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pursuance of our plan to bring into view the different settle ments and attempts at settlement upon our coast previous to the one, of which it is our purpose particularly to speak. Other hands have done justice to this important event in the history of this country.
On the 10th of September, 1621, the north-eastern part of the territory included in the charter to the council of Plymouth, was granted by James I, to Sir Wm. Alexander. This was done by the consent of the company, as Gorges in his description of New England declares. The grant to which the name of Nova Scotia was given, extended from Cape Sable north to the St. Lawrence, thence by the shore of that river and round by the sea to the first point; included Cape Breton and all the islands within six leagues of the western, northern, and eastern parts, and those within forty leagues south of Cape Sable. Sir William was engaged in this adventure by becoming acquainted with Capt. Mason, who a short time before had returned from Newfoundland.
In 1622 or 1623, Sir William Alexander subdued the French inhabitants within his grant, carried them prisoners to Virginia, and planted a colony there himself.3*
New England being now brought into notice by the respec
1 Prince, vol. ii, p. 111. Hazard, vol. i, p. 134. 2 Hazard, vol. i, p. 387. 3 Jeremiah Dummer's Mem., vol. i. 3d Ser. Mass. H. Col., p. 232.
*[On the 12th of April, 1635, the council of Plymouth granted to Sir Wm. Alexander all that part of the main land in New England from St. Croix adjoining New Scotland along the sea coast to Pemaquid, and so up to the Kinebequi to be called the county of Canada. Also Long Island, west of Cape Cod, “to be holden per gladium comitatus, that is to say to find four able-bodied men to attend on the Governor of New England on fourteen days notice.” Sainsbury's Col. Papers, vol. I, p. 204. In 1622, Capt. Robert Gorges, the eldest son of Sir F. Gorges was appointed Governor of New England, with Capt. Francis West, Christopher Lewitt, and the Governor of New Plymouth as his counselors.. Lewitt came over in 1623 and visited the coast of Maine from Piscataqua to Pemaquid. An interesting account of this voyage is contained in the 20 Vol. of the Me. Hist. Col.)
tability of the persons who had engaged in its cause, and especially by the profits derived from the fish and fur trade, the intercourse with it was yearly increasing. In 1621, ten or twelve ships from the west of England, procured full cargoes of fish and fur; in 1622, thirty-five ships, in 1623, forty ships, and in 1624, fifty ships were engaged in the same trade. So great seems to have been the excitement in this new channel of speculation, that the Plymouth company found it necessary to procure a proclamation from the king, which bears date Nov. 6, 1622, to prevent“ interloping and disorderly trading” upon the coast. It is alleged in the proclamation, that persons without authority committed intolerable abuses there, not only by destroying timber and throwing their ballast into the harbors of the islands, but by selling war-like implements and ammunition to the natives and teaching them their use.
The same year, August 10th, the council of Plymouth granted to Sir F. Gorges and Capt. John Mason, two of their company, “all the lands situated between the rivers Merrimac and Sagadehoc,” extending back to the great lakes, and the river of Canada.3 In 1623, they sent over David Thompson, Edward and William Hilton, and others, who commenced a plantation upon the west side of the Piscataqua river, which was the first settlement in New Hampshire, and the beginning of the present town of Portsmouth.4 Gorges and Mason continued their joint interest on the Piscataqua, having procured a new patent in 1631, including all their improvements on both sides of the river until 1634, when they made a division of their property ;5 Mason took the western side of the river, and Gorges the eastern, and they each procured distinct patents for their respective portions, which they afterward separately pursued.
1 Prince, vol. i, pp. 99, 117. 2 Hazard, vol. i; p. 151. Sainsbury.
Gorges did not confine his attention exclusively to Piscataqua, even while he continued a partner in the Laconia patent; for in February 1623, we find that he had already a plantation established upon the island of Monhegan. This was probably for the accommodation of the fishermen ; but it had become of sufficient importance to draw thither the persons settled in Massachusetts bay for supplies. This plantation must have been commenced in 1621, or 1622, and was the first which continued for any length of time upon any part of the territory of Maine. Monhegan is a solitary island, about twelve miles south-east of Pemaquid point, which is the nearest main land. From this island the transition to the main was easy; and from the concourse of vessels to this neighborhood in the fishing season, it might naturally be expected that here settlements would be early formed. Such appears to have been the fact, and we find that in 1625, a settlement was commenced at New Harbor, on Pemaquid, which continued to increase without interruption, until the destructive war of 1675.
On the 15th of July, 1625, John Brown, of New Harbor, purchased of Capt. John Somerset and Unongoit, two Indian Sachems, for fifty skins, a tract of land on Pemaquid, extending eight miles by twenty-five, together with Muscongus island. The next year Abraham Shurt was sent over by Alderman Aldsworth and Giles Elbridge, merchants of Bristol, as their agent, and was invested with power to purchase Monhegan for them. This island then belonged to Abraham Jennings of Plymouth, of whose agent, Shurt purchased it for
£50. In 1629, Aldsworth and Elbridge sent over to Shurt a patent from the council of Plymouth, for twelve thousand
1 Prince, p. 127. Morton's Mem., p. 109.
3 Shurt was about forty-four years old when he came over, and was living in 1662, aged about eighty. In 1675, there were no less than one hundred and fifty-six families east of Sagadahoc, and near one hundred fishing vessels
acres of land on Pemaquid, bounded north by a line drawn from the head of the Damariscotta to the head of the Muscongus river, and from thence to the sea, including the islands within three leagues of the shore.l * Here was commenced the first permanent settlement on the main land within the territory of this state, by any European power. Thomas Elbridge, the son of Giles, the patentee, came over a few years afterward and held a court within this patent, to which many of the inhabitants of Monhegan and Damariscove repaired, and made acknowledgment of submission. This place from its numerous harbors and islands, possessed many advantages of trade as well as of farming and fishing, and rapidly increased in population and business. An additional grant was made to the same persons in 1932, in which it is recited, that the land is “next adjoining to this place, where the people or servants of said Giles and
1 We here present a fac-simile of the signatures of Abraham Shurt, and Thomas Elbridge.
*[Sainsbury in his colonial calendar, says that this grant was to be laid out near the river of Pemaquid. with an additional one hundred acres to every person who should settle there, in consideration of the patentees having undertaken to build a town and settle inhabitants there for the good of the country. He puts this down under date Nov. 24, 1631.]
2 Sil. Davis's Report, p. 40.
owned between Sagadahoc and St. Georges' river. Si. Davis's statement to the council in 1675.
Robert are now settled, or have inhabited for the space of three years last past.
1 Since the above was put to press, I have discovered among a bundle of old papers, just put into my hands, a certificate or declaration of Samuel Welles, of Boston, made in 1750, relative to a settlement at Pemaquid two or three years earlier than I have stated in the text. I have introduced this certificate as noticing an important fact, which, it is surprising, has hitherto escaped observation.
“ This may certify all concerned, that I have in my hand, a certain patent, signed by the Earl of Warwick, and several other members of the council of Plymouth, in England, dated June 1st, 1621, about three years after the patent, constituting the council of Plymouth for ordering the affairs and settlement of New England; that is, of land between the fortieth and forty-eighth degree of north latitude. The sum and substance of this patent of June 1st, 1621, is a grant to one John Pierce, a citizen of London, of liberty to come and settle in New England, with divers privileges in such place as he or his associates should choose under certain limitations of not interfering with other grants, or settling within ten miles of any other settlement, unless on the opposite side of some great and navigable river, and on return made, to have further grants or privileges. Now, as I am informed, and hear it is agreed on all hands, Mr. Pierce came over and here he settled ; that is, at a place called Broad Bay, and there his posterity continued above one hundred years; some time after the settlement was begun, one Mr. Brown made a purchase of a large tract of land of the natives; and as Mr. Pierce's was the most ancient (grant thereabouts, they united the grant from home with the purchase of the natives, and it is said, that the Indians have ever acknowledged the justice of our claims, and never would burn Pierce's house, even though he left it. This patent is the ancientest I ever saw about any part of New England, except the original grand patent to the council of Plymouth, made as I remember in November, in 1618. This patent is eight years older than that to Bradford and his associates for Plymouth Colony, and nine years older than Massachusetts' first charter. I do not think of anything further material or needful to be said, and the above is the best account my time will now allow me to give.
There are six seals signed by the Duke of Lenox, Duke of Hamilton, Earl Warwick, and some others, whose names I cannot find out.
SAMUEL WELLES." Boston, 11th September, 1750.
*[In "early documents relating to Maine," is the following memorandum, "A. D. 1753, April 6. Deposition of Samuel Welles, of Boston, in New England, declaring that in 1727, great search was made after the patent of the late colony of Plymouth, which was studiously sought after in the years 1733 and 1739;