John Winthrop.

The history of New England from 1630 to 1649 (Volume 1) online

. (page 1 of 51)
Online LibraryJohn WinthropThe history of New England from 1630 to 1649 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Fiiisy f;ovA-/{.vo/{ or \/ass.\(//i s/rrrs.





mm TO i®4t.





ww^m imwm^






Sappe audivi, Q. Maximum, P. Scipionem, pi-aeterea ci^itatis nostrse prseclaros viros, soli'tos ita
dicere, cum majoium imagines intuerentur, vehementissime sibi animum ad virtuteiu
accendi. Sailust, Bell. Jugurth, c. iv.



yo. 5. Coin Street.

1825. /,:r. ' p- . ;/,j \

■ft^ -*.»_/ XiU


District Clerk'' s Office.

Be it remembered, that on the eighteenth day of April, A. D. 1825, in the
lortj-ninth jear of the Independence of the United States of America, James
Savage, of the said District, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the
right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:

"The History of New England from 1630 to 1649. By John Winthrop,
Esq, first Governour of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay. From his ori-
ginal Manuscripts. With Notes to illustrate the civil and ecclesiastical Con-
cerns, the Geography, Settlement and Institutions of the Country, and the
Lives and Manners of the principal Planters. By James Savage, Member of
the Massachusetts Historical Society. Vol. 1.

" Saepe audivi, Q. Maximum, P. Scipionem, praeterea civitatis nostrae prae-
claros viros, solitos ita dicere, cum majorum imagines intuerentur, vehemen-
tissime sibi animum ad virtutem accendi. — Sallust, Bell. Jugurth. c. iv."

In conformity 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 also to an act entitled "• An act supplementary
to an act, entitled. An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the
copies of maps, cliarts and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies
during the times therein mentioned ; and extending the benefits thereof to the
arts of designing, engraving and etching historical and other prints."

Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.


Early in the spring of 1816 was discovered, in the tower
of the Old South Church in Boston, the third volume of the
History of New England, in the original MS. of the author,
John Winthrop, first governour of the Massachusetts Bay.
When the precious book was presented to the Massachusetts
Historical Society, at their next meeting, 25 April, the diffi-
culty of transcribing it for the press seemed to appal several
of the most competent members, whose engagement in more
important duties afforded also a sufficient excuse for leaving
such labour to be undertaken by any one, at any time, who
could devote to it many weeks of leisure. The task appeared
inviting to me. On the same evening the MS. was taken, and
the study of its chirography was begun, the next day, by the
aid of one of the former MSS. collated with the printed
volume, usually called Winthrop's Journal. Of all the three
MSS. and of the published Journal, a sufficient account may
be seen in 2 Hist. Coll. IV. 200.

Before the collation of the former MS. with the volume
printed in 1790 had proceeded through many pages, the dis-
covery of numerous important errours seemed to make a new
edition of the earlier part of the History very desirable ; and
when a transcript of the new-found volume was completed, my
resolution was fixed, that it should not be printed without
a perfect revision of the Journal. Notes, explanatory, in
some instances, of the text, illustrating, in some degree, the
biography of many persons named in it, and referring to bet-
ter accounts of others than I could furnish, were thought neces-


sary. Several hundred notes were prepared, and a careful
collation of the whole printed volume, for the second time,
with the original volumes of MS. was finished on 2 June, 1819,
Being then required to visit a foreign country, all my prepara-
tions were suspended until 1 returned. Care, however, was
taken to leave the corrected copy of the printed volume, with
my copy of the third part, to be kept safely. Again called
abroad in 1822, I so carefully disposed of my copy of the
third volume, as to leave it in a forgotten place, which afforded
me the gratification of making a new one, begun 8 December,
1S23, and finished 30 March, 1824. This circumstance ad-
monished me of the propriety of adopting early measures for
guarding against farther accidents of that kind. Application
was made, at the next session of the General Court of this
commonwealth, by the Historical Society, for encouragement
of the publication. In consequence of the liberal aid of the
Legislature, the volume comes thus early before the publick.
To the account of the three MSS. above referred to, may
be added, that the whole had been in possession of Hubbard,
the reverend historian of Ipswich, who made the basis, and
much the most valuable part of his work, out of Winthrop's
materials, using them commonly without other labour than
literal copying, and disposing them in a different order. See
page 297 of this volume, for an estimate of the value of that
work. Nor can I forgive the slight use of these invaluable-
documents, which is evinced by Mather, the unhappy author
of Magnalia Christi Americana, who, in the hurry of com-
posing that endless work, seems to have preferred useless
quotations of worthless books, two or three centuries older, or
popular and corrupt traditions, to the full matter and precise
statement of facts, dates, principles and motives, furnished by
authentick history. That he possessed these MSS. is plain
enough from his citations of several passages in his Life of
our author, book 11. cap. 4. Perhaps he grudged the time,
which must have been consumed by a devoted study of the
volumes; for no other excuse can I imagine for his clumsy
^abbreviation of that excellent speech in § 9, that will appear in

I'xvjLr Av^rj.

our next volume. From this mutilated transcript of Mather,
■we may presume, the authors of the Modern Universal His-
tory condensed and adorned, in vol. XXXIX. 291, 2, their
report, as if delivered in St. Stephen's chapel, of " the follow-
ing speech, which is equal to any thing of antiquity, whether
we consider it as coming from a philosopher or a magistrate."
It may be seen, also, in the valuable Summary History of
New England by Hannah Adams, 79, 80. Agreeable as this
commendation of the London compilers is, the original address
from Winthrop's own pen is far superiour to their copy, and
its simplicity is injured by their decorations. One would as
soon exchange a portrait of full size from the life for an en-
graving in duodecimo, as receive the version of the oration
in the Universal History for our author's report of his " little

These venerable MSS. afterwards were in the hands of
Prince, who used part of the first in compiling his Annals, II.
Hutchinson, we know, did not enjoy the use of them.

Of the title of this work, it may be desirable for the reader
to understand, that it is the exact language of the author. In
the first volume of MS., indeed, it is not used, nor is any other
designation given to the book. But Prince labels it " History
of New England, by John Winthrop, governour of the Massa-
chusetts," and both the other MS. volumes begin, in the wri-
ter's own hand, " A Continuation of the History of New Eng-
land." Perhaps it would be more gratifying, could we de-
termine, whether Winthrop designed by this term the colony
of Massachusetts only, or all the country, before 1628
and since 1660, usually called New England. It is plain
enough, that, in the early part of his work, his regards are
confined to Massachusetts proper, exclusive of Maine, New
Hampshire and Plimouth ; nor is there, in later parts, so liberal
a narrative of those colonies, or of Rhode Island and Coi>
necticut, as we should be happy to receive from one so well
acquainted with the history of all. Johnson certainly means,
by NcAV England, Massachusetts alone ; and the omission of
regular notices, by our author, of the annual elections, and,


indeed, of all other incidents in each of the other colonies,
except those incidents bad close connexion with our colony,
leaves it beyond question, that the name must have the same
strict interpretation. Letters from private persons on the
other side of the ocean were frequently addressed to John
Winthrop, governour of New England. Sir William Berkley,
the royal governour of Virginia, employs the same style ; and
the king and council usually designate this colony New England,
Perhaps the great confederation of the four colonies in 1643,
extended the name to them, or rather deprived Massachu-
setts of its improper appropriation. The next year the
patent for Providence Plantations in New England was ob-
tained, which name would certainly not have been allowed by
their neighbours without authority of parliament.

My duty has called for a very scrupulous attention to the
exact phraseology of the original MS. and the reader may
confidently receive this text of Winthrop for a correct one,
verified by collation of his autograph at three several periods
in difierent years. The integrity of the text has, indeed, been
as great an object of my labour, as the preparation of notes.
Yet mistakes may have occurred ; for, at different times, the
same word has sometimes been variously read by me. The
venerable authorities will remain in the archives of the His-
torical Society for my correction by any one, who doubts
of the faithfulness of a single passage.

Perhaps some of my readers will be pleased with an ex-
planation of the style, or supputation, of the year. Before
1752, the year w^as, by the legal method of computation, held
to begin on 25 March, Lady Day, or Annunciation, so called
from the notion entertained by the church, that the event
recorded in the gospel of Luke, i. 26 — 38, occurred on that
day. The general practice of England had, indeed, several
years earlier, conformed to that of the rest of Christendom, in
making the first of January new year's day; and the law, at
last, followed the popular wisdom, as usual, in the correction.
But, in our author's lime, the custom coincided with the law.
It is of more importance, however, to remark, that, in reckon-


ing the months, March was called the first, February the
twelfth, September, October, November and December, then
having, consistent with their Latin etymology, the numerical
rank, which is now lost. Yet it is still more important to be
noticed, that a very dangerous diversity existed in styling the
year by its old numeral until 25 March, or giving it the naw
designation from the beginning of that month. In the Appen-
dix, A. 37, 38, 39, 40, our author dates the old year, and such
course is generally followed through the History, though some-
times he varied. I have preferred uniformity with his general
custom. In the Appendix, G., Davenport and Gov. Eaton use
1638, where Winthrop would have written 1637. Numerous
errours from this source are observable in all the writers on
our early history ; and even the most careful sometimes fall
into them. The accurate Hutchinson, I. 16, 17, mentions the
purchase by our company from the Plimouth council, 19
March, 1627, and the charter from the king, confirming the
same, 4 March, 1628, in which we might suppose he followed
the old style. But the first election of officers, pursuant to the
charter, on the last Wednesday in Easter term, he makes
13 May, 1628, by which we see his mistake. It was 1629.
An apology may be expected by the publick for my
references to the edition of Morton's Memorial by Judge
Davis, when that work is not published. It is easily made.
The work had been several years nearly finished, when I be-
gan my labour in 1816; and the liberal editor, — liberal in
every thing but withholding from the community the fruit of
so many years acquisition, — allowed me freely to peruse his
notes. His friends might reasonably expect, that the volume
would be soon issued, of which nineteen-twentieths had so
long been printed. My good fortune, however, permits the
present publication to appear without the peril of a compari-
son with one, by which it must be so greatly overshadowed.
If that long-desired work is to be postponed during the life of
the editor, the community will gladly prolong their eager


For assistance received in the progress of my work, no
other acknowledgments than will be seen in the notes is re-
quired by the living or the dead. But Hutchinson, Eliot, Brad-
ford, Prince, Hazard, and other deceased Writers, — Holmes,
Davis, Allen, and other living ones, — are common property.
The freedom used by me in correcting their errours will, I
hope, entitle my humble notes to the same regard.

Hanc veniam petimusque damusque vicissim.

It would be thought only a childish affectation to give here the
names of all, who lent their aid in rendering this book minutely
accurate ; yet, after all my obligation to them, it is expedient,
for greater benefits than all their kindness bestowed, to refer to
the free and unexhausted field, the soil of which is only partial-
ly turned up to the day, that lies for the cultivation of any, in
our Colony, County, Town and Church Records, whence the
information derived will be equally abundant and authentick.
There is, however, one gentleman, to whom my readers will
feel so much indebted, that to withhold his name would be
greater afiectation than to publish it. My friend, James
Bowdoin, Esq. procured for me most of the articles in the
Appendix, especially the family letters, received from his
cousin, Francis B. Winthrop, Esq. of New Haven, which will,
no doubt, be thought the most valuable appendage to the
History of their great ancestor.

The title page, dedication and preface of the former edition
are here added :










Utciimque erit, juvabit tamen, renim gestarum memoriae, ipsum consuluisse.

Tit. Liv. Pref.










SThe CollDtotnfl journal,




Hartford, July^ 1790,


i HE following Journal was written by John WInthrop, Esq. fijst
governour of Massachusetts. This distinguished gentleman was born
at Groton in Suffolk, June 1^2, 1587. His grandfather w^as an emi-
nent lawyer, in the reign of Henry VHI. and attached to the refor-
mation. His father was of the same profession ; and the governour
himself was bred a lawyer, in which character he was eminent both for
integrity and abilities. Indeed, he must have had the fairest reputa-
tion ; for he was appointed a justice of peace at eighteen years of age.

When the design of settling a colony in ^e\y England was under-
taken, Mr. Winthrop was chosen, with general consent, to conduct
the enterprise. His estate, amounting to tlie value of six or seven
hundred pounds sterling a year, he converted into money, and em-
barked for America, in tlie forty-third year of his age. He arrived at
Salem, with the Massachusetts charter, June 12, IG30. He was ma-
ny years governour of that infant coionj , and conducted himself with
such address and unshaken rectitude, as to render iiis character uni-
versally respectable among his cotemporaries, and his memory dear
to posterity. He died March 2G, 1649.

Mr. Winthrop kept a Journal of every important occurrence, from
his first embarking for America, in 1630, to the year 1644. This
manuscript, as appears by some passages, was originally designed
for publication ; and it was formerly consulted by the first compi-
lers of New England history, particularly by Hubbard, Mather and
Prince. But it continued, unpublished and uncopied, in possession
of the elder branch of the family, till the late revolution, when Gov.
Trumbull of Connecticut procured it, and, with the assistance of his
secretary, copied a considerable part of it. Soon after the governour's
death, a gentleman, who has a taste for examining curious original
])apers, which resj)ect his own country, came, by accident, to a
knowledge of this manuscript; and, with consent of the governour's
heirs, contracted for a copy, merely for his own improvement and
amusement. On reading the work, he found it to contain many
curious and interesting facts, relating to the settlement of Massa-
chusetts and the other New England colonies, and highly descriptive
of the character and views of the iirst inimbitaiits. This suggested
to him the design of publishing the Journal complete ; as any abridg-
ment of it would tend to weaken its historical evidence, and put [it] in
the power of captious criticks to impeach its authenticity. By con-
sent of the descendants of Gov. Winthrop, proposals were issued for
publishing a small number of copies; and the design is at length

The copy here presented to the publick was made by John Por-
ter, Esq. the secretary of the late Gov. Trumbull, whose declaration
respecting its accuracy, is here annexed. It is an extract from his
letter to the editor :

Lebanox, January \st^ 1788.
Dear Sir,

Agreeable to your request, I send you a copy of Gov. Winthrop's
History. The transcribing has required more labour than I at first expected.
I carefully examined the original, and, on comparing, found many errours in
the first copy ; which, upon further experience in reading the original, I have
been able to correct ; as also to fill up many blanks. This has caused me
much study, and retarded the completion of the business for some time. You
will observe some blanks in the present copy — some of them are so in the origi-
nal ; but, excepting the blanks, I believe this may be depended on as a
genuine copy.

I am, dear Sir,

with sentiments of esteem,

your obedient humble servant,


The original is in the hand-writing common to that age, and is
not read without difficulty. The first copy was made during Gov.
Trumbull's life, and part of it by the governour himself. The last
copy, here given to the world, was taken from the first, and, through-
out the whole, compared with the original. The blanks are few,
and, as the reader will observe, of no considerable consequence.

Many parts of the work are not interesting to modern readers ; but
even these are necessary to give future historians an accurate account
of the first transactions of the settlers, and furnish posterity with a
precise knowledge of the characters and manners of their forefathers.

Important institutions, and the general complexion of national
government, often originate in the most trivial circumstances, or the
minutest traits of character ; and without a detail of the most trifling
facts in the early history of New England, it will be impossible to
understand the nature of their present religious and political estab-

But, however unimportant particular passages in the following
Journal may appear to the body of readers, the substance of the work
is highly valuable ; and, it is presumed, the historian, the philosopher,
and the divine, will be gratified with a publication, which has long
been a desideratum among the literati of the New World.

Hartford, Jw/y, 1790.

The reader is desired to observe, that, at the head of the page, stands the
name of the govcrnour for the time being ; that the references from the text
to the notes are marked by Arabick numerals ; that words doubtful in the
original MSS. are printed in Italick characters, as on page 286 ; that words
presumed to be deficient in the original are supplied by including them in
brackets, as on page 19 ; that words in the original MSS. having a pen drawn
through them are denoted by a star before and after, as on page 232 ; that
some important omissions in the former edition are marked by a § before and
after, as on page 148; that the difference in some particular places, between
the correct reading of this edition and the erroneous ones of the former edi-
tion, is marked by giving the true word or words in the test between parallel
lines before and after, and the word or words of the former edition between
similar lines in the margin below, as on page 3.

In printing Indian names, I have followed the orthography of originals,
however various at different times. Great literal correctness has been aimed
at, and in general obtained in printing this volume. The reader may note
the following errours, besides a (ew in punctuation, of less importance :


Page 29, in note, last line but four, for Ashhy^ read Jlshley.

78, in note, last line but one, for Thurlow^ read Tkurloe.

82, in note, last line but one, for without^ read u-ith.

247, in note, last line but 10, and in note 2, on page 313, for Thomson^

read Tompson.

276, in note, last line but four, for a*, read at.

384, in text, line 33, for Elizabeth^ read Martha.

391, in text, line 11, for Nath. read Math.

Perhaps I should here notice, that the address of our governour and com-
pany on board the Arbella, printed for John Bellamie, London, 1630, has
been found by me since writing the remark on page 5 of this Volume.
It is bound up with several other rare tracts in the Prince Collection, but, as
it gives only the seven names, transcribed by Hubbard, its value is not so
great as I imagined.



"•AT y^ Feast of Sf- Michael, Aw> 1607, my Sister, y^ Lady
Mildmay, did give me a Stone Pot, tipped and covered w^^^ a Silver

The above memorandum was taken out of my great great grand-
father, Mr. Adam Winthrop, his notes, and given me, October 13th,
1707, by my cousin John Winthrop, relating to the Stone Pot, given
him by his sister one hundred years ago ; which Pot is now in my


the son of Adam — the son of Adam — the son
of John, governour of Massachusetts — the
son of the abovesaid Adam, to whom the Pot
was at first given.

Be it remembered, that the " Stone Pot, tipped and covered with
a Silver Lydd," descended to me upon the death of my father in
1779; and that it has, on this 29th day of September, 1807, (being
the Feast of St. Michael, been two hundred years in the family,
and is now in ray possession.


the son of John — the son of Adam — the son of
Adam — the son of Adam — the son of John,
(governour of Massachusetts,) — the son of
Adam, to whom the Pot was at first given.

Ihe principal vessels, which brought our tamers hiiner, are reiuemuertu uy
their descendants with no small degree of affection. The Mayflower had been
a name of renown, without forming part of this fleet, because in her came the
devoted planters of Plimouth, and she had also brought, in the year preceding
this, some of Higginson's companions to Salem. Endicot and the first colo-
nists of Massachusetts in 1628 demand our gratitude for the Abigail. But the
circumstance of changing, " in honour of the Lady" Arbella, wife of Isaac
Johnson, Esq. the original name of this admiral ship, which was the Eagle,
makes us confident in the correctness of this nauie, while it pleases the imagi-
nation that would honour the vessel. In his epistle to the Countess of Lincoln,

1 VOL. I.




Anno Domini, 1630, March 29, Monday.

Easter Monday.] RlDlNG at the Cowes, near the Isle of
Wight, in the '"Arbella, a ship of three hundred and fifty tons,

1 This name has been usually spelt Arabella, and thus Neal, Hutchinson,
Trumbull, Dr. Holmes and Judge Davis, besides Eliot and Allen, in their
Biographical Dictionaries, following chiefly Josselyn and Mather, have all

Online LibraryJohn WinthropThe history of New England from 1630 to 1649 (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 51)