D. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) Hurd.

History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) online

. (page 26 of 118)
Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 26 of 118)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

It may be considered as certain that fathers who were
able to educate such men and prepare them for the
duties and responsibilities of a noble life, could not
have been wanting in either the material or mental
qualities which are the necessary iugredients of an
enlightened aud cultivated community.

It is quite time that the long-accepted idea that
the Pilgrims were a set of narrow, bigoted, unworldly,
religious zealots was exploded. If narrowness and
bigotry and unworldliness ever characterized them,
they were eliminated from their natures by their life
in Holland, and there they became what they ever
afterwards were, shrewd, practical, far-seeing business
men. A religious spirit, it is true, remained as the
foundation of their character, but they had built on
it a structure as marked as the foundation itself. No
mere enthusiasts in the cause of religion could have
done their work. The zeal of such men would have
been like a foundation on which nothing is ever
reared, or like a root which never shoots above the
grouud. To make the thorough man, the foundation
must support an edifice of character, which would
topple to the ground without it, — the root must grow
into the tree through whose branches it sends its sap.
Such an edifice and such a tree was the character of
the Pilgrim. Every step he took in the work he
had to do was like the growth of the branch and leaf
and flower iu the air and sunlight of the outer world,

but yet sustained and supported by the religious in-
fluences from within. Without his religious uuture
he would have faltered and fallen beneath his load ;
without his worldly knowledge his religion would
have been in vain.



In 1642/3 the third important step was taken —
counting the landing at Plymouth the first and the
settlements in the other colonies the second — towards
establishing on a firm basis and crystallizing into a per-
manent shape the colonization of New England. In
the language of Bradford, " By reason of the plottiugs
of the Narigansets, ever since the Pequot war, the
Indians were drawn into a general conspiracy against
the English in all parts, as was in part discovered the
year before, and now made more plain and evident by
many discoveries and free confessions of sundry In-
dians (upon several occasions) from divers places con-
curring in one, with such other concurring circum-
stances as gave them sufficiently to understand the
truth thereof and to think of means how to prevent
the same and secure themselves." A combination be-
tween the four colonies of Plymouth, Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and New Haven was proposed, and on
the 7th of March, 1642/3, Edward Winslow aud
William Collier were elected to treat on the subject
with the colony of Massachusetts Bay. After due
consideration, on the 6th of June, the same gentle-
men were authorized to subscribe, on the part of the
colony, the following articles, the adoption of which
not only formed an era in the colonial life, but fur-
nished the type of that larger confederacy or union of
States under which we live :

" Articles of Confederation betweene y" Plaut.uu.n- under
>'' Governmente of Maasuchusets, y c Plantations under y B
Governmente of New-Plimoth, y° Plantations under y Gov-
ernmente of Cooightecute, and y e Governmente of New
Haven, with y» Plantations in combination therewith.
" Whereas, we all came unto these parts of America with one
and y° same end and aime, namely, to advance the Kingdouie
of our Lord Jesus Christ & to enjoye y v liberties of y L- Gospell
in puritie with peace; and whereas, in our setling (by a wise
providenoe of God) we are further disperccd upon y e sea coasts
and rivets than was at first intended, so y ' we cannot, according
to our desires, with convenience comunicate in one governmente
•fc jurisdiction; and whereas, we live encompassed with people
of severall nations and strung languages, which hereafter may
prove injurious to us and our posteritio; and fur as much as y*
natives have formerly comitted sundrie insolonces and outrages



upon severall plantations of y e English, and have of late com-
bined them selves against us, and seeing by reason of those dis-
tractions in England (which they have heard of) and by which
they know we are hindered from y l humble way of seeking ad-
vice or reaping those comfortable fruits of protection, which at
other times we might well expeetc; wc therefore doe conceive
it our boundcu duty, without delay, to enter into a present con-
sociation amongst ourselves for niutuall help & strength in all
our future concernments. That as in nation and religion, so
in other respects we be it continue one according to y* tenor and
true meaning of the insuing articles. Wherfore, it is fully
agreed and concluded by and betweene y e parties in jurisdic-
tions above named, and they joyntly it severally doe by these
presents agree tt conclude that tbey all bo and henceforth be
called by y«= name of The United Colonies of New England.

"2. The said Uuited Collouies, for them selves it their pos-
terities, doc joyntly it severally hereby enter into a urme &, per-
petual] league of friendship it amitie for otfence and defence,
mutual! advice and succore upon all just occasions, both for pre-
serving it propagating y e truth (and liberties) of y e Gospel) and
for their owne niutuall saftie and wellfare.

11 3. It is further agreed, that the plantations which at present
are, or hereafter shall be, setled within y e Knutcs of y e Massa-
chusets, shall be for ever under y e Massaehusets, and shall have
peculiar jurisdiction amonge thein-selves in all cases as an en-
tire body. And y c Pliinoth, Conigbtecutt, and New Haven
shall each of them have like peculiar jurisdition and govern-
mente within their limitcs respectively; provided y l no other
jurisdiction shall hereafter be taken in as a du tine to head or
member of this cod federation, nor shall any other plantation or
jurisdiction in presente being and not allready in combination
or under y* juridiction of any of these confederals be received
by any of them, nor shall any tow of y e confederats joyne in
one jurisdiction without conscntc of y* rest, which consete to
be interpreted as is expresed in y° sixte article eusewing.

" 4. It is by these conffederats agreed, y l the charge of all just
warrs, whether oftencivoor defencive, upon what parte or mem-
ber of this confederation soever they fall, shall, both in men,
provisions, and all other disburements, be borno by all v a parts
of this confederation indifi'erento proportions, according to their
ditlcrente abilities, in manner following : namely, y l the commis-
sioners for each jurisdiction, from timu to time, as there shall be
occasion, bring a true aecounte and number of all their males,
in every plantation or any way belonging too or under tlioir sev-
erall jurisdictions, of whut qualitie or condition soever they be,
from 16 years old to 60, being inhabitants there, and y l accord-
ing to y e difiercntc numbers which from time to time shall be
found in each jurisdiction, upon a true it just aecounte, the ser-
vice of men and all charges of y c warr be borne by y*= pole, each
jurisdiction or plantation being left to their owne just course i
customo of rating them selves and people according to their dif-
ferente estates, with duo respects to their qualities and exemp-
tions amongst them selves, though the confederats take no no-
tice of any such priviledg. And y l according to their ditferento
charge of each jurisdiction it plantation the whole advantage
of y e warr (if it please God to bless their endeavours), whether
it be in lands, goodB, or persons, shall be proportionably devided
amonge y L ' said confederats.

"5. It is further agreed that, if (uny of) these jurisdictions,
or any plantation under or in combynacion with them, bo in-
vaded by any enemie whomsoever, upon notice »fc requeste of any
3 magistrats of y l jurisdiction so invaded, y e rest of y G confed-
erals, without any further meoting or expostulation, shall forth-
with send ayde to y e conferate in danger, but in different pro-
portion, namely, y e Massachusetts uu hundred men, sufficiently
armed and provided for such a service and journey, and each of

y e rest forty five so armed it provided, or any lesser number, if
less bo required, according to this proportion. But if such con-
federate in danger may be supplyed by their uexte confederates,
not exceeding y e number hereby agreed, they may crave help
then and seeke no further for y c presente, yc charge to be borne
as in this article is cxprest, and at y K returne to be victuled it
suplyed with powder <t shote for their jurncy (if there be need)
by y l jurisdiction which employed or sent for them. But none
of y e jurisdictions to exceede these numbers till, by a meeting
of y e comissioners for this confederation, a greater aide appeare
nessessarie. And this proportion to continue till, upon knowl-
edge of greater numbers in each" jurisdiction, which shall be
brought to y e nexte meeting, some other proportion be ordered.
But in (any) such case of sending men for presente aide,
whether before or after such order or alteration, it is agreed y l
at y c meeting of y e comissloners of this confederation, the cause
of such warr or invasion be duly considered, and if it appeare
y l the folte lay in y e parties so invaded, y E then that jurisdiction
or plantation make just satisfaction both to y c invaders, whom
they have injured, and beare all y c charges of y L * warr them-
selves, without requiring any allowance from y c rest of y c con-
federats towards y e same. And further, y l if any jurisdiction
see any danger of any invasion approaching, and ther be time
for a meeting, that in such case 3 magistrats of y l jurisdiction
may sumone a meeting at such convcnicntc place as them selves
shall thinko ineete, to considor Jc provid against y threatened
danger, provided, when they are inett they may remove to whut
place they please, only whilst any of those foure confederats
have but three magistrate in their jurisdiction then requeste or
summons from any 2 of them shall be accounted of equal! force
with ye three mentioned in both the clauses of this article till
ther be an increase of magistrats ther.

" 6. It is also agreed y l for y e managing it concluding of all
affairs proper it concerning the whole confederation tow eoinis-
sioners shall be chosen by i out of each of the 4 j urisdictions :
numly, 2 for y e Massachusetts, 2 for Pliinoth, 2. for Coiiighte-
cutt, and 2. for New Haven, being all in Church fellowship with
us, which shall bring full power from their severall Ocnerall
Courts respectively, to hear, examene, waigh, and determine all
affairs of warr or peace, leagues and changes and numbers of
men for warr, divisions of spoylos, and whatsoever is gotten by
conquest; rcceeving of more confederats, and all things uf like
nature, which are y c proper concomitants in consequence of such
a confederation foramltcc, otfence and defence; not iutorinedling
with y° govcrnmente of any of y K jurisdictions which by y° 3.
Article is preserved entirely to them selves. But if these S
comissioners when they meete shall not all agree, yet it (is) con-
cluded that any 6. of the S. agreeing shall have power to sctle
it determine y' J bussines in question. But if 6. doo not agree,
that then such propositions with their reasons, so farr as they
have been debated, be sente aud referred to y° 4. General!
Courts, viz., y° Massaohusetts, Plimoth, Conightccutt, and New
Haven ; und if at all y e said Generall Courts ye buslines so re-
ferred be concluded, then to be prosecuted by y e con Cede rat 3 and
all their numbers. It was further agreed that these S. comis-
sioners shall meete onue every year, besids extraordinarie meet-
ings (according to the fifte article), to consider, treato, and con-
clude of all affaires belonging to this confederation, which
meeting shall ever bo y c first Thursday in September. And y l
the nx> meeting after the date of these presents, which shall be
accounted y u second meeting, shall be at Boston, in y Massa-
chusetts, the 3. at Hartford, the 4. at New Haven, the 5 at Pliin-
oth, and so in course successively if in y L ' meane time some in idle
place be not found out and agreed on, which may be comodious
for all y° jurisdictions.

"7. It is further agreed y L at each meeting of these 3 comis-



sioners, whether ordinarie or extraordinary, they all 6. of tbem
agreeing as before, may chuse a presidente out of them selves,
whose office i worke shall be to take care and directe for order
and a eouily carrying on of all proceedings in y e present meet-
in" : but he shall be invested with no such powor or respecte as
by which be shall hinder y° propounding or progrese of any
bussines, or any way cast y° scailes otherwise than in y e prcce-
dente article is agreed.

"S. It is also agreed y l the comissioners from the confedera-
tion hereafter at their meetings, whether ordinary or extraor-
dinarie, as they may huvo occasion or opportunitie, doe endoavcr
to frame and establish agreements & orders in generall cases of
a civill nature, wherein all the plantations are interessed for y e
preserving of peace amongst them selves, and preventiug as
much as may be all occasions of warr or difference with others ;
as about y 8 free & speedy passage of justice in every jurisdic-
tion to all y 8 confederate equally as to their owne : receiving
those y l remove from one plantation to another without due
certificate: how all y e jurisdictions may carry towards y 8 Inde-
ans that they neither growe insolente nor be injured without
due satisfaction, least warr breake in upon the confederals
through such miscarriages. It is also agreed y' if any servante
run away from his inaister into another of these confederated
jurisdictions, that in such case, upon y° certificate of one magis-
trate in the jurisdiction out of which y" said servante tiedd, or
upon other due proofe, the said servant shall be delivered either
to his ma=ter or any other y l pursues k brings such certificate
or proofe. And y' upon y 8 escape ol any prisoner whatsoever,
or fugitive from any criminall cause, whether breaking prison
or "etting from y 8 oflicer, or otherwise escaping, upon the cer-
tificate of 2 magistrate of y c jurisdiction out of which y 8 escape
is made that he was a prisoner or such an offender at y 8 tiuio of
y e escape, the magistrate or suine of them of y' jurisdiction
where for y c presente the said prisoner or fugitive abideth, shall
forthwith grante such a warrunte as y 8 case will beare, for ye
apprehending of any such person A y« delivering of him into
y° hands of y 8 officer or other person who pursues him. And
if there be help required for y 8 safe returning of any such of-
fender, then it shall be granted to him y l craves y 8 same, he
paying the charges thereof.

"9. Aud for y' the justest warrs may be of dangerous conse-
quence, espetialy to y l smaler plantations in these United Col-
lonies, it is agreed that neithor y 8 Massachusets, Plituotb, Con-
ightecut, nor New Haven, nor any member of any of them,
shall at any timo hereafter begine, undertake, or ingage them-
selves in this confederation, or any parte thereof, in any warr
whatsoever (sudden cxegenls with y 8 necessary consequents
thereof excepted, which are also to be moderated as much as y»
case will permitte), without y 8 consente and ugrecmente of the
forementioned 8. comissioners, or at y 8 least G. of them, as in
the sixt article is provided. And y' no charge bo required of
any of the confederals in case of a defensive warr till y 8 said
comissioners have mett and approved y 8 justice of the warr, and
have agreed upon y" sume of money to be levied, which sume
is then to be paid by the severall confederals in proportion
according to y 8 fourth article.

" 10. That on extraordinary occasions, when meetings are
summoned by three magistrates of any jurisdiction, or 2 as in
y" 5. article, if any of y" comissioners come not, due warning
being given or sente, it is agreed y' 4 of the comissioners shall
have power to directe a warr which cannot be delayed, aud to
send for due proportions of men out of each jurisdiction as well
as 6. might doe if all mett: but not less than 6. shall determino
the justice of the warr, or alow y 8 demands on bills of charges,
or cause any levies to be made for y 8 same.

"11. It is further agreed y' if any of y 8 confederate shall

hereafter breake any of these presente articles, or be any other
ways injurious to any one of y 8 other jurisdictions, such breach
of agreemente or injurte shall be duly considered and ordered
by y 8 comissioners for y 8 other jurisdiction ; that both peace and
this presente confederation may be intirly preserved without

" 12. Lastly, this perpetuall confederation and y e severall
articles therof being read and seriously considered both by ye
Generall Courte for y 8 Massachusets and by y° coiuissioners for
Plimoth, Conightecute, and New Haven were lully alowed .t
confirmed by 3. of the forenamed confederals, namly, y u Massa-
chusets, Conightecutt, and New Haven ; only y 8 comissioners
for Plimoth haveing no comisgion to conclude, desired respite
till they might advise with their Qenorall Courte; wher upon it
was agreed and concluded by y 8 said Court of y 8 Massachusets
and the comissioners for y e other tow confederals, that if Plim-
oth consente, then the whole treaty as it stands in these present
articles is and shall continue firme X stable without alteration.
But if Plimoth come not in, yet y e other three confederals doe
by these presents confeirme y e whole confederation and y e arti-
cles therof: only in September nexte, when V second meeting
of y 8 comissioners is to be at Boston, new consideration may
be taken of the 6. article which concerns number of comissioners
for meeting & concluding the affaires of this confederation to
y 8 satisfaction of y 8 Courte of y e Massachusets and y e comis-
sioners for y e other 2. confederate, but the rest to stand unques-
tioned. In y e testimonie whereof y e Generall Courte of y 8
Massachusetts by the secretary, and y 8 comissioners for Conigh-
tecutt and New Haven, have subscribed these presente articles
this 19 of y 8 third Month, cotnonly called May, Anno Doin.

"At a meeting of y 8 oomissioners for y e confederation, held
at Boston y e 7. of Sept., it appearing that the General] Courte
of New Plimoth and y 8 severall townshipes therof have read i.
considered it approved these articles of confederation, as appear-
eth by comissiou from their Generall Courte bearing dale y 8 29.
of August, 1643, to Mr. Edward Winslow and Mr. William Col-
lier, to ratifie and continue y 8 same on their behalfcs, we there-
fore, y 8 comissioners for y 8 Massuchusets, Conightecutt, a; New
Haven doe also for our severall governincuts subscribe unto

"John Wintiihop, Gov" of Massachuset.

"Tno: Duhlky. Tiikoi'H: E.vro.v.

"Geo: Fbnwick. Edwa: Hoi-kins.

Tijomas Gnticsos."

The eighth article of the combination is interesting
as containing the germ both of the more modern
fugitive slave law of the United States, and of the
present provision of our Constitution and laws for
requisitions by one State on another for the return of
fugitives from justice. It seems to be a little doubt-
ful, however, whether the right of requisition was not
limited to actual prisoners, and inapplicable to persons
who were merely suspected or charged with crime.
The first meeting of the commissioners was an unfor-
tunate one, and resulted in an act which was far from
being in accord with the spirit which had always ac-
tuated the Pilgrims in their treatment of the Indians,
and must have been urged rather by the commission-
ers of Connecticut and New Haven than by those of
Massachusetts and Plymouth. The Narragansett



tribe, after the Pequots had been subdued, assumed
to rule over the Indians about them, among whom
were the Monhiggs, of whom Uncas was the sachem,
who had been during the Pequot war faithful to the
Connecticut settlement, and now claimed their pro-
tection. This protection was accorded, and, in the
language of Bradford, " they were engaged to support
him in his just liberties, and were contented that such
of the surviving Pequots as had submitted to him
should remain with him and quietly under his protec-
tion. This did much iucrease his power and augment
his greatness, which the Narragansetts eould not en-
dure to see." Myantinomo, the chief sachem of the
Narragansetts, failing to destroy him by treachery,
finally attacked Uncas with a large force. " But it
pleased God,'' says Bradford again, " to give Uucas
the victory, and he slew many of his men and
wounded many more, but the chief of all was he took
Miantonomo prisoner. And seeing he was a great
man and the Narragansetts a potent people and would
seek revenge, he would do nothing in the case with-
out the advice of the English ; so he (by the help &
direction of those of Cooightecult) kept him prisoner
till the meeting of the commissioners. The commis-
sioners weighed the cause & passages as they were
clearly represented & sufficiently evidenced betwixt
Uncas and Myantinomo ; and the tilings being duly
considered, the commissioners apparently saw that
Uncas could not be safe whilst Miantonomo lived, but
either by secret treachery or open force his life would
still be iu danger. Wherefore they thought he might
justly put such a false and blood-thirsty enemy to
death ; but in his own jurisdiction, not in the English
plantations. And they advised in the manner of his
death all mercy and moderation should be showed
contrary to the practice of the Indians, who exercise
torture and cruelty. And Uncas, having hitherto
showed himself a friend to the Euglish, and iu this
craving their advice if the Narragansett Indians or
others should urgently assault Uucas for the execu-
tion, upon notice and request the English promise to
assist and protect him as far as they may agaiust such
violence. This was the issue of this business. The
reasons and passages hereof are more at large to be
seen iu the acts & records of this meeting of the
commissioners. And Uncas followed this advice and
accordingly executed him in a very fair manner ac-
cording as they advised, with due respect to his honor
and greatness."

The confederation continued until the arrival of Sir
Eduiuud Andros in 1G86, who came with a commis-
sion from James the Second as Governor of New
England. New Haven, however, had in 16G5 been

annexed to Connecticut. Four copies of the records
were kept, and one deposited in each colony. With
the exception of the records of the September meet-
ing in 1646 and May, 1653, and a part of the records
of September, 1648, and April, 1653, the Massachu-
setts copy was destroyed by fire in 1747. The Con-
necticut copy is in a good state of preservation, and
as the New Haven copy is missing it was probably
never completed. The Plymouth copy is deposited
in the registry of deeds for Plymouth County, and is
chiefly iu the handwriting of Nathaniel Sowther and
Nathauiel Morton, the two first secretaries of the
Plymouth Colony.

About the time of the establishment of the con-
federation, or soon after, the population of the town
of Plymouth, by reason of the settlement of other
towns, had become reduced to about one hundred and
fifty, and the tendency to migration to other places,
where richer soil tempted the colonists, was so strong
that it was a matter of serious consideration whether
an entire removal would not be better than an enfee-
bled and languishing community. It was the welfare
of the church which was chiefly sought, and that it
should remain as far as possible united was their
anxious care. " Many meetings and much consulta-
tion was held hereabout," Bradford says. " aud divers
were men's minds aud opinions. Some were still for
staying together iu the place, alleging men might here
live if they would be content with their condition ;
and that it was not for want or necessity so much
that they removed as for the enriching of themselves.
Others were resolute upou removal aud so signified
that here they could not stay ; but if the church did
not remove they must, insomuch as many were swayed

Online LibraryD. Hamilton (Duane Hamilton) HurdHistory of Plymouth County, Massachusetts : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men (Volume 2) → online text (page 26 of 118)