Friday, December 18, 2015

1654 - Acadia into English hands

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)
1st Lord Protector of the Commnwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland (1653-1658)

January 3, 1654 – The Protestants of Providence, Maryland, tell the commissioners appointed by the Commonwealth about their reluctance to take an oath to Lord Baltimore because he is a Catholic.

January, 1654 - Oliver Cromwell intervenes with Governor of Virginia Richard Bennett specifically requesting him to respect the rights of 
Lord Baltimore and the Catholics of Maryland

March 2, 1654 - Governor William Stone demands all the citizens of Maryland to swear fealty to Lord Baltimore, threatening to seize their lands to those who will not have done it within six months.

The Puritans of Providence protested and referred to the commissioners.

March 7, 1654 – While Massachusetts seeks to extend its authority over the recently annexed territory of Maine, Thomas Prence of Plymouth who was granted a patent by the Parliament goes hastily to the mouth of the Kennebec River to establish a new post.

Anthony Johnson (?)
March 8, 1654 - Virginia : John Casor, a servant from Africa living in Northampton County on the Eastern Shore is declared as a slave for life. It is the first time a colonial court pronounces such a judgement.

At that time, only 300 people originating from Africa lived in
 Virginia while the colonists were about 22 000. The first ones had arrived in 1619 to be used as indentured servants. Once discharged, they were granted a 50-acre plot of land on which they could grow tobacco and corn. One of the first to have been given this treatment was Anthony Johnson in 1651. He had his farming prosperous and employed people among whom John Casor, who was previously at planter Robert Parker's service. This one came forward arguing that Casor was still for years under contract. Johnson then brought an action before the court asserting that "Casor was his slave for life." The Northampton County court recognized Casor as Johnson’s property implicitly allowing black people to own colored slaves.

Richard Bellingham
Mars 1654 - Richard Bellingham becomes the new governor of Massachusetts, a position he previously held in 1641.

April 13, 1654 - Lawmaker Roger Ludlow who wrote in particular the laws of Connecticut leaves permanently to England. He will die there in 1664.

He had arrived in 1630 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with John Winthrop. After several years spent as assistant of the governor, he had left to settle at Windsor, becoming the first deputy of the new colony of Connecticut the laws of which he would codify in 1650. Retired then in Fairfield, a city that he had contributed to establish, he served as commissioner to the United Colonies of New England.
He was considered as one of the brightest and best-educated representatives of the American colonies but despite his high qualities, he was often a victim of his uncontrolled moods.

May, 1654Appointed to replace Johan Printz left hurriedly, Governor of New Sweden Johan Risingh (1617-1672) lands from the Eagle (Orn) at Fort Christina with 250 settlers.
They were 320 to leave the port of Gothenburg in February but some passengers died from disease during the journey. It is however the first time that so many immigrants settle in this stricken colony where, after suffering all abuses from former governor, they are now just 70 people. 

Upon his arrival, Risingh took hold of Fort Casimir (renamed Fort Trinity, present-day Newcastle) where was only stationed a Dutch garrison consisted of nine men and furthermore short of ammunitions. The shores of the Delaware River were under Swedish control again but not surprisingly, the news caused such an anger to Peter Suyvesant that he wrote to the new Swedish governor he won't delay to consider the response.
Aware of possible retaliatory actions from the Dutch, Risingh made reinforce the defenses of the fort with a wooden palisade.

May, 1654 - Nicholas Easton is elected for the second time president of the Plantations of Rhode Island.

Nicholas Easton (Lymington, England 1593 - Newport (R.I.) August 15, 1675) attracted from his youth by the Puritan movement, this son of a tanner chose certainly for that reason to emigrate in 1634 to Massachusetts with his two sons Peter and John. He practiced at first his craft there, moving frequently according to the demands of  his business before settling in Boston. He met there Anne Hutchinson whose a loyal supporter he became alongside William Coddington and John Coggeshall. Banished from the colony in spring, 1638, he moved down to Providence to get closer to his companions in exile, among whom Roger Williams and John Clarke, had just purchased Aquidnek Island. Here he found in particular the Hutchinson family and the Coggeshalls, taking part alongside them in the foundation of Portsmouth before dissensions within the group bring him to join Coddington and Clarke left founding Newport south of the island.
Easton was involved during this period in the theological controversy preaching that all the believers were physically a battleground between the forces of good and evil. Horrified by what they regarded as anti-Christian rethoric, the Puritans considered that Easton had no necessary qualifications to preach and kept him apart.
The fact remains, however, that he held an important place in the  Rhode Island 
colony where he became for the first time "President" in 1650.

June, 1654 - William Bradford keeps governorship of Plymouth for the tenth consecutive year.

July 4, 1654 - Robert Sedgwick, appointed major general of Massachusetts by Oliver Cromwell, leaves Boston with 170 men on three ships bound for Acadia. This French colony has limited defenses and he is hopefull to seize it.

Robert Sedgwick (1611-1656) - Puritan, merchant, soldier and settler. Born in 1611 at Woburn, Bedfordshire, he chose when he was 24 to leave for New England, after a short career as merchant in London.
He was settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts, where after holding several political offices and reorganizing the artillery company, he was appointed a captain in 1640 and then commander.
He also contributed with John Winthrop, Jr. to the implementation of the first ironworks in Massachusetts. Visiting England in 1652, he was upgraded major general of the militia by Oliver Cromwell and assigned the responsibility of an expedition against the New Netherlands. The peace concluded meanwhile with Holland obliged him to change his plans. He turned then to Acadia by virtue of powers vested in him to retaliate against the French ships armed by Charles Stuart's loyalists that lashed out at English vessels. Taking this colony would offer the British Commonwealth rich resources for fishing industry and fur trade.

June 21, 1654 - the Delaware Indians meet with the Swedes to reaffirm their agreements.

10 leaders representing the Minquas and the Susquehannocks met at Printz Hall, the palace of the governor built on Tinicum Island. Sachem Naaman was made their spokesman with the Swedes, recalling the  friendship that united them for 10 years in spite of vicissitudes. The Indians received in exchange for presents from the settlers and shared the big meal prepared in their honor.

July 15, 1654 - Commissioners of the British Parliament Richard Bennett and William Claiborne publish a declaration blaming Maryland for not being governed according to the current laws in England.

July 20, 1654 – Consequently to duress exerted on him by the Parliamentary Commissioners Richard Bennett and William Claiborne, Governor of Maryland William Stone resigns his position. He is replaced by a Council consisting at first of ten members responsible for running the affairs of the colony and calling the meetings under Captain William Fuller’s direction.

July 22, 1654 - Richard Bennett and William Claiborne take control of Maryland. They hurry to pass a law restricting religious freedom (Act Concerning Religion).

Roger Williams
July 27, 1654 - Robert Sedgwick seizes Fort St Jean where took refuge Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour, the governor of Acadia and 70 of his men.

July 31, 1654 - Robert Sedgwick wins a new victory on the French, storming Port Royal.

Summer, 1654 - Roger Williams, the founder of Providence, Rhode Island, and the first Baptist Church of America, is back in his colony after a few years spent in England during which he met Oliver Cromwell, poet John Milton and several eminent puritan theologians.

He had been sent to England by the residents of the colony in autumn, 1651 together with minister John Clarke in order to obtain a charter from the British government and quash William Coddington's term who remained in command of Portsmouth and Newport.

September 2, 1654 - Robert Sedgwick sails up the Penobscot River and seizes Pentagouet. He can return to Boston, Acadia is in English hands. He takes the opportunity to loot the forts and bring back with him a booty about £10 000.

September, 1654 - Roger Williams is appointed president of Rhode Island in place of Nicholas Easton.

September 7, 1654 – Carrying a group of 23 Jews from Recife, Brazil, the French ship St Catrine captained by Jacques de la Mothe arrives in the port of New Amsterdam

Fearing that a new Inquisition comes upon them, the group including men, women and children had fled the Dutch colony shortly after it was taken over by the Portuguese. They chose at first to go to Holland where was likely born Asser Levy, one of their leaders, but their ship was captured by pirates before they were saved by a French privateer. This one brought them to New Amsterdam demanding in return a very high price. They were moreover poorly received by Peter Stuyvesant. After seizing their goods and clothes to auction them, he strived to send them back pleading that his colony was reserved for the only Reformed Church worshipping. Supported by a Jewish merchant come to New Amsterdam for business, it was admitted to rely on the Dutch West India Company to take a decision.

Captain John Leverett
September 20, 1654 - Major John Leverett is appointed military governor of Acadia while Robert Sedgwick moves to England, taking with him French Governor Charles de Saint-Étienne de La Tour.

Cromwell was satisfied by the conquest of Acadia which provided him an added advantage in his negotiations with France. He agreed to recognize the property rights of La Tour by virtue of a concession granted to him by Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling provided that he pays off  to Sedgwick the cost of his expedition. La Tour preferred to assign his rights to Sir Thomas Temple and colonel William Crowne who remained owners of Nova Scotia until 1669.

Robert Sedgwick, afterward, was entrusted the command of an expedition to Jamaica but he died on May 24, 1656 shortly after receiving his mission order.

October 20, 1654 - the commissioners who govern Maryland since William Stone's removal hold their first Assembly.
This one confirms the revocation of the Toleration Act, what forbids the Catholics to practise their faith.
The Council approves the establishment of new Patuxent County and renames Providence former Ann Arundel County.

November 6, 1654 - Director General Peter Stuyvesant receives from Amsterdam the order to chase all the Swedes away from the Delaware.

November, 1654 – In response to various complaints against Rappahanock Indians, the assembly of Virginia allows 3 Counties to mobilize armed men, 100 for Lancaster, 40 for Northumberland and 30 for Westmoreland. These are summoned on the 1st Wednesday of February in front of Thomas Meades's house, near Milleck Creek, notheastern shore of the Rappahanock River.
Major John Carter will have the responsibility to lead this company to parley with the Rappahanocks. Carter will make his report to the governor to determine with the Council the most suitable option between peace or war.
No person will now be authorized to employ Indians with a son without a prior authorization from the County Court.

November 28, 1654 - Lydia Gilbert's trial is taking place at Windsor, Connecticut.

Accused of witchcraft and convicted of causing the death of a man, she was sentenced to hanging. Like similar suits, the charges brought against her involved both slander, collective psychosis and obscurantism.
This trial appears this time as a dramatic craziness. Who could have a grudge going to this woman to accuse her of murdering a man, in this particular case Henry Styles for whom she worked occasionally, while it was  known that he had been killed 3 years earlier by an accidental gunshot. His author,Thomas Allyn, had been in the time convicted and fined. 
But the same jurors sentenced nevertheless 3 years later Lydia Gilbert in this affair, concuding she would have intentionally aimed the fire. There was, however, no proof but the cheeky personality of the defendant inspired obviously suspicion to paranoid-minded Windsor Puritans . It has further never been established that she was hanged. It seems actually that she escaped to Nayaug with her husband Thomas Gilbert.

December 24, 1654 - Peter Stuyvesant leaves New Amsterdam with a  3-ship fleet  to Barbados intending to develop trade connections with this island held by the English.

He also hoped to get back 8 Dutch boats that the English had seized during the war. He arrived  late January in the Caribbean.

1654 - Virginia is now divided into 15 Counties and has 22 000 inhabitants. The first 8 counties were created in 1634 and 7 have since be added: 3 are situated on the northern neck south of the Potomac (Northumberland, Westmoreland, Lancaster), Gloucester County (named for Henry, Duke de Gloucester, the 3rd son of King Charles 1st,) is in the north next to Lancaster County and in the South to the mouth of the Pamunkey River; New Kent County is located between the Pamunkey and Chickahominy Rivers ; Surrey is from the dismemberment of that of James City and lies south of the James River; Nansemond County extends south of Chesapeake Bay.

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