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In May 1643 the four colonies of Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven agreed to Articles of Confederation to form the United Colonies of New England. Massachusetts refused to admit rebellious Rhode Island and wanted to annex Maine. Each of the four colonies elected two commissioners, and six of eight were required for a decision. No colony was to engage in offensive or defensive warfare without the consent of six commissioners. By 1643 Massachusetts had at least 15,000 people, and the other three colonies had about 3,000 each. The commissioners met annually in September, the first and fifth years in Boston, and the other three years in Hartford, New Haven, and Plymouth. The Confederation had no executive power, and occasionally Massachusetts refused to obey decisions made by the other three colonies. At the first session in September 1643 the Commissioners authorized Connecticut to colonize Long Island.
In January 1643 Chief Miantonomo sold Shawomet to the Gortonists. After Chief Uncas attacked his kinsman, Miantonomo complained to the governments of Massachusetts and Connecticut and in accord with their treaty asked for permission to go to war against Uncas. The governors Haynes and Winthrop indicated they were neutral. So with a thousand warriors Miantonomo attacked the Mohegans; but Chief Uncas rallied about four hundred braves and defeated the Narragansetts. Miantonomo had borrowed heavy armor from a Gortonist and was captured. Samuel Gorton sent a message to Uncas to release Miantonomo. The Narragansetts paid Uncas a ransom worth £40, and Miantonomo asked to be released to the English, who held him prisoner in Hartford. At their first meeting on 7 September 1643 the new Commissioners approved his execution, and they ordered Uncas to put him to death in his territory. The Commissioners warned the Narragansetts not to retaliate against Uncas, and they ordered Connecticut to defend Uncas; but this created enmity among the Narragansetts that lasted many years.
Dutch intrusion into Connecticut was also brought before the Commissioners, and during Kieft's war the Dutch asked the Commissioners for help against the Indians. On 25 February 1643 at Pavonia and that night at Corlears Hook 129 Dutch killed 120 men, women, and children. In February 1644 Captain John Underhill led a Dutch army of more than 100 men who killed about 600 Lenape Indians. In 1644 the English colonies began protecting the Indians who were paying them tribute on Long Island. They prohibited selling arms to the Indians, the French, or the Dutch, and the fine was twenty times the value of the articles sold.
During the British Civil War the General Court of Massachusetts forbade anyone from supporting the royalist cause and removed the name of the king from the oath of office in 1643. Parliament had freed New England from paying customs duties in March. A synod of Puritan ministers met to consider how to respond to the Presbyterians at Newbury. In 1644 the General Court was divided into the magistrates and the deputies, and in November the Bay colony banned the Anabaptists who did not believe in infant baptism. Winthrop was tried for abusing his authority in May 1645, but he was acquitted. At Hingham the pastor Peter Hobart complained that the government exceeded its powers in regard to a controversial militia election.
In 1645 Chief Pessicus led a Narragansett invasion into Mohegan territory and assaulted the fort of Uncas. Both Connecticut and New Haven sent forces to defend the Mohegans, and a special meeting of the Commissioners in June sent out envoys, who were abused by the Narragansetts. The Narragansetts sent a gift to Governor Winthrop in Boston, asking for an alliance against Uncas, but he refused to accept it on those terms. The confederation raised 300 men with 190 from Massachusetts. Roger Williams secured Rhode Island by negotiating neutrality with the Narragansetts in July. Miles Standish was leading forces from Plymouth, and he objected to the Rhode Islanders being friendly with the Indians and demanded that they take one side or the other. The Indians agreed to negotiate, and they signed a treaty in August; captives were to be returned, and children were to be hostages. However, the Narragansetts and the Niantics did not restore the captives nor did they pay the damages.
The Commissioners called another special meeting in July 1647, and the sachem Ninigret came to Boston with some Niantics and promised to pay 1,000 fathoms of wampum. At the September meeting Winthrop claimed the western territory of the Niantics for Massachusetts; but the Connecticut commissioners opposed this, and no decision was made. In 1648 the Narragansetts and Niantics hired Mohawks for a campaign against the Mohegans. The Narragansetts also attacked people in Rhode Island; but the Commissioners did not admit Rhode Island into the Confederation because they would not agree to be part of the Plymouth colony.
In 1646 William Pynchon of Springfield refused to obey an order from the General Court of Massachusetts to pay Connecticut duties on goods passing the river's mouth. The Connecticut Commissioners complained, and they were supported by New Haven and Plymouth. In 1649 Massachusetts asked to have the ruling revoked and retaliated by imposing customs on goods from Connecticut, New Haven, and Plymouth. After Connecticut stopped charging Springfield cargoes, Massachusetts rescinded the customs.
William Pynchon's The Meritorious Price was published in 1650. The General Court in Boston quickly condemned it for his interpretation of the atonement and had it burned in the marketplace. Pynchon was accused of being a Socinian for believing that Jesus was merely a man whom God had exalted as a moral example to inspire emulation. Pynchon pleaded for the clergy to be more liberal and tolerant so that the parishioners would not have to enter the church as hypocrites. He felt that putting too many restrictions on conscience weakened the spiritual life. When the Puritan clergy claimed a monopoly on interpreting divine truth, he believed they injured their own cause. Edward Holyoke was influenced by Pynchon and published The Doctrine of Life, or of Man's Redemption in 1658. He argued that Christianity was not well served by repressing dissent, and he defended every individual's right to inquire into the scriptural foundations of faith.
In May 1646 Dr. Robert Child presented a “Remonstrance and Humble Petition” to the General Court of the Bay colony, denouncing the oligarchy of the Congregational churches and asking for civil liberty and justice in accordance with English law. Thousands of peaceful men, taxpayers, and soldiers in the colony were not allowed to vote. He was fined £50 for contempt of court and sedition, and Governor Winthrop informed him they would not recognize any appeal to English authority. William Vassall also pleaded for liberty of conscience and English law. Child was perceived by the Puritans as agitating for Presbyterianism from a petition signed by 25 non-freemen that they seized on a ship before he sailed. In 1647 he was convicted of sedition again, paid a fine of £200, and went to England. Four others were also fined, and the total of £750 was apparently intended to help cover the colony's deficit of £1,000. The Parliamentary commission confirmed the General Court's jurisdiction.
Massachusetts had required parents to educate their children in 1642. Five years later they passed a law that every town with fifty families must provide a schoolmaster, and those with a hundred families were ordered to establish a grammar school. Connecticut also adopted this when they compiled a code of laws in 1650 guaranteeing that the General Court would not punish anyone unless a published law had been violated. The death penalty was authorized for most of the ten commandments, and they added conspiring or attempting insurrection against the Commonwealth as a capital offense. The penalties for settling with the Indians were three years in prison, fines, and whipping. They made it a crime to be contemptuous of preaching or the faithful actions of ministers. Other infractions included playing shuffleboard, lying, and cruelty to animals. Massachusetts passed sumptuary regulations against the poor dressing like the rich in 1651.
Anne Bradstreet married young and came to Massachusetts in 1630 at the age of 18. She raised eight children and wrote poetry, which was first published in London in 1650 as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. She wrote for her children Meditations when my Soul hath been refreshed with the Consolations which the world knows not. Here are some samples from that book:
1. There is no object that we see, no action that we do,
no good that we enjoy, no evil that we feel or fear,
but we may make some spiritual advantage of all;
and he that makes such improvement is wise, as well as pious.
2. Many can speak well, but few can do well.
We are better scholars in the theory than the practical part,
but he is a true Christian that is a proficient in both.
9. Sweet words are like honey: a little may refresh,
but too much gluts the stomach.
10. Diverse children have their different natures:
some are like flesh which nothing but salt will keep from putrefaction;
some again like tender fruits that are best preserved with sugar.
Those parents are wise that can fit their nurture according to their nature.1
16. That house which is not often swept
makes the cleanly inhabitant soon loathe it;
and that heart which is not continually purifying itself
is not fit temple for the spirit of God to dwell in.
28. Wisdom with an inheritance is good,
but wisdom without an inheritance
is better than an inheritance without wisdom.
34. Dim eyes are the concomitants of old age; and short sightedness,
in those that are the eyes of the Republic, foretells a declining State.2
A synod of Congregational ministers met at Cambridge in 1648 and adopted the Westminster Confession as their creed and decided that magistrates had a duty to suppress heresy. After being sent to the congregations, this became the law of the General Court of Massachusetts in October 1651, though fourteen deputies were opposed. That year Dr. John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, and John Crandall visited an elderly Baptist in Lynn, and they were fined. Crandall was released, and someone paid Clarke's fine; but Holmes refused to pay and was whipped.
Thomas Mayhew and his father bought the island of Martha's Vineyard from Lord Stirling in 1641. Young Mayhew converted Hiacoomes to Christianity in 1643, and Hiacoomes began preaching to other natives. Mayhew respected the property rights of the natives, and he paid annual rent for a Christian village to the sachems Josias and Wannamanhutt. By 1650 Mayhew had 22 converts. In 1643 English donations for Indian missions were used for a new building at Harvard College. John Eliot became the pastor at Roxbury in 1632, and in 1643 he began learning native dialects from an old Pequot servant in his house. In 1644 five sachems living in Massachusetts relinquished their property rights to be instructed in the knowledge of God, and they received no other compensation. The next year the Commissioners of the United Colonies declared war on the Narragansetts and made them sign a treaty in which they agreed to pay two thousand fathoms of wampum, yield the Pequot country to the colonies, and give sons of sachems as hostages.
On 13 September 1646 Gorton's friend Randall Holden sailed into Boston with a letter of protection from the Parliament that instructed Massachusetts to stop molesting the Gortonists in Narragansett Bay. Two days later John Eliot began preaching, but the sachem Cutshamoquin did not like what he had to say. In August 1642 Cutshamoquin had been put in the Boston jail during a panic that an Indian war was about to start. Eliot avoided him and the other four sachems, and on October 28, 1646 he preached to Waban, who apparently was made minister of justice for the village by the English. A week later the Massachusetts General Court enacted a law to punish with death any person who blasphemed or reproached the holy religion, and another law banned any pagan ritual or “pawwaw.”
All the missionary work in Massachusetts came from donations in England. The evangelical work of Mayhew and Eliot stimulated Parliament in 1649 to form the Corporation for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England, and they authorized the Confederation Commissioners to handle its funds. Eliot founded a town for Christian Indians at Natick in 1651. The second village was for the Cohannets, and by 1674 there were fourteen towns with four thousand praying Indians. Eliot translated the Bible into Algonquian, completing the New Testament in 1661 and the Old Testament in 1663; this was the first Bible printed in America. He taught a hundred natives to read. During King Philip's War the soldiers from Massachusetts would not march without the help of Christian Indians, though many of those in the Christian villages joined the rebellion. In 1684 Eliot, who used his "praying Indians" for political ends, had only four villages left in Massachusetts; but the Mayhews had ten villages on Martha's Vineyard and five in Nantucket, and Richard Bourne had ten villages in Plymouth.
Nathaniel Ward wrote The Simple Cobler of Aggawam and had it published in London in 1646. Although he criticized arbitrary government and extravagant fashions, he argued against religious toleration. He believed that the heretics were free to keep away and that it is a mistake to tolerate "hellish errors." The Body of Liberties and the other laws were published in 1648. After Winthrop's death in 1649, John Endecott was elected governor of Massachusetts in thirteen of the next fifteen years. In September 1650 the Massachusetts federal commissioners Simon Bradstreet and Thomas Prince mediated the Treaty of Hartford with New Netherland that established the eastern boundary on Long Island as a line south of Oyster Bay and on the mainland north from Greenwich Bay. When the agent Humphrey Atherton led troops to collect the debt from the Narragansetts in October, Roger Williams averted violence with his mediation. In 1651 New Haven governor Eaton gave 50 men a commission to settle in Delaware, but the Dutch governor Stuyvesant had their messengers arrested. They appealed to the Commissioners, who resolved to protect another 150 settlers from the Dutch. In October 1651 Massachusetts Bay assumed control over the province of Maine.
The Anglo-Dutch war began in 1652, and the English were concerned that the Dutch were selling weapons to the Indians. Three colonies voted to declare war, but the Massachusetts General Court decided that the Commissioners could only declare a defensive war. Massachusetts called an extraordinary session of the Commissioners in April 1653 and sent envoys to the Narragansetts, Niantic chief Ninigret, and Governor Stuyvesant. The English required the Indians to give up their arms or be considered enemies. In September the other six Commissioners voted to raise an army of 250 men, but again the Massachusetts Council decided the war was unnecessary and refused to participate. Their commissioners argued that no power could make men do what was unlawful. By the time of the 1654 meeting the war was over, and Massachusetts agreed to abide by the Articles again. All eight Commissioners agreed to take the Pequots from Chief Ninigret, and they encouraged other tribes to attack him. Tributaries were brought into two settlements under an English protectorate that lasted ten years. In 1657 the Commissioners sent messengers to the warring tribes to stop their wars, and they prohibited fighting in the English plantations. In 1660 the Connecticut colony prohibited Indians from settling within a quarter mile of any English town. No less than ten women were hanged for witchcraft in Connecticut and New Haven culminating in 1662, after which they did not execute anyone for witchcraft.
In 1656 Ann Hibbens was executed for witchcraft in Boston even though the minister John Norton said it was only because she had more wit than her neighbors. A few weeks later the Quakers Mary Fisher and Ann Austin arrived in Boston. They had their books and belongings seized and examined, and then they were put in prison for five weeks before being deported back to Barbados. A few days after that, eight more Quakers led by Christopher Holder arrived from London and were imprisoned for eleven weeks. In October the Massachusetts General Court passed a law with a fine of £100 for any ship captain who brought a known Quaker to the Bay colony. In 1657 they increased the penalty for entertaining Quakers, and any man who returned to the colony after being banished was to have an ear mutilated; women were whipped. After Holder and Copeland each lost an ear, the death penalty was enacted for those who returned after banishment. Nicholas Upshall bribed a jailer to give food to starving Quakers in prison, and for criticizing the law Upshall was fined £20 and banished. An Indian helped him, and he found refuge in Gorton's settlement. In 1659 Massachusetts made each town responsible for their paupers, and Boston established an almshouse for the poor.
Mary Dyer had been a close friend of Ann Hutchinson, and she and her husband followed the Hutchinsons to Rhode Island. They went to England in 1650 and became Quakers. On their way to Rhode Island as Quaker missionaries in 1659, the General Court in Boston ordered her expelled. When she refused to leave, she was stripped to the waist and whipped in public. She and the Quakers William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson were convicted of blasphemy and banished. They returned and were condemned to death for “religious sedition.” The two men were hanged, but her son William Dyer gained Mary a reprieve. She returned a third time and said, “Let me suffer as my brethren, unless you will amend your wicked law.”3 She was hanged on June 1, 1660.
William Leddra returned from banishment
in November and was hanged the following March. Wenlock Christison
went to warn them to stop killing innocent people. He demanded
to be tried by the laws of England. He was condemned to death
but was allowed to depart. Pressure by the Society of Friends
in England caused Charles II to order these colonial laws to be
revoked in 1661. They released 28 Quakers but refused to send
them to England for trial. John Robinson's son Isaac and Governor
Winthrop's son Samuel also became Quakers. During this period
of intolerance the Puritan colonies imprisoned 64 Quakers and
whipped and banished more than forty. The Quakers were still whipped
from town to town until Governor Endecott died in 1665, when the
Royal Commissioners ordered Massachusetts not to molest Quakers
While his father was serving as Massachusetts governor most of the time, John Winthrop Jr. was elected eighteen times in succession to the Board of Assistants and was a magistrate. In 1631 he had brought his library of a thousand volumes. He purchased land from the Indians to develop products from black lead that was named graphite because of its use in pencils. He struggled to develop the iron industry in the Hammersmith plant, and he was given a monopoly for 21 years and a tax exemption for ten years. The younger John Winthrop emigrated to Connecticut, and he was elected governor in 1657. He was so popular that they changed the rules so that he could be elected every year from 1659 until his death in 1676. He became a partner of the Atherton land company that claimed they bought 6,000 acres of good Narragansett land from the feeble brother of the sachem Pessicus. The next year they imposed a fine on them for various crimes; when they could not pay, the Atherton Company claimed all four hundred square miles of the Narragansett land.
Winthrop was so knowledgeable in science that in 1662 he became one of the first Fellows of the Royal Society. In 1661 Governor Winthrop went to England to petition the new king for a charter, and Charles II granted Connecticut a charter that included New Haven the following April. Davenport and other ministers in New Haven objected to the union because Connecticut did not require all freemen to be church members. Governor Winthrop said the union was voluntary and that no injury would be done to New Haven, which accepted the charter in December 1664. In March of that year Charles II granted the lands that had been New Netherland to his brother James, the Duke of York and Albany, and in November the Commissioners of New England made the ocean the border so that all of Long Island became part of New York.
In May 1643 Roger Williams sailed from New Amsterdam, and in London his first book, A Key into the Language of America, was published, describing the speech, morals, and manners of the American Indians. He wrote,
Boast not, proud English, of thy birth and blood,
Thy brother Indian is by birth as good.
Of one blood God made him and thee and all,
As wise, as fair, as strong, as personal.4
The next year he published the longer work, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience, which he addressed to Parliament. Williams pleaded for the cause of truth and conscience against the “bloody doctrine of persecution.” He defined persecution as molesting any person, whether Christian or Jew, for professing a doctrine or practicing religious worship. He argued that a civil magistrate should not inflict any violence or punishment for any offense against Christ because civil weapons are improper and unnecessary in spiritual causes. Yet a magistrate is bound not to allow anyone to break the civil peace. In this dialog between Truth and Peace is the following quote from Martin Luther: “The government of the civil magistrate extends no further than over the bodies and goods of their subjects, not over their souls.”5 Truth concludes that they need their sister Patience and notes that persecuting people because of conscience is contrary to the doctrine of Christ Jesus. While the most liberal in England were discussing tolerating all Protestants, Williams had founded a community which did not discriminate against anyone, not even Jews or atheists. However, Parliament had many Presbyterians and ordered this book burned by the hangman, stimulating the second printing to be circulated even wider.
Williams believed that government was God's natural way of coping with the corruption of human nature, but government could not be trusted to decide religious questions. The best hope for true religion is for government to protect the freedom of all religions and non-religion. Williams learned from experience that public peace and love are better than a surplus of corn and cattle. Although he did not call himself a Seeker, he believed that Christians should always be seeking and searching.
Williams had become a friend of the Puritan leader Henry Vane, who was on the recently established Parliamentary Commission of Foreign Plantations headed by Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, and in March 1644 they granted a charter to Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport. That month the name of Aquidneck was changed to Rhode Island. Hugh Peters and Thomas Welde were trying to get a patent for Massachusetts, but they failed to gain a majority for their Narragansett Patent, which they sent back to Boston anyway, causing confusion. Williams was given safe passage through Boston and returned to Providence in September 1644.
Samuel Gorton made several converts in Plymouth and Portsmouth, founding a new religious sect, but he agitated people with frank language and repudiated governments whose authority he questioned. After he came to Providence in 1641, Gorton came into conflict with the arbitration board and moved to Pawtucket. There the Arnold family appealed to Massachusetts, and to get their help against Gorton they submitted to that province in November 1642. Governor Winthrop sent a warning, and Gorton wrote a 25-page reply, noting that secret hypocrites may become tyrants.
In January 1643 Gorton moved farther south and bought Shawomet from Miantonomo. The Shawomet sachem Pumham and the Pawtucket sachem Sacononoco went with Benedict Arnold and submitted themselves to the authority in Boston. The Arnolds had already purchased Pawtucket from Sacononoco, and they wanted Chief Miantonomo's authority superseded by Massachusetts so that they could get Shawomet. Miantonomo and Gorton were summoned; but Miantonomo had no proof of his authority, and Gorton refused to appear. Pumham had signed the deed to Gorton with Miantonomo, but he claimed he was under duress. Two commissioners taught the two sachems the ten commandments so that they could answer questions. In June the two sachems formally subjected their lands to Massachusetts. Gorton merely sent a four-page letter filled with reproaches.
After the sachems shot the cattle of the Gortonists, stole from their houses, and threw rocks at the women and children, the Gortonists defended themselves. Then the Arnolds, Pumham, and Sacononoco appealed to Massachusetts. Gorton wrote a scathing letter in September 1643 to the “Idol General” who made slaves, suggesting they might have proved themselves Christians before mingling with the “heathens.” Gorton warned that they were ready to answer them in kind by pen, sword, or gun. Forty men went across the border to arrest Gorton and nine followers in October. After a truce during which the soldiers broke into the Gortonists’ houses, they fired shots into their log house; but the Gortonists did not fire back. After an attempt to burn the house, another truce was arranged, and the Gortonists agreed to go with them. In court Gorton challenged the right of Massachusetts to annex the land and argued that the heresy charge persecuted conscience. When Winthrop warned him that he was facing death, Gorton moderated his replies. They were convicted of blasphemy and disobeying ordinances. The magistrates wanted to execute them, but they were outvoted by the deputies. The Gortonists were sentenced to work in chains during the winter, and their cattle and goods were sold to pay for court costs and detention. However, their conversation was winning over converts, especially among the women, and so the General Court gave them two weeks to depart. They found refuge at Portsmouth, where they hired houses and planted.
The Narragansetts were impressed that the Gortonists had survived their ordeal with the Puritans, and they invited Gorton to meet with Canonicus and Miantonomo's brother and successor, Pessicus. Gorton persuaded them to submit to England in April 1644. Gorton became a magistrate at Portsmouth and tried to bring about more fair land distribution. He went to New Amsterdam before sailing for London, where he arrived in January 1645. That year he published his Simplicities Defence Against Seven-Headed Policy. In this and other works Gorton wrote that all humans are essentially divine and that conversion is apprehending this inner divinity and being willing to follow its guidance even against human authority. Those who understand God in Christ find divinity in all humanity. The divine spirit is equally near to saints and sinners, and Christ offers freedom. Gorton accused New England Puritans of establishing worthless idols and distracting people with fasts, the Sabbath, sermons, battles, churches, and officers. If Christ is king and ruler, then all other authority and government is superfluous. Justice is not administered by an officer but by every brother, rich or poor, ignorant or learned. Gorton criticized the privileged status of ministers, who praise the able and learned while burdening the poor with obedience and sins. No external education could reform one's life as well as Christ could, and women may prophesy as well as men. Gorton argued that the penalty of sin is not in the future but is the natural and inevitable result of an evil action. Heaven and hell are within, and upholding morality makes one spiritually healthy.
Edward Winslow criticized Gorton and his followers by publishing Hypocrisy Unmasked in 1646. Winslow represented the New England Confederation in London, and he denied that the Parliament had jurisdiction over America. Commission for Foreign Plantations chairman Warwick confirmed Gorton's title to Shawomet and gave the Gortonists safe conduct through Boston. In gratitude they changed the name of Shawomet to Warwick. Gorton stayed in England until 1648 teaching the mysteries of Christ. He served as president in Warwick for seven months, but in May 1652 he declined to be re-elected. That year they banned African slavery.
Williams started a system by which pioneers could receive land from Indian grants, and the settlements at Portsmouth, Warwick, and Newport were developed by those seeking religious liberty. In May 1647 representatives of the four towns agreed to the charter of Rhode Island. They abolished imprisonment for debt. Williams now believed that ministering should be free and not for hire, and so he developed a business of trading useful items to the Indians. A few years later he published The Hireling Ministry in which he argued against compelling people to support the clergy.
William Coddington had twice tried to make an alliance with the New England Confederation in order to control Rhode Island, but they wanted it to be part of Plymouth or Massachusetts. After King Charles was executed in 1649, Coddington went to England. In April 1651 a commission appointed him governor of Rhode Island. He was supported by conservatives such as Alexander Partridge, but they were opposed by the liberals led by Dr. John Clarke and Nicholas Easton. Property owners of Providence, Warwick, and the island of Aquidneck sent Williams and Clarke to England in November 1651 to confirm their charter. Clarke wrote a book about his recent persecution in Boston called Ill Newes from New England, and it was published in England, declaring on the title page, “While Old England is becoming new, New England is becoming old.” Williams sold his trading business to finance the trip, and to help his wife during an illness he wrote, Experiments of Spiritual Life and Health in which he recommended Christ as guide.
John Cotton had published a reply to Bloudy Tenent in 1647, and Williams wrote two more books advocating tolerance and liberty of religious conscience. Williams was in England for two and a half years and had conversations with Henry Vane, Oliver Cromwell, and John Milton. Williams and Clarke were supported by Plymouth’s agent Winslow, Connecticut’s Edward Hopkins, George Fenwick, and the Parliament leader Arthur Haslerig, and in October 1652 Coddington's commission was vacated. After Williams went back to Rhode Island, Clarke stayed on until he gained a grant of toleration from Charles II in 1663.
In August 1653 at a Warwick conference Roger Williams and those favoring union persuaded 24 commissioners to sign an agreement reuniting the four towns of Providence, Portsmouth, Warwick, and Newport. Williams was elected president of Rhode Island in September 1654 and served until May 1657. In October 1654 he wrote to the Massachusetts General Court that the Narragansett sachems asked him to petition the English authorities so that they would not be forced to change their religion or be invaded by war. Some believed that soul liberty meant the absence of any restraint, and some riots against government enforcement occurred in 1655. Williams argued that people needed to obey the orders of the ship captain for common peace and safety. Thus transgressors may be judged and punished. In 1656 William Harris published a dissertation criticizing government, and in March 1657 Williams had him arrested for defying the charter and the court. After a trial his papers were sent to Clarke in England, but the ship sank. In 1658 the franchise requirement was changed from owning one hundred acres to owning any land at all.
Gorton offered asylum to the Quakers persecuted in Boston in 1656, and Rhode Island became a refuge for Quakers in New England. Six of those deported from Boston to London came back through New Amsterdam and Rhode Island in June 1657. In September the Commissioners of the United Colonies sent a complaint to Providence warning that they may have to close their intercolonial trade if they tolerated Quakers. In March 1658 the Assembly affirmed their "freedom of different consciences" as fundamental in their charter. Herodias Gardner went from Newport to Massachusetts in May with her baby, and she was given ten lashes. Thomas Harris in July and Catharine Scott from Providence in November went to Boston and were also whipped. In June 1659 William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson went from Rhode Island to Boston to challenge the death penalty. Williams did not agree with the Quakers' disruptive tactics, and he especially criticized the two women who appeared in public naked in 1662 and 1663.
Knowing he was unpopular, Governor Kieft summoned a council of Twelve. In January 1642 they approved a punitive expedition against the Wecquaesgeeks, and in the spring Van Tienhoven made peace with them. Meanwhile the Twelve petitioned Kieft for government reforms, but he ordered them to hold no more meetings, arguing that they injured the country and his authority. That summer a farmhand was murdered by a drunken Hackensack, and the Indians blamed the Dutch for trading him the liquor that made him crazy. In February 1643 ninety Mohawks killed seventy Wappinger Algonquins near Fort Orange, causing five hundred Indians to flee to Manhattan. De Vries refused to protect them, and they went to Pavonia. At a drinking party Van Tienhoven got three of the Twelve to sign a petition calling for a war against the Hackensacks. De Vries considered it murder and warned Kieft that he would "murder our own nation." Kieft also ignored the pleas of Bogardus and La Montagne. Van Tienhoven led eighty soldiers who killed eighty Indians, and Maryn Adriaensen led 49 volunteers who killed forty. De Vries described the slaughter of Indian babies, and he noted that in revenge the Indians killed men but no women or children.
Roger Williams, who was passing through New Amsterdam, urged Kieft to make peace, but Kieft demanded the Indians come to the fort. When three Canarsie approached with a white flag, only De Vries and one man had the courage to go out and negotiate with Chief Penhawitz. De Vries listened to complaints and persuaded the chiefs to go with him to Kieft, who gave them presents. Three weeks later they made peace. Adriaensen tried to shoot Kieft for causing the war, but he was stopped by La Montagne and put in jail. Jacob Stangh took a shot at Kieft and was killed by a sentry. Adriaensen was fined 500 guilders and banished for three months. In April 1643 the Canarsie persuaded the Hackensack and Tappan tribes to make peace, but Kieft foolishly was stingy in his gifts concluding the deal. The Mohawks made a treaty with the Dutch at Fort Orange in 1643.
Chief Pacham turned against the Dutch, as did the Wappingers for the first time, attacking three boats and killing nine settlers. In September 1643 seven tribes with 1,500 warriors invaded New Netherland. Kieft called an election for a board of Eight Select Men, and they decided to hire Captain John Underhill, an English leader in the Pequot War of 1637. Kieft asked for help from New Haven, but they offered only food. The Indians attacked various settlements and in October killed Anne Hutchinson and all eighteen in her household except her 9-year-old daughter, who was captured. In January 1644 the colonists fought back and destroyed Wecquaesgeek forts, but the Canarsie sachem Penhawitz ordered his men to kill and burn. La Montagne and Underhill led a force that killed 120 Canarsies on Long Island while losing only one man. Two of the four Canarsie prisoners were drowned, and the other two were stabbed in a public spectacle.
In the next major battle over 500 Wecquaesgeeks were killed. The Company's resources were depleted by a rebellion in Brazil and could offer little help, but they made a report that one thousand Indians had been killed. In May 1644 the governor of Curaçao, Peter Stuyvesant, sent 130 Brazilian Dutch soldiers and seventy civilians to New Amsterdam. After not meeting for seven months, Kieft summoned the Eight in June, and they reluctantly acceded to raising taxes to pay for the soldiers. Later the Eight met in secret and sent a complaint to the Heeren 19 in Holland. Meanwhile Kieft kept order by prosecuting dissenters. In April 1645 some tribes began signing peace treaties, and in August seven more sachems signed a treaty that restored peace in New Netherland. More than 1,600 Indians had been killed in Kieft's war while the population of New Amsterdam was only 250. After the war Kieft dissolved the board of Eight.
From 1638 to 1644 Peter Stuyvesant governed Curaçao, an island sixty miles from Venezuela that the Dutch occupied in 1634. He lost a leg while attacking the Spaniards on the island of Saint Martin in March 1644. The next year he went to Amsterdam and was promoted to director general of New Netherland as well as Curaçao, Bonaire, and Aruba. Lubbertus van Dincklage was named his deputy. Although they were chosen by the Heeren 19 in May 1645, they did not arrive in New Netherland until May 1647. The Staten Island patroon Cornelis Melyn and the Danish Jochem Kuyter had written the petition that Loockermans took secretly to Amsterdam in 1644. When Melyn and Kuyter brought charges against Kieft, General Stuyvesant accused them of defaming and incriminating the former director general. They were both fined and banished, and in August they left on the Princess with Kieft, Bogardus, and Kieft's former schout-fiscal, Cornelis van der Huygens. The Princess hit the reefs near Swansea, and all of these men died except Melyn and Kuyter.
Director General Stuyvesant authorized in August 1647 election of 18 men from whom he chose the Board of Nine Select Men. The Council of six included Vice Director Dincklage, La Montagne, and the schout-fiscal Hendrick Van Dyck, who was usually ignored by Stuyvesant and drank heavily. Stuyvesant retained the unpopular Van Tienhoven as secretary and George Baxter as secretary for English affairs. The Nine rejected Stuyvesant's first request for money to repair the fort. They wanted a school and believed the fort was the Company's business. The Indian chiefs called Stuyvesant the big sachem with the wooden leg and confirmed their peace treaty with him.
In October 1647 Stuyvesant sent the ship Zwoll to New Haven to capture the Dutch ship Sint Beninjo for not paying duties. He proclaimed that any fugitive from New Haven would be given freedom in New Netherland. Stuyvesant cracked down on the selling of arms in May 1648 by arresting the Fort Amsterdam armorer, Corporal Gerrit Barendt, who gave the names of two clients, and they informed on a trader near Fort Orange. However, the Company ordered the new governor to sell arms with discretion, particularly to the Indians in Rensselaerswyck who wanted them for self-defense. In October the Director-General and the Council warned the inhabitants to pay the Indians they employed without disputes or they would be held liable. Stuyvesant tried to prevent drunken brawls by forbidding the sale of alcohol after nine in the evening or before two on Sunday. In 1648 he ordered all inhabitants to attend religious services on the Sabbath and to avoid excessive drinking. Drawing a knife was penalized with a fine of one hundred guilders, which was tripled if anyone was wounded.
Meanwhile Melyn and Kuyter had persuaded the States General to investigate New Netherland, and they summoned Stuyvesant. During a large meeting at St. Nicholas Church on 8 March 1649 Melyn presented the mandamus to be read before Stuyvesant, who was embarrassed but promised to send an agent. Adriaen van der Donck was on the Council and became president of the Nine. He investigated complaints, and one day Stuyvesant went into his office and took his journal. The next day he had Van der Donck put in jail, and at a Council meeting he accused him of lese majesty; only Van Dincklage had the courage to disagree. Van der Donck was released to house arrest. Melyn was also protesting. The Governor forbade the minister from reading anything political from the pulpit without previous permission.
Stuyvesant sent Van Tienhoven as his agent on the same voyage with Van der Donck and Melyn. Van der Donck and two others from the Nine presented the Remonstrance of New Netherland to the States General in October. This blamed the poor condition of the colony on unsuitable government, lack of privileges and exemptions, onerous duties and exactions, a long war, the loss of the Princess, too many peddlers, high mortality, and the arrogance of the natives because of so few settlers. The Nine recommended exemption from duties and taxes until the colony was more prosperous, free trade, promotion of the fishery, more farmers, settling the border dispute with New England, and most importantly eliminating the harsh procedures of the Company by having the States take over and allow government by the burghers. The Remonstrance also expressed gratitude to the Indians for their generosity and reciprocal trade and regret that they had not treated them better. They wanted a public school, an almshouse, an orphan asylum, and other institutions.
Van der Donck wrote in his book on New Netherlands that the directors were as bad as the Company, especially Kieft, but Stuyvesant was not much better. In 1649 a satirical pamphlet called “Broad Advice” was widely circulated in the Netherlands in which nine characters from different countries told stories about New Netherland, the Company, Kieft, and the war with the Indians. In May 1650 the States General decided that all Dutch citizens could go freely to New Netherland, but the West India Company still had the authority to appoint the director. Van der Donck persuaded the States to detain Van Tienhoven to investigate his causing the Indian war and for misadministration.
In September 1650, Stuyvesant attended a conference at Hartford and agreed to a border between New England and New Netherland that recognized territories according to who was living in them. The eastern portion of Long Island thus became part of New England. Because he had given up territory, Stuyvesant refused to speak of the agreement and delayed sending a copy to the States for years. The next year he would not allow fifty English settlers from New Haven passing through New Amsterdam to go to Delaware. Stuyvesant disregarded the Nine and refused to publish the order from the States. When Van Dyck joined Van Dincklage in writing a long protest of the General’s policies in 1651, he expelled Van Dincklage from the Council and put him in the guardhouse for several days. Van Tienhoven, who was married and had three children, returned to America with a woman he had told he was single. Stuyvesant dismissed Van Dyck and made the hated Van Tienhoven sheriff.
In 1652 the States ordered New Amsterdam to elect a municipal government. Stuyvesant was recalled, but the Amsterdam directors got this order revoked in May. The Company would not let any ship transport Van der Donck, who worked on his history of New Netherland. After he agreed not to accept any office or even practice law and to obey the Company and its director, Van der Donck was allowed to return to New Netherland, where he died in 1655 at the age of 35.
Rumors of war with the English stimulated Stuyvesant to get work done on fortifications. Instead of allowing a municipal election he chose the magistrates himself. The magistrates asked the Governor to surrender the beer and wine excises to the city, but he refused. Stuyvesant wrote to Massachusetts governor John Endecott asking for continued friendly relations, but Endecott complained that the Dutch sold arms to the Indians. Captain Underhill, now sheriff at Flushing, started a rumor that the Dutch were conspiring with the Indians against the English. Underhill was arrested for accusing Van Tienhoven.
In October 1653 authorities in New Haven asked Cromwell to help them remove the Dutch. Underhill was released and sided with Parliament against the Dutch, listing thirteen reasons why the Dutch governor was iniquitous. He fled to Rhode Island, where privateers such as Thomas Baxter were allowed to operate against both sides. In December delegates attended the first provincial assembly (Landtag) at New Amsterdam; ten Dutchmen and nine Englishmen represented eight communities. George Baxter presented his Humble Remonstrance and Petition of the Colonies and Villages in this New Netherland Province, demanding redress for the following: arbitrary appointments without the consent of the people, denial of their right to organize self-defense, enforcing ordinances without making them known, delays in granting patents, and grants favoring individuals. Stuyvesant dismissed the entire gathering and forbade all future Landtags.
In February 1654 Stuyvesant summoned his Council to prepare for war, and four warships arrived from Boston in May. However, the first Anglo-Dutch war had ended on April 5 in Europe, and news arrived in New Amsterdam in July. Stuyvesant invited the burgomasters and schepens (aldermen) to a celebration and said he hoped to bury all their differences and live in friendship. The city council agreed. Stuyvesant went to visit Curaçao and then to Barbados in January 1655. Admiral William Penn captured his ship and held him until June. While he was gone, Van Tienhoven imprisoned George Baxter and James Hubbard for declaring their rights as free-born British subjects. In 1655 the first shipload of slaves directly from Africa arrived in New Amsterdam. Ten slaves had been brought to the province in 1626, and Kieft had manumitted them in 1644, though their three children still served the Company.
By 1654 the Swedish colony on the Delaware had four hundred inhabitants. Stuyvesant had established Fort Casimir nearby with soldiers in 1651. Queen Christina appointed Johan Rysingh governor, and he arrived from Sweden in May 1654 with 350 settlers. The Dutch surrendered Fort Casimir without a fight, and the Swedes built Fort Christina. However, in September 1655 Stuyvesant led a fleet of four ships with several hundred soldiers. The Swedes quickly surrendered Fort Casimir, and after a siege of ten days they marched out of Fort Christina. Those Swedes swearing loyalty to the Netherlands were allowed to stay, but the colony of New Sweden was ended.
While Stuyvesant was besieging Fort Christina in September 1655, about nine hundred Indians invaded Manhattan. The former sheriff Hendrick van Dyck had shot an Indian woman for picking his peaches. The Indians went on a rampage and killed more than forty colonists, capturing a hundred women and children, destroying 28 farms (bouweries), and killing or taking 600 cattle. Forty houses on Staten Island were burned down, and Melyn and his family were captured and held for weeks. By the end of October seventy captives were returned, but the rest were ransomed over the next two years. Stuyvesant came back and blamed Van Tienhoven for having attacked Indians after Van Dyck was wounded. The attorney Nicasius de Sille had been sent as a possible successor to Stuyvesant, and he was appointed to the Council. However, Stuyvesant and Van Tienhoven had three votes each while De Sille and La Montagne had only two each. De Sille wrote to his friend, the Company director Hans Bontemantel, that Stuyvesant should be replaced by an unselfish governor. Van Tienhoven was dismissed, and De Sille became sheriff.
In January 1656 Stuyvesant ordered the settlers to live in villages with a blockhouse. He even got farmers in Esopus to comply by protecting their construction and assigning soldiers there. After Thomas Chambers gave some Indian workers brandy in September 1659, trouble escalated, provoking 500 Indians to go on a rampage. Stuyvesant sent a force of 150 soldiers with as many loyal Indians in October, and the Mohawks helped mediate a peace agreement on the first of November. On 12 February 1660 Stuyvesant persuaded the Council and the burgomasters to vote for war, and he led three hundred soldiers to Esopus, declaring war on March 25. He kept young Indians as hostages, and in May he sent eleven of the Esopus prisoners to Curaçao to be sold as slaves. The Mohawks joined with the Susquehannocks to pressure the Esopus to make peace with the Dutch.
Although the Company's stock had at one time gone up as high as 206 percent of the original investment, by 1650 it had fallen to 28 percent and by 1661 to 11%. The Dutch had lost Brazil in 1654, and despite the sale of Amstel in 1656 the Company debt was three million guilders. New Amsterdam had made friends in Virginia by abolishing the duty on tobacco in 1653, but in 1660 England made Virginia annul their treaty with the Dutch. In 1658 New Amsterdam constructed a wall to stop smuggling, and the next year the Company fined a smuggler four times the value of his goods. Guards were posted on every merchant ship in the harbor. A Latin (high) school was started in New Amsterdam in 1659.
Settlers from religious denominations other than the Dutch Reformed Church were grudgingly tolerated in New Netherland, primarily because the Company insisted that they do so; 23 Jews arrived in the summer of 1654 and had to struggle for their rights. The militiamen would not let them enlist, and in 1655 Jews were required to pay a special tax because of their exemption. In 1657 Jews were granted the right to be burghers.
Quakers, expelled from Boston, came to New Amsterdam in August 1657. Several were arrested, and the preacher Robert Hodgson was whipped for refusing to labor as punishment. He was hung up by his hands and beaten for several days. Stuyvesant’s sister, Mrs. Beard, upbraided the Governor so persistently that he finally released Hodgson. Two weeks later Henry Townsend was sentenced to a fine, flogging, and banishment for holding Quaker meetings in his house; but the officers of Flushing refused to punish him and sent a protest saying, “The law of love, peace, and liberty, extending in the state to Jews, Turks, and Egyptians, forms the true glory of Holland” as well as to “Presbyterian, Independent, Baptist, or Quaker.”6 The document was signed by 31 people. In response Stuyvesant fired and fined the sheriff 200 guilders plus court costs, imprisoned the town clerk, and suspended two magistrates; other signers were also penalized. When three more Quakers arrived in September 1658, Stuyvesant had them expelled.
John Bowne held Quaker meetings at his home in Flushing. When magistrates informed Stuyvesant, he ordered Bowne arrested and fined in September 1662. He proclaimed that any public exercise of religion other than the Reformed Church would be penalized with a fine of 50 guilders, and the fine for importing or distributing “seditious” religious writings was 150 guilders and for those receiving them 50 guilders. Bowne refused to pay a fine and was deported to Holland in January 1663. Stuyvesant threatened more severe persecution, but then he learned that his brother-in-law's sister, Judith Varleth, was imprisoned at Hartford for being a witch. Learning of Bowne's case, the directors at Amsterdam sent Governor Stuyvesant a letter reprimanding him and advising,
The consciences of men ought to be free and unshackled,
so long as they continue moderate, peaceable, inoffensive,
and not hostile to the government.
Such have been the maxims of prudence and toleration
by which the magistrates of this city have been governed;
and the consequences have been,
that the oppressed and persecuted from every country
have found among us an asylum from distress.
Follow in the same steps, and you will be blessed.7
Connecticut governor John Winthrop Jr. went to London, and his colony was awarded New Haven and the territory claimed by the Dutch called New Netherland. This news reached Stuyvesant at New Amsterdam in September 1662. The General Court at Hartford sent a letter in October informing Westchester that they were now part of Connecticut, and they ordered Captain John Young to annex all of Long Island.
In 1656 the Dutch West India Company had sold Fort Casimir and land by the mouth of the Delaware with its valuable forests to the burgomasters of Amsterdam for 700,000 guilders. They sent three well supplied ships with 160 colonists to found New Amstel with Jacob Alrich as director, arriving in February 1657. In September 1659 Maryland’s Council sent its president, Col. Nathaniel Utie, with seven men to negotiate, and in response Governor Stuyvesant sent sixty soldiers. The Bohemian businessman, Augustine Heerman, and Resolved Waldron were sent on a diplomatic mission to Maryland. The settlers by the Delaware suffered starvation, and Alrich died at the end of 1659. Alexander D’Hinoyosa succeeded him at New Amstel and resisted the jurisdiction of the Dutch Company. A group of 25 Mennonites emigrated there in 1662. D'Hinoyosa went to Amsterdam and returned in August 1663 with a hundred settlers. The Heeren 19 decided that the best way to protect the Delaware territory was to hand it over to the city of Amsterdam. Stuyvesant agreed to this when D’Hinoyosa visited New Amsterdam in December 1663.
The village of Wiltwyck was suffering attacks from Indians in the Esopus area. In June 1663 the Indians killed more than 20 colonists and captured 45 while 25 were missing. Stuyvesant called for volunteers. Captain Martin Cregier led a force of 121 soldiers, 41 volunteers, 41 Indians, and 7 Africans. They destroyed two Indian forts and crops, killed more than 30, and rescued 22 Wiltwyck captives. The Esopus lost their independence and joined the Wappinger tribe. On their behalf the Hackensack chief Oratamy went to New Amsterdam's council in December; they agreed on a truce for two months while he tried to locate the five remaining captives.
In September 1663 Stuyvesant went to Boston and met with the eight commissioners of the United Colonies of New England. He complained that Connecticut had broken the Hartford Treaty of 1650, and their friendly negotiations reached no conclusions. In November a force of 300 English prepared to take over the English towns on Long Island. The next month John Scott told Hempstead that King Charles II had promised to give the island to his brother James, the Duke of York, and in January 1664 the towns elected John Scott their president. He proclaimed freedom and told them to stop obeying and paying taxes to Stuyvesant, who used the excise tax on taverns and magistrates to raise an army of 360 men. Stuyvesant went to Hempstead in March and agreed that the English towns on Long Island would be under the English king for the next twelve months. Hartford authorities arrested Scott, though he escaped to Long Island in July. The Duke of York received his charter and published it on March 12.
In April 1664 representatives of the twelve towns of New Netherland met in a General Assembly. Governor Stuyvesant proposed that they arm every sixth man and put a tax on cattle and mills. In May he made a peace treaty with eleven Indian chiefs. The Duke of York received his charter and published it on March 12. Four ships with 300 soldiers led by Col. Richard Nicolls sailed on May 25 to take Long Island. In the north the Mahicans were fighting the Mohawks and invaded the Fort Orange area, killing cattle and burning houses. Stuyvesant summoned the soldiers from Fort Orange to defend New Amsterdam. On September 1 an English delegation demanded they surrender, promising security to all those willing to submit to their government. The Dutch had only 150 soldiers and 250 armed citizens. On September 5 some prominent citizens and magistrates petitioned Stuyvesant to surrender. In the treaty the Dutch were guaranteed freedom of conscience and trade, and Director General Stuyvesant signed the agreement on September 8. New Netherland under the English became New York. Alexander d’Hinoyosa tried to hold out with fifty soldiers in Delaware, but they were defeated. Three Dutch soldiers were killed, and the rest were sold as slaves in Virginia. James was Duke of York and Albany, and Fort Orange was renamed Albany.
In October 1664 every Dutch citizen in New York, including Stuyvesant, had to swear allegiance to the British king. During Stuyvesant's government the population of New Netherland had increased from 2,000 in 1647 to 10,000. The West India Company summoned Stuyvesant to Amsterdam and charged him with neglect, but he criticized the shortcomings of the Company policies and support. After the second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665-67, Stuyvesant returned to New York and lived on his farm until his death in 1672.
When the English Civil War broke out in 1642, Governor Leonard Calvert gave his authority to Giles Brent and went to England. The sea captain Richard Ingle strongly supported Parliament and defied the authority of the King in Maryland. Brent ordered him put under arrest and told Sheriff Parker to keep him under guard on his ship while four juries could not reach a verdict. One night Parker and two members of the Council removed the guard and let Ingle and his ship escape. Leonard Calvert returned to Maryland in the fall of 1644 with a new commission that did not allow him to approve of temporary laws, which the Assembly passed to check the power of the Proprietor. Calvert was also commissioned by the King, and Ingle attacked Maryland in 1645, offering his men plunder. He captured a Dutch vessel and imprisoned Brent. Ingle pillaged the manor of Thomas Cornwaleys even though he was one of the councilors who let him escape. Some inhabitants sent a petition to the Committee for Foreign Plantations to protest Baltimore's charter. Cloberry and seventeen other merchants also petitioned the Lords of Trade to take Maryland away from Baltimore (Cecil Calvert).
Leonard Calvert was in Virginia, and he approved the Council's choice of Edward Hill as provisional governor. Calvert returned to Maryland, but he died on 9 June 1647 after naming the royalist Catholic Thomas Greene as governor and Margaret Brent as executrix of his estate. She assessed Baltimore to pay a debt of 18,548 pounds of tobacco to the estate, and the Assembly upheld her right as the attorney. She handled numerous cases in the Provincial Court of Maryland but was not allowed to serve in the Assembly. Early in 1648 Greene pardoned all those involved in Ingle's rebellion if they obeyed the proprietary government. Because of widespread criticism that Greene was oppressing Protestants, Baltimore replaced him with the Protestant William Stone in August 1648. The new governor took an oath that he would not discriminate in conferring offices because of a person's religion. Ingle had stolen the Great Seal of Maryland, and Baltimore sent a new one with the motto, “Masculine Deeds, Feminine Words.” The Assembly rejected a provision prescribing an oath of allegiance to the Proprietor. In November 1649 the acting governor Greene proclaimed allegiance to Charles II; but Baltimore quickly disavowed and annulled this blunder in England, and he removed Greene from the Council.
In April 1649 the Maryland Assembly passed twelve laws, including the famous “Act Concerning Religion.” The first part declares that anyone who blasphemes God or denies the Christian trinity may be punished with death and confiscation of property. Although no one was ever put to death in Maryland because of this law, it did deter Jews from settling in Maryland. Anyone who called someone a “Schismatic, Idolater, Puritan, Presbyterian, Independent, Popish Priest, Jesuit, Jesuited Papist, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anabaptist, Brownist, Antinomian, Barrowist, Roundhead, Separatist,”8 or another name in a “reproachful manner” could be fined ten shillings. The second part of the Act noted that enforcing conscience in matters of religion has had dangerous consequences in states and that for a more peaceful government it is better to preserve mutual love. Therefore they enacted that no believer should be “troubled, molested, or discountenanced, for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this province.”9 That year about 300 Puritans settled near the Severn River at a place they called Providence. They were represented in the Assembly of 1650, which was the first to separate the upper house of the Governor, Secretary, and the Council from the lower house of the fourteen elected burgesses.
Virginia’s Richard Bennett and Claiborne led the reduction of Maryland in 1652, and the Protestant governor William Stone agreed to follow the instructions of the English Commonwealth. However, when Stone refused to accede to an interview, Bennett and Claiborne seized the government and appointed a board of ten commissioners. Five of them led by Governor Bennett signed a peace treaty with five chiefs of the Susquehannocks and two of their Swedish allies. The Yaocomico and Matchoatick tribes were warned to stay south of the Potomac River. Baltimore ordered Stone to take the colony back by force. Stone led militia that demanded an oath of allegiance to Baltimore and disarmed and plundered those who refused. Some had come to Maryland and had been guaranteed freedom of conscience by Governor Stone, and they now took up arms in a civil war. On 25 March 1654 Protestants supporting Bennett and Claiborne defeated Stone’s forces, killing twenty. Losing only three men, the Puritans claimed victory. A New England ship seized the boats of the Governor, and after a court martial four prisoners were executed; Captain Stone was imprisoned. Maryland came under the Protectorate, and the Puritan commissioners and Maryland Assembly excluded Papists. They passed 46 laws, denying religious liberty to Catholics, Episcopalians, and other sects that “practice licentiousness.” The Puritans also drove the Jesuits out of Maryland to Virginia.
Protector Oliver Cromwell sent a letter to Bennett dated in January 1654 requiring him “to forbear disturbing the Lord Baltimore, or his officers, or people in Maryland, and to permit all things to remain as they were before any disturbance or alteration made by you.”10 The Proprietor Baltimore submitted to the Protector’s authority, and Cromwell recognized his proprietary rights in Maryland. In September 1655 Cromwell wrote to the Commissioners of Maryland that he only wanted to prevent violence between Virginia and Maryland.
In July 1656 Baltimore appointed Josias Fendall to replace Stone as governor, and he sent his younger brother Philip Calvert to be secretary. However, the Puritans retained control until Baltimore made an agreement with Samuel Matthews in November 1657. He granted amnesty and indicated that Puritans could freely leave Maryland within one year. Fendall assumed authority and with Philip Calvert he met with the Puritan leaders William Fuller and Richard Preston, and in March 1658 they signed an agreement. However, only three of the burgesses were in the Proprietary party. Fendall took the side of the lower house, which in 1660 dissolved the Proprietary Council. When Charles II became king, he ordered Virginia to help Baltimore, who commissioned Philip Calvert as governor. Fendall was barred from holding office.
Cecil Calvert (Baltimore) appointed his only son Charles Calvert to succeed his uncle Philip as governor of Maryland in 1661. Cecil Calvert had founded Maryland and essentially owned it until he died in 1675, though he never visited America. He worked for the colony, made a little profit, and wisely insisted on religious toleration of Protestants and Catholics. A few Quakers had difficulty in 1658 when Governor Fendall required all men to serve in the militia. An order expelled those who refused to join the militia or take oaths. In 1662 the Assembly declared that when the laws of Maryland were silent, the common law of England would apply.
In June 1642 the Virginia General Assembly declared its opposition to reviving the Company, and they helped the poor by repealing the poll tax that was used to pay the Governor’s salary. A law passed in 1643 prohibited the Governor and Council from imposing taxes without the Assembly's consent. Paying bounties for wolves helped increased the livestock, and a fencing law placed the burden on the farmers to protect their crops from the roaming animals. With William Berkeley's leadership they made peace with the Indians, arranged a trade agreement with Maryland, and assessed taxes by the size of estates and ability to pay. During the English Civil War they paid Berkeley’s expenses. In the summer of 1642 Philip Bennett traveled to Boston and brought back three ministers, but in March 1643 the General Assembly enacted a law requiring all ministers to conform to the Church of England. Two of the ministers left, but William Thompson stayed and converted Thomas Harrison. After the Indian massacre of 1644 Harrison regretted the expulsion of the Puritans, and in 1645 he was charged with refusing to read the Book of Common Prayer. Yet Harrison and his elder were allowed to remain in Virginia for three more years.
On April 18, 1644 Indians attacked settlers near the heads of the rivers and south of the James River, killing at least 500 people. Again Chief Opechancanough, now very old, was the instigator of the surprise attack. Berkeley personally led the counterattacks against the Pamunkeys and others until he left for England in October. Then Secretary Richard Kemp as acting governor took charge of the war, and Captain William Claiborne led campaigns. Opechancanough was captured and taken to Jamestown; but he was shot in the back by a soldier before he could be sent to England. Four forts near the James River were built in 1645. Necotowance became chief of the Powhatans, and in the treaty of 1646 he agreed to pay twenty beaver skins annually in tribute to the King of England. In 1648 the Assembly allowed Governor Berkeley to press ten men for his bodyguard, but they protested an act giving the Governor and Council the authority to impress soldiers without their consent.
When news arrived in 1649 that King Charles had been beheaded, the General Assembly declared it a violation of the laws of England and of God. Seven ships brought supporters of the King, and they were given refuge in Virginia, which also took in 1,610 royalist prisoners after Charles II suffered a defeat at Worcester in 1651. Charles issued a commission to Governor Berkeley in 1650 from his exile in Holland, and the General Assembly also supported the King. In October 1651 the Parliament passed the Navigation Act that forbade importing foreign goods except in English ships. The British navy was ordered to seize foreign ships trading with the colony, and no English ships could sail to Virginia without a license from the Council of State. However, the blockade was not enforced, and the Dutch increased their trading.
The next year the Parliament diplomatically required Virginia to publish their acts abolishing the kingship, the House of Lords, and use of the Book of Common Prayer. The ships carrying the commissioners and a military force also took shoes and other needed trading goods. They reached Jamestown in January 1652, and after a long debate the House of Burgesses disbanded Berkeley’s army of more than a thousand men. The powers of Governor Berkeley and the Council were nullified, and the General Assembly became the governing body. The rights of the people were secured, and Virginia was allowed free trade. Those inhabitants choosing not to take the oath of allegiance required by the Parliament were given one year to leave the colony. The three commissioners signing the articles of surrender for the Parliament on March 12 were Richard Bennett, William Claiborne, and Edmund Curtis. Bennett had been persecuted by Berkeley’s administration and had taken refuge in Maryland, and Claiborne had been dismissed as Virginia’s treasurer and had fled to England. In the spring the General Assembly appointed Bennett governor of Virginia and Claiborne the highest ranking councilor. In May the people in Northampton County across the Chesapeake Bay protested a poll tax because they were not represented in the Assembly. In 1653 merchants sent Cromwell's Council of State a petition that people in the colonies needed clothing and other necessities.
When Bennett went to England as Virginia’s agent in 1655, the General Assembly elected Edward Digges governor. Early the next year more than six hundred Siouans from the upper Rappahannock settled by the falls of the James River. Col. Edward Hill led a force that included Pamunkey allies led by Totopotomoi. However, they were defeated at the place called Bloody Run, and most of the Pamunkeys including the chief were killed. In 1656 the General Assembly passed several laws to improve relations with the Indians. For every eight wolves' heads brought in, they promised the chief a cow. The native children kept as hostages were not to be treated as slaves but were to be educated in Christianity and taught a trade. Indians were prohibited from selling their lands without the General Assembly’s consent. They abolished the law allowing a colonist to shoot an Indian without a badge in English territory, and all freemen were allowed to trade with Indians. Also in 1656 all free men who paid taxes were given the right to vote for burgesses.
In 1657 Digges went to England, and Samuel Mathews became acting governor. Although he refused to call an Assembly in May, the following March they continued him and his Council in office. The 131 acts passed then and others the next year demonstrated the liberal spirit of the representational government. They left religious issues to parishioners while trying to suppress drunkenness, cursing, and other offenses. The Burgesses voted that no attorney should be allowed to plead a case in court for pay. The penalty for selling arms or ammunition to the Indians was forfeiture of one's entire estate. They prohibited planters from encroaching on Indian lands or kidnapping Indian children. They abolished the penalty of reducing a free person to servitude. During the years of the Commonwealth the Burgesses declared their popular sovereignty.
The royalist William Berkeley was elected governor again by the General Assembly in March 1660 before Charles II was restored to the throne of England in May. When the news arrived, the power shifted back to the Governor and the Council he appointed. In March 1660 the Assembly enacted a law suppressing the Quakers and another with a bounty to encourage the Dutch to import African slaves. That year the Parliament passed another Navigation Act requiring that all tobacco shipped from the colonies must go to England and pay a duty to the King. This depressed the price of tobacco and increased the freight rates. By 1660 the population of Virginia had risen to 25,000. In 1661 the Assembly gave the Governor and Council authority to levy taxes up to twenty pounds of tobacco per person for three years. No one was allowed to trade with the Indians without a commission from the Governor.
While Berkeley was in England for a year and a half, Col. Francis Moryson acted as governor. In 1662 the Assembly ordered that 32 brick houses be built in Jamestown with one from each county, but this experiment to start a city failed. In December the Assembly extended the religious suppression of dissent to include all separatists. Persons attending meetings were to be fined for the first two offenses and banished for the third. Some of the soldiers, who had been made prisoners of war for serving Cromwell and had been condemned to indentured servitude, plotted a mutiny set for 6 September 1663 in Gloucester County; but an indentured servant reported the conspiracy and was rewarded with his freedom and 5,000 pounds of tobacco. The Assembly passed a law prohibiting servants from leaving home without a special permit. Also in 1663 the Assembly passed a resolution that taxing land was more fair than taxing people, and the Governor agreed; but the poll taxes continued.
1. The American Puritans ed. Perry Miller, p. 276-277.
2. The Puritans: A Sourcebook of Their Writings ed. Perry Miller and Thomas H. Johnson, p. 575-576.
3. History of the United States of America by George Bancroft, Volume 1, p. 367.
4. Roger Williams by Perry Miller, p. 64.
5. The Gentle Radical by Cyclone Covey, p. 137.
6. The Dutch and Quaker Colonies in America, Vol. 1 by John Fiske, p. 272.
7. History of New Netherland, Vol. 2 by E. B. O'Callaghan, p. 457.
8. History of Maryland, Vol. 1 by J. Thomas Scharf, p. 175.
9. Ibid., p. 176.
10. History of the Colony and the Ancient Dominion of Virginia by Charles Campbell, p. 230.
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