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The Cittie of Coventrie is situated upon the mount or
rysing of a small hill, uppon which place there arose a
most strange and dreadful 1 sodaine inundation, the man-
ner whereof followeth, word for word, as I received it,
under the Seale of the Cittie, and signed by Henrie
Sewell, Maior of Coventrie.

"Know ye, that we aswel of our owne knowledge, as
of the creditable report of our honest neighbors, Cittizens
of Coventrie, who have sustayned great losses lately by
a sudden floud, which unexpected and suddenly came first
into the Suburbes of the Cittie, from whence or where the
rayne that caused that sodaine floud, came, we know not,
but uppon Fryday morning, being the 17th of Aprill,
1607, about seaven of the clocke, no man suspected any
such floud to be, and suddenly between eyght and nine of
the clocke that morning, there was a great floud comming
towards the Cittie, where upon some seeing it came halfe
a myle of, and made it knowne unto some Cittizens to
make present hast to save some of their goods, but the
water came so abundantly, like the surges of the sea, into
the Suburbes and Cittie, that it rose within one houre in
some places, three yards, and better in height, more than
it was that morning, and overflowed divers mcdowes, and
grounds, & entred through the streetes and houses of the
Inhabitantes that dwelt neere the river, to the number of
two hundreth, fiftie, and seven houses, besides worke
houses, and other houses of office, neere the river, to the
great hurt of Tanners, Whittawers, Dyers, Bakers, and
Bruers, not only in their household goods, but in carrying
away many things, to their great loss and damage."

In witnesse whereof, we have here unto put the com-
mon Seale of the Cittie, for such like causes, ordaj'-ned
the xvij of May, 1607.

Henrie Sewell, Maior.




The changes of color in our common tree-toad are rec-
ognized in its specific name versicolor. In one found
upon a growing orange bush, the upper surface was very
green. On a window sill of white the conformity to that
color is remarkable.

Tliese creatures being abundant in the oaks surround-
ing my Boxford parsonage, the writer in 1882 tried a few
experiments which, unless such work has already been
done, may suggest to some one more thorough and ex-
haustive study of a matter broader in its relations and in-
terest than might at first appear. "What I did was this :
Glass jars were lined with leaves, bark, paper or other
material. Thus chambers were secured of various colors
— gray with the bark of red oak, green with the leaves,
6i(/f with decayed birch wood or dead foliage, blue, red,
white and black, which we may here count as a color. It
was found that a confinement of at least twenty-four hours
and sometimes of several days was needful to secure the
full change.

The same toad was successively placed in these different
jars. My notes were too meagre and I am not sure that
I tried more than one Hi/la. The results were as follows :
ill his blue room my patient was very green, and in his



red one less green with patches of reddish hue and some
of buff. The other colors of my upholstering he copied
more closely, except that in the white chamber he was
very green with markings that were almost black. This
seemed very strange because, on white surfaces, these ba-
trachians usually conform to them in color, and because
with buff there was no green but only shades of light ash.
With the darker colors, his hues were generally tones of
dark ash.

The markings upon the back remained more or less
manifest throughout, but in the green and blackish state
merely as a deeper shade of the same color. Thus, in
general, I find that the color of the back varies from
almost white to a dark ash and from these colors to a leaf
green. The buif or reddish patches referred to seemed
like an effort towards an unusual result. No altera-
tion of the colors of the toad's inferior surface was observ-
able. Doubtless the effects from exposure on a plain
surface of color would differ sometimes from the chromatic
changes which come by transmission of light more than
by reflection from below. Whether these changes are
occasioned through the retina, or by some more direct
influence on the epidermis, might perhaps be determined
by a simple experiment but one which seemed too cruel
for the writer to make. Can it be questioned that all this
variation of color is protective and has its relation to dis-
cussions on evolution?

The tree-toad, wherever it may be, is difficult to dis-
cover. You may hear its note near by, but clinging
closely to a limb, where it is usually found, its flattened
body conformed in color to the hark and less noticeable
for the markings, which simulate lichens and the irregular
lines of fracture and shade, it seems only a knot.

This Hyla also has a way of dodging underneath and
around its perch and one or two more resources that I


have observed. The renal excretion in this and other
reptiles may possibly surprise and disgust fastidious ene-
mies and perhaps the sudden and rattling note of the
creature may awaken hesitation and allow escape. When,
as a l)oy, I spent much time in the trees around our house,
I was often surprised at the abandon with which these
little creatures would jump from the very topmost boughs
to escape me. Usually they caught on something as they
fell. But when they came down on the gravel path they
were not harmed — apparently not even by a moment of
stomach-ache ! A precipitate leap, then, is a last resort.
Except for these and other resources, various birds might
count Hyla versicolor LeC. a frog for an epicure. I may
add one incidental observation on this reptile, namely, its
singular unwillingness to get into water. For a creature
that has been a tadpole and so recently left some pond
this seemed strange, and others may determine whether
it is always subject to such a liydrophohia.

Some changeableness of color is observable in the fa-
miliar toad. In a manure cellar or on the black loam of a
swamp he will be almost a negro. Living on light-hued
gravel he will be a Caucasian. A very black specimen
which I put in a box of white paper changed remarkably
in a few days, but not so rapidly as the Hyla.

It is doubtless true that to some extent many other
creatures vary in a similar way according to the surfaces
on which they live. Whether or not human disease of
mind and body may be alleviated by living in light of
certain colors, we know that our " animal spirits " vary
with the weather. A long period of clouded sky has a
depressing effect on most minds. The influence which
comes from companionship is a fact of not very remote
connection. It would hardly seem that the dark skin of
the Ethiopian or the Arab could he exi)lainod by tropical



forests or darker terrestrial surfaces. Possibly it might
be argued that ages of residence under a luxuriant vegeta-
tion evolved the negro skin and that the modifying influ-
ence of desert life is seen in the brown of the Bedouin.
But where did we get our pale sMnf

That the psychological influence of mountainous or
prairie regions, sea-girt coasts, dense silvas or alpine snows
may afiect national character is a common and plausible
theory — but we have wandered from reptiles.

Our Bufo Americaiius LeC. is protected from enemies
not only by some variation of hue and diurnal repose,
but also by an acrid skin and a way he has in extremities
of swelling himself, stiffening his hind legs, arching his
back and bringing his head to the ground about in the
position by which the small boy was formerly instructed
to frighten off" a mad bull ! The toad adds to these strange
doings a guttural croak and altogether makes himself so
uncanny that even a starving crow might well fear to
swallow such a possibility of being " hoist with his own
petar." These creatures, like many others, find obvious
protection in prolific breeding.

Our graceful and beautifuUj^ colored ribbon snake, Eu-
tcenia saurita B. and G., has a device for escape that I
have often noticed. When capturing these creatures I
have been wont to take them by the tip of the tail. As soon
as this snake discovers the hopelessness of escape by other
means it will swing itself around in a circle till it twists
off" the tip which is held and thus, if possible, escapes.
The gyrations, so far as I observed, were always in the
same direction — from left to right, unless my memory is
at fault.

Sitting under a tree, one summer afternoon, like a flash
two somethings passed within a yard of me, and paused
just beyond in the taller grass, near bushes. I saw imme-


diately that the second apparition was a ribbon snake.
With body elevated for half its length or more, quickly
turning head and sparkling eye, it was beating the grass
for a "leopard frog" which, with croaks of distress and
immense leaps, had made for this " cover." My investiga-
tion was a benefit to the hatrachian who made good his
escape. If ever I saw anger with myself, it was in the eye
and mouth and actions of that serpent, which at first stood
his ground and seemed ready to " give it to me." The
whole incident awakened a new impression of the intelli-
gence of reptiles, which doubtless is more of a protection
to them than we are aware.

Tenacity of life is to be counted as another resource.
The diffusion of the vital principle among ganglia and
nerves scattered through the body, is the reason why they
are so diflBcult to kill, and recover from such severe inju-
ries and perhaps may explain why they sometimes return
to life after having been frozen.

When a student, the writer once undertook to dissect
a land tortoise, Glyjytemys insculpta, Ag. He attempted
to put the creature to death with strychine and arsenic,
which were apparently of no effect. Cyanide of potassium
brought some blood from the reptile's mouth and seemed
to cause pain. To end suffering decapitation became nec-
essary, and finally I was obliged to open the body while
s:ang:lionic movements continued. Under these circum-
stances I removed the heart and placed it in a dish of
water. There it continued to pulsate for a number of min-
utes, both its movements and the small discolored cuiTent
of water being plainly visible. Certainly I ought to have
timed the continuance of this action.

My little boy has had a specimen of Blanding's tortoise,
Emys meleagris Ag., for over a year. It was about half
grown, being four and one half inches in length. Late in


the fall, I buried this "turtle" under a foot or more of
dry earth placing him on soil at the bottom of a keg in
the cellar, and pouring more soil over him. In a day or
two, Mr. Emys was crawling on top of his covering.
Then I buried him in mud but he was soon treading it
under his feet. So in despair I put him in his old tub
moved to the cellar, with opportunity to stay in the water or
out of it as he pleased. He chose the former course. For
some weeks he showed signs of life. Then he retreated
into his shell, closed it, and remained apparently dormant
for several months in the water which did not freeze.

In April last, we brought him out and offered him
living earth-worms, the only thing we ever found that he
would eat. He refused to touch them for several weeks,
but gradually his excellent appetite returned. It was the
same with a " wood-chuck " which at about the same time
we brought up from his winter's sleep in a barrel. At
first he would not touch his tid-bits but after a number
of days he awoke to full life and activity.

A full-grown Blan ding's tortoise, which we kept for
several weeks would never eat anything — perhaps from
continued fear, perhaps because he "had his growth."
We have sometimes kept " mud turtles " through the entire
summer and released them when the first ice came, vigo-
rous but somewhat thin in flesh ( !) without their having
taken once during this period any visible nourishment.
This ability to endure abstinence may perhaps be included
under our subject.




From my earliest childhood, the name of Roger
Williams was synonymous with Baptist. I thought he
was banished from Salem by Salem people because he was
ajjBaptist and the rigid Puritans would have no person in
their dominions who differed from them in any religious
doctrine. I was not alone, for I find that was a common
belief among those who had never looked into the matter
historically. In reading the various accounts and lives
of Roger Williams written in his own and down to the
present time, I do not find any authority to prove that he
ever, while in Salem or Boston, did or said anything
which would show that he even knew of the existence of
such a sect. He was sometimes called an Anabaptist
which was used as a term of reproach and was applied in-
discriminately to all who differed in any essential points
from the rigid Puritanism of the day. He did probably
object to infant baptism, not tinding any scriptural author-
ity for it ; but so did many others, including President
Dunster, President Chauncey and other noted men. In
1638, after his banishment and when he was in Provi-
dence, which place he made a refuge for dissatistied, free-



thinking and persecuted persons, he met with some settlers
who called themselves Baptists and Straus says : " It is
not surprising that Williams should have felt a leaning
toward this sect which throughout its entire history
preached the gospel of love, abhorred and abstained from
persecution and preeminently maintained the rights of
conscience." Williams was baptized by one Ezekiel Holy-
man and then baptized ten others. " This event has been
generally looked upon as the establishment of the First
Baptist Church in America." But Williams could not be
contented with any creed which did not admit of full lib-
erty of conscience and was connected with this church only
about four months. For the rest of his life, more than
fifty years, " he did not acknowledge himself as belonging
to any denomination."

After this long prelude in regard to what Roger
Williams was not, I will give a little sketch of his early
life and opinions.

Of Roger Williams' very early life and parentage there
has been but little known. Until lately it was supposed that
he was a Welshman and educated at Oxford, similarity
of names being very confusing, but our fellow-townsman
Mr. Henry F. Waters, who is usually correct and who
leaves no stone unturned, has come to the conclusion
that he was born in London, in 1607, the son of James
and Alice Williams ; that he was elected a scholar of the
Charter House School June 25, 1621, and passed from
there to Pembroke College, Cambridge, June 29, 1623;
from which college he took his degree in 1626. At any
rate he was a well educated man and was versed in five
languages besides his own — French, Dutch, Latin, Greek
and Hebrew. He early attracted the attention of Sir
Edward Coke, the eminent jurist, who was always his
patron and friend. Mrs. Sadlier, Sir Edward's daughter,


says " as a youth he would in shorthand take sermons and
speeches in the Star Chamber and present them to my dear
father." After leavins; college he studied law for a short
time, but theology was nearer his heart and he soon be-
came a decided opponent to the ceremonies of the church.
Even in his 3'oung days he had discussions with Hooker
and Cotton upon the use of the Common Prayer. " His
mind was enriched and expanded with the best learning
of the age." The great controversy which divided the
English Church was at its height ; he thoroughly studied
the principles at issue and early placed himself upon the
Puritan side. But he went beyond the Puritans : he was
firmly convinced that conscience should be free, that no
person should be responsible in matters of belief to any
other person or persons, but to God alone. He naturally
looked to Xew England as a haven for disafiected people
in England and sailed with his wife Mary on the 1st of
December, 1630, in the Lion, Captain Pierce, for Boston
where he arrived after a long jind stormy passage on the
5th of February, 1631.

Roger Williams supposed he should find a state of
society in which "he could express the great doctrine
which had taken full possession of his soul," but he soon
found that freedom of conscience was not allowed. Gam-
mell says "It is a mistake, as has been often remarked,
to suppose that they [these Puritans] came to New Eng-
land with any notions of unlimited freedom of conscience."
"It was to escape oppression for themselves, not to
secure the l)oon of freedom to others."

Mr. Wilson, the minister of Boston, being about to
return to England for a short period, it is said that Mr.
Williams refused a call to preach to the people of that
place in his absence on the ground that they were an
"unseparated people." At any rate he did not unite with


the people of Boston, but in a few weeks was invited by
the people of Salem to become an assistant to Mr. Skelton,
Mr. Higginson having lately died, which call he accepted.
This drew upon Salem a letter from the General Court
warning them of his heretical views, the chief of which
was that magistrates had no control over the consciences
of men, that their power extended only to breaches of the
second table, that is, the duties of man to man ; whereas
the duties of man to God as stated in the first four com-
mandments were questions not to l)e interfered with ;
that every man had a right to follow his own inward light.
This was a great error in the minds of these Puritans.
The Salem people paid no attention to this letter, but
settled Mr. Williams immediately on tlie 2d of April,
1631. He found his situation, however, very uncomfort-
able as he was constantly watched and his remarks criti-
cised. Dr. Bentley says "Persecution instantly commenced
and before the end of the summer he was oblio:ed to retire
to Plymouth." Here he was well received, preaching
sometimes as an assistant to the Rev. Ralph Smith and
supporting himself chiefly by manual labor, " at the How
(hoe) and at the Oar for bread." He associated much
with the Indians, studying their language and habits ;
and sought in every way to do them good. This was of
great use to him and to all New England in after life, for
the Indians alwa^^s regarded him almost as a sachem. He
says he " had a constant zealous desire to dive into the
native language." He published in later life, in 1643, his
" Key to the Indian language." He staid in Plymouth al)out
two years, but his heart yearned towards Salem and the
Salem people ; and accordingly in Aug., 1633, he returned
there as assistant to their pastor, Mr. Skelton. During
the year following he seems to have been constantly har-
assed by the magistrates and was several times summoned


to appear at the General Court in Newtown, now Cam-
bridge. Whatever occurred at Salera displeasing to the
ministers or magistrates of the Colony was attributed
to Williams and he was held accountable. He continued
to preach what seemed to him the truth. He objected to
an oath being required of any man, particnhirly an unre-
generate man, as taking the name of God in vain. He
denounced, as an open violation of natural rights, the law
which reqnired every man to attend public worship and
to contribute to its support. ''No one," said he, "should
be bound to maintain a worship against his own consent."

While in Plymouth he had written a treatise which he
had presented to the Governor there, showing that kings
and countries had no right to claim a land by right of diy-
Coveiy ; that, if the land was owned at all, it was by the
native inhabitants and should be bought of them ; thai
patents and grants were of no value unless paid for ;
that King James had no right to call Europe Christendom
or the Christian ^7orld. The great point which lay heavy
on his mind was that, according to the patents, " Christian
Kings (so called) are invested with a right by virtue of
their Christianity to give and take away the lands and
countries of other men." '' If the King possesses no juris-
diction over the Indians he could not of course convey
a title to their lands."

This paper had not been published and was not intend-
ed for the ''public eye," but the magistrates averred that
it contained " heresy and sedition," and arbitrarily sum-
moned him to appear before them and receive censure.
He complied, and wrote letters to the magistrates alleging
that his treatise had been written " only for the private
satisfaction of the Governor of Plymouth " and with
expressions of penitence if he had done anything wrong ;



and, though without renouncing his opinions, he offered
his book to be burned.

Mr. Skelton, whom Mr. Upham calls his "fiiithful de-
fender, " died in the summer of 1634 and the Salem Church
immediately invited Mr. Williams to be its pastor. Again
the Court interfered and sent a mandate to the Church
that it should not ordain him. Whether the majristrates
in Boston had a right thus to interfere has been a cause of
much contention.

The Church gave no heed to this injunction, and Roger
Williams was regularly installed in Aug., 1634. The
independence of the Salem Church was not allowed to
go unpunished. From this time forth the Salem Church
and Mr. Williams were in constant collision with the

"In Salem every person loved Mr. Williams. He had
no personal enemies. All valued his friendship. He
was not afraid to stand for truth against the world. He
knew man better than he did civil government. He was
a friend of human nature, forgiving, upright and pious."
"His preaching was faithful, his doctrines on all the great
essentials of Christian faith were sound and his life was
of blameless purity." Moreover " Salem began to enjoy
unrivalled prosperity and to entertain the proudest hopes."
Boston appears to have been jealous of Salem. "It was
feared that, in connection with other causes, his resolute
spirit and popular talents would give an importance to
that town [Salem] that might eclipse the metropolis."

Finall}'^, came the climax. In March, 1635, the people
of Salem petitioned for some land between Marblehead
and the Cliff, which they said belonged to them, but the
Court, as a punishment for contempt of authority in set-
tling Mr. Williams, refused to allow the claim ; for in


this community of saints it was not " State controlling the
Church, but Church controlling the State." The people
of Salem felt this to be :i orrievous wronfj and wrote to
other churches in the Bay to instruct their delegates
to vote differently. This, as there were no newspapers,
was all they could do ; but it seemed to the magistrates
like open rebellion and accordingly the Salem deputies were
deprived of their privileges and disfranchised till ample
apology had been made. Mr. Endicott, their principal
deputy, was imprisoned for his adherence to the doctrines
of the letter.

The ministers, with Mr. Cotton and Mr. Hooker at
their head, sent a committee to Salem to deal with Mr.
Williams, but he disowned their "spiritual jurisdiction."
Then the ministers, at the request of the Court, assembled
to consider his case, and to give their advice to the magis-
trates. They " professedly declared " that he deserved to
be banished from the colony for maintaining the doctrine
" that the civil magistrate might not intermeddle even
to stop a church from apostacy and heresy," and that the
churches ought to request the magistrates to remove him.
In July Mr. Williams was summoned to Boston to answer
to the charges brought against him. He was here solemnly
charged with the crime of maintaining the following
dangerous opinions :

1. That the magistrate ought not to punish the breach
of the first table, except when the civil peace should be

2. That an oath ought not to be tendered to an unre-
generate man.

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