« PreviousContinue »
NEW ENGLISH CANAAN
NEW CANA A N.
Containing an Abstract of New England,
Compofed in three Bookes.
The firft Booke fetting forth the originall of the Natives, their Manners and Customes, together with their tractable Nature and Love towards the English.
The fecond Booke fetting forth the naturall Indowments of the Country, and what ftaple Commodities it yealdetb.
The third Booke fetting forth, what people are planted there, their profperity, what remarkable accidents have happened fince the fift planting of it, together with their Tenents and practife of their Church.
Written by Thomas Morton of Cliffords Inne gent, upon tenne geares knowledge and experiment of the Country.
againe sent prisoner into England, wher he lay a good while in Exeter Jeole. For besides his miscariage here, he was ve[he]mently suspected for the murder of a man that had adventured moneys with him, when he came first into New-England. And a warrente was sente from the Lord Cheefe Justice to apprehend him, by vertue whereof he was by the Gov[erno]r of the Massachusets sent into England; and for other his misdemenors amongst them, they demolisht his house, that it might be no longer a roost for shuch unclaine birds to nestle in. Yet he got free againe, and write an infamouse and scurillous booke against many godly and cheefe men of the cuntrie; full of lyes and slanders, and fraight with profane callumnies against their names and persons, and the ways of God.'
until a vessel, the Handmaid, was found to take him, into which he was ignominiously hoisted by a tackle, and from whose decks he saw the flames that destroyed his dwelling. He threatened the master of the vessel, John Grant, with his displeasure, but proved powerless to effect his purpose. Matthews in N. E. Hist. Gen. Reg., LIX. 185; Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, XLIV. 255.
This charge of murder against Morton was persistent, and took more than one form. To interpret the Bradford version would mean that Morton had killed one interested with him either in the Weston settlement of 1622, or in the Wollaston venture of 1625. It is improbable that Morton had held any real responsibility in the Weston project, while he is known to have been a partner in that of Wollaston. Thomas Dudley, writing in 1631, says Morton was sent to England "for that my Lord Chief Justice [Sir Nicholas Hyde] there so required, that he might punish him capitally for fouler misdemeanours there perpetrated." Thomas Wiggin, in 1632, wrote to Sir John Coke, a member of the Privy Council, that on authority of Morton's "wife sonne and others," Morton had fled to New England "upon a foule suspition of murther." As Wiggin's object was to clear the New Englanders of charges of cruelty and oppression, he would have every reason to give the worst character possible to Morton; yet he could only mention a "suspition of murther," and that chiefly upon the testimony of one probably the step-son of Morton. Winslow, in his petition of 1635, says Morton was sent to England the second time "by my Lord Chief Justice Hides Warrant to answere to the murther of a person specified therein." Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings, v. 133. No charge of this description was pressed against him while he was in England, and urging his claims against the authorities of Massachusetts Bay. There is nothing improbable in the charge of murder.
2 Morton's book states on the title-page that it was printed in Amsterdam, but it is believed that it was printed in London, and the name Amsterdam added to escape any
After sundry years, when the warrs were hott in England, he came againe into the cuntrie, and was imprisoned at Boston for this booke and other things, being grown old in wickednes.1
Concerning the rest of Mr. Allertons instructions, in which they strictly injoyned him not to exceed above that 50li. in the goods before mentioned, not to bring any but trading commodities, he followed them not at all, but did the quite contrarie; bringing over many other sorts of retaile goods, selling what he could by the way on his owne accounte, and delivering the rest, which he said to be theirs, into the store; and for trading goods brought but litle in comparison; excusing the matter, they had laid out much aboute
penalty that might be imposed on so objectionable a publication. Some copies have a title-page with London, as the place of publication, and Charles Green as the printer. There was a printer in London of that name, his first work being entered at Stationers' Hall in July, 1633, and his last in June, 1638. On November 18, 1633, he entered on the Stationer's Register "under the handes of Master Weckerlyn and Master Aspley warden a booke called New Englandes Canaan, composed in 3. bookes &c by Thomas Mooreton." Arber, Transcript of the Stationers' Registers, Iv. 283. It is not believed that Morton had at that time completed his writing, as internal evidence shows he added matter in 1634. The bibliographical points are treated in Adams, New English Canaan, 99.
1 He returned to New England about 1643. He was at New Plymouth in September of that year, and less in favor than ever. His book formed only one of the indictments against him; his known opposition to the plantations of Massachusetts had not advanced his interests either at Boston, Plymouth, or even Rhode Island. Winslow wrote to Winthrop, September, 1643: "Concerning Morton, our Governor gave way that he should winter heer, but begon as soon as winter breaks up. Captain Standish takes great offence theerat, especially that he is so neer him as Duxburrow and goeth sometimes a fowling in his ground. He cannot procure the lest respect amongst our people, liveth meanely at four shillings per week, and content to drinke water, so he may dyet at that price. But admit he hath a protection, yet it were worth the while to deale with him till we see it. The truth is I much question his pretended employment; for he hath heer onely showed the frame of a Common Weale and some old sealed commissions, but no inside knowne." 4 Mass. Hist. Collections, vi. 175. He soon afterwards went to Casco Bay and in September, 1644, fell into the hands of the authorities of Massachusetts Bay. With the winter of 1643 and spring of 1644, therefore, his connection with the history of Plymouth ceased. Adams, Introduction to the New English Canaan, 86, gives a full account of his subsequent career.
the Laiden people, and patent, etc. And for other goods, they had much of them of ther owne dealings, without present disbursemente, and to like effect. And as for passing his bounds and instructions, he laid it on Mr. Sherley, etc., who, he said, they might see his mind in his leters; also that they had sett out Ashley at great charg; but next year they should have what trading goods they would send for, if things were now well setled, etc. And thus were they put off; indeed Mr. Sherley write things tending this way, but it is like he was overruled by Mr. Allerton, and harkened more to him then to their letters from hence.
Thus he further writes in the former leter.1
I see what you write in your leters concerning the overcomming and paying of our debts, which I confess are great, and had need be carfully looked unto; yet no doubt but we, joyning in love, may soone over-come them; but we must follow it roundly and to purposs, for if we pedle out the time of our trade, others will step in and nose us. But we know that you have that aquaintance and experience in the countrie, as none have the like; wherfore, freinds and partners, be no way discouraged with the greatnes of the debt, etc., but let us not fullfill the proverbe, to bestow 12d. on a purse, and put 6d.  in it; but as you and we have been at great charg, and undergone much for setling you ther, and to gaine experience, so as God shall enable us, let us make use of it. And think not with 50li. pound a yeare sent you over, to rayse shuch means as to pay our debts. We see a possibillitie of good if you be well supplied, and fully furnished; and cheefly if you lovingly agree. I know I write to godly and wise men, shuch as have lerned to bear one an others infirmities, and rejoyce at any ones prosperities; and if I were able I would press this more, because it is hoped by some of your enimies, that you will fall out one with another, and so over throw your hopfull bussines. Nay, I have heard it crediblie reported, that some have said, that till you be disjoynted by discontents and fractions amongst your sellves, it bootes not any to goe over, in hope
1 An extract from the letter written by Sherley and Hatherley, dated March 19, 1629-30.