It is an open question whether a reprint of Dr. Benjamin Trum-bull's History of Connecticut should be modernized even by an introduction. It stands to-day, as it has stood for a century, the most careful, minute, and conscientious chronicle of the colonial history of the State which has ever been written; and it is safe to say that the future historian will, like his predecessors, make numerous citations from this old standard history, and will take the risk-always a dangerous one-of omitting some of the mi-nute details which its venerable author has so carefully recorded.

At the request of the publisher, and under circumstances afford-ing but little time for a full and careful review of the subject, I have undertaken to preface the reprint with a few words of in-troduction and explanation, and have added an index, lacking in the original, in which an attempt has been made to give, as far as possible, full names in instances where the author only gives sur-names of persons; and the present names of places by references from the original names which he uses in many instances. I have also undertaken to add to the reprint a few annotations, correct-ing the errors, surprisingly few in a work of such minuteness, which have been noted by various historians and others in the course of a century of reading and criticism. No pretension is made either to completeness or editorship in doing this.

It is quite possible that it will be a disappointment to some of the profounder students of history that this reprint is not edited in such a way as to modernize it completely, if that were possible. This would be a difficult, if not an impossible task. The author's chief aim is to give a fair and faithful recital of the events of this all-important period of the history of Connecticut. His own point of view, his personal opinion, rarely appear in the course of his work, and never in an obtrusive way. He is more of a chron-icler than historian. A modern writer with the same task before



him would, no doubt, employ different methods and reach more numerous conclusions, varying widely from those of the author in the few instances where comparison could be made. It might be edifying, for example, to compare his statement that the propagation of religious liberty was one of the leading motives for the settlement of New England by the Puritans, with John Fiske's statement that "the notion that they came to New Eng-land for the purpose of establishing religious liberty in any sense in which we should understand such a phrase, is entirely incor-rect." But, after all, the grafting of new ideas on such a sturdy old trunk as Trumbull's Connecticut can hardly yield the best results; and it is doubtful if there is such a thing as hybridizing history successfully. For the reason that a reprint so edited would not form even a composite colonial history of the State, and that it might be the means of discouraging some historian who may have in view the much needed work of writing a complete his-tory covering the period of the Revolution and the Civil War, it is best that Trumbull's work should be left as we find it, with only the additions already mentioned. His expressed wish "to assist future historians" has already been partially fulfilled, as may be seen by reference to the "luminous page of Hollister," and others; but the complete history of the State still remains to be written, and a mine of unused information still remains in the work how reprinted.

In addition to the corrections which the footnotes afford, a few words should be said regarding the author's mention of the sub-feet of witchcraft in Connecticut, or, rather, his explanation of his omission to record any executions for what was once known as that crime. It is, I believe, strictly true, as he says, "that no indictment of any person for that crime, nor any process relative to that affair, can be found." It must be confessed, however, that a careful study of the official colonial records of Connecticut and New Haven leaves no doubt that Goodwife Bassett was con-victed and hung at Stratford, for witchcraft in 1651, and Good-wife Knapp at Fairfield in 1653. It is also recorded in Win-throp's Journal, to the no small satisfaction of its editor, Savage, that "One of Windsor was arraigned and executed at Hartford for a witch" in March, 1646-47, which, if it actually occurred, forms the first instance of an execution for witchcraft in New England. The quotation here given is the only known authority for the statement, and opens the question whether something probably recorded as hearsay in a journal may be taken as authoritative



evidence of an occurrence. Professor Ferguson, who exhibits unusual diligence in searches of this kind, cites numerous other instances of executions, acquittals, pardons, and suspicions of being suspected, on various authorities.1 The fact, however, re-mains, that the official records are, as our author says, silent re-garding the actual proceedings; and it is only by inference that it may be found from these records that the executions took place. There remains but little more to be said by way of introduction that has not already been said by the author in his own preface. It seems fitting, however, that a very brief sketch of his career and lineage should be given in closing.

Benjamin Trumbull was born in Hebron, Conn. December 19, 1735. He was the son of Benjamin Trumbull of Hebron (1712-), grandson of Benoni Trumbull of Hebron (1684-1770), great-grandson of Joseph Trumbull of Suffield, Conn. (1647-84), and great-great-grandson of John Trumbull, who appears on record at Roxbury, Mass. in 1639, and Rowley, Mass. in 1640, having emi-grated from Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, in 1639, and not from the West of Wales, as Sprague erroneously states in his "An-nals of the American Pulpit." Among his most distinguished family connections were Governor Jonathan Trumbull, to whom he refers in his preface, a first cousin once removed; Colonel John Trumbull, the artist, and his brothers Jonathan and Joseph, who were his first cousins; and Dr. John Trumbull, the lawyer-poet, author of "McFingal," also a first cousin. His most dis-tinguished lineal descendant was his grandson, the Hon. Lyman Trumbull, U. S. Senator from Illinois, and afterwards distin-guished as a lawyer and jurist.

His career as a clergyman is remarkable, even for the times of long pastorates in which he lived. He was the pastor of the North Haven Congregational Church for sixty years of con-tinuous service, interrupted only for six months by his services as chaplain in the Fifth Battalion of Wadsworth's Brigade, during which time he was with this battalion in the important period cov-ering the battle of Long Island and the retreat from New York. This service is officially recorded as extending from June 24 to December 25, 1776. Eye-witnesses have told us that, at the battle of White Plains, his patriotism would not allow him to remain in clerical garb among the non-combatants, but that he shouldered

1 Essays in American History, pp. 73-77.



his musket, and loaded and fired with coolness and the utmost precision of which he was capable. Immediately on his return to North Haven, January 5, 1777, his martial spirit again so asserted itself that he temporarily exchanged the word for the sword, and was chosen captain of a company of sixty volunteers of that town. He was also to be found at the post of danger at the time of Tryon's invasion of New Haven, July 4, 1779.

All accounts agree that he was a man of wonderful vigor and activity even up to the time of his death, at the advanced age of eighty-five. But nine days before that time he preached his last sermon. He died on the 2d of February, 1820. He is also de-scribed as a man of courteous demeanor and quick intelligence.

The fullest account of his career which is known to me is in Sheldon B. Thorpe's "North Haven Annals." Sprague's "An-nals of the American Pulpit" devotes five pages to him, and gives personal reminiscences of contemporaries. For the most part, his career of steady, untiring clerical and literary labor would re-veal but little to interest the reader of to-day. A large part of his long, busy, useful life was devoted to collecting the material for this History of Connecticut, a work prosecuted under disadvan-tages which he bravely and persistently overcame, many of which would not be encountered in these days of printed records and quick and easy communication.

jonathan trumbull.

norwich, conn., March 1, 1898.


AUTHENTIC history is of great utility; especially, to the countries and people whose affairs it relates. It teaches human nature, politics and morals; forms the head and heart for usefulness, and is an important part of the instruction and litera-ture of states and nations. While it instructs, it affords an exalted pleasure. No man of genius and curiosity can read accounts of the origin of nations, the discovery, settle-ment, and progress of new countries, without a high degree of entertainment. But in the settlement of his own country, in the lives of his ancestors, in their adventures, morals, jurisprudence and heroism, he feels himself particularly interested. He at once becomes a party in their affairs, and travels and converses with them, with a kind of filial delight. While he beholds them braving the horrors of the desert, the terrors of the savage, the distresses of famine and war, he admires their courage, and is pleased with all their escapes from danger, and all their progress in settlement, population, opulence, literature and happiness. While he contemplates their self-denial and per-severance in surmounting all dangers and enduring all hardships, to form new churches, and lay the foundations of new colonies and empires, and the immensely happy conse-quences of their conduct in turning the wilderness into gardens and fruitful fields, and in transmitting liberty and religion to posterity, he is struck with a pleasing astonish-ment. The pious man views a divine hand conducting the whole, gives thanks, adores and loves. No history is better calculated to produce these happy effects, than that of New-England and Connecticut.

Connecticut, originally consisting of two colonies, replete with Indians, and con-nected as it was with the neighboring colonies, affords much interesting matter for history. An authentic and impartial account of the affairs of the colony had long been an object of the wishes of the legislature, and of many gentlemen of principal character both in church and commonwealth.

In these views the writer, many years since, determined to attempt the compilation of the history which is presented to the public in the following sheets. He wished for the improvement which such a work might afford him, and for the pleasure of contribut-ing his mite to the service of the community in which he received his birth and educa-tion, and has enjoyed such distinguished liberty and immunities.

In pursuance of his design, he collected all books and manuscripts from which he could expect assistance. He read the records of Connecticut, New-Haven and the United Colonies; and extracted whatever he judged important. He made a journey to Boston, examined the collection of the Rev. Mr. Prince, and minuted every thing which he could find relative to Connecticut. To him. at the time he was about writing the Chronological History of New-England, the ancient ministers, and other principal gentlemen in Connecticut, had transmitted accounts of the settlement of the towns and churches to which they respectively belonged. In this collection, important informa-tion was found, which could have been obtained from no other source. The author visited most of the principal towns, and places of burial, and obtained from records, monuments, and men of intelligence, whatever they could communicate on the subject. The ministers and clerks of the respective towns, and other gentlemen of character, assisted him in his researches. The honorable legislature, having been made acquainted with his design, passed a generous resolve, which gave him access to their records and papers on file.

His excellency governor Trumbull, than whom no man had a more thorough ac-quaintance with the history of the colony, employed his influence and friendship for his assistance, and furnished him with many important papers. In a letter to him on the subject, he expresses himself in this manner-" I wish you success, and to afford you all the assistance in my power. I imagine the earliest times of the colony will be attended with the most difficulty, to collect the facts with sufficient certainty-wherein the great excellency of a history consists. Such an one I have long desired to see. It must be a work of time and indefatigable labour and industry, since it has been so long neglected, and the materials, many of them, almost lost, and others scattered, and all need so much care in collecting, time in comparing, and judgment in compiling." The truth of these observations, the author hath fully experienced; how far he hath acted upon them must be determined by the public opinion.

The honorable George Wyllys, Esq. late secretary of the state, was second to none in the assistance and encouragement which he afforded. From these various sources, the author, in 1774, found himself possessed of an ample and important collection; and determined to write the first volume of the history, as soon as might be, with conven-ience. But before he had entered upon the work, the war commenced between Great-Britain and her colonies, and the universal attention was turned to a very different ob-ject. It was conceived to be dangerous for any of the public papers to be kept so near the sea coast as the place of his residence. A great number of papers, therefore, which



he had received from governor Trumbull, and others which had been taken out of the office at Hartford, were returned to their respective offices.

For a number of years after the war, the state of the country was altogether unfavor-able for publications of this kind. It was nevertheless still hoped that an opportunity would present for the publication of such a work to advantage, and the design of writ-ing was not wholly given up.

However, before the writer had entered upon the work, he was invited, by a vote of the General Association of the state, to compile a different history. Many objections presented themselves to his mind against engaging in the work proposed by that ven-erable body. But after these had been fully communicated, the solicitation was re-newed. In consequence of which, and the opinion and advice of some principal gentle-men of the legislature, he was induced to undertake the writing of a general history of the United States of America, from the first discovery of this northern continent until the year 1792, including three complete centuries. In making collections for this, and in the compilation of it, all the leisure hours which he could possibly redeem, by early rising and an indefatigable attention to business, from the stated labours of his office, have been, for nearly ten years, employed.

In the progress of this work it became necessary to have frequent recourse to his former collections, which, by this time, had been in a manner forgotten. By this means the ideas of the ample materials which had been prepared, for the history of Connecti-cut, were revived in his mind. When he contemplated the pains and expense at which they had been collected, the countenance which he had received from the legislature, and the general expectations which had been entertained with respect to a history of Connecticut, it appeared to him not very consistent with that respectful and generous treatment which he owed more particularly to his own state, to publish a large history of the United States, while he neglected theirs. It also appeared to be a duty, which he owed to himself and family, as well as the public, not to suffer all his former pains and expense, in his collections for the history of Connecticut, to be lost. Upon a mature view of the case, and the advice of a number of his brethren in the ministry, he determined to suspend the writing of the history of the United States, until he should publish one volume, at least, of the history of Connecticut. If this should meet the public approbation, it might assist him in introducing a larger work, and render it more extensively useful. If the history of Connecticut should be unpopular, it would give him a profitable admonition, and prevent a greater misfortune, by a larger and more expensive publication.

About the middle of December, 1796, he began to look over and arrange his papers and to compile the following history. Since that time he hath examined the papers on file in the secretary's office, and taken out such as were necessary, composed and copied off with his own hands the history now published, besides preaching twice on every Lord's day, lectures on proper occasions, and attending the other duties of his office.

The death of that truly worthy gentleman, the honorable George Wyllys, the former secretary, considerably retarded the work, as more time has been employed in examin-ing the files than otherwise would have been necessary.

In compiling the history, great pains have been taken to exhibit the state of the country when the first settlements commenced, to present every important transaction in a candid and clear view, and to make such an arrangement of the whole, as that every preceding chapter might prepare the way for the next, and add perspicuity to the story.

As this is the first history of the colony, and as time effaces ancient records and papers, and eradicates from the mind of man the remembrance of former transactions, the compiler judged it expedient to make it more full and particular, than otherwise might have been necessary or proper. He imagined, that no person would, probably, hereafter have the same advantages which he has had, nor take the same pains which he has taken, to examine the ancient records, histories and manuscripts of the country. He wished to assist future historians, and that nothing useful and important, respecting church or state, might be lost. As he has aimed at information and usefulness, he has avoided all circumlocutions, reasonings and opinions of his own, and attempted to fill every page with history. The florid and pompous style has been avoided, as unnatural and improper in historic writings, and the easy and familiar has been attempted. The compiler has judged his time too precious, and the field of usefulness before him too extensive, to busy himself in rounding periods, and guarding against every little matter which might afford business for the critic. He has, however, aimed at authenticity, pro-priety and perspicuity. He has wished to avoid the dull and dry manner, and to write with a becoming deference to the public.

The account which has been given of the sources whence the compiler has obtained his information, the quotations in the body of the work, the references made in the mar-ginal notes to authors, records, and manuscripts, with the appendix, it is imagined, will be abundantly sufficient to authenticate what has been written. Indeed, very little has been taken upon tradition.

Had the history been written more leisurely and with fewer avocations it might have been more perfect; but as it was desired to make as short a pause as possible in writ-ing the history of the United States, it was judged inexpedient to employ more time upon it.

The author i under great disadvantages for historic writing. He can command no time for himself. The work of the ministry, which is his chosen and beloved employ-



meat, after all his application, so engrosses his time, that sometimes for weeks and months, after all his application, he cannot find a single day for the compilation of his-tory. When he has attempted it, he has been able scarcely to write a page without in-terruption. Often he has been so fatigued with other studies, as to be in circumstances not the most favorable for composition.

It may, possibly, be thought a great neglect, or matter of partiality, that no account is given of witchcraft in Connecticut. The only reason is, that after the most careful researches, no indictment of any person for that crime, nor any process relative to that affair, can be found. The minute in Goff's journal, published by governor Hutchinson, relative to the execution of Ann Coles, and an obscure tradition that one or two per-sons were executed at Stratford, is all the information to be found relative to that un-happy affair.

The countenance and assistance which the honorable legislature have given the writer, by allowing him a free access to the public records and papers, is most respect-fully acknowledged.

The attention and complaisance with which he has been treated by the secretaries of the state, and their respective families, while he has had occasion to examine the public records and papers, challenge the warmest expressions of his gratitude.

To his brethren in the ministry, the gentlemen of the bar, and the towns who have so generously encouraged and supported the subscription, he returns his grateful ac-knowledgments.

The labor of collecting the materials for the history and compilement, has been al-most incredible. The expense of publication will be great. However, should it meet a favorable reception, assist the legislator or divine, the gentlemen of the bench or of the bar ; should it afford instruction and pleasure to the sons and daughters of the state, and in any degree advance its morals or literature, it will be an ample compensation.



THE settlement of New-England, purely for the purposes of Religion, and the propagation of civil and religious liberty, is an event which has no parallel in the history of modern ages. The piety, self-denial, sufferings, patience, perseverance and magna-nimity of the first settlers of the country are without a rival. The happy and extensive consequences of the settlements which they made, and of the sentiments which they were careful to propagate, to their posterity, to the church and to the world, admit of no de-scription. They are still increasing, spreading wider and wider, and appear more and more important.

The planters of Connecticut were among the illustrious charac-ters, who first settled New-England, and twice made settlements, first in Massachusetts, and then in Connecticut on bare creation. In an age when the light of freedom was but just dawning, they, by voluntary compact, formed one of the most free and happy constitutions of government which mankind have ever adopted. Connecticut has ever been distinguished by the free spirit of its government, the mildness of its laws, and the general diffusion of knowledge, among all classes of its inhabitants. They have been no less distinguished by their industry, economy, purity of man-ners, population and spirit of enterprise. For more than a century and half, they have had no rival, as to the steadiness of their gov-ernment, their internal peace and harmony, their love and high enjoyment of domestic, civil and religious order and happiness. They have ever stood among the most illuminated, first and bold-est defenders of the civil and religious rights of mankind.

The history of such a people must be curious, entertaining and important. It will exhibit the fairest models of civil government, of religious order, purity and human happiness. It is the design of the present work to lay this history before the public.

As the planters of Connecticut were among the first settlers of New-England, and interested in the first patents and settle-




ments, sketches of the discovery of the country, of the patents by which it was conveyed and divided to the different colonies, and of the first settlements, will be necessary to illustrate the his-tory of Connecticut and be a natural preliminary to this work,

christopher columbus, a Genoese, on October 12, 1492, dis-covered the western isles, and first communicated to Europe the intelligence of a new world: but the Cabots had the honor of discovering the great continent of North-America.

john cabot, a Venetian, born in England, in 1494 discovered Newfoundland and the island of St. Johns. In consequence of this discovery, king Henry the seventh of England, in whose ser-vice he was employed, conferred on him the honor of knighthood; and gave him and his sons a commission to make further discov-eries in the new world. John Cabot died soon after he received this commission. His son Sebastian, in 1497, sailed with the fleet, which had been preparing for his father, and directing his course by his journals, proceeded to the 67th degree of north latitude, and, returning to the southward, fell in with the continent in the 56th degree of north latitude; and thence explored the coast as far south as the Floridas. From these discoveries originated the claims of England to these parts of the northern continent.

In 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold discovered some part of New-England. He first touched on its eastern coast, in about 43 de-grees of north latitude; and, sailing to the southward, landed on the Elizabeth Islands. He made some discoveries of the adja-cent parts, and gave the name to Cape Cod and Marthas Vineyard.

Captain Henry Hudson,1 commissioned by king James I. in 1608, sailed, in the employment of several London merchants, to North-America. He came upon the coast in about 40 degrees of north latitude, and made a discovery of Long-Island and Hud-son's river. He proceeded up the river as far as the latitude of 43, and called it by his own name.

About two years after he made a second voyage to the river, in the service of a number of Dutch merchants; and, some time after, made sale of his right to the Dutch. The right to the coun-try, however, was antecedently in king James, by virtue of the discovery which Hudson had made under his commission. The English protested against the sale; but the Dutch, in 1614, under the Amsterdam West-India company, built a fort nearly on the same ground where the city of Albany now is, which they called fort Aurania. Sir Thomas Dale, governor of Virginia, directly after dispatched captain Argall to dispossess the Dutch, and they

1The Hudson river was discovered a year later, viz., September 4, 1609, at a time when Hudson's expedition in the yacht "Half Moon," was under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company. The discoveries made at this time formed the basis for a claim by the Dutch to the whole territory from the Delaware river to Cape Cod, which points were the limits of Hudson's cruise on our coast at this time. See Purchas's Pilgrim, also De Laet.-J. T.




submitted to the king of England, and under him to the governor of Virginia.1

The same year captain John Smith, who some years before had been governor of Virginia, made a voyage to this part of the con-tinent. He ranged the coast from Penobscot to Cape Cod; made a discovery of the river Pascataqua, and the Massachusetts islands. On his return to England, he published a description of the coun-try, with a map of the sea coast, and gave it the name of New-England.

In 1620, a number of pious people, part of Mr. John Robinson's church and congregation, who, by the violence of persecution, had been driven from their pleasant seats and enjoyments in England, arrived on the coast; and, after braving every danger, and enduring almost every hardship and distress of which human nature is capable, effected a permanent settlement in this part of North-America. They gave it the name of New-Plymouth. By voluntary compact they formed themselves into a small com-monwealth, and had a succession of governors. They settled all that part of Massachusetts included in the county of Plymouth. By making permanent settlements, to which others might resort, on their first arrival in New-England, or afterwards in times of distress; by making treaties with the Indians, by which the peace of the country was preserved; by their knowledge of it, and the experience which they had gained, they were of peculiar ad-vantage to those who came over and made settlements after them. They were a pious, industrious people, and exhibited towards each other the most striking examples of fraternal affection, They continued a distinct colony for about seventy years, until their incorporation, by the charter of William and Mary, in 1691, with the colony of Massachusetts and the province of Maine.

November 3d, 1620, just before the arrival of Mr. Robinson's people in New-England, king James the first, by letters patent, under the great seal of England, incorporated the duke of Lenox, the marquises of Buckingham and Hamilton, the earls of Arundel and Warwick, and others, to the number of forty noblemen, knights and gentlemen, by the name "of the council established at Plymouth in the county of Devon, for the planting, ruling and governing of New-England in America"-"and granted unto them, and their successors and assigns, all that part of America, lying and being in breadth from forty degrees of north latitude, from the equinoctial line, to the forty eighth degree of said north-erly latitude inclusively, and in length of, and within all the breadth aforesaid, throughout the main lands from sea to sea." The patent ordained that this tract of country should be called New-England in America, and by that name have continuance for ever.

1Smith's history of New-York, p. 2.




of any of the company, fixed his residence at Boston. He was the great promoter of the settlement of the capital of the Massachu-setts.1 Sir Richard Saltonstall, who was another of the magis-trates, with his company, settled at Watertown. They made choice of Mr. Phillips for their pastor. Mr. Pyncheon, and an-other company, began a settlement at Roxbury, and the famous Mr. John Elliot and Mr. Weld, who came into New-England the next year, were elected their ministers. Other companies settled Medford and Weymouth. Boston and Charlestown, the first year, considered themselves as one company, and chose Mr. Wilson for their pastor.

In one of the first ships which arrived this year, came over the Rev. Mr. John Warham, Mr. John Maverick, Mr. Rossiter, Mr. Ludlow, Mr. Henry Wolcott, and others of Mr. Warham's church and congregation, who first settled the town of Windsor, in Con-necticut. Mr. Rossiter and Mr. Ludlow were magistrates. Mr. Wolcott had a fine estate, and was a man of superior abilities. This was an honourable company. Mr. Warham had been a fa-mous minister in Exeter, the capital of the county of Devonshire. The people who came with him, were from the three counties of Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire.

Some time before the 2Oth of March, just as they were about to embark for New-England, upon a day of solemn fasting and prayer, they were formed into a congregational church, in the new hospital at Plymouth, in England. They then made choice of Mr. Warham and Mr. Maverick to be their pastor and teacher, and they were ordained, or re-installed to the care of this par-ticular church. The famous Mr. White, of Dorchester, preached and assisted on this occasion.2

They sailed from Plymouth, in England, on the 20th of March, in the ship Mary and John, of 400 tons, and arrived at Nantasket on the Lord's day, May 3Oth. The next day, captain Squeb, mas-ter of the ship, put them and their goods on shore, at Nantasket point, and, in this situation, left them to shift for themselves.3 But, by the assistance of some of the old planters, they obtained a boat, and proceeded up Charles river, to the place since called Watertown. Here they landed their goods, and erected a shelter to cover them; but as they had many cattle, and found a neck of land at Mattapan, affording good accommodations for them, they soon removed and began a settlement there. They named their town Dorchester.

Sir Richard Saltonstall's people, who settled at Watertown, were the first settlers of Weathersfield, in Connecticut. Mr. Phil-lips, who was elected their pastor, at Watertown, had been min-

1Prince's Chron. part ii. sect. 2, p. 2.

2Ibid. p. 200.

3Ibid; p. 207. Captain Squeb was, afterwards, obliged to pay damages for this conduct.