The Colony of Massachusetts - North American Colonies

Taken from The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century (1898) by Edgar Sanderson

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the climate, and they were, happily, received as friends by the Indians. There was no royal charter to interfere with freedom, and the settlers were from the first a self-governed community. A church and fort were erected, and these, with the houses, were surrounded by a stockade. New emigrants came out from England, and land was assigned to each household for the growth of corn. In five years' time they were in a position to sell produce to the Indians. In 1633 the colonists had paid off all the debt to the Company in London which had fitted out the party in the Mayflower. In 1643 they numbered as many as three thousand souls.

The colony of Massachusetts dates from a royal charter granted to a Company in 1629, allotting land in proportion to investment, and leaving the government to a head and council resident in the settlement. Nearly a thousand emigrants, including many influential Puritan families, went out, and founded settlements along the shore of Massachusetts Bay. Governor Winthrop, in 1630, began to build the town of Boston, which became the capital so famous in later days. Very strict discipline, in moral and religious affairs, was maintained in the new colony, and no small amount of bigotry was shown. Church membership was needed for the possession of civil rights. Witches were sought out, and "heretics" were banished. Two members of the council were sent back to England for the crime of using the Church prayer-book, and in 1635, Roger Williams, an eloquent young minister, was driven out for asserting freedom of conscience in certain matters, and, taking refuge among the Indians, he founded a settlement named Providence. Quakers were fined, whipped, imprisoned, banished, and even hanged, but cruelty produced its natural effect of arousing sympathy for sufferers and disgust against persecution, and by degrees the rigour of the bigots was relaxed.

Connecticut was founded under the auspices of a Company which included Lord Say and Sele and Lord Brook, who received from Lord Warwick, the president of the "Council for New England ", in London, a tract of land in the valley named from its chief stream, Connecticut, in the Indian tongue meaning "Long River". In 1635 bodies of emigrants went out, and after disputes with the Dutch, who claimed the territory, they founded the town of Hartford, and secured their position by a fort established at the mouth of the river. Many settlers from New Plymouth … continue reading »

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