صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

adopted in 1818, similar in most respects to those of the neighbouring states.



From some supposed errors in theology, in the view of some, and from real and great errors, both in his opinions and conduct, in the view of others, Mr. Roger Williams, a minister of Salem, Mass. was summoned, in 1636, to appear before the general court, and all the ministers of the colony. One of the ministers, "Mr. Hooker, was appointed to dispute with him; but could not reduce him from any of his errors; so the next morning the court sentenced him to depart out of the jurisdiction within six weeks; all the ministers save one approving the sentence."+

Thus expelled, Mr. Williams went to Seconk, now Rehoboth, and purchased land of an Indian sachem. Having learned that he was within the jurisdiction of Plymouth colony, he went to Mooshausic, and began a plantation, which, on account of the kindness of leaven towards him, he called Providence.

1638. William Coddington, who has been styled the father of Rhode-Island, a wealthy and respectable merchant of Boston, having been, as he conceived, persecuted, for assisting the famous Ann Hutchinson, on her trial for heresy; John Clark having been sentenced to quit the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, for delivering a seditious and erroneous sermon, and for contempt of the magistracy; with others, amounting to eighteen in the whole, having removed from Massachusetts, purchased of the sachems the island Aquetneck, and soon after began a settlement on the eastern part of it.

On account of the fruitfulness and the salubrity of the climate, it was compared to the Island of Rhodes; which, by transposition, soon became Rhode-Island.

* Whatever his errors were, he was, in one important point, more illuminated than his brethren: "That to punish a man for any matter of conscience is persecution."-Trumbull. + Winthrop's Journal

The next summer, many of their friends followed them, and began another settlement on the western side of the Island, dividing the Island into two townships, Portsmouth and Newport. They incorporated themselves into a body politic, and chose Mr. Coddington their first chief magistrate.

The inhabitants of Providence, to the amount of førty, (1640) agreed upon a form of government. RhodeIsland and Providence soon began to be extensively settled. One great cause of which was the perfect freedom of conscience that was allowed to men of all religious denominations; a fundamental article with the first settlers being, that "every one who submits peaceably to the civil authority, may peaceably worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, without molestation." Hence here was a safe retreat for those who had been, or feared being excommunicated, banished, imprisoned, or otherwise punished, for difference of religious opinions, in Massachusetts.

1644. The plantation having no patent, Roger Williams went to England and obtained of the Earl of Warwick a free charter of incorporation of Providence and Rhode-Island Plantations. The form of government was left to the choice of the colonists.

A president and four commissioners were chosen as conservators of the peace. The legislative authority was vested in a court of commissioners, consisting of six persons from each of the four towns, Providence, Portsmouth, Newport, and Warwick. Their acts were binding unless repealed by a majority of the freemen. Six persons were elected in each town to try small causes, and to manage town affairs. From their decision, however, an appeal could be made to the president and his assistants.

The first general assembly was held in May, 1647, a body of laws enacted, and a permanent mode of government commenced.

1662. Application having been made to Charles the Second, a royal charter was granted to Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations. It appointed an assem

bly to consist of a governor, deputy-governor, and ten assistants, with the representatives from the several towns, all to be chosen by the freemen: the assembly to meet annually on the first Wednesday in May, and last Wednesday in October.

From this time to the present day, little alteration has taken place in the form of government. The legislature passed an act (1663) that all men professing Christianity, and of competent estate, excepting Roman Catholics, should be admitted freemen, and have liberty to choose or be chosen to office, civil or military.

1685. Soon after the accession of James the Second, a quo warranto was issued against Rhode-Island; and she was deprived of her chartered privileges, the next year, by Sir Edmund Andros; who dissolved the government, broke the seal, and, admitting five of the inhabitants into his legislative council, took the reins of government into his own hands: in whose hands they continued, till, James having abdicated the throne, and Andros having been seized in Boston, the freemen met at Newport and voted to resume their charter, reinstating all the general officers who were, three years before, displaced.

Rhode-Island continued to increase in population, commerce, and agriculture. In 1730 the number of its inhabitants was eighteen thousand; in 1761, the number exceeded forty thousand. Brown University was founded in 1764, at Warren, and a few years after was removed to Providence. It received its name from Nicholas Brown, Esq. who gave the institution five thousand dollars.


New-York, New-Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and

Discovery of the river Hudson-Settlement of the Dutch at Manhattan-Submission to the English-Reassumption of the Dutch-Indian war-Disputes with Connecticut-Grant of Charles the second to his brother the Duke of York-Manhattan surrendered to the English-Called New-York-taken by the Dutch-Again surren dered to the English-Papal ascendency-Leisler and his party-Death of Leisler-Fletcher's attempt to command the militia of Connecticut--Fruitless enterprize against Canada-Congress at Albany-Settlement of New-Jersey-Division of the province-Burlington settled-Purchase of Penn-Barkley appointed Governor-The government surrendered to the Crown-Union of the provincesPrinceton College-settlement of Delaware by the Swedes and Fins --Victory of the Dutch-Surrender to the English-Granted to Pennsylvania-partial separation from Pennsylvania--Made a separate province-Patent to William Penn-Settlement of Philadelphia -Form of government-New charter granted by Penn-a second, and third-Emission of paper money-Indian grants of land-Library-Relinquishment of Penn's heirs-Clayborne settles on Kent Island-Patent of Maryland to Lord Baltimore-Settlement of St. Mary's-General Assembly-Indian war-Rebellion of ClayborneCivil war-Seat of government removed to Annapolis


IN the year 1609, Hudson, an English navigator in the service of the Dutch, after an unsuccessful attempt to find a passage to the East Indies by a north-westerly course, coasting from Newfoundland to Virginia, discovered Manhattan, and sailed into the river which has since borne his name.

The Dutch, the next year sent vessels to Manhattan for the purpose of trade. Hudson afterwards sold his right to the Dutch; if any right he could have; being himself a British subject; and both the French and the

English having before discovered the country, and declared their intention, that their subjects should immediately plant it.

1613. Captain Argal from Virginia, on his return from the demolition of the French settlements in Acadie, demanded of the Dutch governor, at the settlements on the Hudson, possession of the territory and submission of himself and company to the English. The governor, having no means of resistance, was compelled to comply.

1614. A new Dutch governor was sent from Holland with a reinforcement of troops, who refused to sanction the stipulations made by his predecessor, but asserted the claim of Holland to the territory. On the south end of the Island of Manhattan, the place where NewYork now stands, he built a fort for defence, and held the country by the name of the New-Netherlands, under a grant from the States' General. Little, however, was done towards a permanent settlement, till the year 1629, when Gov. Van Twiller arrived at Fort Amsterdam, and began to divide and cultivate the lands.

1646. A great and severe battle was fought between the Dutch and Indians with mutual obstinacy and fury, in that part of Horseneck commonly called Strickland's Plain. Great numbers were killed on both sides, but the Dutch were eventually victorious. For more than an hundred years after, the graves of the dead were to be seen, resembling little hills.

Peter Stuyvesant, as governor, arrived at Fort Amsterdam in 1647, and laid claim to all the lands, rivers, and streams, from Cape Henlopen to Cape Cod. Three years after he went to Hartford, and demanded a surrender to the Dutch of all the lands on Connecticut river.

After a controversy of several days the subject was left to the decision of arbitrators, agreed upon by the parties, who concluded articles of adjustment with regard to boundaries and occupancy of lands already settled. Long Island was divided; the eastern part to belong to the English, the western to the Dutch. On the main, the boundaries were amicably adjusted. The Dutch

« السابقةمتابعة »