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 30 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 30 of 118)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

own times who, actuated by the lower motives of a
mean and greedy utilitarianism, are excluding by
national legislation the Chinaman from our shores.

In 16C1, King Charles came to the throne. In
1664 he issued a commission to Richard Nicolls, Sir
Robert Carr, George Cartwright, and Samuel Ma-
verick, giving them authority "to hear and determine
complaints and appeals in all cases, as well military
as criminal and civil, in New England, and to proceed
in all things for settling the peace and security of the
country." He also caused letters to be addressed to
the government of New Plymouth, in which he ex-
pressed " his royal grace and favor, aud promised to
preserve all their liberties and privileges, both ecclesi-
astical and civil." In the same year the United Col-
onies captured New Amsterdam from the Dutch, and
made Thomas Willet, of Plymouth, the first English
mayor of the city. In 1666, King Charles addressed
a second letter to the Plymouth government, in which
he said, " Although your carriage of itself must justly
deserve our praise and approbation, yet it seems to
be set off with more lustre by the contrary deport-
ment of the colony of Massachusetts, as if by their
refractoriness they had designed to recommend and
heighten the merit of your compliance with our direc-
tions for the peaceable and good government of our
subjects in those parts. You may therefore assure
yourselves that we shall never be unmindful of this
your loyal and dutiful behavior, but shall upon all
occasions take notice of it to your advantage, prom-
ising you our constant protection and royal favor in
all things that may concern your safety, peace, and
welfare." If the spirit manifested in these letters
had prevailed near the throne of the successor of
Charles, much of the annoyance and discomfort pro-
duced by the administration of Audros in 1686 would
have been avoided, and a man of more gentle temper
and milder purposes would have been made Governor
of New England. Under William and Mary, too, in
1691, when both Massachusetts and Plymouth were
asking for charters, and when Massachusetts secured
the prize, and swallowed up its older but feebler
sister colony, it is needless to say that had Charles
remained on the throne a different result would have
been reached.

The commissioners of King Charles made the fol-
lowing propositions to the Plymouth Colony:

" 1. That all householders inhabiting in tho colony take the
oath of allegiance, and the administration of justice be in his
majesty's name.

"2. That all men of competent estates and civil conversation,

though of different judgments, may be admitted to be freemen,
and have liberty to choose and be chosen olliccrs, both civil and

" 3. That all men and women of orthodox opinions, compe-
tent knowledge, and civil Uvea (not scandalous) may be admit-
ted to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and their children to
baptism (if they desire it), either by admitting them into the
congregations already gathered, or permitting them to gather
themselves into such congregations where they may have tho
beneht of the sacrament.

" 4. That all laws and expressions in laws derogatory to his
majesty, if any such have been made in these late troublesome
times, may be repealed, altered, or taken off from the tile."

These propositions were considered at a court held
on the 22d of February, 1665, and the following was
the court's answer :

"1. To the first we consent, it having been the practice of
this court, in the first place, to insert in the oath of fidelity re-
quired of every householder, to bo truly loyal to our sovereign
lord, the king, bis boirs and successors; also to administer all
acts of justice in his majesty's natnu.

"2. To the second we also coosent, it having been our con-
stunt practice to admit men of competent estates and civil con-
versation, though of different judgments, yet being otherwise
orthodox, to be freemen, and to have liberty to choose and be
chosen officers, both civil and military.

"3. To the third, we cannot but acknowledge it to be a high
favor from Qod and from our sovereign that we may cujoy our
conscience in point of God's worship (the main end of trans-
planting ourselves into these remote corners of the earth), and
should most heartily rejoice that all our neighbors, so qualified
as in that proposition, would adjoin themselves to our societies,
according to the order of the gospel, for enjoyment of the sac-
raments to themselves and theirs ; but if through different per-
suasions respecting church government it cannot be obtained,
we would not deny a liberty to any, according to the proposi-
tion, that are truly conscientious, although differing from us,
especially where bis majesty commands it, they maintaining
an ablo preaching ministry for the carrying on of public Sab-
bath worship, which we doubt not is his majesty's intent, and
withdraw not from paying their duo proportion of maintenance
to such ministers as are orderly settled in tho places where they
live until they have one of their own, and that in such places
as are oapable of maintaining the worship of Qod in two dis-
tinot congregations. We being groatly encouraged by his maj-
esty's gracious expressions in his letter to us, and your honor's
further assurunce of his Royal purpose to continue uur liberties;
that when places, by reason of our paucity and poverty, are
incapable of two, it is not intended that such congregations as
are already in being should be rooted out, but their liberties pre-
served, there being other places to accommodate men of differ-
ent persuasions in soeieties by themselves, which, by our known
experience, tends most to the preservation of peace and charity.
u 4. To the fourth, we consent that all laws and expressions
in laws derogatory to his majesty, if any such shall be found
amongst us, which at present we are not conscious of, shall be
repealed, altered, and taken from tho file.

" By order of the general court for the Jurisdiction of Now

" Per mi, Nathaniel Moiiton,

" Secretary."

In 1669, Thomas South worth, a stepson of Gov-
ernor Bradford, died at the age of fifty-three, a man



who had held the offices of assistant commissioner of
the United Colonies and Governor of the possessions
of the colony on the Kennebec. In the same year
" New England's Memorial," already referred to,
written by Nathaniel Morton, secretary of the colony,
was published. In 1672/3, John Howland, another
of the " Mayflower" passengers, died at the age of
eighty years. In the early days of the colony he
lived on the north side of Leyden Street, where the
house of William R. Drew now stands, and after-
wards in that part of Kingston called Rocky Nook,
where he died, and where a depression in the ground
now marks the site of his house. He was the last male
of the " Mayflower 1 ' company living in Plymouth, and
was buried, doubtless, on Burial Hill. The last pas-
senger of the " Mayflower" to die was Mary, tho wife
of Thomas Cushman, and daughter of Isaac Allertoo,
who lived a little northerly of Rocky Nook, not far
from John Howland, and died in 1699. In 1673,
Thomas Prence died at the age of seventy-three. He
had been Governor of the colony eighteen years at
various times, and, though not as liberal as many
others in the colony in his treatment of those who
differed from him in religious matters, his labors in
the interest of the Plymouth Church, in the advance-
ment of education, and as a member of the Council
of War, treasurer and Governor, and a commissioner
of the United Colonies, made him a valuable agent in
developing the civil, social, and religious condition of
the colony. He married, in 1624, Fear, daughter of
William Brewster, and in 1635, Mary, daughter of
William Collier. Before removing to Eastham, in
1644, he lived for a number of years on land near
what is now the junction of Spring and High Streets;
and the land granted to him for improvement, about
ten acres in extent, is now owned by Benjamin Mar-
ston Watson, on the southerly side of the road to
Carver, and was called in the inventory of Mr. Prence
by the name by which it has always since that time
been known, " Prence 's Bottom." After his return
to Plymouth, in accordance with the law requiring
the Governor to have his residence in that town, he
occupied land in the northerly part of the town, on
what is now the farm of Baruabas Hedge, his house
standing in the southwesterly corner of a fenced lot
on the easterly side of the road, nearly opposite the
house of Barnabas Hedge, Jr.



The period of King Philip's war was an eventful
one both in the life of the colony and the town. As
long as Massasoit lived the most friendly relations
with the Indians continued. In 1639 that chief,
then called Ousamequin, with his oldest son, Wam-
sutta, came to the court at Plymouth and renewed
his pledge of fidelity and friendship. Iu or about
1661 Massasoit died, and was succeeded by his son
Wamsutta, now called Alexander. In 1662, reason
having been given for a suspicion of Alexander's peace-
ful intentions, he was summoned to Plymouth, and on
refusing to comply with the summons, was visited by
Josiah Winslow, attended by a party of armed men,
and compelled to accompany him. Vexed and excited
by the humiliating circumstances surrouuding him,
he fell sick and died before reaching home, whither he
was sent by the government on the appearance of the
first symptoms of hia disease. Alexander was suc-
ceeded by his brother Metacomet, now called Philip,
who occupied with his tribe, the Wampanoags, a place
called Montaup, or Mount Hope, near Bristol, in
Rhode Island. He at once went to Plymouth and
renewed the ancient treaty which had been made in
1621 between the colony and his father. But the
treatment of his brother Alexander never ceased to
rankle in his breast. In 1671, suspected of hostile
intentions against Plymouth, he was visited by Wil-
liam Davis, William Hudson, and Thomas Brattle,
commissioners from Massachusetts, and Governor
Prence, Josiah Winslow, and Constant Southworth,
from Plymouth, and charged with having made prep-
arations for war, which, after some evasioD, he con-
fessed. After some discussion he yielded to the
intimidation of the commissioners and consented to
give up hia arms and sign the following terms of
capitulation :

"Taunton, 12th of April, 1671.
" Whereas, my father, my brother, and myself have formerly
submitted ourselves and our people unto tbo king's uiujcsty of
England, and to this colony of New Plymouth, by solemn cove-
nant under our hand, but I having of lute, though my indiscre-
tion and the naughtiness of my heart, violated and broken this
my covenant with my friends by taking up arms with ovil
intent against them, and that groundlessly, I being now deeply
sensible of my unfaithfulness and folly, do desire at this time
solemnly to renew my covenant with my ancient friends, and
my father's friends above mentioned, and do desiro that this
may testify to the world against me if ever I shall again fail in
my faithfulness towards them (whom I have now and at all



timed fuund kind to me) or any utlier of the English colonies,
and as a real pledge of my true intentions for the future to be
faithful nnd friendly I do freely engago to resign up to the
government of New Plymouth all my English arms, to be kept
by them for their security so long as they shall see reason. For
the true performance of the premises I have hereunto set my
hand together with the rest of my council.

" Tu presence of " Piiilu', Chief Sachem of Pokanokct.

" William Davis. " Tavoskn.

"William Hudson. " Caitain WlSI'OKK.

''Thomas Brattle. " Woonkai*onci'UNt.
'* Nmuou."

Notwithstanding this agreement, Philip finally re-
fused to surrender his arms, and was sumujoued to
appear at Plymouth on or before the 20th of Sep-
tember, or suffer the consequences. Massachusetts,
still anxious to avert hostilities, offered to send
mediators, and at the meeting in Plymouth an ac-
commodation was effected and the following articles
were signed :

" 1. We, Philip, and my council, and my subjects do acknowl-
edge ourselves subject to his majesty the King of Uugland and
the government of New Plymouth and to their laws.

"2. I am willing and do promise to pay unto tho govern-
ment of Plymouth one hundred pounds in such things as I have,
hut I would entreat the favor that I might have three years to
pay it in forasmuch as I cannot do it at present.

"3. I do promise to send unto the Governor, or whom be
shall appoint, live wolves' heads if I can get them, or as many
us I can procure until they come to live wolves yearly.

"4. If any differences fall between the English and myself
and people then I do promise to repair to the Governor of Plym-
outh to rectify the difference amongst us.

" 5. I do promiso not to make war with any hut with the
Governor's approbation of Plymouth.

"0. I do promiso not to dispose of any of the lands that I
have at present but by the approbation of the Govornor of Plym-

" For tho true performance of tho premises, I, the said Philip,

Sacheui of Paukamaukut, du hereby bind myself and such of

my council as are present ourselves, our successors faithfully.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our hands the

day and year above written.

„ , "', the Sachem of Pau-
" In presence of the court and , , .

1 kamaukut.

divers of gentlemen of the ,. T ,


Massachusetts and Councc- ., ,. r

''cut. ..„ „


Not long after the above agreement was signed,
Philip sent the following letter to Governor Pretice,
the original of which may be seen in Pilgrim Hall.
It was probably written by an Indian, Sassaman, who
had received some education at the bauds of the
whites and whom he called his secretary :

" To the much honored yooeniir, mr. thotituB prince, itwelltntj
ut plimuuth.

" honored sir.

" King Philip desires to let you understand that he could not
come to the court, for torn, his interpreter, has a pain in his
back, that he could uot travel so far and philip's sinter is very
sick, philip would entreat that favor of you, and any of the

magistrates, if any english or engians speak about any land he

! pray you to give them no answer at all, the last summer he

! made that promise with you that he would not sell no hind in

[ seven years time, for that he would have no cnglisli trouble him

I before that time, he has not forgot that you promise him he

I will come as sune as possible he can to speak with you, and so

I I rest your very loving friend, philip, dwelling at mount hope

I nek."

During three years subsequent to this time peace
and quiet prevailed ; but, as the event showed, Philip
was gradually extending his influence and power over
neighboring tribes, and preparing them secretly and
insidiously to join him in the extermination of the
English. Sassaman, his secretary, had deserted him
and gone to live with the Natick Indians ; and after-
wards, meeting with some Wampanoags at Nemasket
during a visit at that place, he learned Philip's in-
tentions, and communicated them to Josiah Winslow,
the Governor of Plymouth Colony. This was in
1674, and Governor Prcnce had died in the pre-
ceding year. The treachery of Sassaman was dis-
covered, and he was soon after murdered. His mur-
derers, belonging to the Wampauoags, were discov-
ered and carried to Plymouth, and tried and executed.
This exasperated Philip the more, and in the spring
of 1 675 the war broke out. The various and ehan''in;r
fortunes of the war in detail will not be reached by
this narrative. It was carried on by the United
Colonies at the instigation of Plymouth, in accord-
ance with the terms of the confederation, and Gov-
ernor Winslow, of Plymouth, was placed in command
of the united forces. The town of Plymouth fur-
nished its share of officers and men, and suffered its
share of the loss. On the 12th of August, 1676,
Philip was killed, and the war soon came to an end.
As a result of the war, for the first time in the his-
tory of the colony it came into possession of Indian
lauds by other means than gift or treaty or purchase.
The war was chiefly carried on within the territory
described in its patent, aud the colony succeeded to
the conquered lands of the Wampauoags by right of
conquest. To a portion of these lauds, — that about
Mount Hope, — though distant from the line of Mas-
sachusetts, aud contiguous to the territory of Plymouth
Colony, Massachusetts set up a claim, and endeavored
to secure a grant from the king; but the lauds were
finally adjudged to beloug to Plymouth, and were
secured to it by royal saucliou. The language of the
graut, under the sign-manual of the king, is as fol-
lows : " We have taken into our royal consideration
how that by your loyally aud good conduct iu that
war you have been the happy instruments to enlarge
our dominions, and to bring the new territory of
Mount Hope into a more immediate dependence upon



us ; we are therefore graciously pleased to give aud
grant, and do hereby give and grant, unto you the
full and entire property of the said territory or scope
of land commonly called Mount Hope, containing by
common estimation seven thousand acres, be the
same more or less, for the sole and proper use and
behoof of yourselves and the rest of our said colony
of New Plymouth, to be holden of us, our heirs and
successors, as of our castle of Wiudsor, in the county
of Berks, yielding and paying seven beaver-skins
each and every year."

After peace had been restored many of the fortifi-
cations and garrison-houses which it had been fouud
necessary to erect were abandoned, and no more
during the life of the colony were its inhabitants put
in trepidation by threatened danger from the Indians.
Precautions, of course, were taken, and, among the
precautionary laws, that originally enacted in 1658
was revived, requiring arras to be carried to church
on the Sabbath, to guard against surprise. It is a
tradition in the Old Colony that the arms were stacked
outside under military guard, and that the universal
custom iu New England for the men to depart from
the church before the women leave their pews had
its origin in the necessity in ancient times for the
men to resume their arms before the audience com-
mitted itself to a possible exposure to Indian attack.

In December, 1680, Josiah Winslow, Governor of
the colony, died, and was succeeded by Thomas
Hinckley, who had filled the office of Deputy Gov-
ernor, aud James Cudworth succeeded Mr. Hinckley.
As has already been stated, the law of 1650 author-
ized the Governor to depute one of his assistants to
act in his absence as Deputy Governor; but in 1679
it was enacted " that the deputy governor be under
oath as such, and therefore annually chosen." Under
this law Thomas Hinckley was chosen in 1680,
James Cudworth in 1681, and William Bradford,
son of the Governor, in 1682, the last of whom held
the office until the union, with the interruption of
two years, occasioned by the usurpation of Andros.
Mr. Hinckley, with the same interruption, held the
office of Governor until the union, and was the last
Governor of the colony. In 1686, John Alden, an-
other of the " Mayflower" company, died in Duxbury,
leaving Giles Hopkins, of Yarmouth, the only male
"Mayflower" passenger living, and Mary Cushman
aud Elizabeth Howland the only female passengers.
The first died in 1690, the second in 1699, and the
last iu 1687.

Up to this time the government of Plymouth Col-
ony, though exercising sovereign authority and treated
by royal hands as a government of right, though it

had never received a charter, now repeated its demands
to have its patent sanctioned by the king. Massa-
chusetts had lived under a charter from its birth ;
charters had been granted to Connecticut aud Rhode
Island ; but Plymouth, though looked on with special
favor at times by the crown, had failed to secure what
from the first had been its earnest wish. In 1682,
James Cudworth went to England as the agent of the
colony, and there died with his mission a failure.
Rev. Ichabod Wiswall, with others, went as agent of
Massachusetts to secure the confirmation of its ancient
charter, aud on his arrival in England he was re-
quested to act also for Plymouth. .Increase Mather
aud Elisha Cook, of Massachusetts, went also, the for-
mer in behalf of Plymouth. Suspicions have at
times been entertained that Mather was false to Plym-
outh, and that the rights and claims of Plymouth
were sacrificed to the aggrandisement of Massachusetts
in securing a new charter for her with Plymouth
added to her territory and jurisdiction. The more
charitable and reasonable conclusion is that, owing to
the efforts of Governor Slauter, of New York, who
was anxious to secure the annexation of Plymouth
to New York, the only question in the royal mind
was, not whether Plymouth should have a charter of
its own, but whether it should be annexed to New
York or Massachusetts. Mr. Mather claimed the
credit, and perhaps justly, of accomplishing the result
which was finally reached, and of defeating New
York in her demands. The people of Plymouth
were not satisfied. Pending the negotiations, the in-
habitants of the various towns in the colony were
warned to meet for the purpose of raising money to
meet the expense of efficiently urging their claim.
The debt of the colony at that time — a legacy of
Philip's war — amounted to twenty seven thousand
pounds, and the people refused to increase it. Gover-
nor Hinckley wrote to Mr. Mather: " Not being iu a
capacity to make notes for any equal defraying the
charge, I see little or no likelihood of obtaining a char-
ter for us, unless their Majesties (William and Mary),
out of their royal bounty aud clemency, graciously
please to grant it, sab forma pauperis, to their poor
aud loyal subjects of the colony."

The charter of Massachusetts was signed Oct.
7, 1691, and Wiswall, an earnest, sincere, aud faithful
man, did not hesitate to charge Mather with duplicity
aud insincerity, and at the close of the contest said,
in a letter to Governor Hinckley, " All the frame of
heaven moves on one axis, and the whole of New
England's interest seems designed to be loaden on one
bottom, and her particular motions to concentrate to
the Massachusetts tropic. You know who are wont



to trot after the bay horse ; your distance is your ad-
vantage by which you may observe their motions.
Yet let me mind you of that great statesman, Ecclesi-
astes viii. 14. Few wise men rejoice at their
chains. I do believe Plymouth's silence, Hampshire's
neglect, and the rashness and impudence of one at
least who went from New England in disguise by
night, hath not a little contributed to our general dis-
appointment." The last court of election was held
at Plymouth iu June, 1691, and as this narrative con-
tains the names of the first otficers of the colony, it
may be interesting to readers to see a list of its last.
Thomas Hinckley was chosen Governor, William
Bradford Deputy Governor, and John Freeman, Dan-
iel Smith, Barnabas Lathrop, John Thatcher, John
Walley, and John Gushing assistants. The deputies
to the General Court were for













Little Compton.







John Bradford.
Isaao Cushman.
John Wadsworth.
Edward Southwortb.
Benjamin Stetson.
Samuel Clajip.
John Hall.
John Hathaway.
Tbouius Tuppcr.
Elisha Bourne.
John Qoram.
John Miller.
Silas Sears.
Isaao Little.
Nathaniel Thomas.
Jonathan Sparrow.
Thomas Paine, Jr.
Christopher Saunders.
John Woodcock.
Joseph Edson.
Isaac Howluud.
John SafBn.
William Throop.
Simon Rouse.
Isaac Robinson.
Aarou Barlow.
Gershom Hall.

At the time of the union of the colonies the popu-
lation of that of New Plymouth was about seventy-
five hundred. The new charter, called the charter of
the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New Eng-
laud, is a matter of interest to the general reader, as
well as historian, but is too long to be incorporated
in this narrative. It may be found in a book en-

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 30 of 118)