Two classes of writers differing widely in their feelings towards the Puritan emigrants who came to New England resemble each other in manifesting a singular ignorance. The planters of New England never were advocates of religious liberty ; and there is. equal sciolism in eulogizing them as such, and in criticising them for inconsistency with their professions when they expelled from their territory those who publicly dissented from their religious opinions and from their forms of worship. .If the Puritans had been in power in England, they would have suppressed the ritualism of Laud as heartily as Laud punished non-conformity. Overr powered in England, they came to America to find freedom to worship according to their own consciences, and not to establish religious liberty for all men of every creed. The restrictions which had been placed upon them, and the sufferings to which they had been subjected in their native land, instead of leading them to be tolerant of other forms of Christianity, served rather to render them more earnest to secure to themselves, and to those who should be like-minded, the territory to which they had emigrated, and upon which they were to expend their labors and their estates.
They saw no other way of securing the end for which they had exiled themselves, than that of exclusiveness and intolerance.
In accordance with such convictions and feelings, the planters of the New Haven Colony not only established, in the several plantations, churches such as they approved, but took care that no other than " approved churches " should be gathered, and that, if they should find it impossible to prevent the formation of other churches, the members of them should have no political power. It was ordered: -
" That all the people of God within this jurisdiction, who are not in a church way, being orthodox in judgment, and not scandalous in-life, shall have full liberty to gather themselves into a church estate, provided they do it in a Christian way, with due observation - of the rules of Christ, revealed in his Word; provided also, that this Court doth not, nor hereafter will, approve of any such company of persons, as shall join in any pretended way of church-fellowship, unless they shall first, in due season, acquaint both the magistrates and the elders of the churches within this colony, where and when they intend to join, and have their approbation therein." Nor shall any person, being a member of any church which shall be gathered without such notice given and approbation had, or who is not a member of some church in New England approved by the magistrates and churches of this colony, be admitted to the freedom of this jurisdiction."
It is not sufficient to say, that, according to the theory and practice of the New Haven Colony, the approved churches were established by law; but, since the seven men who were chosen to be the foundation work covenanted together as a church before they organized themselves as a civil court, it would be more accurate to say that the civil authority was instituted
by the church, than that the church was established by the state. This method of organization was undoubtedly designed to secure " the purity and peace of the ordinances to themselves and their posterity;" that is, to exclude, as far as they could, all other forms of Christianity. Such Was their design, whatever may be the verdict of the present age respecting the breadth of their scope, or the equilibrium of their justice. It is easy to see that such a foundation could not, and ought not to, endure through all the changes of opinion introduced by their posterity and by later emigrants. It is not easy to show that it was either unrighteous or impolitic as a temporary arrangement designed to secure to exiles from their native land the peaceable enjoyment of that "purity of the ordinances " for which they had left their homes, and in regard to which they were all of one mind.
The "approved churches " were of the Congregational order, in distinction from dependency on the one hand and from diocesan or presbyterial combination on the other. Some of the planters were High Church Separatists, regarding it as wrong to be in fellowship with the Church of England. Those who were more liberal had lost all desire for Episcopacy, if for no other reason because it was for -them impracticable. To organize congregations, and place them under the government of the English hierarchy, would have been a surrender of themselves to the yoke they had slipped from. However they differed . one from another in their theories of the church, the people of New England had, before the settlement of New Haven, with one accord, practically renounced Episcopacy. The planters of
Salem seem to have had no plan for their ecclesiastical organization till the time for action was close at hand. The adoption of Congregationalism was a surprise, at least to some of them. A few expressed their dissent by worshipping apart from the majority, and according to the forms prescribed by act of Parliament. After the violent suppression of this schism, there was no attempt among the Puritans of New England to organize congregations in connection with the Church of England. Some of them, when they returned to the mother country, showed by their adhesion to the national church that they had not been Congrega-tionalists through conviction that Episcopacy was unlawful. Others, on their return home, conscientiously dissented from the established religion, and cast in their lot with the Separatists, however feeble and despised. t Presbyterianism was but little known to most of the planters of New Haven; and what Davenport had learned of it by his experience in Holland had led him to dislike a classis almost as much as a bishop.
Adopting Congregationalism, the people of the New Haven Colony, like their brethren throughout New England, intended by it something as different from Independency as from Presbyterianism or Episcopacy. Their views and feelings may perhaps be illustrated by a quotation from one of themselves better than in any other way. John Wakeman, who resided at New Haven, on a lot at the corner of Chapel and York Streets vacated by the removal to Milford of the widow Baldwin to whom it was originally allotted, was for some years the treasurer of the jurisdiction, the representative of the plantation in the Colonial Court, and a deacon of the
. church. Drawing near to the end of life, he felt himself called to pro'fess his belief, not only in the facts which underlie Christianity, but in that theory of the Christian church which prevailed in New England. In his last will and testament he writes, -
" I, John Wakeman of New Haven, being weak in body, but of sound understanding and memory, in expectation of my great change, do make this my last will and testament. First, I commend my soul into the hands of my Lord Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, trusting to'be saved by his merits and intercession, and my body to be buried at the discretion of my executors and friends, in hope of a joyful resurrection; testifying my thankfulness to God for the free manifestation of his grace to me in Christ, and for the liberty and fellowship vouchsafed me with his people in his ordinances in a Congregational way, which I take to be the way of Christ, orderly walked in according to his rules; but I do testify against absolute independency of churches, and perfection of any in light or actings, and against compulsion of conscience to concur with the church without inward satisfaction to conscience, and persecuting such as dissent upo" this ground, which I take to be an abuse of the power given for edification by Christ, who is (the) only lord of the conscience."
This profession of Mr. Wakeman agrees, for substance, with the doctrine concerning Congregationalism taught by the elders of the churches, and received by the people. Even that part of it which relates to freedom of conscience, and the abuse of power in persecuting, fairly represents the public sentiment of the colony, so far. as erroneous thinking, apart from the promulgation of error, is concerned; for, while banishing or otherwise maltreating those who dissented from the majority, the law-makers were careful to declare that the offenders were not punished for wrong think-
ing, but for "broaching, publishing, and maintaining" their erroneous sentiments. The law against heresy reads,-
"Although no creature be lord or have power over the faith and consciences of men, nor may constrain them to believe or profess against their consciences, yet to restrain or provide against such as may bring in dangerous errors or heresies, tending to corrupt and destroy the souls of men, it is ordered, That if any Christian within this jurisdiction shall go about to subvert or destroy the Christian faith or religion by broaching, publishing, or maintaining any dangerous error or heresy, or shall endeavor to draw or seduce others- thereunto, every such person so offending, and continuing obstinate therein, after due means of conviction, shall be fined, banished, or otherwise severely punished, as the court of magistrates duly considering the offence, with the aggravating circumstances and danger like to ensue, shall judge meet."
Winthrop's journal affords a telling illustration of the maintenance of this distinction in the neighboring colony of Massachusetts; Recording the punishment of a Baptist, who was too poor to be fined, he says, " He was ordered to be .whipped, not for his opinion, but for reproaching the Lord's ordinance, and for his bold and evil, behavior, both at home and in the court." That the distinction was not merely theoretical, is evident from the fact that many Baptists were unmolested, among them the first two presidents of Harvard College.: Dunster, the first president, was an avowed anti-pedobaptist; yet he held the office for fourteen years, and might have held it longer had he not, in a moment of excitement, burst the bonds of his usual discretion, and inveighed openly, in the church at Cambridge, against infant baptism. For
. this offence he was obliged to resign, but suffered no further molestation. His successor, while approving of infant baptism, held' that immersion was the. only mode; and his peculiarity in this respect was known before his election. "Mr. Mather and Mr. Norton were desired by the overseers of the college to tender unto Rev. Mr. Charles Chauncey the place of president, with the stipend of one hundred pounds per annum, to be paid out of the country treasury; and withal to signify to him that it is expected and desired that he forbear to disseminate or publish any tenets concerning immersion in baptism, and celebration of the Lord's Supper at evening, or to expose the received doctrine therein." x Mr. Chauncey agreed to this stipulation, and was never disturbed.
There were Baptists at New Haven, but no action was taken against them by the civil authority. Perhaps their immunity is sufficiently accounted for when we learn that the wife of Gov. Eaton was one of them. "The first discovery of her peremptory engagement was by her departing from the assembly after the morning sermon when the Lord's Supper was administered, and the same afternoon, after sermon, when baptism was administered, judging herself not capable of the former, because she conceited herself to be not baptized, nor durst she be present at the latter, imagining that psedo-baptism is unlawful." Mr. Davenport, finding that others of his flock were also astray, undertook to prove in a sermon on the next Lord's Day that " baptism is come in place of circumcision, and is to be administered unto infants;" which he himself says was done
1 Mass. Hist Coll., X., p. 175. Pierce's History of Harvard College.
" with a blessing from God for the recovery of some from this error, and for the establishment of others in truth. Only Mrs. Eaton [received] no benefit by all, but continued as before." It is, however, more probable that the immunity was due to the discretion of the dissenters, who did not attempt, so far as appears, to make proselytes. That there was some jocose talk about banishment, as if such a penalty might follow the dissemination of their opinions, appears in the trial of Mrs. Brewster for sundry vituperative speeches concerning the church, its pastor, and the magistrates. A maid testified that " she heard Mrs. Brewster, speaking aloud to Mrs. Eaton concerning banishment, say, they could not banish her but by a general court, and, if it come to that, she wished Mrs. Eaton to come to her and acquaint her with her judgment and grounds about baptizing, and she would by them seduce some other women, and then she, the said Mrs. Brewster, would complain to the court of Mrs. Eaton, and the other women should complain of her, as being thus seduced, and so they would be banished together, and she spoke of going to Rhode Island. Mrs. Brewster confesseth the charge, but saith she spoke in jest and laughing." *
1 The action of the church in reference to Mrs. Eaton may be seen in the Appendix to Bacon's Historical Discourses.
The pastor, finding that she had received no benefit from his sermon, put himself " to a further task for her good," writing a treatise which was read to her in private. This effort, however, was as fruitless as the former. What course the church might have taken with her for what they regarded as the error of her judgment, or for turning her back on its ordinances, does not appear; for, at this stage of the proceedings, " divers rumors were spread up and down the town of her scandalous walking in her family." " Upon inquiry, it appeared the reports were true, and more evils were discovered than we had heard of. We now began to see that
234 HISTORY OF NEW HAVEN COLONY. While the few Baptists in the colony were quiet in their dissent, the Quakers were more troublesome. The first to appear was Humphrey Norton, who, haying been banished from Plymouth, came to Southold, whence, within six months after his banishment from Plymouth, he was sent as a prisoner to New Haven. This was in 1658. It is an illustration of the prevalent neglect to distinguish between the jurisdiction court and the court of the principal plantation, that he was indicted before the plantation court of New Haven. Mr.NLeete of Guilford and Mr. Fenn of Milford were, indeed, called in to assist; and the proceedings were afterward read to, and approved by, the court of the jurisdiction. The charges against Norton were: -
" 1. That he hath grievously and in manifold wise traduced, slandered, and reproached Mr. Youngs, pastor of the church at Southold, in his good name, and the honor due to him for his work's sake, together with his ministry, and all our ministers and ordinances.
" 2. That he hath endeavored to seduce the people from their
God took us off from treating with her any further about the error of her judgment till we might help forward by the will of God her repentance for those evils in life, believing that else these evils would by the just judgment of God hinder from receiving light." Seventeen specifications of " scandalous walking " were presented to the church; the first charging her with striking her mother-in-law, the second with an assault upon her step-daughter, and all showing a violent, ungoverned temper. After waiting nine months for satisfaction, " with much grief of heart and many tears the church proceeded to censure," cutting her off from its communion.
The conduct of Mrs. Eaton was so strange as to suggest the conjecture that she was either insane, or in that state of nervous excitement which borders on insanity, and that medical treatment would have been more appropriate than church discipline.
due attendance upon the ministry and the sound doctrines of our religion settled in this colony.
" 3. That he hath endeavored to spread sundry heretical opinions, and that under expressions which hold forth some degree of blasphemy, and to corrupt the minds of people therein.
"4. That he hath endeavored to vilify or nullify the just author-ity of the magistracy and government here settled.
" 5. That in all these miscarriages he hath endeavored to disturb the peace of this jurisdiction."
The sentence was, in the excess of punishment which it ordered, worthy of the High Commission, or of the Star-Chamber. It discovers in the court a hatred of the prisoner's opinions, which is but thinly covered by the specification of overt crimes. Norton was fined, whipped, branded, and banished.
At the session of the colonial court next following, the proceedings against Norton having been approved, laws were enacted against " a cursed sect lately risen up in the world, which are commonly called Quakers," imposing fines on any who should bring them into the colony, or harbor them ; requiring Quakers coming in about " their civil, lawful occasions," upon their first arrival, to appear before the authority of the place, and from them have license to pass about and issue their lawful occasions ; and providing penalties if they attempt to seduce others, if they revile or reproach, or any other way make disturbance or offend. If a Quaker having fallen under these penalties, and having been sent out of the jurisdiction, should presume to return, penalties increasing in severity are provided for the second, the third, and the fourth offence. Penalties are also provided for bringing into the jurisdiction Quaker books, and for circulating or concealing them.
236 HISTORY OF NEW HAVEN COLONY. The cruelty of laws whose penalties culminated in "tongues bored through with a hot iron" must be revolting, even to those who justify the fathers of the New Haven Colony in intrusting with political power only such as were of the "religion settled in this colony." But such penalties were not peculiar to New , Haven or to New England. In England, two years earlier, a Quaker by the name of James Naylor had been bored through the tongue, and otherwise tormented. So that, however true it may be that " emigration tends to barbarism," the severest punishment with which Quakers were threatened by the people of New Haven was not invented on this side of the Atlantic.
Either these laws were very effective in deterring persons of the troublesome and hated sect from remaining within the jurisdiction, or there was little occasion for the terror which led to their enactment. Only three instances are found, subsequent to the enactment of the laws against Quakers, in which action is taken against persons thus denominated. The first occurred a few days after the laws were enacted, and resulted in a fine imposed upon an inhabitant of Greenwich for the miscarriages of himself and his wife in the use of the tongue against elders and magistrates. In the second, a seaman was sent on board his vessel lying in the harbor of New Haven; and the master was required to keep him on board till he should carry him out of the jurisdiction. The third concerned a Quaker brought over from Southold : it was ordered that the offender " be whipped, and that he be bound in a bond of fifty pounds for his good behavior for the
RELIGION AND MORALS. 237 time to come, to carry it in a comely and inoffensive manner."
Besides Baptists and Quakers, there were no sectaries in the colony of New Haven till after its absorption into Connecticut. Thirteen years after the union, the Lords of the Privy Council, through their commissioners for trade and foreign plantations, sent out a schedule of questions concerning the condition of Connecticut. The twenty-sixth inquiry was as follows: viz., "What persuasion in religious matters is most prevalent ? and among the varieties, which you are to express, what proportion in number and quality of people [does] one hold to the other?" To this question Gov. Leete replied one year later, "Our people in this colony are, some of them, strict Congregational men, others more large Congregational men, and some moderate Presbyterians. The Congregational men of both sorts are the greatest part of the people in the colony. There are four or five Seventh-day men, and about so many more Quakers." The "moderate Presbyterians " to whom the governor alludes were a party in the church at Hartford, including Mr. Stone, the pastor, who maintained that Congregationalism was " a speaking aristocracy in the face of a silent democracy." He, and those who agreed with him in thus magnifying the authority of the elders, were naturally called Presbyterians by those who magnified the rights of the brotherhood; * but there was no outward separation of them from "Congregational men," either "strict" or "large ;" and they did not call themselves
1 Gov. Leete was a member of the church in Guilford, which from its beginning would never have a ruling elder.
238 HISTORY OF NEW HAVEN COLONY. Presbyterians, but claimed that theirs was genuine Congregationalism. The condition of the united colony fourteen years after the union being such as Gov. Leete represents, we may conclude that in the colony of New Haven, previous to the union, there was to all intents and purposes entire ecclesiastical uniformity.
As another inquiry of the commissioners "related to religion, we may as well record the reply of Gov. Leete. Though covering the whole territory of Connecticut, it throws light on the religious condition of that portion of it which a few years before had been the jurisdiction of New Haven. The twenty-seventh inquiry was : " What course is taken for the instructing of the people in the Christian religion ? How many churches and ministers are there within your government, and how many are yet wanting for the accommodation of your corporation ?" The reply was, " (I) Great care is taken for the instruction of the people in the Christian religion, by ministers catechising of them, and preaching to them twice every sabbath day, and sometimes lecture days; and so by masters of families instructing or catechising their children and servants, being so required to do by law: (2) In our corporation are twenty-six towns, and there are one and twenty churches in them. (3) There is, in every town in our colony, a settled minister, except it be in two towns new begun; and they are seeking out for ministers to settle amongst them."
It was held in those days, that there should be in every church, if possible, a pastor, a teacher, a ruling elder, and one or more deacons. In the church at New Haven Mr. Davenport was chosen pastor, and Robert
RELIGION AND MORALS. 239 Newman and Matthew Gilbert deacons, soon after the organization. In 1644 Rev. William Hooke was ordained teacher; and about the same time Robert Newr man, one of the deacons, was ordained ruling elder.1 "Thus," says Dr. Bacon, "the church became completely supplied with the officers which every church in that da$ was supposed to need. It had within itself a complete presbytery, - a full body of ordained elders, competent to maintain a regular succession, without any dependence on the supposed ordaining power of ministers out of the church, and without any necessity of resorting to the extraordinary measure of ordination by persons specially delegated for that purpose. The three elders - one of whom was to give attention chiefly to the administration of the order and government of the church, while the others were to labor in word and doctrine - were all equally and in the same sense 'elders,' or 'overseers,' of the flock of God. The one was a mere elder; but the others were elders called to the work of preaching. The distinction between pastor and teacher was theoretical, rather than of any practical importance. Both were in the highest sense ministers of the gospel; as colleagues they preached by turns on the Lord's Day, and on all other public occasions ; they had an equal share in the administration
1 Robert Newman returned to England, and no one was appointed to succeed him as ruling elder. Mr. Hooke also returned to the mother country, and was succeeded by Rev. Nicholas Street. Mr. Street was born in Taunton, England, was educated at Oxford University, and had been teacher of the church in Taunton in the colony of Plymouth. He was installed at New Haven, according to the church record, Nov. 26, or, as Davenport writes in a letter to John Winthrop, jun. (Mass. Hist ColL XXXVII., 507), Nov. 23, 1659.
240 HISTORY OF NEW HAVEN COLONY. of discipline; and if Mr. Davenport was more venerated than Mr. Hooke, and had more influence in the church and in the community generally, it was more because of the acknowledged personal superiority of the former in respect to age and gifts and learning, than because of any official disparity. The Cambridge platform, which was framed in 1648, and with which Mr. Davenport, in his writings on church government, fully agrees, says, in defining the difference between pastors and teachers, 'The pastor's special work is to attend to exhortation, and therein to administer a word of wisdom ; the teacher is to attend to doctrine, and therein to administer a word of knowledge ; and either of them to administer the seals of that covenant, unto the dispensation of which they are alike called; as also to execute the censures, being but a kind of application of the Word: the preaching of which, together with the application thereof, they are alike charged withal.' The pastor and teacher gave themselves wholly to their ministry and their studies, and accordingly received a support from the people : they might properly be called clergymen, The ruling elder was not necessarily educated for the ministry: he might without impropriety pursue some secular calling; and, though he fed the flock occasionally with ' a word of admonition,' the ministry was not his profession. Inasmuch as he did not live by the ministry, he was a layman."
But there was perhaps no other church in the colony provided with a presbytery complete according to the Cambridge platform, than that of New Haven. The church at Guilford had for its pastor Rev. Henry Whit-field, under whose guidance most of the people had
crossed the ocean ; and for its teacherRev. John Hig-ginson, a son-in-law of its pastor. But, to borrow the the language of one of its later pastors, " they never had, and upon principle never would admit, a ruling elder. Although in all other things Mr. Whitfield and Mr. Davenport and their churches exactly agreed, yet in this they were quite different. I have made diligent inquiry into the subject, many years ago, with old people who were personally Acquainted with the first members of the church. They all invariably agree, that as Mr. Whitfield wa& never ordained in any sense at Guilford, but officiated as their pastor by virtue of his ordination in England, so neither he nor the church would allow of a ruling elder ; and the ancient tradition in the church here was, that New Haven, and afterward other churches in the colony, conformed their judgment and practice to Mr. Whitfield's and his church's judgment." ' After the return of Mr. Whitfield to England, Mr. Higginson was both pastor and teacher, until 1659, when he removed to Salem. At Milford Mr. Prudden was the only preaching elder, Rev. John Sherman, a resident of the town, having declined the office of teacher to which the church had elected him; but Zachariah Whitman, as ruling elder, was associated with Mr. Prudden in the care of the church. Mr. Prudden, dying in 1656, was succeeded, after an interim of four years, by Rev. Roger Newton, who, like his predecessor, was the only preaching elder. No records of the church at South old of an earlier date than 1745 being extant, we cannot ascertain whether it had a ruling elder; but there is no
1 Letter of Rev. Thomas Ruggles, author of a History of Guilford, to Rev. Dr. Stiles ; printed in Mass. Hist. Coll., X. 91.
reason to doubt that Mr. Youngs was its only preaching officer. At Stamford Rev. John Bishop was both pastor and teacher; as was Rev. Abraham Pierson at Bran-ford, when, with the approbation of the Jurisdiction Court, a settlement had been made, and a church had been gathered, in that place.
The preaching elders were maintained from the treasury of the church, and not of the town, the treas- -ury being supplied by contribution's made every Lord's Day; but these contributions were, if not from the beginning, certainly very soon after the beginning, made in accordance with a pledge which every inhabitant was required to give, that he would contribute a certain amount yearly for the maintenance of the ministry. The law respecting such pledges reads as follows : -
" It is ordered, that when and so oft as there shall be cause, either through the perverseness or negligence of men, the particular court in each plantation, or, where no court is held, the deputies last chosen for the General Court, with the constable, or other officer for preserving peace, and so forth, shall call all the inhabitants, whether planters or sojourners, before them, and desire every one particularly to set down what proportion he is willing and able to allow yearly, while God continues his estate, toward the maintenance of the ministry there. But if any one or more, to the discouragement or hinderance of this work, refuse or delay, or set down an unmeet proportion; in any and every such case, the par-, ticular court, or deputies and constable as aforesaid, shall rate and assess every such person, according to his visible estate there, with due moderation and in equal proportion with his neighbors. But if after that he deny or delay, or tender unsuitable payment, it shall be recovered as other just debts. And it is further ordered, Tha< if any man remove from the plantation where he lived, and leave or suffer his land there, or any part of it, to lie unimproved, neither selling it, nor freely surrendering it to the plantation, he shall pay
one third part of what he paid before for his movable estate and lands also. And in each plantation where ministers' maintenance is allowed in a free way without rating, he shall pay one third part of what other men of the lowest rank enjoying such accommodations, do pay; but if any removing, settle near the said plantation, and continue still to improve his land, or such part of it as seems good to himself, he shall pay two-thirds of what he paid before when he lived in the plantation, both for movable estate and land, or two-thirds-part of whA others of like accommodation pay."
There is, perhaps, an intimation in the law, that the amount which each inhabitant should pay for the maintenance of the elders was determined, in some of the plantations, by assessors and not by himself. Practically, there could not be much difference in the two methods, since, if the " free way without rating " was practised, the order of the court obliged non-resident proprietors and unwilling residents to pay according to their taxable estates.
The general synod at Cambridge, which in 1648 prepared, agreed to, and published the system of ecclesiastical polity known as the Cambridge platform, included representatives of the churches hi the colony of New Haven ; and this platform fairly represents the Congregationalism of these churches from their organization to the formation of the Saybrook platform in the early part of the eighteenth century. The same synod took action on the confession of faith published by the Westminster Assembly of divines, as follows : -
" This synod, having perused and considered, with much gladness of heart and thankfulness to God, the confession of faith published of late by the reverend assembly in England, do judge it to be very holy, orthodox, and judicious in all matters of faith;
244 HISTORY OF NEW HAVEN COLONY. and do therefore freely and fully consent thereunto, for the substance thereof. Only in those things which have respect to church government and discipline, we refer ourselves to the platform of church discipline agreed upon by this present assembly."
The Presbyterian party being at that time in the ascendant in England, the synod adopted the Westminster Confession, instead of framing one for themselves, for the sake of vindicating in the mother country the orthodoxy of New England Congregationalists. They say in their preface : -
"We, who are, by nature Englishmen, do desire to hold forth the same doctrine of religion, especially in fundamentals, which we see and know to be held by the churches of England." " By this our professed consent and free concurrence with them in all the doctrinals of religion, we hope it may appear to the world, that, as we are a remnant of the people of the same nation with them, so we are professors of the same common faith, and fellow-heirs of the same common salvation."
If the Church of England had been at that time Episcopal, the Cambridge Synod would with equal willingness have adopted the doctrinal part of the Thirty-Nine Articles. These articles they heartily received, according to the interpretation generally given to them in the reign of Elizabeth, in the first part of the reign of James I., and by the Calvinistic party in the Church of England subsequently. The pastors and teachers of the churches in the New Haven colony retained the Calvinistic theology in which they had been indoctrinated in the universities, and believed, as did their teachers, that it was consistent with and embodied in the Thirty-Nine Articles. After the restoration of the Thirty-Nine Articles in the national church of England,
the churches of Connecticut publicly agreed with the dissenters in the mother country, in adopting them as a standard of orthodoxy. The Heads of Agreement which accompany the Saybrook platform say, "As to what appertains to soundness of judgment in matters of faith, we esteem it sufficient that a church acknowledge the Scriptures to be the word of God, the perfect and only rule of faith and practice, and own either the doctrinal part of those commonly called the articles of the Church of England, or the confession, or catechisms, shorter or longer, compiled by the assembly at Westminster, or the confession agreed on at the Savoy, to be agreeable to the said rule." This declaration, though made after the first generation had passed away, would have been uttered by the fathers as willingly as by their children, if justified by an appropriate occasion.
In each plantation there was a building in which the church assembled for worship. It was built and owned by the proprietors of the plantation, and was used for meetings of the General Court as well as of the church. Having this double design, it was not called a church or a church-house, as an edifice used only for church services would naturally be denominated, but a meetinghouse. This twofold use of the edifice did not offend the religious sentiment of the people; for the court was composed of church-members who came together in a religious spirit to serve God in the business of the court as truly as they served him in the ordinances of the church. It was not a temporary expedient such as a people believing in a more thorough separation of
Church and State might adopt in a new plantation till they were able to provide more appropriately for each; but it was in its design a permanent arrangement befitting a theocratic constitution of society. The meeting-houses in the several plantations differed
A MEETING-HOUSE OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY. in size, but were similar in external appearance and internal arrangement. The meeting-house at Guilford was, however, of stone, as were a few of the principal dwellings in that plantation. That at Milford was of wood, was forty feet square, and had a roof in shape
RELIGION AND MORALS. 247 like a truncated pyramid, surmounted by a "tower." That at New Haven was of wood, was fifty feet square, and had a roof like that of the Milford house, and a "tower an.d turret." There were also "banisters and rails on the meeting-house top," which probably en closed that higher and flatter portion of the roof from which the tower ascended. It was built in accordance with an order of the General Court, passed Nov. 2-5, 1639. The estimated cost was .£500; and, as the last instalment of the tax levied to raise that sum was made payable in the following May, one may infer that the expectation was that it would be finished within a year. It stood in the market-place, certainly near its centre, and presumably exactly upon it.1 The frame being insufficient to support the weight of the tower and turret, it became necessary to shore up the posts. In time it was found that the shores were impaired by decay, and fears were expressed that the house would fall. In January, 1660, there was a discussion at a general court concerning the meeting-house. Some were in favor of taking down both the tower and the turret. Some were for removing the turret, and allowing the tower to remain. Some thought that both tower and turret might be retained, if the shores
* See in Mass. Hist Coll. XL., p. 474, a curious essay on the laying out of towns. The author is unknown, and it is without address or date. It seems to have been written before the settlement of New Haven, but lays down the same principles as ruled in laying out New Haven. The meeting-house is to be "the centre of the whole circumference." The houses are to be orderly placed about it. Then there is to be a first dwis-ion of lands extending from the centre one-half the distance to the outside boundary, to be improved in the earlier years of the settlement, before the second division comes into use.
248 HISTORY OF NEW HAVEN COLONY. were renewed, and the frame were strengthened with braces within the house. In conclusion, it was "determined, that, besides the renewing of the shores, both turret and tower shall be taken down." Probably the order to take down the tower and turret was not executed, for a committee on the meeting-house reported, Aug. 11, 1662, that "they thought it good that the upper turret be taken down. The thing being debated, it was put to vote, and concluded to be done, and left to the townsmen to see to get it done."
The internal .arrangement of a meeting-house is shown in the accompanying plan. Behind the pulpit was the seat of the teaching elders; immediately in front of it was the seat of the ruling elder; and before the seat of the ruling elder was the seat of the deacons, having a shelf in front of it, which ordinarily hung suspended from hinges, so as to present its broad surface to the congregation, but, when needed for a communion-table, was elevated to a horizontal position. The report of the committee for seating people in the meeting-house at New Haven, in 1656, shows that the deacons were expected to sit one at each end of their official seat, and that each of them had his own place, - four men being appointed to sit before Deacon Gilbert's seat, and three women before Deacon Miles's seat. In every such meeting-house the sexes were seated apart, the men on one side, and the women on the other side, of the middle "alley." The soldiers' seats were, however, an exception to the rule, one-half of them being on the women's side of the house. In the meeting-house at New Haven the " forms " between the " alleys " were long enough to accommodate seven per-
sons, but only two or three were assigned to those near the pulpit, the space allowed to each person having some proportion to his dignity. At "the upper end" were five cross-seats and " one little seat." The seating of 1656 assigns two men to "the bench before the-little seat," and, on the opposite side of the house, two women to "the seat before the little seat." In like manner persons were assigned to sit in front of every
front seat in the house. The first seating which is recorded placed only proprietors and their wives. The second was more liberal, including apparently all heads of families, but, with the exception of " Mr. Goodyear's daughters," no unmarried women. This more liberal policy in the assignment of seats rendered it necessary to place benches in the "alleys," before every front seat. In the meeting-house at New Haven there were two pillars, one on that part where the men were seated, and one on the women's side. Apparently they were designed to aid in supporting the weight of the tower and turret. On the accompanying ground-plan they are represented as placed in the side "alleys," half way from front to rear.
In January, 1647, "it was ordered that the particular ctfurt with the two deacons, taking in the advice of the ruling elder, should place people in the meeting-house, and it was also ordered that the governor may be spared therein." ' At a general court held the tenth of March, this committee having meanwhile performed their duty, " the names of people, as they were seated in the meeting-house, were read in court, and it was ordered they should be recorded." In 1656, nine years later, another record was made, and in 1662 a third record of the names of people as they were seated in the meeting-
1 The governor may have been spared, because, his wife being now excommunicate, no seat could be assigned to her by name. It will be seen, however, that there was plenty of room for her in the seat with . " old Mrs. Eaton." Nine years later, the governor's mother being now dead, the seat was assigned to his wife under the adroit circumlocution, " The first as it was," but the committee's faculty of circumlocution failed when they came to the bench in front of that seat, and they wrote, " Before Mrs. Baton's seat."
house. As a comparison of these records may assist the reader to note the increase of the congregation and the change in its personnel, we have transcribed them to be printed in Appendix IV. At the town meeting at which the second list of names was read, " it was agreed that (because there want seats for some, and that the alleys are so filled with blocks, stools, and chairs, that it hinders a free passage) low benches shall be made at the end of the seats on both sides of the alleys, for young persons to sit on." But these • additional seats did not suffice, for about twelve months later the townsmen, or, .as we now term them, the selectmen, were " desired to speak with some workmen to see if another little gallery may not for a small charge be made adjoining that [which] is already." This mention of the gallery prompts us to suggest, that, as with few exceptions the persons who had seats assigned to them by name were heads of families, young men and young women sat in the gallery, as was the general custom in New England in later generations. That the interior of the building was cared for and kept free from dust, is evident from the minute, "It is ordered that sister Preston shall sweep and dress the meeting-house every week, and have one shilling a week for her pains."
The people of each plantation gathered together on the morning of every Lord's day to a sanctuary not unlike that which has been described. The first drum was beaten about eight o'clock in the tower of the meeting-house and through the streets of the town. When the second drum beat, families came forth from their dwellings, and walked in orderly procession to the
house of God, children following their parents to the door, though not allowed to sit with them in the assembly. The ministers in the pulpit wore gowns and bands as they had done in England, their Puritan scruples reaching not to all the badges of official distinction which they had been accustomed to see and to use, but only to the surplice.
There is, perhaps, no way in which one can more accurately conceive of -the ritual of worship in these churches than by reading what has been written by a contemporary, concerning worship in New England and especially in Boston. LechfordJ says : -
" The public worship is in as fair a meeting-house as they can provide, wherein, in most places they have been at great charges. Every Sabbath or Lord's day they come together at Boston by ringing of a bell, about nine of the clock or before. The pastor begins with solemn prayer, continuing about a quarter of an hour. The teacher* then readeth and expoundeth a chapter. Then a psalm is: sung; whichever, one of the ruling elders dictates. After that, the pastor preacheth a sermon, and sometimes ex tempore exhorts. Then the teacher concludes with prayer and a blessing.
" Once a month is a sacrament of the Lord's Supper, whereof notice is given usually a fortnight before, and then all others departing save the church, which is a great deal less in number than those that go away, they receive the sacrament, the ministers and ruling elders sitting at the table, the rest in their seats or upon forms. All cannot see the minister consecrating unless they stand up and make a narrow shift. The one of the teaching elders prays before, and blesseth and consecrates the bread and wine, according to the words of institution -^ the other prays after the receiving of all the members; and next communion they change turns; he that
1 Lechford was a lawyer, who, being disbarred for talking with a juryman out of court, returned to England.
began at that ends at this; and the ministers deliver the bread in a charger to some of the chief, and peradventure give to a few the bread into their hands, and they deliver the charger from one to another, till all have eaten; in like manner the cup, till all have drunk, goes from one to another. Then a psalm is sung, and with a short blessing the congregation is dismissed. Any one, though not of the church, may, in Boston, come in and see the sacrament administered if he will; but none of any church in the country may receive the sacrament there without leave of the congregation, for which purpose he comes to one of the ruling elders, who propounds his name to the congregation before they go to the sacrament.
" About two in the afternoon they repair to the meeting-house again; and then the pastor begins as before noon, and, a psalm being sung, the teacher makes a sermon. He was wont, when I came first, to read and expound a chapter also before his sermon in the afternoon. After and before his sermon he prayeth.
" After that ensues baptism, if there be any; which is done by either pastor or teacher, in the deacon's seat, the most eminent place in the church, next under the elders' seat. The pastor most commonly makes a speech or exhortation to the church and parents concerning baptism, and then prayeth before and after. It is done by washing or sprinkling. One of the parents being of the church, the child may be baptized, and the baptism is into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. No sureties are required. '
lfWhich ended, follows the contribution, one of the deacons saying, ' Brethren of the congregation, now there is time left for contribution, wherefore, as God hath prospered you, so freely offer.' Upon some extraordinary occasions, as building or repairing of churches or meeting-houses, or other necessities, the ministers press a liberal contribution, with effectual exhortations out of Scripture. The magistrates and chief gentlemen first, and then the elders and all the congregation of men, and most of them that are not of'the church, all single persons, widows and women in absence of their husbands,1 come up one after another one way,
1 Mrs. Brewster, in the absence of her husband, who had sailed for England in Lamberton's ship, went forward with her gift " because her
and bring their offerings to the deacon at his seat, and put it into a box of wood for the purpose, if it be money or papers; if it be any other chattel, they set it or lay it down before the deacons, and so pass another way to their seats again."
The sermons were much longer than would be endured at the present day; but were not regarded by the hearers as too long, such was the interest which the people felt in the exposition of the Scriptures, and so little else was there to occupy their intellectual and spiritual faculties. Long sermons, however, were not a peculiarity of New England. The churches in the mother-country were commonly supplied with hourglasses, one hour being the ordinary measure of a sermon ; but when an able preacher turned the glass to signify that he wished to speak longer, the congregation would give visible, if not audible, expression of their approval.
After the contribution, candidates were "propounded" for admission to the church, or, having been previously announced as candidates, were, on their assenting to the - covenant of the church, formally received into its communion. If there were any matters of offence requiring censure, they were-then attended to, "sometimes till it be very late," "If they have time after this, is sung a psalm, and then the pastor concludeth with a prayer and a blessing."
In the church at New Haven it was, the custom for
husband had commanded her," but was charged with saying, " It was as going to mass or going up to the high altar." She denied " that ever she spake of mass or high altar in reference to the contributions," but adroitly quoted the text, " when thou bringest thy gift to the altar," alleging that she first heard it applied to the contributions by her irreproachable seat-mate, Mrs. Lamberton.
the assembly to rise and stand while the preacher read the passage of Scripture which he had selected as a text for his sermon. But Hutchinson says that this was a peculiarity of that church, and quotes a letter from Hooker to Shepard, referring to the Sunday when the practice commenced in the afternoon, Mr. Davenport having preached a sermon in the morning advocating such an expression of reverence for the word of God.
Stated religious services in addition to those of the Lord's Day were held on other days of the week, the arrangement of them differing probably in the several plantations. In New Haven the church had a meeting by themselves on Tuesday, or "third day," as their scruples required them, at least for a time, to term the third day of the week. On Thursday, or "fifth day," there was a public lecture open to all.1 Allusion is also made in the records to neighborhood-meetings, not only during the year preceding the formation of a church and a government, but so late as May, 1661.
"A plantation whose design is religion " ought to be distinguished for morality. Such being the design of all the plantations combined in the colony of New Haven, we naturally expect to find it standing higher than midway in a list of Christian communities arranged according to their respective degrees of ethical purity. All the proprietors were, or desired to become, church-
1 I am not sure that either the church-meeting or the lecture-service was held every week. The lecture probably occurred regularly, whatever the interval; the church-meeting may have been appointed by the elders whenever there was occasion. I think, however, that church-meetings were always on third day, and lectures always on fifth day.
members, and all had evinced the sincerity of their re ligious professions by coming into the wilderness for the sake of their religion. Such men were personally moral, and, so far as they could control their children, their servants, and the strangers who sojourned among them, they preserved their community free from vice. It is true that the records supply evidence that the moral law was sometimes transgressed. Indeed, if one should judge solely from the number of cases brought to trial, he might come to the conclusion that there was a low state of morals in the colony. But a community governed by Puritans differed from other communities, both in the comprehensiveness of the moral code enforced by the civil law, and in the strictness with which laws enacted in the interest of morality were enforced. Probably mere cases were brought before the court, in proportion to the number of crimes committed, than in any community of the present day. In our time the civil law aims to protect society from the destructive power of immorality, and this is the limit of its endeavor in behalf of morality. . If th"re be any laws on the statute-book designed to protect an individual from himself, or to enforce the duties which man owes to God, such laws are ancient, and, for want of enforcement, are practically obsolete.
The whole duty of a man comprises his duties to himself, his duties to his fellow-beings, and his duties to God. Puritan law enforced the obligations of the first and third, as well as of the second division. Drunkenness and unchastity were trespasses which the offender committed against himself, - trespasses from which the innocent were to be deterred by penalties
RELIGION AND MORALS. threatened, and, whenever there was transgression, by penalties inflicted. Blasphemy was an outrage upon the being spoken against, and wilful absence from public worship was to rob God of the outward honor rightfully belonging to him: there were therefore laws to protect the rights of God by punishing such impiety.
The field in which ethical purity was enforced by law, being considerably wider than in modern times, the moral sentiment of society being high-toned, and magistrates being conscientiously diligent in maintaining law, there were more criminal prosecutions than would occur under modern laws and modern administration in a community equally virtuous and of equal population. Allowing for the breadth of the Puritan code of morals, and the conscientiousness with which law was enforced, one must conclude that the people of the New Haven colony were more moral than the people inhabiting the same territory have been during any equal period in modern times. Antecedent to the union with Connecticut, there was no trial of an English person for murder. There is incidental evidence that there was one trial for adultery, though the record of it is lost. There were executions for crimes of unnatural lust, but the imperfection of the records renders it impossible to determine how many. Trials for fornication, drunkenness, and theft were not as numerous in proportion to the population as on the same territory in our own time.
Generally, offenders were either servants or artisans temporarily resident. But in a comparatively few cases the children of proprietors so far deviated from the strictly moral life required by Puritan law, as to be sum-
moned before the magistrates. When this happened, it usually appeared that they had been misled by serv- ants, bond or hired. One such case illustrates the firm ness and impartiality with which law was administered. The daughter of a magistrate was, by order of the court of magistrates, whipped for "consenting to go in the night to the farms with Will. Harding to a venison feast; for stealing things from her parents; and yielding to filthy dalliance with the said Harding." Neither her father who was a member of the court, nor her father's "cousin" who presided, however they may have shrunk and faltered, refused to administer the same measure as they would have administered to the humblest appren tice.
Passing out of the zone in which morality was protected by civil law, into the region where conscience and public sentiment ruled, we find the colonists superior rather than inferior to their descendants and successors. In the sobriety which governs animal appetites; in the observance of the rules of righteousness between man and man; in the carefulness with which honor was given to those to whom honor was due, and especially to the Supreme Ruler,-they excelled.
Having said so much in commendation, we must in truthfulness testify, that, like the saints whose sins are recorded on the pages of Holy Writ, they were human and therefore imperfect. Even among church-members there were cases of gross immorality. In a single church there was one case of lying, one of fraud, one of drunkenness, and one of unnatural lust. These exceptional outbreaks of wickedness are conspicuous by reason of the general sobriety, righteousness, and godliness of the community in which they occurred.
If there was any sin to which Puritans were especially liable, it was avarice. Watchful against carnality and ungodliness, they were less suspicious of that lust of acquiring, which under the guise of such virtues as industry, frugality, and domestic affection, sometimes held them in a bondage of which they were little aware. Hence there were frequent appeals to the court for justice between man and man in regard to contracts, and in one instance a complaint from the deacons of the church in" the principal plantation that " the wampum that is put into the church-treasury is generally so bad that the elders to whom they pay it cannot pay it away." The court, appointing a committee to inquire further concerning the matter, found that "the contributions for the church-treasury are by degrees so much abated that they afford not any considerable maintenance to the teaching officers, and that much of the wampum brought in is such, and so faulty, that the officers can hardly, or not at all, pass it away in any of their occasions." Those-who abated their contributions too much, or cast into the treasury of the church worthless money, were certainly wrong; but perhaps those who in our day are accustomed to receive and count the contributions of churches, could testify that such manifestations of avarice are not peculiar to ancient times.
The outward honor shown to those who were worthy of honor was in the seventeenth century rendered as being of moral obligation. Good morals included good manners, and good manners were so far forth good morals. The Puritan gave to the fifth commandment so broad a scope that it required outward expressions of reverence for all superiors in age or station. It would
be impossible now to re-establish the manners of the seventeenth century, or to convince any considerable part of society that the young owe to their superiors in age any such degree of deference as was then acknowledged to be due. But even to one who believes that outward signs of reverence were then excessive, there may perhaps be more of fitness and beauty in the manners of the olden time, notwithstanding such excess, than in the opposite extreme sometimes exhibited in modern society. Certainly, as reverence for superiors was then universally held to be of moral obligation, the people of New Haven colony are to be credited for the general rendition of honor to whom honor is due.