Tuesday, November 24, 2015

1650 - Virginia under Embargo

Virginia & Maryland
January, 1650 – Governor of  Maryland William Stone summons a meeting in Providence, a city recently founded by Puritan immigrants from Virginia, to select two representatives for the next assembly to be held in April at St Mary’s City.

Stone had made a loose commitment with Lord Baltimore for the coming in Maryland of at least five hundred new immigrants from England and Ireland but the timely arrival 
of the Puritans fleeing persecutions in Virginia allowed him to keep unexpectedly his promises. The newcomers named their settlement Providence in memory of Roger Williams when he had been banished from Massachusetts.

February 5, 1650 - The General Court of Connecticut adopts the Code of the Laws of 1650 written by the lawyer Roger Ludlow.

Roger Ludlow who was as early as 1635 among the founders of Connecticut had already participated in 1639 in the publication of the Fundamental Orders considered as the first constitution of the colony.

The Code of 1650 included 50 pages and was divided into 77 alphabetized chapters. It began with a bill of rights taken from the Massachusetts Body of Liberties dated 1641. The first theme was Ability: the right for any person aged at least 21 to make a complaint.
The word Arrest stated that imprisonment for debt is prohibited. The death penalty brought forward texts dating 1642 clearly inspired by the Mosaic Law. Some paragraphs dealt with dangers of moving to the wild world, soldiers training, supervising the Indians and slaughtering wolves. Marriage was fully controlled by civil authorities and not by the clergy. Divorce was so allowed as circumstances required. School held a wide place in the code, it was compulsory for boys but at the expense of the parents.
The Code also contained humanitarian principles on trade, treatment of servants, respect of animals but it also legalized slavery.

March, 1650 - Thomas Dudley is elected governor of Massachusetts, a position that he previously held three times.
Dudley has always been in favor of a strict and austere Puritanism unlike former governor John Winthrop whose religious ideals were more inclined towards greater tolerance and liberalism.

April, 1650 - foundation of the County of Arundel in Maryland. It takes its name from Lady Anne Arundel (1615-1649), the wife of Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore and proprietor of the colony.

Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore
with his grandson
holding a map of Maryland

(painting by Gerard Soest)
April 6, 1650 - Lord Baltimore authorizes Maryland to have a bicameral legislative government with an Upper House and a Lower House.

Lord Baltimore tried during the previous year to impose a code in 16 laws but only one had been selected on religious freedom. The Assembly of Maryland had rejected the 15 others pressing him not to send any more texts of this kind just good as stirring up jealousies and suspicions. He eventually accepted the proposed project which was hardly different from what was already in practice in Virginia, introducing in particular two houses, the one consisted exclusively of "burgesses" representing the cities and the other made up with counselors appointed by the governor.
Lord Baltimore maneuvered then in an even more delicate context that his opponents claimed Maryland had sworn allegiance to new king Charles II. He responded to the accusations ensuring that acting-governor Thomas Greene during William Stone's absence was the only responsible for such a stand. He presented even a proclamation by Charles II removing him from office because of his support for the Protestants.

April 14, 1650 - Edward Hopkins is elected governor of Connecticut for a further one-year term.

Hopkins had a large fortune in England, what enabled him to purchase vast lands in Connecticut where he owned a mill and held a monopoly on fur sale. He had also invested in cotton industry and fitted a ship out that provided trade links between America and England. Although the management of his affairs left him little time to devote to governor office, his business benefited in return to the colony. He made in particular easier the supply of home made products on the overseas markets.

May, 1650 - Nicholas Easton is elected President of Rhode Island.

Nicholas Easton (Lymington, England 1593 - Newport (R.I.) August 15, 1675) 
Soon attracted towards the Puritan movement, this son of a tanner chose most certainly this reason to emigrate in 1634 to Massachusetts together with his two sons Peter and John. He first practiced his craft there, frequently moving, according to the work proposed, before settling down in Boston. He met there Anne Hutchinson of whom he became a faithful supporter alongside William Coddington and John Coggeshall. Banished from the colony in spring, 1638, he went to Providence where his companions in exile, among whom Roger Williams and John Clarke, had just purchased Aquidneck Island. There, he found in particular the Hutchinson family and the Coggeshalls with whom he participated in the founding of Portsmouth before dissensions appeared within the group led him to join Coddington and Clarke left establishing Newport in the South of the island.
Easton played an active part during this period in the theological controversy preaching that all the believers were physically a battlefield between the forces of good and evil. Dismayed by what they felt as an anti-Christian vision, the Puritans assessed that Easton had no required qualifications to preach and kept him apart.
He held nevertheless an important place within the Rhode Island colony of which he became for the first time "President" in 1650.

May, 1650 - Following the "Remonstrance" handed a few months earlier over the Dutch parliament by Adriaen Van der Donck, the  States General of Holland authorize the free movement of people in the New Netherlands colony while keeping to the West India Company the right to appoint the director.

Cornelis Van Tienhoven who represented for the occasion the interests of Director General Peter Stuyvesant was retained in Holland for a further information about his involvement in the Kieft’s War against the Natives,

June, 1650 - William Bradford keeps his office as governor of Plymouth.
Thomas Prence and John Browne are chosen representatives to the United Colonies. Massachusetts and Plymouth also appoint representatives to negotiate their possible rapprochement.

The government of the colony forbade this year servile work on Sundays as well as non-essential travels, hunting and sale of alcoholic beverages and created laws regarding diligence on church services.

Massachusetts amends the law punishing adultery as a capital offense. It is now sentenced with lashes and the requirement to wear lifelong the letter "A".

Reverend John Eliot preaching to the Indians
Summer, 1650
– Rev. John Eliot purchases a 10 000-acre land intending to welcome "praying Indians " (those who were converted to the Christianity) so that they can base establish their own city. Called Natick, this town built about 20 miles southwest of Boston is the first of eleven similar settlements under his care.

Nicknamed " the Apostle to the Indians ", John Eliot shared with some Puritans the idea that the missionary activity was needed as an emergency to the Indians since they were most probably of Jewish origin. They had been scattered in this part of the world where they had fallen into idolatry. For Eliot and his friends, their conversion was a precondition the introduction of Messianic times. Converting the Indians was not without a civilizing work through their education, their learning of farming and the knowledge of the arts and techniques.

Sir William Berkeley
Governor of Virginia
August 1650 - Virginia is embargoed by England because of its allegiance to the Stuarts.
Remained faithful to the royal family, the colony governed since 1642 by Sir William Berkeley had hosted the previous year near a thousand loyalist Cavaliers from England while having letting leave to Maryland a mostly equivalent number of Puritan settlers. Virginia had about 19 000 residents from Europe and more than 300 Africans who, although slavery was not formalized, enjoyed practically no freedom.

As they evolved, English colonies had benefited different statuses according to Royal Charters, leaving mostly to private companies the care of managing on their way even if the king remained the last resort. The new policy led by the Commonwealth of England intended to run the colonial affairs through a centralized administration designed to oversee trade as well as the governments of the various plantations. The colonies of New England made no secret of their reluctance to comply with the new rules but the loyalty claimed by Virginia towards the king and its commitment to principles of freedom of trade and security seemed like a display of rebellion in the eyes of the English authorities.

September 29, 1650 – Director General of New Netherlands Peter Stuyvesant heads to Hartford, Connecticut, for a meeting with Governor Edward Hopkins and the federal commissioners.

Stuyvesant laid out the problem of the borders and the harms inflicted to the Dutch by the English, giving up however his claiming on former trading posts settled in the Connecticut valley.
He asked that the question is resolved by an arbitration body composed of four English, two appointed by him. The offer was accepted and after the hearing of four adjudicators, Thomas Willett, George Baxter, Simon Bradstreet and Thomas Prence, it was agreed that the boundary would begin at a point west of Greenwich Bay 5 miles from Stamford and would continue northbound on 20 miles. The English were also given most of Long Island. Stuyvesant was widely criticized by his government but it was admitted that he had managed with the Treaty of Hartford to contain the English intrusion.

Thomas Willett (Swansea (Cambridges.) 1610 - Rehoboth (R.I.) 1674) 
Born in England but brought up and educated in Leiden, Holland, after his family fled the persecutions carried out by King  James 1 against the Puritans, he emigrated towards New England in 1629. Arrived at Plymouth, he was sent in office to Maine, along the Penobscot River where the colony had a small trading post. He had at that time the opportunity to be with Isaac Allerton who would become his friend, before the French come in 1637 to seize the English settlement and send him back to Plymouth. He moved then to Duxbury and chose to trade with the colony of New Netherlands, a business that was doing pretty good. Governor William Bradford wrote for that matter on April 3rd, 1647 to Peter Stuyvesant, the new Director General of New Amsterdam to congratulate him and recommend by the way Thomas Willett, recently appointed a captain of the militia, and William Paddie as men worthy of confidence. Recognizing his qualities, Stuyvesant appointed him to represent the Dutch during the negotiations in Hartford.

The English settlers were already many to live on Long Island and were behind the creation of Westchester County on an area originally belonging to the Dutch but which had eventually entered the land claims of Connecticut. Stuyvesant had felt that to treat this sensitive file, it was wiser to choose English as agents.

October 3, 1650 - The English Parliament signs an order authorizing the Council of State  to subdue the royalist colonies including Barbados, Antigua, Bermuda and Virginia. Lord Baltimore who fought so that Maryland is left aside gets only a short-term satisfaction because a sentence inserted at the last moment into the text gives order to Curtis, Claiborne and Bennett to arm a fleet to subject all the plantations in Chesapeake Bay on behalf of the Parliament.

1650 - Foundation of the village of Jamaica in the current Queens County (Long Island) under a charter granted by Director General Peter Stuyvesant and the Dutch West India Company to 15 English families.
These settled near Beaver Pond. They were each granted a plot of land and grassland for livestock but dedicated themselves first to fur trade. The name of Jamaica was associated with that of the neighboring Jameco tribe.

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