Let him go."

 

As soon as Harry Vane arrived in Massachusetts he began to take an interest in the affairs of the colony. And perhaps because of his great name as much as his fair face, grey-haired men who had far more experience listened to his youthful advice and bowed to his judgement. And before six months were passed he, although a mere lad of twenty-three, was chosen as Governor. A new Governor, you remember, was chosen every year.

he is chosen Governor, 1636;

At home Harry Vane had been accustomed to the pomp and splendour of courts and now he began to keep far greater state as Governor than any one had done before him. Because he was son and heir to a Privy Councilor in England the ships in the harbour fired a salute when he was elected, and when he went to church or court of justice a bodyguard of four soldiers marched before him wearing steel corslet and cap, and carrying halberds. He made, too, a sort of royal progress through his little domain, visiting all the settlements.

he keeps great state;

But although begun with such pomp Vane's year of office was by no means a peaceful one. He was young and inexperienced, and he was not strong enough to deal with questions which even the oldest among the settlers found hard to settle. Yet with boyish presumption he set himself to the task. And although he failed, he left his mark on the life of the colony. His was one more voice raised in the cause of freedom. His was one more hand pointing the way to toleration. But he was too tempestuous, too careless of tact, too eager to hurry to the good end. So instead of keeping the colony with him he created dissension. People took sides, some eagerly supporting the young Governor, but a far larger party as eagerly opposing him.

has many troubles;

So after nine months of office Harry Vane saw that where he had meant to create fair order his hand created only disorder. And utterly disheartened he begged the Council to relieve him of the governorship and allow him to go home to England.

he desires to go home;

But when one of his friends stood up and spoke in moving terms of the great loss he would be, Harry Vane burst into tears and declared he would stay, only he could not bear all the squabbling that had been going on, nor to hear it constantly said that he was the cause of it.

 

Then, when the Council declared that if that was the only reason he had for going they could not give him leave, he repented of what he had said, and declared he must go for reasons of private business, and that anything else he had said was only said in temper.

 

Whereupon the court consented in silence to his going.

 

All this was not very dignified for the Governor of a state, but hardly surprising from a passionate youth who had undertaken a task too difficult for him, and felt himself a failure. However Vane did not go. He stayed on to the end of his time, and even sought to be re-elected.

 

But feeling against him was by this time far too keen. He was rejected as Governor, and not even chosen as one of the Council. This hurt him deeply, he sulked in a somewhat undignified manner, and at length in August sailed home, never to return.

 

He had flashed like a brilliant meteor across the dull life of the colony. He made strife at the time, but afterwards there was no bitterness. When the colonists were in difficulties they were ever ready to ask help from Harry Vane, and he as readily gave it. Even his enemies had to acknowledge his uprightness and generosity. "At all times," wrote his great-hearted adversary, Winthrop, "he showed himself a true friend to New England, and a man of noble and generous mind."

he remains the friend of the colony

He took a great part in the troublous times which now came upon England, and more than twenty years later he died bravely on the scaffold for the cause to which he had given his life.

 


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CHAPTER 25
THE STORY OF ANNE HUTCHINSON AND THE FOUNDING OF RHODE ISLAND

ABOUT a year before Harry Vane came to Massachusetts another interesting and brilliant colonist arrived. This was a woman named Anne Hutchinson. She was clever, "a woman of a ready wit and bold spirit." Like Williams she was in advance of her times, and like him she soon became a religious leader. She was able, she was deeply interested in religion, and she saw no reason why women should not speak their minds on such matters.

Anne Hutchinson, 1590(?)-1643

Men used to hold meetings to discuss questions of religion and politics to which women were not allowed to go. Anne Hutchinson thought this was insulting; and she began to hold meetings for women in her own home. These meetings became so popular that often as many as a hundred women would be present. They discussed matters of religion, and as Mrs. Hutchinson held "dangerous errors" about "grace and works" and justification and sanctification, this set the whole colony agog.

she holds meetings for women

By the time that Harry Vane was chosen Governor the matter had become serious. All the colony took sides for or against. Harry Vane, who stood for toleration and freedom, sided with Mrs. Hutchinson, while Winthrop, his great rival, sided against her. Mrs. Hutchinson was supported and encouraged in her wickedness by her brother-in-law John Wheelright, a "silenced minister sometimes in England." She also led away many other godly hearts.

 

The quarrel affected the whole colony, and was a stumbling-block in the way of all progress. But so long as Harry Vane was Governor, Mrs. Hutchinson continued her preaching and teaching. When he sailed home, however, and Winthrop was Governor once more, the elders of the community decided that Mrs. Hutchinson was a danger to the colony, and must be silenced. So all the elders and leaders met together in assembly, and condemned her opinions, some as being "blasphemous, some erroneous, and all unsafe."

her opinions are condemned;

A few women, they decided, might without serious wrong meet together to pray and edify one another. But that a large number of sixty or more should do so every week was agreed to be "disorderly and without rule." And as Mrs. Hutchinson would not cease her preaching and teaching, but obstinately continued in her gross errors, she was excommunicated and exiled from the colony.

 

Like Williams, Mrs. Hutchinson went to Rhode Island. To the sorrow of the godly, her husband went with her. And when they tried to bring him back he refused. "For," he said, "I am more dearly tied to my wife than to the Church. And I do think her a dear saint and servant of God."

she is exiled, 1638

In Rhode Island Mrs. Hutchinson and her friends founded the towns of Portsmouth and Newport. Others who had been driven out of one colony or another followed them, and other towns were founded; and for a time Rhode Island seems to have been a sort of Ishmael's land, and the most unruly of all the New England colonies. At length however all these little settlements joined together under one Governor.

 

At first the colony had no charter, and occupied the land only by right of agreement with the Indians. But after some time Roger Williams got a charter from Charles II. In this charter it was set down that no one should be persecuted "for any difference in opinion on matters of religion." Thus another new state was founded, and in Rhode Island there was more real freedom than in almost any other colony in New England.

Rhode Island gets a charter, 1663

Massachusetts was at this time, as we can see, not exactly an easy place to live in for any one whose opinions differed in the slightest from those laid down by law. Those same people who had left their homes to seek freedom of conscience denied it to others. But they were so very, very sure that their way was the only right way, that they could not understand how any one could think otherwise. They were good and honest men. And if they were severe with their fellows who strayed from the narrow path, it was only in the hope that by punishing them in this life, they might save them from much more terrible punishment in the life to come.

 


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CHAPTER 26
THE FOUNDING OF HARVARD

ONE very good thing we have to remember about the first settlers of Massachusetts is that early in the life of the colony they founded schools and colleges. A good many of the settlers were Oxford and Cambridge men, though more indeed came from Cambridge than from Oxford, as Cambridge was much the more Puritan of the two. But whether from Oxford or from Cambridge they were eager that their children born in this New England should have as good an education as their fathers had had in Old England. So when Harry Vane was Governor the colonists voted £400 with which to build a school. This is the first time known to history that the people themselves voted their own money to found a school.

 

It was decided to build the school at "Newtown." But the Cambridge men did not like the name, so they got it changed to Cambridge, "to tell their posterity whence they came."

Cambridge named after Cambridge in England

Shortly before this a young Cambridge man named John Harvard had come out to Massachusetts. Very little is known of him save that he came of simple folk, and was good and learned. "A godly gentleman and lover of learning," old writers call him. "A scholar and pious in his life, and enlarged towards the country and the good of it, in life and in death."

John Harvard;

Soon after he came to Boston this godly gentleman was made minister of the church at Charlestown. But he was very delicate and in a few months he died.

he dies;

As a scholar and a Cambridge man he had been greatly interested in the building of the college at Cambridge. So when he died he left half his money and all his books to it. The settlers were very grateful for this bequest, and to show their gratitude they decided to name the college after John Harvard.

leaves his money to the new school, 1638;

Thus the first University in America was founded. From the beginning the college was a pleasant place, "more like a bowling green than a wilderness," said one man. "The buildings were thought by some to be too gorgeous for a wilderness, and yet too mean in others' apprehensions for a college. "

 

"The edifice," says another, "is very faire and comely within and without, having in it a spacious hall, and a large library with some bookes to it."

 

Of Harvard's own books there were nearly three hundred, a very good beginning for a library in those far-off days. But unfortunately they were all burnt about a hundred years later when the library accidentally took fire. Only one book was saved, as it was not in the library at the time.

his books burned;

Harvard's books are gone, nor does anything now remain of the first buildings "so faire and comely within and without." But the memory of the old founders and their wonderful purpose and energy is still kept green, and over the chief entrance of the present buildings are carved some words taken from a writer of those times. "After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, rear'd convenient places for God's worship, and settled the Civil Government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to Posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the Churches when our present ministers shall be in the Dust."

 

John Harvard was a good and simple man. In giving his money to found a college he had no thought of making himself famous. But "he builded better than he knew," for he reared for himself an eternal monument, and made his name famous to all the ends of the earth. And when kings and emperors are forgotten the name of Harvard will be remembered.

his name lives


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CHAPTER 27
HOW QUAKERS FIRST CAME TO NEW ENGLAND

IT was about the middle of the seventeenth century when a new kind of religion arose. This was the religion of the Quakers. George Fox was the founder of this sect, and they called themselves the Friends of Truth. The name Quaker was given to them by their enemies in derision because they "trembled before the Lord."

George Fox, 1624-91

The Quakers were a peace-loving people; they tried to be kind and charitable; they refused to go to law; and they refused to fight. They also gave up using titles of all kinds. For, "my Lord Peter and my Lord Paul are not to be found in the Bible." They refused to take off their hats to any man, believing that that was a sign of worship which belonged to God only. They refused also to take oath of any kind, even the oath of allegiance to the King, because Christ had said, "Swear not at all." They used "thee" and "thou" instead of "you" in speaking to a single person (because they thought it more simple and truthful), and they refused to say "goodnight" or "goodmorrow," "for they knew night was good and day was good without wishing either." There was a great deal that was good in their religion and very little, it would seem, that was harmful, but they were pronounced to be "mischievous and dangerous people."

 

Men did not understand the Quakers. And, as often happens when men do not understand, they became afraid of them. Because they wore black clothes and broad-brimmed hats they thought they must be Jesuits in disguise. So ignorance bred fear, and fear brought forth persecution, and on all sides the Quakers were hunted and reviled. They were fined and imprisoned scourged and exiled and sold into slavery. Then, like other persecuted people, they sought a refuge in New England across the seas. But the people there were just as ignorant as the people at home, and the Quakers found no kindly welcome.

Quakers not understood

They are persecuted

The first Quakers to arrive in New England were two women. But before they were allowed to land officers were sent on board the ship to search their boxes. They found a great many books, which they carried ashore, and while the women were kept prisoner on board the ship the books were burned in the market place by the common hangman. Then the women were brought ashore and sent to prison, for no other reason than that they were Quakers.

They seek refuge in America

No one was allowed to speak to them on pain of a fine of £5, and lest any should attempt it even the windows of the prison were boarded up. They were allowed no candle, and their pens, ink, and paper were taken from them. They might have starved but that one good old man named Nicholas Upshal, whose heart was grieved for them, paid the gaoler to give them food. Thus they were kept until a ship was ready to sail for England. Then they were put on board, and the captain was made to swear that he would put them ashore nowhere but in England.

 

"Such," says an old writer, "was the entertainment the Quakers first met with at Boston, and that from a people who pretended that for conscience' sake they had chosen the wilderness of America before the well-cultivated Old England."

 

The next Quakers who arrived were treated much in the same fashion and sent back to England; and a law was made forbidding Quakers to come to the colony. At this time the same good old man who had already befriended them was grieved. "Take heed," he said, "that you be not found fighting against God, and so draw down a judgement upon the land." But the men of Boston were seized with a frenzy of hate and fear, and they banished this old man because he had dared to speak kindly of "the accursed sect."

They are forbidden to come

It is true the men of New England had some excuse for trying to keep the Quakers out of their colony. For some of them were foolish, and tried to force their opinions noisily upon others. They interrupted the Church services, mocked the magistrates and the clergy, and some, carried away by religious fervour, behaved more like mad folk than the disciples of a religion of love and charity.

 

Yet in spite of the law forbidding them to come, Quakers kept on coming to the colony, and all who came were imprisoned, beaten, and then thrust forth with orders never to return. But still they came. So a law was made that any Quaker coming into the colony should have one of his ears cut off; if he came again he should have a second ear cut off; if he came a third time he should have his tongue bored through with a hot iron.

Cruel laws are passed against them

But even this cruel law had no effect upon the Quakers. They heeded it not, and came in as great or even greater numbers than before.

 

The people of Boston were in despair. They had no wise to be cruel; indeed, many hated, and were thoroughly ashamed of, the cruel laws, made against these strange people. But they were nevertheless determined that Quakers should not come into their land. So now they made a law that any Quaker who came to the colony and refused to go away again when ordered should be hanged. This, they thought, would certainly keep these pernicious folk away. But it did not.

 

For the Quakers were determined to prove to all the world that they were free to go where they would, and that if they chose to come to Boston no man-made laws should keep them out. So they kept on coming. The magistrates knew not what to do. They had never meant to hang any of them, but only to frighten them away. But having made the law, they were determined to fulfil it, and five Quakers were hanged, one of them a woman. But while the fifth was being tried another Quaker named Christison, who had already been banished, calmly walked into the court.

Some are hanged, 1656

When they saw him the magistrates were struck dumb. For they saw that against determination like this no punishment, however severe, might avail. On their ears Christison's words fell heavily.

 

"I am come here to warn you," he cried, "that you should shed no more innocent blood. For the blood that you have shed already cries to the Lord God for vengeance to come upon you."

 

Nevertheless he too was seized and tried. But he defended himself well. "By what law will you put me to death?" he asked.

Christison defends himself

"We have a law," replied the magistrates, "and by our law you are to die."

 

"So said the Jews to Christ," replied Christison: "'We have a law, and by our law you ought to die.' Who empowered you to make that law? How! Have you power to make laws different from the laws of England?"

 

"No," said the Governor.

 

"Then," said Christison, "you are gone beyond your bounds. Are you subjects to the King? Yea or nay?"

 

"Yea, we are so."

 

"Well," said Christison, "so am I. Therefore, seeing that you and I are subjects to the King, I demand to be tried by the laws of my own nation. For I never heard, nor read, of any law that was in England to hang Quakers."

 

Yet in spite of his brave defence Christison was condemned to death. But the sentence was never carried out. For the people had grown weary of these cruelties; even the magistrates, who for a time had been carried away by blind hate, saw that they were wrong. Christison and many of his friends who had lain in prison awaiting trial were set free.

The persecution ceases

The Quakers, too, now found a strange friend in King Charles. For the doings of the New Englanders in this matter reached even his careless ears, and he wrote to his "Trusty and well-beloved" subjects bidding them cease their persecutions, and send the Quakers back to England to be tried. This the people of Massachusetts never did. But henceforth the persecutions died down. And although from time to time the Quakers were still beaten and imprisoned no more were put to death. At length the persecution died away altogether and the Quakers, allowed to live in peace, became quiet, hard-working citizens.

 


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CHAPTER 28
HOW MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE WERE FOUNDED

NORTH of Massachusetts two more colonies, New Hampshire and Maine, were founded. But they were not founded by men who fled from tyranny, but by statesmen and traders who realised the worth of America, not by Puritans, but by Churchmen and Royalists. The two men who were chiefly concerned in the founding of these colonies were Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason. They were both eager colonists, and they both got several charters and patents from the King, and from the New England Company.

Gorges and Mason

It would be too confusing to follow all these grants and charters, or all the attempts at settlements made by Mason and Gorges and others. The land granted to them was often very vaguely outlined, the fact being that the people who applied for the land, and those who drew up the charters, had only the vaguest ideas concerning the land in question. So the grants often overlapped each other, and the same land was frequently claimed by two people, and of course confusion and quarrels followed.

 

In 1629 Mason and Gorges, being friends, agreed to divide the province of Maine between them, and Mason called his part New Hampshire, after the county of Hampshire in England, of which he was fond. Mason and Gorges each now had an enormous tract of land, but they wanted still more.

They divide their province

The French, as you know, had already made settlements in Canada, But just at this time that buccaneering sea captain, David Kirke, besieged Quebec, took it and carried its brave governor, Champlain, away prisoner. Now, as soon as they heard of this Gorges and Mason asked the King to give them a grant of part of the conquered land, for it was known to be a fine country for fur trade, and was also believed to be rich in gold and silver mines. In answer to this petition the King granted a great tract of land to Gorges and Mason. This they called Laconia, because it was supposed to contain many lakes. They never did much with it however, and in a few years when peace was made with France it had all to be given back to the French.

The province of Laconia, 1629

Both Mason and Gorges spent a great deal of money trying to encourage colonists to settle on their land, and the people of Massachusetts were not at all pleased to have such powerful Churchmen for their neighbours.

 

As has been said, land grants often overlapped, and part of the land granted to Gorges and Mason was also claimed by Massachusetts. The Massachusetts colonists insisted on their rights. Both Gorges and Mason therefore became their enemies, and did their best to have their charter taken away. To this end Gorges got himself made Governor General of the whole of New England, with power to do almost as he liked, and he made ready to set out for his new domain with a thousand soldiers to enforce his authority.

Gorges made Governor General, 1639

When this news reached Massachusetts the whole colony was thrown into a state of excitement. For in this appointment the settlers saw the end of freedom, the beginning of tyranny. Both Gorges and his friend Mason were zealous Churchmen and the Puritans felt sure would try to force them all to become Churchmen also.

 

This the settlers determined to resist with all their might. So they built forts round Boston Harbour and mounted cannon ready to sink any hostile vessel which might put into port. In every village the young men trained as soldiers, and a beacon was set up on the highest point of the triple hill upon which Boston is built. And daily these young men turned their eyes to the hill, for when a light appeared there they knew it would be time to put on their steel caps and corslets and march to defend their liberties. Ever since the hill has been called Beacon Hill.

 

But the danger passed. The new ship which was being built for Ferdinando Gorges mysteriously fell to pieces on the very launching of it, and Captain Mason died. "He was the chief mover in all the attempts against us," says Winthrop. "But the Lord, in His mercy, taking him away, all the business fell on sleep."

Mason dies

But still Gorges did not give up his plans. He did not now go out to New England himself as he had meant to do, but sent first his nephew and then his cousin instead. They, however, did not trouble Massachusetts much.

 

Over the Province of Maine, Sir Ferdinando ruled supreme. He could raise troops, make war, give people titles, levy taxes. No one might settle down or trade in his province without his permission, and all must look upon him as the lord of the soil and pay him tribute. It was the feudal system come again, and Sir Ferdinando Gorges was as near being a king as any ruler of America ever has been. He drew up a most elaborate constitution, too, for his kingdom, making almost more offices than there were citizens to fill them. For, after all, his kingdom was a mere wilderness containing two fishing villages and here and there a few scattered settlements. And when the deputy governor arrived to rule this kingdom he found his "palace" merely a broken-down store house with "nothing of household stuff remaining but an old pot, a pair of tongs and a couple of irons."

 

Thus side by side with the Puritan colonies of New England, colonies which were almost republics, there was planted a feudal state which was almost a monarchy. Of all the New England colonies, New Hampshire and Maine were the only two which were not founded for the sake of religion. For although the English Church was established in both as the state religion that was merely because the proprietors were of that Church. The colonies were founded for the sake of trade and profit. But they grew very slowly.

 

In 1647 Sir Ferdinando Gorges died, and Maine was left much to itself. For his son John took little interest in his father's great estate. Thirty years later his grandson, another Ferdinando, sold his rights to Massachusetts. From that time till 1820, when it was admitted to the Union as a separate state, Maine was a part of Massachusetts.

Maine becomes part of Massachusetts

Neither did the heirs of Mason pay much attention to their estates at first. And when they did there was a good deal of quarrelling and a good deal of trouble, and at length they sold their rights to twelve men, who were afterwards known as the Masonian Proprietors.

 

There was a great deal of trouble, too, before New Hampshire was finally recognised as a separate colony. It was joined to Massachusetts and separated again more than once. But at last, after many changes, New Hampshire finally became a recognised separate colony. And although Captain John Mason died long before this happened he has been called the founder of New Hampshire.

1749

"If the highest moral honour," it has been said, "belongs to founders of states, as Bacon has declared, then Mason deserved it. To seize on a tract of the American wilderness, to define its limits, to give it a name, to plant it with an English colony, and to die giving it his last thoughts among worldly concerns, are acts as lofty and noble as any recorded in the history of colonisation."

New Hampshire becomes a separate colony, 1691


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CHAPTER 29
THE FOUNDING OF CONNECTICUT AND WAR WITH THE INDIANS

MANY of the people who founded Massachusetts Colony were well-to-do people, people of good family, aristocrats in fact. They were men accustomed to rule, accustomed to unquestioning obedience from their servants and those under them. They believed that the few were meant to rule, and the many meant to obey. The idea that every grown-up person should have a share in the government never entered their heads. Their Governor, Winthrop, was an aristocrat to the backbone. He believed heartily in the government of the many by the few, and made it as difficult as possible for citizens to obtain the right of voting.

 

But there were many people who were discontented with this aristocratic rule. Among them was a minister named Thomas Hooker, like John Harvard a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Thomas Hooker, 1586-1647

So, being dissatisfied, he and his congregation decided to move away and found a new colony. They were the more ready to do this, as the land round Boston was not fertile, and so many new settlers had come, and their cattle and flocks had increased so rapidly, that it was already difficult to find food and fodder for man and beast. Adventurers who had traveled far afield had brought back glowing reports of the beauty and fertility of the Connecticut Valley, and there Hooker decided to settle.

 

But for several reasons many of the people of Massachusetts objected to his going. He and his people, they said, would be in danger from the Dutch, who already had a settlement there, and who claimed the whole valley. They would also be in danger from the Indians, who were known to be hostile, and lastly, they would be in danger from the British Government because they had no charter permitting them to settle in this land. The people at home, they said, "would not endure they should sit down without a patent on any place which our King lays claim unto."

 

The people of Massachusetts were keeping quiet and going along steadily in their own way, without paying any heed to the British Government. They wanted to be left alone, and they did not want any one else to do things which might call attention to them. And besides all this they were greatly troubled at the thought of losing an eloquent preacher like Hooker. Every church was like a candlestick giving light to the world. "And the removing of a candlestick," they said, "is a great judgement, which is to be avoided."

 

But in spite of all arguments Hooker determined to go. So one June morning he and his congregation set forth. They sent their furniture by water and they themselves, both men and women, started to walk the hundred miles, driving their cattle before them; only Mrs. Hooker, who was ill, being carried in a litter.

Hooker leaves Massachusetts, 1636;

They went slowly, allowing the cattle to graze by the wayside, living chiefly on the milk of the cows and the wild fruits they found. It was no easy journey, for their way led through the pathless wilderness, their only guides being the compass and the sun. For in those days we must remember that beyond the settlements the whole of America was untrodden ground. Save the Indian trails there were no roads. Here they had to fell trees and make a rough bridge to cross a stream; there they hewed their way through bushy undergrowth. Again they climbed steep hillsides or picked their way painfully through swamps, suffering many discomforts and fatigues.

 

But there were delights, too, for the sky was blue above them: birds sang to them night and morning, and wild flowers starred the ground and scented the air. All day they marched beneath the sunny blue sky, every evening they lit their watch-fires as a protection against wild beasts and lay down to rest beneath the stars, for "they had no cover but the heavens, nor any lodgings but those which simple nature afforded them."

 

For a fortnight they journeyed thus through the wilderness. Then they reached the Connecticut River and their journey's end. And here they built a little town which they called Hartford.

the town of Hartford founded;

Other communities followed the example of Hooker and his flock, and Wethersfield and Windsor were built. At first all these towns remained a part of Massachusetts in name at least. But after a time the settlers met together at Hartford and, agreeing to form a little republic of their own, they drew up a set of rules for themselves; the chief difference from those of Massachusetts being that the religious tests were done away with, and a man need no longer be a member of a church in order to have the right to vote. It is also interesting to remember that in these Fundamental Orders, as they called their Constitution, there is no mention of the British King or Government. These colonists had settled new land without a charter, and they made laws without recognising any authority but their own. Thus the Colony of Connecticut was founded.

the Fundamental Orders, 1639

Besides these towns, John Winthrop, the son of the Governor of Massachusetts, founded a fort at the mouth of the Connecticut River. For he saw it was a good place for trade with the Indians. This fort was called SayeBrook after Lord Saye and Sele and Lord Brook, two Puritan lords who had obtained a grant of land along the Connecticut River.

SayeBrook founded

But this new colony was very nearly wiped out as soon as begun. For one of the dangers which the people of Massachusetts foretold proved a very real one. This was the danger from the Indians. The Indians are divided into several families, such as the Algonquins, the Hurons, the Iroquois, each of these families again containing many tribes. All the Indians in New England belonged to the Algonquin family, but were, of course, divided into many tribes. One of these tribes was called the Pequots. They were very powerful, and they tyrannised over the other tribes round about. They hated the white men, and whenever they had the opportunity they slew them.

the Pequots;

The new Colony of Connecticut was far nearer their hunting-ground than Massachusetts. It was a far easier prey, and from the very beginning the Pequots harassed the settlers. They made no open attack, but skulked about, murdering men and women, now here, now there, appearing suddenly and vanishing again as swiftly.

 

This sort of thing could not be endured, and the English determined to put a stop to it. So messengers were sent to the Indians to demand that the murderers should be given up to the English. When the Indians saw the English boats appear they did not seem in the least afraid, but came running along the water-side shouting, "What cheer, Englishmen, what cheer? What do you come for?"

an expedition sent to the Pequots;

But the Englishmen would not answer.

 

And the Pequots, never thinking that the Englishmen meant war, kept running on beside the boats as they sailed up the river.

 

"What cheer, Englishmen, what cheer?" they kept repeating. "Are you angry? Will you kill us? Do you come to fight?"

 

But still the Englishmen would not answer.

 

Then the Indians began to be afraid. And that night they built great fires on either side of the river, fearing lest the Englishmen might land in the darkness. All night long, too, they kept up a most doleful howling, calling to each other and passing the word on from place to place to gather the braves together.

 

Next morning early they sent an ambassador to the English captain. He was a big, splendid-looking man, very grave and majestic. "Why do you come here?" he asked.

the Pequots send an ambassador;

"I have come," answered the captain, "to demand the heads of those who have slain our comrades. It is not the habit of the English to suffer murderers to live. So if you desire peace and welfare give us the heads of the murderers."

 

"We knew not," answered the wily Indian, "that any of our braves had slain any of yours. It is true we have slain some white men. But we took them to be Dutch. It is hard for us to know the difference between Dutch and English."

he makes excuses;

"You know the difference between Dutch and English quite well," answered the captain sternly. "And therefore seeing you have slain the King of England's subjects, we come to demand vengeance for their blood."

 

"We knew no difference between the Dutch and English," declared the Indian. "They are both strangers to us, and we took them to be all one. Therefore we crave pardon. We have not wilfully wronged the English."

 

"That excuse will not do," insisted the captain. "We have proof that you know the English from the Dutch. We must have the heads of those persons who have slain our men, or else we will fight you."

 

Then, seeing that he could not move the English captain from his determination, the ambassador asked leave to go back to his chief, promising to return speedily with his answer. He was allowed to go; but as he did not return very soon the Englishmen followed. Seeing this, the ambassador hurried to them, begging them not to come nearer, and saying that his chief could not be found, as he had gone to Long Island.

 

"That is not true," replied the English. "We know he is here. So find him speedily or we will march through the country and spoil your corn."

 

Hour after hour went past; the Englishmen always patiently waiting; the wily Indian always inventing some new excuse for delay. But at length the patience of the English was exhausted, and, beating their drums, they charged the savages. Some were killed, and, the rest fleeing, the English burned their wigwams and destroyed their corn, and carried off their mats and baskets as booty.

war begins

But the Pequots were not in the least subdued, and more than ever they harassed the colonists of Connecticut. So the men of Connecticut sent to Massachusetts and to Plymouth asking for help. The people of Plymouth, however, said the quarrel was none of theirs and sent no help, but from Massachusetts about twenty men were sent. Besides this, a few friendly Indians, glad at the chance of punishing their old tyrants, joined with the white men.

 

So one moonlight night the little company embarked, and, sailing along the coast, landed at a spot about two days' journey from the Pequot fort. As they got near to it most of the Indians who had come with the English took fright and ran away. So less than a hundred Englishmen were left to attack seven hundred Indians.

 

A little before dawn they reached the fort. The Indians were all sleeping and keeping no guard, so the Englishmen quietly took possession of both entrances to the fort.

The colonists attack the Pequot fort;

Then suddenly through the still morning air the sharp sound of a volley of musketry rang out "as though the finger of God had touched both match and flint." Affrighted, the Indians sprang from their sleep yelling in terror. They scarce had time to seize their bows and arrows when, sword in hand, the Englishmen stormed into the fort. A fierce fight followed, showers of arrows fell upon the Englishmen, but they did little hurt, and glanced off for the most part harmless from their thick buff coats and steel corslets.

 

During the fight some of the huts were set on fire, and soon the whole village was a roaring mass of flames. Many perished miserably in the fire, others who fled from it were cut down by the Englishmen, or escaping them, fell into the hands of their own countrymen. They found no mercy, for they had given none; and, remembering the awful tortures which their fellow-countrymen had suffered, the Englishmen had no compassion on their murderers.

it is set on fire

Ere an hour had passed the fight was over. Out of four hundred Indians not more than five escaped. The Pequots were utterly wiped out and their village a heap of smoking ruins. Never before had such terrible vengeance overtaken any Indian tribe. And all the other tribes were so frightened and amazed that for forty years there was peace in New England. For no Redmen dare attack these terrible conquerors.

The Pequots utterly subdued, 1637


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CHAPTER 30
THE FOUNDING OF NEW HAVEN

IN spite of the menace of the Redmen, Englishmen continued to settle in the land they claimed. Even while the Pequot war was going on a new colony had been founded, still further south upon the shores of New England. This colony was founded by a minister named John Davenport.

 

John Davenport had fled from persecution in England, and, followed by his congregation, including many wealthy people, had sought,–like so many other Puritans,–a refuge in New England. The newcomers however, would not join the other Puritans, but decided to found a colony all to themselves which should be ruled only by laws found in the Bible. They called their settlement New Haven, and here the law that none but church members should vote was very strictly enforced.

John Davenport

1638

Each of the towns was governed by seven men known as the Pillars of the Church. These men served as judges, but no juries were allowed, because no mention of them is found in the Bible. The laws were very strict, but the famous pretended "Blue Laws" of New Haven, which people used to make fun of, never existed. In these it was pretended that there were such absurd laws as, "No one shall cook, make beds, sweep house, cut hair or shave on the Sabbath. No woman shall kiss her child on the Sabbath or fasting day. No one shall keep Christmas, make minced pies, dance, play cards or play on any instrument of music except the drum, trumpet or jew's-harp." Some of the old Puritan laws seem to us indeed quaint enough, but there are none quite so absurd as these. They were invented by an early "tourist," who sought to make fun of these earnest, God-fearing colonists.

The laws of New Haven

The New Haven colonists, like those of Connecticut, had no charter from the King of England. They settled the land not by agreement with him, but by agreement with the Indians.

the colony has no charter

Davenport and his followers bought the land upon which they settled from the Indians. To one chief they gave "twelve coats of English trucking cloth, twelve alchemy spoons, twelve hatchets, twelve hoes, two dozen of knives, twelve porringers, and four cases of French knives and scissors." To another, "eleven coats of trucking cloth, and one coat of English cloth."

 

The agreement was all duly and properly written out and signed by the chiefs, but, of course, as the chiefs could not write they made their marks. The first agreement was signed not only by the chief and his council, but also by the chief's sister.

 

We have now heard of seven New England colonies being founded. But later on, as we shall see, Plymouth joined with Massachusetts, and New Haven with Connecticut, thus making only five New England colonies as we know them to-day. And of those five, one (Maine) was not recognised as a separate colony but as part of Massachusetts after 1677. It remained part of Massachusetts until 1820, when it entered the Union as a state.

 

Meanwhile Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven all joined together, promising to help each other in case of war with the Indians, Dutch, or French, who were constant dangers to them all alike. They called themselves the United Colonies of New England. This union, however, was only for defence. Each colony was still quite independent of the others and managed its own affairs as before. It was only the first shadow of the great Union which was to come many years later. It was also one more proof that the colonies were growing up and thinking for themselves for they asked no one's leave to form this union. They thought it was necessary to their safety, so they entered into it. Only Rhode Island was not asked to join; there was still too much bitterness over religious matters between the settlers there and in the other colonies.

United Colonies of New England, 1643

There were no more Puritan colonies founded, for Puritans ceased now to come to New England in large numbers. The reason was that the great fight between King and People, between Cavalier and Puritan had begun in old England. And when the Puritans won, and could have their own way at home, they were no longer so eager to set forth to seek a New England beyond the seas. So the Puritans ceased to cross the seas, and as we have seen, in their place many Cavaliers came to Virginia.

 


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CHAPTER 31
THE HUNT FOR THE REGICIDES

THE Commonwealth of England did not last long. In 1660 King Charles II was restored. England then became an unsafe abode for all those who had helped to condemn Charles I to death, and two of those men, General Edward Whalley and William Goffe, fled to America. They were kindly received by the Puritans of Boston, and after a time they moved on to New Haven. But even in America they were not safe, and Royalist messengers were sent from England to arrest them, and take them home to be tried.

The Restoration Regicides flee to America;

The Governor of Massachusetts pretended to be very eager to help these messengers. In reality he did nothing to help, but hindered them, rather. News of the search for the fugitives soon reached New Haven, and at once the people there helped them to hide. For their minister, John Davenport, had bidden them to "hide the outcasts and betray not him that wandereth."

 

Goffe and Whalley knew that the people of New Haven would not betray them. But lest their enemies should gain any inkling of their being there they left the town and, going to another, showed themselves openly. Then secretly by night they returned to New Haven.

 

For a whole month they lay hid there in the cellars of the minister's house. But soon that refuge became no longer safe, for the men in search of them had, in spite of their strategy, traced them to New Haven and set out to arrest them.

they are pursued;

One Saturday the Royalists reached Guilford, not sixteen miles away. Here they demanded horses from the Governor to take them on to New Haven. But the Governor had little desire to help them. So with one excuse after another he put them off until it was too late to start that night. The next day was Sunday, and it was strictly against the laws of Puritan New England to ride or drive on Sunday save to church. So the Royalist messengers, chafing with impatience, might bribe and command as much as they liked; not a man would stir a hand to help them till Monday morning.

 

Meanwhile a messenger was speeding on his way to New Haven to warn the Parliamentarians. And while their pursuers were kicking their heels in enforced idleness they slipped away, and found a new hiding place in a mill some miles off. But even this was thought not to be safe, and they fled once more, and at length found refuge in a cave deep in the forest.

seek refuge in a cave;

So on Monday when at length the Royalists arrived, the birds had flown. The minister owned that they had been there, but declared that they had vanished away, no man knowing when or whither.

 

The Royalists scoured the country far and wide in search of the fugitives. But their efforts were in vain. They were very much in earnest, but they were strangers, and they did not know the country. No one would help them in their search, and at length, very angry with the people of New Haven, they gave it up and returned to Boston.

 

Then, having spent several months in their cave, the Parliamentarians crept forth again. For two years they lived hidden in a friendly house. The King, however, was not satisfied, and after two years messengers again came out from England, and the search was again begun, more eagerly than before. Again, however, Goffe and Whalley were warned, and again they fled to the cave.

 

Here they lived in safety while the Royalists swept the country round in search of them. But they had many narrow escapes.

 

Once when they had left the shelter of their cave they were almost caught. Their pursuers were upon their heels, and to reach the cave without being taken prisoner seemed impossible. As the two men fled before their foes they came to a little river crossed by a wooden bridge. It was their last hope. Instead of crossing the bridge they crept beneath it, and crouched close to the water. On came the pursuers. They made no pause. Their horses thundered across the bridge and galloped away and away, while beneath the fugitives waited breathlessly. Then when all was quiet again they crept back to the shelter of their cave.

are almost caught

But at length the cave became a safe retreat no longer, for it was discovered by the Indians. And the fugitives, afraid lest the Indians, tempted by the large reward offered, might betray their hiding-place, resolved to seek another.

 

By this time the fury of the search for them had somewhat abated and another minister, John Russell, offered them a refuge in his house. This minister lived at a place called Hadley. Hadley was many miles from New Haven. It was a lonely settlement on the edge of the wilderness, and to reach it about a hundred miles of pathless forest had to be crossed. But with stout hearts the hunted men set out. By day they lay hidden in some friendly house, or in some lonely cave or other refuge. By night they journeyed onward. At length they reached their new hiding-place.

John Russell

It was wonderfully contrived. The minister had lately made some alterations in his house, and in doing so he had made a safe retreat. In the attic there was a large cupboard with doors opening into rooms on either side. In the floor of the cupboard there was a trap door which led down into another dark cupboard below, and from there a passage led to the cellar. So that, should the house be searched, any one in the upper rooms could slip into the cupboard, from there reach the cellar, and thus escape. Here the regicides now took up their abode. And so well was their secret kept that they lived there for ten or fifteen years, their presence being unsuspected even by the inhabitants of the little town.

a new hiding-place;

Henceforth the world was dead to them, and they were dead to the world. They were both soldiers. On many a field of battle,–Gainsborough, Marston, Naseby, Worcester, and Dunbar,–they had led their men to victory. They had been Members of Parliament, friends of the Great Protector, and had taken part in all the doings of these stirring times.

 

Now all that was over. Now no command, no power was left to them. The years went by, dragging their slow length of days, and bringing no change or brightness to the lives of these two men who lived in secret and alone. It was a melancholy life, the monotony only broken by visits from the minister, or a few other friends, who brought them all the gossip and news of the town. These were but small matters. But to the two men shut off from all other human beings they seemed of rare interest.

a lonely life

After ten years Whalley died. It is believed that he was buried in the cellar of the house in which for so long he had found a hiding-place. Then, for five years or so more, Goffe dragged out his life alone.

 

As one might imagine, the King was not at all pleased with Massachusetts and New Haven for thus sheltering the regicides; and in 1665 he suppressed New Haven as a separate colony and joined it to Connecticut.

New Haven becomes part of Connecticut

The New Haven people did not like this at all, and they fought against it with all their might. But at length they gave way and joined Connecticut.

 

The King was angry with Massachusetts, too, not only for protecting the regicides, but also because of what is known as the Declaration of Rights. In this the people of Massachusetts acknowledged the King as their ruler. But they also made it plain that so long as they did not make laws which ran counter to English laws they expected to be let alone. This made King Charles angry, and if it had not been that he was busy fighting with Holland very likely the people of Massachusetts would have had to suffer for their boldness at once. As it was they were left in peace a little longer.

Declaration of Rights, 1661


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CHAPTER 32
KING PHILIP'S WAR

MEANWHILE the people of New England had another foe to fight.

 

You remember that the Pilgrim Fathers had made a treaty with the Indians when they first arrived. As long as the old Chief Massasoit lived he kept that treaty. But now he was dead, and his son Philip ruled.

King Philip

You will wonder, perhaps, why an Indian chief should have a name like Philip. But Philip's real name was Metacomet. He, however, wanted to have an English name, and to please him the English called him Philip. And by that name he is best known.

 

For a time all went well. But very soon Philip and his tribe grew restless and dissatisfied. When they saw the white men coming in always greater and greater numbers, and building towns and villages further and further into the land, they began to fear them and long to drive them away. And at length all their thoughts turned to war.

becomes unfriendly;

Friendly Indians and "praying Indians," as those who had become Christians were called, came now to warn the Pale-faces and tell them that Philip was gathering his braves, and that he had held a war dance lasting for several weeks. In the night, too, people in lonely farms awoke to hear the wild sound of drums and gun shots. But still the English hoped to pacify Philip. So they sent him a friendly letter telling him to send away his braves, for no white man wished him ill.

 

But Philip returned no answer.

 

Then one Sunday while the people were at church and the houses were all deserted Indians attacked the little town of Swansea, burning and plundering. The next day and the next they returned, tomahawk and firebrand in hand, and so the war began.

war begins

Other tribes joined with King Philip, and soon New England was filled with terror and bloodshed. The men of New England gathered in force to fight the Indians. But they were a hard foe to fight, for they never came out to meet the Pale-faces in open field.

 

At first when the British began to settle in America they had made it a rule never to sell firearms to the Indians. But that rule had long ago been broken through. Now the Indians not only had guns, but many of them were as good shots as the British. Yet they kept to their old ways of fighting, and, stealthily as wild animals, they skulked behind trees, or lurked in the long grass, seeking their enemies. They knew all the secret forest ways, they were swift of foot, untiring, and mad with the lust of blood. So from one lonely village to another they sped swiftly as the eagle, secretly as the fox. And where they passed they left a trail of blood and ashes.

The Indian way of fighting

At night around some lonely homestead all would seem quiet. Far as the eye could see there would be no slightest sign of any Redman, and the tired labourer would go to rest feeling safe, with his wife and children beside him. But ere the first red streaks of dawn shivered across the sky he would be awakened by fiendish yells. Ere he could seize his gun the savages would be upon him. And the sun when it rose would show only blackened, blood-stained ruins where but a few hours before a happy home had been.

 

Yet with this red terror on every side the people went on quietly with their daily life. On week days they tilled their fields and minded their herds, on Sundays they went, as usual, to church, leaving their homes deserted. But even to church they went armed, and while they knelt in prayer or listened to the words of their pastor their guns were ever within reach of their hands.

 

One Sunday, while in the village of Hadley the people were all at church, the Indians crept up in their usual stealthy fashion. Suddenly the alarm was given, and, seizing their guns which stood by their sides, the men rushed out of the meeting-house. But they were all in confusion: the attack was sudden, they were none of them soldiers, but merely brave men ready to die for their homes and their dear ones, and they had no leader.

Hadley attacked, 1675;

Then suddenly a stranger appeared amongst them. He was dressed in quaint old-fashioned clothes. His hair and beard were long and streaked with grey. He was tall and soldierly, and his eyes shone with the joy of battle.

a deliverer appears;

At once he took command. Sharply his orders rang out. Unquestioningly the villagers obeyed, for he spoke as one used to command. They were no longer an armed crowd, but a company of soldiers, and, fired by the courage and skill of their leader, they soon put the Indians to flight.

 

When the fight was over the men turned to thank their deliverer. But he was nowhere to be found. He had vanished as quickly and mysteriously as he had come.

he vanishes again

"What did it mean?" they asked. "Who was the strange leader? Had God in His mercy sent an angel from heaven to their rescue ?"

 

No one could answer their questions, and many decided that indeed a miracle had happened, and that God had sent an angel to deliver them.

 

This strange leader was no other than the regicide, Colonel Goffe, who, as we know, had for many years lived hidden in the minister's house. From his attic window he had seen the Indians creeping stealthily upon the village. And when he saw the people standing leaderless and bewildered, he had been seized with his old fighting spirit, and had rushed forth to lead them. Then, the danger being over, he had slipped quietly back to his hiding-place. There he remained hidden from all the world as before, until he died and was buried beside his friend.

 

Autumn passed and winter came, and the Indians gathered to their forts, for the bare forests gave too little protection to them in their kind of warfare. When spring came they promised themselves to come forth again and make an end of the Pale-faces. But the Pale-faces did not wait for spring.

The Indians retire to their forts

The Indians had gathered to the number of over three thousand into a strong fortress. It was surrounded by a marsh and the only entrance was over a bridge made by a fallen tree.

 

This fortress the New Englanders decided to attack and take. So, a thousand strong, they set out one morning before dawn and, after hours of weary marching through the snow, they reached the fort. Across the narrow bridge they rushed, and although many of their leaders fell dead, the men came on, nothing daunted. A fierce fight followed, for each side knew that they must win or die. Shut in on all sides by impassable swamps there was no escape. But not till dark was falling did the white men gain the victory. The ground was strewn with dead and dying, and in the gathering darkness the remaining Indians stole quietly away, and vanished like shadows. Then the New Englanders set fire to the wigwams, and, taking their wounded, marched back to their headquarters.

The New Englanders attack the fort

This was a sad blow to the Indians, but it did not by any means end the war which, as spring came on, broke out again in full fury. But gradually the white men got the upper hand. Instead of attacking, the Redmen fled before them. They lost heart and began to blame King Philip for having led them into war, and at length he was slain by one of his own followers.

 

Soon after this the war came to an end. But whole tracts of New England were a desert, a thousand of the bravest and best of the young men were killed. Many women and children, too, had been slain, and there was hardly a fireside in the whole of Massachusetts where there was not a vacant place. Numbers of people were utterly ruined and the colonies were burdened with a great debt.

The war ends, 1676

As to the Indians their power was utterly broken, and their tribes were almost wiped out. Except the Mohegans, who had remained friendly throughout the war, there were few Indians left in south New England, where there was never again a war between white men and Indians.

 


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CHAPTER 33
HOW THE CHARTER OF CONNECTICUT WAS SAVED

MEANWHILE King Charles had not forgotten his anger against the people of Massachusetts. Besides the fact that they had harboured the regicides, he had many other reasons for being angry with them. For they refused to obey the Navigation Laws, and they refused to allow the Church of England to be established within the colony. They had coined money of their own, never made their officials swear allegiance to the throne, and had done many things just as they liked.

 

In fact Massachusetts seemed to Charles like a badly brought-up child, who, having come to manhood, wants to go his own way and cares nothing for the wishes or commands of his parents. He made up his mind not to have any more of this disobedience, and he took away the charter and made Massachusetts a Crown Colony. Thus after fifty-five years of practical freedom Massachusetts once more belonged to the King of England, by right of the discovery of John and Sebastian Cabot. Of course, the people of Massachusetts fought against this as hard as they could, but their struggle was useless, and a royal Governor was appointed to rule the colony.

Massachusetts a crown colony 1684

Almost immediately, however, Charles died, and it was not until his brother, James II, was on the throne that Sir Edmund Andros came out as royal Governor. He came not only as Governor of Massachusetts but as Governor of all the New England Colonies. For the King wanted to make an end of all these separate colonies and unite them into one great province.

Sir Edmund Andros arrives, 1686;

Andros soon made himself very much disliked, for he tried to rule New England too much as his master tried to rule Great Britain. He levied taxes as he pleased, he imprisoned innocent men if he chose, he allowed nothing to be printed without his permission, he seized lands and goods at will.

 

All New England felt the weight of the Governor's hand. He demanded Rhode Island's charter. But the Governor of Rhode Island replied that the weather was so bad he really could not send it. So Sir Edmund went to Rhode Island, dissolved its government and smashed its seal.

demands the charter of Rhode Island, 1687,

To Connecticut also Sir Edmund wrote in vain, demanding its charter. The men of Connecticut were, it seemed to him, an unruly lot. So one October day in 1687 he set out to visit this rebellious state and subdue it to his will.

and of Connecticut

He arrived in Hartford with a great train of gentlemen and soldiers. They made a mighty stir in the little town as they rode, jingling and clanking through the quiet streets, and drew rein before the state house. Into the chamber where the Council sat strode Andros looking pompous and grand in lace, and velvet, and a great flowing wig. Up to the table he strode, and in tones of haughty command, demanded the charter.

 

But the men of Connecticut would not lightly give up the sign of their beloved liberty. They talked and argued and persuaded. They spoke of the hardships they had endured, of the blood they had poured forth to keep their freedom in their new found homes, upon the edge of the wilderness.

The men of Connecticut resist him;

But with such a man as Andros all appeals, all persuasions were in vain. To every argument he had but one answer,–he must and would have the charter.

 

Long and long the argument lasted. The day drew to a close and twilight fell. Through the dusky gloom men could hardly see each other's flushed, excited faces. Lights were called for, and candles were brought. Some were placed upon the table beside the metal box in which lay the charter. Still the debate went on, either side as unbending as before. Now many citizens, anxious to know how things went, slipped into the room and stood behind the members, listening as the debate was flung this way and that. Outside the night was dark, within the woodpanelled room the flickering candles shed but a dim, uncertain light.

a long debate

They made strange dancing shadows, shining fitfully on the stern, eager faces of the men who sat round the table, but scarcely revealing against the gloom the crowd of anxious citizens behind.

 

Sir Edmund was weary of the talk. He would have no more of it, and, suddenly rising, he stretched out his hand to seize the charter. Then, swiftly from out the shadowy circle of listeners, a cloak was flung upon the table. It fell upon the candles and put them out. In a moment the room was in total darkness.

 

There was an outcry and a scuffling of feet, the sound of an opening window, a call for lights. But lights were no such speedy matters in those days when matches had not been invented. When at length the scratching of the tinder boxes was done and the candles relit, every one looked eagerly at the table. Behold, the charter was gone!

The Charter disappears

Sir Edmund stormed, and citizens and councilors looked blankly at each other. But meanwhile through the darkness a man sped. In his hand he held a parchment, and he never halted in his run till he reached a great oak tree. This oak he knew was hollow. Reaching it he thrust the parchment deep into the hole and carefully covered it up with dried leaves and bark. Thus was the charter of Connecticut saved.

 

The man who saved it was Captain Wadsworth. Ever afterwards the tree was called the Charter Oak, and until about sixty years ago it stood a memorial of his deed. But some wise folk say this story of the Charter Oak is all a fairy tale. That may be so. But it deserves to be true.

The Charter Oak

Yet though the men of Connecticut may have succeeded in saving the sign and symbol of their freedom, they could not save the reality. For whether Sir Edmund Andros was in possession of their charter or not he stamped upon their liberties just the same. In the public record the secretary wrote: "His Excellency Sir Edmund Andros, Knight Captain General and Governor of His Majesty's Territory and Dominion in New England, by order from his Majesty, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, the 31st of October, 1687, took into his hands the government of this Colony, of Connecticut, it being by his Majesty annexed to the Massachusetts and other Colonies under his Excellency's Government.

 

"Finis."

"Finis"

"Finis," as you know, means "the end." And one cannot but feel sorry for that stern, old, freedom loving Puritan gentleman who wrote the words. For indeed to him the loss of freedom must have seemed the end of all things.

 

Sir Edmund's rule, however, did not last long. For the British soon grew tired of James II and his tyrannous ways, and they asked Prince William of Orange to come and be their King. William came, the people received him with delight, King James fled away to France, and the "glorious Revolution," as it was called, was accomplished.

William III and Mary II

When the news reached New England there, too, was a little revolution. One spring morning there was a great commotion among the people of Boston. There was beating of drums, noise and shouting, and much running to and fro of young men carrying clubs. Soon it was seen that the city was in arms. The men marched to the castle, and demanded its surrender. And Andros, knowing himself to be helpless, yielded, though not without some "stomachful reluctances." The proud Governor's rule was at an end. He was taken prisoner, and through the streets where he had ridden in splendour he was now led a captive. Then the colonies set about restoring their governments as they had been before Sir Edmund Andros came.

Andros taken prisoner, 1689;

But Andros had no mind to remain a prisoner. He and his friends who were imprisoned with him had a good deal of freedom. They were locked into their rooms at night, but during the day they were allowed to walk about anywhere within sight of the sentries, and their friends were allowed to come to see them quite freely. It would not be difficult to escape, thought Andros, and he resolved to do it. So he bribed one of his jailers, and, having procured woman's clothes, he dressed himself in them and calmly walked out of his prison.

 

He passed two sentries safely. But the third looked sharply at the tall woman who strode along so manfully. He looked at her boots. At once the sentry's suspicions were aroused; for Sir Edmund had not thought of changing them. No woman ever wore such boots as these, thought the sentry, and he challenged and stopped her. Then, peering beneath the rim of her bonnet, he saw no bashful woman's face, but the well-known features of the Governor.

tries to escape

So back to prison Andros went. After this he was not allowed so much freedom. But again he tried to escape, and this time he was more successful. He got not only out of Boston, but out of the colony. Once more, however, he was recognised and brought back.

 

The whole of New England had been agog with excitement, but at length things began to calm down, and "the world moved on in its old orderly pace," says a writer of the times.

 

In the midst of this calm two ships arrived from England with an order to those in power to proclaim William and Mary King and Queen. Then the colonies went mad with joy. From far and near the people flocked to Boston. Bells were rung, bonfires blazed, and after a great procession through the streets there was feasting at the Townhall. Thus "with joy, splendour, appearance and unanimity, as had never before been seen in these territories," were William and Mary proclaimed.

William and Mary proclaimed

Sir Edmund Andros was now sent home to England a prisoner. But King William was not altogether pleased with all the colonists had done, and he was set free without any trial. He was not really a bad man, but he was dogged and pig-headed, without sympathy or imagination, and altogether the wrong man in the wrong place. Later on he came back to America as Governor of Virginia, and this time he did much better.

 

Meanwhile several changes were made in New England. Rhode Island and Connecticut kept their old charters, to which they had clung so lovingly. New Hampshire, too, remained a separate colony. But Plymouth, sad to say, that gallant little colony founded by the Pilgrim Fathers, lost its separate existence and became part of Massachusetts. Maine and even Nova Scotia, lately won from the French, were for the meantime also joined to Massachusetts.

Plymouth becomes part of Massachusetts, 1691

Massachusetts was now a great colony and received a new charter. But things were not the same. The colony was now a royal province, and the Governor was no longer appointed by the people, but by the King. This chafed the people greatly, for they felt that their old freedom was gone. So for a time the history of Massachusetts was hardly more than a dreary chronicle of quarrels and misunderstandings between Governor and people.

 


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CHAPTER 34
THE WITCHES OF SALEM

WE have all read stories about witches, but we do not really believe in them. They are exciting enough to read about, but we know they are merely bad-fairy sort of folk who are only to be met with in books, and not in real life. We should be very much astonished, and rather frightened perhaps, if we thought that witches were real, and that we might some day meet one.

Witches

But in those far-off days more than two hundred years ago very many people believed in witches. Although not always so, it was generally very old people, people who had grown ugly and witless with age who were accused of being witches. In almost any village might be seen poor old creatures, toothless, hollow cheeked, wrinkled, with nose and chin almost meeting. Bent almost double, they walked about with a crutch, shaking and mumbling as they went. If any one had an ache or a pain it was easily accounted for. For why, they were bewitched! The poor old crone was the witch who had "cast the evil eye" upon them. And sometimes these poor creatures were put to death for their so-called deeds of witchcraft.

Their appearance;

People believed that these witches sold themselves to the Evil One, and that he gave them power to harm other people. And what made them more dangerous was the fact that they did not need to go near people to harm them, but could do evil at a distance by thinking wicked thoughts, or saying wicked words. Some even of the most saintly and most learned people, believed in witches and witchcraft. So there is nothing surprising in the fact that suddenly, in 1692, whole towns and villages of New England were thrown into a ferment of terror by stories of witchcraft.

belief in them

It came about quite simply. Two little girls of nine and eleven, the niece and daughter of a minister named Samuel Parris, who lived in Salem village, began suddenly to behave in a most curious manner. They would creep into holes, hide under chairs and benches, twist themselves into queer positions, make curious gestures and weird noises, and talk arrant nonsense. Their parents knew not what to make of it, and so they called in the doctors. Nowadays a clever doctor would have found out pretty soon that the children were merely pretending and playing a foolish trick upon their elders. But in those days doctors were not very wise, and they knew not what to make of this new and strange disease. One of them, however, said he thought that the children must be bewitched.

A foolish trick

That was a terrible thought, and at once the minister called in all the other ministers from round about and they spent a day fasting and praying that the children might be released from the evil enchantment. All the neighbours, too, came crowding to the house, eager to hear about the dreadful happenings. And the children, finding themselves all at once people of the first importance, and no doubt enjoying the fuss which was being made, went on more than ever with their mad antics.

 

It was quite plain to every one that the children were bewitched. But who had done it? Every day the children were asked this question, and at length they accused a poor old Indian woman, who was a servant in the family. And the poor old creature was beaten and terrified until she actually confessed that she was a witch, and in league with the Evil One.

A woman accused of witchcraft

Perhaps the children had a spite against the old woman, perhaps they did not realise at first how wicked and cruel they were. Certainly when they found what excitement they caused, and how interesting they had become to every one they forgot all else. They became bolder now and accused other old women. Soon more and older girls joined them, and many innocent people, both men and women, were accused by them of witchcraft.

 

They did all sorts of things to make people believe in these accusations. As soon as an old woman was brought in they would fall down on the ground screaming. If she moved they would cry out that she was crushing them to death; if she bit her lip they would declare that she was biting them and so on. They told strange tales, too, of how they had been made to write in a long, thick, red book,–the book of the Evil One. They talked a jumble of nonsense about a Black Man, a black dog and a yellow bird. They would seem to fall down in fits or to be struck dumb. And they so worked upon the superstitious fears of those present that at length both judges and jury, carried away by mysterious terror, would condemn the old woman to death.

 

Soon a kind of madness took possession of the people. Person after person was accused; wrongs and misfortunes ten or even twenty years old were remembered, and charged to this person or that. No man or woman was safe. Neither age nor youth, beauty, learning nor goodness were any safeguard. Not only the good name, but the very life of every man was at the mercy of every other man. Terror and mistrust stalked abroad, and entered every home. Parents accused their children, children their parents, husbands and wives turned against each other until the prisons were filled to overflowing.

Many more accused

It was quite useless for the prisoners to declare that they were innocent. Few believed them. If any did they hardly dare say so, lest they should find themselves accused in their turn and lodged in prison. Yet at length some were brave enough to stand by their loved ones.

 

One determined young man with great difficulty succeeded in rescuing his mother from prison. In getting out the poor woman broke her leg, but her son lifted her on to his horse and carried her away to a swamp near by. Here he built her a hut and brought her food and kept her safe until all danger was passed.

 

One or two other men escaped with their wives and fled beyond the borders of the colony. Twenty, however, were put to death by hanging, among them a minister. All these twenty to the last declared their innocence. Many others, strange to say, confessed to being witches. They confessed because they were terrified into it. Many confessed because they saw that by so doing they might save their lives. But some, having confessed, were so distressed at having lied that they took back their confession. Then they were hanged without mercy.

Some are put to death

For a year this terrible madness lasted. Then it passed as suddenly as it had come. The people awoke again to their right senses. The prison doors were opened and the poor innocent people were set free. The wicked children who had accused them were never punished unless their own hearts punished them. One of them at least repented bitterly, and years later openly acknowledged her sorrow for her share in the sad business.

The madness passes

The minister in whose house the persecution began was punished. For the people were so angry with him and the part he had taken that they would have no more to do with him, and he was obliged to leave Salem village.

 

Some others who had taken as great a part as he in hounding guiltless people to death remained impenitent and unpunished. But the jury and some of the judges made some amends. They did a hard thing, for they publicly acknowledged that they had been wrong. The jury wrote and signed a paper in which they said, "We do hereby declare that we justly fear that we were sadly deluded and mistaken, for which we are much disquieted and distressed in our minds. And do therefore humbly beg forgiveness."

Judge and jury repent

One of the judges, Judge Sewall, was bitterly grieved at the part he had played. And on a day of general intercession he stood up before the whole congregation, acknowledging his guilt and praying God to forgive him. And throughout all his life he kept one day a year upon which he prayed and fasted in repentance.

 

Perhaps you may think that there is nothing in this story to make you proud of your ancestors. But think again. Think of the courage of those men and women who cheerfully went to death rather than save their lives by lying and making false confessions. Truth to those brave men and women was worth more than life. And is there nothing to be proud of in the fact that the judge and jury, when they found themselves in the wrong, had the manliness to own it publicly and without reserve?

"They loved truth better than life"

To some of us nothing in all the world seems so hard as to own ourselves in the wrong.

 


PART IV: STORIES OF THE MIDDLE AND SOUTHERN COLONIES


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CHAPTER 35
THE FOUNDING OF MARYLAND

ABOUT the same time as Gorges was making laws for his little kingdom of New Hampshire another English gentleman was doing much the same somewhat farther south. This was Lord Baltimore.

 

The first Lord Baltimore was a Yorkshire gentleman named Calvert; he was a favourite of James I, who made him a baron, and he took his title from a tiny village in Ireland.

Lord Baltimore, 1580?-1632

Like so many other men of his time Lord Baltimore was interested in America, and wanted to found a colony there. First he tried to found one in Newfoundland. There he received a large grant of land which he called Avalon after the fabled land in the story of King Arthur, and he had a kind of fairy vision of the warmth and sunny delights which were to be found in his new land.

 

But instead of being warm and sunny he found that Newfoundland was bleak and cold, so his fairy vision shriveled and died, and be came home and asked for a grant of land on the Potomac instead. In 1632 King James gave Lord Baltimore what he asked and called the land Maryland in honour of his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria.

Maryland named after Queen Henrietta Maria, 1632

But before the grant was sealed "with the King's broad seal" Lord Baltimore died. Not he, therefore, but his son, Cecilius, was the first "Lord Proprietary" of Maryland, and for his broad lands all he had to pay to King James was two Indian arrows, to be delivered at Windsor Castle every year on Tuesday in Easter week. He had also to pay one-fifth part of all the gold and silver which might be found within his borders. But no gold or silver was found in the colony, so there was nothing to pay.

 

Lord Baltimore did not himself go to America, but sent his brother, Leonard Calvert, as Governor. Maryland was not founded like the Puritan colonies for religious purposes, but like New Hampshire, merely for trade and profit. But in those days religion and religious strife entered into everything. So it did into the founding of Maryland.

 

For Lord Baltimore was a Catholic, and in England Roman Catholics in their turn, as well as dissenters, were persecuted, and Lord Baltimore hoped to found a refuge for them in his new possessions in America. So although, in the charter given by a Protestant King the Church of England was recognised as the state religion, in reality there was great religious freedom in Maryland, and for a time it was there only that Catholics found freedom in America.

 

But in order to secure toleration for the Catholic religion Lord Baltimore found himself obliged to tolerate all others. So men of all creeds came to settle in Maryland and find freedom.

 

The people of Virginia were very far from pleased when they heard of the new colony about to be planted so near them. For part of the land which had been given to Lord Baltimore they claimed as their own, and they looked upon the newcomers as intruders on their territory and resolved to maintain their rights. They did all they could to prevent the new settlers coming. Nevertheless, in spite of everything, Leonard Calvert set sail with his colonists, many of whom were well-to-do people, in two ships called the Ark and the Dove.

Virginians displeased

They had a prosperous voyage and landed in Virginia full of doubt lest the inhabitants, who were very angry at their coming, should be plotting something against them. But the letters which they carried from the King seemed to appease the anger of the Virginians for a little, and the newcomers sailed on again to their own destination in Chesapeake Bay.

The new colonists arrive, 1634

So at length they reached the "wished-for country" and Calvert landed with solemn state to take possession of the land in the name of God and the King of England.

 

As he stepped ashore a salute was fired from the boats. Then, reverently kneeling, the colonists listened while Mass was said for the first time in English America. Mass being over, they formed a procession at the head of which a rough wooden cross was carried. Then when they reached a spot chosen beforehand they planted the cross, and, kneeling round it, chanted the Litany of the Sacred Cross with great fervour.

 

And thus a new colony was begun.

 

With the Indians Calvert made friends, for he was both just and kind to them, paying them for their land in hoes, hatchets, coloured cloths and the beads and gew-gaws they loved. So in those early days there were no Indian wars and massacres in Maryland.

They make friends with the Indians

But although at peace with the Redmen the Marylanders were not at peace with their fellow white men. For the Virginians could not forget that Lord Baltimore had taken land which they had looked upon as their own. They had done their best to hinder him coming at all. And now that he had come they did their best to drive him away again. They tried to stir up mischief between the newcomers and the Indians by telling the Indians that these newcomers were Spaniards, and enemies of the English nation. They complained to the people in power at home, and did everything they could to make Maryland an uncomfortable dwelling place for those they looked upon as interlopers.

 

The chief enemy of the Marylanders among the Virginians was a man named William Clayborne. Before the coming of these new colonists he had settled himself upon the Isle of Kent, which was within their bounds, and now he absolutely refused either to move or to recognise the authority of Calvert as Governor; for he claimed the Isle of Kent as part of Virginia.

William Clayborne

Calvert on his side insisted on his rights, and as neither would give way it came at length to fighting. There was bloodshed on both sides, now one, now the other getting the upper hand. Each appealed in turn to King, Parliament, or Protector, and so for more than twenty years the quarrel went on. But when the great Cromwell came to power he took Lord Baltimore's part, Catholic though he was. And at length in 1657, weary perhaps of the struggle, each side gave way a little and there was peace between the two colonies.

 

But in spite of the constant trouble with Clayborne the colony grew and prospered, for there was greater religious freedom to be found there than anywhere else either in England or America. And in the seventeenth century religion bulked more largely in an Englishman's thoughts than almost anything else. Then in 1649 the Governor issued an Act called the Toleration Act, which has made him famous. It gave freedom to every one to follow his own religion save Jews and Unitarians, and for those days it was a wonderfully liberal and broad-minded Act. It threatened with a fine of ten shillings any one who should in scorn or reproach call any man such names as popish priest, Roundhead, heretic. It declared that no person whatsoever within the Province professing to believe in Jesus Christ should be in any way troubled or molested for his or her religion.

Act of Toleration

This was the first law of its kind ever brought into force in America, and although suspended once or twice for short periods it remained almost continuously in force for many years.

 

Time went on and the great estate of Maryland passed from one Lord Baltimore to another. Although founded as a refuge for Catholics there were far more Protestants than Catholics within the colony. And when William III, the Protestant King, came to the throne he deprived Baltimore of his rights, and made Maryland a royal province. The Church of England was then established, and Catholics forbidden to hold services. Thus Lord Baltimore's dream of providing a refuge for the oppressed was at an end.

Maryland becomes a royal province, 1691

But in 1715 Benedict, the fourth Lord Baltimore, became a Protestant, and Maryland was given back to him. It remained in possession of his family until the Revolution.

 


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CHAPTER 36
HOW NEW AMSTERDAM BECAME NEW YORK

ALL the colonies which we have so far talked about were founded by Englishmen. Now we come to one which was founded by another people who, like the English, were great sea rovers and adventurers–the Dutch. Even before the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers the Dutch laid claim to the valleys of the Hudson and the Delaware.

 

In those days people still knew very little about the continent of North America. They knew it was a continent, but they did not believe it to be very wide, as is proved by charters like that of Virginia which made the colony extend from sea to sea. Nor did people know how long the continent was. They had no idea that the great double continent stretched from north to south all across the hemisphere, and they were continually seeking for that North-West passage which would lead them to India by way of the west.

The Northwest passage

Now in 1609 Henry Hudson, an English sailor in the pay of the Dutch, came seeking the North-West passage. He did not find it, but sailed into Delaware Bay and up the beautiful river which is now known by his name as far as where the town of Albany now stands. It was autumn when Hudson sailed up the river; the sky was gloriously blue, and the woods aflame with red and yellow, and he went home to tell the Dutch that he had found "as pleasant a land with grass and flowers and goodly trees as ever he had seen," "a very good land to fall with, and a pleasant land to see."

Henry Hudson

By right of Hudson's discoveries the Dutch claimed all the land between Cape Cod and Chesapeake Bay, and, tempted by his glowing descriptions, they very soon established trading ports upon the Hudson which they called the North River. The Delaware they called the South River.

 

The English too claimed the same land, and it was not until some years after the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers that the Dutch settled in the country. Then they formed a company and bought the Island of Manhattan where New York now stands from the Indians for about five pounds' worth of glass beads and other trifles.

 

Here they built a little fort which they called New Amsterdam.

New Amsterdam founded 1626

The colony grew slowly. For the life was by no means an easy one, and the people of Holland lived in freedom and religious peace at home, so they had no need to cross the Atlantic to seek them. But the company wanted settlers. They therefore offered to give an estate with eighteen miles' bay or river frontage to every man who would bring, or send, fifty colonists. Many people at once became eager to win such a prize, and very soon there were little settlements all along the shores of the Hudson.

 

The men who received these huge estates were called patroons, which is the same word as our English patron, and they had power not unlike the feudal lords of old time. They were bound to supply each of their settlers with a farm, and also to provide a minister and a schoolmaster for every settlement. But on the other hand they had full power over the settlers. They were the rulers and judges, while the settlers were almost serfs, and were bound to stay for ten years with their patroon, to grind their corn at his mills, and pay him tribute.

The Patroons

Over the whole colony there was a Governor who was as a rule autocratic and sometimes dishonest, and there was a good deal of unrest in the colony. The patroons were soon at loggerheads with each other and with the Governor. There were quarrels with the Swedes, who had settled on the Delaware, and there was terrible fighting with the Indians.

 

At length the state of the colony became so bad that the settlers wrote home to Holland complaining of their Governor and blaming him for all their troubles. The people in Holland listened to this complaint and a new Governor was sent out. This was Peter Stuyvesant, the last and most famous of the Governors of New Amsterdam.

Peter Stuyvesant, Governor from 1647-1664;

He was a fiery old fellow, with a great love of pomp, and a tremendous opinion of his own importance. He had lost a leg in the Spanish Wars, and now he stamped about with a wooden one. But as no plain wooden leg would please his taste for grandeur he had it bound with silver.

 

The people were heartily tired of their old Governor, so they hailed the coming of Stuyvesant with joy. But no sooner had their new Governor arrived than they began to wonder if after all the change was a happy one. For Stuyvesant seemed to look down upon them all. He landed with great state and pomp, and some of the chief inhabitants who had come to meet him were left standing bareheaded for several hours while he kept his hat on, as if he were Tsar of all the Russias.

 

When he took over the direction of affairs from the late Governor, he did it with great ceremony in presence of all the colonists. And the late Governor, thinking to make a good impression before he left, made a speech thanking the people for their faithfulness to him. But the stolid Dutchmen were not going to have any such farce. So they up and told him boldly that they would not thank him, for they had no reason to do so.

takes direction of affairs;

Stuyvesant, however, would not have any wrangling; he loudly and proudly declared that every one should have justice done to him, and that he would be to them as a father to his children. But his bearing was so haughty that some of them went away shaking their heads, and fearing that he would be but a harsh father.

 

And so it proved. If the settlers' lot had been hard under the rule of other governors, it was still harder under that of Stuyvesant. He was autocratic and hectoring. He stumped about with his wooden leg, and shouted every one else down, and no one dared oppose him. Some indeed, more brave than others, declared that they would write home to Holland to complain of his tyranny. But when Stuyvesant heard it he got so angry that he foamed at the mouth. "If any one appeals from my judgments," he shouted, "I shall make him a foot shorter and send the pieces to Holland. Let him appeal in that way."

 

But Stuyvesant with all his faults was a far better Governor than those who had gone before him. And he had no easy post, for on every side he found himself surrounded by other States, the inhabitants of which were constantly encroaching on the borders of New Netherland.

has many troubles;

The English, both from Massachusetts and Connecticut, seemed to think that the Dutch had no rights at all. Where they found good land they settled, scoffing at the Dutch remonstrances.

 

Stuyvesant too was soon at loggerheads with the Swedes who had settled on the Delaware. The Dutch claimed both sides of the river and the Swedes laughed at their claims. They would sail up the river past the Dutch fort without stopping and displaying their colours, and when challenged, and asked for their reason, replied boldly that they would certainly do it again.

 

Then the Dutch began to build a new fort on land which the Swedes claimed, and the Swedes came and destroyed it. So things went from bad to worse, until at length Stuyvesant decided to put an end to it. He gathered an army of six hundred men, the largest army that had ever been gathered in North America, and with seven ships entered the Delaware.

 

Against a force like this the Swedes could not defend themselves, so they yielded on condition that they should march out of their forts with all the honours of war. This was granted to them and with colours flying, drums beating and trumpets playing the Swedes marched out and the Dutch marched in. Thus without a blow, after seventeen years of occupation, New Sweden became part of New Netherland. Later on this land captured from the Swedes was to become the State of Delaware.

he makes war upon the Swedes, 1655

From his triumph over the Swedes Stuyvesant was recalled by the news that there was war with the Indians. He soon brought that to an end also. But he was not always to be victorious, and at length the time came when the power of the Dutch was to be swept away before a still greater power.

subdues an Indian outbreak

Stuyvesant had ruled New Netherland for seventeen years. The colony had prospered, and the number of new settlers had steadily increased. During these same years Great Britain had been passing through stormy times. King Charles had been beheaded, the kingdom had been declared a Commonwealth with Cromwell at its head, but he was now dead, the Stuarts once more ruled, and King Charles II sat upon the throne. He cast a greedy eye upon New Netherland, for he wanted it for his brother, the Duke of York.

 

There was peace between Holland and Britain, but Charles II cared little about that. So in 1664 he secretly granted all the land lying between the Delaware and Connecticut rivers to his brother, and sent a fleet of four ships and about four hundred soldiers under Colonel Richard Nicolls to take possession of the country.

King Charles II's grant, 1664

Nicolls;

When Stuyvesant heard of it he made ready to resist. He gathered in what powder and shot be could from the surrounding settlements; he mounted cannon, he ordered every able-bodied man to take his turn at strengthening the fortifications and keeping guard. And having done all he could he sent a messenger to Nicolls asking why he had come.

 

Nicolls' reply was a summons to surrender the town. At the same time he promised that any one who would submit quietly should be protected by "his Majesty's laws and justice." "Any people from the Netherlands may freely come and plant here," he wrote, "vessels of their own country may freely come hither, and any of them may as freely return home in vessels of their own country."

demands surrender of New Amsterdam

But Peter Stuyvesant was hot to fight. So lest the easy terms should make any of the settlers willing to give in he tried to keep them secret. But the Council would not have it so.

 

"All that regards the public welfare must be made public," they said, and held to it.

 

Then, seeing he could not move them from their determination, in a fit of passion Stuyvesant tore Nicolls' letter in pieces, swearing that he would not be answerable for the consequences.

 

The people were growing impatient, and leaving their work upon the fortifications they stormed into the Council Chamber. In vain Stuyvesant tried to persuade them to return to their work. They would not listen to him. They replied to him only with curses and groans. Then from all sides came cries of, "The letter, the letter, we will have the letter."

 

So at last Stuyvesant yielded; the torn fragments were gathered together and a copy made. And when the people heard the terms they bade him yield. Still he would not, and he sent another message to Nicolls.

Stuyvesant refuses to yield

But Nicolls would not listen. "To-morrow," he said, "I will speak with you at Manhattan."

 

"Friends will be welcome," replied the messenger, "if they come in friendly fashion."

 

"I shall come with my ships and my soldiers," answered Nicolls. "Hoist the white flag of peace on the fort, and then something may be considered."

 

When this answer was known terror seized the town. Women and children came to implore the Governor with tears to submit.

 

He would not listen to them. Like the fierce old lion he was he knit his brows and stamped with his wooden leg. "I would rather be carried a corpse to my grave than give in," he cried.

 

But he alone had any desire to fight. For in the whole fort there was not enough powder to last one day, from the river front there was absolutely no protection, and on the north there was only a rickety fence three or four feet high. There was little food within the fort, and not a single well. So all the chief inhabitants wrote a letter to the Governor begging him to give in.

The people beg him not to fight;

"You know, in your own conscience," they said, "that your fortress is incapable of making head three days against so powerful an enemy. And (God help us) whether we turn us for assistance to the north, or to the south, to the east or to the west 'tis all in vain! On all sides are we encompassed and hemmed in by our enemies. Therefore we humbly and in bitterness of heart, implore your Honour not to reject the conditions of so generous a foe."

 

This letter was signed by all the most important people of the town, even by Stuyvesant's own son. With every one against him he could hold out no longer. So he yielded and at eight o'clock on Monday morning, the 8th of September, 1664, he marched out of Fort Amsterdam at the head of his soldiers. With colours flying and drums beating they marched down to the riverside where a ship awaited them, and getting on board they set sail for Holland.

he gives in

Then the Dutch flag was hauled down, the British flag was hoisted in its place, and New Amsterdam became New York, a name given it in honour of the King's brother, the Duke of York.

New Amsterdam becomes New York

A few weeks later every other Dutch settlement had yielded to the British. Fort Orange became Fort Albany, so named for the Duke of York's second title, and Dutch dominion in North America was at an end.

 

As to Stuyvesant, he sailed home and was severely scolded by the West India Company for his "scandalous surrender." He was, however, able to defend himself, and prove to the directors that he had done his best. Then he returned to America and spent the rest of his life quietly on his farm, or "bowery" as it was called in Dutch.

 

Those of you who are familiar with New York know that there is still a part of it called The Bowery, and it may interest you to learn that it is so called in memory of the farm where this arrogant old lion of a Dutchman spent his last days. He spent them peacefully and happily. Now that he was no longer a ruler he lost much of his overbearing pride, and all that was kindly in his nature showed itself. Many who had feared and hated him came to love and admire him. Among others he made friends with the Englishman who had ousted him, and many a jolly evening he and Nicolls spent together cracking jokes and listening to each other's stories of the brave days gone by.

Stuyvesant's last days;

Peter Stuyvesant died at the age of eighty, and was buried in what is now St. Mark's Church, where a tablet on the wall marks the spot where he lies.

he dies, 1692

New York was now a proprietary colony like Maryland, its overlord being the Duke of York, and when in 1685 he became King of England New York became a Crown Colony.

New York a crown colony

The Dutch rule had been autocratic, the people having little say in the government. They had chafed against it and had hoped that the change of ruler would bring a change of government, and that they would be allowed freedom like the New England Colonies. But James was not the sort of man to allow freedom to people when he could prevent it. So the government of New York continued as autocratic as before.

 

Meanwhile New York once more changed hands. In a time of peace the British had calmly and without a shadow of right taken the colony from the Dutch. Nine years later when the two countries were at war the Dutch took it back again.

 

It was just the same nine-year-old story over again. Only this time it was the Dutch who marched in and hoisted the Dutch flag over the fort.

The Dutch again take New York, 1673

Once more the names were changed; New York became New Orange, and the province was once more New Amsterdam.

 

But this was only for a month or two. The following year Holland and Britain made peace, and by the Treaty of Westminster all Dutch possessions in North America were given back to Britain, and Dutch rule in North America was at an end for ever.

 


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CHAPTER 37
HOW A GERMAN RULED NEW YORK

WHEN Sir Edmund Andros came to America, he had been made Governor of New York as well as of all New England. And while Massachusetts was having its revolution upon the accession of William and Mary there were exciting times in New York also. When the news of the imprisonment of Andros reached New York there was great agitation. Almost at the same time came the news that the French had declared war on England, which added to the people's excitement. For they suspected Nicholson, whom Andros had left in charge as Lieutenant-Governor, of being a Catholic; and a quite groundless idea got about that he meant to betray the colony into the hands of the French, or burn it to the ground.

 

There were very few Catholics in New York, and the Protestants had little need to fear them. But many of the Protestants were filled with a burning zeal for their faith, and of these Jacob Leisler, an honest, ignorant German, now became the leader. He refused to pay a tax because the tax collector was a "Papist," and therefore no fit person to receive the money. Other people followed his example, and day by day excitement grew.

Jacob Leisler;

At length Leisler was at the head of a great following. He got command of the fort, and drew up a declaration which he forced the captain of the militia and others to sign. In this he declared that the city was in danger, and that he would take possession of it until King William should appoint a Governor. Nicholson had no grit. He could not stand against a bold blusterer like Leisler, so he ran away. He went home "to render an account of the present deplorable state of affairs" to King William. But in order that Nicholson should not have it all his own way at home Leisler on his side sent an innkeeper, Joost Stoll, as his ambassador to King William to explain matters from his point of view.

takes possession of New York, 1689;

Leisler now became very autocratic. He called himself Lieutenant-Governor, he disarmed and arrested all the "Papists," and every one was a "Papist" who did not yield readily to him. He had enormous power in his hands for good or evil, but he was far too ignorant and vain to use it well. Indeed he used it so badly that even some of the men who had hailed him with delight turned against him.

calls himself Lieutenant-Governor;

Leisler by many signs knew his popularity was failing. Then his friend, the innkeeper, returned from England with the doleful news that King William had taken not the slightest notice of him. The King indeed would not deign to recognise the existence of the upstart German "governor," and had appointed a new Governor who would shortly arrive in New York.

his popularity wanes

This was bad news for Leisler, and it seemed to drive him crazy. He grew more and more tyrannical. At length his tyranny became so bad that many of the chief people of New York wrote a letter to the King and Queen complaining of it.

 

In this letter they told the King and Queen that they were sore oppressed by "ill men" who ruled in New York "by the sword, at the sole will of an insolent alien, assisted by some few, whom we can give no better name than a rabble." From other parts of the colony too letters were written calling Leisler a bold usurper, and begging the King to do something "to break this heavy yoke of worse than Egyptian bondage."

 

Nor did the people confine themselves to writing letters. Leisler found himself insulted at every turn. He was mobbed, and stoned, and called "Dog Driver," "General Hog" and other ugly names.

 

Meanwhile on the stormy seas the ships bringing out the new Governor and Lieutenant-Governor were being tossed hither and thither. The waves dashed high, the wind drove the ships helplessly before it, and the Archangel, which bore the Governor was separated from the others, and driven far out of its course. Thus it happened that Ingoldsby, the Lieutenant-Governor, arrived in New York without the Governor. However he sent to Leisler asking him to allow the soldiers he had brought to enter the fort. This request made Leisler very angry. He refused to allow the soldiers to enter the fort unless Ingoldsby showed him orders in writing either from the King or Governor.

A new governor sets out from England

This Ingoldsby could not do, for all the orders were in the Governor's ship, and where that was he could not tell. And finding that Leisler would yield to no reasoning, after four days he landed his men with as much care as if he had been making a descent into an enemy's country, and lodged them in the town hall.

 

So six weeks passed. Ingoldsby was determined to stay, Leisler just as determined that he should go. At length Leisler sent Ingoldsby a notice to disband his force in two hours, or take the consequences. Ingoldsby refused to disband his force. So from the fort Leisler fired upon the soldiers in the town hall, and several were killed. More trouble seemed likely to follow, but some of Leisler's soldiers had already had enough, so they laid down their arms and went home.

 

Next day Governor Sloughter arrived. Hearing of all the commotion he landed hastily, and going to the town hall ordered the bell to be rung, and his commission to be read to the people.

The New Governor arrives, 1691;

Then he sent Ingoldsby to demand the surrender of the fort.

 

But Leisler was by this time crazy with the idea of his own importance. He refused to give up the fort until he received orders from the King direct, addressed to his very own self. This was absurd, for the King was hardly conscious of Leisler's existence. The Governor therefore paid no attention to these proud demands, and sent Ingoldsby again to demand possession of the fort.

 

Again Leisler refused. It could not be done so easily as all that, he said.

 

Still a third time the Governor demanded the fort. And again with scorn Leisler refused.

 

It was now nearly midnight, and the Governor decided to do nothing more till morning.

 

With morning reason seemed to return to Leisler. He wrote a letter to the Governor begging him to take the fort. But the Governor took no notice of the letter. He simply sent Ingoldsby to command the garrison to give up their arms and march out, promising at the same time free pardon to every one except Leisler and his Council. The men obeyed at once. They marched out and Leisler found himself a prisoner.

he takes possession of the fort

For two years he had lorded it in New York. Now his day was done. After a short trial he and his friend and son-in-law Milborne were condemned to death, and hanged as traitors.

Leisler is put to death

At the time many applauded this severity, but afterwards most people were sorry. For after all Leisler had meant well, and in spite of his arrogance he had still many friends left. He was now looked upon as a martyr, and for many a long day New York was torn asunder with bitter strife over his tragic ending.

 


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CHAPTER 38
PIRATES!

COLONEL SLOUGHTER whose rule began in such stormy times proved no good Governor. Indeed he was a bad man as well as a bad ruler. Others followed who were not a bit better, one at least being accused of being in league with the pirates who were now the terror of the seas.

 

The seventeenth century has been called "The Golden Age of Piracy." Never before or since have pirates had such a splendid time. After the discovery of America, the number of ships sailing the seas increased rapidly, until all the chief countries of Europe had far more ships afloat than they could possibly protect with their navies. So they readily became a prey to pirates.

 

Then, as they could not protect their merchantmen with their warships, most countries allowed private people in time of war to fit out ships armed with guns to capture the merchant shipping of the enemy. These ships were simply private men of war, and were called privateers. They always carried "letters of marque and reprisal" Which gave them the legal right to commit against enemy ships acts which, without those letters of marque, would have been considered acts of piracy. In the long run these privateers often became little better than pirates, and it has been said "privateers in time of war were a nursery for pirates against a peace."

Privateers

The pirates' life was one of reckless daring. They were idle, swaggering, brutal. All the summer they sailed the seas, a terror to peaceful merchantmen, and when winter came, or when they were tired of plundering, they would retire to the West India Islands or Madagascar. Here, hidden in the depths of forests, they built for themselves strong castles surrounded by moats and walls. The paths leading to these castles were made with the greatest cunning. They were so narrow that people could only go in single file. They crossed and re-crossed in every direction, so that the castle was surrounded by a maze, and any one not knowing the secret might wander for hours without being able to find the dwelling which could not be seen until one was close upon it.

The pirates' castles

In these savage fastnesses the pirates lived in squalid splendour. They had numbers of slaves to wait upon them, the finest wines and foods, the richest dress and jewels, spoils of their travels. And when they had drunk and rioted in idleness to their heart's content they would once more set sail, and roam the seas in search of fresh adventure.

 

All sorts of people took to piracy, and scampish sons of noble houses might be found side by side with the lowest of scoundrels and vagabonds. In fact in those days any man who had a grudge against the world might turn pirate. Even women were found among them.

 

A jovial, brutal crew, they swaggered and swore their way through life. And if the gallows at the end always loomed over them what then? There was always plenty of rum in which to drown the thought.

 

Some of the pirates became very famous. The very sight of the Jolly Roger, as the pirates' black flag was called, struck terror to the hearts of merchantmen, and it is said that one pirate captured and sunk as many as four hundred ships before he was caught. Yet these ruffians often had dealings with seemingly respectable tradesmen. Having captured a few ships, and taken all the booty on board his own, the pirate would sail for some port. There he would show some old letters of marque, swear that he was a privateer, and had captured the goods lawfully from the enemy, for the world was always at war in those days. And as the goods were going cheap, too many questions would not be asked. Thus a profitable trade was done.

The pirates' flag

The Navigation Laws too helped pirates to thrive on the coasts of America. For they seemed so unjust and burdensome that people thought it no wrong to evade them. So, often, piracy and smuggling went hand in hand.

 

At length piracy grew so bad that people felt that something must be done to stop it. And when an Irishman named Lord Bellomont came out as Governor in 1696 he set about doing it. It was decided that the best way to do it was to send a swift and well-armed frigate under a captain who knew their haunts and ways, to catch these sea-robbers. For this, Captain Kidd, a tried sailor, was chosen, and he set sail with a somewhat ruffianly crew in the ship Adventure. But Captain Kidd was unlucky. Though he roamed the seas and sought the pirates in the haunts he knew so well he found never a one.

Captain Kidd sent to catch pirates, 1696;

Nor could he find even enemy ships which, as a privateer, he might have attacked. Dutch ships, ships of the Great Mogul he met. But Britain was at peace with Holland and on most friendly terms with the heathen potentate. Pirates and ships of France he could not find.

 

Food and money were nearly gone, the crew grew mutinous. They had come forth for adventure, and not to sail the seas thus tamely and on short rations to boot. So there was angry talk between the crew and captain. Plainly they told him that the next ship which came in sight, be it friend or foe, should be their prey. Kidd grew furious, and, seizing a hatchet, he hit one of the men on the head so that he fell senseless on the deck and died. Alone he stood against his mutinous crew. But in the end he gave way to them. He turned pirate, and any ship which came his way was treated as a lawful prize.

he turns pirate;

For two years after Captain Kidd left New York nothing was heard of him. Then strange and disquieting rumours came home. It was said that he who had been sent to hunt pirates had turned pirate himself; that he who had been sent as a protection had become a terror to honest traders. So orders were accordingly sent to Lord Bellomont to arrest Captain Kidd. A royal proclamation was also issued offering free pardon to all pirates save two, one of whom was William Kidd.

 

This was the news which greeted the new-made pirate when he arrived one day at a port in the West Indies. But those were lawless days. Captain Kidd's ship was laden with great treasure–treasure enough, he thought, to win forgiveness. At least he decided to brazen it out, and he set sail for New York.

 

His ship was no longer the Adventure but the Quedah Merchant. For the Adventure, being much battered after two years' seafaring, he had sunk her, and taken one of his many prizes instead. But on the way home he left the Quedah Merchant at San Domingo with all her rich cargo and, taking only the gold and jewels, he set sail again in a small sloop.

he sets sail for New York;

As he neared New York his heart failed him, and he began to think that after all forgiveness might not be won so easily. Cautiously he crept up to New York, only to learn that the Governor was at Boston. So he sent a messenger to the Governor confessing that acts of piracy had been committed, but without his authority. They were done, he said, when the men were in a state of mutiny, and had locked him up in his cabin.

 

Lord Bellomont was broad-minded and just, and had no desire to condemn a man unheard; so he sent back a message to Captain Kidd saying, "If you can prove your story true you can rely on me to protect you."

 

But Captain Kidd's story did not satisfy Lord Bellomont; so he was put into prison, and later sent home to England to be tried. There he was condemned to death and hanged as a pirate in 1701. Some people, however, never believed in his guilt. Whether he was guilty or not there is little doubt that he did not have a fair trial, and that he was by no means the shameless ruffian he was made out to be.

he is hanged as a pirate, 1701

What became of the Quedah Merchant and all her rich cargo was never known. Indeed the most of Kidd's ill-gotten gains entirely disappeared. For when his sloop was searched very little treasure was found. So then it was said that Captain Kidd must have buried his treasure somewhere before he reached Boston. And for a hundred years and more afterwards all along the shore of Long Island Sound people now and again would start a search of buried treasure. But none was ever found.

 

Before his pirate friend met his end Lord Bellomont died. He was one of the few Governors the people had loved, and they sorrowed truly at his death. He was followed by Lord Cornby, a very bad man. Nevertheless in spite of Governors good and bad New York prospered. Every fresh tyranny in Europe which sent freedom-seekers to America added to the population. And as the first settlers were Dutch, New York had a more un-English population than almost any other of the colonies.

 


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CHAPTER 39
THE FOUNDING OF NEW JERSEY

OUT of New York another state had been carved. For before New York had been taken from the Dutch, before Nicholls had so much as reached the shores of America, James, Duke of York, had already given part of the land which he did not yet possess to two of his friends, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. Sir George had been Governor of the Island of Jersey in the English Channel. When the Revolution broke out in England he had defended the island stoutly against the soldiers of the Parliament, and had kept the King's flag flying on British soil longer than any other man. So now that the Stuarts were restored King Charles remembered Carteret's loyalty, and he called this tract of land New Jersey in his honour. For this great estate Sir George and Lord Berkeley had to pay only ten shillings a year and a peppercorn.

Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret

Nicholls of course knew nothing about these grants, and when he heard of them he was grieved that the Duke should have given away so much valuable land. He had besides allowed some Puritans from New England and others to settle on the land after making agreements with the natives. And this led to trouble later on.

 

Meanwhile Sir George lost no time in settling his land in his own way. He at once sent out some colonists and Philip Carteret, a cousin of his own, as Governor.

 

On a summer day in 1665 Philip Carteret landed. He set up no crosses, and made no prayers, but with a hoe over his shoulder he marched at the head of his men, as a sign that he meant to live and work among them. A little way inland he chose a spot on which to build his town and called it Elizabeth, in honour of Sir George Carteret's wife.

How Governor Carteret landed, 1665

Things went well enough until the time came for rents to be paid. Then many of the settlers, who had been there before Carteret came, refused to pay. For they said they had bought their land from the Indians, and owed nothing to Sir George. But as the Governor insisted on his right they rose in rebellion. They held a meeting at Elizabethtown, deposed Philip Carteret, and chose James Carteret a weak and bad son of Sir George, as their Governor. Seeing nothing else for it Philip went home and laid his case before Sir George and the Duke. They both supported him, so the rebels submitted, James Carteret went off to New York, and Philip again became Governor of New Jersey.

The settlers rebel, 1670

Meanwhile Lord Berkeley had grown tired of all the trouble, and he sold his part of New Jersey to some Quakers. So henceforth New Jersey was divided into two, East Jersey and West Jersey, East Jersey belonging to Carteret, West Jersey to the Quakers.

Lord Berkeley sells his land, 1676;

In 1680 Sir George Carteret died, and his part of New Jersey was also sold to Quakers, one of whom was William Penn, afterwards to become famous in American history. Soon after this New Jersey fell on very troublous times, of which it would take too long to tell. But at length the two Jerseys were again made into one, and in the time of Anne the colony became a Royal Province. Then for thirty-six years it was united to New York, but in 1738 was again divided and has remained a separate state ever since.

becomes a royal province, 1702


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CHAPTER 40
THE FOUNDING OF PENNSYLVANIA

LIKE other persecuted people, the Quakers sought a refuge in America. But even there they were not welcomed. The Puritans of Massachusetts who had fled from persecution, themselves turned persecutors as we have seen. The Quakers discovered that for them there was no Paradise of Peace in the lands beyond the sea. But when George Carteret sold his part of New Jersey Quakers bought it, a young man named William Penn being one of these Quakers.

 

This William Penn was the son of Sir William Penn, an admiral in the British Navy, and a friend of King Charles I. He was a Royalist and a Churchman, and when his handsome young son turned Quaker he was greatly grieved. At first indeed he was so angry that he turned young William out of the house. Later, however, seeing that his son was quite determined to be a Quaker, the Admiral forgave him, and before he died he asked the Duke of York to be kind to him. The Duke of York promised he would. And then there began a strange friendship between the Catholic Prince and the Quaker.

William Penn, 1644-1718;

After the Quakers bought New Jersey a great many went there. They found not only a large amount of freedom, but a kindly government, for William Penn framed the laws.

 

The Quaker colony of New Jersey was to a certain extent a success, but there were troubles with neighbouring states, and troubles with other claimants of the land. So at length (exactly when we do not know), the idea of founding a real Quaker colony came into Penn's mind.

 

When Admiral Penn died the King owed him £16,000 and William Penn inherited that claim. So he asked the King to pay the debt not in money but in land in America. The extent of the land asked for was exceedingly vague, but it was at least as big as the whole of England. Charles however was always in want of money. So in 1681 he was pleased enough to give away this great tract of land, which after all was his more by imagination than anything else, and get rid of his debt; and acquire also the possibility of getting some gold as well. For in return for his land Penn agreed to pay two beaver skins a year, and a fifth of all the gold or silver which might be mined within his territory.

he asks the King to give him land in America, 1680

Charles not only gave Penn the land, but named it too. Penn meant to call his new country New Wales, but a Welshman who hated the Quakers objected to the name of his land being given to a Quaker colony, so Penn changed it to Sylvania, meaning Woodland, because of the magnificent forests which were there. But the King added Penn to Sylvania thus calling it Penn's Woodlands.

The King names the land, 1681

William Penn, however, was afraid that people would think that this was vanity on his part, and that he had called his province after himself; so he tried to have the name changed. He even bribed the King's secretary to do it, but in vain. As some one has said, if he had bribed the King himself he might have succeeded better. As it was he did not succeed, for King Charles was very pleased with the name.

 

"No," laughed the merry monarch, when Penn asked him to change it, "we will keep the name, but you need not flatter yourself that it is called after you. It is so called after your gallant father."

 

So as the King insisted Penn had to submit, and he consoled himself by thinking that as Penn means "hill" the name might be taken to mean Wooded Hills.

 

The tract of land of which Penn now became possessed was smiling and fertile and altogether desirable. It had only one fault, and that was that it had no sea coast.

 

In a new country where there were no roads, and where communication inland was difficult that was a great drawback. So Penn persuaded the Duke of York to give him that part of his province on which the Swedes had settled and which the Dutch had taken from the Swedes, on the west shores of Delaware Bay. Later this formed the State of Delaware, but in the meantime it was governed as a part of Pennsylvania.

 

Everything thus being settled, and the charter being granted, Penn drew up a form of government for his colony, chose his cousin, William Markham, as Governor, and sent him off in the autumn of 1681 with three shiploads of settlers.

 

With Markham, Penn sent a kindly letter to the Swedes of Delaware, telling them that he was now their Governor. "I hope you will not be troubled at the change," he said, "for you are now fixed at the mercy of no Governor who comes to make his fortune. You shall be governed by laws of your own making, and live a free and, if you will, a sober and industrious people. I shall not usurp the right of any, or oppress his person."

William Markham

Penn's letter to the Swedes;

Penn also sent a letter to the Indians.

to the Indians

"There is a great God," he said, "that hath made the world and all things therein, to Whom you, and I, and all people, owe their being. This great God hath written His law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help, and do good to one another. Now this great God hath been pleased to make me concerned in your part of the world, and the King of the country where I live hath given me a great province therein. But I desire to enjoy it with your love and consent, that we may always live together as neighbours, and friends, else what would the great God do to us?"

 



WILLIAM PENN'S TREATY WITH THE INDIANS
And there under the spreading branches of the
great elm tree they swore to live in peace and
brotherly love.


With this letter Penn sent presents to the Indian chiefs and told them that he would soon come to see them himself, and make arrangements about the land.

 

But it was not till the following year that Penn set out for his colony. When he landed the Dutch and Swedes greeted him with joy. And to show that they acknowledged him as their Governor they presented him, as in old feudal times, with a sod of earth, a bowl of water, and a branch of a tree. Penn then passed on to the spot which he had chosen for his capital. And as showing forth the spirit in which his colony was founded, he called his city Philadelphia or the city of brotherly love.

Penn goes to America, 1682;

It was near this town that Penn met the Indian chiefs and made a treaty with them as he had promised to do. In the Indian language the spot was called the Place of Kings, and had been used as a meeting place by the surrounding tribes for long ages. Here there grew a splendid elm, a hoary giant of the forest which for a hundred years and more had withstood the tempests.

he meets the Indian chiefs;

Beneath the spreading branches of this tree Penn took his stand. He was young and handsome, and although he wore the simple garb of the Quakers he had not yet perhaps quite forgotten the "modish" ways of his younger days, for about his waist he had knotted a pale blue scarf. Beside him stood his cousin, the deputy governor, and a few more soberly clad Quakers. In front of them, in a great half circle were ranged the Indians, the old men in front, the middle-aged behind, and last of all the young men. They were gorgeous in paint and feathers, and armed with hatchets, bows and arrows, but the Quakers carried no weapons of any kind.

 

Greetings being over, an ancient warrior advanced, and amid deep silence, tied a horn upon his forehead. This was the sign of his greatness, and also a sign that the spot was sacred. Immediately all the braves threw down their weapons, and seated themselves upon the grass. Then the old warrior announced that they were ready to hear the words of the White Chief.

 

Then Penn spoke to the gathered Indians reminding them that the Great Spirit wished all men to live in love and brotherhood, and as the Redman listened his heart went out in love to this White Chief who had friendship in his eyes, and kindliness in his voice. And there under the spreading branches of the great elm tree they swore to live in peace and brotherly love "as long as the rivers shall run, and while the sun, moon and stars endure."

they swear to live in peace

These Indians never broke their word and for the next seventy years there was peace in Pennsylvania between the Redman and the White.

 

The Indians gave Penn the name of Onas which is the Algonquin word for Feather. Ever afterwards too they called the Governor of Pennsylvania Onas, and whoever and whatever he was, for them he was great and good.

Penn's Indian name;

But Penn was not only the great Chief Onas, he was also Father Penn. For he roamed the woods with the Indians, talking with them, and sharing their simple food like one of themselves. This greatly delighted the Indians, and to show their pleasure they would perform some of their wild dances. Then up Penn would spring and dance with the best of them. So he won their hearts. They loved him so much that the highest praise they could give any man was to say "he is like the great Onas," and it was said that any one dressed like a Quaker was far safer among the Indians than one who carried a gun.

 

Life seemed so easy in Pennsylvania that in the first years thousands of colonists came flocking to the new colony. It grew faster than any other colony, so fast indeed that houses could not be built quickly enough. So for a time many of the new settlers had to live in caves dug out of the banks of the Delaware River. It was in one of these caves that the first baby citizen of the city of brotherly love was born.

 

Pennsylvania prospered and grew fast, but there were constant troubles with Lord Baltimore about the border line between his province and Penn's. The British Kings in those days gave land charters in the most reckless fashion and over and over again the boundaries of one province overlapped those of the others. Then of course there was trouble. This had happened with Virginia and Maryland. Now it happened with Maryland and Pennsylvania.

troubles with Lord Baltimore

The quarrel at length became so bad that Penn went home to England to have the matter settled; after that for a time things were better, but the quarrel was not really settled. It was not settled until many years after both Penn and Lord Baltimore were dead. Then, in 1767, two English astronomers, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, surveyed and fixed the boundary which ever since has been known as the Mason and Dixon Line. Every mile a small stone was placed with B on one side and P on the other. Along the eastern part, too, every five miles a larger stone was placed with the arms of Penn on one side and those of Baltimore on the other. But further west these were discontinued. For in those days when there were few roads it was difficult to get these heavy stones carried to the proper places.

1684

The Mason and Dixon Line completed, 1767

When Penn went back to England he had meant to return to his colony very soon. But fifteen years passed before he was able to do so. During this time King Charles II, who had given him the charter for his great possessions, died, and his brother James, who as Duke of York had been Penn's friend, was driven from the throne. Then for a time Penn's great province was taken from him, because he was suspected of helping his old friend, the dethroned king. The colony was then placed under the control of the Governor of New York.

Pennsylvania is taken from Penn, 1692;

Two years later, however, Penn was cleared from the charge of treason and his right to Pennsylvania was again recognised. Then once more he crossed the seas to visit his possessions in the New World.

it is given back, 1694;

He found that in fifteen years great changes had been wrought. The two or three thousand inhabitants had now increased to twenty thousand. Many of the new settlers were not Quakers but Protestants from Germany, Holland and Sweden, and Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland. Penn welcomed them all, but they on their side had grown apart from him. They were no longer his children. He was no longer Father Penn, but the Governor and proprietor.

he returns to Pennsylvania, 1699

From this Governor the settlers demanded greater liberties than they had. Penn was grieved, but he met the clamour in the most generous spirit. "Friends," he said, "if in the constitution there be anything that jars, alter it." So it was altered until practically the colonists became a self-governing people.

 

Now for a second time Penn felt himself obliged to return to England. He did not want to go, but longed to live out the rest of his life in his colony which, in spite of all troubles and difficulties, he loved dearly.

Penn goes back to England, 1701;

"I cannot think of such a voyage without great reluctance," he said. "For I promised myself that I might stay so long, at least, with you, as to render everybody entirely easy and safe. For my heart is among you, as well as my body, whatever some people may please to think. And no unkindness or disappointment shall ever be able to alter my love to the country."

 

So with just a little soreness in his heart Penn sailed away never to return. At home trouble and misfortune awaited him. And in the midst of his troubles sickness fell upon him. For six years a helpless invalid with failing mind, he lingered on. Then in 1718 he died. He was seventy-four. Only four years of his long life had been spent in America. Yet he left his stamp upon the continent far more than any other man of his time. He was the greatest, most broad-minded of all the colony builders. As he said himself he had sailed against wind and tide all his life. But the buffetings of fortune left him sweet and true to the end.

he never returns


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CHAPTER 41
HOW BENJAMIN FRANKLIN CAME TO PHILADELPHIA

AFTER Penn left his colony there was frequent trouble between the Governors and the people. Some of the Governors were untrustworthy, some were weak, none was truly great. But about ten years after Penn's death a truly great man came to Philadelphia. This was Benjamin Franklin. Of all the men of colonial times Franklin was the greatest.

 

Benjamin was the fifteenth child of his father, a sturdy English Nonconformist who some years before had emigrated from Banbury in England to Boston in America. As the family was so large the children had to begin early to earn their own living. So at the age of ten Benjamin was apprenticed to his own father, who was a tallow chandler, and the little chap spent his days helping to make soap and "dips" and generally making himself useful.

Franklin a tallow chandler;

But he did not like it at all. So after a time he was apprenticed to his elder brother James, who had a printing press, and published a little newspaper called the Courant. Benjamin liked that much better. He soon became a good printer, he was able to get hold of books easily, and he spent his spare time reading such books as the "Pilgrim's Progress" and the "Spectator." Very soon too he took to writing, and became anxious to have an article printed in his brother's paper.

a printer;

an author;

But as he was only a boy he was afraid that if his brother knew he had written the article he would never print it. So he disguised his handwriting, and slipped his paper under the door of the printing house at night. It was found next morning, and to Benjamin's delight was thought good enough to be printed in the paper. After that Benjamin wrote often for the little paper. In time however he and his brother began to quarrel, and when he was seventeen Benjamin decided to go to New York to seek his fortune there.

 

He took ship to New York and arrived there one October day with very little money in his pocket and not a friend in the town. He did not find work in New York, but an old printer advised him to go to Philadelphia where he knew his son was in need of a printer.

he sets out to seek his fortune, 1723;

Benjamin was already three hundred miles from home, and Philadelphia was another hundred miles farther, but he resolved to go.

 

Fifty miles of the way he trudged on foot, the rest he went by boat, and after nearly a week of most uncomfortable traveling he arrived one Sunday morning at Philadelphia. He was soaked to the skin, dirty and untidy, hungry and tired. His pockets bulged out with shirts and stockings, but save for one Dutch dollar they were empty of money.

arrived in Philadelphia;

Benjamin was tired and dirty, but before everything he was hungry; so he went to a baker's shop and bought three big rolls. As his pockets were full he tucked two of the rolls under his arm and strolled down the street devouring the third, while the clean tidy folk all ready to go to meeting stared at him in wonder.

 

Such was the first entry of one of America's greatest statesmen into the town which was henceforth to be his home and where he was to become famous; and as a clever Frenchman said "invent the Republic."

 

In Philadelphia Benjamin found work, and although after a year he left his new home and sailed for England, he soon returned. In ten years' time he was one of the foremost men of Philadelphia and took an interest in everything which concerned the life of the people. He established a circulating library; he was chosen Clerk of the General Assembly; he was appointed postmaster; he established a police force and fire brigade, and helped to found the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Hospital.

he becomes a great man

In fact he took an interest in everything connected with the welfare of his adopted city, and of Pennsylvania. And when troubles arose with the British Government Franklin was chosen to go to England to try to put matters right. Later on other colonies too asked for his help, and he went to England as the agent, not only of Pennsylvania but of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Georgia.

 

He was a philosopher and scientist as well as a diplomatist, and he was the first American whose fame spread all over the world.

 



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CHAPTER 42
THE FOUNDING OF NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA

IT was in the part of the United States which we now call North Carolina, you remember, that Sir Walter Raleigh tried to found a colony. That colony came to nothing, and the land which the white men had reclaimed from the wilderness returned once more to the wilderness.

 

Nearly a hundred years went past before white men again appeared in that part of the country. In 1629 King Charles I granted all this region to Sir Robert Heath, but he made no attempt to colonise it. Then a few settlers from Virginia and New England and the Barbados, finding the land vacant and neglected, settled there.

Sir Robert Heath

Meanwhile Charles II had come to the throne, and, wanting to reward eight of his friends who had been staunch to him during the Commonwealth, in 1663 he gave them all the land between latitude 30° and 36° and from sea to sea. If you look on the map you will see that this takes in nearly the whole of the Southern States.

The Carolinas given to eight Englishmen, 1663

Sir Robert Heath was by this time dead, and his heirs had done nothing with his great territory in America, but as soon as it was given to others they began to make a fuss. Charles II, however, said as Sir Robert had failed to plant a colony his claim no longer held good. So the eight new proprietors took possession of it. This tract of land had already been named Carolina by the Frenchman Ribaut in honour of Charles IX of France, and now the Englishmen who took possession of it kept the old name in honour of Charles II.

 

The Lords Proprietary then set about drawing up laws for their new country. After an old English title they called the oldest among them the Palatine. Palatine originally meant a person who held some office about a king's palace. It has come to mean one who has royal privileges. So a Prince Palatine is really a little king. When the Palatine died it was arranged that the next in age should take his place. As to the other seven proprietors they all had grand sounding titles, such as Chamberlain, Chancellor, Constable, High Steward, and so on.

The Prince Palatine;

Having settled all these grand sounding titles the proprietors went on to frame a system of laws. They called it the Grand Model or Fundamental Constitutions, but it was more like some old English feudal system than anything else. It might have done for the ancient Saxons of the ninth century; it was quite unsuitable for rough colonists in a new and almost uninhabited country. It was quite unsuited for men who had left Europe because they wanted to get away from old conventions and be more free.

the Grand Model;

Yet the Lords Proprietors said that the Grand Model was to be the law of Carolina for ever and ever. The settlers however, would have nothing to do with the Grand Model, for it was altogether too fanciful for them. The proprietors on their side persisted. But when they found it impossible to force the settlers to obey their laws they changed their Grand Model and tried again. Still it was of no use. The colonists would not have it. So at length, having altered their unalterable rules five times, they gave them up altogether and took to something more simple.

 

But among much that was foolish and unsuitable in the Grand Model there was one good thing. That was that every one was free to worship God in the way he thought right. If only seven men agreed together, said the Grand Model, they were enough to form a church. All it insisted upon was that people must acknowledge a God, and that they must worship Him openly. Nevertheless, in spite of this they made no provision for worship. No clergymen went with the settlers, and indeed for many years no clergymen settled among them.

religious freedom granted

But because there was religious freedom people of all religions came to Carolina. Quakers and dissenters of every description sought a refuge there. They came not only from England, but from the other colonies and from foreign countries.

 

You remember that the Protestants of France were called Huguenots, and that they had had to suffer many things at the hands of Catholic rulers until the good King Henry of Navarre protected them by the Edict of Nantes. Now Louis XIV, who was at this time on the throne of France, revoked that edict. He forbade the Huguenots to worship God in their own way, and he also forbade them to leave the country on pain of death.

Edict of Nantes revoked, 1685

But thousands braved death rather than remain and be false to their religion. Some were caught and cruelly punished, but many succeeded in escaping to Holland, England and even to America. So many Huguenots now settled in Carolina. They were hard-working, high-minded people and they brought a sturdiness and grit to the colony which it might otherwise have lacked. Germans too came from the Palatinate, driven thence also by religious persecutions. Irish Presbyterians came fleeing from persecution in Ulster. Jacobites who, having fought for the Stuarts, found Scotland no longer a safe dwelling-place came seeking a new home.

Many Protestants come to Carolina;

These were all hardy industrious people. But besides these there came many worthless idlers who came to be known as "poor whites." These came because in the early days when the colony was but sparsely peopled, and more settlers were wanted, a law was passed that a new settler need not pay any debts he had made before he came to the colony; and for a year after he came he need pay no taxes. These laws of course brought many shiftless folk who, having got hopelessly into debt somewhere else, ran away to Carolina to get free of it. Indeed so many of these undesirables came that the Virginians called Carolina the Rogues' Harbour.

shiftless folk come also,

Besides all these white people there were a great many negroes especially in South Carolina. This came about naturally. The climate of Carolina is hot; there is also a lot of marshy ground good for growing rice. But the work in these rice fields was very unhealthy, and white men could not stand it for long. So a trade in slaves sprang up. Already men had begun to kidnap negroes from the West Coast of Africa and sell them to the tobacco planters of Virginia.

and many negroes

In those days no one saw anything wrong in it. And now that the rice fields of South Carolina constantly required more workers the trade in slaves increased. Whole shiploads were brought at a time. They were bought and sold like cattle, and if they died at their unhealthy work it mattered little, for they were cheap, and there were plenty more where they came from.

 


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CHAPTER 43
WAR WITH THE INDIANS IN NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA

AT first there had been no intention of making two provinces of Carolina. But the country was so large and the settlements made so far apart that very soon it became divided into North and South Carolina. The first settlements made in North Carolina were made round Albemarle Sound, and those of South Carolina at Charleston. One Governor was supposed to rule both states, but sometimes each had a governor. And in all the early years there was trouble between the governors and the people. Sometimes the governors were good men, but more often they were rascals who cared for nothing but their own pockets. So we hear of revolutions, of governors being deposed and imprisoned, of colonists going to England to complain of their governors, of governors going to complain of the colonists.

Carolina divided into two

But far worse than the quarrel between people and governor were the troubles with the Indians. Many thousands of white people had by this time settled in the Carolinas, and the Redman saw himself year by year being driven further and further from his old hunting grounds; so year by year his anger grew. At first he had been friendly to the white man because he brought with him beads and copper ornaments and "fire-water." But now he began to hate him.

 

At length the Indians in North Carolina plotted to kill all the white people. Many tribes of Indians dwelt round the settlements, but the chief among them were the Tuscaroras. These Tuscaroras now arranged with all the other tribes that early on the morning before the new moon they should all with one accord, tomahawk and firebrand in hand, fall upon the Pale-faces and wipe them utterly from the face of the earth.

Indians plot to slay the Pale-faces

From tribe to tribe the word was passed till hundreds knew the secret. But the Redman is silent and crafty, and neither by sign nor word did he betray it to the Pale-faces.

 

Suspecting nothing, with perfect faith in their friendship, the white people allowed the Indians to come and go freely in their settlements. Then one night in 1711 a great many appeared, asking for food. Still the white people had no suspicion of evil, and many Indians were allowed even to spend the night in their houses.

 

The Pale-faces slept peacefully, but for the Redmen there was little rest. They waited impatiently for the dawn. At length the first streaks of light shivered across the sky, and from the woods came a loud fierce war whoop. It was answered by the Indians within the settlements, and with tomahawk in one hand and firebrand in the other they fell upon the still sleeping settlers.

The massacre begins, 1711

They spared neither man nor woman, neither the old nor the young; and when they could find no more to slay they set fire to the houses. Then those who had hidden themselves were forced to flee from the flames, only to fall beneath the tomahawk. The Swiss and Germans round New Berne and the Huguenots of Bath were the chief sufferers.

 

But the wonder is that any white men escaped. For their cruel work at an end, and the settlements nought but flaming ruins, the Indians marched through the woods seeking any who had escaped, gathering at length to a spot arranged beforehand. Here they drank "fire-water," rejoicing savagely over their victory. Then drunk with brandy and with blood they staggered forth again to continue their horrible labours. For three days the slaughter lasted, for three days the forests rang with terrifying war cries, and village after village was laid in ashes. Then too weary and too drunk for further effort, the Indians ceased their awful work.

 

At first the white people had been utterly stunned by the suddenness and horror of the uprising, and they were quite incapable of suppressing it by themselves. But soon help came, both from South Carolina and Virginia. Friendly Indians too, who wished to prove to the Pale-faces that they had had no part in the massacre, joined the forces.

The settlers take up arms

Hundreds of the Indians were slain in battle, others were driven from fort to fort. But not for two years were they thoroughly subdued. Then at length, finding themselves no match for the white men, those who were left fled from the province and joined the Five Nations in New York, making from this time forward Six Nations.

 

In South Carolina too there was war with the Indians. The Yamassees had been among the Indians who marched from South Carolina to fight against their brothers, the Tuscaroras. Yet a little later they too rose against the Pale-faces.

Indian war in South Carolina, 1715

Several causes led to the war, but it was chiefly brought about by the Spaniards who had a settlement at St. Augustine to the south of Carolina. They hated the British, and although the two countries were now at peace the Spaniards did all they could to injure the British colonies in America and elsewhere. So now they sympathised with the Yamassees, both with their real and imaginary grievances, and encouraged them to rise against the British.

 

Secretly and silently then the Redmen laid their plans. But this time the war did not burst forth entirely without warning. For when the Redman has truly given his faith and love nothing makes him false.

 

Now there was a chieftain named Sanute who had given his friendship to a Scotsman named Fraser, and he could not bear to think of his friend being slaughtered. So one day Sanute came to Fraser's wife to warn her.

Sanute warns his white friends;

"The British are all bad," he said, "they will all go to an evil place. The Yamassees also will go there if they allow these Pale-faces to remain longer in the land. So we will slay them all. We only wait for the sign of a bloody stick which the Creeks will send. Then the Creeks, the Yamassees, and many other nations will join with the Spaniards to slay the British. So fly in all haste to Charleston. And if your own boat is not large enough I will lend you my canoe."

 

Mrs. Fraser was very much frightened when she heard Sanute speak like this. But when she told her husband he laughed at her fears. The idea that the Spaniards should join with the Indians against the British seemed to him quite absurd.

 

"How can the Spaniards go to war with us," he said, "while they are at peace with Great Britain?"

 

"I know not," replied Sanute. "But the Spanish Governor has said that soon there will be a great war between the British and the Spaniards, and while we attack on land he will send great ships to block up the harbours, so that neither man nor woman may escape."

 

Then laying his hand upon his heart Sanute implored his white friends to flee with all haste. "But if you are determined to stay," he added, "then I will take on myself one last office of friendship, and so that you may not be tortured I will slay you with my own hand."

 

Still Fraser doubted. But his wife was so terrified that he yielded to her entreaties. And gathering his goods together he got into his canoe with his wife and child, and paddled away to Charleston.

they flee to Charleston

Unfortunately in the hurry of departure Fraser either forgot to warn his friends in the plantation near him, or they, being warned, disregarded it; and a few days later the slaughter began. At daybreak the signal was given, and at the sound of the war whoop the seemingly peaceful Indians were turned suddenly into raging demons who, with tomahawk and torch in hand, sowed destruction and death around. So the land was filled with blood and wailing, pleasant homesteads were laid in ruins, and only heaps of smouldering ashes marked where they had been.

 

But Governor Craven was one of the best governors of his time. He was a man of action and courage as well as a wise ruler, and he quickly gathered an army with which to march against the savages. The North Carolinians too, remembering gratefully the help which South Carolina had given to them in their need, sent men. Soon the Yamassees and their friends were defeated and driven from the province. They fled across the border and took refuge in Spanish territory, where they were received with great rejoicing. They might indeed have been heroes returning from a victorious campaign, for the church bells were rung and salutes were fired in their honour.

Governor Craven

The Yamassees defeated

The Yamassees were crushed, but they were not utterly conquered, from henceforth their hearts were filled with hatred against all the Carolinians. This hatred the Spaniards did their best to keep alive. They supplied the Indians with weapons, and made them valiant with "fire-water." Thus encouraged they broke across the borders in small scalping parties, seizing and slaying, often with unspeakable tortures, all those who dwelt in lonely places. These frays were so unceasing, and so deadly, that at length hardly any one dared live in all the border region.

 

Meanwhile the war against the Indians had cost a great deal of money. And as the Lords Proprietor made a good deal of money out of the colony, the settlers thought they might as well bear some of the expense also. So they sent messengers home to arrange this matter. But the Lords Proprietor seemed to care little about their possessions except as a means of making money. And they refused to pay any of the cost of the war. This made the settlers angry.

The Lords Proprietor refuse to pay the war debt

They had never liked the rule of the Lords Proprietor; now they were heartily tired of it and they refused to stand it longer. King William III was now upon the throne, and the settlers asked him to make South Carolina a Crown Colony. To this King William agreed. Ten years later North Carolina also became a Crown Colony, and the two Carolinas from henceforth continued to be separate states.

The settlers revolt and Carolina becomes a royal province, 1719


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CHAPTER 44
THE FOUNDING OF GEORGIA

SOUTH CAROLINA extended as far as the River Savannah, and between that river and the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine there stretched a great waste of country inhabited only by the Redmen who ever and anon made raids into Carolina. Southward from this the Spaniards claimed the land and called it Florida; but they made no effort to colonise the wilderness which stretched between Florida and the borders of South Carolina. So at length the idea of founding a British colony there occurred to an Englishman named James Oglethorpe.

James Oglethorpe

He was a truly great man, and in an age when men were cruel to each other out of mere thoughtlessness he tried to make people kinder to their fellows.

 

In those days in England people could be imprisoned for debt. And if they could not pay they remained in prison often for years, and sometimes till they died. They were starved and tortured, loaded with fetters, locked up in filthy dungeons, herded together with thieves and murderers, or those suffering from smallpox and other loathsome diseases. It was horrible, but no one troubled about it. There had always been misery in the world, there always would be, men thought, and no one had pity for prisoners.

The debtor's prison

But now young Oglethorpe had a friend who was imprisoned for debt, and, being treated in this horrible fashion, he died of smallpox. Oglethorpe's generous heart was grieved at the death of his friend, and he began to enquire into the causes of it. The things he discovered were so awful that he stood aghast with horror at the misery of the imprisoned debtors. And what was more he did not rest until he had made other people see the horror of it also. Soon there was an outcry all over England, and some of the worst evils were done away with.

 

Then the idea came to Oglethorpe that he would found a colony in America, where poor debtors who had regained their freedom might find a refuge and make a new start in life. He decided to found this colony to the south of South Carolina, so that it might not only be a refuge for the oppressed, but also form a buffer state between the Carolinas and Spanish Florida. So from George II Oglethorpe got a charter for the land lying between the Savannah and the Altamaha rivers, and in honour of the King the colony was called Georgia.

Oglethorpe's great plan;

colony called Georgia in honour of King George II.

Many well-to-do people were by this time interested in his scheme. They gave him money for it, and he also got a large grant from Parliament. This was the first time that Parliament ever voted money to found a colony in America. Of all the thirteen colonies now founded Georgia alone received aid from the State.

 

Trustees were appointed to frame the laws, and a kind of proprietory government was created. The colonists were to be granted all the liberties of Englishmen, but they were not to be allowed to frame the laws or take any part in the government. After twenty-one years the rule of the trustees was to come to an end, and Georgia was to become a Crown Colony.

 

All these matters being arranged, men were sent round to visit the jails, and choose from among the prisoners those who were really good men and who through misfortune, rather than roguery, found themselves in prison. The Commissioners refused to take lazy or bad men, or those who, in going to Georgia, would leave wife or children in want at home. Besides poor debtors those who were being persecuted because of their religion in any European State were invited to come and find a refuge in Georgia. No slavery was to be allowed, and the sale of rum was forbidden throughout the whole colony. For Oglethorpe knew how the Redman loved "fire-water" and how bad it was for him, and he wanted the settlement of Georgia to be a blessing and not a curse to the Redman, as well as to the white man.

Settlers chosen

Soon far more people wanted to go than Oglethorpe could take. So crowds of poor wretches had to be turned away, bitterly disappointed that they could not go to this new land which, after their terrible sufferings, seemed to them a very paradise.

 

The preparations took some time, and it was about the middle of November, 1732, when at length the Anne hoisted her sails and turned her prow towards the west. There were about a hundred and twenty colonists on board with Oglethorpe as Governor, and it was nearly the end of January when the colonists landed on the southern shores of the Savannah and founded the town of the same name.

They sail for Georgia

One of the first things Oglethorpe did was to make a treaty with the Indians, for he knew how greatly the peace and safety of the little colony depended on their friendship.

 

There were eight tribes of Creeks who claimed the land upon which Oglethorpe had settled. But before he allowed the colonists to land he himself went ashore and sought out the chieftain whose village was close to the spot he had chosen for his town. This chieftain was an old man of over ninety years, and at first he did not seem at all pleased at the idea of white men settling on his land. But Oglethorpe was kindly and friendly, he spoke gently to the old chief, and soon won his consent to the settlement, and a promise of friendship.

Their reception by the Indians;

When then the colonists landed, instead of being greeted with a flight of arrows they were received with solemn ceremony, the braves coming down to the water's edge to greet them. First came the Medicine Man carrying in either hand a fan made of white feathers as signs of peace and friendship. Behind him followed the chieftain and his squaw, with twenty or thirty braves, who filled the air with wild yells of welcome.

 

When the Medicine Man reached Oglethorpe he paused, and dancing round him he swept him on every side with the white feather fans, chanting the while a tale of brave deeds. This done the chieftain next drew near, and in flowery words bade the White Chief and his followers welcome. Thus peacefully the settlement was begun.

 

But Oglethorpe wanted to be friends with the other tribes round, so he asked Tomo-chi-chi, the old chieftain, to invite them to a conference. And a few months later they all came. Oglethorpe received them in one of the new houses built by the settlers, and when they were all solemnly seated an old and very tall man stood up and made a long speech. He claimed for the Creeks all the land south of the Savannah.

a great council is held;

"We are poor and ignorant," he said, "but the Great Spirit who gave the Pale-faces breath gave the Redmen breath also. But the Great Spirit who made us both has given more wisdom to the Pale-faces."

 

Then he spread his arms abroad and lengthened the sound of his words. "So we feel sure," he cried, "that the Great Spirit who lives in heaven and all around has sent you to teach us and our wives and children. Therefore we give you freely the land we do not use. That is my thought and not mine alone but the thought of all the eight nations of the Creeks. And in token thereof we bring you gifts of skins which is our wealth."

 

Then one by one the chief men of each nation rose up and laid a bundle of buck skins at Oglethorpe's feet.

 

In return Oglethorpe gave each of the chiefs a coat and hat trimmed with gold lace. Each of the braves likewise received some present. So a treaty of peace was signed, the Redmen promising to keep the good talk in their hearts as long as the sun shone, or water ran in the rivers. And so just and wise was Oglethorpe in all his dealings with the natives that in the early days of the settlement there were no wars with the natives.

a treaty of peace signed;

Oglethorpe worked unceasingly for the good of the colony. He kept no state, but slept in a tent and ate the plainest of food, his every thought being given to the happiness of his people. And in return they loved him and called him father. If any one were sick he visited him, and when they quarreled they came to him to settle their disputes. Yet he kept strict discipline and allowed neither drinking nor swearing.

 

The work of the colony went on apace. About six weeks after the settlers landed some of the settlers from Charleston came to visit Oglethorpe, and they were astonished to find how quickly things had got on.

a visit from the Carolinians

"It is surprising," one wrote, "to see how cheerfully the men work, considering they have not been bred to it. There are no idlers there. Even the boys and girls do their parts. There are four houses already up, but none finished. . . . He has ploughed up some land, part of which he has sowed with wheat. . . . He has two or three gardens, which he has sowed with divers sort of seeds. . . . He was palisading the town round. . . . In short he has done a vast deal of work for the time, and I think his name justly deserves to be immortalised."

 

But if Georgia had peace with the Indians it was far otherwise with the Spaniards. For the Spaniards were very angry with the British for daring to settle south of the Savannah. They vowed to root them out of America, and they set out to attack the little colony.

The Spaniards are angry;

But Oglethorpe was a daring soldier as well as a wise statesman, and he succeeded in beating the Spaniards. It was at Frederica where the greatest battle took place. This town had been founded after Savannah and named Frederica, in honour of Frederick, Prince of Wales. It was built on an island off the coast called St. Simon, and, being near the Spanish border, it was well fortified. At the little village of St. Simon which was at the south end of the island, there were barricades and a high watch-tower where a constant watch was kept for ships. As soon as they were sighted a gun was fired, and a horseman sped off to the barracks with the news.

 

Here one day in July, 1742, a great fleet of Spanish vessels came sailing. They made a brave show with their high painted prows and shining sails, and they brought five thousand men who vowed to give no quarter.

they attack the settlements, 1742

Oglethorpe had but eight hundred men. Some were regular soldiers, some were fierce Highlanders glad to have a chance of a shot at the Spaniards, and not a few were friendly Indians. But small though his force was Oglethorpe did not despair. He had sent to Carolina for help which he was sure would come if he could but hold out for a few days. He thought, however, that the position at St. Simon was too dangerous. So he spiked his guns, destroyed all stores, and retreated to Frederica.

 

The Spaniards soon landed and, taking possession of St. Simon, set out to attack Frederica. But they found it no easy matter, for the town was surrounded by dense and pathless woods. And struggling through them the Spaniards stumbled into marshes, or got entangled in the dense undergrowth until in their weariness they declared that not the Evil One himself could force a passage through. Added to their other difficulties they were constantly harassed by scouting parties of wild Indians, and almost as wild Highlanders, sent out from Frederica by Oglethorpe.

 

But meanwhile no help appeared, and at length Oglethorpe, having discovered that the Spanish force was divided, decided to make a sortie and surprise one part of it. So with three hundred chosen men he marched out one dark night, and stole silently through the woods until he had almost reached the enemy's camp.

Oglethorpe makes a sortie;

Then suddenly a Frenchman who was with the little British force discharged his musket, and fled towards the Spanish camp.

 

All hope of a surprise was at an end, and Oglethorpe returned hastily to the fort. But that the surprise had failed was not the worst. It was certain that the deserter would tell the Spaniards how weak the British were, and that thus heartened they would soon attack in force. Something, Oglethorpe decided, must be done to prevent that.

it fails

So he wrote a letter in French addressing it to the French deserter. This letter was written as if coming from a friend. It begged the Frenchman to tell the Spaniards that Frederica was in an utterly defenseless state, and to bring them on to an attack. Or if he could not persuade them to attack at least he must persuade them to remain three days longer at Fort Simon. For within that time two thousand men would arrive from Carolina and six British ships of war "which he doubted not would be able to give a good account of themselves to the Spanish invaders." Above all things the writer bade the Frenchman beware of saying anything about Admiral Vernon, the British admiral who was coming against St. Augustine. He ended by assuring him that the British King would not forget such good services, and that he should be richly rewarded.

Oglethorpe's strategy

This letter Oglethorpe gave to one of the Spanish prisoners they had taken, who for a small sum of money and his liberty, promised to deliver it to the French deserter. But instead of doing that he gave it, as Oglethorpe had expected he would, to the leader of the Spanish army.

 

The French deserter at once denied all knowledge of the letter or its writer, but all the same he was fettered and kept a prisoner while the Spanish leaders held a council of war. They knew not what to do. Some thought that the letter was a ruse (as indeed it was) merely meant to deceive them. But others thought that the British really had them in a trap. And while they were thus debating by good luck some British vessels appeared off the coast. And thinking them to be the men-of-war mentioned in the letter the Spaniards fled in such haste that although they had time to set fire to the barracks at St. Simon they left behind them a great cannon and large stores of food and ammunition.

The Spaniards flee

Thus was the little colony saved from destruction.

 

By his brave stand and clever ruse Oglethorpe had saved not only Georgia but Carolina too. Yet South Carolina had cause for shame, for her Governor had paid no heed to Oglethorpe's call for help, and so far as he was concerned Georgia might have been wiped out. He indeed cared so little about it that when the governors of the other more northerly colonies wrote to Oglethorpe thanking and praising him he did not join with them. But much to his disgust, seeing their Governor so lax, some of the people of South Carolina themselves wrote to Oglethorpe to thank him.

 

"It was very certain," they wrote, "had the Spaniards succeeded in those attempts against your Excellency they would also have entirely destroyed us, laid our province waste and desolate, and filled our habitation with waste and slaughter. We are very sensible of the great protection and safety we have long enjoyed, by your Excellency being to the southwards of us, and keeping your armed sloops cruising on the coasts, which has secured our trade and fortunes more than all the ships of war ever stationed at Charleston. But more by your late resolution against the Spaniards when nothing could have saved us from utter ruin, next to the Providence of Almighty God, but your Excellency's singular conduct, and the bravery of the troops under your command. We think it our duty to pray God to protect your Excellency and send you success in all your undertakings."

South Carolina is grateful;

But, although Oglethorpe had many friends, he had also enemies, some even within the colony he had done so much to serve. There were those within the colony who wanted rum and wanted slavery and said that it would never prosper until they were allowed. Oglethorpe, with all his might, opposed them, so they hated him. Others were discontented for far better reasons: because they had no share in the government, and because the land laws were bad.

discontent in the colony

Oglethorpe, too, had his own troubles, for he had spent so much on the colony that he was deeply in debt. So, having ruled for twelve years, he went home, and although be lived to a great old age, he never returned again to Georgia. At the age of fifty-five he married; then he settled down to the quiet life of an English gentleman. Learned men and fine ladies called him friend, poets sang of his deeds, and the great Samuel Johnson wanted to write his life.

Oglethorpe goes home;

"Heroic, romantic, and full of the old gallantry" to the end, he lived out his last days in the great manor house of an English village, and was laid to rest in the peaceful village church in 1785.

he dies, 1785

"But the Savannah repeats to the Altamaha the story of his virtues and of his valor, and the Atlantic publishes to the mountains the greatness of his fame, for all Georgia is his living, speaking monument."

his monument

Oglethorpe was the only one of all the founders of British colonies in America who lived to see their separation from the mother-country. But long ere that he had to see many changes in the settlement. For the colonists would not be contented without rum and slaves, and in 1749 both were allowed. A few years later the trustees gave up their claims and Georgia became a Crown Colony, and the people were given the right to vote and help to frame the laws under which they had to live.

1752 Georgia a crown colony