History of the United States - Colonial History

NORTH AMERICA, with the exception of Mexico, was not colonized by Europeans so early as the southern part of the Continent. The discoveries of Cabot, A. D. 1497, had given England a valid claim to the whole coast from Labrador to Florida; but the country presented none of the allurements that had incited and rewarded the Spanish adventurers. Fertile and well wooded, indeed, intersected by noble rivers, and inclosing safe and capacious harbors and bays, it seemed a promising region for permanent settlements and agricultural industry, but offered only a faint prospect of wealth to be obtained from gold and silver mines, or from plundering the native inhabitants. A party of French Huguenots attempted to colonize Florida; but the Spaniards, who claimed the country, surprised the infant settlement, and massacred nearly all its inhabitants, not sparing even the women and children, A. D. 1564. This slaughter was soon avenged by a Frenchman, Dominique de Gourges, who captured Fort Carolina, where the victors had established themselves, and hanged all his prisoners; but he made no attempt to form another colony, and did not even disturb the little Spanish city of St. Augustine, which remained, but did not flourish, as the only permanent settlement of Europeans on the coast north of the Gulf of Mexico during the sixteenth century.

The English, under the direction of Sir Walter Raleigh and his halfbrother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, attempted to create a settlement on the coast of what was subsequently called North Carolina. Three parties of colonists were sent thither, A. D. 15834587, but they were few in number, and ill provided with necessaries; one returned, and the other two perished, either from starvation or the hostility of the natives. Early in the seventeenth century, the French, under de Monts and Champlain, explored the country around the Bay of Fundy and that bordering on the St. Lawrence, laying claim to Acadie (Nova Scotia) and Canada, which together were called New France. In 1609, the Dutch sent out Henry Hudson, who explored the American coast for a considerable distance, entered New York harbor, and sailed up the river which now bears his name. Stimulated by a feeling of rivalry with the French, the English renewed their attempts at colonization on a larger scale. James I granted the whole country, from Cape Fear to Passamaquoddy Bay, to two companies of merchants and adventurers. The southern portion, from the thirty-fourth to the forty-first degree of latitude, was given to the London Company; and the northern part, from the thirty-eighth to the forty-fifth degree, was to be colonized by the Plymouth Company.

VIRGINIA. The first band of colonists sent out by the London Company, A. D. 1607, established themselves on a spot which they called Jamestown, on the James river, about fifty miles above its entrance into Chesapeake Bay. The direction of affairs had been given to a council, consisting of seven persons, nominated by the Company in England. John Smith, a military adventurer of great courage, enterprise, and sagacity, was one of them; and the incompetency of his colleagues soon becoming manifest, he gradually assumed the lead, and several times rescued the feeble settlements from the imminent perils of savage warfare and famine. Half of the emigrants perished during the first six months; and if the colony had, not been fed by frequent supplies of food and additional settlers from England, the enterprise must soon have been abandoned. In spite of Smith's remonstrances, the settlers wasted their time in seeking for gold and silver., instead of cultivating the ground; and they actually sent a vessel to Eng land laden with dirt, in which glittering specks had been discovered, which they mistook for gold. Smith explored the country, and coasted the bay in an open boat, entering the principal rivers and inlets, and thus obtaining the requisite information for the construction of a chart, which was transmitted to England and published. In one of these expeditions, he fell into the hands of the savages, and was on the point of being put to death, when he was rescued by the chieftain's daughter, Pocahontas, and after an imprisonment of a few weeks, was sent back to James town. But the colony was soon deprived of his invaluable services; in 1609, he was severely injured by the accidental explosion of his powder bag, and was compelled to return to England for surgical aid. After his departure, the affairs of the colony again declined, and the settlers more than once determined to abandon the undertaking, and return home. But they were prevented by the seasonable arrival of ships, bringing fresh supplies and a reinforcement of men, whose broken fortunes in their native land made them eager to brave the perils of a desperate enterprise. Thus often rescued from the brink of ruin, the colony struggled on, till its members at last became inured to their novel situation, and acquired the habits of life which alone could meet its exigencies. Novel recruits were sent out from time to time to keep up their numbers. In 1619, ninety young women arrived, of irreproachable character, who were sold at the price of their passage, to become wives to the planters. Many cargoes of vagrants, thieves, and jail-birds also came, to serve as indented servants for a term of years, and afterwards to become free colonists. Then a more lasting impression was made on the future character and fortunes of the settlement by the introduction of twenty negro slaves, who were brought by a Dutch trading vessel, and readily purchased by the settlers. Tobacco had now become the staple product of the colony, and slaves were profitably employed in its cultivation.

The savages had occasionally given much trouble, and in 1622, they were nearly successful in a plot which they had formed for the entire destruction of the settlements. In one day, they killed three hundred and forty-seven of the whites. A furious war succeeded, in which the Indians, indeed, were defeated and driven back with great slaughter, so that they never became formidable a g ain. But the colony had received a fearful blow, from which it recovered with slowness and difficulty. The number of settlements was reduced from eighty to eight, and a famine ensued that destroyed many lives. The first colonial assembly was called by Governor Yeardley in 1619, and two years afterwards, a special ordinance confirmed the right of holding such a local legislature.

The proceedings of the Company in England had now awakened the jealousy of the crown; and these misfortunes gave King James the pretext that he wanted for depriving them of their charter, and taking the government into his own hands. Of course, it was administered on the arbitrary principles which were then in favor at court. Complete legislative and executive power was given to a governor and council of twelve persons, all nominated by the crown; and this power was tyrannically exercised. Yet the General Assembly, though not formally authorized, was still permitted° to meet, though it was much restricted in the exercise of its functions. At one time, in 1635, the patience of the settlers gave way, and they seized their governor, Sir John Harvey, and sent him a prisoner to England to answer for his misconduct. With the native obstinacy of his character, Charles I resented this act as savoring of audacity and rebellion, and sent back the obnoxious governor, with a fresh commission, under which he ruled more tyrannically than ever. Still, the prevailing sentiment in the colony was eminently loyal, and during the English Civil War, they took sides, as long as they durst, with the king, against the Parliament. Many of the settlers were decayed gentlemen and unportioned sons of noble families, in whose minds the prejudices of rank were rather heightened than diminished by the want of fortune. The Church of England was established by law, regular stipends being allotted to its ministers in every parish, and the preachers of any other persuasion were not allowed to exercise their functions. The English law of primogeniture and entail regulated the descent of property; and the wealthier colonists, directing the labor of many indented servants and slaves, lived apart on their plantations, affecting something of the state of a landed aristocracy. After the ruin of the king's cause at home, in 1645, many of the disbanded cavaliers found refuge in Virginia, bringing with them their sentiment of chivalrous attachment to Church and King.

In 1671, Governor Berkeley estimated the population of the colony at 40,000, including 2,000 negro slaves, and 6,000 indented white servants. The character of his administration may be inferred from a communication made by him, this year, to the English Privy Council. t I thank God,' he wrote, there are no free schools or printing, and I hope we shall not have any these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both!' Yet a few years afterwards, discontent had become so general that a rebellion broke out, and for a few months the insurgents had entire control of the government. Nathaniel Bacon, a young lawyer, distinguished for his talents and activity, was the popular leader in this movement.

In the midst of his successes, Bacon was suddenly taken sick and died; and no proper person being found to take his place, the army was dispersed, and the insurrection abandoned. Berkeley punished the rebels with great rigor, some of their leaders being condemned and executed and others were sentenced to pay heavy fines, He then went to England, where, instead of the praise and rewards that he expected, he was severely censured for his cruelty. He died a few months afterwards, as it was reported, of chagrin. An act of general pardon and oblivion was sent out from England, and other mild and popular measures soon wiped out the memory of Bacon's rebellion. Needy and covetous governors still provoked occasional discontent; but the spirit of the people was eminently loyal, so that they were tardy and reluctant to acknowledge the revolution of 1688, and only after repeated commands was a proclamation issued announcing the succession of William and Mary to the English throne.

Far different was the character of the emigrants who founded the New England Colonies, under grants from the Plymouth Company. These were Puritans of the straitest sect, Independents in their notions of Church government, and now fast verging toward republicanism, in consequence of their long continued opposition to the constituted authorities of Church and State at home. The intolerant spirit of the English hierarchy and the arbitrary proceedings of the court made their residence in England uncomfortable, if not perilous; and they looked to voluntary exile for deliverance. A company of them, under the Rev. John Robinson as pastor, and William Brewster as ruling elder, embarked for Holland in 1608, carrying their wives, children, and little property along with them. They were kindly received by the Dutch, who were Protestants, and they remained over ten years in peace at Leyden. But Puritans as they were, they were still Englishmen; they disliked the sound of a foreign language, and the prospect that their children would ,intermarry with the Dutch, and forget their English parentage and the customs of their forefathers. The greater part of them, therefore, determined to emigrate to America, and for this purpose, returned first to England, where they easily procured the promise of a grant of land from the London Company, as they intended to establish themselves within what were then the limits of Virginia. They sailed from Plymouth in the ship Mayflower, and after a tedious and stormy voyage of over two months, arrived at Cape Cod, nearly two degrees north of the place they had aimed at. The lateness of the season, however, the the fatigues of the voyage, and the perils of coasting along a shore which had been but imperfectly explored, preventing them from putting to sea again, they sought a spot for their settlement in that neighborhood. But as they were then without the limits of the Virginia Company, and the Crown had refused to grant them a charter, they deemed it necessary, be-. fore leaving the vessel, to sign an agreement, promising to submit to what ever 'just and equal laws and ordinances might be thought convenient for the general good.' They selected Plymouth, which offered a tolerable good harbor in the southwestern part of Massachusetts Bay, as a suitable place for the commencement of a colony; and on the 22d of December, 1620, the PILGRIMS, as they might now well be termed, landed there, numbering only one hundred and one, including the women and children.

John Carver was chosen the first governer, and Miles Standish their military leader, as they had some apprehensions of the savages. Divided into nineteen families, they immediately began to fell trees and construct house s, in which to find shelter against the rigors of winter. But their exposure was necessarily great, and they had but a slender stock of provisions and other necessaries. Sickness came upon them, and during the first five months, they lost more than half of their number.

One of their associates, who had been left behind in England, obtained for them a grant of land from the Company which was now incorporated, under a new charter, as 'The Council established at Plymouth, in the County of Devon, (England,) for the Planting, Ruling, Ordering, and Governing of New England in America.' This grant authorized the colonists to choose a governor, council, and general court, for the enactment and execution of laws. Strictly speaking, however, the Company had no right to give them any thing more than the property of the soil. A charter from the Crown was necessary to complete their political organization; and this they never obtained. But the necessity of the case compelled them to act as if they had received full powers; and their remoteness and insignificance prevented the authorities at home from questioning their right. The agreement which they had signed on board the Mayflower was the basis of their legislation; and for some time, all the settlers came together in a general assembly, to enact the necessary laws. Thus, in its origin, the colony was the purest democracy on earth. Time showed the inconveniences of such an arrangement, and the legislative power was then delegated to an Assembly, composed of representatives from the several towns. Land and other property were at first held in common, the Company in England being entitled to a specified share of the total profits. But this experiment turned out like the similar one in Virginia; finding that industry was discouraged by it, the Colonists succeeded in purchasing, on credit, the share of the London partners. A division was then made of the land and movable property, and henceforth each one reaped the fruits of his own toil. The people were united in religious faith, and wished not to be disturbed by theological controversies; so, when one Lyford, a clergyman of the Church of England, was sent out to them as a suitable pastor, in place of Robinson, who had died at Leyden, they refused him, and exercised their undoubted right of ownership of the soil, by expelling him, and two who adhered to him, Oldham and Conant, from their territory. These banished persons established themselves at Nantasket, just beyond the limits of the Plymouth colonists. The soil around Plymouth was thin and poor, and the people had brought but few worldly goods along with them; thus, the progress of the settlement was slow. Some of their old companions, who had been left behind in Holland, now came out to join them; and a few others, attracted by similarity of worship, and by the prospect of driving a little traffic in fish and peltry, were added to their number. But ten years after the landing at Plymouth, the population numbered only three hundred. Their territory, indeed, was but small, being bounded on the land side by a line drawn northerly from the mouth of Narraganset river, till it met one carried westerly from Cohasset rivulet, 'at the utter most limits of a place called Pocanoket.'

But encouraged by the growth of this colony, feeble as it was, the Council of New England proceeded to make lavish grants of their remaining lands, and to send out other bands of emigrants, taking little care to define the boundaries of the new grants, or to avoid ceding to one company or individual the very tract already bestowed upon another. This negligence was the cause of much subsequent dispute and difficulty. A few persons also established themselves at various points along the coast, who had no formal title to any land, but who were afterwards generally admitted to have an imperfect right, founded on occupancy and prescription. Some few fishing settlements were thus established; but their inhabitants had not the disposition to toil, the habits of order and self-denial, or the indomitable perseverance which characterized the Puritans. All their establishments were subsequently absorbed by the Massachusetts colony, which became the chief agent in the settlement of New England.

The persecution of all who would not conform to the Established Church still continuing in England, and king Charles having avowed his purpose to govern without a Parliament, many of the wealthier class of Puritans now determined to emigrate to America. A company was formed at the instigation of Mr. White, a clergyman of Dorchester; among its members were John Humphrey and Isaac Johnson, two brothers-in-law of the Earl of Lincoln, John Winthrop, a gentleman of landed property in Suffolk, Sir Richard Saltonstall, John Endicott, Thomas Dudley, William Coddington, Richard Bellingham, Matthew Cradock, and other merchants and lawyers of wealth and influence in London and some of the northern and midland counties. They obtained from the Council for New England a grant of a tract of land, bounded by two parallel lines running westward to the Pacific Ocean, one drawn three miles north of any part of the Merrimac river, and the other, three miles south of any portion of the Charles. Soon afterwards, their organization was completed by a charter from the Crown, which incorporated them under the title of the 'Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England,' with power to admit what new members or freemen they might choose. They were supposed to be a private trading corporation, resident in England, where they were to make laws and regulations for the government of their colony in America. A governor, deputy-governor, and eighteen assistants were to have the management of their affairs; and these officers were to be chosen, and all important laws enacted, at a Great and General Court' of all the freemen, to be held quarterly. A company of sixty or seventy persons, under John Endicott, were sent out in 1628, who commenced a settlement at Salem; and these were followed, the next year, by six ships, bringing about two hundred colonists, of whom many were indented servants, together with a stock of cattle and other necessaries. It was soon manifest, however, that a colony, to be prosperous, must have the management of its own affairs, without being obliged to wait for orders from a distance. John Winthrop and many other leading stockholders offered to emigrate, if they were allowed to carry the charter and the government along with them. The legality of such a measure was at least doubtful; but the urgency of the case removed all scruple, and the colonists probably hoped that the remoteness of their new home would screen their procedings from public notice. New officers were therefore chosen from those who were disposed to emigrate; and in 1630, a fleet of fifteen ships, equipped at an expense of £20,000, sailed from the Isle of Wight, having on board Winthrop and. Dudley as governor and deputy-governor, together with most of the assistants, and a company of about one thousand persons. They began a settlement at Charlestown, but soon removed to the neighboring peninsula of Trimountain, which they named Boston, after the English town whence some of the chief emigrants came. The hardships of the first winter, which was a severe one, caused disease to break out among them, and over two hundred died, among whom were Isaac Johnson, and his wife, Arabella. But after this period, the order and industry which prevailed in the colony, the commencement of trade with Virginia and the Dutch at Manhattan (New York), and the rapid influx of settlers, driven away from England by the religious and political persecution which still raged there, laid the foundations of steady growth and permanent prosperity. During the first ten years after the settlement of Massachusetts, about twenty-five thou sand persons left their native land to find a home in New England.

The government of the colony was theocratic in many of its features, modified at first by an aristocratic or patriarchal element, which was soon eliminated, however, by the force of circumstances, that set strongly towards republican institutions. The few men of wealth and consideration, who were the leaders of the emigration, naturally strove to retain the chief power and influence in their own hands, and to govern according to their notions of what religion and the word of God required; and in this attempt they were strongly seconded by the ministers of the churches. At first, the people, with the instinctive respect of Englishmen for rank and station, gave way to them, and conferred the whole power of legislation on the governor and the assistants, who were familiarly known as 'the magistrates.'

Even a council for life at one time was instituted, but it continued only for a few years, and the freemen also resumed the power of enacting laws. Still, they were moderate in the exercise of their functions; and persons once chosen to the board of magistrates were usually reappointed, no one being left out but for some extraordinary cause. Purity of faith and worship was the chief motive for establishing the colony. The people wished to be free, not only from persecution, but from the presence of other sects and from theological controversies. Only such persons were to be admitted to be freemen, or voters, as those who were already freemen should designate; and this privilege was soon confined by law to those who were members of the churches. But as there was little difference among them in point of religious opinion, and as most of the adult males, or at least, nearly all the heads of families, were church members, this exclusive privilege created no general discontent. The magistrates exercised their large powers resolutely to keep out heretics and schismatics, and to maintain religious worship and practice in all their purity. Those who did not agree with them were required to go elsewhere, and establish a colony for themselves. Roger Williams, and some followers of Mrs. Hutchinson, did so, and founded a new settlement in Rhode Island. Others took refuge in New Hampshire; but Massachusetts claimed the land there as a part of her own territory, and from 1640 to 1680, the claim was made good. A few Quakers gave great annoyance by their fanatical and outrageous conduct; they were once and again dismissed, with threats in case they returned. They did come again, and then three of them were hanged. The magistrates, on this occasion, published a defense of their conduct, dwelling especially on the case of Mary Dyre, who was a third comer, and had been once reprieved when already on the gallows, as a proof they desired, not the death, but the absence, of the Quakers. Some adherents of the Church of England, who had come out without invitation to join them, were summarily sent back to the mother country. Two hundred years ago, the principles of religious toleration were but little understood; yet as the Company owned the territory, and had emigrated for the avowed purpose of forming a religious community by themselves, it is perhaps harsh in us to charge them with intolerance. They had a right to expel intruders.

Of course, great severity of manners and punctiliousness of religious observances were enjoined. Various sumptuary laws were enacted; the Sabbath was observed with Jewish strictness; blasphemy, witchcraft, and adultery, were punished with death; slanderers were whipt, cropped, and banished. But except in these particulars, and a few others of no great importance, the Mosaic law was not established in the colony. The people had good sense enough to see that it was not adapted to the circumstances and the times. No restriction was imposed upon them except that contained in the Charter, that no laws should be made repugnant to the laws of England; and this was construed, very liberally, to mean that no part of the English law was in force there till it was expressly reenacted. At first the magistrates governed without any other rule than their own sense of right and their interpretation of the law of God. But the people becoming jealous of so large a discretion, a code, or Body of Liberties,' was established in 1641, consisting of one hundred articles, drawn up with singular brevity and clearness, embracing many of the best and most liberal provisions of the English Common Law, and, in some respects, in advance both of English and American law of the present day. This code became the basis of legislation, not only in Massachusetts, but throughout New England, the other colonies adopting many of its most important provisions. in one important respect, the Mosaic rule was followed in preference to the English law; the estates of persons dying without a will were divided equally among the children, except that the eldest son received a double share. This law, favoring the distribution rather than the aggregation of property, made the establishment of a territorial aristocracy impossible, kept up the idea of equality among the people, and tended strongly to the development of republican sentiments.

Another circumstance, which silently fostered the democratic spirit of the people, was the great extent of their territory in comparison with their numbers, and the disposition that has characterized them from that day to this, to spread themselves over the face of the country, instead of remaining together on one spot. When as yet they were only a few hundred in number, instead of seeking protection against the savages and other perils of the wilderness by union and concentration, they colonized a dozen or twenty distinct townships, the extremes of which were some thirty miles apart. Eight townships were represented in a General Court held only two years after Winthrop landed; and before the colony was ten years old, or contained in all more than 15,000 settlers, at least twenty distinct settlements were formed. But the most remarkable instance of this tendency to segregation took place as early as 1634, when Mr. Hooker and his whole church at Newtown petitioned for leave to remove to Connecticut, the avowed reason for this step being the want of pasturage for their cattle; and it was alleged by Mr. Hooker as a fundamental error, that the towns were set so near to each other.' The settlements being thus scattered, and the colony as a whole being imperfectly organized, each town was obliged from the first to direct its own expenditures and manage its own affairs. The inhabitants held town-meetings, levied taxes to provide for their common wants, chose executive officers, afterwards termed selectmen, and in fact created a little republic nearly complete in organization. It is now generally admitted, that the tone of American politics and the general character of American institutions have been more controlled by the influences of the township-system of New England than by all other causes united.

In the main, also, there was great equality among the colonists in point of fortune and social position. Many English gentlemen and wealthy merchants, as we have seen, favored the emigration, and some embarked in it. But the happy and the powerful do not often go into exile, and the perils and hardships of a home in the wilderness prevented many persons of wealth from joining in the enterprise, and caused others to leave it after a brief sojourn. in New England. Humphrey, Saltonstall, Vance and Vassal returned to their native land after a short stay, and the Johnsons died. The great bulk of the colonists were middling and lower classes of English society; very few were wealthy, nearly all were dependent on the labor of their hands. Equality of social claims was the natural basis of equality of political rights. There was a germ of republicanism in the colony from, the outset, - a natural tendency towards universal eligibility and universal suffrage.

The first care of the settlers of Massachusetts was to provide for universal education and worship. The several townships that were organized were so many distinct churches, which admitted their own members, chose their own pastors, and managed their own affairs. Each town, either by levying a tax or by voluntary contributions, provided buildings for public worship and salaries for their ministers. When Boston was but six years old, the General Court passed an order, appropriating a sum, equal to the amount raised by a year's taxation to defray all the public expenditures of the colony, for the establishment of a college at Newtown; and two years afterwards, John Harvard, a clergyman of Charlestown, bequeathing half of his estate for the same object, Harvard College was founded. Free schools were established in several of the towns; and in 1649, a general system of popular education was established throughout the colony, each township being required to maintain a free school for reading and writing, and every town of a hundred householders a grammar school, 'to fit youths for the university.' The preamble of this law declares that the motive for passing it was to provide that learning may not be buried in the grave of our fathers,' - ' it being one chief project of that old deluder, Sathan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures as in former times keeping them in an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by persuading men from the use of tongues.' The grim Puritan of those days believed his child's soul would be in danger if he were not enabled to read the Bible for himself; and thus care for general education naturally grew out of care for the interests of religion. As the democratic spirit spread among the people, they reclaimed the legislative authority for them selves; and a body of representatives, consisting of two or three delegates from each town, were united with the magistrate' for the purpose of enacting laws. At first, the representatives sat and voted in the same chamber with the assistants; but in 1644, a division was made, and the two classes afterwards formed separate houses of legislation.

During the first few years in the history of the settlement, the Indians had given no cause for alarm. Just before the arrival of the whites, a contagious disease had raged among the native tribes, nearly exterminating some of them, so that the territory seemed providentially left vacant for occupation by the English. But as the white settlements increased in number, the jealousy of the Indians was aroused; and in 1637, the Pequods, a tribe dwelling on the banks of what is now called the Thames river, Connecticut, began hostilities. But as they were yet very imperfectly provided with fire-arms, they formed but a contemptible enemy. A band of eighty men, under Captain Mason, were sent against them, who, with the aid of a few friendly Indians, attacked their palisadoed village in the gray of the morning, forced their way into it, set fire to the wigwams, and killed about six hundred of the savages. The next month, another band attacked the remainder of the tribe, who had taken refuge in a swamp, killed many of them, and took about two hundred prisoners, who were afterwards kept as slaves, a portion being sent to the West Indies to be sold. The few who escaped found a home among the Narraganset and Mohegan Indians, and the Pequod tribe ceased to exist.

To guard against the dangers apprehended not only from the Indians, but from the Dutch and the French, a confederacy was formed in 1643, between the four colonies of Masachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven, to form rules for regulating intercourse with the savages, and to render mutual aid if a war should break out. In consequence of this union, the whites became more respected and feared by the native tribes, several of whom sought their alliance and protection. But in 1675, Philip of Mount Hope, a chief of the Wampanoags in Rhode Island, began hostilities, in which he was soon joined by nearly all the native tribes in New England. The Indians were now well supplied with fire-arms, and were expert in the arts of ambush and forest warfare, in which as yet the whites were very deficient. A fearful contest ensued, which brought all the white settlements to the verge of destruction. It lasted nearly a year, in the course of which, upwards of two thousand Indians were killed or taken, and some of the New England tribes were exterminated. The whites suffered terribly; twelve or thirteen of their towns were entirely ruined, six hundred houses had been burned, and about six hundred men had fallen in battle. No assistance was received from England, and the expenses of the war burdened Massachusetts with a heavy debt. But henceforward, no great danger was apprehended from the Indians, except when they acted as allies of the French.

Frequent complaints were, made to the Privy Council in England, that the acts of trade were generally disregarded by Massachusetts, and that the conduct and laws of the colony in many other respects were in violation of the charter and subversive of the authority of the crown. Commissioners were sent out to make inquiries respecting these subjects of complaint. But the breach was only widened by this measure, as the commissioners were captious and insolent in their language and conduct, and the General Court was obstinate and not over respectful. Charles II, had just triumphed after a long contest with the popular party at home, had taken away the franchises of the city of London, and confiscated the charters of nearly all the boroughs in the realm, was in no humor to be bearded by a few daring sectaries in New England. Legal proceedings were instituted, and before Massachusetts could engage counsel in her defense, judgment was entered by default, and the charter declared to be forfeited. The government of the colony was thus thrown entirely into the hands of the king; and James II, who had now come to the throne, appointed Sir Edmund Andros to be governor of all New England, the charters of the other colonies being either forfeited or in abeyance. The popular legislative assemblies were dissolved, and Sir Edmund, with authority to appoint and remove the members of his council at pleasure, enacted laws and governed as he saw fit. For more than two years, his yoke was heavy upon the necks of the people. Then came a rumor that a revolution had taken place in England, and that the Prince of Orange already was, or would soon be, on the throne, in place of the deposed James II; and without waiting to learn whether it was any thing more than a rumor, the inhabitants of Boston seized their arms, imprisoned Andros and his chief adherents, and reinstated their beloved charter government, with the venerable Simon Bradstreet at its head, April, 1689. Then ensued a negotiation with the government of William and Mary, for the restoration of the old charter. But the king and his ministers were determined to strengthen the royal prerogative, and they would only offer a new charter, far less liberal in its provisions than the old one, with the significant intimation that the colony might take that or none. Finding that they would otherwise be governed at the royal pleasure, the people very reluctantly accepted the new instrument, by which Plymouth and Maine were united to Massachusetts, and the appointment of the governor, secretary, and all admiralty officers was reserved to the crown. The governor might convoke and adjourn the General Court at pleasure; he had a negative upon the election of counsellors and the enactment of laws, and a right to nominate all judges and military officers. The laws were to be transmitted to England, even after he had sanctioned them; and if disapproved by the king within three years from the time of their enactment, they became void. The right of suffrage was no longer confined to church members, but was given to all who had 40 shillings income from freehold property, or 40 pounds of personal estate.

The first royal governor appointed was Sir William Phips, whose administration was distinguished only by the unhappy popular delusion, usually called the Salem Witchcraft, A. D. 1692. Some children were, or pretended to be, thrown into convulsions; and they accused certain persons of bewitching them. The mania spread; others declared that they were afflicted, pinched, and bruised, and when the witnesses and the accused were confronted in open court, the former seemed to be thrown into an agony and charged the latter with tormenting them by diabolical means. Every one against whom they cried out' was arrested, and the prisons were soon filled. Some weak-minded persons among the prisoners were persuaded or terrified into a confession of guilt, and then bore witness against others; and upon this accumulation of evidence, many were convicted. Twenty persons were hanged, among whom was Mr. Burroughs, a clergyman; and one old man, aged eighty years, was pressed to death. Many others were cried out against, and fled for their lives. At last, the extravagance of the evil began to work its cure. The witnesses accused some persons who stood so high in character and station, that the belief even of the credulous mob was shocked. A reaction took place, juries refused to convict, the jails were emptied, and some of the judges and those who had been active in the prosecutions made a public profession of their errors and their penitence.

Having sketched the history of Virginia, Plymouth, and Massachusetts, during the seventeenth century, a few words must suffice for the other Colonies. Roger Williams and some other religious exiles from Massachusetts, colonized RHODE ISLAND in 1638, having purchased the land of the Narraganset Indians. They obtained a patent from the Long Parliament six years afterwards, and in 1663, Charles II granted them a very liberal charter, under which they chose their own officers and enacted their' own laws with almost as much freedom as if they had been an independent republic. By the influence of Williams, perfect religious toleration was established in this Colony, men being held responsible for their religious opinions and practice only to their God. The territory of CONNECTICUT was granted, in 1630, to the Earl of Warwick, who soon assigned his right to Lord Say and Seale, Lord Brook, and others. Several settlements were formed on the Connecticut river, in 1635-6, by Mr. Hooker and other emigrants from Massachusetts, who at first acknowledged the authority of the Colony they had just left, but soon established a government for themselves, modeled on that of Massachusetts. Hartford was their chief town. About the same time, Lord Say and Seale with his associates sent over John Winthrop the younger, with instructions to build a fort at the mouth of the Connecticut, and erect buildings to accommodate such settlers as might come thither. This was the origin of Saybrook. In 1637, Mr. Davenport, with a company of emigrants, some of them men of wealth, arrived in New England, and after some hesitation as to the choice of a place, they founded a settlement at New Haven. They were rigid Puritans, who wished to establish a community conforming in all things to their peculiar principles. They admitted only church members to be free men, and resolved that the Word of God should be the only rule in their administration. The Dutch laid claim to the whole country, and the dispute between them and the English settlers was more than once on the verge of breaking out into open war. Charles II, soon after his restoration, granted to Connecticut a charter quite as liberal as that given to Rhode Island; but as this instrument brought together the two distinct settlements of Hartford and New Haven, the people of the latter place were very reluctant to accept it, and only yielded, after some years' delay, to the fear that a general governor might be sent out from England to rule them. From the period of this union, 1665, the progress of the Colony was steady and prosperous. The territory of NEW HAMPSHIRE was granted by the Plymouth Company to Capt. John Mason, in 1629. But few settlements were formed under his management, principally by fishermen and exiles from Massachusetts, who remained for some time without any government but such as they established for themselves. Exeter, Dover, and Portsmouth, then called Strawberry Bank, were the only towns that contained many inhabitants. In 1641, they voluntarily placed themselves under the protection of Massachusetts, who had always claimed the land, and who continued to govern them till 1679, when, by a decree of the king in council, New Hampshire was made a separate province, to be governed by a President and Council, appointed by the king, and a House of Representatives elected by the people. Frequent disputes ensued, both with their rulers, and with Mason and his heirs respecting the titles to their lands. But after the Revolution of 1688, most of these controversies were quieted, and excepting frequent hostilities with the Indians, the people prospered. MAINE was originally granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and was purchased of his heirs, in 1677, by Massachusetts, for L1,200, it having been governed by that Colony for many years previous, under a disputed title. The controversy ending with this purchase, Maine remained a part of Massachusetts till a very recent period.

NEW YORK. The Dutch, founding on the explorations of Henry Hudson a claim to the Hudson river and an indefinite extent of territory through which it flows, built some fortified trading posts near its mouth as early as 1613. They also explored the northern coast of Long Island Sound, and both shores of Delaware Bay; and on the strength of these discoveries, an Amsterdam company obtained from the States General an exclusive grant to trade along the coast between the 40th and 45th degrees of latitude, a region by them called New Netherland. The English never allowed their claim, which only became important when, in 1621, it passed into the hands of the Dutch West India Company, a wealthy association with large privileges, and capable of conducting extensive operations. Under their direction, Fort Orange was built where Albany now stands; and in 1626, the island of Manhattan was purchased of the Indians, and Fort Amsterdam erected at its southern extremity. As yet, traffic with the savages in peltry was the only object of these establishments; but in 1629, a scheme was matured for forming Dutch settlements in the country. Extensive grants of land were offered . to any member of the Company, who, under the name of Patroon, should establish a colony of at least fifty persons upon it; and as much land as they could cultivate was offered to any free settlers who should remove thither at their own expense. Under these offers, some of the most inviting lands were taken up; but the progress of colonization was slow, agriculture being made secondary to trade with the Indians. A port was established on the Connecticut, near Hartford, which soon led to a sharp dispute with the English settlers in that region. The Swedes also came into collision with the Dutch, by attempting, under the sanction of the renowned Gustavus Adolphus, to found a settlement and trading post on the west shore of Delaware Bay, a region claimed by the Hollanders. The Swedes bought some land of the Indians, and built a fort called Christina, - the germ of the Colony of New Sweden, now the State of DELAWARE. The infant settlement was prudently managed, and might in a few years have become prosperous, if the Dutch had not attacked it, in 1655, with a force of six hundred men, who captured all the Swedish posts, and the region was again absorbed into New Netherland.

A destructive Indian war was added to the other embarassments of the Dutch. The latter showed themselves as great savages as their red opponents, who nearly overmatched them, and destroyed many of their most flourishing 'boweries,' or plantations. The people were harshly governed, being allowed no voice in the administration, and they complained that ' under a king they could not be worse treated.' The English were determined to monopolize the coast, and in 1664, Charles II granted to his brother a large region, including New Netherland, to be called, in future,

NEW YORK. An expedition of six hundred men, under Sir Robert Nicholls, was fitted out to take possession; and so many English were now settled in the Colony, the Dutch also being lukewarm towards their own government, that no opposition was offered. Liberal terms of capitulation were granted, and the territory was annexed without a blow to the domain of England. No popular representation in the government was allowed till 1684, the Duke of York appointing a governor who reigned arbitrarily; and even after that period, the administration continued to be distasteful to the people. When the news of the revolution in 1688 arrived, the inhabitants of New York rose in arms, like their brethren of Boston, and under the guidance of Jacob Leisler, a wealthy German merchant, deposed the former authorities of the place, and instituted a government of their own. The colony remained under Leisler's rule till March, 1691, when Col. Slaughter arrived, with a commission as governor, and his agent demanded peremptorily the surrender of the fort. Leisler hesitated and delayed, and when at last he did obey, he was seized, together with his son-in-law, Milbourne, tried for rebellion, and executed. This proceeding was a harsh and hasty one; and the king subsequently restored their confiscated estates to their heirs, and allowed their bodies to be taken up and re-interred with pomp, while the people cherished their memory with affection and respect.

MARYLAND. George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, a Roman Catholic by religion, obtained from Charles I, in 1630, a grant of the then uninhabited shores of Chesapeake Bay, as an asylum for the persecuted Papists. The charter, which secured liberty of conscience, and equal privileges to the members of all Christian sects, was not issued until after this lord's death, and was then given to Cecil, his eldest son and heir. He sent out his brother, Leonard Calvert, as governor, in 1633, with about two hundred emigrants, mostly Roman Catholics, and a settlement was formed at St. Mary's, the new colony being called MARYLAND, in honor of queen Henrietta Maria. The proprietary had full power to enact all necessary laws, not repugnant to the laws of England, and not without the advice and approbation of the freemen of the province or their representatives , - this being the first provision in any colonial charter for giving a legislative power to the people. The province was wisely and moderately governed, liberal grants of land being offered to all corners, to be held by the payment of a quit rent to the proprietor. Baltimore did not wish to shut out heretics from his colony; Puritans and Church of England men were invited to come, under a promise of enjoying equal privileges with the Catholics; thus Maryland became a general asylum for the persecuted of all sects. We are not surprised to learn, therefore, that, before Lord Baltimore's death in 1676, he was in receipt of a considerable income from the province, which then contained about sixteen thousand inhabitants, most of whom were Protestants. The people wisely sought support from agriculture rather than mining and trade. Yet they did not pass through the time of the Civil War and the domination of the Long Parliament without annoyances and contests. During this period, of course, Lord Baltimore's principles were not in favor, and his colony was regarded with a jealous eye. William Clayborne had obtained a royal license to trade in all those parts, and he and his associates denied the legality of the Maryland grant. The Parliament sent out commissioners who displaced the officers of the proprietary, and put the government into the hands of the Puritans, who soon passed an act that excluded papists and prelatists from the benefit of the act of toleration. A civil war at one time raged in the colony, Roundheads and Cavaliers being opposed to each other, as in the mother land. But with the restoration of Charles II, these troubles ceased, and the prosperity of the settlement for a long period suffered but little interruption. Yet an order was passed in 1681, for intrusting all offices to Protestants, so that the Catholics were disfranchised a second time in the colony they had founded.

THE CAROLINAS. The territory on the coast south of Virginia, extending nominally as far south as St. Augustine, was granted, in 1663, to the great Lord Clarendon, the Earl of Shaftesbury, and six other eminent individuals. The whole region was to constitute one province, under the name of Carolina, the proprietors receiving, together with the grant of the land, ample powers of government. But a settlement had already been formed near Albemarle Sound by some religious exiles from Virginia, and another one near the mouth of Cape Fear river, by some adventurers from New England, afterwards reinforced by a band of emigrants from Barbadoes. In 1670, three ships were fitted out with colonists from England, under the command of William Sayle, who formed a settlement at Port Royal, which he soon removed to the peninsula at the mouth of the Ashley and the Cooper rivers, giving to the town that he founded there the name of Charleston. As this place was remote from Albemarle, it obtained a separate government, and thus were created the two colonies of North and South Carolina. The proprietors gave public assurance that the settlers should enjoy unrestricted religious liberty, and that their representatives should. have a voice in the enactment of laws. Unluckily they employed the celebrated philosopher, John Locke, to devise a scheme of government for the colony; and he gave them, under the name of the Grand Model, ' the most complicated and fanciful system that the wit of man ever contrived, and which was a perpetual source of trouble and confusion for the quarter of a century during which it was in partial operation. It established two orders of nobility, landgraves and caciques; it assigned two fifths of the land for seignories, baronies, and manors, to be cultivated by a race of tenants attached to the soil, and the remaining three fifths were allotted to private freeholders and it erected a formidable bureaucracy, with officers and titles enough for a populous kingdom of the Old World. This rickety system could never be put into full operation, and in 1693, it was entirely abrogated. The motley population was swelled by two ship-loads of Dutch emigrants from New York, and by a cargo of slaves from Barbadoes. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many Huguenots came to South Carolina, and settled along the Santee; they had been preceded by some Presbyterian settlers from the north of Ireland, and by a Scotch colony led by lord Cardross. Religious toleration and the prospect of obtaining land on easy terms were the lures which drew so many different classes of immigrants. The population thus formed did not show themselves very tractable. They persisted in keeping up an illegal traffic with New England, they grumbled at paying quit rent to the proprietaries, and they quarreled with the arbitrary and rapacious governors who were sent to rule over them. But in spite of these interruptions, the two colonies prospered, advancing steadily, though not rapidly, both in population and wealth.

NEW JERSEY. The territory between the Delaware and Hudson rivers, being included in the surrender by the Dutch to the English in 1664, was granted by the duke of York, under the name of NEW JERSEY, to lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. They sent over Philip Carteret as governor, with a liberal constitution for the new colony, and bountiful offers of land to all settlers who would come thither. Lord Berkeley sold his right, after he had held it ten years, to a company of Quakers, who, wishing to govern separately a region which might be an asylum for the persecuted of their sect, made an agreement with Carteret, for the partition of the territory. The western portion was assigned to them, the eastern to Carteret. A large company, consisting principally of Quakers, then came from England, and settled in Burlington and its neighborhood, ample privileges being secured to them by a new constitution. A dispute ensued with the duke of York respecting the title to their lands, as he pretended that, under a new patent which he had obtained from the crown, his original rights were restored. But the commissioners in England, to whom the matter was referred, adjudged his claim to be invalid, and new settlers continuing to arrive, the colony became very prosperous. East Jersey, also, in 1682, was sold by the heirs of Carteret to William Penn and twenty-three associates, mostly Quakers, who appointed Robert Barclay governor, and endeavored to attract emigrants thither. Many of the Scottish Covenanters, now suffering a deplorable persecution under Lauderdale and Claverhouse, fled from their native land, and found a pleasant and safe asylum in East Jersey. The numerous proprietors, weary of quarreling with each other and with the people, surrendered their rights to the crown in 1702; and the two divisions united under one government.

PENNSYLVANIA. Another Quaker colony was established, on a larger scale, by the celebrated William Penn, a man of great ability and integrity, resolute in purpose and energetic in conduct, a keen controversialist, and one who displayed on many occasions more shrewdness, knowledge of the world, and practical talent than are often found united with a fervor and sincerity of religious belief which had the appearance of an unruly fanaticism. The Quakers, indeed, while preserving with great steadfastness most of their inoffensive external peculiarities, had quietly undergone a considerable change in the manner and spirit of their proceedings, - a change attributable in some degree to the influence of Penn himself. They were no longer the wild and extravagant sectaries, whose outrageous conduct, twenty years before, had troubled the peace of Massachusetts. Their manners had become quiet and discreet, and though they remained fearless of persecution, they no longer courted it. In consideration of the services of his father, a distinguished admiral, Penn obtained from Charles II, in 1681, a grant of the territory on the west bank of the river Delaware, extending five degrees in longitude, and bounded by the 40th and 43d parallels of latitude and the king insisted on naming it PENNSYLVANIA. The charter gave him the absolute property of the soil and ample powers of government, but required the advice and consent of the freemen of the province for the enactment of laws. The sturdy and independent spirit of the New England colonies having taught the crown lawyers a lesson of caution in drawing up colonial charters, it was stipulated in this case that the king might negative any enactment of the assembly, that parliament might levy taxes, and that an appeal might be made to the crown from the decisions of the courts of justice.

Acting under this charter, Penn drew up a very liberal 'Frame of Government,' and also published a body of laws that had been examined and approved by a company of proposed emigrants in England. He also advertised the lands for sale, asking forty shillings, besides a perpetual quitrent of one shilling, for every hundred acres. Unlimited freedom of conscience, and the right to be governed by laws enacted by themselves, were secured to the people. As the terms were liberal, and the advantages of the territory, in respect to climate, situation, fertility of the soil, and the friendly disposition of the neighboring Indians, were considerable, a crowd of emigrants presented themselves, comprising many Quakers and a number from Holland and Germany. The Duke of York, afterwards James II, with whom Penn was high in favor, made over to him all his own right to the three lower counties on the Delaware, first peopled by the Swedes, which had lately been governed as an appendage to the Duke's province of New York. These counties belonged geographically rather to Pennsylvania than New York, and possession of them was important for the new colony, as they already contained about 3,000 inhabitants, Swedes, Finns, and Dutch, steady and industrious in their habits, and inured to their situation. Besides these, a number of Swedish, Dutch, and English settlers were already established in other portions of the territory, by whom the new government was favorably received. William Markham, one of Penn's kinsmen, was sent out in 1681, with three ships and about three hundred emigrants, bearing a plan of the city which was to be founded at the confluence of the Schuylkill with the Delaware, and a very friendly message to the Indians, whose good will the new proprietor was anxious to conciliate. Penn himself came out , the next year, in the course of which twenty-three vessels arrived laden with goods and emigrants. He held a friendly conference with the savages, under a large elm at Kensington, which afterwards became an object of much curiosity and respect, as marking the site of this famous interview. A treaty was made by which the Indians sold their lands on terms satisfactory to them, and stipulated to maintain peace and friendship, which promise was long religiously observed. The savages named him Onas, and though they gave the same title to the subsequent governors of the colony, they always referred to him as the great and good Onas. After laying out the new city of Philadelphia, so called from the spirit of brotherly love which was to animate its inhabitants, and holding a conference with Lord Baltimore about the disputed boundary between Delaware and Pennsylvania, Penn returned, in 1684, to England. He did not visit America again till 1699, and then made but a short stay. The progress of the new province was as rapid as its commencement had been auspicious. In 1684, it contained twenty settled townships and seven thousand inhabitants; and not many years afterwards, the population was estimated at thirty thousand. Some of the laws proposed by Penn and adopted by the Assembly bore the imprint of his quaint and benevolent disposition. To prevent law-suits, three arbitrators were to be appointed by the county courts, to hear and determine small controversies; children were to be taught some useful trade , the end that none might be idle; agents who wronged their employers should make restitution and one-third over; and the property of intestates was to be divided equally among the children, except that the eldest son should receive a double share.

GEORGIA was founded in 1732, under a plan formed by General Oglethorpe and some other benevolent gentlemen, in order to establish a place of refuge for poor debtors and other indigent persons from Great Britain, and for persecuted Protestants from all nations. A grant was obtained from the king of the unoccupied territory on the right bank of the Savannah river, the land to be apportioned gratuitously among the settlers, charitable donations being made to defray the expense of transporting them across the Atlantic, and supporting them during the first season. Funds were freely contributed for this generous purpose, under the hope that the measure would reduce the poor rates in England, and empty the workhouses and debtors' jails. But the class of persons thus sent out were very unfit for the work of creating a new settlement and subduing the wilderness. They were chiefly broken-down tradesmen and impoverished debauchees; while sailors, agriculturists, and laborers from the country were needed. A company of persecuted Lutherans from Salzburg, and one of Scotch Highlanders, who settled respectively the towns of Ebenezer and New Inverness, formed industrious and thriving colonists. Oglethorpe brought over the first band of emigrants, and founded the city of Savannah. The colony being regarded as in a state of pupilage, its affairs were administered, for the first twenty years, by a board of trustees, nominated in the charter, who were to appoint their associates and successors, and had the exclusive right of legislation. The generous motto on their official seal, non sibi, sed aliis, (not for themselves, but for others,) showed the benevolent purposes with which they acted. Some of their measures were wise, others were preposterous. They strictly forbade the introduction of negro slaves; the use of rum was prohibited; no grant of land was to exceed five hundred acres; the land was not to be sold or devised by the holders, but was to descend to male children only, and in case of the failure of such heirs, was to revert to the trustees. But these laws did not long remain in force; slavery was introduced from the neighboring province of Carolina; females were allowed to inherit, and the land became subject to the same regulations as other property. So long as the colony was managed by trustees, and considered as an object of charity, it languished, and large sums were expended upon it in vain. At last, the government was abandoned to the crown, its institutions were assimilated to those of the other colonies, and it then had a steady and prosperous growth. The Methodists and Moravians were numerous in Georgia, two renowned preachers of the former denomination, Wesley and Whitefield, residing in it for several years.

It is apparent from this review, that the English colonies in North America, with the exception of Virginia and New York, were founded and peopled chiefly by religious exiles. The English Puritans were most numerous in New England, the Quakers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the Roman Catholics in Maryland, Scotch Presbyterians, French Huguenots and Methodists in the south, and German Lutherans in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Earnestness, sobriety, an independent spirit, and a determined hatred of oppression thus characterized the people from the begining. Whatever emigrants came out solely in quest of wealth were soon disabused of their error, and either returned to the Old World, or learned to labor and to endure in their new home. Property was very evenly distributed, and there were no marked inequalities of rank or social position. Protected by their feebleness and insignificance in the outset, and by their distance from the mother country, the colonists were, in the main, allowed to enact their own laws, and manage their own affairs. Without any marked purpose of deviating from the policy, or shaking off the yoke, of England, they were, from the commencement, semi-republican and semi-independent. Disciplined by privation, exile, and peril, thrown on their own resources, governing themselves, their situation developed in them the elements of a thoughtful, vigorous, and resolute character. After they had overcome the first difficulties and obstructions in the way of founding a new home in the wilderness, their habits of endurance, industry, and frugality soon gave prosperity to their undertakings. Agriculture and commerce flourished, and they increased rapidly in population and wealth. They were no longer the feeble dependencies of a remote power; they could boast that they had laid the foundations of a great empire.