NEW ENGLAND NAMED. - While the London Company was planting its colony on the James River, the Plymouth Company sought to retrieve its failure on the Kennebec (p. 39). In 1614 Captain John Smith, who had returned to England from Jamestown, was sent over with two ships to explore. He made a map of the coast from Maine to Cape Cod, [1] and called the country New England. The next year Smith led out a colony; but a French fleet took him prisoner, no settlement was made, and five years passed before the first permanent English colony was planted in the Plymouth Company's grant - by the Separatists.

THE SEPARATISTS. - To understand who these people were, it must be remembered that during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Protestant Episcopal Church was the Established Church of England, and that severe laws were passed to force all the people to attend its services. But a sect arose which wished to "purify" the church by abolishing certain forms and ceremonies. These people were called Puritans, [2] and were divided into two sects:

1. Those Puritans who wished to purify the Church of England while they remained members of it.

2. The Independents, or Separatists, who wished to separate from that church and worship God in their own way.

The Separatists were cruelly persecuted during Queen Elizabeth's reign, and afterward. One band of them fled to Holland (in 1608), where they found peace; but time passed and it became necessary for them to decide whether they should stay in Holland and become Dutch, or find a home in some land where they might continue to remain Englishmen. They decided to leave Holland, formed a company, and finally obtained leave from the London Company to settle near the mouth of the Delaware River.

VOYAGE OF THE MAYFLOWER. - Led by Brewster, Bradford, and Standish, a party of Pilgrims sailed from Holland in July, 1620, in the ship Speedwell; were joined in England by a party from London in the Mayflower; and in August both vessels put to sea. But the Speedwell proved unseaworthy, and all put back to Plymouth in England, where some gave up the voyage. One hundred and two held fast to their purpose, and in September set sail in the Mayflower. The voyage was long and stormy, and November came before they sighted a sandy coast far to the northeastward of the Delaware. For a while they strove hard to go southward; but adverse winds drove them back, and they dropped anchor in Cape Cod Bay. [3]

THE LANDING. - The land here was within the territory of the Plymouth Company. The Pilgrims, however, decided to stay and get leave to settle, but this decision displeased some of them. A meeting, therefore, was held in the ship's cabin (November 21, 1620), and the "Mayflower compact," binding all who signed it to obey such government as might be established, was drawn up and signed by forty-one of the sixty-five men on the vessel.

This done, the work of choosing a site for their homes began, and for several weeks little parties explored the coast before one of them entered a harbor and selected a spot which John Smith had named Plymouth. [4] To this harbor the Mayflower was brought, and while the men were busy putting up rude cabins, the women and children remained on the ship.

THE FIRST WINTER was a dreadful one. The Pilgrims lived in crowded quarters, and the effects of the voyage and the severity of the winter sent half of them to their graves before spring. But the rest never faltered, and when the Mayflower returned to England in April, not one of the colonists went back in her. By the end of the first summer a fort had been built on a hill, seven houses had been erected along a village street leading down from the fort to the harbor, six and twenty acres had been cleared, and a bountiful harvest had been gathered. Other Pilgrims came over, the neighboring Indians kept the peace, and the colony was soon prosperous.

PLYMOUTH, OR THE OLD COLONY. - As soon as the colony was planted, steps were taken to buy the land on which it stood. The old Plymouth Company (pp. 38, 39), organized in 1606, was succeeded in 1620 by a new corporation called the Council for New England, which received a grant of all the land in America between 40° and 48° of north latitude. From this Council for New England, therefore, the Pilgrims bought as much land as they needed. The king, however, refused to give them a charter, so the people of Plymouth, or the Old Colony as it came to be called, managed their own affairs in their own way for seventy years. At first the men assembled in town meeting, made laws, and elected officers. But when the growth of the colony made such meetings unwieldy, representative government was set up, and each settlement sent two delegates to an assembly.

THE SALEM COLONY. - Shortly after 1620, attempts were made to plant other colonies in New England. [5] Most of them failed, but some of the colonists made a settlement called Naumkeag. Among those who watched these attempts with great interest was John White, a Puritan rector in England. He believed that the time had come for the Puritans to do what the Separatists had done. The quarrel between the king and the Puritans was then becoming serious, and the time seemed at hand when men who wished to worship God according to their conscience would have to seek a home in America. White accordingly began to urge the planting of a Puritan colony in New England. So well did he succeed that an association was formed, a great tract of land was obtained from the Council for New England, and in 1628 sixty men, led by John Endicott, settled at Naumkeag and changed its name to Salem, which means "peace."

THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY. - The members of the association next secured from King Charles I a charter which made them a corporation, called this corporation The Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England, and gave it the right to govern colonies planted on its lands. More settlers with a great herd of cattle were now hurried to Salem, which thus became the largest colony in New England.

THE GREAT PURITAN MIGRATION. - The same year (1629) that the charter was obtained, twelve leading Puritans signed an agreement to head an emigration to Massachusetts, provided the charter and government of the company were removed to New England. One of the signers was John Winthrop, and by him in 1630 nearly a thousand Puritans were led to Salem. Thence they soon removed to a little three-hilled peninsula where they founded the town of Boston. More emigrants followed, and before the end of 1630 seventeen ships with nearly fifteen hundred Puritans reached Massachusetts. They settled at Boston, Charlestown, Roxbury, Dorchester, Watertown, and Cambridge.

The charter was brought with them, the meetings of the company were now held in the colony, and so many of the colonists became members of the company that Massachusetts was practically self-governing. Before long a representative government was established in the colony, each town electing members of a legislature called the General Court. Every town also had its local government carried on by town meetings; but only church members were allowed to vote.

MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE. - About two years after the founding of Plymouth, the Council for New England granted to John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges (gor'jess) a large tract of land between the rivers Merrimac and Kennebec. In it two settlements (now known as Portsmouth and Dover) were planted (1623) on the Piscat'aqua River, and some fishing stations on the coast farther north.

In 1629 the province was divided. Mason obtained a patent (or deed) for the country between the Merrimac and the Piscataqua, and named it New Hampshire. Gorges received the country between the Piscataqua and the Kennebec, which was called Maine.

UNION WITH MASSACHUSETTS. - The towns on the Piscataqua were small fishing and fur-trading stations, and after Mason died (1635) they were left to look out for themselves. With two other New Hampshire towns (Exeter and Hampton) they became almost independent republics. They set up their own governments, made their own laws, and owed allegiance to nobody save the king. Massachusetts, however, claimed as her north boundary an east and west line three miles north of the source of the Merrimac River. [6] She therefore soon annexed the four New Hampshire towns, and gave them representation in her legislature.

If the claim of Massachusetts was valid in the case of the New Hampshire towns, it was equally so for those of Maine. But it was not till 1652, after Gorges was dead and the settlers in Maine (at York, Wells, and Kittery) had set up a government of their own, that these towns were brought under her authority. Later (1677), Massachusetts bought up the claim of the heirs of Gorges, and came into possession of the whole province.

RHODE ISLAND. - Among those who came to Salem in the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was a Puritan minister named Roger Williams. [7] But he had not been long in the colony when he said things which angered the rulers. He held that all religions should be tolerated; that all laws requiring attendance at church should be repealed; that the land belonged to the Indians and not to the king; and that the settlers ought to buy it from the Indians and not from the king. For these and other sayings Williams was ordered back to England. But he fled to the woods, lived with the Indians for a winter, and in the following summer founded Providence (1636). [8]

And now another disturber appeared in Boston in the person of Anne Hutchinson, [9] and in a little while she and her followers were driven away. Some of them went to New Hampshire and founded Exeter (p. 60), while others with Anne herself went to Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay, and founded Portsmouth and Newport.

For a time each of the little towns, Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport, arranged its own affairs in its own way, but in 1643 Williams obtained from the English Parliament a charter which united them under the name of The Incorporation of Providence Plantations on the Narragansett Bay in New England.

CONNECTICUT FOUNDED. - Religious troubles did not end with the banishment of Williams and Anne Hutchinson. Many persons objected to the law forbidding any but church members to vote or hold office. So in 1635 and 1636 numbers of people, led by Thomas Hooker and others, went out (from Dorchester, Watertown, and Cambridge) and founded Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford in the Connecticut River valley. Later a party (from Roxbury) settled at Springfield. For a while these four towns were part of Massachusetts. But in 1639 Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield adopted a constitution [10] and founded a republic which they called Connecticut.

THE NEW HAVEN COLONY. - As the quarrel between the Puritans and the king was by this time very bitter, the Puritans continued to come to New England in large numbers. Some of them made settlements on Long Island Sound. A large band under John Davenport founded New Haven (1638). Next (in 1639) Milford and Guilford were started, and then (in 1640) Stamford. In 1643 the four towns joined in a sort of union and took the name New Haven Colony.

THE UNITED COLONIES OF NEW ENGLAND. - Thus there were planted in New England between 1620 and 1643 five distinct colonies, [11] namely: (1) Plymouth, or the Old Colony, (2) Massachusetts Bay Colony, (3) Rhode Island, or Providence Plantations, (4) Connecticut, and (5) the New Haven Colony.

In 1643 four of them - Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven - united for defense against the Indians and the Dutch, [12] and called their league "The United Colonies of New England." This confederation maintained a successful existence for forty-one years.

EFFECT OF THE CIVIL WAR IN ENGLAND. - When the New England confederation was formed, the king and the Puritans in old England had come to blows, and civil war was raging there. During the next twenty years no more English colonies were planted in America. War at once stopped the stream of emigrants. The Puritans in England remained to fight the king, and numbers went back from New England to join the Parliamentary army. For the next fifteen years population in New England increased slowly.

TRADE AND COMMERCE. - Life in the New England colonies was very unlike that in Virginia. People dwelt in villages, cultivated small farms, and were largely engaged in trade and commerce. They bartered corn and peas, woolen cloth, and wampum with the Indians for beaver skins, which they sent to England to pay for articles bought from the mother country. They salted cod, dried alewives and bass, made boards and staves for hogsheads, and sent all these to the West Indies to be exchanged for sugar, molasses, and other products of the tropics. They built ships in the seaports where lumber was cheap, and sold them abroad. They traded with Spain and Portugal, England, the Netherlands, and Virginia.

SCARCITY OF MONEY. - The colonists brought little money with them, and much of what they brought went back to England to pay for supplies. Buying and trading in New England, therefore, had to be done largely without gold or silver. Beaver skins and wampum, bushels of corn, produce, cattle, and even bullets were used as money and passed at rates fixed by law. [13] In the hope of remedying the scarcity of money, the government of Massachusetts ordered that a mint should be set up, and in 1652 Spanish silver brought from the West Indies was melted and coined into Pine Tree currency. [14]

MANUFACTURES. - That less gold and silver might go abroad for supplies, home manufactures were encouraged by gifts of money, by exemptions of property from taxation, and by excusing workmen from military duty. The cultivation of flax was encouraged, children were taught to spin and weave, and glass works, salt works, and iron furnaces were started.

In Essex Hall, Salem, Mass.]

On the farms utensils and furniture were generally made in the household. Almost everything was made of wood, as spoons, tankards, pails, firkins, hinges for cupboard and closet doors, latches, plows, and harrows. Every boy learned to use his jack-knife, and could make brooms from birch trees, bowls and dippers and bottles from gourds, and butter paddles from red cherry. The women made soap and candles, carded wool, spun, wove, bleached or dyed the linen and woolen cloth, and made the garments for the family. They knit mittens and stockings, made straw hats and baskets, and plucked the feathers from live geese for beds and pillows.

THE HOUSES. - On the farms the houses of the early settlers were of logs, or were framed structures covered with shingles or clapboards. The tables, chairs, stools, and bedsteads were of the plainest sort, and were often made of puncheons, that is, of small tree trunks split in half. Sometimes the table would be a long board laid across two X supports. This was "the board," around which the family sat at meals. [16] In the better houses in the towns the furniture was of course very much finer.

THE VILLAGES. - The center of village life was the meetinghouse, or church. Near by was the house of the minister, the inn or tavern, and the dwellings of the inhabitants. In early times, if the village was on the frontier or exposed to Indian attack it was guarded by blockhouses surrounded by a high stockade. These "garrison houses," as they were called, were of stone or logs, with the second story projecting over the first, and had loopholes in place of windows. Most of them have long since disappeared, but a few still remain, turned into dwellings. Sometimes there were three or more blockhouses in a village, and to these when the Indians were troublesome the farmers and their families came each night to sleep.

SCHOOLS.-Among the acts passed by the General Court of Massachusetts in early days were several in regard to education. In 1636 four hundred pounds [17] was voted for a public school. Two years later, John Harvard, a former minister, left his library and half his fortune to this school, and in grateful remembrance it was called Harvard College. Thus started, the good work went on. Parents and masters were by law compelled to teach their children and apprentices to read English, know the important laws, and repeat the orthodox catechism. Another law required every town of fifty families to maintain a school for at least six months a year, and every town of two hundred householders a primary and a grammar school, wherein Latin should be taught.

PERSECUTION OF THE QUAKERS. - Though the Puritans suffered persecution in the Old World, they had not learned to be tolerant. As we have seen, no man could vote in Massachusetts who was not a member of their church. They drove out Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, and again and again, in later times, banished, or fined, imprisoned, and flogged men and women who wished to worship God in their own way. When two Quaker women arrived (1656), they were sent away and a sharp law was made against their sect. [18] But in spite of all persecution, the Quakers kept coming. At last (in 1659-61) three men and a woman were hanged on Boston Common because they returned after having once been banished. Plymouth and Connecticut also enacted laws against the Quakers. [19]

CONNECTICUT CHARTERED (1662). - By this time the days of Puritan rule in old England were over. In 1660 King Charles II was placed upon the throne of his father. Connecticut promptly acknowledged him as king, and sent her governor, the younger John Winthrop, to London to obtain a charter. He easily secured one (in 1662) which spread the authority of Connecticut over the New Haven Colony, [20] gave her a domain stretching across the continent to the Pacific, and established a government so liberal that the charter was kept in force till 1818. New Haven Colony for a time resisted; but one by one the towns which formed the colony acknowledged the authority of Connecticut.

THE SECOND CHARTER OF RHODE ISLAND. - Rhode Island, likewise, proclaimed the king and sought a new charter. When obtained (in 1663), it defined her boundaries, and provided for a form of government quite as liberal as that of Connecticut. It remained in force one hundred and seventy-nine years.

THE NEW COLONIAL ERA. - From 1640 to 1660 the English colonies in America had been left much to themselves. No new colonies had been founded, and the old ones had managed their own affairs in their own way. But with Charles II a new era opens. Several new colonies were soon established; and though Rhode Island and Connecticut received liberal charters, all the colonies were soon to feel the king's control. As we shall see later, Massachusetts was deprived of her charter; but after a few years she received a new one (1691), which united the Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, and Maine in the one colony of Massachusetts Bay. New Hampshire, however, was made a separate royal province.


1. In 1620 a body of Separatists reached Cape Cod and founded Plymouth, the first English settlement north of Virginia.

2. Two years later the Council for New England granted land to Gorges and Mason, from which grew Maine and New Hampshire.

3. Between 1628 and 1630 a great Puritan migration established the colony of Massachusetts Bay, which later absorbed Maine and New Hampshire.

4. Religious disputes led to the expulsion of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson from Massachusetts. They founded towns later united (1643) as Providence Plantations (Rhode Island).

5. Other religious disputes led to the migration of people who settled (1635-36) in the Connecticut valley and founded (1639) Connecticut.

6. Between 1638 and 1640 other towns were planted on Long Island Sound, and four of them united (1643) and formed the New Haven Colony.

7. Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven joined in a league - the United Colonies of New England (1643-84).

8. New Haven was united with Connecticut (1662), and Plymouth with Massachusetts (1691), while New Hampshire was made a separate province; so that after 1691 the New England colonies were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

9. The New England colonists lived largely in villages. They were engaged in farming, manufacturing, and commerce.

10. For twenty years, during the Civil War and the Puritan rule in England, the colonies were left to themselves; but in 1660 Charles II became king of England, and a new era began in colonial affairs.


[1] On his map Smith gave to Cape Ann, Cape Elizabeth, Charles River, and Plymouth the names they still retain. Cape Cod he called Cape James.

[2] The Puritans were important in history for many years. Most of the English people who quarreled and fought with King James and King Charles were Puritans. In Maryland it was a Puritan army that for a time overthrew Lord Baltimore's government (p. 52).

[3] Read Fiske's Beginnings of New England, pp. 79-82.

[4] The little boat or shallop in which they intended to sail along the coast needed to be repaired, and two weeks passed before it was ready. Meantime a party protected by steel caps and corselets went ashore to explore the country. A few Indians were seen in the distance, but they fled as the Pilgrims approached. In the ruins of a hut were found some corn and an iron kettle that had once belonged to a European ship. The corn they carried away in the kettle, to use as seed in the spring. Other exploring parties, after trips in the shallop, pushed on over hills and through valleys covered deep with snow, and found more deserted houses, corn, and many graves; for a pestilence had lately swept off the Indian population. On the last exploring voyage, the waves ran so high that the rudder was carried away and the explorers steered with an oar. As night came on, all sail was spread in hope of reaching shore before dark, but the mast broke and the sail went overboard. However, they floated to an island where they landed and spent the night. On the second day after, Monday, December 21, the explorers reached the mainland. On the beach, half in sand and half in water, was a large bowlder, and on this famous Plymouth Rock, it is said, the men stepped as they went ashore.

[5] As to the early settlements read Fiske's Beginnings of New England, pp. 90-95.

[6] The Massachusetts charter granted the land from within three miles south of the Charles River, to within three miles north of the Merrimac River, and all lands "of and within the breadth aforesaid" across the continent.

[7] Roger Williams was a Welshman, had been educated at Cambridge University in England, and had some reputation as a preacher before coming to Boston. There he was welcomed as "a godly minister," and in time was called to a church in Salem; but was soon forced out by the General Court. He then went to Plymouth, where he made the friendship of Mas'sasoit, chief of the Wam-pano'ags, and of Canon'icus, chief of the Narragansetts, and learned their language. In 1633 he returned to Salem, and was again made pastor of a church.

[8] The fate of John Endicott shows to what a result Williams's teaching was supposed to lead. The flag of the Salem militia bore the red cross of St. George. Endicott regarded it as a symbol of popery, and one day publicly cut out the cross from the flag. This was thought a defiance of royal authority, and Endicott was declared incapable of holding office for a year.

[9] Anne Hutchinson held certain religious views on which she lectured to the women of Boston, and made so many converts that she split the church. Governor Vane favored her, but John Winthrop opposed her teachings, and when he became governor again she and her followers were ordered to quit the colony.

[10] The first written constitution made in our country, and the first in the history of the world that was made by the people, for the people. Other towns were added later, among them Saybrook, which had grown up about an English fort built in 1635 at the mouth of the Connecticut.

[11] Besides New Hampshire, which in 1643 was practically part of Massachusetts; and Maine, which became so a few years later.

[12] The Dutch, as we shall see in the next chapter, had planted a colony in the Hudson valley, and disputed English possession of the Connecticut.

[13] Students at Harvard College for many years paid their term bills with produce, meat, and live stock. In 1649 a student paid his bill with "an old cow," and the steward of the college made separate credits for her hide, her "suet and inwards." On another occasion a goat was taken and valued at 30 shillings. Taxes also were paid in corn and cattle.

[14] The coins were the shilling, sixpence, threepence, and twopence. On one side of each coin was stamped a rude representation of a pine tree.

[15] On which the yarn was wound after it was spun. For a picture of the loom used in weaving, see p. 52.

[16] On the board were a saltcellar, wooden plates or trenchers, wooden or pewter spoons, and knives, but no china, no glass. Forks, it is said, were not known even in England till 1608, and the first ever seen in New England were at Governor Winthrop's table in 1632. Those who wished a drink of water drank from a single wooden tankard passed around the table; or they went to the bucket and used a gourd.

[17] This was a large sum in those days, and about as much as was raised by taxation in a year. The General Court which voted the money, it has been said, was "the first body in which the people, by their representatives, ever gave their own money to found a place of education."

[18] The Friends, or Quakers, lived pure, upright, simple lives. They protested against all forms and ceremonies, and against all church government. They refused to take any oaths, to use any titles, or to serve in war, because they thought these things wrong. They were much persecuted in England.

[19] Another incident which gives us an insight into the character of these early times is the witchcraft delusion of 1692. Nearly everybody in those days believed in witchcraft, and several persons in the colonies had been put to death as witches. When, therefore, in 1692, the children of a Salem minister began to behave queerly and said that an Indian slave woman had bewitched them, they were believed. But the delusion did not stop with the children. In a few weeks scores of people in Salem were accusing their neighbors of all sorts of crimes and witch orgies. Many declared that the witches stuck pins into them. Twenty persons were put to death as witches before the craze came to an end.

[20] The New Haven Colony was destroyed as a distinct colony because its people offended the king by sheltering Edward Whalley and William Goffe, two of the regicides, or judges who sat in the tribunal that condemned Charles I. When they fled to New England in 1660, a royal order for their arrest was sent over after them, and a hot pursuit began. For a month they lived in a cave, at other times in cellars in Milford, Guilford, and New Haven; and once they hid under a bridge while their pursuers galloped past overhead. After hiding in these ways about New Haven for three years they went to Hadley in Massachusetts, where all trace of them disappears.