Слике страница
PDF
ePub

chusetts Bay company was deprived of its privileges by pro cess of law.

The entire control of both the Massachusetts colonies thus rested with the crown; and measures were promptly taken to suppress freedom of thought and action. Puritans were forbidden to emigrate to America, and it is said that thus the king, unfortunately for himself, prevented Cromwell, Hampden, and other friends of liberty, from leaving England. The colonists would no doubt have been cruelly persecuted, had not difficulties soon arisen at home which engrossed the king's attention.

158. The New England colonies, having the same origin, views, and interests, began about this time to feel the necessity of union. In 1643, they were threatened by the Indians on one side, and the Dutch and French on the other; and accordingly Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Haven, formed a league offensive and defensive, under the name of “the United Colonies of New England”. At this time, they contained a population of about 20,000, scattered through 50 villages.

Each colony retained the control of its own territory; but questions of war and peace,

and all matters of common interest, were decided by a council of two commissioners from each. In case of war, the colonies were to furnish men and money in proportion to their population. This confederacy

germ

of the American Union. It was of great advantage to the colonies, and lasted more than forty years, till the New England charters were revoked by James II.

159. The people of Massachusetts had early provided for the education of the young. A sum of money was appro priated by the General Court for the establishment of a school at Cambridge; and, the Rev. John Harvard having left it nearly $4,000 and his library, it was made a university and called by his name. Such was the origin of Harvard Uni

was the

Bay company? What measures were now taken by the king? What prevented him from cruelly persecuting the colonists ? 158. What did the New England colonies begin to feel necessary? When was the union effected, and what led to it? What was the population of New England at this time? What were the terms of the union? Of what was it the germ? How long did it last ? 159. For

1647]

DOMESTIC LIFE OF THE PURITANS.

105

versity, the oldest college in the United States. Every township of fifty householders was required by law to erect a school-house and hire a teacher.

CHAPTER XIII.

DOMESTIC LIFE, CHARACTER, AND LAWS OF THE PURITANS.

160. LET us glance at the state of society among the Puritans. Their condition, of course, was like that of the English people at this time. Many improvements connected with domestic life were yet unknown, while others had just been introduced. The use of chimneys was becoming common, though opposed by some, who said that smoke improved their health and hardened the timbers of their houses. Wooden dishes and spoons were giving way to pewter ones. Houses of brick and stone were not unfrequent in the old country; but in America boards and unhewn logs were mostly used in building. A poor man in England received but half what he now gets for a day's labor. Rye, barley, and oats, were the common food; and thousands of families hardly knew the taste of meat. The condition of the people in Massachusetts was considerably better than this. After the first few years of scarcity, ord nary industry supplied their wants; and they lived more comfortably and independently than the same class in the old world.

161. The Puritans of New England had naturally imbibed a strong aversion to the manners and practices of those who had persecuted them. They were opposed to veils, wigs, and long hair, condemned silken hoods and scarfs, required women to restrict the size of their sleeves, and discountenanced all frivolous fashions in dress. They disliked the

what had the people of Massachusetts early made provision? Wbat was the origin of Harvard University? What was the law relating to school-houses ?

160. Give an account of the condition of the New England Puritans. How did it compare with that of their brethren in England ? 161. To what were the

cross in the British flag, and for-
bade the observance of Christ-
mas. Comparing themselves to
the Israelites of old, who fled
from bondage in Egypt to an
unknown wilderness, they tried
to conform to the laws and cus-
toms of the chosen people. Like
them, they commenced their Sab-
bath on Saturday evening, and
observed it with the utmost strict-
ness. They took whole sentences
from the Bible as names for their
children, or called them after
Scriptural characters. All reli-
gious duties were zealously at-
tended to; prayers and sermons
were but little esteemed unless
they were of great length; and
children and servants were regu-
larly catechised. They were stiff
and formal, but at the same time
industrious, enterprising, and moral.

162. The laws of the Puritans condemned all war that was not defensive, and provided penalties for gambling, intemperance, and other immoralities. They forbade the taking of interest on loaned money, and punished blasphemy and idolatry with death. Persecuted Christians, of their own faith, who sought refuge among them, were supported for a time at the public expense; but priests and Jesuits were forbidden to set foot within their limits.

163. Quakers shared with Roman Catholics the hatred of the Puritans. They were first known as a religious body in

[graphic]

A PURITAN.

Puritans opposed ? To whom did they compare themselves ? In what respects did they imitate the chosen people? What is said of their manners? What, of their attention to religious duties? 162. What did the laws of the Puritans condemn and forbid ? What provision was made for persecuted Puritans who sought refuge among them? How was it with priests and Jesuits ? 163. To what other

1656]

PERSECUTION OF THE QUAKERS.

107

England in 1644, through the preaching of George Fox, Averse to form, the Quakers believed that God communicated directly with the spirits of men, moving them according to His will. They would neither bear arms nor take an oath; they condemned pleasures, forms, and show; they denounced tyranny and abhorred titles. Anxious to propagate their doctrines, and ready to seal their opinions with their blood, they had turned their eyes to America as a promising field for effort.

164. In 1656, two Quakeresses arrived at Boston. They were immediately arrested, and after an imprisonment of five weeks expelled from the colony. Laws were passed, forbidding under heavy penalties the introducing or harboring of Quakers in Massachusetts. If one of “ the accursed sect

was found within the colony, he was to lose an ear; if he returned, the other ear was forfeited; and for a third offence his tongue was to be pierced with a red-hot iron.

But the persecuted Quakers gloried in bearing witness to their faith. The severer the laws against them, the more they were attracted to Boston. Fines, whippings, and tortures, could not keep them away: and finally the authorities declared that all Quakers found a second time in the colony should be punished with death. Three men and one woman suffered on the scaffold under this law, declaring that they died for conscience' sake. Such horror, however, was excited by these executions, that the cruel law was repealed.. After this, Quakers were whipped out of the colony, and the excitement gradually died away.

165. It seems strange in this more liberal age that the Puritans should so soon have forgotten their own sufferings, and displayed the same persecuting spirit from which they had themselves fled. Their only excuse is to be found in the spirit of the times. Laws for the punishment of heresy

sect were the Puritans opposed? When were the Quakers first known in Eng. land? Through whose preaching? What did the Quakers believe? What did they condemn? 164. In 1656, who arrived at Boston ? What was done to them? What laws were passed on the subject? What was the effect of these laws ? Finally, what did the authorities declare? How many persons suffered under this law? What feeling was excited ? What was the result? 165. What excuse

existed in every Christian country. In Spain, multitudes had perished at the stake and on the rack. Under Charles V., 50,000 persons had been burned, hanged, buried alive, or beheaded, in the Netherlands. Even in England, numbers had suffered under Bloody Mary and some of her suc

The Puritans were only carrying out the same intolerant principles. To Roger Williams and his Providence Plantations, to Lord Baltimore and his happy colony on the Chesapeake, belongs the honor of first rising superior to the bigotry of their age.

cessors.

CHAPTER XIV.

KING PHILIP'S WAR.

166. UNLIKE the Virginians, the Puritans of New England, during the long struggle between Charles I. and his Parliament, sided against the king; and when the latter was dethroned, and Cromwell assumed the government, they were treated with great liberality and favor. The population increased; commerce extended; the fisheries flourished; and ship-building and other trades were pursued with profit.

167. In 1658, Cromwell died; and, his son having abdicated, Charles II. was restored to the throne of England in 1660. The first vessel that left for the colonies after this event brought over Whalley [whol'-le) and Goffe (gof), two of the regicide judges who had condemned Charles I., now compelled to fly from the vengeance of his son. They were well received in Boston by Gov. Endicott. The next year, an order came for their arrest; but the authorities allowed them to escape to Connecticut.

Charles II. having become firmly seated on the throne,

can the Puritans plead for this intolerance? What had been done in Spain ? In the Netherlands? In England? Who, in the new world, first rose superior to the bigotry of their age ?

166. In the struggle between Charles I. and Parliament, which side did the New England Puritans take? What was their condition during Cromwell's administration ? 167. What took place in 1660 ? Soon after, who arrived at Boston? How were they treated ? How did the colonists attempt to make their

« ПретходнаНастави »