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18th and 19th century documents
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posted Nov 2004
excerpts from the
For the Year 1793.
Reprinted in 1968 by Johnson Reprint Corporation, from an edition of unspecified date in the collections of
The New York Public Library
Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
Circular Letter of the Historical Society 3
A Topographical Description of Duxborough 9
A Letter from Rev. John Eliot to Major Atherton [regarding the Ponkipog tribe, 1657]
ibid. Epitaphs, in the Dorchester Burying Ground 11
Dr. Cotton Mather's Account of a great Storm, 1723 12
Gov. John Winthrop's Account of the Winter of 1717 14
Mr. Prince's Account of the Northern lights in England, 1716 17
Account of the Northern Lights in New England, 1719 20
Account of the Discovery of Seven Islands in the South Pacifick Ocean, by Capt. Joseph Ingraham  25
Letter from Nathaniel Tracy, Esq. respecting the Posterity of Daniel Gookin ibid. Original orders of Gen. Burgoyne to Col. Baum 28
Defeat of Col. Baum 30
Rev. John Hubbard's Description of Northfield 32
Account of the Hearing before the Lords of the Privy Council, on the Complaint of Gov. Shute, against the House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusetts Bay 
Account of the Death of King Charles I. 40
Letter from King Philip to Governour Prince [circa 1660-1670]
Historical Journal of the American War
MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
FOR THE YEAR 1793.
A Topographical Description of DUXBOROUGH,
in the County of Plymouth.
The Incorporation and Settlement of the town.] Duxborough was incorporated in 1637, about eight months after the incorporation of Scituate, in the Colony of Plymouth. Scituate was the first town, whose bounds were fixed.* Duxborough was the second. But there were several families settled in the place, many years before it was incorporated ; and some, before any part of Scituate was settled. The reason of the earlier incorporation of Scituate must be attributed, not to the greater number of inhabitants ; but to the distance from Plymouth : It being sixteen miles ; Duxborough only three miles by water.
The number of inhabitants, when the town was incorporated can not be determined. For all the facts relating to the first settlement of the town, cannot be ascertained. There are no records existing of an earlier date than 1654 : They were burnt. Probably, there were forty or fifty families ; as settlements had been making, for ten years. Capt. Standish, who came to Plymouth with the first adventurers, in 1620, and to whom, with his associates, the tract of land, afterwards Duxborough, was granted, was one of the first settlers in this place. He lived on a nook of land, which is the south-east part of the town. But for
* Plymouth is not an exception. The limits of this town were not determined, until many years after. All that part of the country, which was not within the bounds of the incorporated towns, was considered as belonging to Plymouth.
several years, during the winter months, at the request of the inhabitants, he resided in Plymouth, and was the principal officer in the garrison, at that place. Capt. Standish was a man of great bravery and enterprise. For many years, he commanded the military force of the colony. In 1652, when the Court thought it necessary to choose a council of war, Capt. Standish was elected a member. Until his death, he was one of the assistants (who were commonly seven) in the government. He was born in Lancashire in England, and was heir apparent to a great estate. He went into Holland, as a soldier, and there became acquainted with Rev. Mr. Robinson, from whose church were several of the most eminent characters, who first settled at Plymouth. Capt. Standish died in 1656, at an advanced age.
In 1632, the brethren at Duxborough, belonging to the church of Plymouth, were dismissed agreeably to their desire, on account of the inconvenience of attending at Plymouth. Soon after, they formed themselves into a separate, regular church.
Name.] In the records, for thirty or forty years after the incorporation of the town, it was written Duxburrow. The probable etymology is Dux and borough, or burrow, as it was then written. It being a grant to the Captain or Leader, it was called his borough.*
Situation, Extent, aid Boundaries.] From Boston, to the centre of the town, are thirty-eight miles. From Plymouth the shire town, by the most publick road, are eight miles. The direction, from Boston, is S. E. and by S. The south-east part of the town is N. by W. from Plymouth.
When the town was incorporated, it included, beyond its present limits, Pembroke,+ the greatest part of Marshfield, part of Kingston, and part of Bridgewater. The extent of the town now is, from west to east; six miles, from south to north, four miles.
It is bounded on the east, by a bay, three miles wide ; which is separated from the Atlantic by a narrow beach, extending, from the southeast part of Marshfield, parallel to the town, and as far southerly. A bay also, across which to Plymouth are three miles, bounds the south part of the town. On the south-west, it is bounded by the industrious and flourishing town of Kingston. Pembroke bounds the western, and Marshfield, the northern part of the town.
Soil and Produce ] In general, the soil is warm, sandy, and barren. There are, however, many tracts of land, of fifty or sixty acres, whose soil is rich and good, and particularly, the nook of land, in the south-east part of the town; consisting of two hundred or three hun-dred acres, which is little inferior to any part of the county.
The cultivation of Indian corn is principally attended to : The soil
* Many towns in Plymouth Colony are called after places in England, from which the first settlers came. Though there is a town of this name in England, it is said, that no persons, who first came to Plymouth, were from that place.
+ The Indian name was Mattakeeset, or Namasakeeset
is very friendly to it. Rye is also very considerably and successfully cultivated. Beside these, are raised wheat, bailey, oats, and flax; but not in proportionable quantities, nor with equal success
The principal reason, why more of the land has not been cultivated, undoubtedly, is the barrenness of the soil. Within the last fifty years, many of the inhabitants have been induced to make settlements in other parts of the country, where their labours are more liberally rewarded. It is very probable, however, that more land would be cultivated, were not the situation so convenient for navigation, which most people prefer to the more laborious life of the farmer. For the last fifty years, not more than two hundred acres, perhaps, have been converted into pasturage or tillage.
Woods.] Somewhat more than half the town is woodland, though there have been settlements here, one hundred and sixty years. Oak, pitch, and white pine, are most common.* Beside these, there are maple, birch, ash, cedar, and walnut.
Hills.] The town is neither remarkably hilly nor level. The most extensive plain, consisting of two bundled or three hundred acres, is in the west part of the town, adjoining the post road from Boston to Plymouth. The highest hill is in the south-east part of the town. It rises, immediately, on the south and west, from the bay, which lies between this town and Plymouth. The summit is about four hunched feet from the water : perpendicularly, one hundred and seventy or one hundred and eighty feet. It is called the Captain's hill, or mount, as it makes a part of the farm, which was Capt. Standish's, one of the first settlers in the town. This hill commands an extensive, variegated and delightful prospect. Beyond a bay, about three miles wide, to the south, lies Plymouth, and to the south-west, Kingston. To the west and north-west, beyond three miles of cultivated land, in the town, the country appears to be covered with wood. Far to the north-west, about twenty-five miles, on a strait line, are seen the blue hills, in Milton and Stoughton, rising high above the surrounding country. To the east, the eye is attracted by the Atlantic's wide extended plain. Turning to the south-east, we have a view of Barnstable Bay, washing the western shore of Cape Cod. Beside the beach, which lies to the east, three miles from the town, the prospect is diversified by two pleasant islands within the harbour, and the Gurnet ;+ and enlivened by the passing of vessels, within and without the harbour.
* Capt. Samuel Alden, who died twelve years since, recollected the first white pine in the town. Now, the eighth part, perhaps, of the wood-land is. covered with trees of this growth.
+ Clarke's Island, consisting of about one hundred acres of excellent land ; and Sauquish, which was joined to the Gurnet, by a narrow piece of sand. For several years, the water has made its way across, and insulated it. The Gurnet is an eminence, at the southern extremity of the beach, on which is a light house, built by the State.
Ponds.] A little south of the centre of the town, is Island-creek Pond : so culled, on account of its being the fountain of a brook, which near to the bay, as it passes a small island, is known by the name of Island-Creek. The pond is one mile and a half from the salt-water. It is half a mile wide ; one and a half in length. The red and sea perch, shiners, pout, and sometimes pickerel, are found in it. Half a mile, north west from this, lies a smaller pond, about one mile in circumference. No streams run into it ; neither is there any communication of water, upon the surface of the earth, from it to the larger pond It is always very nearly the same height.
Air.] The air is the same, as in other maritime towns in this State. Undoubted facts prove that it is friendly to health and longevity.!" The extremes of heat and cold, are about the same as at Boston and Cambridge, 2 ½ degrees below °´ : 92 ½ above, at the extremes, by Fahrenheit's Thermometer.
It has often, and justly, been observed, that settlements near the salt water, are healthy situations. The only reason which can be given, is, that the atmosphere is greatly charged with saline air. It should seem, then, that the idea of an east wind being unhealthy, cannot be true. At Duxborough—and this is generally true, of other towns in the State, situated by the salt water—during the months of April, May, and June,++ (the season, in which the east winds, so unpleasant to our
+ Many instances might be mentioned. About two years since, a woman died in the town, aged one hundred and three. Generally, each year affords an instance of the death of a person past ninety. There are now living in the town sixty-three persons, (twenty-one males and forty-two females) who are more than seventy years old : Twenty (eight males and twelve females) past eighty ; two males within a few months of ninety : One male and five females past nine-ty. The proportion of those past seventy to the whole number of inhabitants is one in twenty-three. It is not meant to suggest, that the adjoining towns are not equally healthy situations.
The very advanced age, which several persons of one particular family attained, whose descendants now live in Duxborough, is worthy of notice. Jolin Alden, who came to Plymouth in 1620, was one of the signers of the compact established immediately upon the arrival of the first settlers, and who, for many years, was chosen an assistant in the government of Plymouth, lived to be eighty-eight years old. David Alden, his son, who lived in Duxborough, attained the age of seventy-three. Captain Samuel Alden, son of David, and grandson of John Alden, lived to the one hundred and sixty-first year, from the settlement of Plymouth, and died at Duxborough, in 1780, aged ninety-three. He had a sister, who attained nearly the same age.
++ In 1778, in the months of April, May, June, July and October, about three hundred persons had the small-pox by innoculation, under the care of Dr. Winslow of Marshfield, on the islands, in the harbour, and not one of them died of the disorder.
feelings, prevail) it has never been observed, that the inhabitants are more exposed to diseases, of any kind : Nor does it appear, that these winds are ever introductory to any.
Number of Inhabitants.] The inhabitants are 1460. They were nearly as numerous fifty years ago. The difference, perhaps, is fifty or sixty. It is not probable, that the number of inhabitants will ever be greatly increased. They will, probably, continue to emigrate, as for many years past, and the number will be about the same, as at present.
Means of Subsistence.] More than one third of the men, who are of an age, fit for labouring life, are engaged in navigation. Twenty vessels, the greater part from sixty to ninety tons, are owned in this town. Several of them are employed in coasting between this and the southern States in the Union. Some make more distant voyages : But the greater number are employed in the cod fishery. They generally secure a comfortable subsistence. About half the inhabitants live by husbandry. Some are employed in the mechanick arts. Shipbuilding is the most profitable. There are persons of this trade, in the town, who are acknowledged to be as ingenious, as any in the State. Other occupations, which are common in the State, are followed. There is a proportionable number of cabinet-makers, carpenters, smiths, and shoe-makers.
Religion.] There is only one religious society in the town This is Congregational. It may be observed, without an exception, there are no sectaries in the place. The reason, undoubtedly, is, that the clergy have been men of learning and catholicism. For the last forty years, particularly, the town has been blessed with religious instructers, who have bten too well acquainted with the Christian system, and too honest, to teach the doctrines of fallible men, or to insis1 on subjects of "doubtful disputation."
The first settlers lived in the southern part of the town, which lies by the bay between this place and Plymouth. The soil here is better than in most other parts of the town. But probably they choose this situation, because it is the nearest to Plymouth. The first church stood near the water. It was a very small building. The second building for publick worship, was a mile farther north. The situation is pleasant ; but not central. It stood about one hundred years. The present church is a very handsome building; it was erected in 1784. It is equally distant from the southern and northern boundaries of the town.
Rev. Ralph Partridge was the first minister. He was settled as early as the incorporation of the town ; and continued in the ministry, in this place, until his death, in 1658. He had been a minister in the church of England ; but "being hunted," as he expressed it, "like a partridge upon the mountains, at last, he resolved to get out of their reach, and take his flight to New-England." He was a member of the venerable synod at Cambridge, in 1648. It was the design of this synod to agree upon a mode of church discipline. Three ministers (Rev. Mr. Partridge was one of them) were chosen to draw up, separate-ly, a mode of church government. From the performances of these
gentlemen, the platform of church government and discipline was composed. Mr. Partridge discovered the spirit of primitive christianity. He suffered much on account of the poverty of his flock, but he did not forsake them. Rev. Mr. Holmes succeeded Mr. Partridge. To Mr. Holmes, Rev. Ichabod Wiswall succeeded. He was the pastor of. the church in this plact about thirty years : He died at Duxborough. Mr. Wiswall was a native of this country. Mr. Partridge and Mr. Holmes came from England. Mr. Wiswall was two or three years at Harvard college. But he was not graduated. Poverty or sickness must have prevented ; not any thing that was unfavourable to his abilities or virtue ; for he gave undoubted evidence afterwards, that he possessed both. He was in England, in 1691, an agent for the Colony of Plymouth. While he was in England, he wrote a poem which was occasioned by the appearance of a comet, and which was published in London. Rev. John Robinson, his successor, was settled in 1700. He continued in the ministry in this place nearly forty years. After Mr. Robinson, was Rev. Samuel Veazie : He was the minister about eight years. Rev. Charles Turner succeeded Mr. Veazie ; he was in the ministry in the town seventeen years. Rev. Zedekiah Sanger was settled in 1776. In 1785, his pastoral relation was dissolved. His imperfect state of health obliged him to request it. Mr. Turner, and Mr. Sanger were much respected and beloved by the people of their charge. They still live in their affectionate remembrance. Rev. John Allyn is the present minister. He was ordained in 1788.+
It should not pass unnoticed, that the inhabitants of this town have always discovered the same spirit, which influenced their ancestors in setltling this country ; and have ever proved themselves the worthy descendants of those resolute and determined advocates of civil and religious freedom. They opposed, unanimously, the oppressive measures of Great Britain, in the late unnatural war : They have been equally opposed to religious tyranny ; and to the absurd systems and unmeaning ceremonies, which fallible and designing men have instituted to enslave the human mind.
+ Mr. Allyn is the eighth minister ordained in Duxborough, since the incorporation of the town in 1637. Excepting Mr. Partridge and Mr. Holmes, they were educated at Cambridge. Mr. Robinson was graduated in 1695 : Mr. Veazie, in 1736 : Mr. Turner, in 1752 : Mr. Sanger, in 1771 : Mr. Allyn, in 1785.
Communications from the Town Clerk of Dorchester. 9
To his much Honoured and Respected friend, Major Atherton, at his House in Dorchester, these present.
Much Honoured and beloved in the Lord.
THOUGH our poor Indians are much molested in most places, in their proceedings in way of civility, yet the Lord hath put it into your hearts, to suffer us to proceed quietly at Ponkipog, for which I bless God, and am thankful to your self and all the good people of Dorchester. And now that our proceedings may be the more comfort-able and peaceable ; my request is, that you would please to further these two motions. First, that you would please to make an order in your town secrcty,* and record it in your town records, that you approve and allow the Indians of Ponkipog, there to sit down, and make a town, and to enjoy such accommodations, as may be competent to maintain God's ordinances among them another day. My second request is, that you would appoint fitting men, who may, in a fit season, bound and lay out the same, and record that also, and thus commending you to the Lord, I rest,
Roxbury, this 4th of the 4th, 57:
your's to serve in the
service of Jesus Christ.
Whereas, there was a plantation given, by the town of Dorchester, unto the Indians at Ponkipog, it was voted, at a general town meeting, the seventh of December, 1657, that the Indians, shall not alienate or sell their plantation, or any part thereof, unto any English, upon the loss or forfeiture, of the plantation.
The same clay, it was voted, that the Honoured Major Atherton, Lieutenant Clap, Ensign Foster, and William Sumner, are desired and impowered to lay out the Indian Plantation, at Ponkipog, not exceeding six thousand acres of land.
True copy from Dorchester Records,
Attest, NOAH CLAP, Town Clerk.
* Perhaps, the Clerk, that put Mr. Eliot's letter on the town records, made a mistake, and put the word secrety instead of certify.——————————
An Epitaph written by Mr William Pole of Dorchester, who kept school in the town a number of years,
and was a Clerk of the town several years, in order to be put on his Tomb when dead.
Ho ! Passenger it's worth thy pains to stay,
And take a dead man's lesson by the way,
I was what now thou art, and thou shalt be
What I am now, what odds b'twixt me and thee.
Now go thy way, but stay take one word more,
Thy stuff, for aughl thou know'st stands next the door.
Death is the door, the door of heaven or hell,
Be warn'd, be arm'd, believe, repent, farewell.
Communications from the Town Clerk of Dorchester. 10
An Inscription on the Grave Stone of the ingenious Mathematician and Printer, Mr. John Foster,
who died Sept. 9th 1681, aged thirty-three years,
Astra colis vivens moriens, super æthera Foster
Scande precor, cælum metiri disce supremum,
Metior atque meum est, emit mihi dives Iesus
Nec teneor quicquam nibi grates solvere.
The Rev. Mr. Richard Mather's Epitaph.
D. O. M : Sacer.Divinely rich, and learned Richard Mather,
Richardus hie dormit Matherus
(Sed nec totus nee mora diuturna)
Lætatus genuisse pares.
Incertum est utrum Doctior an melior,
Anima & Gloria non queunt humari.
Sons like him, prophets great, rejoic'd this father ;
Short time his sleeping dust here's cover'd down :
Not his ascended spirit or renown.
V. D. M. in Ang. 16 Annos. In Dorc. N. A. 34. An.
Ob. Apr. 22d. 1669, ætatis suæ 73.
An Epitaph engraven upon the tomb of Lieutenant Governour Stoughton, an inhabitant of Dorchester.
Gulielmus Stoughtonus armiger,
Provinciæ Massachutensis in Nova Anglia Legatus,
deinde Gubernator ;
Nec-non Curiæ in cadem Provincia Superioris
Vir Conjugii Nescius,
Sanguine & Animo puriter Illustris,
Collegii Stoughtoniani Fundator,
Literarum & Litcratorum Fautor celeberrimus,
Impietatis & Vitii Hostis acerrimus.
Hunc Rhetores amant facundum,
Hunc Scriptores norunt elegantem,
Hunc Philosophi quærunt sapientem,
Hunc Doctores laudant Theologum,
Copy of a Letter from the Rev. Cotton Mather. 11
Hunc Pii Venerantur Austerum.
Hunc Omnes Mirantur ; Omnibus ignotum,
Omnibus licet notum. Quid plura Viator ? Quem perdidimus
Heu ! Satis dixi, urgent Lachrymæ,
Vixit annos septuaginta, Septimo die Julii Anno Salutis 1701
Heu ! Heu ! Qualis Luctus ?
Copy of a Letter from the Rev. Cotton Mather ta Dr. John Woodward ; probably the Secretary of the Royal Society in London.
A TIDE and STORM of uncommon circumstances.
THE reading of a storm is not so bad as the feeling of it ; I shall therefore think it no trespass on civility to entertain you with a short relation of a storm and tide, wherein these parts of the world saw what no man alive remembers to have seen before, and suffered incomputable damages. It was on February 24th, 1723, when our American philosophers obsetved an uncommon concurrence of all those causes which an high tide were to be expected from. The moon was then at the change, and both sun and moon together on the meridian. The moon was in her perigee, and the sun was near to his having past it, but a little before. Both the sun and moon were near the Equinoctial, and so fell in with the annual and the diurnal motion of the terraqueous globe. There was a great fall of snow and rain, the temper of the air was cool and moist, and such as contributed unto a mighty descent of vapours. A cloudy atmosphere might also help something to swell and raise the waters, finally, the wind was high, and blew hard and long, first from the southward, and it threw the southern sea in a vast quantity to the northern shores : Then veering eastwardly, it brought the eastern seas also upon them. And then still veering to the northward, it brought them all with even more accumulations upon us. They raised the tide unto an height which had never been seen in the memory of man among us. The tide was very high in the night, but on the day following, it being the Lord's day, at noon, it rose two feet higher than ever had been known unto the country, and the city of Boston particularly suffered from its incredible mischiefs
Copy of a Letter from the Hon. John Winthrop 12
and losses. It rose two or three feet above the famous long wharf, and flowed over the other wharves and streets to so surprising an height, that we could sail in boats from the Southern Battery, to the rise of ground in King's-street, and from thence to the rise of the ground ascending towards the north meeting-house. It filled all the cellars, and filled the floors of the lower rooms in the houses and ware houses in town. The damage was inexpressible in the country. On the inside of Cape Cod, the tide rose four feet, and without, it rose ten or a dozen feet higher than ever was known. At Rhode-Island and Piscataqua they fated as we did in Boston. At Hampton the sea broke over its natural banks for many miles, and continued running over for many hours. Almost all over the country the artificial banks of the sea were broken down. The marshes were overflown, and overwhelmed ; mighty stacks of hay, some removed, some destroyed, many acres of marsh ruined, being either torn up through the rage of the water, or covered with the sands from the road. This is the sum of the story, if there be nothing in it more worthy to be remembered than waters that pass away ; (or any thing like the memorable November storm that filled the English world with horror, twenty years ago, and whereof a large book was written.) yet it may lead a person of your sagacity to some considerable speculations ; and more particularly, though I have mentioned what our small philosophers here may dream for the causes of such occurrences, yet you will also consider how far the subterraneous heats and steams below the bottom of the ocean, rising thence and passing through it, and causing the deep to boil as a pot, may farther contribute unto them. However as for a tempest so for a letter, about one you may think the shorter the better, it shall therefore now be over. I will add no more and you shall be sensible of nothing more but a swell-ing tide of esteem and affection for you, in the breast of Sir, your hearty friend and servant. C. M.
September 24th 1724.
Copy of a Letter from the Hon. John Winthrop, Esq. of New -London, to the Rev. Dr. Mather, of Boston.
New-London, Sept. 12, 1717.
BEING from home the last post day, when your letter arrived here, I am now to thank you for it, and to make answer to what you demand of me. The observations I made of the prodigious storms of snow, in the doleful winter past, are many. But I shall mention but two at this time, and they are these. That the snow spangles which fell on the earth, appeared in large sexangular forms. Seu nivem sex radiatem ; et stellas has niveas observavi prout astrologi vulgo adspectum depingunt sextilem. The other is, that, among the small flock of sheep, that I daily fold in this distant part of the wilderness, (for I am a poor shepherd) to secure them from the wild rapacious quadrupeds of the forest ; after the unusual and unheard of snows, the aforesaid animals from the upland parts of the country, were, in great numbers forced down to the sea side among us, for subsistence, where
they nested, kennelled and burroughed in the thick swamps of these ample pastures,nightly visiting the pens and yards for their necessity, &c. And the ewes big with young being often terrified and surprised, more especially with the foxes, during the deep snows ; it had such impression on them, that the biggest part of the lambs they brought forth in the spring, are of Monsieur Reynard's complexion and colour, when their dams were all either white or black. The storm continued so long and severe, that multitudes of all sorts of creatures perished in. the snow drifts. We lost at the island and farms, above eleven hundred sheep, besides some cattle and horses, interred in the snow. And it was very strange that twenty-eight days after the storm, the tenants at Fisher's Island, pulling out the ruins of one hundred sheep out of one snow bank in a valley, (where the snow had drifted over them sixteen feet) found two of them alive in the drift, which had lain on them all that time, and kept themselves alive by eating the wool off the others, that lay dead by them : As soon as they were taken out of the drift they shed their own fleeces and are now alive and fat ; and I saw them at the island the last week, and they are at your service.
The storm had its effect also on the ocean : The sea was in a mighty ferment, and after it was over, vast heaps of the enclosed shells came ashore, in places where there never had been any of the sort before. Neptune with his trident, also, drove in great schools of porpoises, so that the harbour and river seemed to be full of them ; but none of these came on shore, but kept a play day among the disturbed waves. As for the golden fleece—the hider and his partner intended to settle in your town after they had made a few more wreck voyages, and have come back undiscovered like trading men, as I was told by my author. And as to my informer, he was always plotting and contriving how to accomplish your business, without discovering it to any more ; but he was so needy that I believe he had never so much money together to carry him down, and keep him there any time for the purpose ; and a few weeks before he died, he was proposing to me for a new trial and discovery of the thing. Sir, what I know about it I have truly, faithfully, and ingeniously communicated to you, and hope, by some means or other, you may in time be the better for it. I thank you for your publications, I have mentioned to my honest neighbour Timothy the reprinting them, without mentioning your name in the matter, encouraging him to the work, by the quick vent of so large a number of the first impression.
I have given a dose of your febrifu gium to one of the town, which I hope, has cured him of a malignant fever, and it is an excellent remedy ob dolor em lienis. I am indebted for your mentioning my name inter F. R. S.* at Gresham ; I am an obscure person, less than the poorest of your servants, and not fit to stand before princes, but am contented to lie hid among the retired philosophers.
I am &c. JOHN WINTHROP.
To the Rev. Doctor Cotton Mather.
* This appointment afterwards took place.
Account of the first appearance of the Aurora Borealis. 14
THE first appearance of the Aurora Borealis was very astonishing to our ancestors, both in England and America. It was first seen in England in 1716, and in New-England in 1719. An account of the former was written by the Rev. Thomas Prince who was then in England. An account of the latter was published here by an anonymous author. They are both now newly presented to the publick.
Mr. Prince's Account of the Northern Lights, when first seen in England, 1716.
THERE seemed to be a great stream of smoky Light rising in the N. E. reaching from near the earth, ascending and waving like the light of a great house or bon-fire in a dark evening, about half a mile off, which we therefore thought it at first to be : But soon altered our minds when we saw it increasing in breadth, length, and brightness, and pushing forwards, retreating and advancing in the shape of a broad sword, and like the shooting vibrations of a very high blaze, until it extended to the point over our heads. As it increased in bigness, so did it likewise in the swiftness and fury of its motion, and grew by degrees into a bluish, red and fiery colour almost like to that of the flame of brimstone. Both the colour and figure continually changed, I know not how, till at length, on a sudden, it brake forth into the appearance of a raging and mighty torrent of bloody waters, that at first looked like the sudden giving way of a dam, and the sea bearing all irresistibly before it : Whereupon all that part of the heavens over us turned of an inconceivably bright rainbow colour, and immediately run into an admirable, inexpressible confusion of an infinite variety of motions that were amazingly quick and terrible to behold.
I know not how to give you an idea of this part of the appearance ; unless you may conceive something of it by the various and most violent motions that are in a great body of waters, when an higher stream happens to descend and impetuously rush into another. Sometimes they ran into circular forms, sometimes into ovals, sometimes the circles and ovals were variously comprest on their sides by their approaching nearer to one another, or the greater interflux of the nameless and unknown matter. Sometimes they ran winding within, and hastily pursuing one another in the manner of whirlpools ; and sometimes they ran round and crossed like an 8, and in numberless other different figures ; that something resembled the various, quick, and confused rambles of flies in the midst of a room, or of spiders on the surface of a pond ; or the perplexing contortions and turnings of a great heap of livng eels just covered with water in the bottom of a boat ; or as the little foldings and ridges at the tops and bottoms of the fingers ; or to mention no more comparisons, like the figures it is probable you have seen of Cartesius's vortices.
All this while, the brightness, bloodiness, and fieriness of the colours before mentioned, together with the swiftness of the motions, increased, insomuch as we could hardly trace them with our eyes ; till at length
Account of the first appearance of the Aurora Borealis. 15
almost all the whole heavens appeared as if they were set on a flame, which wrought and glimmered with flashes in a most dreadful and un-describable manner. It seemed to threaten us with an immediate descent and deluge of fire, filled the streets with loud and doleful outcries and lamentations, and frighted a great many people into their houses : And we all began to think whether the Son of God was next to make his glorious and terrible appearance, or the conflagration of the world was now begun. For the elements seemed just as if they were melting with fervent heat, and the ætherial vault to be burning over us like the fierce agitations of the blaze in a furnace, or at the top of a fiery oven : and the glimmering light looked as if it proceeded from a more glorious body behind that was approaching nearer and about to make its sudden appearance to our eyes.
While we expected and wondered what would be the next alteration and dreaded the consequence ; all on a sudden the flaming body above us brake into innumerable spears of light, that at first darted every way and across one another, but in a little while they conformed to the same point of motion and played in a regular and astonishing manner. At first it seemed as if the very frame of the world was a dissolving : But afterwards one would have thought that there was a furious battle of invisible spirits, that the powers and principalities of the air had broke out into a fierce contention, and that transforming themselves into angels of light, they were converted into seraphick flames and figures that are said to resemble their natures.
These distinct and various lights were in the shape of swords, and their several bodies did not appear entirely at the same time, but seemed to begin at one end and shoot a prodigious way to a sharp point in a moment, like one continued blaze of a flying fire-brand. As they continually appeared and streamed, so they continually vanished like the lucid path of a rocket, while others were incessantly making their appearance in different places round about. The motion of them all was now pointed upwards, and reached some a greater and some a lesser extent : But none above more than from about eight or ten degrees of the horizon to about six or eight from the zenith. For the most part they flashed unequally : But sometimes they seemed to begin, shoot,and blaze all together, and make the earth almost as light as day. And then their appearance was like a thousand great swords or blazing stars, shooting upwards from all sides of the hemisphere, but leaving where their points ended a vacant space in the centre of about ten or twelve degrees diameter, and sometimes of a roundish and sometimes of various multangular figures, directly over our heads. For there seemed to be a remarkable part of the heavens abo\e us which they all violently pushed at, but could never enter.
Thus they continued their exercise for above a quarter of an hour, but decreased by degrees both in number, quickness, and brightness, till they left the heavens as they were before, and indeed all the time of this amazing appearance, almost, as clear I think as ever I saw them. It was the more unaccountable, and wonderful, that there was no palpable
Account of the first appearance of the Aurora Borealis. 16
cloud hung over us : But we saw the stars shining very plainly all the while in the intervals of the spears, and in the very places where they were, as soon as ever they vanished ; unless when the brightness of the apparition was so excessive as to drown their light.
After the scene was over, which was a little before eight o'clock, there was every now and then a single flash or streak or two of light, as before, in divers parts of the clear firmament, and some of these retained their appearance for above the length of a minute, which none of the other did ever reach near unto : But as the light of these was always considerably fainter, so they proportionably continued longer before they entirely vanished.
I then walked with a gentleman out of the town, and went up on a rising ground, whence we saw a thick and lightsome cloud directly in the north, and very near the horizon, if not adjoining to it, that appeared exactly as if the full moon was behind it, which was not to rise till after midnight, and that we supposed to be the source and mine-head of all this surprising train and fire-work of nature. Every now and then we saw beams of light issuing from it, somewhat like, but brighter than those we often see from the sun through the crevices of a dark and broken cloud, that made it to resemble the royal artillery of pikes, spears, and swords, and other armour, that are commonly placed under the king's picture. And as the cloud arose, the streams increased and flashed towards us, and we thought the aerial armies were going to rally and make another onset : But they retreated again, as the cloud passed on by the borders of the horizon to the west, and slowly moved to a greater distance from us.
By the brightness of the fiery pillars and the strange illumination of the air remaining, I came home a-foot about 10 o'clock, when the ground and heavens were every whit I think as light as immediately after sunset. I sat up and watched till three in the morning, when I could discern nothing more of them : But they continued very visible till between one and two ; when the heavens began to be overspread with clouds, and the moon arose, which put a gradual end to this real and most incomprehensible vision.
Thus have I given you a bare and I am pretty sure an exact historical relation of things as I saw them I have repeated it to several who were spectators with me, who entirely agree to my description of the manner, appearance, and process of this wonderful prodigy. I might easily make a great many philosophical and moral reflections on the things I have written and others I saw : But for several reasons, which you see I have not room for, I desire to be excused at present.
Account of the first appearance of the Aurora Borealis. 17
A Letter to a certain Gentleman, desiring a particular account may be given of a wonderful Meteor, that appeared in New-England, on December 11th, 1719, in the evening.
I UNDERSTAND by a friend of mine, you desire my thoughts of the late appearance in the heavens, which was amazing to the people in many parts of the country. I will therefore endeavour to answer your desire ; and that 1. By giving an account of it, according as I observed it, and according to what I can learn from others. And then, by telling you what may in all probability be looked upon to be the natural cause thereof. And I hope (though I believe I shall differ from some) I shall say nothing that shall be inconsistent either with Divinity or Philosophy.
I. For the account of it, &c. take in the following words : Dec. 11, 1719. This evening, about 8 o'clock, there arose a bright and red light in the E.N.E. like the light which arises from an house when on fire (as I am told by several credible persons who saw it, when it first arose) which soon spread itself through the heavens from east to west, reaching about 43 or 44 degrees in height,and was unequally broad : It streamed with white flashes or streams of light down to the horizon, (as most tell me) very bright and strong. When I first saw it, which was when it had extended itself over the horizon from E. to W. it was brightest in the middle, which was from me N.W. and I could resemble it to nothing but the light of some fire. I could plainly see streams of light redder than ordinary, and there seemed to me to be an undulating motion of the whole light ; so thin was this light, as that I could see the stars very plainly through it. Below this stream or glade of light, there lay in the horizon some thick clouds (which a few hours after arose and covered the heavens) bright on the tops or edges. It lasted somewhat more than an hour, though the height of its red colour continued but a few minutes. About eleven, the same night, the same appearance was visible again ; but the clouds hindered its being so accurately observed as I could wish for. Its appearance was now somewhat dreadful ; sometimes it looked of a flame, sometimes a blood red colour ; and the whole N. E. horizon was very light, and looked as though the moon had been near her rising. The dreadfulness, as well as strangeness of this appearance, made me think of Mr. Watts's description of the Day of Judgment in English sapphick :
When the fierce North Wind with his airy forces
Rears up the Baltick to a foaming fury,
And the red lightning with a storm of hail comes
Rushing amain down.
And of these lines in Flatman :
When from the dungeon of the grave
The meagre throng themselves shall heave,
Shake off their linen chains, and gaze
With wonder when the world shall blaze.
Account of the first appearance of the Aurora Borealis. 18
About an hour or two before break of day the next morning, it was seen again, as I am informed ; and those who saw it, say it was then the most terrible I saw it but twice, for the heavens being so overcast discouraged me from sitting up longer than my usual time.
This Meteor was seen in many places : To those S. from us, it appeared lower in the horizon, and therefore to the more southern places must be wholly invisible. Thus I have given you the best account I am able of this Meteor ; which though very unusual here, yet in northern countries more frequent, and seems to me to be what our modern philosophers call Aurora Borealis. Now, Sir, as for the next thing, which is my thoughts on this Meteor, you shall have them in the following words :
II. It is well known to all (though but a little read in philosophy) that there is abundance of nitro-sulphureous particles exhaled or forced out of the earth continually, but most of all in summer-days ; which is the reason why we have thunder more then, than in the winter. Now for two or three days before this appearance, we had hot weather for the time of year, and very hot indeed the day immediately preceding, as hot as we commonly have in September, and the air was so warm, as that I can almost call it sultry hot : Now I believe there was a very great quantity of such particles exhaled or forced out of the earth in this hot weather, and this evening were fired ; which because fire in such inflammable matter moves very quick, was the cause of the quick motion of this light from the east to the west, though not contrary to the wind, yet across it ; for the wind was then north. You will now ask me how it came to pass, that there were such exhalations more now than at another time. To which I answer, I believe they were occasioned by some subterraneous heat.* That there are subterraneous fires is received by all philosophers, and demonstrable from those igneous eruptions that are in many places ; which fires are the causes of dreadful earthquakes which have sometimes occasioned the rise of mountains, and of land even out of the water itself.+ And even in watry countiics (now ours is a well watered country) there are pits and wells out of which arise such sulphurous steams, as that if you hold a candle over them, they will immediately flame, (much of the nature I suppose they are of spirits of wine camphorated) insomuch that whole houses have been consumed hereby. [See the late excellent Treatise, called the Religious Philosopher, vol. 2.] And possibly there may be such in our country, which perhaps may occasion the sudden alteration of weather we are so subject to.
* Dr. Wallis ascribes the ascent of vapours to subterraneous heats. Phil. Trans. Abr. p. 123.
+ Sec Dr. Hooks's Discourse of earthquakes, and Mr. Ray's 3 Physico-Theo. Discourses.
To all this I add, that, though in the summer time we have more hot weather, and so more vapours are without doubt exhaled ; yet whenever the weather is what we call sultry hot, we commonly have much thunder and lightning, or a good deal of rain ; and so the matter which occasions such Meteors, is consumed in thunder and lightning, or is mixed with the particles of water, and so descends to the earth again ; and I am confirmed in this opinion, in that (as the Chymists say) from rain water may be distilled a burning spirit.
Now if you ask me, Why this Meteor appeared in the N. E. and so to the N. W.? I answer, The exhalations were driven there by the S. W. winds the day before ; and ascending above, even to the upper regions of the air, were not touched by the N. W. winds which blew the day preceding the evening on which this Meteor appeared.
There remains a difficulty or two more yet to be solved, viz. How it came to be fired ? and why it appeared more than once ?
To the first, I say, it may be fired, by what the philosophers of old called the Antiperistasis of the air, i e. This inflammable matter meeting with something of a contrary nature to it, was by the contest between them put into a flame ; for experience shows, that if we take nitre, brimstone, and quick lime, mix them in an egg-shell, as soon as they touch the water they will fly out in an actual flame, and such is the nature of an acid and an alkali, as that the contest between them will heat the plate or vessel in which you endeavour to satiate them, as I have several times experienced ; now according to philosophy, where there is heat there is fire. Or if it was not thus, as has been already explained, I do not see why some fiery vapour or other might not be driven out of the earth or sea, and so in its ascent meet with and give fire to this combustible matter.
As to its appearing more than once, the reason is the same as is given for the repetition of the flashes of lightning.
As for the redness of its colour, I take it to be nothing but the more thick or gross particles that might be mixed with this inflammable matter : And as for the white streams of light, they were made by the more fine spirituous particles ; and that this is very probable, may be argued from the quickness of their motion, as well as their issuing down to the horizon, opposite to the place from whence the Meteor first arose (as most tell me they did, and I am apt, from the nature of the thing, to believe it was so.)
And this I shall take to be the true solution of this wonderful appearance, till somebody will give me, or I can find, a better.
As to prognostications from it, I utterly abhor and detest them all, and look upon these to be but the effect of ignorance and fancy ; for I have not so learned philosophy or divinity, as to be dismayed at the signs of heaven ; this would be to act the part of an heathen not of a christian philosopher. See Jer. x. 2. And here I would intreat you to take me right, for I don't mean that this sight was not surprising to me, for I have said it was before, but I only mean that no man should; fright himself by supposing that dreadful things will follow, such as
Discovery of Ingraham's Islands. 20
famine, sword, or sickness ; nor would I be understood to imagine, that there will not be fearful sights in the heavens before the great and terrible day of the Lord.
Thus, good Sir, I have, as well as I could, given you an account of that unusual Meteor, together with my thoughts upon it. If it is acceptable to you, I shall heartily rejoice, and allow you to expose it as you please, only concealing my name ; hoping what I have said may serve in some measure to illustrate the works of nature, which all they who have pleasure therein will inquire into, that so they may be excited to love, honour, and adore the God thereof; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
E Musaeo meo 15 Dec.
I am, Sir,
Your very humble servant,
An Account of a recent discovery of seven Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, by Joseph Ingraham, Citizen of Boston, and Commander of the brigantine Hope, of seventy Tons burthen ; of and from this Port, bound to the N. W. Coast of America. By permission of the Owners, copied from the Journal of said Ingraham and communicated to the Publick, by the Historical Society.
AFTER passing Cape Horn, on the 26th of January, 1791, Capt. Ingraham saw the islands of St. Ambrose and Felix, on the 9th of March—and on the 14th of April, touched at Port Madre de Dios in the island of Dominica, one of the cluster called the Marquesas, lying in lat. 9° 58' S. Having procured such refreshments as the place afforded, he sailed thence, on the 18th of April ; and here the extract from his Journal begins.
"April 19. [a day ever memorable to Americans.] We steered N. N. W. from the island of Dominica, and at 4, P. M. saw two islands under our lee ; one bore N. W. by N. from us, and N. N. W. distant 35 leagues from the N. W. end of Dominica ; the other bore W. of us. This sight was unexpected, as I knew we had seen and passed all the group called the Marquesas. On this I examined Capt. Cook's chart of the world, his voyages, Quiros's voyage, who was with the Spanish Admiral, that discovered the Marquesas in 1595, M. Bougainville's account of circumnavigators and lands discovered by them, all my charts and globes of modern date ; but could find no account of but five islands in the group, called Marquesas de Mendoca, or any land laid down where these islands we then saw were. Of course I had reason to conclude ourselves the first discoverers. On which I named the first Washington's island, in honour to the illustrious President of the United States of America. The other I called Adams's
Latitude S. Longitude W. of London. Washington's 8° 52' 140° 19' Adams's 9'° 20' 140° 54' Lincoln's 9° 24' 140° 54' Federal 8° 55' 140° 60'
Discovery of lngraham's Islands. 21
island after the Vice-President. At 5 o' clock two more islands were seen, one of which was between Washington's and Adams's island ; this I called Federal island. The other was a small island which bore about S. from Adams's, this I named Lincoln's island, in honour to General Lincoln. The situation of these four islands is as follows :
All four may be seen at once when sailing towards them from the East. I stood for Washington's all night. At six the next morning,
April 20. We were abreast of the E. end of it ; and by 10 we were under its N. W. side. A canoe in which were three men came towards us ; when they were within about 300 yards of us, they laid still a while as it were to view us ; frequently calling out hootah, which is, land, or, on shore, in the language of the Sandwich islands, and I judged theirs was the same. After many gestures and signs of friendship, we prevailed on them to come near enough to receive a few cents and nails. They talked to us a great deal but to little purpose, as all we understood was an invitation to go ashore ; but as I saw no place proper to anchor in, I bore away more to the W. and they paddled in shore again, giving us a song, as at the Marquesas. These people resembled those we had left, except one young man, who had his hair stained white at the ends, as is common at the Sandwich islands. The canoe was curved at each extremity, both being alike and resembling the stern of those at the Marquesas.*
It was my intention to have anchored at this island and taken possession ; but I could find no place on its lee side proper for a vessel to anchor, unless in case of great necessity. I therefore called my officers and seamen together, and acquainted them, that I had every reason to believe the island we were then under, and the three seen the night before, were never seen by any civilized nation except ourselves ; thereto witness, that I claimed them as a new discovery, and belonging to the United Slates of America. On which we all gave three cheers and confirmed the name of Washington's island. After this we
* These are thus described in another part of the journal "The bottom of their canoes is dug out of a single log, and the sides are sewed on with line made of coco nut fibres. A.t the head and stern they have a small piece of board fixed perpendicularly, which repels the water and prevents it entering the canoe as she goes ahead. The stern is considerably higher than the head, being a curve terminating in a point. The prow is flat and horizontal, so that the water continually washes over it. The single canoes have outriggers, the double ones are lashed together. Their sails are made of mats in a triangular form ; but neither canoes nor sails possess that neatness which marks the superior genius of the Sandwich Islanders."
Discovery of Ingraham's Islands. 22
bore away for another island, which we saw bearing, W. by N. distant 10 leagues.
Washington's island is about ten leagues in circuit ; of a moderate height, diversified with hills and vallies, and well wooded ; the whole having a vastly pleasant appearance. It is accessible for boats in many places ; but, as I before observed, there appeared no good anchorage. As to the number of inhabitants, I cannot say, as we saw only two canoes ; the one beforementioned, and one, which by the help of a glass I saw two men launch ; but they concealed themselves again and did not venture off to us. Houses we saw none ; though no doubt these were concealed below the trees, as at Port Madre de Dios. Federal island and Adams's island appeared about the same extent and height as Washington's, from what I could judge by the distance we passed them.
At six in the evening we were within two leagues of the island which we discovered and bore away for at noon. It was much higher than Washington's ; but appeared about the same extent. The N E. part is much broken and divided ; its summits terminating in ridges and peaks, of a pyramidical form ; the whole bearing a volcanick appearance. Night approaching, I could not examine this island particularly, although I much wished to have done it. To have remained for no other purpose might perhaps be deemed inconsistent by the gentleman of the concern ; hence I hawled my wind to the northward. This island I named Franklin's island, in memory of Doctor Benjamin Franklin. I cannot pretend to describe this island very particularly, for the reasons beforementioned. It appeared however well wooded, and was inhabited ; for as soon as we had hawled off, the natives made fires, as it were to entice us to remain.
The latitude of Franklin's island is 8° 45' S. its longitude 140° 49' W. Its centre bears W. by N. 10 leagues from Washington's.
From this island we steered N. till six o' clock the next morning.
April 21, when we saw two more islands bearing W. N. W. distant 8 leagues. We bore down for them. One I named Hancock's island in honour to the governour of Massachusetts ; the other Knox's island, after General Knox. I hawled towards Hancock's island ; but finding no anchorage, bore away under Knox's. We passed several fine bays, in which was good shelter from the trade wind ; but the bottom I judged was bad, from the surrounding rocky shores. One of the bays seemed, as to shelter, convenience of landing, &c. equal to Port Madre de Dios ; but its shores indicated a bad bottom. Hence every ship or vessel on such voyages, that sails in unknown seas, and that necessity obliges to anchor among rocks, would do well to be provided with a chain of 25 or 30 fathom ; which would enable them to anchor any where, without the risque of losing their anchor or endangering the ship.
In the best bay abovementioned, which I named Brattle's bay, we saw one house, on the brow of a hill, above a fine grove of coconut trees ; but we saw no person stirring. One house we had passed
Discovery of Ingraham's Islands. 23
before and gazed in vain for inhabitants. Opye + said they were afraid, as at Atooi, when they first saw a vessel. He said they hawled all their canoes up and kept close till a few seeing the near approach of the vessel, had courage to venture off, and returned with beads, trinkets, &c. when many, allured by their good fortune, launched to visit the strangers, biassed by curiosity and the hope of gain.
From the houses we saw, I am led not to doubt that Knox's island is inhabited. The approach of night prevented any further examination, and I bore away to the westward. The wind came off the land in frequent heavy gusts and squalls, which rendered it dangerous plying under it all night ; besides, under land in tropical climates the wind generally shifts in the night, from the natural trade wind, and blows from the W. which was, as we were situated, directly on shore. To remain under such a risque would therefore have been imprudent.
Knox's island is about 6 or 7 leagues in circuit ; it appears fertile and pleasant to the eye, on all sides ; but more particularly on the W. and N. W. sides, which are well wooded, and have many fine groves of coco-nut trees. Hancock's island is about 5 leagues in circuit. It appears to have no harbour or place of shelter for ships ; but is accessible in many places for boats. It has a good verdure, with both trees and bushes.
Hancock's island lies in lat. 8° 3'S. Long. 141° 14'W. Knox's island in
As to the positions of these seven islands which we have discovered and given names to, I presume they cannot be far from the truth. Federal island, which we saw late in the afternoon, is most liable to a small mistake, as I had no opportunity to work its distance by angle ; yet being pretty sure of the situation of Washington's and Adams's, Federal island cannot be missed, as it lies between them ; and as I before observed, all may be seen at once, coming from the E.
From what M. Bougainville says,++ it is pretty evident these islands were not seen by the Spaniards in 1595, when they discovered the Marquesas. They pretend only to four islands in this group, nor ever saw any more. Capt. Cook, who visited the Marquesas in 1774, discovered a small round island, which bears about N. N. E. from the E. end of Dominica, and which he named Hood's island. This
+ A native of one of the Sandwich islands, who had been at New-York and Boston, and was returning home in the Hope, after an absence of twenty months. "I was much surprised (says Capt Ingraham) to find that Opye could not understand the natives of the Marquesas ; but still more to find he could converse but very indifferently with the people of his own country. Nay, on our first arrival, I could apparently talk better with them than Opye ; for he, by blending the American language with his own, formed a kind of jargon unintelligible t» every one but himself; but it soon wore off, and his mother tongue became natural."
++ Introduction to the English edition by Dr. Forste,. page 21
Discovery of Ingraham's Islands. 24
may be plainly seen in running from the E. and steering to sail between San Pedro and Dominica. Indeed we saw the four, discovered by the Spaniards, all at one view.
As I could not, from the most diligent search find the least account of these Islands, I conceive there could be no impropriety or presumption in naming them, and claiming the discovery as my own. Should it be hereafter proved that islands in the same situation have been seen before, I renounce my claim with as little ceremony as I assumed it.
It seems from M. Bougainville's account of the several voyages performed round the globe and the discoveries made, that none ever sailed nearer these islands than the Spaniards, who discovered the Marquesas ; their next discovery on the same voyage was the island San Bernardo which is 24° W. from which, I judge they steered S. W. or W. S. W. from Port Madre de Dios. Capt. Cook, in 1774, steered S. W. and the group which I discovered, at least the first four lies N. W. from that port. I shall now take my leave of these islands, leaving it to be determined by future investigation, who first discovered them.
April. 22. Course N. Knox's island in sight distant 14 leagues. The variation, by amplitude was 4° 30' E. Latitude observed at noon 7° 34' S.
The foregoing account is faithfully extracted from the journal of Capt. Joseph Ingraham, in his own hand writing, by
JEREMY BELKNAP, Corresponding Secretary of the Historical Society.
Since the above extract was made, the College Librarian, Mr. Harris, has consulted all the books of maps and voyages in the library, particularly Dalrymple's and Cook's, and cannot find any islands laid down between the Marquesas and the Equator. Several other maps and voyages have been searched ; among which is Harrison's New Atlas, printed in 1791 ; but nothing appears from any of them to militate with the claim of our citizen, to the first discovery of these seven islands ; to which the publick voice will in justice to him, in future give the denomination of Ingraham's Islands.
Orders from General Burgoyne to Colonel Baum. 25
Extract of a Letter from N. Tracy, Esq, Jan. 21, 1793, to a Member of the Historical Society.
"YOU say, in finishing the life of Daniel Gookin that his family is extinct : This is a mistake, he was my mother's greatgrandfather. This Daniel Gookin had a son Nathaniel, who was ordained minister at Cambridge. He died at twenty-two years of age, but left a son Nathaniel, who was afterwards minister in Hampton, and was my mother's father. He left a son Nathaniel, who was a minister in North-Hill parish, (Hampton,) and many other children, two of whom are now living in Portland. A cousin of mine, Capt. Daniel Gookin, served in our army the last war, with a good reputation And a captain's commission was given to him, when we were about raising a new army in 1786 or 1787."
[This references a page on Daniel Gookin in Mass. Historical Society Collections, vol. I, 1792]
Original Orders of Gen. Burgoyne to Col. Baum, with a brief description of the battle of Bennington, &c.
THE capture of Baum's detachment in the year 1777, at Bennington, was a memorable event,and led to the total overthrow of the main army under the command of Lieutenant-General Burgoyne. The orders given by that offier to Colonel Baum, serve to exhibit, in a striking point of view, the folly of depending in a time of general political convulsion, upon the opinion and advice of the few, who by the rights of favoritism, have the ear of the ruling power.
General Lincoln had an honoutable, active and important share, in the decisive battle on the heights of Bemis. He had the honour of sharing in the submission of the captured army, who but a few days before considered their march from Canada to New-York, as having no impediments, excepting what should arise from the badness of the roads. That gentleman having deposited in the Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society, the original orders delivered, and signed by General Burgoyne to Colonel Baum, a copy is given to our readers, in the publication of this month.
Instructions to Lieutenant-Colonel Baum.
"THE object of your expedition is to try the affections of the country, to disconcert the councils of the enemy, to mount the Reidesel's dragoons, to complete Peters's corps, and to obtain large supplies of cattle, horses, and carriages. The several corps, of which the enclosed is a list, are to be under your command.
"The troops must take no tents, and what little baggage is carried by officers, must be on their own bat-horses.
"You are to proceed from Batten Kill, to Aslinton, and take post there, till the detachment of provincials under the command of Capt Sherwood, shall join you from the southward. . . .
Mr. Hubbard's Account of Northfield. 30
A Letter from the Rev. John Hubbard, giving an Account of the Town of NORTHFIELD.
Northfield, Sept. 1, 1792.
IN the year 1672 the Township was granted to Messrs. Pinchon, Peirsons and their associates, the Indian name Squawkeague, laid out on both sides of Connecticut river, six miles in breadth, and twelve in length.
In the year 1673 settlers came on, planted down near one to the other, built small huts, covered them with thatch, near the centre made one for publick worship, and employed one Elder Janes as their preacher ; also ran a stockade and fort around a number of what they called houses, to which they might repair, in case they were attacked by the enemy. These first settlers were a set of religious congregational people, emigrated from Northampton, Hadley, Hatfield, &c.
Probably in about five or six years, an Indian war broke out, a large army came suddenly upon them, killed some in their houses, others as they were coming out of the meadows ; the rest of this distressed people, men, women and children, fled to their fort, unable to sally out and repel the enemy, in the utmost distress and no present relief could be afforded them. The Indians in the mean time kept around them, killed their cattle, destroyed their grain, burnt up the houses that were without the fort and laid all waste ; the dead bodies of their neighbours were unburied. The people full of fear, lest the Indians would break into their fort. A number of days and nights were they in this distressed condition. In the mean time one of their brave men got out of the fort in the night and ran to Hadley near thirty miles.
A certain Captain Beane, with his company, and a number of teams were ordered to go and bring off the distressed people. But when they had got within two miles of the settlement, were way-laid, killed, and almost all the company and the teams ; the few that survived this bloody carnage, fled back to Hadley, then Captain Treat, with a larger body of men, and more teams were ordered out, and fetched off the distressed inhabitants.
Thus long did these poor people continue in fear and jeopardy every hour. At length they arrived to the place abovementioned. The Indians soon returned and destroyed their fort and every thing that remained. All was now desolate and waste, and continued so for about five or six years—the war ending.
In 1685, settlers came on again, continued ten or twelve years, built mills, and some convenient houses; and carried on their husbandry to a
Mr. Hubbard's Account of Northfield. 31
good degree and introduced mechanicks, the settlement flourished, however had not arrived to such ability as to settle a minister, though they began to hire some preaching. But alas ! another Indian war breaking out, the people were drove within their forts, which they had erected. Government afforded them some protection, notwithstanding the Indians pressed hard upon them, killed some and. took others captive, and the hearts of the rest of the people were dismayed and discouraged, and in council, determined it was best to return to the lower towns, this they did, late in the Fall or beginning of Winter, when the Indians had withdrawn. The next Spring the Indians came on, burnt up a second time, laid the settlement waste : This brings us to the year 1700 or more, a little before Deerfield was destroyed.
In the year 1713 the proprietors petitioned the General Court to grant them a committee to ascertain and fix the boundaries of their home lots, meadow lots, &c. The committee were, the Hon. John Stod-dard of Northampton, Eleazer Porter of Hadley, Henry Dwight of Hatfield, Esqrs. Settlers came on very much together, rebuilt their mills, houses, and soon proceeded to set up a house for publick worship, and were now incorporated into a town by the the name of Northfield, as it was the northernmost town in the county of Hampshire and colony of the Massachusetts, on Connecticut river.
About the year 1718—were gathered into a distinct church, invited and settled Mr. Benjamin Doolittle, of Wallingford, in Connecticut, who continued in the ministry about thirty years, died 1748, aged fifty-four years : He began with the people in their third settlement, when not more than thirty-five families ; lived to see them increase almost to a hundred, and to a good degree of opulence and wealth, though oft worried with distressing wars, it being very much a frontier.
It was in Mr. Doolittle's day that the Province line was ran, between New-Hampshire and Massachusetts, which cut off one third part or more, and is now Hinsdale.
In the year 1750, the people invited and settled Mr. John Hubbard, of Hatfield, who has continued in the ministry more than forty years. We are not more than a hundred and twenty families at this present time.
The air is salubrious, and the soil tolerably fertile. No Indians, nor any of their monuments. Northfield is southward of the centre of the settlements on Connecticut river. The people are all furnished with bibles and other good books, in their houses, but no social library ; there has been much talk about setting up one, I hope it may be effected. Generally a grammar and other good schools in town ; people are well spirited towards the instruction of their children, though never sent forth many scholars into the world.
The most of the people pursue husbandry ; it is an excellent township for raising of wheat and other kinds of grain. It has a sufficient number of tradesmen of all sorts Commerce has flourished, and is now again reviving. It has a number of good buildings, an elegant house for the worship of God : Of late a curious still-house set up for
Letter from John Colman, Esq. 32
the making of gin ; but this, I fear, will be of no publick utility. That which, above all the rest comfortable and praiseworthy is, that as a people, we are to appearance, pretty well united in faith, worship, and christian discipline ; no sectaries.
If this historical account will be any way useful to you, it will give satisfaction to
Your humble servant,
Letter from John Colman, Esq. in London to his brother, the Rev. Dr. Colman of Boston, giving an account of the hearing before the Lords of the Privy Council, on the complaint of Gov. Shute, against the House of Representatives of the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
London., May 18th, 1724. Dear Sir,
MY last went by Mr. John Allin, since which the King's Attorney and Solicitor-General have once heard Mr. Cook in answer to the memorial. They sat between three and four hours, and are gone through three articles ; the first was the matter of the woods, but when the charge was heard, I observed Mr. Cook did not pretend to say, as he used to do in New England, that the King had no right, but said that what they had done was in order to secure the King's right; but Mr. Cook was soon answered by Sir Lawrence Carter, who was counsel for the Governour, and by Mr. Bendish, by producing the vote of the Assembly, which saith, that those logs being cut into lengths, which rendered them unfit for his Majesty's use—the King had no right to them, and accordingly they ordered them to be sold for the use of the Province, and it was further argued that they were actually sold to Mr. Plasteed of Piscataqua : Mr. Cook had two eminent counsellors, Mr. Reaves and Mr. Talbot, and two others, all bright gentlemen, who said as much as could be said in defence of the country, and managed the matter extremely well, but with the greatest modesty, it being a tender point, in which the prerogative was pretended to be invaded : The Attorney-General and Solicitor-General seem to me, to be but young men, to be advanced to such high stations, but if they are young in years, they are old in knowledge, and I saw soon discerned where the matter pinched, and though they said but little, yet said enough to satisfy me, that their report will be on the side of the Governour. The next article was, negativing the Speaker ; it was argued by Mr. Talbot and in behalf of the country that they had not denied the Governours right in that point, and endeavoured to prove it, by saying they chose another ; but the Governour answered it was another Assembly that chose Dr. Clark, and that the Assembly who chose Mr. Cook, sat five days, and would not choose another, and then he dissolved them ; and further to prove that the General Assembly approved and justified what was done, he produced the message the General Assembly sent him, when he had
Letter from John Colman, Esq. 33
sent down his approbation of Dr. Clark, viz. that they did not send him the message whom they had chose for his approbation, but for his information ; when that was read, I observed Mr. Cook's counsel looked down, the Attorney and Solicitor coloured, and one gentleman, I remember, called it asaucy answer. I confess, though I always condemned the Assembly for choosing Dr. Cook, because they could not but foresee it would be laying a bone of contention in the way between the Governour and Assembly, yet when they had chose him, I always justified their standing by that choice, for if it be in the power of a Governour to negative one speaker, he may proceed in the same method ad infinitum, and so in effect say, we shall have no Assembly, and overset the constitution at once ; this will go (I believe) also in favour of the Governour, for I find they are very tender of the prerogative : the third article, was the ordering of the solemnising a fast ; a great deal of talk there was on this head, and many minutes produced to prove the Assembly had moved in that matter formerly, but Sir Lawrence alleged, that the prerogative was invaded in that point notoriously ; for when the Governour disputed the matter with the Assembly, they told him, as appeared by their votes, that unless that House appointed it, as well as the Governour and upper House, the people were not punishable by law if they broke in upon the day, by travelling, working, &c. Thus far they are gone, and are adjourned to Friday, the 29th inst.
I could not forbear reflecting on the state of my country ; that they do not know their own happiness : They may, if they please, be the quietest, happiest people under the sun ; but they will destroy themselves I suppose by this time there is a ship load of tar gone, and next goes a load of turpentine, and then another of pitch, and so on. I hear the Governour saith, he will try who shall be Governour, he or Mr. Cook, and that he will see New England again, let it cost what it will : Nay, a gentleman here told me, he heard him swear it, which he wondered at, for he had never heard him swear an oath before in his life. He saith, now he sees his honour is concerned, he will not be out done by Mr Cook.
My Lord Barrington came in, in the midst of the debates : As it happened, the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General sat facing the door, I stood just behind, between their chairs ; the Attorney and Solicitor saw him as soon as his head appeared, rose up immediately, which surprised me, not knowing my Lord, to see the whole court rise up and pay such great respect : The Attorney motioned to my Lord to come to the table, where an elbow chair was in an instant brought, and he sat down in it, the only easy chair which was in the room : I mention this only to shew the difference Dr. Cook finds ; it would (thought I at that time) better suit the Doctor's high spirit to be treated with the respect my Lord was, than to stand behind his counsellors, making a lame defence to the articles exhibited against his country, through his means.
Since the hearing, I happened to have some little talk with Dr. Cook upon the Exchange, and find he and I differ very much in our thoughts about matters ; he thinks all will be well on the country's
Letter from John Colman, Esq. 34
side, and I suppose will write accordingly ; but I find nobody else of his opinion : He said one thing to me, which pleased me, viz. that since his coming here, and seeing how the governments, who are more immediately under the crown are used, he hath a greater value for our charter privileges than ever he had ; to which I answered, that I thought our neighbours at New York, alone, were enough to convince us of the worth of our charter, and that I was of opinion, rather than lose it, they could not buy it at too dear a rate.
Mr. Sanderson did not appear with his brother Agent : I inquired the meaning of it, and was answered, that the Lords of Trade bid him choose which he would be, viz. their Clerk, or New England's Agent, for both he should not be. The under secretary to their Lordships was there, but none of their clerks. I remember, I have heard Sanderson called Secretary to the Board of Trade (in New England) but I see he is not so much as under secretary, only one of the clerks. Mr. Hollis, Neal, Harris, and others, New England's friends, say, that finally, if the charter be saved, it must be by the country's sending over messengers to the King, to solicit therefor in another manner ; and when the country comes to be in temper, and see their own interest, these gentlemen say they will take such healing measures : But Doctor Cook thinks there is no danger of the charter. I will endeavour to be present at next hearing, and then shall write you what passes.
I am now, through the favour of heaven, at the fifth day of June, and can inform you, that yesterday, Dr. Cook was heard a second time in answer to the memorial, it was five in the afternoon, before the Solicitor came, and then the hearing began. But they went through but one article, viz. About the adjournment of the Assembly to Cambridge ; and a Mr. Talbot, who was Counsel for the Province, said what he could in justification of the Assembly, though I think all he said was very little to the purpose. But what shall we say, be a man's thoughts never so ingenious and bright, he cannot with all his rheto-rick, make black white ; a bad cause will admit but of a poor defence ; and so Sir Lawrence Carter and another gentleman, who was of counsel for the Governour, hinted, and said, that Mr. Talbot, they humbly conceived, had said nothing to the purpose : But, indeed, Mr. Dummer told me, he heard Mr. Talbot tell Dr. Cook, just before the hearing began, that the Assembly had infringed on the prerogative in that matter, but he would make the best he could of it : In short, I am fully of opinion, that the Governour will make good every article of the memorial. The further hearing is to be the 11th inst. when I hope to hear the arguments on the remaining articles : Were I in Dr. Cook's place, it would fret me to see myself so out done by a man I had called so many fools and blockheads, as he hath called the Governour ; I believe by this time he may begin to see with other eyes. The Governour desired me to give his service to you, and tell you, he had nothing to write, worth communicating to you at present ; when he had, you should hear from him. He at all times expresses a great concern for the good people of New England ; but saith, he is driven to what he doth,
Account of the Death of Charles I. 35
and fears the perverse spirit of some among you, will put it out of the power of him, or any body else, to serve you ; and it is the opinion of all thinking men I talk with, that unless the country take more healing measures, and very speedily too, the country will lose all their privileges.
The Quaker's complaint hath been heard, and the persons who were imprisoned, are ordered to be set at liberty ; I hear, that at the hearing, the Attorney-General reflected on the country very sharply, and said, that was not the only instance in which they had assumed to themselves unwarrantable powers. I am really concerned, when I think seriously on these things, (having children, who must in all likelihood, spend their days there) that through the illnature and stubbornness of a few men, the country will lose so many valuable privileges, as no people else under the British Crown enjoy.
My service to Mr. Belcher, Mr. Cooper, and others, who may ask after me, especially to all relatives.
I am yours, &c.
THOUGH the death of King Charles I. be not properly a part of the American history ; yet as some persons who were concerned in that event took refuge in this country, and by the humanity of our forefathers were sheltered from the impolitick and malicious prosecution of Charles II, it becomes the duty of American Historians to collect and preserve every circumstance which may elucidate their characters.
One of our ablest advocates for civil and religious liberty [Dr. Mayhew] in a discourse professedly written against "the saintship and martyrdom of King Charles" has said that "it was not properly speaking the parliament, but the army which put him to death ; and it ought to be freely acknowledged, that most of their proceedings to get this matter effected, and particularly the Court by which the King was at last tried and condemned, was little better than a mere mockery of justice."
The Regicides who fled to Mew England were Whalley, Goffe and Dixwell. Of these, the last lies buried in New-Haven under a stone inscribed J. D. Esq. and some of his posterity are now living in Boston. A proposal has lately been made* to erect a monument on that ground in New-Haven, to the memory of these men. Before any determination is made in a matter of this kind, it is proper that the subject should be considered in every point of view ; and that all which can throw any light on their characters and conduct should be produced. For this reason the following paper lately handed in to the Historical Society, bearing every mark of authenticity, is given to the publick.
* See the American Museum, for November, 1792.
Account of the Death of Charles I. 36
A True and Humble Representation of John Downes, Esq. touching the death of the late King, so far as he may be concerned therein.
FINDING myself involved by several votes and orders of this present Parliament, and also in the execution of the same, with those who plotted and designed the late King's death, and with others who were his judges ; I think myself bound, in duty and thankfulness unto God, and by all obligations to myself, family, posterity, and relations, to set forth a true narrative of all things concerning myself, and all my actings in that sad business ; and I shall not make lies a refuge, because I have hope in the God of truth.
During that long time of fourteen years, I served in the last Parliament, I was never of any junto or cabal ; indeed I did ever professedly decline it ; I never knew of any business, (except perhaps by hearsay) relating to those sad distractions, between the King and Parliament, until they came to be opened in the House ; I never knew of the intention of bringing the King to Westminster, till he was brought; much less did I know that the end of his bringing was to take away his life ; I never knew of that intention, except what my own fears might suggest unto me, until the Bill was brought into the House to erect a High Court of Justice (as it was called) for his trial ; and therefore I was much perplexed and astonished when it was read. When the Bill was committed, I was not of the Committee, though it was numerous, nor was I ever at that Committee, though it sat very publickly in the Speaker's lodgings : When the Committee had order to bring in names for Judges, my name was not put in till after the amendments were reported, and upon a second commitment ; and then upon an unhappy occasion, passing through the Speaker's chambers, when the Committee was not sitting, I saw two or three Members, whose names I well remember, were in consultation at the table, and as I passed by them, one of them said, this gentleman's name is not inserted, and called to me, and said, Sir, you must make one in this great business ; I flatly gave my denial, and said, I could not serve them in it ; it was replied, that with my good favour, I must take my share : After the Bill was passed, and the Judges summoned to meet in the Painted Chamber, by express order of the House, all were enjoined to attend : And thus, through weakness and fear, I was insnared.
I shall forbear to mention many passages betwixt myself and other members, at several times, when I met with them, because I fear to be over tedious, though they would much make for my clearing ; and therefore I do now humbly come to relate my own demeanour the last day the King appeared at the Court.
When the Court was set, and the King brought, the President told him, that he had been charged with treason, perjury, murther, and other high crimes, committed against the people of this nation, and that he had refused to give an answer to the charge, demurring to the jurisdiction of the Court; that he had been told, the Court was satisfied oftheir own jurisdiction, and that he was not to be the Judge of it ; and that
Account of the Death of Charles I. 37
he had had several days given him for consideration ; and that this was the last day the Court would demand of him, whether he would answer to the charge or not ; if not, the Court would take the whole charge, Pro Confesso, and would proceed to judgment; or words to this effect. The King, with such undaunted composedness and wisdom, as I never beheld in man, made answer to this effect : That he could not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Court ; he acknowledged they had power enough indeed, but where is your authority ? Yet, said he, because I see you are ready to give a sentence, and that such a sentence may sooner be repented of, than revoked ; and that the peace of the nation may so much depend upon it, I think fit to let you know, that I desire to speak with my Parliament, for I have something to offer unto them which will be satisfactory to you all, and will be for the present settlement of the nation. The President regarded not these gracious expressions, but told him, he could take no notice of any thing he said, save only to demand once again, whether he would answer to his charge or not.
Then the King, not in passion, but with the greatest earnestness of affection, desired the Court, that they would once more consider of it; for, said he, you may live to repent of such a sentence ; and therefore desired they would withdraw but for half an hour ; or, said he, if that be too much trouble for you, I will withdraw, and passionately moved his body.
The President was not affected with all this, but commanded the clerk to read the sentence ; God knows I lie not, my heart was.ready to burst within me ; and as it fell out, sitting on the next seat to Cromwel, he perceived some discomposure in me, and turned to me and said, what ails thee, art thou mad, canst thou not sit still, and be quiet ? I answered, quiet ? No, Sir, I cannot be quiet ; and then I presently stood up, and with an audible voice, said, My Lord President, I am not satisfied to give my consent to this sentence, but have reasons to offer to you against it ; and therefore I desire the Court may adjourn to hear me. Then the President stood up and said, nay, if any member of the Court be unsatisfied, then the Court must adjourn, and accordingly did adjourn into the inner Court of Wards.
When the Court was set there, all but members and some officers being turned out, I was called by Cromwel, to give an account, why I had put this trouble and disturbance upon the Court ? I answered, and so near as possibly I can, after so great an elapse of time, I will set down my very syllabical expressions : My Lord President, I should have been very glad, that his Majesty would have condescended to these expressions long before this time ; I say, I should have been glad of it, both for his own sake and for ours ; but, Sir, to me they are not too late, but welcome now ; for, Sir, God knows I desire not the King's death, but his life ; all that I thirst after, is the settlement of the nation in peace : His Majesty now doth offer it, and in order to it desires to speak with his Parliament ; should you give sentence of
Account of the Death of Charles I. 38
death upon him, before you have acquainted the Parliament with his offers, in my humble opinion, your case will be much altered, and you will do the greatest action upon the greatest disadvantage imaginable, and I know not how ever you will be able to answer it.
Cromwel in some scornful wrath stood up and answered me, so near as I can remember in these words, My Lord President, you see what weighty reasons this gentleman hath produced, that should move him to put this trouble upon you ; surely this gentleman doth not know, he hath to deal with the hardest hearted man upon the earth ; however, Sir, it is not the single opinion of one peevish tenacious man, that must sway the Court, or deter them from their duty in so great a business ; and I wish his conscience doth not tell him, what ever he pretends of dissatisfaction, that he only would save his old master ; therefore, Sir, I pray you lose no more time, but return to the Court and do your duty.
Not one soul would second me nor speak one word, yet I knew divers by name ; Sir John Bourcher, Mr. Dixwel, Mr. Love, Mr. Waite, and some others were much unsatisfied, yet durst not speak ; but on the contrary divers members took their turns with me in private discourse ; Cromwel himself whispered me in the ear, and said, by this and Mr. Fries business he was satisfied, I aimed at nothing but making a mutiny in the army, and cutting of throats ; another told me the generations to come would have cause to curse my actings ; and another, which sunk deepest of all, told me that if I were in my wits I would never have done this, seeing I was before, as indeed I was acquainted, that the King to save his life, would make these offers, but it would be as much as my life were worth to make any disturbance ; and besides, said he, it is not in the power of man, nor of, this Parliament to save his life, for the whole army are resolved, that if there be but any check or demur in giving judgment, they will immediately fall upon him and hew him to pieces, and the House itself will not be out of danger.
To those whose height would permit me to speak and make replies, I told them, to me it was evident, the Parliament expected some such offers from the King, why else did they make that order, that upon any emergency which could not be thought of, that the Court should immediately acquaint the House therewith : And there was such an. order entered and to be seen in the books, if he,* who in appearance ordered all matters, hath not torn that order out, as I have heard he hath done all the rest of the proceedings ; and inferred, what greater emergencies could be, than that the King demurred to the jurisdiction of the Court, and yet desired to speak with the Parliament, and offered to do that which would be satisfaction to all, especially seeing, as was pretended that his denying to do such things, was the ground which forced such a proceeding with him. And so without any more,
Account of the Death of Charles I. 39
debate they returned to the Court, and I left them and went into the Speaker's chamber, and there with tears eased my heart. The effect and substance of this narration is true, and so near as I can remember, the very words and circumstances, and it was so notorious and publick, that I hope God will stir up some worthy persons, though I have been careless not doing the same in design to attest the truth of the chief parts hereof; but for any thing else relating to that business, I utterly deny and protest against it, nor did I ever give them one meeting more, but wholly from that time deserted them, though I was often summoned to meet them in the Painted Chamber ; and I hope persons of so great wisdom and goodness, will suffer compassions to rise within them, and will look back unto those times wherein it was criminal for a man but to whisper a word of respect to his Majesty ; and my very subsistence was by an office upon which I had laid out almost my whole estate ; and as this relation shews, I am but a weak imprudent man, yet I did what I could, I did my best, I could do no more ; I was single, I was alone, only I ought not to have been there at all ; I acknowledge myself to have highly offended and need pardon, and do humbly and professedly lay hold on his sacred Majesty's gracious pardon ; and humbly implore the high and honourable Parliament's pardon also. I did not only forbear, but abhorred to buy one pennyworth of the King's goods, or one foot of his lands, though it is known I had as much or more opportunity than any other man, and perhaps more temptations to have allured me than most other men had ; I have neither taken advantage nor grown rich, nor have had remuneration or allowances for any Parliamentary services or employments, as many others had, though it is well known what burthens have been laid upon me : The truth of this will be found, when books and treasuries shall be searched into ; I may truly say, I have wore out myself, lost my office, robbed my relations, and now am ruined ; and my estate when searched into, will not be found as perhaps may be supposed ; I have a poor wife big with child, and eight children besides, and most of them very small, who already are forced to live upon charity, all my estate being seized on ; I was the only member in the House that was prevailed with, to deliver Mr. Love's wife's petition for saving of his life, and so managed it, that the House divided upon the question, and lost it but by three voices, and I did not a little contribute to the saving of the lives of Mr. Jackson, and Mr. Jenkins, Ministers, who were in Mr. Love's condition ; I have not been cruel to any, and I hope God will incline the hearts of his sacred Majesty, and the High Court of Parliament to be merciful to me and mine.
Letter from King Philip to Governour Prince. 40
A Letter from King Philip to Governour Prince.
Copied from the original, which belongs to Mr. White of Plymouth ; the words are spelt as in the original letter.
KING Philip desire to let you understand that he could not come to the Court, for Tom, his interpreter, has a pain in his back, that he could not travil so far, and Philip sister is very sik.
Philip would intreat that favor of you, and aney of the majestrats, if aney English or Engians speak about aney land, he preay you to give them no ansewer at all. This last sumer he maid that promis with you, that he would not sell no land in 7 years time, nor that he would have no English trouble him before that time, he has not forgot that you promis him.
He will come a sune as posible he can to speak with you, and so I rest, your verey loveing friend, Philip, dwelling at mount hope nek.
To the much honered
Governer, Mr. Thomas Prince, dewlling at Plimoth.
[There is no date to the letter. It was probably written about 1660 or 70.]
AN HISTORICAL JOURNAL
The following Journal contains a brief detail of the principal events which occasioned the Revolution in America, and which took place during the War, which ended in its Independence. The facts were collected by a gentleman of information and judgment, and it is hoped that our readers will derive pleasure and improvement from its perusal.
AFTER the peace of 1763 had taken place, between England and France, the counsels of Mr. Pitt (afterwards Earl of Chatham) being rejected ; Lord Bute and his coadjutor were introduced into the British Administration, under the auspices of King George the third. A new system of Colonial Government was contemplated, and a plan for raising a revenue in America was brought forward, by George Grenville, (commonly called Lord George Grenville) then at the head of the British Finances. It was reported to Parliament, and had their approbation, and an Act was passed for this purpose, in 1763, called the "Stamp Act" by which no instruments were valid in law, unless written on stamped papers, on which a duty was laid. It received the royal assent, and was sent over to the Colonies, to be put in execution by stamp officers appointed in each Colony.
The Colonists disallowed the right of Parliament to impose taxes upon them without their consent, and while they continued unrepresented in Parliament; taxation and representation in their view being inseparably connected in the British Constitution.
To enforce the operation of their unconstitutional Acts, Parliament ordered a naval and military force to rendezvous at Boston, in Massachusetts Bay. General Gage, who had succeeded to the government of it, detached some of the troops into the country, to seize provincial stores. This detachment commenced hostilities at Lexington, in that Province, which afterwards spread through the United Colonies ; and issued in the dismemberment of thirteen of them from the Crown of Great Britain.
N. B. A PARTICULAR narration of the publick transactions at the rise of the troubles in America, and the commencement of hostilities in the (then province now) Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is contained in a manuscript, entitled "Memoirs of the revolution of Massachusetts Bay," in a series of letters, which, on suitable encouragement, will probably be published in a separate volume. The occurrences, therefore, in the Massachusetts are only noted at their respective dates in the following Journal. And a detail is here given of the principal events in the other States of the Union.
AN HISTORICAL JOURNAL
THE first publick opposition to acts of Parliament in Boston was on this day. 1765. In the morning some pageantry was discovered to be suspended on liberty tree (so called) at the south part of the town. A promiscuous multitude assembled at the close of the day, cut down the pageantry, and carried it through the streets of the town ; demolished a small edifice, and damaged the gardens of Andrew Oliver, Esq. (then Secretary of the Province) who had accepted the office of a Stamp Master. The effigies were then consumed in a bonfire on Fort Hill. Aug. 14. This day Parliament repeal the Stamp Act, and pass the Declaratory Act, in which they assert, "They have a right to bind the Colonies in all cases whatsoever." The despotism discovered in this act alarmed all the Colonies, who afterwards united for their common defence. 1766. Mar. 18. Parliament passed an act imposing a duty to be paid by the Colonists, on paper, glass, painters' colours, and teas imported into the Colonies. 1767. William Burch and Henry Hulton, Esqrs. two of the five Commissioners of the Customs, arrived at Boston. They are appointed to reside in the capital of Massachusetts Bay, to receive and distribute the revenue. Novem. The Massachusetts Circular Letter to the sister Colonies stating their grievances, and requesting them to harmonize with them in decent and probable measures to obtain redress, which gave umbrage to the British administration, bears this date. 1768.
The first seizure made by the Commissioners of the Customs was in Boston ; being a wine vessel belonging to John Hancock, Esq. then an eminent merchant in the town. The circumstances that attended this seizure occasioned much commotion and disorder for a short time. June 10. Governour Bernard dissolved the Massachusetts General Court, being the punishment Lord Hillsborough instructed him to inflict, if they would not rescind the Circular Letter. Aug, 4. The Boston merchants agree not to import any more British goods, till the Revenue Act is repealed. August.