Monday, December 31, 2018

The Chesapeake Already Had a Few Customs when the English Colonists 1st Arrived (1585)

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) A Land Crab

1 1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Indian Village of Pomiooc 1585

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) An Indian Chief

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Indian Village of Pomiooc

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Festive Dance

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) A Fire Ceremony

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Indian Manner of Fishing

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Cooking Fish

1585 John White (English artist, c 1540-1593) Turtle

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Food Eaten by Early Virginia Colonists

The animal bones from food supplies found in a pit dating prior to 1610 reveal that the 104 men and boys who landed at Jamestown survived primarily on fish and turtles! Sturgeon was the most common fish. A sturgeon may live up to 60 years, weigh up to 800 pounds and reach lengths of up to 15 feet.
Tortoyses here (such as in the Bermudas) I have seene about the entrance of our bay, but we have not taken of them, but of the land tortoyses we take and eate dailie...William Strachey

Archaeologists have found the bony plates which cover the heads of sturgeon and the bony shields, or scutes, which cover the body. The sturgeon is an anadromous fish, which means that it spends most of its life in brackish or salt water, but migrates into coastal rivers to spawn. The Jamestown colonists report that the sturgeon were plentiful in the James River from May until September.
" lying so thicke with their heads above the water, as for want of nets (our barge driving amongst them) we attempted to catch them with a frying pan, but we found it a bad instrument to catch fish with."  John Smith

The colonists also dined on rays, herons, gulls, oysters, raccoons, and other native Virginia animals, as well as provisions of beef, pork, and fish they brought with them from England. Domestic animals brought by the first colonists were intended as breeding stock although they were quickly eaten during the Starving Time winter of 1609-1610. Other evidence of this terrible period of Jamestown's history, when over 40% of the colonists died of apparent starvation, has been found with the food remains. Elements of poisonous snakes, malodorous musk turtles, and horses indicate the men's desperation to find sustenance.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Virginia, John Smith's Account of The Starving Time, 1609-1610

Now we all found the losse of Captaine Smith, yea his greatest maligners could now curse his losse: as for corne provision and contribution from the Salvages, we had nothing but mortall wounds, with clubs and arrowes; as for our Hogs, Hens, Goats I Sheepe, Horse, or what lived, our commanders, officers and Salvages daily consumed them, some small proportions sometimes we tasted, till all was devoured; then swords, armes, pieces, or any thing, wee traded with the Salvages, whose cruell fingers were so oft imbrewed in our blouds, that what by their cruelties our Governours indiscretion, and the losse of our ships, of five hundred within six moneths after Captain Smiths departure [October 1609-March 1610], there remained not past sixtie men, women and children, most miserable and poore creatures; and those were preserved for the most part, by roots, herbes, acornes, walnuts, berries, now and then a little fish: they that had startch in these extremities, made no small use of it; yea even the very skinnes of our horses.

Nay, so great was our famine, that a Salvage we slew and buried, the poorer sort tooke him up againe and eat him; and so did divers one another boyled and stewed with roots and herbs: And one amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered [i.e., salted] her, and had eaten part of her before it was knowne; for which hee was executed, as hee well deserved: now whether shee was better roasted, boyled or carbonado'd [i.e., grilled], I know not; but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of.

This was that time, which still to this day [1624] we called the starving time; it were too vile to say, and scarce to be beleeved, what we endured: but the occasion was our owne, for want of providence industrie and government, and not the barrennesse and defect of the Countrie, as is generally supposed; for till then in three yeeres, for the numbers were landed us, we had never from England provision sufficient for six months, though it seemed by the bils of loading sufficient was sent us, such a glutton is the Sea, and such good fellowes the Mariners; we as little tasted of the great proportion sent us, as they of our want and miseries, yet notwithstanding they ever overswayed and ruled the businesses though we endured all that is said, and chiefly lived on what this good Countrie naturally afforded. Yet had wee beene even in Paradice it selfe with these Governours, it would not have beene much better withe us; yet there was amongst us, who had they had the government as Captaine Smith appointed, but that they could not maintains it, would surely have kept us from those extremities of miseries. This in ten daies more, would have supplanted us all with death.

But God that would not this Countrie should be unplanted, sent Sir Thomas Gates, and Sir George Sommers with one hundred and fiftie people most happily preserved by the Bermudas to preserve us.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Evolution of the Virginia Colony 1611-1624

Almost from the start, investors in the Virginia Company in England were unhappy with the accomplishments of their Jamestown colonists. They therefore sought a new charter, which the king granted in May 1609. They took immediate steps to put the company on a sounder financial footing by selling shares valued at 12 1/2, 25, and 50 pounds (English monetary unit, originally equivalent to one pound of silver). Investors were promised a dividend from whatever gold, land, or other valuable commodities the Company amassed after seven years.
From The History and the Present State of Virginia, Book III, Of the Indians, their Religion, Laws, and Customs, in War and Peace.  Beverley, Robert, ca. 1673-1722.
Meanwhile, the charter allowed the Company to make its own laws and regulations, subject only to their compatibility with English law. To avoid the disputes that had characterized Virginia in its first years, the Company gave full authority and nearly dictatorial powers to the colony's governor. These changes were nearly too little and too late, for Jamestown was just then experiencing its "starving time." The Company, however, was bent on persevering and sent a new batch of ships and colonists in 1611. Over the next five years, Sir Thomas Gates and then Sir Thomas Dale governed the colony with iron fists via the "Lawes Devine, Morall, and Martiall."

The harsh regimes of the Virginia governors were not especially attractive to potential colonists. What was more, the colonists who did go to Virginia often did not have the skills and knowledge to help the colony prosper. The colonists not only found little of value, they were remarkably unable even to feed themselves. As a result, huge numbers of colonists perished from disease (many of which they brought with them), unsanitary conditions, and malnutrition. Between 1614 and 1618 or so, potential colonists were much more attracted to the West Indies and Bermuda than they were Virginia.

By 1618, the Virginia Company was forced to change course again. The Company had not solved the problem of profitability, nor that of settlers' morale. Sir Edwin Sandys became Company Treasurer and embarked on a series of reforms. He believed that the manufacturing enterprises the Company had begun were failing due to want of manpower. He embarked on a policy of granting sub-patents to land, which encouraged groups and wealthier individuals to go to Virginia. He sought to reward investors and so distributed 100 acres of land to each adventurer. He also distributed 50 acres to each person who paid his or her own way and 50 acres more for each additional person they brought along. This was known as the Virginia headright system.

Finally, Sandys thought it essential to reform the colony's governing structure. He hit upon the idea of convening an assembly in the colony, whose representatives would be elected by inhabitants. The assembly would have full power to enact laws on all matters relating to the colony. Of course, these laws could be vetoed by either the governor or the Company in London.

It may be said that some things improved, while others did not. With the experiments of John Rolfe, the colony finally discovered a staple product--tobacco. The colonists wanted to plant tobacco because it was a cash crop, even though the King opposed the use of the weed. But the Company constantly discouraged the cultivation of tobacco because its production seduced the colonists away from planting corn. The colony also continued to face the problem of lack of laborers and inability to feed itself. The ultimate answer to the labor problem was ominously foreshadowed in a little-noticed event that Rolfe described to Sandys in 1619: the arrival of a Dutch man-of-war carrying a group of captive Africans, for by the end of the century, African slave labor would become the colony's economic and social foundation. Indian relations, which seemed quiet for a time, finally spelled the end to the Virginia Company. In 1622, Indians rose up and massacred a large number of Virginia colonists. This led to an inquiry into Company affairs and finally the revocation of its charter.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Pacts for the People - 1606 Instructions for the Virginia Colony

Captain Smith and his adventurers

In the 1st decade of the 17C England began a second round of colonizing attempts. This time jointstock companies were used as the vehicle to plant settlements rather than giving extensive grants to a landed proprietor such as Gilbert or Raleigh, whose attempts at colonization in the 1570s & 1580s had failed.

The founding of Virginia marked the beginning of a 25 year period in which every colony in the New World was established by means of a joint-stock company. A variety of motives intensified the colonizing impulse - international rivalry, propagation of religion, enlarged opportunity for individual men - but none exceeded that of trade & profit. The companies were created to make a profit; their in vestments in the colonies were based on this assumption. Early in the 1630's, merchants & investors discovered that they could employ their money in other more rewarding enterprises. After 1631, no colony was founded by mercantile enterprise, but by that date the investors had left a legacy of colonization that was to endure.

In these instructions for the Virginia Company, the power of Spain and the fear derived from past failures invade every line. The detail of the instructions reflect the work of experienced men; Richard Hakluyt, the younger, for example, may have had a hand in writing them.  Hakluyt wrote The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation between 1598 and 1600. Hakluyt was an unashamed propagandist for England's maritime expansion. He detailed shipwrecks, privations, discoveries, encounters with different peoples across the globe, imprisonments, escapes.

1606 Instructions

As we doubt not but you will have especial care to observe the ordinances set down by the King's Majesty and delivered unto you under the Privy Seal; so for your better directions upon your first landing we have thought good to recommend unto your care these instructions and articles following.

When it shall please God to send you on the coast of Virginia, you shall do your best endeavour to find out a safe port in the entrance of some navigable river, making choice of such a one as runneth farthest into the land, and if you happen to discover divers portable rivers, and amongst them any one that hath two main branches, if the difference be not great, make choice of that which bendeth most toward the North-West for that way you shall soonest find the other sea.

When you have made choice of the river on which you mean to settle, be not hasty in landing your victuals and munitions; but first let Captain Newport discover how far that river may be found navigable, that you make election of the strongest, most wholesome and fertile place; for if you make many removes, besides the loss of time, you shall greatly spoil your victuals and your caske, and with great pain transport it in small boats.

But if you choose your place so far up as a bark of fifty tuns will float, then you may lay all your provisions ashore with ease, and the better receive the trade of all the countries about you in the land; and such a place you may perchance find a hundred miles from the river's mouth, and the further up the better. For if you sit down near the entrance, except it be in some island that is strong by nature, an enemy that may approach you on even ground, may easily pull you out; and if he be driven to seek you a hundred miles [in] the land in boats, you shall from both sides of the river where it is narrowest, so beat them with your muskets as they shall never be able to prevail against you.

And to the end that you be not surprised as the French were in Florida by Melindus, and the Spaniard in the same place by the French, you shall do well to make this double provision. First, erect a little stoure at the mouth of the river that may lodge some ten men; with whom you shall leave a light boat, that when any fleet shall be in sight, they may come with speed to give you warning. Secondly, you must in no case suffer any of the native people of the country to inhabit between you and the sea coast; for you cannot carry yourselves so towards them, but they will grow discontented with your habitation, and be ready to guide and assist any nation that shall come to invade you; and if you neglect this, you neglect your safety.

When you have discovered as far up the river as you mean to plant yourselves, and landed your victuals and munitions; to the end that every man may know his charge, you shall do well to divide your six score men into three parts; whereof one party of them you may appoint to fortifie and build, of which your first work must be your storehouse for victuals; the other you may imploy in preparing your ground and sowing your corn and roots; the other ten of these forty you must leave as centinel at the haven's mouth. The other forty you may imploy for two months in discovery of the river above you, and on the country about you; which charge Captain Newport and Captain Gosnold may undertake of these forty discoverers. When they do espie any high lands or hills, Captain Gosnold may take twenty of the company to cross over the lands, and carrying a half dozen pickaxes to try if they can find any minerals. The other twenty may go on by river, and pitch up boughs upon the bank's side, by which the other boats shall follow them by the same turnings. You may also take with them a wherry, such as is used here in the Thames; by which you may send back to the President for supply of munition or any other want, that you may not be driven to return for every small defect.

You must observe if you can, whether the river on which you plant doth spring out of mountains or out of lakes. If it be out of any lake, the passage to the other sea will be more easy, and [it] is like enough, that out of the same lake you shall find some spring which run[s] the contrary way towards the East India Sea; for the great and famous rivers of Volga, Tan[a]is and Dwina have three heads near joynd; and yet the one falleth into the Caspian Sea, the other into the Euxine Sea, and the third into the Paelonian Sea.

In all your passages you must have great care not to offend the naturals [natives], if you can eschew it; and imploy some few of your company to trade with them for corn and all other . . . victuals if you have any; and this you must do before that they perceive you mean to plant among them; for not being sure how your own seed corn will prosper the first year, to avoid the danger of famine, use and endeavour to store yourselves of the country corn.

Your discoverers that pass over land with hired guides, must look well to them that they slip not from them: and for more assurance, let them take a compass with them, and write down how far they go upon every point of the compass; for that country having no way nor path, if that your guides run from you in the great woods or desert, you shall hardly ever find a passage back.

And how weary soever your soldiers be, let them never trust the country people with the carriage of their weapons; for if they run from you with your shott, which they only fear, they will easily kill them all with their arrows. And whensoever any of yours shoots before them, be sure they may be chosen out of your best marksmen; for if they see your learners miss what they aim at, they will think the weapon not so terrible, and thereby will be bould to assault you.

Above all things, do not advertize the killing of any of your men, that the country people may know it; if they perceive that they are but common men, and that with the loss of many of theirs they diminish any part of yours, they will make many adventures upon you. If the country be populous, you shall do well also, not to let them see or know of your sick men, if you have any; which may also encourage them to many enterprizes.

You must take especial care that you choose a seat for habitation that shall not be over burthened with woods near your town; for all the men you have, shall not be able to cleanse twenty acres a year; besides that it may serve for a covert for your enemies round about.

Neither must you plant in a low or moist place, because it will prove unhealthfull. You shall judge of the good air by the people; for some part of that coast where the lands are low, have their people blear eyed, and with swollen bellies and legs; but if the naturals be strong and clean made, it is a true sign of a wholesome soil.

You must take order to draw up the pinnace that is left with you, under the fort: and take her sails and anchors ashore, all but a small kedge to ride by; least some ill-dispositioned persons slip away with her.

You must take care that your marriners that go for wages, do not mar your trade; for those that mind not to inhabite, for a little gain will debase the estimation of exchange, and hinder the trade for ever after; and therefore you shall not admit or suffer any person whatsoever, other than such as shall be appointed by the President and Counsel there, to buy any merchandizes or other things whatsoever.

It were necessary that all your carpenters and other such like workmen about building do first build your storehouse and those other rooms of publick and necessary use before any house be set up for any private person: and though the workman may belong to any private persons yet let them all work together first for the company and then for private men.

And seeing order is at the same price with confusion, it shall be adviseably done to set your houses even and by a line, that your street may have a good breadth, and be carried square about your market place and every street's end opening into it; that from thence, with a few field pieces, you may command every street throughout; which market place you may also fortify if you think it needfull.

You shall do well to send a perfect relation by Captaine Newport of all that is done, what height you are seated, how far into the land, what commodities you find, what soil, woods and their several kinds, and so of all other things else to advertise particularly; and to suffer no man to return but by pasport from the President and Counsel, nor to write any letter of anything that may discourage others.

Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the Giver of all Goodness, for every plantation which our Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Women Over There - 1606 1st Charter of VA during the reign of Queen Anne, beleaguered wife of James I of England

1600 Anne of Denmark 1574-1619 queen of James I of England. Anne of Denmark (1574–1619) was queen consort of Scotland, England, & Ireland as the wife of James VI & I (1566-1625).
1578 Queen Anne's mother Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow (1557-1631) was a German noble and Queen of Denmark and Norway. The 2nd daughter of alcoholic King Frederick II of Denmark & his wife Sophia of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, a descendant of King Hans of Denmark, Anne married James in 1589 at the age of 14. 
17 May 1590, Anne of Denmark was crowned Queen of Scotland. 
Fourteen-year-old Anne was immediately under pressure to provide James & Scotland with an heir, but with no sign of a pregnancy in 1590-93, Presbyterian antagonists felt free to talk of James’s "fondness for male company" & whispered against Anne "for that she proves not with child." 
1606 John de Critz the elder (English artist, 1551-52-1642) Portrait of James VI & I. Anne finally produced an heir, Prince Henry Stuart, in early 1594. The royal couple eventually had 7 children, of whom 3 survived infancy.  Two sons, Henry & Charles (later Charles I), & a daughter, Elizabeth, survived into adult life.
1603 Queen Anne's daughter Princess Royal, daughter of James I & VI. She married Frederick V, Elector Palatine at 16, having many children of which 7 reached adulthood. She was Queen consort of Bohemia only 1 winter. Some called her The Winter Queen. 
1605 John de Critz the elder (English artist, 1551-52-1642)  Anne of Denmark 1574-1619 queen of James I of England. A lady at court described Queen Anne, "Her features were not regular but her complexion was extremely fair & she had the finest neck that could be seen, which she took care it should be."
1605 John de Critz the elder (English artist, 1551-52-1642) Anne of Denmark 1574-1619 queen of James VI & I. 
Fourteen-year-old Anne appears to have cared for James when they 1st married. On 28 July 1589, the English spy Thomas Fowler reported that Anne was "so far in love with the King's Majesty as it were death to her to have it broken off & hath made good proof divers ways of her affection which his Majestie is apt in no way to requite." Anne was crowned queen in 1590. During the bazaar 7-hour ceremony, her gown was opened by the Countess of Mar for presiding minister Robert Bruce to pour "a bonny quantity of oil" on "parts of her breast and arm," so anointing her as queen. Ministers objected, but James insisted that the rite was from the Old Testament.
1607 Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561-1636) Queen Anne, wife of James I & VI. Although James had a mistress in 1593-1595, (Anne Murray, later Lady Glamis); in Basilikon Doron, written 1597–1598, James described marriage as "the greatest earthly felicitie or miserie, that can come to a man."  Historians have noted, however, "All his life, except perhaps for 6 short months, King James disliked women, regarding them as inferior beings. All his interest was centered on the attractions of personable young men." The couple gradually came to live apart, though, apparently, some degree of mutual respect & affection survived. Anne demonstrated an independent streak & was willing to use factional Scottish politics in her conflicts with James over the custody of Prince Henry. Anne would do whatever she had to in order to have a hand in the raising of her children.
1606 Robert Peake the Elder (1551-1619) Queen Anne's daughter Princess Elizabeth (1596–1662), Later Queen of Bohemia. A year after the 1606 First Charter of Virginia in the New World, Anne & James began to live apart, she in London & he in the country at Royston.  Anne's chaplain, Godfrey Goodman, summed up the royal relationship: "The King himself was a very chaste man, and there was little in the Queen to make him uxorious; yet they did love as well as man and wife could do, not conversing together."
1612 attr Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561-1636) Anne of Denmark Anne of Denmark 1574-1619 queen of James VI & I.  In England, Anne shifted her energies from factional politics to parenting & to patronage of the arts. She constructed a magnificent court of her own, hosting one of the richest cultural salons in Europe. She was a considerable force as a patron of the arts during the Jacobean age.
1610 Robert Peake the Elder (1551-1619) Queen Anne's daughter Elizabeth (1596–1662) Queen of Bohemia. After 1612, she suffered sustained bouts of ill health gradually withdrawing from the center of court life. A bitter confrontation between James & Anne occurred in 1613, when Anne shot James's favorite dog dead during a hunting session. After his initial rage, James smoothed things over by giving her a £2,000 diamond in memory of the dog, whose name was Jewel. 
1617 Paul van Somer (c 1577-1621) Anne of Denmark 1574-1619 queen of James VI & I. By late 1617, Anne's bouts of illness had become debilitating. John Chamberlain wrote, "The Queen continues still ill disposed and though she would fain lay all her infirmities upon the gout yet most of her physicians fear a further inconvenience of an ill habit or disposition through her whole body." Though she was reported to have been a Protestant at the time of her death, some believe that evidence suggests that she may have converted to Catholicism at some stage in her life. 
1617 Paul van Somer (c 1577-1621) Anne of Denmark 1574-1619 queen of James VI & I. At her passing, James honored his late wife with verse: "So did my Queen from hence her court remove
And left off earth to be enthroned above.
She's changed, not dead, for sure no good prince dies,
But, as the sun, sets, only for to rise."
1606 attr John de Critz the elder (English artist, 1551-52-1642) Portrait of James VI & I 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

17C Christmas - Saint Nicholas in New World - From the Dutch Sint Herr Nikolaas to Sinter Klass to Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas Comes to the New World

In 1626, a fleet of ships left Holland for the New World. They purchased some land from the Iroquois, for $24, and named the village New (or Nieuw) Amsterdam. They brought with them their patron saint, Nicholas.

Just a few years later, in 1651, the State of Massachusetts -- settled by English Puritans -- banned all observation of Christmas. The legislature passed an act ruling that "whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas … either by forebearing labor, feasting, or in any other way … every such person so offending shall pay a fine for each offense of five shillings to the county." The law was repealed in 1681, but had a profound chilling effect on the celebration of Christmas in New England until the start of the 20th Century.

When Charles II of England made a gift of New Amsterdam to the Duke of York in 1664, the city was renamed New York. These new English, however, were not the Puritans that also helped to found America (it was Charles II who ousted Cromwell and the Puritans in England in 1660). Although the Dutch influence would wain, they had an ultimate revenge: the Dutch Sint Herr Nikolaas would later become Sinter Klass and finally Santa Claus.

Although the English took and renamed New Amsterdam in 1664, the Dutch origins could not be entirely erased. Whether or not there was an active cult of Saint Nicholas, it is clear that the Dutch who settled in New Amsterdam/New York did not forget him

In 1773, St. Nicholas made the news in the New York Gazette, which referred to him as "otherwise known as St. A. Claus." And the Rivington’s Gazetteer (December 23, 1773) reported "Last Monday, the anniversary of St. Nicholas, otherwise called Santa Claus, was celebrated at Protestant Hall, at Mr. Waldron’s; where a great number of sons of the ancient saint [the Sons of Saint Nicholas] celebrated the day with great joy and festivity." Another such notice appeared in 1774: "Monday next, being the anniversary of Saint Nicholas, will be celebrated by the descends of the ancient Dutch Families."

But the Dutch and English were not the only early settlers of America. German immigrants brought with them their love of Christmas. They brought their custom of setting out hay in the barnyard for the Christ Child's donkey on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day finding the basket filled with snits (dried apple slices), choosets (candy), walnuts and gingerbread. As the Germans intermarried with the English, the dialect "Christ-kindle;" from the proper German Christkindlein, became "Kristkingle" or "Kriss-kingle." Eventually the "Kriss Kringle" replaced the Christ Child figure entirely, a substitute akin to Santa Claus. By the latter half of the 19C, Kriss Kringle was the most common Christmas bearer in Pennsylvania.

The Coming of Santa Claus

The Dutch Saint Nicholas who brought gifts to children had a great white beard, and made his rounds in red-and-white bishop's robes, complete with a red, twin-peaked miter and crooked crosier. He was borne by a white horse. And he arrived on his Christian feast day, December 6 (or the night before). The gifts he left beside the hearth were usually small: fruit, nuts, hard candies, wood and clay figurines.

But in the melting pot of America, Santa Claus was merged from a combination of the Dutch St. Nicholas and English Father Christmas, and also included elements from German traditions and Norse mythology. These were merged into the American Santa Claus in the 19th century by the writings of Washington Irving and Clement Clarke Moore, and the drawings of Thomas Nast, who created the image of Santa as a white-bearded, pot-bellied, jolly man.

Most of the central features of the Santa Claus legend, such as his climb down the chimney and the switches he leaves for naughty children, are of Dutch origin. His red suit trimmed with white fur originated in the red bishop's miter and cope worn by the Dutch saint, Saint Nicholas. This Dutch emphasis was not accidental.

The very beginnings of "Santa Claus" – as distinct from Saint Nicholas -- might be traced to John Pintard, who founded the New-York Historical Society in 1804 and who included St. Nicholas in his private almanac as early as 1793. Pintard and many others were deeply concerned about how the Christmas and New Year’s holidays had been celebrated. Often the celebrations featured gunfire, drunkenness, sexual licentious, home intrusions (by "wassailers"), and riots. Accordingly, Pintard took steps to take the celebration of Christmas off the streets and into the home. The New-York Historical Society’s patron saint was the Dutch Saint Nicholas. One of its members was the young American writer, Washington Irving. And one of Pintard’s acquaintances was Dr. Clement Moore who had entertained Pintard in Moore’s Chelsea estate.

17C Christmas - 1687 the Puritan minister Increase Mather (1639-1723) railed against Christmas.

The Rev. Increase Mather painted by Dutch-born John van der Spriett in 1688, while Mather was visiting London.

In 1687 the Puritan minister Increase Mather (1639-1723) railed against Christmas. He declared that those who celebrated it “are consumed in compotations, in interludes, in playing at cards, in revelings, in excess of wine, in mad mirth.” In his A Testimony against Several Prophane and Superstitious Customs, Now Practiced by Some in New England, he wrote "In the pure Apostolical times there was no Christ-mass day observed in the Church of God. We ought to keep the primitive Pattern. That Book of Scripture which is called The Acts of Apostles saith nothing of their keeping Christ’s Nativity as an Holy-day...Why should Protestants own any thing which has the name of Mass in it? How unsuitable is it to join Christ and Mass together? ...It can never be proved that Christ’s nativity was on 25 of December...who first of all observed the Feast of Christ’s Nativity in the latter end of December, did it not as thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones."

17C Christmas - 1621 Puritan Gov William Bradford 1590-1657 Made a Declaration against Christmas Revelry

Although Puritans objected to the celebration of Christmas as pagan revelry, at the settlement of Plymouth in 1621, the Pilgrims, when asked to do any work on Christmas day, refused.  Later that day, however, when they were found playing in the streets, which supposedly went against their strict religious beliefs, they were told that “if they made the keeping of it (Christmas) matter of devotion, let them keep their houses; but there should be no gaming or reveling in the streets,” according to William Bradford.  The Pilgrims' 2nd governor, William Bradford 1590-1657, wrote that he tried hard to stamp out "pagan mockery" of the observance, penalizing any frivolity.
Governor William Bradford (1590-1657)

On Christmas Day, 1620, Governor Bradford encountered a group of people who were taking the day off from work & wrote in his journal:  "And herewith I shall end this year. Only I shall remember one passage more, rather of mirth then of waight. One ye day called Christmas-day, ye Govr caled them out to worke, (as was used,) but ye most of this new-company excused them selves and said it wente against their consciences to work on yt day. So ye Govr tould them that if they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed. So he led-away ye rest and left them; but when they came home at noone from their worke, he found them in ye streete at play, openly; somepitching ye barr, & some at stoole-ball, and shuch like sports. So he went to them, and tooke away their implements, and tould them that was against his conscience, that they should play & others worke. If they made ye keeping of it mater of devotion, let them kepe their houses, but ther should be no gameing or revelling in ye streets. Since which time nothing hath been atempted that way, at least openly."

17C Christmas - 1659 Outlawing Christmas for colonial Massachusetts & Connecticut

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)

When Oliver Cromwell & his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence & as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. In 1647, the British Parliament abolished the celebration of Christmas, 40 years after the establishment of the settlement in Jamestown. The "No Christmas" policy was reiterated by Parliament in 1652, with the following resolution: "That no observation shall be had of the five and twentieth day of December commonly called Christmas-Day; nor any solemnity used or exercised in churches upon the day in respect thereof."

In 1647, the Puritan reformers in England outlawed Christmas. And in 1659, the Puritans in New England followed suit. People who celebrated Christmas would be subject to a fine of five shillings.  The celebration of Christmas was outlawed in most of New England. Calvinist Puritans and Protestants abhorred the entire celebration and likened it to pagan rituals and Popish observances.  In 1659, the Massachusetts Puritans declared the observation of Christmas to be a criminal offense by passed the Five-Shilling Anti-Christmas Law: "Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas, or the like, either by forbearing labor, feasting, or any other way upon such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for each offense five shillings as a fine to the country."  The General Court of Massachusetts enacted the law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations.  The law was only in effect for 22 years, but Christmas was not made a legal holiday in Massachusetts until the mid-19C.

The Assembly of Connecticut, in the same period, prohibited the reading of the Book of Common Prayer, the keeping of Christmas and saints days, the making of mince pies, the playing of cards, or performing on any musical instruments.  As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early New England from 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston.

17C Christmas - 1629 New England - Christmas Beers ONLY on-board Ship

A Relation or Journal of the Proceedings of the Plantation settled at Plymouth in New England, also called Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. (London, 1622), which records events at Plymouth from the Mayflower's arrival in November 1620 through the 1st Thanksgiving in October 1621, reports that a little Christmas cheer was drunk in December of 1620, "Monday, the 25th day, we went on shore, some to fell timber, some to saw, some to rive, and some to carry, so no man rested all that day. But towards night some, as they were at work, heard a noise of some Indians, which caused us all to go to our muskets, but we heard no further. So we came aboard again, and left some twenty to keep the court of guard. That night we had a sore storm of wind and rain." and "Monday, the 25th day, we went on shore, some to fell drink water aboard, but at night the master caused us to have some beer, and so on board we had divers times now and then some beer, but on shore none at all."

17C Christmas - 1610 Christmas Shipwreck on voyage to Virginia

In 1610 William Strachey, secretary of the Virginia colony, recorded a “true reportory of the wracke, & redemption of Sir Thomas Gates Knight: upon, & from the Ilands of the Bermudas.” Strachey related an incident in Bermuda in 1609: “upon Christmas Eve, as also once before, the first of October; our Minister preached a godly Sermon, which being ended, he celebrated a Communion.” 

17C Christmas - in 1620s & 1630s Virginia

In 1631, George Herbert Priest to the Temple advised the Anglicans in mother England,"that the church be swept and kept clean without dust or cobwebs, and at great festivals strewed and stuck with boughs, and perfumed with incense." However, in the British American colonies, attention was being paid to the churches in Virginia before their use for the Christmas celebration.

By the 1620s & 1630s, references to Christmas appear in the Statutes at Large, or laws of Virginia; the Christmas season served as a calendar benchmark for various legislative & legal activities. In 1631, the laws stated that churches were to be built in areas where they were lacking or were in a state of decay, such action to take place before the “feast of the nativitie of our Saviour Christ.” 

17C Christmas - Unwanted Wassailing in 1679 New England

The tradition of wassailing arrived in the New World with the English settlers.  Sometimes demands of wassailers were unwelcome in the colonies.

On Christmas Day in 1679 in Salem, Massachusetts. Joseph Foster, Benjamin Fuller, Samuel Brayebrooke & Joseph Flint decided they wanted some booze for the holiday.  On Christmas night of 1679, four young men of the village of Salem entered the house of septuagenarian John Rowden, who was known to make pear wine, called "perry," from trees in his orchard. The men made themselves at home in front of the fire & began to sing. After a couple of songs they tried to cajole Rowden & his wife into bringing them some of the new wine. Rowden refused & asked the intruders to leave, to which they responded that "it was Christmas Day at night & they came to be merry & to drink perry, which was not to be had anywhere else but here, & perry they would have before they went."

When the visitors promised to return later & pay for the drink, Mrs. Rowden said, "We keep no ordinary to call for pots." By "ordinary" she meant tavern, & by "pots" she meant alcohol. The four men left, but three returned a quarter-hour later & tried to pass a piece of lead as payment in coin. The Rowdens & their adopted son, Daniel Poole, got the men out the front door, but they wouldn't leave & called sarcastic taunts from the street.

John Rowden later testified to the violence that broke out next.  They threw stones, bones, & other things at Poole in the doorway & against the house. They beat down much of the daubing in several places & continued to throw stones for an hour & a half with little intermission. They also broke down about a pole & a half of fence, being stone wall, & a cellar, without the house, distant about 4 or 5 rods, was broken open through the door, & 5 or 6 pecks of apples were stolen.

17C Christmas - Cotton Mather (1663-1728) saw Christmas as "long eating, by hard Drinking, by lewd Gaming, by rude Reveling"

Peter Pelham (English-born Boston artist, 1695-1751) Cotton Mather

The Puritan ideas about the celebration of Christmas continued in the 18C.  Increase Mather's son Boston divine Cotton Mather (1663-1728) wrote that the "Feast of Christ's Nativity is spent in Reveling, Dicing, Carding, Masking, and in all Licentious Liberty Mad Mirth, by long eating, by hard Drinking, by lewd Gaming, by rude Reveling. . . ." Christmas caroling was condemned, as well, since it occurred in parallel with these other acts.

In Massachusetts, seafaring communities, where outsiders came & went, like Nantucket and the town of Marblehead continued particularly notorious celebrations, despite officials' best efforts to quash Christmas observance throughout the colony.
Cotton Mather's House on Hanover Street in Boston

17C Christmas - 1608 in Colonial Virginia

When colonists left England to find the riches of Virginia, they spent their first Christmas of 1606 on board their ships en route to the New World. By 1608, Christmas found the colonists in desperate straits – sick, hungry & impoverished. Captain Smith & his men left Jamestown at the end of December to visit Powhatan at Werowocomoco & try to acquire some food. Inclement weather forced them to stay at the Indian town of Kecoughtan for “6 or 7 daies.” 

Here Capt. John Smith wrote an account of what may have been the 1st Christmas celebrated in Virginia. (Kecoughtan, in Virginia, was originally named Kikotan and was part of Powhatan’s confederation of tribes.)
Captain John Smith (bap. 1580–1631)

The next night being lodged at Kecoughtan; six or seaven dayes the extreame winde, rayne, frost & snow caused us to keep Christmas among the Salvages, where we were never more merry, nor fed on more plentie of good Oysters, Fish, Flesh, Wild-foule, & good bread; nor never had better fires in England, then in the dry smoaky houses of Kecoughtan.

The description originally appeared in Smith's travel tale The Proceedings of the English Colonie in Virginia since the first beginning from England in the yeare of our Lord 1606, till this present 1612, with all their accidents that befell them in their Journies & Discoveries. That 110-page tome was the third of more than a dozen of Smith's literary endeavors that fell from the press. Twelve years later, he recycled the passage in his eighth, the six-part, 248-page The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, & the Summer Isles with the names of the Adventurers, Planters & Government from their first beginning in 1584 to this present 1624.

17C Christmas - 1687 along the Potomac in Virginia & Maryland

French traveler Mr. Durand, who recounted his travels through the midAtlantic region in 1686. While accompanying a Roman Catholic companion intent on passing Christmas day at a Catholic church in Maryland.  From Port Tobago, as we have seen, Durand went to the Potomac and visited the plantation owned by Colonel William Fitzhugh at Bedford. "He wished now to pass Christmas day in Maryland, and, as we were only five or six leagues distant and had no desire to leave him, it was agreed that all should go to spend the night with Colonel Fitzhugh, whose house is on the shore of the great river the time we reached Col. Fitzhugh's we made up a troop of 20 horse. The Colonel's accommodations were, however, so ample that this company gave him no trouble at all; we were all supplied with beds, though we had, indeed, to double up. Col. Fitzhugh showed us the largest hospitality. He had store of good wine and other things to drink, and a frolic ensued. He called in three fiddlers, a clown, a tight rope dancer and an acrobatic tumbler, and gave us all the divertisement one would wish. It was very cold but no one thought of going near the fire because they never put less than the trunk of a tree upon it and so the entire room was kept warm.. . .the frolic continued well into the afternoon of the second day. . .” 
A Frenchman in Virginia; Being the Memoirs of a Huguenot Refugee in 1686;  Translated by A Virginian; Privately Printed 1923

Monday, December 24, 2018

Pacts anticipate "By the People" - 1649 Plantation Agreement at Providence, Rhode Island

Records of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England
Rhode Island was first settled in 1636 by Roger Williams and other immigrants who had suffered persecution in Massachusetts, and who established at Providence " a pure democracy, which for the first time guarded jealously the rights of conscience by ignoring any power in the body politic to interfere with those matters that alone concern man and his Maker."

Plantation Agreement at Providence August-September 1640

Wee, Robert Coles, Chad Browne, William Harris, and John Warner, being freely chosen by the consent of our loving friends and neighbors the Inhabitants of this Towne of Providence, having many dig erences amongst us, they being freely willing and also bound themselves to stand to our Arbitration in all differences amongst us to rest contented in our determination, being so betrusted we have seriously and carefully indeavoured to weigh and consider all those differences, being desirous to bringe to unity and peace, although our abilities are farr short in the due examination of such weighty things, yet so farre as we conceive in laying all things together we have gone the fairest and the equallest way to produce our peace. 
1. Agreed, We have with one consent agreed that in the parting those particular properties which some of our friends and neighbors have in Patuxit, from the general Common of our towne of Providence, to run uppon a straight line from a fresh spring being in the Gulley, at the head of that cove running by that point of land called Saxafras unto the towne of Mashipawogt to an oake tree standing neere unto the corn field, being at this time the nearest corn field unto Patuxit, the cake tree having four marks with an axe, till some other land marke be set for a certaine bound. Also, we agree that if any meadow ground lyeing and joineing to that Meadow, that borders uppon the River of Patuxit come within the aforesaid line, which will not come within a straight line from long Cove to the marked tree, then for that meadow to belong to Pawtuxit, and so beyond the towne of Mashipawog from the oake tree between the two fresh Rivers Pawtuxit and Waanasquatucket of an even Distance. 

2. Agreed. We have with one consent agreed that for the disposeing, of those lands that shall be disposed belonging to this towne of Providence to be in the whole Inhabitants by the choise of five men for generall disposeall, to betrusted with disposeall of lands and also of the towne Stocke, and all Generall things and not to receive in any six dayes at townesmen, but first to give the Inhabitants notice to consider if any have just cause to shew against the receiving of him as you can apprehend, and to receive none but such as subscribe to this our determination. Also, we agree that if any of our neighbours doe apprehend himselfe wronged by these or any of these 5 disposers, that at the Generall towne meeting he may have a tryall. 

Also wee agree for the towne to choose beside the other five men one or more to keepe Record of all things belonging to the towne and lying in Common, 

Wee agree, as formerly hath bin the liberties of the town, so still, to hould forth liberty of Conscience.  

III. Agreed, that after many Considerations and Consultations of our owne State and alsoe of States abroad in way of government, we apprehend, no way so suitable to our Condition as government by way of Arbitration. But if men agree themselves by arbitration, no State we know of disallows that, neither doe we: But if men refuse that which is but common humanity betweene man and man, then to compel such unreasonable persons to a reasonable way, we agree that the 5 disposers shall have power to compel him to choose two men himselfe, or if he refuse, for them to choose two men to arbitrate his cause, and if these foure men chosen by every partie do end the cause, then to see theire determination performed and the faultive to pay the Arbitrators for theire time spent in it: But if these foure men doe not end it, then for the 5 disposers to choose three men to put an end to it, and for the certainty thereof, wee agree the major part of the 5 disposers to choose the 3 men, and the major part of the 3 men to end the cause haveing power from the 5 disposers by a note under theire hand to performe it, and the faultive not agreeing in the first to pay the charge of the last, and for the Arbitrators to follow no imployment til the cause be ended without consent of the whole that have to doe with the cause. 

Instance. In the first Arbitration the offender may offer reasonable terms of peace, and the offended may exact upon him and refuse and trouble men beyond reasonable satisfaction; so for the last arbitrators to judge where the fault was, in not agreeing in the first, to pay the charge of the last. 

IV. Agreed, that if any person damnify any man, either in goods of good name, and the person offended follow not the cause uppon the Vendor, that if any person give notice to the 5 Disposers, they shall call the party delinquent to answer by Arbitration. 

Instance, Thus, if any person abuse an other person or goods, may be for peace sake, a man will at present put it up, and it may so be resolve to revenge: therefore, for the peace of the state, the disposers are to look to it in the first place. 

V. Agreed, for all the whole Inhabitants to combine ourselves to assist any man in the pursuit of any party delinquent, with all best endeavours to attack him: but if any man raise a hubbub and there be no just cause, then for the party that raised the hubbub to satisfy men for their time lost in it. 

VI.. Agreed, that if any man have a difference with any of the 5 Disposers which cannot be deferred till general meeting of the towne, then he may have the Clerk call the towne together at his [discretion] for a tryall. 

Instance. It may be, a man may be to depart the land, or to a fare parse of the land; or his estate may lye uppon a speedy tryall or the like case may fall out. 

VII. Agreed, that the towne, by the five men shall give every man a deed of all his lands lying within the bounds of the Plantations, to hould it by for after ages. 

VIII. Agreed, that the 5 disposers shall from the date hereof, meete every month-day uppon General things and at the quarter-day to yeeld a new choice and give up their old Accounts. 

IX. Agreed, that the Clerke shall call the 5 Disposers together at the month-day, and the general! towne together every quarter, to meete uppon general occasions from the date hereof. 

X. Agreed, that the Clerke is to receive for every cause that comes to the towne for a tryall 4d. for making each deed 12d. and to give up the booke to the towne at the yeeres' end and yeeld to a new choice. 

XI Agreed, that all acts of disposall on both sides to stand since the difference. 

XII. Agreed, that every man that hath not paid in his purchase money for his Plantation shall make up his 10s. to be 30s. equal with the first purchasers: and for all that are received townsmen hereafter, to pay the like summe of money to the towne stocke. 

These being those things wee have generally concluded on, for our peace, we desireing our loving friends to receive as our absolute determination, laying ourselves downe as subjects to it.

39 signatures follow

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Pacts anticipate "By the People" - 1648 The Cambridge Platform

The “Agreement between the Settlers at New Plymouth” (the Mayflower Compact), November 11, 1620, is the oldest political covenant in the New World. It is considered a covenant because it invokes God as witness to the agreement. The Salem Covenant (1629) and Enlarged Salem Covenant (1636) articulate beliefs that informed developing civil and church communities. The Dedham Covenant (1636) founded a town government. The Cambridge Platform (1648) established the congregational system of covenanted churches in New England, setting the pattern for later civil and church federations. The Declaration of Independence (1776) follows the covenant form and, when linked to the frame of government supplied by either the Articles of Confederation (1781) or the U.S. Constitution (1787), established a national covenant in the federal tradition.

The Cambridge Platform is a statement describing the system of church government in the Congregational churches of colonial New England. It was written in 1648 in response to Presbyterian criticism and in time became regarded as the religious constitution of Massachusetts. The platform explained and defended congregational polity as practiced in New England.

The full text of The Cambridge Platform is available via Google Books, here.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Pacts anticipate "By the People" - 1639 Fundamental Agreement of the Settlers at Exeter in New Hampshire

The Reverend John Wheelwright

by Barbara Rimkunas January 18, 2013. Exeter News-Letter

The earliest years of Exeter’s existence as a town must have been difficult. The Reverend John Wheelwright arrived here in March of 1638 traveling through deep snow. He’d been expelled the previous November from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for unorthodox preaching and wintered over in the wilderness of New Hampshire, most likely with Edward Hilton in the Dover area.

Wheelwright intended to stay and proposed creating a settlement at the falls of the Squamscott – a river and region so-named because of the seasonal Native People who lived there when warm weather approached. A deal was brokered with the Squamscotts and two deeds drawn up granting the English rights of ownership to the land while retaining the fishing, hunting and cultivation rights for the Natives. The agreement seemed to suit everyone involved and soon after, more Englishmen and their families arrived from Massachusetts to live in the new community.

New Hampshire, at that time, had no centralized government and for the first year of its existence, Exeter had no real government either. The people must have been far too busy building shelters, clearing land and getting in crops to worry about governance. By the next year, however, they decided to get organized. The first order of business was to apportion the land. A year’s worth of exploration had, no doubt, given them some familiarity with the landscape.

They began by giving each head of household some farmland – somewhere between 4 and 80 acres each depending on need and social status. The meadows were apportioned among those who had cattle and rules set for the use of the forests and rivers.

Relations with the Squamscotts remained fairly calm, although the two groups must have marveled at their differing ways of procuring food. The Natives came to Exeter in the Spring to fish in the river, gather berries and nuts and plant small crops such as corn and squash. Their meat – deer, pigeon, turkeys and squirrel – could be found in abundance in the dense forests that surrounded the town. Pigeons were so plentiful that it was said a flock alight could block out the sun.

The English, on the other hand, insisted on bread, beef and pork – none of which could be gathered from the environment without a great deal of effort. Grain crops required cleared land and some type of mill to produce flour. Cattle and swine had to be tended and fed. Within a few years, the townspeople assigned one person to tend the cattle each day. They were gathered in the center of town each morning and taken to the woods to forage. In the evenings, they were returned to their homes.

Pigs, however, were more problematic. They weren’t fed regular meals but were set loose each day to find their own food. As they rooted around for eatables, they sometimes destroyed local gardens. At a town meeting held in 1641 an Exeter goodman was required to “allow the Indians one bushel of corne for ye labor wch was spent by ym in replantying of yt corne of yrs wch was spoyld by his swine.” Loose pigs eventually led to strict laws regarding fences and the job of “inspector of fences” became an important task.

Everyone in town was granted the right to fish on the river, providing they did not infringe or destroy the Native fishing weirs. In 1644, Christopher Lawson was granted the right to construct a weir, which was a way of trapping fish, across the river. He was supposed to ensure that small boats and canoes could still get through, but it must not have worked out because the next year his grant was revoked and the rights of the river were extended back to all townsfolk.

Rights to the forests were also controlled by the town government. Within the first year the central part of the village was largely deforested and harvesting lumber was restricted to one half-mile outside of town. Since food production was low, lumber became the chief source of income for most residents.

Most early records indicate that lumber finished into barrel staves and boards became the currency used in town instead of cash. Most of the local economy functioned on a barter system – including the payment of taxes, which were argued over as much as they are today.

In this manner of inventing rules as they were needed and regulating behavior regarding resources, the small community held together during the early years. When food was scarce, the council ordered a general search of all homes and surplus food was divided among those who needed it – with the understanding that market price would be paid in exchange. The town thus avoided any of the ‘starving times’ experienced in earlier settlements like Plymouth or Jamestown. The laws changed within several decades after the Natives left and sawmills created a booming lumber industry, but the Town of Exeter began with seemingly humble gentlemen’s agreements.

This entry in the Exeter Town Records is from April 9th, 1640. Reading early records can be difficult due to the style of handwriting, spelling variations and calendar differences – this entry begins: “An ordered & inacted law. It is inacted for a law constituted & made & consented unto by the whole assemblye at the Cort sollomly meet togeather in Exeter this 9 day of the 2 moneth Ano. 1640” The first month of the year was March, which explains why the entry was written in April – the second month of the year.

Agreement of the Settlers at Exeter in New Hampshire, 1639

Whereas it hath pleased the Lord to move the Heart of our dread Sovereigns Charles by the Grace of God King &c. to grant Licence and Libertye to sundry of his subjects to plant themselves in the Westerlle parts of America. We his loyal Subjects Brethern of the Church in Exeter situate and lying upon the River Pascataqua with other Inhabitants there, considering with ourselves the holy Will of God and o'er own Necessity that we should not live without wholesomne Lawes and Civil Government among us of which we are altogether destitute; do in the name of Christ and in the sight of God combine ourselves together to erect and set up among us such Government as shall be to our best discerning agreeable to the Will of God professing ourselves Subjects to our Sovereign Lord King Charles according to the Libertyes of our English Colony of Massachusetts, and binding of ourselves solemnly by the Grace and Help of Christ and in His Name and fear to submit ourselves to such Godly and Christian Lawes as are established in the realm of England to our best Knowledge, and to all other such Lawes which shall upon good grounds be made and enacted among us according to God that we may live quietly and peaceably together in all godliness and honesty. Mo. 8. D. 4. 1639 as attests our Hands.
[35 signatures follow.]

Friday, December 21, 2018

Pacts anticipate "By the People" - 1639 Fundamental Orders of 1639 Connecticut

Thomas Hooker led his church members in 1636 from Massachusetts, through the wilderness, to found the city of Hartford, Connecticut.  The Fundamental Orders were adopted by the Connecticut Colony council on January 14, 1639.The fundamental orders describe the government set up by the Connecticut River towns, setting its structure & powers. They wanted the government to have access to the open ocean for trading. The Orders have the features of a written constitution & are considered by some as the first written Constitution in the Western tradition. Thus, Connecticut earned its nickname of The Constitution State. It was a Constitution the government that Massachusetts had set up. However, this Order gave men more voting rights & made more men eligible to run for elected positions.

In the year of 1677, a group of Puritans & others who were dissatisfied with the rate of Anglican reforms sought to establish an ecclesiastical society subject to their own rules & regulations. The Massachusetts General Court granted them permission to settle the cities of Windsor, Wethersfield, & Hartford. Ownership of the land was called into dispute by the English holders of the Warwick Patent of 1631. The Massachusetts General Court established the March Commission to mediate the dispute, & named Roger Ludlow as its head. The Commission named eight magistrates from the Connecticut towns to implement a legal system. The March commission expired in March 1636, after which the settlers continued to self-govern.

On May 29, 1638, Ludlow wrote to Massachusetts Governor Winthrop that the colonists wanted to "unite ourselves to walk & lie peaceably & lovingly together." There is no record of the debates or proceedings of the drafting or enactment of the Fundamental Orders. The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut contains some principles that were later applied in creating the United States government. Government is based in the rights of an individual, & the orders spell out some of those rights, as well as how they are ensured by the government. It provides that all free men share in electing their magistrates, & uses secret, paper ballots. It states the powers of the government, & some limits within which that power is exercised.

In one sense, the Fundamental Orders were replaced by a Royal Charter in 1662, but the major outline of the charter was written in Connecticut & embodied the Orders' rights & mechanics. It was carried to England by Governor John Winthrop & basically approved by the British King, Charles II. The colonists generally viewed the charter as a continuation & surety for their Fundamental Orders. Later on, the Charter Oak got its name when that charter was taken from Jeremy Adams's tavern & supposedly hidden in an oak tree, rather than it be surrendered to the agents of James II, who intended to annex Connecticut to the more centralized Dominion of New England.

Fundamental Orders of 1639

For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God by the wise disposition of his divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the Inhabitants and Residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield are now cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River of Connectecotte and the lands thereunto adjoining; and well knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; do therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one Public State or Commonwealth; and do for ourselves and our successors and such as shall be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and Confederation together, to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus which we now profess, as also, the discipline of the Churches, which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees as shall be made, ordered, and decreed as followeth:

1. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that there shall be yearly two General Assemblies or Courts, the one the second Thursday in April, the other the second Thursday in September following; the first shall be called the Court of Election, wherein shall be yearly chosen from time to time, so many Magistrates and other public Officers as shall be found requisite: Whereof one to be chosen Governor for the year ensuing and until another be chosen, and no other Magistrate to be chosen for more than one year: provided always there be six chosen besides the Governor, which being chosen and sworn according to an Oath recorded for that purpose, shall have the power to administer justice according to the Laws here established, and for want thereof, according to the Rule of the Word of God; which choice shall be made by all that are admitted freemen and have taken the Oath of Fidelity, and do cohabit within this Jurisdiction having been admitted Inhabitants by the major part of the Town wherein they live or the major part of such as shall be then present.

2. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that the election of the aforesaid Magistrates shall be in this manner: every person present and qualified for choice shall bring in (to the person deputed to receive them) one single paper with the name of him written in it whom he desires to have Governor, and that he that hath the greatest number of papers shall be Governor for that year. And the rest of the Magistrates or public officers to be chosen in this manner: the Secretary for the time being shall first read the names of all that are to be put to choice and then shall severally nominate them distinctly, and every one that would have the person nominated to be chosen shall bring in one single paper written upon, and he that would not have him chosen shall bring in a blank; and every one that hath more written papers than blanks shall be a Magistrate for that year; which papers shall be received and told by one or more that shall be then chosen by the court and sworn to be faithful therein; but in case there should not be six chosen as aforesaid, besides the Governor, out of those which are nominated, than he or they which have the most writen papers shall be a Magistrate or Magistrates for the ensuing year, to make up the aforesaid number.

3. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that the Secretary shall not nominate any person, nor shall any person be chosen newly into the Magistracy which was not propounded in some General Court before, to be nominated the next election; and to that end it shall be lawful for each of the Towns aforesaid by their deputies to nominate any two whom they conceive fit to be put to election; and the Court may add so many more as they judge requisite.

4. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that no person be chosen Governor above once in two years, and that the Governor be always a member of some approved Congregation, and formerly of the Magistracy within this Jurisdiction; and that all the Magistrates, Freemen of this Commonwealth; and that no Magistrate or other public officer shall execute any part of his or their office before they are severally sworn, which shall be done in the face of the court if they be present, and in case of absence by some deputed for that purpose.

5. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that to the aforesaid Court of Election the several Towns shall send their deputies, and when the Elections are ended they may proceed in any public service as at other Courts. Also the other General Court in September shall be for making of laws, and any other public occasion, which concerns the good of the Commonwealth.

6. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that the Governor shall, either by himself or by the Secretary, send out summons to the Constables of every Town for the calling of these two standing Courts one month at least before their several times: And also if the Governor and the greatest part of the Magistrates see cause upon any special occasion to call a General Court, they may give order to the Secretary so to do within fourteen days' warning: And if urgent necessity so required, upon a shorter notice, giving sufficient grounds for it to the deputies when they meet, or else be questioned for the same; And if the Governor and major part of Magistrates shall either neglect or refuse to call the two General standing Courts or either of them, as also at other times when the occasions of the Commonwealth require, the Freemen thereof, or the major part of them, shall petition to them so to do; if then it be either denied or neglected, the said Freemen, or the major part of them, shall have the power to give order to the Constables of the several Towns to do the same, and so may meet together, and choose to themselves a Moderator, and may proceed to do any act of power which any other General Courts may.

7. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that after there are warrants given out for any of the said General Courts, the Constable or Constables of each Town, shall forthwith give notice distinctly to the inhabitants of the same, in some public assembly or by going or sending from house to house, that at a place and time by him or them limited and set, they meet and assemble themselves together to elect and choose certain deputies to be at the General Court then following to agitate the affairs of the Commonwealth; which said deputies shall be chosen by all that are admitted Inhabitants in the several Towns and have taken the oath of fidelity; provided that none be chosen a Deputy for any General Court which is not a Freeman of this Commonwealth.

The aforesaid deputies shall be chosen in manner following: every person that is present and qualified as before expressed, shall bring the names of such, written in several papers, as they desire to have chosen for that employment, and these three or four, more or less, being the number agreed on to be chosen for that time, that have the greatest number of papers written for them shall be deputies for that Court; whose names shall be endorsed on the back side of the warrant and returned into the Court, with the Constable or Constables' hand unto the same.

8. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that Windsor, Hartford, and Wethersfield shall have power, each Town, to send four of their Freemen as their deputies to every General Court; and Whatsoever other Town shall be hereafter added to this Jurisdiction, they shall send so many deputies as the Court shall judge meet, a reasonable proportion to the number of Freemen that are in the said Towns being to be attended therein; which deputies shall have the power of the whole Town to give their votes and allowance to all such laws and orders as may be for the public good, and unto which the said Towns are to be bound.

9. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that the deputies thus chosen shall have power and liberty to appoint atime and a place of meeting together before any General Court, to advise and consult of all such things as may concern the good of the public, as also to examine their own Elections, whether according to the order, and if they or the greatest part of them find any election to be illegal they may seclude such for present from their meeting, and return the same and their reasons to the Court; and if it be proved true, the Court may fine the party or parties so intruding, and the Town, if they see cause, and give out a warrant to go to a new election in a legal way, either in part or in whole. Also the said deputies shall have power to fine any that shall be disorderly at their meetings, or for not coming in due time or place according to appointment; and they may return the said fines into the Court if it be refused to be paid, and the Treasurer to take notice of it, and to escheat or levy the same as he does other fines.

10. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that every General Court, except such as through neglect of the Governor and the greatest part of the Magistrates the Freemen themselves do call, shall consist of the Governor, or some one chosen to moderate the Court, and four other Magistrates at least, with the major part of the deputies of the several Towns legally chosen; and in case the Freemen, or major part of them, through neglect or refusal of the Governor and major part of the Magistrates, shall call a Court, it shall consist of the major part of Freemen that are present or their deputiues, with a Moderator chosen by them: In which said General Courts shall consist the supreme power of the Commonwealth, and they only shall have power to make laws or repeal them, to grant levies, to admit of Freemen, dispose of lands undisposed of, to several Towns or persons, and also shall have power to call either Court or Magistrate or any other person whatsoever into question for any misdemeanor, and may for just causes displace or deal otherwise according to the nature of the offense; and also may deal in any other matter that concerns the good of this Commonwealth, except election of Magistrates, which shall be done by the whole body of Freemen.

In which Court the Governor or Moderator shall have power to order the Court, to give liberty of speech, and silence unseasonable and disorderly speakings, to put all things to vote, and in case the vote be equal to have the casting voice. But none of these Courts shall be adjourned or dissolved without the consent of the major part of the Court.

11. It is Ordered, sentenced, and decreed, that when any General Court upon the occasions of the Commonwealth have agreed upon any sum, or sums of money to be levied upon the several Towns within this Jurisdiction, that a committee be chosen to set out and appoint what shall be the proportion of every Town to pay of the said levy, provided the committee be made up of an equal number out of each Town.

14th January 1639 the 11 Orders above said are voted.