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Samuel Peters.

The Rev. Samuel Peters', LL. D., general history of Connecticut, from its first settlement under George Fenwick to its latest period of amity with Great Britain prior to the revolution .. online

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6^5 /^s^c^f^



HARVARD COLLEGE
LIBRARY




FROM THE BEQUEST OF

CHARLES SUMNER

GLASS OF 1830

Senator from Massachusetts

FOR BOOKS RELATING TO
POLITICS AND FINE ARTS




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o

THE REV. SAMUEL^TERS' LL. D.
GENEEAL HISTORY ^^^

COJSnSTE CTICUT^

FROM ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT/UNDER GEORGE FENWICK

TO ITS LATEST PERIOD OF AMITY WITH GREAT

BRITAIN PRIOR TO THE REVOLUTION ;



A DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY, AND MANY CURIOUS
AND INTERESTING ANECDOTES.



WITH AN APPENDIX, POINTING OUT THB CAUSES OF THE REBELLION IN

AMERICA; TOGETHER WITH THE PARTICULAR PART TAKEN BY

THE PEOPLE OP CONNECTICUT IN ITS PROMOTION.



BY A GENTLEMAN OF THE PROVINCE.
LONDON : Jlgl.



TO WHICH ABE ADDED, ADDITIONS TO APPENDIX, NOTES, AND EXTRACTS

FROM LETTERS, YEBIFY1NQ MANY IMPORTANT STATEMENTS

MADS BT THE AUTHOR.

BY

SAMUEL JARVIS McCORMICK.



^NEW YORK:
D. APPLETON AND OOMPAITY,
649 & 651 BROADWAY.



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OOPTBIGHT Bl

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,

1877.



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PEEFAO



0E.\



\

Though Connecticut be the most flouisjshing, and,
proportionally, the most populous, provinci| in North
America, it has hitherto found no writer to introduce
it, in its own right, to the notic9| of the world. Slight
aad cursory mention in the acc^ujits of other provinces,
or of America in general, has y^t only been made of
it. The historians of Ne\f England have constantly
endeavored to aggrandize Massachusetts Bay as the par-
ent of the other colonies, and as c(^mprehending all that
is worthy -oTattention in th$t country. Thus Governor
Hutchinson says, in the preface oif his history of that
province, that "there wa^^-iio importation of planters
from England to any part of the qontinent northward
of Maryland, excepting to Massachusetts, for more
than fifty years after the dolony be^an ; '' not knowing,
or willing to forget, or to conceal, ihat Saybrook, New
Haven, and Long Island, ^ere settled with emigrants
from England within half llhat period. Another reason



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4 . PREFACE.

for the obscurity in whicli the Connectitensians have
hitherto been involved is to be found among their own
sinister views and purposes. Prudence dictated that
their deficiency in point of right to the soil they occu-
pied, their wanton and barbarous persecutions, illegal
practices, daring usurpations, etc., had better be con-
cealed than exposed to public view.

To dissipate this cloud of prejudice and knavery,
and to bring to light truths long concealed, is the mo-
tive of my ofiEering the following sheets to the world.
I am bold to assert that Connecticut merits a fuller ac-
count than envy or ignorance has yet suffered to be
given it; and that I have followed the line of truth
freely, and unbiased by partiality or prejudice. The
reader, therefore, will not be surprised should I have
placed the New-Englanders in a different light from
that in which they have yet appeared : their character-
izers have not been suflSciently unprejudiced, unawed
by power, or unaffected by the desire of obtaining it,
always to set them in a true one. Dr. Mather and Mr.
Neal were popular writers, but, at the time they ex-
tolled the prudence and piety of the colonists, they
suppressed what are called in Kew England unneces-
sary truths. Governor Hutchinson, who loved fame,
and feared giving offense, published a few only of those
truths, which failed not to procure him a proportionate
share of popular distrust and odium. For my own



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PREFACE, 5

part, I believe my readers.will give me credit for hav-
ing neither the favor nor the fear of man before me in
writing this history of Connecticut. I discard the one ;
I conrt not the other. My sole aim has been to repre-
sent the country, the people, and their transactions, in
proper colors. Too much, however, must not be ex-
pected from me. I am very sensible of many great de-
fects in this performance, wherein very little assistance
was to be obtained from publications of others. Mr.
Chambers, indeed, who is writing " Political Annals of
the Present United Colonies," pursues that task with
great pains and address. His researches have been of
some use to me ; but, as to the New England writers,
error, disguise, and misrepresentations, too much abound
in them to be serviceable in this undertaking, though
they related more to the subject than they do. The
good-natured critic, therefore, will excuse the want of a
regular and connected detail of facts and events which
it was impossible for me to preserve, having been de-
prived of papers of my ancestors which would have
given my relation that and other advantages. I hope,
therefore, for much indulgence, striking, as I have
done, into a new and' dark path, almost without a
guide. If I have carried myself through it, though
with some cflgressions, yet without incurring the danger
of being accounted a deceiver, my disordered garb will,
I presume, find an apology in the ruggedness of the



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6 PREFACE.

road — ^my Scriptural phraseology be ascribed to the
usage of my country.

For three generations my forefathers were careful
observers of the proceedings of the Connecticut colo-
nists ; and if their papers and myself should continue
in existence till a return of peace shall restore them to
my possession, I trust the public will not be displeased
with the design I have of committing them to the
press. In the mean time, lest that event should never
take place, I beg their acceptance of the present vol-
ume, which, whatever other historical requisite it may
want, must, I think, be allowed to possess originality
and truth (rare properties in modem publications), and,
therefore, I hope, will not be deemed unworthy the
public favor.



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SECOND PKEFAOE.



Mb. James Hammond Trumbull, the author of the
work entitled "The Blue Laws of Connecticut and
New Haven, and the False Blue Laws invented by the
Kev. Samuel Peters," which has just made its appear-
ance, attempta to throw discredit on the work of Dr.
Peters, and represents it as a fiction, and a calumny
upon the early settlers of Connecticut.

Mr. Trumbull seems to have spared no trouble in
his researches to show that no such laws as the " Blue
Laws" represented by Dr. Peters were in existence,
and to impress this more forcibly upon the public he
gives the laws of 1639, 1650, and 1656 ; when, had he
looked more carefully at the doctor's " History of Con-
necticut," he would have found he alluded to them in
these words : " The laws made by the independent Do-
minion, and nominated the Blue Laws by the neigh-
boring colonies, were never suffered to be printed;"
nevertheless, Mr. Trumbull shows that there were laws



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8 SECOND PREFACE.

at that time equally repugnant, though clothed in more
subtile phraseology, but pointing to the same result,
and that these laws were rigidly enforced.

Dr. Peters's "History of Connecticut" was pub-
lished in London, in 1781, and possibly there are not
twenty persons living who have ever read it. As its
truthfulness was unpalatable to the Connecticut colony,
the issue that came to this country, I believe, was pub-
licly burnt, and the court prohibited the republishing
of the work in the State ; consequently it has become a
very rare work, so much so that in March, 1877, a copy,
at a sale of old works, brought the fabulous price of
one hundred and fifteen dollars, demonstrating the fact
that but few remained in existence.

The appearance, therefore, of Mr. Trumbull's work
gives the public but one side of the case ; under these
circumstances I have been induced to republish the
work from the original copy belonging to Dr. Peters,
using notes and quotations from writers and authors of
high repute, and from documents and manuscripts writ-
ten before the Revolutionary War, which have come
into my possession since Mr. Trumbull's work has ap-
peared, and which, I believe, will show the unbiased
public that Mr. Trumbull has not been guided solely
by unselfishness in attempting to wipe out the ridicule
entailed on Connecticut by the early Blue Laws ; but
he still retains a little of the fanaticism, bigotry, and



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SECOND PREFACE. 9

spleen, so justly attributed to his ancestor, who was the
cause of driving Dr. Peters from his native country ;
and he would now attempt to c^st discredit upon a
work that was well received in the State by the intelli-
gent portion of the community, and indorsed as a true
liistory.

In writing of the " Blue Laws," Prof. De Vere, of
the University of Virginia, in his volume on " Ameri-
canisms," published in 1872, says, " They are con-
firmed without a doubt." The late Kev. A. B. Chapin,
in his article published in the Churchman of Hart-
ford, Connecticut, August 19, 1876, entitled "Was
the History of Connecticut a Fabrication ? " says, " If
Dr. Peters had had my advantages he might have been
a worse historian for Connecticut than he has been al-
ready." I might continue such quotations from per-
sons of equally high standing, but my object is to let
the work stand upon its merits, giving it to the public as
it left the author's hands, merely adding such portions
as I find in the unpublished manuscripts in my pos-
session, relating chiefly to the doctor himself, and the
cause of his having to leave the country ; also to the
action taken by the colony of Connecticut for the
relief of the destroyers of the teas in Boston.

It has not been for the purpose of obtaining a char-
acter for the work, which it did not before possess, that
X again bring it before the public ; but that they may



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10 SECOND PREFACE.

have both sides of the case for their view, joined with
that of defending my ancestor, the author, a good and
venerable old clergyman, who was driven from his
country, and his large estates sequestrated, for obeying
" the laws of his - God, the laws of his country, and
the dictates of his conscience, by the fanatics of Con-
necticut," and from the unjust and unwarrantable at-
tacks of Mr. Trumbull.

S. J. McCoRMIOK.



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GENERAL HISTORY OF CONMCTICUT.



After several unsuccessful attempts to form settle-
ments in the southern part of North America, in which
little more had been done than giving the name of Vir
ginia, in compliment to the virgin Queen Elizabeth, to
the country, a patent was obtained in 1606, from James
I., by Sir Thomas Gates and associates, for all lands
there between the thirty-fourth and forty-fifth degrees
of north latitude ; and, at the patentees' own solicitation,
they were divided into two companies ; * to the former
of which were granted all the lands between the thirty-
fourth and forty-first degrees of north latitude, and to the
latter all those between the thirty-eighth and forty-fifth
degrees. A part of the coast of the territory last men-
tioned being explored in 1614, and a chart presented to
the then Prince of Wales, afterward Charles I., it re-
ceived from him the appellation of New England.

In the mean time, however, notwithstanding the
claim of the English in general to North America, and
the particular grant to Sir Thomas Gates and asso-
ciates, above mentioned, the Dutch got footing on Man-
hattan or New York Island, pushed up Hudson's Eiver,
as high as Albany, and were beginning to spread on its

* Commonly denominated the London and PlymouUi Companies.



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12 GENERAL HISTORY OF CONNECTICUT.

banks when, in 1614, they were compelled by Sii' Sam-
uel Argal to acknowledge themselves subjects of the
King of England, and submit to the authority of the
Governor of Virginia/

For the better enabling them to accomplish their
American undertakings, the Plymouth Company, in
1620, obtained a new patent, admitting new members of
rank and fortune. By this they were styled " The Coun-
cil, established at Plymouth, for planting and governing
the said country called New England ; " and to them
were now granted all the lands between the fortieth and
forty-eighth degrees of north latitude, and extending
east and west from the Atlantic ocean to the South Sea,
except such as were then actually possessed by any
Christian prince or people.'

* About two years after, he made a second voyage to the riyer, in the
service of a number of Dutch merchants ; and, some time after^ made sale
of his right to the Dutch. The right to the country, however, was ante-
cedently in King James, by virtue of discovery which Hudson had made
under his commission. The English protested against this sale ; but the
Dutch, in 1614, under the Amsterdam West India Company, built a fort,
nearly on the same grounds where the city of Albany now is, which they
called Fort Aurania. Sir Thomas Dale, Governor of Virginia, directly
after dispatched Captain Argall to dispossess the Dutch, and they submit-
ted to the King of England, and under him to the Governor of Virginia.

* November 3, 1620, just before the arrival of Mr. Robinson^s people
in New England, King James I., by letters-patent, under the great seal
of England, incorporated the Duke of Lenox, the Marquises of Rock-
ingham and Hamilton, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, and others, to*
the number of forty noblemen, knights, and gentlemen, by the name of
" the Council established at Plymouth, in the county of Devon, for the
planting, ruling, and governing of New England in America ....
and granting unto them, and their successors and assigns, all that part
of America lying and being in breadth from forty degrees of north lati-
tude, from the equinoctial line, to the forty-eighth degree of said north



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DIVISION BY PATENTEES.



13



Not long afterward, the patentees came to the reso-
lution of making a division of the country among them-
selves by lot, which they did in the presence of James
I. The map of New England, etc., published by Pur-
chas in 1625, which is now become scarce, and probably
the only memorial extant of the result, has the follow-
ing names on the following portions of the coast :



Earl of Arundel,
Sir Ferdinando Gorges,
Earl of Carlisle,
Lord Keeper,
Sir William Belassis,
Sir Robert Mansell,
Earl of Holderness,
Earl of Pembroke,
Lord Sheffield,
Sir Henry Spelman,
Sir William Apsley,
Captain Love,
Duke of Buckingham,
Earl of Warwick,
Duke of Richmond,
Mr. Jennings,
Dr. Sutcliffe,
Lord Gorges,
Sir Samuel Argal,
Dr. Bar. Gooch,



(Between the rivers St. Croix and
C Penobscot.

/ Between Penobscot and Sagadahoc
C river.



Between Sagadahoc and Charles
river.



I Between Charles River and Narra-
C ganset.



In the above map, no names appear on the coast
north of the river St. Croix, i. e., Nova Scotia, which
was relinquished by the patentees in favor of Sir Wil-

latitude inclusively, and in length of and within all the breadth aforesaid,
through the mainland from sea to sea.**

The patent ordained that this tract of country should be called New
England in America, and by that name have continuance forever.



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14 GENERAL HISTORY OF CONNECTICUT.

liam Alexander ; the coast west of Narraganset is not
exhibited by Purchas, so that it is uncertain whether
the division above mentioned extended to that or not.
Probably, it was not then sufficiently explored. How-
every in 1635, the patentees, from the exigency of their
affairs, thinking a surrender of their patent to the king,
with reservation of their several rights with regard to
the property of the land, an advisable measure, a new
division of the coast was struck out, consisting of twelve
lots, extending to and comprising lands on the west side
of Hudson's Eiver, and, of course, the Dutch settlement
at Manhattan. The following is an account of these
lots:

1. From the river St. Croix to Pemaquid.

2. From Pemaquid to Sagadahoc.

3. The land between the rivers Amarascoggin and Kenebec.

4. From Sagadahoc along the sea-coast to Piscataqua.

5. From Piscataqua to Naumkeak (or Salem).

6. From Naumkeak, round the sea-coast by Cape Cod to Narra-

ganset.

7. From Narraganset to the half-way bound, between that and

Connecticut River, and so fifty miles up into the country.

8. From the half-way bound to Connecticut River, and so fifty

miles into the country.

9. From Connecticut River along the sea-coast of Hudson's River,

and so up thirty miles.

10. From the thirty miles' end to cross, up forty miles eastward.

11. From the west side of Hudson's River thirty miles up the coun-

try toward the fortieth degree, where New England be-
ginneth.

12. From the end of the thirty miles up the said river, northward

thirty miles further, and from thence to cross into the land
forty miles. — (" Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts
Bay.")



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NAME OF CONNECTICUT. ' 15

These divisions were immediately, on the above-men-
tioned surrender, to be confirmed by the king to the
proprietors, and proposed to be erected into so many
distinct provinces, mider one general Governor of New
England. It is certain that this plan was not then car-
ried into execution in the whole. Several, if not all of
the lots were formally conveyed to their respective
owners previous to the resignation of the patent. How
many were confirmed by the king is not known ; there
is positive evidence of but one — to Sir Ferdinando
Gorges.

The eighth and ninth lots nearly form the province
of Connecticut, taking its name from the great Indian
king who reigned when the English made their first in-
roads into the country.

But before I give an account of this event, it may
be proper to premise a few particulars concerning the
Dutch, already spoken of as having seated themselves
on New York Island and the banks of Hudson's Eiver,
and also concerning the settlements formed by the Eng-
lish in and near the Massachusetts Bay.

The same year which established the Council of
Plymouth, established also the Dutch West India Com-
pany, to whom the States of Holland ai'e said to have
granted, the year after, all the lands between Capes
Cod and Henlopen.

Under their encouragement and support the Dutch
at New York were induced to look upon the act of
Argal with contempt ; accordingly, they revolted from
the allegiance he had imposed upon them, cast off the
authority of their English Governor, and proceeded in
their colonizing pursuits under one of their own nation ;



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16 GENERAL HISTORY OF CONNECTICUT.

in which they seemed to have employed their wonted
industry, having, before the year 1637, erected a fort
on the spot where Hartford now stands.

A party of Brownists, who in 1619 are said to have
obtained a grant of land from the Virginia Company,
set sail on the 6th of September in the following year
for Hudson's Kiver ; but making on the 11th of No-
vember the harbor of Cape Cod instead of the place of
their destination, and finding themselves not in a fit
condition to put to sea again at such a late season of
the year, they ranged along the coast till a commodious
situation presented itself, when they disembarked, and
founded the colony of New Plymouth.

Seven years afterward a party of Puritans procured
a grant of the lands from Merrimack Kiver to the south-
ernmost part of Massachusetts Bay. They made their
first settlement at Naumkeak, by them now named
Salem, and a second at Charlestown. Great numbers
of the Puritans followed their brethren to New Eng-
land, so that, within a few years, was laid the founda-
tion of Boston and other towns upon the Massachusetts
coast.'

Thus far had colonization taken place in the neigh-
boring country when, in 1634, the first part of the Eng-
lish adventurers arrived in Connecticut from England '

* The same year in which the patent of Massachusetts received the
royal confirmation, Mr. John Endicott was sent over with about three
hundred people by the patentees, to prepare the way for the settlement
of a permanent colony in that part of New England.

They arrived at Naumkeak in June, and began a settlement, which
they named " Salem." This was the first town in Massachusetts, and
the second in New England.

' Mather, Neal, Hutchinson, and other writers of New England his-



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SETTLERS OP SAYBROOK. 17

under the conduct of George Fenwick, Esq., and the
Rev. Thomas Peters, and established themselves at the
mouth of the Connecticut Eiver, where they built a
town, and which they called Saybrook, a church, and a
fort.'

tory, have uniformly deviated from the truth in representing Connecticut
as having beien first settled by emigrants from their darling Massachusetts
Bay.

' Nearly at the same time, October 8, 1686, Mr. John Winthrop, son
of Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, arrived at Boston with a com-
mission from Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brook, and other noblemen and
gentlemen interested in the Connecticut patent, to erect a fort at the
mouth of the Connecticut River. Their lordships sent over men, ord-
nance, ammunition, and two thousand pounds sterling, for the accomplish-
ment of their design.

Mr. Winthrop was directed by his commission, immediately on his ar-
rival, to repair to Connecticut with fifty able men, and to erect the forti-
fications and to build houses for the garrison, and for gentlemen who


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Online LibrarySamuel PetersThe Rev. Samuel Peters', LL. D., general history of Connecticut, from its first settlement under George Fenwick to its latest period of amity with Great Britain prior to the revolution .. → online text (page 1 of 23)