Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

HISTORY OF BOSTON.

INTRODUCTION.

The City of Boston owes its origin to a spirit of civil and religious liberty, which was excited to action by the persecutions that prevailed in England, during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth, and Kings James and Charles the First. Most of those who can properly be considered as first settlers arrived here, and in other parts of New-England, prior to the year sixteen hundred and forty-three. By that time, it is compuled, the number of emigrants amounted to twenty-one thousand two hundred souls, or thereabouts.*

Had this multitude been composed of barbarian hordes, who, in their wanderings for sustenance, might have chanced to light upon this fair theatre in its wild and savage state, we should have had no interest in tracing their history. The wilderness they found, would have remained a wilderness still, and their descendants have been dancing yet to the orgies of Woonand and Mannit, or listening to the powaws of Hobbamoc and Kiehtap. Not so with us : the hand of refinement has beautified the charms of nature; monuments of art in our own habitations and in the temples of our God, a thousand endearments and ten thousand privileges enjoyed, invite us on every side to inquire into the character of the men that have preceded us, and to review the steps in which our fathers and ourselves have been led from infancy to our present state. To do this is the object we have now set before us; and we are animated to the work by the persuasion,

• Neal, N. E.ch. V. states the number at 4000, and thinks the above computation very extravagant, on the ground that only 298 transports were employed. A little calculation, however, would have shown that if each of those had brought 72 persons, the number would be accounted for : whereas some of them were ships of good burthen that carried about two

that a familiar acquaintance with the story of our early times will tend to generate in the reader a love of country of the best complexion, and of the highest order ; a love of country chastened and improved by elevated sentiments and dignified examples;' while the recapitulation of events more recent may serve to gratify the pride, which springs from a consciousness of having borne a part in transactions worthy to be recorded.

hundred passengers apiece. Besides, if any confidence is to be placed in the following estimate, which Neal cites without any doubts, the matter is almost certainly decided.

Johnson, in bis Wonder-Working Providence, publisbed in London, 1654, has thus stated the costs of the expedition. Chap. 13, 14.

The passage of the persons ................ 95,0001.
The transportation of swine, goats, sheep, neate and borse, exclusive of

their cost - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12,000 Getting food for all the persons until they could get the wood to tillage - 45,000 Nayles, glasse, and other iron worke for their meeting-bouses, and other

dwelling houses, before they could raise any other meanes in the country

to purchase them · ................. - 18,000 Armes, powder, bullet, and match, with great artillery ....... 22,000

192,0001. “ The whole sum amounts upto 192,0001. beside that which the adventurers laid out in England-neither let any man think the sum above expressed did defray the whole charge of this army."

The charge for a passage was 5 pounds for a person ;-nursing children not to be reckoned; those under four years old, three for one; under eight years, two for one ; under twelve years, three for two.-Prince, Dec. 1. 1629.-Judge Davis' Disc.

CHAPTER I.

From torturing racks and burning flame,
Through seas of their own blood, they came.

Var. Lect.

'The fathers of Boston entered upon the stage of life while Elizabeth enjoyed the throne, and they learnt in the nursery, the tale of former persecution and of deaths for conscience sake. It would have been happy for them, if her reign had afforded no occasion to recollect the relation she bore to her tyrannical father and more cruel sister. She indeed discounlenanced popery, but established a church herself, to whose rites and ceremonies it was most unpardonable heresy not to conform. My masters and ye ministers of London,' was the word, the Council's pleasure is, that ye strictly keep the unity of apparel, like this man who stands here, canonically habited, with a square cap, a scholar's gown, priest-like, with a tippet, and in the church a linen surplice. Ye that will subscribe, write Volo; those that will not subscribe, write Nolo; be brief ; make no words. The consequence of a refusal was immediate suspension, with threats of deprivation in case of not conforming within three months. Many were accordingly suspended and deprived, and rules were enacted which forbid printers and booksellers to publish any appeal the sufferers might desire to make.

The weight of this harsh treatment fell in the first instance upon ministers. Great numbers of the laity, however, sympathized with them; they abhorred the habits, and would not frequent the churches where they were used. Several of the deprived ministers, therefore, and their friends, associated and resolved to break off from the public churches, and to assemble for worship in private houses, or elsewhere as they had opportunity; this step was the era or date of the Separation, 1566. Such a procedure could not fail to heighten the displeasure of the Queen and her bishops. The commissioners were enjoined to be still more severe ; and thereupon twenty-four men and seven women were seized and cast into prison, for attending a sermon and communion service in a private hall, and having the boldness to defend their conduct before the bishop of London and other magistrates. But neither their arguments nor their sufferings had any influence a to effect the deliverance of the puritans. As we approach

« PreviousContinue »