Sunday, February 14, 2016

1662 - Connecticut gets Royal Charter

March 4, 1662 - Captain Thomas Willett is appointed by the Plymouth authorities to visit Wamsutta, the new sachem of the Wampanoags, and propose him a land exchange. It is also a question for the colony to extend its new Swansea area. A rumor then speaks of a plot with Narragansetts.

The authorities of Plymouth mainly blamed the Wampanoags for having chosen to sell lands to the nearby colonies without regard to their usual commitments.

March, 1662 - the Delaware Indians chiefs who enacted a total ban on liquors offer to the Dutch settlers a present with a value of 13 guilder in " wampum " and ask them in exchange never to sell spirit nor strong beverages to their people.

This offer was sent to the Fort Altena and New Amstel colonies. Director Willem Beekman did not appreciate the approach and hastened to write to Peter Stuyvesant to inform him that he intended to go to the Indian chiefs remind them that such a decision was not up to them. Alexander d' Hinoyossa, the director of New Amstel imposed, on the other hand, the total prohibition on the sale of liquor to the Indians under penalty of a 300-guilder fine and encouraged even the reporting of the offenders.

March 23, 1662 - The General Assembly of Virginia passes a law punishing theft or uncontrolled slaughter of hogs, a crime especially common as these animals are in large numbers, what constitutes for some a lower cost food because they roam free in forests and swamps. 

It found necessary to condemn hog rustlers next to the damage they were inflicting on others. Giving the felony of this act, the offender was ordered to pay in exchange the equivalent of a thousand pounds of tobacco or forced to work for 12 months for the owner of the stolen pig, if he was unable to pay the amount. This law had actually little effect and it was later decided that any repeat offender would be exposed in the pillory for two hours with ears nailed to the beam, after which they would be cut off with a knife.

April 8, 1662 - Eliakim Wardwell is fined in Dover, New Hampshire, for Quakerism.

Native of Boston, Eliakim had married Lydia Perkins, the daughter of an influential puritan shipbuilder family before they both adhere to the Quaker faith. They had then left to settle in a farm at Hampton but they since never ceased being harassed and offended. The case had got rough when they hosted Wenlock Christison, banished from Boston. Rev. Seaborn Cotton had then mobilized citizens to seize Wardwell’s house and take its occupants into custody.

April 14, 1662 - English statesman William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Seele dies in his Broughton Castle near Oxford at age 79. He had been in 1637 the co-founder of Fort Saybrook at the mouth of the Connecticut River.

Governor of Connecticut John Winthrop, Jr.
April 23, 1662
- John Winthrop, Jr. is re-elected governor of Connecticut.

He came back from his journey in England with a charter granted by King Charles II formalizing thus the full existence of this colony the first General Court of which had been held in Hartford in May,1637.
This charter had the peculiarity to settle the Southern boundary of the colony in the Long Island Sound and its western border to the Pacific Ocean, a provision which could not fail to become a source of conflict with the New Netherlands. The royal charter sanctioned secondly the New Haven colony, now integrated into Connecticut. Charles II had poorly appreciated the attitude of its authorities, blamed for having sheltered and protected the kinglayers who had voted for the death of his father. They were, however, two years before the inhabitants of New Haven agree to merge with Connecticut. It was during this term that the colony began to invest lands belonging until then to the New Netherlands as Westchester and several Long Island towns mainly inhabited by English.

Josiah Winslow (1627-1680)
May, 1662 - a group of Dutch settlers come from Beverwijk and Wiltwijk found the village of Nieuw Dorp (present-day Hurley) on the Hudson shore.

May, 1662 - Benedict Arnold is elected for the second time president of the Rhode Island Plantations.

June 3, 1662 - Thomas Prence is re-elected governor of Plymouth for a the 
6th year running. Josiah Winslow and Thomas Southwork are both chosen commissioners to the United Colonies.

June, 1662 - John Endecott is reappointed as governor of the Massachusetts.

June 13, 1662 - Mary Sanford is hanged in Hartford after being convicted of maintaining familiar relations with the " big enemy of God " and have knowledge of secrets not covered by the nature which caused confusion among several members of the colony.

The last execution for witchcraft went back, in Connecticut, to 1654. There had been since other trials but these had all ended with acquittals, the charges being only slander.

The Witches
painting by Andrew MacEwen (1860-1943)

The case of Mary Sanford relates both to medical ignorance and an environment as usually quick to find the devil when it comes to settle accounts between neighbors.
Young girl Elizabeth Kelley taken by violent stomach pains had before dying accused Goody Ayres to have poisoned her just because this old woman boasted to attend frequently the devil. Finding nothing abnormal, the physician who performed the autopsy concluded to preternatural cause. It was enough to excite imagination and some began to tell stories of night-dances in the woods between mysterious creatures and people of the town including Mary Sanford and her husband Andrew. The Jury was convinced that there was a dealing with Satan but as often, the only Mary was sentenced to death for witchcraft. Her husband was acquitted. Actually, it is not known if the execution did take place, no minutes stated it and it was often told that she had disappeared. On the other hand, Andrew Sanford moved 5 years later to Milford where he remarried.

June 21, 1662 - Willem Beekman writes to Director Peter Stuyvesant to inform him that Alexander  d' Hinoyossa, the director of New Amstel offers attractive conditions to the Finnish Delaware farmers who would agree to come and settle in his colony.

It concerned, according to him, eighteen families living in his jurisdiction to whom were offered several years of total tax exemption, the right to have their own judges and the free exercise of their religion. He added that these families, however, wished to continue to farm their lands of Delaware, while hoping for the coming of Dutch settlers to occupy still non-crop areas.

June 28, 1662 - King Charles II sends a letter to the governors of the various colonies requiring from them a pledge of allegiance. He also demands that the justice is done in his name, that freedom of conscience is granted to all those who would use common prayer books and fulfil their duties according to the teachings of the established church. According to this letter, each person must be allowed to approach the sacraments and all the free men should enjoy to vote at meetings, regardless of their religious views.

The king had for purpose to establish the uniformity of religious beliefs and deprive all dissidents of their livelihood. As soon as they were implemented in England, these new rules pushed to emigration almost two hundred ministers who preferred set sail for America rather than submit.

The death of Wamsutta
Summer, 1662Wampanoag sachem Wamsutta, also called Alexander, is summoned by the Court of Plymouth which accuses him of stirring up a plot against the English. He spends the night in Josiah Winslow's house in Duxbury where he contracts, it seems, a high fever.

The Plymouth Authorities had, earlier this year, sent Captain Thomas Willett to deal with Wamsutta and investigate about rumors on a potential alliance between the Indian chief and the Narragansetts, intended to cause a revolt against the settlers. Wamsutta said that such assertion was fabricated by the Narragansetts with the aim of compromising him with the English. He promised to attend the next meeting of the Court of Plymouth but as he was not, it was hastily concluded that the rumors were true.
They sent to him Major Josiah Winslow who commanded the militia, with order to bring him to Plymouth under duress, as if he was about a simple criminal and even though he didn’t fall into any jurisdiction. Winslow appeared at his camp and threatened him with a weapon but Wamsutta refused to follow him. He pressed then his gun against the chest of the Wampanoag sachem who eventually agreed after parley with his warriors. He refused, however, the horse proposed to him and walked to Duxbury. But he strangely contracted, from his arrival, an acute fever which killed him in no time before he reached Plymouth. It made no doubt for the people of his nation that he had been poisoned.
His brother Metacom (Philip) succeeded him and sought, first, to confirm the treaty between the Wampanoags and the Plymouth colony.

Wamsutta (1634-1662) the elder son of Wampanoag Chief Massasoit, also called Alexander Pokanoket by the settlers and the husband of Weetamo, he succeeded his father who has died a year before. He quickly became the leader of all the native American tribes living between Charles River in Massachusetts and Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. He increased the power of the Wampanoag Confederation by selling lands to the other colonies what allowed him to compensate for the fur trade collapse. Accused of directing a ploy with the Narragansetts, he was forcibly dragged to Plymouth but died on the way after contracting a sudden fever. Rumors were not late to claim that he succumbed to poisoning.

August 6, 1662 - Metacom goes to Plymouth to silence the rumors which begin to spread on preparing an Indian uprising.

He met the assistants of the Court to whom he confirmed his desire to maintain the bonds of friendship sealed for more than forty years between the Wamponoags and the Plymouth settlers. He promised to swear allegiance to the king of England and made a commitment to wage war or to seize new territories only with the approval of the Plymouth government.

Simon Bradstreet
September, 1662 - Simon Bradstreet and John Norton, both envoys sent to England by the General Court of Massachusetts, are back in Boston.

They brought a letter of the king who expressed his satisfaction towards the loyalty and affection that the settlers had shown him. He pledged to maintain their charter and to grant freedom of conscience to all those who followed the worship of the Church of England except, however, the Quakers, declared enemies of all governments.
The king ordered the General Court to publish his letter to inform his subjects that they were now all taken under his protection.

September 12, 1662 - Back in Virginia after spending  more than a year in London, Governor of Virginia William Berkeley, is informed that king Charles II maintains the Navigation Act requiring all products exported by the colonies to be first shipped to England.

He had obtained a rethorical support from King Charles II when speaking of his will to reduce tobacco production and diversifying the farm economics of the colony as far as, on his side, Lord Baltimore disagreed such a measure. Berkeley could be even more disappointed that he had received no financial support while the king had remained deaf to his desire to free trade.
He returned, however, well decided to do without royal approval to realize his projects. He also was back with a new urban plan that the king wished to see developed for the city of Jamestown at the moment it was loosing its status of single gateway to Virginia.

September 14, 1662 – Director of New Netherlands Peter Stuyvesant issues a statement according to which all those practicing any unreformed religion in homes, bars, boats, woods or fields will be liable to a 50-guilder fine, doubled in case of recidivism and quadrupled for a third offense.

John Bowne before Director Peter Stuyvesant
September, 1662 – Aimed at maintaining his policy of religious intolerance, Director Peter Stuyvesant orders to arrest John Bowne, an English farmer living in Flushing, Long Island, on the grounds that he organized a Quakers' meeting at home.

John Bowne, an English farmer from Flushing, who had housed representatives of the Quakers, was condemned to a 25-£ fine and banished from the colony. He decided to leave for Holland to defend his cause before the Dutch West India Company.

He refused to pay the fine and to leave the colony as wanted the governor, regarding the ensuring of religious freedom granted in 1645 by former Director Willem Kieft. Facing this case, he was sent to the Netherlands for trial before the representatives of the Dutch West India Company.

John Bowne (Matlock, Derbyshire, 1627-1695) Arrived in Boston in 1648 with his father and her sister. Set up as a merchant, he had married in 1656, Hanna Feake (c.1637-1678), one of great-nieces of Governor John Winthrop. The newlyweds were in the time attracted by the Quakers doctrine but had to flee Massachusetts because of the persecutions that befell their friends. In 1661, they settled in Flushing, New Netherlands where already discreetly lived a small group of English Quakers. 

October 9, 1662 - The General Assembly of Connecticut decrees prison sentences and fines against the settlers who would leave to live with the Indians.

Accused of witchcraft
December, 1662 - During its meeting, the Assembly of Virginia passes a law requiring the Indians to wear a copper or silver badge with the name of their tribe according to the places where they will go and a law stating that all the children born in the colony will be declared free or in slavery, only depending on the condition of their mother.

December 30, 1662 - Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith are both convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death in Hartford.

Perhaps Greensmith and his wife were blamed for a rather sketchy background blending misfortunes and poverty. Both had been embroiled in a group of disreputable people. They had organized a first night-party near Rebecca's house where they had drunk and danced and as such other gatherings had already been held, suspicions had aroused in the neighborhood. It was rumored about covens of witches when young girl Ann Cole who suffered epileptic seizures said she had been cursed. The link was fast established and the protagonists of merry nocturnal meetings were arrested. Some succeeded however to escape but the Greensmith spouses were handed over to the court and although Rebecca tried to clear herself by accusing the fugitives, both defendants were no match facing Reverend John Whiting’s indictment.

1662 - Puritan Minister Michael Wigglesworth releases The Day of Doom, a religious epic poem published in Cambridge.

This book was an approach in verse to the Calvinist theology with regard to The Last Judgment. Despite some literary blunders, it became a success, partly because of its hard-hitting and direct style. The 1800 copies were sold within a year and stayed for more than a century at the right place in Puritan homes. In spite of the terrible images of damnation that contains The Day of Doom, its author was considered as a " great philanthropist ", dubbed even by some " the man of the beatitudes", working not only for the spiritual but also physical needs of his flock. The purpose of this work was to engage the reader to consider his own spiritual destiny, reminding him that he was "hanging by a thread above the infernal pit."

Michael Wigglesworth (October 18, 1631 Wrawby (Lincolns.) - June 10, 1705 Malden, MA) – His parents had emigrated into New England when he was 7-year-old and the family had lived at first in Charlestown, Massachusetts, before leaving for New Haven. His father lost the use of his legs while the young Michael was still a teenaager, what obliged him to stop his studies to work in the farm. He managed however to be graduated from Havard College in 1651 and began his career as tutor in the parishes of Charlestown and Malden.

Wigglesworth thought unimaginable to believe in an almost human God. He had during his childhood been through metaphysical experiences that had convinced him of his own damnation. He told in his personal newspapers his fight to remain pure and good despite a continual tendency toward depravity he considered proper to human nature. He confessed when he was a clergyman his inability to preach because of a permanent mental disorder which resulted in a perpetual feeling of inferiority, especially as he was suffering from various disabilities. Married three times, he admitted however that he had not ceased being hounded by homosexual attractions.

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