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for the necessary carrying on of the works, and maintaining of the workmen, and provision of coal for the same: provided it be not within the bounds of any town already settled, or any particular person's property; and provided it be not in, or bordering upon any place, that shall, or may, by the court, be judged fit to make a plantation of.”
Though the eastern and middle parts of Norwalk had been purchased more than ten years, yet there had been only a few scattering inhabitants within its limits. But the last year, upon the petition of Nathan Ely and Richard Olmstead, the court gave liberty for its settlement, and ordained that it should be a town by the name of Norwalk. The western part of it was purchased on the 15th of February. The inhabitants, at this time, consisted of about twenty families. About four years after, the general court vested them with town privileges. The situation of the place is very agreeable; the harbor is pleasant and safe, and the lands rich, yielding plenteously. The air is uncommonly healthful and salubrious."
The settlement of Mattabeseck commenced about the same time. The principal planters were from England, Hartford, and Weathersfield. The greatest number were from Hartford. There was a considerable accession from Rowley, Chelmsford, and Woburn, in Massachusetts. By the close of this year it became considerably settled. In November, 1653, the general court gave it the name of Middletown. Twenty years after, the number of shares was fixed at fifty-two. This was the whole number of the householders, at that period, within the town.
The agreement, made the last year, with the Dutch governor, and his professions of amity, encouraged the English to prosecute the settlement of the lands, which they had purchased in the vicinity of the Dutch.
Fifty men from New-Haven and Totoket, made preparations to settle their lands at Delaware. This spring, they hired a vessel to transport themselves and their effects into those parts. They had a commission from governor Eaton; and he wrote an amicable letter to the Dutch governor, acquainting him with their design; assuring him, that, according to the agreement at Hartford, they would settle upon their own lands, and give no disturbance to their neighbours. A letter, of the same import, was also addressed to him from the governor of Massachusetts. But no sooner had governor Stuyvesant received the letters, than he arrested the bearers, and committed them close prisoners, under guard. Then sending for the master of the vessel to come on shore, that he might speak with him, he arrested and committed him. Others, as they came on shore, to visit and assist their neighbours, were confined with them. The Dutch governor desired to see their commission, promising it should be returned when he had taken a copy. But when it was demanded of him, he would not return it to them. Nor would he release the men from confinement, until he had forced them to give it under their hands, that they would not prosecute their voyage; but, without loss of time, return to New-Haven. He threatened, that, if he should afterwards find any of them at Delaware, he would not only seize their goods, but send them prisoners into Holland. He also caused a considerable part of the estate of the inhabitants of Southampton to be attached, and would not suffer them to remove it within the jurisdiction of the English. Captain Tapping, Mr. Fordham, and others, therefore complained, and petitioned to the commissioners for redress.
1 From the first settlement of the town, to 1732, a term of more than 80 years, there was no general sickness, except the measles, in the town. From 1715, to 1719, there died in that large town, twelve persons only. Out of one train band, consisting of a hundred men, there died not one person, from 1716, to 1730, during the term of fourteen years. Mrs. Hanford, relict of the first minister of the town, died September 12th, 1730, aged 100 years. Manuscripts of the Rev. Moses Dickinson.
They met this year at New-Haven, September 14th. The members were Mr. Bradstreet and captain John Hawthorne, Mr. John Brown and Mr. Timothy Hatherly, governor Hopkins and Mr. Ludlow, governors Eaton and Goodyear. Governor Eaton was chosen president.
Jasper Crane and William Tuttle, in behalf of themselves, and many others, inhabitants of New-Haven and Totoket, presented a petition to the commissioners, complaining of the treatment which they had received from the Dutch governor, and representing, that they had sustained more than three hundred pounds damage, besides the insult and injury done to the united colonies. They showed, that the Dutch had seized, and were about to fortify, upon the very lands which they had bought of the original proprietors at Delaware: That, had it not been for the injustice and violence of the Dutch, the New-England colonies might have been greatly enlarged, by settlements in those parts; that the gospel might have been published to the natives, and much good done, not only to the colonies, at present, but to posterity. They also represented, that the Dutch were, by gifts and art, enticing the English to make settlements under their jurisdiction. They insisted, that suffering them thus to insult the English, and to seize on lands to which they could shew no just claim, would encourage them to drive them from their other settlements, and to seize on their lands and property, whenever they pleased; and that it would make them contemptible among the natives, as well as among all other nations. They pressed the commissioners, therefore, to act with spirit, and immediately to redress the injuries which had been done to them and the colonies.
The commissioners nevertheless, declined acting against the Dutch, without previously writing, and attempting to obtain re
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dress by negotiation. They wrote to Stuyvesant, insisting that he had acted in direct contravention of the agreement at Hartford, and noticed that, in a letter to governor Eaton, he had threatened force of arms, and bloodshed, to any who should go to make settlements upon their lands, at Delaware, to which he was unable to show any claim. They represented to him, how deficient it appeared at Hartford, not only to the commissioners, but even to the arbitrators of his own choosing. They charged him with a breach of the engagement of Mr. Willet and Mr. Baxter, in his behalf, with respect to the restoration of Greenwich to the government of New-Haven. They remonstrated against his conduct, in imprisoning the people of New-Haven and Totoket, in detaining their commission, and frustrating their voyage; and also in beginning to erect fortifications upon the lands of the New-Haven people, at Delaware. They affirmed, that they had as good a right to the Manhadoes, as the Dutch had to those lands. They declared that the colonies had just cause to vindicate and promote their interests, and to redress the injuries which had been done to their confederates. They protested, that whatever inconveniences or mischief might arise upon it would be wholly chargeable to his unneighbourly and unjust conduct.
At the same time, for the encouragement of the petitioners, they resolved, that if, at any time, within twelve months, they should attempt the settlement of their lands, at Delaware, and, at their own charge, transport a hundred and fifty, or at least a hundred men, well armed, with a good vessel or vessels for such an enterprise, with a sufficient quantity of ammunition; and warranted by a commission from the authority at New-Haven, that then, if they should meet with any opposition from the Dutch or Swedes, they would afford them a sufficient force for their defence. They also resolved, that all English planters, at Delaware, either from NewHaven, or any other of the united colonies, should be under the jurisdiction of New-Haven.
The Pequots among the Moheagans and Narragansets, and those who had removed to Long-Island, had, to this time, neglected to pay any part of the tribute, which had been stipulated, at Hartford, in 1638, upon condition, that the English would spare their lives and defend them from their enemies. The general court had given orders, that it should be collected forthwith, and had appointed captain Mason to go to Long-Island, and demand it of the Pequots there, as well as of those in other places.
Uncas, with a number of the Moheagans, and of Ninigrate's men, therefore presented himself before the commissioners; and, in behalf of the Pequots, paid a tribute of about three hundred fathoms of wampum. He then, in their name, demanded, why this tribute was required? How long it was to continue? And whether it must be paid by the children yet unborn?
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fathoms of the Pequots, himself before gans, and of?
The commissioners answered, that, by covenant, it had been annually due ever since the year 1638: That after a just war, in which the Pequots were conquered, the English, to spare, as far as might be, the blood of the guilty, accepted of a small tribute, as expressed in the covenant. They insisted, that they had a right to demand it as a just debt. They observed, that twelve years' tribute was now due, reckoning only to the year 1650; but that, to show their lenity, and encourage the Pequots, if they would behave themselves well, and pay the tribute agreed upon, for ten years, reckoning from 1650, they would give them all which was due for past years; and that, at the expiration of the ten years, they and their children should be free. This, it seems, they thankfully accepted, and afterwards became as faithful friends to the English as the Moheagans. They assisted them in their wars with other Indians; especially, in that against Philip and the Narragansets.
While the commissioners were at New-Haven, two French gentlemen, Monsieur Godfroy and Monsieur Gabriel Druillets, arrived in the capacity of commissioners from Canada. They had been sent by the French governor, Monsieur D'Aillebout, to treat with the united colonies. They presented three commissions, one from Monsieur D'Aillebout, another from the council of NewFrance, and a third to Monsieur Gabriel Druillets, who had been authorized to publish the doctrines and duties of christianity among the Indians.
In behalf of the French in Canada, and the christianized Indians in Acadia, they petitioned for aid against the Mohawks and warriors of the six nations. They urged, that the war was just, as the Mohawks had violated the most solemn leagues, and were perfidious and cruel: That it was a holy war, as the Acadians were converted Indians, and the Mohawks treated them barbarously, because of their christianity. They insisted, that it was a common concern to the French and English nations, as the war with the six nations interrupted the trade of both, with the Indians in general.
Monsieur Druillets appeared to be a man of address. He opened the case to the best advantage, displaying all his art, and employing his utmost ability to persuade the commissioners to engage in the war against the six nations. He urged, that, if they would not consent to join in the war, they would at least, permit the enlistment of volunteers, in the united colonies, for the French service; and grant them a free passage through the colonies, by land or water, as the case might require, to the Mohawk country, He also pleaded, that the christianized Indians might be taken under the protection of the united colonies. He made fair promises of the ample compensation which the French would make the colonies for these services. He represented, that, if these points could be gained, they would enter immediately upon a treaty, for the establishment of a free trade between the French and English in all parts of America.
The reply of the commissioners exhibits policy and prudence; showing, that they were not ignorant of men, nor of the arts of negotiation. They answered, that they looked upon such Indians, as had received the yoke of Christ, with another eye, than upon those who worshipped the devil: That they pitied the Acadians, but saw no way to help them, without exposing the English colonies, and their own neighbouring Indians, to war: and that some of those Indians professed christianity no less than the Acadians. They observed, that it was their desire, by all just means, to keep peace with all men, even with these barbarians; and that they had no occasion for war with the Mohawks, who, in the war with the Pequots, had shown a real respect to the English colonies, and had never since committed any hostility against them. They declared their readiness to perform all offices of righteousness, peace, and good neighbourhood towards the French colony; yet, that they could not permit the enlisting of volunteers, nor the marching of the French and their Indians through the colonies, without giving grounds of offence and war to the Mohawks, and exposing both themselves and the Indians, whom they ought to protect. They observed, that the English engaged in no war, until they were satisfied that it was just, nor until peace had been offered on reasonable terms, and had been refused: that the Mohawks were neither in subjection to the English, nor in league with them; so that they had no means of informing themselves what they could say in their own vindication. They, also, assured the French ambassadors, that they were exceedingly dissatisfied with that mischievous trade, which the French and Dutch had carried on, and still continued, with the Indians, in vending them arms and ammunition, by which they were encouraged, and made insolent, not only against the christian Indians and catechumens, but against all christians in Europe, as well as America. But if all other difficulties were removed, they represented, they had no such short and convenient passage, by land or water, as might be had by Hudson's river to fort Aurania and beyond, in the possession of the Dutch. They concluded, by observing, that the honoured French deputies, as they conceived, had full powers to settle a free trade between the English and French colonies; but if, for reasons best known to themselves, it was designed to limit the English, by the same restraints and prohibitions to which the unprivileged French were subjected, not suffering them to trade, until they had obtained a particular license from the governor and company of New France, they must wait a more favourable opportunity for negotiation. Such an opportunity, whenever it should offer, they intimated they should readily embrace.?
* Records of the united colonies.