DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE.
against savage foes. Lower in rank than these framed buildings were log houses, which, when small and built with little expenditure of joiner-work, were called huts rather than houses; as on a western prairie a log cabin is even now distinguished from a log house.
In Guilford several dwellings, as well as the meetinghouse, were built of stone. In the summer of 1651 the record was made, "The meeting-house appointed to be thatched and clayed before winter." This order indicates that the stone was not laid in mortar, but, as many stone chimneys which have lasted to our time, in clay. In the course of years the clay had fallen out, and the walls, that they might exclude the cold winds of winter, needed to be again pointed with this substitute for mortar. The order to thatch, shows that in Guilford, if not in the other plantations, a thatched roof was thought worthy to cover their , most honored edifices. Among the dwellings in Guilford which were built of stone, was that of Mr. Whitfield, the minister. It is mentioned by Palfrey, in his "History of New England " as " the oldest house in the United States now standing as originally built, unless there be older at St. Augustine in Florida." Since the publication of Mr.
Palfrey's History, great changes have been wrought in the appearance and internal arrangement of the house, but it still preserves an aspect of antiquity. The following description, with the accompanying plans, was furnished to Mr. Palfrey by Mr. Ralph D. Smith of Guilf ord: -
"The walls are of stone, from a ledge eighty rods distant to the east. It was probably brought on hand-barrows, across a swamp, over a rude causey which is still to be traced. A small addition, not here represented, has in modern times been made to the back of the house; but there is no question that the main building remains in its original state, even to the oak of the beams, floors, doors, and window-sashes. The following representations of the interior, exhibit accurately the dimensions of the rooms, windows, and doors, the thickness of the walls, &c., on a scale of ten feet to the inch.1 The single dotted lines represent fireplaces and doors. The double dotted lines represent windows. In the recesses of the windows are broad seats. Within the memory of some of the residents of the town, the panes of glass were of diamond shape.
"The height of the first story is seven feet and two-thirds. The height of the second is six feet and three-quarters. At the southerly corner in the second story there was originally an embrasure, about a foot wide, with a stone flooring, which still remains. The exterior .walls are now closed up, but not the walls within.
" The walls of the front and back of the house terminate at the floor of the attic, and the rafters lie upon
1 In this volume the horizontal sections of the house are reduced in size, so that the scale is twenty feet to the inch.
them. The angle of the roof is 60°, making the base and sides equal. At the end of the wing, by the chimney, is a recess, which must have been intended as a
place of concealment. The interior wall has the appearance of touching the chimney, like the wall at the north-west end; but the removal of a board discovers two closets, which project beyond the lower part of the building."
The Whitfield house differed from the typical New England dwelling, both in the material of which it was built, and in its interior arrangement. Houses were usually supported, not by walls of stone, but by frames of heavy timber. White oak was A favorite wood for this purpose, and some of the larger pieces were considerably more than a foot square. Mr. Whitfield, though he was a man of wealth, had no more apartments in his dwelling than the average New Eng-
land planter. It is not easy to conjecture where he had his study, nor where he lodged his ten children, some of whom were nearly or quite adult when he came to Guilford. His house seems small for the requirements of his family and of his calling, and surprisingly small in contrast with that of the minister of New Haven. Mr. Davenport had but one child; but there were thirteen fireplaces in his house, while in Mr. Whitfield's there were but five.
A framed house not exceeding that of Mr. Whit-field in its dimensions, would have but one chimney, which would be in the middle of the house, and not in the outer wall, as in a house of stone. Such a chimney measured about ten feet in diameter where it passed through the first floor, being even larger in the cellar and tapering as it ascended; the fire-place in one of the apartments of the first floor being six or eight feet long. A door in the middle of the front side of the house opened into a hall, which contained the principal stairway on the side opposite to the entrance, and opened on the right hand and on the left into front rooms used as parlors, but furnished, one or both of them, with beds, which, if not commonly in use, stood ready to answer such drafts upon hospitality as are frequent in a new country, where all travelling is by private conveyance. The apartment most used by the family, in which they cooked and ate their food and, in winter, gathered about the-spacious fireplace, was in the "rear of the chimney. At one end of it was a small bed-room, and at the other, a.buttery.
The frame of such a house was covered with clapboards or with shingles, and, after a little experience, the
4 planters learned to prefer cedar shingles to perishable and inflammable thatch as a covering for the roof. The floors were of thick oak boards, fastened with wooden pins. The rooms-were plastered only on the sides, the joists and floor above being exposed to view. In the parlors, the side contiguous to the chimney was usually wainscoted, and thus displayed wide panels from the largest trees of the primeval forest. The window-sashes, bearing glass cut into small diamond-shaped panes, and set with lead, were hung with hinges to the window-frames, and opened outward. The doors were of upright boards, fastened together with battens, and had wooden latches. The outside doors were made of two layers of board, one upright and one transverse, fastened together with clinched nails so arranged as to cover the door with diamond-shaped figures of equal dimension. The front door was made in two valves, which, when closed, met in the middle, and were fastened in that position by a wooden bar, placed across from one lintel to the other, and secured by iron staples. Farm-houses were commonly built near a spring, which supplied water for domestic use, as well as for the cattle. If a well was dug, either in town or in country, the water was drawn from it by means of a sweep moving vertically on a fulcrum at the top of a post. From the lighter end of the well-sweep a smaller pole or rod, with a bucket attached, was suspended. When the bucket had been lowered and dipped, the sweep was so nearly poised that the water could be drawn up with little effort. The following record shows that pumps were not unknown: " Robert Johnson desired that he might have liberty to make a well in the street
near his house. The Court, fearing some danger might come by it, propounded that he, and his neighbors joining with him, would put a pump in it; whereupon he took time to speak with them, and consider of it." This was in 1649. Six years afterward, when the younger Winthrop was expected to spend the winter in New Haven, Mr. Davenport writes to him that Mrs. Davenport had taken care of his apples, had provided twenty loads of wood, thirty bushels of wheat, fifty pounds of candles, tables, and • some chairs, and a cleanly, thrifty maid-servant for Mrs. Winthrop, and had caused the well to be cleaned, and a new pump to be set up.
In the seventeenth century, as compared with the present day, household furniture was rude and scanty, even in England; and doubtless emigration to a new country deprived the planters of New England of some domestic conveniences which they might have possessed if they had remained at home. A few of the most distinguished men in New Haven had tapestry hangings in their principal apartments; and Gov. Eaton had, in addition to such luxuries, two Turkey carpets, a tapestry carpet, a green carpet fringed, and a small green carpet, besides rugs; but the mansion of a planter who had been a London merchant is no more fit to be taken as a fair specimen of contemporary dwellings than the hut in which the pit-man in a saw-pit sheltered his family. The floors in the house of a planter whom his neighbors called " Goodman," and generally in the houses of men to whose names the title of Mr. was prefixed, were bare of carpets. Excepting the beds, which stood in so many of the apartments, the most conspicu-
ous and costly piece of furniture in the house was, perhaps, a tall case of drawers in the parlor. It was called a case of drawers, and not a bureau; for at that time a writing-board was a principal feature of a bureau. If, as was sometimes the case, there were drawers in the lower part, and a chest at the top, it was called a chest of drawers. This form, being in itself lefss expensive, received less of ornament, and was to be found even in the cottages of the poor. Still another form had drawers below and doors above, which, being opened, revealed small drawers for the preservation of important papers or other articles of value. This form was sometimes called a cabinet. After the death of Gov. Eaton " there was found in his cabinet a paper fairly written with his own hand, and subscribed also with his own hand, having his seal also thereunto affixed," which was accepted as his last will and testament, " though not testified by any witnesses, nor subscribed by any hands as witnesses." The inventory of Gov. Eaton does not mention a cabinet, but specifies among the items "in the green chamber," which was evidently the most elegant of his apartments, a cupboard with drawers. This was doubtless, under a more homely name, the same piece of furniture, which, in the probate record, is called a cabinet.
The inventory of Gov. Eaton makes no mention of a clock, and probably there was none in the colony of New Haven while he lived, unless his friend Davenport had so early become the possessor of the " clock with appurtenances," which, after the death of its owner, was appraised at £$.
At a later date a clock outranked the case of drawers
however elegant, by its greater rarity and greater cost. For a long time after their first appearance, clocks were to be found only in the dwellings of the opulent, the generality of the people measuring time by noon-marks and sun-dials.
Table furniture, as compared with that of the present day, was especially scanty. Forks were not in common use in England till after the union of New Haven with Connecticut, though, as Palfrey suggests, there was a very liberal supply of napkins as if fingers were sometimes used for forks. Spoons used by families of the middle class were commonly of a base metal called alchymy, though some such families had a few spoons of silver. But if silver ware was not in general use, families of opulence seem to have been well supplied with it. Gov. Eaton had, including the basin and ewer presented to Mrs. Eaton by the Eastland Fellowship, £14O worth of plate. Mr. Davenport's plate was appraised at £5o. One of the items was a silver tankard, still preserved in the family.1
Table-dishes were generally of wood or of pewter, though China and earthen ware are specified in the inventory of Mr. Davenport's estate. Vessels of glass are also sometimes mentioned in inventories. Drink-ing-vessels, called cans, were cups of glass, silver, or pewter, with handles attached to them. Porringers were small, bowl-shaped vessels, for holding the porridge commonly served for breakfast or supper. Usually they were of pewter and supplied with handles. Meat was brought to the table on platters of pewter or of
1 An engraving of it may be seen in " The Davenport Family," by A. B. Davenport, Supplementary Edition, p. 404.
wood, and from these was transferred to wooden trenchers; which, in their cheapest form, were square pieces of board, but often were cut by the lathe into the circular shape of their porcelain successors.1
In all but the most wealthy families, food was cooked in the apartment where it was eaten, and at the large fireplace*, which by its size distinguished the most frequented apartment of the house. A trammel in the chimney, by means of its hook, which could be moved up or down according to the amount of fuel in use at the time, held the pot or kettle at the proper distance above the fire. At one end of the fireplace was an oven in the chimney. Supplementary to these instruments for boiling and baking were a gridiron, a long-handled frying-pan, and a spit for roasting before the fire. At the end of the room, pewter platters, porringers, and basins, when not in use, were displayed on open shelves; and hanging against the wide panels of the wainscot were utensils of tin and brass, the brightness of the metals showing forth the comparative merit of the housekeeping. The brass-ware included such articles as the ladle, the skimmer, the colander, and the warming-pan.
The diet of the planters necessarily consisted chiefly
1 Persons are still living, who can remember when wooden trenchers were in general use in England, instead of the porcelain plates which even the poorest householder now provides. A middle-aged farmer in Sussex told me that in. his childhood trenchers were more common than plates, and pointed out a mill where the trenchers were turned; and I have recently seen in a newspaper an account, by a living graduate of the Wyke-ham School at Winchester, of the table fare in that school when he was a boy, in which he says that they ate on square trenchers.
of domestic products, though commerce, as we have seen, supplied the tables of the wealthy with sugar, foreign fruits, and wines. Kine and sheep were few during the early years of the colony, but there was such an abundance and variety of game that the scarcity of beef and mutton was but a small inconvenience.1 In towns, venison brought in by English or Indian hunters was usually to. be obtained of the truck-master; and at the farms, wild geese, wild turkeys, moose, and deer, were the prizes of the sharp-shooter. The air in spring and autumn was sometimes perceptibly darkened with pigeons; the rivers were full of fish; on the sea-shore there was plenty of clams, oysters, and mussels. Poultry and swine soon multiplied to such an extent that they could be used for the table ; and within ten years from the foundation of New Haven, beef had become an article of export. The abundance of game, of pork, and of poultry, doubtless hastened the exportation of this commodity. Tillage produced besides the maize, the beans, and the s'quashes, indigenous to the country, almost every variety of food to which they had been accustomed in England.
The diet for breakfast and supper was frequently porridge made of meat, sometimes salt meat, and of pease, beans, or other vegetables. Frequently it was mush and milk. A boiled pudding of Indian meal, cooked in the same pot with the meat and vegetables which followed it, was often the first and principal course at
1 Winthrop, before his wife came out, writes to her, " We are here in a paradise. Though we have not beef and mutton, yet (God be praised) we want them not: our Indian corn answers for all. Yet here is fowl and fish in great plenty."
dinner. It seems to have been assigned to the first course in the interest of frugality, to spare the more expensive pork and beef. Of esculent roots the turnip was far more highly prized and plentifully used than the potato. Tea and coffee had not yet come into general use so as to be articles of commerce even in England, but beer was the common drink of Englishmen at home and in America. A brew-house was regarded as an essential part of a homestead in the New Haven colony, and beer was on the table as regularly as bread.1
While the breakfast, dinner, and supper, described above, may be. taken as a specimen of the diet frequently appearing on the table of a New England family in the seventeenth century, they are by no means to be regarded as a rule from which there was no variation. There were flesh-days and there were fish-days in every week; and on Saturday, the oven being heated for baking bread, a pot of beans was put in, which, being allowed to remain for twenty-four hours, furnished a warm supper for the family when they returned from public worship. There was variation from and addition to the ordinary fare on those numerous occasions when friends, travelling tin horseback, stopped to spend the night, or to rest in the middle of the day. Then the table was burdened with variety and abundance according to the means of the family and the provi-
1 New Haven Town Records, Dec. I, 1662. "Deacon Peck informed the town that they were much troubled to supply the elders with wheat and malt, and he feared there was want: therefore desired the town to consider of it. The deputy-governor urged it that men would endeavor to make a present supply for them."
dence of the mistress. Feasting reached its acme on the day of the annual thanksgiving, when there was such plenty of roast meats, and so extraordinary an outcome from the oven, that ordinary diet was for some days afterward displaced by the remains of the feast.
No picture of domestic life in New England could be*complete which did not exhibit the family observing the annual thanksgiving. Rejecting Christmas'because of the superstitions which had attached themselves to it, the Puritans established in its place another festival, which became equally domestic in the manner of its observance. Children who had left their parents to prepare for the duties of adult life, or to occupy homes which they themselves had established, were gathered again in the home of their nativity, or under the roof of those whom they had learned since they were married to call father and mother. Here they recounted the blessings of the year, and united in giving thanks to God. If there were children's children, they came with their parents, and spent the hours which remained after worship in feasting and frolic.
Family worship was an important feature of domestic life in a Puritan household. It was important because of its frequency, regularity, and seriousness. Whenever the family came to the table for breakfast, dinner, or supper, there was a grace before meat, and when they left it, a grace after meat, every person standing by his chair while the blessing was asked, and the tnanks were given. The day was begun with worship, which included the reading of Scripture and prayer, and ended with a similar service, all standing during the prayer. A member of Gov. Eaton's family reports : -
" It was his custom, when he first rose in a morning, to repair unto his study; a study well perfumed with the meditations and supplications of a holy soul. After this, calling his family together, he would then read a portion of the Scripture among them, and after some devout and useful reflections upon it, he would make a prayer not long, but extraordinarily pertinent and reverent; and in the evening some of the same exercises were again attended. On the Saturday morning he would still take notice of the approaching sabbath in»his prayer, and ask the grace to be remembering of it and preparing for it; and when the evening arrived, he, besides this, not only repeated a sermon, but also instructed his people with putting of questions referring to the points of religion, which would oblige them to study for an answer; and if their answer were at any time insufficient, he would wisely and gently enlighten their understanding; all which he concluded by singing a psalm."
In the New Haven colony, the Lord's day began, according to the Hebrew manner of reckoning, at sunset. Saturday was the preparation day. The diet for the morrow was made ready so far as was possible, and the house was put in order. The kitchen floor received its weekly scrubbing, and the floor of the parlor was sprinkled anew with the white sand from the sea-shore. Before the sun had disappeared beneath the .western horizon, the ploughmen had returned from the fields; the mistress and her maids had brought the house-work to a stop. Because " the evening and the morning were the first day" they began their sabbath observance at evening. It was because Saturday evening was a part of the Lord's day that the master of a house added to the usual family worship some endeavor to impart religious instruction to his children and servants.
New Haven retained its custom of beginning the Lord's day at evening, through the seventeenth and
house, without fear that her father, master, guardian, or governor would be displeased.
The marriages which resulted from these Sunday evening visits of the young men, were not solemnized by a minister of religion, but, according to the Puritan view of propriety, by a magistrate.1 The requirement that marriage should be contracted before an officer of the civil authority, was a protest against the position that marriage is a sacrament of the church. It is said that the first marriage in Guilford was celebrated in the famous mansion of the minister, "the wedding table being garnished with the substantial luxuries of pork and pease." Probably this was the marriage of the pastor's daughter to Rev. John Higginson. But though the bride was his own daughter, Mr. Whitfield had no legal authority to pronounce the couple husband and wife. Clandestine marriage was carefully prevented by the requirement that the intention of the parties should be three times published at some time of public lecture or town meeting, or " be set up in writing upon some post of their meeting-house door, in public view, there to stand so as it may be easily read, by the space of fourteen days." Although the same statute required that the marriage should be in " a public place," this requirement was sufficiently answered when spectators were present; and usually marriages were solemnized at the home of the bride, and accompanied, as in the Whitfield mansion, with feasting.
1 I have seen a parish register in England where for a century all marriages are recorded as solemnized by the clergyman j then, without a word of explanation, all marriages for several years are recorded as contracted before a justice of the peace; then, without explanation, the record returns to its old formula. Marriage by a magistrate marj^| the time of the commonwealth.
A marriage implied a new home, - perhaps a farm to be cut out of the primeval forest, and a house to be built with lumber yet in the log. A portion of the work had preceded the marriage, but a life-long task remained. The people were generally frugal and industrious, and the women in their sphere were as truly so as the men. The mistress and her maids, if she had them, were as busy in the house as the master and his servants in the fields. Besides the house-work, the dairy-work, the sewing, and the knitting, there was everywhere spinning, and in some houses weaving. They spun cotton, linen, and wool. New Haven probably had in its Yorkshire families special skill in the manufacture of cloth. Johnson, speaking in his " Wonder Working Providence " of that part of Mr. Rogers's company which began a settlement in Massachusetts and called it Rowley after the name of their former home in Yorkshire, says, " They were the first people that set upon making of cloth in the western world, for which end they built a fulling-mill, and caused their little ones to be very diligent in spinning cotton, many of them having been clothiers in England." This industry, so far at least as spinning is concerned, spread through the whole community. Every farmer raised flax, which his wife caused to be wrought into linen; and wherever sheep were kept, wool was spun into yarn for the knitting-needles and the loom. A young woman who could spin, between sunrise and sunset, more than thirty knots of warp or forty of filling, was in high es timation among sagacious neighbors having marriageable sons. This industry occupied a chamber in the dwelling-house, or a separate building in the yard. The
music of the wheel was frequently accompanied with song. Tradition relates that when Whalley and Goffe w.ere concealed at Milford in a cellar under a spinning-shop, the maids, being accustomed to sing at their work, and unaware that any but themselves were within hearing, sang a satirical ballad concerning the regicides, and that the concealed auditors were so much amused that they entreated their friend, the master of the family, to procure a repetition of the song.
« The simple, regular life of a planter's family was favorable to health. As compared with the present time there was but little excitement and but little worry for man or woman. As compared with Old England in the seventeenth century, New Haven, during the twenty-seven years in which it was a separate jurisdiction, might be called a healthy region. England was then often ravaged by the plague. In Sandwich in Kent there were, on the I2th of March, 1637, that is, about six weeks before the first company of New Haven planters sailed from London, "seventy-eight houses and one hundred and eighty-eight persons infected." On the 3Oth of June, that is, four days after the Hector arrived in Boston, " twenty-four houses and tents were shut up, in which were one hundred and three persons. From the 6th of July to the 5th of October there were buried in St. Clement's parish about ten every week who died of the plague." While Mr. Davenport -was vicar of St. Stephen's, the city of London was visited with a pestilence which swept away thirty-five thousand of its inhabitants. The parish register records the vote of the. parishioners " that Mr. Davenport
shall have of the parish funds in respect of his care and pains taken in time of the visitation of sickness, as a gratuity, the sum of £20."
In coming to New Haven, the planters found a more salubrious or certainly a less deadly atmosphere than they had breathed in England; nevertheless they were grievously afflicted with sickness, malaria having been more prevalent than in .the other New England colonies.
"It is not annual," says Hubbard, "as in Virginia, there being sundry years when there is nothing considerable of it, nor ordinarily so violent and universal; yet at some times it falls very hard upon the inhabitants, not without strange varieties of. the dispensations of Providence ; for some years it hath been almost universal upon the plantations, yet little mortality; at other times, it hath been very mortal in a plantation or two, when others that have had as many sick, have scarcely made one grave; it hath been known also in some years that some one plantation hath been singled out and visited after a sore manner when others have been healthy round about." Much has been written of the depression which settled upon the town of New Haven in consequence of the failure of its expectations in regard to commerce; but perhaps the prevalence of malaria may have had much to do with the discourage-, ment of the people, for, as this disease in modern times takes, away the energy and hopefulness of the patient, so it was then, as Hubbard testifies, "attended with great prostration of spirits."
The following record shows not only that the years 1658 and 1659 were very sickly in the principal planta-
tion, but that there was a general remissness in paying the physician. At a town meeting, Jan. 29, 1660: -
" Mr. Augur declared that (it having pleased God to visit the town sorely by sickness the two last years) his stock of physic is gone, and how to procure more out of his returns he saw not, being disabled by the non-payment of some and the unsuitable payment of others. To get supplies, those that were Mr. Augur's debtors were called upon to attend their duty. It was also declared that if Mr. Augur see cause to bring any of them to the. court, it will be witnessed against as a wrong to the public, that a physician should be discouraged."
As Mr. Augur had signified about a year before, his intention to lay down the practice of physic because his pay was not brought in with satisfactory promptness, and the neglect to pay him had /been " witnessed against as an act of unrighteousness," probably there was some temporary virtue in the witnessing of the General Court in his behalf.
Mr. Augur was at this time the only physician in the town of New Haven, Mr. Pell and Mr. Westerhouse having removed some years before. That he was not in high repute appears from attempts which were made to procure another physician. In November, 1651, soon after Mr. Pell's removal: -
" The governor acquainted the Court that there is a physician come to the town, who, he thinks, is willing to stay here, if he may have encouragement. He is a Frenchman; but hath lived in England and in Holland a great while, and hath good testimonials from both places, and from the University of Franeker where he hath approved himself in his disputations able in understanding in that art; and Mr. Davenport saith, he finds in discourse with him, that his abilities answer the testimony given. Now the town may consider what they will do in the case, for it is not good to neglect
such providences of God when they are offered. The Court, after consideration, desired the former committee to speak with him, and desire his settling amongst us; and that he may have a house provided, and encouraged in provisions and what also is necessary, to the value of ten pounds."
The committee reported soon after " that they had spoken with the French doctor, and find his wants so many that ten pounds will go but a little way in providing for him." But so strong was the desire to have Dr. Chais remain, that a house was procured, and furniture was loaned by divers persons. In less than three months "the magistrates and elders were desired to speak with the doctor, and see if they cannot settle a more moderate price for his visiting of sick folk than he hath yet taken ;" and in a little more than a year after the town had invited him to settle, they consented "that he shall have liberty to go, as he sees he hath opportunity."
Unable to retain Dr. Chais, some obtained medical advice and medicines from John Winthrop, jun., who resided at Pequot, afterward named New London. Mr. Davenport sends an Indian, as a special messenger, with a letter dated Aug. 20, 1653, inquiring how he can best consult with him about the state of his body, whether by coming to Pequot to sojourn for a time, or by accompanying Winthrop on a journey,-which he has heard that the latter intends to, make to Boston, - or by waiting for Winthrop to visit New Haveii after his return from tne Bay. In the spring of 1655, he says, " The winter hath been extraordinarily long and sharp and sickly among us." " My family hath been kept from the common sickness in this town, by the goodness and mercy of
God, this winter; only Edmund, my man-servant, hath been exercised with it near unto death." Soon after this, Winthrop took Mr. Malbon's house, and for the space of two or three years resided part of the time in New Haven, very much to the content of those who did not think highly of Mr. Augur's skill. The town were so desirous of securing Winthrop, that they would have freely given the use of the house; but he was a man unwilling to be put under obligation, and therefore the house was sold to him for .£100 to be paid in goats at his farm on Fisher's Island. He ceased to reside in New Haven before the great sickness of 1658 and 1659, and sold the house back to the town in the last named year. Mr. Davenport, writing to him during the sickness, mentions such symptoms as gripings, vomitings, fluxes, agues and fevers, giddiness, much sleepiness, and burning. He says, "It comes by fits every other day." He informs him that the supply of medicine he had left with Mrs. Davenport is spent. " The extremities of the people have caused her to part with, what she reserved for our own family, if need should require." He adds in a postscript; " Sir, my wife desires a word or two of advice from you, what is best to be done for those gripings and agues and fevers ; but she is loth to be too troublesome ; yet as the cases are weighty, she desires to go upon the surest ground, and to take the safest courses, and knoweth none whose judgment she can so rest in as in yours."
With all the despondency resting upon the town, there was mingled the same comfort which comforts all communities afflicted with malaria; namely, the conviction that the evil is not so great as in some other
places. Mr. Davenport, when writing that "many are afflictively exercised," adds, "though more moderately in this town, by the mercy of God, than at Norwalk and Fairfield. Young Mr. Allerton, who lately came from the Dutch, saith they are much more sorely visited there, than these parts are. It is said that at Maspeag the inhabitants are generally so ill that they are likely to lose their harvest through want of ability to reap it."
It is evident that the care of the sick must have been an important part of domestic life in New Haven while these malarial diseases prevailed. With more or less of skill, and more or less of success, every family nursed its sick. There was sickness alike in the hut of the mean man, and in the mansion of the governor. Death with impartial step entered where he pleased. With what degree of skill the disease was combated at first, the reader may guess from the declaration of Hubbard that the "gentle conductitious aiding of nature hath been found better than sudden and violent means by purgation or otherwise ; and blood-letting, though much used in Europe for fevers, especially in the hotter countries, is found deadly in this fever, even almost without escaping."
The restraint which the Puritans put upon their feelings appears, perhaps, more wonderful when death entered the house, than at any other time. We have a defailed report of the manner in which Gov. Eaton carried himself when his eldest son was called to die: -
"His eldest son he maintained at the college until he proceeded master of arts; and he was indeed the son of his vows, and the sob of great hopes. But a severe catarrh diverted this young
gentleman from the work of the ministry, whereto his father had once devoted him: and a malignant fever, then raging in those parts of the country, carried off him with his wife within two or three days of one another. This was counted the sorest of all the trials that ever befell his father in the days of the years of his pilgrimage, but he bore it with a patience and composure of spirit truly admirable. His dying son looked earnestly on him, and said, ' Sir, what shall we do? Whereto, with a well-ordered countenance, he replied, ' Look up to God!' And when he passed by his daughter, drowned in tears on this occasion, to her he said, ' Remember the sixth commandment; hurt not yourself with immoderate grief; remember Job, who said, "The Lord 'hath given, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." You may mark what a note the spirit of God put upon it, - "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." God accounts it a charging him foolishly when we don't submit unto him patiently.' Accordingly he now governed himself as one that had attained unto the rule of weeping as if he wept not; for, it being the Lord's day, he repaired unto the church in the afternoon, as he had been there in the forenoon, though he was never like to see his dearest son alive any more in this world. And though, before the first prayer began, a messenger came to prevent Mr. Davenport's praying for the sick person who was now dead, yet his affectionate father altered hot his course, but wrote after the preacher as formerly; and when he came home, he held on his former methods of divine worship in his family, not, for the excuse of Aaron, omitting any thing in the service of God. In like sort, when the people had been at the solemn interment of this his worthy son, he did with a very unpassionate aspect and carriage then say, ' Friends, I thank you all for your love and help, and for this testimony of respect unto me and mine: the Lord hath given, and the Lord bath taken; blessed be the name of the Lord.' Nevertheless, retiring hereupon into the chamber where his daughter then lay sick, some tears were observed falling from him while he uttered these words,' There is a difference between a sullen silence or a stupid senselessness under the hand of God, and a child-like ' submission thereunto.'"
Not all Puritans attained so near to the Puritan ideal as Theophilus Eaton, but all had something of his self-control. They governed themselves as seeing Him who is invisible.
Social life among the planters of the New Haven colony had for its basis contemporary social life in England, but was modified by Puritanism, and by emigration to a wilderness. Some features of it which seem strange to one who is acquainted only with the present age, were brought with them across the water, and disappeared earlier than in the old country. They brought with them English ideas of social rank, of the relative duties of parents and children, of the reserve and seclusion proper for young women, and of the supervision under which young people of the different sexes might associate. They did not originate the public sentiment or, the legislation on these subjects which provokes the merriment of the present age. Their religious convictions of course influenced their social life. It would be impossible that any dommunity as homogeneous and earnest in religion as they were, should not have, some peculiarity springing from this source. A peculiarity of the Puritans was seriousness. Such convictions as they cherished will necessarily produce more than an average seriousness of manner; and if this be true in a prosperous community whose tranquillity has not been disturbed for a generation, we should expect to find even more seriousness among a people who have expatriated themselves for their religious convictions. If we again take Theophilus Eaton as an illustration, he was a man of gravity when residing in
London and in the East countries. He would have been such if the Puritan party had been in power, and he consequently in security. He was probably more so by reason of the annoyances and dangers to which he and his friends were exposed. Having undertaken to establish a new plantation in the wilderness, his greater responsibility would naturally produce a deeper seriousness. A member of his family testifies that "he seldom used any recreations, but, being a great reader, all the time he could spare from company and business, he commonly spent in his beloved study." It would be an error, however, to suppose that this seriousness had with it no admixture of gayety; for Hubbardj who was partly his contemporary, describes him as "of such pleasantness and fecundity of harmless wit as can hardly be paralleled."
Residence in a new country also influenced social life, but not as much as in many other cases of removal to a wilderness. It has been said in modern time that emigration tends to barbarism ; but this could not have been true in their case, in any considerable degree. From the first sabbath, they maintained the public worship of God. Before the first year had passed, their children were gathered into a school. Laws were as diligently executed as anywhere in the world. Every plantation had in it from the first some persons of polite manners, to whom those of less culture looked up with respect. The principal plantation was a compact and populous town, and some of its inhabitants were not only refined, but wealthy. The peculiarity of their social state was not that they were more barbarous than other Englishmen, but it consisted
rather in that mutual dependence and helpfulness usually to be found in a new country. News from home was communicated to the neighbors. Letters of intelligence, an institution which during the existence of the colony began to give place to printed newspapers, were passed from hand to hand.1 Corn was husked and houses were "raised" by neighborly kindness. The whole plantation sympathized with a family afflicted with sickness, and the neighbors assisted them in nursing and watching. Families entertained travellers after the manner of Christians of the first centuries, and highly prized their visits as seasons of fellowship, and opportunities for learning the news of the day. The train-band and the night watch were also peculiar features of the social system incident to a plantation in the wilderness. Comparing the social state in the New Haven colony with that which now obtains on the same territory, we find more manifestation of social inequality. This appears in the titles prefixed to names. The name of a young man had no prefix till he became a master workman. Then, if he were an artisan or a husbandman, he might be addressed by the honorary title of Goodman, and his wife might be called Good-wife or Goody. A person who employed laborers but did not labor with them was distinguished from one' whose prefix was Goodman, by the prefix Mr. This term of respect was accorded to elders, magistrates, teachers, merchants, and men of wealth, whether engaged in merchandise, or living in retirement from
1 Notice on page 419 what Mr. Davenport says of "the two Weekly Intelligences." These were, I think, two numbers of a printed periodical.
trade.1 Social inequality was also strikingly manifest in the "seating of the meeting-house," the governor and deputy-governor being seated on the front form, and allowed its whole length for the accommodation of themselves and their guests, while others were disposed behind them and in the end seats, according to social position; but a back seat of the same length as those in front was considered sufficiently long for seven men. The women on the other side of the house were arranged with the same consideration of rank. No seats were assigned to persons inferior to a goodman and a goodwife.
Although many of the people were much confined at home during the week by domestic industry, all assembled every Sunday for worship. In but few cases was the attendance perfunctory. They went to the house of God from a sense of duty, but they went with a willing mind. They were interested, not only in the worship and instruction of the church, but in the assembly. Their social longings were gratified with the announcement of intended marriages, with "bills" asking the prayers of the church for the sick, for the recently bereaved, for those about to make a voyage to Boston; or with "bills" returning thanks for recovery from a dangerous, illness or for a safe return from a journey or a voyage. Besides such personal items as reached their ears by way of the pulpit, others came to them in a more private way as they spoke with ac-
1 In Massachusetts it was " ordered that Josias Plastowe shall, for stealing four baskets of corn from the Indians, return them eight baskets again, be fined five pounds, and hereafter to be called by the name of Josias and not Mr. as formerly he used to be."
quaintances dwelling in a different quarter or at the farms. It was a satisfaction to persons, who, during the week, had seen only the inmates of their own houses and a few neighbors, even to look on such an assembly. Let the reader fancy himself entering the marketplace in New Haven town, while Stephen Metcalf and Robert Bassett, "the common drummers for the town," are sounding the second drum on a Sunday morning. The chimney-smoke rises not only from the habitations of the town, but from as many sabbath-day houses as there are families dwelling at the farms.1 From every direction families are approaching the square. The limping Wigglesworth, whose lameness was afterward so severe " that he is not able to come to the meeting, and so is many times deprived of the ordinances," starting early from his house, (which was in Chapel Street, near the intersection since made by High Street,) is the first to enter the south door of the sanctuary. Seeley, straight and stalwart, in contrast with this poor cripple, stands near, conversing with the mas-
1 A sabbath-day house was a hut, in one end of which horses might be sheltered, and in the other end was a room having a fireplace and furnished, perhaps, with a bench, a few chairs, and a table. Here the owners arrived soon after the first drum, and, if cold, kindled a fire. Here they deposited their lunch, and any wraps which might be superfluous in the meeting-house. ' Hither they came to spend the intermission of worship. The writer remembers such houses in a country parish near New Haven, where he visited when a child. In one of them he spent an intermission, dividing his attention, when in the room devoted to the human inmates, between doughnuts and the open fireplace with its rusty fire-dogs and large bed of live coals; but preferring the company of the pony behind the chimney to that of the solemn people before the fire. He was born a little too late to remember sabbath-day houses in New Haven, but his father has told him where this and that family had such accom modations.
ter of the watch, as the watchmen move away to patrol the town. Following Wigglesworth conies" the right worshipful Stephen Goodyear, Esquire," deputy-governor, and his neighbor, the reverend teacher of the church, William Hooke,1 afterward chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, wearing gown and bands. On the east side of the market-place, the pastor, also in gown and bands, comes in solitary meditation through the passage which the town had given him between Mr. Crane's lot and Mr. Rowe's lot, " that he may go out of his own garden to the meeting-house." His family, that they may not intrude upqn him in this holy hour, come through the public street. Gov. Eaton, with his aged mother leaning on his arm, walks up on the opposite side of the same street, and crosses over from Mr. Perry's corner, followed by his honored guests and the rest of his numerous household. When all but a few tardy families have reached the meeting-house, the drums cease to beat. The squadron on duty for the day march in, and seat themselves on the "soldiers' seats near the east door, which is "kept clear from women and children sitting there, that if there be occasion for the soldiers to go suddenly forth, they may have free passage."
Days of extraordinary humiliation were appointed by the General Court from time to time in view of public calamities or apprehended danger. On such days there were two assemblies; and abstinence from labor 'and amusements was required as on the Lord's Day, though with less rigidness of interpretation, the prohibition crystallizing in later times into the formula, " All servile
1 Mr. Hooke had the lot which had been Zachariah Whitman's, at the corner of Chapel and College Streets.
labor and vain recreations on said day are by law forbidden." On Thanksgiving Day, as we learn from Davenport's letter to Winthrop, in which he mentions Gov. Newman's sickness and death, there were also two services in the meeting-house. Adding these occasional assemblies to those of the Lord's Day, we find that the whole population were often called together. But there were, besides, convocations on lecture-days, occasional church-meetings, and in the several neighborhoods " private meetings wherein they that dwelt nearest together gave their accounts one to another of God's gracious work upon them, and prayed together, and conferred, to their mutual edification." These private meetings were held weekly, and in the day-time, as appears from a question which Mr. Peck, the school-master, propounded to the court, "whether the master shall have liberty to be at neighbors' meetings once every week." Assemblies for worship were certainly a very important feature in social life.
Almost equally prominent' were military trainings. Soldiers were on duty every night. One-fourth of the men subject to bear arms were paraded before the meeting-house every Sunday, and were at frequent intervals trained on a week-day. Six times in a year the whole military force of the plantation was called out. A general training brought together, not only those obliged to train, but old men, women, and children, as spectators of the military exercises, and of the athletic games with which they were accompanied. Almost as many people were in the market-place on training-day as on Sunday, and those who came had greater opportunity for social converse than on the day of worship. The
enjoyment which each experienced in watching the manoeuvres of the soldiers, and the games of cudgel, backsword, fencing, running, leaping, wrestling, stool-ball, nine-pins, and quoits, was enhanced by sharing the spectacle with the multitude, meeting old friends, and making acquaintance with persons of congenial spirit.
Election-days were also occasions when the people left their homes, and came together. The meeting of a plantation court did not indeed bring out the wives and daughters of the planters as a general training did; but when the annual election for the jurisdiction took place, the pillion was fastened behind the saddle, and the goodwife rode with her goodman to the seat of government to truck some of the yarn she had been spinning, for ribbons and other foreign goods, as well as to gather up the gossip of the year. On such occasions a store of cake was provided beforehand, and "election cake" is consequently one of the institutions received from our forefathers.
For several years there were two fairs held annually at the town of New Haven, one in May, and one in September, for the sale of cattle and other merchandise. These of course attracted people from all parts of the jurisdiction. In addition to these public assemblies of one kind and another, there was daily intercourse between neighbors. Women sometimes carried their wheels from one house to another, that they might spin in company. There were gatherings at weddings and at funerals. There was neighborly assistance in nursing and watching the sick. There was, as has been already related, social visiting in the evening after the Lord's Day.
There were house-raisings, when the neighbors assembled to lift and put together the timbers of a new dwelling ; and house-warmings, when, being again invited, some months later, they came to rejoice with those who had taken possession of a new dwelling. There were huskings in the , autumn when the maize had been gathered and brought in ; but in the plantation of New Haven single persons were not allowed to "meet together up'on pretence of husking Indian corn, out of the family to which they belong, after nine of the clock at night, unless the master or parent of such person or persons be with them to prevent disorders at such times, or some fit person intrusted to that end by the said parent or master."
In view of the frequency with which the planters were convened in greater or less companies, it is evident, that, however affected by their Puritanism and by emigration to a wilderness, they were a social people. They did not retire within themselves to live recluse from human converse, but endeavored to purify their social life. In this respect New Haven resembled the other New England colonies, but, .contrary to a somewhat prevalent opinion, did not go as far as the other colonies in attempts to control social life by legislation.1 " Mixt dancing" was discountenanced, and, by construction, forbidden, but there was no legal prohibition of dancing. The General Court, referring in 1660 to some former
1 Professor Kingsley, in a note to his historical discourse, delivered on the two hundredth anniversary of the settlement of New Haven, traces the impression that there had been " blue. laws " at New Haven as far back as the year 1767, when Judge Smith of New York, having heard of such a code, embraced the opportunity afforded by a visit to New Haven to examine the early records of the colony. " A lie will travel round the world while Truth is putting on her boots."
There were house-raisings, when the neighbors assembled to lift and put together the timbers of a new dwelling ; and house-warmings, when, being again invited, some months later, they came to rejoice with those who had taken possession of a new dwelling. There were huskings in the , autumn when the maize had been gathered and brought in ; but in the plantation of New Haven single persons were not allowed to " meet together up'on pretence of husking Indian corn, out of the family to which they belong, after nine of the clock at night, unless the master or parent of such person or persons be with them to prevent disorders at such times, or some fit person intrusted to that end by the said parent or master."
In view of the frequency with which the planters were convened in greater or less companies, it is evident, that, however affected by their Puritanism and by emigration to a wilderness, they were a social people. They did not retire within themselves to live recluse from human converse, but endeavored to purify their social life. In this respect New Haven resembled the other New England colonies, but, contrary to a somewhat prevalent opinion, did not go as far as the other colonies in attempts to control social life by legislation.1 " Mixt dancing" was discountenanced, and, by construction, forbidden, but there was no legal prohibition of dancing. The General Court, referring in 1660 to some former
1 Professor Kingsley, in a note to his historical discourse, delivered on the two hundredth anniversary of the settlement of New Haven, traces the impression that there had been " blue laws " at New Haven as far back as the year 1767, when Judge Smith of New York, having heard of such a code, embraced the opportunity afforded by a visit to New Haven to examine the early records of the colony. " A lie will travel round the world while Truth is putting on her boots."
laws of a very general nature, designed to restrain idle or evil living or miscarryings, declared in explanation:-
" Now that it may more clearly be understood what we judge to be such miscarriages or misdemeanors amongst such persons, as do thus tend to discourage God's work under our hands, and may prove hurtful and hindersome to the profiting of our posterity rising, we do express that not only such night meetings unseasonably, but corrupt songs and foolish jesting or such like discourses, wanton and lascivious carriages, mixt dancings, immoderate playing at any sort, of sports and games, or mere idle living out of an honest calling industriously, or extravagant expenses by drinking, apparel, and so forth, have all and every of them such a tendency."
Gaming by shuffle-board was prohibited, as was shuffle-board at taverns, and by minors, but there was no enactment against shuffle-board as such. Card-playing was not forbidden, but the explanatory declaration of the General Court cited above, was on one occasion publicly read as a warning to Samuel Andrews, Good-wife Spinage, and James Eaton, when, being summoned before the Court, they were charged with allowing young persons to play cards in their houses. Goodwife Spinage said "that the scholars had played at cards there [at her house] on the last days of the week and on play-days in the afternoon, but in the evening, never." Andrews " confessed he had done wrong, and professed his hearty sorrow." Eaton "acknowledged that he might have spent his time better, and if it were to do again, he would not do it, being it is judged unlawful and gives offence; but for the thing itself, unless all recreation be unlawful, he cannot see that what he hath done is evil." The Court suspended judgment, " hoping that this will be a warning to them to take heed of such
evil practices, and to improve their houses to better purposes for time to come than herein they have done." But as if Eaton had given less satisfaction than the others, he was called again some three months afterward, when he declared unto the Court that he understood that there were "reports abroad of his miscarriage in suffering some young persons to be at his house at an unseasonable time, which report he acknowledged to be true, and professed his hearty sorrow for it, and his desire to see the evil of it more and more, and that God would help him for time to come to keep a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men." ' There were in New Haven no sumptuary laws, and, so far as appears, there was, with the exception of the explanatory declaration in 1660, no attempt to restrain extravagance in apparel, either by legal enactment or by the concentration of public opinion. In Massachusetts, Winthrop writes, about six months after the settlement at New Haven was begun, that " the Court, taking into consideration the great disorder general throughout the country in costliness of apparel and
* 1 Some of the descendants of this James Eaton, or as his name is more commonly written, James Heaton, claim that he was a son of The-ophilus Eaton, jun., the younger son of Gov. Eaton, alleging that he gave the name Theophilus to one of his sons, that the name has been repeated in every generation since, and that their family still possess land in North Haven, east of the Quinnipiac, which belonged to the governor. I cannot find that the governor had any land east of the Quinnipiac, except at Stony River. Any presumptive evidence afforded by the name Theophilus disappears when we learn from the parish register of St. Stephen's that Theophilus, son of Theophilus and Anne Eaton, was baptized March it, 1631, and from the New Haven records that James Eaton took the oath of fidelity April 4, 1654. Theophilus Eaton, jun., could not have been eight years old when James Eaton was born.
following new fashions, sent for the elders of the churches, and conferred with them about it, and laid it upon them, as belonging to them, to redress it by urging it upon the consciences of their people, which they promised to do. But little was done about it; for divers of the elders' wives were in some measure partners in this general disorder." Some years previously there had been an order of the Court prompted by similar feelings, and having a similar design. Afterward there were in different years several orders designed to restrain extravagance in apparel, especially "amongst people of mean condition," one of them expressly providing that " this law shall not extend to the restraint of any magistrate or other public officer of this jurisdiction, or any settled military officer, or soldier in time of military service, or any other whose education arid employments have been above the ordinary degree, or whose estates have been considerable, though now decayed."
But nothing similar to this is found on the records of New Haven. Some writer, noticing that both Plymouth and New Haven differed from Massachusetts in that they did not attempt to regulate dress, says that Plymouth was too poor, and New Haven too rich, for such legislation. Perhaps, however, New Haven was restrained from enacting sumptuary laws more by its mercantile character than by its wealth. Its leading men had been accustomed not only to wear rich clothing themselves, and to see it worn by others, but to increase their estates by selling cloth to all comers who were able to pay for it. Their feelings were consequently different from those of a man like Winthrop, who had never been a merchant, and had, like other
English country gentlemen, regarded rich apparel as a prerogative of the gentry.
As Gov. Eaton's wearing apparel was appraised after his death at £50, it would seem that he could not have favored sumptuary legislation consistently with his own habits, unless he did it in the aristocratic spirit of the Massachusetts law. Considering how much greater purchasing power there was then in fifty pounds sterling than there is now, we must conclude that in his dress, as well as in the furniture of his house, he " maintained a port in some measure answerable to his place."