CHAPTER IV.

THE WINTER SPENT IN MASSACHUSETTS.

BOSTON in its infancy welcomed all Puritan immigrants. Its inhabitants rejoiced in the growth of their town and of their colony; they were pleased to find a market for the products of their gardens; they enjoyed the society of those through whom they could receive tidings from the mother-country, and with whom they could fraternize in religious worship. In many cases they found among the new-comers old acquaintances, the sight of whom awakened memories of the past and the absent, in which, after so long an exile from home, they experienced unspeakable pleasure. But the immigrants who landed in Boston on the 26th of June, 1637, received a warmer welcome than ordinary. The eminence of "the famous Mr. Davenport," and the opulence of the merchants who accompanied him, gave to this company, in the estimation of the colonists, an unusual value. Not only Boston, but the whole colony of Massachusetts, was desirous that they should settle within that Commonwealth. " Great pains were taken, not only by particular persons and towns, but by the General Court, to fix them in the colony. Charlestown made them large offers; and Newbury proposed to give up the whole town to them. The

59 General Court offered them any place which they should choose." ' The arrival of Davenport was considered especially opportune because of the influence he might exert in bringing to an end the controversy which then divided the churches of Massachusetts in regard to Ann Hutch-inson and the doctrines which she preached. " There are certain opinions which always come forth, under one form or another, in times of great religious excitement, to dishonor the truth which they simulate, and to defeat the work of God by heating the minds of men to enthusiasm, and thus leading them into licentiousness of conduct. These opinions, essentially the same under many modifications, have been known in various ages by various names, as Antinomianism, Familism, and - in our day-Perfectionism. Persons falling into these errors commonly begin by talking mystically and extravagantly about grace, the indwelling of the Spirit, the identity of believers with the person of Christ, or of the Holy Ghost, or of God. As they proceed, they learn to despise all ordinances and means of grace; they put contempt upon the Bible as a mere dead letter, worth nothing in comparison .with their inspiration ; they reject and revile all civil government and order; and not unfrequently they end in denying theoretically all the difference between right and wrong so far as their conduct is concerned, and in rushing to the shameless perpetration of the most loathsome wickedness. This intellectual and spiritual disease had broken out in Massachusetts, and threatened to become epidemic. An artful, enthusiastic, and eloquent 1 Trumbull.

6O woman, forgetting the modesty of her sex, had set herself up for a preacher; and by the adroitness with which she addressed herself to the weaknesses and prejudices of individuals and drew to her side the authority of some of the most honored names in the colony, she seemed likely, not only to lead her own blind followers to the wildest extravagances, but to spread division through all the churches. In this crisis, a man so eminent as Davenport, so much respected by all parties, so exempt from any participation in the controversy, so learned in the Scriptures, so skilled in the great art of marking distinctions and detecting fallacies, could not but be welcomed by all." * A synod of " all the teaching elders in the country " was called to discuss the questions at issue, and discriminate between truth and error. Of this assembly, which began its sessions Aug. 30, and continued to sit for three weeks, Davenport was one of the most influential members. " The wisdom and learning of this worthy man," says Mather, " did contribute more than a little to dispel the fascinating mists which had suddenly disordered our affairs." A few days after the adjournment, Davenport, by request of the synod, preached a sermon in which, "with much wisdom and sound argument, he persuaded to unity." 2 Meantime it had become evident that the people who had come from the mother-country with Davenport, and acknowledged him as a leader, were not content to settle in the vicinity of Boston. Trumbull suggests that the Antinomian controversy was one reason why they wished to remove to a distance. But the same

1 Bacon: Historical Discourses.
* Winthrop.

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writer says, " It is probable that the motive which had the greatest influence with the principal men was the desire of being at the head of a new government, modelled, both in civil and religious matters, agreeably to their own apprehensions. In laying the foundations of a new colony, there was a fair probability that they might accommodate all matters of church and commonwealth to their own feelings and sentiments. But in Massachusetts the principal men were fixed in the chief seats of government, which they were likely to keep, and their civil and religious polity was already formed." The day after the synod assembled, Theophilus Eaton started with a considerable party on a tour of exploration. The Pequot war had made the English acquainted with the country west of the Connecticut River and bordering on Long Island Sound. The Indians fled westward after the destruction of their fort at Mystic, and the English, pursued them as far as Fairfield, where on the 13th of July, seven weeks before Eaton started, so many of the Pequots were slain, that the few survivors ceased to maintain a tribal organization, and became incorporated with other tribes. In this pursuit, the troops marching on the land, and their vessels holding a parallel course on the water, the English came to a harbor, which the Indians called by a name variously written in that age, but known in modern orthography as Quinnipiac, where they staid several days. They were charmed with the country. Capt. Stoughton, in a letter to Gov. Winthrop, speaks of it as preferable to Pequot as a place for a settlement. He says, " The providence of God guided us to so excellent a country at Quellipioak river, and so all along the coast as we

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traveled, as I am confident we have not the like as yet." In another letter "from Pequot, the 2nd day of the 6th week of our warfare," he says, " For this place is scarce worthy much cost. But if you would enlarge the state and provide for the poor servants of Christ that are yet unprovided (which I esteem a worthy work), I must speak my conscience. I confess, the place and places whither God's providence carried us, that is, to Quillepiage River, and so beyond to the Dutch, is before this, or the Bay either (so far as I can judge), abundantly." This was probably written Aug. 14; and the gallant captain reached Boston on the 26th of the same month, when he had opportunity to give more copious description of what he had seen. Capt. Underhill doubtless made report answerable to what he has written in his " History of the Pequot War," of that famous place called Queenapiok. " It hath a fair river, fit for harboring of ships, and abounds with rich and goodly meadows." Moved by such tidings, Eaton went immediately to view the place; and so well did he like it, that, when he set out on his return to Boston, he left seven of his men to remain through the winter and make preparation for the arrival of the rest of the company. It was September when he and his followers first saw Quinnipiac; and they doubtless spent some weeks in the neighborhood, skirting the shore with their pinnace to examine harbors and rivers. There can be no doubt that Eaton, when he returned to Boston, was fully persuaded in his own mind, that Quinnipiac was preferable to any

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other available place for the projected plantation. Indeed, Winthrop speaks as if he thought the question already settled when Eaton started on his tour of exploration. Under date of Aug. 31, he says, "Mr. Eaton and some others of Mr. Davenport's company went to view Quinnipiac with intent to begin a plantation there. They had many offers here, and at Plymouth, and they had viewed many places, but none would content." But in a matter of so great importance it was necessary to proceed slowly. The exploring party must report to those who had remained in Massachusetts, and all the shareholders must have a voice in selecting a place for their plantation. Perhaps it was already too late in the year to build houses that would sufficiently shelter women and children from the rigor of the approaching winter, even if the work were commenced immediately. Certainly it was deemed expedient to remain in Massachusetts till the opening of spring; and this was the expectation when Eaton, leaving seven men at Quinnipiac, returned to Boston to make his report. Joshua Atwater, Francis Brown, John Beecher, Robert Pigg, and Thomas Hogg were of the seven. The names of the others have not been preserved. One of the seven died during the winter; and his bones were found in the year 1750, in digging the cellar of the stone house at the corner of George and Meadow Streets.1 The hut which sheltered these adventurous

1 I think that the man who died was John Beecher, as his name does not occur on the earlier records, and there was a widow Beecher whose son Isaac was old enough in 1644 to take the oath of fidelity. Dr. Dana has preserved the tradition that Joshua Atwater was one of the seven who remained at Quinnipiac during the winter: Lambert mentions the four other names.

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men was near the creek, and about fifty rods west of the place where the survivors buried the body of their comrade. A copious spring which once issued from the bank between George Street and the creek, and was covered when the creek was converted into a sewer, may have determined the location of the hut. We may imagine that they spent their time in hewing, cleaving, and sawing, in hunting and trapping, and in collecting, by means of barter with the natives, beaver and other furs for the European market. If, like their brethren at Saybrook, they had dogs, they might, by enclosing their house with palisades, lie down to sleep with as little danger of being surprised by an enemy, as if they had been in Boston. Whatever communication they had with their friends during the winter, must have been by means of special messengers. Indian runners were easily found to perform such a service.1 We shall presently see, that before the 12th of March, letters had been sent by their friends in Massachusetts, directing . them to transact with the natives for the purchase of land. Doubtless the same letters instructed them to build huts, and make all possible provision for the comfort of those who were to arrive. With the exception of these seven, the people who crossed the Atlantic in the Hector and her consort remained in Boston or in the vicinity during the winter, many of them having found employment suitable to their several vocations. Though somewhat scattered, some finding lodgings and employment in one place and some in another, they were still an organized com-

* Trumbull quotes Roger Williams as saying," I have known them run between eighty and a hundred miles in a summer's day."

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pany, and as such were required by the government of Massachusetts to pay taxes as if they had already settled as a town in that Commonwealth. A tax was levied by the General Court, in November after their arrival, to pay the expenses of the Pequot war. The sum required was a thousand pounds, of which nine hundred and eighty pounds was assessed upon the several towns ; the name of Mr. Eaton being added to the list of towns, with the minute, " Mr. Eaton is left out of this rate, leaving it to his discretion what he will freely give toward these charges." The difference between the amount required, and the amount of the assessments, indicates what sum it was desired that Mr. Eaton should " freely give ;" and the discretion allowed him was, probably due to the fact that these expenses had been for the most part incurred before he and his party arrived in the country; the destruction of the fort at Mystic, which was the great event of the war, having taken place on the 26th of May, a full month before the Hector cast anchor in the harbor of Boston. But when another rate was levied, on the twelfth day of March of the following year, amounting to fifteen hundred pounds, Mr. Eaton's name was again appended to the list of towns with an assessment of twenty pounds, and without intimation that payment was optional. It is a noteworthy coincidence that this second tax is of the same date with the following letter: - " It may please the worthy and much honored Governor, Deputy, and Assistants, and with them the present Court, to take knowledge, that our desire of staying within this patent was real and strong, if the eye of God's providence (to whom we have committed our ways, especially in so important an enterprise as this,

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which, we confess, is far above our capacities) had guided us to a place convenient for our families and friends. Which, as our words have often expressed, so, we hope, the truth thereof is sufficiently declared by our almost nine months' patient waiting in expectation of some opportunity to be offered us, for that end, to our great charge and hindrance many ways. In all which time we have, in many prayers, commended the guidance of our apprehensions, judgments, spirits, resolutions, and ways into the good hand of the only wise God, whose prerogative it is to determine the bounds of our habitations, according to the ends for which he hath brought us into these countries; and we have considered, as we were able, by his help, whatsoever place hath been pro- • pounded to'us, being ready to have with contentment accepted (if by our stay any public good might be promoted) smaller accommodations and upon dearer terms (if they might be moderately commodious) than, we believe, most men, in the same case with us in all respects, would have done. And whereas a place for an inland plantation, beyond Watertown, was propounded to us, and pressed^ with much importunity by some, whose words have the power of a law with us, in any way of God, we did speedily and seriously deliberate thereupon, it being the subject of the greatest part of a day's discourse. The conclusion was that, if the upland should answer the meadow ground in goodness and desirableness, (whereof yet there is some cause of doubting,) yet, considering that a boat cannot pass from the bay thither, nearer than eight or ten miles distance, and that it is so remote from the bay, and from any town, we could not see how our dwelling there would be advantageous to these plantations or compatible with our conditions or commodious for our families or for our friends. Nor can we satisfy ourselves that it is expedient for ourselves, or for our friends, that we choose such a condition, wherein we must be compelled to have our dwelling houses so far distant from our farms as Boston or Charlestown is from that place, few of our friends being able to bear the charge thereof, (whose cases, nevertheless, we are bound to consider,) and some of them, that are able, not being persuaded that it is lawful for them to live continually from the greatest part of their families, as in this case they would be necessitated to do. The season of the year, and other weighty -considerations; compelled us to hasten to

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a full and final conclusion, which we are at last come unto, by God's appointment and direction, we hope, in mercy, and have sent letters to Connecticut for a speedy transacting the purchase of the parts about Quillypiac from the natives which may pretend title thereunto. By which act we absolutely and irrevocably engaged that way; and we are persuaded that God will order it for good unto these plantations, whose love so abundantly above our deserts or expectations, expressed in your desire of our abode in these parts, as we shall ever retain in thankful memory, so we, shall account ourselves thereby obliged to be any way instrumental and serviceable for the common good of these plantations as well as of those; which the divine providence hath combined together in as strong ra bond of brotherly affection, by the sameness of their condition, as Joab and Abishai were, whose several armies did mutually strengthen them both against their several enemies, ii. Sam. x. 9,10,11; or rather they are joined together, as Hippocrates his twins, to stand and fall, to grow and decay, to flourish and wither, to live and die, together. In witness of the premises we subscribe our names,

The I2th day of the ist month, 1638." •This letter, which is still preserved, is in the handwriting of Davenport, but is superscribed as follows in the handwriting of Eaton : " To the much honored, the Governor, Deputy, and Assistants." From this communication it appears that even if Eaton had returned from his tour of exploration fully expecting that he and his

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company would settle at Quinnipiac, he had not so fully expressed his determination as to preclude further effort to persuade him to remain in Massachusetts. It further appears that before the date of this communication the company had formally decided to fix their plantation at Quinnipiac, and had sent notice thereof to those who were already on the ground. Eighteen days afterward, that is, on the 3Oth of March, the leaders of the company and most of their followers embarked at Boston. After a tedious voyage of "about a fortnight they arrived at their desired port."* Winthrop thus narrates their departure: " Mr. Davenport and Mr. Prudden and a brother of Mr. Eaton, (being ministers also,) went by water to Quinnipiac; and with them many families removed out of this jurisdiction to plant in those parts, being much taken with the opinion of the fruitfulness of that place and more safety (as they conceived) from danger of a general governor, who was feared to be sent this summer; which though it were a great weakening to these parts, yet we expected to see a good providence of God in it, (for all possible means had been used to accommodate them here; Charlestown offered them largely, Newbury their whole town, the court any place which was free,) both for possessing those parts which lay open for an enemy, and for strengthening our friends at Connecticut, and for making room here for many, who were expected out of England this year, and for diverting the thoughts and intentions of such in England as intended evil against us, whose designs might be frustrate by our scattering so far; and such as were now gone that way were as much in the eye of the state of England as we here."

1 Trumbull