Monday, December 7, 2015

1651 - Witch-Hunt bursting out in New England

Punished for witchcraft

Mars 1651 - John Endecott is appointed governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony.

June 20, 1651 - the Council of New France empowers interpreter-businessman Jean-Paul Godefroy and Jesuit Gabriel Druillettes to negotiate a commercial treaty with the United colonies of New England.
Negotiations had begun from 1647 to establish trade connections but the French put as a prerequisite to put an end to the threat posed by Iroquois for the Christian Indians.

Mars 1651 - after a six-month dispute with the authorities of Connecticut, George Cheseborough consents to go to Harford to explain about his alleged arms supplies to the Indians.

He ensured that he was not engaged in any illegal trade and that he intended to stay in Wequetequock. The Court agreed his request but sentenced him to pay a £- 300 deposit in the case he would be caught trading with the Indians and put as condition for the sustainability of his plantation that he surrounds himself with a lot of "acceptable" people. Cheseborough agreed to this clause and knew quickly how to have beside him influential men, such as interpreter Thomas Stanton, captain George Denison, his friend Walter Palmer from Rehoboth, captain John Gallup and Thomas Miner.

Thomas Miner (Chew Magna (Angl.) 1608 - Stonington (CT) on 1690) - He emigrated in Massachusetts in 1629 and lived at first in Salem. He settled down afterward to Charlestown where he met Grace Palmer who became his wife in 1634 and gave him 10 children. The couple left to Hingham in 1636 before becoming permanently established in Connecticut

Walter Palmer (1585-1661) 
This Puritan separatist had left Gravesend on April 5, 1629 aboard the Four Sisters to Salem in the Massachusetts Bay colony. He was charged the following year of beating a man to death but was acquitted thanks to the testimony of his friend William Cheseborough. He lived thereafter in Charlestown an alderman of which he became but decided in 1643 to go to found a new city called Seacunke (today Rehoboth). Disappointed by the attitude of the Plymouth government, he chose to leave with his son Thomas Minor and his family to Connecticut on the invitation of John Winthrop, Jr..

Thomas Stanton (1616-1677)
This merchant come from England in 1635 got noticed from the next year by John Winthrop, Jr. for his knowledge of the Indian language. He was committed as interpreter and took part in the Pequot war where he was almost killed during the battle of Fiarfield, 1637. He was among the delegates who drafted the Treaty of Hartford ending the war one year later. Stanton was therefore appointed as an interpreter of the United Colonies of New England.
He purchased in 1649 a land along Pawcatuck River (current Stonington) where he received approval to base a post matched by a 3-year monopoly on trade with the Indians of the region.

George Denison (Bishop’s Stortford (Hertfords.) 1620 - Harford (CT) 1694) 
Arrived in Massachusetts in 1633 aboard the Lion, he remained there until the death of his wife Bridget occurred in 1643, when he decided to sail back to England to join Cromwell’s army. He particularly stood out at the battle of Marston Moor before being taken prisoner by the royalist troops. After King Charles’s surrender, he married Ann, an Irish young woman and returned with her to New England. Appointed captain of Roxbury in 1647, he chose to leave a few years later for New London, Connecticut where he served as an officer.

William Coddington
April, 1651 - William Coddington is appointed president of the Plantations of Portsmouth and Newport ( Rhode Island) while the residents of Warwick and Providence choose Samuel Gorton. The first has the support of conservatives like Alexander Partridge but liberals such as Dr John Clarke and Nicholas Easton oppose him. 

The rivalry between Gorton and Coddington went back to the days when Anne Hutchinson came to settle on Aquidneck Island. She had blamed the abuses committed by William Coddington and decided to have him dismissed but he had managed to maintain and got back at his opponent by making him, at the time, arrest and whip in public.

Governor John Haynes
April 6, 1651 - John Haynes and Edward Hopkins, respectively deputy and governor of Connecticut, assisted by other judges, sentence to death both spouses John and Joan Carrington of Wethersfield. These are hanged for witchcraft. Alice Lake, also condemned for witchcraft has just been executed in Boston and Elizabeth Kendall suffered the same fate in Cambridge.

In all the colonies of New England, witchcraft was considered as a capital offense what supposed to have a direct relationship with the devil. The laws of Connecticut and New Haven called Blue Laws stated that every man and every woman convinced of witchcraft incurred the death penalty. Although the charges of witchcraft required in fact no formal proof of any demonic relationship, the holding of such trials had to be justified due to the high cost of procedures knowing that slanderous allegations were subsequently subject to new court proceedings.

April 13, 1651 - John Haynes replaces Edward Hopkins as governor of Connecticut.

That was almost ten years he governed the colony alternating with Edward Hopkins. Apart from the development of Connecticut for which he had invested much of his personal fortune, Haynes passed the major part of his governorship to settle disputes between the colonists and the Indians.

April 28, 1651 - Edmund Scarborough, one of the leaders of the County of Northampton, Virginia, and member of the House of Burgesses since 1642, manages to form a troop of about fifty armed men to meet an alleged Indian attack. The group goes after the Natives intending to kill the queen of Pocamoke. She escapes but they make prisoners including a member of the tribe they accuse of being responsible for intrusions and bring back chained.

Among them were in particular, Thomas Johnson, Richard Vaughan, captain John Dollinge and Ambrose Dixon.

Edmund Scarborough (September, 1617 - 1671) was native of Norfolk where his father worked as lawyer. He had chosen to emigrate to Virginia with his family in 1628 and had settled down in the County of Accomac on the Eastern Shore. He had become, over the years, one of the most influential settlers in the area, both sheriff, planter, firearms dealer and leader of militia. Controversial figure, he got his cattle kept by Indians to whom he delivered weapons and had the nerve, for that reason, to condemn them before the Assembly of Virginia. His ambiguous behavior eventually gave rise to many rumors but he did not hesitate to shoot those who blamed him for his lack of morality.

May 1651- Governor of Connecticut John Haynes with the two law clerks Mrs Cullick and Clarke sentence to hanging Goodie Bassett of Stratford (Cupheag) suspected of witchcraft, facts that she recognized under torture.

32-year-old, Goodwife " Goodie ' " Basset of her real name Ruth Paine was accused of a series of satanic crimes including that of lycanthropy, to have as a matter of fact treated with wolves. She was hanged on a hill overlooking the Housatonic River in a land that still bore the imprint of Pootatuck Indians whose it was still the territory shortly before.

May, 1651 - The General Court of Massachusetts condemns William Pynchon's book entitled The Meritorious Price of our Redemption, published in London the previous year, and orders that it is burned in public.

Opposing in his book the Calvinist conception of atonement and original sin, Pynchon received a tempestuous welcome when he returned to Boston. He was accused of heresy and minister John Norton was in charge of dismantling his argumentation. Pynchon answered his detractors that they had not really seized the meaning of his words and the Court decided to summon him in October to hear his explanations. He chose not to respond to the invitation.

Roger Williams
May, 1651 - Rhode Island: William Coddington manages to get his own charter for Aquidneck Island, strengthening as a result his opposition to Roger Williams' Providence Plantations.

May 1651- Whereas the situation gets increasingly critical for governor Johan Printz and the settlers of New Sweden, Director General Peter Stuyvesant sends from New Amsterdam a boat armed with cannons to patrol along the Delaware River

Being informed, Printz made equip his small yacht and asked his soldiers to sail down the river to meet with the Dutch. As a precaution, these preferred to turn back towards Manhattan.

May 7, 1651 - The government of Massachusetts enacts a law forbidding trade with Virginia.
It takes an act of the English Parliament that already prohibited all trade between Massachusetts, Virginia, Barbados, Bermuda and Antigua, colonies considered as rebels because of their support for the Stuarts.

May 29, 1651 - Mary Parsons is hanged in Springfield, Massachusetts, after being convicted of witchcraft. She is the sixth since the beginning of the year against whom the courts impose such sentence in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

This case has been a subject of controversy because it is not certain that Mary Persons was hanged but that she died in prison before sentencing. As too often in these alleged witchcraft stories, it started with quarrels between neighbors and interpretations of signs more unfounded than the other. The Court lending slightly too complacently ear to jeers, the judges came even more after Parsons that he was a bad couch, someone to make a fuss while his wife Mary having lost a 5-month-old child in unexplained circumstances, it was easy to accuse her of having killed it. She acknowledged during interrogation that she was a witch but even the judges admitted that her mental health had been damaged. This did not, however, prevent them from confirming the death sentence. Without additional complaints, her husband was acquitted the following year.

June, 1651 - William Bradford is reelected governor of Plymouth.
John Browne and Timothy Hatherly are appointed commissioners to the United Colonies.

William Bradford finished that year his book entitled History of the Plantation of Plimmoth begun in 1630. It covered the period going from 1620 till 1646 and evoked all the aspects of the Pilgrims’ life. The manuscript was published for the first time in 1856.

June 25, 1651 - Peter Stuyvesant heads personally a second military operation towards New Sweden. He is accompanied by a 120-men company aboard 11 boats. He sails back and and down Delaware Bay by making a real show of force. Governor Johan Printz follows by far the Dutch without intervening. These leave eventually without any incident.

Stuyvesant meanwhile purchased the land of Manquas Kill (Christina River) near the mouth of the bay while it already belonged to the Swedes. Protests and petitions were sent to him but he decided to ignore them and had instead built Fort Casimir in a place ideally placed to require all the traveling traders to pay taxes to the Dutch.
Printz had no other choice than to recognize that the Dutch were yet masters of Delaware. He left Fort Elfsborg and made withdraw the garrisons from several other forts judging that they were too scattered. He had received at that time no order and no assistance of the Company of New Sweden for exactly three years and nine months. Not being, however, a man to give up, he continued to make the carpenters work to forts maintenance and shipbuilding.

July, 1651 – Director General of the New Netherlands Peter Stuyvesant sets sail to Fort Nassau accompanied with an escort and a chaplain to meet Governor Johan Printz so that he submits his title deeds and acts of purchase.

He was answered that these were kept in Stockholm. Stuyvesant bought subsequently to the Indians all the lands on both sides of Delaware Bay with the exception of Fort Christina purchased by Peter Minuit.  Despite protests of Printz, he built a fort on the site of the present city of Newcastle, 4 miles south of the Swedish settlement. He named it Fort Casimir in memory of his former commander, the governor of Friesland.

Dr John Clarke
July 20, 1651 - Dr John Clarke, the minister of the Baptist church of Newport, Rhode Island, Obadiah Holmes and John Crandall are arrested at Lynn for organizing an illegal church service.

They had come at the invitation of William Witter, a member of the Newport church who could not move because of his age. Clarke and his companions were aware of the danger they would incurre by coming in Massachusetts and thought to have taken all precaution when they were recognized and imprisoned as criminals. They were then brought before the court in Boston to hear John Cotton's charges accusing them of being "soul killers" by denying infant baptism. After an argument with Governor John Endecott, they were sentenced to two months in jail and Holmes was moreover imposed a sentence of thirty lashes in public. Boston authorities believed that this humiliation would calm Baptist fervor but the opposite happened and hitherto discreet, Clark’s followers no longer hesitated to publicly proclaim their faith.

John Clarke (October 8, 1609 - April 20 1676) physician and Baptist minister, he was one of the founders of Rhode Island and a partisan of religious freedom in America. He was born in Westhorpe, Suffolk, to a 10-member family six children of which would emigrate to New England. He studied theology, languages and medicine before leaving for Massachusetts Bay in 1637. He bought together with other settlers a land on Aquidneck Island and took part in the founding of Portsmouth,1638, then to that of Newport a year later when he made build one of the first Baptist churches.
Further to his detention in Boston, he wrote an entitled work Ill Newes from New England or A Narrative of New England's Persecutions.

July 24, 1651 - Anthony Johnson, a free African man, is granted s a 250-acre plot of land in the County of Northamton, Virginia.

Anthony Johnson (? - 1669) was one of the first black residents in the colony of Virginia. He was among the group of 20 African workers brought in Jamestown in 1619 to be used as indentured servants. He recovered freedom in the 1640's and acquired with his wife enough prosperity to bring out five servants from Africa and to be granted a 400-acre domain.

August 13, 1651 - Foundation of Lichfield, Connecticut.

August 26, 1651 - A letter of Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore is read before the Assembly of the Maryland. The Lord Proprietor urges to prevent controversies likely to arise with the people of Virginia and asks the residents of his colony to occupy as quickly as possible the border areas and in particular the region commonly known as the Eastern Shore.

Obadiah Holmes publicly whipped in Boston
Painting by Don Adair
September 5, 1651 - Baptist preacher Obadiah Holmes is publicly whipped in Boston. While lashes fall on him, Holmes begins to preach, attracting the sympathy of the crowd. 90 lashes overall, the blood trickles from his back to his shoes whereas present people cry foul. 30 of them are even arrested for protesting.

Brought up in a Puritan family of Lancashire, Obadiah Holmes had emigrated with his wife in 1638 to New England to flee the persecutions masterminded by the church of England against Baptists. He quickly disenchanted when he realized the intolerance that reigned in the colony and the violent controversy over infant baptism. Boasting a solid knowledge of the Bible, he tried to organize his own congregational church but was rejected. His meeting with Dr John Clarke allowed him then to join the Baptists in Rhode Island.
When he and friends were arrested in Lynn, they were led to the church but refused to submit to the worship rules calling upon the fact that they did not recognize it. Holmes even tried to preach during the service but he was quickly silenced and taken to prison with Clark and Crandle.
Their trial held in Boston was animated but prosecutor John Cotton remained hard-line. All were sentenced to a fine or to lashes. Crandle paid the fine and somebody paid for Clark but Obadiah Holmes was led to the whipping post.

September 11, 1651 - Roger Ludlow is granted a charter for the foundation of the city of Norwalk, Connecticut.

He purchased initially the land in 1640 to the local Indian sachem Norwauke from whom the town’s name originates.

William Claiborne
September 26, 1651 - the fur trader William Claiborne, known for his puritan convictions and for the quarrel that opposed him during years to Lord Baltimore about the rights on Kent Island, is appointed commissioner by the Parliament to bring about the submission of Virginia and Maryland, the two colonies remained loyal to monarchy.

October 9, 1651 - the Navigation Acts passed by the English Parliament are intended to obstruct the Dutch by allowing only the English boats to ensure trading relationship between the colonies and England.
Products from the English colonies could now exclusively be exported to plantations of America, England, Ireland or Wales where they should be unloaded at the risk of being seized, as well as the ship, half of their value going to the government and the other to the one who would report the offender.

October 14, 1651 – An act of Massachusetts forbids now to the poor to be dressed in too visible clothing.

October 30, 1651 - French messengers Jean-Paul Godefroy and Gabriel Druillettes leave Boston having failed in their mission to establish trade relationship with New England, the English refusing to fight Iroquois.

November, 1651 - the owners of Providence, Warwick and Aquidneck Island send Roger Williams and Dr John Clarke to England to obtain the confirmation of their charter.

They were set to counter the increasing power of William Coddington who had just been granted a charter appointing him a president for life of Aquidneck Island.
In his book entitled Ill Newes from New England, Clark wrote " While Old England is becoming new, New England is becoming old. " In the meantime, Roger Williams sold a part of his business to pay the trip and published Experiments of Spiritual Life and Health for the attention of his sick wife in which he recommended her the Christ as a guide.

December 1, 1651 - Edward Godfrey convenes a provincial Court in response to the will of the government of Massachusetts to subject Maine to its authority.
The government of Maine requires the support of the English Parliament against the territorial expansionism of Massachusetts but this attempt intended to provide a specific status to the colony is doomed to failure.
Based on a somewhat distorted interpretation of their original charter, the Boston authorities assessed to hold rights on all the region up to Casco Bay.

Edward Godfrey - Born in 1584 into a wealthy family of Kent, he had first participated in backing the voyage of the Mayflower before launching himself in the colonial adventure in 1628. He was part of the small group of settlers along the Piscataqua where fisheries prospered. Appointed attorney of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason to assert their rights under the charter of Lygonia, he had therefore held responsibilities as a councillor, alderman, judge and mayor of Agamenticus (York).

December 5, 1651 - The provincial Court of Maine sends a petition to the English Parliament asking for confirmation of its federal union so that the residents of this province are declared members of the Commonwealth and called to enjoy the same immunities and privileges as English citizens. It received the support of George Cleeve, who is in charge of the Plantation of Lygonia, further to the north and who, since the death in 1650 of his protector Alexander Rigby sees his future rather compromised and hopes in this way to succeed against the growing influence of Edward Winslow in the new English government.

The agents of Massachusetts including Edward Winslow, used all their influence to the Parliament to denounce this petition as a royalist maneuver. They eventually won and the request remained undulfilled.

1651 - The last of the Powhatan tribe are settled in a reserve in Virginia.

No comments:

Post a Comment