Page images

they joyned with,) being loath it should be lost by discontinuance, agreed with the company for it, and gave them aboute the.6. parte of their gaines for it; (130, i.e. 230] with the first fruits of which they builte a house for a prison; and the trade ther hath been since

a continued, to the great benefite of the place; for some well fore

the Court repealed in March, 1635, while the monopoly framed in England is supposed to have been in force. In September, 1636, it was proposed to erect a state monopoly and to farm it out for a period of three years, to correct the evils and dangers attending an irregular trade between English and Indians. As Massachusetts did not depend upon furs for its trade or revenue to the same extent as New Plymouth, the subject did not attain to so great importance; nor is it possible to measure how far the comparative freedom under the Bay affected the monopoly at New Plymouth. The latter drew their chief supplies from the Kennebec, Penobscot and Connecticut stations. Now that the French had deprived them of one of their northern posts, and the Bay emigrants had put an end to their trade on the Connecticut, it became necessary to open new avenues, if, indeed, any such could be found.

In March, 1637, the General Court of Plymouth resolved: "Concerning the trade of beaver, corne, and beads, etc., with the Indians, it is agreed, by the consent of the Court, that they that now haue that shall hold yt vntill the next Court, the beginning of June; and then further conference to be had for the mannageing thereof, that such further course may be taken therein as shalbe thought fitt. And in the meane season, Mr. (Stephen] Hopkins, Mr. (John) Atwood, Mr. (John) Done, and Jonathan Brewster shalbe added to the Gouerner and Assistants, to aduise vpon such proposičons and wayes so as the said trade may be still continued to the benefit of the collony."

At the June session some action was taken, but in such a form that the actual measure adopted cannot be learned, though the trade still remained in the hands of Bradford and his partners. “Whereas the trade of beauer, etc., is now likely to goe to decay, in regard that they which haue had it will not any longer hold yt, the Court hath referred it to the Gouernor and Assistants to advise and consider of a way and course how the said trade may be vpholden for the good of the whole collony; and for the better advisement therein haue joyned to the Gouernor and Assistants Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Atwood, Mr. Done, Thomas Willet, and John Winslow for Plymouth, Mr. John Howland and Jonathan Brewster for Ducksborrow, and Josias Winslow for Scituate; and what way and course they shall agree and conclude vpon, the whole colony doth consent vnto.” The inclusion of Thomas Willet may be noted, as he had, with two others, been recently fined for trading with the Indians for corn, “contrary to the auncient lawes of this colony." Plymouth Col. Rec., XI. 33; 1. 50, 54, 62. The subject received renewed attention in 1639 (p. 314, infra).

sawe that these high prises of corne and catle would not long continue, and that then the commodities ther raised would be much missed. This year, aboute the . I . or 2. of June,' was a great and fearfull

, earthquake; it was in this place heard before it was felte. It came with a rumbling noyse, or low murmure, like unto remoate thunder; it came from the norward, and pased southward. As the noyse aproched nerer, they earth begane to shake, and came at length with that violence as caused platters, dishes, and shuch like things as stoode upon shelves, to clatter and fall downe; yea, persons were afraid of the houses them selves. It so fell oute that at the same time diverse of the cheefe of this towne were mett together at one house, conferring with some of their freinds that were upon their removall from the place, (as if the Lord would herby shew the

· Winthrop enters the earthquake under June 1, and he is supported by the church records of Newbury. It made itself felt at Connecticut, Narragansett and at Pascataqua. Light shocks followed for some months after.

? The bounds of a growing settlement like that of Plymouth were difficult to mark, even for administrative matters. In 1638 a question of the extent of the town of Plymouth arose. James Sherley had given some head of cattle to the town, on condition that the increase should be used for the aid of the poor of the town. He “had playnely declared by severall letters in his owne hand writing that his intent therein was wholly to the poore of the Town of New Plymouth wordes of the said letters recorded it doth most playnely appear.” To determine the question a meeting of townsmen was called on July 16, 1638, all the inhabitants from Jones River to the Eel River being summoned. The record then says: “And whereas there was some difference how farr the Towne of New Plymouth doth now properly extend because some have extended the same as farr as betwixt the said Rivers in regard the constablery and liberties of the said Towne extend themselves so farr yet after much agitation and allegations made It was concluded that the Inhabitants of the said Towne of New Plymouth dwelling betwixt the houses of William Pontus and John Dunham on the south and the outside of the new streete on the north side have power to order and dispose of the said stock of cowes so given as aforesaid And have thereupon nominated and appointed Thomas Prence gent Gov'r William Bradford and Edward Winslow gent and Assistants of the Government, Stephen (Bryant or Doane) John Done (Doane) and Thomas Willett gent and John Dunhame to have the power and authoritie for these foure next years to put forth and dispose the said stock of cowes to the Inhabitants of the poore of the said Towne of Plymouth as shalbe thought fitt

signes of his displeasure, in their shaking a peeces and removalls one from an other.) How ever it was very terrible for the time, and as the men were set talking in the house, some women and others were without the dores, and the earth shooke with that violence as they could not stand without catching hould of the posts and pails that'stood next them; but the violence lasted not long. And about halfe an hower, or less, came an other noyse and shaking, but to partake therein, and by such in their Judgment and discretion shalbe thought meete and according to the mind of the Donor in his foresaid letters declared And also by way of curtesye to supply the wants of some others which doe inhabite within the liberties of said Towne if they shall thinke fitt."

This was the first organized charity on New England soil, and the records contain a statement by the administrators of the trust for this same year, and also for 1642 and 1652. The returns prove the good management of the trustees. That for July, 1638, was as follows:

“The stock at this tyme was thus disposed.
John Shawe — foure shares in the pyde cowe
Francis Billington sixe shares which was Good-
Mrs. Hodgkinson two shares man Shawes.
Mr. John Holmes sixe shares in the browne
Mr. Thomas Hill foure shares back cowe was
Ralph Wallen two shares at Georg Soules.
Josuah Pratt foure shares in the black heiffer
Thom Atkinson foure shares > which was Henry
Samuell Eddy foure shares Howlande.
Mr. Raph Smith six shares | In the Red cow which
Natha’ll Sowther six shares ) was Mr. Smyths.
Mr. Hellot six shares In the browne back cowe
Thom Lettice six shares which came from Henry Howland.
There remayned more to the stock at the same tyme
Two steers in goodman Dunhams hands.
One red steere in goodman Shawes hands.
One browne steere in Mr. Smyths hands and a bull calf.
One bull calfe in George Soules hand.
One cowe calf which came from Henry Howland
One old cowe in goodman Dunhams hands
In money due to the stock £4. 1os.

The cow calfe was put to Goodman Dunhame for as long as the farm cowes are and a yeare longer upon the same conditions that the cows are.Records of the Town of Plymouth, 1. 3. The report for 1642 is even more full, Ib. 9.




[ocr errors]


nether so loud nor strong as the former, but quickly passed over; and so it ceased. It was not only on the sea coast, but the Indeans felt it within land; and some ships that were upon coast were shaken by it. So powerfull is the mighty hand of the Lord, as to make both the earth and sea to shake, and the mountaines to tremble before him, when he pleases; and who can stay his hand? It was observed that the sommers, for divers years togeather after this earthquake, were not so hotte and seasonable for the ripning of corne and other fruits as formerly; ? but more could and moyst, and subjecte to erly and untimly frosts, by which, many times, much Indean corne came not to maturitie; but whether this was any cause, I leave it to naturallists to judge.

Roger Williams reported from Providence the late "dreadful voice and hand" of the Most High, “that audible and sensible voice, the Earthquake. All these parts felt it, (whether beyond the Narragansett I yet learn not), for myself I scarce perceived ought but a kind of thunder and a gentle moving, etc., and yet it was no more this way to many of our own and the natives apprehensions, and but one sudden short motion. The younger natives are ignorant of the like: but the elder inform me that this is the fifth within these four score years in the land: the first about three score and ten years since: the second some three score and four years since, the third some fifty-four years since, the fourth some forty-six since: and they always observed either plague or pox or some other epidemical disease followed; three, four or five years after the Earthquake, (or Naunaumemoauke, as they speak). He be mercifully pleased himself to interpret and open his own riddles, and grant, if it be pleasing in his eyes, it may not be for destruction, and but (as the Earthquake before the Jailor's conversion) a means of shaking and turning of all hearts, (which are his,) English or Indian, to him. To further this (if the Lord please) the Earthquake sensibly took about a thousand of the natives in a most solemn meeting for play, etc.” To Winthrop, (June, 1638,] Narragansett Club, vi. 99.

: “Heare hath bin a great drieth this sommer, which hath kept backe the Corne much, both English and Indian, and how our Corne will proue yett I Cannot well advize you. . . . God send a good harvest. Yt is yett very far backward, and so yt is generally throughout the land, as I heare.” Winter to Trelawny, June 20, 1639. “Our Indian Corne well sett with yeares but very greene; I much doubt yt will not be ripe this yeare. Most men say their English graine yelds bad this yeare; thely) all say yt was because the sommer proved so dry at the first sowinge." Ib. September 17, 1639, Trelawny Papers, 156, 200.


Anno Dom:·1639. and Anno Dom:.1640.

\HESE :2. years I joyne togeather, because in them fell

not out many things more then the ordinary passages

of their commone affaires, which are not needfull to be touched. (231] Those of this plantation having at sundrie times



i Governor Bradford was reëlected to the chief-magistracy of the colony, and again in 1640. Since 1632 the penalty for refusing to serve as Governor, after due election, was £20; but it was also provided that “in case one and the same person should be elected Governour a second yeare, having held the place the foregoing yeare, it should be lawfull for him to refuse without any amercement; and the company to proceed to a new election, except they can prevaile with him by entreaty." This latter exemption was repealed in 1639, and the penalty was abolished in 1645. Plymouth Col. Rec., I. 5. With the exception of the year 1644, when Edward Winslow was chosen, Bradford was continued in office by reëlection till his death, in 1657. No election was held in 1649, because "things are mutch vnseteled in our natiue cuntry in regard of the affairs of the state, whereby the Court cannot so clearly prosseed in election, as formerly.” All officers were continued in office for a year.

Ib. ii. 139.

The Assistants in these two years were: 1639.

Thomas Prence

Thomas Prence
Myles Standish

William Collier
John Alden

Myles Standish
John Brown

Timothy Hatherley
William Collier

John Jenny
Timothy Hatherley

John Brown
John Jenny

Edmund Freeman. Ib. 1. 125, 154. Recourse was had to a new system that of representative government — in the election of 1639. In place of all the freemen meeting in General Court each town, except Plymouth, which had four deputies, elected two committee men or deputies to represent it. As five towns were thus represented — Duxbury, Scituate, Sandwich, Cohannet (Taunton) and Yarmouth - the new body contained fourteen deputies; to which number two were added in December from Barnstable. Two years later the system was extended to include Rexhame (Marshfield), and in 1646 Rehoboth and Nauset. The two last named towns do not appear, however, to have

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »