Sunday, October 28, 2018

Fleeing to America - Jews & their early settlements

The earliest Jewish-born person recorded to have set foot on North American soil was Joachim Gans in 1584, when Sir Walter Raleigh recruited him for an expedition to find a permanent settlement in the Virginia area of the New World.  Sir Richard Grenville, leader of Raleigh's expedition, founded the Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island in 1585. Ralph Lane, along with 107 men, built a fort on Roanoke Island as Grenville sailed back to England for supplies. By April 1586 conditions on Roanoke Island had decayed; the expedition had destroyed a nearby village occupied by indigenous people resulting in retribution against the fortifications on Roanoke Island. As luck would have it, Sir Francis Drake visited the Roanoke Colony on his way back to England in April 1586. Recognizing the dire conditions, he rescued the remaining members of the Roanoke Island expedition. One of the men in this group was Joachim Gans, a Jew from Prague who was reputed to be the best metallurgist in all of Europe at that time & the 1st Jew to set foot in the New World under the British Flag.  Among the ruins at the Roanoke site, archaeologists have discovered lumps of smelted copper and a goldsmith’s crucible attributed to Gans's work at the colony. Because the royal mining company failed to resupply colonists who were increasingly fearful of conflicts with the Native Americans, they accepted the offer from Sir Francis Drake in June 1586, to sail them to England. Each of the colonists, including Gans, left North America.

Actually, Jews had been barred from settling in English colonies, as they had been banned from all English lands for 400 years. The 1st written record of Jewish settlement in England dates from 1070. Jewish settlement continued until King Edward I's Edict of Expulsion in 1290. After the expulsion, there was no Jewish community, apart from individuals who practiced Judaism secretly, until the rule of Oliver Cromwell.  Cromwell (British Protector from 1649 through 1660, through his son Richard) lifted & ignored the earlier prohibition. 

In spite of "expulsion" dictum, Elias Legarde was a Sephardic Jew who arrived at James City, Virginia, on the Abigail in 1621. According to one historian, Elias was from Languedoc, France and was hired to go to the Colony to teach people how to grow grapes for wine. Elias Legarde was living in Buckroe in Elizabeth City in February of 1624.  Elias was employed by Anthonie Bonall. Bonall was a French silk maker and vigneron (cultivates vineyards for wine-making), one of the men from Languedoc sent to the colony by John Bonall, keeper of the silkworms of King James I.  In 1628 Elias Legarde leased 100 acres on the west side of Harris Creek in Elizabeth City, Virginia. 

Josef Mosse & Rebecca Isaake are documented in Elizabeth City in 1624. John Levy patented 200 acres of land on the main branch of Powell’s Creek, Virginia, around 1648.  
Albino Lupo, a Portugese Jew in Virginia, traded with his brother, Amaso de Tores, in London. Two brothers named Silvedo & Manuel Rodriguez are documented to be in Lancaster County, Virginia, around 1650. None of the Jews in Virginia were forced to leave under any conditions.

At least one Jew was forced to leave New England.  Solomon Franco, a Sephardic Jew from Holland who is believed to have settled in the city of Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1649. Franco was a scholar & agent for Immanuel Perada, a Dutch merchant. He delivered supplies to Edward Gibbons, a major general in the Massachusetts militia. After a dispute over who should pay Franco (Gibbons or Perada) the Massachusetts General Court ruled on May 6, 1649, that Franco was to be expelled from the colony, and granted him "six shillings per week out of the Treasury for ten weeks, for sustenance, till he can get his passage to Holland."

On July 8, 1654, Jacob Barsimson left Holland & arrived aboard the Peartree on August 22 in the port of New Amsterdam (in lower Manhattan, where Wall Street is today). Barsimson was employed by the Dutch East India Company & had fled the Portuguese.

For some decades Jews had flourished in the Americas at the Dutch-held areas of Brazil; but a Portuguese conquest of the area in 1654, confronted them with the prospect of the Inquisition, which had already burned a Brazilian Jew at the stake in 1647.  A shipload of 23 fleeing Jewish refugees from Dutch Brazil arrived in New Amsterdam (soon to become New York) in 1654.  In September 1654, 23 Jews from the Sephardic community in the Brazil, arrived in New Amsterdam (New York City).  Barsimson is said to have met them at The Battery upon their arrival. This group was made up of 23 Dutch Jews (4 couples, 2 widows, & 13 children). Like Barsimson, they had fled from Pernambuco in Dutch Brazil (now called Recife), after the settlement was conquered by the Portuguese. Fearing the Inquisition, the Jews fled Recife. They originally docked in Jamaica & Cuba, but the Spanish did not allow them to remain there. Their ship, Ste. Catherine, went to New Amsterdam instead, settling against the wishes of local merchants & the local Dutch Reformed Church. 

Colonial Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant tried to enhance his Dutch Reformed Church by discriminating against other religions, but religious pluralism was already a tradition in the Netherlands & his superiors at the Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam overruled him. Stuyvesant, upon complaint from his local church groups, attempted to have the Jews expelled. He wrote a letter to the directors of the Dutch West India Company dated September 22, 1654: "The Jews who have arrived would nearly all like to remain here, but learning that they (with their customary usury and deceitful trading with the Christians) were very repugnant to the inferior magistrates, as also to the people having the most affection for you; the Deaconry also fearing that owing to their present indigence they might become a charge in the coming winter, we have, for the benefit of this weak and newly developing place and the land in general, deemed it useful to require them in a friendly way to depart, praying also most seriously in this connection, for ourselves as also for the general community of your worships, that the deceitful race—such hateful enemies and blasphemers of the name of Christ—be not allowed to further infect and trouble this new colony to the detraction of your worships and the dissatisfaction of your worships' most affectionate subjects." 

However, among the directors of the Dutch West India Company included several influential Jews, who interceded on the refugees' behalf. Company officials rebuffed Stuyvesant & ordered him in a letter dated April 26, 1655, to let the Jews remain in New Amsterdam, "provided the poor among them shall not become a burden to the company or to the community, but be supported by their own nation..."We would have liked to effectuate and fulfill your wishes and request that the new territories should no more be allowed to be infected by people of the Jewish nation, for we foresee therefrom the same difficulties which you fear, but after having further weighed and considered the matter, we observe that this would be somewhat unreasonable and unfair, especially because of the considerable loss sustained by this nation, with others, in the taking of Brazil, as also because of the large amount of capital which they still have invested in the shares of this company. Therefore after many deliberations we have finally decided and resolved to apostille [annotate] upon a certain petition presented by said Portuguese Jews that these people may travel and trade to and in New Netherland and live and remain there, provided the poor among them shall not become a burden to the company or to the community, but be supported by their own nation. You will now govern yourself accordingly." 

Upon the capture of the New York colony by the English in 1664, the rights enjoyed by the Jews were not interfered with, & for 20 years they appear to have lived much as before the British occupation, though with slight increase in their numbers. 
Solomon Pietersen was a merchant from Amsterdam who came to town in 1654. In 1656, Pietersen became the first known American Jew to intermarry with a Christian; though there are no records showing Pietersen formally converted, his daughter Anna was baptized in childhood.

Asser Levy (Van Swellem) is first mentioned in public records in New Amsterdam in 1654 in connection with the group of 23 Jews who arrived as refugees from Brazil. It is likely he preceded their arrival. Levy was the (kosher) butcher for the small Jewish community. He fought for Jewish rights in the Dutch colony and is famous for having secured the right of Jews to be admitted as Burghers and to serve guard duty for the colony.

In New York City, Shearith Israel Congregation is the oldest continuous congregation started in 1687, having their first synagogue erected in 1728, & its current building still houses some of the original pieces of that first.

Religious tolerance was also established elsewhere in the colonies; the colony of South Carolina, for example, was originally governed under an elaborate charter drawn up in 1669, by the English philosopher John Locke. This charter granted liberty of conscience to all settlers, expressly mentioning "Jews, heathens, and dissenters."  As a result, Charleston, South Carolina has a particularly long history of Sephardic settlement, which in 1816, numbered over 600, then the largest Jewish population of any city in the United States.

In the York records of Virginia as early as 1658, mention is made of Seignior Moses Nehemiah in a judicial proceeding. The record states In ye Difference between Mrs. Elizabeth Jones wife and attorney of Richard Jones, plaintiff and Seign’r Moses Nehemiah.

Also in 1658, Virginia letters of denization were issued to John Abraham, described as a Dutchman.  Denization is an obsolete process in Great Britain, dating back to the 13C, by which a foreigner, through letters patent, became a denizen, thereby obtaining certain rights otherwise only normally enjoyed by Britain's subjects, including the right to hold land. The denizen was neither a subject with citizenship or nationality nor an alien, but had a status akin to permanent residency today. 

In 1687 Robert Nathan, possibly a Jew, is mentioned as a member of the Virginia militia for Surry County.” In the letters of Governor Spotswood of Virginia, he mentions putting down an insurrection in Carolina in 1711, one of the leaders of which was a Colonel Levy."

By 1658, Jews had arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, seeking religious liberty. Sephardic Dutch Jews were among the early settlers of Newport (where Touro Synagogue, the country's oldest surviving synagogue building, stands).

Throughout the 17C, small numbers of Jews continued to come to the British North American colonies, settling mainly in seaport towns like Savannah, Philadelphia, & Baltimore. By the next century, at time of American Revolution, the Jewish population in America was very small, with only 1,000-2000, in a colonial population of about 2.5 million.

Monday, July 23, 2018

1619 Virginia's Colonists Giving Thanks

"First Thanksgiving" by Sidney King

The First British American Colonial
Thanksgiving Took Place in Virginia, not Massachusetts

"...A year and 17 days before those Pilgrims ever stepped foot upon New England soil, a group of English settlers led by Captain John Woodlief landed at today’s Berkeley Plantation, 24 miles southwest of Richmond. After they arrived on the shores of the James River, the settlers got on their knees & gave thanks for their safe passage. There was no traditional meal, no lovefest with Native Americans, no turkey. America’s first Thanksgiving was about prayer, not food.

"On September 16th, 1619, the Margaret departed Bristol, England, bound for the New World. Aboard the 35-foot-long ship were 35 settlers, a crew, five “captain’s assistant”, a pilot, & Capt. Woodlief, a...survivor of the 1609/1610 Jamestown’s “Starving Time.” The mission of those aboard Margaret was to settle 8,000 acres of land along the James River that had been granted to them by the London-based Berkeley Company. They were allowed to build farms, storehouses, homes, & a community on company land. In exchange, they were contracted as employees, working the land & handing over crops & profits to the company.

"After a rough two-&-a-half months on the Atlantic, the ship entered the Chesapeake Bay on November 28, 1619. It took another week to navigate the stormy bay, but they arrived at their destination, Berkeley Hundred, later called Berkeley Plantation, on December 4. They disembarked & prayed. Many historians think there was nothing but old ship rations to eat, so the settlers may have concocted a meal of oysters & ham out of necessity rather than celebration. At the behest of written orders given by the Berkeley Company to Captain Woodlief, it was declared that their arrival must “be yearly & perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” And that’s exactly what they did–for 2 years. On March 22, 1622, the Powhatan, who’d realized the settlers intended to expand their territory & continue their attempts to convert & “civilize” them, attacked Berkeley & other settlements, killing 347. Woodlief survived, but soon after, Berkeley Hundred was abandoned. For 3 centuries, Virginia’s 1st Thanksgiving was lost to history.

"Graham Woodlief is a direct descendant of Captain Woodlief. While he’s known his family’s history since being a teenager; he’s devoted a considerable amount of energy to research, since he retired in 2009. Today, Woodlief is president of the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, which has been held annually since 1958. Woodlief ...thinks the major reason that Plymouth, & not Berkeley, is...thought to be the site of the 1st Thanksgiving is that “they had better PR than we did.” He also said the emphasis on prayer, instead of Plymouth’s festive harvest meal, also made Virginia’s Thanksgiving a bit less appealing, though more accurate. “In fact, most Thanksgivings in the early days were religious services, not meals,” Woodlief says.

"Nearly 309 years after the 1622 battle with the Powhatans, Berkeley Plantation’s missing history was rediscovered. In 1931, retired William & Mary President (and son of President John Tyler) Dr. Lyon G. Tyler was working on a book about early Virginia history. While doing research, he stumbled upon the Nibley Papers, documents and records taken by John Smyth of Nibley, Gloucestershire, about the 1619 settlement of Berkeley. Originally published by the New York State Library in 1899, the papers’ historical significance had gone undetected. According to many Virginia historians, the papers are concrete proof that the New World’s “day of Thanksgiving” originated in their region. Upon his discovery, Tyler told Malcolm Jamieson, who had inherited Berkeley plantation in the 1920s. The plantation was already considered one of the more historic homes in the state, once a residence to a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the birthplace of a US President. Now, it had another feather in its historic hat. Jamieson, with the help of descendants of Captain Woodlief, instituted the 1st Virginia Thanksgiving Festival in 1958. Its been celebrated ever since...

"In Kennedy’s 1963 Thanksgiving Proclamation (made 17 days before his assassination), the president acknowledged Virginia’s claim, saying “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving.” In 2007, President George W. Bush also noted the history while visiting Berkeley Plantation, commenting that, “The good folks here say that the founders of Berkeley held their celebration before the Pilgrims had even left port. As you can imagine, this version of events is not very popular up north.”

"The Berkeley Company, in England, had been given a grant of 8,000 acres, by King James I in Virginia, along the James River. England was going through a severe recession, especially in the woolen industry, & Englishmen were flocking to America to escape religious persecution & for a better life. The English town of Berkeley, a center for the woolen industry, was especially hard-hit by the recession.  The 4 adventurers who made up the Berkeley Company were William Throckmorton, John Smythe, George Thorpe, & Richard Berkeley, who owned Berkeley castle. They needed a leader for an expedition to Virginia & chose Capt. John Woodlief. He had been to the New World several times & had survived the starving time at Jamestown.  With a passenger list of 35 able-bodied craftsmen & a ship’s crew of 19, Woodlief headed to the New World. They sailed on the Margaret, a small ship that was only 35 feet long & weighed 47 tons, loaded with cargo. It was a perilous journey across the Atlantic, for 2 & a half months. They were plagued by storms, the men were homesick, conditions were claustrophobic, there was vermin infestation. They prayed constantly.

"The Margaret landed at Berkeley Hundred on Dec. 4, 1619. The men rowed ashore & surveyed the wintery landscape that surrounded them. As they were instructed by the Berkeley Company, the men knelt & gave thanks for their safe voyage across the ocean.  They were given a proclamation, by the Berkeley Company, when they departed England, with 10 specific instructions.  The first instruction was that they pray & give thanks for their safe voyage when they landed. And they were to do so perpetually & annually. It is thought the Englishmen gave thanks the next 2 years, as they were instructed, until the settlement was destroyed in 1622. It was the 1st Thanksgiving by Englishmen in the New World, 1 year & 17 days before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. It was considered “official,” as they were ordered by England to give thanks — & it was planned, not spontaneous, as many Thanksgivings in the New World were. It was also not a one-time celebration, but repeated annually, as the Englishmen were instructed."

Saturday, July 21, 2018

17C & 18C Slaves & Rice Cultivation in Georgetown County, South Carolina

Salves and Rice Cultivation in Georgetown County, South Carolina

The intricate steps involved in planting, cultivating, harvesting, and preparing rice required an immense labor force. Planters stated that African slaves were particularly suited to provide that labor force for two reasons: 1) rice was grown in some areas of Africa and there was evidence that some slaves were familiar with the methods of cultivation practiced there, and 2) it was thought that the slaves, by virtue of their racial characteristics, were better able than white laborers to withstand the extreme heat and humidity of the tidal swamps and therefore would be more productive workers. Rice cultivation resulted in a dramatic increase in the numbers of slaves owned by South Carolinians before the American Revolution.
In 1680, four-fifths of South Carolina's population was white. However, black slaves outnumbered white residents two to one in 1720, and by 1740, slaves constituted nearly 90% of the population. Much of the growing slave population came from the West Coast of Africa, a region that had gained notoriety by exporting its large rice surpluses.

While there is no consensus on how rice first reached the American coast, there is much debate over the contribution of African-born slaves to its successful cultivation. New research demonstrates that the European planters lacked prior knowledge of rice farming, while uncovering the long history of skilled rice cultivation in West Africa. Furthermore, Islamic, Portuguese, and Dutch traders all encountered and documented extensive rice cultivation in Africa before South Carolina was even settled.
At first rice was treated like other crops, it was planted in fields and watered by rains. By the mid-18th century, planters used inland swamps to grow rice by accumulating water in a reservoir, then releasing the stored water as needed during the growing season for weeding and watering. Similarly, prior records detail Africans controlling springs and run off with earthen embankments for the same purposes of weeding and watering.

Soon after this method emerged, a second evolution occurred, this time to tidewater production, a technique that had already been perfected by West African farmers. Instead of depending upon a reservoir of water, this technique required skilled manipulation of tidal flows and saline-freshwater interactions to attain high levels of productivity in the floodplains of rivers and streams. Changing from inland swamp cultivation to tidal production created higher expectations from plantation owners. Slaves became responsible for five acres of rice, three more than had been possible previously. Because of this new evidence coming to light, some historians contend that African-born slaves provided critical expertise in the cultivation of rice in South Carolina. The detailed and extensive rice cultivating systems increased demand for slave imports in South Carolina, doubling the slave population between 1750 and 1770. These slaves faced long days of backbreaking work and difficult tasks.
A slave's daily work on an antebellum rice plantation was divided into tasks. Each field hand was given a task--usually nine or ten hours' hard work--or a fraction of a task to complete each day according to his or her ability. The tasks were assigned by the driver, a slave appointed to supervise the daily work of the field hands. The driver held the most important position in the slave hierarchy on the rice plantation. His job was second only to the overseer in terms of responsibility.

The driver's job was particularly important because each step of the planting, growing, and harvesting process was crucial to the success or failure of the year's crop. In the spring, the land was harrowed and plowed in preparation for planting. Around the first of April rice seed was sown by hand using a small hoe. The first flooding of the field, the sprout flow, barely covered the seed and lasted only until the grain sprouted. The water was then drained to keep the delicate sprout from floating away, and the rice was allowed to grow for approximately three weeks. Around the first of May any grass growing among the sprouts was weeded by hoe and the field was flooded by the point flow to cover just the tops of the plants. After a few days the water was gradually drained until it half covered the plants. It remained at this level--the long flow--until the rice was strong enough to stand. More weeding followed and then the water was slowly drained completely off the field. The ground around the plants was hoed to encourage the growth and extension of the roots. After about three weeks, the field was hoed and weeded again, at which time--around mid-June or the first of July--the lay-by flow was added and gradually increased until the plants were completely submerged. This flow was kept on the field for about two months with fresh water periodically introduced and stagnant water run off by the tidal flow through small floodgates called trunks.
Rice planted in the first week of April was usually ready for harvesting by the first week of September. After the lay-by flow was withdrawn, just before the grain was fully ripe, the rice was cut with large sickles known as rice hooks and laid on the ground on the stubble. After it had dried overnight, the cut rice was tied into sheaves and taken by flatboat to the threshing yard. In the colonial period, threshing was most often done by beating the stalks with flails. This process was simple but time consuming. If the rice was to be sold rough, it was then shipped to the agent; otherwise, it was husked and cleaned--again, usually by hand. By the mid-19th century most of the larger plantations operated pounding and/or threshing mills which were driven by steam engines. After the rice had been prepared, it was packed in barrels, or tierces, and shipped to the market at Georgetown or Charleston. In 1850 a rice plantation in the Georgetown County area produced an average yield of 300,000 pounds of rice. The yield had increased to 500,000 pounds by 1860.

See National Park Service

Thursday, July 19, 2018

July 24, 1621 Constitution for the Council & Assembly in Virginia

Constitution for the Council & Assembly in Virginia July 24, 1621

To all people to whom these presents shall come, be seen, or heard, the Treasurer, Council & Company of Adventurers & Planters of the City of London for the first colony in Virginia send greeting.

Know that we, the said Treasurer, Council & Company, taking into our careful consideration the present state of the said colony in Virginia & intending, by the divine assistance, to settle such a form of government there as may be to the greatest benefit & comfort of the people & whereby all injustice, grievance, & oppression may be prevented & kept off as much as possible from the said colony, have thought fit to make our entrance by ordaining & establishing such supreme counsels as may not only be assisting to the Governor for the time being in administration of justice & the executing of other duties to his office belonging, but also by their vigilant care & prudence may provide as well for remedy of all inconveniences growing from time to time, as also for the advancing of increase, strength, stability, & prosperity of the said colony,

We, therefore, the said Treasurer, Council & Company, by authority directed to us from his Majesty under his great seal, upon mature deliberation do hereby order & declare that from hence forward there be two supreme councils in Virginia for the better government of the said colony as aforesaid. The one of which councils to be called the Council of State & whose office shall be chiefly assisting, with their care, advise, & circumspection, to the said Governor shall be chosen, nominated, placed, & displaced from time to time by us, the said Treasurer, Council & Company & our successors; which Council of State shall consist for the present only of those persons are here inserted, viz. Sir Francis Wyatt, Governor of Virginia; Captain Francis West; Sir George Yeardley, Knight; Sir William Newce, Knight, Marshal of Virginia; Mr. George Sandys, Treasurer; Mr. George Thorpe, Deputy of the College; Captain Thomas Newce, Deputy for the Company; Mr Christopher Davison, Secretary; Doctor Potts, physician to the company; Mr. Paulet; Mr. Leech; Captain Nathaniel Powell; Mr. Roger Smith; Mr. John Berkley; Mr. John Rolf; Mr. Ralph Hamer; Mr. John Pountus; Mr. Michael Lapworth; Mr. Harwood; Mr. Samuel Macocke. Which said councillors & council we earnestly pray & desire, & in his Majesty’s name strictly charge & command, that all factious partialities & sinister respects laid aside, they bend their care & endeavors to assist the said Governor first & principally in advancement & of the honor & service of Almighty God & the enlargement of His kingdom amongst those heathen people, & in erecting of the said colony in one obedience to his Majesty & all lawful authority from his Majesty’s derived, & lastly in maintaining the said people in justice & Christian conversation among themselves & in strength & hability to withstand their enemies. And this Council is to be always, or for the most part, residing about or near the said Governor, & yearly, of course, & no oftener but for very extraordinary & important occasions, shall consist for the present of the said Council of State & of two burgesses out of every town, hundred & other particular plantation to be respectfully chosen by the inhabitants. Which Council shall be called the General Assembly, wherein, as also in the said Council of State, all matters shall be decided, determined, & ordered by the greater part of the voices then present, reserving always to the Governor a negative voice. And this General Assembly shall have free power to treat, consult, & conclude as well of all emergent occasions concerning public weal of the said colony & every part thereof as shall from time to time appear necessary or requisite. Wherein, as in all other things, we require the said General Assembly, as also the said Council of State, to imitate & follow the policy of the form of government, laws, customs, manners of loyal & other administration of justice used in the realm of England, as near as may be even as ourselves by his Majesty’s letters patents are required; provided that no laws or ordinances made in the said General Assembly shall be & continue in force & validity unless the same shall be solemnly ratified & confirmed in a general greater court of the said court here in England & so ratified & returned to them under our seal. It being our intent to afford the like measure also unto the said colony that after the government of the said colony shall once have been well framed & settled accordingly, which is to be done by us as by authority derived from his Majesty & the same shall have been so by us declared, no orders of our court afterward shall bind the said colony unless they be ratified in like manner in their General Assembly.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our common seal the 24th day of (July) 1621, & in the year of the reign of our governor, Lord James by the […] of God of England, Scotland, France, & Ireland, King, Defender of the […], viz, of England, France, & Scotland the nineteenth & of Scotland the four & fiftieth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

March 05, 1624 Laws & Orders Concluded by the Virginia General Assembly

Laws & Orders Concluded by the Virginia General Assembly
March 05, 1624

THAT there shall be in every plantation, where the people use to meete for the worship of God, a house or roome sequestred for that purpose, & not to be for any temporal use whatsoever, & a place empaled in, sequestered only to the buryal of the dead.
That whosoever shall absent himselfe from divine service any Sunday without an allowable excuse shall forfeite a pound of tobacco, & he that absenteth himselfe a month shall forfeith 50lb. of tobacco.
That there be an uniformity in our church as neere as may be to the canons in England; both in substance & circumstance, & that all persons yeild readie obedience unto them under paine of censure.
That the 22nd of March be yeerly solemnized as holliday, & all other hollidays (except when they fall two together) betwixt the feast of the annuntiation of the blessed virgin & St. Michael the archangell, then only the first to be observed by reason of our necessities.
That no minister be absent from his church above two months in all the yeare upon penalty of forfeiting halfe his means, & whosoever shall absent above fowre months in the year shall forfeit his whole means & cure.
That whosoever shall disparage a minister without bringing sufficient proofe to justify his reports whereby the mindes of his parishioners may be alienated from him, & his ministry prove the less effectual by their prejudication, shall not only pay 500lb. waight of tobacco but also aske the minister so wronged forgiveness publickly in the congregation.
That no man dispose of any of his tobacco before the minister be satisfied, upon pain of forfeiture double his part of the minister’s means, & one man of every plantation to collect his means out of the first & best tobacco & corn.
That the Governor shall not lay any taxes or ympositions upon the colony their lands or comodities other way than by the authority of the General Assembly, to be levyed & ymployed as the said Assembly shall appoynt.
The governor shall not withdraw the inhabitants from their private labors to any service of his own upon any colour whatsoever & in case the publick service require ymployments of many hands before the holding a General Assemblie to give order for the same, in that case the levying of men shall be done by order of the governor & whole body of the counsell & that in such sorte as to be least burthensome to the people & most free from partialitie.
That all the old planters that were here before or came in at the last coming of sir Thomas Gates they & their posterity shall be exempted from their personal service to the warrs & any publick charge (church duties excepted) that belong particularly to their persons (not exempting their families) except such as shall be ymployed to command in chief.
That no burgesses of the General Assembly shall be arrested during the time of the assembly, a week before & a week after upon pain of the creditors forfeiture of his debt & such punishment upon the officer as the court shall award.
That there shall be courts kept once a month in the corporations of Charles City & Elizabeth Citty for the decyding of suits & controversies not exceeding the value of one hundred pounds of tobacco & for punishing of petty offences, that the commanders of the places & such others as the governor & council shall appoint by commission shall be the judges, with reservation of apeal after sentence to the governor & counsell & whosoever shall appeal yf he be there cast in suit shall pay duble damages, The commanders to be of the quorum & sentence to be given by the major parties.
That every privatt planters devident shall be surveyed & laid out in several & the bounds recorded by the survey; yf there be any pettie differences betwixt neighbours about their devidents to be divided by the surveyor if of much importance to be referred to the governor & counsell: the surveyor to have 10lbs. of tobacco upon every hundred acres.
For the encouragement of men to plant store of corne, the prise shall not be stinted, but it shall be free for every man to sell it as deere as he can.
That there shall be in every parish a bulick granary unto which there shall be contributed for every planter exceeding the adge of 18 years alive at the crop after he hath been heere a year a bushell of corne, the which shall be disposed for the publique uses of every parish by the major part of the freemen, the remainder yearly to be taken out by the owners at St. Tho’s his day & the new bushell to be putt in the roome.
That three sufficient men of every parish shall be sworne to see that every man shall plant & tende sufficient of corne for his family. Those men that have neglected so to do are to be by the said three men presented to be censured by the governor & counsell.
That all trade for corne with the salvages as well publick as private after June next shall be prohibited.
That every freeman shall fence in a quarter of an acre of ground before Whitsuntide next to make a garden for planting of vines, herbs, roots, &c. subpoena ten pounds of tobacco a man, but that no man for his own family shall be tyed to fence above an acre of land & that whosoever hath fenced a garden & [ ] of the land shall be paid for it by the owner of the soyle; they shall also plant Mulberry trees.
The proclamations for swearing & drunkenness sett out by the governor & counsell are confirmed by this Assembly; & it is further ordered that the churchwardens shall be sworne to present them to the commanders of every plantation & that the forfeitures shall be collected by them to be for publique uses.
That a proclamation be read, aboard every ship & afterwards fixed to the maste of such [ ] in, prohibiting them to break boulke or make privatt sales of any commodity until[ ] James City, without special order from the governor & counsell
That the proclamation of the rates of commodities be still in force & that there be some men in every plantation to censure the tobacco.
That there be no weights nor measures used but such as shall be sealed by officers appointed for that purpose.
That every dwelling house shall be pallizaded in for defence against the Indians.
That no man go or send abroad without a sufficient parties well armed.
That men go not to worke in the ground without their arms (and a centinell upon them).
That the inhabitants go not aboard ships or upon any other occasions in such numbers, as thereby to weaken & endanger the plantations.
That the commander of every plantation take care that there be sufficient of powder & amunition within the plantation under his command & their pieces fixt & their arms compleate.
That there be dew watch kept by night.
That no commander of any plantation do either himselfe or suffer others to spend powder unneccessarily in drinking or entertainments, &c.
That such persons of quality as shall be found delinquent in their duties being not fitt to undergoe corporal punishment may notwithstanding be ymprisoned at the discretione of the commander & for greater offences to be subject to a ffine inflicted by the monthlie court, so that it exceed not the value aforesaid.
That every man that hath not contributed to the finding a man at the castell shall pay for himself & servants five pounds of tobacco a head, towards the discharge of such as had their servants here.
That at the beginning of July next the inhabitants of every corporation shall fall upon their adjoyning salvages as we did the last yeare, those that shall be hurte upon service to be cured at the publique charge; in case any be lamed to be maintained by the country according to his person & quality.
That for defraying of such publique debts our troubles have brought upon us. There shall be levied 10 pounds of tobacco upon every male head above sixteen years of adge now living (not including such as arrived since the beginning of July last).
That no person within this colony upon the rumur of supposed changed & alteration, presume to be disobedient to the present government, nor servants to their private officers, masters or overseers at their uttermost perills.
That Mr. John Pountis, counsellor of state, goin to England, (being willing by our intreatie to accept of that imployment) to solicite the general cause of the country to his majesty & the counsell, towards the charges of which voyage, the country consente to pay for every male head above sixteen years of adge then living, which have been here a yeare ffour pounds of the best merchantable tobacco, in leafe, at or before the last of October next.

Sir Francis Wyatt, Knt. Governor, &c.
Capt Fran’s West, John Pott,
Sir George Yeardley Capt. Roger Smith,
George Sandy’s Trear, Capt. Raphe Hamer.
John Pountis.
William Tucker, Nathaniel Bass,
Jabez Whitakers, John Willcox,
William Peeine, Nicho: Marten,
Rauleigh Croshaw, Clement, Dilke,
Richard Kingsmell, Isaeck Chaplin,
Edward Blany, John Cew,
Luke Boyse, John Utie,
John Pollington. John Southerne,
Nathaniel Causey, Richard Bigge,
Robert Addams, Henry Watkins,
Thomas Harris, Gabriel Holland,
Richard Stephens, Thomas Morlatt,

Copia Test,

R.HICKMAN, Cl. Sec. off.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1625 Plymouth Oath of Allegiance & Fidelity

Plymouth Oath of Allegiance & Fidelity 1625


You shall sweare by the name of the great God…& earth & in his holy fear, & presence that you shall not speake, or doe, devise, or advise, anything or things, acte or acts, directly, or indirectly, By land, or water, that doth, shall, or may, tend to the destruction or overthrowe of this present plantation, Colonie, or Corporation of this towne Plimouth in New England.

Neither shall you suffer the same to be spoken, or done, but shall hinder & opposse the same, by all due means you can.

You shall not enter into any league, treaty, Confederace or combination, with any, within the said Colonie or without the same that shall plote, or contrive any thing to the hurte & ruine of the growth, & good of the said plantation.

You shall not consente to any such confederation, nor conceale any known unto you certainly, or by conje but shall forthwith manifest & make knowne by same, to the Governours of this said towne for the time being.

And this you promise & swear, simply & truly, & faithfully to performe as a true Christian [you hope for help from God, the God of truth & punisher of falshoode].


You shall swear, according to that wisdom, & measure of discerning given unto you; faithfully, equally & indifrently without respect of persons; to administer Justice, in all causes coming before you. And shall labor, to advance, & furder the good of this Colony, & plantation, to the utmost of your power; & oppose any thing that may hinder the same. So help you God.

Friday, July 13, 2018

1628 Petition of Right

Petition of Right 1628

The King’s Most Excellent Majesty.

Humbly shew unto our Sovereign Lord the King, the Lords Spiritual & Temporal, & Commons, in Parliament assembled, that whereas it is declared & enacted by a statute made in the time of the Reign of King Edward I., commonly called Statutum de Tallagio non concedendo, that no tallage or aid shall be laid or levied by the king or his heirs in this realm, without the good will & assent of the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, knights, burgesses & other the freemen of the commonalty of this realm; & by the authority of Parliament holden in the five-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III., it is declared & enacted, that from thenceforth no person should be compelled to make any loans to the king against his will, because such loans were against reason & the franchise of the land; & by other laws of this realm it is provided, that none should be charged by any charge or imposition, called a benevolence, nor by such like charge; by which the statutes before mentioned, & other the good laws & statutes of this realm, your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax, tallage, aid, or other like charge not set by common consent in Parliament.

II. Yet nevertheless, of late divers commissions directed to sundry commissioners in several counties, with instructions, have issued; by means wherof your people have been in divers places assembled, & required to lend certain sums of money unto your Majesty, & many of them, upon their refusal so to do, have had an oath administered unto them not warrantable by the laws or statutes of this realm; & have been constrained to become bound to make appearance & give attendance before your privy council, & in other places, & others of them have been therefore imprisoned, confined, & sundry other ways molested & disquieted; & divers other charges have been laid & levied upon your people in several counties by lord lieutenants, deputy lieutenants, commissioners for musters, justices of peace & others, by command or direction from your Majesty, or your Privy Council, against the laws & free customs of this realm.

III. And where also by the statute called “The Great Charter of the Liberties of England,” it is declared & enacted that no freeman may be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs, or be outlawed or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.

IV. And in the eight-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III., it was declared & enacted by authority of Parliament, that no man of what estate or condition that he be, should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disherited, nor put to death, without being brought to answer by due process of law.

V. Nevertheless, against the tenor of the said statutes, & other the good laws & statutes of your realm to that end provided, divers of your subjects have of late been imprisoned without any cause shewed; & when for their deliverance they were brought before your justices by your Majesty’s writs of Habeas Corpus, there to undergo & receive as the court should order, & the keepers commanded to certify the causes of their detainer, no cause was certified, but that they were detained by your Majesty’s special command, signified by the lords of your Privy Council, & yet were returned back to several prisons, without being charged with anything to which they might make answer according to the law.

VI. And wheras of late great companies of soldiers & mariners & been dispersed into divers counties of the realm, & the inhabitants against their wills have been compelled to receive them into their houses, & there to suffer them to sojourn, against the laws & customs of this realm, & to the great grievance & vexation of the people:

VII. And wheras also by authority of Parliament, in the five-and-twentieth year of the reign of King Edward III., it is declared & enacted, that no man shall be forejudged of life or limb against the form of the Great Charter & the law of the land; & by the said Great Charter & other the laws & statutes of this your realm, no man ought to be adjudged to death but by the laws established in this your realm, either by the customs of the same realm, or by acts of Parliament: And whereas no offender of what kind soever is exempted from the proceedings to be used, & punishments to be inflicted by the laws & statutes of this your realm: nevertheless of late times divers commissions under your Majesty’s great seal have issued forth, but which certain persons have been assigned & appointed commissioners, with powers & authority to proceed within the land, according to the justice of martial law, against such soldiers & mariners, or other dissolute persons joining with them, as should commit any murder, robbery, felony, mutiny, or other outrage or misdemeanour whatsoever, & by such summary course & order as is agreeable to martial law, & as is used in armies in time of war, to proceed to the trial & condemnation of such offenders, & them to cause to be executed & put to death according to the law martial:

VIII. By pretext whereof some of your Majesty’s subjects have been by some of the said commissioners put to death, when & where, if by the laws & statutes of the land they had deserved death, by the same laws & statutes also they might, & by no other ought to have been adjudged & executed.

IX. And also sundry grievous offenders, by colour thereof claiming an exemption, have escaped the punishments due to them by the laws & statutes of this your realm, by reason that divers of your officers & ministers of justice have unjustly refused or forborn to proceed against such offenders according to the same laws & statutes, upon pretence that the said offenders were punishable only by martial law, & by authority of such commissions as aforesaid: which commissions, & all other of like nature, are wholly & directly contrary to the said laws & statutes of this your realm.

X. They do therefore humbly pray your most excellent Majesty, that no man hereafter be compelled to make or yield any gift, loan, benevolence, tax or such charge, without common consent by act of Parliament; & that none be called to make, answer, or take such oath, or to give attendance, or be confined, or otherwise molested or disquieted concerning the same, or for refusal thereof; & that no freeman, in any such manner as is before mentioned, be imprisoned or detained; & that your Majesty would be pleased to remove the said soldiers & mariners; & that your people may not be so burthened in time to come; & that the aforesaid commissions for proceeding by martial law, may be revoked & annulled; & that hereafter no commissions of like nature may issue forth to any person or persons whatsoever to be executed as aforesaid, lest by colour of them any of your Majesty’s subjects be destroyed, or put to death contrary to the laws & franchise of the land.

XI. All which they most humbly pray of your most excellent majesty as their rights & liberties, according to the laws & statutes of this realm; & that your Majesty would also vouchsafe to declare, that the awards, doings & proceedings, to the prejudice of your people in any of the premises shall not be drawn hereafter into consequence or example; & that your Majesty would be also graciously pleased, for the further comfort & safety of your People, to declare your royal will & pleasure, that in the things aforesaid all your officers & ministers shall serve you according to the laws & statutes of this realm, as they tender the honour of your Majesty, & the prosperity of this kingdom.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

1629 Salem Covenant

Salem Covenant of 1629

We Covenant with the Lord and one with another; and do bind our selves in the presence of God, to walk together in all his waies, according as he is pleased to reveale himselfe unto us in his Blessed word of truth.

Monday, July 9, 2018

1629 Charter of Massachusetts Bay

Charter of Massachusetts Bay
March 4, 1629

And further, That the said Governour & Companye, & their Successors, maie have forever one comon Seale, to be used in all Causes & Occasions of the said Company, & the same Seale may alter, chaunge, breake, & newe make, from tyme to tyme, at their pleasures. And our Will & Pleasure is, & Wee doe hereby for Us, our Heires & Successors, ordeyne & graunte, That from henceforth for ever, there shalbe one Governor, one Deputy Governor, & eighteene Assistants of the same Company, to be from tyme to tyme constituted, elected & chosen out of the Freemen of the saide Company, for the twyme being, in such Manner & Forme as hereafter in theis Presents is expressed, which said Officers shall applie themselves to take Care for the best disposeing & ordering of the generall buysines & Affaires of, for, & concerning the said Landes & Premisses hereby mentioned, to be graunted, & the Plantation thereof, & the Government of the People there. And for the better Execution of our Royall Pleasure & Graunte in this Behalf, Wee doe, by theis presents, for Us, our Heires & Successors, nominate, ordeyne, make, & constitute; our welbeloved the saide Mathewe Cradocke, to be the first & present Governor of the said Company, & the saide Thomas Goffe, to be Deputy Governor of the saide Company, & the saide Sir Richard Saltonstall, Isaack Johnson, Samuell Aldersey, John Ven, John Humfrey, John Endecott, Simon Whetcombe, Increase Noell, Richard Pery, Nathaniell Wright, Samuell Vassall, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Adams, Thomas Hutchins, John Browne, George Foxcrofte, William Vassall, & William Pinchion, to be the present Assistants of the saide Company, to continue in the saide several Offices respectivelie for such tyme, & in such manner, as in & by theis Presents is hereafter declared & appointed.

And further, Wee will, & by theis Presents, for Us, our Heires & Successors, doe ordeyne & graunte, That the Governor of the saide Company for the tyme being, or in his Absence by Occasion of Sicknes or otherwise, the Deputie Governor for the tyme being, shall have Authoritie from tyme to tyme upon all Occasions, to give order for the assembling of the saide Company, & calling them together to consult & advise of the Bussinesses & Affaires of the saide Company, & that the said Governor, Deputie Governor, & Assistants of the saide Company, for the tyme being, shall or maie once every Moneth, or oftener at their Pleasures, assemble & houlde & keepe a Courte or Assemblie of themselves, for the better ordering & directing of their Affaires, & that any seaven or more persons of the Assistants, togither with the Governor, or Deputie Governor soe assembled, shalbe saide, taken, held, & reputed to be, & shalbe a full & sufficient Courte or Assemblie of the said Company, for the handling, ordering, & dispatching of all such Buysinesses & Occurrents as shall from tyme to tyme happen, touching or concerning the. said Company or Plantation; & that there shall or maie be held & kept by the Governor, or Deputie Governor of the said Company, & seaven or more of the said Assistants for the tyme being, upon every last Wednesday in Hillary, Easter, Trinity, & Michas Termes respectivelie forever, one greate generall & solemne assemblie, which foure generall assemblies shalbe stiled & called the foure greate & generall Courts of the saide Company.

In all & every, or any of which saide greate & generall Courts soe assembled, Wee doe for Us, our Heires & Successors, give & graunte to the said Governor & Company, & their Successors, That the Governor, or in his absence, the Deputie Governor of the saide Company for the tyme being, & such of the Assistants & Freeman of the saide Company as shalbe present, or the greater nomber of them so assembled, whereof the Governor or Deputie Governor & six of the Assistants at the least to be seaven, shall have full Power & authoritie to choose, nominate, & appointe, such & soe many others as they shall thinke fitt, & that shall be willing to accept the same, to be free of the said Company & Body, & them into the same to admitt; & to elect & constitute such officers as they shall thinke fill & requisite, for the ordering, mannaging, & dispatching of the Affaires of the saide Governor & Company, & their Successors; And to make Lawes & Ordinances for the Good & Welfare of the saide Company, & for the Government & ordering of the saide Landes & Plantation, & the People inhabiting & to inhabite the same, as to them from tyme to tyme shalbe thought meete, soe as such Lawes & Ordinances be not contrarie or repugnant to the Lawes & Statuts of this our Realme of England.

And, our Will & Pleasure is, & Wee doe hereby for Us, our Heires & Successors, establish & ordeyne, That yearely once in the yeare, for ever hereafter, namely, the last Wednesday in Easter Tearme, yearely, the Governor, Deputy-Governor, & Assistants of the saide Company & all other officers of the saide Company shalbe in the Generall Court or Assembly to be held for that Day or Tyme, newly chosen for the Yeare ensueing by such greater parte of the said Company, for the Tyme being, then & there present, as is aforesaide. And, if it shall happen the present governor, Deputy Governor, & assistants, by theis presents appointed, or such as shall hereafter be newly chosen into their Roomes, or any of them, or any other of the officers to be appointed for the said Company, to dye, or to be removed from his or their severall Offices or Places before the saide generall Day of Election (whome Wee doe hereby declare for any Misdemeanor or Defect to be removeable by the Governor, Deputie Governor, Assistants, & Company, or such greater Parte of them in any of the publique Courts to be assembled as is aforesaid) That then, & in every such Case, it shall & maie be lawfull, to & for the Governor, Deputie Governor, Assistants, & Company aforesaide, or such greater Parte of them soe to be assembled as is aforesaide, in any of their Assemblies, to proceade to a new Election of one or more others of their Company in the Roome or Place, Roomes or Places of such Officer or Officers soe dyeing or removed according to their Discretions, And, immediately upon & after such Election & Elections made of such Governor, Deputie Governor, Assistant or Assistants, or any other officer of the saide Company, in Manner & Forme aforesaid, the Authoritie, Office, & Power, before given to the former Governor, Deputie Governor, or other Officer & Officers soe removed, in whose Steade & Place newe shalbe soe chosen, shall as to him & them, & everie of them, cease & determine

Provided alsoe, & our Will & Pleasure is, That aswell such as are by theis Presents appointed to be the present Governor, Deputie Governor, & Assistants of the said Company, as those that shall succeed them, & all other Officers to be appointed & chosen as aforesaid, shall, before they undertake the Execution of their saide Offices & Places respectivelie, take their Corporal Oathes for the due & faithfull Performance of their Duties in their severall Offices & Places, before such Person or Persons as are by theis Presents hereunder appointed to take & receive the same…

And, further our Will & Pleasure is, & Wee doe hereby for Us, our Heires & Successors, ordeyne & declare, & graunte to the saide Governor & Company & their Successors, That all & every the Subjects of Us, our Heires or Successors, which shall goe to & inhabite within the saide Landes & Premisses hereby mentioned to be graunted, & every of their Children which shall happen to be borne there, or on the Seas in goeing thither, or retorning from thence, shall have & enjoy all liberties & Immunities of free & naturall Subjects within any of the Domynions of Us, our Heires or Successors, to all Intents, Constructions, & Purposes whatsoever, as if they & everie of them were borne within the Realme of England. And that the Governor & Deputie Governor of the said Company for the Tyme being, or either of them, & any two or more of such of the saide Assistants as shalbe thereunto appointed by the saide Governor & Company at any of their Courts or Assemblies to be held as aforesaide, shall & maie at all Tymes, & from tyme to tyme hereafter, have full Power & Authoritie to minister & give the Oathe & Oathes of Supremacie & Allegiance, or either of them, to all & everie Person & Persons, which shall at any Tyme or Tymes hereafter goe or passe to the Landes & Premisses hereby mentioned to be graunted to inhabite in the same.

And, Wee doe of our further Grace, certen Knowledg & meere Motion, give & graunte to the saide Governor & Company, & their Successors, That it shall & maie be lawfull, to & for the Governor or Deputie Governor, & such of the Assistants & Freemen of the said Company for the Tyme being as shalbe assembled in any of their generall Courts aforesaide, or in any other Courtes to be specially sumoned & assembled for that Purpose, or the greater Parte of them (whereof the Governor or Deputie Governor, & six of the Assistants to be alwaies seaven) from tyme to tyme, to make, ordeine, & establishe all Manner of wholesome & reasonable Orders, Lawes, Statutes, & Ordinances, Directions, & Instructions, not contrairie to the Lawes of this our Realme of England, aswell for setling of the Formes & Ceremonies of Government & Magistracy, fitt & necessary for the said Plantation, & the Inhabitants there, & for nameing & setting of all sorts of Officers, both superior & inferior, which they shall finde needefull for that Governement & Plantation, & the distinguishing & setting forth of the severall duties, Powers, & Lymytts of every such Office & Place, & the Formes of such Oathes warrantable by the Lawes & Statutes of this our Realme of England, as shalbe respectivelie ministred unto them for the Execution of the said severall Offices & Places; as also, for the disposing & ordering of the Elections of such of the said Officers as shalbe annuall, & of such others as shalbe to succeede in Case of Death or Removeall, & ministring the said Oathes to the newe elected Officers, & for Impositions of lawfull Fynes, Mulcts, Imprisonment, or other lawfull Correction, according to the Course of other Corporations in this our Realme of England, & for the directing, ruling, & disposeing of all other Matters & Thinges, whereby our said People, Inhabitants there, may be soe religiously, peaceablie, & civilly governed, as their good Life & orderlie Conversation, maie wynn & incite the Natives of Country, to the Knowledg & Obedience of the onlie true God & Savior of Mankinde, & the Christian Fayth, which in our Royall Intention, & the Adventurers free Profession, is the principall Ende of this Plantation.

Willing, commaunding, & requiring, & by theis Presents for Us, our Heires, & Successors, ordeyning & appointing, that all such Orders, Lawes, Statuts & Ordinances, Instructions & Directions, as shalbe soe made by the Governor, or Deputie Governor of the said Company, & such of the Assistants & Freemen as aforesaide, & published in Writing, under their common Seale, shalbe carefullie & dulie observed, kept, performed, & putt in Execution, according to the true Intent & Meaning of the same; & theis our Letters- patents, or the Duplicate or exemplification thereof, shalbe to all & everie such Officers, superior & inferior, from Tyme to Tyme, for the putting of the same Orders, Lawes, Statutes, & Ordinances, Instructions, & Directions, in due Execution against Us, our Heires & Successors, a sufficient Warrant & Discharge.

And Wee doe further, for Us, our Heires & Successors, give & graunt to the said Governor & Company, & their Successors by theis Presents, that all & everie such Chiefe Comaunders, Captaines, Governors, & other Officers & Ministers, as by the said Orders, Lawes, Statuts, Ordinances, Instructions, or Directions of the said Governor & Company for the Tyme being, shalbe from Tyme to Tyme hereafter imploied either in the Government of the saide Inhabitants & Plantation, or in the Waye by Sea thither, or from thence, according to the Natures & Lymitts of their Offices & Places respectively, shall from Tyme to Tyme hereafter for ever, within the Precincts & Partes of Newe England hereby mentioned to be graunted & confirmed, or in the Waie by Sea thither, or from thence, have full & Absolute Power & Authoritie to correct, punishe, pardon, governe, & rule all such the Subjects of Us, our Heires & Successors, as shall from Tyme to Tyme adventure themselves in any Voyadge thither or from thence, or that shall at any Tyme hereafter, inhabite within the Precincts & Partes of Newe England aforasaid, according to the Orders, Lawes, Ordinances, Instructions, & Directions aforesaid, not being repugnant to the Lawes & Statutes of our Realme of England as aforesaid…

Saturday, July 7, 2018

1629 Agreement of the Massachusetts Bay Company at Cambridge, England

Agreement of the Massachusetts Bay Company at Cambridge, England
August 26, 1629

Upon due consideracion of the state of the plantacion now in hand for New England, wherein wee (whose names are hereunto subscribed) have ingaged ourselves: and having weighed the greatnes of the worke in regard of the consequences, Gods glory and the churches good: As also in regard of the difficultyes and discourgements which in all probabilityes must be forcast upon the prosecucion of this businesse: Considering withall that this whole adventure growes upon the joynt confidence we have in each others fidelity and resolucion herein, so as no man of us would have adventured it without assurance of the rest: Now for the better encourragement of ourselves and others that shall joyne with us in this action, and to the end that every man may without scruple dispose of his estate and afayres as may best fitt his preparacion for this voyage, It is fully and faithfully agreed amongst us, and every of us doth hereby freely and sincerely promise and bynd himselfe in the word of a Christian and in the presence of God who is the searcher of all hearts, that we will so really endevour the prosecucion of his worke, as by Gods assistaunce we will be ready in our persons, and with such of our severall familyes as are to go with us and such provisions as we are able conveniently to furnish ourselves withall, to embarke for the said plantacion by the first of march next, at such port or ports of this land as shall be agreed upon by the Company, to the end to passe the Seas (under Gods protection) to inhabite and continue in New England. Provided alwayes that before the last of September next the whole governement together with the Patent for the said plantacion bee first by an order of Court legally transferred and established to remayne with us and others which shall inhabite upon the said plantacion. And provided also that if any shall be hindered by such just and inevitable Lett or other cause to be allowed by 3 parts of foure of these whose names are hereunto subscribed, then such persons for such tymes and during such letts to be discharged of this bond. And we do further promise every one for himselfe that shall fayle to be ready through his owne default by the day appointed, to pay for every dayes defalt the summe of 3 li to the use of the rest of the Company who shall be ready by the same day and tyme.

This was done by order of Court the 29th of August. 1629.

Rich Saltonstall
Tho Dudley
William Vassall
Nich West
Isaack Johnson
John Humfrey
Tho Sharp
Increase Nowell
John Winthrop
Will Pinchon
Kellam Browne
William Colbron

Thursday, July 5, 2018

1630 The Watertown Covenant

The Watertown Covenant
July 30, 1630

We whose Names are hereto subscribed, having through God’s Mercy escaped out of Pollutions of the World, & been taken into the Society of his People, with all Thankfulness do hereby both with Heart & Hand acknowledge, That his Gracious Goodness, & Fatherly Care, towards us: And for further & more full Declaration thereof, to the present & future Ages, have undertaken (for the promoting of his Glory & the Churches Good, & the Honor of our Blessed Jesus, in our more full & free subjecting of our selves & ours, under his Gracious Government, in the practice of, & Obedience unto all his Holy Ordinances & Orders, which he Hath pleased to prescribe & impose upon us) a long & hazardous Voyage from East to West, from Old England in Europe, to New England in America that we may walk before him, & serve him, without Fear in Holiness & Righteousness, all the Days of our Lives: And being safely arrived here, & thus far onwards peaceably preserved by his special Providence, that we bring forth our Intentions into Actions, & perfect our Resolutions, in the Beginnings of some Just & Meet Executions; We have separated the Day above written from all other Services, & Dedicated it wholly to the Lord in Divine Employments, for a Day of Afflicting our Souls, & humbling our selves before the Lord, to seek him, & at his Hands, a Way to walk in, by Fasting & Prayer, that we might know what was Good in his Sight: And the Lord was intreated of us.

For in the End of the Day, after the finishing of our Publick Duties, we do all, before we depart, solemnly & with all our Hearts, personally, Man by Man for our selves & others (charging them before Christ & his Elect Angels, even them that are not here with us this Day, or are yet unborn, That they keep the Promise unblameably & faithfully unto the coming of our Lord Jesus) Promise, & enter into a sure Covenant with the Lord our God, & before him with one another, by Oath & serious Protestation made, to Renounce all Idolatry & Superstition, Will-Worship, all Humane Traditions & Inventions whatsoever, in the Worship of God; & forsaking all Evil Ways, do give ourselves wholly unto the Lord Jesus, to do him faithful Service, observing & keeping all his Statutes, Commands, & Ordinances, in all Matters concerning our Reformation; his Worship, Administrations, Ministry, & Government; & in the Carriage of our selves among our selves, & one another towards another, as he hath prescribed in his Holy Word. Further swearing to cleave unto that alone, & the true Sense & meaning thereof to the utmost of our Power, as unto the most clear Light & infallible Rule, & All-sufficient Canon, in all things that concern us in this our Way. In Witness of all, we do ex Animo, & in the presence of God, hereto set our Names, or Marks, in the Day & Year above written.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Emergence of Colonial Government

Emergence of Colonial Government

In the early phases of colonial development, a striking feature was the lack of controlling influence by the English government. All colonies except Georgia emerged as companies of shareholders, or as feudal proprietorships stemming from charters granted by the Crown. The fact that the king had transferred his immediate sovereignty over the New World settlements to stock companies & proprietors did not, of course, mean that the colonists in America were necessarily free of outside control. Under the terms of the Virginia Company charter, for example, full governmental authority was vested in the company itself. Nevertheless, the crown expected that the company would be resident in England. Inhabitants of Virginia, then, would have no more voice in their government than if the king himself had retained absolute rule.

Still, the colonies considered themselves chiefly as commonwealths or states, much like England itself, having only a loose association with the authorities in London. In one way or another, exclusive rule from the outside withered away.  The colonists – inheritors of the long English tradition of the struggle for political liberty – incorporated concepts of freedom into Virginia's first charter. It provided that English colonists were to exercise all liberties, franchises, & immunities "as if they had been abiding & born within this our Realm of England." They were, then, to enjoy the benefits of the Magna Carta – the charter of English political & civil liberties granted by King John in 1215 – & the common law – the English system of law based on legal precedents or tradition, not statutory law.  In 1618 the Virginia Company issued instructions to its appointed governor providing that free inhabitants of the plantations should elect representatives to join with the governor & an appointive council in passing ordinances for the welfare of the colony.

These measures proved to be some of the most far‑reaching in the entire colonial period. From then on, it was generally accepted that the colonists had a right to participate in their own government. In most instances, the king, in making future grants, provided in the charter that the free men of the colony should have a voice in legislation affecting them. Thus, charters awarded to the Calverts in Maryland, William Penn in Pennsylvania, the proprietors in North & South Carolina, & the proprietors in New Jersey specified that legislation should be enacted with "the consent of the freemen."

In New England, for many years, there was even more complete self-government than in the other colonies. Aboard the Mayflower, the Pilgrims adopted an instrument for government called the "Mayflower Compact," to "combine ourselves together into a civil body politic for our better ordering & preservation ... & by virtue hereof [to] enact, constitute, & frame such just & equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, & offices ... as shall be thought most meet & convenient for the general good of the colony. ..."

Although there was no legal basis for the Pilgrims to establish a system of self-government, the action was not contested, and, under the compact, the Plymouth settlers were able for many years to conduct their own affairs without outside interference.

A similar situation developed in the Massachusetts Bay Company, which had been given the right to govern itself. Thus, full authority rested in the hands of persons residing in the colony. At first, the dozen or so original members of the company who had come to America attempted to rule autocratically. But the other colonists soon demanded a voice in public affairs & indicated that refusal would lead to a mass migration.

The company members yielded, & control of the government passed to elected representatives. Subsequently, other New England colonies – such as Connecticut & Rhode Island – also succeeded in becoming self-governing simply by asserting that they were beyond any governmental authority, & then setting up their own political system modeled after that of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

In only two cases was the self-government provision omitted. These were New York, which was granted to Charles II's brother, the Duke of York (later to become King James II), & Georgia, which was granted to a group of "trustees." In both instances the provisions for governance were short‑lived, for the colonists demanded legislative representation so insistently that the authorities soon yielded.

In the mid-17th century, the English were too distracted by their Civil War (1642-1649) & Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Commonwealth to pursue an effective colonial policy. After the restoration of Charles II & the Stuart dynasty in 1660, England had more opportunity to attend to colonial administration. Even then, however, it was inefficient & lacked a coherent plan.  The colonies were left largely to their own devices.

The remoteness afforded by a vast ocean also made control of the colonies difficult. Added to this was the character of life itself in early America.  From countries limited in space & dotted with populous towns, the settlers had come to a land of seemingly unending reach. On such a continent, natural conditions promoted a tough individualism, as people became used to making their own decisions. Government penetrated the backcountry only slowly, & conditions of anarchy often prevailed on the frontier.

Yet the assumption of self-government in the colonies did not go entirely unchallenged. In the 1670s, the Lords of Trade & Plantations, a royal committee established to enforce the mercantile system in the colonies, moved to annul the Massachusetts Bay charter because the colony was resisting the government's economic policy. James II in 1685 approved a proposal to create a Dominion of New England & place colonies south through New Jersey under its jurisdiction, thereby tightening the Crown's control over the whole region. A royal governor, Sir Edmund Andros, levied taxes by executive order, implemented a number of other harsh measures, & jailed those who resisted.

When news of the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689), which deposed James II in England, reached Boston, the population rebelled & imprisoned Andros. Under a new charter, Massachusetts & Plymouth were united for the first time in 1691 as the royal colony of Massachusetts Bay. The other New England colonies quickly reinstalled their previous governments.

The English Bill of Rights & the Toleration Act of 1689 affirmed freedom of worship for Christians in the colonies as well as in England & enforced limits on the Crown. Equally important, John Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690), the Glorious Revolution's major theoretical justification, set forth a theory of government based not on divine right but on contract.  It contended that the people, endowed with natural rights of life, liberty, & property, had the right to rebel when governments violated their rights.

By the early 18th century, almost all the colonies had been brought under the direct jurisdiction of the British Crown, but under the rules established by the Glorious Revolution.   Colonial governors sought to exercise powers that the king had lost in England, but the colonial assemblies, aware of events there, attempted to assert their "rights" & "liberties."  Their leverage rested on two significant powers similar to those held by the English Parliament: the right to vote on taxes & expenditures, & the right to initiate legislation rather than merely react to proposals of the governor.

The legislatures used these rights to check the power of royal governors & to pass other measures to expand their power & influence. The recurring clashes between governor & assembly made colonial politics tumultuous & worked increasingly to awaken the colonists to the divergence between American & English interests. In many cases, the royal authorities did not understand the importance of what the colonial assemblies were doing & simply neglected them.  Nonetheless, the precedents & principles established in the conflicts between assemblies & governors eventually became part of the unwritten "constitution" of the colonies.  In this way, the colonial legislatures asserted the right of self-government.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

1631 The Oath of a Freeman, or of a Man to Be Made Free

The Oath of a Freeman, or of a Man to Be Made Free

I, A.B.&c. being, by the Almighties most wise disposicon, become a membr of this body, consisting of the Gounr, Assistants, & a comnlty of the Mattachusets in Newe England, doe, freely & sincerely acknowledge that I am iustly & lawfully subject to the goumt of the same, & doe accordingly submit my pson & estate to be ptected, ordered, & gouned by the laws & constitucons thereof, & doe faithfully pmise to be from time to time obedient & conformeable thervnto, & to the authie of the said Gounr & Assistnts & their successrs, & to all such lawes, orders, sentences, & decrees as shalbe lawfully made & published by them or their successrs; & I will alwaies indeavr (as in dutie I am bound) to advance the peace & wellfaire of this bodie or commonwealth to my vtmost skill & abilitie; & will, to my best power & meanes, seeke to devert & prevent whatsoeuer may tend to the ruyne or damage thereof, or of any the said Gounr, Deputy Gounr, or Assistants, or any of them, or their siccessrs, & will giue speedy notice to them, or some of them, of any sedicon, violence, treachery, or other hurt or ciuil which I shall knowe, heare, or vehemtly suspecte to be plotted or intended against the commonwealth, or the said goumt established; & I will not att any time suffer or giue consent to any counsell or attempt that shalbe offered giuen, or attempted for the impeachmt of the said goumt, or makeing any change or alteracon of the same, contrary to the lawes & ordinances thereof, but shall doe my vtmost endeavr to discover, oppose, & hinder, all & euy such counsel & attempts. Soe helpe me God.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Anne Arundell, Lady Baltimore (1615-1649) Never actually visited the New Colony.

Anne Arundell, Lady Baltimore (1615-1649).  Anne Calvert, Baroness Baltimore (née Hon. Anne Arundell; c. 1615/1616-23 July 1649) was an English noblewoman, daughter of Thomas Arundell, 1st Baron Arundell of Wardour, by his 2nd wife Anne Philipson, & wife of Lord Baltimore, who founded the Province of Maryland colony. She married Cecil Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore, (1605-1675), in 1627 or 1628 at age 13, when he was 18. At that time, his father Sir George Calvert,1st Lord Baltimore, (1578-1632), was embarking on his first colonial endeavor in Avalon located in Newfoundland & 6 years before son Cecil after the death of his father, supervised the sailing of the 2nd colonial enterprise in 1633 to the Chesapeake Bay area, north of the earlier colony of Virginia, which was named "Maryland" after Henrietta Maria, the wife and Queen of King Charles I, (1600-1649). A settlement arrangement for the marriage between them was made on 20 March 1627/28. Of her 9 children with Lord Baltimore, 3 survived to adulthood.

"Anne Arundell was born in 1615 into an elite English family of noble lineage. Anne's father, Sir Thomas Arundell of Wardour Castle in Wiltshire, England had served under King James I and her great-grandmother had been related by marriage to King Henry VIII. 

"Anne was reputed to be very beautiful, with many potential husbands. But in 1628 when she was only 13, she married Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore and a close friend of the family. Like the Calverts, Anne's family was Catholic, and her father was arrested a number of times because he refused to give up his religion. Cecil's marriage to Anne was fortunate for the creation of Maryland.

"Anne inherited lands and money from her father, which she and Cecil used to fund the new colony. But there was more to Anne than just her money. She played an important role in raising her son Charles, the future Lord Baltimore, as well as Cecil's younger half-brother Philip, who served as Governor and Chancellor of Maryland. 

"During her 20-year marriage to Cecil, Anne bore nine children, but only three lived to become adults. She was very well-loved and upon her death at age 34, her husband Cecil composed a memorial verse for her tomb in England in which he described her as "the most beautiful and best wife." The memorial continued, "Here lieth Anne Arundell, Lady Baltimore. Farewell to you most lovely of earthly beauties." 

"Although neither she nor her husband ever visited the colony that they helped found, Anne was very interested in Maryland. She decorated the ceiling of their home in England with plaster reliefs of the Ark and the Dove, the ships that brought the first colonists to Maryland.

"Indirectly, Anne played an important role in the early years of Maryland, and she seems to have been well-loved and respected. In 1649, the Maryland Assembly chose to honor Anne after her death by naming Anne Arundel County after her."  Papenfuse, Edward C. "The Forgotten Mothers of Maryland." Speech to the Society of the Ark and Dove, November 19, 1995.

After George Calvert’s death, Anne’s father, Lord Wardour, invested heavily in the Calvert family's proposed New World colony.  In 1632, King Charles I signed the Charter of Maryland—named for Queen Consort Henrietta Maria—granting the colony to Cecil Calvert. Cecil & his late father George envisioned the new colony on the other side of the Atlantic as a land where fellow Roman Catholics could escape the religious persecution then prevalent in England. Although he never visited Maryland, Cecil Calvert invested more of his family's monies to ensure the colony a was prosperous & a safe refuge for persecuted Catholics.  Cecil Calvert decided to spend his life in familiar Middlesex, dyong there in 1675.He sent his younger brother, Leonard, to the new colony in 1634. Leonard sailed with the ships Ark & Dove, & the hopeful colonists established a settlement at St. Mary’s.

In 1642, the English Civil War broke out between the Roman Catholic royalists supporting Charles I & the Protestant Parliamentarians. In 1649, the Maryland General Assembly passed An Act Concerning Religion which provided some religious protection to all Christians. Lord Baltimore replaced the Catholic Acting Governor Thomas Greene with the Virginia Protestant William Stone.  Stone lured a group of Virginia Puritans to Maryland with the promise of land & guaranteed freedoms. In December of 1649, the first European settlement in what would become Anne Arundel County was founded by these Puritans on the north shore of the Severn River opposite present-day Annapolis. It was called Providence. In 1650, the Maryland General Assembly officially created Anne Arundel County.

From 1650 through 1695, a series of religious, regional & political struggles occurred in Maryland. In March of 1655, the Battle of the Severn was fought at the mouth of the Severn River. Governor Stone’s forces, under Lord Baltimore’s orders, sailed up the Chesapeake Bay from St. Mary’s City. His goal was to re-establish the authority of the Calverts over Providence, but the Puritans decisively defeated the Governor’s forces & gained temporary control of the colony.  Oliver Cromwell restored Cecil Calvert’s control in 1657, but in 1688 King William III annulled the Calvert family Charter & declared Maryland a royal colony. The General Assembly voted in 1694 to move the capital from St. Mary’s City to Anne Arundell Towne. In 1695 the town was renamed Annapolis in honor of then Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Mary. Annapolis became the political center of the colony & the seat of government for Anne Arundel County, as it remains today.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Planter's Wife in Maryland

Most men in colonial Maryland became planters, thus most women became planters’ wives. A typical planter’s wife in early Maryland probably first came to the colony as an indentured servant. Most women who came to the Chesapeake did not come as part of a family. Many hoped to make a better life for themselves in the New World by marrying a wealthier man who could acquire land & provide for a family.

A woman was probably between 18 & 25 years old when she first arrived in the colony, but she was not free to marry right away. Because most women did not have the money to pay for their passage to America, they became indentured servants who usually worked for a master for four or five years to pay off the cost of their voyage. Women who worked for wealthy families probably worked as house servants, but less well-off families often needed their female servants to help in the fields, growing tobacco or corn. This would be new & different for women coming to Maryland, because English women did not typically do field work.

Women also risked becoming very sick or even dying from a number of new illnesses that settlers encountered in the New World. But if they survived their first few years, they had a good chance of finding a husband who could help provide for & protect them, & most women married when they reached their mid-20s. Because a lot more men than women came to Maryland, there were plenty of potential husbands. This gave women a little more power than women in England, often allowing them to increase their social status.

Some men were so desperate for a wife that they paid a female servant’s master for her time so she was free to marry before she had served her full term. But once free, life was not easy for most women. Either she or her husband was likely to die within seven years of their marriage. She would probably have three or four children, but only two of these would live to be adults because of the harsh conditions in the colony & poor medical knowledge.

As the wife of a planter, a woman might still have to help in the fields if her husband wasn’t rich enough to hire a servant. But she would spend most of her time preparing food & running the household. Cooking required much more work back then. In order to make a loaf of bread, a woman had to shell the corn from the ears, pound the corn into flour, & then use the flour to make bread. She would also have to make her own butter & cheese using the milk from the family’s cows.

Chances were that she would die before she was 43 years old. Life was hard for those who first came to Maryland, but some women were still better off than they might have been in England.

Carr, Lois Green & Lorena S. Walsh. "A Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth Century (17th) Maryland." Williamsburg, VA, Institute of Early American History & Culture, 1977.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Portrait of a 17C New England British-American Woman

1679 Mrs. Richard Patteshall (Martha Woody) and Child. Atr Thomas Smith, American, c 1650–1691 Mseum of Fine Arts, Boston

Among the earliest depictions of a mother and child surviving from colonial New England, Mrs. Richard Patteshall (Martha Woody) and Child illustrates the influence of Dutch and Flemish painting on portraits executed in Boston during the last quarter of the seventeenth century. Consistent with those European standards of realism, the figures of Mrs. Patteshall and her young daughter suggest the illusion of bulk and depth and the integration of parts. This approach differs radically from the Elizabethan focus on surface patterns, texture, and detail seen in the portraits of Margaret and Robert Gibbs by the Freake-Gibbs painter.

Scholar Lorinda B. R. Goodwin tells us that portraiture of the merchant class in Colonial New England, particularly family scenes, can be seen as a collaboration, perhaps even a conspiracy (in the best sense of the word), between the artist and the sitters in the attempt to preserve a moment, not necessarily a photo-realistic record of persons and artifacts but a reflection of aspirations and real social achievement. While social interaction in the polite world might be seen as fleeting, guided improvisation, portraits self-consciously fix a more permanent impression: spaces, artifacts, and personal posture are carefully chosen to convey a sense of status and power. In the abstract, the organization of human bodies and artifacts in a domestic space is often indicative of individual and family power; in the material world, objects ranging from room decor to the sitters’ adornments are much more personal statements of power and identity within (and beyond) the household.