The Puritan Founders of Connecticut - North American Colonies

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

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and Massachusetts, attracted by the rich meadow-lands, joined the new colony.

The progress of Virginia at this time may be estimated by the fact that the plantations extended about seventy miles inland, and exported abundant supplies of corn to the settlers further north. The spirit of the Puritan founders of Connecticut is seen in their attitude towards the natives. The Indians were regarded as mere foes by those who "claimed to be the divinely-favoured conquerors of a new Canaan". In 1637 the Pequod tribe, who had attacked the new-comers, was utterly destroyed, men women, and children, after an assault upon their palisaded fort, which was set on fire. Most of the natives perished in the flames, and the few that could flee were hunted down to annihilation in the river-swamps. The other tribes took the alarm, and in fear of a combined Indian assault, the colonists of New Plymouth, Newhaven (a settlement founded in 1638 by some wealthy London families), Massachusetts, and Connecticut formed a federation, the first of its kind in America, styled "The United Colonies of New England". The civil troubles then raging in Britain left them unfettered by home control, and while they were nominally subject to England, these northern colonies were, from the first, to a large degree independent. At this time the population of Massachusetts had risen to nearly 30,000, and the other New England settlements contained over one-third of that number. In 1638 the Rev. John Harvard, a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, who had settled in New England, bequeathed a noble gift of books and money to the college being founded by the general court of Massachusetts at Newton, afterwards called Cambridge, on the river Charles, and now virtually a suburb of Boston. The place had been settled in 1630. In 1639 the first printing-press in America was there set up by Day, a printer brought out from London by Joseph Glover, a Nonconformist minister. The new Cambridge soon became famous for its publications, producing in 1640 the Bay Psalm-book, the first book printed in the British American colonies. It has since acquired world-wide renown as the abode for many years of Longfellow, in a house once occupied by George Washington, and as the seat of the noble institution of learning known as the Harvard University.

The origin of Rhode Island colony is seen in the settlement of … continue reading »

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