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The Confederacy of the Four Colonies was an humble, but a substantial, power in the world. It was known to be such by its French, Dutch, and savage neighbors; by the alienated communities on Narragansett Bay; and by the rulers of the mother country.” During Winthrop's last ten years, nowhere else in the world had Englishmen been so happy as under the generous government which his mind inspired and regulated. What one life could do for a community's wellbeing, his had done. The prosecution of the issues he had wrought for was now to be committed to the wisdom and courage" of a younger generation, and to the course of events under the continued guidance of a
so increased, that they have not only fed their elder sisters, Virginia, Barbadoes, and many of the Summer Islands, that were preferred before her for fruitfulness, but also the grandmother of us all, even the fertile isle of Great Britain. Beside, Portugal hath had many a mouthful of bread and fish from us, in exchange of their Madeara liquor, and also Spain. . “Besides lesser vessels, barques, and ketches, many a master, beside common seamen, had their first learning in this Colony, Boston, Charlestown, Salem, and Ipswitch; our maritan towns began to encrease roundly. . . . . . “Nor hath this Colony alone been actors in this trade of venturing by sea, but New Haven also, who were many of them well experienced in traffique, and had good estates to mannage it. Canectico did not linger behind, but put forth to sea with the other. . . . . . “Thus hath the Lord been pleased to turn one of the most hideous, boundless, and unknown wildernesses in the world in an instant, as 't were (in comparison of other work), to a well-ordered commonwealth, and all to serve his churches.” (Ibid., 208–210.) I think there can be no doubt that Johnson is describing the state of things at and soon after Winthrop's death. He speaks (191) of “Major Edward Gibbons, who hath now the office of MajorGeneral ; ” to which office Gibbons was elected in May, 1649. (Mass. Rec., III. 147.) And he records (215) the election, in 1650, of Dudley, to be Governor, and (216) the election of Endicott, which took place in 1651. Johnson's book contains some descriptions of the towns, as they appeared at the time when he wrote: — Charlestown “hath a large market
place near the water-side, built round with houses comely and fair, forth of which there issues two streets orderly built with some very fair houses, beautified with pleasant gardens and orchards. The whole town consists, in its extent, of about a hundred and fifty dwelling-houses. Their meeting-house for Sabbath assembly stands in the market-place, very comely built and Their corn land in tillage in this town is about twelve hundred acres; their great cattle are about four hundred head; sheep near upon four hundred.” (Ibid., 41.) — In Dorchester, the “houses for dwelling are about one hundred and forty; orchards and gardens full of fruit-trees; plenty of corn land; although much of it hath been long in tillage, yet hath it ordinarily good crops; the number of trees are near upon fifteen hundred; cows and other cattle of that kind about four hundred and fifty.” (Ibid., 42.)—Roxbury is “filled with a very laborious people, whose labors the Lord hath so blest that, in the room of dismal swamps and tearing bushes, they have very goodly fruittrees, fruitful fields and gardens; their herd of cows, oxen, and other young cattle of that kind, about three hundred and fifty, and dwelling-houses near upon a hundred and twenty. Their streets are large, and some fair houses.” (Ibid., 44.) — Cambridge “is compact closely within itself, till of late years some few straggling houses have been built. . . . . . It hath well-ordered streets and comely completed with the fair building of Harver College.” (61.) — But Boston is “the centre town and metropolis of this wilderness work, having two hills on the frontice part thereof next the sea; the one well fortified on the superfices thereof, with
store of great artillery well mounted; the other hath a very strong battery built of whole timber, and filled with earth, at the descent of the hill, in the extreme poynt thereof; betwixt these two strong armes lies a large cove or bay, on which the chiefest part of this town is built, overtopped with a third hill. All three like over-topping towers keepe a constant watch to foresee the approach of forrein dangers, being furnished with a beacon and loud-babbling guns, to give notice by their redoubled eccho to all their sister-towns. The chief edifice of this city-like towne is crowded on the sea-bankes, and wharfed out with great industry and cost, the buildings beautifull and large, some fairly set forth with brick, tile, stone, and slate, and orderly placed with comely streets, whose continuall enlargement presages some sumptuous city. . . . . . Behold the admirable acts
the hideous thickets in this place were such, that wolves and bears nurst up
their young from the eyes of all beholders, in those very places where the streets are full of girles and boys sporting up and downe, with a continued concourse of people. . . . . This town is the very mark of the land. French, Portugalls, and Dutch come hither for traffic.” (Ibid.,42, 43.)
In 1659, when Ferdinando Gorges, grandson of Sir Ferdinando, was hoping to recover his American property, he published his “America painted to the Life.” A considerable part of it is but an abridgment from Johnson's book. (Comp. the passages just quoted with Gorges, 28–30.)
* The population of Massachusetts was now nearly twice as great as the aggregate population of the other confederated Colonies. The basis of assessment being a numerical one, Massachusetts, in 1647, was assessed £ 670. 3. 4, Plymouth, £128. 13. 4, Connecticut £140. 2. 5, and New Haven £ 104. 11. (Records, &c., in Hazard, IL 95.)
WINTHROP died before tidings of the great tragedy that had been enacted in England could reach his ears. From the time of the execution of the King to the end of his own life, Oliver Cromwell, the head of the Independents, was the ruler of England; at first, by his controlling influence with the governing powers, and, later, as acknowledged monarch.
By a vote of Parliament, or rather of the small fraction of the House of Commons elected nine years before, which called itself by that name,'—the execu- rol. tive power was intrusted to a Council of State, on consisting of forty-one persons, of whom six were 1940. noblemen, and most of the others were members ** of the House.
The reduction of Ireland was the business most urgently demanding the attention of the new government. The Marquis of Ormond, acting there for the King, was in had concluded an agreement with the Irish Cath- * olics, by which they engaged to contribute ten thousand men for the restoration of the royal authority in England. The Pope's Nuncio interfered; the engagement was broken; and Ormond, not only deserted but threatened by his recent allies, found himself obliged to surrender Dublin and other garrisons to Colonel Jones, who commanded for the Parliament. The tide, however, soon turned. The arrogance of the Nuncio occasioned disgust;
* When the Long Parliament met in ary, 1649, the largest number that November, 1640, the House of Com- appeared at a division was 77, and the mons consisted of 506 members. It was smallest was 46. (Journal of the Comnow reduced to about 100. In Febru- mons, WI. 132, 128.)
every other uneasiness was sunk in fear of the Puritans; Ormond found himself at the head of an army of sixteen thousand men, and again in possession of most of the strong places which he had recently yielded; and he prepared to lay siege to the city of Dublin, in which the officer commanding for the Parliament had concentrated his forces. It was determined at Westminster to send twelve thousand men to the relief of the capital of Ireland. The Presbyterians would have intrusted Waller with the command of the expedition. Lambert was at first mentioned in the Council, as the candidate of the Independents. But, unexpectedly to most persons, Cromwell was nomiAppointment nated, at a session from which he was absent; ... and Parliament readily acquiesced,—some of its *** members from a disposition to advance him, oth* ers from a desire to remove him from the politi. cal scene. With two officers of each regiment he offered prayers for the Divine guidance, and then undertook the service, Ireton, his son-in-law, being appointed his second in command. His dilatory preparations for departure, so foreign from his well-known habits, led to a suspicion of his entertaining designs that disinclined him to withdraw himself from the centre of intrigues. But the course of events permitted no longer indecision. Ormond invested Dublin, which, alone of all the towns of Ireland, except Londonderry, was now held for the Commons. And though Colonel Jones, in a successful sally, broke up the lines of the besiegers, and compelled them to withdraw, his situation was still critical, in the face of a greatly superior force. Cromwell crossed the Channel to Dublin, whence, having given sixteen days to rest and preparations, he so or marched with ten thousand men to lay siege to o, Drogheda, which town Ormond, on retiring from before Dublin, had garrisoned with three thousand men. Cromwell took it by storm, and put its defenders to the sword." Wexford, a month later, made a similar resistance, and underwent the same horrible fate. Crom- Sack of well professed that his seeming barbarity was real werford. mercy; and he thought that the event justified his “” course, when other garrisons, intimidated by it, abstained from resistance, and were admitted to capitulation on indulgent terms. Combining discretion with valor, he published a permission to royalist soldiers in Ireland to depart without molestation ; and twenty-five thousand Irish took service in the armies of Spain, and twenty thousand in those of France. Devolving his command on Ireton, he returned to England after nine months' absence, having well-nigh completed the conquest of the sister island. His star was high in the ascendant. A yet more important business was awaiting him. A war with Scotland was impending. Immediately on the reception of intelligence of the execution of Charles the First, his eldest son had by the Scottish Parliament been proclaimed King of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland, on the condition that, before assuming the government, he should subscribe the Solemn League and Covenant. This he consented to do, after a long delay, and when the utter discomfiture of the Marquis of Montrose, his lieutenant in Scotland, seemed to leave him no other alternative. With a small squadron, furnished by his brother-in-law, the Prince of Orange, he crossed from Brabant to the kingdom of his ancestors, and placed himself in the hands of the Covenanters. . They removed from about his person most of the companions of his
1650. May 13.
* “In the heat of action, I forbade our men to spare any that were in arms in the town, and I think that night they put to the sword about two thousand men. . . . . . I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood, and that it will
tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future;— which are the satisfactory grounds to such actions, which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret.” (Cromwell's Letter to Speaker Lenthall, in Whitelocke,424.) — The number of slain specified by him in a postscript amounts to nearly three thousand.