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of conscience being settled in this, and denied in the two neighboring colonies, soon brought more of those to join with them, whose faith did not exactly agree with the fixed standards there ; and in a short time afterwards there were added to the church at Providence, Robert Williams, John Smith, Hugh Bewit, William Wickenden, 1 John Field, Thomas Hopkins' and William Hawkins. 2
Having given this short account of these planters, in their several migrations, until they are at last settled at Providence, let us stand still for a moment and view them in this their very indigent condition ; equally admire their sufferings and their patience, and wonder how they could possibly live, quite destitute of every necessary and every conveniency of life; having no magazine of provisions, or stores of any kind ; no domestic animal to assist them in their labor, or afford them sustinence; no utensils or husbandry tools, to facilitate their tilling the earth; nothing to help themselves with, but their hands ; nothing to depend on but God's goodness, their own endeavors, and the charity of savages. 3
Nor house, nor hut, or fruitful field,
Nor lowing herd, nor bleating flock;
No chearful early crowing cock.
tected from inforcements was the principle [sic] ground of our charter," they must refuse to join with the other colonies in measures against the Quakers. (R. I. Col. Records, I. 378.)
The reputed discrimination against Roman Catholics in the laws of the colony has been considered by Chalmers, in his "Political annals of the present United Colonies," p. 276; Walsh's “Appeal from the judgments of Great Britain,” (part first,) p.428; also a letter of Samuel Eddy, printed at p. 429–35 of Walsh; T. T. Stone's address on “Roger Williams, the prophetic legislator,” and a note of Charles Deane's in the chapter on “New England," in the forthcoming “Narrative and critical
history of America,” edited by Justin Winsor. (1) Both Wickenden and Hopkins were ancestors of Governor Hopkins. (2) At this point the portion printed in 1762 terminates. (3) For a vivid reproduction of the life of these early years, in its minutest
details; the streets, pastures, houses, household furniture, customs, and manner of life; see H. C. Dorr's “Planting and growth of Providence," already referred to.
No orchard, yielding pleasant fruit,
Or laboring ox, or useful plow;
Or grunting swine, or foodful cow.
Nor healing medicine to restore;
Alone, forlorn, and most extremely poor. 1 Nothing but extreme diligence, and matchless perseverance, could possibly have carried them through this undertaking; could have procured them the scanty morsels which supported a life of want and of innocence. Too much have we their descendants departed from the diligence, fortitude, frugality, and innocence of these our fathers.—While we enjoy the blessings they procured for us, live at ease, and fare sumptuously, we little think, we too little remember, that they from whom we have received all our conveniences, were destitute of everything themselves : When we live luxuriously, we seldom call to mind the sufferings of these patriarchs, who wanted even the the bread of affliction. The poor unhappy Indians, have had an ungrateful return for their kindness to the first settlers; they who received and cherished our ancestors in their distress, were rather despised than relieved, when we had got their country from them, when we had changed conditions with them, and they in their turn were in distress ;—but they were heathens, they were savages :-A poor excuse for ingratitude, or want of charity in Christians.
The indigent condition of these planters, the necessity they were under to labor continually, for the support of themselves and families, was most probably the reason they left scarcely any memorials ? behind them in writing of what happened, or was transacted during the first nine years after their coming to Providence. Mr. Williams was certainly very capable of writing, and seems to have delighted in it, when circumstances afterwards afforded him an opportunity ; several of his companions also wrote many things afterwards : Therefore this total neglect of writing for so long a time, must be attributed to their necessitoùs condition; and perhaps to the want of even paper to write on: This appears the more probable, as the first of their writings, that are to be found, appear on small scraps of paper, wrote as thick and crowded as full as possible. 1 Whatever might be the occasion of it, this want of authentic materials for so long a time, will make it impossible to mention many interesting matters, that must necessarily happen during this period. However, tradition has furnished us with some things, and the writings made afterwards, near the time, have taken notice of others, that may be fully depended on.
(1) In the Gazette, there are no spaces between the stanzas. Gov. Hopkins
has not thought proper to leave a record of the authorship of these lines. (2) There was, in fact, little leisure or inclination in the infancy of the settle
ment, for literary work. “There were in the early days of the Plantations but scanty means of family or social enjoyment when the day's work was done. If the settlers had brought books, hard labour left few
Soon after the first planting of Providence, and within the same year, 1634, Mr. Williams purchased of Conanicus, the Indian king, a large tract of land, lying between Pawtucket River, and Pawtuxet River, and to extend up the stream of each river, twenty miles from the sea. 3 This purchase includes
opportunities for reading them;" and instead of candles, they had “the light of pine knots for their sole guide in evening work or study.” (Dorr's "Providence,” p. 31-32.) The lack of such early memorials is felt as a serious deficiency in Rhode Island history. Many of the records, moreover, ond other written memorials, were destroyed in 1676, when the
town of Providence was burned by the Indians. (1) Some of the original scraps of manuscript are preserved in the bound
volumes of the “Foster Papers,” Compare Appendix III. (2) The date of the first planting of Providence,” as before, should be 1636.
See note 2 at page 18. The tract of land referred to was obtained by
treaties before his departure from Salem. (3) These bounds would of course find their limit on the north, in the south
line of the Massachusetts colony, established by the charter of 1629. They found their limit on the west in the east line of the Connecticut colony, subsequently established, (by the charter of 1662). The southern and eastern limits of the Providence Plantations occasioned vexatious disputes even earlier than the northern and western. No formal defining of Rhode Island bounds by authority occurred until the patent of 1643, and even this patent left the western line very indefinite,
all the lands which now' make the towns of Providence, Smithfield, Scituate, Gloucester, Cranston, and Johnston. What consideration was given the sachem for this land, we are not informed; whatever it was, it seems to have been paid by Mr. Williams alone. This I conjecture from a remonstrance of his to the town of Providence, in his own hand writing, in the year 1654, ? in which he expostulates with the people for their disorders, and great animosities ; and upbraids them with their great ingratitude to heaven, and to himself, in the following words :
“I am like a man in a fog;: I know not well how to steer ; I fear to run upon rocks at home, after having had many trials abroad ; I fear to run quite backwards, and to undo all that I have been this long time undoing myself to do : To wit, To keep up the name of a people, a free people; not enslaved, in body or soul, to the bondages and iron yokes of oppression, both of the English and barbarians about us ; nor to the divisions and disorders within ourselves. Since I set the first step of any English foot in these wild parts, and have maintained a chargeable and hazardous correspondence with the barbarians, and spent almost five years timet with the state of England, to keep off the rage of the English against us, what have I reaped of being the root, of being the stepping stone to so many families and towns about us, but grief and sorrow and bitterness ? I have been charged with folly, for that freedom and liberty I have always stood for; I say liberty and equality, both in land aud government. I have been blamed for parting with Moshasuck, and afterwards Pawtucket, which were mine own as truly as any man's coat upon his back, without reserving to myself one foot of land, or one inch of voice, more than to my ser
(1) “Which now make,” etc. This was written early in 1765. To the vants, or strangers. It hath been told me that I have labored for a licentious and contentious people,-that I have foolishly parted with many advantages.”
towns here mentioned, the following, incorporated since then, need now to be added : North Providence, (1765); Foster, (1781); Burrillville, (1806); Pawtucket, in part, (1862); Woonsocket, in part, (1867); Lin
coln, (1871); North Smithfield, (1871). (2) Printed in Narragansett Club Pub., vi, 262–66; also in R. I. Col. Rec
ords, I. 351. (3) “In a great fog,” reads the Narragansett Club copy. (4) 1643–44, 1651-54. (5) Pawtuxet, See “Staples's Annals,” p. 576-78.
What makes me suppose Mr. Williams paid the whole consideration of this first and great purchase, is, his saying as above, that these lands were his own as truly as any man's coat on his back: However this might be, 'tis certain he immediately made his twelve companions equal proprietors 1 with himself, both in the lands given by the sachem, and those he had purchased of him. And those who came afterwards and settled in Providence, were generally, for a small consideration, admitted ? to be equal sharers in the greater part of these lands, until the whole number of proprietors came at length to an hundred.
It is most probable these first settlers did not bring their wives and families with them at their first coming, and that they were not removed to Providence, until some time in the year 1637; for we have heard by tradition 3 and I believe truly, that the first male child born there, was Mr. Williams's eldest son, and whom he, for that reason, named Providence ; and this child appears by the records to have been born in the month of September 1638: 4 But a female child had been born there some time before, although in the same year.
Near the time 5 that Providence was first began, one Mr. William Blackstone came and settled by the side of Pawtucket River, near the southern part of that which is now the town of
(1) See the deeds printed in Staples's “Annals," p. 30-34, also in the R. I.
Col. Records, I. 17, 19-21. (2) See R. I. Col. Records, I. 14, 22-25. (3) - By tradition." With no ancestor among Roger Williams's companions
in his original journey from Salem, but with two among those almost immediately added, there was, of course, a stronger probability than is
usual that Gov. Hopkins's “tradition” would be trustworthy. (4) Snow's "Alphabetical index of births, marriages, and deaths in Provi
dence, 1636-1850," I. 66, 67. (5) "Near the time that Providence was first began.” Rather it was two
years before, in 1634. See the note on Blackstone in the “Memorial