Daily Archives: December 14, 2007

Item of the Day: Hutchinson’s History of Massachusetts (1795)

Full Title:

The History of Massachusetts, From the First Settlement Thereof in 1628, Until the Year 1750.  By Thomas Hutchinson, Esq. In Two Volumes.  Vol. I.  The Third Edition.  With additional Notes and Corrections.  Printed at Salem, By Thomas C. Cushing, For Thomas and Andrews, No. 45, Newbury-Street, Boston.  1795.

Chap. I. From the first Settlement of the Colony, until the Year 1660.

The discovery of America by Columbus, and of the northern continent by the Cabots, in the fifteenth century, and the several voyages of English and French in the sixteenth, I pass over, and begin with the voyage made by Bartholomew Gosnold, an Englishman, in the year 1602, to that part of North America called New-England.  It is not certain that any European had been there before.  Hakluit mentions the landing of some of Sir H. Gilbert’s men upon some part of the continent ; but it is probably that was farther eastward upon what is now called Nova-Scotia.  Gosnold landed first on the eastern coast, which he calls Mavoshen.  After some commerce with the natives, he sailed southward, and landed upon one of the islands called Elizabeth-Islands.  He gave them that name in honour of Queen Elizabeth, who was living when he left England ; and they retained it ever since.  He built a fort, and intended a settlement upon the island, or the continent near it ; but he could not persuade his people to remain there, and they all returned to England before winter.

In 1603, De Monts obtained a patent from Henry the Fourth of France, for all the country from the 40th to the 46th degree, by the name of Cadie, or Acadie.  In 1604, De Monts ranged along the coast from St. Lawrence to Cape Cod, and to the south of it.  He went far up the Kennebeck river, and into divers other rivers, bays and harbours. 

In 1606, King James the First granted all the continent from 34 to 45 degrees, which he divided into two colonies, viz. the Southern, or Virginia, to certain merchants of London ; the Northern, or New-England, to merchants of Plymouth. 

In 1607, some of the patentees of the Northern colony began a settlement at Sagadehoc.  They laid the plan of a great state.  The president died the first winter, which was extreme cold.  Sir John Popham, his brother, the great promoter of the design, and Sir John Gilbert, the admiral’s brother, died the same year in Europe ; and the next year, 1608, the whole number which survived the winter returned to England.  Their design of a plantation was at an end.  Both English and French continued their voyages to the coast, some for fishing, and some for trade with the natives ; and some feeble attempts were made by the French towards plantations, but they were routed by the English in 1613.  There was no spirit in the people of either nation for colonizing.  Favourable accounts were published of the continent by Capt. Smith and others : But who would remove and settle in so remote and uncultivated a part of the globe, if he could live tolerably at home?   The country would afford no immediate subsistence, and therefore was not fit for indigient persons.  Particular persons or companies would have been discouraged from supporting a colony by the long continued expense and outlet, without any return.  No encouragement could be expected from the public.  The advantages of commerce from the colonies were not then foreseen, but have been since learned by experience.  Virginia in its infancy was struggling for life ; and what its fate would have been, if the fathers of it in England had not seen the rise and growth of other colonies near it, is uncertain.  God in his providence bringeth good out of evil.  Bigotry and blind zeal prevailed among christians of every sect or profession.  Each denied to the other, what all had a right to enjoy, liberty of conscience.  To this we must ascribe, if not the settlement, yet at least the present flourishing state, of North-America.  Persecution drove out Mr. Robinson and his church from England to Holland, about the year 1608.  They stayed about a year at Amsterdam, and then removed to Leyden. In 1617, they began to think of removing to America.  They laid great stress upon their particular tenets, but this, did not lessen their regard to morality.  The manners of the Dutch were too licentious for them.  Their children left them ; some became soldiers, and other sailors, in the Dutch service.  In a few years their posterity would have been Dutch, and their church extinct.  They were at a loss whether to remove to Guiana, or to Virginia ; but the majority were in favour of the latter.  The Dutch laboured to persuade them to go to Hudson’s river, and settle under their West-India company ; but they had not lost their affection for the English, and chose to be under their government and protection […]   


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Filed under 1600's, 1790's, Colonial America, History, Posted by Matthew Williams