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After New Haven became part of Connecticut in 1664, the United Colonies had only three members. Plymouth wanted to dissolve the confederation, but they agreed to meet once every three years. In the revised articles five of the six commissioners were required for a decision, and the right of declaring war was left to the general courts of the colonies. The death of John Endecott marked the end of an era in Massachusetts, and in May 1665 Richard Bellingham was elected governor. The General Court had been ignoring the English Navigation Act of 1660, which required them to sell their goods only to the English for low prices, and specified commodities could only be exported to England or English colonies. Massachusetts in 1661 had declared their liberty to make their own laws as long as they did not contradict English law, and they denied the right of appeal from their courts. In August 1665 the General Court of Massachusetts sent a petition to the King complaining that they were being threatened with ruin, and they declared that they saw no reason to submit. The visiting royal commissioners did not recognize the United Colonies. In 1666 King Charles II sent a circular letter to these colonies expressing satisfaction with all but Massachusetts. In 1668 Massachusetts asserted its control over the province of Maine by force of arms.
Many wanted to accept people who had been baptized and had moral lives as members of the church even if they were not qualified for communion, and in 1657 a council in Boston had approved what was called the Halfway Covenant. This decision was confirmed five years later by a synod of all clergy from Massachusetts. Boston's minister John Wilson died in 1667, and John Davenport of New Haven was chosen as his successor. He opposed the Halfway Covenant, and 29 members seceded; but he died a year later. Those who favored the Halfway Covenant built the South Church in 1669, and for many years this church represented liberal ideas.
A serious land dispute was over Narragansett territory that the royal charters had awarded to both Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 1665 the royal commissioners decided that Rhode Island had jurisdiction, but they canceled two large purchases of 1659 and the grants, deciding that the Narragansetts should pay 300 fathoms of wampum for the purchases and 735 fathoms for the rest. Connecticut also disputed territory with New York and kept some troops available to deter them.
The Indians were being crowded into tongues of land where they could be controlled and watched. The Wampanoag sachem Massasoit had died in 1661. The English referred to his sons Wamsutta as Alexander and Metacom as Philip. Alexander succeeded his father, but after meeting with the Plymouth authorities he died of a fever. Metacom suspected his brother had been poisoned. He became sachem and was also summoned before the Court in August 1664. Two years later Metacom (King Philip) dictated a letter to officials on Long Island that Chief Ninigret was planning to exact tribute from natives there. Rumors that Metacom was going to cooperate with the Dutch and the French against the English in 1667 caused the magistrates to collect his arms; but no evidence was found, and his arms were returned. Yet they made him pay £40 for their expedition.
In 1668 the people of Dedham began settling on the land they had purchased from Metacom at Wollomonuppoag; but they found that the Indians were still planting crops there. Metacom claimed it was his but accepted £5 as a down payment in August 1669. That year Ninigret was summoned to Newport by the government of Rhode Island, and his answers to their questions were satisfactory.
In March 1671 Hugh Cole of Swansea reported to Plymouth that he saw the Narragansetts repairing guns and making weapons at Mount Hope, where Metacom lived. Plymouth forced Metacom to make a treaty at Taunton in April, and after a trial at Plymouth in September he had to surrender his arms, pay £100 within three years, and could only sell land with the colony’s approval. The Wampanoags turned in seventy muskets and agreed to pay an annual tribute of five wolves’ heads and not to engage in war without permission.
In 1671 the Plymouth colony summoned the squaw-sachem Awashonks and ordered her to put her lands under the authority of the colony and pay the English £50 compensation. The settlers’ horses and hogs did so much damage to the crops of the Indians that in 1671 Plymouth appointed committees in eleven different towns. That year Metacom was required to deposit the guns of his people with the Court, which decided they were forfeited and distributed them to the colonists. In Connecticut towns were refusing to pay their taxes, and in 1671 a law was passed penalizing anyone who spoke out in a town meeting against paying assessments. The next year they elected Quakers as magistrates, and free debate was restored.
Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck was the first native to graduate from Harvard College in 1665. Many of the natives resented the efforts by the missionaries to form villages of praying Indians as disruptive of their way of life, and Indians often suffered adverse judgments in the English courts. In the spring of 1675 Connecticut passed regulations requiring the Pequots on their reservation to obey the Sabbath restrictions, and any settler finding a native drunk could make him work for twelve days as a fine and keep half the proceeds. The natives in the New England region were Algonquins, and they could not easily move west because of their enemies, the Mohawks of the powerful Iroquois confederation.
John Sassamon was a native who was raised by Puritans as a Christian at Natick. He studied at Harvard and served as Metacom’s secretary before going back to teach school at Natick. In January 1675 he informed the Plymouth government that the Wampanoags were organizing a general uprising; a few days later he was found dead. One Indian named Patuckson testified that he saw three natives murder him; but his testimony has been questioned because he owed these men a gambling debt. They claimed they were innocent but were convicted and hanged. However, one rope broke, and Wampapaquan said he saw his father Tobias and Mattashunnamo commit the murder and that Metacom was complicit; but he was hanged again. Metacom was brought to court again but was released for lack of evidence.
As the Wampanoags were mobilizing in June, Rhode Island deputy governor John Easton tried to mediate the conflict and met with Metacom; but the conference broke up. When the Wampanoags began looting, Plymouth governor Josiah Winslow ordered seventy men raised. He also sent a letter to Massachusetts governor John Leverett because Narragansetts and Nipmucks were involved. Roger Williams gained some assurances from the Narragansett sachem Canonchet, but he was skeptical of his fine words. Easton reported that an Indian looter was shot on June 23 by a boy. Plymouth declared the next day for fasting and public humiliation, and that day in Swansea the Wampanoags killed six settlers, including the boy. On June 29 they burned eight Rehoboth farmhouses and killed fifteen people at Taunton.
Plymouth required every man to serve in the militia or pay a fine of £5 or run the gauntlet, and boys under sixteen were used for guard duty. Connecticut offered its officers and troops land and the opportunity to plunder the goods and sell the Indians themselves, and no male resident between fourteen and seventy was allowed to emigrate from the colony. Massachusetts threatened those who would not join the army with the death penalty, and they prohibited Quaker meetings. Many of the colonists still used the old matchlock guns, which were not nearly as efficient and reliable as the newer flintlocks used by most of the Indians by 1675. New York governor Edmund Andros tried to exploit the crisis by moving troops into the disputed territory at Fort Seabrook, but on July 9 the Assembly at Hartford sent a unanimous declaration of protest to Major Andros. Connecticut governor Winthrop sent forces there, and the New York soldiers withdrew.
Connecticut sent troops on the first of July. Captain Edward Hutchinson moved his Massachusetts army from Mount Hope to the Narragansett country where the Pocasset squaw-sachem Weetamoo, Alexander’s widow, might join Metacom’s alliance. The Narragansetts had about two thousand warriors and 900 guns. On July 6 Massachusetts sent more than fifty Christian Indians to help; but native hostility spread, and in Massachusetts the Nipmucks attacked Mendon on July 14. Captain Ephraim Curtis tried to negotiate with the Nipmucks for eight days, and Captain Hutchinson attended a conference on the 28th to no avail. The United Colonies made a treaty with six Narragansett elders on July 15, but they had little influence. Benjamin Church led some Rhode Island militia to attack the hostile Indians in the Pocasset swamp on July 19; but the bunched-up English could not defeat the Indians when they were spread out. While the English were building a fort at the end of July, Metacom escaped from the Pocasset territory north to the Nipmucks. Weetamoo led her people south and found refuge with the Narragansetts. The Nipmucks attacked Brookfield in August, and the town was abandoned. Settlers evacuated Deerfield in September, and Captain Samuel Moseley's men buried 64 English.
The Commissioners of the United Colonies had their regular meeting on 9 September 1675, and they called for a thousand men-527 from Massachusetts, 315 from Connecticut, and 158 from Plymouth. Colony taxes for the year 1675 went way up to pay for the war. On September 12 Captain Beers and 20 of his men were killed in an ambush, and six days later about 600 Indians killed Captain Lothrop and nearly a hundred men. Negotiations with the Narragansetts at Wickford broke down on September 22. John Pynchon and the town of Springfield were shocked when local Indians burned 32 homes in early October. Samuel Appleton replaced Pynchon as commander in western Massachusetts, and towns throughout New England prepared to defend themselves. The skulking tactics of the natives in the forest were difficult for the English to counter, though using friendly Indians as scouts helped. The resentment many Indians felt against the English was exploding. The town of Hatfield put up a strong defense in October. The Mohegans led by Chief Uncas, the remaining Pequots, and Chief Ninigret and his Niantics were still loyal to the English.
The Narragansett sachem Canonchet was Miantonomo’s youngest son and had made a treaty with Massachusetts and Connecticut, but an Indian warned the Plymouth colony that Canonchet was preparing for war. So the Commissioners authorized another thousand men in November under the command of Josiah Winslow to enforce their treaty obligations. An Indian named Peter guided the army to the Great Swamp in the Narragansett country of Rhode Island in December. The English launched a pre-emptive attack and lost 80 killed, including 14 officers, and had 200 wounded. The chaplain Joseph Dudley reported that about 200 Narragansett braves were killed, and Captain James Oliver estimated that they captured 300 warriors and even more women and children than that. Winslow did not trust the remote position, and against Benjamin Church's advice they burned the wigwams and the food supplies. Many Indians probably died trying to survive the winter. Winslow’s army chased the Narragansetts toward the Nipmuck country in January.
Meanwhile Metacom had gone west to ask for help from the Mohawks; but New York governor Andros encouraged the Mohawks to support New England by supplying them with guns and ammunition, and they chased Metacom’s band away.
In February 1676 a reported 1,500 Indians raided Lancaster and Medfield in Massachusetts. The Commissioners of the United Colonies ordered six hundred mounted men to gather at Brookfield under the command of Major Thomas Savage, and they planned a palisade around Boston. Loyal Indians were protected from mobs by putting them in a workhouse, and the Christian Indians at Natick were deported to Deer Island in Boston Harbor. Metacom and his braves attacked Northampton on March 14, but it was defended by two companies from Connecticut and one from Massachusetts. However, Captain Samuel Wadsworth and his fifty men were all killed on their way to relieve Sudbury. Warwick in Rhode Island was burned to the ground, and an appeal by Roger Williams did not prevent the Narragansetts from burning his house and others in Providence. Williams had tried to explain to the natives that 10,000 English could carry muskets, and that even if they killed them, the King of England could send 10,000 more.
Plymouth was no longer sending troops, and Connecticut forces withdrew; so Savage led most of the Massachusetts army back toward Boston. Towns did not have enough troops to guard them, and men were needed for spring planting. Canonchet and about six hundred warriors massacred Captain Michael Pierce's Plymouth company of 50 men on March 26 while losing 140 men; but ten days later Canonchet was defeated and captured, and the English let the Mohegans execute him, as they had his father. Connecticut governor John Winthrop Jr. died on April 5 during an epidemic, and William Leete was elected the next month. The Assembly voted for a standing army of 350 men. Connecticut and Massachusetts began separate negotiations with the natives on May 1, and by June more than 20 English prisoners had been released.
About 800 Indians attacked Sudbury on 21 April 1676, and on May 13 they raided the Hatfield cattle. Thomas Reed escaped from captivity and warned that Indians were gathering at the falls above Deerfield. Captain William Turner led 150 men, and in a surprise attack they slaughtered more than 100 Indians while only one colonist was killed; but on their retreat they were attacked by hundreds of Metacom’s warriors who killed Turner and 40 men. Massachusetts organized 500 men who raided Mount Wachusett, and Major John Talcott gathered 440 English and allied Indians for Connecticut who killed or captured 171.
The English destroyed Indian crops in order to starve them into submission; but as the captive Mary Rowlandson found out, the Indians were very resourceful at surviving on little. On June 12 Metacom led 700 braves against Hadley in Massachusetts, but Connecticut had 500 English and Mohican allies defending the town. On June 19 the Massachusetts government offered amnesty to all who surrendered. Church arranged to meet his friend, the Sogkonate squaw-sachem Awashonks, and she sent her son Peter to Plymouth to ratify the terms. She took 80 or 90 of her tribe to Major William Bradford at Pocasset on June 30 which was a day of public thanksgiving in Boston.
Talcott’s forces killed or captured 238 Narragansetts on July 2 and 3. Potuck had been given safe conduct by some Providence men, but he was later executed as a war criminal. On July 3 at Dover, Maine the Pennacook sachem Wannalancet signed a peace treaty with Major Richard Waldron. James the Printer, who had worked on Eliot's Algonquian Bible, led the surrender of 140 Christian Indians, and he reported that more Indians had died of disease than were killed by the English during the year of war. As more natives surrendered, English troops combed the country to capture and sell Indians. The Narragansett sachem Pomham was killed in late July. Uncas accepted surrendering Indians in order to increase his tribe of Mohegans. Sagamore John led 180 Nipmucks into Boston on July 27, and Matoonas was executed for his murders. On August 6 Weetamoo drowned trying to escape from Talcott’s men. Metacom’s wife and son were captured and sold into slavery, and Church’s men killed Metacom on August 12 in his territory of Mount Hope. The Wampanoag warrior Annawon was executed at Plymouth. Most of the Indians who did not surrender fled to the west.
Most of the captives were made indentured servants to age 26 or were sold as slaves. John Eliot warned that selling people as slaves is a dangerous business. Most were sent to the West Indies; but they placed little value on Indians who made poor slaves, and some even were shipped as far as the notorious slave market at Tangiers in Morocco. Even Roger Williams arranged the sale of some Indians in Providence for limited periods of service. The General Court of Connecticut decided in October that all captives who could not be convicted of murder were not to be sold abroad, although in May 1677 they made an exception for runaways. During the summer a force of 60 English and 200 Indian allies were sent to defend settlements in Maine and New Hampshire, but they were routed. That year Deerfield and Hatfield were raided by hostile Indians on their way to Canada. However, during the summer of 1678 the Commissioners made peace with the Tarrantine (Micmac) chief.
Massachusetts required all Indians who were not family servants
to live in Natick, Punkapaug, Hassanemesit, or Wamesit. Chief
Uncas agreed to let Connecticut divide his lands into farms and
plantations. His Mohegans and the Eastern Niantics in Rhode Island
were the last of the tribal governments in southern New England.
Metacom’s War (aka King Philip’s War) was devastating for the population of New England.
Half the region’s 80 towns were badly damaged, and 12
were destroyed. At least 3,000 Indians and 600
English were killed in the war. Expenses for the war cost Plymouth
£11,743, Connecticut £22,173, and Massachusetts £46,292,
and their war debts were about equal to their remaining assets.
Reconstruction began immediately, and by 1680 Massachusetts had
rebuilt the destroyed towns. Wounded veterans were given compensation,
tax exemptions, and the right to operate a tavern. Other veterans
organized and were given land grants. Connecticut increased its
militia to 2,507 men in 1679.
Roger Williams wanted to meet George Fox for a discussion, and for three days in 1671 he debated three of his followers at Newport. In Rhode Island the Gortonians, Quakers, and Baptists allowed women to participate in church affairs much more than in other colonies, but the Anglicans and Congregationalists did not. In 1672 the Quakers elected Nicholas Easton governor. William Coddington also became a Quaker and was elected Easton's deputy the next year. In 1674 and 1675 Coddington was elected governor with Easton as his deputy, and in 1676 Walter Clarke was the last in this sequence of Quaker governors. The Quakers gained exemption from military service, and Rhode Island did not participate much in Metacom’s (King Philip’s) War except in self-defense; but they provided refuge for other colonists. Benjamin Church persuaded Governor Coddington to provide boats to patrol the northern shores.
On 27 October 1675 the General Assembly decided to leave the colony’s defense to each town. Warwick was abandoned, and many fled to the island of Rhode Island. Coddington wrote a letter to the Massachusetts government in January 1676 contrasting their persecution of Quakers, who had been made to run the gauntlet in Boston, to Rhode Island’s offering of hospitality to refugees. Williams served as a captain in the Providence militia. When the Indians set fires at Providence and Warwick in March, his house with his books and papers was burned. In April the deputy governor John Cranston was commissioned a major for the colony and was commanded to kill and expel all the enemies. In August a court at Newport with magistrates Williams, Arthur Fenner, Randall Holden, and William Harris convicted five Indians of murder and had them executed. Benedict Arnold was elected governor in 1677, and the law exempting Quakers from military service was repealed.
The newly named Lords of Trade and Plantations chose Edward Randolph as their agent to New England. He was the cousin of Robert Mason, who had claims in New Hampshire. Randolph arrived at Boston in June 1676; but Governor John Leverett told him they did not recognize the King's right to bind the colony because they had made their own plantation in the wilderness. Randolph had ten ships seized for illegal entry during his first year, but juries acquitted them all. He sent reports exaggerating the population and wealth of Massachusetts, claiming the King was losing £100,000 a year in customs.
In 1677 Massachusetts sent Peter Bulkeley and William Stoughton to England as their agents, and Randolph accused them of spending £4,000 on bribes; but the committee of the Privy Council denied Massachusetts’ jurisdiction over Maine and New Hampshire. So Massachusetts purchased the claims of Gorges in Maine for £1,250, but in 1678 a quo warranto was issued against their charter. An oath of allegiance was required of every male older than sixteen, and treason was made a capital offense. Also in 1678 a ship from Madagascar brought forty or fifty Africans and sold them as slaves. The Massachusetts General Court still held that the acts of navigation invaded their rights. Randolph was commissioned as the collector of customs in New England and returned to Boston in 1679, but he lost his cases in court. The Treaty of Breda had given part of Maine to France.
In 1679 Simon Bradstreet became Governor of Massachusetts,
and in May 1680 the General Court assembled with all 18
assistants for the first time. They replied to a letter from King
Charles II by asserting their autonomy. The royal agent Edward
Randolph went back to England in 1681 and brought twelve charges
against Massachusetts. Two naval officers made sure that the English
customs of the Navigation Act were not strictly enforced in Boston
and Salem, the two lawful ports. In February 1682 Massachusetts
chose Joseph Dudley and John Richards as their agents to England.
In 1683 the moderate Bradstreet defeated the radical Thomas Danforth,
690 votes to 631. Only ten percent of the freemen voted in this
election. Only about one-fifth of the freemen had the franchise
because one had to be a male church member to vote. Their charter
went before a tribunal in October 1683 while the deputies in Boston,
encouraged by Increase Mather, adhered to their own laws. In 1684
Increase Mather published “An Arrow Against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing.”
Roger Williams warned the Puritans against their depraved appetite for great portions of land in the wilderness. From 1660 to 1678 William Harris made determined efforts to gain control of 300,000 acres in Pawtuxet that he claimed he bought from the Indians in 1638. The Rhode Island General Assembly dismissed Harris in 1667, but he went to England in 1675 and gained a royal order. A jury in Providence decided in his favor in November 1677, and his case was heard in Plymouth the next July. Harris secretly sailed from Boston at the end of 1679; but the ship was captured by a Barbary corsair, and Harris was sold as a slave. A ransom of £459 was paid, but Harris died three days after he arrived in London in 1681. Arthur Fenner married the daughter of Harris in 1686, and the case was finally settled in 1712. The territory of Rhode Island was also in dispute as to its eastern and western borders, and these were eventually settled very close to the terms of the charter obtained in 1663 by John Clarke.
Roger Williams sent a letter to Providence on 15 January 1681 in which he wrote,
Six things are written in the hearts of all mankind, yea, even in pagans:
1st that there is a Deity;
2d that some actions are naught;
3d that the Deity will punish;
4th that there is another life;
5th that marriage is honorable;
6th that mankind cannot keep together without some government.1
He noted that charters became increasingly expensive. The first
charter he got for Rhode Island cost only £100;
but the second was about a thousand, and Connecticut paid about
£6,000. He asked if wisdom is not keeping peace with God
and men. Williams founded a community based on liberty of conscience
and the sharing of property; he died in the winter of 1683.
On 24 July 1679 New Hampshire was recognized as a royal province, and in 1680 their Assembly asserted their right to make their own laws. Robert Mason claimed he owned New Hampshire; but when he visited there in 1680, the Council prohibited his interference. He appointed Edward Cranfield governor of New Hampshire in 1682. Cranfield probably gained the appointment by bribing the British war secretary William Blathwayt and was intent on making money. The legislators voted him £250; but when they would not give up their liberties, he dissolved the Assembly in January 1683. The people protested so much that Cranfield had the leader Edward Gove arrested, confiscated his estate, and sent him to England, where he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for three years. Cranfield wrote to Randolph that he hoped to sell pardons to men in Boston for £10,000, or he could sell new leases for £2,000. In 1684 he called the Assembly to get money for defense. Cranfield also invoked Anglican laws and ordered the celebration of Christmas. The Portsmouth minister Moody refused to give free communion and was prosecuted and imprisoned. Cranfield visited New York and tried to get taxes passed by making people fear a war; but associations formed for mutual support, and they resisted collections. Cranfield wrote to England and was allowed to withdraw from New Hampshire. In August 1684 he told the Lords of Trade that citizens in Boston were aiding French pirates. Cranfield was removed as governor at the end of 1684.
The Commissioners of the United Colonies held their last meeting at Hartford in September 1684. That year an intercolonial congress was held at Albany, and the Iroquois Confederacy agreed to an alliance with Massachusetts, Maryland, and Virginia. A letter called “Phileroy Philopatris” noted that the colonists had no representatives in England and that the King could not injure them by withdrawing protection, which had not been granted. In October the Massachusetts charter was judged forfeited, but the judgment did not reach Boston until July 1685. By then James II was king, and he appointed Joseph Dudley president of the New England Dominion. He chose a Council of seventeen that included Edward Randolph and George Mason; the rest were New Englanders who supported the Crown taking over the colony. On 17 May 1686 Dudley told the General Court in Boston they had no legal existence. He and his Council held the power, and he made provision for appeals to England in cases involving at least £300.
The Lords of Trade chose Edmund Andros as governor of all New England except Connecticut and Rhode Island with a salary of £1,200 per year, and he arrived in Boston on December 20 with 100 professional soldiers. When Andros was Governor of New York, he had refused to aid New England during Metacom’s (King Philip’s) War. Increase Mather commented, “The foxes were now made the administrators of justice to the poultry.”2 Andros selected moderate commissioners who were influential. Those who met regularly with him were called his “tools” and included Randolph, Dudley, William Stoughton, John Usher, and Francis Nicholson. Without the charter all Massachusetts land legally belonged to the King. Governor Andros offered to confirm legal titles for less than a third of a penny per acre; but the petty officers were so poorly paid that they added substantial fees, and a separate patent was needed for each county. These policies alienated the landowners. Connecticut confirmed land titles before its charter was revoked. Rhode Island accepted the jurisdiction of Andros, but Connecticut did not. Both these colonies became active in smuggling. In October 1687 Andros went to Hartford to seize the Connecticut charter. Governor Robert Treat described the blood and treasure they had spent defending the charter. When the candles were blown out, Captain Joseph Wadsworth took the charter and hid it in a hollow oak tree. Nevertheless Andros took control of the colony. Plymouth governor Thomas Hinckley sent a memorial to Blathwayt complaining about the taxes.
Dissenters were no longer required to attend the Congregational Church, and the ministers lost their support from taxes. The public school system and Harvard College also lost their state funding. Anglicans were given permission to hold services in the South Meeting House, and this was resented by the Puritans, who often had to wait to enter on Sunday. Andros mandated the English form of kissing the Bible as the oath in the courts, and he offended Puritans by allowing festivities on Saturday night and the celebration of Christmas. The General Court had repealed all their revenue acts, and so Andros imposed public charges, imposts, and excise and poll taxes. Some towns protested that levying taxes without an assembly violated the Magna Carta. The minister John Wise persuaded a meeting in Exeter not to choose a tax commissioner. Andros had Wise and five others arrested and prosecuted. Dudley was chief justice, and they were all convicted and fined a total of £185, plus heavy court costs. Wise also had his ministry suspended. In March 1688 Andros and his Council of more than forty men issued the Local Government Act that banned town meetings except for annual elections. They suspended habeas corpus, and all printing had to be approved by Dudley. Implementing the Navigation Acts caused a business depression, and Andros removed reputable members of the Council without giving any reason. No one was allowed to leave the country without the Governor's permission.
Andros had forts built and garrisoned them with the professional “redcoats.” He petitioned to have New York expanded by adding the Jerseys and Connecticut, but instead the Lords of Trade added New York and the Jerseys to the Dominion of New England in 1688. Andros went to Maine in the spring to restore the fort at Pemaquid. He seized the movable property belonging to the Baron Vincent de St. Castine until he would recognize his authority. Next Andros went to New York and the Jerseys, and he engaged in diplomacy at Albany with the Five Nations of the Iroquois. He attended a conference at Hartford and then returned to Boston.
Castine was married to an Abenaki princess and roused the natives to retaliate against the English. After Indian attacks killed 26 Europeans during the summer, Andros organized an expedition to Penobscot, Maine in November with eight hundred men. They destroyed Indian settlements and captured their ammunition and supplies. After this, according to Randolph, Boston merchants sent a ship with 42 tons of gunpowder, shot, and food.
The merchants as well as the Puritans came to resent their lack of an assembly. Increase Mather was acquitted by a jury and escaped another prosecution by Randolph by boarding a ship to England in April 1688. Richard Wharton and Elisha Hutchinson were trying to get permission for mining and other industries. Mather joined with them and William Phips and Samuel Sewall to petition King James II for a representative assembly based on freehold suffrage. When this was rejected, they asked if the Council could have territorial representation so that each county would have at least one member; but only the requests for freedom of conscience and Harvard’s security were accepted. After Prince William of Orange came to England in November 1688, Increase Mather and Phips asked the new King to recall Governor Andros. Mather persuaded the King to withhold the letters confirming the colonial officers, and he petitioned for a new charter, writing several pamphlets on New England in 1689.
On 4 April 1689 John Winslow brought to Boston news of the “Glorious Revolution of 1688.” Governor Andros had him arrested. Two weeks later Cotton Mather was facing charges for incendiary writing, and mutinous troops arrived from the frontier. Andros was besieged on Fort Hill, and 87-year-old Simon Bradstreet and other magistrates went to the Town House and read a declaration from the balcony criticizing the abuses of Andros. Two days later they announced they were the Council for Safety of the People and Conservation of the Peace until a more orderly settlement could be made. They locked up Randolph, judges, captains, the sheriff, the jailor, and Dudley, who was seized in Rhode Island. Andros capitulated and was put under house arrest; but after he tried to escape twice, once in woman’s clothing, he was imprisoned. In 1691 a pamphlet called “The Revolution in New England Justified,” which was probably written by Edward Rawson, argued that the colonists derived their rights from occupying and using the soil and from purchasing the land from the Indians rather than from any grant from the king. However, Andros was of the opinion that whoever did not pay rent to those who held the patents for lands should be treated as rebels rather than subjects.
The charters of Rhode Island and Connecticut had not yet been annulled. The freemen of Rhode Island made their declaration on May 1, 1689. On May 9 the assembly in Hartford reinstated the magistrates they had elected in 1687, and the General Court restored the Connecticut charter. Connecticut would continue to be governed by its charter until 1818 and Rhode Island by its charter until 1842. Plymouth went back to their old constitution and made Hinckley governor again. Representatives from 44 towns in Massachusetts gathered on May 9, and 75 delegates represented 51 towns on May 22. Four days later news arrived in Boston that William and Mary had been proclaimed king and queen of England. On June 22 they revived all the laws of Massachusetts that were in force before the Dominion. After garrisons in Dover were attacked by Indians in the early summer, a convention of town delegates in Maine met in February 1690 and petitioned Boston to be annexed. A few weeks later the Massachusetts government appointed three magistrates in the province. In October 1690 Connecticut gave freemanship to all peaceable adult males with freehold estates with an annual pay of forty shillings, and four months later Massachusetts extended the franchise to those certified by selectmen as “not vicious in life” who paid four shillings or who owned freehold property worth £6 a year. By April 1692 the Massachusetts General Court had added more than seven hundred men to freemanship.
In 1689 in revenge for Major Richard Waldron's treacherous capture of friendly Indians 13 years before, the Pennacooks began raiding towns in New Hampshire, and in June they killed or captured 50 settlers at Cocheco. Six weeks later the Fort Charles garrison at Pemaquid surrendered. Boston impressed militiamen and offered volunteers a bounty of £8 for every enemy killed or captured, but they could find few opponents in the northern territory by the Kennebec River. Some questioned the government's authority and refused to serve. Meanwhile Connecticut sent Captain Jonathan Bull and 87 militia men to defend the Iroquois at Albany against the French. Massachusetts was spending £110 a day on defense, and in November 1689 they levied taxes, which some refused to pay. Because they believed that Increase Mather might offer concessions, the Massachusetts General Court chose Elisha Cooke and Thomas Oakes as their agents to England in December.
In May 1690 while William Phips led an expedition from Massachusetts that captured Port Royal in Acadia and destroyed the French fort, the French led by Frontenac were capturing Falmouth in Maine, killing most of the 70 men in the garrison and burning the town. Phips led the English campaign against Quebec and landed 1,300 militiamen in October. After three days of suffering freezing weather and hunger, the troops embarked, leaving behind five cannons. On the voyage home smallpox and dysentery took a toll, and more than three hundred men were lost on the venture. At the same time Fitz John Winthrop of Connecticut led the attack on Montreal that failed because of lack of men. When they returned to Albany, Jacob Leisler had Winthrop arrested for treason; but he escaped and was exonerated in Connecticut. A peace was made with the Indians in November; but the following spring it broke down as the Abenaki raided the eastern frontier. The Massachusetts militia refused to garrison Port Royal and left it to some merchants, who were soon pushed out by a French frigate. Connecticut, Plymouth, and Massachusetts raised their taxes to pay for the war. Rhode Island and several towns in Plymouth refused to pay the taxes. Under the aged Governor Thomas Hinckley the Plymouth government deteriorated, and Increase Mather was able to get Plymouth merged into Massachusetts.
Increase Mather petitioned William III for a new Massachusetts charter in October 1690, but William was preoccupied with fighting France and did not sign the new charter until a year later. Against the advice of Increase Mather, he decided that the Crown should appoint the governor of Massachusetts and have veto power over the General Court. He accepted Mather’s suggestion to appoint William Phips as governor and let Mather select the 28 members of the governor’s Council, which was to serve as the upper house. After that, the Council was chosen annually by the lower house with the governor’s consent. Massachusetts was still allowed to establish the Congregational Church with public funds; but the new charter recognized freedom of conscience in religion and no longer required church membership as a qualification for the franchise.
William Blathwayt of the Board of Trade got several changes put into the new charter. Voting was by “freeholders” instead of “freemen,” and they were required to have a 40-shilling freehold or property worth £40. New Hampshire was excluded from Massachusetts, but Maine, Plymouth, and the islands off Cape Cod were included in the Bay colony. The new charter also gave the king the authority to appoint customs officials, admiralty court judges, and surveyors, but all his appointments had to be approved by the Council. The governor could veto bills passed by the General Court, and the king could disallow any law within three years. The governor could not use funds without the deputies' consent, but no money could be spent without his permission.
Early in 1691 the London merchant Samuel Allen bought the title to New Hampshire from Mason’s two sons. Navy commissioners gave him a contract to supply masts and spars from the forest for seven years. Allen appointed John Usher as lieutenant governor and did not go to New England until 1698. The people of New Hampshire wanted a separate government, and Increase Mather was unable to bring it into Massachusetts.
In January 1692 in the home of the Salem parson Samuel Parris, his slave Tituba taught his daughter Betty and her friends Abigail Williams, 12-year-old Ann Putnam, and Elizabeth Hubbard some tricks and spells from the voodoo she had learned in Barbados. Betty became ill, followed by Abigail, Ann, and other friends. In February the physician William Griggs suggested that the cause of their maladies might be witchcraft. The girls said they were being afflicted and accused Tituba, Sarah Osborne, and Sarah Good of being witches. The Putnams’ maid Mercy Lewis, their neighbor Mary Walcott, and John Proctor's servant Mary Warren were also afflicted. Thomas Putnam signed legal complaints, and warrants were issued on February 29. Putnam or his relatives would eventually sign 71 of the 74 complaints.
Justices of the peace John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin held the first examination the next day. Tituba and her husband John Indian testified to being involved in witchcraft, and she implied that seven witches had yet to be named; but later she said that Parris had beat her until she confessed. Sarah Good was also accused by her daughter Dorcas, and her husband William testified she might have a witch's mark. While Sarah Good was testifying, the four girls complained that the women were torturing them. Sarah Good was pregnant and poor while Sarah Osborne owned property but was involved in land disputes. A trial was set, and Tituba and the two Sarahs were sent to a Boston jail.
On March 11 Ann Putnam accused Martha Corey of hurting her. The next week Ann Putnam’s mother also named Ann and complained that Corey’s specter was tormenting her, and she said that the specters of Martha and Rebecca Nurse tried to get her to sign a book to join the forces of evil. Some people believed that the devil could not use a person’s specter or ghost without having that person’s permission. Young Ann Putnam and 17-year-old Mary Walcott also accused the four-year-old child Dorcas Good of afflicting them, and she was taken to jail with the elderly Rebecca Nurse, who was a respected Christian. On March 27 Samuel Parris gave a sermon on witchcraft and warned that even some in their church might be devils. Rebecca’s younger sister Sarah Cloyce walked out during the sermon and was accused eight days later along with Elizabeth Proctor. Some people urged the bewitched girls to go from house to house to find the witches who afflicted them.
Deputy Governor Thomas Danforth and four magistrates attended the hearing in Salem on April 11. Danforth suggested that the accused recite the Lord’s prayer as a test, and any error was considered a sign of evil. On May 29 Cotton Mather wrote a letter to Judge John Richards complaining about the use of spectral evidence. Seventy people had been charged by June 2; half of them were from Salem, and eighteen were men. Governor William Phips named a special commission of Oyer and Terminer judges with Thomas Newton as the special prosecutor. Chief Justice William Stoughton instructed the first jury that the victims did not have to suffer actual afflictions from the accused but only what “tended to their being pined and consumed, wasted, etc.” Bridget Bishop already had a reputation as a witch. She claimed she was innocent, but she was convicted on June 4. Four days later the new Massachusetts government, which was called the General Court, reinstated the death penalty for witchcraft. Stoughton then signed a death warrant, and Bishop was hanged on June 10. Judge Nathaniel Saltonstall resigned from the court in protest and was replaced by Jonathan Corwin. Prisoners were kept in chains for months and had to pay for their stay in jail while their family and friends had to provide food, clothing, and blankets.
In 1689 Cotton Mather had described several cases of witchcraft in his Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions. On behalf of more than a dozen leading ministers he wrote “The Return of Several Ministers Consulted” and gave it to Governor Phips on 15 June 1692. They expressed sympathy for the suffering of their neighbors but criticized the judges for using spectral evidence, warning against “too much credulity for things received only upon the Devil’s authority.” Yet Cotton Mather concluded by recommending “speedy and vigorous prosecution of such as have rendered themselves obnoxious, according to the direction given in the laws of God, and the wholesome statutes of the English nation, for the detection of witchcrafts.”3 Yet they advised caution in regard to those with an “unblemished reputation.”
In July 1692 Abigail Williams and the other accusers were invited to Andover, where they accused more people than they had in the Salem area. The Boston minister Samuel Willard warned in his sermons that innocent people were being condemned. The jury at first acquitted Rebecca Nurse; but the afflicted cried out, and Chief Justice Stoughton asked additional questions, after which she was convicted. Nurse was also excommunicated from her church, and the outcries against her persuaded Governor Phips to rescind the reprieve he had granted her. She asked, “What sin hath God found out in me unrepented of that he should lay such an affliction upon me in my old age?”4 On July 19 Sarah Good, a defiant Rebecca Nurse, and three other women were hanged. Sarah Good's hanging had been postponed until after she gave birth to a baby, who died in prison. On July 27 the Massachusetts attorney general Anthony Checkley replaced Newton as the prosecutor.
Reverend George Burroughs was accused of murdering his two previous wives and mistreating the current one, and the afflicted identified him as the leader of the conspiracy. John Proctor wrote to Increase Mather, Samuel Willard, and three other ministers, and many of his friends and neighbors signed petitions on his behalf. On August 19 Burroughs, Proctor, John Willard, George Jacobs, and Martha Carrier were hanged. These were the first men to be hanged for witchcraft in Massachusetts. The statements made by Burroughs and Proctor prior to their being hanged moved many spectators, and Cotton Mather had to keep back the crowd with his horse.
The elderly Giles Corey was the only one who denied the authority of the court and refused to be tried. Sheriff George Corwin placed heavy weights on his chest on September 17, and he died two days later. His wife Martha Corey did not believe in witches and thought the afflicted girls were “distracted persons.” Mary Easty wrote a poignant letter to the judges asking them to spare those coming after her whom she believed to be innocent. Dorcas Hoar confessed on September 21, and she escaped execution. The next day Martha Corey, Mary Easty, Samuel Wardwell, and five other women were hanged. Wardwell had retracted his confession on September 13. As people discovered that the judges spared those who confessed, eventually more than fifty confessed; but most took back their confessions later. Philip English had been in Salem for more than a quarter century, and he had made a fortune from illicit trade with France. He and his wife Mary escaped to New York, where Governor Benjamin Fletcher gave them sanctuary. The shipbuilder Nathaniel Cary also helped his wife Elizabeth escape to New York. John Alden broke out and went to relatives in Duxbury, and four other people escaped. Elizabeth Proctor and Abigail Faulkner were spared because they were pregnant, and a few people died in jail.
After the September hangings, the judges loaned the trial records to Cotton Mather so that he could write a justification of their work, which he published as The Wonders of the Invisible World at the end of the year. Samuel Willard defied a gag order by Governor Phips and published his condemnation of the trials at the end of September. Cotton Mather’s father, Increase Mather, wrote Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men, Witchcrafts, Infallible Proofs of Guilt in Such as Are Accused with That Crime. He read it to clergymen on October 3, and fourteen ministers endorsed his conclusions. He noted that occult methods were used to present evidence and warned that they should not practice witchcraft to discover witches. He warned that they should not take the testimony of a distracted person in a capital case. Increase Mather wrote that it would be better for ten suspected witches to escape than to let one innocent person be condemned. He visited the Salem jail on October 19 and reported that most were renouncing their confessions. More than 250 people had signed petitions on behalf of the accused, forty for Rebecca Nurse.
The Boston merchant Thomas Brattle noted that the rich usually escaped prosecution while the poor suffered. Rebecca Nurse's younger sisters Mary Easty and Sarah Cloyce petitioned the judges, complaining that they had no counsel. No evidence exists that any of the defendants were represented by a lawyer. The afflicted accusers were present to display their suffering in court. When the accused looked at them, they would go into fits; but if the accused was made to go over and touch them, they would become calm again. Willard, Brattle, and Robert Pike objected to consulting the afflicted for evidence, and they noted that the victims described distant events, predicted the future, explained things that happened before they were born, named people they had never met, and communicated with the dead. Ironically, they themselves displayed much of the sorcery they claimed they suffered.
Influential opinions changed when the accusations implicated the Reverend John Hale’s wife, a member of the Mather family, the Old South Church minister Samuel Willard, and even the wife of Phips himself. Thus Governor Phips was persuaded to close the special court on October 29. He released some on bail and appointed four of the same judges plus Danforth to sit on a Superior Court. Of the 52 indictments in January 1693 all but three who had confessed were acquitted. Stoughton signed death warrants for them and five others previously condemned, but Phips reprieved all eight. Stoughton resigned in protest and vowed to have Phips replaced. In his second report Governor Phips blamed Stoughton for excessive zeal. In May 1693 he pardoned those who had escaped and released about 150 of the prisoners who had paid their fees.
Judge Samuel Sewall and twelve of the jurors publicly asked for forgiveness. Yet all five judges were appointed to the Governor’s Council in 1693. Only Nathaniel Saltonstall, who had quit in protest, suffered by turning to excessive drinking. Robert Calef challenged Cotton Mather’s account of the case against Margaret Rule in 1693, and he effectively answered Mather’s justification of the 1692 trials by writing More Wonders of the Invisible World. Cotton and Increase Mather suppressed its publication in New England, but it was published in 1700 in London. The next year Increase Mather lost his position as president of Harvard College and was replaced by Samuel Willard, whose nephew had been hanged. In 1703 the Massachusetts General Court ruled that no specter evidence would be valid. Young Ann Putnam had named 21 people as witches, but in 1706 she admitted in church that she had been deluded by Satan. Almost all of the condemned eventually had their names cleared, and in 1710 a total of £578 was paid in compensation for the property that was confiscated.
William Phips inaugurated the new government of Massachusetts on May 14, 1692. In the war against French Canada, Governor Phips was also made the commander of the militia in Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey. The legislature (General Court) passed a bill that no taxes could be imposed without their consent, but it was disallowed by the English Parliament. By March 1693 the Assembly had enacted 52 laws, and fifteen of these were nullified by the Privy Council. Towns with 50 householders were required to provide a schoolmaster to teach reading and writing, and those with 100 families had to have a grammar school. Boston public schools did not admit females, but some other towns did. Robert Ratcliff began regular Anglican services in Boston in 1693, but Harvard managed to keep from becoming an Episcopal college. In 1696 the Privy Council disallowed Harvard's 1692 charter because the Crown had not been given the privilege of visitation. The General Assembly did not want a Visitor to supervise Harvard, and so they refused to incorporate the college. Harvard president Increase Mather opposed a Visitor because he did not want to be required to reside at the college. Flogging of students was banned in the early 18th century. In 1704 the weekly Boston News-Letter became North America's first successful newspaper.
Phips offended the House by spending money for purposes that had not been authorized, and his temper over distributing profits from captured ships caused two brawls on the Boston docks. He was accused of using his position to gain from privateering, naval stores, trade with the Indians, and land speculation. The quarrelsome Phips was recalled in 1694 to face charges in London, where he died in February 1695. Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton replaced Phips and governed until the Earl of Bellomont arrived in May 1699. In 1694 the General Court passed a law requiring its members to be residents of the towns they represented. Town meetings became important again; but as they grew, majority voting replaced consensus decisions. By 1695 Massachusetts had 83 towns.
In 1696 Pascho Chubb surrendered the fort at Pemaquid in Maine to Le Moyne d'Iberville and his two French ships. The fort was destroyed, and on his return Chubb was imprisoned for cowardice. The Treaty of Ryswick was signed in 1697 and restored Acadia to the French. In March of that year some Abenakis captured Hannah Dustin. After six weeks she persuaded another captive woman and a boy to seize hatchets. They scalped two men, two women, and six children while escaping and collected bounties from Massachusetts at the rate of £50 for each adult scalp and £10 for each child scalp.
The merchants of Massachusetts had evaded the Navigation Acts more than any other colony, and they exported ships to gain credit to finance the importation of English goods. Based on the reports of Edward Randolph, in April 1696 England passed a new Navigation Act to prevent fraud and abuse, and the next month a new Board of Trade and Plantations was established. Two years later they set up a vice-admiralty court to enforce the acts. The Woolen Act of 1699 was designed to prevent that industry from developing in the colonies. The English mercantile policy aimed to increase trade while protecting the industries in England. A Superior Court of Judicature was established in 1699 as the legislature reorganized the judicial system. Each county had a general sessions court for criminal cases and a common pleas court for civil suits. Guaranteeing the right to jury trials caused some of these acts to be disallowed, temporarily disrupting the judicial system. An act to suppress piracy was passed in 1700. That year a law ordered all Jesuits and Catholic priests to leave the province by September, and the fine for harboring a Jesuit or priest was £200. Boston with about six thousand inhabitants was the most populated city in English America.
Richard Coote, the Earl of Bellomont, was appointed governor of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York in June 1697 and arrived at New York a year later. He also commanded the militias of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Jerseys. The Massachusetts Assembly maintained control of the purse by only appropriating funds for the Governor's salary annually. Bellomont sent William Kidd out to suppress illegal trade, but the captain turned to piracy. The Governor was accused of doing business with him, and Lady Bellomont accepted a gift of jewels from Kidd. Bellomont sent Captain Kidd to England for trial in 1699, and he was hanged. A plant disease wiped out the marketable wheat in Massachusetts by 1700, and wheat and flour had to be imported from New York and Pennsylvania. New England corn was a staple, and families could grow rye. With Indian troubles on the western frontier, farmland for the growing population was not increasing much, and many sons became artisans.
Boston slave traders were importing most of the Africans into New England and Virginia. In 1700 there were 5,206 slaves in the northern colonies and 22,611 in the southern ones. That year Samuel Sewall criticized slavery in the pamphlet The Selling of Joseph. He condemned slavery as being against the natural law of God and for causing economic and political dangers and social problems. Even if the slaves had been prisoners of war, he asked if the trade would not encourage such cruel wars. The buyer of slaves is responsible for breaking up families and for causing the misery of captivity and transportation. Sewall believed that Christians should consider all mankind God's chosen people. To those who claimed that it was good to make Africans Christians, he argued that evil must not be done for a good purpose.
In a 1698 act the children of slaves were declared slaves. In 1703 the Assembly enacted a law prohibiting any slave from being out at night except on some errand. Two years later they banned mixed marriages and illicit relations with Africans. A minister performing such a wedding could be fined £50. Both those having intercourse were to be flogged; an African man was also banished, and an African woman was sold as a slave. Free Africans could be impressed to work on the roads. In 1705 the duty on imported Africans was raised to £4 to discourage slavery. In 1712 the Assembly banned the importation of Indian slaves because they found that those coming from South Carolina had been "malicious, surly, and revengeful."
After Bellomont's death in March 1701 Lt. Governor Stoughton served again until Joseph Dudley arrived with an armed convoy in June 1702. Dudley was governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire and commanded the militia of Rhode Island and Connecticut during Queen Anne's War. He rejected some of those elected to the House. In June 1703 he met at Casco in Maine with Chief Bomazeen and the feared Hope Hood. Settlers on the frontier had suffered guerrilla attacks, and some wanted to hunt the Abenakis like wolves. On August 10 they plundered the house belonging to the son of the Baron de Saint Castin. His mother was an Abenaki princess, and this provoked the Abenakis to raid the frontier. The Abenakis attacked Wells and captured about 130 settlers. Dudley mustered 360 men but was unable to engage the guerrilla fighters.
On the night of 29 February 1704 about 50 French and 200 Abenakis and Mohawks suddenly attacked Deerfield, killing about 50 villagers and taking 111 captives. William and Elizabeth Fleming described their experience in Narrative of Suffering and Deliverance, and the minister John Williams published Redeemed Captive in 1707. After the long march to Canada in which those who could not keep up were killed, Governor Vaudreuil purchased Williams and treated him well.
In May 1704 the veteran Benjamin Church landed at Piscataqua with 550 troops and went up the Penobscot River, devastating the French as well as the Indians. Church invaded French Acadia in July and terrorized Minas and Beaubassin; but discipline failed after they captured stores of wine and liquor. Church decided not to attack Port Royal and returned to Boston, where the Assembly only refrained from censuring him because of his past service. In August the French and Indians invaded Newfoundland and destroyed Bonavista.
In 1705 Dudley and Governor Vaudreuil of Canada negotiated a decrease in hostility and the restoration of prisoners, but the General Assembly rejected the agreement because of the ban on English fishing in French waters. Governor Dudley tried to stop Thomas Oakes from serving as speaker, but he took Sewall’s advice and withdrew his veto. In 1706 Col. John March led a thousand men in an attempt to take back Port Royal in Acadia; but a reported five hundred French were defending the fort, and the officers called a retreat to Casco Bay. Dudley sent limited reinforcements with three commissioners; but the soldiers were suffering from diarrhea and quinsy, and they returned to Boston. Massachusetts was spending £30,000 a year on the war, 90% of its budget. Dudley was unable to get funds to rebuild the fort at Pemaquid, and the Assembly suggested that the settlers or the English government could protect their timber trade at Piscataqua. The legislature refused to fix his salary so that they could control the annual appropriations. The agent William Rouse made two journeys to Canada in 1706 but brought back only 24 prisoners. Rouse and five others were fined by the Assembly for trading ammunition with the enemy, but in September 1707 the Queen and her Council ruled that the Assembly did not have the authority of a law court.
Another expedition against Quebec in 1709 raised 1,500 men from New England while 1,200 from other colonies marched on Montreal. When these troops became sick, Col. Francis Nicholson ordered a retreat. British troops had been expected in Boston in May 1709, but Governor Dudley received a letter five months later that they had been sent to Portugal instead. Nicholson and Peter Schuyler sailed to London with four Mohawk chiefs, and Nicholson was put in command of a new expedition. In September 1710 Nicholson led five regiments and 36 ships that captured Port Royal in Acadia (Nova Scotia) with 400 British marines and about 1,500 colonials. They allowed the garrison to withdraw and the remaining inhabitants to accept English rule after two years. Port Royal was renamed Annapolis Royal. Captain Samuel Vetch remained with a garrison of 450 men as the new governor.
In 1711 a massive expedition with 7,000 British soldiers was organized in Boston, putting a strain on food prices after supplies were commandeered. While Nicholson advanced again on Montreal, General John Hill and Admiral Hovenden Walker led the attack on Quebec. The British navy lacked pilots knowing that area, and several transports were wrecked at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, drowning 740 soldiers. Hill retreated, and Nicholson was notified to pull back just in time. The Treaty of Utrecht ended the war in 1713 and recognized the British occupation of Newfoundland, Acadia, and Hudson Bay. Dudley met at Portsmouth with eight chiefs who realized they would no longer be supported by the French.
A general post office had been established in the colonies in 1692, and it was consolidated by an imperial statue in 1711. That year the debt of Massachusetts passed £120,000, and the General Assembly set up a public land bank in 1714. After the war many Scotch-Irish immigrants arrived, a thousand in 1718. Dudley was recalled in 1715. His successor, Col. Samuel Shute, met with Indian chiefs and opposed the land bank. When he rejected Elisha Cooke Jr. as speaker in 1719, the House retaliated by cutting his salary by £200.
Harvard graduate Jeremiah Dummer served as the agent for Massachusetts from 1710 and for Connecticut from 1712. He published Defence of the New England Charters, but in 1721 Massachusetts dismissed him for not backing their radical demands. That year Boston suffered a smallpox epidemic. Cotton Mather recommended the experimental inoculation he had read was successful in Turkey and about which one of his slaves had informed him. Dr. Zabdiel Boylston inoculated his son and two slaves. When people learned of the experiment, angry mobs stoned the homes of Mather and Boylston. By the end of September the disease had infected 2,757 people, and 203 had died. Boylston had inoculated 31 people and inoculated 121 more in the next two months, and none of them died. Another 135 people were inoculated outside of Boston, mostly by Boylston. In a battle of pamphlets Cotton Mather was opposed by Dr. William Douglass and others, and someone tried to kill Mather with a grenade.
In 1721 Governor Shute and his Council declared war on the Eastern Indians, but the House refused to fund the war and brought charges against Col. Walton. On the first day of 1723 Shute left for England to plead his case. Lt. Governor William Dummer, the agent’s brother, filled in until William Burnet arrived in 1728. The Abenakis had attacked Brunswick by Casco Bay in 1722, and what was called Governor Dummer’s War went on for three years. The House dismissed Col. Walton and Major Moody, and without war supplies Dummer had to yield. Col. Westbrook led 230 men up the Penobscot River in February 1723 and burned a village and a chapel. The Micmacs captured sixteen fishing boats at Canso in July. In 1724 Captain Harmon led an attack on Norridgewock with 208 men that killed the Jesuit Rale and 26 Indians. After Pequawkets ambushed and killed Captain John Lovewell and most of his 34 men in the spring of 1725, the English made a peace agreement by the end of the year. Having learned from hard experience, the Massachusetts legislature now provided responsible trading houses in the Indian country with fair prices.
The physician Nathaniel Ames started publishing an almanac, and its popularity reached 60,000 copies a year. He included astronomical tables, weather predictions, essays, and poetry, such as “All men are by Nature equal, but differ greatly in the sequel.”6 Boston’s New England Primer was a popular schoolbook, as Franklin issued 37,000 copies. “The Dutiful Child’s Promises” were listed as
I Will fear GOD, and honour the KING.
I will honour my Father & Mother.
I will Obey my Superiours.
I will Submit to my Elders.
I will Love my Friends.
I will hate no man.
I will forgive my Enemies, and pray to God for them.7
In 1726 a book suggested that hoop petticoats are contrary to Nature and the law of God. In 1727 Dummer objected to loaning money to towns, and the Assembly retaliated by refusing to pass his tax bill. Salaries could not be paid until Dummer gave in.
After Burnet’s death, Jonathan Belcher served as governor from 1730 to 1741. The colony’s debt was up to £311,000, but his efforts helped bring it down in ten years to £205,000. In 1732 the Massachusetts General Assembly blocked an attempt to disestablish the Congregational Church. In 1733 the Molasses Act with duties of six pence per gallon on molasses and nine pence per gallon on rum from the West Indies stimulated New England merchants to evade the prohibitive levies, and there were not enough Customs House Officers to stop the illegal trade. In 1734 the pay for soldiers and judges was nearly three years in arrears, and Belcher complained that his salary did not cover his expenses. In 1735 the General Court authorized the building of a workhouse in Boston for the poor, and eight years later the workhouse system was extended to other towns. In 1739 the public bills were £250,000, and Whitehall ordered Governor Belcher to retire them within two years and limit future issues to £30,000. Privately in 1740 the Land Bank of Manufactory Company issued £150,000 to landowners while more conservative merchants established a silver bank with bills up to £120,000. Belcher opposed the land bank scheme, and it collapsed despite success in the 1740 elections. In 1741 Massachusetts sent five hundred men on the disastrous Cartagena expedition, and only fifty came back.
Belcher’s successor William Shirley accepted the annual salary appropriations. More than £320,000 in taxes were not collected, and £105,525 in bills had not yet been supported by authorizing taxes. In 1743 he tried to enforce the Navigation Acts, but the merchants persuaded him to relax his efforts. Shirley predicted that the smuggling would weaken the dependence of the northern colonies on their mother country.
Cotton Mather was born on 12 February 1663 and lived in Boston until his death in 1728. He was the youngest to graduate from Harvard in 1678, and three years later he was awarded a master’s degree by his father, Increase Mather. Cotton was ordained in 1685, joining his father at the Second Church. He devoted six hours a day to prayer and meditation and seven hours a day near the end of his life. Twice each month he kept a sleepless vigil of self-examination, and he fasted often. He struggled against his own pride and what he believed were demonic forces. In 1701 he published “A Christian at His Calling” in which he preached that a Christian should follow an occupation with industry, discretion, honesty, contentment, and piety. In 1702 Cotton Mather's ecclesiastical history of New England called Magnalia Christi Americana was published in London and included seven parts on New England history, biographies of governors and sixty ministers, history of Harvard College and its graduates, New England religion, and problems related to their churches, such as heretics, witches, and Indians. He worked as an unpaid commissioner to help convert Indians.
In 1710 Cotton Mather published anonymously his Bonifacius, which is also called Essays to Do Good. Benjamin Franklin later admitted its influence on him. In the preface Mather wrote, “None but a good man, is really a living man; and the more good any man does, the more he really lives.”5 He noted that in the Qur'an three times it is written that God loves those that are inclined to do good. In regard to neighbors, Mather recommended first, pitying them; second, visiting and comforting them; and third, assisting them with their needs by finding them employment, educating them, and lovingly admonishing them for their bad ways. He objected to houses of prostitution and alehouses. He aimed to follow the teachings of Jesus by doing good even to those who hurt him and speak badly of him. He advised ministers to make regular pastoral visits and in subsequent chapters preached to schoolmasters, churches, magistrates, physicians, rich men, officials, lawyers, and reforming societies how they can do good. In the appendix he discussed how to Christianize the Indians. His procedures for discussion groups were later used by Franklin’s Junto in Philadelphia.
Cotton Mather was influenced by what he learned about the philanthropic
and educational community in Halle, Germany by corresponding with
August Hermann Francke, starting in 1711. Over the next dozen
years Mather contributed his Curiosa Americana to the British
Royal Society, and in 1713 he was elected to that prestigious
scientific club. In 1717 he started evening classes for Indians
and Africans. In 1721 Mather attempted to blend science with religion
in his Christian Philosopher, foreshadowing Deism. He wrote
Manuductio ad Ministerium in 1726 to advise those preparing
for the ministry.
John Wise (1652-1725) was the son of an indentured servant, but he graduated from Harvard College in 1673, and he became the ordained minister for the Ipswich church in 1682. He led the resistance to “taxation without representation” when Governor Andros imposed a poll tax in 1687. Wise was prosecuted and fined for doing so. Two years later he sued the former governor Dudley for having denied him a writ of habeas corpus. He served as a military chaplain on Governor Phips' failed expedition against Quebec. He signed Increase Mather’s Cases of Conscience against the use of spectral evidence in the witchcraft trials, and in 1703 he signed a petition to reverse the convictions. In 1705 the Mathers tried to suppress innovation in the churches with their Proposals to the associated ministers of Boston and Cambridge, and five years later Wise opposed their views with acerbic wit by writing The Churches Quarrel Espoused. In 1721 he supported inoculation for smallpox.
Wise developed his ideas on the principles of democracy by publishing A Vindication of the Government of New-England Churches in 1717. He was influenced by the natural law philosophy of Samuel von Pufendorf, whose 1672 De Jure Naturae et Gentium had been translated into English as On the Law of Nature and Nations in 1703. Wise considered humans naturally free under God. Civil government results from providence and benefits mankind. The image of God is a law of nature in humans as reason and a guide to justice and other moral virtues. Predominant in human nature is the principle of self-love and self-preservation, but a sociable disposition and a love for mankind in general are also higher principles for human beings. The internal liberty in humans implies they have a faculty to act or not act according to judgment. Thus every individual has the power to act on one’s own without being controlled by outer authority. This makes every human equal to every other human. Whoever intrudes upon human liberty violates the law of nature. The purpose of a civil state is to preserve the human rights of personal liberty and equality. Removing the barriers and admitting equality help to maintain peace and friendship among people. The principle of equality may be transgressed because of pride when a person without sufficient reason prefers oneself to others. Servitude and subjection cannot exist without inequality and depend upon using force against others, or people may resign their freedom by voluntary compliance. Yet in a natural state every person must be allowed to be free, and the origin of civil power comes from the people.
Wise wrote that a community expresses its will by building a commonwealth and by entering into a covenant as a political body. They may establish safety and make decisions by public voting. Wise compared the civil state to a moral person in which the sovereign power is the soul, laws the reason, councilors memory, officers joints, concord health, and sedition disease. The legislative power prescribes rules of action, and the judicial power decides the controversies of the subjects. The power of peace and war forbids hostility or arms the subjects against foreigners. In a democracy free persons unite in an assembly and determine issues by majority vote. In an aristocracy selected members form a council, and in a monarchy the sovereign power is conferred upon one person. Wise considered democracy the highest value as being agreeable to the just and natural prerogatives of human beings. A civil state is based on the will of all and may use the riches of private persons to maintain the peace, security, and well being of all. Wise believed that the English government was a good combination of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. Yet he concluded that both states and churches have the best civil government when they are democratic.
In 1692 Governor Phips of Massachusetts proclaimed his authority over the militia of Rhode Island. The Quaker governor Walter Clarke and council protested, and some officers refused to obey. The General Assembly sent Christopher Almy as their agent to London, and in December 1693 the English attorney general Edward Ward decided that Rhode Island could only be required to provide a reasonable quota of men outside the borders in time of war. Governor Clarke refused to sign the commissions for privateers during the war with France, but Deputy Governor John Greene did so. Officials were accused of commissioning pirates as privateers. Rhode Island claimed to have admiralty jurisdiction to rule on the legality of captures, but royal officials disagreed. In 1696 conflict over taxation resulted in the General Assembly becoming a bicameral legislature. Governor Clarke refused to administer an oath to the royal Vice Admiralty judge Peleg Sanford, and Clarke resigned in 1698. The General Assembly chose his nephew Samuel Cranston, and he was re-elected annually and governed Rhode Island until his death in 1727, longer than any other governor in North American history.
During the Cranston era Newport developed as a commercial port. Governor Cranston also served as chief justice, president of the Newport town meeting and council, and the main person in several landowner organizations. He quelled a tax revolt in the Narragansett country in 1699 and worked to settle the town boundaries. Governor Bellomont visited Rhode Island in September 1699, demanded a copy of Rhode Island's laws and records, and charged them with misadministration for failing to convert Indians, having biased judges, and protecting pirates. He challenged the charter's authority to let them impose taxes, establish an admiralty court, impose the death penalty, or let the militia elect their own officers.
Governor Dudley of Massachusetts came to Newport in September 1702 to assert his command over the militia. Captain Isaac Martindale, the highest officer, refused to acknowledge his orders, but some of the regiment turned out at Kingston. Governor Cranston and his Council reprimanded them, and the Assembly denounced Dudley. Cranston called the Assembly to appropriate military expenditures for the war against France and Spain, and their agent William Wharton represented the colony in London. William Wanton and Martindale sent out a privateer. Dudley tried to take over Cranston's jurisdiction over the prizes, and Cranston yielded to an English court in 1704. The Assembly sent some men and then a ship to help Dudley with the war. Cranston had agreed to a compromise on land disputes with Connecticut in 1703. The first official census in 1708 found 7,781 people in Rhode Island. That year the Assembly put an impost of £3 on each African imported. In 1710 Rhode Island issued £5,000 in bills of credit and sent more ships and men for the invasion of Acadia and then to Canada the next year.
Rhode Island printed and lent people £40,000 in paper notes in 1714 using mortgages on land as collateral. Rural people were reluctant to borrow, and the new money was often rejected; so the legal tender provision was repealed in 1716. The purchasing power of notes went down to 45% of face value by 1723. Towns developed local governments, and in 1718 the General Assembly prohibited towns from refusing to accept people with £50 worth of real estate within their boundaries. That year the law of primogeniture was repealed, and the equal system of inheritance eventually brought social changes. In 1724 they established a uniform property qualification for admitting freemen. Indians and those of African descent were often compelled to be servants until the age of 21 or 24. Rhode Island had many Quakers and pacifist Baptists, and conscientious objectors were exempted from military service.
Joseph Jenckes succeeded Cranston as governor in 1727. He tried to rescind the paper money act and did not run for reelection. The great idealist philosopher George Berkeley wanted to found a college on Bermuda, and he came to Newport in 1728. He wrote “America, or the Muse’s Refuge, a Prophecy,” which included the famous line “Westward the course of Empire makes its Way.” During his 32 months in Rhode Island he wrote Alciphron, or the Minute Philosopher. Berkeley did not receive the expected grant for the Bermuda College and donated his farm and books to Yale, sending Latin classics to Harvard and an organ to Trinity Church in Newport.
In 1729 the Assembly established county courts. In 1731 an official census counted 17,935 people in Rhode Island, including 1,648 Africans and 985 Indians. The Wanton brothers were elected governor and deputy governor, and in 1733 they authorized the fifth land bank at £104,000. The Board of Trade objected, but the sixth old tenor bank issued £100,000 in 1738. During this decade Rhode Island provided more than half the paper money in New England because Massachusetts under Belcher was retiring their bills. Rhode Island prospered, and in 1741 Governor Richard Ward reported to the Board of Trade that their inhabitants had more than 120 sailing vessels constantly involved in trade with neighboring colonies, in the West Indies, in Europe, and on the coast of Africa.
Two months before England declared its War of Jenkins’ Ear against Spain in October 1739, the Rhode Island Assembly authorized the Governor to grant commissions for privateers, and one ship even took prizes before the war officially began. Richard Ward became governor when John Wanton died in 1740. During numerous squabbles he alternated with William Greene as voters changed their minds. By the time the war against France began in 1744 Newport owners had one-sixth of their ships privateering. The first public lottery began that year to raise £15,000. In September a munitions warehouse exploded, killing four prominent men and costing £1,500. Three months later two ships sank in a blizzard with about four hundred men. During these wars profits rose from trade with the West Indies.
Connecticut maintained its charter after the Glorious Revolution and continued to elect their own governors, magistrates, and delegates to the Assembly. When Governor Phips and then Governor Fletcher of New York were given command of their militia in 1692, the Connecticut legislature refused to submit. The next year they sent Major-general Fitz John Winthrop to King William with a petition and £500 for expenses. Governor Robert Treat declined a commission from Col. Fletcher. When Fletcher tried to read his commission to the Hartford militia, Captain Wadsworth ordered drumming. Fletcher went back to New York. King William wrote asking for support in fortifying Albany, and in February 1694 the Assembly sent £600 to Fletcher. Connecticut’s quota was set at 120 men under Col. Fletcher’s command with the rest of the militia under the Connecticut governor.
Fitz John Winthrop was elected governor in 1698, and the magistrates with the governor became the upper house of a bicameral legislature. The General Assembly acted as both legislature and judiciary, and they received hundreds of petitions from widows and other administrators of estates requesting permission to sell land; others asked for exemption from poll taxes or militia duty or to solve various problems. In Connecticut the ballot made it easy for most officials to be reelected annually, and changes were few. In 1699 the General Assembly began contributing half the £20 salary for each schoolmaster, and the next year they required each county to have a grammar school. In 1701 the Assembly authorized £120 a year for a college. Some gentlemen donated books, and they met in the Saybrook home of Abraham Pierson. In 1702 the property qualification for voting was set at a forty-shilling freehold or a £40 personal estate. Connecticut had suspended its law against Quakers holding services in 1675, but the law was printed with the Connecticut code in 1702. English Quakers appealed to the Board of Trade, and in 1705 Queen Anne disallowed the law, which Connecticut repealed the next year.
Governor Dudley of Massachusetts had been involved in the Dominion of New England. In 1704 he and Governor Cornbury of New York tried to vacate the charters in America in order to reunite the colonies under the Crown. Henry Ashurst effectively advocated for Connecticut against this bill in Parliament. Dudley and Cornwall brought numerous complaints against Connecticut for violating the acts of navigation, supporting pirates, and harboring criminals from New York and Massachusetts. Queen Anne ordered Dudley and Cornwall to submit evidence, and Ashurst managed to get their commission's judgment blocked. The Queen ordered a new commission to review land disputes. The heirs of John Mason claimed that the Mohegan sachem Uncas had granted him land, but finally in 1743 a third commission decided in favor of Connecticut.
Fitz John Winthrop died in December 1707, and Gurdon Saltonstall became the only ordained minister to be elected governor of an American colony, serving until his death in 1724. He approved the results of the meeting of ministers at Saybrook in 1708 that organized consociations of pastors to regulate church affairs. That year Connecticut passed a law allowing dissenters recognized by English law to worship, but they still had to pay taxes to support the established Congregational ministers. In 1709 Connecticut raised 350 men and authorized £8,000 in bills of credit for the campaigns against the French in New Foundland, Acadia, and Canada, and by 1713 the credit had increased to £33,500. That year Connecticut made progress in settling its boundary disputes with Massachusetts and Rhode Island. After the war the General Assembly passed resolutions to suppress vice in an act entitled “Children to be educated.” In 1715 Connecticut prohibited the importation of Indian slaves to keep out those from the Carolinas. Despite protests in Saybrook in 1717 the college was transferred to New Haven. Cotton Mather persuaded Elihu Yale to donate three bales of goods and 417 books, and the college was named Yale the next year.
In the early 1700s the Connecticut government operated on a budget of about £800 a year, and even in 1756 it was only £4,000, of which £490 was for schools. Salaries were low, and all able-bodied men were expected to help build the roads. Officials, ministers, teachers, and students were exempt from poll taxes. Each town was responsible for taking care of its own poor, and the Assembly ordered the first workhouse to be built at Hartford in 1727. Laws against counterfeiting bills of credit began in 1710, and punishments escalated to branding a C, cropping an ear, and even life imprisonment in a workhouse; yet counterfeiting continued. Widows and divorcees had the right to claim their dowers, and the Assembly confirmed this in 1736. Divorces were rare, but couples could divorce because of adultery, a fraudulent contract, desertion, or a long absence. After the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was founded in 1701, Anglican missionaries came to the colony to convert those of other denominations as well as Indians.
In 1721 an early revival by Samuel Whiting converted eighty people in Windham. In 1727 the Assembly granted members of the Church of England tax exemption, and two years later it was extended to Quakers and Baptists. They had to show certificates to prove that they were part of a religious group. Proselytizers were sometimes resented, and in 1738 a missionary, who tried to build a church on purchased land at New Haven Green near Yale, was driven off by students threatening death. In 1739 the Connecticut militia was organized into thirteen regiments; every male between the ages of sixteen and sixty, who was not exempt, was expected to serve.
In the fall of 1740 George Whitefield preached in several towns that sinners should realize that they can only be saved by the mercy of God. He encouraged them to test the spiritual condition of their ministers and warned that those who were not truly converted could not help others. The certainty that hundreds of new converts claimed went against the Puritan tradition of life-long questioning, prayer, and self-examination. In 1741 James Davenport claimed to know who was converted and called ministers Pharisees. He was tried by the General Assembly and expelled as insane. Ministers met at Guilford in November and affirmed that only licensed ministers could preach in Connecticut. Davenport had called Yale president Thomas Clap an unconverted hypocrite, and in 1742 he expelled students and closed the college. Clap persuaded the Assembly to pass a severe law against itinerant preachers. Also in 1742 private schools were required to obtain a license from the General Assembly. Davenport confessed his errors in 1744, but he could not persuade many of the newly converted that they were deluded. The legislature granted Yale a charter in 1745 giving its president and the fellows much control. The New Lights, as they were called, gained political support. Concerned that students were leaving to go to the new College of New Jersey at Princeton, Clap became more tolerant, and the law against itinerant preachers was repealed in 1750.
Richard Mather as early as 1645 had suggested that children of parents in the Covenant should be baptized, and this idea was accepted by ministers and the Connecticut General Court in 1657 and by the Massachusetts Court in 1662 and came to be known as the Half-Way Covenant. Although these "halfway" members were baptized, they did not receive the communion of the last supper. Solomon Stoddard and others in the Connecticut Valley ended this division by letting everyone in the congregation take communion. In 1709 he wrote An Appeal to the Learned in which he included in the visible church all those who professed faith in Christianity. Between 1680 and 1719 Stoddard observed five seasons of religious revival which he called “harvests.”
Jonathan Edwards was born on 5 October 1703 at East Windsor, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale in 1720. At first he objected to the Calvinist doctrine that God has predestined some souls to everlasting hell, but in 1721 he was converted and accepted God's sovereignty. He earned a master's degree and tutored at Yale. In 1727 he married Sarah Pierrepont and became an assistant to his grandfather Solomon Stoddard, a pastor in Northampton, Massachusetts. When Stoddard died two years later, Jonathan gained the most prominent pulpit in the province outside of Boston. Edwards fathered eleven children and owned slaves. He was strongly influenced by John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and he adopted Newton's concept of space as the divine sensorium. Edwards accepted Puritan Platonism, which believes that only the spiritual world is real. He held views similar to the idealist philosophy of George Berkeley that the spirit of God is the awareness in all things, though the writings of Edwards do not mention that philosopher's name. During the next twenty years Edwards wrote copious notes about his studies called “Miscellanies” which he hoped to work into a comprehensive Calvinist theology, but his History of the Work of Redemption was not completed before his death. In 1731 he preached a sermon in Boston on “God Glorified in Man’s Dependence.” He was concerned that people were becoming insensible to religion and more licentious, especially the youths who frequented taverns and were corrupted by lewd behavior.
Following the conversion of a young woman of doubtful morality in 1734, the town of Northampton began to become more religious. Edwards preached that humans are completely dependent on God for redemption, and he gave a series of sermons on “Justification by Faith Alone” in November. This stimulated a great revival of spiritual joy and love which spread to other towns in the Connecticut Valley as 300 people professed their faith. In 1737 he described the stages of the conversion process in A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. Although it describes how some people became suicidal, this book helped promote what was called the Great Awakening. In 1738 Edwards gave a series of sermons on “Charity and its Fruits.” He believed that love is the sum of all virtue and better than the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. In the third sermon he suggested that nothing can make up for lacking sincerity in the heart, and in the fourth he recommended patience and kindness. In the next sermons he warned that envy, pride, anger, and criticism are contrary to charity. Then he preached that grace brings holy practices and can never be overcome because only divine love is eternal.
On 15 September 1740 George Whitefield preached his first sermon in New England at Newport, Rhode Island in an Anglican church. People of all denominations attended, and many were deeply affected. Whitefield had known John and Charles Wesley at Oxford; but he found resistance to “methodism” in England, and in 1739 Whitefield was ordained an Anglican priest and took to itinerant preaching to crowds outdoors. After preaching three times at Newport he went on to Bristol and Boston where he spoke in churches and to 5,000 people on the Common and 8,000 in the Field. At Checkley’s church a turbulent mob caused five people to fall from the gallery to their deaths. He went as far north as York in Maine and came to Northampton on October 17. He stayed with Edwards and preached from his pulpit four times, reminding them of their 1735 experience. Whitefield wrote in his Seventh Journal, “Dear Mr. Edwards wept during almost the whole time of the exercise.”8 The traveling evangelist was also impressed by the religious understanding of Mrs. Edwards. He went on to other towns and preached five times in New Haven. Whitefield provoked problems when he wrote that many of the ministers did not know Christ “experimentally” and that they had “lost the old spirit of preaching.” He also offended the universities by writing in the Seventh Journal that their light had become darkness. Charles Chauncey was one of the ministers doubted, and he wrote to a friend that Whitefield moved the passions, especially of the young and female and that people were neglecting business to listen to sermons.
Whitefield urged Gilbert Tennent to tour New England to continue the “glorious work.” Tennent arrived at Boston in December 1740 and spent three cold months preaching to crowds in New England. Evening lectures were held, and many private religious societies formed. After he left, thousands of people went to their ministers for spiritual counseling. Tennent’s most infamous sermon “On the Danger of an Unconverted Ministry” was circulated and reprinted in Boston in 1742.
In the summer of 1741 James Davenport toured Connecticut preaching with even more fervor. When he condemned the minister Joseph Noyes of the First Church in New Haven, Yale’s rector Thomas Clap became angry. Davenport claimed that he could distinguish the elect from the damned, and in May 1742 two laymen charged him with disturbing the peace. After a three-day trial the Connecticut Court found him mentally disturbed and deported him to Long Island. Three weeks later Davenport went to Boston, and the ministers meeting there agreed not to invite him to preach. Davenport called the signers unconverted and unworthy. In August he was arrested in Suffolk County and was declared non compos mentis. In October he was put on trial for neglecting his own parish on Long Island. Davenport repented, and in the summer of 1744 he published his Confessions and Retractions.
Most of the ministers welcomed the Great Awakening at first. Eleazar Wheelock went outside his parish to preach in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Benjamin Church in Boston was another senior pastor who supported the revival, but about a quarter of the ministers were skeptical. Cotton Mather’s son Samuel was dismissed from his church in December 1741 for not supporting the Awakening. Jonathan Edwards did not approve of attacking or removing “unconverted” ministers, and he objected to lay preachers; but he welcomed the religious enthusiasm and did not think it was unreasonable to try to frighten people away from hell. He preached on the terrors of hell in his famous Enfield sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” on 8 July 1741. Edwards preached at skeptical Yale on September 10, and his defense of the emotional revivals was published as The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God. He suggested that a true revival will cause greater esteem for Jesus, operate against Satan, cause more regard for scripture, lead people to truth, and be a spirit of love. On the same day Charles Chauncey lectured in Boston’s First Church on “An Unbridled Tongue a sure Evidence that our Religion is Hypocritical and Vain.” He proposed the criterion of a “real and effectual renovation of heart and life,” and he advised people to govern their zeal carefully with sound judgment.
In 1742 Edwards published Some Thoughts Concerning the Present Revival of Religion in New England. In this treatise he aimed to show that the recent revival was a glorious work of God, that everyone was obligated to promote this work and that it was very dangerous not to do so, that its promoters had been injured by those blaming them, and he explained what ought to be done and avoided in order to promote the work. Yet he criticized the spiritual pride of the New Lights as a cause of vilification and abusive judgments. He was also concerned about doctrinal errors such as accepting immediate revelation which is contrary to scripture, believing that specific prayers are always answered, acting immediately while neglecting future consequences, believing that God’s approval of persons can be known with certainty, and devaluing education for the ministry. Also in 1742 Edwards initiated a covenant of ethical behavior for business relations. In 1743 Thomas Prince began reporting on the Great Awakening in Christian History, the first religious magazine in the colonies.
Charles Chauncey, the pastor at the First Church in Boston, criticized preaching terror and the powerful passions it provoked. In 1743 his Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England warned that the new movement was a dangerous explosion of emotions, and he argued that people should be guided by reason. He castigated Whitefield, Tennent, and other itinerant preachers, whom he blamed for awakening passions while neglecting reason and judgment. By 1744 Edwards had realized that most of the converts did not persist in their new convictions, and he declared the awakenings “dead.” That year he disciplined some youths who had used a book on midwifery for prurient purposes and taunted young women, but apparently some who were innocent were condemned along with the guilty.
Edwards believed that love and the emotions of the heart are much more important than reason, and in 1746 he wrote A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. He accepted Locke's division of the mind into understanding and will. Edwards also agreed that understanding comes from sensation. In his psychology of will Edwards argued that will is an inclination of the heart based on love and hate, or liking and disliking, and he derived the emotions of desire, hope, joy, gratitude, complacence, fear, anger, grief and others from these two impulses. He believed that love is most important and is the essence of all true religion, and he suggested that the gracious affections have a supernatural or divine origin. However, like Chauncey, he was also critical of enthusiastic delusions that come from the imagination rather than supernatural revelations. Yet Edwards believed that the passions aroused by the Great Awakening were bestowed by God’s grace and were a proper religious expression. He explained that the purpose of prayer is not to move God but to prepare our own hearts to receive the blessings.
In 1747 Edwards wrote a book in support of international prayer to revive religion. He had gone along with his grandfather’s acceptance of the Halfway Covenant that gave communion to baptized children of believers “owning the covenant” without their having to describe their conversion experience. However, in 1747 Edwards wrote An Humble Inquiry into the Rules of the Word of God, Concerning the Qualifications Requisite to a Complete Standing and Full Communion in the Visible Christian Church. He wanted to purify the Church from those who had separated themselves. In addition to the outward duties of morality and worship he believed that the inward duties of loving God and accepting Christ were necessary to be admitted into the communion of saints. Edwards’ rejecting the “promiscuous admission” of all as visible saints led to a controversy that resulted in a council of ministers and delegates from nine churches recommending his dismissal in 1750. He wrote two books to defend his position which Congregationalists later accepted.
Jonathan Mayhew was a missionary to the Indians and opposed the Great Revival. He criticized the Anglican missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel for spending most of their time in New England towns trying to convert other colonists rather than reaching out to help Indians and Africans. On January 30, 1750, the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I, Mayhew delivered the famous sermon, “A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission” in which he argued that people who are oppressed have a right to resist and dethrone a tyrant in order to vindicate their liberties and just rights. He urged people to be free and loyal as long as the prince ruled according to law. Mayhew believed in Arminian free will and opposed Calvinist dogma and Anglican authoritarianism.
In 1751 Edwards became a pastor on the frontier at Stockbridge, Massachusetts and worked to convert Indians while writing books. His most famous book on the Freedom of Will was published in 1754 and attacked the Arminian doctrine of free will that had been made popular by Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). Edwards argued that every action has a cause and that what seems to be free will comes from previous causes and ultimately from God, the creator of all. His view of human will is passive as people are moved by what is agreeable. Will is a preference or desire, and these affections have causes. Edwards believed that the will is always drawn to the apparent good and that the mind has no power to resist this.
Edwards completed The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended on behalf of Calvinism in 1757. He became the president of the College of New Jersey in January 1758, but he died on March 22 of that year in Princeton from a smallpox vaccination. He had written The Nature of True Virtue in 1755, and it was published posthumously ten years later in Two Dissertations with Concerning the End for Which God Created the World. Edwards believed that virtue is a beauty of the heart. Benevolence or love of God is spiritual beauty while harmony, justice, and love of one’s neighbor are inferior virtue or natural beauty. He wrote, “All sin has its source from selfishness, or from self-love not subordinate to a regard to being in general.”9 He argued that the only thing that lifts humans above their natural self-love is spiritual virtue, which is the disinterested benevolence that comes from the grace of God. Thus the good passions may overcome the evil ones. This disinterested benevolence makes the humans who are enslaved by self-love seem even more completely depraved. For Edwards the atonement of Christ provides the supernatural and irresistible grace that lifts humans out of the depravity of their original sin of selfishness. For him being virtuous is letting God do all, and he did not believe that virtue can be cultivated by making good choices. Only by letting the divine power outside oneself direct one may one be saved, because all moral good comes from God. Yet because of his belief in hell, Edwards divided God's sovereignty into common grace over the wicked and special grace for the elect.
In my view the Calvinist theology of Edwards is deficient because it apparently believes that God loves some souls and not others. I believe that all souls are part of God, and in that divinity we exercise the free will that comes from the Creator. We do have choices and are responsible for the consequences of our actions. Thus by consciously working on making better moral choices we can improve ourselves with the help of the divine.
1. Rhode Island: Its Making and Its Meaning
by Irving Berdine Richman, p. 541.
2. The Colonial Experience by David Hawke, p. 261.
3. Salem-Village Witchcraft ed. Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, p. 118.
4. Salem Witchcraft by Charles W. Upham, Vol. 2, p. 159.
5. Bonifacius by Cotton Mather, p. 7.
6. Colonial Massachusetts by Benjamin W. Labaree, p. 191.
7. Peaceable Kingdoms by Michael Zuckerman, p. 81.
8. The Great Awakening in New England by Edwin Scott Gaustad, p. 28.
9. The Nature of True Virtue by Jonathan Edwards, p. 92.
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