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"Quascacunqun", on a river of the same name not far from the sea, at the northern frontier. This point had been partially settled some months before as a Garrison Post, and the population recently augumented by another group from an older settlement below, for it had been determined to build up and strengthen this gateway to a rich Indian territory which lay beyond. Free-booters in the vicinity, it had been found, had been active in deviating trade with the Indians from the Colony. In such out-posts as these every Englishman was a soldier. The new settlement, Newbury, was named from the town in England, the former residence of Reverend Thomas Parker a prominent member of the party.
They had scarcely settled themselves in their rude temporary huts when a great storm - doubtless a disturbance following a tropi. cal hurricane, as are occasionally felt in those regions -- occurred. Had the journey to America been delayed but a few short weeks, the entire crew and the passengers of the "James may have perished, for this storm so severe in intensity, would doubtless have capsized the vessel. According to a report by 'Tilliam Bradford, further down the coast at Flymouth: "Such a mighty storme of wind and rain as none living in these parts, either English or Indeens ever saw....it blew dovn sund ry houses and uncovered others; diverce vessells were lost at sea, and many more in extreme danger....it caused the sea to swell above twenty foote, right up and down, and made nany of the Indeens to climb into trees for their saitie."
After the storm had abatted, the group of colonists had opportunity to examine the soil and vegetation about them, and to compare them -- perhaps with a touch of despair -- with their fertile farm lands at home. But they could not help but be impressed as others had been, with the beauty of the landscape and the nature of the waterways about them. Captain John Sruth, the great explorer of old Virginia, less than a quarter of a century before, had expressed a marked preference for this " Massachusetts" coast over all other American regions. As soon as conditions permitted, they replaced their tem porary huts with houses similar to those they had left behind them in England, and in a short time "all the wigwams, * huts, and huddles which the English dwelt in at their first coming (were replaced by) ... orderly, fair and wellbuilt houses, well-furnished, many of them". Thus wrote Edvard Johnson, an observer of that decade,
The typical house closely resembled the dwellings to which they had been accustomed. The same second story over-hang, -- which
* See Appendix 10
in fact was an ancient medieval device, -- was faithfully repro. duced in the Colony, and the small diamond-shaped window panes and generous chimneys were reminiscent of home. In such a house, a half-mile south from the cemetery, in what was to be known in later years as "old Newbury", on a slight eminence which for centuries was called "Morse's Field", lived Anthony and his family. For after a few months his wife and children had joined their husband and father in the great adventure, So well were these early houses built that the foundations of Anthony's original house were intact for over two centuries. .
Each married sottler had been granted twelve acres of land for his "Home lot", as well as other property, and an individed interest in the land held in common. And thus -- by the *Old Towno River Alias ye Parker", - lived, thought, worked and oven wrote in the old Elizabethan style, this band of sturdy Englishmen and their families.
Separated from each other by dense wilderness, uncharted and mostly unknown, this group was but one of several other European settlements along the fringe of the New World. Beyond, through the unpenetrable forests, habitated by strange savages and claimed by the rival nations of France and Spain, these early colonies were veritable outposts in the new hemisphere. Even the wildest dreamer could scarcely have visualized the future of the vast continent, to the border of which these sturdy Englishmen had migrated.
All outposts of civilization, then and now, have certain distinctive features in common, the free booters, the anti-social hermits on the out-skirts, and the class of hard visaged tough-living seamen, who looked as if they had been born and reared on the very ships on which they lived, were all visitors to Newbury. Then there was a sprinkling of French from Canada, some Dutch from the trading colony below, and the American savage. These Indians or "Americans", as they were called, were a strange people. They were thought to be of a nation allied with the Devil himself, and to have been organiz. ed -- with their own kings, princes and courts, and it was long to be a debatable question as to whether the Indians were a kind of beast to be shot at, or a degenerate specimen of the human race to be Christianized. If the Indian himself had been asked his preference, he doubtless would have preferred the former fate. On the other hand, to the Indian, the "Yanglies" were likewise a strange race, with a white, often hairy, face, and a body which was com pletely covered with a mass of leather and cloth, and who often work. ed in the fields and gardens as did their common as quais". Half devil and half god, the white man ruined the hunting grounds, then
paid good wampum for bare land itself; he traded them whiskey and rum on the one side, but would punish them severely when they drank it; and the diseases they spread were quite as deadly as their loud and boisterous gunfire. The early colonists learned much from their Red brothers; not the least of which was that these Indians were not amenable to slavery; were grossly ignorant of the grave pronouncements of his Majesty's wigged and learned Jurists; and could not drink their liquor like Englishmen. Although face to face in their new destiny, perhaps there were none, of all human creatures, who were more utterly apart in all realms, than the American savage and the Puritan,
Even in the New World, however, the typical Puritan", was not always the drab and gloomy thing he was afterwards painted. The Puritans in America dressed in much the same attire as did others of their class at home, and much the same punitive measures were necessary to control much the same infractions of law and order as ' were necessary for their fellow-Englishnen and Englishwomen, at home. Living at a time when "upstart insolence", drunkenness and dissipa. tion were rampant, they fought for a return to the less pretentious and more 'decent' ways of their forefathers; and when they drove out newer religious cults, they were but protecting, in a very practical way, their very own political safeguards.* And even when they tried women for itchcraft or hung or plotted to sell into slavery the Quakers -- William Penn in one instance -- they were acting in no way different from the current superstitions and narrowess of Englishmen at home or people in Europe generally.
For seven long years these Juritans at Newbury had been struggling with the rocky soil and i'rigid winters, when, the "Great Migration", having run its course, there was a marked depreciation in the value of their cattle and lands and a corresponding scarcity of commodities and ready money. any of these people who by now were fully appreciative of the fact that their overseas settlement was in climate and fertility more comparable to Iceland than to their native English shires, thought seriously of moving elsewhere. There was much talk of removing to the West Indies or Barbados, or even to the Dutch settlements of New Amsterdam. Some indeed were planning to return home to England. Governor Winthrop pleaded with them, however, and impressed upon them the unfairness to their follows should any of them desert their present habitat; for, -- he told them, and truthfully, -- they all had counted upon each other to stay on, and so these men and women of deep conscience remained on