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Title: Curiosities of History - Boston, September Seventeenth, 1630-1880
Author: Wheildon, William W.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Curiosities of History - Boston, September Seventeenth, 1630-1880" ***

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  _Curiosities of History:_




  "Ringing clearly with a will
  What she was is Boston still."


  COPYRIGHT, 1880,

  _Author's Address:_

  _Franklin Press:
  Rand, Avery, & Company,
  117 Franklin Street,

  Fifty-first Year of our Married Life,
  _MAY 28, 1880_.



It seems proper to say in offering this little volume to the public, that
no attempt has been made to exhaust the subjects of which the papers
respectively treat; but rather to enlarge upon matters of historical
interest to Boston, which have been referred to only in a general way by
historians and previous writers.--This idea rather than any determination
to select merely curious topics, has in a large measure influenced the
writer; and the endeavor has been to treat them freely and fairly, and
present what may be new, or comparatively new, concerning them, from such
sources as are now accessible and have been open to the writer. It is not,
however, intended to say that an impulse towards some curious matters of
history has not been indulged, and, indeed, considering the subjects and
materials which presented themselves, could scarcely have been avoided,
which was by no means desirable. Although it has been impertinently said,
that "the most curious thing to be found is a woman not curious," we
submit that curiosity is a quality not to be disparaged by wit or sarcasm,
but is rather the germ and quality of progress in art and science and

It has been impossible to correct or qualify, or perhaps we might say
avoid, all the errors, mistakes, or contradictions, which have been
encountered in preparing these pages; and very possibly we may have
inadvertently added to the number. At all events, with our best endeavors
against being drawn into or multiplying errors, we lay no claim to
invulnerability in the matter of accuracy, or immaculacy in the way of
opinions; and we very sincerely add, if errors or mistakes have been made
and are found, we shall be glad to be apprised of them. There are errors
in our history which it is scarcely worth the while to attempt to correct,
although they are not to be countenanced and should not be repeated.

A period of two hundred and fifty years since the settlement of the town
includes and covers a history of no ordinary character, involving progress
and development, not merely of customs, manners and opinions, but of
principles, passions and government. The city is a creation, as it were,
by the art and industry of man; and, with the reverence of Cotton Mather
himself, we add, "With the help of God!" and we venture the comparison
that no change or growth, improvement or embellishment, is to be found in
the settlement or the city, that may not be paralleled in the growth,
advancement and elevation of its people: indeed, we go even farther than
this, the material progress to be seen around us, in all its multifarious
forms and combinations, item by item, small or great, is indicative only
of the advancement of the people, and marks the progress of moral, mental
and intellectual power--of art, science and knowledge.

We take this opportunity to acknowledge our indebtedness to several
friends for the loan and use of many rare and valuable works in the
preparation of this history, and in particular to Messrs. John A. Lewis
and John L. DeWolf, of Boston, and Mr. J. Ward Dean, of the N. E. His.
Gen. Society.


     I. Topography of Boston.                                         13
          The Peninsula.
          Two Islands.
          Anne Pollard.
          Curious Descriptions.
          The Mill Creek.
          Great South Cove.
          The North Cove.
          Boston Common.

    II. The Public Ferries.                                           27
          The Great Ferry.
          Order of Court, Nov. 1630.
          Lease to Edward Converse.
          Ferry to Winnisimmet;
          Grant to Harvard College.
          Bad "peag," money.
          Judge Sewall over the Ice.
          Charlestown mother of Boston.
          Andros Revolution and Fires.
          Portsmouth Stage.
          Paul Revere crossing.

   III. The Boston Cornfields.                                        37
          Spragues at Charlestown;
          Dividing the Land;
          Corn from the Indians;
          Fencing the Fields, &c.
          The Cornfields and Pastures;
          The Granary.

    IV. Puritan Government.                                           45
          Authority of the Company.
          Ex post facto Laws.
          Punished for a pun.
          Fines and Ear-cropping.
          Whipping through three towns.
          Set in his own Stocks.
          Regulating the Dress of Women.
          The "Body of Liberties."
          Ward on Kissing Women.
          John Dunton on the Laws.

     V. Narragansett Indians.                                         57
          Murder of Mr. Oldham.
          Visit of Miantonomo to Gov. Vane, Treaty, &c.
          Narragansett Art.
          Coining money.
          Marriage of Children.
          Egyptian Custom.
          Marriage of Cleopatra.

    VI. Names of Places, Streets, &c.                                 62
          Curious Indian Names;
          Names of Streets, Taverns, &c.;
          Paddy Alley and William Paddy;
          Dates of the Streets and Lanes;
          Royal Names, Names of Patriots, Puritans and Union Names;
          Names of Taverns and Shops;
          Number of Streets and Wharves.

   VII. Persecution of the Quakers.                                   74
          Church Government and Civil Government.
          Interference of the King.
          Arrival of Quakers, 1656.
          Execution of Quakers.
          Order from the King, 1661.
          Hutchinson's Opinion.
          Triumph of the Quakers.
          Their Meeting House.
          Meetings discontinued.

  VIII. First Newspaper in America.                                   87
          First ever issued--in writing.
          Gazette in Venice, 1583.
          English Mercury, 1588.
          "Publick Occurrences" 1690.
          Legislative Interference.
          To cure the 'Spirit of Lying.'
          The Christian Indians.
          Massacre of French Indians.
          General character of the paper and its reading matter.

    IX. Curious Boston Lectures.                                      98
          History of Boston;
          "Boston's Ebenezer;"
          A Stone of Help;
          Widows and Orphans;
          Hope in God;
          Appeal to the Public Officers;
          Household Religion;
          Fanaticism and Declamation.

     X. Remarkable Proclamations. 1774-5.                            104
          _March 29_, War against France;
          _October 18_, On account of a Riot;
          _October 19_, War against Indians;
          _October 20_, Thanksgiving Day;
          _Nov. 2_, Rewards for Indian scalps;
          1745, _March 25_, For a Fast Day;
            "   _July 8_, Thanksgiving Day;
            "   _Sept. 6_, For a Fast Day;
            "   _November 22_, Sailor's Riot;
            "   _November 25_, Thanksgiving.

    XI. Popular Puritan Literature.                                  115
          An Earthquake in Boston;
          Deborah; a Bee;
          Popish Invasion of England;
          The Scotch Rebellion.

   XII. Revolutionary Proclamations.                                 126
          Gen. Gage's Administration;
          Shutting up of Boston Harbor;
          Election of delegates to Congress;
          General Gage's Proclamation;
          Against non-importation league.
          Remarkable Proclamation for the promotion of Piety and Virtue.
          Its Character and Observance.

  XIII. Curiosities of the Market.                                   131
          Supplies of Gov. Winthrop;
          Bartering for Furs;
          Scarcity of Provisions;
          Hunting, Game, Fish, &c.;
          Living in the Olden Time;
          Supplies for a British fleet.


[Illustration: Map of DORCHESTER, BOSTON and CHARLESTOWN, the Three
Peninsulas, showing their Bays and Coves, Castle Island, Roxbury and




There is a line of Cowper to the effect that "God made the country, and
man made the town;" and there is probably no more striking evidence of the
truthfulness of the axiom than is to be found in the history and growth of
Boston, between the years 1630 and 1880, confirming in a remarkable manner
Capt. Wood's prophecy concerning the town, in 1650: viz., "whose
continuall inlargement presages some sumptuous city." The original
territory which has formed the basis, so to speak, of Boston proper, was a
peninsula, and appeared like two islands, or, by the continued operation
of the sea, was likely to become so. Its distinguishing feature was to be
found in its three prominent hills, or, perhaps, its two hills and its
three-peaked mountain. These were her jewels: they have since represented
her fame, her history, her sentiments; for these were all wrapped around
them. The peninsula was a point of land projected into the harbor, with a
narrow neck connecting it with the mainland, and another narrow place in
the vicinity of what is now Dock Square, which was once quite open to the
harbor. In length from the south line at Roxbury, it was something less
than three miles (two and three-fourths and two hundred and thirty-eight
yards). Its width at the widest point, between Wheelwright's wharf
(afterwards Rowe's, and now Foster's) to Barton's Point, Leverett Street,
was something over one mile, and its circumference about four miles.


The first impression of the "island" which has been recorded is that of
Anne Pollard, who died in Boston, Dec. 6, 1725, at the age of 105 years,
and left over one hundred descendants. She always said that she came over
from Charlestown, in 1630, in the first boat that crossed with Gov.
Winthrop's party, and, being what might now be called a romping girl for
those times, ten years of age, was "the first to jump ashore;" and she
afterwards described the place "as being at that time very uneven,
abounding in small hollows and swamp, and covered with blueberry and other
bushes." We do not think there is any one inclined to dispute this
statement, or question its truthfulness.

There are several descriptions of early Boston, topographical and
otherwise, which have been quoted by subsequent writers upon the subject,
rather as curious and original than as having any particular merit in
themselves. First among these is that of Capt. Edward Johnson, in his
"Wonder-Working Providence of Sion's Saviour in New England," written
about 1640. He describes it as surrounded by the brinish flood, "saving
one small Istmos which gives free access to the neighbor townes," and
says, "At their first landing the hideous thickets in this place were such
that wolfes and beares nurst up their young from the eyes of all
beholders.... The forme of this Towne is like a hearte, naturally situated
for fortifications, having two hills on the frontice part thereof next the
sea." These were Fort and Mill (Copps') Hills. "Betwixt these two strong
armes lies a large cove or bay, on which the chiefest part of the town is
built, overtopped with a third hill" (Sentry or Beacon Hill). There were
two smaller hills on the Common, on one of which Gen. Gage afterwards
built a battery, when the town was in his military possession, and on the
other a powder-house.

Another curious description of Boston is given in Wood's "New England's

    "Boston is two miles North-east from Roxberry. His situation is very
    pleasant, being a Peninsula hemm'd in on the south side with the Bay
    of Roxberry, and on the north side with Charles River, the marshes on
    the back side being not half a quarter of a mile over; so that a
    little fencing will secure their cattle from the woolves. It being a
    Necke and bare of wood, they are not troubled with those great
    annoyances, wolves, rattlesnakes and musquetoes.... This Necke of Land
    is not above four miles in compasse, in forme almost square, having on
    the south side at one corner a great broad hill, whereon is planted a
    Fort, which can command any ship as shee sayles into any Harbour
    within the still Bay. On the north side is another Hill equall in
    bignesse, whereon stands a winde mill. To the north-west is a high
    Mountaine, with three little rising Hills on the top of it, wherfore
    it is called Tramount.... This town although it be neither the
    greatest, nor the richest, yet is the most noted and frequented,
    being the Center of the Plantations, where the monthly Courts are
    kept. Here likewise dwells the Governor. This place hath very good
    land, affording rich Corne-fields, and fruitful gardens, having
    likewise sweete and pleasant springs."

There were two large coves projecting into the peninsula,--one from the
harbor and one from Charles River, nearly opposite to each other, and
producing the narrow portion of the land already spoken of, so that if the
peninsula was not formed of two islands originally, as has been supposed,
the cutting of a creek across this narrow portion, nearly on the line of
Blackstone Street, and uniting the waters of the two coves, had the effect
practically to make it so, at least at such times as the waters of Charles
River and the harbor met across the neck, near Roxbury; so that the
peninsula can hardly be said to have been heart-shaped, much less square.

But the most curious description of Boston, though it may hardly be called
such, is that given by Edward Ward--a low, but ingenious and scandalous
author, whose book cannot enter a decent presence--in his "Trip to New
England."[1] He says of "Boston and the Inhabitants,"--

    "On the south-west side of Massachusetts Bay is Boston, whose name is
    taken from the Town in Lincolnshire, and is the Metropolis of all New
    England. The houses, in some parts, join as in London. The buildings,
    like their women, being neat and handsome. And their streets, like the
    hearts of the male inhabitants, are paved with pebble.

    "In the chief or High Street there are stately edifices, some of which
    have cost the owners two or three thousand pounds the raising, which I
    think plainly proves two old adages true, viz., That a fool and his
    money is soon parted; and, Set a beggar on horseback he'll ride to the
    devil; for the fathers of these men were tinkers and pedlars.

    "To the glory of religion, and the credit of the town, there are four
    churches, built with clapboards and shingles, after the fashion of our
    meeting houses; which are supply'd by four ministers, to whom some,
    very justly, have applied these epithets, one a scholar, the second a
    gentleman, the third a dunce, and the fourth a clown."

These extracts afford no idea of the scandalous character of the book, nor
do even sentences like these: "The women, like the men, are excessive
smokers." "They smoke in bed, smoke as they knead their bread, smoke
whilst they are cooking their victuals, smoke at prayers," &c. "Eating,
drinking, smoking, and sleeping take up four parts in five of their time,"
&c. "Rum, alias kill-devil, is as much ador'd by the American English, as
a dram of brandy is by an old billingsgate," &c. We can give our readers
no further idea of the gross and indecent character of the whole volume,
without offending in the way the author has done.


The South Cove extended from what is now Batterymarch Street to near the
North Battery, at the foot of Fleet Street, curving inward as far as Kilby
Street and near the old State House, with creeks extending towards Spring
Lane, Milk and Federal Streets. Dearborn says, "Winthrop's Marsh,
afterwards called Oliver's Dock, was near Kilby Street, and between the
corner and Milk Street, a creek ran up to Spring Lane." An aged citizen
once said he remembered hearing Dr. Chauncy say that he had taken smelts
in Milk Street; and a Mr. Marshall remembered that when a boy they were
caught in Federal Street, near the meeting-house, (Dr. Channing's).
Another aged inhabitant is reported to have said, that, in the great storm
of 1723, "we could sail in boats from the South Battery to the rise of
ground in King Street," near the old State House. Dock Square was at the
head of a small cove, the tide rising nearly to the pump, which was
formerly there, at the foot of Cornhill. The statue of Sam Adams, recently
erected, is directly over the well in which the pump stood.

A narrow point or tongue of land projected into the cove between the Town
Dock (then near Faneuil Hall) and Mill Creek, and upon this land stood the
celebrated triangular warehouse,--a remarkable building for the time. It
stood opposite the Swing Bridge, and a little north of the dock, measuring
forty-one feet on Roebuck Passage (named after the tavern near it), and
fifty feet on the back side. Near this place, in the small square formed
by the junction of Ann, Union, and Elm Streets, was the Flat Conduit, so
called. Ann Street was originally Conduit Street as far as Cross Street;
and Union Street, in 1732, lead from the conduit to the Mill Pond.

Around the South Cove, as has been said, in the early time the chiefest
part of the town was built; and from thence it gradually expanded along
the shore to the south and to the west. John Josselyn, in 1638, visited
Boston, and wrote a volume entitled "New England Rarities," in which he
says, "It was then rather a village than a town, there being not above
twenty or thirty houses."


The Cove on the north side of the peninsula, Charles River, commenced near
the Charlestown Ferry, curving inwardly nearly to Prince Street, Baldwin
Place, Haymarket Square, nearly on the line of Leverett Street, to
Barton's Point, where the almshouse formerly stood. "The Mill Pond," as it
was afterwards called, says Shurtleff, "was bounded by portions of Prince
and Endicott Streets on the east, and Leverett Street, Tucker's pasture,
and Bowling Green on the west; and on the south it covered the whole space
of Haymarket Square. Most of the estates on what is now Salem Street, ...
and on the west on Hawkins Street and Green Street, extended to the Mill
Pond Cove." The margin of the cove, it is said by another, "passed across
Union, Friend, and Portland Streets, to the bottom of Hawkins Street;
thence westerly, across Pitts and Gouch Streets, to Leverett Street, which
at one time was called Mill Alley. The descent of the land here was very
steep. A street was laid out on the line of Temple Street [Staniford] from
Leverett Street to Beacon Hill, where steps led to the top of the hill, a
hundred and thirty-eight feet above the sea."


The Creek, or the Mill Creek, as it was afterwards called, was undoubtedly
prior to the formation of the Mill Pond; and it is doubtful if it was ever
included in it, although Shaw conveys the idea that the North Cove was
simply a piece of salt marsh, and that the creek was used for the purpose
of covering it with water at flood-tide, and thus forming a mill-pond. As
early as the 5th of July, 1631, an order was passed by the Court of
Assistants, "that £30 be levied on the several plantations for clearing a
creek, and opening a passage to the new town,"--the town at this time
being the settlement around the South Cove; so that the "clearing of a
creek" was "a work of industry" on a small scale for such an enterprise.
It was made across the narrow neck of land between the two great coves,
and while it united the waters of Charles River with the harbor, divided
the peninsula into two islands or sections. The creek, whatever its
relations may have been to the Mill Pond in the later years of its
existence, was used by the boats coming from the Middlesex Canal, which
terminated at Charlestown Neck, and furnished to them a shorter way to the
harbor with their freights of wood, lumber, &c. A few extracts from the
town records will afford some further insight into the character and uses
of the creek.

In 1648, in describing the property of Thomas Marshall, who owned some
land near the Water Mill, Mill Creek, it is stated, "with liberty of
egress and regress in said creek with boats, lighters, and other
vessels;" and it is added, "Thomas Marshall shall not build any nearer the
creek than the now dwelling-house of said Milom, and that he shall not
hinder the mills going by any vessel in the creek."

    1656, Aug. 25.--Butchers may throw their "garbidge" into the Mill
    Creek over the drawbridge, and in no other place. [The drawbridge was
    in Ann Street.]

    1659, Oct. 20.--As the people were returning from the execution of
    Robinson and Stevenson [Quakers], the draw of the drawbridge fell upon
    a crowd of them, mortally wounding a woman, and severely hurting
    several others.

    1691, August.--A fire broke out on Saturday evening, "consuming about
    fourteen houses, besides warehouses and brue houses from the Mill
    Bridgh down half way to the Draw Bridgh."

    1698, Nov. 6.--Mr. James Russell of Charlestown and Mr. John
    Ballentine of Boston, or "whoever else may be concerned, or owners of
    the bridge over the Mill Creek, are ordered forthwith to repair the
    pavement on each side of the bridge, and to move the gutters beside
    it, that it might be passable for horse and cart, according to the
    grant of the Town, or pay 20_s._ a week till it should be done."

    1712, March 10.--Ordered to make the draw-bridge (so called) in Ann
    Street a fast, firm bridge the width of the street. A committee was
    appointed to inquire if any damage be sustained by anybody in making
    the bridge in question a "fast bridge."


The Mill Pond was formed by the building of a causeway across the head of
the cove, as the street now runs, where there was, it would seem, a sort
of Indian causeway, or pathway, at some prior time. It is represented by
writers on the subject to have been built from Leverett Street to the
Charlestown Ferry; but as this would include the creek, built some ten or
twelve years before, this seems to be impossible; for if the creek was
connected with the pond, without a gate to shut it off, there could be no
mill-power. The creek, therefore, must have been separated from the pond
by a gate, while there was a gate from the pond into Charles River.

However, the causeway was built, and the mill-pond and the water-power it
furnished, used for more than a hundred years without any special
publicity or inquiry concerning them. In fact, it would seem as if the
subject, and the large piece of territory involved, had been pretty much
forgotten; so that in 1765, in March, a committee was appointed to inquire
"by what terms the mill-owners held the mill-pond mills." In May
following, this committee reported, that on the 31st of July, 1643, there
was granted to Henry Simons, George Burden, John Hill, and their partners,
all the cove on the north-west side of the causeway leading towards
Charlestown, with all the salt marsh bordering thereupon, not formerly
granted, on these conditions: that within three years they erect thereon
one or more corn-mills, "and maintain the same forever; also make a gate
ten feet wide to open with the flood for the passage of boats into the
cove," &c. This gate was also to be "maintained forever."

The Mill Pond, it is said, included about fifty acres,--nearly as large as
the north end island,--and, of course, must have furnished during the time
it was available--from an hour or two after full tide until an hour or two
before the next tide, night and day--a very large and extensive
water-power, and was, no doubt, though probably not half used, a very
valuable property.

It is stated by Drake, as if it were a consequence of the action of the
committee, that, "four years after the above report, a committee took
possession of the premises, as having reverted to the town." These
proceedings, it will be noticed, all refer to the "mill-pond mills," but
may be presumed to include the pond and the whole grant made in 1643; so
that in 1769 the property was in the hands of the town, as appears from
these statements.

After this time, by some means or other, the Mill Pond Company, or
Corporation, came into possession of the property, as Shaw says, "for the
consideration of five dollars;" and in 1807, the town became a partner in
the matter of tilling it up, the town to have the streets, we presume, and
one-eighth of the lots filled within twenty years. Permission was also
given to use the gravel of Beacon Hill for the purpose. The filling was
completed more than fifty years ago, and the entire space has long been
covered with buildings, and in 1832 included a theatre. The Boston and
Maine Railroad Station stands over the creek; and the large depot
buildings of the Fitchburg, Eastern, and Lowell Railroads are all on land
taken from the river outside the ancient causeway: so that no one of the
great railroad depots in the city stands upon the original land of the


Thus we have seen what were the features and topographical characteristics
of the original peninsula which forms the groundwork, as it were, of the
city proper of to-day. In the steady march of progress and improvements
which have marked its growth for two hundred and fifty years, such changes
and enlargements have been made, that neither its early outlines or its
original shape are any where to be observed. The great coves on either
side of the town have disappeared; and the renowned Tri-mountain, around
which so much of history gathered, and so much of puritanism and
patriotism were enshrined, is shorn of its ancient prestige, although
still, as it were, the summit of State authority; and of "Corne Hill,"
whereon the settlers of Boston, Charlestown, Roxbury, and Dorchester, in
1632, built the first fort for the defence of the settlement, not a
vestige now remains.

Yet, broad and extensive as these improvements and enlargements of the
original peninsula have been, they are at least equalled, if not exceeded,
by what has been accomplished in other parts of the town; so that Boston
proper--at first two islands, or nearly so, and afterwards a
peninsula--has long ceased to be either the one or the other, and must now
be regarded as a portion of the mainland. And this, too, while Charles
River, by encroachments upon its bed on both sides, the numerous wharves
projecting into it, and the bridges, railroads, and other structures
resting upon its bottom, has been reduced in its proportions to one-third
of its original size, and, in fact, has almost ceased to be a river in the
proper sense of that term. So also on the south side of the town: Four
Point Channel, which reached to Dover-street bridge, is now a narrow
stream; and the South Bay, which lay between Roxbury and South Boston, has
been greatly reduced in its proportions, and is crossed by the New England
Railroad. So that it may be said, the city proper to-day stands
consolidated on one side of the ancient neck with Roxbury and Dorchester,
and on the other with Roxbury and Brookline. There still remain, however,
a section of Charles River, forming a bay of itself, between Boston,
Cambridge, and Brookline, and a considerable portion of the South Bay
between Roxbury and South Boston. Brookline--originally Muddy Brook--was
formerly considered as belonging to Boston, and its lands were apportioned
among the early settlers of the town for agricultural purposes and the
keeping of cattle. It is now nearly surrounded by the enlarged city,
Brighton and Roxbury both belonging to Boston.

There is, however, one feature of Boston which may be said to remain
intact, and that is BOSTON COMMON. When the settlers bought the peninsula
of William Blackstone, or all his interest in it, excepting six acres,
which he reserved for his own occupation, "the town laid out a place for a
training-field, which ever since and now is used for that purpose, and for
the feeding of cattle." This was undoubtedly the origin of Boston Common;
and the date of the transaction, as appears from the town records, was on
"the 10th daye of the 9th month, 1634," which, as the year commenced with
March, would be November, 1634. It has undergone many changes, some
enlargement by filling up the marsh on the river side, and numerous
improvements in its general appearance by laying out its malls and walks,
setting out trees, excluding cattle, walling around Crescent Pond
(formerly Frog Pond), introduction of the Cochituate water and fountains,
and, last, by the erection of the Army and Navy Monument on its highest
elevation, once occupied as a fortification against its rightful owners by
Gen. Gage and Gen. Howe.

Thus we have seen Boston as it was in 1630 and subsequent
years,--originally one of three prominent peninsulas on the coast of New
England, known by the Indians as Shawmut, Mishawam, and Mattapan, and
afterwards, by the settlers, as Boston, Charlestown, and Dorchester (now
South Boston). Each of these was connected with the mainland by a narrow
neck of its own, and now all three, with the addition of Roxbury, West
Roxbury, Brighton, and Noddle's Island (East Boston), are included in the
present metropolis, while Muddy Brook (Brookline) and Winnisimmet
(Chelsea), which were originally attached to Boston, are not included
within her present limits. The growth and expansion of the town, we judge,
are unparalleled, in some respects, by any other city in the world, with a
character of her own and a position in the history of the country of which
she may well be proud.




The first settlers of Charlestown and Boston of course saw an immediate
necessity for the establishment of ferries on both sides of them; so that,
after considerable numbers had arrived, this became imperative, especially
that across Charles River,--"the great ferry," as it was afterwards
called. This may be called the first public enterprise undertaken by the
colonists. There was, no doubt, from the first, means of crossing the
river furnished by individuals before any public action had taken place,
just as was done by Samuel Maverick at Noddle's Island, who was disposed
and prepared to accommodate everybody that came along. Measures were taken
for the establishment of the Charlestown Ferry soon after the arrival of
Gov. Winthrop's party at Charlestown. At a meeting of the Court of
Assistants, holden at Boston, Nov. 19, 1630,--present the governor,
deputy-governor, Sir Richard Saltonstall, Mr. Ludlowe, Capt. Endicott, Mr.
Coddington, Mr. Pinchon, and Mr. Bradstreet,--"It is further ordered, That
whosoever shall first give in his name to Mr. Governor that he will
undertake to set up a ferry betwixt Boston and Charlestown, and shall
begin the same at such time as Mr. Governor shall appoint, shall have
1_d._ for every person and 1_d._ for every 100 weight of goods he shall

The ferry was no doubt undertaken at this time by Edward Converse; and,
probably as it did not then pay very well, in June 14, 1631, an order was
passed, "That Edward Converse, who had undertaken to set up a ferry
between Boston and Charlestown, be allowed 2_d._ for every single person,
and 1_d._ apiece, if there be two or more."

The lease to Mr. Converse, in 1631, was renewed Nov. 9, 1636, in form as
follows: "The Governor and treasurer, by order of the general court, did
demise to Edward Converse the ferry between Boston and Charlestown, to
have the sole transporting of passengers and cattle from one side to the
other, for three years from the first day of the next month, for the
yearly rent of forty pounds to be paid quarterly to the treasurer:
Provided, that he see it be well attended and furnished with sufficient
boats; and that so soon as may be in the next spring he set up a
convenient house on Boston side, and keep a boat there as need shall
require. And he is allowed to take his wonted fees, viz., 2_d._ for a
single person, and pence apiece, if there be more than one, as well on
lecture days as at other times; and for every horse and cow with the man
which goeth with them 6_d._, and for a goat 1_d._, and a swine 2_d._ And
if any shall desire to pass before it be light in the morning, or after it
is dark in the evening, he may take recompence answerable to the season
and his pains and hazard, so as it be not excessive."

The ferry was a great accommodation, of course, and could not be dispensed
with. Johnson mentions it quite early in his "Wonder-Working Providence."
In speaking of Charlestown, the "neighbor of Boston, being in the same
fashion, with her bare neck," he says "there is kept a ferry-boat to
convey passengers over Charles River, which, between the two towns, is a
quarter of a mile over, being a very deep channel." But at times, no
doubt, the ferry proved troublesome and annoying. So that in the month of
October, 1632, Mr. Winthrop records that "about a fortnight before this,
those of Charlestown, who had formerly been joined to Boston congregation,
now, in regard of the difficulty of passage in the winter, and having
opportunity of a pastor, one Mr. [Edward] James, who came over at this
time, were dismissed from the congregation of Boston." This, it was said,
was after a rather boisterous summer on the bay and harbor.


At a General Court, holden at Boston, the 18th of May, 1631, there were
present Mr. Winthrop, governor; Mr. Dudley, deputy-governor; Mr. Ludlowe,
Capt. Endicott, Mr. Nowell, Mr. Pinchon, Mr. Bradford, assistants (at
which the governor and lieutenant-governor were chosen),--"Thomas Willins
[Drake gives the name as Williams] hath undertook to sett up a ferry
between Winnisimmet and Charlestown, for which he is to have after three
pence a person and from Winnisimmet to Boston four pence a person." Mr.
Savage, in a note to Winthrop's journal, speaking of Samuel Maverick at
Noddle's Island, says, "Winisemet Ferry, both to Charlestown and Boston,
was also granted to him forever." He certainly did conduct a ferry on one
or both these routes for a time.

Jan. 23, 1635.--"Thomas Marshall was chosen by general consent for ye
keeping of a ferry from Milne Point [Copps' Hill] vnto Charlestowne, and
to Wynnyseemitt, and to take for his ferrying vnto Charlestowne, as ye
ferryman there hath, and vnto Wynnyseemitt for a single psn six pence; and
for every one above ye number of two, two pence apiece." It is not
probable that this ferry was continued for many years.

In December, 1637, Edward Bendall was "to keepe a sufficient ferryboate to
carry to Noddle's Island and to the shippes ryding before the Town: taking
for a single person ij_d._ and for two 3_d._"


In 1640, the Charlestown Ferry was granted to Harvard College, to the
support of which the town had been annually contributing, and had received
from the ferry fifty pounds for the year previous, 1639. This grant was
continued, and, for nearly one hundred and fifty years before the bridge
was built, it was a source of very handsome income to the institution. In
1644, it appears by the records of the town, William Bridge was appointed
to keep the ferry in place of Mr. Converse, and "to have a penny a person
for each that goes over, except they agree with him by the year, and two
pence a person for each that goes over unseasonably." When the bridge was
built in 1785, the gratuity to the college was continued by the terms of
the Act authorizing it; and the sum of two hundred pounds per year was
paid to it in commutation of its claim to the ferry.

Johnson, in his "Wonder-Working Providence," describes Boston as
surrounded by the brinish floods, and as having, on the north-west and
north-east, "two constant Faires, kept for traffique thereunto." A ferry
to Cambridge is spoken of in 1652; and in the fall of that year Mr. Cotton
took cold in crossing it, and died soon after.


In 1648, "the ferrymen, Francis Hudson and James Heyden, state in a
petition to the General Court, that the ferry never was less productive:
that contrary to law disorderly passengers would press into the boats, and
on leaving refuse to pay their fare; that some pleaded they had nothing to
pay, and others that they were in the country's service. And they further
state, that the payment generally tendered was 'usually in such refuse,
unwrought, broken, unstringed and unmerchantable peag' (wampum), at six a
penny, that they lost two pence a shilling, being forced to take peag at
six a penny and pay it at seven. They petition that if the Court intend
'all soldiers with their horses and military furniture be fare-free,' that
they might be paid for it by the colony: that strangers, not able to pay,
may be ordered to give in their names: that the 'peag hereafter to us paid
may be so suitably in known parcels handsomely stringed, and their value
assigned, that it may henceforth be a general, current and more agreeable

At a session of the General Court, at Boston, the 10th of the eight month,
1648, "For preventing ferry men's Damage by Persons not paying, &c., it
shall be lawful for any Ferry man to demand and Receive his due before his
Boat put off from the Shore, nor shall he be bound to pass over any that
shall not give satisfaction, & any Ferry Man may refuse any wampum not
stringed or Unmerchantable and such persons whether Horse or Foot which
are passage free by Order of the Court must show something sufficient for
their Discharge, or else pay as others do, except Magistrates and
Deputies, &c., who are generally known to be free."

And again, Oct. 18, the Court ordered that "all 'payable peag' should be
'entire without breaches, both the white and the black, suitably strung in
eight known parcels, 1_d._, 3_d._, 12_d._, 5_s._, in white; and 2_d._,
6_d._, 2-6_d._, and 10_s._, in black.' The Court also ordered that for
transporting officers in the colony service, the ferrymen should be
allowed £4 per annum for the past, and £6 per annum for the time to come."


"Peag," or "wampum," or "wampumpeag," simply means stringed shells of a
peculiar kind, or Indian money; and this, it seems, came early into use,
as Hubbard says, "The people of New Plymouth, in the year 1627, began
trade with the Dutch at Manhados, and there they had the first knowledge
of Wampumpeag, and their acquaintance therewith occasioned the Indians of
those parts to learn to make it." Hutchinson thinks the New England
Indians, prior to this time, had not "any instrument of commerce;" and
speaks of the Narragansetts as coining money, making pendants and
bracelets, and also tobacco pipes. There seems, however, to have been
among the Massachusetts settlers some other kinds of money in use, as, in
1635, the court ordered that brass farthings shall be discontinued, and
that musket-balls shall pass for farthings.


Penny Ferry, across the Mystic River, where the Malden Bridge now is, was
established by the town in April, 1640, when it was voted, "That Philip
Drinker should keep a ferry at the Neck of Land, with a sufficient boat,
and to have 2_d._ a single person, and a penny a piece when there go any
more." It was not a source of any profit to the town for many years.

In 1651, the Penny Ferry was granted for a year to Philip Knight, who
appears to have had the income of it for taking care of it, he agreeing
"to attend the ferry carefully, and not to neglect it, that there be no
just complaint."

In 1698, Judge Sewall makes the following entry in his diary: "February
19, I go over the ice and visit Mr. Morton, who keeps his bed. 21st, I
rode over to Charlestown on the ice, then over to Stower's (Chelsea), so
to Mr. Wigglesworth. The snow was so deep that I had a hard journey--could
go but a foot pace on Mystic river, the snow was so deep. 26th, a
considerable quantity of ice went away last night, so that now there is a
glade of water along Governor's island, about as far as Bird island. 28th,
a guard is set upon Charles River to prevent persons from venturing over
on the ice for fear of drowning; and the ferrymen are put upon cutting and
clearing the ice, which they do so happily, that I think the boat passeth
once a day."


The use of the ferry was confined to foot-passengers entirely at first;
and afterwards, when larger boats were built, chaises were allowed, as the
common riding or travelling vehicle of the time. It would seem that double
tolls had been demanded on certain days; and in 1783, when the names of
the ferrymen were presented to the town for approval, it was agreed, on
their not taking double ferriage on those days, and their faithful promise
to the same, to approbate them. It seems almost wonderful--but it is a
fact--that this ferry was kept up as the sole means of communication,
excepting the journey around through Roxbury and Cambridge, for more than
one hundred and fifty years. It was over this ferry that the people came
to Boston to assist in the fortification upon Corne Hill (Fort Hill) in
May, 1632, and at other times for similar purposes. It was over this ferry
also, on the 18th of April, 1689, that the troops came, in the time of the
Andros Rebellion, to assist in maintaining the rights of the people at
this early period in the history of the town. There were twenty companies
in Boston, and it was said about fifteen hundred men at Charlestown that
could not get over. Andros was imprisoned, the first charter of the colony
dissolved, and Thomas Danforth came in as deputy-governor. On many other
occasions during the long period of its continuance, and in cases of fire
in Boston, the ferry had large duties to perform; and it is wonderful how
it was ever made to answer its purposes for so long a time.

1741.--Oldmixon, in his "History of the British Empire in America" ("The
History of New England," as a part of it is called), says, "Charlestown,
the mother of Boston, is much more populous than Cambridge, and exceeds it
much in respect of trade, being situated between two rivers, Mystic River
and Charles River, and parted from Boston only by the latter, over which
there is a ferry so well tended that a bridge would not be much more
convenient, except in winter, when the ice will neither bear nor suffer a
boat to move through it. Though the river is much broader about the town,
it is not wider in the ferry passage than the Thames between London and
Southwark. The profits of this ferry belong to Harvard College in
Cambridge, and are considerable. The town is so large as to take up all
the space between the two rivers."

In 1763, April, the running of a stage-coach was commenced between Boston
and Portsmouth, N.H., once a week,--out on Friday, and return on Tuesday.
It is said, that, "owing to the trouble of ferrying the stage and horses
over Charles River, they were kept at Charlestown, at the sign of the
Three Cranes." The practice with this, and very likely other stage-lines,
probably continued until the bridge was built.

The memorable night, April 18, 1775, when Paul Revere crossed Charles
River, near the ferry, is of course well remembered. During the occupation
of Boston Harbor by the British navy, the boats of the ferry were drawn up
alongside the men-of-war every night at nine o'clock, and there was no
passing after that hour; but it seems that Revere kept a boat of his own
at the north end, and employed two men to row him across, "a little to the
eastward where the 'Somerset' man-of-war lay." He landed at Charlestown
below the ferry, and says, "I told them what was acting, and went to get
me a horse," and then pursued his momentous ride to Lexington.

Imagine the continuance of this ferry, as the usual means of crossing the
river between Boston and Charlestown, for a period of more than one
hundred and fifty years! and all this time probably without the use of
sails, as the stream at this point was very narrow and the currents very
strong, and certainly without the power of steam, now so generally applied
to ferries all over the country. There was, no doubt, in the winter
season, a good deal of passing on the ice. The Winnisimmet Ferry, for many
years prior to the introduction of steam, was operated by the use of large
sail-boats for foot-passengers only.

It is said that the Indian name of Charles River was Quimobequin, and that
on Capt. Smith's map of 1614, it is called Massachusetts; and Hutchinson
says, "Prince Charles gave the name of Charles river to what had been
before called Massachusetts river." Smith himself says he called it
Charles River; still Hutchinson may be right.



It will hardly be realized at the present time that Boston, or the
peninsula which originally comprised the town, was ever occupied by
cornfields, or, as one may almost say, was a cornfield. If there were
cornfields, as we assume there were, the curious thing about them is, that
we know so little of them; for it can scarcely be said that they hold a
place in history. There are, in fact, no definite statements about them;
and a mystery seems to hang over them as to where they were, who owned
them, who cultivated them, and what was done with the harvest. Were they
private property or public property? We have not been able to find in
contemporary or subsequent history any account of the Boston cornfields
that will enable us with certainty to answer this question. The fair
inference from statements made, however, is, that they were to some extent
both public and private property. Perhaps the first allusion to them to be
found in any record is that in 1632,--and there could have been no corn
planted in Boston earlier than 1631, unless by Blackstone,--and this
allusion is in the name of "Corne Hill." In 1632, May 24, "it was agreed
to build a fort in that part of Boston called Corne Hill," meaning what
thereafter was called Fort Hill; and one historical writer, quoting the
record, says a fortification was begun on "_the_ corn hill;" and that was
probably the only Corn Hill at that time. The question naturally arises,
Why was it called Corn Hill? and the almost necessary answer to the
question is, Because it was where corn was grown.

There can be no doubt that it became necessary, as early as possible, for
the settlers to seek means for their future subsistence. The stock and
supply of provisions brought over were, no doubt, for a time and under
certain regulations, a common stock; and possibly some of Gov. Winthrop's
party had supplies of their own in addition thereto. But, at all events,
prudence and self-preservation required immediate attention to the
cultivation of the soil and the raising of corn and other grains.

In 1628 (1629), before the arrival of Gov. Winthrop and his company at
Charlestown, the place had been occupied by the Spragues, from Salem,
under the direction of Mr. Graves, an agent of the company; and one of the
first things they did was "to model and lay out the form of the town, with
streets about the hill," which was approved by Gov. Endicott. They next
"jointly agreed and concluded that each inhabitant have a two acre lot to
plant upon and all to fence in common." The same year Mr. Graves wrote to
England, "The increase of corne is here farre beyond expectation," showing
that it had been grown, and most probably in the common cornfield; for it
is afterwards said that Thomas Walford "lived on the south end of the
westermost hill of the East Field." Another vote was passed the next year,
1630,--probably before the arrival of Gov. Winthrop,--that each person
"dwelling within the neck, shall have two acres of land for a house plot,
and two acres for every male that is able to plant."

In the months of June and July, 1630, Gov. Winthrop and his party arrived
at Charlestown, after a passage by some of the ships of seventeen or
eighteen weeks, many of them sick of the scurvy. "The multitude set up
cottages, booths and tents about the Town Hill;" and it is said
"provisions were exceedingly wasted, and no supplies could now be expected
by planting; besides, there was miserable damage and spoil of provisions
at sea." Many of the party died,--some two hundred before December,--and
others started out for other locations; and finally in September, 1630, by
the invitation of Mr. Blackstone, the larger part of Gov. Winthrop's party
crossed the river to Boston. This year there was a scarcity of corn, as
will be seen by the following extract from Hutchinson's history:--

    "In August, 1724, John Quttamug, a Nipmug Indian, came to Boston,
    above 112 years of age. He affirmed that in 1630, upon a message that
    the English were in want of corn, soon after their arrival, he went to
    Boston with his father, and carried a bushel and a half of corn all
    the way on his back; that there was only one cellar began in town, and
    that somewhere near the _Common_."

Wood, in speaking of Boston in 1639, says, "This place hath very good
land, affording rich cornfields and fruitful gardens," which, no doubt,
were in existence years before he wrote his book. In 1635, it was voted,
"Each able man is allowed two acres, and each able youth one acre to
plant." Provision of some sort on the subject was no doubt made before
this time, and gradually reached the regulation here recorded. In 1633,
great scarcity of corn is mentioned by Winthrop, as he says, "By reason of
the spoil of our hogs, there being no acorns, yet the people lived well
with fish and the fruit of their gardens."

Almost as a natural consequence of what has now been said, in March, 1636,
we find that provision was made "for having sufficient fences to the
Cornfielde before the 14th of the next second month (April); that for
every defective rod then found, five shillings penalty;" and it was
further provided, "The field toward Rocksberry to be looked into by Jacob
Elyott and Jonathan Negoose; the Fort Hill, by James Penn and Richard
Gridley; the Mylne field, by John Button and Edward Bendall, and the New
Field by John Audley and Thomas Faireweather."

Thus it will be seen, if the rule adopted was carried out, that there were
four or more large cornfields in Boston, and that the principal work of
the people for a time was the raising of corn. At a later period parcels
of corn were occasionally presented or sent to the governor by the
Indians, who had their cornfields before the English people arrived. In
fact, it is recorded in the next month after the arrival of Winthrop, that
so much provision had been sold to the Indians for beaver, that food
became scarce; and in October, 1630, a vessel was sent to the
Narragansetts to trade, and brought home one hundred bushels of corn. In
May, 1631, corn in Boston was ten shillings a bushel, as probably much was
required for planting at this time. In August, 1633, a great scarcity of
corn was reported; and in November, the next year, a vessel arrived from
Narragansett with five hundred bushels of Indian corn. It is very clear
that corn was very early, and for some time, the great dependence of the

In Plymouth Colony, in 1630, the salary of the messenger of the General
Court was thirty bushels of corn. In 1685, the secretary's wages was
fifteen pounds a year, payable in corn at two shillings per bushel. In
1690, "one third the Governor's salary ordered to be paid in money, the
rest in corne."

In 1637, April 16, "all the fences and gates to be made up. Sargeant
Hutchinson and Richard Gridley to look after the Fort Field; John Button,
James Everett and Isaac Grosse, in the Mill Field; Wm Colburn and Jacob
Elyott on the Field next Roxburie." Again, in 1640, March 30, "To look to
the fences: Richard Fairbanks and William Salter the field towards
Roxbury; Benj. Gillam and Edmd. Jacklyn, the Fort Field; Wm. Hudson and
Edward Bendall the New Field; Mr. Valentine Hill and John Button, the Mill

Dr. Shurtleff, in his "Topographical and Historical Description of
Boston," enumerates five fields as follows, and speaks of them as
ungranted lands: "The land around Copps' Hill, was known as the Mylne
Field, or Mill Field; that around Fort Hill, the Fort Field; that at the
Neck, the Neck Field, or the Field towards Roxbury; that where Beacon Hill
Place now is, Centry Hill Field, and that west of Lynde Street, and north
of Cambridge, the New Mill Field, or the New Field." And to show that
these were not waste lands or pastures, the writer enumerates the various
pastures for cattle, besides the privileges at Muddy Brook and
Winnisimmet, as follows: "Besides the fields there were many pastures, so
called: Christopher Stanley's was at the North End, covering the region of
North Bennet Street, between Hanover and Salem Streets; Buttolph's was
south of Cambridge Street; Tucker's, in the neighborhood of Lyman Street;
Rowe's, east of Rowe Street; Wheeler's, where the southerly end of Chauncy
Street is; Atkinson's, where Atkinson Street was a few years ago, and
where Congress Street now is." And besides these he names Leverett's on
Leverett Street; Middlecott's on Bowdoin Street; another on Winter and
Tremont Streets, and, as he says, "a very large number of other great

And strange to say, in all this history, contemporary or modern, in only a
single instance, so far as we know, are these fields or any one of them
spoken of as a "cornfielde," and that is in the order of 1636, above
quoted. There is, however, one other reference to them made, in 1657, in
the body of instructions prepared for the selectmen to guide them in the
discharge of their duties: "Relying on your wisdom and care in seeking the
good of the town, we recommend that you cause to be executed all the
orders of the town which you have on the records," &c., "as found in the
printed laws under the titles Townships, Freeman, Highways, Small Causes,
Indians, Cornfields," &c., which would assuredly show that there were
cornfields in the town, distinct from pastures or waste lands, undoubtedly
laid out and divided among the people, as already indicated, for their
special cultivation.

If, as we believe, the "fields" enumerated were cornfields, and cultivated
in the manner suggested,--at first one field, and year by year, as
necessity should require, a new field added,--there would naturally
become, among a people situated as they were, a necessity for a granary
for the storing and preservation of their crops. Consequently, in the
enumeration of public buildings in Boston at a later period, we find
mentioned "a public granary." The burying-ground on Tremont Street, known
as the Granary Burying-Ground, was laid out on land taken from the Common
in 1660, and, of course, took its name from the granary, which was built
soon after on what was afterwards Centry Street, and now Park Street.
Shurtleff says the land was first taken for the purpose, and "then, when
the need came, a building, eighty feet by thirty feet, for a public
granary, was erected, and subsequently, in 1737, removed to the corner,
its end fronting on the principal street (Tremont). It stood until 1809,
when it gave place to Park Street Church." So that, though latterly for
some years used for another purpose, the granary stood in Boston for more
than one hundred and forty years. It is described as a long wooden
building, and was calculated to hold twelve thousand bushels of corn.

In 1733, it would seem that corn or other grain continued to be grown in
Boston, as in October of that year it was determined to erect a granary at
the North End, "not to exceed £100" in cost. In the records of the
selectmen, it is called a meal-house, and John Jeffries, Esq., and Mr.
David Colson, two of the selectmen, were to contract for the work on a
piece of land near the North Mill, belonging to the town.

So that at what time the cultivation of corn ceased in Boston, it is
impossible to tell; but it would seem, from the necessity for a new
granary in 1733, that it must have continued for considerably more than a
hundred years after the settlement of the town.



The early government of the Puritans in Boston was a sort of extemporary
government, or, as it has been described, "temporary usurpation,"--a
government of opinions and prejudices, and in small sense a government of
law. It had some of the features of a family government, without system or
order. If the inhabitant offended, or did any thing which was not thought
proper by the Church, the assistants, or anybody else, fine or punishment
was pretty sure to follow. To be sure there was the Massachusetts Colony
Charter somewhere; but it is singular that the copy of it found among
Hutchinson's papers, and since printed, is certified to be a "true copy of
such letters patents under the great seal of England," by John Winthrop,
Governor, dated "this 19th day of the month called March, 1613-1644." This
verbose and peculiar document gives authority to the company in the matter
of government in the following elaborate form:--

    "And wee do of our further grace, certaine knowledge and meere motion
    give and grant to the said Governor and Company and their successors,
    that it shall and may be lawfull to and for the Governour or deputy
    Governor and such of the Assistants and Freemen of the said Company
    for the tyme being as shall be assembled in any of their generall
    courts aforesaid, or in any other courts to be specially summoned and
    assembled for that purpose, or the greater part of them (whereof the
    Governour or deputy Governor and sixe of the Assistants to be always
    seven) from tyme to tyme to make, ordaine and establish all manner of
    wholesome and reasonable orders, lawes, statutes and ordinances,
    directions and instructions not contrary to the lawes of this our
    realme of England, as well for the settling of the formes and
    ceremonies of government and magistracie fitt and necessary for the
    said plantation and the inhabitants there, and for nameing and styling
    of all sorts of officers both superiour and inferiour which they shall
    find needful for that government and plantation, and the
    distinguishing and setting forth of the severall duties, powers and
    limits of every such office and place, and the formes of such oathes
    warrantable by the lawes and statutes of this our realme of England as
    shall be respectively ministred unto them, for the execution of the
    said several offices and places, as also for the disposing and
    ordering of the elections of such of the said officers as shall be
    annuall, and of such others as shall be to succeed in case of death or
    removall, and ministring the said oathes to the new elected officers,
    and for imposition of lawfull fynes, mulcts, imprisonment or other
    lawfull correction, according to the course of other Corporations in
    this our realme of England, and for the directing, ruleing and
    disposeing of all other matters and things whereby our said people
    inhabiting there may be so religiously, peaceably and civily governed,
    as theire good life and orderly conversation may winne and incite the
    natives of that country to the knowledge and obedience of the onely
    true God and Saviour of mankind and the christian faith, which in our
    royall intention and the adventurers free profession is the principal
    end of this plantation."

The charter goes on to give authority to commanders, captains, governors,
and all other officers for the time being, "to correct, punish, pardon,
govern and rule all such the subjects of us, our heires and successors,
as shall from tyme to tyme adventure themselves in any voyage thither or
from thence, or that shall at any tyme hereafter inhabit within the
precincts and parts of New England aforesaid, according to the orders,
lawes, ordinances, instructions and directions aforesaid, not repugnant to
the laws and statutes of our realme of England as aforesaid." And in order
to make the laws of these officers known, it is provided, as printing
would not be practicable, that they shall be "published in writing under
theire common seale."

But it would seem, notwithstanding, that the authority exercised by the
company was at first executive rather than legislative; and Mr. Savage
remarks, that the body of the people "submitted at first to the mild and
equal temporary usurpation of the officers, chosen by themselves, which
was also justified by indisputable necessity." The first "Court of
Assistants" was held at Charlestown, Aug. 23, 1630; and the first thing
propounded was, "how the ministers shall be maintained," and it was
determined, of course, at the public charge. Gov. Winthrop, Lieut.-Gov.
Dudley, and the assistants were present; and this body carried on the
government--what there was of it--"in a simply patriarchal manner," until
"the first General Court or meeting of the whole company at Boston, 19
October," 1631, and this was held "for the establishing of the
government." It was now determined that "the freemen should have the power
of choosing assistants, and from themselves to choose a Governor and
Lieut. Governor, who with the assistants should have the power of making
laws and choosing officers to execute the same." This is the brief history
of the origin of a local government in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, if
it may be so called. It was autocratic for the first year and afterwards,
although fully assented to by a general vote of the people.

At first, of course, there were no laws; and punishments were adjudged and
inflicted, under the authority of the charter, not only for trivial
matters, as they would be now considered, but for very questionable, if
not ludicrous, matters,--and all this, it would seem, without respect of
persons: for, as early as Nov. 30, 1630, at a court, it was ordered that
one of the assistants be fined five pounds for whipping two persons
without the presence of another assistant, contrary to an act of court
formerly made; so that this very early exercise of authority was not under
a law made after the fact. At the same court another person was sentenced
to be whipped for shooting a fowl on the sabbath day; and this, probably,
was _ex post facto_. In 1631, a man was fined five pounds for taking upon
himself the cure of scurvy by a water of no value, and selling it at a
dear rate; to be imprisoned until he paid the fine, or whipped. In 1632,
the first thief was sentenced to lose his estate, pay double what he had
stolen, be whipped, bound out for three years, and after that be dealt
with as the court directs. Other offences, or what not, were punished by
"taking life and limb, branding with a hot iron, clipping off ears," &c.
Indians also were proceeded against, in many cases by fines, penalties,
and punishments.

John Legge, a servant, was ordered "to be whipt this day [May 3, 1631] at
Boston, and afterwards, so soon as convenient may be, at Salem, for
striking Richard Wright." Richard Hopkins was ordered to be severely
whipped, and branded with a hot iron on one of his cheeks, for selling
guns, powder, and shot to the Indians. Joyce Bradwick was ordered to pay
Alexander Beck twenty dollars for promising marriage without her friends'
consent, and now refusing to perform the same. This was in 1632, and is
undoubtedly the first breach-of-promise case that had occurred in the

It was ordered if any one deny the Scriptures to be the word of God, to be
fined fifty pounds, or whipped forty stripes; if they recant, to pay ten
pounds, and whipped if they pay not that. A man, who had been punished for
being drunk, was ordered to wear a red D about his neck for a year.

The case of one Knower, at Boston, 1631, is spoken of as curious, showing
that the court, usurper and tyrant as it was, had no intention of being
slighted, underestimated, or intimidated. "Thomas Knower was set in
bilbows for threatening the Court, that if he should be punished, he would
have it tried in England, whether he was lawfully punished or not." And
for this he was punished.

1631.--Philip Radcliffe, for censuring the churches and government, has
his ears cut off, is whipped and banished.

1636.--If any inhabitants entertained strangers over fourteen days,
without leave "from those yt are appointed to order the Town's
businesses," they were made liable to be dealt with by the "overseers"
(before there were selectmen) as they thought advisable.

In 1637, "a law was made that none should be received to inhabit within
the jurisdiction but such as should be allowed by some of the magistrates;
and it was fully understood that differing from the religions generally
received in the country, was as great a disqualification as any political
opinions whatever." On this subject Judge Minot says, "Whilst they
scrupulously regulated the morals of the inhabitants within the colony,
they neglected not to prevent the contagion of dissimilar habits and
heretical principles from without.... No man could be qualified either to
elect or be elected to office who was not a church member, and no church
could be formed but by a license from a magistrate."

In 1640, in the case of Josias Plaistow for stealing four baskets of corn
from the Indians, he was ordered to return eight baskets, "to be fined £5,
and to be called Josias, and not Mr. Josias Plaistow, as he formerly used
to be."

A carpenter was employed to make a pair of stocks; and, it being adjudged
that he charged too much for his work, he was sentenced to be put in them
for one hour. A servant, charged with slandering the Church, was whipped,
then deprived of his ears and banished. This punishment was deemed severe,
and excited some remarks upon the subject.

A Capt. Stone was fined one hundred pounds and prohibited from coming into
Boston without the governor's leave on pain of death, for calling Justice
Ludlow a "just-ass." Another party, for being drunk, was sentenced to
carry forty turfs to the fort; while another, being in the company of
drunkards, was set in the stocks.

But finally the Court of Assistants began to make laws, or lay down rules
of some sort. As for example: Every one shall pay a penny sterling for
every time of taking tobacco in any place. In Plymouth Colony the law was
less stringent: there a man was fined five shillings for taking tobacco
while on a jury, before a verdict had been rendered. Absence from church
subjected the delinquent to a fine of ten shillings or imprisonment. Any
one entering into a private conference at a public meeting shall forfeit
twelve pence for public uses. 1642, Mr. Robert Saltonstall is fined five
shillings for presenting his petition on so small and bad a piece of
paper; and this, it seems, was after it had been determined "that a body
of laws should be framed which would be approved of by the General Court
and some of the ministers as a fundamental code." Notwithstanding this, in
all cases, like the above, where there was no law, one was made, or
inferred, to meet the case; so that, after the establishment of a
"fundamental code," there was about as much _ex post facto_ law as before.
Among the laws or orders of the "fundamental code" was one, "that no
person, Householder or others, shall spend his time unprofitably under
paine of such punishment as the court shall think meet to inflict;" and
"the constables were ordered to take knowledge of offenders of this kind,"
and, among others, especially tobacco-takers. Another was, "that no person
either man or woman shall make or buy any slashed clothes, other than one
slash in each sleeve and another in the back; also all cuttworks,
imbroidered or needle workt caps, bands, vayles, are forbidden hereafter
to be made or worn under said penalty--also all gold or silver girdles,
hatbands, belts, ruffs, beaver hats, are prohibited to be bought or worn
hereafter, under the aforesaid penalty," &c. The penalty is such
punishment as the Court may think meet to inflict.

In addition to these, the code went still further in regulating the dress
of women: "4th of 7th month [September, as the year began with March,
until 1752], 1639, Boston. No garments shall be made with short sleeves,
whereby the nakedness of the arm may be discovered in the wearing
thereof;" and, where garments were already made with short sleeves, the
arms to be covered with linen or otherwise. No person was allowed to make
a garment for women with sleeves more than half an ell wide, and "so
proportionate for bigger or smaller persons."

In the matter of currency, it was ordered, in 1634, "that musket balls of
a full boar shall pass currently for farthings apiece, provided that no
man be compelled to take above 12 pence at a time in them."

It would seem that some of these decisions, or the general character of
the government, had caused some remark, as it was "ordered that Henry Lyn
shall be whipt and banished the Plantation before the 6th day of October
next, for writing into England falsely and maliciously against the
government and execution of Justice here." "Execution of justice" is good,
we should say.

Ward, in his "Trip to New England," a very coarse and abusive paper,
published in London, in 1706, in a book called "London Spy," says, in
Boston "if you kiss a woman in publick, tho' offered as a Courteous
Salutation, if any information is given to the Select Members, both shall
be whipt or fined." He relates, that "a captain of a certain ship, who had
been a long voyage, happen'd to meet his wife, and kist her in the street,
for which he was fined Ten Shillings, and forc'd to pay the Money. Another
inhabitant of the town was fin'd Ten Shillings for kissing his own wife in
his Garden, and obstinately refusing to pay the Money, endur'd Twenty
Lashes at the Gun, who, in Revenge for his Punishment, swore he would
never kiss her again either in Publick or Private."

John Dunton, in his famous work, "Dunton's Life and Errors," speaks of the
government, when he was in Boston, in 1686. He says, "Let it be enough to
say, The laws in force here, against immorality and prophaneness, are very
severe. Witchcraft is punish'd with death, as 'tis well known; and theft
with restoring fourfold, if the Criminal be sufficient.--An English woman,
admitting some unlawful freedoms from an Indian, was forc'd twelve months
to wear upon her Right arm an Indian cut in red cloath."

The "Body of Liberties," as it was strangely called, contained an hundred
laws, which had been drawn up pursuant to an order of the General Court,
by Nathaniel Ward, pastor of the church at Ipswich, who had been formerly
a practitioner of law in England; and this book was printed by Daye, the
first printer, at Cambridge in 1641. (Thomas, p. 47.)

There was also published in 1649 a "Book of General Laws and Liberties,
concerning the Inhabitants of Massachusetts." By these, gaming by
shuffle-board and bowling at houses of entertainment, where there was
"much waste of wine and beer," were prohibited under pain for every keeper
of such house twenty shillings, and every person playing at said games,
five shillings. For "damnable heresies," as they were called, banishment
was the appropriate punishment.

Oldmixon mentions a singular law. He says, "The goodness of the pavement
may compare with most in London: to gallop a horse on it is 3 shillings
and four pence forfeit." This was more than a hundred years after the
settlement of the town, and less than forty years before the commencement
of the revolutionary war.

A letter from London, from Edward Howes to his relative, J. Winthrop,
jun., dated April 3, 1632, says, "I have heard divers complaints against
the severity of your government, especially Mr. Endicott's, and that he
shall be sent for over, about cutting off the lunatick man's ears and
other grievances" (Savage's Winthrop, p. 56, vol. 1).

In respect to the levying of fines, Gov. Winthrop, who was accused of not
demanding their payment in some cases, remarked, "that in his judgment, it
were not fit in the infancy of a Commonwealth to be too strict in levying
fines, though severe in other punishments."

It has been well said that "religion and laws were closely intertwined in
the Puritan community; the government felt itself bound to expatriate
every disorderly person, as much as the church was bound to excommunicate
him. They were like a household. They had purchased their territory for a
home; it was no _El Dorado_; it was their Mount of Sion. With immense toil
and unspeakable denials, they had rescued it from the wild woods for the
simple purpose that they might have a place for themselves and their
children to worship God undisturbed. They knew nothing of toleration.
Their right to shut the door against intruders seemed to them as undoubted
and absolute as their right to breathe the air around them."[2]

This is the sum and substance of the Puritan government as long as it
lasted. Under the charter, or without the charter, they made such laws as
they pleased, before or after the occasion. They punished every thing
which they thought to be wrong, or which did not conform to their notions
of propriety or their practice, and this, too, without consistency or

In 1639, Winthrop says, "The people had long desired a body of laws, and
thought their condition very unsafe, while so much power rested in the
discretion of the magistrates. Divers attempts had been made at former
courts, and the matter referred to some of the magistrates and some of the
elders, [the church and state, in such cases, were invariably united,] but
still it came to no effect, for being committed to the care of so many,
whatsoever was done by some, was still disliked or neglected by others."
So that it is doubtful if they ever really had a set of laws that were
relied upon; that limited the discretion of the magistrates, or was ever
reasonably and impartially enforced. If the law failed to be adequate, it
seemed to be proper for the magistrate to make it so; and he not only
supplied the deficiency, but occasionally coined or misconstrued a law for
his purpose. Such a government might well be considered "unsafe."




The Narragansett Indians were one of the largest, if not the very largest,
tribe in New England, at the time of the arrival of the Puritans; and they
were especially friendly to the settlers. They lived along the coast, from
Stonington to Point Judith, on Narragansett Bay. "They consisted," says
Hutchinson, "of several lesser principalities, but all united under one
general ruler, called the Chief Sachem, to whom all others owed some kind
of fealty or subjection." The Nianticks were considered as a branch of the
Narragansetts, having very likely been conquered by them, and brought
under their subjection.

A letter of Roger Williams, who was intimate with, and a strong friend of,
the Narragansett Indians, says they were "the settlers' fast friends, had
been true in all the Pequot wars, were the means of the coming in of the
Mohegans, never had shed English blood, and many settlers had had
experience of the love and desire of peace which prevailed among them."

In October, 1636, after the murder of Mr. Oldham, Gov. Vane invited their
sachem, Miantonomo, to visit Boston, which he soon after did, bringing
with him another sachem, two sons of Canonicus, and about twenty men. The
governor sent twenty musketeers to Roxbury to meet them and escort them
into town. The sachems and their council dined together in the same room
with the governor and his ministers. After dinner a friendly treaty was
made with Miantonomo, and signed by the parties; and, although at this
time the English thought the Indians did not understand it, they kept it
faithfully; but the English, who were afterwards instrumental in the death
of Miantonomo, did not. The Indians were subsequently escorted out of
town, "and dismissed with a volley of shot;" and the famous Roger Williams
was appointed to explain the treaty to the Indians.

In this treaty, Canonicus, who was the chief sachem of the tribe, and is
said to have been "a just man, and a friend of the English," was
represented by Miantonomo, his nephew, whom Canonicus, on account of his
age, had caused to assume the government. The deputation that Gov. Vane
sent to the Narragansetts in the matter of the murder of Mr. Oldham, speak
of Canonicus "as a sachem of much state, great command over his men, and
much wisdom in his answers and the carriage of the whole treaty; clearing
himself and his neighbors of the murder, and offering assistance for
revenge of it." Johnson represents Miantonomo "as a sterne, severe man, of
great stature and a cruel nature, causing all his nobility and such as
were his attendants to tremble at his speech."


The Narragansetts not only coined money (wampumpeag), but manufactured
pendants and bracelets,--using shells, we presume, for these purposes.
They also made tobacco-pipes, some blue and some white, out of stone, and
furnished earthen vessels and pots for cookery and other domestic
uses,--so that they had several approximations, in these respects, to
civilization and art, not so distinctly manifested by other tribes. They
had, in fact, commercial relations with other people and distant nations,
and, it seems, were sometimes sneered at on account of their
disinclination for war,--preferring other service.

There is evidence, also, that they considered themselves--in some
respects, at least--superior to other Indians; and this is illustrated by
a very curious piece of history, said to be "the only tradition of any
sort from the ancestors of our first Indians." It seems that the oldest
Indians among the Narragansetts reported to the English, on their first
arrival, "that they had in former times a sachem called Tashtassuck, who
was incomparably greater than any in the whole land in power and state."
This great sachem--who, it would seem, had the power to elevate, and, in
some respects, enlighten his race--had only two children, a son and
daughter; and, not being able to match them according to their dignity, he
joined them together in matrimony, and they had four sons, of whom
Canonicus, who was chief sachem when the English arrived, was the eldest.
There is no reason to doubt that the marriage was a happy one, agreeable
to the parties, satisfactory to the parent, and certainly famous in its


This probably is the only record of such a marriage in this country. The
form of family marriage, however, it is a matter of history, was common
among the Egyptians, and probably has been practised more or less among
all the savage nations of the earth. Cleopatra, the daughter of Ptolemy
Auletes, on the death of her father, was married, according to his will,
to Ptolemy XII., his eldest son, and ascended the throne; both being
minors, Pompey was appointed their guardian. In the wars which followed,
her husband was drowned, and she then married her second brother, Ptolemy
(Necteros), a child seven years old. Afterwards she became the mistress of
Cæsar, and subsequently poisoned her boy-husband, when at the age of
fourteen, because he claimed his share of the Egyptian crown. So that, in
fact, she made war against her first husband, and poisoned her second,--a
result very different from that recorded of the Narragansett


In a subsequent Indian war, 1643,--brought about, it is said, by
Connecticut, between the Narragansetts and the Mohegans,--Miantonomo, by
some strange accident, fell into the hands of Uncas, who, for fear of
retaliation, instead of taking his life, sent him to Hartford. The
Connecticut people, in their turn, sent him to Boston, to be judged by the
Commissioners of the United Colonies; and these commissioners, "although
they had no jurisdiction in the case, nor any just ground of complaint
against the sachem," came to the conclusion "that Uncas would not be safe
if he were suffered to live." Drake says, "Strange as it may seem, it was
with the advice of the Elders of the Churches" (Winthrop says five of the
most judicious elders) that it was determined Uncas might put Miantonomo
to death,--a piece of barbarism and injustice hardly matched by any
conduct of the Indians. He was taken back to Uncas "with a guard of
English soldiers," and Uncas readily undertook the execution of his
victim. When he arrived at a place appointed, a brother of Uncas "clave
his head with a hatchet." "Thus inhumanly and unjustly perished the
greatest Indian chief of whom any account is found in New England's
annals." Canonicus, it is said, was greatly affected by the death of his
nephew, in whom he always had the utmost confidence, and regarded him with
the fondness of a father. Canonicus died in 1647. After the death of
Miantonomo, the Narragansetts were never on very good terms with the
English, who had suspected them once or twice unjustly. Hutchinson says,
"The Narragansetts are said to have kept to the treaty until the Pequods
were destroyed, and then they grew insolent and treacherous." It certainly
appears that they were not well used by the English settlers, and it is
not surprising that they should grow "insolent and treacherous;" for the
treachery appears to have been first against them.



As a matter of course, some of the early names of places in and around
Massachusetts Bay were Indian names or corruptions, until others were
applied, as Shawmut, Mishawam, Mattapan, Winnisimmet, and others. The name
of Plymouth, of course, the Pilgrims brought with them, as the Puritans
did the name of Salem and of Boston. But just how the name of
Massachusetts originated is not so well known. It was no doubt of Indian
origin; and if derived from the "greatest king of the Indians," Massasoit,
or, as Hutchinson says, Massasoiet,[3] it is well that it has been so
preserved and perpetuated. Among the earliest English names, besides these
mentioned, were the names applied to the islands, as Noddle's Island,
which possibly was given to it by Maverick, and Bird Island, in 1630;
Lovell's Island, in 1635, and several others. The names of Blackstone,
Maverick, and Walford,[4] the original settlers of Boston, Noddle's
Island, and Charlestown, have all been preserved in the names of streets,
banks, &c., although two of them (Blackstone and Walford) were driven
away, and the third, though living almost alone on Noddle's Island, being
an Episcopalian, was rather severely treated in the general persecutions
of the time. Of the Indian names, only a few of them have been preserved,
and are in common use, and among them Shawmut, Mishawam, Winnisimmet, and
possibly one or two others. In the list of nearly two thousand names of
streets, places, &c., only three Indian names are to be found, namely,
Shawmut, Oneida, and Ontario.

But perhaps the most curious peculiarity prevailed with regard to the
naming of streets, places, taverns, trades, &c., in Boston, before King
Street and Queen Street had been named, and after they had passed away.
King Street gave way to State Street; Queen Street, which at an earlier
date had been called Prison Lane, gave way to Court Street: still some of
the old English names remain. Marlborough, Newbury, and Orange, all
English names, gave way to that of Washington, and this street has now
been extended, under its latest name, from Haymarket Square (Mill Creek)
to Brookline (Muddy Brook). Formerly it extended from the Gate at the Neck
to Dock Square, and bore the name of Orange Street from the Gate to
Eliot's Corner (Essex Street); Newbury Street from Eliot's Corner to
Bethune's Corner (West Street); Marlborough Street from thence to Haugh's
Corner (School Street); and Cornhill from thence to Dock Square.


The first mention of any alley is that of Paddy Alley[5] (after a
resident), running from Ann to Middle Street, 1658, but whether so named
before or after the streets which it connects is not known. Rawson's Lane,
afterwards Bromfield's Lane, and now Bromfield Street, 1693; Black Horse
Lane, part of what is now known as Prince Street, 1698; Beer Lane, part of
Richmond Street; Blind Lane, part of Bedford Street; Elbow Alley, which
was in the form of a crescent, from Ann to Cross Street; Pudding Lane,
part of Devonshire Street--all mentioned in 1708, when a list of the names
of the streets, lanes, &c., was prepared and published by the Selectmen.
Among these were Frog Lane, Hog Alley, Sheafe Lane, Blind Lane, Cow Lane,
Flounder Lane, Crab Lane, &c. Probably all these lanes and alleys were
laid out or established, at a much earlier date than that mentioned. Sheep
Lane was first called Hog Lane, in 1789; Turn-again Alley, at an early
date, was near Hamilton Place.

The first lanes and possibly alleys, it has been said, were probably
cow-paths or foot-paths, but at the end of seventy-eight years, in 1708,
they had undoubtedly all received names, peculiar as some of them were.
Most of these lanes--not all of them--were named after residents or owners
in the neighborhood. The alleys were each named after some citizen,
excepting where there might be some local name or peculiarity, as Board
Alley, Brick Alley, Crooked Alley; and so of some of the lanes and
streets, as Bog Lane, Marsh Lane, Well Street, Bath Street, Grape Place,
Granite Place, and some others.


One of the most curious collections of names in the list of 1879, is that
of "Corners," not now recognized, and, we think, never before recorded,
though occasionally used in defining the limits of streets. Over one
hundred corners are named in this list, of which about eighty of them bear
date of 1708 and 1732. All these are named after persons occupying the
corners, and among them are the following: Antram's Corner, Ballantine's,
Barrill's, Bill's, Bows', and Bull's Corners; Dafforne's, Frary's, and
Frizzel's Corners; Gee's, Meer's, Melynes', Powning's, Ruck's, and
Winsley's Corners, and there were five Clark's Corners in different parts
of the town, in 1708-32. At the present time, as in the early time, the
corners of streets may be spoken of and referred to, but are not
recognized as local names of record.


Names, of course, of some kind or other, local, personal, or traditionary,
must have been very early used in the settlement, to designate places,
paths, and business, as well as persons and things, and most of these have
been preserved and remembered. In Drake's collection of local names there
are nearly one thousand, including the names of islands, wharves, streets,
taverns, &c., and of these only about twenty are mentioned by date prior
to 1700, though many of them must have been in use long before that time.
In the collection of names made by the city government in 1879, there are
about eighteen hundred, not including islands, wharves, or taverns. The
earliest dates attached to any of the names is that of the Anchor Tavern,
1661, and of the Alms House on Sentry or Park Street, 1662.

In the naming of streets, as in the laying of them out, there appears to
have been neither rule, system, or order; but in both matters the action
depended upon local circumstances, or some public or personal influence.
It is believed that the first movement in laying out the road over the
Neck to Roxbury, what is now a portion of Washington Street, was in June,
1636, as follows:--

    "It is agreed that there shall be a sufficient foot-way from William
    Coleburne's field-end unto Samuel Wylebore's field-end next Roxbury,
    by the surveyors of highways before the last of the next 5th month"
    (July, 1636).

From this it appears that there were at this early period surveyors of
highways, and that highways, to some extent, were foot-ways. The foot-way
in this case, to be laid out in one month, extended as supposed, from the
corner of Boylston Street to the northerly line of Castle Street, that
being the northerly end of Boston Neck; and the road or way laid out after
this time to Roxbury, was on the easterly side of the present Washington
Street, all the way near or on the sea-beach, and probably started from
near Beach Street.

The next order that we have in relation to the streets, is under date of
1636, 4th, 8 mo., which would be Oct. 4, 1636, and is as follows:--

    "At a meeting of the overseers," it was ordered, that "from this day
    there shall be no house at all be built neare unto any streetes or
    laynes therein, but with the consent of the overseers, for the
    avoyding disorderly building to the inconvenience of streetes and
    laynes and for the more comely and commodious ordering of them, upon
    the forfeiture of such sume as the overseers shall see fitting."

Soon after this, liberty was granted to Deacon Eliot "to set out his barn
six or eight feet into the street, at the direction of Colonel Colbron."

On the 17th of the same month, October, 1636, a street and lane were laid
out, but names were not given to them in the record.

In May, 1708, "at a meeting of the selectmen," a broad highway was laid
out from the old fortifications at the Neck, near the present Dover
Street, to Deacon Eliot's house (near Eliot Street), and called Orange
Street, and money was appropriated for paving it, "provided the abuttors
would pave each side of the street." A hundred years after this time, the
road over Boston Neck to Roxbury, from Waltham Street to Roxbury line,
was very wide, and paved only in the middle portion, so that the travel
for years was chiefly on the sides of the street.

In naming the streets, as we have said, there were local, personal, and
national considerations. As an illustration of the latter influence, King
and Queen Streets, two of the most important streets of the town, are well
remembered. Possibly before these the Puritan names of Endicott, Winthrop,
Eliot, Leverett, and others, may have been used. The names of
revolutionary patriots were subsequently applied to streets, as Hancock,
Adams, Warren, Franklin; and these were followed by national names, as
Union, Congress, and Federal. There was also a class of local names, as
North, South, Middle, Canal, School, Exchange, Water, Tremont, Beacon,
Margin, Back, Bridge, Pond, High, and Broad, applied at different times.
Then there were Orange, Elm, Chestnut, Walnut, Pine, Cherry, &c.,
followed, it may be, by Sun and Moon, Summer, Winter, and Spring. Latterly
the names of towns in the State have been applied to the streets of the
city; among the earliest of these are Salem, Lynn, Cambridge, Brighton;
and after these, Arlington, Berkley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, and many


In 1708, a list of the names of streets, places, lanes, alleys, &c., in
Boston proper, was prepared by the Selectmen; and in this list there were
at that time forty-four (44) streets recorded; eighteen (18) alleys;
thirty-three (33) lanes; three squares, Church Square, Dock Square, and
Clark Square; two ways, Old Way and Ferry Way; two hills, Snow Hill and
Corn Hill; five courts, Half Square Court, Corn Court, Minot's Court, Sun
Court, and Garden Court; one row, Merchants' Row; and two markets, Corn
Market and Fish Market, making one hundred and ten (110) named places in
the town, in May, 1708.

In 1732, there was published in "Vade Mecum," a list of streets at that
time, and in this list are fourteen not in that of 1708, making the number
of streets sixty, lanes forty-one, alleys eighteen, making in all one
hundred and nineteen (119), exclusive of squares, courts, &c.

In 1817, including lanes, alleys, squares, and streets, there were 231 in
Boston proper, and among them were Berry and Blossom, Chestnut and Walnut,
Poplar and Elm, Myrtle and Vine, and others. There were at this time,
thirty-four wharves. There are now probably five times as many streets in
Boston proper as there were in 1732, a hundred years after the settlement
of the town, without reckoning courts or squares.

In 1817, Shaw enumerates 229 streets, lanes, &c., and after this time much
attention was given to the subject of new streets, naming old ones not
before accepted, &c., and some of the names were changed.

In 1879, a complete list of the names of streets, avenues, places, courts,
squares, corners, &c., that have ever been in use, or applied, was
prepared by order of the city government, and has been printed. This
list, of course, shows a surprising increase in the number of names over
any former record, many of which, we presume, have never before been
recorded, although they may have been to some extent in use. In this list
nearly two thousand names (1795) are printed: of these 554 are streets, of
which some are duplicates. Many of them are second or third names, all of
which are recorded, so that the list does not represent the number of
streets at present in the city proper, but simply the names that have
heretofore been used, or are now applied to them.


Taverns were early mentioned by names, more or less personal and peculiar:
one of the first mentioned is the State Arms, where the magistrates
usually dieted and drank, in King Street, 1653; Ship Tavern, in Ann
Street, 1666; Bunch of Grapes, in King Street, 1724; King's Head Tavern,
near Fleet Street, 1755; Queen's Head, in Lynn Street, 1732; Ship in
Distress, an ancient tavern, opposite Moon Street; and if the
"ordinaries," spoken of by Cotton Mather, were taverns, they were very
numerous and were known as ale-houses, or, as Mather says, "hell-houses."


There were numerous curious names in use among the tradespeople, as the
Six Sugar-Loaves, probably a grocer, in Union Street, 1733; Three
Sugar-Loaves and Canister, grocer, in King Street, 1733; two bearing the
sign of Two Sugar-Loaves, one in Cornhill and the other in King Street,
1760,--all of these indicating some active competition in the sugar trade.
Noah's Ark was the sign of a dry-goods store in Marlborough Street, 1769.
There were signs of the Three Crowns, Three Doves, Three Horseshoes, Three
Kings, and Three Nuns and a Comb. Another class embraced the Bible and
Heart, afterwards Heart and Crown, corner of Cornhill and Water Streets,
1748; Blue Dog and Rainbow, sign of a dyer near Bowling Green, now
Cambridge Street, 1729; Blue Glove, a bookstore on Union Street, 1762;
Brazen Head, Cornhill, opposite Williams Court, where the great fire of
1760 commenced, in a dwelling-house occupied by Mrs. Mary Jackson and son,
probably a boarding-house; Buck and Breeches in Ann Street, 1758, near the
Draw Bridge, Joseph Belknap's sign; Golden Cock, in Ann Street, 1733;
Golden Eagle, Dock Square, 1758; and one of the last things named was the
Whipping Post, in King Street, removed in 1750, only twenty years before
the Boston Massacre.


In regard to the names of persons, as well as places and things, it is
said that there was "a prejudice in favor of the Israelitish custom, and a
fondness arose, or at least was increased, for significant names for
children." "The three first that were baptized in Boston church were Joy,
Recompence and Pity. The humor spread. The town of Dorchester, in
particular, was remarkable for such names as Faith, Hope, Charity,
Deliverance, Dependance, Preserved, Content, Prudent, Patience, Thankful,
Hate-evil, Holdfast," &c. These are pretty much out of fashion: possibly
the name of "Prudence" may yet be found. It is somewhat strange that this
"prejudice" did not get a more public expression: perhaps Salutation Alley
may be a relic of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Hangman's Gallows, strange to say, was a permanent structure on the
Neck, on the east side and somewhat in the rear of the burying-ground: the
pirates were hung there as late as 1815. The following peculiar historical
names, although well known, may be mentioned: Liberty Pole was in Liberty
Square, at the point of meeting of Water and Kilby Streets. It was not
restored after the Revolutionary War. Liberty Tree, corner of Newbury (now
Washington) and Essex Streets, nearly opposite Boylston Market. It was cut
down by the British in August, 1775. Green Dragon was the sign of a noted
tavern in Union Street, licensed in 1697, and disappeared 1854. The
building which now occupies the spot in Union Street, displays the Green
Dragon on its front. The "Orange Tree" spoken of in the history of Boston,
was on Hanover Street. A private school is spoken of as being in Hanover
Street, "three doors below the Orange Tree," and an earlier writer speaks
of it as on Queen (Court) Street. It was a tavern on or near the corner of
these streets, probably on the site afterwards occupied by Concert Hall.

Boston, at the present time, includes South Boston (formerly Dorchester),
East Boston (formerly Noddle's Island), Dorchester, Roxbury, West Roxbury,
and Charlestown, and within this territory there are now over 2,650
streets, squares, avenues, places, courts, &c., and 225 wharves,
twenty-nine of which are in Charlestown District. Public halls in Boston,
119, and the number of these is increasing. In 1735, there were twelve
wards in the town; revised in 1805, and now, including the annexations
above named, there are twenty-five wards.



Notwithstanding the strange judgments, fines, and punishments, made under
the civil law or without law in the colony of Massachusetts, there seems
to have been another sort of government, or perhaps one of the same kind,
in relation to spiritual or religious things, the administration of which
shows such a spirit and system of persecution, and such a degree of
fanaticism, as can hardly be paralleled in history. And it would seem also
that the two kinds of government, both in the hands of the same parties,
might occasionally be found in conflict. In 1655, Hutchinson says,
"However inconsistent it may seem with the professed ecclesiastical
constitution and the freedom of every church, the general court, in
several instances, interposed its authority. They laid a large fine upon
the church at Malden for choosing a minister without the consent and
approbation of the neighboring churches and allowance of the magistrates,
and there were other similar interferences, which, we suppose, were
acceded to, and that the church was, in fact, under the control of the
state." And the state, it may be added, was to some extent, subordinate to
the church.

The Episcopalians, Anabaptists, Baptists, and Quakers, were all treated,
or maltreated, with the same spirit, though not proceeded against with the
same degree of persistency and malice. The Episcopalians were mulcted in
heavy fines "for contemptuous and seditious language," but finally
overcame all difficulties, and became permanently established in 1686, and
built a church in 1688. The Baptists were persecuted in a similar way, but
finally got a meeting-house built in 1679, before the Episcopalians. The
Quakers were persecuted from the first landing of some of their number in
1656 to 1667, and even later; and four of them were hanged on Boston

In July, 1656, two Quakers, both women, arrived at the settlement from
Barbadoes, and soon after eight more came from England. In a few days they
were ordered before the Court of Assistants. Some books were found about
them or in their possession, amounting to a hundred volumes; and these
were burned in the market-place, and their owners sent to prison. They
were condemned as Quakers, kept in confinement several weeks, and then
sent away; and yet it is said there was no law at this time against
Quakers. After this, stringent laws were made to keep them out of the
colony. Masters of vessels were subjected to one hundred pounds fine if
they brought a Quaker into the colony, and required to give security to
take him away; and, if a Quaker came into the jurisdiction, he was sent to
the house of correction, and whipped twenty stripes. And the next year,
further laws were made against the Quakers, and against all who
befriended or entertained them: who were to be fined forty shillings an
hour; and, "if he persisted, the offender was to have one of his ears cut
off," and, if repeated, he was to lose his other ear. If this did not
answer, whipping and boring the tongue with a hot iron, were to be the

Notwithstanding these severe proceedings against the Quakers, others came
into the colony, and some who had been banished returned to suffer more
severe punishments. One Myra Clark, wife of a merchant tailor of London,
came to Boston in 1657, to comply with what she conceived to be a
spiritual command, and was whipped in a cruel manner. About the same time,
two men, Christopher Holder and John Copeland, were seized in Salem, and,
after being roughly handled, were "had to Boston." Holder, it is said,
when he attempted to speak, had his head hauled back by the hair, and his
mouth stuffed with handkerchief and gloves. At Boston they were whipped
with a knotted whip, with all the strength of the hangman. A man named
Shattock was imprisoned and whipped for interfering when Holder was
gagged, and was afterwards banished.

In the next year, (September, 1658), Holder, Copeland, and another young
man named Rouse, had their right ears cut off in the prison. A number of
women were whipped and imprisoned; and one, Katharine Scott of Providence,
being in Boston, pronounced the above punishment in prison, "a work of
darkness," and was therefore shamefully treated and abused, although a
mother of children, and "a grave, sober, ancient woman." She was publicly
whipped, and threatened with hanging if found in Boston again.

Three persons known as Quakers, on their way from Salem to Rhode Island,
to provide a place for themselves and families, were arrested by the
constable at Dedham, and sent to Boston, where Gov. Endicott set them at
liberty, but fined them twelve shillings, as it would seem for the
stupidity of the constable. The constable, no doubt, arrested them for
fear of being fined for neglect of duty.

In 1658-59, persecutions continued fearfully, and numbers were arrested,
imprisoned, and punished. In the latter year, William Robinson, formerly a
London merchant, Marmaduke Stevenson, and Myra (or Mary) Dyar, having
returned after banishment, were sentenced to be hung; and the two men were
hung, Oct. 20. Myra Dyar was upon the ladder, her arms and legs tied, and
the rope about her neck, when, at the urgent solicitation of her son, she
was spared and sent out of the colony; but she returned again the next
year, impressed with the belief that her death was necessary to the cause
she had espoused,--as fanatical as were the Puritans themselves,--and was
hung in June. The bodies of the men, it is said, were shamefully stripped
and abused, after they were literally cut down, and were thrown into a
hole together.

In July, 1660, Margaret Brewster, from Barbadoes, and two or three other
women, made an incursion into the Old South Church; she appeared "in
sackcloth, with ashes on her head, barefoot and her face blackened," with
some purpose of warning the people against the black pox, "if they put in
practice a cruel law against swearing."

It is said also "that Deborah Wilson went through the streets of Salem
naked as she came into the world, for which she was well whipped." Thomas
Newhouse went into a meeting-house in Boston, and smashed two empty
bottles together, with a threat to the people; and, no doubt, other
provoking things were done.

In March, 1661, persecutions still prevailing, William Leddra, who came
from Barbadoes, was arrested, together with one William Brend; and Drake
says, "The cruelties perpetrated on these poor, misguided men are
altogether of a character too horrid to be related." It is said that
Leddra would not accept life on any terms, and was therefore hung on the
14th of March; and Capt. Johnson, who led him forth to the gallows, was
afterwards taken "with a distemper which deprived him of his reason and
understanding as a man."

These proceedings, outrageous as they certainly were, led to a movement in
England by the Quakers and their friends, which resulted in an order from
the King, Sept. 9, 1661, requiring that a stop should be put to all
capital or corporal punishments. The following are the words of this
remarkable document:--


    "Trusty and well beloved, we greet you well. Having been informed that
    several of our subjects amongst you, called Quakers, have been and are
    imprisoned by you, whereof some have been executed, and others (as
    hath been represented unto us) are in danger to undergo the like: We
    have thought fit to signify our pleasure in that behalf for the
    future, and do hereby require, that if there be any of those people
    now amongst you, now already condemned to suffer death or other
    corporal punishment, or that are imprisoned, and obnoxious to the like
    condemnation, you are to forbear to proceed any further therein, but
    that you forthwith send the said persons, whether condemned or
    imprisoned, over into this Our Kingdom of England, together with the
    respective crimes or offenses laid to their charge, to the end such
    course may be taken with them here as shall be agreeable to our laws
    and their demerits; and for so doing these our letters shall be your
    sufficient warrant and discharge.

    "Given at Our Court at Whitehall the ninth day of Sept., 1661, in the
    thirteenth year of Our Reign.

    "To Our trusty and well-beloved John Endicott, Esquire, &c.

        "By his Majesty's Command,
            "WILLIAM MORRIS."

The bearer of this mandate from the King was one of the banished Quakers,
formerly of Salem; and when he appeared at Gov. Endicott's house, on
Pemberton Square, was admitted to the presence, and ordered to take his
hat off; and on receiving the mandamus the Governor took his own hat off
(which he probably put on to receive his callers). After reading the
document, he went out and bade the two Friends to follow him, and
proceeded to consult, as it appeared, with Lieut.-Gov. Willoughby (not
Bellingham, as some writers have it). His answer was, "We shall obey his
majesty's command." So far as hanging was forbidden, the command was
obeyed. The formality of sending Commissioners to England to defend and
justify the measures of the colony was adopted, but never amounted to any

The laws against the Quakers were afterwards revived to the extent of
whipping, limited to "through three towns only;" and perhaps they did not
choose to regard this display as "capital or corporal punishment."

In May, 1664, Edward Wharton, of Salem, being in Boston, a Quaker meeting
was held, when a warrant was issued for his arrest: but the meeting being
over, he was found at a friend's house; was arrested; the next day
whipped, and sent to the constable at Lynn, to be whipped there, and then
sent to Salem. In one instance, a girl, eleven years of age, allowing
herself to be a Quaker, whether she knew what the word meant or not, was
sent to prison, and afterwards brought before the great and dignified
Court. The Court speak of "the malice of Satan and his instruments," and
determine that as "Satan is put to his shifts to make use of such a child,
not being of the years of discretion, it is judged meet so far to slight
her as a Quaker, as only to admonish and instruct her according to her
capacity, and so discharge her." Hutchinson says, "It would have been
horrible, if there had been any further severity."

In 1665, additional laws were made, or orders passed, levying a fine of
ten shillings for attending a Quaker meeting, and five pounds for speaking
at one; and, in the same year, the penalty of death was revived against
all Quakers who should return to the colony after they had been banished.
Some persons ventured to express their dissent with regard to some of
these laws, and, probably owing to their respectability, escaped
punishment; but Nicholas Upsall, who had shown compassion to some Quakers
while in prison, in 1656-57, was fined and banished, and endured
incredible hardships. Three years later, in 1660, he returned, and was
again thrown into prison, and died in 1666.

The laws against Quakers and heretics were published in Boston "with beat
of drum through its streets." We presume they were read after the
town-crier fashion of later days.

In 1677, when the toleration of the Quakers was thought to be one of the
sins which brought on the Indian war, as a punishment, the Court ordered,
"That every person found at a Quaker's meeting shall be apprehended ex
officio, by the constable, and, by warrant from a magistrate or
commissioner, shall be committed to the House of Correction, and there
have the discipline of the house applied to them, and be kept to work,
with bread and water, for three days, and then released, or else shall pay
five pounds in money, as a fine to the country, for such offence, and all
constables neglecting their duty, in not faithfully executing this order,
shall incur the penalty of five pounds, upon conviction, one third thereof
to the informer."

Upon this remarkable order, Hutchinson declares, "I know of nothing which
can be urged as in anywise tending to excuse the severity of this law,
unless it be human infirmity," and, he adds, the practices of other
religious sects who are persuaded that the indulgence of any other "was a
toleration of impiety" and brought down the judgments of heaven. This law
cost the colony many friends.

Soon after this a party was arrested and "whipped at the cart's tail up
and down the town with twenty lashes." On the same day, fourteen Quakers
were arrested at a meeting, and twelve of them whipped: the other two had
their fines paid by their friends. At the next meeting, fourteen or
fifteen more, including some strangers, were arrested and whipped. And yet
the Quakers continued their meetings; and, finally, one of them was so
large, that, as it is said, "fearfulness surprised the hypocrites," and
the meeting was not molested.[6]

Hutchinson says, "Notwithstanding the great variety of sectaries in
England, there had been no divisions of any consequence in the
Massachusetts; but from 1637 to 1656, they enjoyed, in general, great
quietness in their ecclesiastical affairs, discords in particular churches
being healed and made up by a submission to the arbitrament of neighboring
churches, and sometimes the interposition of the civil power." But soon
after all this, commencing indeed in 1655, in New England, continues
Hutchinson, "it must be confessed, that bigotry and cruel zeal prevailed,
and to that degree that no opinions but their own could be tolerated. They
were sincere but mistaken in their principles; and absurd as it is, it is
too evident, they believed it to be for the glory of God to take away the
lives of his creatures for maintaining tenets contrary to what they
professed themselves." It is said, however, "that every religion which is
persecuted becomes itself persecuting; for as soon as, by some accidental
turn, it arises from persecution, it attacks the religion which persecuted
it." Perhaps the Puritans thought they had been persecuted!

It seems to be understood that the Quakers finally got a standing in
Boston, and a meeting-house, as, in 1667, mention is made of their
"ordinary place of meeting," though their numbers were small. The
Baptists, however, did not get their meeting-house until 1679; and then,
as a law had been passed against the building of meeting-houses without
permission of the county courts, theirs was built as a private house, and
afterwards purchased by them. But Drake says, "The times had become so
much changed that such a law could not be very well enforced." By this
time, also, the matter was again brought to the notice of the king,
Charles II.; and he wrote, on July 24, to the authorities of Boston,
"requiring them not to molest people in their worship, who were of the
Protestant faith, and directing that liberty of conscience should be
extended to all such." This letter, it is said, had some effect on the
rulers, although they regarded it as an interference with their chartered
rights; and, after all, it was rather a development of that common sense
which fanaticism and bigotry had so long obscured, possibly awakened by
the order of the king, rather than controlled by it, that brought about
the change in the spirit of persecution.

In 1737, a different Christian spirit was manifested towards the Quakers,
and they were exempted from taxes for the support of the clergy, provided
they attended their own meetings. A letter from a Quaker to the King gives
the following statement of the punishments and penalties received by his
brethren: "Twenty-two have been banished on pain of death, three have been
martyred, three have had their right ears cut, one hath been burned in the
hand with the letter H, thirty-one persons have received six hundred and
fifty stripes, ... one thousand and forty-four pounds worth of goods have
been taken from them, and one lieth now in fetters, condemned to die." The
letter H was probably intended for "heretic," which would certainly be
giving a judgment against the religion the Quakers professed.

In 1694, the Quakers owned a lot on Brattle Street, and it is thought
probable had some sort of a meeting-house upon it; but still the years
passed on, we hardly know how, until 1708, when they desired to build a
brick house, but could not get permission to do so. Afterwards they built
a small brick meeting-house in the rear of Congress Street on one side,
and in the rear of Water Street on the other. It ran back to what is now
the line of Exchange Place; in fact, was nearly in the centre of the
square formed by State, Congress, Water, and Devonshire Streets. This
building was partly destroyed by fire in 1760, having been standing more
than fifty years; was then repaired, and finally demolished in 1825,
having been unoccupied for nearly twenty years, the society, in 1808,
having voted to discontinue their meetings.

It is probably true that the treatment of the Quakers in the Massachusetts
Colony, in the years mentioned, from 1600 to 1666-67, is unparalleled in
the history of the human race; and although it may be true, as has been
said, that the people here exiled themselves in order that "they might
maintain and perpetuate what they conceived to be the principles of true
Christianity," they manifested but little of the spirit of the Saviour of
mankind or the religion he came to teach. Hutchinson concludes what he has
to say of the remarkable persecution of the Quakers and its severity, with
the remark, "May the time never come again, when the government shall
think that by killing men for their religion they do God good service."
However other denominations of Christians were persecuted by the Puritans,
only Quakers and witches were hung. "These transient persecutions," as
Bancroft calls them, with all the leniency possible, "begun in
self-defence, were yet no more than a train of mists hovering of an autumn
morning over the channel of a fine river, that diffused freshness and
fertility wherever it wound." Much of this condition of things, it must be
admitted, resulted from natural causes; namely, the character and
circumstances of the settlers, their peculiar religious belief, and
absolute fanaticism.

Finally, another writer says, "The Puritans _disclaimed_ the right to sit
in judgment on the opinions of others. They denied that they persecuted
for conscience sake." These and some other statements seem to show that
they did not practise as they preached, or gave an interpretation to that
practice not in accordance with the understanding and convictions of
mankind. To be sure, they had a law to punish any one who spoke
disrespectfully of the Scriptures, and at the same time fined, punished,
banished, and hung those who entertained and presumed to teach principles,
belief, or doctrines in relation to the Scriptures different from their
own; not, as they allege, because they had the right to sit in judgment
upon them, but because of the dangers of their teaching and practice: in
other words, for their own protection, "self-defence," as has been said.
Nevertheless, maiming, marring, and taking the lives of God's creatures,
the equals in every respect of themselves, as Hutchinson puts it, is only
to be apologized for or excused by the infirmities of humanity; indeed, we
should rather say, is not to be excused on any such ground, and their own
doctrine and belief teaches that it was a proceeding to be punished and
repented of. This, at any rate, was always the belief of the Quakers.
Drake says, "The persecuted Quakers were fully persuaded that a day of
wrath would overtake New England, and they did not fail to declare their
belief; and, indeed, it was not long before their predictions were
fulfilled: for the terrible war with the Indians, which followed in a few
years, was viewed by them as the vengeance of heaven for their cruelty to
the Quakers."



It is said that the first newspaper ever issued was at Venice in 1583,[7]
called "The Gazette,"--and this was in manuscript,--unless (as has been
reported) there was an older paper of some kind issued at Hong-Kong. The
oldest printed newspaper, "The English Mercury," was issued in England in
1588,[8] but, it is believed, was not regularly published. In the next
century, from 1624 onward, newspapers multiplied; and among them were "The
Parliament Kite," and "The Secret Owl," and some other curious names.
Towards the close of this century, the first American newspaper appeared;
and possibly this had been preceded by what represented a newspaper, in
manuscript, as was the case afterwards in Boston in 1704, when "The
News-Letter" first appeared. The first American newspaper was issued in
Boston in 1690,--only fifty or sixty years after newspapers became common
in England,--if the statements which we have quoted are reliable. But at
this time, as might be reasonably supposed, the people who came to this
country in order to improve their liberties, were not prepared for a free
press, or, one might almost say, for any thing that did not tally with
their religious notions and vague superstitions; so that, after the first
issue, Sept. 25, 1690, the paper was suppressed, as said, by the
"legislative authorities." Still it was a newspaper, intended to be such,
and intended to be regularly issued once a month, or oftener, if occasion

It was entitled as follows:--

  "Numb. 1.              PUBLICK
               _Both Foreign and Domestic_.
            BOSTON, _Thursday, Sept. 25, 1690_."

It was "printed by R. Pierce, for Benjamin Harris, at the London Coffee
House, 1690." And it would seem that most of the copies were destroyed,
though probably not many were printed, as only one copy has ever been
found, and that by some unknown chance got into the colonial state-paper
office, in London. It is a small sheet of paper doubled, printed on three
pages, two columns to each; and some years ago, after a good deal of
trouble to find the copy in the London office, the contents of the whole
sheet were copied by Dr. Samuel A. Green, of Boston, and have since been
once or twice reprinted.

It is said that it was stopped by the "legislative authorities," who
described it as a "pamphlet," and as containing "reflections of a very
high nature;" and the order of the Court, passed in 1662 forbade "any
thing in print without license first obtained from those appointed by the
government to grant the same:" so that it would seem that there was a law
against printing any thing without a license, and that this sheet, called
a pamphlet, came within its provisions. "In 1644, It is ordered that the
Printers shall have leave to print the Election Sermon with Mr. Mather's
consent, and the Artillery's with Mr. Norton's consent." This, of course,
meant without their undergoing any inspection.

With respect to the contents of this first newspaper, the introductory
paragraph is as follows:--

    "_It is designed that the countrey shall be furnished once a month_
    (_or if any Glut of_ Occurrences _happen oftener_,) _with an Account
    of such considerable things as have arrived unto our Notice._"

The editor, it is said, will take pains to get a faithful relation of
things, and hopes observers will communicate of such matters as fall under
their notice; and then states what is proposed in an editorial way: first,
that memorable occurrences may not be neglected or forgotten: second, that
people may better understand public affairs; and third, "_that something
may be done towards the_ Curing, _or at least the_ Charming _of that_
Spirit of Lying, which prevails among us," &c. This, probably, is one of
the passages referred to by the authorities as "reflections of a very high
nature." And, in addition to what has been said, "the Publisher of these
Occurrences" proposes to correct false reports, and expose the "First
Raiser" of them, and thinks "_none will dislike this Proposal, but such as
intend to be guilty of so villainous a Crime_."

Then follows the news, or "Occurrences." Mention is made of a
thanksgiving appointed by the Christian Indians of Plymouth; the
husbandmen find no want of hands, "which is looked upon as a merciful
Providence," being a favorable season; the Indians have stolen two
children, aged nine and eleven years, from Chelmsford; an old man of
Watertown hung himself in his cow-house, having lately lost his wife, and
thereupon "the devil took advantage of the melancholy which he thereupon
fell into." Epidemical fevers and agues and small-pox are next spoken of:
of small-pox, three hundred and twenty had died in Boston, and "children
were born full of the distemper." A large fire is spoken of near the Mill
Creek,--twenty houses burned; and on the 16th and 17th of this instant
(September, 1690), a fire broke out near the South Meeting-house, which
consumed five or six houses; a young man perished in the flames, and one
of the best printing-presses was lost. Report of a vessel bound to
Virginia, put into Penobscot, where the Indians and French butchered the
master and most of the crew.

The next is a longer article in relation to the expedition to Canada under
Gen. Winthrop, its failure, and a variety of Indian complications. The
editor says, "'Tis possible we have not so exactly related the
Circumstances of this business, but the Account is as near exactness as
any that could be had, in the midst of many various reports about it."

Then follows an account of the massacre of a body of French Indians in the
"East Country." Two English captives escaped at Passamaquoddy, and got
into Portsmouth. There was terrible butchery among the French, Indians,
and English at this time. Following this is some news from Portsmouth by
an arrival from Barbadoes; a report that the city of Cork had proclaimed
King William, and turned their French landlords out of doors, &c.; more
Indian troubles at Plymouth, Saco, &c., &c. Then follows the imprint at
the end, as already quoted.

Such was the nature, character, and contents of the first paper ever
published in America; and we doubt if the first paper printed in England,
more than a hundred years before, exceeded this in manner and matter. The
judgment of the present day would be that it was a very good paper for the
time, both in its news and editorial matter, and we fail to see any ground
of offence either against law or religion. Many of the early papers
published in this country, after the failure of this attempt, are not half
as good as this first copy of "Publick Occurrences." It is creditable to
Benjamin Harris, and its discontinuance not so creditable to the
"legislative authorities," who either made or perverted a law for its
suppression. But the idea of establishing a newspaper "that something may
be done towards the Curing, or at least the Charming of that Spirit of
Lying, which prevails among us," is very peculiar.

In all newspaper nomenclature it is hardly possible to find a more
appropriate name than that selected for this first newspaper of America.
We now have Heralds, Couriers, and Messengers; Records, Chronicles, and
Registers; then all sorts of party names; Banner, and Standard; Crayon,
Scalpel, and Broadaxe; Age, Epoch, Era, Crisis, Times; and finally Sun,
Star, Comet, Planet, Aurora, Galaxy, &c., but among these and thousands of
other names, not one more truthful and expressive than that of "Publick


The first Boston newspaper which gained a permanency, was published in
1704, and was continued for more than seventy years. It was equally
fortunate in the selection of an appropriate and significant name, the
"Boston News-Letter," and this was possibly suggested by the fact that it
was preceded by the issue of a news-letter in manuscript which was as
strictly, as the newspaper which followed it, a "News-Letter." Naturally
enough too, considering the times, it was originated by the postmaster,
who came in contact in his business, not only with the people of Boston,
but generally with those of the whole colony, as we think, there were then
but few post-offices in the colony: the need of a News-Letter for
everybody would, as we have intimated, naturally suggest itself to him,
and be also, as in fact it was, an important aid to his business, though
it is said he did not make much out of it, and soon after lost his
position as postmaster.

    New England.

    _The_ BOSTON News-Letter.

    From Monday April 17, to Monday April 24, 1704.

    "Boston: Printed by B. Green, and sold by Nicholas Boone, at his shop
    near the old meeting-house."

[Illustration: The Boston News-Letter.]

John Campbell, a Scotchman, bookseller and postmaster, was the proprietor
of the paper. It was printed on a half-sheet, pot paper, and was to be
continued weekly, "Published by authority." Among the contents was an
article from the "London Flying Post," containing news from Scotland,
"concerning the present danger of the kingdom and the Protestant
Religion," "Papists swarm the nation," &c.; also extracts from the London
papers, and four paragraphs of marine news. Advertisements inserted "at a
reasonable rate from twopence to five shillings." On the same day that the
paper was issued Judge Sewall notes in his diary that he went over to
Cambridge, and gave Mr. Willard, president of the College, "the first
News-Letter that was ever carried over the river."

The second issue of the paper, No. 2, was on a whole sheet of pot paper,
the last page blank.

In the fifth number Boone's name was left out, and the paper was sold at
the post-office. To No. 192, the paper was printed on a half-sheet,
excepting the second issue.

Green printed the paper for Campbell, until Nov. 3, 1707, after which it
was printed by John Allen, in Pudding Lane, near the post-office, and
there to be sold; and Allen printed it four years to No. 390. On the day
that number was published, Oct. 2, 1711, the post-office and
printing-office were burnt; and the following week it was again printed by
Green, in Newbury Street, and he continued to print it until October,
1715. In 1719, Mr. Campbell tried the experiment of printing a whole
sheet, instead of a half sheet, every other week, but this did not pay
very well; and in addition to this difficulty, he lost the office of
postmaster in December of that year. The new postmaster also printed a
paper (Gazette) and this led to the first newspaper war in the country,
but which did not last long, and terminated without much damage.

In 1721, Campbell got a new idea and printed some copies of the
"News-Letter" on a sheet of writing paper, leaving one page blank, so that
his subscribers could write their letters on that, and send the paper
abroad without extra postage. In the next year, after he had published the
paper eighteen years, he sold to his printer, Bartholomew Green.
"Published by authority" had been omitted by Campbell for two years, and
in 1725 Green restored it. In December, 1726, the title was changed to
"The Weekly News-Letter," and subsequently, in 1730, to "The Boston Weekly
News-Letter," and the numberings of the previous issues were added
together, and the total reached 1,396, in October, 1730. No other
alteration took place until the death of Green, when in Jan. 4, 1733, John
Draper, his son-in-law, succeeded him. Draper printed the "News-Letter"
for thirty years, and died November, 1762. His son, Richard Draper,
continued the paper and enlarged the title to "The Boston Weekly
News-Letter and New England Chronicle." In about a year the title was
again altered to "The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly
News-Letter," and was decorated with the King's Arms. Richard took a
kinsman as partner, and the paper now bore this imprint: "Published by
Richard Draper, Printer to the Governor and Council, and by Samuel Draper,
at the printing-office, in Newbury Street." Richard Draper continued the
paper, and in May, 1768, a singular arrangement took place between the
"Massachusetts Gazette" (or News-Letter) and the "Boston Post Boy and
Advertiser," and both papers were "Published by authority," in other words
as government papers. Each paper was one-half "The Massachusetts Gazette,
published by authority," and the other half bore its own proper name; and
Draper called it the "Adam and Eve paper." This plan continued until
September, 1769, and then its title "The Massachusetts Gazette and Boston
Weekly News-Letter," was resumed. In May, 1774, Draper took a partner, and
the next month he died, and his widow, Margaret Draper, continued the
paper in the interest of the loyalists or tories, until the evacuation of
Boston, and then it ceased. She went to Halifax and then to England, and
there obtained a pension. The "News-Letter" was published seventy-two
years. It is a curious fact that the first newspaper established in Boston
should have got into the hands of the tories, and in the last year of its
existence, in the trying times of the revolutionary war, should have been
conducted by a woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The New England Chronicle, or The Evening Gazette," published at
Cambridge, Sept. 28, 1775, speaks of "Mrs. Draper's Paper," in the
following paragraph:--

    "The miserable Tools of Tyranny in Boston appear now to be somewhat
    conscious of their infamy in Burning Charlestown, and are, with the
    assistance of the Father of Liars, devising Methods for clearing up
    their characters. One of them, in Mrs. Draper's paper, asserts that
    the Provincials, on the 17th of June, after firing out of Houses upon
    the King's troops, set the Buildings on Fire. This doubtless, is as
    true as that the Provincials fired first upon the King's Troops at
    Lexington. Both of them are equally false, and well known to be as
    palpable Lies as ever were uttered. The propagation of them are,
    however, perfectly consistent with the Perfidy, Cowardice, and
    Barbarity of Gage and his detestable understrappers."

Some other paragraphs are copied from "Mrs. Draper's last Boston Paper,"
of which the following is one:--

    "We hear a certain Person of Weight among the Rebels hath offered to
    return to his Allegiance on Condition of being pardoned and provided
    for: What encouragement he has received remains a secret."

       *       *       *       *       *

John L. DeWolf, Esq., of Boston, has complete files of "The Boston Weekly
News-Letter," for the years 1744 and 1745; and we are indebted to him for
the use of them. The following are specimens of some of the advertisements
of the time:--

    "To be sold, a likely Negro boy about 12 years old: enquire of the

    "To be sold by the Province Treasurer: Good Winter Rye, which may be
    seen at the Granary, on the Common" [Park street].

    "A fine negro male child to be given away." [There are numerous
    advertisements of slaves and negroes.]

    "To be sold, a Good Dwelling-House, situate near the Green Dragon, in
    the Main street, with a large tract of Land for a Garden, a good Well
    in the Cellar and other conveniences. Enquire of Daniel Johonnot,

Elizabeth Macneal advertises "a likely young negro girl;" "also some
Household goods to be sold."

Josiah Jones advertises his man servant, 19 years of age as a runaway,
"having on an old ragged Coat, a good Check'd Shirt and Trowsers, a Pair
of Black Callamanco Breeches, a pair of Gray Yarn Stockings, and a new
Pair of Shoes."

    "The Gentleman who borrowed a Blue Great Coat at the White Swan, about
    three weeks past, is desir'd to return the same forthwith: the Person
    whom he borrow'd it of, thinking he has had it long enough."

    "This is to inform the Publick, That the Cold-Bath in the Bath-Garden,
    at the West End of Boston is in Beautiful Order for use. It is a
    living Spring of Water, which the coldest Season in Winter never
    affects or freezes," &c.

    "This is to inform the Publick that Edmond Lewis of Boston,
    watch-maker, never bought a Watch of, nor ever sold one to any Slave
    whatever; and the malicious Report of his having dealt with some
    negroes is scandalously false."

    "Choice Carolina Pork and Beef, to be sold at the Warehouse on the
    South side of the Town Dock, adjoining the Impost office."

    "A negro woman to be sold by the Printer of this paper; the very best
    negro woman in town; who has had the small-pox and measles; is as
    hearty as a horse, as brisk as a bird, and will work like a Beaver."




There was published in Boston, in 1698, a very small thin volume of 82
pages, 3 × 5 inches, entitled "The Bostonian Ebenezer." "Some Historical
Remarks on the State of BOSTON, the _Chief Town of New England_ and of the
_English_ AMERICA, with some _agreeable methods_ for Preserving and
Promoting, the _Good State_ of THAT, as well as any _other Town_, in the
like circumstances." "Humbly offered by a native of Boston." Ezk. 48, 35,
"The Name of the City from that day, shall be THE LORD IS THERE." Boston:
printed by B. Green and F. Allen, for Samuel Phillips, at the Brick Shop,

This singular little volume contains two lectures. Preceding the first
lecture at the top of the page are these lines:--

    Related and Improved.
    At _Boston_ Lecture 7_d._ 2_m._ 1698." [April 7, 1698.]

The remainder of the page is occupied with this preface:--

    "Remarkable and memorable, was the Time, when an _Army_ of Terrible
    _Destroyers_ was coming against one of the _Chief Towns_ in the Land
    of Israel. God Rescued the _Town_ from the Irresistible Fury and
    Approach of those Destroyers, by an Immediate Hand of Heaven upon
    them. Upon that miraculous Rescue of the _Town_, and of the whole
    Country whose Fate was much enwrapped in it, there follow'd that
    Action of the Prophet, SAMUEL, which is this Day, to be, with some
    Imitation Repeated, in the midst of thee, O, BOSTON, _Thou helped of
    the Lord_."

At the head of the next page we have the text,--

    I SAM. VII. 12.

    "Then SAMUEL took a Stone and Set it up, ... and called the Name of it
    EBENEZER, saying, Hitherto the Lord hath Helped us."

Then follows the exordium, in which the preacher says the Thankful
Servants of God have used sometimes to erect monuments of stone as durable
tokens of their thankfulness:--

    "Jacob did so; Joshua did so; and Samuel did so." "The Stone erected
    by Samuel, with the name of Ebenezer, which is as much as to say, _A
    Stone of Help_. I know not whether any thing might be _Writt_ upon it;
    but I am sure, there is one thing to be now _Read_ upon it, by
    ourselves, in the Text where we find it: Namely, this much,

    "_That a People whom the God of Heaven hath Remarkably Helped, in
    their Distresses ought Greatly and Gratefully to acknowledge, what_
    =help= _of Heaven they have Received._

    "Now, 'tis not my Design to lay the Scene of my Discourse, as far off
    as _Bethcar_, the place where Samuel set up his Ebenezer. I am
    immediately to Transfer it into the heart of _Boston_, a place where
    the _Remarkable Help Received from Heaven_, by the People, does loudly
    call for an Ebenezer. And I do not ask you, to change the Name of the
    Town, into that of =Help stone=, as there is a Town in _England_ of
    that Name, which may seem the English of =Ebenezer=; but my _Sermon_
    shall be this Day your _Ebenezer_, if you will with a Favorable and
    Profitable Attention Entertain it. May the Lord Jesus Christ, accept
    me, and assist me now to _Glorify Him_, in the _Town_, where I drew my
    First Sinful Breath. A _Town_, whereto I am under Great Obligations,
    for the Precious Opportunities to _Glorify Him_, which I have quietly
    enjoy'd therein, for NEAR EIGHTEEN years together. _O my Lord God,
    Remember me, I pray thee_, and _strengthen me this once, to speak from
    thee_, unto thy People.

    "And now, Sirs, That I may set up an EBENEZER among you, there are
    these Things to be inculcated."

    "1. Let us Thankfully, and Agreeably, and Particularly, acknowledge
    what Help we have received from the God of Heaven, in the years that
    have rolled over us. While the Blessed Apostle Paul, was as it should
    seem, yet short of being _Threescore_ years old, how affectionately
    did he set an _Ebenezer_ with the Acknowledgment in Acts 26, 22.
    _Having obtained Help of God, I continue to this day._ Our Town is now
    _Threescore and Eight_ years old: and certainly 'tis Time for us, with
    all possible affection to set up our _Ebenezer_, saying, Having
    obtained Help from God, the Town is continued, until almost the Age of
    Man is passed over it. The Town hath indeed Three Elder Sisters in
    this Colony; but it hath wonderfully outgrown them all; and her
    Mother, old Boston, in England also; Yea, within a Few Years, after
    the first settlement it grew to be, _the Metropolis of the whole
    English America_. Little was _this_ expected, by them that first
    settled the town, when, for a while, Boston was proverbially called
    _Lost Town_, for the mean and sad circumstances of it. But, O Boston,
    it is because thou hast _Obtained help from God_." "There have been
    several years wherein the Terrible Famine hath Terribly Stared the
    Town in the Face. We have been brought sometimes unto the Last Meal in
    the Barrel! But the fear'd Famine has always been kept off."

The preacher proceeds,--

    "A formidable French squadron hath not shot one Bomb into the midst of
    Thee;" our Streets have not run Blood and Gore; devouring-flames have
    not raged. "Boston, 'Tis a marvellous Thing, a Plague has not laid
    desolate!" "Boston, Thou hast been lifted up to Heaven; there is not a
    Town upon Earth, which, on some accounts, has more to answer for."

    Secondly, we are to acknowledge whose help it is. "This is the voice
    of God from Heaven to Boston this day; Thy God hath helped thee!" "Old
    Boston, by name, was but Saint _Botolphs Town_. Whereas Thou, O
    Boston, shall have but one Protector in Heaven, and that is Our Lord
    Jesus Christ."

The preacher's third division is that the help Boston has already had
should lead her people to Hope. "Hope in him for more help hereafter."
"The motto upon all our Ebenezer's is Hope in God! Hope in God!" In the
course of this part of his lecture, the preacher says,--

    "The Town is at this day full of Widows and Orphans, and a multitude
    of them are very helpless creatures. I am astonished how they live! In
    that church, whereof I am the servant, I have counted. The Widows make
    about a sixth part of our communicants, and no doubt in the whole
    town, the proportion differs not very much. Now, stand still my
    Friends, and behold the will of God! _Were_ any of these ever starved
    yet? No, these widows are every one in some sort provided for."

    Fourthly, "Let all that bear public office in the town contribute all
    the help they can that may continue the help of God in us!" First the
    ministers will help, and then he calls upon the Justices of the
    Courts, the constables, the school-masters and the townsmen to help:
    "Each of the sorts by themselves, may they come together to consider,
    What shall we do to save the town?"

    Fifthly, "God help the town to manifest all that piety which a town so
    helped of Him, is obliged unto!" And then the town is warned against
    all sorts of iniquities: against fortune-tellers, bad houses, drinking
    houses, &c.

    "Ah! Boston, Beware, Beware, lest the Sin of Sodom get Footing in

    "And, Oh! that the Drinking Houses in the Town, might once come under
    a laudable _Regulation_. The Town has an _Enormous Number_ of them!
    Will the _Haunters_ of those _Houses_ hear the Counsels of Heaven? For
    _you_ that are the _Town Dwellers_, to be oft, or long, in your
    _Visits_ of the _Ordinary_, 'twill certainly Expose you to Mischiefs
    more than ordinary. I have seen certain _Taverns_ where the Pictures
    of horrible Devourers[9] were hang'd out for the signs; and thought I,
    'twere well if such _Signs_ were not sometimes too _Significant_!
    Alas, men have their estates _Devoured_, their names _Devoured_, their
    Hours _Devoured_, and their very soul _Devoured_, when they are so
    besotted, that they are not in their _Element_, except they be in
    Tippling at Such Houses. When once a man is Bewitched with the
    Ordinary, what usually becomes of him? He is a _gone man_. And when he
    comes to Dy, he'l cry out, as many have done, _Ale Houses are Hell
    Houses! Ale Houses are Hell Houses! Ale Houses are Hell Houses!_" ...
    "There was an _Inn_ at _Bethlehem_, where the Lord Jesus Christ was to
    be met withal. Can _Boston_ boast of many such? Alas, Too ordinarily
    it may be said, _There is no Room for Him in the Inn!_ My Friends, Let
    me beg it of you: Banish _the unfruitful works of Darkness_, from your
    _Houses_, and then the _Sun of Righteousness_ will shine upon them.
    Don't countenance _Drunkenness_, _Revelling_ and _Mispending_ of
    precious Time in your Houses. Let none have the _snares of Death_ Laid
    for them in your _Houses_."

The preacher goes on in two or three _further divisions_ with his
declamation against evil and sins, and his conjurations for better things,
in faith, hopes and works, intimating all the evils that exist in Boston,
and warning the people of the danger of them.

The second sermon is a piece of similar declamation, about what the
preacher calls Household Religion, "at Boston Lecture, 26d. 7m. 1695." A
short extract will give a sample of this discourse.

    "First, I suppose, we are all sensible, That for us to Loose our
    Houses by any Disaster whatsoever, would be a very terrible Calamity:
    Oh! it would be a _Judgment_ of God, wherein the _Anger_ of God, would
    be seen written with _fiery_ characters. If by an accident, or by an
    enemy, our House be laid in desolation, every Roar of the Raging
    Flames, every crack of the Tumbling Timbers, every Downfall of the
    Undermined walls, and every jingle of the Bells then tolling the
    Funeral of those Houses, would loudly utter the voice in Deut., _A
    Fire is Kindled in the Anger of God_."

This discourse is very severe upon all "Houses where God is not served,"
and defines them as gaming-houses, drinking-houses, houses where troops
and harlots assemble. "If the Worshipful Justices, and the Constables, and
the Tythingmen, would Invigorate their zeal, to Rout the Villanous Haunts
of those Houses, the whole Town would be vastly the Safer for it."

All that can be said of these curious discourses is that they are a
strange medley of declamation, fanaticism, and exhortation, not lacking in
thought perhaps, or devoid of sense, but rather insinuating than direct
and sensible. The author does not print his name, though they purport to
be Boston Lectures, one delivered in 1695 and the other in 1698: it is
understood, however, that they were by the Rev. Cotton Mather.




The first proclamation, issued on a broadside, that we have seen, is that
of March, 1743, "for a public fast." It is issued by Gov. Shirley, and
begins, "It being our constant and indispensable duty by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving to make known our requests to God," &c. He
then appoints the 12th of April ensuing to be observed as a day of general
fasting and prayer. After acknowledging "all our heinous and aggravated
offences," the people are required to implore the Divine mercy for "the
following blessings, namely," the life and health of "Our Sovereign Lord
the King;" the prosperity of his government; that he would direct and
grant success to his Majesty's arms in the present war, and prevent a
further rupture among the nations; in behalf of the Prince and Princess of
Wales; and that "it would please God to cover and defend the English
plantations, more especially this Province," &c. Given at the Council
Chamber, signed, &c., and ending "God save the King."


The next proclamation which we have is not probably much known, and not
such as were issued by the governors of the Provinces or States, but is a
"Declaration of war against the French King." It purports to be issued
originally from "Our Court at St. James's, the twenty-ninth day of March,
1744, in the 17th year of our reign." "God save the King." "Printed in
London by Thomas Baskett and Robert Baskett, printers to the King's most
excellent Majesty, 1744." "Boston, N. E. reprinted by John Draper, Printer
to His Excellency the Governor and Council, 1774."

The proclamation rehearses the troubles which have taken place among the
European states, "with a view to overturn the balance of power in Europe,
... in direct violation of the solemn guaranty of the Pragmatick Sanction
given by him [the French King] in 1738, in consideration of the cession of
Lorrain." It refers to other offensive conduct of the French King, and
then replies to some assertions made in the "French King's declaration of
war." "Being therefore indispensably obliged to take up arms," the King
calls upon all his subjects to assist in prosecuting the same by sea and
land; but no special reference is made to the British colonies in America,
and the governor (Shirley) does not even add his name to the proclamation.
One copy of the remarkable document, at least, has been preserved, and is
in possession of Mr. John L. DeWolf of Boston. It is headed by an
engraving of the King's arms, as are all the proclamations issued by the
governor, including those for Fast and Thanksgiving Days, &c. It is not
probable, though we do not know the fact, that a declaration of war by the
King of England was ever re-issued by the governor of any other colony.
Previously to this, in this colony, in 1672, the proclamation of war, by
the King of England against the Dutch, was publicly read in Boston.


Following this on the 8th of June, 1744, was issued the "proclamation for
a public fast." "Whereas it hath pleased God, in his holy, wise and
sovereign Providence, further to involve the British dominions in war,
whereby this Province will be greatly affected," &c. Therefore the 28th
day of June is appointed to be observed as a day of fasting and prayer,
&c., "and all servile labor and recreations are forbidden on that day."
Signed, W. Shirley. [Troops were raised in Boston at this time, following
the declaration of 29th March, and sent to Annapolis, Nova Scotia, where
they arrived, as Gordon says, in season, and "were the probable means of
saving the country."]


Among the lesser proclamations, issued by Gov. Shirley, was one on account
of "an heinous riot in the Town of Bristol, in open defiance of His
Majesty's authority and Government within this Province." This was a case
where the six persons named and "a great number of others," marched to the
county jail, and there demanded the release of John Round, jr., and by
force of arms broke open said prison, "rescuing and carrying off the said
John Round and Samuel Borden, another prisoner in said gaol." The governor
calls upon all officers and people to apprehend and secure the parties,
and "for the encouragement of all persons whatsoever that shall discover
the parties," a reward of one hundred pounds is offered for several of
them, and fifty pounds each for others. Given at the Council Chamber in
Boston, 18th day of October, 1744. Signed, &c.


Another remarkable proclamation was issued by "His Excellency, William
Shirley, Esq., Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in and over His
Majesty's Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England." This is a
"declaration of war against the Cape Sable's and St. John's Indians." It
is stated that whereas some of the Cape Sable Indians, who have formally
by treaty submitted to his Majesty's government, have, "in the port of
Jedoure, in a treacherous and cruel manner, murdered divers of His
Majesty's English subjects, belonging to a fishing vessel; and, whereas,
the Cape Sable Indians with the St. John's tribe, have in a hostile manner
joined with the French King's subjects in assaulting His Majesty's fort at
Annapolis-Royal, &c., therefore, said Indians are declared to be rebels,
traitors, and enemies, and His Majesty's officers and subjects are to
execute all acts of hostility against the said Indians," &c. This
proclamation is dated at Boston, Oct. 19, 1744.


On the next day, 20th October, 1744, there was issued the usual
proclamation for thanksgiving: "Forasmuch as, amidst the many rebukes of
Divine Providence with which we are righteously afflicted, more especially
in the present expensive and calamitous war, it has pleased God to favor
us with many great and undeserved mercies in the course of this year,"
particularly in preserving the life and health of the King, the Prince and
Princess of Wales, &c.; in the restraint hitherto given to the Indians
near the frontiers of this Province, &c.: therefore, the twenty-second day
of December is to be observed as a day of thanksgiving throughout the
Province. It will be noticed that nothing is said concerning the season or
the crops in any of these thanksgiving proclamations, and it would seem
that that matter was not thought of any account as compared with the
health of his Majesty the King and the royal princesses.

[Here are three proclamations issued on the 18th, 19th, and 20th October,
1744, the first in relation to a "heinous riot," the second a bloody
declaration of war, and the third for a public thanksgiving.]


In two weeks after the thanksgiving proclamation, on the 2d of November,
1744, came forth another proclamation from Gov. Shirley, of a most bloody
character, against the Indians, as follows:--




    Captain-General and Governour-in-Chief, in and over HIS MAJESTY'S
    Province of the _Massachusetts-Bay_ in NEW-ENGLAND.


    _For the Encouragement of_ Voluntiers _to prosecute the_ WAR _against
    the_ St. John's _and_ Cape Sable's _Indians_.

    Whereas the Indians of the _Cape-Sable's_ and St. _John's_ Tribes have
    by their Violation of their solemn Treaties with His Majesty's
    Governours, and their open Hostilities committed against His Majesty's
    Subjects of this Province and the Province of _Nova-Scotia_, obliged
    me, with the unanimous Advice of His Majesty's Council, to declare war
    against them; In Consequence of which the General Assembly of this
    Province have "_Voted_, That there be granted, to be paid out of the
    publick Treasury, to any Company, Party, or Person singly, of His
    Majesty's Subjects, belonging to and residing within this Province,
    who shall voluntarily, and at their own proper Cost and Charge, go out
    and kill a male Indian of the Age of Twelve Years or upwards, of the
    Tribe of St. _Johns_ or _Cape-Sables_, after the _Twenty-sixth_ Day of
    _October_ last past, and before the last Day of _June Anno Domini_,
    One Thousand seven Hundred and forty-five (or for such Part of that
    Term as the War shall continue), in any place to the Eastward of a
    Line, to be fixed by the Governour and His Majesty's Council of this
    Province, somewhere to the Eastward of _Penobscot_, and produce his
    Scalp in Evidence of his Death, the Sum of _one Hundred Pounds_ in
    Bills of Credit of this Province of the new Tenor, and the Sum of _one
    Hundred & Five Pounds_ in said Bills for any Male of the like Age who
    shall be taken Captive, and delivered to the Order of the
    Captain-General, to be at the Disposal and for the Use of the
    Government; and the Sum of _Fifty Pounds_, in said Bills, for women;
    and the like Sum for Children under the Age of Twelve Years killed in
    Fight; and _Fifty-five Pounds_ for such of them as shall be taken
    Prisoners, together with the Plunder: _Provided_ no Payment be made as
    aforesaid for killing or taking Captive any of the said Indians, until
    Proof thereof be made to the Acceptance of the Governour and Council;"

    AND _whereas_, since the passing of the said Vote of the General
    Assembly, I have with the Advice of His Majesty's Council determined,
    That the Line above mentioned, to the Eastward of which the said
    Indians may be slain and taken Prisoners, shall begin on the Sea-Shore
    at Three Leagues Distance from Eastermost Part of the Mouth of
    _Passamaquoddy_ River, and from thence to run North into the Country
    thro' the Province of _Nova-Scotia_, to the River of _St. Lawrence_;

    =I have therefore thought fit, with the Advice of His Majesty's
    Council, to issue this Proclamation for giving public notice of the
    Encouragement granted by the General Court of all Persons who may be
    disposed to serve their King and Country in the Prosecution of the War
    against the said Cape-Sable's and St. John's Tribes, in the manner
    above-mentioned, upon their own charge; as also to give Notice to the
    several Tribes of the Eastern Indians, who are still in Amity with us,
    of the Boundary-Line aforesaid; assuring them that this Government
    have determined to treat as Enemies all such Indians as live beyond
    the said Line.=

        Given at the Council Chamber in _Boston_, on Friday the Second Day
        of _November_, 1744. In the Eighteenth Year of the Reign of Our
        Sovereign Lord GEORGE the Second, by the Grace of GOD of
        _Great-Britain_, _France_ and _Ireland_, KING, Defender of the
        Faith, &c.

        W. SHIRLEY.

    _By order of the Governour, with
    the Advice of the Council_,
    J. WILLARD, Secr.

    GOD save the KING.

No mention is made of either of these remarkable proclamations in any
history of Boston, or other work that we have seen; and it can scarcely be
generally known that Massachusetts indorsed the proclamation of the King
of England, declaring war against "the French King," or that the colony,
without regard to the King and his government, declared war, including the
most desperate and bloody conditions, against the St. John's and Cape
Sable's Indians, a hundred years after the settlement of the colony, and
something more than one hundred and fifty years ago. It will be noticed
that the sum of five pounds additional is offered in each case for man,
woman, or child, if brought in alive; but considering the expense, danger,
and trouble of doing so, it could hardly have been expected that any thing
beyond the scalps of the victims, even of children, would be brought in;
and it would seem, if any considerable number were killed or brought in,
that the debt incurred would be likely to become somewhat burdensome upon
the colony. The terms of the proclamation were based upon the votes and
orders of the General Court, authorizing the payment of the rewards
offered, passed on the 26th day of October. The records of Boston show
that in 1756, January, £50 were paid for an Indian scalp, and it is to be
hoped this was the only payment ever made for such a purchase.


This threatening proclamation was followed by another, on the 18th
February, for a general fast, as at this time the expedition to
Louisbourg, which soon followed, was in preparation:--

"Whereas it has pleased Almighty God, in his holy and sovereign
Providence, to involve His Majesty's Dominions in War, which,
notwithstanding the many instances of success, which, through Divine
favor, have attended the arms of His Majesty and his allies, ought to be
regarded as an effect of the anger of God against us; and, whereas, this
government have, upon mature consideration, determined by the Divine
permission, to prosecute an expedition against His Majesty's enemies, upon
the success of which, the prosperity of His Majesty's subjects in North
America, and more especially in this Province, does under God, much
depend," &c., &c., therefore the 28th day of February instant, is
appointed for a general fast, to be observed with fervent prayers and
supplications, and all labor and recreation are strictly forbidden. "Given
at the Province House, in Boston, the 18th day of February, 1744."

[The expedition sailed soon after, and arrived at Canso, under Col.
Pepperell, on the 4th of April, having 3,250 Massachusetts troops. The
fort and city of Louisbourg were surrendered and given up on the 17th of
June; and two East India ships and one South Sea ship, worth £600,000,
were captured at the mouth of the harbor.]


On the 25th of March, 1745, Gov. Shirley issues another proclamation for a
general fast, on Thursday, 4th day of April. The expedition for Cape
Breton had just embarked and "taken their departure from this place," and
this was deemed, in addition to the usual custom, occasion for a fast. The
favor of Divine Providence was implored for the success of the expedition
which the government had, at "great expense and labor, raised and fitted
out with a large body of troops and a considerable naval force, for an
expedition against the French at Cape Breton," &c.


News of the success of the expedition was received in Boston, on the 2d of
July, 1745, and there were great rejoicings and illuminations in the town
in consequence; and on the 8th, Gov. Shirley issued his proclamation for a
general thanksgiving, it having pleased God, as he elaborately expressed
it, "by a wonderful series of successes to bring this great affair to a
happy issue in the reduction of the city and fortress of Louisbourg."
There was added, "All servile labor is forbidden on said day," and the bar
against recreations is omitted; but all persons are called upon to
preserve order.


In September, 1745, while Gov. Shirley and his lady were absent on a visit
to Louisbourg, the scene of the late success of his expedition, Spencer
Phips, acting governor, issued three proclamations in the following three
months: on the 6th of September, for a public fast, partly on account of
the war with the Indians, and among other things "that His Excellency the
Governor may be directed and succeeded in the important affairs he is
transacting at Louisbourg and returned in safety." Signed S. Phips. By
order of the honorable the Lieut.-Governor, with the advice of the
Council. J. Willard, Secretary.

The second was issued on the twenty-second day of November, 1745, on
account of some disorders in Boston, committed by divers officers and
seamen, belonging to His Majesty's ship "Wager," and other seamen
belonging to the sloop "Resolution," late in His Majesty's service, by
which two persons lost their lives. The constables and authorities of
Boston and Charlestown are called upon to search for them in any justly
suspected houses, &c. By order of the Honorable the Lieut.-Governor, with
the advice of the Council.

The third proclamation of acting Governor Phips was issued on the 25th of
November, 1745, for a general thanksgiving, in "consideration of the
manifold and remarkable instances of the Divine favor towards our nation
and land in the course of the past year, which (though mixed with various
rebukes of Providence manifesting the righteous discipline of God toward
us for our sins) demand our publick and thankful acknowledgments." Signed,
S. Phips. By His Honor's command, with the advice of the Council.

Besides the above there were two or three other proclamations, calling for
troops and other objects. The first Fast Day held in the Plymouth Colony,
so far as we know, was in the month of July, 1623, and the first in the
Massachusetts Colony, July 30, 1630, soon after Winthrop's arrival.




On the Lord's day, June 3, 1744, between ten and eleven o'clock, there was
experienced at Boston, a violent earthquake, "which was felt for above an
hundred of miles." The matter, naturally somewhat startling and
impressive, called forth from some unknown author, an elaborate poem, the
purpose and spirit of which will be readily understood by a few extracts.
It is printed on a sheet, about 12 by 20 inches, in three columns, and was
"sold by Benjamin Gray, in Milk Street, 1744." The first portion and some
other parts of the poem are missing from the copy we have. Somewhere near
the middle of the first column our quotations commence:--

  "Again the Lord did shake the Earth,
    While Christ was in the Tomb,
  When from the glorious Heavenly World
    A glorious Angel came.
  Behold there was at that same Time
    An Earthquake strong and great,
  Which made the Watchmen at the Tomb
    To tremble, shake and quake.
  Again when Paul and Silas was
    Once into Prison cast,
  And cruelly the Keeper had
    In stocks made their feet fast,
  Like the dear Children of the Lord,
    They to their Father sing,
  They praises sing unto the Lord
    Till all the Prison did ring.
  When lo! immediately there was
    A terrible Earthquake,
  Which made the whole foundation of
    The Prison-House to shake.
  The Doors fly open by its Power
    And now wide open stand,
  'Till these dear Prisoners of the Lord
    Are loosed from their Bands.
  And thus we see in very Truth,
    This wondrous Work is done,
  By none but the eternal God,
    And Israel's holy One.
  And that they're tokens of his Wrath,
    O, let not one gain-say,
  For sure the Lord is much provok'd,
    When he speaks in this way.
  Be then excited, O, dear Friends
    With vigorous accord,
  And all the might and strength you have,
    To turn unto the Lord.
  For lo! on the last Sabbath day,
    The Lord did plainly shew,
  What in a single moment's time
    He might have done with you.
  A solemn warning let it be,
    To all with one accord
  For their Souls precious Life to haste
    Their turning unto God.

    *       *       *       *       *

  "Perhaps you'll think the Danger's past
    That all is safe and sure
  Because the mighty God hath said
    He'll drown the world no more.
  But, oh! consider dearest Friends,
    How vast his judgments are,
  And if you are resolv'd to Sin
    To meet your God prepare.
  Who hath his Magazines of Fire,
    In Heaven and Earth and Seas,
  Which always wait on his Command,
    And run where'er he please.
  If God the awful word but speak,
    And bid the Fire run,
  The Magazines together meet,
    And like a furnace burn.
  Above our Head, below our Feet,
    God Treasures hath in Store;
  And when he gives out his Command,
    The Volcano's will roar.
  Amazingly the Earth will quake,
    The World a flaming be
  When God, the great, the mighty God
    Gives forth his just Decree.

    *       *       *       *       *

  "That man can't be prevail'd upon
    Tho' with our strong desire,
  To get prepar'd against the Day
    When all the World on Fire
  Shall burn and blaze about their Heads,
    And they no Shelter have;
  No Rock to hide their guilty Heads,
    No, nor no watery Grave.
  For Rocks will melt like Wax away
    Before the dreadful Heat,
  And Earth and Sea and all will flame
    In one consuming Heap.
  The Earth beneath abounds with Stores
    Of Oils and Sulphurs too,
  And Turfs and Coals, which all will Flame,
    When God commands the blow.
  The flaming Lightning which we see
    Around the Heavens run,
  Do livelily now represent
    The Conflagration.
  Those flaming magazines of God
    Have fire enough in store,
  And only wait their Lord's commands
    To let us feel their power.
  When once receiv'd they then will run,
    They'll run from Pole to Pole,
  And all the strength of Earth and Hell
    Cannot their power controle.
  Justly may we now stand amaz'd,
    At God's abundant Grace,
  To think so base and vile a World
    Is not all in a Blaze;
  When far the greatest part thereof
    Are poor vile Infidels,
  Among the Christian part thereof
    Are sins as black as Hell."

In conclusion, these "precious souls" are entreated to join with one

  "In praising of the Holy Name,
  Of the Eternal God."

Earthquakes were at one time rather common in New England, but nothing to
be compared to their frequency in England. It is said that in what is
called the "mobile district," of Comrie, in Perthshire, during the winter
of 1839 and 1840, they had one hundred and forty earthquakes, being at the
rate of about one shock a day on an average; and it is added, "They seldom
do much harm."

The following is a memorandum, probably nearly correct and complete, of
earthquakes experienced in Boston, between the years 1636 and 1817; and it
may be considered fortunate that they were not all commemorated by Puritan

    1638. June 1. Great earthquake in Boston.

    1639. Jan. 16. Another earthquake.

    1643. March 5. Sunday morning another earthquake.

    1658. A great earthquake.

    1663. Jan. 26. Very great earthquake.

    1669. April 3. An earthquake.

    1727. Oct. 29. An earthquake.

    1730. April 12. An earthquake.

    1732. Sept. 5. An earthquake.

    1737. Feb. 6. An earthquake.

    1744. June 3. The earthquake commemorated.

    1755. Nov. 18. A very great earthquake. About one hundred chimneys
    thrown down, and other damage.

    1757. July 8. An earthquake.

    1761. March 12. An earthquake.

    1761. Nov. 1. An earthquake.

    1782. Nov. 29. An earthquake.

    1783. Nov. 29. An earthquake.

    1800. March 11. An earthquake.

    1810. Nov. 9. An earthquake.

    1817. Sept. 7. An earthquake.


Another broadside sheet, some seven by twelve, is entitled as above, and
divided into paragraphs, numbered from one to twenty, in prose. It is a
sort of sermon in which the Christian is compared to the Bee, or perhaps
placed in competition with the industrious and self-supporting insect. Its
positions, omitting most of the applications, are these: The bee is a
laborious, diligent creature; so is the Christian. The bee is a provident
creature; so is the Christian. The bee feeds on the sweetest and choicest
foods; so does the Christian. The bee puts all into the common stock; so
is the Christian of a generous, communicative temper. The bee is always
armed; so is the Christian with respect to his spiritual armor. Bees are a
sort of commonwealth; so Christians are likened to a city that is
compacted together. The bee, as it always has a bag of honey, has also a
bag of rank poison; so has the Christian, with the grace of God, a body of
sin and corruption, &c. Lastly, the bee lies dormant all winter; so the
Christian sometimes slumbers, &c. "Yet the hour is coming when all that
are in the graves shall awake and come forth, they that have done good,
unto the resurrection of life; but alas, they that have done evil, unto
the resurrection of damnation!" Sold by Kneeland & Green, in Queen Street.
Illustrated with a small fanciful engraving of a bee-hive, surrounded with
horns of plenty and decorative carving.


Every thing which occurred in England, or elsewhere, in fact, having any
reference to Popery, however remote, was sure to interest the Puritans,
and demand their attention; and, it would seem, was sometimes provocative
of poetry. So when the "happy discovery of a cursed plot against the
church of God, Great Britain and her King," was announced by the King, on
the 15th of February, 1743 (i.e., 1744), a large hand-bill was issued from
the Boston press, to which the printer did not put his name, headed, "Good
news from London, to the rejoicing of every christian heart." This was the
discovery of the plot "for bringing in a young Popish pretender." The news
was received by an arrival at Portsmouth, N.H., in twenty-six days from
England, and included the message of the King to Parliament. The hand-bill
contained the message in which the King declares that "having received
undoubted intelligence that the eldest son of the pretender to his crown
is arrived in France, and that preparations are making there to invade
this kingdom, in concert with disaffected persons here," &c., his Majesty
acquaints the House of the matter in order that measures may be taken, &c.

This is followed by a long anonymous poem, beginning,--

  "Behold the French and Spaniards rage,
    And people with accord
  Combine, to take away the life
    Of George, our sovereign lord.

    *       *       *       *       *

  "When George the first came to the throne,
    Their rage began to burn,
  And now they fain would execute
    The same upon his son.

  "Their hellish breast being set on fire,
    Even with the fire of Hell,
  Nor Love, nor charms, nor clemency,
    Can their base malice quell."

    *       *       *       *       *

And so on through three columns, and then comes the


  "Let all that openly profess,
    The ways of Christ our Lord,
  Not spare to tell how much such things
    Are by their souls abhor'd.

  "Let every child of God now cry,
    To the eternal one,
  That George our sovereign lord and king
    May ne'er be overcome.

  "That all his Foes may lick the Dust,
    And melt like Wax away,
  That joy and peace and righteousness
    May flourish in his day."

The proposed expedition, it is well known, never landed in England. The
combined fleet escaped an engagement, and the transports were wrecked and
scattered by a storm in the English Channel.


"A short history of the Grand Rebellion in Scotland, or a brief account of
the rise and progress of Charles Stuart, the young pretender, and his
associates; and his seasonable defeat by His Majesty's Forces under the
command of His Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland."

This remarkable production is printed on one side of a single sheet of
paper, seven by twelve, in verse, three columns. It begins,--

  "From Rome the proud Pretender's come
  Flush'd with conceits of Britain's Crown,
  Imagining, poor silly Lad,
  Those glorious Kingdoms to have had,
  And all the churches of the Lord,
  They've roll'd in seas of Purple Blood;
  His grand commission from the Pope
  Was Fire, Faggot, Sword, and Rope,
  Or Boots, or Scourges, Cord and Whips,
  For all poor vile Hereticks."

The poet proceeds with the landing in Scotland, where the Popish priest
demised to him the land; the joining of the disaffected, the robbing of
the people:--

  "They range about and seek for prey
  Nor spare aught comes in their way;
  They murder, steal, rob and destroy,
  And many a goodly Town annoy."

Flushed with victory, they move toward England, "and now to London drive

  "Which brave Prince William quickly hears
  And without any Dread or Fears,
  Pursues the Rebels in full chase,
  And lo, they fly before his Grace,
  Who still pursues and overtakes,
  And many a Highland captive makes.

    *       *       *       *       *

  The rest now fly, won't stand to Fight,
  But back to Scotland make their flight.
  And there like Beasts who've furious grown
  They range about from Town to Town.

    *       *       *       *       *

  But Heaven beheld these bloody men,
  No longer now would bear with them,
  Inspires the Duke of Cumberland
  To take the work into his hand,
  To scourge this cursed barbarous Brood
  For all their Rapine, Stealth, and Blood.
  Away he goes, post haste he flies,
  To face the raging Enemies,
  To Scotland, where the wretches fled,
  When chas'd from Carlisle, full of dread,
  Where being come, his troops combine,
  And all in lovely Consort join,
  And strong Desires do now express,
  To slay these Sons of Wickedness.
  Great Joy and Gladness now was shown,
  When to the Folk it was made known
  That Cumberland, the brave, was come
  To save them from expected Ruin."

The people joining the Duke, the enemy was pursued, when--

  "A church in which their stores did lay,
  They blow'd up ere they ran away,"

after they had bid the people enter in, and many "precious souls at one
sad Blast, into eternity are cast."

  "But hard beset by British force
  They dare not stay, or they'd do worse;
  Some fly to mountains, some to dales,
  When all their hellish Courage fails.

    *       *       *       *       *

  Flying I leave them, 'till we hear
  The end of this most bloody war.

     *       *       *       *       *

  For which the thankful folk proclaim
  Thanksgivings to the Almighty name,
  And may we all now join with them,
  And to their Thanks join our Amen."

Sold by B. Gray, near the market. Without date; printed in 1744.



Gen. Gage's administration of less than a year and a half in the "Province
of Massachusetts Bay," for he never had any government over the province
other than military, was prolific in proclamations, some of which are
rather curious. On the 1st of June, 1774, by order of Parliament and the
King, Boston Harbor was closed and possessed by ships of the British navy.
Nothing could enter or leave the port: wood as fuel could not be brought
from the islands, or merchandise or lumber removed from wharf to wharf by
water; nothing whatever could be water borne within a circle of sixty
miles, either to arrive or depart. At the same time British troops held
the town; and the government, such as it was, was removed to Salem, where
the General Court reassembled on the 7th of June. At this session, on the
17th, as the result of arrangements made by Samuel Adams and his
fellow-patriots, five delegates were chosen to represent the colony in the
proposed Continental Congress, at Philadelphia. As soon as these
proceedings, while yet in progress, reached Gen. Gage's ears by a tricky
tory, who got out of the hall by feigning a call of nature, he issued his
first proclamation, which Mr. Secretary Flucker, as he found the door
locked and could not get into the chamber, had to read on the stairs, as

    "Province of MASSACHUSETTS-BAY.

    By the GOVERNOR.

    "A PROCLAMATION for dissolving the General-Court.

    "WHEREAS the Proceedings of the House of Representatives, in the
    present Session of the General Court, make it necessary, for his
    Majesty's Service, that the said General Court should be dissolved:--

    "I have therefore thought fit to dissolve the said General Court, and
    the same is hereby dissolved accordingly, and the Members thereof are
    discharged from any further Attendance.

    "GIVEN under my Hand at Salem, the 17th Day of June, 1774, in the
    Fourteenth Year of his Majesty's Reign.

        By his Excellency's Command,}
                                    } T. GAGE.
        THO'S FLUCKER, Secretary.   }


Gen. Gage's next proclamation was against the existence of the famous
"Committee of Correspondence," which Samuel Adams had originated, and the
"solemn league and covenant" "to suspend all commercial intercourse with
the island of Great Britain," &c. And "in tenderness to the inhabitants of
this province," he issued this proclamation of warning.

Then, as if to cap the climax of pretension and folly, not to say
hypocrisy, on the 25th of July, while he relied upon the counsels and
efforts of the tory party, issued what may be called a very curious
proclamation, such as possibly, under some circumstances, might have been
issued by Gov. Endicott, in the early days of New England Puritanism; but
the Puritans had long before this time passed out of power. The following
is the proclamation:--



    _For the Encouragement of Piety, and Virtue, and for preventing and
    punishing of vice, profanity and immorality._

    In humble imitation of the laudable example of our most gracious
    sovereign _George_ the third, who in the first year of his reign was
    pleased to issue his Royal proclamation for the encouragement of piety
    and virtue, and for preventing of vice and immorality, in which he
    declares his royal purpose to punish all persons guilty thereof; and
    upon all occasions to bestow marks of his royal favor on persons
    distinguished for their piety and virtue:

    "I therefore, by and with the advice of his Majesty's Council, publish
    this proclamation, exhorting all his Majesty's subjects to avoid all
    hypocrisy, sedition, licentiousness, and all other immoralities, and
    to have a grateful sense of all God's mercies, making the divine laws
    the rule of their conduct.

    "I therefore command all Judges, Justices, Sheriffs, and other
    Officers, to use their utmost endeavors to enforce the laws for
    promoting religion and virtue, and restraining all vice and sedition;
    and I earnestly recommend to all ministers of the gospel that they be
    vigilant and active in inculcating a due submission to the laws of God
    and man; and I exhort all the people of this province, by every means
    in their power, to contribute what they can towards a general
    reformation of manners, restitution of peace and good order, and a
    proper subjection to the laws, as they expect the blessing of Heaven.

    "And I do further declare, that in the disposal of the offices of
    honor and trust, within this province, the supporters of true religion
    and good government shall be considered as the fittest objects of such

    "And I hereby require the Justices of assize, and Justices of the
    peace in this province, to give strict charge to the grand Jurors for
    the prosecution of offenders against the laws: and that, in their
    several courts they cause this proclamation to be publickly read
    immediately before the charge is given.

    "_GIVEN at the Council Chamber in Salem, the 21st day of July, 1774,
    in the fourteenth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord GEORGE the
    Third by the Grace of GOD of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King,
    Defender of the Faith, &c._

        "THOMAS GAGE.

    "By his Excellency's Command,
    THOS. FLUCKER, Secry.


The gist of the proclamation, which was specially intended for the people
of Boston, for whose benefit the words "sedition and hypocrisy" were used,
was in the phrase, "submission to the laws of God _and man_." This
proclamation was not like the previous one, directed to the sheriffs; nor
was it ordered to be posted in the several towns of the province; nor was
it ordered to be read from the pulpits of the churches; but the justices
of the courts and grand juries were to see to its observance. It was, in
fact, a mere piece of gasconade on the part of the governor, in imitation
of his Majesty very likely; but, like the others, nobody either observed
it or troubled themselves about it; and it has very rarely been spoken of
since, if at all, by any historian. However it may be characterized, it
simply had the effect to exasperate the minds of the people, owing to the
insertion of _hypocrisy_ among the immoralities.[10] The proclamation
itself, as they thought, was the boldest piece of political hypocrisy the
government had yet perpetrated. It was much like every thing else which
the king, ministry, or governor had done from the time of the stamp-act,
and had a tendency to make matters worse instead of better.

Gen. Gage's proclamation of the 12th of June, 1775, offering pardon to all
who shall lay down their arms, &c., is well known. It begins,--

"Whereas the infatuated multitude who have suffered themselves to be
conducted by certain well-known incendiaries and traitors in a fatal
progression of crimes against the constitutional authority of the state,
have at length proceeded to avowed rebellion," &c. ... "A number of armed
persons to the amount of many thousands assembled on the 19th of April,"
&c. "In this exigency I avail myself of the last effort," and thereupon
offers "a full pardon to all who shall lay down their arms, excepting
Samuel Adams and John Hancock, whose offences are of too flagitious a
nature to admit of any other consideration than that of condign
punishment," &c.

The proclamation was probably written by Gen. Burgoyne, and so little
attention was paid to it that the army continued intact at Cambridge, and
in exactly one week from its date occurred the battle of Bunker Hill,
which proved so "fatal" to more than a thousand British soldiers. In less
than four months after this time Gen. Gage "laid down his arms" and
returned to England; and a few months later, in March, 1776, the army and
the navy followed his example and left the country, taking the "Port Act"
with them, but leaving for the use of the colony, arms, ammunition,
provisions, and even medical stores.



  "The turnpike road to people's hearts, I find
  Lies through their mouths, or I mistake mankind."
                                          [Peter Pindar.

After arriving at Mishawam, and voting the church and that the minister
should be supported at the common charge, it became necessary to think of
providing in some way for the sustenance of the party. Although Gov.
Winthrop, when he arrived off the harbor, went up to Salem in a boat, and
was handsomely entertained by Gov. Endicott, whom he came to displace,
with a rich _venison paté_, such fare was not afterwards found to be very
plenty; and the strawberries, which those he left on board the ships found
on Cape Ann, were not always to be had, nor a very substantial food for
the settlers. Of course, the party had a supply of provisions,--a market
of their own which they brought with them; and, as nobody could become a
freeman or have a vote in public affairs unless he was a member of the
church, it is to be inferred that nobody would be allowed any thing to eat
only on the same condition; and this, if Peter Pindar was right, was a
facile method of conversion and making disciples of the most obdurate.
Hunting and fishing were no doubt readily resorted to as rather promising
pursuits, and possibly some thought may have been given to cornfields,
though there was no great anxiety for work. At all events, however
successful the hunting parties were, so much of their supply of provisions
was bartered with the Indians for furs that a scarcity of food was soon
experienced, and then they had to buy corn of them. Matters soon became
serious: for whatever might have been the primary object of the Puritans
in coming to this country, eating was not beyond a secondary
consideration, to say the least of it; and a market of supplies for the
material man became an important consideration then, and has been so ever
since. Dr. Johnson, who loved a good dinner and rarely found it at home,
thought "a tavern was the throne of human felicity;" but, of course, such
a notion as that never entered the minds of the Puritans.

The first thanksgiving was for the safe arrival of the party, and the next
was for the arrival of the "Lion," or some other ship, with a supply of
food; and this, it is supposed, was not bartered off for furs. Indian
corn, which was a new thing to the settlers, was for a long time the
principal diet, occasionally modified with fish; but the truth is, how the
settlers managed to live through all this time, in such a climate, up to
the times that we know something about, is a complete mystery.

Capt. Roger Clapp, who arrived at Hull on the 30th of May, 1630, about a
fortnight before Gov. Winthrop arrived at Salem, and who died in 1690-91,
described the state of things "in those days," in the following words:--

    "It was not accounted a strange thing in those Days to drink Water,
    and to eat Samp or Hominie without Butter or Milk. Indeed, it would
    have been a strange thing to see a piece of Roast Beef, Mutton or
    Veal; though it was not long before there was Roast Goat. After the
    first Winter, we were very Healthy; though some of us had no great
    Store of Corn. The Indians did sometimes bring Corn, and Truck with us
    for Cloathing and Knives; and once I had a Peck of Corn or
    thereabouts, for a little Puppy-Dog. Frost-fish, Muscles and Clams
    were a Relief to many."


Wood, in his famous "New England's Prospect," gives some particulars about
game and hunting among the early settlers in 1639:--

    "Having related unto you the pleasant situation of the country, the
    healthfulness of the climate, the nature of the soil, with his
    vegetatives, and other commodities; it will not be amiss to inform you
    of such irrational creatures as are daily bred, and continually
    nourished in this country, which do much conduce to the well-being of
    the inhabitants, affording not only meat for the belly, but cloathing
    for the back. The beasts be as followeth:--

        "The kingly Lion, and the strong arm'd Bear,
        The large limb'd Mooses, with the tripping Deer;
        Quill-darting Porcupines, and Raccoons be
        Castel'd in the hollow of an aged tree;
        The skipping Squirrel, Rabbet, purblind Hare,
        Immured in the self same castle are,
        Lest red-ey'd Ferret, wily Foxes should
        Them undermine, if rampir'd but with mould;
        The grim-fac'd Ounce, and rav'nous howling Wolf,
        Whose meagre paunch sucks like a swallowing gulf;
        Black glistering Otters, and rich coated Bever,
        The Civet scented Musquash smelling ever."


    "Two men going a fowling, appointed at evening to meet at a certain
    pond side, to share equally, and to return home; one of these gunners
    having killed a Seal or Sea-calf, brought it to the pond where he was
    to meet his comrade, afterwards returning to the sea-side for more
    game, and having loaded himself with more Geese and Ducks he repaired
    to the pond, where he saw a great Bear feeding on his seal, which
    caused him to throw down his load, and give the Bear a salute; which
    though it was but with goose-shot, yet tumbled him over and over;
    whereupon the man supposing him to be in a manner dead, ran and beat
    him with the handle of his gun. The Bear perceiving him to be such a
    coward to strike him when he was down, scrambled up, standing at
    defiance with him, scratching his legs, tearing his cloaths and face,
    who stood it out till his six foot gun was broken in the middle; then
    being deprived of his weapon, he ran up to the shoulders into the
    pond, where he remained till the Bear was gone, and his mate come in,
    who accompanied him home."

The author gives a peculiar description of the animals named. Of the lion,
he says he had never seen one; but others "lost in the woods have heard
such terrible roarings as have made them much agast: which must be either
Devils or Lions;" so lions have it. The moose "is as big as an ox, slow of
foot, headed like a Buck, with a broad beam, some being two yards wide in
the head; their flesh is as good as beef, their hides good for cloathing."
He describes deer, rabbits, squirrels, &c. The small squirrel troubles the
planters so, that they have "to carry their Cats into the corn-fields till
their corn be three weeks old." "The beasts of offence be Squncks,
Ferrets, Foxes, whose impudence sometimes diverts them to the good Wives
Hen-roost, to fill their paunch." He gives a fearful account of the
wolves, which set on swine, goats, calves, &c., and care nothing for a

Equally curious with these are his descriptions of the "beasts living in
the water," as the otter, musquash, &c., and of "the birds and fowls, both
of land and water."

    "The princely Eagle, and the soaring Hawk,
  Whom in their unknown ways there's none can chalk;
  The Humbird for some Queen's rich cage more fit,
  Than in the vacant wilderness to sit;
  The swift-winged Swallow sweeping to and fro,
  As swift as arrows from Tartarian bow;
  When as Aurora's infant day new springs,
  There th' morning mounting Lark her sweet lays sings;
  The harmonious Thrush, swift Pigeon, Turtle Dove,
  Who to her mate does ever constant prove;
  The Turkey-pheasant, Heathcock, Partridge rare,
  The carrion-tearing Crow, and hurtful Stare."

The raven, screech-owl, heron, cormorant, and so on to geese, gulls,
mallards, teal, ducks, snipes, and many others. The fish also are
rehearsed in verse:--

    "The king of waters, the sea-shouldering Whale,
  The snuffing Grampus, with the oily Seal;
  The storm-presaging Porpus, Herring-Hog,
  Line shearing Shark, the Catfish, and Sea Dog;
  The scale-fenc'd Sturgeon, wry-mouth'd Hollibut,
  The flouncing Salmon, Codfish, Greedigut;
  Cole, Haddick, Hake, the Thornback, and the Scate,
  Whose Slimy outside makes him seld' in date;
  The stately Bass, old Neptune's fleeting post,
  That tides it out and in from sea to coast;
  Consorting Herrings, and the bony Shad,
  Big-bellied Alewives, Mackrels richly clad
  With rainbow colour, the Frostfish and the Smelt,
  As good as ever Lady Gustus felt;
  The spotted Lamprons, Eels, the Lamperies,
  That seek fresh-water brooks with Argus eyes;
  These watery villagers, with thousands more,
  Do pass and repass near the verdant shore."


    "The luscious Lobster, with the Crabfish raw,
  The brinish Oyster, Muscle, Perriwig,
  And Tortoise fought by the Indian's Squaw,
  Which to the flats dance many a winter's jig,
  To dive for Cockles, and to dig for Clams,
  Whereby her lazy husband's guts she crams."

It was recommended to those who came over after Winthrop, to bring with
them a hogshead and a half of meal, "to keep him until he may receive the
fruit of his own labors, which will be a year and a half after his
arrival, if he land in May or June." Also, "malt, beef, butter, cheese,
pease, good wines, vinegar, and strong waters;" and in addition, a variety
of clothing, boots, shoes, implements, iron wares, stew-pans,
warming-pans, fish-hooks, and every conceivable thing for use or labor,
being assured that whatever they did not want, could be disposed of at a


One of the earliest accounts of the market supplies in Boston is that
written by a French refugee in 1687,--almost two hundred years ago. He

    "An ox costs from twelve to fifteen crowns; a Cow, eight to ten;
    Horses, from ten to fifty Crowns, and in Plenty. There are even wild
    ones in the Woods, which are yours if you can catch them. Foals are
    sometimes caught. Beef costs Two pence the Pound; Mutton, Two pence;
    Pork, from two to three pence, according to the Season; Flour,
    Fourteen shillings the one hundred and twelve Pound, all bolted; Fish
    is very cheap, and Vegetables also; Cabbage, Turnips, Onions, and
    Carrots abound here. Moreover, there are quantities of Nuts,
    Chestnuts, and Hazelnuts wild. These nuts are small, but of wonderful
    flavor. I have been told that there are other Sorts, which we shall
    see in the Season. I am assured that the Woods are full of
    Strawberries in the Season. I have seen Quantities of wild Grapevine,
    and eaten Grapes of very good Flavor, kept by one of my friends. There
    is no Doubt that the Vine will do well; there is some little planted
    in the country which has grown. The Rivers are full of Fish, and we
    have so great a Quantity of Sea and River Fish that no Account is made
    of them."

It is pretty certain that these things have been so ever since.


A later account than this, however, and one with which some who are now
living may be more or less familiar, or have heard of, is given as

    "The ordinary food of the early settlers here, for both breakfast and
    supper, was bean porridge, with bread and butter. On Sunday morning
    there was coffee in addition. Brown bread, made of rye and Indian, was
    the staff of life, white bread being used only when guests were
    present. Raked pumpkins (in their season) and milk composed a dish
    said to be luxurious. [This dish is in common use among the country
    people at the present time.] For dinner, twice every week, Sundays and
    Thursdays, baked beans and baked Indian pudding, the latter being
    served first. [This last custom has gone wholly out of practice; but
    the Sunday dinner prevails to-day over the whole of New England, to a
    very large extent.] Saturdays, salt fish; one day in every week, salt
    pork and corned beef, and one day, also, when practicable, roasted
    meat was the rule."

It is surprising how continuously some of these customs have been kept up
and prevail.


It is not to be denied that provisions have been scarce in Boston, at
times, since the days of the Puritans, hardly now to be realized. Long
before the Revolutionary period, in 1711, during one of the wars between
France and England, Admiral Sir Hovender Walker, with a fleet of fifteen
men-of-war, and forty transports with upwards of five thousand men,
arrived in the harbor on his way to the St. Lawrence River, for the
protection of Canada. He wanted to victual his ships, and applied to Capt.
Belcher (father of Gov. Jonathan Belcher), a rich and leading man, as
being the only person who could undertake the service, and he declined it.
Next to Mr. Andrew Faneuil, and he undertook it. Provisions were scarce
and the price put up, so that a supply could not be had, and the governor
was compelled to issue an "order for searching for provisions." The men,
during the stay of the fleet, were in camp at Noddle's Island, and it is
said that a formidable number of them deserted.


We have thus travelled over some of the old avenues, ways, customs, and
things, peaceful and warlike, more or less in connection with the early
settlement, the mature town, and the gorgeous city, from 1630 to 1880;
from the period of scarcity and deprivation to that of prosperity and
abundance. The task has been delightful, and whatever may be thought of
the ways and doings, and we may almost say the undoings, of the Puritans,
the town which they planted and the principles they promulgated, rather
than the intolerance they practised, have become permanent and sure. Now,
indeed, there is neither intolerance nor scarcity; and however much our
predecessors may have suffered we are now able to supply bread and beef to
millions of people less favorably circumstanced. Perhaps nothing more
distinctly or emphatically marks the character and quality of a people
than their "ways and means" of living. It has been said that Americans are
disposed to revel in big dinners; and, in fact, undertake to accomplish
every thing with a big dinner, or at least celebrate the accomplishment of
it in that way. One writer has said, if we welcome a guest it is done with
a dinner; if we inaugurate a stock company or start a charity, it is
pretty sure to have its relations with the market and the stomach. This
may be partly so. A good dinner, social and liberal, is the reconciler,
the inspiration, the motive power of good works generally; and what it
cannot do, or at least help to do, is pretty sure not to be accomplished.
Of course, all this is understood, and almost sure to be practised, so
that, when any thing comes up, instead of going to bed to sleep on it, we
hurry off to Parker's or Young's, or it may be, if the matter is very
staid and respectable, to the old Tremont, and eat on it. The custom is
in us--in the blood; it is Saxon, and comes naturally enough from the
mother country. In England, the great diner-out, Douglas Jerrold, who
knows all about it, says, "If an earthquake were to engulf all England
to-morrow, Englishmen would manage to meet, and dine somewhere among the
rubbish," as if the occasion needed to be celebrated in that way.

There have been times, now fortunately more than a hundred years ago, when
our market could not be made to furnish a big dinner; when there was no
market; when the enemy were seizing all the sheep and cattle; when the
people were starving on salt provisions, and, in one instance at least, a
party of gentlemen were invited to dine off a roasted rat in Boston; and
again when a special request was made to the people, in consequence of the
necessities of the times, "not to have more than two dishes of meat on
their tables." But not long after this, on the 24th of January, 1793,
there was a grand festival in honor of French Liberty and Equality, when
an ox of more than a thousand weight was roasted entire, and drawn on a
car by fifteen horses, followed by other carriages with hogsheads of
punch, loaves of bread, &c., and a large procession of civil, military,
municipal officers, and citizens, through the principal streets to State
Street, where the table was spread and the dinner was served up in high
style. At the present time, it would be an easy matter to roast an ox
every day, and big dinners are regarded as of small account on the score
of rarity. Some philosopher has said, "Eating dinner is a task which,
above all others, requires the conscience pure, the mind easy, a reason
undisturbed, the senses critical, and the body and spirit perfectly at
rest." It may be said that the philosophers of the present day do not deem
eating a good dinner "a task;" and it is pretty certain the mass of the
people do not. It is to be hoped our market will never again be unprepared
to furnish a big dinner, on all reasonable occasions, supply a British
fleet, or meet the requirements of the people at home, or the necessities
of the race abroad.


[1] The Second Volume of the Writings of the Author of the London Spy.
London: 1706.

[2] The New England Tragedies in Prose, by Rowland H. Allen.

[3] In the first interview between Governor Carver of Plymouth and the
Indian Chief Massasoit, "after salutations, the Governor kissing his hand
and the king kissing him, the Governor entertains him with some
refreshments, and then they agree on a league of friendship." March 22,

[4] Walford Street, in Charlestown, we believe, has been cut off by the
Eastern Railroad freight tracks and likely to be lost.

[5] William Paddy died in 1658, and the alley (now North Centre Street)
bore his name for more than a hundred years. When some changes were made
in the Old State House, in 1830, to accommodate the Boston Post Office, a
stone was dug up which proved to be his grave-stone, though it is a little
difficult to tell how it came there. On one side of it was the
inscription, "Here lyeth the body of Mr. William Paddy, aged 58 years.
Departed this life August--, 1658." And on the other side,--

  "Here sleaps that
  Blessed one whose lief
  God help vs all to live
  That so when time shall be
  That we this world must lief
  We ever may be happy
  With blessed William Paddy."

It may be concluded, we judge, that Paddy's Alley was well named.

[6] In 1693, an eminent Quaker visited Boston, and afterwards wrote an
account of his visit. He says, being a stranger and traveller, he could
not but observe the barbarous and unchristian welcome he had into Boston.
"Oh, what a pity it was," said one, "that all your society were not hanged
with the other four!"

[7] Faust invented printing, 1450.

[8] Printing introduced into England, 1571.

[9] The "Lion Tavern," or possibly the "Green Dragon."

[10] Gordon's History, Vol. I., p. 253.


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Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Passages in Blackleter font are indicated by =Blackleter=.

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