Saturday, January 23, 2016

1660 - The Martyrdom of Mary Dyer

Mary Dyer being led to the gallows

March, 1660 - The Virginia Assembly enacts a law banning the Quakers and another one offering a premium to encourage the Dutch to bring slaves from Africa. The colony has at that time about 25 000 inhabitants.

This law that somehow legalized slavery also introduced rules related to fugitives by distinguishing between white indentured servants and Africans. They were at the time about 950 black slaves in Virginia.
Other decisions concerned the ban on lending money to Indians in order to avoid another case such as the Weanoak king, thrown in prison for a debt to an Englishman.
It was actually for the settlers to guard against Indians judged ultimately unreliable.

March 10, 1660 -  Governor of Maryland Josias Fendall supported by some of his friends as Captain William Fuller and a part of the Assembly attempts a coup aimed at toppling Lord Baltimore.

It was a peaceful rebellion the initiative of which certainly was up to the government of Richard Cromwell, just when the return of the Stuarts on the throne of England became imminent.
The Lower House sent a message to the governor and the Council declaring that it intended henceforth be the only Court and become independent of the Upper House. This action was reminiscent of what happened a few years earlier in England when the Members of the House of Commons had abolished the House of Lords. The representatives of the Lower House wished distance themselves from Lord Baltimore. Fendall agreed to the decision and resigned his governor's post to be elected as new President of the Assembly. This provision allowed the Lower House to become the supreme body of the government but it met the opposition of its secretary Philip Calvert who resigned.

March 13, 1660 - A decree of the Assembly of Virginia limits the slaves' sale.

William Berkeley (1605-1677)
Governor of Virginia 
March 23, 1660
- Former governor William Berkeley is re-elected to his post by the General Assembly of Virginia.

He had been dismissed in 1652 when the English Parliamentarians had seized the power and booted the royal family out.
It had been already two months that he was the new governor when the colony was informed of Charles II’s accession to the throne. One of his first decisions was to ask the newly appointed Council of Foreign Plantations to set up a strategy for converting the African slaves and the Indians to Christianity.
March 27, 1660 - The directors of the Dutch West India Company approve the appointment of Rev. Henricus Selyns at the head of the Church of Breukelen (present-day Brooklyn) and Pastor Hermans Blom who should not delay coming to the Esopus colony.

They left both to America and Reverend Henricus Selyns officially took office on September 7. The people of Breukelen had previously Missionary Johannes Theodorus Polhemus as minister but they had complained about him from 1658 to the Amsterdam consistory which had eventually granted their query.

April 10, 1660 - John Winthrop, Jr. is renewed for one year governor of Hartford.
It is during this term that will be enacted in Connecticut a law forbidding Africans to serve in the militia.

Contrary to what happened for other colonies, Connecticut had never been granted a founding charter. This was not a problem as long as the Puritans were in power but the return to the throne of King Charles II placed its government in an awkward situation. Enjoying no legal status, it was depending on the Crown decisions.

Late April, 1660 – After spending winter in Long Island, Mary Dyer takes the risk to return to Massachusetts without telling her husband, determined to defy the intolerant laws in force in the colony, even if she has to pay with her life.

May, 1660 - John Endecott is re-elected governor of Massachusetts Bay for the 6th consecutive one-year term.

Governor John Endecott (1588-1665)
Who was really John Endecott?
Only a dogmatic magistrate with bloodstained hands? He had been in 1629 the very first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and although having done second fiddle in the time of John Winthrop, he remained over the years a mainstay of the English colonization in New England, a fiery military officer, although sometimes stubborn and ruthless with foes but also with a strict loyalty to his theocratic concept of society. A landowner actually less interested in money than in power, it turned out that the age when he became for several years governor of Massachusetts was certainly responsible for the rough conservatism he showed in front of religious controversies. In these emotional years, he sought to impose an authoritarian conception of Christianity, suffering neither interpretation, nor contradiction. 
Although being praiseworthy for his enthusiasm to defend the interests of Massachusetts, his all-out zeal eventually convinced him that all what was not consistent with his own standards was only heresy and mortal threat to what he considered as the “New City on the Hill.” It was in his mind required everything to be ordained in its place, in a kind of a perfect unchanging symmetry the keeper he was. The Quakers were in this way the absolute enemy of this values, a kind of vermin that would, if he did not prevent it, break down the basis of the God’s House the protective arm he was, and destroy it. Perhaps, he thought able to tackle this threat, as for witch-hunt, accusing of all evil people rather marginal in order to appease public opinion but members of the Society of Friends were less marginal than steadfast people with an undisputable religious knowledge. He was not wrong to believe that the Quakers were, as feared, to stir up trouble in public order but the hard way he chose for eradication was a mistake that overshadows his governorship.
Ears cut off, whippings, brandings, hangings, are all physical violence that not only did not slow down the enthusiasm of the Quakers but made themselves martyrs with a public opinion less and less inclined to accept without flinching such a flood of atrocities against exclusively nonviolent people. While Boston and Massachusetts knew an unprecedented period of prosperity since their foundation, what John Endecott could have rightly claimed, he remains either for posterity an unsympathetic character, shamelessly quick to justify his harshness and the brutality of his own laws on behalf of God's will. Was the fact to be reappointed as governor several running years more because of the economic and territorial development of Massachusetts than owing to the fear he inspired the people of the colony?

May, 1660 - Major John Mason is elected deputy governor of Connecticut. He is also appointed major-general of the Connecticut troops.
Former deputy governor of Windsor, he had lived in Saybrook since 1647 where he became also a representative but had just renounced his duties to found the city of Mohegan (renamed Norwich in 1662) on a land granted to him one year before by his ally the sachem Uncas.

A convinced Puritan, he was sided with his son-in-law Reverend Thomas Fitch (1622-1702), a missionary to the Indians and member of the church of Saybrook, eager to found a new congregation.

Thomas Fitch (1622-1702) - born in Bocking (Essex), he went to America in 1638 and studied under Reverend Thomas Hooker. He was later appointed minister at Saybrook where he stayed until 1659, the year his wife died. He left then to Norwich.

King Charles II (1630-1685)
May 8, 1660
- Charles II is officially proclaimed king of England by the Convention Parliament. The Commonwealth experience is proving to be now in the past.

After leaving The Hague on May 23, the new king will arrive at Dover on May 25 before making a triumphant entry into London on May 29, the very day of his 30 years.

May, 1660 - William Brenton is elected a governor of Rhode Island. He succeeds Benedict Arnold in office since 1657.

William Brenton (1600 - Newport (R.I.) 1674)
He had arrived from England in 1633 and settled down in Massachusetts before joining the group of Anne Hutchinson and going with her to Rhode Island. He was especially a signer of the Porstmouth Compact and was then involved in the founding of this city. He also took part in that of Newport beside William Coddington. Elected deputy governor of both cities from 1640 to 1647, he moved, however, to live in Boston in subsequent years. Back in Newport from 1660, he was elected at that date provincial governor.

May 29, 1660 - The Royal House of Stuart is back on the throne of England. After eleven years of exile in Holland and in France, Charles II becomes a king the day of his 30th birthday. The English colonies in America have a population of about 90 000, of whom 50 000 in New England, 25 000 in Virginia and 15 000 in Maryland.

Mai 31, 1660Mary Dyer is summoned before the General Court of Massachusetts for coming back to Boston breaking her banishment.

Governor John Endecott imposed without delay the death penalty, planned the following morning at 9:00 a.m. and when Mary Dyer tried to denounce the wrongful laws lashing out at the Quakers, his only answer was to order his guard " Away with her! Away with her! ".

May 31, 1660 - Foundation of the city of Marlborough on the Concord River in a place called Okommakamesit by the Indians.

The city of Marlborough came from a division of Sudbury territory. It was founded by 56 settlers among whom Edmund Rice (1594-1663), a landowner enjoying a certain influence who had been in particular deputy at the General Court of the Massachusetts.
At the same time, the people of Ipswich founded the city of Brookfield on a concession granted to them by the General Court of the Massachusetts on the condition to settle there at least twenty families and a minister over the next three years.

Mary Dyer escorted by guards
 and drums
June 1, 1660 - Mary Dyer is hanged in Boston Commons at 9:00 am.

She was escorted by soldiers along the mile between the prison and the gallows. Fearing a strong reaction from the Bostonians, the magistrates had held the crowd off and covered the voices by a continuous drum roll. Once at the foot of the scaffold, Captain John Webb who led the execution tried to justify the judgment recalling that Mary Dyer had broken the law. She then replied that her mission was precisely to fight this law sentencing to death innocent servants of God and that the blood she will pay would spatter his hands if he continued to submit so kindly. Turning to the crowd, she asked the Lord’s forgiveness adding “I came to do the will of my Father, and in obedience to this will I stand even to death.” Rev. Wilson shouted her “Mary Dyer, O repent, O repent and be not se delude and carried away by the deceit of the devil.” She answered him that she had no reason for repenting. After other exchanges with present people, the executioner Edward Wanton put the rope around her neck and Rev. Wilson hid her face behind a big white handkerchief so that could not been seen her expression when executed.
Having been pardoned at the last moment by John Endecott on October 27, 1659 while she was already brought to the scaffold, Mary Dyer had returned to Rhode Island. She did not for all that stop working with the Quaker community and went in particular to Shelter Island, at the Eastern end of Long Island, which belonged to Nathaniel Sylvester, a rich merchant who had interests in The Barbados, known to be one of their friends and protectors. He had moreover received in his house George Fox, the founder of the Quaker doctrine who had even had the opportunity to preach on the steps of his mansion. Mary Dyer was on her side approached by a group of Indians who asked her if she would agree to organize meetings with them but although she was safe in this place, she especially looked forward to start to Boston hosted by the will to fight for making repeal “the wicked law sentencing to death the people of God and offer her life if necessary.”

Late April, she secretly went to Boston without even telling her husband. As soon as he was informed, William Dyer wrote to Governor John Endecott a letter that this one gave to the General Cour of Massachusetts. Considering that Mary had braved the ban made to her to return to this colony, she was summoned on May 31 to explain. After she once again proclaimed her faith, the governor, embarrassed and angered by her ready answers, took the decision to carry out without delay the death sentence he had already pronounced the previous year.

Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore
Proprietor of the Province of Maryland
June 3, 1660 - Thomas Prence keeps his position as governor of Plymouth

June 24, 1660 - Lord Baltimore takes advantage of the arrival of the new king to dismiss Josias Fendall and chooses his young brother Philip Calvert as governor of Maryland.

He got arrested " the treacherous and perjury Fendall " with the aim of his forfeiture for life, but the more moderate Court decided to seize his domains and exile him of the province.

June 29, 1660 - the residents of New Amstel meet to decide on the conduct required against rumors suggesting the abandonment of their colony by the regulatory authorities of Amsterdam.

It had been intended to surrender the colony to the Dutch West India Company while the people of New Amstel had especially asked to be sent them farmers rather than tailors, weavers or cobblers. Director Alexander d’Hinoyossa would send to the Dutch government a petition for continuing of the settlement.

June 29, 1660 - Narragansett Sachem Socho gives up the land of Misquamicut (later called Westerly) to a group of Baptist settlers from Newport, Rhode Island, led by Rev. Hugh Mosher.

Among them were William Vaughan, Robert Stanton (1599-1672), John Fairfield, Tobias Saunders and James Longbottom. This vast territory that had once belonged to Niantics was located between Wecapaug and the Pawcatuck River, on the western edge of Rhode Island, explored for the first time by Adriaen Block in 1614. 
The magistrates of Massachusetts got indignant, considering that Rhode Island had exceeded its territorial attributions. They issued arrest warrants against the new owners and managed even to send two of them to jail in Boston. It was the turn of Rhode Island to intervene, saying that the purchase of this land was instead completely legal and even threatening to defer to the king to judge the dispute. The case was far from finding its outcome.

July 27, 1660 - Despite the orders of King Charles II, the authorities of New Haven, supported by the people, refuse to arrest Cromwell’s cousin General Edward Whalley, his son-in-law William Goffe and John Dixwell who all three voted for the death of his father Charles 1 in 1649 and came lately to take refuge in the colony.

July 15, 1660 – Despite adverse conditions, the Esopus Indians led by Chief Sewackenamo agree to sign a treaty with the Dutch expected to cease hostilities initiated since September, 1659.

After the lull of winter, clashes had started again in spring. The Dutch had destroyed an Indian small fort and made some prisoners. The Indians had indeed tried to negotiate but Director Peter Stuyvesant had instead launched new attacks and sold as slaves the leaders who had been captured, sending them to CuraƧao in the Caribbean.
Seeing the situation turning to their disadvantage, the Esopus tribes held a council after which they opted for peace. Stuyvesant accepted but proved in return very demanding. He claimed an important part of territory including fertile Walkill and Rondout valleys, what the Indians resolved to agree. They wished however to be brought back their chiefs taken in slavery but Stuyvesant opposed arguing that they should rather consider them dead.

August 27, 1660 - Governor of Massachusetts John Endecott, assisted by Richard Bellingham, Daniel Dennison and William Hawthorne sells Block Island to a group of 16 settlers for 400 £.
John Endecott had received this island two years earlier for "services rendered".

Having built their own boat, the first families landed at Block Island in April the next year when they founded the village of New Shoreham.

September 13, 1660 - The Parliament of London enacts a Navigation Act ordering that the crew members consist now for three quarter of English and that products from colonies such as tobacco, sugar, indigo, cotton and dye-wood are henceforth subjected to  taxes and can only be shipped to England or English possessions.
These provisions were to lower the price of tobacco and increase the cost of transport.

September 30, 1660 - The New Amsterdam Council orders that are given four black slaves to captain Thomas Willett in exchange for services rendered in the previous year.

Thomas Willet owned several boats and a house in New Amsterdam. He had however settled a few months before in a place that he had called Swansea in the border of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

October 18, 1660 - Rhode Island is the first colony of New England to acknowledge the restoration of Charles II on the throne.

October, 1660 - the Virginia Assembly makes its decision about the dispute between Colonel Matthews and Wiccocomoco Indians on the sale of their lands.

It was agreed that if the Indians accepted a payment in exchange for their land, it would return to the heirs of Colonel Matthews but in case of refusal, they would keep it until they decide to move. If they came to leave the country, this one would be granted to the Matthews family.

November, 1660Expelled from the Plymouth colony in the early year, Quaker William Leddra is arrested in Boston and thrown into prison. Being already the subject of banishment, he is now, under the law of Massachusettswithin the scope of the death penalty.

He had already known the Boston jails and ill-treatment two years before. He was now tied day and night to a wooden post in an open-air cell at the time of the hardships of winter. It is likely that his guards were happy to see him succumbing to this cruelty but his exceptional physical constitution allowed him to bear it.

November 18, 1660 - Francis Newman, the governor of the New Haven colony, dies during his term of office.
John Leverett

December 19, 1660 - The General Court of Massachusetts sends to King Charles II its congratulations for his restoration on the throne and asks him to confirm the civil and religious liberties that his father granted to the colony by royal charter.

It took the opportunity to justify its ruthlessness towards the Quakers, considered as foes of the Church and State, who had entered illegally the province.
It sent besides recommendations to John Leverett, the agent of the colony in London.

December 23, 1660 - The people of New Amstel are relieved to learn that the Dutch authorities have decided to maintain their colony and to keep in his post Governor Alexander d' Hinoyossa.

After the petition sent by the settlers to the Mayors of Amsterdam and their promise to send them additional funds, Sheriff Gerrit Van Sweeringen and a member of the local council had gone to Holland make proposals to secure the future of the colony.

The administration of d' Hinoyossa was less disordered than his predecessor but disputes over authority were recurring insofar as the governor of New Amstel refused to recognize Peter Stuyvesant's authority and judged to be answerable only to commissioners of the city of Amsterdam. He further considered that his colony did not have to bear taxes imposed by the Dutch West India Company represented by William Beekman, director of the nearby Delaware settlements.

Map of New Amsterdam (1660)

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