Friday, March 27, 2015

1639 - The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut

January 6, 1639 - Virginia is the first colony to order the destruction of tobacco surpluses.

January 8, 1639 - Sir Francis Wyatt is appointed by King Charles 1 new Governor of Virginia instead of John Harvey.

After being governor of Virginia from 1621 to 1625, Sir Francis Wyatt could be regarded, at 51, as an experienced man, even if he had since returned to Britain to run his father’s estates in England and Ireland.

Drafting the Fundamental Orders
January 11, 1639 - King Charles 1 grants Virginia settlers the right to hold their General Assembly. He also allows the colonies to make laws, what gives them now a certain self-sufficiency.

January 24, 1639 - The General Court of Connecticut including representatives (freemen) of the 3 cities of Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield, approves its first constitution under the name of Fundamental Orders. This appears as the prototype of the future Federal Constitution of the United States. It proclaims that "
the word of God requires that to mayntayne the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God . ." .
 Roger Ludlow is responsible for the publication.

Neither entirely democratic, nor fully antitheocratic, the 11 Articles of Fundamental Orders mostly resumed  the ideals of Rev. Thomas Hooker, considered ahead of  the Puritan school of thought of his time.

Roger Ludlow
(1590-1664 ) - Born in Dorchester, Dorset, he attended Balliol College, Oxford before being admitted in London within the Honorable Society of Inner Temple. He arrived in New England in 1630 where he was chosen as magistrate at the Court of Assistants of the Massachusetts Bay colony. Elected Deputy Governor in 1634, he married Mary, a sister of former governor John Endecott. He joined the following year a group of Puritans who sought to form an ecclesiastical society subject to its own rules. The General Court of Massachusetts granted them the right to establish the towns of Windsor, Warwick and Hartford in the Connecticut area. Ludlow was appointed first governor and wrote May 29, 1638 to 
Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop that the settlers he had in charge wanted to "unite to walk and live peacefully in a fraternal love." He was one of the main drafters of the "Fundamental Orders of Connecticut"

Januray,1639 - The House of Burgesses of Virginia passes a law prohibiting to black slaves to have firearms and ammunitions.

The bill prescribed 20 lashes for violations of the statute. There was however one exception: with his master’s permission, a slave could have firearms to defend against Indian raids.
           This was actually the first law to exclude “Negroes” from normal protection,                                  placing them, virtually as well as Indians at the mercy of whites. 

Governor Leonard Calvert

February 25, 1639 - Governor Leonard Calvert summons the provincila assembly of Maryland. It consists of "free men" and elected representatives from Kent Island, Mattapanient, St Michael, St Mary and St George.

The freemen chose as many representatives as they wished. They formed the new government of Maryland including the governor and a secretary. This first assembly was an opportunity for the settlers to assert their rights. Lord Proprietor, Sir Cecil Calvert presented a set of laws that he had himself prepared but judging that the right to legislate was exclusively  theirs, the representatives rejected the system as a whole. They adopted a bill of rights that set out the powers and duties of all branches of government. This popular sovereignty was once challenged by Lord Baltimore, who used his veto power to refuse to sign the new decrees but, before the will of the assembly, he finally gave up and conformed sympathetic to its decisions.

March 13, 1639 - The College of Cambridge takes officially the name of Harvard in honor of the minister passed a few months earlier.

March, 1639 - Building of the first prison of Plymouth.

March, 1639 - The General Court of Massachusetts decides to make an advance payment to captain William Pierce who commands the 120-ton ship Desire for the exchange of Indian slaves against African slaves whom he  makes a commitment to pay off as soon as he will have resold them.

April 3, 1639 - Sir Ferdinando Gorges receives confirmation of his vested rights since 1622 on the province of Maine by a charter from King James 1st. It further states that he has become a Lord with hereditary title.

Maine corresponded then to an area equivalent to New Somerset County where lived small groups of fishermen who traded from time to time furs with Indians.  The main village was Saco with about 150 inhabitants. Sir Ferdinando sent his nephew George Thomas as deputy governor.

The charter granted  true feudal rights to Sir Ferdinando Georges. He could raise troops, warfare, distribute titles and levy taxes. Nobody could trade in his province without his authorization and all had to consider him as the Lord of the country and pay the tax. He had more power than no leader had ever had in America. He drafted an elaborate constitution, perhaps too much, considering that he created more responsibilities than there were people to perform them. His kingdom was actually only a huge wild area including two fishermen's villages, Saco and Bristol and some scattered posts. When the deputy governor arrived, he found there for palace only a half collapsed house.

April 7, 1639 - Anthony Jensen and his wife Grietje are permanently banished from the New Netherlands. They are blamed for having violently attacked new Reverend Evardus Bogardus and to cause constantly a breach to peace.

April, 1639 - John Haynes is elected first governor of Connecticut.

Having previously been governor of  the Massachusetts Bay colony was not without influencing his election. His term lasted only one year and he was, however, not allowed to run  twice for reelection.
John Haynes
John Haynes enjoyed a real popularity among the settlers. He had ruled Massachusetts in a rigorous way and although he contributed to the eviction of Roger Williams, he had softened his position over the years, becoming more tolerant.

April 30, 1639 – Based in Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island from early winter, Samuel Gorton and 28 members of his community sign a compact declaring themselves subjects of the King of England and form a “civil body politick”.

Such a decision was the result of a common law case become so serious that Gorton was made unwanted by the founders of the plantation. Squabbles started when a Gorton’s handmaid had been accused of having killed a cow belonging to an old woman and mistreated her. The case was carried before the Court and far from calming things down, Samuel Gorton engaged so violently Governor William Coddington that he was condemned to be whipped and banished from the island. By way of defence, Gorton ventured to overcome the laws of the colony in relying on the king's authority.

May 8, 1639 - William Coddington founds Newport in Rhode Island.

He had established a year before the community of Portsmouth alongside Anne Hutchinson with John Clarke as governor. Dissensions had however soon arisen within the group and Coddington was not reappointed. This is a reason why he chose to settle in Newport with fifty followers.

May, 1639 - Lion Gardiner buys to Montauket Indians, the island of Manchonat at the eastern end of Long Island. This purchase will be confirmed next year by James Farrett, Earl of Stirling agent.

Lion Gardiner in the Pequot War
 (Charles Stanley Reinhardt, c. 1890)
This island was also known as the Island of Death by Indians in remembrance of the epidemic that decimated the population. Gardiner found it looking like the Isle of Wight because of its beautiful forests, its ponds and its plentiful brooks. He settled down together with his wife, his children and some of his soldiers from the fort, alongside the Indians with whom he established good relationship. He even offered them a gun and powder.

Lion Gardiner (1599-1663) 
He began his career in the English army and became known when he was sent to the Netherlands as a fortification work specialist. It is after contact with the backers of Lords Brooke and Saye & Seele’s project that he left England in 1635 together with his wife to join the new colony established in the mouth of the Connecticut River. The Dutch had already started to base trading posts in this region and it was a question for the English to maintain a territorial advantage by extending southward the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Having spent the first winter in Boston, he arrived in April, 1636 at the mouth of Connecticut where already lived a small group of settlers led by John Winthrop, Jr. He was responsible for overseeing the construction of Fort Saybrook  the command of which he would also assume during the Pequot War. His colony was then the scene of dramatic events and he even narrowly escaped death while other settlers were brutally massacred. The arrival of John Underhill and his soldiers changed the course of the war especially after the victory of Mystic, which ended in disaster for the Indians. Gardiner remained in Fort Saybrook until 1639 when he chose to settle in Long Island. There he was introduced  to an Indian sachem named Wyandanch with whom he formed a lasting friendship. The island on which he decided to settle permanently took later the name of Gardiner Island.

May, 1639 - the Plymouth colony loses a part of its territory in favor of Connecticut.

May 20, 1639 - a first school funded by local taxes opens in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

May 22, 1639 - John Winthrop is re-elected governor of Massachusetts Bay.

June 4, 1639 - The colony of New Haven, Connecticut, adopts its original constitution called "Fundamental Agreement". It has been drafted by Thomas Yale, son-in-law of Theophilus Eaton.

Thomas Yale (Chester 1616-New Haven, March 27, 1683) - He was the son of Thomas Yale and Ann Lloyd. After the death of his father occurred in 1616,  her mother Ann married in second wedding Théophilus Eaton, a wealthy London merchant. The family left England to Massachusetts in the spring, 1637.

Swedish farmers neat their log-cabin
June 5, 1639 - William Bradford is appointed governor of Plymouth for the 13th one-year term. The colony is now expanding and plans to create a system of representation like Massachusetts and Connecticut.

June 6, 1639 - the General Court of Massachusetts grants a 500 acre-land for the construction of a gunpowder factory.

 June 10, 1639 - the  first log-cabin of America is built at Fort Christina by the Swedish settler.

Originally from Scandinavia and Russia, the log cabin consisted generally of a room and few openings. Introduced by the Swedes after their arrival in Delaware, it met over the next two centuries an outstanding success and became the archetypal emblem of the pioneers of the western forests.

June, 1639 - Barnstable is mentioned for the first time in the records of the Court of Plymouth.

July 4, 1639 - Signing of the Covenant of Exeter (Exeter Combination) setting the administrative rules of the colony founded the previous year by dissident John Wheelwright further to his banishment from Massachusetts.

Following the example of Rhode Island, the community which had 35 freemen concluded a civil contract " submitting itself to God and Christian laws such as it is established in the kingdom of England … "

August 3, 1639 - Director General of the New Netherlands Willem Kieft and his council award a 200 acre-land in Nieuwe Utrecht, at the south western end of Long Island, to Anthony Jensen, a settler who was banished a few months earlier because of his violent behavior.

Elizabeth Pole
September 3, 1639 - Founding of the city of Taunton, south west of Plymouth on a land given up by the Wampanoag.

The first colonists had settled there two years earlier under the direction of Elizabeth Pole. Originally called Cohannet, it has been named in memory of Taunton, English Somerset, from where they were mostly originate.

Elizabeth Pole (Axminster (Devon) 1588 – Taunton, 1654) 
She was the daughter of Sir William Pole, knighted by King James 1st in 1601. She left with her brother William to settle down in New England and landed in Plymouth in 1633. She was considered the first woman to found a city in America.

September 2, 1639 - the first printing press of America is installed at Harvard College. Stephen Day and his son print their first book entitled The Bay Psalm Book.

September 1639 - Wampanoag leader Massasoit and his son Mooanam renew the friendship treaty that unites them to the Plymouth Colony from virtually its foundation in 1621.

September, 1639 - The General Court of Connecticut allows Roger Ludlow to establish a plantation west of the Pequannock River, a region that he visited during the Pequot War and considered very attractive. He moves there along with settlers come from Windsor but also from Watertown and Concord, Massachusetts. He buys a large tract of land to local Indian leaders and founds the city of Fairfield.

October, 1639 – Already appointed pastor of the church of New Haven, Theophilus Eaton is chosen as first governor of the colony. It is besides ruled by a 7 member-council called Seven pillars of the church including John Davenport, Robert Newman, Matthew Gilbert, Thomas Fugill, John Punserson and Jeremiah Dixon, responsible for electing civil officers.

October 10, 1639 - The General Court of Connecticut  fines Roger Ludlow for having exceeded the terms of the charter granted to only settle areas east of Fairfield.

November 15, 1639 - a first post office is opened in Massachusetts.

November, 1639 – Newly appointed Governor of Virginia, Sir Francis Wyatt arrives at Jamestown. John Harvey has been removed from his post since last August.

Sir Francis Wyatt forced at once former Governor John Harvey to account for abuse of power. He found the use of the properties seized from him at the time of his predecessor whereas John Harvey's property was in its turn confiscated to the delight of his many creditors.

December 24, 1639 - Foundation of the town of Hampton, New Hampshire. Rev. Stephen Bachiler from Massachusetts and a group of his followers settled there a year earlier.

Stephen Bachiler (c 1561 -. 1656)
A graduated minister of Oxford, he was an early advocate of the separation of church and state. Then a vicar at the parish of Wherwell, Hampshire, he found concerned with the teaching of the Puritans. Eager to leave for the New World, he joined the Plough Company, which had been allocated a 1,00 000 acre-land in Maine by the Council for New England. It was named Lygonia in honor of the mother of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Bachiler was one of the planners of the project until it was abandoned in 1631. He left for Boston the following year and settled first at Lynn with his group of settlers. He incurred however soon the hostility of the Puritan theocracy after opposing Roger Williams’s eviction. Despite his old age, he was still a strong man and remained involved in the controversy and confrontation with the leaders of the colony. In 1639, he managed to found a new planting at Winnacunnet, New Hampshire, that he called Hampton.

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