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chapTER few years, after in England. Even the terrible charge
of witchcraft was insinuated against Mrs. Hutchinson—
sold out their interest in the upper plantation to the resi- chore, dents there; and one Burdett, a discontented minister from Massachusetts, had got himself elected governor. 1638. He appears to have earried on a correspondence, with Archbishop Laud, in which he gave no very favorable account of the civil and ecclesiastical affairs of New England. After a voyage to England, and a vain attempt to regain the favor of the Boston Church, in the course of which he was charged with “suspicion of incontinency,” the banished Underhill retired to Dover, and, much to the disgust of the Massachusetts magistrates, presently got himself chosen governor in Burdett's place. Burdett was also, through Underhill's contrivance, superseded as minister by one Knolles, recently arrived in Massachusetts, but who, being suspected of “famistical opinions,” had been “denied residence” there. The principal interest in the lower Piscataqua plantation, or Portsmouth, seems to have belonged to Mason; but he was now dead, and, in payment of their wages, his agents shared among them the goods and cattle, the lands and houses, and, like their neighbors of Dover and Exeter, organized an independent government of their own. Hampton, the fourth town in New Hampshire, inviting on account of its extensive salt meadows, was settled, under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, by orthodox emigrants from that colony. In a controversy which presently arose between Wheelwright and the settlers at Hampton as to their mutual bounds, in answer to Wheelwright's allegation of a purchase from the Indians, the Massachusetts General Court set up the doctrine that the Indians “had only a natural right to as much land as they had or could improve”—a hard doctrine, indeed, for the Indians, if improvement meant cultivation, since the Indians improved their lands chiefly as hunting grounds.
Plymouth colony profited also by the religious dissensions of Massachusetts. William Vassall, one of the early Massachusetts assistants, an emigrant with Winthrop and the charter, but less exclusive in his religious views, having returned from England, had established himself at Scituate, the second town in that colony. Settlements also had been more recently commenced at Taunton, Sandwich, and Yarmouth, and presently at Barnstable, in part, at least, by persons discontented with the strict regimen of Massachusetts.
An opposite reason led to the foundation of still another independent colony. In the height of the Hutchinson controversy, John Davenport, an eminent nonconformist minister from London, had arrived at Boston, and with him a wealthy company, led by two merchants, Theophilus Eaton and Edward Hopkins. Alarmed at the new opinions and religious agitations of which Massachusetts was the seat, notwithstanding very advantageous offers of settlement there, they preferred to establish a separate community of their own, to be forever free from the innovations of error and licentiousness. Eaton and others sent to explore the coast west of the Connecticut, selected a place for settlement near the head of a spacious bay at Quinapiack, or, as the Dutch called it, Red Hill, where they built a hut, and spent the winter. They were joined in the spring by the rest of their company, and Davenport preached his first sermon under the shade of a spreading oak. Presently they entered into what they called a “plantation covenant,” and a communication being opened with the Indians, who were but few in that neighborhood, the lands of Quinapiack were purchased, except a small reservation on the east side of the bay, the Indians receiving a few presents and a promise of protection. A tract north
of the bay, ten miles in one direction and thirteen in chapTER
the other, was purchased for ten coats; and the colo-
tution, based on that of Massachusetts, but different in * *
one important particular. As at Plymouth, residents of acceptable character might be admitted freemen, though not church members. The magistrates or assistants were to be chosen annually; but no magistrate was to be newly elected till he had first stood propounded or nominated for a year. The governor, required to be a church member, was to be chosen from among the magistrates, but could not be elected for two years in succession. Hopkins had concluded to settle at Hartford, and, alternately with Haynes, was chosen governor for many years. The governor and assistants acted as a court of law, and, with a House of Deputies chosen by the towns, composed a General Court, with the same jurisdiction as in Massachusetts, but the deputies were to sit by themselves as a separate body—an arrangement not yet
adopted in the mother colony. Mason was chosen military chief, an office which he held for the rest of his life on a salary of forty pounds a year. The first General Court enacted a body of laws, any deficiencies in which were to be supplied by “the rule of the word of God.” Alarm at some hostile proceedings of the Dutch, and apprehensions of the Indians by whom they were surrounded, soon caused the treaty for a federal union with Massachusetts to be renewed. Fort Saybrook constituted a separate jurisdiction, under the English proprietors, one of whom, Fenwick, arrived there about this time, with his own family and some others.
After living for a year under their plantation covenant, the settlers at Quinapiack proceeded to a more definite organization. They agreed, in the first place, to limit the right to participate in the government to church members, and to adopt the Scriptures—esteemed a perfect rule for all duties—as the law of the land. The church was organized with great care. After prayers and a sermon, twelve persons were elected by the body of the colonists, with power, after trial of each other, to designate seven of their own number as the seven pillars—a scriptural and mystical number, as Davenport's preliminary sermon had proved. These seven were to admit such additional church members as they saw fit. The church being organized, and a body of freemen thus provided, Eaton was chosen governor, an office to which he was annually re-elected for twenty years. There was no trial by jury at New Haven, no warrant being found for it in the word of God. The regulations and judicial proceedings of this colony, deeply tinged by Puritan austerity, have been objects, under the derisive name of “blue laws,” of some exaggeration and much ridicule.