Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

sonable despatch, from church communion, how happily, and how extensively, would these measures operate, in preventing the use of intoxicating liquors.

9. If farmers and mechanics would agree not to drink spirits themselves, and not to provide them for their workmen ; if instead of furnishing liquor they would give an additional compensation to laborers, furnishing them at the same time, with a generous supply of nutritious and palatable drink, such as cider, beer, molasses and water, milk and water, and the like, a very large advance would be made towards banishing the fiery product of our distilleries from the field and the shop. And this would be no inconsiderable part of that general reformation, as it respects the use of spirits, which is so loudly called for.

10. After all, the most certain remedy for intemperate drinking, as well as for every other evil practice, is religion. It is this heaven-born principle which conquers and controls our inordinate desires and appetites. It is this, which restores reason to the exercise of its legitimate authority over man. It is this, which not only teaches men, but disposes them, to preserve their bodies, as temples of the Holy Ghost. In proportion as they love and fear God, they will be temperate. To this grand object, therefore, let the efforts and prayers of all good people be directed. And in connexion with these efforts and prayers, let every remedy that has been here suggested, and every other that can be devised, be Z. X. Y. faithfully applied.

wo

5.

Y

0

An Historical View of the First Planters of New-England. No. VII,

Continued from page 414.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

13

<ONE of the most prominent characters in the early history of New-England, was Roger Williams. He was a man of considerable ability and learning, active and diligent in his pursuits, humane and benevolent in his character, ever fond of novelty and change. Previous to his coming to America, Mr. Williams was a minister in the church of England. He came to New-England in the year 1631, and resided two years at Plymouth. He there exercised his ministerial funetions, occasionally, to good acceptance.-During his resideuce at Plymouth his conduct was inoffensive, and his eharacter naturally mild, so that he ever after retained, the esteem of the people of that colony. In 1633. he removed to Salem, and, on the death of their excellent minister Mr. Skelton, the church in that town invited Mr. Wil

[ocr errors]

liams to become their pastor. During his connection with the church at Salem, Mr. Williams inculcated many opinions which were disapproved by the government and chur ches of the colony, which it was thought would prejudice their interests in the view of the mother country, and destroy that system of civil and ecclesiastical polity on which the colony existed. After much faithful and friendly dealing, Mr. Williams being unwilling to renounce or conceal the sentiments which he entertained, in 1635, he was directed by the government to depart from the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. He removed with a few followers, and sat down within the Plymouth jurisdiction, in the present town of Rehoboth. The year following, at the desire of governor Winslow, lest the government of Massachusetts should take umbrage at his remaining within the Plymouth jurisdiction, he crossed the Pawtucket river, and, with about twenty settlers, laid the foundation of the present opulent and flourishing town of Providence. These dissensions were conducted in such a manner, that no personal alienation appears to have taken place between Mr. Williams and governor Winthrop, and a constant interchange of good offices existed between the Providence plantation and the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies. In the war with the Pequods in 1637, there was a cordial co-operation of all the plantations against the common enemy. Probably no individual of the age made greater and more successful exertions to maintain the peace of the colonies with the natives; and, living in the vicinity of several powerful tribes, he was vigilant in discovering their designs, and gave the other colonies timely notice of their hostile machinations.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Williams, for some years, established no particular church order, inviting persons of all religious sentiments to unite with his rising plantation. After a few years, he and several of his people renouneed the baptism of their infancy, were re-baptised, and united in a church, which was, I believe, the first Baptist church in New-England. On account of differences of sentiment which, subsequently, prevailed in the church, in the year 1653, it was divided and became two churches.—Mr. Williams purchased the lands of his plantation of the Indian proprietors, and no man enjoyed their confidence in a higher degree. He was the father of the colony, and, for some time, he appears to have possessed and exercised the principal powers of government which existed. In some of the first years of the Providence plantation the people suffered very sensibly from searcity. The product of their forests and rivers saved them from perishing by fam

ine. The most of the fathers of New-England experienced the evils of war and famine, in a degree to which their posterity are unable to form any adequate conception.

At the time of the banishment of Mrs. Hutchinson from Massachusetts, several people who had favored her religious opinions, and, of course, differed in principle from the prevailing sentiments of the churches, chose to remove from the colony. One of these was Mr. William Coddington: a gentleman of education and affluence, who had been for several years an assistant, and one of the most worthy magistrates of the Massachusetts government. In the year 1638, Mr. Coddington, with a few others, removed to Narraganset Bay, and commenced the settlement of Rhode Island. These planters, immediately, united in eivil compact, to which Mr. Coddington and seventeen others subscribed their names.— This infant plantation furnishes an instance of something of the simplicity and natural existence of a patriarchal government. Mr. Coddington, a man of great virtue and natural dignity of character, possessing the confidence of all, was created their magistrate, to whom were delegated the necessary powers of civil government. By the friendly assistance of Mr. Williams, he purchased the Island of the Indians and, in consequence of its pleasantness and fertility, in a few years, it became a flourishing settlement. In the year 1644 a Baptist church was formed in Newport, which was afterwards divided into two. A congregational church was formed in Newport in 1720; and a second one, in 1728. These two churches enjoyed the ministry of two of the most eminent American divines of the last century, President Stiles and Dr. Hopkins.

These settlements being destitute of any chartered govcrnment from the mother country, in 1643, Mr. Williams went to England, and, by the assistance of Mr. Vane, who had been governor of Massachusetts, obtained a liberal character of incorporation of Providence and Rhode-Island Plantations. The form of government provided by this incorporation was essentially similar to that established in the adjacent colonies. Mr. Williams lived to a great age, and was chosen, several times, governor of the colony.

As early as the year 1607, some of the Patentees of the northern colony of Virginia began a settlement at the mouth of the river Sagadahock, now Kennebeck. They laid the plan of an extensive and opulent state. But in consequence of the death of the principal patrons, and the severities endured by the planters, the settlement broke up the following year, and those who were living returned to England. The

first permanent settlements made within the District of Maine commenced about the year 1630. The oldest towns are Kittery and York. In the year 1635, Sir Ferdinando Gorges obtained from the council of Plymouth a grant of the tract of land lying between the rivers Sagadahock and Piscataqua. It is supposed that he instituted civil government in the province. Courts were held as early as 1636, which appear to have exercised legislative and judicial powers.— In 1639, Gorges obtained from the crown a character, conveying the amplest powers of jurisdiction. He appointed a governor and council who administered justice to the people to their general satisfaction, for a number of years. After the death of the proprietor, these powers of government were generally supposed to have expired. The different settlements formed some kind of voluntary compacts, and elected their own rulers. But the people, soon perceiving the inconveniences of this state of things, in the year 1652, united with the government of Massachusetts, and became an integral part of that Colony

In the first settlements, churches were early established, which enjoyed the labors of some of the worthiest ministers of their time. In general, their early civil and religious institutions were very similar to those of Massachusetts.

No part of New-England has suffered so much from the hostility of the natives, as the District of Maine. Many ferocious tribes of savages were settled on the rivers with which the country abounds, and from the small progress made by the settlements for a long period, they were unable to subdue their power, or prevent their predatory incursions. From the proximity of that district to Canada, in all the wars between England and France for a century after its first settlement, they were exposed to the hostile incursions of the savages, stimulated by a most artful and unfeeling enemy. Many of their towns have been pillaged and burnt, and many of the people made captives and slain. So late as the war of 1745, many of the towns suffered severely from savage hostility.

The State of Vermont, the youngest of the New. England States, has advanced in population and wealth more rapidly, than either of the others, and holds a respectable rank in their number. The tract of country composing that state, lying between the states of New-Hampshire and New-York, to which both laid an imperfect claim, remained long unoccupied. In the year 1724, in the time of a severe Indian war, the government of Massachusetts erected Fort Dummer, within the present town of Brattleborough, and commenced

a small settlement near the fort. This was then supposed to be within the limits of Massachusetts; but, on running the province lines in 1741, it fell within the state of Vermont. In the year 1731, the French from Canada erected the well-built fort at Crown Point, on the west side of Lake Champlain, and, soon after, began a settlement on the eastern side of the lake opposite to the fort.

From the time in which the provincial line between Massachusetts and New-Hampshire was ascertained, till after the peace of 1763, when it became a subject of controversy, the territory of Vermont was considered as belonging to NewHampshire. The town of Bennington, as it is one of the best, is considered the oldest town in the state. This township was granted to certain proprietors, in the year 1749, by the Governor of New-Hampshire, and called after his name. Soon after this grant, the settlement of tha town commenced. In four or five of the following years, a few other towns were granted by the government of New-Hampshire on the western side of Connecticut river. The war of 1755 put a stop to these grants and settlements. In the progress of that war, the territory of Vermont became the scene of military operations. These events produced a general acquaintance with many parts of the country, and towards the conclusion of the war, extensive grants of townships were made by the New-Hampshire government, and numerous openings were made in the wilderness. From 1764 to the commencement of the American war, the new settlers were harrassed with conflicting claims to their territory, maintained by the provinces of N. Hampshire and N. York. Notwithstanding these embarrassments, the infant settlements gradually in creased by emigrations from the several N.England provinces. At the commencement of the war of 1775, the people of Vermont warmly espoused the American cause, and during its continuance, performed many important services. As the authority of the royal governments became disavowed, the people finding themselves wholly destitute of any bonds of civil government, public sentiment naturally adverted to the necessity of some political regulations for the general safety. There having been several conventions of committees of towns, to deliberate on measures to be pursued, in January 1777, a convention of delegates from the respective towns, held at Westminster, resolved that the territory now included in that state, should be considered as a free and independent jurisdiction or state; to be forever hereafter called, known, and distinguished, by the name of New-Connecticut, alias Vermont. From this period Vermont became an inde

« ElőzőTovább »