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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
One reason why many of the Connecticut emigrants had left Massachusetts was that they did not believe in the principle of limiting the right of voting to church members (§ 78). The Hartford constitution imposed no such restriction; every citizen was politically equal with every other, and there was nothing to hinder his taking part in making the laws. To-day not only the United States but every state in the Union has a written constitution -- a safeguard of liberty -- similar in that respect to the one drafted at Hartford in 1639. That, then, may be called the parent of all that have followed.
97. The New Haven Colony; Scripture Laws. There were now two colonies in the territory: first, that at Saybrook (§ 94), and next that at Hartford and the other towns settled by bands of emigrants who had come into the Connecticut valley. Now a third colony, that of New Haven, was founded (1638). It was made up chiefly of people who had arrived at Boston from London the year before. One of its leading men was the Rev. John Davenport, a Puritan minister. The spring after they formed the settlement (1639) all the colonists met in a large barn to listen to a sermon from Mr. Davenport and draw up rules for the government of the new community. What those rules were we can guess from the old verse which tells us how
"They in Newman's barn laid down
Scripture foundations for the town."
Those "Scripture foundations," a few years later, made the severe Jewish laws of the Old Testament 1 those of New Haven. None could vote or hold any public office but members of the church. It was practically the same kind of government as that of Massachusetts (§ 78).
98. The Fugitive Regicides; Andros and the Connecticut Charter. These stem New Haven colonists believed heartily in justice, and
1 In 1644 "the judicial laws of God, as they were delivered by Moses," were declared to be binding. Like the laws of Massachusetts, they inflicted the penalty of death for no less than fourteen offenses, They were, however, far more merciful than the laws of England, which at a very much later period made upwards of two hundred crimes punishable with death-sheep stealing being one.
THE FUGITIVE REGICIDES
hated royal oppression. Whalley and Goffe, two of the judges then known as "regicides," because, during the English civil war (1649), they had voted to put the tyrannical Charles I to death (§ 53), fled to New Haven (1661).
King charles II sent orders to arrest them. Davenport concealed the judges, and preached to his congregation from a passage of the Bible (Isaiah xvi. 3-4) containing the words, "Hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth."
The sermon had the effect intended, and the disappointed officers went back without capturing the regicides.1
Charles II, who was not unfriendly to the colony, had granted to the Connecticut people a charter confirming their right of self-government. By that charter the territory was extended westward to the Pacific, as in the case of Virginia (§ 43) and Massachusetts (§ 77), though no one then had any idea of the actual width of the continent. Saybrook had already been united with Connecticut, and New Haven was now joined to it.
When James II came to the throne he determined to take away the charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island, as his brother, Charles II, had done in the case of Massachusetts (§ 88). His object was to bring them directly under his despotic control. Sir Edmund Andros (§ 88) was made governor of New England, and went with a body of troops to Hartford to demand the Connecticut charter (1687).
The Connecticut people looked upon that document as the title deed of their liberties, and resolved never to give it up, even if the King himself demanded it.
Andros met the Legislature, and discussed the matter until evening. At his order, the box holding the precious charter was brought in and placed on the table. Then, according to tradition, the candles were suddenly blown out, and when they were relighted the charter had disappeared. It is said to have been
1 According to tradition, Goffe saved the town of Hadley, Massachusetts (where be was living concealed in 1675), in an Indian attack during King Philip's War (§ 86). The savages were on the point of gaining the day, when a venerable man with a long white beard suddenly appeared, rallied the inhabitants, and drove off the assailants. He then disappeared. Some thought they owed their victory to an angel.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
hidden in a hollow oak not far off, which was ever after known as the Charter Oak.1
Andros, however, declared that the colony should no longer be governed under the charter, and, to show that the end had come, he ordered the clerk to write "Finis" at the close of the record of the meeting. When the people of Boston (§ 88) compelled Andros to give up the power he had abused, the charter was
GOVERNOR ANDROS DEMANDS THE CHARTER OF CONNECTICUT
brought from its hiding place, and Connecticut maintained her government under it not only until the Revolution but for many years afterward (1818).
99. Summary. Connecticut was settled chiefly by emigrants from eastern Massachusetts and from England. It was the first colony in America to frame a written constitution of government -- one which gave the right to vote to every citizen. The King granted the colonists a charter confirming their power of governing themselves. Governor Andros, by the order of James II, tried to get possession of the charter, but failed. Except for a very short period, Connecticut practically continued to maintain her own laws.
1 See Palfrey's II History of New England," III, 542-545. The famous Charter Oak stood in what is now Charter Oak Place, Hartford. It was blown down in 1856. The spot is marked by a marble tablet.
THE CATHOLIC PILGRIMS
VII. MARYLAND (1634)
100. The Catholic Pilgrims; Lord Baltimore; Maryland. We have seen how a band of Protestant Pilgrims (§ 69) settled Plymouth in 1620; fourteen years later (1634) a company of Catholic Pilgrims came to America for a like reason -- that they might build up a state where they could worship God without molestation.1
George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, a Catholic nobleman of excellent ability and high standing, resolved to provide a refuge in the New World for the persecuted people of his faith. From his friend King Charles I he obtained the promise of a grant of land in northern Virginia. Lord Baltimore died before the charter was completed, but his son, Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, received the grant. It made him practically all but king over a territory north of the Potomac, to which Charles I gave the name of Maryland, in honor of his wife, Mary, who was a Catholic.
101. The Settlement of St. Marys; the Wigwam Church. The first colony, led by Governor Leonard Calvert, -- a younger brother of the second Lord Baltimore, -- landed on the northern bank of the Potomac, near its mouth, and founded the town of St. Marys (1634). About twenty of the colonists were gentlemen of wealth and standing, -- most of them probably Catholics; the rest of the emigrants were laborers, and seem to have been chiefly Protestants.
Father White, a priest who accompanied the expedition, got permission from an Indian chief to convert his wigwam into a chapel. That humble hut, made of strips of bark, was the first English Catholic church in America. Virginia would not have permitted
1 The English law imposed the ruinous fine of twenty pounds a month -- a sum equal to not less than $700 to $800 now -- on every Catholic who refused to attend the services of the Church of England. This law was not always strictly enforced, but large sums were frequently extorted by the government from the Catholics by way of compromise.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
that church to stand; New England would not. It was only in the wilderness of Maryland, in that mixed population of Catholics and Protestants, that it was safe.
102. Political and Religious Freedom of the Colony; the Toleration Act, 1649. From the beginning all the colonists took part in making the laws by which they were governed, and in a few years Lord Baltimore granted them the power of originating those laws. In religion absolute freedom of worship was given to all Christians,1 but to Christians only. No other colony in this country then (1634) enjoyed such liberty, and it was unknown in England. In 1649 the famous Toleration Act 2 confirmed their liberty.
The result was that Maryland became a refuge not only for the oppressed Catholics of England, but also for many of the oppressed Protestants of the other colonies of America. Puritans driven out of Virginia by the Church of England (§ 44), Quakers exiled from Massachusetts by the Puritans (§ 85), both came to Maryland and found homes there.
103. The Clayborne and Ingle Rebellion; Lord Baltimore's Government overthrown; Persecution of the Catholics. The colony, however, was not to enjoy the peace for which it hoped. William Clayborne, a Virginian and a Puritan, had established a fur-trading post on Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay within the limits claimed by Lord Baltimore. He endeavored to hold the island by force, but was driven out. When the civil war (§ 53) broke out in England, the colonists of Maryland, like the people of Great Britain, took sides for or against the King.
Taking advantage of this division, Clayborne stirred up a rebellion (1645) and kept the whole country in a turmoil for two or three years. Captain Ingle, who asserted that he acted
1 It is true that Lord Baltimore, holding his charter, as he did, from the Protestant sovereign of a Protestant nation, could not have safely denied liberty of worship to Protestants; but it is also true that he evidently had no desire in his heart to deny such liberty. The fact that he invited Puritans into the colony and protected them from persecution shows the man's true spirit.
2 The Maryland Toleration Act of 1649 declared that no person professing belief in Jesus Christ shall be "in any ways troubled, molested, or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion, nor in the free exercise thereof." This law did not protect Jews or any others who denied the doctrine of the Trinity.
LOSS OF THE CHARTER
under the authority of the Puritan Parliament of England, but who was practically a pirate, got possession of St. Marys. He plundered it, and, seizing "the venerable Father White," sent him to England in irons on a groundless charge of treason against the Parliament of that country.
But worse was to come. After the King was dethroned and executed, and a republic set up in England, the authorities there sent commissioners to compel the people of Maryland to swear fidelity to the new government. At the same time Lord Baltimore insisted that as Maryland was his property the settlers should swear fidelity to him. The Puritans in the colony objected to taking this last oath, on the ground that Lord Baltimore was a Catholic.
The commissioners went to Maryland, forced Governor Stone, who had succeeded Governor Calvert, to resign, and put one of their own choice in his place. They then caused a General Assembly to be summoned at St. Marys, but ordered that no Catholic should be elected to it, or should cast a vote for any representative. The new Legislature repealed the Toleration Act of 1649, which granted religious freedom to all Christians (§ 102). In its place they enacted a law prohibiting Catholic worship throughout Maryland.
Furthermore, the Assembly declared that Lord Baltimore no longer had any rights whatever in the colony which he himself had founded, and to which he had invited many of the very people who now turned against him. That action must have reminded him of the story of the camel that begged shelter in his master's tent, and, when he had got it, kicked the owner out.
104. Lord Baltimore restored to his Rights; Loss of the Charter. But about four years later (1658) Parliament restored Lord Baltimore to his rights. Freedom of worship was again established, and for the next thirty years the colony prospered.
Meanwhile, England had again become a monarchy (§§ 53, 54), and William and Mary, who were pledged to support the Protestant cause, came to the throne (1689).
In Maryland there was an unavoidable delay on the part of the Governor in proclaiming the new sovereigns. The enemies