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Massachusetts Historical Society Collections
posted Oct 2004
FOR THE YEAR M,DCC,XCVIII.
Reprinted in 1968 with the permission of the Massachusetts Historical Society
From a reprint of unknown date in the collections of
The New York Public Library
Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
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- 5 Answer of Dr Kippis, respecting an Error in his Life of Capt Cook..
- 6 General Lincoln's Observations on the Indians of North-America, in Answer to some Remarks of Dr. Ramsay's.
- 12 Report of a Committee, who visited the Oneida and Mohekunuh Indians in 1796.
- 32 Rev. Mr. Badger's Letter, containing historical and characteristic Traits of the Indians.
- 45 Law Cases.
- 52 Account of the great Fire in Boston, in 1711, prefixed to a Sermon preached by Dr. Cotton Mather ; with some Extracts from the Sermon.
- 54 Mr. Alden's Memorabilia of Yarmouth.
- 61 A full and candid Account of the Delusion called Witchcraft ; and of the Judicial Trials and Executions at Salem, for that pretended Crime ; written by Thomas Brattle, Esq F. R. S. 
- 80 Vocabulary of the Narroganset Language.
- 106 Col. Revere's Letter to the Corresponding Secretary.
- 112 Letter from Governour Shute to Rallé the Jesuit
- 119 Two Letters from Col. Dwight and Col. Partridge to Governour Shirley.
- 123 Law Case. [Jedidiah Morse vs. John Reid.]
- 124 Account of Virginia .[circa 1698]
- 149 Conclusion of the Account of Virginia.
- 166 Settlement and Antiquities of the Town of Windsor, in Connecticut.
171 [Note on Sir Henry Vane.]
- 173 An Abstract of the Laws of New-England, as they were established in the last Century.
- 187 An Address to the Reader, by the Publisher of the foregoing Abstract of Laws.
- 192 A Letter from his Majesty's Commissioners to Gov. Prince, written at Rhode-Island, in 1664.
- 193 Articles of Agreement between the Court of New-Plymouth and Awasuncks, 1671.
- 194 Dartmouth Indian's Engagement, 1671.
- 195 A Letter from Awasuncks to Governour Prince, 1671.
- 196 An original Letter of Gov Prince, 1671.
- 197 A Letter from Gov. Prince to Awasuncks, 1671.
- ibid. A Letter from Mr. Dummer to Dr. Colman, 1714.
- 199 A Letter from Mr. Neal to Dr Colman, 1718
- 200 Extract of a Letter from Dr. Watts to Dr. Mather, concerning Neal's History of N England, 1719.
- 202 Judge Auchmuty's Proposals to the Ministry, 1744. [concerning Cape Breton]
- 206 Historical Scraps.
- 208 Narrative of Newspapers printed in N. England.
- 216 A brief Account of the several Settlements and Governments in Narraganset-Bay, in N. England.
- 221 Charles II.'s Letter to the Governour and Magistrates of Rhode-Island.
- 223 Address of the Governour and General Assembly of Rhode-Island to Charles II.
- 226 Letter of the Commissioners of the United Colonies respecting Mount Hope.
- 229 Account of the Right which certain Persons have to Lands in the Narraganset Country and Parts adjacent.
- 232 Charles II.'s Commission to Edward Cranfield and others.
- 233 Summons of the King's Commissioners respecting the Narraganset Country.
- 235 Report of the Commissioners to the King.
- 244 James II.'s Commission, constituting a President, &c. for Massachusetts-Bay, Narraganset, &c.
- 246 Order of the President, &c. respecting the Records of Narraganset.
- ibid. Proceedings of a Court held in Narraganset.
- 248 Paukatuck River the Boundary between Connecticut and Rhode-Island.
- 250 Act of Rhode-Island in favour of H. Atherton, &c
- 253 Rev. Mr. Homer's Description and History of Newton.
- 280 Mr. Peck's History of the Slug-Worm.
- 291 Resident Members of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
- 292 Corresponding Members of the Mass. Historical Society.
MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
For the Year 1798.
The candid answer of the late excellent Doctor Kippis to the letters published in the Collections of the Historical Society for 1795, (pages 79. and 156.) respecting an error in his life of Captain Cook.
N. B. These letters were reprinted in the European Magazine for August and September, 1795. The answer was first published in the same Magazine for September, just before the death of that learned, industrious and truly amiable divine and historian; which happened on the 8th of October, 1795, in the 71st year of his valuable life.To the Editor of the European Magazine.
In my life of Captain Cook, after having recited Dr. Franklin's requisition to the captains and commanders of American armed ships, not to consider that great navigator as an enemy, if he should happen to fall into their hands, I have said, that Dr. Franklin's orders were "instantly reversed, and that it was directed by Congress to seize Captain Cook, if an opportunity of doing it occurred." This representation I gave upon what I deemed unquestionable information and authority.
It appears, however, from a letter addressed to me by the Reverend Doctor Belknap, of Boston, in New-England, and from a number of other letters, inserted in the Columbian Centinel of May 13, 1795, that no such directions were given by Congress, as I was led to believe. I do, therefore, readily acknowledge the misinformation ; and I assure you, that I have much greater pleasure in confessing, than in adhering to an error.
The zeal expressed by so many gentlemen, on this occasion ...
Observations on the Indians of North-America ; containing an answer to some remarks of Doctor Ramsay, published in the Collections of the Historical Society for 1795, page 99; in a letter from General Lincoln to the Corresponding Secretary.Hingham, October 29, 1795.
Reverend and dear Sir,
ON reading the observations made by my learned and much esteemed friend, Doctor Ramsay, respecting the causes which have combined to check, in a great degree, the population of the Indian tribes; and on the impracticability of their being civilized ; and that ere long they will cease to be a people ; I was greatly pleased ; but was sorry that he had not pursued the subject, and mentioned other reasons which have had, and continue to have, a check upon their population. I wish also that he had favoured the public with the reasons on which he had founded his opinion, that it was impracticable to civilize the Indian tribes ; and that ere long they would cease to be a people ; as truth would thereby have been promoted, causes unveiled, and effects stripped of that mystery in which they have been involved ; thereby sentiments might be checked, which have been the parent of enthusiasm, and the nurse of errors ; sentiments which have led the indolent mind to ascribe that to a miraculous interposition of providence, which would have clearly appeared from the operation of natural causes, had not our reason been sacrificed to our idleness.
I agree fully with the Doctor, that the causes which he
General Lincoln's Observations on the Indians. 7
has mentioned are among those which have checked the population of the Indian tribes east of the Missisippi : but those cannot, I think, be considered as the only, nor even the principal causes why population decreases among the savage tribes. To his observations we may add in general terms, that all which they have learned from the European nations, as far as they have been influenced by the information, has opened a source, from which streams have issued unfriendly to their population.
They have caught, in a degree, their habits of dressing, and have substituted the linens and calicoes in the place of their natural and ancient covering, the furs. While they retained in other respects, their partiality for the savage life, they have been exposed to all those sufferings arising from cold and inclement seasons, to which they are always liable in the high northern latitudes, under which they live. Besides, they are in a great degree, strangers to that providency which suggests the importance of doing those things in time, which would, in a great measure, ward off the evils from which they experience the most complicated sufferings. Their tender lungs are greatly affected by colds, which bring on consumptive habits ; from which disorder, if my information is right, a large proportion of them die. These things must give a check to their population, and may be added to the catalogue of causes beforementioned.
From their connexion with the Europeans, they have learned the use of instruments made of iron ; part of this knowledge has undoubtedly operated to their real injury ; find it is quite problematical whether any of them has, on the whole, conduced to diminish the evils to which they have always been exposed.
A knowledge of the fire arm may justly be considered as a curse to them; and the use of it has led them into measures, the consequences of which have produced the worst effects, and has operated greatly as a check on their population. Before they had a knowledge of the Europeans, they were not under any temptation to destroy any more of the wild beasts of the forests than the suggestions of hunger and cold made necessary for food and covering. Besides, before this knowledge, the silent modes of taking them were such as to give no considerable alarm to those which escaped the snare; hence, as their decrease was very inconsiderable, they
greatly abounded at that day, and became in a degree domesticated.
From the use of the fire arm, the game has been so wantonly destroyed, that it has become scarce ; and the natural shyness of that which remained was not only greatly increased, but thereby it has been driven from its usual feeding grounds to those more remote ; all which has increased the labour of taking it, of which whole families are often sharers in the fatigue, or are obliged to submit to that which proves equally injurious, viz. the remaining in camp too often destitute of those supplies indispensable to their well being.
On their possessing themselves of the musket, the tomahawk, and scalping knife, as implements of war, their ambition became fired, and a hope was enkindled in their breasts, that therewith they should have it in their power to revenge all the wrongs which they supposed they had suffered. A pleasing acquisition indeed ; for the passion of revenge is the strongest feature in the savage character. Thus deluded by vain hopes, they have often precipitated themselves into wars, the issue of which never failed to check their population, however fortunate to them might be the issue.
The great labour and fatigue, from the savage customs, the lot of the wives, in obtaining a support, not only debilitates them, but leads them to wish that they may not multiply their cares and increase their burdens. Hence there exist among them certain habits and customs, which must, in their consequences, give a check to population. The great aversion the wives have to bearing children, and the modes practised to prevent an increase of their numbers, arises (next to that which is furnished by nature, and from what has been before related of the hard task which they have in supporting them) from the uncertain tenure on which the marriage contract exists ; being no other than the will of either party to dissolve the connexion. In all cases of a separation, the children, if any, are abandoned by the father, and consequently fall with weight on the more helpless mother, if none of her relations can aid her in the support of them. I may add, as another cause, the frequent loss of their sons in those wars in which they are too often engaged : hereby the mothers are greatly affected ; and, to use their own words, "are tired of bearing children to be slain in war." I will now, Sir, make some observations on the unsuccessful
General Lincoln's Observations on the Indians. 9
ful attempts which have been made to civilize and to christianize the savage tribes; and remark how it has effected their minds in general, and what will be the natural consequence of their adhering to their ancient customs and manners.
Let us pause a moment, and consider how the savage nations must feel, after an attempt has been seriously made to civilize them ; and the leading principles of natural and revealed religion have been laid before them ; and every argument urged, which should lead them to an adoption thereof, while any of the professors of that religion were practising every little art to deprive them of their property, which, in their opinion, they ought to enjoy fully and unmolested.
They early discovered that among these people there existed a thirst for property, and a disposition to engross the right of the original owner, of which, in a national view, they are very tenacious. They believe that they were placed on these lands by the Great Spirit; and that they were given them for their sole benefit, and that no person can, consequently, have a right to dispossess them. The attempts, which have been made to that end, have left the worst impressions on their mind ; and have fixed a deep rooted prejudice to a system, which, in their opinion, countenanced such transactions as they foresaw would eventually sap the foundation of their happiness, and work their ruin.
They have always been ready to retort upon us, and say, "Where are the good effects of your religion ? We of the same tribe have no contentions among ourselves respecting property ; and no man envies the enjoyment and happiness of his neighbour." They have very different opinions respecting us; these impressions should be removed; but has this been ever attempted ?
Before the Indian nations were brought to entertain just ideas of their own rights, and the rights of their fellow-men, (which never can be effected while they remain in an uncivilized state, nor can their minds, while they remain so, ever be furnished with that light necessary to a clear investigation of their claims, upon grounds which establish right among civilized nations,) they were called upon to become Christians. It is impossible ever to convert them, until they can be impressed with just notions of their own situation, as it regards an exclusive right to the soil. While they hold
these ideas, they cannot be persuaded of the truth of a religion which, in their opinion, permits a forcible possession of their lands, and a retention of them by subsequent settlements.
But admitting that nothing had been wrong on our part, yet the task of civilizing (to say nothing of christianizing, until after that event shall take place) these nations or tribes would have been difficult indeed, and will always remain so, while the human mind is naturally averse to control. Civilization and the social compact, among men, have, from small beginnings, grown up to what they now are, from the meliorating hand of time, the experience of ages, and the light of science. If, under the peculiar advantages arising from knowledge, the prejudices of education, and our having progressed in life under the sunshine of civilization and government, and having tasted fully of the pleasures thereof rnen are hardly brought to surrender, even at this day of light and knowledge, so many of their natural rights as are necessary to give strength and safety to those retained, we cannot be surprised at the discovery that the Indian nations, who have never tasted of the pleasures of civilization and government, are averse to making a surrender of their present customs and manners, and of sacrificing them to a system to which they are strangers in a great degree. Besides, they have the natural feelings of men to combat in the exchange. All men naturally wish for ease, and to avoid the shackles of restraint.
We find, from general observation in every day's experience, how hard it is for people in years, especially, to quit the ideas they imbibed in youth, and to forsake the long-trodden path made conspicuous by the foot steps of their fathers. To leave such a path, in which we have travelled ourselves with a degree of safety, for one unexplored by us though there may be strong evidence that the change will be more direct, and for our interest to pursue ; yet it requires a degree of fortitude and a spirit of enterprise, which doth not fall to the share of every man, to make the attempt. If this is true of us, with all the light which has been scattered in our paths, and with the peculiar advantages we are under of judging for ourselves what is right, we must not be surprised at the obstinacy of those who have had infinitely less advantages, and whose prejudices, in favour of ancient
General Lincoln's Observations on the Indians. 11
customs, are proportionably strong to their want of light, and of the means of judging rightly. Nothing has a better foundation in truth, than that we yield early impressions with reluctance, and hardly give up the sentiments of our fathers; for as we cannot read the unturned page of futurity, therefore we enter on new pursuits filled with doubt and uncertainty.
I have always discovered, when among the Indian nations, that there existed the greatest difficulty in conveying any new ideas to their mind from the barrenness of their language, and in many instances it has been impossible to convey to them the sentiments attempted. This inconvenience may always remain ; for a copious language is not to be acquired in a savage life. Their distance, by their habits, from the enlightened world, gives them few opportunities of extending their ideas ; consequently their language will not expand ; and without ideas, they cannot have language.
On the whole, I am fully in opinion with my friend, Dr. Ramsay, that the Indian nations will never be civilized. I only divide from him respecting the consequences of their remaining in an untutored state, that it will be their annihilation as a people.
Should the Indian nations in general never become civilized, we may, I think, point to the consequences. Nature forbids civilized and uncivilized people possessing the same territory ; for the means pursued by the civilized, to obtain a support, counteracts the wishes and designs of the savage. While the former are busily employed in removing from the earth its natural growth, as necessary to their establishing themselves as husbandmen, the latter are wishing to increase that natural shelter, and hiding place, for the beasts of the forest; for without a covering, they cannot be retained, but will seek new feeding ground's ; consequently the savage must retire to those lands where they can with more ease obtain a supply. Their new position cannot, however, long avail them ; for civilization and cultivation will make rapid strides, and progress fast towards them ; and they must necessarily make way for such approaches, by following the game, (which takes the first alarm), or leave their present pursuits and modes of living, and oppose the cultivator by cultivation. The savage arm is too feeble, in any other way, to counteract the progress of their civilized neighbours ;
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 12
but it is hardly to be expected, that they will, in time, see the importance of this measure, considering their prejudices and attachments ; but will continue retiring before the enlightened husbandman, until they shall meet those regions of the north, into which he cannot pursue them. There, in my opinion, they will be set down, and left, in the undisturbed possession of a country, unenvied by any ; as the last resort of a people, who, having sacrificed every consideration to their love of ease, were now compelled, by the effects of their obstinacy and disobedience, to give up all hope of ever regaining those hospitable tracts from which they had retired, and which they had surrendered to others : while nature had furnished them with the power of having forever participated in the enjoyment of them. Being now in the possession of a country fitted, by nature, to the life of a sportsman, they will probably continue as a people until time shall be no more.
The report of a committee of the board of correspondents of the Scots society for propagating Christian knowledge, who visited the Oneida and Mohekunuh Indians in 1796.
THE committee, appointed by the board of commissioners of the society established in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge, to visit the Indians who are objects of their missions at Oneida, and New-Stockbridge, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Kirkland, and the Rev. Mr. Sergeant, have attended that service ; and after a long and tedious journey of more than six hundred miles, in the heat of summer, have, by the divine blessing, returned to Boston, and offer to the board the following Report.
N. B. As the board gave us not only a set of queries, but liberty to add others which might occur to us, we have enlarged the number from sixteen to twenty-four ; and shall divide or combine our answers to them, in such a manner as, we conceive, will make our report more perspicuous.
July, 1796. Jedidiah Morse.
Query 1. What is the number of souls among whom Messrs. Kirkland and Sergeant labour ?
Answer. The objects of Mr. Kirkland' s mission are the
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 13
Indians of the Oneida nation, whose relative situation may be better understood by the map which accompanies this report, than by any verbal description. At the last enumeration, the number of men, women, and children, was six hundred and twenty-eight. There is annually an exact census taken of all these Indians, the reason of which will appear in our answer to the 19th query. Mr. Kirkland's residence is on a tract of land given him by the Oneidas, and confirmed by the state of New-York in 1789. The distance from his house to Kahnonwolohale, the principal village of the Oneidas, is about twelve miles.
The objects of Mr. Sergeant's mission are the Indians of New-Stockbridge, who are on a tract of land six miles square, adjoining the S. E. part of the Oneida reservation, as may be seen in the map. The number of them is three hundred.
Mr. Sergeant resides in the village of New-Stockbridge, with part of his family : the other part resides at old Stockbridge, in the state of Massachusetts, distant about 160 miles. The legislature of New-York have lately granted him a tract of land, containing one square mile, which is to be located in that part of their late purchase of the Oneida reservation adjoining New-Stockbridge.
On the N. E. part of New-Stockbridge lies Brotherton, containing those Indians who were lately under the care of the Rev. Samson Occom, deceased. They are one hundred and fifty in number; and are sometimes visited by the missionaries. They have now petitioned for a missionary, to be paid by the society, till they shall be able to maintain one themselves.
Query 2. How many are professedly Pagans, and how many Christians ?
Answer. In New-Stockbridge are no professed Pagans. Among the Oneidas are eight adult persons who are thus denominated. This will be further answered under the 5 th query.
Query 3. How many different breeds, or mixtures of blood, are there among them ?
Answer. The Indians of New-Stockbridge are mostly pure, though there is some mixture of whites. Among the Oneidas there is scarcely an individual who is not descended on one side from Indians of other nations, or from English,
Query 4. Into how many different parties are they divided, both political and religious ?
Query 5. What are their respective principles, views, interests and prejudices ?
Answer. The Stockbridge Indians are not divided into religious parties at present; though, during the life of Mr. Occom, there was a division between those who preferred him to Mr. Sergeant, and others who adhered to the latter. The principal division now among them is between those who are in favour of leasing their lands to the white people, and those who prefer cultivating them with their own hands. The latter party has of late gained the ascendency, as appears by their covenant, dated June 3, 1796, a copy of which was delivered to us by Captain Hendrick Apaumut, Sachem, accompanied with 4 strings of wampum.
The Oneidas are divided between Pagans and Christians. We took some pains to inquire into the principles of the former, and meeting with an old man of eighty, who is reputed the head of the Pagan party, we requested Mr. Dean to enter into conversation with him, and give us the result. It was this. Some of them addressed their devotions to the wind, others to the clouds and thunder,* he to the rocks and mountains, which he believed to have an invisible, as well as visible existence, and an agency over human actions. To this kind of superintending power, he had always trusted for success in hunting, and in war, and had generally obtained his desire. He had either killed, or taken captive, his enemy, and had been fortunate in the chase. He regarded the Oneida Stone as a proper emblem or representative of the divinity which he worshipped. This stone we saw. It is of a rude, unwrought shape, rather inclining to cylindrical, and of more than an hundred pounds weight. It bears no resemblance to any of the stones which are found in that country. From whence it was originally brought, no one can tell. The tradition is, that it follows the nation in their removals. From it the name of the nation is derived,* "Lo the poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind
Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind," &c. Pope.
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 15
for Oneida signifies the upright stone. When it was set up in the crotch of a tree, the people were supposed invincible. It is now placed in an upright position on the earth, at the door of the old man's house. A stout man can carry this stone about 40 or 50 rods, without resting ; and this is the manner in which it may be said (with the help of a little priestcraft) to follow them in their removals.
Though the number of professed Pagans be small, yet the whole nation, notwithstanding their opportunities for religious improvement, are still influenced, in a great degree, by their old mythology. They are universally firm believers in witchcraft and invisible agency. They pay great regard to dreams and omens, and attribute the most common events to causes with which there can be no natural connexion. Not long since, an Indian was drowned in one of the Oneida creeks, which are annually visited by the salmon. When the season came, they imagined that no fish could be found in that stream ; till a gentleman of Albany, who happened to be at Fort Stanwix, persuaded them that he had put something into the water to purify it, on which they resorted to the creek, and took the fish as formerly, and thought themselves much obliged to the gentleman for his skill and goodness.
The first missionaries, who came among these people, were French Jesuits from Canada, who were very fond of baptizing their children as soon as they were born, and taught them that delays were dangerous. The moral character of the parents was of no consequence; if sponsors could be obtained, the ceremony was performed, the fee paid, and a bottle of rum drank on the occasion.
When adults desired baptism, they were taught to say the creed, the Lord's prayer, and the ten commandments, and to make a confession to the priest, as the only prerequisites to the administration of the ordinance. The godfather gave the name ; and, if he was able, treated the company with an exhilarating draught. This is the account which the Indians give of "the old way" which, they say, "had no difficulty, and might easily be complied with ;" and so much influence has the remembrance of this "old way" upon them, that, when the present missionaries decline to baptize any of their children, they carry them, 30 or 40 miles, to the German or Dutch settlements, down the Mohawk river;
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 16
where, on payment of the usual fee of half a dollar, they find no difficulty in obtaining baptism, and are then perfectly easy about the salvation of their children. As far, therefore, as this kind of baptism may denominate them Christians, the whole nation, except the few Pagans abovementioned, may be said to be so.
The whig and tory distinction, produced by the late war, is not yet forgotten. Some few of the Oneidas joined with the British ; but the greater part of them adhered to the Americans ; and after the destruction of their villages and church, by the tories and hostile Indians, they removed down to the plains of Schenectady, and were served with rations, at the expence of the United States, during the remainder of the war. Compensation for their losses has been made them by the legislature of the Union. Those persons who went off to the British are still objects of jealousy.
There is also a party, created by the intrigues of some persons, who bought a large tract of their land ; but the sale was not confirmed by the state of New-York. The spirit of contention, on this account, has been carried to a great height.
Query 6. What is the number of those who are instructed in the principles of the gospel, and seem to be influenced by them ?
Answer. At New-Stockbridge, the people in general attend on the public instructions of Mr. Sergeant, and the religious conferences which he holds with them. The church consists of five men, and twenty-five women. Of the latter, none are under suspension ; and but one is complained of as disorderly. Of the former, two have been disciplined for intoxication, and are now under suspension. We were present at one religious exercise, which was decently attended, and their singing was remarkably soft and harmonious. Many of these people, male and female, can read English, and some few can write. They received, with great pleasure, some religious books, which we distributed among them.
Among the Oneidas, are 36 women, who are reputed sober; and of these, Mr. Kirkland thinks, 24 are serious Christians. There are three or four men of a sober character in general. One man only attended the last communion ; this was John Skanandogh ; and he is said, by some, to be
the only man in the nation who never indulges himself in drinking to excess. He has very little influence in the nation, though one of the chiefs.
The present missionaries baptize no children but those whose parents, at least one of them, are in communion with the church. The number of baptisms performed by them is consequently very small, not more than 6 or 7 in a year, in each mission. The Lord's-supper is administered not oftener than 3 times in a year.
It may here be observed, that, among the Oneidas, children are reckoned to belong to the mother, rather than the father. They are numbered with the tribe or clan to which the mother belongs. These tribes are three, and are distinguished by the names of the Wolf, the Bear, and the Turtle. If the mother die before the father, the mother's relations take the children and educate them.
Thus it sometimes happens, that the children of a Christian father are taken from him, and educated by the Pagan relatives of the mother. An instance of this now exists. The son of Good Peter (who died lately) was taken from him at his wife's death, and educated by the old Pagan aforementioned, who was her brother. This young Peter is a very different character from his father, and makes no pretensions to religion ; he has murdered several persons, and has a most savage and ferocious aspect; but he is a great orator, and has more influence among the Oneidas than any other person. We called to see him, and he thanked us for it; adding, that he supposed it was on his father's account that we took notice of him.
In the savage state, it is usual for the young men to attach themselves to no particular female ; but to rove at large among them, till they have passed the vigour of youth, and then confine themselves to one.
At present, the Oneidas marry young, and are said to be more continent than formerly. But the indecency of habit in the males, they being universally sans culottes, is not a very favourable symptom ; and the hard treatment which the women receive from their husbands, being obliged to labour when they are idle, does not indicate the prevalence of Christian principles to any great extent.Murders are said to be not so frequent as formerly ; but a melancholy instance happened a few days before our arrival.
Two young men had a quarrel; one shot the other dead ; the father of the dead went and killed the murderer; and no further notice was taken of the matter.*
Peter, aforementioned, about 2 years ago, killed an Onandago Indian. The Onandagos sought for Peter in vain ; and when they could not find him, took their revenge by killing an innocent Oneida Indian. Peter has also killed several persons, suspected of witchcraft. Not long since, an Indian of the Tuscarora nation killed his uncle. Complaint was made to an English magistrate, and the murderer was imprisoned in Herkemer county jail. His trial will bring on a question, whether the laws of New-York extend to the Indians.
Last summer, Joseph Brandt, a Mohawk chief, and a captain in the British service, formerly one of Dr. Wheelock's scholars, murdered his own son, who was indeed a bad fellow, and had attempted the life of his father. Brandt resigned
* The following particular account of this affair is taken from the journal of the Rev. Mr. Sergeant
"June 7. This evening a murder happened, at a place called Old Oneida, about three miles East of this place, [New Stockbridge], where a few families reside, called Oriskas, outcast Oneidas ; the circumstances are as follow.
"Two young men, Jacob and Cornelius, went in the morning to an English settlement, and returned in the evening with a bottle of rum, both a little intoxicated. As they entered the village, Cornelius insulted a woman and her child, for which Jacob reproved him. Cornelius, in a violent passion, threatened to kill him ; ran to a neighbouring house, where were none but women, and took a loaded gun ; he returned, met Jacob in the road, and discharged a ball through his body, who instantly died. Cornelius then ran to Oneida, about four miles, to his father's house. By this lime he appeared to have some sensibility, told his father what he had done, and shed tears. He then lay down to sleep, on one side of the hut, his father on the other. All the women, having the house, told the neighbours, if the revengers of blood came after him, to tell them where he was,
"Soon after the murder, the relations of Jacob collected seven men, each armed with a gun, tomahawk and knife; they followed the murderer, it being: nearly dark ; came to the house in a silent manner, and opened the door. Then the eldest brother of Jacob shot Cornelius through the body ; then stabbed him, as they supposed, to the heart; and all returned, in an orderly manner, to their habitations.
"After this, Cornelius revived, though in great distress; requested that some medicine might be applied to his wounds; but his father refused him this favour. The next morning, he was still alive, and, it is supposed, might have recovered: but his father sent to the revengers of blood to return, and put an end to his life; which they did, by beating out his brains with a tomahawk. According to their custom, he was buried without any ceremony.
"June 9. I was invited to attend the funeral of Jacob; which opportunity I ??aproved, to shew the danger, folly, and wickedness of intemperance. After the Funeral, the people were entertained with a feast.
"Both Jacob and Cornelius were men of very bad characters. Cornelius was governed by violent passions, which were never subdued in childhood."
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 19
signed his commission, and surrendered himself to justice ; but Lord Dorchester would not accept his resignation.
Query 7. In what kind of principles, called gospel principles, are they instructed ?
Query 8. Whether any of them make objections to these principles, and what are their objections ?
Answer. Messrs. Kirkland and Sergeant are both Presbyterians and Calvinists, as may be seen by the heads of their discourses, in their journals. Mr. Sergeant says, that he does not meddle with high points, such as predestination, and the origin of evil, but preaches faith, repentance, and morality. Mr. Kirkland being very ill when we saw him, did not talk much on any subject, but he is well known to be very firm in the doctrines of Calvinism.
The Indians are not fond of disputation, and do not usually make objections to particular doctrines. They rather object to the strictness which is required by the missionaries, in regard to the qualifications for admission to gospel ordinances. Formerly they objected to receiving Christianity, because it served to degrade them in the view of the confederated nations ;* but as to the external forms of religion, they are not now averse to being called Christians.Query 9. What number of them have renounced their old habits of roving, idleness, and intemperance, especially when the means of indulging to excess in drinking spirits occur ?
Answer. This has been partly answered under the 6th query ; but it may further be observed, with respect to roving, that though their former hunting ground has been purchased of them, and is almost entirely occupied by white husbandmen, and the game consequently driven away or destroyed ; yet so fond are they of roving, that many of them, are frequently strolling among the settlements of the whites, and making long visits where they can find food and liquor. Idleness is the sin that easily besets them, and is the parent of many other vices. "Indians cannot work," is a saying frequently in their mouths. They have an idea, that to labour in cultivating the earth, is degrading to the character
* "We are derided by our brethren, on account of our Christian profession ; time was, when we were esteemed as honourable and important in the confederacy as any others ; but now we are looked upon as small things, or rather nothing at all." Speech of an Oneida Chief, 1772.
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of man, "who (they say) was made for war and hunting, and holding councils, and that squaws and hedge-hogs are made to scratch the ground." Another of their proverbial traditions is, that the Great Spirit gave the white man a plough, and the red man a bow and arrow, and sent them into the world by different paths, each to get his living in his own way.
With respect to drinking spirits, excepting the few persons beforementioned, they are generally, and we fear incurably, addicted to intemperance, whenever they have the means in their power. This is the character of all the savages of North America.
Query 10. Of what character are the white people who reside in their vicinity, and particularly those who are connected with them ?
Answer. In New-Stockbridge, there is but one white family, that of Mr, Sergeant. The white people of the neighbouring settlements have but little intercourse with the Stockbridge Indians ; there is a road through their village, in which there is frequent passing of white people, and too often on the Lord's-day. Among the Oneidas, there are some white people, who reside as mechanics; and others who go occasionally to trade with them. These are said to be, in general, persons of not the best moral characters ; and indeed, there is very little inducement for people, who have any regard to reputation, to reside among them. Such persons can live much more agreeably in the neighbouring settlements of the whites, without any connexion with the Indians.
Formerly, the nearest white neighbours to the Indians of Oneida were the Germans and Dutch, on the Mohawk river. These were all broken up by the late war; and the whole of the Mohawk nation of Indians, who resided at several places on that river, left their ancient villages about the year 1780, and have never returned. At the peace, the Germans and Dutch resumed their plantations ; but, till the year 1785, there was not a white family above the German flats. Since that time, the country has been rapidly populated and cultivated, by people who removed from various parts of New-England, New-York, and New-Jersey ; and who have, within that short space, made greater improvements in cultivation and breeding of cattle, than the
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Germans had attained in seventy years. In the district comprehended between the Oneida reservation and the Mohawk river, above the German flats, which is now divided into three townships, Whitestown, Paris, and Westmoreland, there were, in 1785, but two families ; those of Hugh White and Moses Foot; but now, in 1796, there are, within the same limits, six parishes, with five settled ministers, three full regiments of militia, and one corps of light horse. Besides this rapid population on the eastern side of the Oneida country, there are many thriving settlements on the north, west, and south, which are every year increasing by emigrations from New-England, New-Jersey, and the lower parts of New York. Thus these Indians are entirely surrounded by the white people ; who are, in general, sober, peaceable, and well informed ; and their plantations are continually enlarging and improving, by the hand of industry. Among them, however, there is a mixture of the intemperate, knavish, and profane ; and it is unhappy for the Indians, that they have more connexion with these, than with the virtuous part of the community.
Query 11. Whether any regulations have been adopted by the Indians, as a political body, to prevent the excessive use of spirituous liquors ; and if so, whether such regulations are carried into execution ?
Answer. Some regulations have been made and executed at New Stockbridge, and the number of retail houses is lessened. That party who are in favour of leasing their lands are the most addicted to intemperance ; but it is acknowledged, that those who are called, in general, steady and sober men, will at some times transgress the rules of temperance.
At Oneida, the chiefs have frequently attempted to prohibit the introduction and sale of spirituous liquors; but from the small degree of power, which they possess, and the want of subordination among the people, these attempts have hitherto proved ineffectual. The authority of sachems and chiefs is merely that of recommendation, without any coercion or penal sanction ; when, therefore, offenders can transgress with impunity, no regulations will have any effect. They seem to be sensible of the necessity of some coercive measures, to check the prevalence of intoxication, and have petitioned the legislature of New-York on the subject; a copy of this petition was given to us by Captain Hendrick.
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 22
We could not learn that any thing was done in answer to this petition. Labour and industry are the best antidote to intemperance.
Query 12. Whether, in any considerable number, they have addicted themselves to the arts of industry and agriculture, so as to procure a decent subsistance for themselves and families ?
Answer. At New-Stockbridge, it is computed that about two-thirds of the men, and nine-tenths of the women, are industrious. Agriculture, and the breeding of cattle and swine, are their chief employments, by which they procure more than a sufficiency of food ; and by selling part of their produce, they are able to purchase their clothing. They have but few sheep, and a little flax ; and they seem to be desirous of improving in both these articles. Sheep may be multiplied with ease, if the woods were cleared, especially as there are no wolves in that neighbourhood.
There is a single instance of a woman, who, last year, wove 16 yards of woollen cloth ; and by the increase of her sheep, expects, the present year, to weave double the number. We made particular inquiry for her, and gave her our hearty benediction. Her name is Esther ; she is a widow of 40 years of age, has seven children, and an infirm sister, who depend on her for maintenance. The sachem Hendrick Apaumut has a good field of wheat, Indian corn, potatoes, and grass; and we had the pleasure of meeting him in the road, driving his ox-team. The fences in general are good, and the land under tolerable cultivation, in New Stockbridge. One grand reason of this will appear under the 17th query.
At Oneida, the case is very different; the reasons of which will be seen in our answers to the 17th and 19th queries. There, agriculture is in its infancy, labour being performed almost wholly by the women. An Oneida chief (John Skanandogh excepted) would think himself degraded by driving a team, or guiding a plough. Not more than two or three families procure a subsistance by agriculture ; and these have little encouragement to proceed ; because their neighbours will live upon them, as long as they have any thing to eat. They may be said to procure a subsistence, by fishing and fowling, and by raising some corn and beans, and potatoes; by the labour of their squaws, and by the help of what money they receive, hereafter to be mentioned ; but
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what subsistence they get in these, and all other ways, would hardly be thought decent by any people except themselves.
The Oneidas affect to despise their neighbours of Stockbridge and Brotherton, for their attention to agriculture ; but they are obliged to buy their corn and meat of them. We saw several Oneida women bearing burdens of corn on their backs, which they had been thither to buy ; whilst their husbands were smoking their pipes at home.
Query 13. In what manner is the money granted annually by Congress, to establish and encourage husbandry and manufactures, expended ; and what improvements have been made ?
Answer. By a treaty made in 1794, between the United States, on the one part, and the Six Nations, and their Indian friends residing with them, on the other part, it was stipulated, that "the sum of 4500 dollars should be expended annually, and forever, in purchasing clothing, domestic animals, implements of husbandry, and other utensils, and in compensating useful artificers who shall reside among them, and be employed for their benefit." This allowance is under the direction of a superintendant, and is not distributed for any private purposes. It is apportioned among them according to their numbers, which are as follows.
Residing in the
Within the British lines. These
receive no part of the grant.
The first and second year's pension, paid to the Stockbridge Indians, has been expended in building a saw mill and keeping a school. The next year's pension is appropriated to the erection of a smith's shop, and the procuring of a workman, with tools and iron. As soon as they can afford it, they propose to encourage, by premiums, the raising of sheep and flax, and grain, the manufacture of linen
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and woollen cloth, and the clearing up of lands. At present, the school is intermitted. Their last school-master was John Queney, one of their own sons, who received an education at Orangedale academy, in New-Jersey, near Newark. The Oneidas have received their share of the allowance in the erection of a saw mill, in the support of a blacksmith, and in the purchasing of oxen and implements of husbandry. It is also in contemplation to build a church in their principal village.
A deputation from the Society of Friends, in Pennsylvania, has been sent, the present summer, to reside with the Indians of Oneida, New-Stockbridge, &c. and assist them in husbandry and the mechanic arts. We met these gentlemen, and had a friendly conversation with them; and they gave us a copy of their commission.
The Stockbridge Indians have received some assistance, with regard to instruments of husbandry, from the Society, established in Massachusetts, for propagating the Gospel among the Indians and others in North-America.
Query 14. Whether it be true, as hath been strongly affirmed to the Society, that the arts of civilization and industry, when adopted by the Indians, have such an unhappy effect on them, that few of them long survive ?
Answer. This matter must have been inaccurately stated, however strongly affirmed. We never heard of any Indians who have perished, or shortened their lives, by civilization and industry. Very few have even made the experiment; and with regard to those few, no such effect has followed from it. There are at this time above 1000 Indians, pure and mixed, in various parts of Massachusetts, most of whom have attained as great a degree of civilization and industry as can generally be expected of such people ; and those, who are sober and prudent, live as long as others in the same circumstances. The Indians of New-Stockbridge and Brotherton, who removed from several parts of New-England a few years ago, afford another evidence, that the asser-tian made to the Society is not founded in fact. There is among them as great a proportion of aged persons, both male and female, as among the white people. Skanandogh, the most industrious man of the Oneidas, is between 60 and 70 years old, and his wife is about the same age. Had it been said, that those individuals, upon whom the best attempts
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tempts, for civilization had been made, have proved the most vicious and abandoned; and that the vices acquired by them, in consequence of a preposterous mode of education, had brought them to an untimely end, the assertion might have passed uncontroverted. There have been instances of this among the western Indians ; but with respect to these nations in general, it may be said, that the experiment has never been made. We imagine that this query must have originated from a report of the almost total extinction of the Natick Indians, who where in the last century so numerous as to be the objects of the labours of the venerable Mr. Eliot of Roxbury. He translated the bible into their language ; which then was understood by other tribes within the limits of New England ; but there are now so few Indians who understand that language, that the bible which he translated is become almost useless, and is to be found only in some publick libraries, or private cabinets, as a curiosity. It is true, also, that the remains of the Natick Indians, whose residence was within 20 miles of Boston, and of other smaller tribes who understood the same language, are at this day so blended with blacks and whites, and so scattered, as not to be known or distinguished; but that these effects have resulted from their civilization and industry, is an assertion which cannot be admitted. An idle and desultory mode of life is more likely to have been the cause of their present undistinguishable situation ; not to mention various incidents, in the course of Providence, which are not under the control of human power.
Query 15. Whether consumptions, and other disorders of the lungs, are more prevalent among them now, than in their former savage state ? If so,
Query 16. Whether it be owing to intemperance, or to the disuse of furs, and the introduction of linen and cotton, for clothing ?
Answer. As the subject of these queries is matter of opinion only, the information which we have received from some gentlemen differs from that of others. No regular accounts of deaths and casualties have been kept, and therefore no knowledge can be had from the best source. It is said, that the intemperate are more subject to consumptions than the sober; but no comparison can be made between their present and former state, by which the greater or less frequency
of these complaints can be ascertained. A physician,* who has resided in the neighbourhood of the Oneidas, asserts, that pulmonic disorders are infrequent among them. Another gentleman,+ who is not a physician, but whose opportunities for observation have been very favourable, is of a different opinion, and ascribes these disorders to the extremes of heat and cold, to which they subject themselves in their paroxysms of ebriety. Whilst another gentleman,++ of great respectability, who has been frequently conversant with the Indians in various parts of this continent, is of opinion, that their tender lungs are injured by a want of free perspiration, owing to their disuse of furs, which they have, for the most past, converted into articles of traffic, rather than clothing. Amidst this diversity, we must acknowledge that our acquaintance with the subject is not sufficient to enable us to give any decided opinion, supported by facts and observations.
Query 17. Have any of the Indians distinct and separate property in lands ?
Answer. Those of New-Stockbridge and Brotherton have made a division of their lands, so that each one holds his landed property as an estate in fee simple, with this restriction, that it shall never be sold to white people. This is the grand reason of their superiority, in point of agricultural improvement, to their brethren, the Oneidas, Tuscaroras, &c. An attempt was made to bring the Oneidas into the same regulation ; and an instrument was drawn by the late superintendant, General Chapin, and signed by the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of the nation, December 3, 1794 ; by which they engaged, "to set apart to any person who should require it, 200 acres of land, to be held by him and his posterity, with power to sell the same to any person of the Oneida nation, but not to any of the white people." It was also agreed, that these lots of land "should be laid out in a regular form, and contiguous to each other, that the labour of fencing might be lessened." And to keep this engagement in mind, it was agreed, that it should be "read once a year in full council."
But on inquiry, we could not find that any thing had been done in consequence of this agreement. They allow any of their people to fence and cultivate as much land as
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 27
they please, and to take off the crop; but the land is the common property of the nation; and if one, who has been at the pains to do this, should have more corn or meat than is sufficient for his own use in the winter season, they will visit him, and expect to be fed as long as there is any thing; to be eaten. This is a great discouragement to those who are disposed to be industrious, of whom the number is but small.
Query 18. Are any of them under the guardianship of the state of New-York ?
Answer. The whole of the Six Nations and their associates, who reside within the limits of the state, are under the guardianship of its legislature, so far as that they are not allowed to sell their land to private persons, but to the state only ; and no contract is valid unless confirmed by the state legislature. They have no representation in the legislature ; and there is a doubt among the lawyers, whether the penal laws of the state extend to them, unless in cases where both parties, in a controversy, voluntarily subject themselves to the authority. The Brotherton Indians are more particularly under the guardianship of the state, as may be seen by a late act of assembly, a copy of which accompanies this report. [Which was sent to Scotland.]
Query 19. What sums of money, or quantities of goods, do they receive from the state; how are they divided, and what use do the Indians make of them ?
Answer. The Stockbridge Indians receive nothing from the state of New-York.
The Brotherton Indians receive an annuity of 2160 dollars ; which sum is partly appropriated to the purpose of maintaining a school, partly to the payment of an attorney to transact their business, and the remainder to be applied to their benefit, as he shall judge proper.
The Oneidas have, for several years past, received 600 dollars, annually, as a consideration for the lands purchased of them by the state : The Cayugas 600, and the Onondagos 400. No goods have been given to them by the state; but the Six Nations received from the United States a present of goods, about two years since, as a compensation for their losses and removals, during the late war, which were equally divided among them, according to their numbers. The amount of this compensation was 10,000 dollars.
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By an act of the legislature of New York, passed on April 1st, of the present year, the Oneidas are to receive of the state an annuity of 3552 dollars, in consequence of a purchase of lands made in 1795, and in lieu of all former stipulations: The Cayugas 2300, ?? and the Onondagos 2000
When these annuities are paid to the Indians, viz. the Oneidas, Cayugas, and Onondagos, the money is divided equally to every person in each nation. This renders an exact enumeration necessary ; and if a child happen to be born but one hour before the money is paid, that child has an equal share with the oldest sachem.
It is the practice of the Indians to keep themselves sober during the time that they are receiving and dividing this annuity. But when they have got their several shares according to the number in each family, they are at liberty to dispose of the money as they please. Those who are prudent and frugal, expend it for clothing and provisions; those who are idle and intemperate, gratify their appetites to excess ; and the whole soon gets into the hands of the traders in the neighbouring towns, or those who resort to the Indian villages with goods, wares and liquors, about the time of the payment. Some of the Indians even anticipate their shares, by running in debt to these traders.
These annuities, as they are now managed, are supposed to operate as a discouragement to industry. For as long as Indians can get their living by any other means, they will not work.
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Answer. The difference between the savage and civilized modes of life is so great, that it is impossible for either the body or the mind to accommodate itself to the change with any great degree of rapidity. If, therefore, expectations of a sudden change have been excited, they must necessarily have been disappointed.
Several causes may be considered as having an influence in producing the disappointment of sanguine expectations relative to the civilization of the savages. Their national pride, indolence, and improvidence ; their tenacity of common property in their lands ; together with the annuities, which they receive from the state of New-York, have been already mentioned. These necessarily operate as hindrances to their civilization. Let it also be considered, that the human mind is naturally averse to control. "If, under the peculiar advantages which we enjoy, from education, science, government, and experience, we find, among ourselves, a great proportion of men, who are loth to surrender so many of their natural rights, as are necessary to give strength and safety to those which are retained, we cannot be surprised, that the savage nations should be averse to making a surrender of their present customs and manners, and sacrificing them to a system with which they are in a great degree unacquainted."
"We find, by observation, how hard it is for people advanced in years to exchange the ideas and habits, to which they have long been accustomed, for those which are new; and even when they are convinced that the exchange will be for their interest and benefit, it requires great strength of mind, and a spirit of enterprize, which does not fall to the lot of every man, to enter on new projects. If this be true of people who have had the greatest advantages, what can be expected of those who have had much less, and whose prejudices in favour of ancient customs and manners have acquired strength, in proportion to their want of light and knowledge ?"
It may be added, that some experiments of what is called civilization and a polite education, which have been made upon individuals, have served rather to disgust the Indians, and retard the progress of improvement. The following picture, however highly coloured, may yet be considered as drawn from the life. " An Indian youth has been taken
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from his friends, and conducted to a new people, whose modes of thinking and living, whose pleasures and pursuits are totally dissimilar to those of his own nation. His new friends profess love to him, and a desire for his improvement in human and divine knowledge, and for his eternal salvation ; but at the same time endeavour to make him sensible of his inferiority to themselves. To treat him as an equal would mortify their own pride, and degrade themselves in the view of their neighbours. He is put to school; but his fellow students look on him as a being of an inferior species. He acquires some knowledge, and is taught some ornamental, and perhaps useful accomplishments ; but the degrading memorials of his inferiority, which are continually before his eyes, remind him of the manners and habits of his own country/where he was once free and equal to his associates. He sighs to return to his friends ; but there he meets with the most bitter mortification. He is neither a white man nor an Indian; as he had no character with us, he has none with them. If he has strength of mind sufficient to renounce all his acquirements, and resume the savage life and manners, he may possibly be again received by his countrymen ; but the greater probability is, that he will take refuge from their contempt in the inebriating draught; and when this becomes habitual, he will be guarded from no vice, and secure from no crime. His downward progress will be rapid, and his death premature." Such has been the fate of several Indians who have had the opportunity of enjoying an English or French education, and have returned to their native country. Such persons must either entirely renounce their acquired habits, and resume the savage life ; or, if they live among their countrymen, they must be despised, and their death will be unlamented.
Query 23. Is any distinction to be made between the Indians who removed from Stockbridge, and other parts of New-England, to the Oneida country, and the Oneidas themselves ?
Answer. It must appear, from the foregoing observations, that the former are in an improvable state, with respect to husbandry and other branches of civilization, though there are vices and defects among them which need correction; but the latter, though they affect a superiority of character as native lords of the soil, appear more corrupt and degraded
Report about Indians and Missionaries. 31
graded than the former. Once, we coveted their friendship, either from fear or policy ; but neither of these motives can now have any influence; they are rather objects of pity. They might indeed become respectable, and enjoy that independence of character, which belongs to good husbandry. They have a large tract of the most excellent land, extremely well situated with respect to lakes and streams of water, which form an easy transportation for the productions of the earth to good markets ; but they are insensible of these advantages, and attached to their ancient habits, which are now become impracticable. They must lay aside the character of hunters, because their game is gone, and its haunts are rendered infinitely more valuable by cultivation. They cannot be warriors, because they have no enemies to contend with. If, therefore, they continue to despise husbandry, the only remaining source of opulence and independence, they must either retire to some distant region of the American forest, or live as spendthrifts on the price of their lands; or become strollers and beggars; till, like their brethren of Natick, they shall cease to have any political existence among mankind.
Query 24. What is the present state of the Oneida or Hamilton Academy, which has been represented as "the last effort to be made, together with agriculture and the gradual introduction of the civil arts, for the national happiness and prosperity of the Indians ?"
Answer. The situation of Hamilton Academy is on the eastern side of a commanding eminence, half a mile from the house of the Rev. Mr. Kirkland, and about eleven miles eastward of the nearest Indian villages. The building is 82 feet long, 44 wide, and 3 stories high. It is, at present, a frame, partly covered, and the work is suspended. The following extract from the report of the Regents of the university of New-York will give a true idea of its present circumstances. (Vide Journal of the Senate of New-York, March 2, 1796, page 14.)
"The trustees of the Academy of Hamilton Oneida, in the county of Herkemer, have erected the frame of a building for an academy, which will require a considerable sum of money to complete. There is a small school-room, half a mile from the academy, in which scholars have formerly been taught; but no teacher has been employed, nor school kept, since September, 1794."
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 32
"The funds for an institution here consist of 425 acres of land, in the neighbourhood of the academy, chiefly uncultivated, and 400 dollars on a subscription not collected."
"An incumbrance of 1000 dollars has been laid on the land by the trustees, for the purpose of raising the frame of the building. It was judged, by the visiting committee, to be inexpedient to apply any part of the money assigned to this academy."
On inquiry, we found that the whole of the 425 acres of land had been mortgaged for 1000 dollars; and that by "money assigned" was intended, money assigned to the general purpose of education, by the legislature of the state of New-York, which amounts to 53,700 dollars."*
* Extract from a report of the Regents of the university.
March 6, 1797.From the New-York Herald, April 19, 1797.
"Hamilton Oneida Academy is in a worse situation than it was the preceding year. The building is covered, but there is no prospect it will be further completed ; the funds being wholly expended, and the property already taken in execution to satisfy debts still due.
John Jay, Chancellor.
David S. Jones, Sec'ry."
Historical and characteristic traits of the American Indians in general, and those of Natick in particular; in a letter from the Rev. Stephen Badger, of Natick, to the corresponding Secretary.
N. B. This letter was written in answer to the following queries, addressed to Mr. Badger, in consequence of the 14th query of the Scots commissioners; which was summarily answered in the report of their committee.
1. How many missionaries have been employed since Mr. Eliot, in Natick ? their names, and the dates of their entrance and exit; and by what means supported ?
2. Can you, from any memorials in your possession, ascertain the number of the Natick Indians at any periods, so as to give some account of the gradual decrease of them ?
3. By what causes has the decrease been effected ? and
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 33
(if possible to be distinguished) in what proportion is the decrease to be ascribed to each particular cause ?
4. What proportion of the Indians of Natick, at any period, have been exemplary for industry, and attention to the cultivation of lands, or to mechanic employments ?
5. What proportion of them at any period, have been remarkable for the influence of gospel principles on their minds and morals ?
6. Have there been any instances of longevity ; or can it be ascertained at what average of years deaths have commonly taken place among them ?
7. Are there any now living of the Natick tribe, either resident there, or emigrated ? and if so, have they any knowledge of the language into which the Bible was translated?
YOUR letter of the 20th of May has been received. Had the queries contained in it been proposed to me at an earlier part of my residence in this place, I should have been much better able to give a satisfactory answer to some of them, than I am at so late a period; it being now the forty fifth year of my stated ministry here. I have not any printed materials, from which I can collect any information, on the subject of your letter ; and have no other manuscripts than the church records; which originated with my immediate predecessor; and which have been continued by myself to the present time ; as also the records of the town, and the records of the original proprietors of the soil; all of whom were Indians ; but neither of these records contain any certain and conclusive documents, relating to their number or state at any particular period. Neither from the number of those of them that have been admitted to a Christian profession, and that have been baptized, including adults, minors and infants; nor from the bills of mortality that have been recorded, can any accurate account be derived, as they are all imperfect and deficient, and some of them very irregular : and as none of them were designed to give any enumeration of them, or any direct and general information concerning them. Although I have scarcely any turn for historical researches and inquiries, yet since my connexion with the Indians commenced, I have not been without some degree of curiosity relating to them. This,
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 34
in times past, when they were more numerous, and when there were a considerable number of aged persons living, both among the English and Indians, led me to make some inquiries and observations concerning them, as occasions were offered ; but as I had not any expectations, or even apprehensions, that they would be of any use to others, and did not think of committing any of them to writing, the unretentiveness of my memory, in addition to the many scenes of difficulty which I have had to pass through, both before, and especially since the commencement of the political revolutions of our country, in a great measure prevent my recollection of many of them. Such, however, as I can call to mind, and such observations as I may at this time make, and such of the causes of their past and present state, as can be rationally investigated and assigned by me, and which may have any tendency to elucidate the subject of your letter, shall be freely communicated to you.
That the number of Indians in this place, as well as others, especially where the white people have been either intermixed with them, or have been settled in their vicinity, has been diminished from time to time, and is now greatly lessened, is well known, and cannot be disputed. This diminution, I apprehend, is not to be considered as originating in, or confined to, any single cause ; but as arising from a concurrence and co-operation of several. Which of them has been the most predominant one, I shall leave to others to determine.
That it is wholly, or chiefly, the effect of a limited and less refined civilization, of regular industry, and of Christianity, either simply or separately, or collectively considered, I think cannot rationally be admitted; because the most obvious and direct tendency of each of these, more especially of the two last, is, to promote health and morals, and consequently to bring on that longevity of which Indians generally fall short. Other causes are therefore to be sought for, by which to account for this strange and melancholy effect. It may not therefore be improper to observe, that while the white people in America, either by descent or by emigration from the different nations of Europe, have increased in population, and been otherwise prospered, even at those times in which they had great difficulties to encounter and overcome, the Indians, at the same time, and when under
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 35
every advantage and excitement that are supposed to arise from regular habits of industry, melioration of manners, an associated state somewhat similar to that of Europeans, and from the means of religion, have, notwithstanding, dwindled, become wretched, and in some places are almost extinct. But it is to be considered, that the white people, under the just mentioned circumstances, instead of having had to alter, and even to set aside that mode of life, and that regular and stated course of industry to which they had been early accustomed, had only, and that without any difficulty, to continue and make additional improvements in them ; and also, that instead of having to give up those religious principles, and forsaking those religious rites, customs, and practices, to the belief and habits of which they had been very early, very gradually, and imperceptibly introduced, even from their infancy, by tradition, and, by the instructions, influence and examples of their progenitors, had been more and more established and confirmed in them ; the Indians, instead of all this, have been called upon, and have had it pressed upon them, by the inculcation of the arts of civilization, (which perhaps have been too much refined, at least at first, for nature in its rude and unpolished state), by a regular and uniform attention to the practice of industry, and especially by the inforcement of the self-denying principles and precepts of Christianity, and the future and distant prospects which it held up to them. By all these united, I say, they have been urged to an almost total change of their old customs and manners, to substitute others in their stead, some of which are directly opposite to their ancient usages; to put a greater force upon nature than they could easily, and at once, give into; to oppose and give up what they had always before been habituated to, and had had a veneration for ; and even to set aside those superstitious rites, in the zealous performance of which, what religion they had, exclusive of the religion or law of nature, very much consisted, and of which they were not a little fond and tenacious. These things, so far as they embraced and conformed to them, have had a corresponding tendency and effect, and have been not a little unfavourable to their health and constitution, and of course had a tendency to shorten their lives.
It may not be improper further to observe, that where
the principles of the gospel, the habits of industry, and a regular mode of life, have had to counteract, and to combat, the principles and habits of indolence and laziness, roughness and ferocity of manners, and an irregular and improvident disposition and practice, the struggle, which has been occasioned by them, must have been very great, and consequently not a little unfavourable, especially at first, to natural constitution, to health and long life.
It is also to be observed and considered, that there is a wide and important difference between the Indian natives of America, and the emigrants from Europe, and those that have been descended from them, with regard to religion in other respects. When Christianity was first promulgated by the divine mission of its author, and by those that were commissioned and sent by him for the same purpose, both before and after his resurrection; the principles and doctrines, the institutions and precepts which were taught and enjoined by them, in addition to the reasonableness of them, and to the fulfilment of ancient prophecy, were authenticated and supported by a series of miraculous operations and events. A record of these has been handed down to succeeding ages, through the several periods of the Christian church ; by which, most of the nations of Europe, and that nation, in particular, from which the inhabitants of the United States principally originated, have preserved, and continued in the possession of it. They were generally instructed in its principles from their infancy, unopposed by the principles, influence and examples of those who had not embraced it, or whose principles were different from it; the knowledge and belief of it grew up with them ; they received it as a revelation from heaven ; the public worship and institutions of it were established, and statedly attended upon ; and it had the sanction not only of civil government, but of parental authority and example ; so that an early prepossession in favour of its belief generally took place among them.
This is very far from having been the case with the original natives of this land. Christianity was proposed to them, after the principles and habits of superstition and idolatry were established, and even deeply rooted in their minds ; they had no tradition, either oral or written, from their ancestors, to found a belief of it upon : and as those miraculous operations and effects, by means of which it
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 37
gained credit, and was established at first, had ceased, it could not rationally have been expected, that it should obtain such a cordial and easy credit and reception with them as it had done in those parts of the world which were the theatre of its first appearance and promulgation. If I mistake not, it has been the opinion of a writer of no inferior character, both for literature and critical knowledge and inquiry, that as the continent of America, for unknown ages, had been detached from the other quarters of the globe, if there ever was a territorial connexion and communication between them previous to the time of Its discovery by Columbus ; whenever christianity, in its simplicity and efficacy, shall take place in the regions of America, and among the aboriginal natives of it, and its doctrines and and institutions shall be received and adopted, unadulterated by human schemes and systems of theology, and unenforced by ecclesiastical domination, some more extraordinary means than have yet been made use of, even those that are miraculous, will be necessary ; and accordingly that such will be employed, by divine providence, in order to its being embraced by them. Be this as it may, it is evident, beyond contradiction, that the success of the missions among them has been very small; and that where there have been strong and promising appearances of the genuine influence and effects of it, they have been far from durable; and they have generally, and in a great measure, returned to their old customs and habits of indolence and improvidence, of intemperance and irreligion. This has unquestionably been the case with individuals, and I believe in a great measure so with respect to whole tribes of them. There are other causes to which the effects, expressed and implied in the society's queries, may be attributed, without having recourse to those of civilization of manners, industry in business, and the principles, institutions, and precepts of Christianity, especially the two last; the obvious tendency of which is most certainly, altogether the reverse of what has been intimated and stated to the society, from whatever quarter, and from whatever even respectable authority it may have had its rise ; for though these effects may be, and undoubtedly have been, the frequent, if not the constant concomitants of those measures that have been made use of to christianise the Indians; yet it is very unlogical and inconclusive to
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 38
infer that they have been derived from, and produced by them, especially when such as have been intimated above, and others that may be mentioned, may be assigned as the much more probable, if not the certain sources of them ; for, to proceed, to whatever cause it may be assigned, it is evident, that they are generally considered by white people, and placed, as if by common consent, in an inferior and degraded situation, and treated accordingly. Of this they themselves seem to be not a little sensible. This sinks and cramps their spirits, and prevents those manly exertions which an equal rank with others has a tendency to call forth. If they have landed property, as has generally been the case, and are intermixed with white people ; or if these last are settled near their borders, to say the least, they have been under temptations to encourage their Indian neighbours in idleness, intemperance, and needless expenses, and thereby to involve them in debt for the sake of preparing the way for the sale and purchase of their lands, which, it is probable, under such circumstances, have generally been sold at a very low rate, in order to have their debts discharged ; and the game, undoubtedly from the same motives, may have been continued and repeated, by which they have been impoverished and disheartened. Whether this has been the case in this place or not, it cannot be denied, that, near a hundred years ago, they were the exclusive proprietors of this plantation, which I suppose then contained about eight or nine thousand acres; but, at this time, the remnant of them, I conjecture, and not without reason, are not owners of half so many hundreds, and I believe not so much as that. At the beginning of the present century, they were in a state of civil society, and were embodied into a military corps; they made choice of town officers, and some of them were invested with military titles; and though it does not appear that they had either civil or military commissions, yet they had the countenance and support of the chief magistrate, and of other persons of rank and influence. They then held up their heads ; considered themselves of some importance, and were for some time stimulated to continue both in the profession of the Christian religion, which they had embraced, and in some measure to conform to the manners of their English neighbours; but their examples of irregularities and excesses had (it is to be apprehended) too great.
infer that they have been derived from, and produced by them, especially when such as have been intimated above, and others that may be mentioned, may be assigned as the much more probable, if not the certain sources of them ; for, to proceed, to whatever cause it may be assigned, it is evident, that they are generally considered by white people, and placed, as if by common consent, in an inferior and degraded situation, and treated accordingly. Of this they themselves seem to be not a little sensible. This sinks and cramps their spirits, and prevents those manly exertions which an equal rank with others has a tendency to call forth. If they have landed property, as has generally been the case, and are intermixed with white people ; or if these last are settled near their borders, to say the least, they have been under temptations to encourage their Indian neighbours in idleness, intemperance, and needless expenses, and thereby to involve them in debt for the sake of preparing the way for the sale and purchase of their lands, which, it is probable, under such circumstances, have generally been sold at a very low rate, in order to have their debts discharged ; and the game, undoubtedly from the same motives, may have been continued and repeated, by which they have been impoverished and disheartened. Whether this has been the case in this place or not, it cannot be denied, that, near a hundred years ago, they were the exclusive proprietors of this plantation, which I suppose then contained about eight or nine thousand acres; but, at this time, the remnant of them, I conjecture, and not without reason, are not owners of half so many hundreds, and I believe not so much as that. At the beginning of the present century, they were in a state of civil society, and were embodied into a military corps; they made choice of town officers, and some of them were invested with military titles; and though it does not appear that they had either civil or military commissions, yet they had the countenance and support of the chief magistrate, and of other persons of rank and influence. They then held up their heads ; considered themselves of some importance, and were for some time stimulated to continue both in the profession of the Christian religion, which they had embraced, and in some measure to conform to the manners of their English neighbours; but their examples of irregularities and excesses had (it is to be apprehended) too
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 39
great, and even a predominant effect upon them. This, in conjunction with that strange propensity, in their constitu-tions,to excess, brought them into some degree of disrepute; their military parades were too often followed with drinking frolicks, until at length they were discontinued ; and as the English were, from time to time, gaining settlements among them, by the purchase of their lands, they were joined with them by votes of the propriety in the administration of their prudential affairs; and at one of their meetings they made choice of one of their number, in conjunction with one of the English settlers, to read the psalm in public. After this, some English, from neighbouring towns, some of whom, through indolence and excess, had neglected the cultivation of their own farms, and were necessitated to sell, purchased small tracts of the Indians, and became settlers, and, by degrees, obtained possession of more ; the Indians were dispirited, and adopted some of the vicious manners of which they had too many examples before their eyes ; became more indolent and remiss in their attention to the improvement of their lands, to which they had before been encouraged, and in some degree lost their credit; their civil and military privileges were gradually lessened, and finally and exclusively transferred to the English inhabitants, who were become more numerous, and some of whom, it is to be apprehended, took every advantage of them that they could, under colour of legal authority, and without incurring its censure, to dishearten and depress them. Under these circumstances, those habits which have a direct tendency to beget and promote bad morals, to injure health and to shorten life, were undoubtedly freely indulged, and the effects were answerable to this, in conjunction with other causes. Indians are also strangely disposed and addicted to wander from place to place, and to make excursions into various parts of the country, and sometimes at no small distance from their proper homes, without any thing on hand for their support in their perambulations; for this, they depend, with unanxious concern, upon the charity and compassion of others. Some of them, after an absence of near twenty years, have returned to their native home. The most trifling and uninteresting causes have been assigned, by some of them, for their travelling thirty, forty, fifty miles, and more; and this sometimes in the most unfavourable
seasons of the year, and in very bad weather. They have not unfrequently taken infant and other children with them in their journies, which they generally perform very leisurely ; many times take shelter in barns, and in some old, impaired, and uninhabited building, and sometimes sleep on the ground, and in the open air, without sufficient covering. While in this vagrant state, they scarcely ever have any regular meals, and hardly any that has been recently prepared for the stated repast of the families, into the houses of which they seem to think they have some kind of light to enter, as their forefathers were the original proprietors and possessors of the land. They are generally not very well furnished with clothing ; most of what they have, they beg, or purchase, with a little temporary labour, by the way ; and what they thus procure is not very comfortable or durable. A cup of such drink as it is known they are not a little fond of, is more easily handed to them, and with less expense of time and trouble to those that give it, and by which they sooner get rid of them, than a meal of victuals ; and therefore the latter is not so often offered to them as the former ; and though a first draught, under some circumstances, may be proper, especially when thirsty, wet and weary ; yet their unhappiness is, that it leads to a second, and that to a third, and so on, as they pass from house to house, until some of them get quite overcharged ; this I have scarce ever known to have been the case when they have been at home, and had access to food as they wanted it, and when they have been employed in such business as usually takes up their time in their own houses. This wandering and irregular practice, especially when applicable to the females, not only exposes their virtue and their morals, but it is a great injury to their own health, and to that of their children that accompany them, and lays a foundation for consumptive sickness, which has generally (exclusive of accidental causes) been the means of their death. To these causes may be added, their males engaging in military service, to which they have been very easily enticed.
During several of the first years of my ministry and residence among them, I joined more Indians in marriage, and baptized more of them, than of the English inhabitants; after which, military expeditions at different periods, and in different directions, were set on foot; and in the several
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 41
wars that took place, between 1754 and 1760, many of them engaged in the service ; not a small number died while in it; others returned home, and brought contagious sickness with them ; it spread very fast, and carried off some whole families. This was in 1759. In the space of about three months, more than twenty of them died, all of the same disorder, which was a putrid fever ; it carried them off in a few days. But two of those to whom the disorder was communicated, recovered; they were both young women. Though their English neighbours were not backward in affording such assistance as the Indians stood in need of, at this time of general calamity, yet but one of them received the infection, and to that person it proved mortal. There was a time of sickness and of great mortality in this place, and in several neighbouring towns, a few years before, when but one Indian inhabitant sickened and died of the same fever that proved fatal to many others.
These facts seem to prove, that there is a dissimilarity between the natural constitutions of the English and Indians. In what that difference consists, it may be difficult to decide; or if the events, just now mentioned, originated from accidental causes, it may be difficult to determine what those causes were: perhaps these different effects may proceed from different modes of living, as to diet, habitations, and general habits and conduct; or. they may be derived from some only, or from all these causes united.
The general disposition and manners of Indians are so distinguishingly characteristic, that a very worthy Indian, of good understanding, who was a deacon of the church in this place, and an ornament to the Christian society for many years, and who, from the first of his making a Christian profession to the end of his life, was an example of seriousness and temperance, of a regular conversation, and a constant, grave, and devout attendant on the public institutions of religion, upon being asked how it was to be accounted for, that those Indians, when youths, and were put into English families, chiefly in other towns, for education; who had free access to such liquors as are the produce of the country, and intoxicating when taken to excess, but who refrained therefrom, and were regular and steady in their attention to business, yet soon after they had the command of themselves and of their time, and had associated with those who were
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 42
of the same complexion, became Indians in the reproachful sense of the word, were idle, indolent, and intemperate, and became habituated to all the excesses of those who had not been favoured with such advantages, made this laconic reply, Ducks will be ducks, notwithstanding they are hatched by the hen.* And I myself have thought, that by the peculiarity of their natural constitution, in whatever it consists, and by whatever it is discriminated from that of others, they are addicted to, and actually contract, such habits of indolence and excess, as that they cannot, without the greatest efforts, which they seem not much disposed to make, give up, if ever they entirely get rid of them. They seem to be like some plants, that thrive best in the shade; if the overgrowth is cut off, they wither and decay, and by degrees are finally rooted out.
To what has been observed, with reference not only to the diminution of Indians in general, but to the success of the gospel among them in this place, may be added, one that I suppose is peculiar to those in this place, and that is, the unhappy disagreement and contention, between the English inhabitants, about the placing of the meeting-house, which began in the latter part of my predecessor's time, has at times been revived ever since, and now rages with no small degree of violence among them. There is no doubt to be made that the disaffected to its present situation have endeavoured to warp their minds, not only with respect to the meeting house, but to alienate them from those who have been employed as missionaries, and to discourage their attendance on public worship, which was supported, on their account, by some charitable funds in England, before, and has been part of the time since, the American revolution ; remittances from which have ceased for several years. Out of these there were yearly donations of blankets and books; these had a tendency to keep them together in a more compact and associated state : but by the circumstances of the times in which we live, and by that looseness and licentiousness of manners that are now prevalent, and the general indifference about the important matters of religion, and the public institutions of it, that are every where visible to the most superficial observer, and of the spirit and
* In his own broken English dialect, Tucks will be tucks for all ole hen he hatch um.
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 43
influence of which Indians participate their full share ; but few of the remnant of them attend public worship ; and none are remarkable for the genuine influence of the principles and prospects of that religion which is from above ; and it is a poor consolation, when suggested, that the spirit of the gospel, and an attention to its precepts, prevail as much among them, in proportion, as among their English neighbours.
My immediate predecessor observes, in a note, that after the most diligent inquiry, he could find no record of any thing referring to a former church in this place ; but by Mr. Hutchinson's history it appears, that a christian church was founded here about 150 years ago, in consequence of the labours of the renowned Mr. Eliot; of what number it consisted, it is not said. The number of church members is now reduced to two or three. It is difficult to ascertain the complete number of those that are now here, or that belong to this place, as they are so frequently shifting their place of residence, and are intermarried with blacks, and some with whites; and the various shades between these, and those that are descended from them, make it almost impossible to come to any determination about them. I suppose there are near twenty clear blooded, that are now in this place, and that belong to it. I find no mention made of any missionaries before the time of my immediate predecessor ; but there is an incidental mention of John Neforum-min, an Indian, in the records of the proprietors, who made him a grant of a tract of land, on his living and dying in the ministry in this place. Between twenty and thirty years ago, his son Isaac came and made a claim to his father's land; it could not be ascertained where it lay ; and some of the elderly Indians, at that time, declared, upon their own knowledge, that he left Natick, and never returned.
Not any among us retain the knowledge of the language of their progenitors, so as to speak it. One aged woman, a church member, of good character, daughter of the good deacon mentioned before, has told me she could understand it when spoken by others ; but of this she has not lately had a trial. Upon looking over the record of the propriety, I could not find when it commenced, as the book is very old, in some places defaced, and some pages missing. The entries in the first part of are written by Indians, and in the
Mr. Badger's Letter concerning the Indians. 44
Indian language ; other parts in broken English, by an Indian scribe; some of the dates are in a transposed state, and some pages were written when the book was inverted ; after which, an English clerk was chosen, and continued in that office. By a vote of the propriety, a piece of land was assigned to the English inhabitants, to be made use of as burying ground for their dead. This is enclosed by a stone fence. There are two burying places appropriated for the use of the Indians, both of which are without any enclosure ; they carefully confine themselves to the improvement of these ; while blacks, that are unconnected with them, invariably deposit their dead in the burying ground of the white people. This is far from being the only instance of their being kept detached and separate from the whites. This disconnection is extended much farther, and to matters of much greater magnitude. There has not been, so far as my information reaches, any civil coalition between them by any act of incorporating authority ; and where any voluntary association has taken place, it has been of short duration. The same may be said as to any religious connection. Immediately previous to my settling in this place, a church was gathered, which consisted partly of English and partly of Indian members; and though some additions were soon after made of Indian professors,yet, from the causes that have already been mentioned, a decrease gradually took place, and has been continuing to the present time. From their being every where kept a separate and distinct people, notwithstanding the means that have been employed to form a union between them and different nations, especially in a religious view, one is apt to conjecture, that they are the descendants of ancient Jews, though we cannot form a conjecture by what extraordinary methods they obtained a passage to the American continent and settlements, such as they were in the several parts of it. Their case, with the circumstances attending their situation, is truly deplorable, and, contrasted with our own, is adapted, in a high degree, to excite gratitude to heaven for the unaccountable and unmerited distinction.
But my limits admonish me of a conclusion. You, Sir, and others, will accept my feeble efforts to comply with the request of your letter. Whatever is redundant or deficient, unadapted or improper, candour will impute, in addition
Law Cases. 45
to what has been already exhibited, to the imbecility of my advanced age, being now in the 72d year of my life; proper reflections upon which will be left to my own mind, and those that relate to Indians to the reflections of others. And with the most respectful salutations, I write myself, your friend and brother.Stephen Badger.
Supreme Judicial Court, Concord, Middlesex, 1795.
(1.) Hart versus Upton.
THE plaintiff declared upon the seizin of his grandfather in tail male, within fifty years next before the date of the writ, that the estate, on the death of the ancestor, descended to him in fee tail, &c. The defendant shewed, that, after the death of the plaintiff's grandfather, his father entered as heir in tail, and conveyed the premises to the defendant by deed of feoffment in fee simple, and died more than twenty years before the date of the writ.
The statute of limitation of real actions, made in 1786, provides, "that writs of formedon in descender, formedon in remainder, and formedon in reverter, of any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, shall be sued, brought, and commenced within twenty years next after the title, or cause of action first descended, and at no time after the said twenty years."
The father of the plaintiff, who had aliened in fee, to the defendant, had died more than twenty years before the action was brought. The plaintiff had for all that time been of full age, and within the Commonwealth ; and the court were of opinion, that he was barred by the statute, and had lost his estate in the premises.
Essex, November, 1796.
(2.) Commonwealth vs. George Crowninshield.
This was an indictment for a nuisance, in erecting a wharf in the harbour of Salem, being navigable waters, where all the citizens had a right to pass with their ships and other vessels. Not Guilty was pleaded.
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The jury found the defendant guilty ; and he was sentenced to pay a fine of 10 dollars ; and a warrant was issued to the sheriff, to remove and abate that part of the wharf, which was described in the verdict as a nuisance.
This conviction was on the principle, that all the tide beyond low water mark, where it has not been granted, is a. public highway, and the bottom public property.
(3.) Shelburne versus Greenfield.
The action was brought by the town of Shelburne against the town of Greenfield, for the support, and to compel the removal, of two paupers.
These people, as was found in a special verdict, were Africans, imported and sold as slaves. They were purchased, about the year 1757, by an inhabitant of Greenfield; claimed their liberty, like other blacks, in 1776, were married together, and removed to Shelburne, and there became chargeable as paupers. The merits of the question, was, whether the paupers were chargeable on the commonwealth as state paupers, having gained no inhabitancy or settlement in Greenfield ?
For the town of Greenfield it was argued, that the laws of the late province did not rank the Africans with the white people ; they could not, whilst they were the property of others, be capable of holding property as their own : that their polls were not taxable as those of white people; they were not liable to train, labour in mending the highways, or to perform any other civil duty : that they could not be removed, or warned out of a town, by the selectmen, because they were but the chattel of another ; and therefore, that as they were not contemplated in the laws, as persons capable of gaining a settlement, that they must come within the description of persons, who were found within the state, without any place of settlement, and were the proper charge of the commonwealth.
It was further urged, that, as the Africans were bought and sold, as chattels, under the laws of the late province, and were emancipated by the force of the public opinion is was enough for the masters to sustain the loss of their service, without being burdened with the support of them.
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The court gave no opinion on the point, whether the emancipated negroes were to be the charge of the town, or of their late masters; but were of opinion, that they come within the description of servants; and that they therefore gained a settlement, upon the principles of common law, where their masters were settled.
Judgment was given, that Shelburne should recover against Greenfield the charges of the past support of the negroes ; and that they should be removed to Greenfield, the place of their last master's inhabitancy.
Whether a town, in such case, can call upon the African's last master, is not yet determined by the court.
Middlesex, October, 1796.
(4.) Littleton versus Tuttle.
The action was brought by the town of Littleton for the maintenance of a black man, who was born in the town, claimed as a slave, under the laws prior to the revolution, and sold to the defendant by his supposed master, of whose slave he was born. The black man, at the age of twenty-one years, became lame, and unable to labour; and the defendant carried him, and left him with the overseers of the poor, for support.
The judges were of opinion, that, as he was born in the town, he was a proper inhabitant; and that the town was obliged to maintain him, as it would have been if he was a white man. Whereupon the plaintiffs became non-suit.
(5.) Sudbury versus Howe and Richardson.
This was an action of trespass, brought by the town against the defendants, for cutting trees on the town's land. The action was on a statute which gives a penalty for cutting trees on land, the trespassers having no right, title, or privilege there. The court were of opinion, that as the defendants were inhabitants of the town, it could not be said, that they had no right, title, or privilege there ; and that therefore the action could not be maintained on the penal statute.
The plaintiffs moved to amend the writ, and to change
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the suit into a trespass at common law, which was granted, and there was a verdict and judgment for damages.
There was a writ of error brought in the same court, to reverse the judgment, because the court had, by law, no authority to allow such an amendment. The judges took time to search the precedents, and collect the principles, relative to the point, and heard counsel several times upon it; and afterwards affirmed the judgment.
(6.) versus Taylor and others.
This was an action of trespass against Taylor and others, for taking away the plaintiff's cow.
The plaintiff proved, that the defendants issued a warrant, under pretence of authority of town assessors, to a collector, who distrained the plaintiff's property, under pretence of collecting town, county and state taxes. It appeared in evidence, that the defendants were legally chosen assessors for that year; but the question was, whether they had authority to tax the plaintiff?
The plaintiff exhibited the act of the legislature, by which the state tax was apportioned, in which it is provided, that parish and town taxes shall be apportioned by the same rules as the state taxes.
In the tax act of that year, all settled ministers, and their estates in the town where they are settled, or under their own actual improvement, are exempted from taxes. The expression in all the other tax acts, for several years before and after, is, estates in the town where they are settled, and in their actual improvement.
The plaintiff was a Baptist minister, living in Buckland, and preaching in a meeting-house in Chester. His hearers, and church, were of any part of the country, who chose to associate with him ; and the question was, whether, in the sense of the act, he was a settled minister?
The court were of opinion, that the meaning of a settled minister, in the act, was to be collected from the third article in the declaration of rights, prefixed to the constitution of the commonwealth, which provides, that each town, parish, and religious corporation, shall be obliged to maintain a teacher of piety, religion, and morality: that the
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teacher or minister, who was exempted from taxes, was such a settled minister: that a man's being ordained over a voluntary association, formed by no act of government, and bound by no law, could not be a settled minister within the meaning of the act. The denomination, it was observed, made no difference in the construction of the act; for all denominations of christians were equally under the protection of the laws ; and a settled minister of either, if settled by a town, parish or corporation, was, by the tax act, exempted : but the plaintiff, in his situation, was clearly taxable ; and the action could not be maintained, because the tax was legal.
Norfolk County, 1795.
(7.) Hawes versus Mann and another.
This was an action of trover for certain church vessels, devoted to sacramental uses.
The plaintiff declared, that he was deacon of the Congregational church in Wrentham, and in that capacity was possessed of the vessels as servant of the church, and that the defendants had converted the same to their own use.
The plaintiff shewed a law of the government, which makes the deacons of each church a corporation, to receive donations, and to hold property for the church.
The plaintiff proved the erecting a church in Wrentham, and that he was duly elected a deacon of the same.
The defendants relied upon the same act to justify their holding the vessels; and made their defences, by shewing that the plaintiff had been regularly dismissed from the office of deacon, and that they were duly chosen to the office of deacons in the same church.
The facts were, that Mr. Avery, in the year 1787, was duly settled and ordained as the Congregational minister of that town, and the pastor of that church: that some years after his settlement, some of the church and people became dissatisfied with his principles and manners: they conceived that he adhered to the tenets which were wrong ; and that he treated the name and character of the Supreme Being irreverently in one or more of his sermons, &c.
Some of the church expressed their grievances to him, and moved for a mutual council on the subject; but he declined
Law Cases. 50
it, and refused to call a church meeting. The church met, and appointed a committee to wait upon him ; but he denied the authority of the church to meet and act without his consent being previously obtained. He further insisted, that when they were met on his call, he had a right to negative all their votes, if he should choose to do it.
The church then invited a council of respectable clergymen, and delegates from the neighbouring churches, to advise them what to do in the exigency.
When the council had assembled, they waited upon Mr. Avery ; but he denied them to be a regular assembly, because that the vote, by which they were convened, had not his concurrence.
The council were of a different opinion, and advised the church to apply to him for a mutual council; and that if he refused to unite with them in one, to invite an ex parte council.
The church applied again ; but Mr. Avery adhered to his former principles ; whereupon they invited a respectable ex parte council.
That council, when convened, waited on Mr. Avery; but he refused to acknowledge them as regularly assembled, and still refused to agree upon a mutual council.
The council then proceeded to hear the church ; and delivered their result, that the church should pass a vote to dissolve the pastoral relation between him and them. The church proceeded on that measure and dismissed him.
The plaintiff had adhered to Mr. Avery, with a minority of the church, and refused to acknowledge the majority of the members as the church, capable of acting without the concurrence of the pastor.
The majority then proceeded to pass a vote to dismiss the plaintiff from the office of deacon, and chose one of the defendants ; the other having been in the office before, and acting with them.
The action was produced to try the validity of that vote. Mr. Avery was interested in the determination, because, if that vote was legal, the one for dissolving his pastoral relation was so likewise; and the town having concurred, his salary was gone from the time of the dismission, if the vote was legally valid.
Mr. Avery was therefore the mover and prosecutor in the action.
Law Cases. 51
The counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. Howel and Mr. Ames, exhibited the New-England Church Platform, compiled by a number of clergymen in the year 1648, and a book on church government, published in the year 1673, by Mr. Wise, a Congregational minister at Ipswich, in Massachusetts.
These were exhibited to support Mr. Avery in his claim, of a negative on the votes of the church. The Platform is not quite so full on the point; but Mr. Wise, having Written after the restoration of Charles the second, had a disposition to flatter a mixed monarchy. He therefore considered the church members as the democracy, the deacons as the aristocracy, but appeared to be puzzled in regard to finding a monarch for a third branch. He does not actually allow the minister, or teaching elder, to hold that station, because he considers Christ as the sovereign head of the church. He does, nevertheless, allow the pastor a negative on the church proceedings.
Upon these authorities, and other considerations, the counsel for the plaintiff endeavoured to maintain his authority over the church, and to shew that votes passed without his concurrence were null and void.
The defendants' counsel, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Otis, exhibited the law made under the charter of William and Mary, in 1700 ; by which it is enacted, that, when a parish is destitute of a minister, the church may give one a call to settle ; and if he accepts, and the parish concurs, he shall be the minister of the parish ; for whose maintenance all the parishioners shall be taxed.
They shewed, that, under that act, the New-England Platform had become obsolete; and the book, written by Mr. Wise, of no force or consequence.
That the practice had always been, in the Congregational dissenting churches, for the church to invite the minister, and when the parish had concurred in the choice of the church, a council was called by the latter, for the ordination; and when the minister was ordained, he became the settled minister of the parish.
That when any uneasiness happened, a mutual council was called, the result of which was binding upon the parties. But if either party refused to agree upon a mutual council, the other might call an ex parte council, the result of which was equally conclusive.
Account of the great Fire in Boston. 52
They contended, that as this mode had been pursued in the present case, the vote of the majority of the church for dissolving the pastoral relation between the church and Mr. Avery, and the one for dismissing the plaintiff from the office of deacon, were regular and legal.
The trial took up a great deal of time, in which a variety of circumstances were attended to.
The judges were of opinion, that Mr. Avery's principles of church government were arbitrary, and erroneous : that the vote for dissolving his pastoral relation was regular and valid : that the vote of the church, given by a majority, as abovementioned, for dismissing the plaintiff from the office of deacon, was regular and effectual, and that he could not maintain the action.
A verdict was given for the defendants.
An Account of the great Fire in Boston, in the year 1711, prefixed to a sermon preached by Dr. Cotton Mather, two days afterward, at the public lecture in the south meeting-house ; with some extracts from the sermon.
BEG1NNING about seven o'clock in the evening, and finishing before two in the morning, the night betwen the second and third of October, 1711, a terrible fire laid the heart of Boston, the metropolis of the New-English America, in ashes. The occasion of the fire is said to have been, by the carelessness and sottishness of a woman, who suffered a flame, which took the oakum, the picking whereof was her business, to gain too far before it could be mastered. It was not long before it reduced Cornhill into miserable ruins, and it made its impressions into King street and Queen-street, and a great part of Pudding-lane was also lost, before the violence of it could be conquered. Among these ruins, there were two spacious edifices, which, until now, made a most considerable figure, because of the public relation to our greatest solemnities in which they had stood, from the days of our fathers. The one was the town-house; the other, the old meeting-house. The number of houses, and some of them very capacious buildings, which went into the fire, with these, is computed near about a hundred; and the families, which inhabited these houses, cannot but be
Account of the great Fire in Boston. 53
very many more. It being also a place of much trade, and filled with well furnished shops of goods, not a little of the wealth of the town was now consumed. But that which very much added to the horror of the dismal night was the tragical death of many poor men, who were killed by the blowing up of houses ; or by venturing too far into the fire, for the rescue of what its fierce jaws were ready to prey upon. Of those, the bones of seven or eight are thought to be found; and it is feared there may be some strangers, belonging to vessels, besides these, thus buried, of whose unhappy circumstances we are not yet apprised : and others have since died of their wounds.
"Thus the town of Boston, just going to get beyond four score years of age, and conflicting with much labour and sorrow, is, a very vital and valuable part of it, soon cut off, and flown away. And yet, in the midst of these lamentations, we may say, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed." Had not the glorious Lord, who has gathered the wind in his hands, mercifully kept under the wind at this time, he alone knows how much more of the town must have been consumed."
A great auditory of the inhabitants, with many from the neighbouring towns, coming together on the ensuing Thursday, that they might hear the instructions of piety, which might suit the present and grievous occasion; one of the ministers, who is also a native of the town, entertained them with the ensuing sermon, &c.
The text, Jer. v. 3. "Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction."
[Extracts from the sermon, with remarks.]
Page 18. "Methinks I find myself preaching a funeral sermon for that ancient and famous edifice, which had, from the days of our grandfathers (I suppose mine, [Mr. Cotton], preached the first sermon in it, sixty five or six years ago) been the place of our most considerable solemnities." [This fixes the date of the erection of that house to the year 1645 or 1646, about fifteen years after the first settlement of the town. See Collections for 1795, page 189].
Page 19. "I could not pass the honourable rubbish of that building without making this reflection : That the Holy One seems to put us in mind of that shameful negligence
Memorabilia of Yarmouth. 54
with which too many people in this town treated the weekly lecture there. It was not attended as it ought to have been." [This proves that complaints of non attendance on Thursday lecture are not peculiar to the present generation, and perhaps not the present century. "Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days were better than these ? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this." Eccl. vii. 10.]
Page 27. "We think, with a shuddering horror, on the fate of the poor men, who lost their lives in the fire, the night before last. Most of them, no doubt, by the blowing up and falling down of houses.—They were mostly young men, that were lost in the fire."
Page 31. " It is reported, that, when a consuming fire is raging, there are thieves, who take that horrible occasion to seize and steal and keep the goods that are saved out of the fire. The vilest sort of thieves that ever were heard of! O monstrous wretches ! Monsters of wickedness! You may marvel at the long suffering of God, that he does not, even by fire from heaven, lay those accursed cottages in ashes, which have in them the goods that God spared out of the fire, but which your thievish hands would not spare to the owners. God will never let you be one farthing the richer for stolen goods. I charge you, in the name of God, to make restitution immediately. If you have not a heart willing to make restitution, the holy God will never forgive your wickedness." [A very good exhortation, if the thieves had been there to hear it! But it may be presumed, with great probability, that this class of people were not less guilty than others of the " shameful negligence" above mentioned.]
Memorabilia of Yarmouth.
by Timothy Alden, jun.
CAPE Cod may be well represented by a man's arm bent into a certain position.
Yarmouth is situated about midway from the shoulder to the elbow of the Cape. It has Barnstable on the west, and Dennis on the east. It is washed by the Atlantic on the north and south.
Dennis, which, till 1794, was a part of Yarmouth, was set off a distinct parish in 1721.
Memorabilia of Yarmouth. 55
The inhabitants exceed fifteen hundred, and average about six to a family.
The old meeting-house stands on the ancient Cape Cod county road, at the distance of four miles from Barnstable court-house. Its latitude, by observation, is 41° 41'. It stands on a common, which, during the late war with our mother country, was decorated with a towering liberty pole. The steeple of the meeting house rises from the middle of its roof, and is an important land-mark for vessels going into Yarmouth or Barnstable on the bay side.
A new meeting-house was erected on the south side of the town in 1794. The dedication sermons were preached 1 January, 1795, by the Rev. Timothy Alden of Yarmouth, and the Rev. John Mellen of Barnstable, and were published. By agreement, the minister of the town is to preach in it one sabbath in four.
About one quarter of a mile to the northward of the old meeting-house, the vestiges of a fort, built for protection from the Indians, were within ten years visible. Such, however, have been the ravages of the wind, that neither the fort, nor much of the eminence, which is still known by the name of fort hill, on which the fort was built, remains.
Within the memory of some, the Indians in this town were nearly as numerous as the white people. When the maize was in its milky state, they used to prepare a delicious food, composed of that and some other ingredients, which they called appoon.
So late as 1779, there was a small cluster of wigwams in the south-eastern part of the town, about a mile from the mouth of Bass river, which were inhabited by some of the remains of the Pawkunnawkut Indians, The chief of them about this time had the small-pox. Five of those who had it survived, and eleven died. It is probable that this part of Yarmouth will ever retain the name of Indian town.— There is still one wigwam on the banks of the river, which is occupied by a negro and squaw.
A little to the south westward of Indian town is Swan's pond, as may be seen by the map of Yarmouth, which was sometime since prepared by the direction of the General Court. On the north-eastern side of this pond is a spring, just above which, about forty years ago, stood an ancient Indian meeting-house.
Memorabilia of Yarmouth. 56
Elisha Nauhaught was a very conscientious deacon; several anecdotes are related of him to the present day. He was a temperate, pious, well-minded Indian. He used to pray with great fervour, in his vernacular tongue, with his family, with the sick, and at funerals. In his last illness my father visited him, and conversing with him on death, the common allotment of mankind he asked Nauhaught if he were resigned to his approaching dissolution ? He replied, in an Indian style, "Oh yes, Mr. Alden, I have always had a pretty good notion about death."
The following anecdote, which may also be seen in the Massachusetts Magazine for March, 1794, is worthy a place among the memorabilia of Yarmouth. I believe there can be no doubt of its truth, for I have often heard the old people relate it.
Our honest deacon was once attacked by a number of large black snakes. Being at a distance from any inhabitants, he was, to be sure, in a very precarious situation ; for, unfortunately, he had not even a knife about him for his defence. What to do he knew not. To outrun them he found utterly impossible, and to keep them off without any weapon was equally so. He therefore came to the determination to stand firm on his feet. They began to wind themselves about him ; in a little time, one of them had made his way up to the Indian's neck, and was trying to put his black head into his mouth. Nauhaught opened it immediately for him. The black serpent thrust in his head, and Nauhaught, putting his jaws together, bit it off in a moment! As soon as the blood, streaming from the beheaded, was discovered by the rest of the snakes, they left their intended prey with great precipitation, and Nauhaught was liberated from the jaws of impending death.
We will now give an account of the aboriginal discovery of Nantucket, and origin of fog.
The Vineyard Indians had a tradition, with regard to the origin of Nantucket, which does not altogether coincide with some of our assertions. However, there was a tradition some years ago among the Indians of this quarter, to the following effect. I am indebted for my information to a good old Quaker lady of my acquaintance.
In former times, a great many moons ago, a bird, extraordinary for its size, used often to visit the south shore of
Memorabilia of Yarmouth. 57
Cape Cod, and carry from thence to the southward, a vast number of small children.
Maushop, who was an Indian giant, as fame reports, resided in these parts. Enraged at the havock among the children he, on a certain time, waded into the sea in pursuit of the bird, till he had crossed the sound and reached Nantucket. Before Maushop forded the sound, the island was unknown to the aborigines of America.
Tradition says, that Maushop found the bones of the children in a heap under a large tree. He then wishing to smoke a pipe, ransacked the island for tobacco; but, finding none, filled his pipe with poke, a weed which the Indians sometimes used as its substitute. Ever since the above memorable event, fogs have been frequent at Nantucket and on the Cape. In allusion to this tradition, when the aborigines observed a fog rising, they would say, "There comes old Maushop's smoke."
Joseph White, who was a grandson of Peregrine White, lived in Yarmouth, and died 4 June, 1782, in the seventy-ninth year of his age.
Deacon Joseph White, son of the aforementioned, has in possession a staff, which is valuable for its great antiquity. Agreeably to well authenticated reports, it had conveyance to New-England in the first ship which reached Plymouth in 1620. When our forefathers stepped upon the well known rock, one of the company had this staff in his hand. It is about three feet in length, has a brazen foot, and a wooden head. It is a striking picture of that noble simplicity, which distinguished and dignified the character of those venerable puritanic fathers of our country.
The remarkable preservation of Ebenezer Taylor, the father of the present Daniel Taylor, Esq. of Yarmouth, claims a place among our memorabilia. In our mother country the story was disbelieved, and was added to the score of New-England tales. Its authenticity, however, admits of no dispute. A particular narrative of it was published by a Mr. Weekes. A copy of which, if I mistake not, is lodged in the archives of the Historical Society.
It was on the 6 August, 1726, this Ebenezer Taylor went into his well, which was forty feet deep, in order to examine a certain part where some of the stones were said to be loose. Having gotten about half way down, he perceived
Memorabilia of Yarmouth. 58
ceived a stone to be a little out of its place, and putting his hand to all of a sudden, not only that, but the whole body, seemed to move together; but, in such a manner, that, as he had hold of the well rope, he continued his midway situation, while the stones and earth passed by him to the bottom, till they had filled the well ten feet deep ! As these passed by him, his leg was so entangled, that, in his endeavours to extricate it, he dislocated his hip. Almost at the same instant, some of the larger stones met together a little above his head, and prevented his immediate death! The stones and earth accumulated together above him to the depth of twelve feet ! All who were present supposed that he was at the bottom of the well of course, and as it was deep, some proposed that it should remain his grave. The most were for deferring the search for him till Monday, as it was Saturday, and near the close of the day, the melancholy accident happened. However, they finally undertook to dig that evening; and, to their utter astonish-men, before they had proceeded many feet, they heard the voice of Mr. Taylor ! Notwithstanding the sad catastrophe, he had his senses, and was able to give the men, who were at work, directions respecting the manner of securing the stones, which were wedged together above him. Through great care, and the kind interposition of Providence, he was preserved from the impending destruction, and lived many years after this extraordinary event.
Mr. Stephen Homer, about five years ago, had nine sons living. Seven of which, having arrived at the years of manhood, were each of them six feet and three inches in height. Some of them were six feet and six inches high. Several of them have since deceased.
The aboriginal name of that part of Yarmouth which lies on the north shore, and adjoining Barnstable, was Mattakees. (See Gov. Winthrop's Journal, and Gookin's Hist. Coll.) The north eastern part of the town is known by the Indian name of Hokkanom to the present day. It was here the singular affair respecting Mr. Taylor happened. The town was incorporated in 1638. The original settlers came from Lynn, anciently called Saugus.
The people in this town and on the Cape, in general, have deservedly the name of hospitality.
With regard to the political sentiments of the people in
Memorabilia of Yarmouth. 59Yarmouth, we hope that we can safely assert, that the Jacobinic error is not so prevalent as in some of the towns in the vicinity.
Yarmouth has given birth to the following, who were educated at college:—
- Reverend Barnabas Taylor.
- John Sturgis. } Sons of Esquire Sturgis,
- Samuel Sturgis. } an eminent merchant.
- Prince Hawes.
- Barnabas Hedge.
- Reverend Samuel West, D. D.
- Hon. George Thacher, Esq.
- Timothy Alden, Jun.*
Col. Enoch Hallet, lately the High Sheriff of Barnstable county, lived and died in Yarmouth.
The Hon. David Thacher, Esq. senator from the county of Barnstable at the General Court in Boston, has his seat about three quarters of a mile west from the meeting-house.
We will conclude with some account of the ministers of the town.
There is a tradition among some of the aged people, that one of their first ministers was a Mr. Matthews.+
In Mather's Magnalia we find, that John Millar was a minister of Yarmouth. It is probable that he was the first, and Mr. Matthews the second, although we have no records of either. In Mather's Magnalia, the Rev. John Millar is mentioned as one of seventy-seven ministers, who had been in the ministry previous to their embarkation for America. And they are represented as some of the first ministers of New-England.
Admitting the above, the Rev. Thomas Thornton was the third minister of Yarmouth. It appears from the Magnalia, that he was one of those who fled from the persecution subsequent to the act of uniformity, which took place in 1662. How soon after this he was settled in the ministry at Yarmouth is not certainly known. We find his name in the town records for 1677. The records before that time have unfortunately been lost. He continued in the ministry till about the year 1692. The records exhibit no account of
* Isaiah and Martin Alden are now under-graduates at Harvard College.
+ See a note in the second edition of Dr. Gay's installation sermon.
Memorabilia of Yarmouth. 60
his death. It is said that he went to Boston and lived the remainder of his days.
The. Rev. John Cotton was settled in 1693, and died at Yarmouth in January, 1705. The Rev. Grindall Rawson has preserved the following anecdote in the second edition of Dr. Gay's sermon at his installation. "The Rev. Mr. Stone, of Harwich, a grave gentleman, attending a funeral at Yarmouth, being in the burial place some years after the death of Mr. Cotton, inquired where his grave was, but there not being any one that could show him, he replied, I think it is with Mr. Cotton's grave as it was with Moses', that distinguished servant of God; no man knoweth of his sepulchre to this day." Mr. Rawson adds, "This was the only one of the first seven ministers whose dust was committed to the dust in Yarmouth. Whatever they suffered, the worm did not feed on them there."
The Rev. Daniel Greenleaf became the successor of Mr. Cotton, in 1708. He continued in the ministry till about the year 1727, when an influential parishioner, having become disaffected towards him, a council was called, and he was dismissed with a good character. He went to Boston and spent the residue of his life.
The Rev. Thomas Smith was settled in 1729, and continued till the year 1754, when he left the people on account of the insufficiency of support. He was afterwards installed at Pembroke.
The Rev. Grindall Rawson was installed in the year 1755. He had been previously ordained at Ware. He continued in the ministry at Yarmouth till 1760, when, in consequence of a general disaffection between him and the people, he was advised by a counsel to take a dismission.
The Rev. Joseph Green, jun. was installed in 1762. He had been previously settled at Marshfield. He died 5 November, 1768, in the forty-second year of his age.
The Rev. Timothy Alden, the ninth and present minister of Yarmouth, was ordained the 13th December, 1769, [hand-written addition: and d. 13 Nov. 1828, a. 91.]
Mr. Brattle's Account of the Witchcraft, &c. 61
Copy of a MS. Letter, giving a full and candid account of the delusion called with-craft, which prevailed in New-England ; and of the judicial trials and executions at Salem, in the county of Essex, for that pretended crime, in 1692.
Written by Thomas Brattle, F. R. S. and communicated to the Society by Thomas Brattle, Esq. of Cambridge.October 8, 1692.
YOUR's I received the other day, and am very ready to serve you to my utmost. I should be very loath to bring myself into any snare by my freedom with you, and therefore hope that you will put the best construction on what I write, and secure me from such as would interpret my lines otherwise than they are designed. Obedience to lawful authority I evermore accounted a great duty ; and willingly I would not practise any thing that might thwart and contradict such a principle. Too many are ready to despite dominions, and speak evil of dignities ; and I am sure the mischiefs, which arise from a factious and rebellious spirit, are very sad and notorious ; insomuch that I would sooner bite my finger's ends than willingly cast dirt on authority, or any way offer reproach to it: Far, therefore, be it from me, to have any thing to do with those men your letter mentions, whom you acknowledge to be men of a factious spirit, and never more in their element than when they are declaiming against men in public place, and contriving methods that tend to the disturbance of the common peace. I never counted it a credit to my cause, to have the good liking of such men. "My son ! (says Solomon) fear thou the Lord and the king, and meddle not with them that are given to change." Prov. xxiv. 21. However, Sir, I never thought judges infallible ; but reckoned that they, as well as private men, might err ; and that when they were guilty of erring, standers by, who possibly had not half their judgment, might, notwithstanding, be able to detect and behold their errors. And furthermore, when errors of that nature are thus detected ...
Law Case. 123Law Case.
At a Circuit Court of the United States for the district of New-York, in the eastern circuit, held at the city of New-York, on the 4th day of April, 1798. Present, the Hon. William Patterson, one of the associate Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States— Hon. Robert Troup, Judge of the district.In equity.
Jedidiah Morse, complainant,
John Reid, defendant.
THE facts charged in the complainant's bill, substantially, were, that he was the author and proprietor of a book entitled, "The American Universal Geography;" that the same had been published by him according to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned;" and that since the first publication of the said book, he had, at his own expense, caused a sufficient number of the copies of the said book to be printed, and exposed to sale at a reasonable price; that the defendant, without the consent of the complainant, had reprinted and published a certain book, heretofore printed and published in Great-Britain, entitled, "A geographical, commercial, and philosophical view of the present situation of the United States of America," by the Rev. W. Winterbotham; that the same comprised, with some merely colourable alterations and abbreviations, a copy of the said book of the complainant, in derogation of the right of the complainant, by virtue of the said Act; and prayed that the defendant should be enjoined from a further sale of the said book by him so reprinted, and that he be decreed to account for, and pay to the complainant, the profits of the sales by him already made. From the answer of the defendant, and the report of referees appointed to examine and compare the said books, it appeared that the material facts, stated in the complainant's bill, were true; and that the said book, so reprinted by the defendant, amongst other plagiarisms, essentially comprised, by literal extracts, with
An Account of Virginia. 124
some colourable alterations and abbreviations, the whole, or nearly the whole, of the matter contained in the book of the complainant; that the defendant had reprinted 3,000 copies of the said book by the Rev. W. Winterbotham, and had sold or disposed of about 1,700 of the said copies, but had lost the proceeds of 200 of such copies by means of the bankruptcy of the vendee.
The Court, on hearing counsel, unanimously ordered, adjudged, and decreed, that the defendant be enjoined from the further sale of the remaining copies of the said book, so by him reprinted; and that he account for, and pay to the complainant, the nett profits which would arise from 1,700 copies of the said book of the complainant, as part of an impression of 3,000 volumes ; and that it be referred to the clerk to state the said account, and report the same to the court.
An Account of the present State and Government of Virginia.*
Sect. 1. Of the natural advantages of the country.
IT is astonishing to hear what contrary characters are given of the country of Virginia, even by those who have often seen it, and know it very well; some of them representing it as the best, others as the worst country in the world. Perhaps they are both in the right. For the most general true character of Virginia is this, that as to the natural advantages of a country, it is one of the best; but as to the improved ones, one of the worst of all the English plantations in America. When one considers the wholesome-ness of its air, the fertility of its soil, the commodiousness of its navigable rivers, and creeks, the openness of its coast all the year long, the conveniency of its fresh-water runs, and springs, the plenty of its fish, fowl, and wild beasts, the variety,
*This MS. was presented to the Historical Society by Carter B Harrison, Esq of Prince-George county, in Virginia, by the hands of the Rev. John Jones Spooner, corresponding member ; and appears, by intrinsic evidence, to have been written in England, between 1696 and 1698, whilst Sir Edmund Andros was governor of Virginia. The author had been in Virginia, and appears to have had an antipathy to Andros.
An Account of Virginia. 125
of its simples, and dying woods, the abundance of its timbers, minerals, wild vines and fruits, the temperature of its climate, being situated betwixt the extremities of both heat and cold ; in short, if it be looked upon in all respects, as it came out of the hand of God, it is certainly one of the best countries in the world. But on the other hand, if we inquire for well-built towns, for convenient ports and markets, for plenty of ships and seamen, for well improved trades and manufactures, for well-educated children, for an industrious and thriving people, or for an happy government in church and state ; and in short, for all the other advantages of human improvements, it is certainly, for all these things, one of the poorest, miserablest, and worst countries in all America that is inhabited by christians.
It is a common saying among themselves, that if any other nation had had Virginia, but the English, they would have made it an happy country. But it is easier to see their misery, than to find out the causes of it. No doubt it is chiefly to be imputed to the first wrong measures that were taken in not seating themselves in towns, and to the narrow, selfish ends of most of their governors, who go easily into any projects, whereby they may make a present gain, but very difficultly into the expensive and generous undertakings of doing good amongst them, which seldom turn to a present, or to a quick account. But after all, perhaps as much is to be imputed to the obstinacy of the people, as to any-other mismanagements, as will be seen in the sequel of this narrative, which will discover a sad truth, viz. that the bringing the people of that country to the improvements of cohabitation, must be against their will, by virtue of the king's prerogative, and not by expecting the concurrence of their general assemblies, the major part of the members whereof having never seen a town, nor a well improved country, in their lives, cannot therefore imagine the benefit of it, and are afraid of every innovation, that will put them to a present charge, whatever may be the future benefit.
It is impossible to reckon up all the improvements which might be made in such a country, where many useful inventions would present themselves to the industrious. The following ones are such as naturally offer to any judicious spectator.
The manufacture of iron and other minerals, with which that country, to all appearance, is well stored, together with ...
Settlement and Antiquities of Windsor in Connecticut.. 166
East-Windsor, June 20, 1797.
Settlement and Antiquities of the town of Windsor, in Connecticut.
IN January, 1630, a Congregational church was gathered in Plymouth in England, with a view to a removal to New-England; and the Rev. messrs. John Wareham and John Maverick were ordained colleague pastors over it. They arrived at Nantasket the 30th of May following, and settled in Dorchester. Soon after their arrival, they received intelligence from the Dutch of New York, of a valuable tract of country upon Connecticut river. And the body of the people of Dorchester, and of the towns of Newtown (Cambridge) and Watertown, concluded to remove. In the summer
of 1635, they performed the dangerous and laborious journey across the wilderness to this river. At the time of their removal, the Dutch had extended their claim to the river, and made a settlement a few miles below Windsor. Some people from Plymouth had also set up a trading house at the mouth of Little river, in Windsor. The fortitude of those pious adventurers was truly wonderful. About one hundred men, women, and children, took their departure from the three towns before mentioned, to travel through an unexplored wilderness. They were fourteen days performing the tedious journey. The wilderness, for the first time, resounded with the praises of God. They prayed and sang psalms and hymns as they marched along ; the Indians following and looking on them in silent admiration.
They arrived at this river, the object of their ardent expectation, somewhere not far from the mouth of Scantic river, in East-Windsor. The Dorchester people, with Mr. Wareham their minister, began the settlement of Windsor, on the west side of the river. They suffered great hardships the first winter, and their cattle perished for want of food.
The Indians on and near the river were numerous. Three sachemdoms were in the vicinity. The seat of one was near the mouth of Podunck river, lying in the S. W. corner of East-Windsor. A second, at Middletown, 20 miles below; and the third, at Farmington, about 12 miles west of Windsor.
Some of the first settlers of Windsor were gentlemen of opulence and education, as were also those of Hartford and Weathersfield, which settlements were begun at the same time. The right of settling here, they purchased of the old Plymouth company in England, and they paid the Indians for the soil. They had sent some men the year preceding their removal, to make the purchase of the natives, whom they looked upon as the only rightful proprietors.
They soon proceeded to form a general system of laws, which were similar to those of the Massachusetts ; except that they did not make church membership a necessary qualification for civil office.
Those who were in full communion in the church at Dorchester, and came with Mr. Wareham to Windsor, were Henry Wolcott, Esq. William Phelps, John Whitefield, Humphrey Pinney, Deacon John Moore, Deacon William
Settlement and Antiquities of Windsor in Connecticut. 168
Gaylord, Lieut. Walter Filer, Matthew Grant, Thomas Dibble, Samuel Phelps, Nathan Gillet, Richard Vote, Abraham Randall, Bigot Eglestone, George Phelps, Thomas Ford.
In 1639, Rev. Ephraim Huit came from England, and was settled colleague with Mr. Wareham. And with him came Edward Griswold, John Bissell, Thomas Holcomb, Daniel Clark, Peter Tilton. The other settlers of Windsor, whose names are mentioned in the records of the town, anno
1640, were messrs. — Newberry, Roger Ludlow, Esq., Joseph Loomis, John Loomis, John Porter, William Hill, James Marshall, John Taylor, Eltwed Pomeroy, William Hoffard, Aaron Cook, Elias Parkman, Thomas Stoughton, Owen Tudor, Capt. John Mason, Matthew Allyn, Richard Oldage, Henry Stiles, William Hayden, George Phillips, Return Strong, John Hillyer, Thomas Barber, Nicholas Palmer, Thomas Buckland, Isaac Shelden, Robert Watson, Stephen Terry, Bray Rosseter, Thomas Dewey, William Hurlburt, Roger Williams, Thomas Bascomb, Nicholas Denslow, Thomas Thornton,
It is probable the greater part of these came the year after Mr. Wareham; some from Dorchester and some from Plymouth. Mr. Huit deceased in 1644. He was a man of superior abilities and usefulness. The following lines, expressive of his great worth, though in juvenile poetry, are legible on his tomb-stone :
"Who while he lived, we drew our vital breath:
"Who when he died, his dying was our death:
"Who was the stay of state, the church's staff;
"Alas, the times forbid an epitaph."
Mr. Wareham saw the great increase of the little colony of Christians, with whom he had crossed the Atlantic, during 35 years of his ministry, and died anno 1670.
The succession of ministers in the first ancient society in Windsor, after Mr. Wareham, were Rev. Samuel Mather, deceased 1728, aged 77 years. Rev. Jonathan Marsh, ordained 1728, deceased 1748, aged 63. Rev. William Russel, jun. ordained 1751. Rev. David Sherman Rowland, installed 1776, deceased 1793. Rev. Henry Augustus Rowland, the present pastor.
In 1765, the society was formed into two parishes, and the Rev. Theodore Hinsdale was ordained over the north
Settlement and Antiquities of Windsor in Connecticut.. 169
parish, and continued their worthy pastor until the re-union of the two parishes in 1792, when he resigned.
The boundaries of the original town of Windsor were very extensive ; being about 46 miles in circumference, and lying on both sides of Connecticut river, the largest division on the eastern side. Eight Congregational societies have been formed within its limits, and it now contains three incorporated towns.
The succession of ministers in the parish of Poquannock, west side of the river, are Rev. John Woodbridge; Rev. Samuel Tudor, who was ordained anno 1740, deceased 1757; Rev. Dan Foster, dismissed 1784.
Ministers in the parish of Wintonbury, were Rev. Hezekiah Bissel; Rev. Solomon Wolcott; Rev. William Fowler Miller, the present pastor.
In the parish of Turkey Hills, lying partly in Windsor— Rev. messrs. Ebenezer Mills, Nehemiah Strong, Aaron J. Booge, and Whitefield Cowles, the present pastor.
The above parishes are on the west side of the river.
In 1680, a number of families removed to the east side of the river, and begun the settlement of East-Windsor. Fifteen years they passed the river in boats to attend public worship on the west side.
In 1695, they formed themselves into an ecclesiastical society, and Mr. Timothy Edwards, the father of president Edwards, was ordained their minister.
That part of ancient Windsor which lies east of Connecticut river was formed into a parish, anno 1703, and incorporated a town 1768, and named East-Windsor, The eastern division of East-Windsor was made a parish 1730, and incorporated a town by the name of Ellington, in 1786. The north part was made a parish in 1752, and Rev. Thomas Potwine, the present pastor, ordained 1754. The village of Wapping was allowed the privileges of a winter parish in 1761.
The succession of ministers in the first parish in East-Windsor, are Rev. Timothy Edwards, ordained 1695, deceased 1758, in the 89th year of his age, and 64th of his ministry : Rev. Joseph Perry, ordained colleague with Mr. Edwards, 1755, deceased 1783 : Rev. David M'Clure, installed 1786.
It is a remarkable instance, that there have been a succession
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of but little more than two ministers in this church during a century, while there have been in some of the other parishes of East-Windsor, four or five in about half that period.
The succession of ministers in the parish of Ellington, are Rev. John M'Kinstry, educated at Edinburgh, installed anno 1730, resigned 1745, deceased 1754, aged 77. Rev. Nathaniel Huntington, (elder brother of the late governor) ordained 1749, deceased 1756, aged 32. Rev. Seth Norton, ordained 1757, deceased 1762, aged 30. Rev. John Bliss, ordained 1765, dismissed 1781. Rev. Joshua Leonard, the present pastor, ordained 1791.
Fear of the Indians retarded the settlement of the eastern side of the river, until the year 1680, before mentioned. The year after the settlements of Windsor, Hartford and Weathersfield begun, parties of Pequod Indians killed some people. And although the Windsor and River Indians professed themselves neuters in Philip's war, which broke out in 1675, yet numbers of their young men stole away and joined him, and never returned. After Philip's formidable league was broken, the English settlements began to extend east from the river. The captains Ludlow, Mason and Stoughton did valiantly in those wars.
There are but few remains of Indian antiquity in this town. Their rude implements of husbandry, &c. are sometimes plowed up in the meadows; such as stone axes, pestles, chisels, &c. A Mr. Mather, of Windsor, informed me that he found, some years ago, near his house, an Indian grave, containing the bones of six persons. They were in a setting, circular position ; and where their feet met, was a small quantity of wampum and some horn spoons. Human bones are sometimes washed out of the banks of the river. A small hill in the meadow is still known by the name of King's hill; having been the residence of the sachem of the Podunck Indians. In the sale of the land, the Indians reserved the right of hunting, cutting timber, and planting, wherever they pleased, forever. But none of their descendants now exist, to claim the privilege.
The first settlers, by their prudent management and kindness, conciliated the good will of the Indians; but the aged people among us say, that they could never learn that an individual Windsor Indian ever became a Christian.
Note on Sir Henry Vane. 171-2
It has pleased God to revive his work of grace in this town in former, and in a less degree, in later times; particularly in 1737, and again in 1741. Here the faithful labours of the popular and venerable Edwards, during his prolonged ministry, and the occasional preachings of a Whitefield, Wheelock, Pomeroy, and others, were blessed to the spiritual illumination and comfort of many souls.
The above is derived from various sources of information, such as the public records of the towns and parishes—manuscripts-—tradition of aged, respectable people, and printed histories. Should it afford you entertainment, or be of any service in the cause of historical and useful science, my labour will be well compensated. Whether the foregoing observations are of sufficient consequence to present to the Historical Society, I submit to your candor and judgment; and am, Rev. Sir,
your very obedient
and obliged servant,
Rev. Dr. Belknap.
A very curious tract, and the only one I ever saw of it.
(Supposed to be T. Hollis, the friend of Harvard College.)
Perhaps it may have been written by Sir Henry Vane, the younger. a man of great parts, natural and acquired, religious to enthusiasm, according to the mode of his days, and several years a resident in New-England.
To Sir Henry Vane, the younger,
VANE, young in years, but in sage council old,
Than whom, a better senator ne'er held
The helm of Rome, when gowns not arms repell'd
The fierce Epirot and the African bold ;
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states, hard to be spell'd;
Then to advise how war may, best upheld,
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
In all her equipage : besides to know
Both spiritual pow'r and civil, what each means,
What severs each. thou hast learn'd, which few have done :
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe :
Therefore on thy firm hand religion leans
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.
Note. Sir Henry Vane was chosen governor of Massachusetts 1636. Hutchinson observes, that Mr. Haynes being no longer a rival to Mr. Winthrop, he would have been the most popular man, if Mr. Vane's solemn deportment, although he was not then more than 24 or 25 years of age, had not engaged almost the whole colony in his favour. " There was a great friendship between Mr. Cotton and him, which seems to have continued to the last."
It is most likely that one assisted the other in this Abstract, being so intimate, and of the same political and religious principles; for this tract was found in manuscript in Mr. Cotton's study after his death, and a copy rather more full than the present, published 1655, in London, by William Aspinwall, styled, An Abstract of Laws and Govern' ment, wherein, as in a mirror, may be seen the wisdom and perfection of Christ's kingdom, accommodable to any state or form of government in the world, that is not antichristian and tyrannical.
This book, bound up with Mr Cotton's Discourse on Civil Government in a new Plantation whose design is religion, is in the library of the Historical Society. Also a small quarto volume upon the Mystery of Godliness, written by Sir Henry Vane.
Though Sir H. V. was an enthusiast, his writings exhibit proofs of a strong mind as well as vivid fancy— and his conduct was consistent, equally remarkable for his integrity and zeal. He died a martyr to what he supposed the cause of freedom and truth.
In the month of July, 1662, says Ludlow, I received a letter from England, with an account of the trial of Sir H. Vane; of which I shall only say, that he behaved himself, on all these occasions, in such a manner, that he left it doubtful, whether his eloquence, soundness of judgment, and presence of mind, his magnanimity and gravity, his constant adherance to the cause of his country, and heroick carriage during the time of his confinement, and at the hour of death; or the malice of his enemies, and their frivolous suggestions at his trial, the breach of the public faith in the usage he found, the incivility of the bench, and the savage rudeness of the sheriff, who commanded the trumpets several times to sound, that he might not be heard by the people, were the most remarkable. Vid. Ludlow's Memoirs, fol. Lon. 1751, page 384.
Hume describes the execution of Vane, so as to make him an object of admiration, though he viewed him as an enthusiast. It is among the finest passages in the work of that elegant historian.
Abstract of the Laws of New-England. 173
An Abstract of the Laws of New-England, as they are now established.
Printed in London in 1641.
The Contents. [copied from page 187]
173 I. Of magistrates,
174 II. Of the free burgesses and free-inhabitants,
176 III. Of the protection and provision of the country,
178 IV. Of the right of inheritance,
180 V. Of commerce,
181 VI. Of trespasses,
182 VII. Of crimes,
183 VIII. Of other crimes less heinous, such as are to be punished with some corporal punishment or fine,
185 IX. Of the trial of causes, whether civil or criminal, and the execution of sentence,
186 X. Of the causes criminal, between our people and foreign nations,
1. ALL magistrates are to be chosen, Deut. 1.13,17, 15.
First, By the free burgesses.
Secondly, Out of the free burgesses.
Thirdly, Out of the ablest men and most approved amongst them. Ex. 18. 21.
Fourthly, out of the rank of noblemen or gentlemen among them, the best that God shall send into the country, if they be qualified with gifts fit for government, either eminent above others, or not inferior to others, Eccle. 10. 17. Jer. 30. 21.
2. The governor hath power, with the assistants, to govern the whole country, according to the laws established, hereafter mentioned : he hath power of himself, and in his absence the deputy-governor, to moderate all public actions of the Commonwealth, as
First, To send out warrants for calling of the general court. Josh. 24. 1.
Secondly, To order and ransack (transact) all actions in the court where he sitteth : as, to gather suffrages and voices, and to pronounce sentences according to the greater part of them.
3. The power of the governor, with the rest of the counsellors, is
First, To consult and provide for the maintenance of the state and people. Num. 11. 14 to 16.
Secondly, To direct in all matters, wherein appeal is made to them from inferior courts. Deut. 17. 8, 9.
Thirdly, To preserve religion. Ex. 32. 25, 27.
Fourthly, To oversee the forts and munition of the country, and to take order for the protection of the country from foreign invasion, or intestine sedition, as need shall require, with consent of the people to enterprise wars. Cor. 19. 32: 23, 6. Prov. 24. 5.
And because these great affairs of the state cannot be attended, nor administered, if they be after changed; therefore the counsellors are to be chosen for life, unless they give
Abstract of the Laws of New-England. 174
just cause of removal, which if they do, then they are to be removed by the general court. Kings 2. 6.
4. The power of the governor, sitting with the counsellors and assistants, is to hear and determine all causes whether civil or criminal, which are brought before him through the whole Commonwealth: yet reserving liberty of appeal from him to the general court. Ex. 18, 22. Deut. 1.16, 18.
5. Every town is to have judges within themselves, whose power shall be once in the month, or in three months at the farthest, to hear and determine both civil causes and pleas of less value, and crimes also, which are not capital : yet reserving liberty of appeal to the court of governor and assistants. Deut. 16. 18.
6. For the better expedition and execution of justice, and of all affairs incident unto every court; every court shall have certain officers, as a secretary to enrol all the acts of the court; and besides ministers of justice, to attach and fetch, and set persons before the magistrates ; and also to execute the sentence of the court upon offenders ; and for the same end it shall be lawful for the governor or any one or two of the counsellors, or assistants, or judges, to give warrants to an officer, to fetch any delinquent before them, and to examine the cause, and if he be found culpable of that crime, to take order by surety or safe custody for his appearance at the court. Deut. 16. 18. Jer. 36. 10, 12. 1 Sam, 20. 24, 25. Acts 5. 26, 27.
And further for the same end, and to prevent the offenders lying long in prison, it shall be lawful for the governor, with one of the council, or any two of the assistants or judges, to see execution done upon any offenders for any crime that is not capital, according to the laws established : yet reserving a liberty of appeal from them to the court, and from an inferior court to a higher court.
Of the free Burgesses and free Inhabitants.
1. FIRST, all the free burgesses, excepting such as were admitted men before the establishment of churches in the country, shall be received and admitted out of the members of some or others of the churches in the country, such churches as are gathered or hereafter shall be gathered with
the consent of other churches already established in the country, and such members as are admitted by their own church unto the Lord's table.
2. These free burgesses shall have power to choose in their own towns, fit and able men out of themselves, to be the ordinary judges of inferior causes, in their own town ; and, against the approach of the general court, to choose two or three, as their deputies and committees, to join with the governor and assistants of the whole country, to make up and constitute the general court.
3. This general court shall have power,
First, By the warrant of the governor, or deputy-governor, to assemble once every quarter, or half a year, or oftener, as the affairs of the country shall require, and to bit together till their affairs be despatched.
Secondly, To call the governor, and all the rest of the public magistrates and officers into place, and to call them also to account for the breach of any laws established, or other misdemeanor, and to censure them as the quality of the fact may require.
Thirdly, To make and repeal laws.
Fourthly, To dispose of all lands in the country, and to assign them to several towns or persons, as shall be thought requisite.
Fifthly, To impose of monies a levy, for the public service of the Commonwealth, as shall be thought requisite for the provision and protection of the whole.
Sixthly, To hear and determine all causes, wherein appeal shall be made unto them, or which they shall see cause to assume into their own cognizance or judicature.
Seventhly, To assist the governors and counsellors, in the maintenance of the purity and unity of religion; and accordingly to set forth and uphold all such good causes as shall be thought fit, for that end, by the advice and with consent of the churches, and to repress the contrary.
Eighthly, In this general court nothing shall be concluded but with the common consent of the greater part of the governors, or assistants, together with the greater part of the deputies of the towns ; unless it be in election of officers, where the liberty of the people is to be preferred, or in judging matters of offence against the law, wherein both parties are to stand to the direction of the law.
4. All the householders of every town shall be accounted as the free inhabitants of the country, and accordingly shall enjoy freedom of commerce, and inheritance of such lands as the general court, or the several towns wherein they dwell, shall allot unto them, after they have taken an oath, or given other security to be true and faithful to the state, and subject to the good and wholesome laws established in the country by the general court.
Chap. III.Of the Protection and Provision of the Country.
1. FIRST, a law to be made (if it be not made already) for the training of ail men in the country, fit to bear arms, unto the exercise of military discipline ; and withal, another law to be made for the maintenance of military officers and forts.
2. Because fishing is the chief staple commodity of the country, therefore all due encouragement to be given unto such hands as shall set forwards the trade of fishing: and for that end a law to be made, that whosoever shall apply themselves to set forward the trade of fishing, as fishermen, mariners and shipwrights, shall be allowed, man for man, or some or other of the labourers of the country, to plant and reap for them, in the season of the year, at the public charge of the commonwealth, for the space of the seven years next ensuing; and such labourers to be appointed and paid by the treasurer of the commonwealth.
3. Because no commonwealth can maintain either their authority at home, or their honor and power abroad, without a sufficient treasury: a law therefore to be made for the electing and furnishing of the treasury of the commonwealth, which is to be supplied and furnished,
1st. By the yearly payment,
First, Of one penny, or half a penny an acre of land to be occupied throughout the country. Land in common by a town, to be paid for out of the stock or treasury of the same town.
Secondly, Of a penny for every beast, horse or cow. Thirdly, Of some proportionable rate upon merchants.— This rate to be greater or less, as shall be thought fit.
2. By the payment of a barrel of gunpowder, or such
goods or other munitions, out of every ship that bringeth foreign commodities.
3d. By fines and mulcts upon trespassers' beasts.
4. A treasurer to be chosen by the free burgesses, out of the assistants, who shall receive and keep the treasury, and make disbursements out of it, according to the direction of the general court, or of the governor or counsellors, whereof they are to give an account to the general court. It shall pertain also to the office of the treasurer, to survey and oversee all the munitions of the country, as cannons, culverins, muskets, powder, match, bullets, &c. and to give account thereof to the governor and council.
5. A treasury also, or magazine, or storehouse, to be erected, and furnished in every town, [as Dent. 14. 28.] distinct from the treasury of the church, that provision of corn, and other necessaries, may be laid up at the best hand, for the relief of such poor as are not members of the church; and that out of it such officers may be maintained, as captains and such like, who do any public service for the town. But chiefly, this treasury will be requisite for the preserving of the livelihood of each town within itself. That in case, the inheritance of the lands that belong to any town, dome to be alienated from the townsmen, which may unavoidably fall out; yet a supply may be had and made to the livelihood of the town, by a reasonable rent charge upon such alienations, laid by the common consent of the landowners and townsmen, and to be paid into the treasury of the town. This treasury to be supplied,
First, By the yearly payment of some small rate upon acres of land.
Secondly, By fines and amercements put upon trespasser's beasts.
A town treasurer to be appointed for the oversight and ordering of this, chosen out of the free burgesses of the same town, who is so to dispose of things under his charge, according to the directions of the judges of the town, and to give account at the town's court, to the judges and free burgesses of the town, or to some selected by them.
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Of the right of Inheritance.
1. FIRST, forasmuch as the right of disposals of the inheritance of all lands in the country lyeth in the general court, whatsoever lands are given and assigned by the general court, to any town or person, shall belong and remain as right of inheritance to such towns and their successors, and to such persons and to their heirs and assigns forever, as their propriety.
2. Whatsoever lands, belonging to any town, shall be given and assigned by the town, or by such officers therein as they shall appoint, unto any person, the same shall belong and remain unto such person and his heirs and assigns, as his proper right, forever.
3. And in dividing of lands to the several persons in each town, as regard is to be had, partly to the number of persons in a family—to the more, assigning the greater allotment, to the fewer, less—and partly by the number of beasts, by the which a man is fit to occupy the land assigned to him, and subdue it; eminent respect, in this case, may be given to men of eminent quality and descent, in assigning unto them more large and honorable accommodations, in regard of their great disbursements to public charges.
4. Forasmuch as all civil affairs are to be administered and ordered, so as may best conduce to the upholding and setting forward of the worship of God in church fellowship; it is therefore ordered, that wheresoever the lands of any man's inheritance shall fall, yet no man shall set his dwelling-house above the distance of half a mile, or a mile at the farthest, from the meeting of the congregation, where the church doth usually assemble for the worship of God.
5. Inheritances are to descend naturally to the next of kin, according to the law of nature, delivered by God.
6. Observe, If a man have more sons than one, then a double portion to be assigned and bequeathed to the eldest son, according to the law of nature ; unless his own demerit do deprive him of the dignity of his birth-right.
7. The will of a testator to be approved or disallowed by the court of governor and assistants, or by the court of judges in each town : yet not to be disallowed by the court
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of governors, unless it appears either to be counterfeit, or unequal, either against the law of God, or against the due right of the legators.
8. As God in old time, in the commonwealth of Israel, forbade the alienation of lands from one tribe to another; so to prevent the like inconvenience in the alienation of lands from one town to another, it were requisite to be ordered:
1st. That no free burgess, or free inhabitant of any town, shall sell the land allotted to him in the town, (unless the free burgesses of the town give consent unto such sale, or refuse to give due price, answerable to what others offer without fraud,) but to some one or other of the free burgesses or free inhabitants of the same town.
2d. That if such lands be sold to any others, the sale shall be made with reservation of such a rent charge, to be paid to the town stock, or treasury of the town, as either the former occupiers of the land were wont to pay towards all the public charges thereof, whether in church or town ; or at least after the rate of three shillings per acre, or some such like proportion, more or less, as shall be thought fit.
3d. That if any free burgesses, or free inhabitants, of any town, or the heir of any of their lands, shall remove their dwelling from one town to another, none of them shall carry away the whole benefit of the lands which they possessed, from the towns whence they remove : but if they still keep the right of inheritance in their own hands, and not sell it as before, then they shall reserve a like proportion or rent charge out of their land, to be paid to the public treasury of the town, as hath been wont to be paid out of it to the public charges of the town and church, or at least after the rate of three or five shillings an acre, as before.
4th. That if the inheritance of a free burgess, or free inhabitant of any town, fall to his daughters, as it will do for defect of heirs male, that then if such daughters do not marry to some of the inhabitants of the same town where their inheritance lyeth, nor sell their inheritance to some of the same town as before, that then they reserve a like proportion of rent charge out of their lands, to be paid to the public treasury of the town, as hath been wont to be paid out of them, to the public charge of the town and church ; or at least after the rate of three or five shillings an acre ; provided always that nothing; be paid to the maintenance of
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the church out of the treasury of the church or town, but by the free consent and direction of the free burgesses of the town.
1. FIRST, it shall be lawful for the governor, with one or more of the council, to appoint a reasonable rate of prizes upon all such commodities as are, out of the ships, to be bought and sold in the country.
2. In trucking or trading with the Indians, no man shall give them, for any commodity of theirs, silver or gold, or any weapons of war, either guns or gunpowder, nor swords, nor any other munition, which might come to be used against ourselves.
3. To the intent that all oppression in buying and selling may be avoided, it shall be lawful for the judges in every town, with the consent of the free burgesses, to appoint certain selectmen, to set reasonable rates upon all commodities, and proportionably to limit the wages of workmen and labourers; and the rates agreed upon by them, and ratified by the judges, to bind all the inhabitants of the town. The like course to be taken by the governor and assistants, for the rating of prizes throughout the country, and all to be confirmed, if need be, by the general court.
4. Just weights and balances to be kept between buyers and sellers, and for default thereof, the profit so wickedly and corruptly gotten, with as much more added thereto, is to be forfeited to the public treasury of the commonwealth.
5. If any borrow ought of his neighbour upon a pledge, the lender shall not make choice of what pledge he will have, nor take such a pledge as is of daily necessary use unto the debtor, or if he does take it, he shall restore it again the same day.
6. No increase to be taken of a poor brother or neighbour, for any thing lent unto him.
7. If borrowed goods be lost or hurt in the owner's absence, the borrower is to make them good; but in the owner's presence, wherein he seeth his goods no otherwise used than with his consent, the borrower shall not make them good; if they were hired, the hire to be paid and no more.
1. IF a man's swine, or any other beast, or a fire kindled, break out into another man's field or corn, he shall make full restitution, both of the damage made by them, and of the loss of time which others have had in carrying such swine or beasts unto the owners, or unto the fold. But if a man put his beasts or swine into another's field, restitution is to be made of the best of his own, though it were much better than that which were destroyed or hurt.
2. If a man kill another man's beast, or dig and open a pit, and leave it uncovered, and a beast fall into it; he that killed the beast, and the owner of the pit, shall make restitution.
3. If one man's beast kills the beast of another, the owner of the beast shall make restitution.
4. If a man's ox, or other beast, gore or bite, and kill a man or woman, whether child or riper age, the beast shall be killed, and no benefit of the dead beast reserved to the owner. But if the ox, or beast, were wont to push or bite in time past, and the owner hath been told of it, and hath not kept him in, then both the ox, or beast, shall be forfeited and killed, and the owner also put to death, or fined to pay what the judges and persons damnified shall lay upon him.
5. If a man deliver goods to his neighbour to keep, and they be said to be lost or stolen from him, the keeper of the goods shall be put to his oath touching his own innocency ; which if he take, and no evidence appear to the contrary, he shall be quit: but if he be found false or unfaithful, he shall pay double unto his neighbour. But if a man take hire for goods committed to him, and they be stolen, the keeper shall make restitution. But if the beast so kept for hire, die or be hurt, or be driven away, no man seeing it, then oath shall be taken of the keeper, that it was without his default, and it shall be accepted. But if the beast be torn in pieces, and a piece be brought for witness; it excuseth the keeper.
Chap. VII.Of Crimes. And first, of such as deserve capital punishment, or cutting off from a man's people, whether by death or banishment.
1. FIRST, blasphemy, which is a cursing of God by atheism, or the like, to be punished with death.
2. Idolatry to be punished with death.
3. Witchcraft, which is fellowship by covenant with a familiar spirit, to be punished with death.
4. Consulters with witches not to be tolerated, but either to be cut off by death or banishment.
5. Heresy, which is the maintenance of some wicked errors, overthrowing the foundation of the Christian religion; which obstinacy, if it be joined with endeavour to seduce others thereunto, to be punished with death ; because such an heretick, no less than an idolater, seeketh to thrust the souls of men from the Lord their God.
6. To worship God in a molten or graven image, to be punished with death.
7. Such members of the church, as do wilfully reject to walk, after due admonition and conviction, in the churches' establishment, and their Christian admonition and censures, shall be cut off by banishment.
8. Whosoever shall revile the religion and worship of God, and the government of the church, as it is now established, to be cut off by banishment. Cor. 5. 5.
9. Wilful perjury, whether before the judgment seat or in private conference, to be punished with death.
10. Rash perjury, whether in public or in private, to be punished with banishment. Just is it, that such a man's name should be cut off from his people, who profanes so grossly the name of God before his people.
11. Profaning of the Lord's day, in a careless and scornful neglect or contempt thereof, to be punished with death.
12. To put in practice the betraying of the country, or any principal fort therein, to the hand of any foreign state, Spanish, French, Dutch, or the like, contrary to the allegiance we owe and profess to our dread sovereign, lord king Charles, his heirs and successors, whilst he is pleased to protect us as his loyal subjects, to be punished with death. Num. 12.14,15.
13. Unreverend and dishonorable carriage to magistrates, to be punished with banishment for a time, till they acknowledge their fault and profess reformation.
14. Reviling of the magistrates in highest rank amongst us, to wit, of the governors and council, to be punished with death. 1 Kings, 2. 8, 9, & 46.
15. Rebellion, sedition, or insurrection, by taking up arms against the present government established in the country, to be punished with death.
16. Rebellious children, whether they continue in riot or drunkenness, after due correction from their parents, or whether they curse or smite their parents, to be put to death. Ex. 21. 15, 17. Lev. 20. 9.
17. Murder, which is a wilful man-slaughter, not in a man's just defence, nor casually committed, but out of hatred or cruelty, to be punished with death. Ex. 21.12, 13. Num. 35. 16, 17, 18, to 33. Gen. 9. 6.
18. Adultery, which is the defiling of the marriage-bed, to be punished with death. Defiling of a woman espoused, is a kind of adultery, and punishable, by death, of both parties ; but if a woman be forced, then by the death of the man only. Lev. 20. 10. Deut. 22. 22 to 27.
19. Incest, which is the defiling of any near of kin, within the degrees prohibited in Leviticus, to be punished with death.
20. Unnatural filthiness to be punished with death, whether sodomy, which is a carnal fellowship of man with man, or woman with woman, or buggery, which is a carnal fellowship of man or woman with beasts or fowls.
21. Pollution of a woman known to be in her flowers, to be punished with death. Lev. 20. 18, 19.
22. Whoredom of a maiden in her father's house, kept secret till after her marriage with another, to be punished with death. Deut. 22. 20, 21.
23. Man-stealing to be punished with death. Ex. 21. 16.
24. False-witness bearing to be punished with death.
Of other Crimes less heinous, such as are to be punished with some corporal punishment or fine.
1. FIRST, rash and profane swearing and cursing to be punished.
Abstract of the Laws of New-England. 184
1st. With loss of honour, or office, if he be a magistrate, or officer: meet it is, their name should be dishonored who dishonor God's name.
2d. With loss of freedom.
3d. With disability to give testimony.
4th. With corporal punishment, either by stripes or by branding him with a hot iron, or boring through the tongue who have bored and pierced God's name.
2d. Drunkenness, as transforming God's image into a beast, is to be punished with the punishment of beasts : a whip for the horse, and a rod for the fool's back.
3. Forcing of a maid, or a rape, is not to be punished with death by God's law, but,
1st. With fine or penalty to the father of the maid.
2d. With marriage of the maid defiled, if she and her father consent.
3d. With corporal punishment of stripes for his wrong, as a real slander: and it is worse to make a whore, than to say one is a whore.
4. Fornication to be punished,
1st. With the marriage of the maid, or giving her a sufficient dowry.
2d. With stripes, though fewer, from the equity of the former cause.
5. Maiming or wounding of a freeman, whether free burgess, or free inhabitant, to be punished with a fine ; to pay,
1st. For his cure. 2d. For his loss. Ex. 21. 18, 19. And with loss of member for member, or some valuable recompence ; but if it be but the maiming or wounding of a servant, the servant is to go forth free from such a service. Lev. 24. 19, 20. Ex. 21. 26, 27.
6. If any man steal a beast, if it be found in his hand he shall make restitution two for one ; if it be killed and sold, restitution is to be made of five oxen for one ; if the thief be not able to make restitution, then he is to be sold by the magistrate for a slave, till by his labour he may make due restitution. Ex. 22. 1, 4.
7. If a thief be found breaking a house by night, if he be slain, his smiter is guiltless ; but in the day time, the thief is to make full restitution as before ; or if he be not able, then to be sold as before. Ex, 22. 2.
Abstract of the Laws of New-England. 185
8. Slanders are to be punished,
First, With a public acknowledgment, as the slander was public.
Secondly, By mulcts and fine of money, when the slander bringeth damage.
Thirdly, By stripes, if the slander be gross, or odious, against such persons whom a man ought to honour and cherish; whether they be his superiors, or in some degree of equality with himself and his wife.
Of the trial of causes, whether civil or criminal, and the execution of sentence.
1. IN the trial of all causes, no judgment shall pass but either upon confession of the party, or upon the testimony of two witnesses.
2. Trial by judges shall not be denied, where either the delinquent requireth it in causes criminal, or the plaintiff or defendant in civil causes, partly to prevent suspicion of partiality of any magistrates in the court.
3. The jurors are not to be chosen by any magistrates, or officers, but by the free burgesses of each town, as can give best light to the causes depending in court, and who are least obnoxious to suspicion of partiality: and the jurors then chosen, to be nominated to the court, and to attend the service of the court.
4. The sentence of judgment given upon criminal causes and persons, shall be executed in the presence of the magistrates, or some of them at least.
5. No freeman, whether free burgess or free inhabitant, to be imprisoned, but either upon conviction, or at least probable suspicion, or some crime, formerly mentioned; and the cause of his imprisonment, be declared and tried at the next court following, at the furthest.
6. Stripes are not to be inflicted, but when the crimes of the offender are accompanied with childish or brutish folly, or with lewd filthiness, or with stubborn insolency, or with brutish cruelty, or with idle vagrancy ; but when stripes are due, not above forty are to be inflicted.
Abstract of the Laws of New-England. 186
Of causes criminal, between our people and foreign nations.
1. IN case any of our people should do wrong to any of another nation, upon complaint made to the governor, or some other of the council or assistants, the fact is diligently to be inquired into, and being found to be true, restitution is to be made of the goods of offenders, as the case shall require, according to the quality of the crime.
2. In case the people of another nation have done any important wrong to any of ours, right is first to be demanded of the governor of that people, and justice upon the malefactors, which if it be granted and performed, then no breach of peace to follow. Deut. 20. 10, 11. 2 Sam. 20. 18, 19.
3. If right and justice be denied, and it will not stand with the honour of God and safety of our nation that the wrong be passed over, then war is to be undertaken and denounced.
4. Some minister is to be sent forth to go along with the army, for their instruction and encouragement. Deu. 20.2, 3, 4.
5. Men betrothed and not married, or newly married, or such as have newly built or planted, and not received the fruits of their labour, and such as are faint-hearted men, are not to be pressed or forced against their wills to go forth to wars. Deut. 20. 5, 6, 7, 8 : & 24. 5.
6. Captains are to be chosen by the officers.
7. All wickedness is to be removed out of the camp by severe discipline. Deut. 23. 9, 14.
8. And in war men of a corrupt and false religion are not to be accepted, much less sought for. 2 Chron. 25. 7, 8.
9. Women, especially such as have not lain by man, little children, and cattle, are to be spared and reserved for spoil. Deut. 20. 14.
10. Fruit trees, whilst they may be of use for meat to our own soldiers, are not to be cut down and destroyed, and consequently no corn. Deut. 20. 19, 20.
11. The spoils got by war are to be divided into two parts, between the soldiers and the commonwealth that sent them forth. Num. 31. 27.
12. A tribute from both is to be levied to the Lord, and given to the treasury of the church; a fiftieth part out
Abstract of the Laws of New-England. 187
of the commonwealth's part, and a five hundredth part out of the soldiers' part. Num. 31. 28, 29, & 47.
13. If all the soldiers return again in peace, not one lacking, it is acceptable to the Lord if they offer, over and above the former tribute, a voluntary oblation unto the treasury of the church, for a memorial of the redemption of their lives by the special providence and salvation of the Lord of Hosts.
Isaiah 33. 22.
The Lord is our Judge,
The Lord is our Law-giver,
The Lord is our King:
He will save us.
173 I. Of magistrates,
174 II. Of the free burgesses and free-inhabitants,
176 III. Of the protection and provision of the country,
178 IV. Of the right of inheritance,
180 V. Of commerce,
181 VI. Of trespasses,
182 VII. Of crimes,
183 VIII. Of other crimes less heinous, such as are to be punished with some corporal punishment or fine,
185 IX. Of the trial of causes, whether civil or criminal, and the execution of sentence,
186 X. Of the causes criminal, between our people and foreign nations,
[Mr. Aspinwall, who published the manuscript found in Mr. Cotton's study after his decease, as mentioned in the note, page 172, wrote an address to the reader, which was never seen by T. H.—perhaps the only copy of it is in the library of the Historical Society. It is offered to the public, in connexion with the Abstract of Laws, as a Curious specimen of the manner of writing, and their opinion of laws and religion in the last century.]
To the Reader.
I HAVE here presented thee with an Abstract of Laws and Government, collected out of the scriptures, and digested into this method by that godly, grave, and judicious divine, Mr. John Cotton, accommodated to the colony of
An Address to the Reader. 188
the Massachusetts, in New-England, and commended to the general court there. Which, had they then had the heart to have received, it might have been better both with them there, and us here, than now it is. Concerning which model, I dare not pronounce that it is without imperfection in every particular; yet this I dare be bold to say, that it far surpasseth all the municipal laws and statutes of any of the Gentile nations and corporations under the cope of Heaven. Wherefore I thought it not unmeet to publish it to the view of all, for the common good. If any thing be wanting in the copy, let it not be imputed unto the author, who, had his labour found deserved acceptance, would undoubtedly have made a more thorough search, and perfect explanation of all the rules and laws of judgment and justice, scattered here and there throughout the books of Moses, and other scriptures. Which had he perfected in his life time, might have redounded to the universal good of all the nations that acknowledge the kingly office of our Lord Jesus. For though the great ones of the world, who covet to grasp more power into their hands than Christ ever betrusted them withal, are ready to asperse the poor saints of Christ, which wait for the coming of his kingdom, as if they were a company of giddy heads, and unstable, such as are either averse to all government, or know not what government they would have ; yet the truth is, they know well what government they would have, and, might they be encouraged and countenanced, are able to give a clear demonstration thereof from the scriptures of truth, both what the laws thereof be, and what manner of officers of all sorts, from the highest to the lowest; which I doubt not but some of them will take opportunity to do, according to the holy will and word of Christ. So as if any thing be yet wanting in this which I here present thee withal, they will make a supplement thereof in due time.
In the mean while accept of this, which is worthy thy consideration, and doth contain the very marrow and sum of all, or most of those laws, which Jesus Christ, the eternal wisdom of the Father, thought necessary for the administration of his kingdom in righteousness and peace. And if thou possibly meetest with some rules, to which no scriptures are annexed for proof (as in the 2d and 3d chapters, and some sections in the 4th, 5th, and 9th chapters) consider,
An Address to the Reader. 189
that those are not properly laws, but prudential rules, which he commended to that colony, to be ratified with the common assent of the freemen in each town, or by their representatives in the general court, as public contracts. Which being once made and assented to for their own convenience, do bind as covenants do, until by like public consent they be abrogated and made void. For though the author attribute the word [law] unto some of them ; yet, that it was not his meaning they should be enacted as laws (if you take the word law in a proper sense) appears by his conclusion, taken out of Isaiah 33.22. The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Law giver, the Lord is our King ; he will save us. He knew full well that it would be an intrenchment upon the royal power of Jesus Christ, for them or any other of the sons of Adam to ordain laws : And indeed laws of righteousness, such as Christ's laws be, have these three incommunicable properties.
1. They are unvariable, and bind all persons in all ages and in all nations.
2. They are undispensable by any created powers.
3. They bind not only the outward man to obedience, but also the spirit and conscience. None of which can be spoken of any human laws or constitutions whatsoever.— Wherefore, when thou meetest with such an expression (calling such prudential rules and contracts by the name law) interpret it candidly. Because such agreements being once made by mutual consent, the covenantees are obliged by the law of righteousness, to make good their agreements, until they be reversed by the like common consent, for a public good, which in all prudential contracts and covenants may lawfully be done. For cujus est instituere, ejus est destituere.
Possibly thou rnayest meet with some particulars, which may not be fully cleared to thine apprehension ; but in that case have recourse to the word of God itself, whereunto the author doth faithfully lead thee, and would have thee receive nothing from him, but what agrees therewith. And if any thing may possibly be thought to be omitted (as who can see all things* at once) let thine ingenuity make diligent search, and supply what the author in his life time had not opportunity to perfect. And be persuaded this to do ;— weigh the laws here collected, I mean the scriptures themselves,
* Uno intuita.
An Address to the Reader. 190
which yield right rules of judgment in all causes both civil and criminal ; and judge equally and impartially, whether there be any laws in any state in the world, so just and equal as these be. Which, were they duly attended unto, would undoubtedly preserve inviolable the liberty of the subject against all tyrannical and usurping powers.
The perfection of these laws may appear from hence ; that though they be but few, yet are they such as reach to all persons, nations and times, and are a perfect standard to admeasure all judicial actions and causes, whether civil or criminal, by sea or by land.
The impartiality of these laws appears in this, that there is no respect of persons in judgment, whether they be poor, or whether they be rich.
And thirdly, the consideration of the author of these laws might be a sufficient argument to commend them unto us, to wit, Jesus Christ, the eternal wisdom of the Father, he is our Law giver: and he had no secret design to rear up an external glorious pompous government for himself or his vicegerents and substitutes, but to preserve his people in a state of holiness, righteousness, and peace. Neither did he attain this dignity by the blood and treasure of his subjects ; but he laid down his own life, and shed his dearest blood to purchase and procure this liberty for them. Oh ! who would not be in love with such laws, and such a Sovereign ?
If it be said, But what may be done to attain this ? I answer; it is not my purpose to persuade this, or any other nation, were they willing to hear, to enact or ratify these by any power of their own, in a solemn convention of their representatives, as laws; neither do I believe it was the author's intention so to do, when he drew up this model. For alas, what energy or virtue can such an act of a company of poor sinful creatures add unto the most perfect and wholesome laws of God ? It is enough for us, and indeed it is all that can be done by any people upon earth,
1st. To declare by their representatives, their voluntary subjection unto them, as unto the laws of the Lord their God.
2d. After such professed subjection, to fall unto the practice thereof, in the name and strength of Christ, their King and Law-giver. According as it is written, Deut. 5.
An Address to the Reader. 191
27, 28, 29. All that Jehovah our God shall speak unto thee, we will both hear and do. And Jehovah heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me: And Jehovah said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee, they have done well [in] all that they have spoken. Who will give to them, that this may be their heart, to fear me, and to keep all my commandments all days, that it may be well with them, and with their sons for ever.
This Abstract may serve for this use principally (which I conceive was the main scope of that good man, who was the author of it) to shew the complete sufficiency of the word of God alone, to direct his people in judgment of all causes, both civil and criminal, as we are wonted to distinguish them. Which being by him done, and with all sweetness and amiableness of spirit tendered, but not accented, he surceased to press it any further at that season, knowing full well that the Lord's people shall be a willing people in the day of his power. But the truth is, both they and we, and other the Gentile nations, are loth to be persuaded to dwell in the tents of Shem, and to lay aside our old earthly forms of governments, to submit to the government of Christ. Nor shall we Gentiles be willing, I fear, to take up his yoke which is easy, and burthen light, until he hath broken us under the hard and heavy yokes of men, and thereby weaned us from all our old forms and customs. The principal remoraes and lets whereof I conceive to be in courtiers and lawyers: For should Christ's kingdom be erected indeed, it would cross the lusts and lustre of external pomp and glory of the one, and the mammon of unrighteousness of the other. So that there will be a necessity, that the little stone, cut out of the mountain without hands, should crush and break these obstacles, ere the way can be prepared for erecting his kingdom, wherein dwells righteousness.— And verily great will be the benefit of this kingdom of Christ, when it shall be submitted unto by the nations, for then righteousness and peace will kiss each other, Psalm, 95. 10. And God will extend peace as a river, and the glory of the Gentiles as a flowing stream, Isa. 66. 12. All burdens and tyrannical exactions will be removed; God will make their officers peace, and their exactors righteousness, Isa. 60. 17. And then it will be no difficult matter to spare many hundred thousand
The Comissioner's Letter to Gov. Prince. 192
pounds per annum, in so great and populous nations as these be, without neglecting the public tranquillity of the state, and the security of the same by a powerful militia, both at land and sea, so long as the necessity of the nations may require. But the season is not yet full come for these things, and there yet remains some of the sufferings of Christ to be fulfilled in the saints, and judgments upon his and their enemies. Wherefore I shall cease to say any more hereof at this time, and commend all these things to thy wise consideration. And the Lord give thee understanding in all things, which is the hearty prayer of him that wisheth all health and happiness to thee, and peace upon all the Israel of God.
A Letter from his Majesty's Commissioners to Governor Prince, written at Rhode Island, in 1664.
WE desire, that when you send us your assent to the third proposition, you would let it, and the other three, be fairly written together, that they may be presented, to his majesty. And that, at the end of them, you would add something to this purpose, That the articles of confederation, when the four colonies entered into an offensive and defensive league, neither did, nor shall oblige you, to refuse his majesty's authority, though any one, or all the other three, should do so: not that we have the least imagination of your denying your obedience to his majesty, but that we might stop some foul mouths in America, and that his majesty may be the more confirmed in his good opinion of your loyalty, who was informed (as we are told) that, that union was a war combination made by the four colonies, when they had a design to throw off their dependance on England, and for that purpose. We had told you this sooner, had we known it sooner. We have also sent you a short declaration of our meanings in the appointments of your bounds, which was not clear before, though intended. Hoping this messenger (whom we have hired and paid) may not come
too late, and returning you many thanks for your cost, kindness, and good company, we rest, Sir,
your affectionate friends and servants,
P. S. Thursday next we intend for Narroganset, and so on to Connecticut; and intend to call at Mr. Willet's as we come back ; when, if you please, we will underwrite the four propositions, as we promised at Plymouth, if you will send the papers thither. How it came to be forgotten, we know not. We hope you got well home ; and desire to be remembered to Major Winslow and Mr. Southworth.
Sir, if you know not of an opportunity to send this inclosed to Boston, I pray you hire a messenger, agree with him, and write word to Capt. Breedon what he must have, and he will pay him for your affectionate friend,
Articles of Agreement between the court of New-Plymouth and Awasuncks, the Squaw Sachem of Saconett, as follows.
IN admitting that the court are in some measure satisfied with her voluntarily coming in now at last, and submission of herself unto us; yet this we expect that she give some meet satisfaction for the charge and trouble she has put us upon by her too long standing out against the many tenders of peace we have made to her and her people.
And that we yet see an intention to endeavour the reducement of such as have been the incendiaries of the trouble and disturbance of her people and ours—and as many of her people as shall give themselves and arms unto us at time appointed, shall receive no damage or hurt from us ; which time appointed is ten days from the date hereof. Thus we may the better keep off such from her lands as may hereafter bring upon her and us the like trouble ; and to regulate such as will not be governed by her, she having submitted her lands to the authority of the government.
Indian Treaties. 194
And that if the lands and estates of such as we are necessitated to take arms against, will not defray the charge of the expedition ; that she shall bear some due proportion of the charge. In witness whereof, and in testimony of the sachem her agreement hereunto, she hath subscribed her hand in presence of
Mark, of the Squaw
The mark +
Plymouth, July 24, 1671.
The names of the Indians which are the people Awasuncks, Squaw Sachem of Saconett, who have, and do hereby engage their fidelity to his majesty's colony of New-Plymouth, and their subjection to his majesty's colony there established, and faithfully to observe the agreement made between the government there, and the said Awasuncks Sachem, in behalf of herself and her people, subscribed by her, at Plymouth, in July, 1671. In witness whereof, they have hereunto subscribed their names, this last day of August, 1671, before
Totatomet, Constant Southworth.
Sausaman, &c. to the number of 42.
Dartmouth Indians' Engagement, Sept. 4, 1671.
MEMORANDUM—that we, the Indians living near or about the town of Dartmouth, in the jurisdiction of New-Plymouth, whose names are here underwritten, do freely own ourselves to be loyal subjects to his majesty of England, and to his colony of New-Plymouth; and do hereby solemnly engage ourselves and ours, to be subject to his majesty's authority there established, and to behave faithfully and friendly towards them; and that we will from time to time, if we hear of any malicious design acting against them, discover it to some of them with all speed; and also that we shall be ready to afford them any assistance against their enemies, according to our ability, even as we expect friendship,
Letter from Awasuncks to Gov. Prince. 195
and amity, and protection from them. For the performance thereof, we have hereunto set our hands, in the presence of
Between 40 and 50 Indians, living near or in the town of Dartmouth.
A Letter from Awasuncks to Governor Prince.
August 11, 1671. Honored Sir,
I HAVE received a very great favour from your Honor, in your's of the 7th instant; and as you are pleased to signify, that if I continue faithful to the agreement made with yourselves at Plymouth, I may expect all just favours from your Honor ; I am fully resolved, while I live, with all fidelity to stand to my engagement, and in a peaceable submission to your commands, according to the best of my poor ability. It is true, and I am very sensible thereof, that there are some Indians who do seek an advantage against me, for my submitting to his majesty's authority in your jurisdiction ; but being conscious to myself of my integrity and real intentions of peace, I doubt not but you will afford me all due encouragement and protection. I had resolved to send in all my guns, being six in number, according to the intimation of my letter ; but two of them were so large, the messengers were not able to carry them ; I since proffered to leave them with Mr. Barker, but he not having any order to receive, told me he conceived I might do well to send them to Mr. Almy, who is a person concerned in the jurisdiction, which I resolved to do ; but since then an Indian, known by the name of broad faced Will, stole one of them out of the wigwam in the night, and is run away with it to Mount Hope; the other I think to send in to Mr. Almy. A list of those that are obedient to me, and, I hope
An original Letter of Gov. Prince. 196
and am persuaded, faithful to you, is here inclosed. Honored Sir, I shall not trouble you further ; but desiring your peace and prosperity, in which I look at my own to be included, I remain,
your unfeigned servant,
Mr. Barker presents his humble services to yourself and the honored magistrates.
IN your last you shewed the earnest desire of the Indians with you to have their arms again, for their use and benefit. Truth is, we have not heard any thing of them all this while, but that they have carried it neighbourly and peaceably, and that, upon our first motion, they delivered them up to you ; and since they have been in like fears of danger with you from other Indians ; nor has it yet been made out, that they will assort with Philip at first or last; and be for looking at him as friends. We are willing they should have their arms again ; and would have you appoint a day when they will come together to a place appointed, and yourself, John Tessel, your constable, and such others as you may think meet; and see that they have them in as good a condition as you received them ; which being done, as a treaty of amity and love between them and us, as also to prevent suspicions and jealousies between them and us ; and that we may know our friends from others, and so have to put confidence in time of need, let them subscribe this submission to his majesty of England, and his authority here established, according as all other Indians have done, and stand upon record of court. And let it be done in presence of competent witnesses; and let some man write their names fairly, that they may be read. And let the Indians get the scrawl mark to their names,—let the month and day when it is done be set down, in the page preserved for it on the other side : and when this is done, let the paper be safely handed to me, as also the names of such as refuse to subscribe, if any be.
A Letter from Gov. Prence. 197
No more at present; but, committing you all to the safe keeping of the only blessed God,
I rest your loving friend,
FRIEND Awasuncks, be you and your husband kindly saluted. I received by Mr. H. and Mr. Southworth, August the last, a list of the names of such of your men, as also your husband's, that do freely submit to his majesty's authority here, and likewise own your government and engagement with us. And be well assured, we shall be ready, upon all just occasions, to carry friendly to you and them. But I see they fall much short of your persuasions and hopes, and indeed of my expectations by your last to me. Though I fault not you, with any failing to endeavour, only to notice your good persuasions of them outwent their deserts, for ought yet appeareth. I could have wished they had been wiser for themselves, especially your two sons, that may probably succeed you in your government, and your brother also, who is so nearly tied unto you by nature. Do they think themselves so great as to disregard and affront his majesty's interest and authority here, and the amity of the English ? Certainly if they do, I think they did much disservice, and wish they would yet show themselves wiser before it be too late; but let them take their course till they be convinced of their folly. I think you may do well to send some of yours to the next court, to desire your arms that are here, that you may have the use of them in this season. Let me hear from you or your husband. Nothing else at present, but prosperity to you and your people.
Your loving friend,
Dr. Watts's Letter to Dr. C. Mather. 200
Extract of a Letter from Dr. Watts to Dr. C. Mather, concerning Neal's History of New-England,
dated February 19, 1719, 20.
ANOTHER thing I take occasion to mention to you at this time is, my good friend Mr. Neal's History of New-England. He has been, for many years, pastor of a Congregational church in London ; a man of valuable talents in the ministry. I could wish indeed that he had communicated his designs to you, but I knew nothing of it till it was almost out of the press. I hoped when I first heard of it that I should there find an abstract of the lives and spiritual experiences of those great and good souls that
planted and promoted the gospel among you, and those most remarkable providences, deliverances, and answers to prayers, both among the English and Indians, that are recorded in your Magnalia Christi ; but I am disappointed of my expectations ; for he has written with a different view, and has taken merely the task of an historian upon him. Considered as such (as far as I can judge) most of the chapters are well written, and in such a way as to be very acceptable to the age.
But the freedom he has taken to expose the persecuting principles and practices of the first planters, both in the body of the history and his abridgement of their laws, has displeased some persons here, and perhaps will be offensive there. I must confess I sent for him this week, and gave him my sense freely on this subject. I could wish he had more mollified some of these relations, and had rather left out those laws, or in the same page had annexed something to prevent our enemies from insulting both us and you on that subject. His answer was—"That the fidelity of an historian required him to do what he had done:" and he has, at the end of the first and second volume, given such a character of the present ministers and inhabitants of the country, as may justly secure this generation from all the scandal; and that it is a nobler thing to tell the world that you have rectified the errors of your fathers, than if mere education had taught you so large a charity. He told me likewise that he had shown in the preface that all such laws as are inconsistent with the laws of England, are, ipso facto, repealed by your new charter. But methinks it would be better to have such cruel and sanguinary statutes, as those under the title of heresy, repealed in form, and by the public authority of the nation ; and if the appearance of this book in your country shall awaken your general assembly to attempt and fulfil such a noble piece of service to your country, there will be a happy effect of that part of the history which now makes us blush and ashamed.
I have taken the freedom to write a line or two to your most excellent governor on this subject, which I entreat you to deliver, with my salutations—And I assure myself that Dr. Mather will have a zealous hand in promoting so glorious a work, if it may be thought expedient to attempt it.
There is another thing wherein my brother is solicitous
Judge Auchmuty's Proposals to the Ministry. 202
lest he should have displeased you, and that is, the chapter on witchcraft; but as he has related matters of fact by comparison of several authors, he hopes you will forgive that he has not fallen into your sentiments exactly. For my own part (though I cannot believe that the spectral evidence was sufficient for condemnation) yet I am much persuaded that there was much immediate agency of the devil in those affairs, and perhaps there were some real witches too.
Mr. Neal is not unacquainted with your character for learning and piety, and the influence you have so deservedly obtained among the good people of New-England. He intends making you a present of his two volumes, and hopes you will accept them. I would have feign persuaded him, to add a third volume on the more spiritual parts of the history; and since I find he does not incline to it, I intend to desire it of your brother at Witney in Oxfordshire, with whom, last year, in my journey to Bath, I commenced a very pleasing acquaintance.
THIS island, situated between Newfoundland and Nova-Scotia, the English exchanged with the French for Placentia, in the treaty of Utrecht; and during the late peace between the two nations, the French, by the advantage of the place, carried on an unbounded fishery, annually employing at least a thousand sail, from two hundred to four hundred tons, and twenty thousand men. In the year 1730, there was a computation made of twenty two hundred thousand quintals of fish at Marseilles only, for a market; and communibus annis they cure above five millions of quintals. How dangerous a nursery of. seamen this island, therefore, has been, and ever will be, while in their possession, is too obvious to a British constitution ; and it is as demonstrable, the recovery of a place of this consequence will entirely break up their fishery, and destroy this formidable seminary of seamen ; for if they are happily removed from this advantageous
shelter, no protection is left for them on the fishing ground nearer than Old France ; therefore they will not expose themselves to the frequent surprises and captures of the English from this island and the continent, but finally will be obliged to quit the undertaking, leaving the English in the sole possession of this most valuable branch of trade, which annually will return to the English nation two millions sterling for the manufactures yearly shipped to her plantations, and constantly employ thousands of families, otherwise unserviceable to the public, and greatly increase shipping and navigation and mariners. It is further to be observed, while the English solely supply foreign markets with this commodity, Roman Catholic countries must have a sort of dependency on them.
Moreover, the acquisition of this important island cuts off all communication between France and Quebec, the navigation to Canada river bearing near it, and must obstruct the French navigation through the bay of St. Lawrence to the only possessions the French have upon the sea coast to the northward of Louisiana, in the great bay of Mexico. By this means Quebec must, in the run of very little time, fall into the hands of the English ; and the Indians, wanting the usual protection and supplies from France, will be obliged to court the English for both: arid having once experienced the treatment of both nations, as the latter can supply them better and cheaper than the former, they will consequently be riveted in interest to her; and thus the English will render themselves entirely masters of the rich and profitable fur trade, at present chiefly engrossed by the French.
But the consideration alone, that the British navigation and settlements on the sea coasts, throughout North-America, at present lie terribly exposed to men of war and privateers from this island, claims an attention to proper measures for immediately regaining possession of it; for from thence the French, with ease and little time, may station themselves in latitudes proper to intercept the navigation between England and all her plantations, and the intercourse of trade subsisting between one plantation and another, by captures ; supplying themselves with English manufactures, naval stores, masts, yards, plank, lumber, sugar, cotton, provisions, &c.; and from its vicinity with the continent may,
with the like ease, surprise our settlements all along the coast, and take the mast ships when loaded out of Casco and Portsmouth harbours ; whereas, the accession of this island to the British dominions, will not only secure our navigation, and guard our coasts in America, but will be a safe retreat for our men of war in the hurricane months, or when threatened with a superior force ; besides, there they, with greater safety and less expense to the crown, may refit, than in any other harbour in North-America.
The expense and danger in taking this place will bear no proportion to the advantages and profits thereby resulting to the English nation, and her plantations. To favour, therefore, an enterprise of so much consequence, it is humbly proposed that proper laws should be enacted, making it felony, without benefit of the clergy, in North America, to supply the enemy with warlike stores, provisions, &c.
And whereas Virginia, Maryland, New-York, Massachusetts-Bay, and Canso, in time of peace usually have each a station ship of twenty guns, it is humbly proposed to add to each, one of fifty guns, and they immediately to sail from home to their respective stations, with orders constantly to keep cruising on the fishing banks, and in latitudes proper to obstruct the French fishery and navigation, protect our own, and especially to intercept stores, provisions, &c. getting into Cape Breton.
It is likewise humbly proposed, that those men of war should carry clothing, arms, and all manner of warlike stores, necessary for a body of three thousand men, to be raised in the following governments, viz. in Virginia three hundred, in Maryland one hundred and fifty, Pennsylvania three hundred and fifty, New-York two hundred and fifty, Jerseys one hundred and fifty, Connecticut three hundred and fifty, Rhode-Island two hundred and fifty, Massachusetts-Bay one thousand, and New Hampshire one hundred and fifty ; and instructions to these governments to encourage the speedy raising of their respective complements, in order to have the more time to discipline them, concealing the real design under the specious pretence that those troops are raised to defend the governments from invasion, or the surprise of an enemy.
It is also humbly proposed, that these levies should be formed into three regiments, each regiment to consist of a
colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, seven captains, twenty lieutenants, ten ensigns, an adjutant, a quarter-master, and sergeants and corporals in proportion, and one thousand private men ; and, to encourage the raising them with expedition, that all the officers (ten lieutenants, the adjutant and quarter-master excepted) should be gentlemen of interest in those several colonies; the American half pay officers therein to be provided according to their merit and rank ; and the several governments to have transports, provisions, &c. necessary for the transportation of their respective quotas, by the beginning of April, 1745 ; and, having experienced the loyalty of the Massachusetts for twenty-seven years, I presume to engage they will cheerfully furnish their complement. It is with great submission further proposed, that a squadron of six sail of the line, with two thousand regular troops, and all things necessary for a formal siege, should take their departure from hence the beginning of March next, so as to anchor in Gabaron bay, within four miles of the rampart of Louisbourg, by the middle of April following ; there to be joined by the American troops under the convoy of the station ships. This may be executed without loss of men, no cannon commanding the entrance of this harbour, and where the navy of England may safely ride. It may be conceived advisable there to land the troops, and from thence to march and make regular approaches to the rampart, which is near three quarters of a mile in length, has a fosse and bastions suitably disposed; but both bastions and curtains are of masonry to the summit, which is thirty-six feet above the field; the quoins and embrasures are of hewn stone, the rest of small round stones, cemented with mortar composed of their own lime, which is very bad, and saltwater sand, incapable of standing the frost; insomuch that every winter there is repair almost equal to new. It is judged by connoisseurs that the fire of their own cannon will shake down the works, and that they will not stand a battery. If the rampart is taken, the citidal and four other batteries that command the harbour must yield ; and, what facilitates the design, there is no outworks, glacis, or covert-way.Robert Auchmuty.
From my lodgings in Cecil-street,
the 9th of April, 1744.
Historical Scraps. 206
Natick, June 17, 1727. DIED, John Thomas, aged 110 years. He refused to join with the Pequods against the English when they enticed him. He was among the first of the praying Indians. He joined in full communion when the apostle John Eliot gathered a church. He was exemplary through life, and had his reason and speech till a few hours of his death.
Marshpee, (an Indian society in the county of Barnstable) Nov. 26, 1729. This day was ordained here, Mr. Joseph Bourne. The council were, the Rev. Mr Lord of Chat-ham, and two Indian pastors of Martha's Vineyard. Mr. Bourne preached in the Indian language, 1 Tim iv. 16.— Mr. Lord preached in English, John i. 7. One of the Indian pastors began the solemnity with prayer, the other gave the right hand of fellowship. The service was concluded with singing, and the benediction, both in Indian and English.
The first Congregational church, since the days of primitive Christianity, was gather at Geneva, and the Rev. William Whittingham was chosen pastor, a famous Puritan, who fled from England in the reign of queen Mary, leaving an estate of l. 1100 sterling a year, which was a great estate in those times, and shows how conscientious principles will subdue the passion of avarice in good minds.
Upon the accession of queen Elizabeth, he returned to England, was made dean of Durham, assisted Mr. Sternhold in the old English version of the psalms, being the author of those composures signed W. W. and compiled a very learned treatise against the ecclesiastical constitutions. His estate lying near Boston, Lincolnshire, his son Baruch was the principal builder of the church in that place, but his object was to come and dwell in New-England. He was taken sick and died; his widow, then pregnant, came over, was delivered of a son John, the only heir of the family. He married a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Hubbard of Ipswich, and there lived much beloved, and died as much lamented. He left three sons; John and Richard went to England; William
Historical Scraps. 207
remained here, was educated at Harvard College, graduated 1660, settled in Boston, married a daughter of J. Lawrence, Esq. (formerly of Ipswich, afterwards alderman of New-York) applied himself to merchandize, and going over to London, there died of the small pox, but left five children.
1. Richard, who took his degree at Harvard College, 1689, went to London, enjoyed the family estate in Boston, Lincolnshire, and there died, leaving only female children — 2. William, a merchant, who went to the West-Indies and died. 3. Mary, the wife of governor Saltonstall, Connecticut. 4. Elizabeth, who married first the Hon. Samuel Appleton of Ipswich, then Rev. Mr. Payson of Rowley. — 5. Martha, married to Rev. John Rogers of Ipswich. The male line of the Whittinghams is now extinct.
Madam Saltonstall, the daughter mentioned above, lived in Boston after the death of the governor. He died in 1724, at New-London. She died in January, 1729. She was a most accomplished lady, a friend to literature and religion. Before the death of her husband, she gave l.100 to each college in New-England; and in her will, l.1000 to the college in Cambridge, for the support of two sober and ingenious students, professors of religion. She also left a very large silver bason to the Old South church, of which she was a great ornament, a considerable sum to their poor, and l.100 to the poor of the town, besides many other legacies. Her will was written in her own hand.
Mr. Corresponding Secretary,
Is the following worth any thing as an historical scrap ? It was found in an old almanac of a worthy gentleman lately deceased.
Account of the Small-Pox, 1721.
Number of inhabitants above the mill-creek, 6018 } 10,567
north end, 4549 Of these, had it S. of mill-creek, 3217 } 5813
north end, 2596 Died. S. 490
In 1752. The account of the overseers of the town.
Had the small-pox in the natural way,
Inoculate, 2113, but of these there were 139 blacks.
Died, natural way,
Died of inoculation,
Removed out of town,
Those who not inhabitants who had it in town, 84.
Sick, 23, at the time the account was taken.
To have it, 174.
AN account of Newspapers from the Boston News-letter, the first ever published in America, about the fourth year of the present century, to the revolution of the country, must give peculiar satisfaction to all curious inquirers, and certainly comports with the object of our society.
It is observed in the life of Dr. Franklin, that in 1720, or 21, the New-England Courant was published, and that it was the second ever printed in America—the first being the Boston News-letter. "Great men are not always wise ;" they are very frequently careless and inacurate, especially in little matters of chronology. The doctor tells us, that his brother, who was engaged in this business, undertook it against the advice of his friends, who were persuaded that
A Narrative of Newspapers printed in New England. 209
the country could not support a second paper. It seems strange, as he was in the office with his brother, that he should not recollect which of the years the Courant was published. It was printed in the summer of 1721. It was not the second paper. We have many papers of the Boston Gazette, which was printed in 1720, toward the end of the year. This was the second paper, and printed by S. Kneeland. In July and August, 1722, the numbers of the papers were,
Boston News-letter, Monday, July 2, 961 } 1722
Boston Gazette, Monday, July 2, 136 New-England Courant, Monday, July, 48
There are files of papers; which I mention, lest a mistake may be thought to arise from one or two numbers often found among typographical errors.
What makes it surprising that Dr. Franklin should not recollect the Boston Gazette, is, that it was the post paper. The post-office first gave rise to the publication of newspapers in this country. The Boston News letter was printed by B. Green, Newbury-street, for John Campbell, post-master. The Boston Gazette was printed by Samuel Kneeland for P. Musgrave, post-master.—Mr. Green, at this time, printed the News-letter for Mr. Campbell, who was not in office.*
Some time after this, the old paper, or Boston News-letter, fell into other hands: for we find Mr. Green undertook another paper, called only the Weekly News-letter, Thursday, August 27, is the only paper I have seen—number 192. It is by B. Green ; his office in Newbury-street. This was the fourth newspaper in America. Soon after, the famous New-England Journal was issued from the press ; the first number, March 27, 1727—printed by Samuel Kneeland ; his office in Queen-street—and afterwards by S. Kneeland and
* A complete set of the Boston News-letter, for the years 1716 and 17, were in the library of the late Rev. Andrew Eliot, of this town, who was peculiarly fond of historical researches, as they relate to the early state of this country. These papers now make a part of the collections of the Historical Society.
They have likewise the first years of the New-England Courant, the donation of Mr. Benjamin Burt.
In the Boston News-letter, there is an account of the snow which fell in Feb 1717, commonly called the great snow, as it exceeded any ever known before or since. Many have heard of it—some now alive can recollect how they have heard older people tell of it, but there are no printed accounts, perhaps, but what are taken from these papers.
A Narrative of Newspapers printed in New-England. 210
Thomas Green—and continued to be published jointly by them from July, 1727, nearly 25 years.
Our design, say the editors, in this paper, is to "entertain the public with as edifying things as occur to our enquiries. Now we know not what can be more so than a brief and plain account of the Protestants, oppressed and languishing at this time under the tyranny of Rome. There are many good people, who, for very good reasons, will be thankful to be informed of this matter."
They publish several extracts from a book called Suspiria Vinctorum, in which it is said, 2000 churches in France were broken up by edicts from the king.
The Protestants of the Palatinate, though still refugees, from other countries, were still kept under the Diet, and persecuted by the Jesuits.
The state of the Vaudois is described in as melancholy strains as ever flowed from the harp of any sad wight whose spirit would keep his instrument going, whilst others, more dejected, would hang theirs upon the willows.
"Then poor Bohemia ! once almost entirely Protestant, now what an Aceldama !" The same in Hungary and Poland.
The foreign and domestic intelligence seems to have been collected with great care ; and such accounts of births and burials as make a newspaper valuable to those who make calculations concerning the population of places. It may be excuseable in the writer of this in saying, that if more attention was paid of occurrences, such as we find in the old newspapers, no readers could be displeased, and a few would be highly entertained. The most craving appetite for political discussion and sentimental essays might be gratified, and yet a small space given to things, apparently trifling, but which become important afterwards, as matters to which we can refer. In the first number of the Journal, mention is made of the ordination of Thomas Smith, Falmouth.— This gentleman lately died, a remarkable instance of longevity, and continued minister of that church, having the pleasure of seeing the wilderness subdued, and the country, far and wide, settled, which was without inhabitants—and how many churches gathered!—the Vine now extends her boughs to the sea, and her branches to the river.
There is also mention made in this paper of the death of
Benjamin Franklin, aged 77, a "rare and exemplary christian."
The New-England Journal was enriched with periodical essays, like the Courant, written by men of wit and learning, and were called Essays on miscellaneous subjects. The twenty-two first numbers are complete, in our collection of papers; but they were soon dropt. Except a chasm for two months, the Journal is nearly complete for the years 1727, 28, 29, 30, and among the bound volumes of the Historical Library. The editor of these periodical essays styles himself Proteus Eccho, Esq.* Some of them were printed in the Boston Magazine, 1784. It is a desideratum to have the whole republished.
The Journal united the sentimental excellence of the Courant with the domestic and foreign intelligence, which it seems to have been the object of the other papers to gather. The pieces are more of a classical and moral than political kind. The design of the Franklins was to write with freedom upon subjects of religion and government, in which they went too fast for their interest, and perhaps some have thought for their honour, or the reputation of the country. In the disputes upon the new method of treating the smallpox by inoculation, the editors of this paper took a decided part against inoculation, and were acrimonious in their reflections upon those who introduced it. Perhaps in their zeal against the influence of the clergy, they were angry at the thing, because they were active in recommending it; though for the health of the people.
In January, 1729, a new set of periodical essays were written in the New-England Journal, with Latin mottoes. It continued as many as eighteen or twenty numbers, regularly. And there is a wish frequently expressed by the customers,
* The literary club who were concerned in this business are said to consist of a number ; — among them were the late Dr. Byles, and Matthew Adams, sensible mechanick; of him Dr Franklin thus speaks in his life—"At length Mr Matthew Adams, an ingenious tradesman, took notice of me, who frequented our printing-office, and had a handsome collection of books. He invited me to see his library, and had the goodness to lend me any books I was desirous of reading.
A son of this Matthew Adams was minister of Durham, in New-Hampshire—the Rev John Adams a man of superior natural talents, but rather eccentrick in his genius. A specimen of fine writing was exhibited in a letter sent to this town, with a donation, 1774, signed John Adams, and John Sullivan, the committee—the allusion to the land of promise was thought to be as elegant as it was pious.
A Narrative of Newspapers printed in New-England. 212
that learned gentlemen would resume their pens with like periodical essays in favour of virtue and science.
Monday, September 27, 1731, began the Weekly Rehearsal—the printer, J. Draper—the editor, Jeremy Grid-ley, Esq. who became one of the greatest characters in the line of his profession, and whose powers of speech and thought are remembered by those who were personally acquainted with him.*
That the Rehearsal might appear with proper dignity, it is enriched with mottoes from the classicks. The first is—
Floriferis ut apes in saltibus, omnia libant,
Omnia nos itidem. Lucret.
Fungar vice cotis, acutum
Reddere quæ ferrum valet, exsors ipsa secandi. Hor.
It will be agreeable to some to read the address to the public by the editor, who continued the sentimental strain so long as the paper lasted.
"There is nothing of greater disservice to any writer, than to appear in public under too forward and sanguine expectation. But either he must elevate himself to the fondness of his reader's fancy, or both of them expect to be dissatisfied, the reader by a disappointment, and the writer by a cold reception. To prevent, therefore, any inconvenience of this nature, I shall here enter into the design of the present undertaking, and delineate the idea I would have every reader conceive of it. As to the reasons that have engaged me in it, several, I find, have been assigned, all which I leave in the same uncertainty and suspense, since there is no necessity of declaiming upon motives, where the production is to be useful and entertaining. And to be so, as far as
* In a London edition of a Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, printed in the Boston Gazette, 1765, the author of it is said to be Jeremy Gridlev, Esq. Attor-ney-General of the province of Massachusetts-Bay, Member of the General Court, Colonel of the first regiment of militia, President of the Marine Society, and Grand Master of the Free Masons. He died at Boston. Sept 7, 1767.
The Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, says a writer in the London Chronicle, July 19, 1782, is one of the very finest productions ever seen from North-America. Happily, the writer still lives, as appears in a letter to T H. from his friend in Boston.
The writer was not J. Gridley, but John Adams, being the first rays of that rising light so splendid in the meridian lustre.
This illustrious statesman speaks in the highest terms of respect of J. Gridley, in his answer to the address of the Free Masons.
A Narrative of Newspapers printed in New-England. 213
possible, is the professed design of this paper—an intention that takes in a wide extent, and variety of subjects. For what is there, either in art, or nature, or history, not to be accommodated to this view. The minutest things, when set in a due light, and represented in apt words, will divert, and the greater be entertaining of themselves. The nature of this design, then, is not to be confined to any particular argument, and in fact will be circumscribed by nothing but duty, discretion, and good manners. These are the fences and boundaries therefore I would think myself obliged never to transgress. For however uneasy a dissolute and licentious pen might be, under these limitations, yet without them there is certainly no real pleasure in any action of life; and with them, there is room for the widest range of thought, and the freest excursions of fancy. Room enough, every one will be ready to admit, but where shall we find the powers to traverse and cultivate it? Where the man equal to it ? This is a hard unnecessary question. I need not go far to say where he is not, neither is there need of proceeding far to shew where he is. For without any pretence to genius, or universal capacity, an indifferent hand may be allowed once in seven days to publish a Rehearsal, and perhaps to entertain. A Rehearsal, what can we suppose it, but in the general course to be derivative ? And what an infinity of sources have we to derive from. The ancients are yet living, and many of these later ages will ever live with them. They are too pure to displease, too numerous to fail us. And is it impossible for an industrious hand to give them a different course ? May he not be useful to the public, by directing them where they will be valued, and where otherwise perhaps they would not have been enjoyed ? This is all the vanity that can be imputed to the publisher of a Rehearsal; for as the paper takes its name, the readers should form their opinion from the general design. I am well aware of the exceeding and almost insuperable difficulty of being an original to this knowing and polite age. For besides the fertile and comprehensive genius nature must bestow, how many other qualities are requisite to form a good and a just writer. Easiness of mind, and a competent fortune are indispensably necessary. For how can wit and humour be employed by a man in want ? How can the arrangement of ideas be attended to, by him whose affairs are in confusion ? Travel, and the most; refined conversation,
A Narrative of Newspapers printed in New-England. 214
are to be added to these accomplishments: and beyond these it were easy to select many others, that enter the character of an original author, and discountenance those who want them from any pretences to it. I would therefore decline this path, and presume no farther than Mr Locke says every man may, without the least imputation of vanity.— "Since no man (saith that great author) sees all, and we generally have different prospects of the same thing according to our different positions to it, it is not incongruous to think, nor beneath any man to try, whether another may not have notions of things, which have escaped him, and which his reason would make use of, if they came into his mind."—These views and attitudes we apprehend things in, are infinitely diversified by the circumstances of persons. And there is, I am persuaded, scarce any man of the least observation and remark, who has not been entertained with some appropriate cast of thought, and turn of humour, even where he least expected it. Should I ever venture, therefore, beyond the limits of a rehearsal, this would be my plea and vindication : and should I fail in the attempt, what a great pleasure and obligation would it be, for some of my better readers to imitate the example of the Oxford scholar, who, although he had acquired an excellent hand in music, yet afterwards falling into the deepest melancholy, grew averse to it, and could not be prevailed upon by his friends to touch it. They had but one way to excite him, and that was, for some unskilful hand to take his violin and scrape upon it. He would then immediately snatch it from him, and in a kind of resentment, give it the utmost elegance of sound and harmony.
"What has been said, considers this paper only in the essay kind and speculative view ; which is but half the design, for it is intended to be a narrative of whatever shall occur in commerce, in the civil and learned world, as far as it deserves our attention and comes within our notice. It will be the endeavour of the publisher to procure the best intelligence, and to digest it in the most suitable method. He would aim to give the sheet all the variety and aspects it is capable of receiving; for upon looking over the list of subscribers, he finds names of every quality, and presumes there are tastes of every degree to be pleased.
"He owns himself under indelible obligations to the gentlemen that have favoured and advanced the design, and
A Narrative of Newspapers printed in New-England. 215
would not question their continuance till it deserves their disesteem, and it becomes an opiate, by having too great aft infusion of the poppy.——"
This paper was printed only one year—the editor changed his printer toward the latter part of it; then it was printed by Thomas Fleet, at the Heart and Crown, Cornhill.
Mr. Fleet came from England, was among the zealous whigs that opposed Dr. Sacheverel and the high church party. He and his sons printed the paper called the Evening Post, which, for its impartiality, collection of facts, news, political speculations, and journal of the times, was always valued as one of the very best publications in any part of America. The first number was emitted soon after the Rehearsal ceased—and the last number was April 24, 1775.
Thus have I brought down the history of newspapers. If this narrative is worth pursuing, I shall continue it to the revolution ; but since that important period in the annals of this country, they have become innumerable.
In the year 1771, Dr. Franklin says there were twenty-five printed in America. I should suppose more, considering how many were then emitted from the presses in New-England.
None were printed in any other of the four New-England states, I believe, till after the year 1730.
In 1732, the first week in October, the Rhode-Island Gazette was first printed, by James Franklin.
There was no newspaper in New-Hampshire till Mr, Daniel Fowle left Boston, who set up the first printing press at Portsmouth, in August, 1756, and there published, on the 7th of October following, the first number of the New-Hampshire Gazette. Mr. Hall, the printer of our Historical Collections, was then with him, and, under his direction, performed the first printing which ever was done in that province. Mr. Fowle died in 1787, having, by himself or in company, edited the Gazette about 30 years.
I am not so well acquainted with Connecticut as to say when the first newspaper was issued—but am informed that some of the family of Green are now there in that line of business. Dr. Trumbull says, that there was no printer in Connecticut till they sent for Mr. Timothy Green, a descendant of Mr. Samuel Green, the first printer in America. He was invited by the council; and the assembly, for his encouragement, agreed that he should be printer to the governor
A brief Account of Settlements in and about Narraganset-Bay. 216
and company, and have fifty pounds, the salary of the deputy-governor, annually. He was obliged to print the election sermons, the proclamations for fasts and thanksgivings, and laws which were enacted at the several sessions of the assembly. He came to Connecticut in 1714, and fixed his residence at New-London. He and his descendants. were for a great number of years printers to the governors and company of Connecticut.
This respectable author mentions, in a note, that Mr. Thomas Short was sent by Mr. Green, in 1709, and should be considered as the first printer in the colony.
The typographers of America, and all who reflect how much indented we are to the printing-press for the diffusion of knowledge, will ever respect the name of Green.—For mine own part, I experience a sensation similar to what I feel when I read the history of the family of Medici—
—parva compere magnis.
Anno 1634. Mr. Roger Williams purchased lands of the Narraganset sachems, bordering on Pautucket river; and, with others that came to him, built a town, and called it Providence ; and in a short time after, purchased an island in said bay, and called it Providence, being about or near 7 miles long, and may be counted 3000 acres.
1637. Mr. William Coddington and his friends purchased an island of the said sachems, called Aquetneck, and next year settled it with inhabitants, and named it Rhode-Island ; built two towns on it, about ten miles asunder, and called them Portsmouth and Newport. The island may be about 15 miles long, and the broadest place may be 4 miles wide, and may contain 20,000 acres. The inhabitants, by consent, erected a government amongst themselves, and were ruled by judge and elder, Mr. Coddington being judge.
1641. Mr. Richard Smith purchased a tract of land of the same sachems, in the Narraganset country, amongst the thickest of the Indians, who were very numerous, and reputed
A brief Account of Settlements in and about Narraganset-Bay. 217
to be 30,000, and erected a house for trade, being far from English neighbours, and gave free entertainment to all travellers, it being the great road of the country.
1642. Some persons, to the number of 11 or 12, purchased also a tract of land about 14 miles to the northward of Mr. Smith's trading house, built a town, and called it Warwick.
1643. The inhabitants of the Massachusetts-Bay procured an order from the Earl of Warwick, Oliver Cromwell, and other persons, for the rule and government of the Narraganset country. In the same year, afterwards, Mr. Roger Williams procured the like order, from the same persons, for the rule and government of the said tract, with whom the inhabitants of Rhode-Island joined, and made a government between them.
1650. Sundry disputes and differences arising among them, Mr. Coddington went for England, and procured a commission from the powers there regnant, for the government of Rhode-Island, distinct from the main land, to which the inhabitants submitted; but in seven or eight months overthrew the government, and forced the governor to flee for his safety, and then returned to the late government they left.
When Oliver Cromwell assumed the throne, they ruled by a letter from him, &c.
1657. Mr. William Coddington and Mr. Benedict Arnold purchased an island of the same sachems, called Quononoquot, for themselves and friends, and settled it, and is now made a town, and called Jamestown.
In the same year, Mr. John Hull, Mr. John Porter, and three persons more, purchased a large tract of land in the southern parts of the Narraganset country, and called Pottaquamscut purchase, and have settled a part of it.
1658. Mr. Richard Smith, jun. purchased an island, called Hog-Island, of Wamscotta, sachems of Whampinages, and lies in the mouth or entrance into Bristol harbour, may contain 2 or 300 acres.
In the bay are many more islands, most of them small; were all, one or other, purchased of the natives.
1659. Mr. John Winthrop, Major Humphrey Atherton, and associates, purchased of the Narraganset sachems, two tracts of land, joining to the bay, one lying to the southward of Mr. Smith's trading house, and the other to the northward of it, and settled it with inhabitants.
A brief Account of Settlements in and about Narraganset-Bay. 218
1660. Mr. John Winthrop, Major Humphrey Atherton, and their associates, paying a sum of money for the Indian sachems to redeem their lands that they had mortgaged, for the payment, took a mortgage of them of the same lands, and allowing them a longer time for payment, and failing therein also, anno 1662, surrendered up their lands to them, and gave them quiet and peaceable possession and seizin, by turf and twig.
1662. Connecticut people, by their agent, obtained of his majesty, king Charles II. a charter of incorporation for a government, including the .Narraganset country.
1663. The inhabitants of Rhode-Island, &c. petitioned his majesty for a charter, and to include the Narraganset country ; which bred a dispute between the two agents, who both agreed to a reference, and was accorded and issued, under four heads, two whereof were ;—that property should not be destroyed, and that the inhabitants and proprietors of the lands about Mr. Smith's trading-house, should choose to which government they would belong; and they chose Connecticut. Upon this agreement of the two agents in England, a patent was granted to the agent for Rhode-Island, mentioning the agreement in the charter.
Note, that all the lands in the Narraganset country, and islands in the Bay, were purchased by several persons of one and the same sachems, and their successors, before any charter of incorporation for government for those lands, so contested for, was granted, and his majesty, in the charter granted to Rhode-Island, allows and confirms all our purchases already made.
1664. Four commissioners were deputed, by commission from his majesty, to settle all differences between colony and colony, namely, Mr. Richard Nichols, Sir Robert Carr, Mr. George Cartwright, and Mr. Samuel Maverick ; but the power lay in Mr. Nichols, for without him they could act nothing that was valid. The other three, without Col. Nichols, passed some orders in Narraganset country, and took the country from both governments (as they said) until the king's pleasure was known, and called it the king's province, and ordered fourteen persons to exercise authority there, as justices of the peace, until, &c. Col. Richard Nichols, understanding what the other three commissioners had done without his knowledge, reversed their orders, and declared them null and void, and that all and every one
A brief Account of Settlements in and about Narraganset-Bay. 219
should keep their possession until the king's pleasure were known.
1665. The government and council of Rhode-Island,. &c passed an order for outlawing the people called Quakers, because they would not bear arms, and to seize their estates; but the people in general rose up against these severe orders, and would not suffer it.
1672. The general Assembly of the colony of Rhode-Island confirmed all the purchases of Major Atherton and his associates, as may be seen in page
1675. A war broke out with the Indians round about us, and continued about two years; but at length the Indians were killed and fled away.
1678. Capt Randal Houlden and Capt. John Greene, agents for the town of Warwick, in a private difference went for England, and informed his majesty that both government and soil of the Narraganset country belonged to him, and that there was never any legal purchase there made.
1678, 9. His majesty writes to all the colonies in New-England of this information, and commands them forthwith to make their right and title, both of soil and government, to appear before him at Whitehall, or else he would proceed so and so, &c.
1679. In obedience to the king's command, the colony of Rhode-Island and Providence plantations made their address to his majesty, claiming only right to the government of the Narraganset, by virtue of the charter, and laid no claim to the soil, desiring his majesty would bestow it on them. The colony of Connecticut employed one Mr. William Hains to carry the address to his majesty, laying no claim to the soil, but to the government by virtue of a prior charter to the charter of Rhode-Island, &c. Major Atherton's associates made their address to his majesty, and claimed the soil by virtue of purchase from the natives.
The commissioners of the united colonies (so called from their annual meeting) laid the matter before his majesty in a very methodical manner, laying no claim either to soil or government, only Connecticut aforesaid, as by their several addresses to his majesty may more plainly appeal.
1683. Upon these several addresses, his majesty grants a commission to Edward Cranfield, Esq. Mr. Samuel Shrimton, and sundry other persons, to examine into the right with the several claims, and to make a report thereof to his majesty.
In the same year, in obedience to his majesty's commands, the said Edward Cranfield, Esq. with a competent number of the persons, convened at Mr. Richard Smith's house, in the Narraganset country ; where was the greatest appearance of the most ancient English and Indians that were then living (that the like can never be again) to testify to the truth of their knowledge, &c. And from thence the commissioners adjourned to Boston.
1683. Edward Cranfield, Esq. and the rest of the persons commissionated, that met, made their report to his majesty in full and ample manner, declaring that the government of said country belonged to the colony of Connecticut, and the soil to Major Atherton and his associates.
1685. Upon this report, his majesty, king James II. declares his pleasure, and grants a commission to Col. Joseph Dudley for the government of the Massachusetts Bay, &c. Narraganset country or king's province being included in it.
1686. Col Dudley exerts the government of the said Narraganset, and takes possession thereof; establishes courts of judicature, and constitutes officers proper for such courts, and made justices of the peace, and did all acts suitable for a government; and all persons, there inhabiting, submitted to it. In the same year, Sir Edmond Andros came into New-England governor of the Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Narraganset, and Rhode-Island. The president and council having examined the right and titles of Major Atherton and associates to the lands of the Narraganset, by them claimed, approved and allowed thereof.
1689. The Massachusetts seized their governor and imprisoned him, and overthrew the government. After some time he made his escape from them, and came to Rhode-Island for safety ; but the people there following the example of the Massachusetts, imprisoned him, and delivered him up to those that before imprisoned him.
From that time forward to this day, the strongest party in Rhode-Island, &c. who imprisoned their governor, have ruled with a high hand, by virtue of their charter, and compelled, by force, the people of Narraganset to submit to them, and are now selling and disposing their old proprietors and rights to whom they see good.
History of Newton. 253
Description and History of Newton, in the County of Middlesex.
By the Rev. Jonathan Homer.
THE town of Newtown, or Newton, (as it is written indifferently in the ancient records, the later constantly omitting the w) has Roxbury, Brookline, and Cambridge on the east, Watertown and Waltham on the north, Weston and West-Needham on the west, and East Needham and Dedham on the south. It lies from 6 1/2 miles, the distance of the boundary line adjoining Cambridge by the West-Boston bridge, to 11 1/4 miles, terminating at the lower falls, in a westerly direction from Boston. From Water-town line, near Gen. Hull's, to Dedham line, are 6 miles, 36 rods, along the county-road. From the county-bridge at the lower falls, adjoining the west part of Needham, to Cambridge line, by the road, are 4 miles, 3 quarters, 51 rods. The whole township, including ponds, the principal of which, adjoining the Baptist meeting-house, contains 33 acres, 2 quarters, 24 rods, has been accurately estimated at twelve thousand nine hundred and forty acres. Charles-River, furnishing several excellent mill-spots, by numerous bendings, encircles a considerable part of the town, measuring by its course about sixteen miles, including all its curves.
The exact period of the commencement of the settlement is unknown. As it was considered, originally, a part of Cambridge, one of our most ancient towns, and was styled Cambridge Village, or New-Cambridge, till the period of its incorporation, December 8, A. D. 1691, this district probably began to be cultivated soon after the settlement of the elder part of the town.
Its soil is various. It contains a handsome proportion of rich productive land, with considerable wood for fuel. Its agriculture and its buildings have been considerably improved, of late years. Its cider has long maintained a good reputation at the market. Increasing attention is paid to the improvement of the fruit by inoculation and grafting. Its situation is generally elevated; and it contains but little low and sunken land. Gentlemen of observation, who have travelled considerably in various parts
History of Newton. 254
of the United States, have agreed to acknowledge, that the town possesses an uncommon proportion of choice and beautiful scites for country seats. From the early settlemtnt of the place it has been remarkably distinguished for the salubrity of its air, and the health and longevity of its inhabitants. The Rev. Mr. Cotton, who deceased about forty years since, and who had the experience of more than forty years, used frequently to mention, with gratitude and admiration, that he knew of no town so healthful and so rarely visited with prevailing and fatal diseases. From accurate bills of mortality for about fifty years past, it appears, that a seventieth part of the inhabitants dies annually. In the East Congregational Society, consisting of about 700 souls, 154 have died from January 1, 1782, to January 1, 1799, averaging nine a year. Of this number 49 (considerably upwards of a fourth part) arrived to their 70th year, and beyond, and 63, (more than a third part) arrived to their 60th, and beyond. The sorrows of early-widowhood are seldom known here. Of married men beneath 40, only one died within the bounds of the East Precinct, including the families of the Baptist Society living within the same bounds, during more than sixteen years.
The inhabitants are generally industrious and intelligent husbandmen. But there are some manufactures in those parts of the town which adjoin Charles-River. At the lower falls, there is one snuff-mill with four mortars, one fulling-mill, and two paper-mills. At the upper falls, where there is a romantic fall of 20 feet, perpendicular, and a descent of 35 feet in half a mile, there are three snuff mills, containing twenty mortars, the property of General Eliot. There is also a paper mill adjoining Water-town. A very capacious brick building has lately been erected by General Hull, for the brewing of ale and strong beer, and is occupied by an eminent English brewer. It is one of the most favourable situations within the state for a brewery, as it is supplied with the purest water, proceeding through tubes from a living spring of superior quality ; and, from its situation upon Charles-River, it furnishes an easy and cheap conveyance of its manufacture to the capital.
Numerous emigrations have been made from Newton
History of Newton. 255
into the newly settled parts of the country. The number of the inhabitants, at the time of the last census, being 1360, did, therefore, but little exceed that of A. D. 1763. During ten years, terminating January, 1792, emigrated from the East Congregational Society, consisting of about 100 families, 143 souls, including 82 adults, generally young married persons. The ingenious Mr. Derham computes the births in England in general as 1 to 1 1/12 of the deaths. In Newton, notwithstanding the removal of many young newly married persons, the births appear to be as 2 to 1 deaths. During the above period, in the same society, there were 97 deaths, (17 of which were in the two neighbouring houses of Mr. John Jackson and Edward Durant) and 195 births. The marriages for the same term were 103 in the whole town. The sum total of the marriages for a century of years, from the incorporation of the town, is 747. This is very far beyond the proportion mentioned by the same ingenious writer for England, which he computes at 1 to 463 births. There has been only one instance of any inhabitant arriving to 100 years, though several have seen 90 and upwards. A. D. 1752, there died at the south east part of the town, a Mrs. Davis, then in her 116th year. She died at the same age with Clodia, the wife of Ophilius, whom Pliny the naturalist mentions as the eldest female who had died in ancient Rome. In 1792, 59 of the inhabitants, a twenty third part, had seen their seventieth year, and beyond.
As all the church-records perished in the conflagration of the Rev. Mr. Meriam's dwelling-house, A. D. 1770, I have endeavoured, during the sixteen years of my pastoral office, to recover the wrecks of the history, civil and religious, of Newton. I have endeavoured to collect and arrange such antiquities of the place, as might gratify an innocent curiosity, or subserve the improvement of our morals and religion. The most important article of the history of the place immediately follows.
Of Nonantum, the first civilized and Christian settlement of Indians within the English colonies of North-America, and of the first fruits of the American Gentiles.
When, some years since, I read the subsequent article in
the xxxixth volume of that great and admired work, the Modern Universal History, I little suspected my vicinity to the country of which it speaks. "The Rev. John Eliot, (educated at Cambridge in England, and pastor of the church at Roxbury) was the first of the English missionaries, who ventured into the countries of the savages to preach the gospel. In October, 1646, he set out on his mission, but sent forerunners to apprize the Indians of his intentions. Upon this he was met, upon the borders of the country he intended to convert, by five or six of the savages, headed by a grave Indian, one Waban, who welcomed him into a large wigwam, where he began to preach and instruct his new disciples." From Dr Cotton Mather's Magnalia, Mr. Neal's History of New-England, Governor Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts, and some other authorities, cited at the close, I am enabled to recite the following particulars.
Mr. Eliot, having previously learnt the language by hiring the aid of one of them who could speak English, went, October 28, 1646, with three others, (among whom was, probably, his constant, pious, and persevering companion, Mr. Daniel Gookin, afterwards major general of the colony) to the Indians of the neighbouring parts, to whom he had sent previous notice of his intention to address them on the subject of Christianity. Waban, a wise and grave man, of the same age with the missionary, forty two, a person of influence, met him at a small distance from their settlement, and welcomed him to a large wigwam on the hill Nonantum.* A considerable number of his countrymen
* In order to impress the mind of the reader with a greater confidence in the present high grounds of Nonantum, lying at the north-east extremity of Newton, as the scene of the first successful attempt to christianize and civilize the natives I subjoin the words of Mr. Gookin, who was soon appointed the civil superintendant of all the Indians, and who frequently accompanied Mr Eliot in his journeys. "In the year of the Lord 1646," (says he, in a M S. history lately published by the respectable and assiduous Historical Society of Massachusetts) "Mr. Eliot attained such a measure of learning in the Indian language, that he adventured to make beginning to preach the glad tidings of salvation unto their competent understanding. The first place he began to preach at was Nonantum, near Watertown, upon the south side of Charles-River, about four or five miles from his own house; where lived, at that time, Waban, one of their principal men, and some Indians with him."
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assembled here from the neighbourhood, to hear the new doctrine.
After a short prayer in English, Mr. Eliot delivered a sermon (the first probably ever preached in this part of the old town) from Ezek. chap. xxxvii. ver. 9, 10. "Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, (to which the Indian term Waban is said to answer) prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, (say to Waban) Thus saith the Lord God, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied, as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet an exceeding great army." This sermon employed an hour. The preacher began with the principles of natural religion acknowledged by themselves, and then proceeded to the leading doctrines and precepts of Christianity. He repeated and explained the ten commandments. He informed them of the dreadful curse attending the violation of the divine law. He then spoke to them of the person of Jesus Christ, of the place of his present residence and exaltation, and of his coming to judge the world in flaming fire. He taught them the blessed state of all those who know, and savingly believe in Christ. He related the creation and fall of man; and spoke of the infinite greatness of God, of the joys of heaven, and the punishment of hell; finally persuading them to repentance, and a good life. Having closed his sermon, he was desirous of knowing whether he had conveyed his sentiments intelligibly, in a language so new to himself. He therefore inquired, whether they comprehended his meaning; to which their unanimous reply was, "We understood all." Mr. Eliot and his friends then devoted about three hours to familiar and friendly conference with them, to hear and answer questions which naturally were suggested by the discourse. This first visit was received with cordial and general satisfaction. Many of his audience listened to the pathetic parts of the discourse with tears. Waban, particularly, received those happy impressions, which abode by him through life, and qualified him zealously and successfully to aid the generous design of converting his countrymen.
A still larger number attended the next visit of the
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apostolic Eliot to Nonantum, Nov. 11. He began first with the children, whom he taught these three questions, and their answers. Q. 1. Who made you and all the world? A. God. Q. 2, Whom do you expect to save you from sin and hell ? A. Jesus Christ. Q. 3. How many commandments hath God given you to keep ? A. Ten. He then preached about an hour to the whole company, concerning the nature of God, and the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ for procuring his favour. He informed them what Jesus Christ had done and suffered for the salvation of sinnersr and the dreadful judgments attendant upon the rejection of Him and his salvation. The whole company appeared very serious. Liberty being given to ask questions for further information, an aged man stood up, and with tears inquired, Whether it was not too late for such an old man as he, who was near death, to repent and seek after God ? Another asked, How the English came to differ so much from the Indians in their knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, since they had all at first but one father. Another inquired, How it came to pass that sea-water was salt, and river-water fresh. Another, That if the water was higher than the earth (as he supposed) how it comes to pass, that it does not overflow all the earth. Mr. Eliot and his friends spent several hours in answering these and some other questions. The Indians told them, upon their quitting them to return home in the evening, that "they did much thank God for their com-" ing; and for what they had heard, they were wonderful "things."
At the third meeting of Nov. 26, some of the Indians absented themselves through fear of their Powaws or Priests, who had threatened them with their secret power of inflicting the penalty of death upon those who should attend* One of these Powaws was, however, immediately and solemnly addressed by the intrepid missionary, who silenced and convinced him.
Two or three days after this meeting, at which the audience appeared very serious, Wampas, a sage Indian, with two of his companions, came to the English, and desired to be admitted into some of their families. He brought his son and two or three other Indian children with him,
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begging that they might be educated in the Christian faith. His request was granted.
At the next meeting, all who were present offered their children to be catechised and instructed by the English, who, upon this motion, resolved to set up a school among them. To accomplish this, it was necessary to reduce them from their savage life, and to bring them into a state of civil society. This was conformable to a frequent observation of Mr. Eliot, which claims our attention in our efforts to convert the aboriginals upon the borders of the United States, viz. "that the Indians must he civilized, as well as, if not in order to their being, christianized."
Accordingly the General Court gave the Indians of the neighbouring parts a tract of high land, called Nonantum, Agreeably to the advice of Mr. Eliot, who furnished them, by the public aid, with shovels, spades, mattocks, and iron crows, and stimulated the most industrious with money ; they soon built a sufficient number of wigwams, not with mats as usual, but with the bark of trees, and divided into several distinct apartments. The houses of the meanest were found to be equal to those of the sachems or chiefs in other places. They surrounded the town with ditches, (some traces of which are still discoverable at the southern extremity), and with a stone-wall. Some of the stones composing this encircling wall were removed within the memory of Mr. Abraham Hyde, who died A. D. 1794, AEt. **78, and who informed me, that he aided in removing them in very early life. At that time some fruit trees were still standing towards the foot of Nonantum, on the south side, which were reported to have been planted there by the Indians in some remote period of their residence on that spot.
The Indians, thus settled, were instructed in husbandry, and were excited to a prudent as well as industrious management of their affairs. Some of them were taught such trades as were most necessary for them, so that they completely built a house for public worship, 50 feet in length and 25 feet in breadth, which, as an eye-witness, the Rev. Mr. Wilson observes, "appeared like the workmanship of an English housewright."
The Rev. Messrs. Wilson, of Boston, Allen of Dedham,
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Shepard of Cambridge, and President Dunstar of Harvard College, went over to Nonantum, 3d of March, 1647, in company with several English, among whom probably was the great apostle of the American Gentiles, Mr. Eliot. A sermon was delivered. Among the questions proposed at this time, one woman inquired, "Whether she prayed, when she only joined with her husband in his prayer to God Almighty; and another inquired, by the interpreter, "Whether her husband's prayer signified any thing, If he continued to be angry with her, and to beat her." Rational and Christian answers were given to their questions. At this, and some other meetings, the English gave away clothes to the Indian men, women, and children ; so that on a lecture day the greatest part of them appeared handsomely dressed, after the English manner.
A particular account of these early and successful efforts to convert the heathens, was transmitted to England, and published there. One of the publications is styled, "Day-Breaking, if not the Sun-Rising of the Gospel with the Indians in New England," and was printed in London, 1647. Another, written by the pious Mr. Shepard of Cambridge, is styled, "The clear Sun-shine of the Gospel upon the Indians," and was published in London, 1648. I have sought, hitherto, in vain, for these publications, to which later writers owe their principal information on this interesting subject, though I have been favoured with the aid of the Historical Society of Massachusetts in my search.
The women of Nonantum soon learnt to spin, and to collect articles for sale at the market through the year. In the winter, the Indians sold brooms, staves, baskets, made from the neighbouring woods and swamps, and turkies raised by themselves; in the spring, cranberries, strawberries, and fish from Charles- River; in the summer, whortleberries, grapes, and fish. Several of them worked with the English in the vicinity, in hay-time and harvest; but they were neither so industrious nor capable of hard labour, as those who have been inured to it from early life.
The success and settlement of Nonantum encouraged further attempts of Mr. Eliot to extend the knowledge of the Gospel to the aboriginals of other places. He, accordingly, visited and preached to the Indians at Watertown,
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Dorchester-Mills, Concord, and as far as Pantucket-Falls on Merrimac River. He also extended his truly apostolical efforts to the natives of the colony of New-Plymouth, though their chief sachem and his son discountenanced his attempts. These exertions laid a happy foundation for the christianizing and civilizing of five thousand out of twenty thousand Indians, belonging to the twenty different tribes then in New-England.
The report of the happy attempts begun, and carried on, in this place, and hence extending widely among the poor pagans of the American wilderness, occasioned the Parliament of Great-Britain, then under the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, to pass an act, 27th of July, 1649, for the advancement of this good work. "Whereas," says the preamble of the act, "the Commons of England, assembled in parliament, have received certain intelligence from divers godly ministers and others in New-England, that divers of the heathen natives, through the pious care of some godly English, who preach the gospel to them in their own Indian language, not only of barbarous have become civil, but many of them forsake their accustomed charms and sorceries, and other satanical delusions, do now call upon the name of the Lord, and give great testimony of the power of God, drawing them from death and darkness to the life and light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ ; which appeareth by their lamenting, with tears, their mispent lives, teaching their children what they are instructed themselves being careful to place them in godly families, and English schools, betaking themselves to one wife, putting away the rest, and by their constant prayers to Almighty God, morning and evening, in their families, prayers expressed, in all appearance, with much devotion and zeal of heart :—All which considered, we cannnot but, in behalf of the nation we represent, rejoice and give glory to God for the beinning of so glorious a propagation of the Gospel among those poor heathen, which cannot be prosecuted with that expedition as is desired, unless fit instruments be encouraged and maintained to pursue it, schools and clothing be provided, and many other necessaries, &c.
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The act then proceeds to establish a corporation of sixteen, including a president or governour, (which office, some years after this date, was filled for a considerable period by that great and devout philosopher, the Hon. Robert Boyle, who gave l.300 to the object,) whose duty was to superintend the business of devoting the monies which should be given for christianizing, instructing, clothing, and civilizing the Indians. A general collection was ordered to be made for these purposes through ail the churches of England and Wales. The ministers were required to read this act in the churches, and to exhort the people to a cheerful contribution to so pious a work. Circular letters were published, at the same time, by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, recommending the same object. A fund, which, in Charles IPs time, produced six hundred pounds sterling per annum, was thus provided, the benefit of which has extended till the period of our independence and separation from the mother country. Gov. Hutchinson, who had the best means of information, observes, "Perhaps no fund of this nature has ever been more faithfully applied to the purposes for which it was raised."
The first civil laws which were ever established in this country, for the regulation of the aboriginals, were made for the settlement of Nonantum. Their laws, which are still preserved in ancient and modern publications, were designed for the promotion of cleanliness, decency, chastity, and industry, and the discouragement of the opposite qualities and vices. A court of judicature, over which an English magistrate (the Hon. Mr. Gookin being the first) presided, was appointed. The sachems had liberty, by summons or attachment, to bring any of their people to the said court, and to keep a monthly court for smaller causes among themselves. The sachems appointed officers to serve warrants, and to execute the orders and judgments of either of these courts. The fines imposed upon transgressors were to be devoted to bunding houses for the education of their children in learning, or to other uses for the public benefit. It was recommended by the government, both to Mr. Eliot and to the Magistrates, that "they should endeavour to make the natives understand
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the most useful laws of the English, and the principles of reason, justice, and equity, on which they are founded."
The high grounds of the north-east part of Cambridge Village (now Newton) appear to have been occupied by the Nonantum Indians (who, according to Mr. Gookin, were a subdivision of the once numerous and powerful tribe of Massachusetts) until A. D. 1651, when, by the increase of converts, the place was found too strait for them. A fertile and beautiful tract, of about 3000 acres, at Natick, 10 miles south west of their first settlement, was provided for their accommodation. Here was founded a more regular and well built town, with three principal streets, and suitable public buildings. At this place an Indian church continued, and flourished under a succession of indefatigable and pious teachers, natives and English, who officiated to them ; until within a few years past, by repeated wasting sickness and other causes, well elucidated in the highly judicious communications lately made to the Historical Society by their last pastor, still living, the Rev. Mr. Badger, and published in their Collections, they have become gradually and almost totally extinct.
The virtuous Waban accompanied his brethren to Natick, and was chosen a ruler of fifty in their civil administration. He died there, aged 70, A. D, 1674, testifying, with his dying breath, his obligations to that grace, which had brought himself, and his fellow-country men, from the darkness of paganism to the marvellous light of the Gospel. The name is still honourably remembered at Natick, where some of his posterity were known not many years since. The name and civil office of Esquire Waban, one of his descendants, is particularly mentioned. An instructive and serious exhortation from Matt. ix. 12, 13. delivered by Waban the first, to an Indian assembly convened on a day of fasting and prayer, 15th Nov. 1658, upon occasion of excessive rains, connected with a very general and alarming sickness, is summarily contained in the 1st vol. of Neal's History of New-England, p. 240 and 241.
Mr. Eliot gives this testimony of Waban, that "he had approved himself to be a good Christian in church order, and in civil order, a zealous, faithful, and steadfast ruler to his death." At his death he expressed an animating joy in
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the hope of heaven, where he should unite with the sculs of departed believers. He charged his children and friends not to mourn at his departure, and urged them all to confess, to repent of, their sins, and believe in Jesus Christ, in whom he trusted for the resurrection of his body. His last words, immediately before he expired, were, "I give my soul to thee, O my Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Pardon all my sins, and deliver me from hell. Help me against death, and then I am willing to die ; and when I die, O help me, and receive me."
Piambohu, of this place, is said to have been the second man next Waban, who received the Gospel. He brought many Indians with him to the second meeting at Waban's house on Nonantum. He was both a civil and religious officer. He survived to a considerable age. On his death bed, he recommended to his brethren to hear their newly ordained minister (Daniel, an Indian preacher) every sabbath day, and to "make strong their praying to God." He declared, that "he was contented, and even rejoiced under his sickness and sorrows, and that he trusted in the promise of GOD to believers, that they should be saved.
Old Jacob, who was among the earliest converts, cherished a singular memory, which he devoted to religious improvement. He died at 90 years of age, recommending union to his brethren at large ; and the most sacred and inviolable regard to the laws of equity, to the civil officers in particular. He declared himself satisfied with life, and departed in peace.
However, the number of praying Indians has been exceedingly reduced at this day, in which all the Indians, both clear and mixed, in all New-England, do not probably exceed one thousand ; yet in 1687 (41 years after the hopeful beginning at Nonantum) Dr. Increase Mather gives the following statement to Professor Leusden of Holland. " There are six regular churches of baptized Indians in New-England, and eighteen assemblies of catechumens,* (or candidates for baptism) professing the name of Christ. Of the Indians there are 24 preachers of the word. There are also four English ministers, who preach the Gospel in the Indian tongue."
* The Nonantum Indians were catechumens, only, till after their removal to Natick they formed into a church state.
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Having thus far traced the history of Nonantum, and of various characters and events connected with this history, it seems proper to remark, that the life and useful activity of the principal and apostolic missionary, Mr. Eliot, were prolonged to a late period. He translated, into the Nonantum or Massachusetts language, the whole Bible, for the edification of his converts. This was printed at Cambridge. I have searched in vain this and other books in the Indian tongue for the terms Nonantum, Nonandem, Noonatomen, and Noonanetum, (as they are differently written by successive writers) and can find no trace of the name given to their first settlement, said by Mr. Neal to signify " rejoicing," and by the tradition of this place, " a place of worship." Mr. Eliot also translated several other books of piety into the same language, commonly called the Natick tongue. We may judge of his activity and self-denial in carrying on the missionary work travelling and preaching through the wide dispersions of the several tribes, by an extract of a letter to his friend, the Hon. Mr. Winslow: " I have not been dry, night nor day, from the third day of the week till the sixth ; but so travel, and at night pull off my boots, wring my stockings, and put them on again, and so continue. But God steps in and helps, I have considered the word of God in 2 Tim. ii. 3 " Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." He united much firmness to great tenderness and assiduity for the civil and religious improvement of the Indians, who generally displayed the warmest attachment to him. The sachems, who feared the diminution of their arbitrary, oppressive power, by the prevalence of the just and mild principles of the Gospel, are said often to have insulted and opposed him. His usual reply to them was, " I am employed in the work of the great God, and, " therefore, fear not you, nor all the sachems of the country. " I am resolved, therefore, to go on with my work, and I " challenge you to touch me at your peril."
A little before the death of this eminent Christian and minister, who deceased A. D. 1690, Æt. 86, he said to a friend, making inquiries of his state of health, "Alas! I have lost every thing. My understanding leaves me. My memory, my utterance, fails me. But, I thank
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God, my charity holds out still. I find that grows rather than fails."History of Cambridge-Village and Newton.
Proceed we now to the history of the English church and settlement of Cambridge Village and Newton. On July 20, 1664, a regular church of Christ was first gathered among the English settlers of Nonantum or Cambridge Village, as this place was then indiscriminately called. The elders and messengers of the churches of Dorchester and Roxbury, including Rev. Richard Mather and Rev. John Eliot, were present. The ministers and messengers of Cambridge and Watertown probably attended, although their earliest records, which are lost by some unknown occasion, (as those of this chinch were by fire, A. D. 1770) cannot be found, to certify our obvious conjecture. Rev. John Eliot, jun. A. M. son of the apostolic Eliot, was then ordained pastor of this church, which was gathered on the same day. At the same time, and agreeably to the custom of that early period, Thomas Wiswall, lately a member of the Dorchester church, (and who is styled Rev. Thomas Wiswall in the Cambridge Town-Records) was ordained ruling elder, or assistant to the pastor, in inspecting and disciplining the flock. A very tender friendship prevailed between Mr. Eliot, jun. and Rev. Mr. Mitchell, of the first church in Cambridge, with whom he frequently exchanged pulpits. He received the first rudiments of a classical education at the Latin school then established in Cambridge. A. D. 1656, he took his degree of Bachelor of Arts at Harvard-College, where he continued in the pursuit of his studies till he became Master of Arts in 1659. He began to preach about the 22d year of his age, 1658. He is said to have been a person excellently endowed, and accomplished with gifts of nature, learning, and grace. He is represented as of comely proportion, ruddy complexion, and cheerful countenance. Quick apprehension, solid judgment, and excellent prudence are said to form prominent features in his character. He was a good classical scholar, and possessed considerable scientific knowledge for one of his age and period. His abilities and acceptation in the ministry are
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said to be pre-eminent. His piety, faith, love, humility, and zeal, shone conspicuous. Under the direction of his father, he attained considerable proficiency in the Indian language, and was an assistant to him in the missionary employment, until his settlement at Cambridge-Village. Even after his ordination here, he imitated the manner of his father, devoted himself to the instruction of the Indians, as well as of his own flock. Accordingly, he steadily preached once in a fortnight to them at Pequimmit (Stoughton) and sometimes at Natick. He won the affections of the Indians, who exceedingly lamented his death. A tender and inviolable affection subsisted between him and his English charge. He was born Aug. 31, 1636, and died Oct. 11, 1668, in the 33d year of his age, surviving his respected and beloved friend Mitchell only three months. Apprehending those calamities which burst upon his country a few years after his death, he addressed some of his friends from his death-bed in these words: " My dear friends, there is a dark day coming upon New-England. In so dark a day, how will you provide for your own security ? My counsel to you is, secure an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that will carry you safely to the world's end."
His family removed, after his death, to Connecticut; and from him, in the direct line of the elder son of each successive generation, proceeded the Rev. Richard Roswell Eliot, the present minister of Watertown.
By the church records of Roxbury it appears, that the Rev. Nehemiah Hobart, A. M. was ordained his successor, Dec, 23, 1674. The receipts of monies received by-Mr. Hobart, for his services as a preacher, and contained in the civil records of the village, revert to the year 1672, from which time he appears constantly to have supplied the pulpit. His relation to the college, as a fellow and tutor, probably occasioned the delay of his ordination. The forty years of his pastoral office, mentioned in his epitaph, must, therefore, include the two years' services which preceded this period. He was one of several brethren who received their academical education at Cambridge, and devoted themselves to the ministry. His father was the pious Mr. Peter Hobart, the first minister of Hingham,
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who strongly recommended studying in a standing posture to clergymen, as a preservative against that excruciating malady, the stone ; and who, in his last sickness, of which he died four years after the settlement of this son, took great delight in singing Psalms, observing, that "it was the work of heaven, which he was willing to anticipate." In Mr. Hobart, the Repairer of Breaches gave this bereaved flock a rich blessing. In him shone the scholar, the gentleman, and the christian.
Under the different forms of government proposed by the warm friends of the college, when threatened with the loss of their charter, Mr. Hobart's name is ever found in the different list of candidates for superintending the government of that academic body. He was, accordingly, among the governours of Harvard-College till his death.* This excellent pastor was free from superstition and bigotry, yet seriously and faithfully engaged in the discharge of ministerial duties. An unshaken harmony subsisted between him and his people through life. An aged father, Mr. John Hall, who deceased A. D. 1787, in the 94th year of his age, and who was about 18 years of age at his death, has repeatedly mentioned to me his serious and winning manner of address, which caused his congregation to hang upon his lips. His character may, perhaps, best be collected from the inscription on his tomb-stone, written in pure, elegant Latin, which time had long crusted over, and nearly effaced, but which, with the aid of my young friend, William Jenks, A. B. I have been able to trace. The original epitaph, with an English translation, will close our account of the amiable Hobart.
" Hoc tumulo depositæ sunt reliquiæ reverendi et perdocti D. D. Nehemiæ Hobart, Collegii Harvardini socij lectissimi, ecclesiæ Neotoniensis per annos quadraginta pastoris fidelissimi et vigilantissimi, singulari gravitate,
* Although this village lost its original relation to Cambridge by the act of incorporation, yet it has been inquired, whether the congregational ministers, who have succeeded Mr. Hobart, are, or are not, included within the description of the charter, which provides, that the ministers of the six neighbouring towns belong to the board of overseers. Or, in other words, why should the daughter of Cambridge, to whom was transferred, by the act of incorporation, the most ancient name of the mother, Newtown, be treated as a stranger ? Is she, or is she not, at least, as much one of the neighbouring towns of Cambridge, as Dorchester ?
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humilitate æque ac pietate et doctrina—a doctis et pijs eximia veneratione et amore recolendi. Natus erat Nov. 21, 1648. Denatus Aug. 25, 1712, anno ætatis 64."
"In this tomb are deposited the remains of the reverend and very learned teacher of divinity, Nehemiah Hobart, an estimable fellow of Harvard College, a highly faithful and watchful pastor of the church of Newtown for forty years. His singular gravity, humility, piety, and learning, rendered him the object of deep veneration and ardent esteem to men of science and religion. He was born Nov. 21, 1648, and died Aug. 25, 1712, in the 64th year of his age."
Soon after the settlement of Mr. Hobart, began the terrible war with Philip, king of the Wampanoags, a nation bordering on the colony of Plymouth, the seat of whose chief was at Mount-Hope, (now Bristol). Mr. Eliot had, in vain, attempted the conversion of him and his tribe, he declaring to the missionary, when endeavouring to persuade him to receive Christianity, that "he cared no more for the Gospel than for the button of his coat."
The successful attempt begun in this place, and so widely extended, had a happy tendency to prolong the tranquillity of the country in its period of infancy and weakness. The conversion and civilization of a fourth part of all the aboriginals of New England, (of which 3000 were within the bounds of the Massachusetts colony) occasioned an affectionate attachment of the praying Indians to the English, to whom they ever remained faithful. From the danger to which Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies were exposed by the war which began 29 years after the settlement of Nonantum, there is reason to believe, that had all the Indians, within their boundaries, continued uncivilized and unchristianized, and united against the English with the spirit which afterwards animated Philip and the warriors of his period and party, they would probably have compelled our fathers utterly to have relinquished the country.
Among others, the divine providence raised up, and qualified for distinguished usefulness in the Philippic war,
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that renowned partizan commander of horse, Thomas Prentice, of this place. On June 26, 1675, (two days after a day of public prayer to God for the success of the expedition ) Capt. Prentice, with a troop of horse* under his command, attended by Capt. Henchman, with the soldiers raised for the occasion in the capital, marched from Boston, proceeding towards Mount Hope, the lofty residence of king Philip. On 28th June, twelve of the horse, feeing in advance, fell into an ambuscade, when William Hammond of this place was mortally wounded. Being joined by the troops from Plymouth, they marched into the country of the Wampanoags, scouring the woods, with considerable loss to the enemy, whose petty monarch fled at their approach. Upon this, they marched into the country of the Narragansetts, the sachems of which powerful tribe renewed and confirmed a treaty of peace and alliance with the English. On this or some other occasion, during this war, Capt. Prentice is said to have crossed a river alone, ordering his troop, who stood drawn up at the passage, with their pistols cocked, to fire and advance in case of an attack upon his person ; and to have performed the singular exploit of seizing and securing, with his own hand, a suspected sachem, surrounded by his warriors, on the opposite bank of the river.
On July 18, the little army inarched 18 miles from Taunton to a large swamp, where Philip had collected his forces. Here they defeated him, and took one hundred prisoners. Had the troops immediately followed up their victory, the Wampanoag king acknowledged, that himself and his forces must have been in the complete power of the English. But night approaching, and the troops fearipg lest they should fire upon each other through mistake, in the darkness of a thick swamp, the action ceased, and Philip and his men in general escaped upon rafts across an adjoining river, before the next morning dawned. But it
* A troop, at this time, consisted of 60 horse beside officers, all well mounted and completely armed with back, breast, head-piece, buff coat, sword, carbine and pistols. Each of the twelve troops then in the colony was distinguished by their coats. The pay of a captain of horse was l 6, of a foot captain l 4, of a private soldier one shilling a day. In time of peace, the officers had an allowance for their expenses on days of muster. Hutch. C. M. p. 485.
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is foreign to the design of the present communications, to lay before our readers the particulars of that dreadful war, in which several of the first towns in the country Medfield, within 12 miles of us, Brookfield, Deerfield, Lancaster, Groton, and several others, were laid in ashes, and many lives were lost. Suffice it to say, that Capt. Prentice was active and eminently serviceable in every period of the war; that his name was a terror to the hostile tribes of Indians, by his suddenly collecting and marching his cavalry at the shortest notice, fighting on horseback or on foot, as the nature of the ground or the situation of the enemy required; that advancing, at a moment's warning, with twenty of his troop from the neighbourhood of his dwelling, and followed by the others as rapidly as they could receive notice at their homes, and march, he is said to have been the principal instrument, by his presence and exertions, of checking the sudden irruption and alarming progress of Philip's troops at Sudbury, about April 18, 1676, after they had burnt a part of the town, in defending which, the gallant Capt. Wadsworth (father of President Wadsworth) and Capt. Brocklebank, with so many of their soldiers, had perished. After the important check at Sudbury, where the enemy's spirits had been remarkably elevated by the preceding success, it is observed, that they became dispirited, and lost ground in all their following attempts, till the death of Philip, killed in a swamp by the hand of a friendly Indian, the 12th of the following August, gave the finishing stroke to the war.
The gallant Prentice, who, at the age of 54, began his military career, survived until July 7th, 1709, when he died, AEt. **89, by a similar casualty with his brave companion in arms, Col. Church, in consequence of a fall from his horse, upon his return from public worship, Lord s day, May 7th. He was buried with the respect due to so good a man, as well as brave defender of his country, by the troop under arms. On the footstone of his grave are inscribed the followed lines, which the teeth of time have almost effaced.
"He that's here interr'd needs no versifying,
A virtuous life will keep the name from dying;
He'll live, though poets cease their scribbling rhyme,
When that this stone shall moulder'd be by time."*
* His grand daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Hammond, who died the present year, April 12, was acknowledged to be one of the most virtuous, amiable, and sensible women who have ever adorned Newton.
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It may be proper here to mention a remark from Mr. Neal, which serves to shew the binding and friendly influence of the Gospel, that "the Indian converts discovered the most unshaken fidelity during this whole war; and that neither the persuasions, the promises, nor the threatenings of their hostile countrymen, could ever draw any of them from their allegiance to the English."
Soon after the removal of the tyrannical governor Andros from the chair, " May 20, 1689, the inhabitants of New-Cambridge met, and by a vote declared as follows :
"That it is our desire,
" I. That the Hon. governor and deputy-governor, and assistants chosen and sworn in the year 1686, and the deputies then chosen by the freemen for that year, do now resume the government of this colony according to charter privileges.
" II. That there may be an enlargement of freemen, that is to say, that those persons, who are of honest conversation, and a competent estate, may have their votes in all civil elections.
" III. That the court, having thus reassumed the government, then endeavour to confirm our charter privileges.
" IV. That the court, thus settled, do not admit of any change or alteration of government among us, until it be first signified to the several towns for their approbation."
" On the same day also the inhabitants made choice of ensign John Ward, as our representative or deputy in the present sessions."*
It is proper here to record the name of the intrepid Capt. Noah Wiswall of this place, who with his lieutenant Flagg and sergeant Walker, was slain Lord's Day, July 6, 1690, in a long and obstinate engagement between a party of Americans, and a body of French and Indians, at Wheeler's Pond (now Lee) in New-Hampshire.
A. D. 1696, a new meeting-house was built on the spot* The town book contains a receipt from the selectmen of Cambridge, dated the same year, for a certain sum paid by this district in produce at the following specified prices : " Indian corn three shillings a bushel, rye four shillings do, oats two shillings do.
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occupied by the first, which had been repaired and enlarged A. D. 1681. Adjoining to this, deacon John Jackson had given one acre of land for a burying ground, which was afterwards enlarged by an addition of one acre, the gift of Abraham Jackson. Deacon E. Jackson, the father-in-law of Rev. Mr. Hobart, also gave thirty-three acres of wood land to the use of the ministry in Cambridge-Village, forever. In this year, 1696, the town, which had been incorporated, Dec. 8, (new style, Dec. 19,) 1691, and to which the General Court gave the name of New-town, agreed to build a school-house, (since multiplied to six) and choose a committee to treat with and persuade John Staples (afterwards a worthy deacon of the church) to keep the school. To him they gave, agreeably to their day of small things, one shilling and six pence per day.
July 21, 1706, John Myrick, Nathaniel Healey, and Ebenezer Seger, of this town, were killed by the Indians at Groton.
May 18, 1707, was the last ordination of deacons among us, when Thomas Oliver (counsellor of the province) and Ephraim Jackson were publickly inducted into office.
Nov. 26, 1711, John Gibson of Newton was killed by the Indians at Casco-bay fort.
Nov. 3, 1714, the church and religious society of this place enjoyed the happy re-settlement of the Gospel-ministry among them by the ordination of the Rev. John Cotton, A. M. descendant of the celebrated Cotton, one of the first ministers of Boston. So high was the respect cherished for the virtues and accomplishments of this youth of twenty, that the town, in general, went in procession, met, and gave him a joyful welcome upon his entrance into it as a candidate, the preceding July 14. His labours through life were faithful, fervent, acceptable, and considerably successful. The two most promising periods of his ministry appear to have been about A. D. 729, and A. D. 1740, at each of which periods the young people, in considerable numbers, formed societies for religious improvement, and made a public profession of Christianity. In 1729 he published four serious and useful sermons, addressed to youth, from Zech. ii. 4. He published some other discourses, which manifested the fervour of his mind
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in the cause of the Gospel. He died of a fever, after a short illness, in which he gave his dying counsels to his parish, ioners present, and expressed his animating hopes, May 17, 1757. On his tomb-stone the following classical Latin epitaph is inscribed.
"Hic depositum mori quod potuit reverendi veréque venerandi Johannis Cottoni, ecclesiæ Newtoniensis fidelissimi, prudentissimi, doctissimique nuper pastoris, concionandi tarn precandi facultate celeberrimi, pietate spectatissimi, moribus sanctissimis undequaque et suavissime ab omnibus bene meriti, deploratique auditoribus præcipue, quibus vel mortuus concionari non definit. Fama longe lateque vocalius et diutius marmore duratissimo, nomen perdulce proclamabit. Morbo non senecta fractus, e vita decessit. Maii 17, A. D. 1757, ætatis suæ 64. officii ministralis 43.
Here lies the mortal part of the Rev. and truly venerable John Cotton, lately the very faithful, prudent, and skilful pastor of the church of Newton. He was eminent for the faculty of praying and preaching, was respected for his piety, and held in high and universal esteem for his pure and attractive virtues. His loss is especially deplored by his flock, to whom even dead he ceases not to preach. Fame shall spread his endearing name more loudly, extensively, and permanently than the most durable marble. Broken by disease, not by the infirmities of age, he departed this life May 17, A. D. 1757, in the 64th year of his age, and the 43d of his ministry.
A. D. 1718. The present meeting-house of the first Precinct was built.
Rev. Jonas Meriam, A. M. succeeded Mr. Cotton, March 22, 1758. He was reputed a scholar of considerable talents. He had a happy skill in composition. His natural temper was mild and amiable. He was charitable to the distressed ; and studied peace through life. The burning of his valuable mansion, A. D. 1770, gave his people an opportunity, which they cheerfully and generally embraced, of affording a liberal aid in building for him the house now in the possession of his successor. He died of a consumption, which he bore with much patience, August
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13, 1780, in the 22d year of his ministry, Æt. 50. His remains were conveyed to a tomb belonging to the family of Mrs. Meriam in Boston.
June 6, 1780, a Baptist church was gathered in Newton, from this and adjoining towns, of which the Rev. Caleb Blood (since removed to Shaftesbury, Vermont) was pastor seven years. He was succeeded by the Rev. Joseph Grafton, their present pastor, June, 1788. Notwithstanding the diversity of denominations, there subsists a pleasing and growing harmony between the members of the different religious societies of the place.
Mrs. Davis, who died A. D. 1752, at the south part of the town, used to cultivate her ground with her own hand till extreme old age. She used the hoe and the scythe with considerable agility. She was visited by Judge Dudley, of Roxbury, about two years before her death, when a likeness of her was drawn by a portrait painter who accompanied him. She sustained a good character. It is remarkable of this extraordinary woman, who retained her faculties, bodily and mental, to a very considerable degree, to within about two years of her death, that she was upheld by the singular Providence of God through half the reign of Charles 1st, through the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, the reigns of Charles 2d, James 2d, William and Mary, Queen Anne, George the 1st, and died in the old age of George 2d.
The year 1775 appears, from the records to which I have had access, to have been the year of the greatest mortality in this town: 42, among whom were more than 20 adults, died, chiefly of the dysentery, which prevailed in this and the two following years, beside some occasional temporary residents. I have been informed that 49 died A. D. 1749, when the putrid sore-throat prevailed. But the bills of mortality, which have been kept with great exactness in the family of Mr. William Hyde, deceased, from the beginning of this century, mention only 29, including 8 children, and 8 young persons from 25 to 17. I have found great correctness in the bills of his son, the late Mr. Noah Hyde, sen. who studiously followed his father and other ancestors in registering every death which has occurred in the whole town. The town records and private
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bills of mortality, annually noting the names and families of the deceased, adults and children, from the incorporation of the town, A. D. 1691 to A. D. 1791, contain 1374 deaths. But, a few of the first years appear incomplete. It is, probable that the number of the inhabitants at the commencement of the century did not exceed half the number in A. D. 1763 ; since which time our constant emigrations have made it stationary. In all periods I find the proportion of aged, many of them upwards of 80, to be very considerable. With these observations it may be proper to add a bill of mortality for the east Congregational society of Newton for 17 years past, from Jan. 1, 1782, to Dec. 31, 1798.
24 under 2 years.
6 between 2 and 5
12 ______ 5 and 10
4 ______ 10 and 20
16 ______ 20 and 30 chiefly females.
9 ______ 30 and 40
10 ______ 40 and 50
10 ______ 50 and 60
14 ______ 60 and 70
27 ______ 70 and 80
16 ______ 80 and 90
6 ______ 90 and 100
Hence it appears, that the proportion of deaths, including all ages, is equal to the calculation made upon the children and youths in the Royal Mathematical school in Christ Church Hospital, England, where the average number of scholars, from 8 to 17 years of age, for 11 years, is computed, in the Encyclopedia Britannica, at 831. Of this number, during the said 11 years, a seventieth part, the proportion of ail Newton for a much longer period, annually dies.
Mr. Cotton, in a sermon preached at Newton, May 8, 1741, to the young people, upon the death of John Park, aged 18, observes, "God has been remarkably kind and good to you in sparing your lives. It has been a rare thing to follow a young man to the grave among us."
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In inserting the above bill of mortality, I have designedly violated strict chronological arrangement, as it is so immediately connected with the observations immediately preceding.
October, 1781. A new congregational church was formed in the west part of the town. Twenty-one members were dismissed from the old church for the purpose, Nov. 1781, Rev. William Greenough, A. M. their present pastor, was ordained.
Feb. 13, 1782. Jonathan Homer, A. M. was ordained pastor of the first church of Christ in Newton. During his pastoral office, seventy-six members, including eight dismissed and recommended from sister churches, have been admitted into the church. Of this number, eight have died. The members of this church in 1792 were 130. During the same period, one hundred and fifty -one children and three adults have been baptized.
A happy harmony, between the ministers and their respective congregations, and in the different religious societies among themselves and towards each other, prevails through the town. Law litigations, as well as frequenting of taverns for drinking or gaming, are exceedingly rare. The friendly aspect of the place seems happily to accord with the following plain couplet, contained in Burnap's map of 1714.
A whole New-Town here see at once you may;
Let peace and love be found there every day.
It is here proper to notice the name of Mr. John Rogers, for his singular skill, displayed in various useful mechanical inventions and improvements. The old meeting-house contains an excellent church clock, made and given by him. It may be proper to add here, an article commemoratory of the munificence of the pious deacon John Staples, who gave a valuable wood lot of about 18 acres, in the west part of the town, to the church, for the benefit of the ministry.
April 20, 1794, died the Hon. Abraham Fuller, highly esteemed for his eminent patriotism and integrity, who honourably sustained the offices of Representative, Senator, Counsellor, and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.— To him, as principal of a committee of the Provincial Con-
History of Newton. 278
gress at Concord, were committed the papers containing the exact returns of the military stores in Massachusetts at the beginning of 1775. Upon the recess of the Congress, he first lodged these papers in a cabinet of the room which the committee occupied. But thinking afterwards, that the British troops might attempt to seize Concord in the absence of the Congress, and that these papers, discovering the public deficiency in every article of military apparatus, might fall into their hands, he withdrew them, and brought them to his house at Newton. That foresight and judgment, for which he was ever distinguished, and which he displayed in the present instance, was extremely fortunate for the country. The cabinet was broken open by a British officer on the day of the entrance of the troops into Concord, April 19, 1775, and great disappointment expressed at missing its expected contents. Had they fallen into their hands, it was his opinion, that the knowledge of the public deficiency might have encouraged the enemy, at this early period, to have made such a use of their military force, as could not have been resisted by the small stock of powder and other articles of war which the province then contained. He considered the impulse upon his mind to secure these papers, as one among many providential interpositions for the support of the American cause. By Judge Fuller, as their delegate, the town accepted the Federal Constitution, February 6, 1788; for which they have invariably discovered a very unanimous and cordial attachment. At his death, he left one thousand dollars towards founding an academy in Newton, the time and place of which were submitted to the judgment of his executor and son-in-law, William Hull, Esq.
A. D. 1797. Two well assorted public libraries were founded in the east and west parts of the town, which have already added considerable information to the minds of the people.
At a general meeting of the citizens of Newton, May 14, 1798, after the peaceful envoys of the United States had been denied a hearing by the government of France, which continued its wanton depredations upon our commerce, and made demands which struck at the vitals of our independence ; it was " Resolved unanimously,
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1. That the wisdom and justice of our national government, in their past efforts to preserve the neutrality and independence of the United States of America, meet our warmest approbation. 2. That whereas the citizens of this town did, at the ever.memorable era, when the great question of Independence was decided by the Ameri-can people, unanimously pledge their lives and fortunes to support the absolute sovereignty thereof, they now repeat the solemn pledge, and will exert every power they possess, to support the Constitution and Government, against the claims and aggressions of any foreign power, and all open or secret enemies to the government and people of these United States."
The vote referred to, in the preceding resolution, stands thus: " Monday, June 17, 1776. In a legal town-meeting, the inhabitants of Newton unanimously and solemnly engaged, with their lives and fortunes, to support the measure of Independence, if Congress should, for the safety of the American colonies, declare it."
From the particulars which I have been able to collect, relative to the moral and religious history of the past generations, I am ready to conclude, that Newton has produced a very considerable proportion of characters, among whom I would specially rank the elders and deacons of the church, who have adorned a christian profession fry exemplary piety, justice, and beneficence. It is the ardent wish and prayer of the writer of this account, that a double portion of their spirit may rest upon their children to the remotest generation, and upon those who, removed from other towns, now occupy the places which they once possessed.
Authorities from which the articles, (except two or three from well authenticated tradition ) contained in the History, are selected.
Day-Breaking, if not the Sun-Rising, of the Gospel tiith the Indians in New-England. London, 164 ; and, The clear Sunshine of the Gospel upon the Indians. London, 1648; quoted by Mr. Neal. Morton's New-England's Memorial. Mather's Magnalia. Neal's History of
Natural History of the Slug Worm. 280
New-England. Eliot's Life. Speeches of Indians, gathered by major Gookin and Daniel the Indian teacher, and published by Mr. Eliot. Winslow's Account of Indians, quoted by Dr. Gillies, in his Historical Collections. Gookin's Historical Collections. Hubbard's History of Indian Wars. Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts, and Collection. Modern Universal History. Life of Boyle.
Roxbury Church Records. Dorchester Church Records. Manuscripts of the Hyde family in Newton.
Natural History of the Slug-Worm.
By William Dandridge Peck, Member of the Agricultural and Historical Societies, And A. A. S.
(Published by the Agricultural Society in the Massachusetts Mercury. )
Natura nusquam magis quam in minimis tota est.
Plin lib. xi. cap. 2.
Jonathan Mason, Esq. Corresponding Secretary to the Massachusetts Agricultural Society.
IN every branch of agriculture, and particularly that which comprises gardening, we cannot but take notice of insects, which inhabit the plants we raise. The variety of trees which you cultivate, must have presented to your observation many insects, that the diligence of your gardener is scarce able to repel.
Most insects, from the time of their being excluded from the egg, till they cease from feeding, wear a different form from that which they put on in their perfect state. The name of Larva has been given to the form under which the) first appear, and in which they are most injurious to trees and plants. At the termination of this first period, they become contracted, some before, and others after, they have formed around them a covering with materials furnished by themselves. In this second period, they have received the name of Pupa and Chrysalis. In this state the insect remains, till every part of its new form
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has acquired its full growth ; and at the end of this period it leaves its narrow prison, and may be figuratively said to have arrived at the age of puberty.
Caterpillars are exceedingly numerous, and generally known ; there are, however, other larvæ, which bear a considerable resemblance to them ; but are transformed to insects widely different: naturalists have called them false-caterpillars.
The largest of these, that I have seen, were upon the white birch and the willow. Those which inhabit the willow are common enough : they are smooth and black, with a series of yellow spots on each side, along the whole length of the body. They feed in ranks, arranged along the edges of the leaves, and throw themselves into very odd attitudes. Examined with a magnifier, they are found to have the six first feet armed with a single claw, like the caterpillar; but the other feet are more numerous; and instead of being furnished with a number of little hooks, as in the caterpillar, are only retractile prominences, terminated by a soft, smooth, and rounded surface.
I give you this description, Sir, and refer you, for the observation of the several particulars of it, to the black larva which infests the willow, as it is large enough to be easily examined, because the Slug, which seems at present to threaten the destruction of some of our best fruit trees, is of the same family.
It is said to be about eight or ten years since the Slug was first observed in gardens, in the county of Essex, from whence it is supposed to have spread. Having been in the habit of frequently visiting my trees, in order to destroy the canker and web-worms, or other insects which infested them, I think I should have seen the Slug if it had been, in -my garden; but it was not till the 8th of July, 1796, that I saw any on my trees. I will not, however, assert, that it did not inhabit them before, in such small numbers as to elude observation.
On the 12th of July, I plucked some leaves on which the Slugs were feeding; and having filled a glass vessel with light earth, laid the leaves upon it: by the 19th these had all ceased to feed; and having thrown off the slimy skin, appeared in a yellow one, and descended into the ...