Maine Historical Society.

Collections of the Maine Historical Society (Volume 1, ser.1) online

. (page 9 of 52)
Online LibraryMaine Historical SocietyCollections of the Maine Historical Society (Volume 1, ser.1) → online text (page 9 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

government of Ligonia.- Knowing that he should have to con-
tend against an authority already established, he petitioned the
general court of Massachusetts to afford him their protection.
This they declined doing, but were willing that the governor
should write an unofficial letter in his favor. They wished,
probably, to render what assistance tliey could to a representa-
tive of the popular party in England, without involving them-
selves in the result of its ill success. The letter of the governor
did not have the desired effect of procuring the submission of
Gorges' friends to the authority of Cleeves ; for when Cleeves
proclaimed liis commission at Casco, and called a court there,
Vines, the deputy of Gorges, opposed his proceeding, and called
a court at Saco, Tlie inhabitants of course divided, those of
Casco principally joined Cleeves, although some dissented as.

1 Bode lived in Wells.
- - Wintliro]., vol. i. p. 1-jl. Ifubbard. vol. i. p. .'i6H.

! .'I.

: • .i An /

^[./ M;'i.u(^


appears by an order of tlic court, held at Saco, October, 1C45,
assuring tlicm of protection.' Vines was resolutely supjinrh.^i
by Macworth, in Casco, and, it may be supposed, by tbe princi-
pal inhabitants of Saco and Black Point, and lie was elected
deputy-governor for the following year. In this juncture,
Cleeves wrote to Vines, that he would submit the decision of
the question, as to jurisdiction, to the government of ^[assachu-
setts, until a final determination could lie had from England ;
but Vines not only declined the aibitration, but imprisoned
Richard Tucker, who was the bearer of the communication,
and required a bond for his appearance at court and his good
behavior, Ijefore he released him. Upon this violence, Cleeves
and his party, about thirty in number, wrote to the governor
of Massachusetts for assistance, and olfered themselves as par-
ties to the confederacy of the united colonies. The governor
returned an answer unfavorable to their claim for admission to
the confederacy, objecting that '-tliey had an order not to re-
ceive any but such as were in a church way."- Afterward in
April, 164:4, Vines went to Boston with a letter from the com-
missioners of Sir F. Gorges, and between twenty and thirty
other inhabitants of the province; but without effect; they,
would render aid to neither party ; and although their predc-
lictions were undoubtedly on the side of Rigby, with their
usual cautious policy they withheld themselves from any inter-
ference in the disputes here, recommending both parties to live
in peace, imtil the controversy sliould be detinitely settled by .
the authorities in England. Cleeves continued to maintain a
feeble sway, and must eventually have submitted to the author-
ity of Gorges, had not the party of Rigby been triumphant in
England; the distress to whicli he was reduced will ajipear

1 "Ordered by ynnt consent that we will aid and protect the inhabitants of
Casco bay as namely, Mr. Arthur Macworth and all others in confederacy with
us there, and their estates from all opposHion, wrong, and injury, that may be
offered them by Mr. George Cleeves or any under him." — York Records.

2 Winthrop, vol. ii. j). I'lo.

.h:. ' ,1

r. ■■ : i;.;~t ^i

•' ■'<\.<l..^'l


from his letter to the government of Massachusetts of Julv 3,
IG^o. "To the lionoured governour and deputy goveriiour,
and court of assistants of the Massachusetts coh:)ny, these.
Honoured sirs, may it please you, I have lately received from
Mr. Ivighy, letters of instruction and advice to proceed in the
government of Ligonia, and heeausc we are opposed by Mr.
Vines and others, his confederates, that we could not proceed
according to our instructions and being daily threatened, and
are still in danger of our lives, and also to have ourselves
seized on by them for not submitting to a pretended authority
to tliem given by Sir F. Gorges, without any lawful commission:
and tliereupon we are in danger of being ruined and undone,
unless the Lord do move your hearts to protect us with your
assistance. I do not hereby presume to direct you, but hum-
bly crave leave to show mine opinion, which is, that if you will
be pleased to write but your general letter to our opponents to
deter them from their illegal proceedings, and a letter to our
people of Ligonia, to advise and encourage them, that notwith-
standing Mr. Vines and the rest do oppose, that they may and
ought to adhere to Mr. Rigby's lawful authority. I hope you
may not need to put yourselves to any further trouble to finish
the work, but in so doing you will much oblige Mr. Rigby unto
you all, who doubtless would have sent over other order at this
time, if he had known the injuries offered him and us. Theso
letters now come are in answer of my letters sent to him on
my first arrival and not of my last nor of the * * * of the com-
missioners, as you may see by the date of them. I herein shall
send you Mr. Rigby's letter of request to you and also a letter
of his to me, whereby you may see how the parliament approves
of his proceeding, and tliat we may expect further orders forth-
with ; and in the interim we do most humbly beseech you to
afiford us such speedy assistance as the necessity of our present
condition requires, and we shall forever petition the throric of

ti t

U. . 7


grace for you all, and rest your humble servants. George
Cleeves for and in behalf of the people of Ligonia."^

This letter produced no alteration in the policy of Massachu-
setts, and in October following, Vines held his court as usual,
assisted by Richard Bonighton, Henry Jocelyn, Francis Robin-
son, Arthur Macworth, Edward Small, and Abraham Prelile,'-
It being represented at this court, "that not having heard from
SirFerdinando Gorges of late for establishment of government,"
they proceeded to elect Richard Vines, Esq., deputy-governor
for the year, and "if he should depart, Henry Jocelyn to be
deputy in his place." They also laid a tax for the charges of
the general court ; in which Casco is assessed ten shillings,
Saco eleven shillings, Gorgiana^ one pound, Piscataqua, which
included Kittery and Berwick, two pounds ten shiUings. Tlie
certificates before referred to, respecting the articles exhibited
agamsf Vines by Cleeves, were oire^-ed, and his practices cen-
sured ; but some allowance is undoubtedly to be made by us
for the unfavorable light in which Cleeves appears in this trans-
action, since we receive the representation of it from bitter and
prejudiced opponents, who acted under the highest degree of
excitement; and having no opportunity to hear the exculpa-
tion of the accused party.

Vines sold his patent to Dr. Child, in October, lG4o, and soon

1 From files in secretary's office, Mass.

2 Robinson lived in Saco, Macworth in Casco, Preble in Agaraenticus. Those
persons may be supposed to be the leaders in their respective plantations of the
party of Gorges.

3 Agamenticus, now York, was incorporated as a city by Gorges in 1G41, by
the name of Agamenticus; the next year a new charter was granted, giving it
the name of Gorgiana ; Thomas Gorges was appointed the first mayor, by the
charter. This tax exhibits the relative value of the settlements in Maine at
that time, if Casco were fully taxed, of which from its having a separate govern-
ment there mav be some doubt.

'ill If't 'lol

kt'»..; ;n'

ii'i ■!;:'■-;! (■■'


!1 , .'. -. •■.01,t!


\ ./'•( ;/ ,«>5iH0 '[/■•I-..

till tiio, i


after left the province;'* Henry Jocelyn succeeded to the of-
fice of deputy-governor. The contest liad increased to sucii a
height, that in the beginning of IGIG, Cleeves was threatened
with personal violence ; he therefore once more appealed to
Massacluisetts, to aid liim in this emergency. The other party
also making their representations to the same power, that gov-
ernment addressed a letter to each of them, persuading them
to suspend their hostilities, and live in peace until tlie arrival
of the next ships, hy which it was expected that an order would
come from the commissioners of the colonies to adjust the con-
troversy. On receiving these letters, both parties came to the
determination of referring the subjects of contention between
them, to the arbitration of the court of assistants of Massachu-
setts, to be held at Boston, June 3d, 1646. At the time ap-
pointed Cleeves and Tucker appeared in support of Rigby's
title, and Henry Jocelyn and Mr Roberts for Gorges.^

The result of this arbitration was inconclusive and unsatis-
factory. AVinthrop'^ says, "upon a full hearing, iDoth parties

1 Vines must have had one dauahter at least. I find a petition to Andross, on
Massachusetts Files, from Vines EUicotl for Cousins' Island in Casco bay, in which
he styles himself a ^grandson of Capt. Richard Vines. [Savage says Ellicott
came to Boston in the Supply in 1679. Ellacott or Ellicott was a respectable
family in Devonshire, England, and still is. Vines went to Barbadoes, where he
and his family were comfortably settled in 1648. He was there in the practice
of physic. He addressed from there, two letters to Gov. Winthrop, one dated
July, 1647, the other April, IQiS.— Jlutchmscrns Papers.]

* [Dr. Robert Child came from the county of Kent, England ; was educated at
Cambridge, England, from which he took his first degree in 1G31, second in 1635.
He afterward studied medicine at Padua, in Italy. It does not appear that he
made any use of his purchase of Vines. The next year he got into a furious
quarrel with the authorities of Massachusetts, whom he petitioned for further
freedom in religion and civil government. He returned to England in 1647 and
never came back.]

2 I think there must be some mistake in this name ; I find no such persoL ia
the province at that time ; a Giles Roberts subsequently lived at Black Poiu;.
I have thought it probable that Francis Robinson was intended ; he was a re-
spectable magistrate of Gorges' court at this period, and lived at Saco.

3 Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 256.

In ■, i'^. .:-,;^,


failed in their proof. The plaiutifT ( Clecves) could not prove
the place in question to be within liis patent, nor could derive
a good title of the patent itself to Mr. Righy, there being six
or eight patentees, and the assignment from only two of tliem.
Also the defendant had no patent of the province, but only a
copy thereof attested by witnesses which was not pleadable in
law. Which so perplexed the jury that they could find for
neither, but gave in a non liqiiet. And because both parlies
would have it tried b}" a jury, the magistrates forebore to deal
any further in it. "

The government of Massachusetts was undoubtedly quite
willing that the cause should take this direction, they preferred
to keep neutral and not identify themselves with either party
until they could safely do it under the decision of the
sioners for the plantations, in England. This decision arrived
soon after, and declared Rigliy to be the "rightful owner and
proprietor of the province of Ligonia, by virtue of conveyances,
whereby the planting, ruling, ordering, and governing the said
province is settled." The commissioners further ordered that
all the inhabitants of said province shoidd yield obedience to
Rigby ; and the government of Massachusetts was required, in
case of resistance, to render su]tport to his authority.^ •

Winthrop'^ says that the decision of the commissioners
brought the bounds of the patent to the sea-side, when, by the
language of it, it fell twenty miles short ; this explains what
he before said in speaking of the evidence adduced by Cleeves
in support of Rigby's title, that the grant did not cover the
disputed territory.

This decree was the result of political events in England ;
the republican party was now triumphant, and Gorges, who
had been taken prisoner at the seige of Bristol in 1645, and
imprisoned, Avas probaV^ly now dead ;^ although, why the title

1 Sullivan, p. 3M, who cites an ancient ?jrilish manuscript.

2 Winthrop, vol. ii. p. 320.

3 In June, 16J7, Gorges' friends in the v,-e=;tcrn part of the Slate, adJres-JCfl a
letter to his heirc. [He died in 1647.]

,;■-(.': .■>'.://

'■i: .

;1j : ,, i/vj •■.;, •/■'/;"i.f Y




to the province of Ligoiiia was not good, as to the soil at least,
may be difticult to comprehend. The patent bears date pre-
vious to the title of Gorges, setting aside the grant of 1(322.
which a}^poars never to have been executed ; the proprietors
came over and took possession, and no evidence remains that
tiie patent was ever relinquished, or the title revoked. But
the sovereignty or the right of government is ])laced on a dif-
ferent ground, and not having been transferred to the propri-
etors that we liavc any evidence of, must have reverted to the
king, with the surrender of the grand patent l)y the council
of Plymouth. The question then arises, whether the ciiarter
of the king to Gorges, conveyed the right of government to
him witliin the province of Ligonia. which was then held un-
der another and distinct title. But this question we shall not
stop to discuss.*

Cleeves, now triumphant over his adversaries, assumed un-
disputed sway in the whole province of Ligonia, extending
from Cape Porpus to Cape Elizabeth, including both. Under
this government were the settlements at Cape Porpus, Winter
Harbor, and Saco, Black and Blue Points, noAV Scarborougli,
Spurwink, Richmond's Island, and Casco. Saco was the larg-
est, and the next, those of Spurwink and Richmond's Island.
He immediately commenced making grants in his newly-ac-
quired territory ; as early as May, 1G47, he granted to Ricliard
Moore four hundred acres in Cape Porpus, and in September
of the same year, he conveyed to John Busli a tract "in the
village of Cape Porpus ;" he also made grants in Scarborough
and Falmouth, all of them as tlie agent of Col. Alexander
Rigby, president and proprietor of the province of Ligonia.^

* [la January, 1C5G,. Ed-.varJ Ptigby petitioned the Lord Protector to aid in the
settlement of his plantation in New P'nglaiid, called the province of Laconia,
granted by patent from the king to his father. Referred to the Commissioners
or plantations. — Saimbury.]

1 Rigby was a Eor;^eant at law, and one of the Barons of the Exchequer in the
kingdom of En^ai.d ; Cleeves was styled dejuity-president.



Records of only three courts held by Cleeves are now to !■;.■
found, and these are very imperfect : one relates to a cor.ri
held at Black I\nnt, by George Cleeves, Henry Jocelyn, u;id
Robert Jordan, in which merely tlie appointment of an adnhn-
istrator is noticed ; and the others held at Casco in Sejjtemhor
and December of the same year, exhibit the proceedings which
took place on the petition of Robert Jordan, the executor of
John "Winter, for the allowance of his claim against Trelawny.
These are presented in the apjx'iidix. The style of the court,
aswejearn from Jordan's petition, was the "General Assem-
bly of the Province of Ligonia." We owe the preservation of
this record to [he vigilance of private interest, and not to the '
care of public officers. The repeated changes in govcrnmenl,
the confusion of the times, but most of all, the desolation spread
over the whole eastern country by Indian hostilities, have been
fatal to the preservation of any perfect records either of the
courts or towns.

After the decision which separated Ligonia from the province
of Maine, and the death of Gorges, the people in the western
part of the State, in 1649, formed a combination for their own
government, and elected Edward Godfrey their governor ;' the
first general court under this combination was held at Gorgi-
ana (York) in July of that year. In consequence of the
state of affairs in England, which deprived them of the aid of
their chief proprietor, they petitioned parliament in 1G51, to
take them under their protection and confirm their indepen-
dent government ;- but parliament not regarding their petition.
they were obliged in 1G52, to submit to the jurisdiction of Mas-
sachusetts. Hutchinson, speaking of this period and this prov-
ince, says, the people were in confusion and the authority of
government at an end.^ ^

1 Sullivan, p. 320. Massachusetts Historical Collections, vol. i.

2 Sullivan, p, 322.

•"i Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 163.

J. '.'.'..<•. /

1i in i-ii;;'


[^ '-i^cc


We have no means of determinino- ^^•^th precision how tlio
government in Ligonia was constituted ; We fmd a genei-al as-
sembly in existence, and suppose it was formed upon tfie plan
of that in Massachusetts, or of that proposed by Gorges ; that
is, by assistants or counselors appointed by the president or his
deputy, and deputies chosen by the people. In fact, Edward
Rigby, the son of Alexander, in a letter written in 1G52. to the
province, speaks of the six assistants and the judges. The jiro-
ceedings of the assembly in September, 1G48, are subscriliod by
George Clecves, deputy-president, Wm. Koyall, Henry AVatts,
John Cossons, Peter Hill, and Robert Booth. ^ We meet with
nothing in tlie records which indicate that tlie afHiirs of ilie
province were not correctly administered, and conducted v.ith-
out confusion or interruption, until the death of Eigby, the
chief proprietor, which took place in August, 1650.- After the
news of this event, the old opposition to Rigby's government
was revived, and we may conjecture from Edward Rigby's let-
ter, before referred to, that the object of the opposition was, to
form a combination and establish an independent government ;
he writes, that if they do "not desist from their private and se-
cret combinations and practices and join with him, his deputy
and other officers for the peace of the province, he will take
such course as shall not only force a submission, but also a
reparation for all their misdeeds." This letter was dated Lon-
don, July 19, 1G52, and addressed to "Mr. Henry Jocclyn, Mr.
Robert Jordan, Mr. Arthur Macworth, Mr. Thomas Williams,
as also to Robert Booth, Morgan Howell,* John Wadleigh, Jon-
as Bailey, Thomas Morris, Hugh Mosier, and to all others whom

' Royall and Cossons were from Westcustogo, now Xorlh Yarmouth, Hill and
Booth were from Saco, and Watts from Scarborough.

2 Hazard, vol. i, p. 570. Sullivan, p. 317,

♦[Morgan Howell's will 'is proved April ], 1CG7. — York County Eecorch. Book
F.p.'l^.] '

i,!'r ,-:"'..,

■,','/ ' i u

/'. fr.'^vf'i'i'i

lit t;


these may couccru, these }»reseiit in Ligonia.''' It appears l-y
this letter, that Cleevcs was then in EngLand, for he soys, -vl
shall with all convenient speed, not only send back Mr. Clccvey;
but a near kinsman of my own."

How the government was conducted after this time we have
no means of ascertaining ; Cleeves did not return until after
February 20, 1653, and although the majority of the inhabi-
tants of Cape Porpus and Saco submitted to the jurisdiction of
Massachusetts in l<3o2, he contrived to keep up some shovr of
power in the eastern part of the province until the submission
of the remaining inhabitants in 1658.

,The government of Massachusetts seeing the disordered state
of affairs in Maine, in 1652, seriously undertook to establish a
claim to the province as far east as Casco Viay. Tlieir attention
was particularly called to the subject by a land title which was
controvertecl in the court of Norfolk county, then extending
to the Piscataqua. The judicial tribunal declared tliat they
had no jurisdiction, the land lyhig in New Hampshire ; tlie
subject was carried before the general court, which took occa-
sion to order an accurate survey of their bounds.- On the 26th
of May the general court "voted that upon perusal of their
charter, the extent of their line is to be from the northernmost
part of the river Merrimack, and three miles more north, and
thence upon a strait line cast and west to each sea."^ In pur-
suance of this declaration, the court appointed commissioners
to ascertain the latitude of the head of Merrimack river ; the
committee made their observations on the first day of August,
1652, and reported "that the head of the Merrimack, where it
issues out of the lake Winnepusiaket,^ was forty-three degrees

1 Williams and Coolh lived in Saco, and submitted to MassadmseUs in 1G53,
Kowel! lived in Cape and Wadleigh in Wells, and they severally sub-
miUed in ICVJ. Murris and Mosier lived in Casco bay, and Bailey at Black

2 Belknap, X. II. vol. i. p. 102. 3 Hazard, vol.' i. p. 501.
4 Winnepis^eogijee.


ibrty minutes, twelve seconds, besides those minutes which are
to be allowed tor the three miles more north, which runs into tlie
lake." Their next step was to ascertain at what point of the
coast that parallel Avould reach, and observations for this pur-
pose were made October 13, 1053, by Jonas Clark and .Samuel
Andrews, ship-masters, who conclude their report thus : '^At
the sea-side where the line doth extend there lieth a grayish
rock at a high-water-mark cleft in tlie middle,' else the shore
being sand without stones ; the line doth run over the norihern-
most point of an island as we guessed, not above two or three
rods above high-water-mark, the island is called the upper Clap-
board Island, about a quarter of a mile from the main in Casco
baye, about four or five miles to the northward of Mr. Llacworth's
house. "-

This claim was resisted by Godfrey's government in the west-
ern part of the state, who protested against the usurpation ;
but llawson, the secretary of ilassachusetts, wrote Godfrey in
1032, showing the grounds of their claim and their determina-
tion to pursue it and occupy the territory. Godfrey, however,
in the name of the government and people, declared that they
would resist the encroachment and continue the exercise of
their authority and rights, until the government of England
should otherwise order. ^* But the people not receiving sup-

l^Thisrock still remains, and is the point from which the dividing line be-
tween the ancient towns of Fp.lmouth and Xurlh Yarmouth commenced.
2 Massachusetts Records. 3 Hazard, vol. i. p. oG4.

* [Godfrey's government sent a remonstrance to the Council of State in Eng-
land, against the claim of Massachusetts, in December, 1G5L And November
6, 1652, again by order of the general court of Maine, represented to the coun-
cil in England 'That through the proceedings of Sir F. Gorges, they were
forced to enter into a combinntion for government, as appears by their remonstrance
and petitioti of December, IGol. Since which time all acts of government have
been in the name of the Keepers of the liberties of England. Requests an au-
dience for Richard Leader, agent of the provInce,'with reference to tlie claims of
Massachusetts to their government and the propriety of their Ian i which they
have quietly possessed for twenty years. — Saiusburi/, vol. i. p. 392.]

]'■•«!• >•

iM ) K.yi I'j'' '■ '"'Sfi «•'•(;

il- ^ »>(;;


port from England, and M-earr of oj^posing the perseveriui?
eflbrts of their more powerful neighbor, fitially yielded to tlio
necessity of tlie case; the inhabitants of Kittery aiid Gorgiana
signed the submission in Xovember, 1G52, and those of "Wells,
Cape Porpus, and a majority of those in Saco, July 5, 1C53.'

Massachusetts having now extended her jurisdiction to the
Saco river, continued her exertions, without relaxation, to
spread it over the whole of her claim. But she ^was resisted
in the eastern part of the province, both upon political and re-
ligious grounds. The most influential men cast of Saco river,
were decidedly episcopalian in their form of worship, and look-
ed with dread upon tlic uncompromising, and we may add,
nntolerating spirit of the puritan government of Massachusetts.
Our principal settlers had brought with them from England
the religious forms which prevailed in that country, and did
not come to avoid them, as was the case with the colonists of
Plymouth and Massachusetts. At the head of this party, were
Robert Jordan, Henry Jocelyn, and Arthur Macworth, all firm

Online LibraryMaine Historical SocietyCollections of the Maine Historical Society (Volume 1, ser.1) → online text (page 9 of 52)