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Title: Wessagusset and Weymouth
Author: Adams, Charles Francis, III, Charles Francis Adams, Nash, Gilbert
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Wessagusset and Weymouth" ***

                               [No. 3.]


                       WESSAGUSSET AND WEYMOUTH,

                       AN HISTORICAL ADDRESS BY

                      CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, JR.,

                        SETTLEMENT OF THE TOWN.



                             GILBERT NASH,

                           NOVEMBER 1, 1882.

                     WEYMOUTH THIRTY YEARS LATER,

                            A PAPER READ BY

                        CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS,

                              BEFORE THE


                          SEPTEMBER 23, 1904.

                             PUBLISHED BY


                           T.R. MARVIN & SON




  WESSAGUSSET AND WEYMOUTH                                             5

  WEYMOUTH’S FIRST TWENTY YEARS                                       87

  WEYMOUTH THIRTY YEARS LATER                                        114

  INDEX                                                              157

  APPENDIX                                                           164

                          HISTORICAL ADDRESS


                      CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, JR.,

                             JULY 4, 1874.

Full in sight of the spot where we are now gathered,--almost at the
foot of King-Oak Hill,--stands that portion of the ancient town of
Weymouth, known from time immemorial as the village of Old Spain.
When or why it was first so called is wholly unknown,--scarcely a
tradition even remains to suggest to us an origin of the name. None
the less Old Spain well deserved a portion at least of that familiar
title, for, next to the town of Plymouth, it is the oldest settlement
in Massachusetts. And when we speak of the oldest settlements in
Massachusetts, we speak of communities which may fairly lay claim to
a very respectable degree of antiquity; not of the greatest, it is
true, for all antiquity is relative, and that of America scarcely
deserves the name by the side of what England has to show; but what
is the antiquity of England compared with that of Rome?--and Rome,
again, seems young and crude when we speak of Greece; while even those
who fought upon the ringing plains of windy Troy are but as prattling
children in presence of the hoary age of the Pharaohs. The settlement
of Old Spain and of Weymouth is, therefore, ancient only as things
American are ancient; but still two hundred and fifty years of time
carry us back to events and men which seem sufficiently remote. When
the first European made his home in Old Spain,--when the earliest rude
hut was framed on yonder north shore of Phillips Creek,--the modern
world in which we live was just assuming shape. Few now realize how
little of that which makes up the vast accumulated store of human
possessions which we have inherited from our fathers--which to us
is as the air we breathe,--had then existence. The Reformation was
then young,--Luther and Calvin and Erasmus were men of yesterday;
the life-and-death struggle with Catholicism still tortured eastern
Europe. The thirty years’ war in Germany was just commenced, and the
youthful Gustavus Adolphus had yet to win his spurs. The blood of St.
Bartholomew was but half a century old, and the murder of Henry IV.
was as near to the men of 1622 as is that of Abraham Lincoln to us.
The great Cardinal-Duke was then organizing modern France; Charles I.
had not yet ascended the English throne; Hampden was a young country
gentleman, and Oliver Cromwell an unpretending English squire. While
men still believed that the sun moved round the earth, Galileo and
Kepler were gradually ascertaining those laws which guide the planets
in their paths; Bacon was meditating his philosophy; Don Quixote was a
newly published work, with a local reputation; and Milton, not yet a
Cambridge pensioner, was making his first essays at verse. Shakespeare
had died but six years before, and, indeed, the first edition of his
plays did not appear until the very year in which Weymouth was settled.
Thus, in 1622, our world of literature, of science, almost of history,
was yet to be created. Hardly a single volume of our current English
literature was then in existence, and people might well con their
Bibles, for, in the English tongue, there was little else to read.

Meanwhile the North American continent was an unbroken wilderness,
with here and there, few and far between, from the St. Lawrence to
the Gulf, scattered specks of struggling civilization, hundreds of
leagues apart, dotting the skirts of the green, primeval forest.
It was at not the least famous of these scattered specks,--at the
neighboring town of Plymouth,--that the history of Weymouth opened on
a day towards the latter part of the month of May, in the year 1622.
The little colony had then been established in its new home some
seventeen months. They had just struggled through their second winter,
and now, sadly reduced in number, with supplies wholly exhausted, and
sorely distressed in spirit, the Pilgrims were anxiously looking for
the arrival of some ship from England. The Mayflower had left them,
starting on her homeward voyage a year before, and once only during
their weary sojourn, in the month of the previous November, had these
homesick wanderers on the sandy Plymouth shores been cheered by any
tidings from the living world. On this particular day, however, the
whole settlement was alive with excitement. There had been great
trouble with the neighboring Indians, and the magistrates were on the
point of delivering one of them up to the emissaries of his sachem
to be put to death, when suddenly a boat was seen to cross the mouth
of the bay and disappear behind the next headland.[1] There had been
rumors of trouble between the English and the French, and the first
idea of the settlers was that some connection existed between the
sachem’s emissaries and those on board the boat. The delivery of the
prisoner was consequently deferred. At the same time, a shot was fired
as a signal, in response to which the boat changed her course, and
came into the bay. When at last it touched the shore it was found to
contain ten persons, who announced themselves as being in the service
of one Mr. Thomas Weston, a London merchant, well known to the elders
of Plymouth. They were cordially welcomed with a salute of three
volleys of musketry, and thus finished a somewhat dangerous voyage.[2]
It appeared they had been dispatched from England some months before,
on board a vessel named the Sparrow, which belonged to Mr. Weston, and
was bound to the fishing grounds off the coast of Maine: they were, in
fact, the forerunners of a larger party which Weston was organizing in
London, with the design of establishing a trading settlement somewhere
on the shores of Massachusetts Bay. They brought with them letters to
the Plymouth magistrates, but they were wholly unprovided with either
food or outfit. The Sparrow was one of the fishing fleet which yearly
visited those waters, and apparently Weston’s plan had been for these
people to leave her near the Damariscove Islands, and thence to find
their way by sea to Plymouth, examining the coast as they went along
with a view to settlement. There was something curiously reckless in
the methods of those old explorers. Weston himself afterwards sought to
reach Plymouth in the same way, and encountered many strange adventures
by sea and land before he got there. In the present case his messengers
do not appear either to have been seafaring men, or especially selected
for the work they had to do. It was not until they were actually
leaving the Sparrow for their voyage of one hundred and fifty miles
in the North Atlantic that they seemed to realize their own utter
helplessness, and the extreme vagueness of their errand. Fortunately
for them, however, the mate of that vessel was a daring fellow, and
volunteered to venture his life as their pilot. They accordingly set
sail in their shallop, skirting along the coast. They touched at the
Isle of Shoals and at Cape Ann, and thence they ran for Boston harbor,
where they passed some four or five days exploring. They selected
the southerly side of the bay as the best place for the proposed
settlement, as in these parts there seemed to be the fewest natives,
and made a bargain with the sachem Aberdecest for what land they
needed;[3] but, getting uneasy at the smallness of their number, they
determined to go to Plymouth, in hopes of getting news of the larger
enterprise. Disappointed in this, they landed to await events. The
shallop, accompanied by a Plymouth boat in search of supplies, returned
to the fishing fleet, and its seven passengers were, for the time
being, incorporated with the colony, and fared no worse than others.

Meanwhile Mr. Weston had organized his larger expedition, and it was
already on the sea, having sailed from London about the 1st of April.
Thus Thomas Weston played a very prominent part in the early settlement
of Weymouth, as he had already done in that of Plymouth. He was
always called a merchant, but in fact he was a pure sixteenth century
adventurer of the Smith and Raleigh stamp,--a man whose brain teemed
with schemes for the deriving of sudden gain from the settlement of
the new continent. We first get sight of him in Leyden in connection
with the Pilgrim fathers,--the treasurer, the representative, the
active, moving spirit of the company of Merchant Adventurers of
London, who then were looking for the material with which to effect a
settlement within the Virginia patent. Mr. Treasurer Weston had some
acquaintance with the Leyden exiles, and, knowing how dissatisfied
they were with their experience in Holland, he had pitched on them as
the best material for the work in hand. They were then negotiating with
the Dutch government for a grant of lands in what is now New York.
Weston persuaded them to abandon this scheme, promising them, on the
part of his associates, aid, both in money and in shipping. When the
Speedwell arrived at Southampton from Delfthaven, bearing the fortunes
of the little colony between its decks, it was Weston who came down
from London to arrange the last details of the adventure. But the
meeting was not a propitious one. The parties fell out as to certain
alterations proposed to the original agreement between them, and Weston
returned to London, telling the emigrants as a parting word that they
must expect no further aid from him. Out of this disagreement grew
the scheme of another and independent settlement. Weston apparently
concluded that he had made a mistake in his choice of agents. A
mere adventurer, he looked only to pecuniary results. The return
of the Mayflower in the spring of 1621 without a cargo was a great
disappointment to him, and he did not delay writing to the struggling
settlers that a good return cargo by the next ship was absolutely
essential to the life of the enterprise. They did make an effort,
therefore, to load the Fortune with such articles as the country
afforded, but before the venture reached England Weston had abandoned
the Plymouth colony in disgust, sold out his interest in the Merchant
Adventurers’ company and was already meditating his new and rival
enterprise. He cared more for beaver-skins in hand than for empires
hereafter, and the Plymouth people appeared to him to discourse and
argue and consult when they should have been trading.[4] His confidence
in the success of a trading post on Massachusetts Bay was not shaken,
but he shared in the general belief of the day that families were an
incumbrance in a well organized plantation, and that a settlement made
up of able-bodied men only could do more in New England in seven years
than in Old England in twenty.[5] On this principle he organized his
expedition, which, towards the close of April, 1622, set sail in two
vessels, the Charity of one hundred tons and the Swan of thirty. It
went under the charge of Weston’s brother-in-law, one Richard Greene,
and was made up of the roughest material, miscellaneously picked up
in the streets and on the docks of London; among them, however, there
was one surgeon, a Mr. Salisbury, and a lawyer from Furnival’s Inn,
afterwards very notorious in early colonial annals, one Thomas Morton,
better known as Morton of Merry Mount.[6] Such as they were, however,
they safely landed at Plymouth towards the end of June,--some sixty
stout fellows, without apparently the remotest idea why they had come
or what they had come to do. Naturally the old settlers did not look
upon them as a very desirable accession to the colony, especially
as they early evinced a disinclination to all honest labor and an
extremely well developed appetite for green corn.[7] Having landed
them, the larger ship sailed for Virginia, and during her absence
preparations were completed for removing the party to the site selected
for its operations at Wessagusset, as Weymouth was then called. In the
course of a few weeks the ship returned, the healthy members of the
expedition were taken on board and sailed for Boston Bay. The Plymouth
people saw them disappear with much satisfaction, and expressed no
desire to have them return.

It was August before the party reached its permanent quarters. There
is no record of the exact spot on which they placed their settlement,
but a very general tradition assigns it to the north side of Phillips
Creek[8]. Not improbably there was a better draught of water in that
inlet than now; but it is well established that the locality was to
the south of the Fore River, and the very sheltered character of the
creek would naturally have suggested it to the explorers for the
object they had in view. But wherever the exact locality may have
been, the adventurers found themselves towards the end of September
sufficiently established in it to let the larger ship, the Charity,
return to England. The smaller one, the Swan, had been designed for
the use of the plantation,--it was indeed the chief item of their
stock in trade,--and it now remained moored in Weymouth River. The
Charity had left the party fairly supplied for the winter,[9] but they
were a wasteful, improvident set, and they were hardly left to their
own devices before they were made to realize that they had already
squandered most of their resources, though the winter was not yet
begun. They accordingly bethought themselves of the people of Plymouth,
and wrote to Governor Bradford proposing a trading voyage on joint
account in search of corn,--they offering to supply the vessel while
the Plymouth people were to furnish the quick capital needed, in the
shape of articles of barter. The offer was accepted, and in October the
expedition set out, with Standish in command and the Indian Squanto
acting as guide. The intention was to weather the cape and trade along
the south coast, but they were driven back by adverse winds, and then
Standish fell sick of a fever and had to give up the command. Governor
Bradford took his place and again the Swan started out; but it was
November now, and the back side of Cape Cod shewed a rougher sea than
they cared to face, so they prudently put about and ran into Sandwich
Bay. Here Squanto, the Indian guide, fell sick and died, bequeathing
his few effects to his English friends and praying that he might find
rest with the Englishman’s God.[10] Here and elsewhere, however, the
partners secured some twenty-six or twenty-eight hogsheads of corn and
beans, and with that were fain to return. An equal division was made,
and the Swan again came to her moorings in Weymouth Fore River.

The relief she brought with her was, however, only temporary; disorder
and waste in that settlement were chronic. Greene had died in Plymouth
while they were preparing for the trading voyage, and a man named
Sanders had succeeded him in control. Either he was incompetent or his
people were very hard to manage; but, in either case, the squandering
of the supplies continued, and the prudent Plymouth settlers complained
that, through improvident dealings with the Indians, their neighbors
ruined the market, giving for a quart of corn what before would have
bought a beaver-skin.[11] At length, however, about the beginning of
the New Year, the Wessagusset plantation found itself face to face
with dire want. The hungry settlers bartered with the Indians, giving
everything they had for food; they even stripped the clothes from
their backs and the blankets from their beds. They made canoes for the
savages, and, for a mere pittance of corn, became their hewers of wood
and drawers of water.[12] During that long and dreary winter they must
heartily have wished themselves back in the slums of London. Weymouth
Fore River, in that season, must then have been very much what we so
well know it to be now. Doubtless the cold tide ebbed and flowed before
the rude block-house, now lifting on its bosom huge heaps of frozen
snow and ice, and then again bearing them in great unsightly blocks
swiftly out to sea. The frost was in the ground; the snow was on it.
So, through the long, hard, savage winter, those seventy poor hungry
wretches shivered around their desolate habitations, or straggled about
among the neighboring wigwams in search of food. Their ammunition was
nearly exhausted so that they could not kill the game. They ransacked
the woods in search of nuts; and they followed out the tide, digging
in the flats for clams and muscles. But, insufficiently supplied with
clothes, they could not endure the winter’s cold in this slow search
for food, and one poor fellow while grubbing for shell-fish sank into
the mud, and, being too reduced to drag himself out, was there found
dead,--an end to his adventures. In all ten perished.[13]

In their necessities they had made the fatal mistake of degrading
themselves before the savages. In their utmost needs the Plymouth
people had always borne themselves defiantly to the Indian; making him
feel himself in presence of a superior. It was not so at Wessagusset.
The settlers there alternately cringed before the Indian and abused
him; and he, seeing them so poor and weak and helpless, first grew to
despise and then to oppress them. Naturally, starving men of their
description had recourse to theft, and there was no one to steal from
but the Indians; so the Indians found their hidden stores of corn
disturbed and knew just where to look for the thieves. This led to
a bitter feeling among the savages, and some who were detected were
punished in their sight. But with men like these, punishment was a less
terror than starvation, and the depredations and complaints continued.
The Indians would no longer either lend or sell them food; and, indeed,
it did not appear that they had any to spare.[14] Finally, in their
utter desperation, the settlers thought of having recourse to violence,
and made ready their stockade to resist the attack, sure to ensue, by
closing every entrance into it save one. They were hardly prepared,
however, to go to such extremes as this, relying solely on their own
strength. Accordingly, towards the end of February, Sanders sent a
letter by an Indian messenger to Governor Bradford, informing him of
their necessities, and advising him that Sanders himself was preparing
to go to the fishing stations at the eastward to buy provisions from
the ships; but meanwhile he did not see how the settlement was to live
until his return, and he therefore wrote to see if the Plymouth people
would sustain him in taking what was necessary from the Indians by
force. The answer was not encouraging. The Plymouth magistrates had no
intention of embroiling that settlement with its savage neighbors, and
therefore very plainly informed Sanders that he and his need expect
no countenance from them in any such proceeding as that proposed; and
they further intimated an opinion that they would all be killed if they
attempted it. Finally, they advised them to worry through the winter,
living on nuts and shell-fish as they themselves were doing, especially
as they enjoyed the additional advantage of an oyster-bed, which they
of Plymouth had not.[15] On receiving this letter, it only remained to
give up all idea of a recourse to violence, and Sanders then took the
Swan and himself went to Plymouth on a begging excursion. The people
there, however, felt unable to supply his vessel even for a voyage to
the fishing stations; so he returned to Wessagusett, there left the
Swan, and started on a shallop for the coast of Maine.

Meanwhile the depredations still went on, and the Indians grew more
and more aggressive. They took by force from the settlers what they
pleased, and if they remonstrated, threatened them with their knives.
Apparently they treated the poor wretches like dogs; regarding them
much as they had four unfortunate Frenchmen whom they had taken
prisoners some years before, after destroying their vessel, killing
them at last through ill usage.[16] Finally, one unfortunate but
peculiarly skillful thief was detected and bitter complaint made
against him. The terror-stricken settlers offered to give him up to
the savages, to be dealt with as they saw fit. The savages, however,
declined to receive him, upon which his companions hung him themselves
in their sight. This execution has since been very famous. That the
settlers of Wessagusset hung the real culprit does not admit of
question, for it is so stated both by those who were present and by
the Plymouth authorities of the time, who were perfectly familiar with
all the facts.[17] But the humorous Mr. Thomas Morton of Merry Mount,
in the New English Canaan, published in London in 1632, reclad the
Wessagusset hanging of ten years previous in this new and fantastic

       *       *       *       *       *

“One amongst the rest an able bodied man, that ranged the woodes, to
see what it would afford, lighted by accident on an Indian barne, and
from thence did take a capp full of corne; the Salvage owner of it,
finding by the foote some English had bin there came to the Plantation,
and mad complaint after this manner.

“The cheife Commander of the Company one this occation called a
Parliament of all his people but those that were sicke, and ill at
ease. And wisely now they must consult, upon this huge complaint, that
a privy knife, or stringe of beades would well enough have qualified,
and Edward Johnson was a spetiall judge of this businesse; the fact was
there in repetition, construction made, that it was fellony, and by the
Lawes of England punished with death, and this in execution must be
put, for an example, and likewise to appease the Salvage, when straight
wayes one arose, mooved as it were with some compassion, and said hee
could not well gaine say the former sentence, yet hee had conceaved
within the compasse of his braine a Embrion, that was of spetiall
consequence to be delivered, and cherished hee said, that it would
most aptly serve to pacifie the Salvages complaint, and save the life
of one that might (if neede should be) stand them in some good steede,
being younge and stronge, fit for resistance against an enemy, which
might come unexpected for any thinge they knew. The Oration made was
liked of every one, and hee intreated to proceede to shew the meanes
how this may be performed: sayes hee, you all agree that one must die,
and one shall die, this younge mans cloathes we will take of, and put
upon one, that is old and impotent, a sickly person that cannot escape
death, such is the disease one him confirmed, that die hee must, put
the younge mans cloathes on this man, and let the sick person be hanged
in the others steede. Amen sayes one, and so sayes many more.

“And this had like to have prooved their finall sentence, and being
there confirmed by Act of Parliament, to after ages for a President:
But that one with a ravenus voyce, begunne to croake and bellow
for revenge, and put by that conclusive motion, alledging such
deceipts might be a meanes here after to exasperate the mindes of
the complaininge Salvages and that by his death, the Salvages should
see their zeale to Iustice, and therefore hee should die: this was
concluded; yet neverthelesse a scruple was made; now to countermaunde
this act, did represent itselfe unto their mindes, which was how they
should doe to get the mans good wil: this was indeede a spetiall
obstacle: for without (that they all agreed) it would be dangerous, for
any man to attempt the execution of it, lest mischiefe should befall
them every man; he was a person, that in his wrath, did seeme to be
a second Sampson, able to beate out their branes with the jawbone of
an Asse: therefore they called the man and by perswation got him fast
bound in jest, and then hanged him up hard by in good earnest, who
with a weapon, and at liberty, would have put all those wise judges
of this Parliament to a pitifull _non plus_ (as it hath been credibly
reported), and made the cheife Iudge of them all buckell to him.”[18]

The work from which this extract is taken was published in 1632; in
1663, thirty-one years later, appeared the second part of the famous
English satire, Hudibras. Butler, its author, had come across the New
English Canaan, and the very original idea of vicarious atonement
suggested in it entertained him hugely. He appropriated and improved
it, adapting the facts to his own fancy, until at last the story
appeared in its new guise, in what was the most popular English book of
the day:

  Our Brethren of New-England use
  Choice malefactors to excuse,
  And hang the Guiltless in their stead,
  Of whom the Churches have less need;
  As lately ’t happen’d: In a town
  There liv’d a Cobler, and but one,
  That out of Doctrine could cut Use,
  And mend men’s lives as well as shoes.
  This precious Brother having slain,
  In times of peace, an Indian,
  Not out of malice, but mere zeal,
  (Because he was an Infidel),
  The mighty Tottipottymoy
  Sent to our Elders an envoy,
  Complaining sorely of the breach
  Of league held forth by Brother Patch,
  Against the articles in force
  Between both churches, his and ours,
  For which he craved the Saints to render
  Into his hands, or hang, th’ offender;
  But they maturely having weigh’d
  They had no more but him o’ th’ trade,
  (A man that served them in a double
  Capacity, to teach and cobble),
  Resolv’d to spare him; yet to do
  The Indian Hogan Moghan too
  Impartial justice, in his stead did
  Hang an old Weaver that was bed-rid.[19]

The really amusing part of this episode, however, yet remains to be
told. When it was rescued from oblivion, through the wit of Butler, in
1663, the reaction against Puritanism was at its height, and everything
which tended to render the sect, so recently all-powerful, either
odious or ridiculous, was eagerly sought for and implicitly believed.
New England, and especially the province of Massachusetts Bay, was
out of favor. So striking an exemplification of Puritan justice was
not to be disregarded. The whole absurd fiction of Morton and Butler
was, therefore, not only accepted as historical truth, but the bastard
tradition was solemnly deposited at the door of the good people of
Boston and Plymouth:--and so the Weymouth hanging passed into history
hand in hand with the famous Blue-Laws of Connecticut. There is,
however, something irresistibly ludicrous in picturing to oneself the
horror and dismay with which the severe elders of the Plymouth church
would have contemplated the saddling of their fame before posterity, on
the ribald authority of the New English Canaan and of Hudibras, with
the apocryphal misdeeds of Weston’s vagabonds. But so it happened,
and nearly a century and a half later the absurd fiction was gravely
recorded in his history by Governor Hutchinson, as a part of the early
annals of New England.[20]

But it is necessary to return to Weston’s colony. We left it face to
face with famine, deserted by its leader, and in terror of the savages;
in the wish to propitiate whom the starving, shivering outcasts had
just hung one of their own number in front of their palisade. Even
this, however, did not appease the Indians, who were now thoroughly
restless and had begun to conspire together all along the coast for the
simultaneous destruction of both the infant settlements. It was just
one year since the Virginia massacre, and that tragedy seemed about
to be re-enacted in New England. Intimations of the impending danger
reached the Plymouth and the Weymouth people at about the same time;
coming to the former through a friendly hint from Massasoit, and to the
latter from the talk of an Indian woman.

The Indians were now watching the Wessagusset settlement very closely.
In spite of their terror, the settlers, however, lived on in a reckless
way, mixing freely with the savages and taking no precautions against
surprise.[21] But one at least of their number was thoroughly alarmed,
and had resolved to make his escape to Plymouth. This was Phinehas
Pratt, one of the seven who had come on in the shallop during the
previous May in advance of the body of the enterprise. The journey
he now proposed to himself was both difficult and dangerous. It was
March, and he was insufficiently clad and weak for want of food; he
did not know the way, nor did he even have a compass. The Indians,
probably in furtherance of their half-matured conspiracy, had gradually
moved their wigwams closer and closer to the settlement. Pratt’s first
object was to steal away unobserved by them. Very early one morning,
therefore, preparing a small pack, he took a hoe in his hand and left
the settlement as if he were in search of nuts, or about to dig for
shell-fish. He went directly towards that end of the swamp nearest the
wigwams. Getting close to them he pretended to be busy digging, until
he had satisfied himself that he was unobserved; then he suddenly
plunged into the thicket and began to make his way as rapidly as he
could in a southerly direction. The sky was overcast; the ground also
was in many places covered with snow, which greatly alarmed him, as it
seemed likely to afford an almost certain trail in case of pursuit.
Fortunately for him he at once lost his way, or he must soon have been
overtaken. He hurried along, however, as fast as he could, until late
in the afternoon, when the sun appeared sufficiently to give him some
indication of his course. He at length came to the North River, which
he found both deep and cold; he succeeded in fording it, however, and,
as night began to fall, found himself too weary to go further, weak
from cold and hunger and yet afraid to light a fire. Finally he came
to a deep hollow in which were many fallen trees; here he stopped,
lit a fire and rested, listening to the howling of the wolves in the
woods around him. At night the sky cleared and he distinguished the
north star, thus getting his bearings. He resumed his journey in the
morning but found himself unable to proceed with it, and so returned to
his camping place of the previous night. The succeeding day, however,
was clear, and he started again; this time more successfully, for
by three o’clock in the afternoon he got to Duxbury and recognized
the landmarks; soon afterwards reaching the settlement, thoroughly
exhausted, but in safety. He thus finished a perilous journey, for the
pursuers were not far behind him. The next day they appeared on the
outskirts of the settlement and assured themselves of his arrival.
They had lost his trail, and, following the more direct path, had
missed him; but nevertheless he had, as he himself expressed it, “been
pursued for his life in time of frost and snow as a deer chased by the

He now delivered his tidings and was cared for, but found the Plymouth
settlement fully awake to the danger. The council had already the
subject under advisement, and, the day before Pratt’s arrival, had
decided upon war. Their proceedings were vigorous. Captain Miles
Standish was authorized to take with him such a force as was in
his judgment sufficient to enable him to hold his own against all
the Indians in the neighborhood of Boston Bay, and go at once to
Wessagusset. He did not apparently place a very high estimate either on
the numbers or the valor of his opponents, for he selected only eight
men,[23] and with them was on the point of starting when Pratt arrived.
The next day, March 25, 1623, the wind proved fair, and so the little
army got into its boat and set sail.

Reaching Weymouth Fore River on the 26th, after a prosperous voyage,
Standish steered directly for the Swan, which was lying at her moorings
near the settlement. Greatly to his surprise he found her wholly
deserted,--there was not a soul on board. A musket was fired as a
signal, which attracted the attention of a few miserable creatures busy
searching for nuts. From them Standish learned that the principal men
of the settlement were in the stockade; so he landed, and, after some
conversation with them, promptly began his preparations. The stragglers
were all called in, and every one was forbidden to go beyond gun-shot
from the stockade. Rations of corn were issued to all out of the
slender stock which the prudent Plymouth people had reserved for seed,
and something like discipline was established. The weather was wet
and stormy, delaying final operations, but the Indians, nevertheless,
seeing Standish on the ground, began to suspect that their designs
were discovered. Pecksuot, their chief, accordingly came in and had
an interview, Hobbamock, a friendly Indian who had accompanied the
expedition, acting as interpreter.

This was one of the very famous Indian talks of early New England
annals; not only was it chronicled in all the records of the time, but
it has since found a place in poetry, so that to-day the speech of the
savage Pecksuot to the doughty Miles Standish is most familiar to us
through the verses of Longfellow[24]:--

  Then he unsheathed his knife, and, whetting the blade on his left
  Held it aloft, and displayed a woman’s face on the handle,
  Saying, with bitter expression and look of sinister meaning:
  “I have another at home, with the face of a man on the handle;
  By and by they shall marry; and there will be plenty of children!”

This figurative language both Standish and his Indian interpreter
accepted as meaning war. At the moment, however, no act of overt
hostility took place on either side. Standish was not ready. His plan
was to strike, but when he struck he meant to strike hard. He proposed,
in fact, to get all the Indians he could into his power and then to
kill them.[25] The day after the knife interview he found himself with
several of his men in a room with four of the savages, among whom were
Pecksuot and Wituwamat. Suddenly Standish gave the signal and flung
himself on Pecksuot, snatching his knife from its sheath on his neck
and stabbing him with it. The door was closed and a life-and-death
struggle ensued. The savages were taken by surprise, but they fought
hard, making little noise but catching at their weapons and struggling
until they were cut almost to pieces. Finally Pecksuot, Wituwamat and
a third Indian were killed; while a fourth, a youth of eighteen, was
overpowered and secured; him, Standish subsequently hung. The massacre,
for such in historic justice it must be called, seeing that they killed
every man they could lay their hands on, then began. There were eight
warriors in the stockade at the time,--Standish and his party had
killed three and secured one; they subsequently killed another, while
the Weston people despatched two more. One only escaped to give the
alarm, which was rapidly spread through the Indian villages.

Standish immediately followed up his advantage. Leaving some Indian
women, who happened to be in the stockade, in charge of a portion of
his own men and of the settlers, he took one or two of the latter and
the remainder of his own force, and started in pursuit. He had gone
no great distance when a file of Indians was seen advancing. Both
parties hurried forward to secure the advantage of a rising ground
near at hand. Standish got to it first, and the savages at once
scattered, sheltering themselves behind trees and discharging a flight
of arrows at their opponents. The engagement was, however, very brief,
for Hobbamock, throwing off his coat, rushed at his countrymen, who
incontinently fled to the swamp; one only of the party being injured,
a shot breaking his arm. Further pursuit was unavailing, so Standish
returned to the stockade, from which he caused the Indian women to be
dismissed unharmed.

The Weston people now discovered that they had had enough of life in
the wilderness, and wholly declined to tarry any longer at Wessagusset.
Standish asserted his readiness to hold the place against all the
Indians of the vicinage with half the force of the Weston party, but
they were not Standishes, nor did they feel any call to heroism. So,
the choice being given to them, they divided,--one portion, on board
the Swan, following Sanders to the coast of Maine, while the rest
accompanied Standish home and cast in their lot among the Plymouth
people. Standish supplied those on board the Swan with a sufficiency of
corn whereon to sustain life, and saw them safely leave the harbor and
bear away to the north and east; then he himself, carrying with him the
head of Wituwamat, to ornament the Plymouth block-house as a terror to
all evil-disposed savages, sailed prosperously home.

Thus in failure, disgrace and bloodshed ended the first attempt of
a settlement at Weymouth. Ill-conceived, ill-executed, ill-fated,
it was probably saved from utter extirpation only by the energetic
interference of the Plymouth people. And these last not unjustifiably
indulged in some grim chuckling over the speedy downfall of those who
had thought to teach them how to subdue a wilderness.[26] Three men
only remained behind at Wessagusset. One of these had domesticated
himself among the savages; the other two, in defiance of orders,
had straggled off to an Indian settlement where they had been left
by a companion on the day of the engagement. All three were put to
death by the savages, probably with that refinement of cruelty which
distinguished Indian executions; for, afterwards, in speaking of their
fate, one of the savages said, “When we killed your men they cried and
made ill-favored faces.”[27]

When good old John Robinson, at Leyden, heard of the Wessagusset
killing he was sorely moved. He wrote out to his flock a letter
of gentle caution in respect to the rough ways of Captain Miles
Standish, who, though the aged pastor loved him, he yet intimated was
one perchance “wanting that tenderness of the life of man which is
meet.” He also referred to the Wessagusset settlers as “heathenish
Christians,” and exclaimed in reference to Pecksuot and Wituwamat, “Oh!
how happy a thing had it been if you had converted some before you had
killed any.”[28] Nevertheless, rough as he was, the Plymouth people
then stood in greater need of stern Miles Standish than of gentle John
Robinson. The times were not meet for works of conversion, nor were
Pecksuot and his friends favorable subjects therefor. In the light of
the Virginia experience of 1622, and of the New England terror during
the war of King Philip, posterity must concede that the severe course
of Miles Standish here in Weymouth, in March, 1623, was the most truly
merciful course. The settlers had demoralized the Indians. They had
at once inspired them with anger, with dislike and with contempt. Any
sign of faltering on the part of the Plymouth people would have been
fatal. Had they abandoned Wessagusset to its fate, the settlers there
would have been exterminated, and the savages, maddened by a taste
of blood, would have turned upon Plymouth. The woods would have rung
with war-whoops and the feeble colony could scarcely have survived the
ordeal of blood treading hard on that of famine. Standish crushed out
the danger in the incipient stage. By ruthlessly murdering seven men
he re-established the moral ascendency of the whites, and so saved the
lives of hundreds. He stopped the war before it began, and deferred it
to another generation. In so doing, the Puritan captain revealed the
instinctive sagacity of a true soldier,--he struck so that he did not
have to strike twice:--he cowed the savages at Weymouth, and for years
peace was secured for Plymouth.[29]

All this took place in March, and, shortly after, the unfortunate Mr.
Weston arrived on the coast of Maine, seeking news of his colony.
He there heard of its ruin and, with one or two men, started in a
small boat for Wessagusset. His ill-fortune pursued him. Overtaken
by a storm he was cast away near where Newburyport now stands, and
barely saved his life only to fall into the hands of the savages, who
stripped him to his shirt. He succeeded, however, in finding his way
back to the fishing stations in Maine and thence to Plymouth. The
people there received him kindly, and loaned him some beaver-skins on
which to trade: and again he returned to the eastward. There he found
his smaller vessel, the Swan, and some of his people. Afterwards he
seems to have been both very adventurous and very unfortunate. He made
frequent voyages to Virginia, and now and again flits vaguely across
the page of Plymouth history,--in debt, in trouble, in arrest. Finally
he returned to England, where, long afterwards, during the wars of
Cromwell, he died of the plague at Bristol.

But Wessagusset was not destined long to remain a solitude. Deserted in
March, it was again occupied just six months later; for, in the middle
of September, 1623, Captain Robert Gorges, a son of that Sir Ferdinand
whose name is so prominent in the early annals of New England, sailed
up the Fore River, and landed at Weston’s deserted plantation. His
enterprise was of a quite different character from that which had
preceded it. He held a grant from the Council of New England, covering
a tract of land vaguely described as lying on the north-east side
of Massachusetts Bay, as what is now known as Boston Bay was then
called, and covering ten miles of sea-front, while stretching thirty
miles into the interior. He was also commissioned as Governor-General,
and authorized to correct any abuses which had crept into the affairs
of the company in America; for the more effectual doing of which he
was further provided with a grand admiral and a council, of which the
Governor of Plymouth for the time being was _ex officio_ a member.
His jurisdiction was of the largest description, civil, criminal
and ecclesiastical, for he also brought with him in his company one
Mr. William Morell, a clergyman of the Church of England, holding
a commission from the ecclesiastical courts of the mother country,
which authorized him to exercise a species of superintendency over the
churches of the colony. This whole expedition seems, in fact, to have
been organized on a most ludicrously grandiose scale, probably to meet
the views of its commander, who had recently seen some service in the
Venetian wars and was now nourishing ambitious visions of an empire in
the wilderness. The establishment of Episcopacy in New England had long
been a favorite idea with Sir Ferdinand Gorges,[30] and now, when he
sent his son thither, he provided him not only with a council and an
admiral, but also with a primate. This company was, however, composed
of a different material from that of Weston’s. It was made up of
families, as well as of individuals, and contained in it some elements
of strength.[31] The party disembarked just as the autumn tints began
to glow through the forest, and busied themselves with the erection
of their storehouses. Captain Gorges meanwhile notified the Plymouth
people of his arrival, and Governor Bradford prepared to answer the
summons in person. Before he could do so, however, Gorges started on a
voyage to the fishing stations in Maine; but, encountering some rough
weather on his way, he put about and ran into Plymouth in search of
a pilot. He remained there some fourteen days, and then, instead of
resuming his voyage, he returned to Wessagusset by land. Upon reaching
his seat of government he, for the first, and, so far as appears, for
the last time, made any use of his great civil and military powers by
causing Weston, who had turned up in Plymouth Bay, on board the Swan,
to be arrested and sent with this vessel around to Weymouth. His own
ship, meanwhile, remained at Plymouth, where, on the 5th of November,
her company occasioned a great disaster to the unfortunate colonists.
The weather was cold, and a number of seamen were celebrating Guy
Fawkes’ day before a large fire in one of the houses, when the thatch
ignited, and, for a brief time, it was a question whether the general
storehouse, and with it the Plymouth colony, were not to be destroyed.
Fortunately only three or four houses were burned, but it is curious
to reflect how much more heavily the loss of those few log huts bore
on the Plymouth of those days than did the great conflagration of two
centuries and a half later on the Boston of ours. At any rate it seemed
to sicken Captain Robert Gorges and his party, for, shortly after it,
he retired to England, thoroughly disgusted with the work of founding
empires in the New World.[32] With him returned the larger part of his
company, but not the whole of it; nor, indeed, does Weymouth seem ever
again to have been abandoned as a settlement. While some of the party
went to Virginia, others remained at Wessagusset, and Mr. Morell took
up his temporary abode at Plymouth. This gentleman appears, indeed,
to have been not only a man of education and refinement, but also to
have been possessed of discretion and good sense. For a wonder he,
an ecclesiastic, remained at Plymouth nearly a year with a letter
in his pocket conferring on him great powers, and yet he neither
sought to exercise any authority, nor did he intrigue or stir up any
trouble. On the contrary, he quietly minded his own business, and
beguiled his leisure hours in the composition of a very good Latin poem
descriptive of the country.[33] He made of it, too, a very bad metrical
translation. The piece is curious, but now scarcely repays perusal.[34]
With the country he was charmed, but not so with the natives who
inhabited it. Indeed, he seems to have been impressed with America
much as Bishop Reginald Heber was, long afterwards, with India, for he
described his diocese in language similar to that used by the latter

  “Though every prospect pleases,
      And only man is vile.”

A few very brief extracts will give a sufficient idea both of the
spirit of his poem and of the otherwise than smoothness of his
versification. It is Weymouth itself, perhaps, that he thus describes:--

  “The fruitfull and well watered earth doth glad
  All hearts, when Flora’s with her spangles clad,
  And yeelds an hundred fold for one,
  To feede the bee and to invite the drone.

       *       *       *       *       *

  “There nature’s bounties, though not planted are,
  Great store and sorts of berries great and faire:
  The filberd, cherry and the fruitful vine,
  Which cheares the heart and makes it more divine.
  Earth’s spangled beauties pleasing smell and sight;
  Objects for gallant choice and chiefe delight.
       *       *       *       *       *

  “All ore that maine the vernant trees abound,
  Where cedar, cypres, spruce and beech are found.
  Ash, oake and wal-nut, pines and junipere;
  The hasel, palme and hundred more are there.
  Ther’s grasse and hearbs contenting man and beast,
  On which both deare, and beares, and wolves do feast.”

When he comes to deal with the noble savage, however, his enthusiasm
rapidly wanes:--

  “They’re wondrous cruell, strangely base and vile,
  Quickly displeas’d, and hardly reconcil’d;
       *       *       *       *       *

  “Whose hayre is cut with greeces, yet a locke
  Is left; the left side bound up in a knott:
       *       *       *       *       *

  “Of body straight, tall, strong, mantled in skin
  Of deare or bever, with the hayre-side in;
       *       *       *       *       *

  “A kind of _pinsen_ keeps their feet from cold,
  Which after travels they put off, up-fold,
  Themselves they warme, their ungirt limbes they rest
  In straw, and houses, like to sties.”

The Rev. William Morell, however, the next year (1624), abandoned
both the wilderness and the savages, returning to England; and with
him Episcopacy, that exotic in New England, withdrew for many years
from these shores. The settlement at Weymouth was not for all that
wholly broken up. This statement now admits of conclusive proof;
for while previous to Robert Gorges’ arrival at Weymouth the region
about Boston Bay had been wholly unoccupied, from that time forward
there is evidence of scattered plantations upon its islands and along
its shores. The Plymouth annals distinctly state that some few of
his people remained behind when he withdrew, and were assisted from
thence.[35] Two years later, the next settlers in that vicinity find
them still at Wessagusset.[36] Two years later yet they re-appear in
history, as we shall presently see. In 1631, or three years later, the
persons through whom the place thus re-appears take the oath as freemen
on the settlement of Boston.[37] In 1632, Governor Winthrop visited
Wessagusset and was liberally entertained by those residing there.[38]
The next year, the place is described as a “small village”;[39] and
finally, in 1636, it sends as a deputy to the General Court one of
those who had been prominent in connection with events there in
1628.[40] There is, therefore, but one year, 1624, unaccounted for,
between the Gorges’ settlement and the incorporation of the town in
1635. But the evidence does not stop here. When Captain Gorges returned
to England, the records of the Council of New England state that he
left his plantation in charge of certain persons, who are referred
to as “his servants, and certain other Undertakers and Tenants.”[41]
Shortly after, Robert Gorges died and his brother John succeeded to the
grant. He undertook to convey a portion of it to one John Oldham, and
accordingly wrote to William Blackstone and William Jeffries, two of
the settlers on Boston Bay, to put his grantee in possession.

And now we come to a most interesting point in connection with the
earliest records of Boston. When Winthrop and his company landed
in Charlestown in 1630, they found this William Blackstone already
settled on the opposite peninsula in what is now Boston.[42] He had
then been there some five or six years, but how he got there or from
whence has always been a mystery. There he was, however. Now when
John Gorges proposed to make over to Oldham his brother’s grant of
land, he naturally would have sent his directions to those “servants,”
“undertakers” or “tenants,” who had been left in possession of it
by his brother. As a matter of fact he did send his instructions
to Blackstone and Jeffries, and the last named then was living at
Wessagusset, while both were within the limits of the patent. The
inference is difficult to resist that both had belonged to the Gorges
settlement,--that one had remained on its site, while the other had
moved away about a year after Gorges left to a locality which pleased
him better. That Jeffries was settled at Weymouth admits of no
question, for when that place next appears in the authentic records of
the time it is under a double name, both as Wessagusset and as Jeffries
and Burslem’s plantation.

The whole chain of connected evidence, therefore, not only tends to
shew the continuing settlement of Weymouth after September, 1623, but
it also establishes the strong presumption that Boston itself was first
occupied by a straggling recluse from what is now called the village of
Old Spain.

       *       *       *       *       *

The two hundred and fifty-first year of the consecutive settlement
of Weymouth will, therefore, as I conceive, be completed during the
month of September next; nor can I find any sufficient authority for
the generally accepted statement that an additional body of settlers
arrived during the year 1624, from the town of the same name in
England, having with them the Rev. Mr. Barnard, who died here after
a ministration of eleven years.[43] With the departure of Captain
Robert Gorges the Wessagusset settlement practically vanishes from
the page of cotemporary history, only to re-appear again four years
later in connection with a very famous incident. By one authority only
during the intervening time do I find its name mentioned. Mr. Thomas
Morton of Merry Mount, he of cobbler atonement memory, refers to it
as a place to which he had recourse in winter “to have the benefit of
company”;[44] and he seems to have been upon tolerably familiar terms
with those living there, as several years after he wrote to William
Jeffries, addressing him as “My very good gossip.”[45] These visits
of Morton were made between the years 1625 and 1628. Once only does
he refer to the place in connection with any clergyman, and then it
is with one notorious enough in the early annals, but of a different
stripe from what the Rev. Mr. Barnard is supposed to have been.[46]
With this single exception, Wessagusset, between 1623 and 1628, is
referred to by the chroniclers of the day only as included in several
weak and scattered plantations. In 1628, however, it again asserted
an existence. It happened in this wise. The year after Captain Robert
Gorges had retired in disgust, a certain Captain Wollaston had made
his appearance in Boston Bay, in company with several associates,
bringing with him a party of hired people with a view to establishing a
permanent trading post. He selected, as best adapted for his purpose,
the rising ground over against Wessagusset to the north, which in
his honor was called Mount Wollaston, the name by which it has ever
since been known. This spot had some time previously been the home
of Chicatabot, the greatest sagamore of the neighborhood, by whom
it had been cleared of trees.[47] He, however, had abandoned it some
eight years before, at the time of the great plague. Then, as now,
that portion of the bay was very shallow, so that ships could not
ride near the shore, nor boats approach it when the tide was out.
There was, however, an abundance of beaver in the vicinity, and here
Wollaston’s party established itself. After a brief trial, however,
Wollaston himself seems to have liked the prospect no better than
Captain Gorges, for he departed for Virginia with a portion of his
company, leaving the remainder behind in charge of a Mr. Rassdall, one
of his partners. Presently he summoned Rassdall to follow him with yet
others of the party, and one Mr. Fitcher was left in command of the
remainder. Among these was Mr. Thomas Morton. This individual had a
very well developed talent for mischief, which speedily found room for
exercise at the expense of Lieutenant Fitcher, who was deposed from his
command, expelled from the settlement and left to shift for himself
with the aid of the neighboring settlers. Then Mount Wollaston became
Merry Mount, with Thomas Morton for its presiding genius. According to
all showing they seem to have been a drunken, dissolute set, trading
with the savages for beaver-skins, holding very questionable relations
with the Indian women, and generally leading a wild, reckless existence
on the bleak and well-nigh uninhabited New England shore. Their house
stood very near the present dwelling of Mr. John Q. Adams, and they
scandalized the whole coast by erecting near it a May-pole, which
Morton describes as having been some eighty feet in height, with a pair
of buckhorns nailed to the top. Upon this pole the retired barrister
seems to have been in the custom of fastening copies of verses of his
own production, while he and his companions conducted noisy revels
about it. All this was bad enough and sufficiently well calculated to
stir the gall of the severe elders of Plymouth. But the mischief did
not stop here. The business of this precious company, in the intervals
of merriment, was to trade; and in conducting their business they
were by no means scrupulous. Liquor, fire-arms and ammunition were
freely exchanged for furs, and the unsophisticated savage evinced a
decided appreciation of the first and a dangerous aptitude in the
use of the last. Thus the solitary settlers about Boston harbor soon
found themselves in danger of their lives, as they espied armed
Indians prowling about their habitations. The trade, however, was so
profitable that Morton, regardless of consequences, was preparing to
develop it on a larger scale when his neighbors met together and took
counsel one with another. The Mount Wollaston settlement was, indeed,
the first recorded instance of what in later Massachusetts history is
technically known as “a liquor nuisance,” and the neighbors determined
that considerations of public safety required that it should be abated.
Those were primitive times. They enjoyed few of the advantages of our
more developed civilization, and while there were no ladies of the
vicinage to wait upon the then lord of Merry Mount in a spirit of
prayerful remonstrance, there was also no State constabulary before
whom the “rumseller” trembled and fled. As the best substitute for
these moral and legal agencies, and after fruitless efforts at reform
through written admonishments which the carnal Morton received in
a most unsatisfactory spirit of contumely, the men of the vicinage
called upon the fathers of Plymouth.[48] These at once despatched the
redoubtable Miles Standish to the scene of trouble, with directions to
set matters to rights there once more, even as he had done five years
before in the days of Pecksuot. Weymouth was the scene of a portion
of the succeeding operations, which were of a nature too delightfully
humorous to be told in any language except that of the actors and of
the time; besides the accounts furnish a very beautiful illustration
of the discrepancies in authority which it becomes the painful duty of
the historian to reconcile. And first, Thomas Morton shall tell his own

 “They set upon my honest host [Morton] at a place, called Wessaguscus,
 where (by accident) they found him. The inhabitants there were in
 good hope, of the subvertion of the plantation at Mare Mount (which
 they principally aymed at); and the rather, because mine host was a
 man that indeavoured to advance the dignity of the Church of England;
 which they (on the contrary part) would laboure to vilifie; with
 uncivile terms: enveying against the sacred booke of common prayer,
 and mine host [Morton] that used it in a laudable manner amongst his
 family, as a practise of piety....

 “In briefe, mine host [Morton] must indure to be their prisoner,
 untill they could contrive it so, that they might send him for England
 (as they said), there to suffer according to the merrit of the fact,
 which they intended to father upon him....

 “Much rejoycing was made that they had gotten their cappitall enemy,
 .... The Conspirators sported themselves at my honest host [Morton],
 that meant them no hurt; and were so joccund that they feasted their
 bodies, and fell to tippeling, as if they had obtained a great prize;
 .... Mine host [Morton] fained greefe: and could not be perswaded
 either to eate, or drinke, because hee knew emptines would be a
 meanes to make him as watchfull as the Geese kept in the Roman
 Cappitall: whereon the contrary part, the conspirators would be so
 drowsy that hee might have an opportunity to give them a slip, instead
 of a tester. Six persons of the conspiracy were set to watch him at
 Wessaguscus: But hee kept waking; and in the dead of night (one lying
 on the bed, for further suerty,) up gets mine Host [Morton] and got
 to the second dore that hee was to passe which (notwithstanding the
 lock) hee got open: and shut it after him with such violence, that it
 affrighted some of the conspirators.

 “The word which was given with an alarme, was, ô he’s gon, he’s gon,
 what shall we doe, he’s gon? the rest (halfe a sleepe) start up in a
 maze, and like rames, ran theire heads one at another full butt in the

 “Their grand leader Captaine Shrimp [Standish] tooke on most
 furiously, and tore his clothes for anger, to see the empty nest, and
 their bird gone. The rest were eager to have torne theire haire from
 theire heads, but it was so short, that it would give them no hold:
 .... In the meane time mine Host [Morton] was got home to Ma-re Mount
 through the woods, eight miles, round about the head of the river
 Monatoquit, that parted the two Plantations: finding his way by the
 help of the lightening (for it thundered as he went terribly)....

 “Now Captaine Shrimp [Standish] ... takes eight persons more to him,
 and they imbarque with preparation against Ma-re-Mount.... Now the
 nine Worthies are approached; and mine Host [Morton] prepared: having
 intelligence by a Salvage, that hastened in love from Wessaguscus to
 give him notice of their intent.... The nine Worthies comming before
 the Denne of this supposed Monster, (this seaven headed hydra, as
 they termed him) and began like Don Quixote against the Windmill to
 beate a parly, and to offer quarter (if mine Host [Morton] would
 yeald).... Yet to save the effusion of so much worthy bloud, as would
 have issued out of the vaynes of these 9. worthies of New Canaan, if
 mine Host should have played upon them out at his port holes (for
 they came within danger like a flocke of wild geese, as if they had
 bin tayled one to another, as coults to be sold at a faire) mine Host
 [Morton] was content to yeelde upon quarter; and did capitulate with
 them: .... But mine Host [Morton] no sooner had set open the dore and
 issued out: but instantly Captaine Shrimpe [Standish], and the rest
 of the worthies stepped to him, layd hold of his armes; and had him
 downe, and so eagerly was every man bent against him (not regarding
 any agreement made with such a carnall man) that they fell upon him,
 as if they would have eaten him: ....

 “Captaine Shrimpe [Standish] and the rest of the nine worthies, made
 themselves (by this outragious riot) Masters of mine Hoste [Morton] of
 Ma-re Mount, and disposed of what hee had at his plantation.”[49]

So much for Mr. Thomas Morton’s account of this “outragious riot;” now
let us see what Captain Standish had to say of the affair:

 “So they resolved to take Morton by force. The which accordingly was
 done; but they found him to stand stifly in his defence, having made
 fast his dors, armed his consorts, set diverse dishes of powder &
 bullets ready on yᵉ table; and if they had not been over armed with
 drinke, more hurt might have been done. They som̄aned him to yeeld,
 but he kept his house, and they could gett nothing but scofes & scorns
 from him; but at length, fearing they would doe some violence to yᵉ
 house, he and some of his crue came out, but not to yeeld, but to
 shoote; but they were so steeld with drinke as their peeces were too
 heavie for them; him selfe with a carbine (over charged & allmost
 halfe fild with powder & shote, as was after found) had thought to
 have shot Captaine Standish; but he stept to him, & put by his peece,
 & tooke him. Neither was ther any hurte done to any of either side,
 save yᵗ one was so drunke yᵗ he rane his own nose upon yᵉ pointe of a
 sword yᵗ one held before him as he entred yᵉ house; but he lost but a
 litle of his hott blood.”[50]

Whichever of these widely divergent accounts is the more correct,
upon one point they both concur, and that is, after all, the vital
point, that Morton was arrested, carried to Plymouth and presently
sent to England; while the Wollaston settlement was practically
broken up, the liquor nuisance abated, and the trade in firearms and
ammunition stopped. Peace and security were thus once more restored
to Wessagusset, through the agency of Miles Standish. Nor were these
blessings won at any unreasonable price, as the whole cost of the
expedition was computed at £12 7_s._, of which sum £2 was assessed on
the settlers at Wessagusset, and £2 10_s._ on the Plymouth colony.[51]

The destruction of the May-pole at Merry Mount took place in the early
days of June, 1628, and just two years later Governor Winthrop arrived
in Boston harbor and the consecutive annals of the Massachusetts Bay
began. It is yet another two years, however, before we again meet
with a mention of Weymouth, still under its Indian name. In August,
1632, Governor Winthrop, in company with the Rev. Mr. Wilson and other
notables, took ship at Boston and landed at Wessagusset; and thence the
succeeding day the distinguished party started on foot for Plymouth,
completing their journey by night. Six days later, on the 31st of the
same month, they returned; leaving Plymouth at five in the morning and
reaching Wessagusset in the evening, where they passed the night, and
finished their journey next morning by water.[52] We have Governor
Winthrop’s authority for the assertion that, both going and returning,
they were here most hospitably feasted on the turkeys, geese and ducks
of the neighborhood.[53] Two years later again Wessagusset was summoned
by the General Court to assume charge of one of its pauper inhabitants,
who had seen fit to fall ill at Dorchester;[54] and in 1635 the Court
established a commission to fix the boundary line between what are
now Braintree and Weymouth,--then Mt. Wollaston and Wessagusset. Thus
through eleven years, from 1624 to 1635, the early settlers of Weymouth
only occasionally emerge from the oblivion of the past and are dimly
shadowed on the mirror of New England history. But now, at last, in
the year 1635, Wessagusset was by the order of the General Court made
a plantation under the name of Weymouth, and the Rev. Mr. Hull, with
twenty-one families from England, were allowed to establish themselves
here.[55] Why the name of Weymouth was adopted I do not find recorded:
it may well have been that the Rev. Mr. Hull and his party came from
that place in the old country, but there does not appear to be any
ground for asserting such to have been the fact.[56] With Mr. Hull,
however, began the long succession of clergymen who ministered to the
old first parish, of whom the present incumbent is the thirteenth. In
the earlier days of New England the pastorates marked epochs in the
history of the towns, much as do the reigns of kings and queens in
European annals. Nor indeed were certain of the Weymouth pastorates
brief in point of time, for two of them covered the long period of one
entire century.

To return, however, to the political history of the town; in the same
year (1635) in which it was created a plantation, Weymouth was also
authorized to send a deputy to the General Court. The next year three
deputies made their appearance instead of one; but, considering the
size of the place they represented, the delegation with becoming
modesty requested that two of their number might be dismissed, and
accordingly Messrs. Bursley and Upham received leave to withdraw.[57]
From that time forward, through a space of one hundred and thirty
years, the political history of Weymouth moved uneventfully along,--a
portion of that of the Province,--rendered noticeable only by some
question of boundaries, by fines imposed because of the badness of
highways or the insufficiency of the watch-house or carelessness in
checking the roving propensities of swine, or by the division of a
whale found stranded on its shore, or some other equally trifling
incident of municipal government. The tax-collector made his annual
visits, and his records seem to show that, as compared with others, the
town during its earlier years was neither populous nor wealthy. Its
proportion was in the neighborhood of one-fiftieth part of the whole
amount levied on the colony, ranging from £4 to £10 each year; but in
1637 came the Pequod War, and during that year Weymouth was assessed
for £27 in a total levy of £1,500. The town could not even then be said
to rank high on the assessors’ books, being thirteenth in a list of

As respects population during the first half century of the existence
of Weymouth, there is small material on which to form an estimate.
In 1637 a levy of one hundred and sixty men was made to carry on the
Pequod War; of these Weymouth furnished five as her contingent. Under
the system of computation adopted by the highest authority,[58] this
would indicate a total of about five hundred souls, which I am inclined
to think was not far from the true number. During the next century and
a quarter the increase was very slow, so that in 1776 the population
but little exceeded 1,400;[59] indeed, it may be said that during the
century and a half which succeeded the Pequod War the increase of the
town in numbers scarcely exceeded one-half of one per cent. a year. To
the Weymouth of to-day,--with its population of 10,000 souls,--1,400,
and much less 500, seems a somewhat sparse settlement. It did not so
impress the first inhabitants. On the contrary, in 1642 the townspeople
of those days thought themselves so numerous as to render expedient
the removal of a portion of their number to a new settlement. This was
accordingly determined on, and the Rev. Mr. Newman, the clergyman of
the time, to prevent all dispute, offered either to go or to remain
as his parishioners should decide. A vote was taken, which resulted
in favor of the removing party; with them, therefore, he cast in his
lot at the place selected for their settlement, to which the pastor
gave the name of Rehoboth, which it still bears. In later years other
and larger migrations took place, first to Easton and subsequently to
Abington, thus accounting for the slow movement of population in the
mother town, which, indeed, between 1740 and 1780 rather tended to
diminish than to increase. This condition of affairs, however, in no
way disturbed the inhabitants. On the contrary, four years after the
Rehoboth secession, the town records under the date of April 6, 1646,
contain this singular entry, with the significant words “Stand Good,”
written against it in the margin:

“Whereas we find by sad experience the great inconvenience that many
times it comes to pass by the permitting of strangers to come into the
plantation pretending only to sojourn for a season, but afterwards they
have continued a while account themselves inhabitants with us, and so
challeng to themselves all such priviledges and immunitys as others
do enjoy, who notwithstanding are of little use to advance the public
good, but rather many times are troublesome and prove a burden to the
plantation, the premises considered, together with the straightness of
the place, the number of the people, and the smallness of the trade we
yet have amongst us, we the townsmen whose names are subscribed for
the prevention of this and the like inconveniencys, have thought good
to present to consideration the insuing order to be voted by the whole
Towne to stande in force as long as they in wisdome shall see just

       *       *       *       *       *

“First that no inhabitant within this plantation shall presume to take
into his house as an inmate, or servant, any person or persons, unless
he shall give sufficient bonds, to defray the plantation of what damage
may ensue thereuppon, or be as covenant servant, and that for one year
at the least without leave first had and obtayned from the whole Towne
at some of their public meetings, under the penalty of 5 shillings a
week as long as hee shall continue in the breach of this order, to be
levied by the constable or other officer, and delivered to the townsmen
for the time being, to be improved for the use and benefit of the
towne. Also it is further agreed upon by and with the consent of the
whole towne that no person or persons within this plantation shall lett
or sell any house, or land, to any person or persons that is not an
inhabitant amongst us, untill he hath first made a tender of it to the
Towne, at a trayning or some lecture day or other public meeting.”

       *       *       *       *       *

And to show that this was not a mere empty threat, it is but necessary
to turn to this other record of thirty-eight years later, April 30ᵗʰ,

       *       *       *       *       *

“At a Meeting of the Selectmen they passed a warrant to the Constable
John Pratt as followeth:--

 “To the Constable of Weymouth

 “You are hereby required in his Majestys name forthwith to distrain
 upon the Estate of Joseph Poole to the value of five shillings which
 is for the breach of town order for entertaining of Sarah Downing one
 week contrary to town order, and so from week to week as long as the
 said Joseph Poole shall entertaine the said Sarah Downing.

 “Dated Aprill 30ᵗʰ 1684. Signed in the name and by the order of the

                                                    “SAMUEL WHITE.”[60]

Not unnaturally, therefore, with continual migrations of its
people taking place, and with the advent of new population sternly
discouraged, the growth of Weymouth was slow. Nevertheless, grow it
did, and it prospered. I have spoken of the long interval of one
hundred and twenty-five years between 1640 and 1765, an interval which
includes one-half of the entire history of the town, as a single
period. As such it can best be treated, for with Weymouth, as with
most other New England towns, it was the time of slow growth, the long
period of infancy. It was marked by few events of importance. In 1676
the terror of King Philip’s war swept over Weymouth, as it did over
all the other outlying settlements of the colony. That was by far the
most cruel ordeal through which Massachusetts has ever passed,--one,
of the deep agony of which it is not easy for us, removed from it by
two hundred years of time, to form even a dim conception. I shall not
pause to dilate upon it here, though, in a far less degree it is true
than many of her sister settlements, Weymouth then tasted the horrors
of savage warfare. Women were slaughtered and houses were burned within
her limits, and the losses she sustained were sufficiently severe to
induce the General Court to allow the abatement of a portion of her
tax. Again she was called upon to furnish her contingent of soldiers,
who doubtless played their part manfully enough at the storming of
Narragansett Fort.[61] Indeed, in every warlike ordeal through which
Massachusetts has been called to pass,--from the first struggle of
Miles Standish, in 1624, to the great rebellion, two hundred and
forty years later,--the ancient town may fairly claim that she has
contributed of her blood with no stinting hand.

But the war of King Philip was ended, and again Weymouth lapsed into
the old, quiet, steady, uneventful life. During the next ninety years
I doubt if anything more momentous occurred within her limits than the
burning of the town meeting-house, in 1751. That, however, was a very
remarkable year,--one still borne in painful recollection,--the saddest
in the whole history of Weymouth. It has indeed left its mark on the
records, where, under date of May 21st, 1752, in the town meeting that
day held, it was--

“Voted to send no representative this present year on account of the
great charge of building a Meeting-house, and the extraordinary
Sickness that has prevailed in the town in the year past.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The meeting-house was burned on the 23d of April, and its destruction
was impressed on the recollection of those living in the vicinity by a
special circumstance. The fathers of the town had seen fit to utilize
the loft over the church as a magazine, and in it was stored the
supply of town powder to the very respectable amount of three barrels.
Naturally, at the proper moment, this brought the conflagration to
a crisis, making, as Parson Smith, the clergyman of the period, has
recorded, “a surprising noise when it blew up.” The event has also been
celebrated in contemporaneous verse by Paul Torrey, the village Milton:

  Our powder stock, kept under lock,
    With flints and bullets were,
  By dismal blast soon swiftly cast
    Into the open air.

The poet also intimates grave suspicions as to the origin of the
fire, and indeed hints at a personal knowledge of the incendiaries,
suggesting very radical measures for their destruction and extirpation:

  O range and search in every arch,
    And cellar round about;
  Search low and high, with hue and cry,
    To find those rebels out.

  I’m satisfy’d they do reside,
    Some where within the Town;
  Therefore no doubt, you’ll find them out,
    By searching up and down.

  On trial them we will condemn,
    The sentence we will give;
  Them execute without dispute,
    Not being fit to live.[62]

History does not record any satisfactory result as attending the poet’s
search, but in the succeeding year he was tuning his lyre to sing the
dedication of a new and more commodious edifice, erected in place
of that which had been destroyed. But the other disaster which made
memorable the year 1751 was far more terrible than the destruction
of any building the work of human hands. That year was marked by
a veritable slaughter of the innocents. Death stalked through the
town. Between May, 1751, and May, 1752, a terrible throat distemper
so raged among the children as to amount almost to a pestilence. In
October, 1751, alone, thirty died, and in all there perished some one
hundred and twenty. Out of a population of only twelve hundred, no
less than one hundred and fifty persons died in the town during that
twelvemonth.[63] During the succeeding year the disease gradually
disappeared, and has since been almost unknown in Weymouth. Rarely,
indeed, however, even in times of plague, has the death-rate exceeded
that of Weymouth in 1751-2.

Broken here and there by such episodes as these, the life of the little
settlement flowed on in the general even tenor of its way through the
lives of four generations of its children. It was an existence which
we now find it difficult to picture. Living as we do in the hurry
and bustle of the modern world,--having the record of human life in
both hemispheres daily spread before us,--moving with ease over two
continents,--in the neighborhood of cities and libraries and galleries
and theatres,--belonging to a civilization enriched with all the
accumulated wealth of centuries,--accustomed ourselves to large affairs
and dealing in millions where in the olden time they talked but of
thousands,--we, in the year 1874, can hardly stand here, and, looking
around from King-Oak Hill, picture to ourselves the life led in its
neighborhood a century and a half ago. To the intense lover of nature,
it is true, Weymouth probably then bore a more attractive aspect than
now it does, for nature had lavished its gifts upon it with no sparing
hand. Eastward the green islands studded the bay, round which the sea
sparkled with waters rarely vexed by the keel and never beaten by the
paddle,--to the north the town of Boston was hidden from sight as it
nestled at the feet of its hills,--to the west the Blue Hills loomed
up in their soft, misty beauty even as they do to-day, they alone
unchanged,--to the south stretched away the more level forest land in
which the beautiful Weymouth ponds lay quietly imbedded in their native
framework of virgin green, while around their shores the wolf still
lurked and the swift deer bounded. No long rows of piles then broke the
swift tide as it ebbed and flowed in the Fore River,--no tall chimneys
belched out black smoke on the eastern limit of the town,--no phosphate
factory at the foot of the Great Hill poisoned the sweet native
atmosphere, but the waves rippled on the beach, and rose and fell amid
the haunts of the seal and the sea-fowl, even as they did when Thomas
Morton of Merry Mount thus described the land: “And when I had more
seriously considered of the bewty of the place, with all her faire
indowments, I did not thinke that in all the knowne world it could be
paralel’d. For so many goodly groues of trees; dainty fine round rising
hillucks: delicate faire large plaines, sweete cristall fountaines,
and cleare running streames, that twine in fine meanders through the
meads, making so sweete a murmering noise to heare, as would even lull
the sences with delight a sleepe, so pleasantly doe they glide upon the
pebble stones, jetting most jocundly where they doe meete; and hand in
hand runne downe to Neptunes Court, to pay the yearely tribute, which
they owe to him as soveraigne Lord of all the springs.”[64]

During the early days of the settlement the township was covered with
a natural growth of timber, in which the oak, the elm, the chestnut,
the ash, the pine and the cedar were mingled; and through many years
the town records bear frequent trace of the jealous care with which
the townsmen preserved this great source of beauty and of wealth.[65]
As timber, however, became more valuable, the forests were encroached
upon, until in the third quarter of the last century they had been well
nigh destroyed. But, during the earlier years, as one stood on King-Oak
Hill, the whole broad panorama must have appeared an almost unbroken
wilderness of wooded hill and dale, and azure sea and verdant shore;
while here and there, few and far between, could have been discerned
the rude belfry of a colonial church; or the long, brown, sloping roof
and hard angular front of some farmer’s house, surrounded by barns and
buildings more unsightly than itself, protruded its ugliness amidst
the open fields upon which the cattle grazed or the ripening harvest
waved. Weymouth was not settled, as were many other towns, with a view
to village life, while out-lying farms stretched away to the outskirts
of the township,--here every free-holder seems to have dwelt upon his
land. The church and the burying-ground were the natural centres of the
olden town, but no village then or now has ever gathered about them.
Even as late as 1780 there were but about some two hundred houses in
all scattered over the whole surface of Weymouth, and these were of the
plainest, simplest sort.[66]

The men and women who dwelt in them were in great degree cut off from
the whole outer world;--at least we would think so now. The roads were
few and bad; the chief one, still known as Queen Ann’s turnpike, is
said to have received its name, not from the sovereign of the loyal
colonies, but from the hostess of a little “four corner” inn upon it,
who was always known by that royal title.[67] Queen Ann’s turnpike was
the direct road between Boston and Plymouth, but the time of which I
speak was long before the stage-coach era, and the Weymouth man, whom
business called to Boston, went by water, or drove or walked there
over Milton Hill and Roxbury Neck. Nor was that journey to Boston
then devoid of danger. Early in the last century, for instance, it
is traditionally stated that a party, including two of the principal
citizens of Weymouth, while returning home by water from Boston,
were overtaken by a snow-storm and wrecked on one of the islands in
the bay; all perished, it is said, save Captain Alexander Nash and a
negro servant, through whose devotion his life was saved.[68] If the
tradition be true it should be added that Captain Nash’s descendants in
the present century have repaid the debt due to their ancestor’s slave
by long and eminent services in the emancipation of his race. But the
story at least illustrates the distance then existing between Boston
and Weymouth,[69]--a distance greater for every practical purpose than
that now existing between Weymouth and New York.

Between Old Spain and Quincy Point, or Wessagusset and Mount Wollaston
as they then were called, a ferry was authorized as early as 1635,
and the rate of ferriage was fixed at a penny for each person and at
threepence for each horse; two years later this rate was raised and
the ferryman of the day was licensed to keep a house of call. But so
far as the whole great outer world was concerned, the earlier dwellers
in Weymouth were, through four generations, what we should consider as
entombed alive. There was no newspaper,--there was no system of public
transportation,--there was no regular post,--between the colonies
themselves there was little occasion for intercourse, and Europe was
months removed. Those freemen who were elected deputies attended the
sessions of the General Court; and now and then the clergyman or the
magistrate took part in some solemn conclave of his brethren at the
capital or in a neighboring town. Of the young men, a few went with the
fishing fleet to Cape Sable, or sailed on trading voyages to the West
Indies or to Spain, thus catching glimpses of the outer world; but it
may well be questioned whether any Weymouth-born woman ever laid eyes
on the shores of the mother country during the first hundred and sixty
years of the settlement of the town.

The men and women of those five generations were a poor, hard-working,
sombre race,--rising early and working late,--laboriously earning their
bread by the sweat of their brows. There were no labor reformers then.
The men worked in the fields, the women in the house: the first tended
the flocks, or planted and gathered the harvest;--the last busied
themselves in the dairy and the kitchen, or at the spinning-wheel and
the wash-tub. It is a tradition of the daughter of Parson Smith that
with her own hands she scrubbed the floor of her bed-room the afternoon
before her eldest son, John Quincy Adams, was born. There was no
nonsense at least about that people; every one had work to do, and no
one, gentle or simple, was above his work.

For years there was a single school in the town, and the teacher was
annually engaged by a vote in the town-meeting.[70] Subsequently his
teaching was divided, the north precinct receiving eight months of his
time and the south four; but this arrangement not proving satisfactory,
the money raised for support of schools was finally divided between
the precincts in proportion to their tax, and they were left to
apply it each in its own way. But for us it is most curious to see
through all these years how small were the expenses of the town and
how large a proportion of the annual tax was  applied to education.
In the last century, before the War of Independence destroyed all
measure of value, £120 ($420) of the old tenor, so called, was the
average annual levy, and of this five-sixths went to the support of
the schools. Expenditures on other accounts were necessarily very
small. Until the year 1760 the highways were repaired by the labor
of the people of the town, who, for this purpose appear to have been
equally assessed. As, however, the disparity in wealth became greater
and this burden heavier, the system was changed, and in 1760 every
person paying a poll-tax was called on for a day’s labor, which was
assessed at 2_s._ 1_d._ (35 cents), and those who also paid property
taxes were further called on for as many additional days’ labor as
2_s._ 1_d._ were contained in the amount of their property tax.[71]
The sparsely settled character of the town obviated all necessity of a
fire department, though an entry in the records as early as 1651 gives
a curious glimpse into the habits and dangers of a community before
the blessed invention of lucifer matches. An order was then made by
the selectmen, in consideration of “the great loss and damage that
many & many a time doth fall out in this Towne by fire,” and because
“no effort has been made to restrayne the carringe abroad of fiery
sticks ... in mens hands, which is exceeding dangerous especially when
the wind is high,”--in view of these facts the town fathers, under a
penalty of twenty shillings for each offence, proceeded to forbid any
one between March and November from transporting “any fire from one
place to another than in a pot or other vessell fit for such a purpose
and close covered.”[72] Until the present century, however, this
ordinance seems to have been regarded as sufficient protection against
the dangers of conflagration, thus cutting off that heavy item of
modern town expenses; while, so far as salaries were concerned, volumes
are contained in the following clause with which the vote of 1651,
defining the duties and powers of the selectmen, closed;--“Sixthly--Wee
willingly grant they shall have their Dynners uppon the Towne’s charge
when they meet about the Towns affayres.”[73]

The town government of those days was, indeed, the simplest government
conceivable. There were the clergyman (for parish and town were one),
the school-master, the selectmen, the deputy, the constable and the
pound-keeper. In the earliest days it was even simpler yet than this,
for frequent meetings of the whole town were called. But even then it
was speedily found that this led to abuses,[74] and, in 1651, a system
of two regular town meetings in each year was adopted, and the powers
of the selectmen were specifically defined.[75] The continuous record
of these meetings through more than a century, at once reveals the
slow, unconscious growth of a great political system, and supplies the
amplest evidence of the sameness of a colonial village life. To the
student in the science of government these volumes of the Weymouth
town records are replete with interest. In them the growth of a system
from the root up may be studied. As an observing man turns over the
ill-spelt, almost illegible pages, they grow luminous in their bearing
on many of the most distressing problems of the age. As Gibbon, from
an experience among the yeoman militia of England, derived a certain
comprehension of the legionaries of Rome,--so the early records of
the New England towns make it most manifest to us why the horrors of
1793, and the later excesses of the Commune, are possible in France,
and why nothing other than a republic is now possible in New England.
In these records we see parliamentary institutions stripped of their
non-essentials and reduced to first principles;--we see that the New
England town-meeting democracy was the purest and simplest government
of the people, for the people, which the world has yet produced. Here
is a perfect equality, controlled by an almost iron law of usage.
Year after year every question of common concernment is settled in
general town-meeting by a vote of the majority, after a free and full
discussion, conducted in perfect deference to a rude parliamentary
law. The greater number rules, but the minority ever asserts its
rights, which are always freely conceded. The protests of the _contra
dicentes_ make a part of the records; the final appeal is made to the
courts of law; the idea of an ultimate resort to force is never even
suggested, much less discussed. Thus, through our town records, we are
made to realize that republican government is in New England a product
of the soil and not an exotic,--in France it is a graft; with us it
is the stem. The growth of this germ from the town-meeting to the
General Court, from the General Court to the Continental Congress, and
from that to the Government of the United States, and thence back to
the great cardinal fact of force,--all this is for others to trace.
Meanwhile, here to-day, we stand on a record of two hundred and fifty
years of pure democracy,--the deep, underlying tap-root of whatever is
good in America. And indeed that record relates not to great things. It
tells us of the daily life of our fathers. It deals not with theories,
but with practical issues. The earlier generations did not realize
that they were evolving a system, when they made regulations for the
preservation of the town timber and the use of its common grounds; to
check the roving propensities of its hogs, and to prescribe the liberty
of the rams or the number of the parish bulls. Yet such was the fact,
and the whole developed system of our National Government of to-day may
be read in little in the Weymouth town records of over a century past.
To-day’s jealousy of the foreign producer is there evinced towards
those inhabiting the neighboring towns,--they must not partake of the
privileges of Weymouth. The protective system began with the beginning.
In the earlier days bounties are offered for the ears of wolves, but
later, as the wilderness is subdued, these are dropped from the record
and the crow and the blackbird are proscribed in their place. Now and
again we find the town entering on some system of encouragement to a
new branch of industry, making a grant of land therefor;[76] but the
herring fishery and the passage of the alewives into Great Pond have
left, perhaps, the deepest mark on the town records. The annual passage
of the fish up the Back River was an event in the life of Weymouth,
exciting the liveliest interest in old and young. For this really
great boon the town was indebted to Adam Cushing, one of its prominent
citizens in the provincial times. Mr. Cushing died in the year of the
great sickness, 1751, and seems to have been a truly remarkable man.
About 1730 he bethought himself of bringing some herring, during the
spawning season, over from Taunton River to the Great Pond. He did
so, himself superintending the work of transportation, and seeing to
it that fresh water was properly supplied to the fish. It would seem,
therefore, that through him Weymouth may claim a place of one hundred
and forty years’ standing in the interesting history of pisciculture in

These records also reveal to us very clearly what a singularly
conservative race our ancestors were,--in this respect how different
from their children. They clung very close to authority, to tradition
and to precedent. The conditions by which they were surrounded
changed but slowly, and they themselves changed more slowly yet. What
volumes, for instance, in this respect, are contained in this single
fact:--in 1651 the town, in six brief articles, defined the powers of
its selectmen, and more than sixty years later, in 1712, I find the
following entry in the records: “Voted the Selectmen the same power
they had granted in the year 1651.”[78] Again, to cite another example:
Weymouth then, as now, had among its citizens a James Humphrey, and,
under date of March 12th, 1781, I find this entry: “Voted--That the
thanks of the Town be given to the Honᵇˡᵉ James Humphrey Esqʳ. for
his faithful services as a selectman in the Town for more than forty
years past.” Unlike so many of her sister towns, the Weymouth of to-day
has never, even yet, learned enough of the science of true republican
government to “rotate” its town officials. When they have had a man who
was willing to serve them well and faithfully, they have actually kept
him in office. The James Humphrey of the last century served the town
“over forty years”; the James Humphrey of this has already served it
nearly twenty-five.

I do not know if it indeed was so, but to me the very nature of the
New England world seems to have been less cheerful in those earlier
days than now. Not only was life less joyous, but nature wore a
harsher front. I have spoken of the great sickness of 1751, and how
it desolated Weymouth; but epidemics seem to have been far more
prevalent during the last century than in this. The fearful scourge
of the small-pox has left its pit-marks on every page of early New
England history, and when, in 1775, a chronic dysentery prevailed
to such an extent that three, four and even five children were lost
in single families, a Weymouth woman writing from the midst of the
general distress could only say “the dread upon the minds of the
people of catching the distemper is almost as great as if it were the
small-pox.”[79] Yet in 1735 the diphtheria raged, as well as in 1751.
Their winters also seem to have been longer, their snows deeper, their
frosts more severe than ours. In 1717 there was a great snow-storm,
famous in New England annals. The country was buried under huge drifts,
which swept over fences and houses, reducing the whole colony to one
white, glittering desert. Weymouth disappeared with the rest, and the
event was of sufficient importance to cause a memorandum of it to be
inserted in the records.[80] In other years we hear of the harbor
freezing over in November; and on the 26th of March, 1785, the winter’s
snow, though much reduced, lay still on a level with the fences, nor
was it till April 7th that the ice broke up in the Fore River.[81] I
doubt whether any man now living has witnessed a like occurrence.

A severer climate and harsher visitations seem strictly in keeping
with the character of the people. The religious element which led
to the settlement of New England still strongly asserted itself in
the life and customs of the colony. Wealth had hardly yet begun to
exercise its subtle influence upon it. Indeed, though almost all were
prosperous there was little of what can properly be called wealth in
the community, but there was equally little poverty. The people lived
in rude abundance, and I do not believe that during the first hundred
years of the history of Weymouth as many persons received public aid
of the town. Certainly the method of dealing with pauperism, where it
occasionally appears in the records, was primitive in the extreme, and
scarcely commends itself to modern theories.[82] But as a rule there
appears to have been a strikingly equal division of such property
as the people had, which lay almost wholly in their cattle and their
lands; accumulation had scarcely begun.

We are always accustomed to regard the past as a better and purer
time than the present,--there is a vague, traditional simplicity and
innocence hanging about it almost Arcadian in character. I can find no
ground on which to base this pleasant fancy. Taken altogether I do not
believe that the morals of Weymouth or of her sister towns were on the
average as good in the eighteenth century as in the nineteenth. The
people were sterner and graver,--the law and the magistrate were more
severe, but human nature was the same and would have vent. There was,
I am inclined to think, more hypocrisy in those days than now, but I
have seen nothing which has led me to believe that the women were more
chaste, or that the men were more temperate, or that, in proportion to
population, fewer or less degrading crimes were perpetrated. Certainly
the earlier generations were as a race not so charitable as their
descendants, and less of a spirit of kindly Christianity prevailed
among them. But in those days enjoyment itself was almost a crime,
and every pleasure was thought to be a lure of the devil and close
upon the boundary line to guilt. Holidays, accordingly, were few and
far between. The May-pole disappeared with the wild Morton of Merry
Mount. During the colonial period, election or training day was what
the Fourth of July is to us,--the great anniversary of the year, on
which the whole community came as near to unbending as it knew how.
Thanksgiving and the annual fast were both church days; Guy Fawkes’
day was notorious for its noisy revels; Sunday was devoted to nominal
rest and veritable exhortation. On that day, every one not an infant
attended church, and the infants were left alone at home.[83] From
Saturday evening to Monday morning all labor ceased,--the voices of the
children were hushed,--the blinds were drawn, and a quiet, which was
not rest, pervaded the town. The lecture and the sermon were the events
of the week,--they supplied the place of the theatre, the novel and
the newspaper,--they were listened to and discussed and commented upon
by old and young,--and, so far as my investigations have enabled me to
judge, the stiffest of orthodoxy was ever preached from the Weymouth

In the early days, however, the clergy of New England were an
aristocracy,--almost a caste. Not, of course, an aristocracy of wealth,
but of education, tradition and faith,--a veritable priesthood in fact.
The tie between the pastor and his people partook almost of the nature
of the wedding bond; there was a sanctity about it; it was well-nigh
indissoluble. But in its earliest period Weymouth was not fortunate
in these relations. Prior to 1635 the plantation was too poor and too
small in numbers to maintain a church, but that year one was gathered,
being the eleventh of the colony.[84] Of Mr. Hull, the first authentic
pastor, it can only be said that he preached in Weymouth for several
years, and then his connection with the church was dissolved. There
seems indeed at this time to have been a serious schism in the infant
settlement, for, while Mr. Hull arrived in 1635 and preached his
farewell sermon in May, 1639, yet as early as January, 1638, the elders
of Boston had come to Weymouth, and had there demonstrated the efficacy
of prayer by effecting a reconciliation between one Mr. Jenner and
his people. The reconciliation seems to have been but temporary, for,
after representing the town as deputy in the General Court in 1640,
in 1641 Mr. Jenner removed to Saco. Meanwhile, in 1637, the Rev. Mr.
Lenthall also appears upon the Weymouth stage, bringing with him the
pestilential doctrines of Mrs. Hutchinson in regard to justification
before faith and other equally incomprehensible theses, which came
so near working the destruction of the infant colony. A movement was
started inviting Mr. Lenthall to settle and organize a new church. It
was apparently making rapid headway when the magistrates of the colony
energetically interfered to put a stop to it. In March, 1638, Mr.
Lenthall accordingly, with some of his leading supporters, was summoned
to appear before the General Court, and made to see good reason why,
with expressions of deep contrition, he should make a retraction of
his heresies in writing and in open court. Upon this, he was, with
some opposition, dismissed without a fine, but only on condition that
he was to make a similar public recantation in Weymouth, and should
also be on hand when the next General Court assembled. His followers
did not escape so easily; one of them was heavily fined, another was
disfranchised, a third, having no means wherewith to pay a fine, was
publicly whipped, and a fourth, “because of his novel disposition,”
received a significant intimation to the effect that the General Court
“were weary of him, unless he reform.” Shortly after this miscarriage,
features in which are unpleasantly suggestive of inquisitorial
proceedings in other lands, the Rev. Mr. Lenthall seems to have left
Weymouth, for he is next heard of in Rhode Island, that blessed asylum
for the persecuted of Massachusetts.[85]

Mr. Lenthall, however, represented only a schism in the Weymouth
church; Mr. Jenner was the minister in the line of true succession.
He retired to Maine in 1640 and was succeeded in his pastorate by Mr.
Newman, who at last brought with him peace to the distracted church.
He must have been a very superior man,--able, learned and faithful.
Educated at Oxford, he had preached many years in England before coming
to this country in 1638. He then spent some time in Dorchester, and
was subsequently invited to Weymouth, where he settled and remained
until he migrated with the larger portion of his people to Rehoboth.
He is the real author of the Concordance to the Bible which goes under
Cruden’s name; for it was he who prepared the basis of the work, which
was subsequently finished and published at Cambridge.[86]

The Weymouth church had now had three preachers in nine years, but the
day of short pastorates was over. The Rev. Thomas Thacher was ordained
as the successor of Mr. Newman in 1644, and there remained, beloved and
respected of his people, for twenty years. Then marrying a second time,
and his parish being unable to afford him a sufficient maintenance,[87]
he moved to Boston, the home of his wife, and in him Weymouth lost
at once its spiritual and its medical adviser, for Mr. Thacher was a
skillful physician as well as a learned divine. Subsequently, in 1669,
he became the first pastor of the Old South Church, in Boston, in which
position he died, in 1678, leaving behind him a race of descendants
whose names are familiar through a century of colonial annals.

To Mr. Thacher’s pastorate of twenty years succeeded the fifty-one
years of the learned and exemplary Samuel Torrey, the trusted adviser
of the magistrates of his day, the intimate friend of all its leading
divines, thrice invited to preach the election sermon, twice called to
the presidency of Harvard College. Mr. Torrey enjoyed a very remarkable
gift of prayer, so that it is told of him that upon the occasion of a
public fast, in 1696, after all the other exercises, he prayed for two
hours, and that so acceptably that his auditors, when towards the close
he hinted at some new and agreeable fields of thought, could not help
wishing him to enlarge upon them.[88] He died deeply lamented, at the
age of seventy-six, in the year 1707.

Peter Thacher succeeded Mr. Torrey in the year of the latter’s death,
and continued in his ministry eleven years; being followed, in 1719,
by Thomas Paine, whose connection with the church continued until
dissolved, at his own request, in 1734. He then retired to Boston,
where he ended his life, and his body was brought back to Weymouth
for burial beside his children. He was the father and the grandfather
of those Robert Treat Paines, the line of which is continued to the
present day.

In 1734 the Rev. William Smith was settled as the eighth successive
pastor of the first church, and so continued for forty-nine years, and
until after the close of the colonial period. Mr. Smith was beloved and
respected through his long ministry by his people, but to posterity he
is chiefly known as the father of her who proved to be the most famous
child of Weymouth. The familiar anecdote of Parson Smith’s sermons
on the marriages of his two daughters does not need to be repeated
here.[89] Whether the good old pastor did or did not prepare the
wedding discourse for Abigail’s benefit from so very unsavory a text
as that “John came neither eating nor drinking, and men say he hath
a devil,” we cannot now tell; the anecdote rests on tradition alone.
Let us hope, however, that he did, for he lived to see his daughter’s
choice justified in the eyes of the most doubting of his parishioners;
though he had himself already been thirteen years in his grave when, on
the 8th of February, 1797, that daughter wrote to her husband in these
solemn words, breathing the full spirit of the dead divine: “You have
this day to declare yourself head of a nation. ‘And now, O Lord, my
God, thou hast made thy servant ruler over the people. Give unto him an
understanding heart, that he may know how to go out and come in before
this great people; that he may discern between good and bad. For who
is able to judge this thy so great a people?’... My thoughts and my
meditation are with you, though personally absent; and my petitions
to Heaven are, that ‘the things which make for peace may not be hidden
from your eyes.’”[90]

But it is necessary to go back to the year 1765, when the long,
monotonous quiet of over a century was to be broken for Weymouth and
all her sister towns by the deep though distant mutterings of an
impending war. The first notes of the struggle then break sharply in on
the peaceful sameness of the town records like the blast of a trumpet.
The Stamp Act had been passed, and the August riots had taken place in
Boston. Mr. Oliver had been forced to resign his office, and the house
of the Lieutenant-Governor had been sacked. The odious act was to take
effect on the 1st of November, and a special session of the General
Court had been called to take into consideration the course it was
incumbent on the colony to pursue. The representative of Weymouth in
those days was James Humphrey, Esq. Under these circumstances a meeting
of the freemen was held on the 16th of October, at which Dr. Cotton
Tufts was chosen Moderator, and a ringing address of instructions to
Master Humphrey, as he was called, was voted and entered at length
upon the records. The spirit of the ancient town was up, and its voice
emitted no uncertain sound. Cotton Tufts was at that time thirty-four
years of age. He was fully imbued with the patriotic spirit of the day,
and was, in his own vicinage, a leading man. It is to his pen that the
papers now entered on the town records are in all probability to be

Presently the government of the mother country somewhat receded from
its position, and, during the loyal reaction which ensued, a draft of a
measure indemnifying the sufferers in the August riots was submitted
to the General Court. A special town meeting was held on September 1,
1766, and the town refused to give its assent to the payment of damages
out of the public treasury. But another meeting was held on the 1st
of December, when written instructions were entered at length on the
records, again embodying the full rebel spirit of the day, but this
time, and under strict conditions, authorizing Master Humphrey to vote
for the proposed compensation.

In 1768 came the news that the British regiments were ordered to
Boston. A committee of the Boston town meeting, called in consequence
of this announcement, waited on Governor Bernard with a request, among
other things, that the General Court should be convened. Meeting with
a refusal, the Boston people took the matter into their own hands, and
instructed their selectmen to invite, by circular letter, all the towns
in the colony to send representatives to assemble in convention, at
Boston, on the 22d of September. Over one hundred towns complied with
this bold invitation, thus overriding the royal governor, and convening
an assembly which, though it sat but four days, and carefully avoided
any claim to a legal existence, was, in everything but in name, a
house of representatives. In this convention sat James Humphrey, under
instructions to be there from the town of Weymouth.

More than five years now passed away during which the controversy
between the mother country and the colonies was continually approaching
a crisis, but they left no mark on the records of Weymouth. Then arose
the question as to the tax on tea. Early in December, 1773, the famous
town meeting had been held in Faneuil Hall, at which the resolve was
passed, “that if any person or persons shall hereafter import tea from
Great Britain, or if any master or masters of any vessel or vessels
in Great Britain shall take the same on board to be transported
to this place, until the unrighteous act shall be repealed, he, or
they, shall be deemed by this body an enemy to his country, and we
will prevent the landing and sale of the same, and the payment of any
duty thereon, and will effect the return thereof to the place from
whence it shall come.”[92] Copies of this resolve were sent to all
the sea-port towns in the Province. A few days later, on the night
of December 16th, the celebrated tea-party took place in the Old
South Church and on the wharves of Boston. In response to the resolve
a special town meeting was held in Weymouth on Monday, January 3d,
1774, at which it was resolved by a very large majority, after some
debate, that the inhabitants of the town would neither purchase nor
make use of any teas, excepting such as they might happen then to have
on hand, until Parliament repealed the odious duty upon it. On the
28th of September the town again met and chose a representative to the
General Court, which convened at Salem on the 5th of October; no other
instructions were given to him than those adopted by Boston for its own
representatives, copies of which had been freely circulated.

A committee had been appointed at a town meeting held in July to
procure signatures to the Joseph Warren “Solemn League and Covenant,”
which had been sent forth by the Boston committee of correspondence
on the 5th of June. This measure was subsequently adopted by the
Congress then sitting at Philadelphia, and recommended under the name
of a Continental Association. So, on the 23d of December, 1774, at the
close of the evening lecture, the roll of the inhabitants of Weymouth
was called, and each man voted yea or nay on the question of the
approval of the association. The two precincts voted separately; in
each one hundred and twenty-three names were called, beginning with
the two clergymen; in the first precinct, one hundred and thirteen
answered to their names, of whom one hundred and nine voted “yea”;
in the second precinct, out of one hundred and three voting, not one
responded “nay.” On the 30th of January the town again met and voted
“To bare the constables of 1773 harmless in not carrying their money
to Haryson Gray,” he being the royalist treasurer of the Province; and
further directed that the funds on hand should be turned over to the
town treasurer. On the 9th of March this vote was reconsidered, and
the money was directed to be paid to Henry Gardner of Stow, who now
represented the patriot exchequer. At this meeting, too, the question
was agitated of raising a company of minute-men, but the motion to that
effect was not then carried. On the 27th of the same month, however,
another town meeting was held and the action of the previous meeting
was reconsidered, the town voting to raise a company of fifty-three
men, who were to receive one shilling a week each for four weeks, and
were to be drilled two half days a week. Upon the 2d of May another
town meeting was held, and upon the 9th yet another. The affairs at
Lexington and Concord had now taken place, and the greatest anxiety
prevailed through all the towns in the vicinity of Boston. They were
ever looking for similar enterprises. So at the first of these two
meetings provision was made for a military guard of fifteen men, and
at the second a committee of correspondence was organized, at the
head of which were placed Dr. Tufts and Colonel Lovell. Twelve days
later, early on Sunday, the 21st of May, the news was brought to the
town that three sloops and a cutter had, during the previous night,
come down from Boston and had anchored at the mouth of the Fore River.
A landing was momentarily expected, and it was even reported to
have taken place, and that three hundred soldiers were advancing on
the town. Three alarm guns were fired, the bells were rung and the
drums beat to arms. The panic and confusion were very great and worth
recording, for it is the only time in the long history of the town that
Weymouth has ever had cause to fear that a civilized and disciplined
foe was at her threshold. Every house below the present North Weymouth
station was deserted by the women and children. Mr. Smith’s family
fled from the old parsonage, and Dr. Tufts’ wife being ill at the
time, had a bed thrown into a cart, and, putting herself upon it, was
driven to Bridgewater as a place of security; and, indeed, tradition
says that other ladies of Weymouth gave evidence that morning of an
abundant vitality, and displayed truly remarkable powers of locomotion.
Meanwhile Dr. Tufts himself was busy serving out rations and supplying
ammunition to the minute-men, who poured rapidly in from Hingham and
Randolph and Braintree and all the neighboring towns, until nearly
2,000 of them were on the ground. Then it was discovered that the enemy
were only foraging, and were engaged in removing hay from Grape Island.
By the time they had secured about three tons, the minute-men had
brought a sloop and lighter round from Hingham on which they put out
for the island, whereupon the enemy decamped.[93] It was a mere alarm
in which no one was hurt, but it showed the spirit of the town even
though it only resulted in the destruction of the hay, which doubtless
Gen. Ward’s army needed, and which, had they been older soldiers, the
minute-men would have brought away instead of burning.

Towards the middle of July again, a small party, among whom was Captain
Goold of the Weymouth company, with twenty-five of his men, went out
from the Moon Head and burned a house and a barn full of hay on Long
Island. On this occasion they had a sharp skirmish, for the British
men-of-war lying in the harbor sent out their cutters to intercept
the party. They all, however, got back safely except one man of the
covering force on Moon Head, who was killed by a cannon-ball. That
night a sloop of war dropped down to the Fore River, but attempted
nothing beyond creating another alarm. And this experience from time
to time was repeated, until at last, in the spring of 1775, Boston
was evacuated; and upon the 14th of June following, in consequence of
military movements on the islands in the harbor, the last remnant of
the British fleet put to sea, and the towns bordering on the bay were
thereafter allowed to rest in peace.

During the year 1775 ten town meetings had been held in Weymouth,
and seven were held in 1776. And now we enter on a new phase of the
struggle for independence. For us, with our recollections of the war
of the rebellion still fresh in our memories, it is most curious to
read these ancient records,--to observe how closely history repeats
itself. We well remember the fierce, self-sacrificing patriotism of
1861,--how the country was all alive with eagerness, how money was
poured forth like water, and how regiments enlisted faster than they
could be put into the field. We remember how this lasted through a
short six months, and how we then began to realize what war meant. Then
bounties began to be paid,--then enlistments grew more difficult just
in proportion as the call for men became more pressing,--then values
were unsettled, prices rose, the feverish glow of excitement faded
away, and stern-visaged war gradually assumed her whole hateful front.
We generally, too, are apt to imagine that the earlier days were less
selfish, more self-sacrificing, more harmonious than our own. The
records tell a different story. The declaration of Independence had
only just been ventured upon,--it was not yet entered upon the records
of Weymouth, “there to remain as a perpetual memorial,”--when on the
15th of July, 1776, a town meeting was held to secure the enlistment of
ten men for the continental army, that being the quota of the town. It
was voted to raise £130, in order to give each recruit a town bounty of
£13 in addition to the state bounty of £7,--making a bounty of £20 to
each man. It was also voted to allow the citizens of Weymouth two days
in which to enlist, after which a committee of two was to go forth in
search of recruits elsewhere. But before the 22d of the month eight men
more were called for, and so at its adjourned meeting the town had to
increase its appropriation to £234, a portion of which sum was borrowed
of Captain James White for one year,--being the earliest record of a
Weymouth town debt.[94]

To the Weymouth of that day these eighteen men were the equivalent of
about one hundred and thirty now; and they were raised to take part in
the unfortunate Canada campaign under Arnold and Montgomery. How many
of them ever returned we cannot tell, but the weary sons of Weymouth
in 1776 doubtless found final resting-places in the wilds of Maine or
beneath the snows of Canada, as more recently they found them in the
swamps of the Chickahominy or beneath the torrid sun of Louisiana. By
December of that year twenty-two more men went into the continental
service, under Lieutenant Kingman; and now the bounty was three pounds
per month for three months.[95] It was shortly before this time that
a Weymouth-born woman, writing from the next town of Braintree, thus
described the aspect of affairs: “I am sorry to see a spirit so venal
prevailing everywhere. When our men were drawn out for Canada a very
large bounty was given them; and now another call is made upon us, no
one will go without a large bounty, though only for two months, and
each town seems to think its honor engaged out-bidding the others. The
province pay is forty shillings. In addition to that this town voted to
make it up six pounds. They then draw out the persons most unlikely to
go, and they are obliged to give three pounds to hire a man. Some pay
the whole fine, ten pounds. Forty men are now drafted from this town.
More than one-half, from sixteen to fifty, are now in the service.
This method of conducting will create a general uneasiness in the
Continental army. I hardly think you can be sensible how much we are
thinned in this province.”[96]

And now a new difficulty, with which our generation has been sadly
familiar, was added to the heavy load under which the unfledged
nationality was compelled to stagger. The value of its paper
currency had hitherto been sustained; but at last, in the face of
ever-increasing new issues, it began to depreciate, and by the close
of the year 1776 it had fallen one-sixth in value. In vain does
Congress enact that whoever pays or receives the currency at a rate
less than its nominal value shall not only be accounted a public
enemy, but shall forfeit the amount involved in such unpatriotic
transaction. In defiance of law prices steadily rise. In January,
1777, the Legislature of Massachusetts went even further, and passed
a measure entitled “An Act to prevent Monopoly and Oppression.” Under
this the selectmen of Weymouth, aided by a committee of their townsmen,
proceeded to fix a tariff of prices at which articles were to be sold.
It is a sad record. The effort was, of course, a futile one, but it was
made; and there it stands “as a perpetual memorial,” beginning with
Indian corn and ending with cedar-posts, a monument of the wretched
expedients to which sensible men will resort in troublous and unsettled

The call was now for three-year men, and the town bounty was eight
pounds per annum. But some of the enlisted men had deserted, under the
discouragement of the Long Island reverses, and none the less they
claimed their bounties. The action of the town meeting seems to have
been hardly consistent with the usually received ideas of military
discipline, for it was voted to pay “those who deserted and came home
before their times were up” four pounds apiece, on the report of a
committee, to which the town added a further sum of forty shillings.
But the whole story is told in the following extract from the record of
May 21st, 1777: “Voted that Col. Solomon Lovell, Lieut. E. Cushing &
Deaⁿ Samuel Blancher be a Committee to go out of Town to Hire men for
the Contenential army for the Term of three years,--and that they be
directed to git them as Cheep as they can,--and that noe one of them be
allowed to give more than Thirty pounds for a man without the advise
of another of the committee.”

Throughout the long war the people would not consent to a draft. They
resorted to every expedient and makeshift, but they could not bring
themselves to the one single expedient by which only can war be made
decisive. In September, 1777, a draft was suggested,[97] but the idea
met with no favor: again recourse was had to bounties, which were now
£100 in lawful money, or forty shillings a month in produce at prices
which ruled before the war.

The year 1779 must, however, have been much the gloomiest year of all
to Weymouth, for it was in this year that the State of Massachusetts
undertook the unfortunate Penobscot expedition. The land forces were
commanded by the brave and popular Solomon Lovell, and naturally must
have numbered in their ranks many Weymouth men. It encountered only
disaster and loss, and added heavily to the already grievous burdens of
the war. The commander of the naval contingent was court-martialled,
but no question was made as to General Lovell’s conduct. Meanwhile
prices were rising, and now $4,500 was voted, wherewith to raise
nine men. It had also become very evident that the tariff of prices
fixed by the selectmen and the committee of the town, two years and
a half before, was somewhat out of date, as, its provisions to the
contrary notwithstanding, butcher’s meat was now a dollar a pound,
corn twenty-five dollars per bushel and labor eight dollars per day.
Still the good people were not discouraged, but a new committee was
set to work, and again, by a large majority, a tariff of prices was
established; but at the same town meeting which adopted it $9,000 was
voted to procure recruits. Indeed, the figures now become colossal,
and in September, 1780, the town votes £5,000 for the support of
schools and £15,000 “to pay the three months men, if wanted for that
purpose, if not, for other town charges.” Nor was this all. The new
State government was now organized, and John Hancock had been elected
Governor, receiving, in Weymouth, twenty-nine votes to eleven for
James Bowdoin; but one of the first acts of the Legislature was to
allot among the various towns a quota of beef to be supplied as well
as men, so the year 1780 closes with these two melancholy entries in
the records of this poor little town, casting forty votes at the annual

       *       *       *       *       *

“_Voted_ to raise one hundred and thirty thousand dollars of the old
currency to procure the beef set on the town by the General Court.”

“_Voted_ to give fifty hard dollars a year for any one or more men that
shall engage for this town for three year in the Continental Servis.”

“Gen. Lovell, Capᵗ Nash, Capt. Whitman & Lt Vinson chosen a Comᵉᵉ to
hire the Nineteen men set on this town.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course the Continental currency was now almost wholly discredited,
having fallen to seventy-five for one, and Weymouth instructed its
representative to use his influence “that the act called the Tender
Act should be repealed.” But its repeal was of little consequence;
the country had gotten back to hard money by the radical course of
rendering all other money worthless. In 1781 Weymouth had also
returned to the old tax figures, raising £60 for the support of schools
and £160 for all other expenses; but the burden of recruiting grew
heavier and heavier, and in October, 1781, it was “Voted to give the
committee for hiring soldiers discretionary power to hire them upon the
best terms they can,” and $2,500, “hard dollars,” were appropriated for
the purpose.

Fortunately the long trial now drew near its close. The towns of
Massachusetts were thoroughly exhausted and neither men nor money
could be procured. In spite of the large sums offered, recruits were
no longer forthcoming, and finally Weymouth as one of many delinquent
towns, became liable to a heavy fine. The wonder, however, was not
that the towns were delinquent, but rather where they found so many
able-bodied men as they then supplied. Weymouth, at that time, could
not well have mustered over two hundred men of the age of military
service. The record would seem to establish the fact that more than
one-tenth of these were annually called for. Such a strain could
not long have been sustained; but the dogged tenacity of the people
was equal to the burden they were called upon to bear, and it is
pleasant to find, almost before the struggle was over, the process of
recuperation begun, and the town on the 20th of November, 1782, voting
£300 for the purpose of partly paying its debts.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the close of the long struggle for independence ends the second
period in the history of Weymouth. More than ninety years have since
passed away, carrying with them three generations of the children of
the soil. They have been years of great development and of healthy
growth,--not such development nor such growth as is often seen in this
country,--nothing, indeed, which in our age may be called remarkable,
for almost any active and bustling railroad centre in the Western
States can boast of greater census figures; but the growth of Weymouth
has been that of a thrifty, industrious New England town, and when,
after the long lapse of ages, the final account is rendered, who shall
say that the former growth will be found better than the latter?

In 1782 Weymouth was still an agricultural community,--its people were
scattered over its wide territory and it scarcely contained within its
limits any cluster of houses worthy of the name of village. In the
state election of that year fifty-one votes were cast, and the sum
raised by taxation to defray the annual expenses of the town was the
equivalent of $1,230. It contains now four separate villages within its
limits, each one far more populous and more wealthy than the entire
town then was; its annual levy exceeds $85,000, and at its elections it
casts 1,200 votes.

It is now fifty years since the learned editor of Governor Winthrop’s
History of New England remarked that “a careful history of Weymouth
is much needed.”[98] The want is still felt. To me the preparation
of this hasty sketch of the earlier days has been a work of great
enjoyment. I have had to deal with Mount Wollaston and with Weymouth,
those twin settlements in the first infancy of New England life, and
in the history of each I could not do otherwise than take a deep
hereditary interest. It was at Mount Wollaston, close to the spot where
once stood the May-pole of the wild Morton, that John Quincy lived and
died,--it was in the old parsonage of Weymouth, almost within a stone’s
throw of the site of Weston’s plantation, that John Adams was married
to the grand-daughter of that John Quincy. Nevertheless, no degree
of personal interest can convert a hurried sketch into a careful
history, and Weymouth deserves no less. Nor should the story of later
development remain untold. It necessarily lacks, indeed, those elements
of strangeness, of remoteness and of mystery, which lend their charm to
the earlier periods which we have considered to-day, but the record is
none the less of sufficing interest.

The children of Weymouth, during the present century, have gone forth
in peace and in war, and are now scattered all over the common country,
and, indeed, over the civilized world. Her children, too, remaining
at home, have altered and diversified the old town until the fathers
would know it no longer. It must be for others to recount these
changes of the later years. I prefer to leave the narrative on the
threshold of the new era and before the old order of things had yet
begun to pass away,--while a fresher and a purer air still hung around
the Great Hill, and while a certain fragrance of the primeval forest
gathered about Whitman’s pond. I prefer to leave it while Joshua Bates,
newly come back from the continental army, a colonel of artillery at
twenty-eight, was meditating those busy enterprises which were destined
to infuse a new life into his native town; and I shall not seek to
follow that other Joshua Bates, then unborn, whose destiny it was to
migrate back to the mother country, and there in fullness of time to
die at the head of the first commercial firm of London or the world. We
leave Weymouth just emerging, weak but alive yet, from the long ordeal
of an eight years’ war, and entering on a more prosperous career; we
leave it while brave old Brigadier Lovell yet viewed his broad acres
from the summit of King-Oak Hill,--while Dr. Cotton Tufts still served
the town whether at the bedsides of the sick or in the councils of the
State, and ere yet the grass had grown over the new-made grave of the
good old Parson Smith. Two centuries and a half of municipal life are
now completed, and in celebrating the event of to-day may we not fitly
close with the earnest hope that the succeeding years may be as blessed
as those which are past,--that unity, virtue and good-will may long
find their abode within the limits of the ancient town, and that, even
more in the future than in the past, “may peace be within thy walls and
prosperity within thy palaces.”


[1] Winslow’s Good Newes; Young’s Chron. of Pilg., p. 291.

[2] Phinehas Pratt’s Narrative; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 4, p.

[3] Pratt’s Narrative; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 4, pp. 478, 487.

[4] Bradford; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 3, p. 107.

[5] Levett’s Voyage; III. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 8, p. 190.

[6] “So base in condition (for yᵉ most parte) as in all apearance not
fitt for an honest mans company.” _Letter of John Peirce in Bradford_
(p. 123). Thomas Morton describes them as “men made choice of at all
adventures.” _The New English Canaan_ (p. 72), _Force’s Hist. Tracts_
(v. 2). In the preface to his Good Newes, Winslow speaks of them as “a
disorderly colony, ... who were a stain to Old England that bred them
in respect of their lives and manners amongst the Indians.” _Young,
C. of P._ (p. 276). Weston himself speaks of them as “rude fellows,”
and proposes to reclaim them “from that profanenes that may scandalise
yᵉ vioago,” etc. _Bradford_ (p. 120). Robert Cushman in a letter to
Governor Bradford, gives the following hint: “if they borrow anything
of you let them leave a good pawne.” _Ib._ (p. 122).

I have stated that Thomas Morton came over as one of Weston’s company.
This has been denied, _Young’s C. of P._ (p. 334, n.), but Morton
himself twice states in the New English Canaan, that he came to New
England in 1622, and in one of the two cases fixes the time as in June
of that year. _The New English Canaan_ (pp. 15, 41), _Force’s Hist.
Tracts_ (v. 2). Winslow states that the Charity and Swan arrived “in
the end of June or beginning of July,” 1622. _Young’s C. of P._ (p.
296). Now no other ships from England came to Plymouth that year, and
no company such as Morton describes his to have been, except Weston’s,
arrived in Massachusetts between 1622 and Wollaston’s arrival in 1625.
Morton, however, not only positively says that he arrived at the very
time the Weston company arrived, but he shows throughout his book a
remarkable familiarity not only with the events which occurred in the
Weston settlement, but with the people composing it. A connection with
that settlement was not a thing which Morton would have been likely
to boast of in subsequent years; but, judging by internal evidence, I
should feel inclined not only to venture a surmise that Morton was one
of Weston’s colony, but also that it was Morton himself who proposed
to the Wessagusset “Parliament” the vicarious execution presently to
be described. The whole tone of his account of that affair is highly
suggestive of a close connection with it, and of great sympathy with
the real culprit and his ingenious counsel.

My explanation of Morton’s statement as to his arrival is, that in
it, with his usual recklessness as to facts, he confounded two events
which occurred at different dates. He says, _The New English Canaan_
(p. 41), “In the Moneth of Iune, Anno Salutis: 1622. It was my chaunce
to arrive in the parts of New England with 30. Servants, and provision
of all sorts fit for a plantation.” Here are two facts distinctly
stated;--one as to the date of his arrival, exactly coinciding with
that of the Weston company;--the other as to the number of “servants,”
etc., answering to the description of Wollaston’s company. Morton, I
think, therefore, came out with Weston’s company, and left Wessagusset
in March, 1623, with them; he then, more than two years later, returned
there with Wollaston, probably acting as his guide. When, seven years
later, he printed his book, desiring to make his American experience
date as far back as possible, he simply confused his two arrivals, and
quietly ignored his connection with the Weston company, which had left
a very unsavory reputation behind it as being made up of the refuse of

[7] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 297.

[8] “A correspondent in Quincy thus describes the place: ‘It is about
three miles south-east of the granite church in Quincy, at a place
locally called Old Spain.’ Weston’s colony sailed up Fore River, which
separates Quincy from Weymouth, and then entered Phillips Creek, and
commenced operations on its north bank.” _Russell’s Guide to Plymouth_
(p. 106, n.).

[9] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 299. Bradford, p. 130.

[10] Bradford, p. 128.

[11] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 302.

[12] Bradford, p. 130.

[13] Pratt’s Petition; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 4, pp. 486, 7.
Bradford, p. 130. Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 332.

[14] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 328.

[15] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 329.

[16] Pratt’s Narrative; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 4, pp. 479, 489.
New English Canaan, p. 18; Force’s Tracts, v. 2.

[17] Winslow, in his Relation, states that Pratt told them of this
execution on his arrival at Plymouth. _Young’s C. of P._ (p. 332);
_see, also, Bradford_ (p. 130). But Pratt, in his own Narrative,
distinctly says that “we kep him (the malefactor) bound som few days,”
but does not mention the execution. _IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll._ (v. 4,
p. 482). In his Relation by Mather, however, he states that the real
delinquent was put to death. _Ib._ (p. 491).

[18] The New English Canaan, p. 74.

[19] Hudibras, Part II, Canto II, ll. 409-36.

[20] Hist. of Mass., v. 1, p. 6, n.;--for a curious traditionary
account of this execution see, also, _Uring’s Voyages_ (pp. 116-18),
and _Proceedings of Mass. Hist. Soc. for 1871_ (p. 59).

[21] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 336.

[22] _Pratt’s Narrative; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll._ (v. 4, pp. 483-7),
can be accepted as authority only with very decided limitations.
Prepared for a specific purpose, long subsequent to the occurrence
of the events to which it relates, it is neither consistent with
itself nor with the Plymouth authorities. He dwells at length on the
apprehension of an attack by the Indians felt by the Weston colony,
and the precautions they took against it (pp. 482-3). Standish, on the
contrary, reported that he found them living in reckless disregard of
every precaution. _Winslow, in Young’s C. of P._ (p. 336.) Pecksuot’s
famous speech to Standish, which Pratt must often have heard discussed
at Plymouth, finds a place in his narrative as having been made to
him long previously (p. 481). Finally, if the terror at Wessagusset
was such as he asserts it to have been, the settlers there could have
gone on board the Swan and sailed to Plymouth in search of aid, quite
as well as Standish could come to them or they go subsequently to the
eastward. Pratt himself was unquestionably both alarmed and hungry, but
he probably fled to Plymouth as a refugee. When he got there, having
doubtless encountered enough of danger and hardship on the way, he
found Standish already starting for Wessagusset. His own sense of the
dangers he had run and the heroism he had displayed, both before and
during his flight, probably grew with each succeeding year. I have
adopted only such of his statements as are corroborated by others, or
seem to wear an aspect of inherent probability.

[23] The whole number of Indians in that vicinity was not computed at
over fifty. _Young’s Chron. of Mass._ (p. 305). _Winslow; Young’s C. of
P._ (p. 310).

[24] The Courtship of Miles Standish, Part VII. See also Pratt’s
Narrative; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 4, p. 481, and Young’s C. of
P., p. 338.

[25] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 331. Bradford, p. 164.

[26] Bradford, p. 132.

[27] Pratt’s Narrative; IV. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 4, p. 486. New
English Canaan, p. 76; Force’s Tracts, v. 2. Young’s C. of P., p. 344.

[28] Bradford, p. 164.

[29] Winslow; Young’s C. of P., p. 344. The New English Canaan, p. 73.

[30] Young’s C. of P., p. 477, n.

[31] Bradford, p. 148.

[32] Bradford, p. 154.

[33] Ecclesiastical History of Massachusetts; I. Mass. Hist. Soc.
Coll., v. 9, p. 6.

[34] Both poem and translation are to be found in I. Mass. Hist. Soc.
Coll., v. 1, p. 125.

[35] Bradford, p. 154.

[36] The New English Canaan, p. 84.

[37] Records of Mass., v. 1, p. 366.

[38] Savage’s Winthrop, v. 1, p. 91.

[39] Wood’s New England’s Prospect; Young’s Chron. of Mass., p. 395.

[40] Records of Mass., v. 1, pp. 174-9.

[41] Hazard’s Hist. Coll., v. 1, p. 391.

[42] As respects Blackstone, see _Young’s Chron. of Mass._ (p. 169),
but the best account of this singular and interesting man is found in
Bliss’ History of Rehoboth. It is another point of some importance as
identifying Blackstone with the Gorges settlement, that he had received
Episcopal ordination in England. _II. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll._ (v. 9,
p. 174.) Now the Gorges settlement was a distinct and the only attempt
to plant Episcopacy in early Massachusetts. Morell and Blackstone were
both educated and studious men of somewhat similar cast of minds and
thought. The obvious and natural explanation of their presence in the
wilderness would be that they came there together, influenced by the
same inducements.

[43] A statement to this effect has crept into the generally accepted
accounts of the settlement of Weymouth, on the high authority of
Prince’s Annals. _Emery Memorial_ (p. 88). The entry in Prince is
at the close of 1624, and reads as follows:--“This Year comes some
Addition to the few inhabitants of Wessagusset, from Weymouth in
England; who are another sort of people than the Former (_mst_) [and
on whose account I conclude the Town is since called Weymouth.]” To
this entry the compiler appended the following foot-note: “They have
the Rev. Mr. Barnard their first Non-conformist Minister, who dies
among them: But whether He comes before or after 1630, or when He Dies
is yet unknown (_mst_) nor do I anywhere find the least Hint of Him,
but in the Manuscript Letters, taken from some of the oldest People at
Weymouth.” _Annals_ (p. 150).

Prince compiled his work more than a century after the events here
alleged to have taken place. He carefully gives his authority, as was
his custom, for his statement, and himself discredits it. It seems, so
far as the date was concerned, to have been a mere “oldest inhabitant”
tradition, which wholly lacked corroboration by the contemporaneous
authorities. The party from Weymouth, in England, settled at Dorchester
in July, 1633. _Prince_; _II. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll._ (v. 7, p. 96).
In 1635, Massachiel Barnard, an elder not a minister, came out with
the party mentioned by Winthrop and in the Records of Massachusetts as
being placed at Weymouth. This party included not only the Rev. Mr.
Hull, but the original bearers of several of the names now most common
in Weymouth, such as Bicknell, Lovell, Pool, Upham, Porter, &c. See
_N. E. Gen. Reg._ (v. 25, p. 13). It is safe to say that the date of
1624 given in Prince is wholly erroneous. If the permanent settlement
of Weymouth does not belong to 1623, no precise date for it can be
assigned; but I cannot see any room for doubt as to September, 1623.

The discovery, in 1870, of the names of those who came out with Mr.
Hull, in 1635, is very important in the genealogy of Weymouth. It is
singular to study in the several lists of names which have at various
times been made out, the fate of the families which bore them. Some,
the Kings and Kingmans for instance, have never increased, but are
still perpetuated by single families in Weymouth; others like Jeffries
and Bursley have disappeared; while yet others, like the Bicknells,
Frenches and Lovells have increased amazingly. Lists of names found
in the town at various epochs are printed in the Appendix to the
Address, with indications and figures shewing the apparent increase or
disappearance of the families.

[44] New English Canaan, pp. 84, 86.

[45] Hubbard, p. 428.

[46] This was the Rev. John Lyford. A detailed account of the somewhat
high handed proceedings of the Plymouth authorities in regard to
this individual and John Oldham is found in Bradford’s History. The
ceremonial of Oldham’s expulsion from Plymouth was formal but peculiar.
Morton gives the following account of it: “A lane of Musketiers was
made, and hee compelled in scorne to passe along betweene, & to receave
a bob upon the bumme be every musketier, and then a board a shallop,
and so convayed to Wessaguscus shoare & staid at Massachussets, to
whome Iohn Layford and some few more did resort, where Master Layford
freely executed his office and preached every Lords day, and yet
maintained his wife & children foure or five, upon his industry there,
with the blessing of God, and the plenty of the Land, without the
helpe of his auditory, in an honest and laudable manner, till hee was
wearied, and made to leave the Country.” _New English Canaan_ (p.
81); _see also Bradford_ (p. 190). This took place early in 1625, but
the Oldham and Lyford settlement was at Hull, not at Wessagusset, and
lasted but little over a year; _note to Bradford_ (p. 195).

[47] Wood’s New-England’s Prospect; Young’s Chron. of Mass., p. 395.

[48] Bradford’s Letter Book; I. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 3, p. 61.

[49] New English Canaan, p. 93.

[50] Bradford, p. 241.

[51] This apportionment is derived from Governor Bradford’s
Letter-Book. See _I. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll._ (v. 3, p. 63). In his
History (p. 241) he speaks of “Weesagascusett” as being one of the
plantations concerned, but the apportionment is made as “From Mr.
Jeffrey and Mr. Burslem.” These names have given the antiquarians a
great deal of trouble, and they have generally assigned them to Cape
Ann; _Savage’s Winthrop_ (v. 1, p. 44, n.); _Young’s Chron. of Mass._
(p. 171, n.), or even to the Isle of Shoals; _Drake’s Boston_ (p. 50).
They all confound William Jeffries of Weymouth with Thomas Jeffrey of
Ipswich. Dr. Young does this in a most extraordinary manner, confusing
them even while giving the correct name of one in his text, and of the
other in the running title of the same page. _Chron. of Mass._ (p.
171). When Savage prepared his notes to Winthrop the MS. of Bradford
had not been recovered, and he had not examined the New English Canaan
carefully in reference to Weymouth. He seems to have been satisfied
that the second settlement at Weymouth had been wholly broken up in
1624, _Notes to Winthrop_ (pp. 43, 93), and sought to place Jeffries
and Burslem elsewhere. There cannot be the slightest doubt that they
lived at Wessagusset from before 1628. Both names are now extinct
at Weymouth, though I find in the Records of the town a Jeffery in
1651 (see p. 70), and also a mention of one John Jeffers (Aug. 18,
1777), as a soldier who enlisted in Arnold’s Canada campaign during
the Revolution. Both were made freemen at early dates:--Burslem was a
deputy from the town in 1636, and it was to Jeffries that Morton wrote
as to his “good gossip,” in 1634. It was to him and to Blackstone that
John Gorges wrote in 1629, in regard to putting Oldham in possession of
the Gorges grant. _Young’s Chron. of Mass._ (pp. 51, 147, 169).

[52] Savage’s Winthrop, v. 1, p. 192.

[53] In 1633 Wessagusset was thus described: “This as yet is but a
small village; yet it is very pleasant, and healthful, very good
ground, and is well timbered, and hath good store of hay-ground. It
hath a very spacious harbour for shipping before the town, the salt
water being navigable for boats and pinnaces two leagues. Here the
inhabitants have good store of fish of all sorts, and swine, having
acorns and clams at the time of year. Here is likewise an ale-wife
river.” _Wood’s New-England’s Prospect; Young’s Chron. of Mass._ (p.

[54] This man is mentioned as “late servant of John Burslyn.” _Records
of Mass._ (p. 121).

[55] Savage’s Winthrop, v. 1, p. 163; Records of Mass., pp. 156-7.

[56] Proceedings of Mass. Hist. Soc., 1873, p. 396.

[57] Records of Mass., v. 1, p. 179.

[58] Palfrey, v. 2, p. 5.

[59] See the sketch of the town of Weymouth, written by Dr. Cotton
Tufts, and printed in 1785 in _Topographical Descriptions of the
Towns in the County of Suffolk, and of Charlestown in the County of
Middlesex_. A manuscript copy of this sketch was very kindly placed at
my disposal in the preparation of this address by J. J. Loud, Esq.,
of Weymouth, with other material for a history of Weymouth, which it
is to be regretted Mr. Loud does not himself propose to prepare. A
copy of the compilation of which Cotton Tufts’ sketch was a part is in
the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society, bound with other
documents under the title of “_Gookin and Geography_.”

[60] See, also, a similar order of January 1, 1685.

[61] There were thirteen Weymouth men in Captain Johnson’s company
employed against the Indians in October, 1675. _Vinton Memorial_ (p.
50, n.).

[62] Paul Torrey’s curious efforts at versification were printed in
1811, in the appendix to a discourse of the Rev. Jacob Norton. The
author tells us that they were designed “to preserve the memory of
these remarkable things to future posterity.”

[63] Sketch of Weymouth, by Dr. Cotton Tufts. The usual death-rate was
sixteen a year.

[64] New English Canaan, p. 41.

[65] “Whoever shall presume to fell or kill or top any tree or trees
(after publication hereof or notice given) which growes before his owne
or his neighbours Dore, or that stands in any place upon the commons
or high-wayes which may be for the shaddow either of man or beast or
shelter to any house or otherwise for any public use every person so
offending shall be lyable to pay for every such tree so feld, topt, or
kild 20s. to the Town’s use.” _Records, February 1st, 1867 (?)._

[66] Sketch of Weymouth, by Dr. Cotton Tufts.

[67] This and some other facts I state on the authority of Mrs. Maria
W. Chapman, of Weymouth, who very kindly furnished me with much local
information which has not heretofore found its way into print.

[68] Mrs. Chapman’s MS.; and see Savage’s Winthrop, v. 1, p. 286.

[69] “The distance by land from Boston to the confines of the town is
14 miles.” _Sketch by Dr. Cotton Tufts._

[70] “At a Generall Town Meeting of the inhabitants of Weymouth the
24th of June, 1689.”

“The Town past a vote that William Chard is to serve as Town Clerk.”

“At a meeting of the Selectmen upon the first day of July 1689 Agreed
with Mr. Chard to Ring the Bell & Sweep the Meeting-house to begin the
6th daye of July, and for the time that he performs that work he is to
have after the rate of forty shillings a year in money or three pounds
in town pay.”

“At a Meeting of the freeholders of the town of Weymouth the 13th day
of July 1694.”

“The Towne past a vote they will have a publique School-master.”

“At a meeting legally warned for the Inhabitants of the town of
Weymouth upon the first of October 1694 to treat concerning a
School-master, and it was voted that Mr. Chard should serve as
School-master from the date abovesaid till the last of March next
ensuing the date hereof, & provided Mr. Chard doe faithfully perform
the office of School-master, that is to teach & instruct all children &
youth belonging to the town in reading & writing & casting of accounts
according to the capacitie of those that are sent to him, and according
to his own abillitie: under this consideration the town have past a
vote upon the aforesaid first of October that Mr. Chard shall have for
his sallary for the half year above expressed six pounds in or as money
to be levied upon the severall Inhabitants according to proportion by a
town rate.”

The next year (1695), William Chard was again engaged at five shillings
a week, but in 1696 an arrangement was made with Mr. John Copp at £30
a year. The salary of the pastor at this time was “£108 16s. in goods
alias money £68” (about $225).

[71] Records, 10th March, 1760; John Adams’ Works, vol. 2, p. 118.

[72] Records, p. 56.

[73] Records, 26th November, 1651.

[74] The “mutifariousness” of such meetings “occacions the neglect of
appearance of many whereby things [are] many times carried on by a
few in which many or all are concerned which often makes the legality
of such proceedings to be questioned.” It was therefore voted to
thereafter have two regular town meetings in each year in March and
November. _Records_, 1650, p. 56.

[75] “At a meeting of the Town the 26th of the 9th moᵗʰ (November) 1651.

“The power that the Towne of Weymouth committeth into the hands of the
Selectmen for this present year ensueing 1651.

“First. Wee give them power to make such orders as may be for the
preservation of our intrests in lands & corne & grass & Wood & Timber,
that none be transported out of the Towns Commons.

“Secondly. They shall have power to see that all orders made by the
Generall Court shall be observed and also all such orders that are or
shal be made which the Towne shall not repeale at their meetinge in the
first month.

“Thirdly. It shal be lawful for them to take course that dry Cattle
be hearded in the woods except calves & Yearlings & that they provide
Bulls both for the Cowes & dry Cattle.

“Fourthly. They may issue out all such rates as the Towns occasions
shall require & see that they be gathred, that a due account may be
given of them.

“Fifthly. They may satisfy all graunts provided they satisfy them in
due order, and not within two miles of the Meeting-house.

“Sixthly. Wee willingly grant they shall have their Dynners uppon the
Towns charge when they meete about the Towns affayres.” _Records._

[76] March 7, 1698. “Voted that John Torrey, Tanner, for the
encouragement of his trade shall have twelve pole of land joining to
his fathers land out of the towns commons for a tanyard so long as
there shall be use for it for that trade in this Town.”

March 7, 1715. “At the said Meeting John Torrey, James Humphrey, Joseph
Torrey, Ezra Whitmarsh, Enoch Lovell, Ebenezer Pratt & divers others
their partners who had agreed to begin a fishing trade to Cape-sables,
requested of the town that they might have that piece or parcel of
land at the mouth of the fore river in the northerly part of Weymouth
called and known by the name of Hunts Hill and the low land and Beach
adjoining thereunto, that is so much as they shall need for the
management of said fishing trade. The Town after consideration thereof
Voted that they should have the said land and Beach to manage their
fishing trade.”

March 13, 1727. “Voted at the aforesaid meeting whether the Town
will give to Doctor White five acres of Land below ---- Hill that
was formerly granted to John Vinson provided the said Doctor White
continues in the town of Weymouth and in practice of physick, & in case
he shall remove out of town said White to purchase said land or to
return it to the Town again. It passed in the affirmative.”

[77] Mrs. Chapman’s MS. And see Records, 1st March, 1731.

[78] See Records, 3d March, 1712.

[79] Letters of Mrs. Adams (ed. 1848), p. xxxvi.

[80] “An exceeding great snow on February 21st, 1717.” _Records_ (v. 1,
p. 270). It is the single record of the kind.

[81] MS. memorandum of Dr. Cotton Tufts.

[82] The following record, for instance, is a little suggestive of what
is now called “baby farming,” though we know in that society it led to
fewer abuses. At a town meeting in Weymouth, August 28, 1733, “Voted
by the Town to give Twenty pounds to any person that will take two of
the Children of the Widow Ruth Harvey (that is) the Eldest Daughter and
one of the youngest Daughters (a twin) and take the care of them untill
they be eighteen years old.

“Voted that the Selectmen shall take care of the other (twin) a
youngest daughter of the widow Ruth Harvey, and put it out as
reasonably as they can.”

The following also has a strange sound to modern ears, from the Record
of March 11th, 1771: “Voted to sell the Poor that are maintained by the
town for this present year at a Vendue to the lowest bidder.” _Records_
(v. 1, pp. 318, 438).

[83] “There fell out (1642) a very sad accident at Weymouth. One
Richard Sylvester, having three small children, he and his wife going
to the assembly, upon the Lord’s day, left their children at home. The
eldest was without doors looking to some cattle; the middle-most, being
a son about five years old, seeing his father’s fowling piece, (being
a very great one), stand in the chimney, took it and laid it upon a
stool, as he had seen his father do, and pulled up the cock, (the
spring being weak), and put down the hammer, then went to the other end
and blowed in the mouth of the piece, as he had seen his father also
do, and with that stirring the piece, being charged, it went off, and
shot the child into its mouth and through his head. When the father
came home he found his child lie dead, and could not have imagined how
he should have been so killed, but the youngest child, (being but three
years old, and could scarce speak), showed him the whole manner of it.”
_Savage’s Winthrop_, (v. 2, p. 77).

Weymouth, June 1, 1775. “Voted that the Soldiers from the age of
Sixteen to Sixty appear with their arms upon Lords Days on penalty
of forfeiting a Dollar each Lords Day for their neglect. That those
Soldiers who tarry at home upon the Lords day, Except they can make a
Reasonable Excuse therefor Shall forfeit two Dollars.” _Records._

[84] Savage’s Winthrop, v. 1, p. 94, n. See Johnson’s Wonder Working
Providence, chap. 10.

[85] Savage’s Winthrop, v. 1, p. 287.

[86] The best account of Mr. Newman and his Concordance is found in
_Bliss’ History of Rehoboth_. It is a singular fact that William
Blackstone should have gone from Boston to Rehoboth, and been followed
there by an emigration from Wessagusset, which place he had probably
abandoned when he went to Boston.

[87] II. Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll., v. 7, p. 11.

[88] Eliot’s Biographical Dictionary.

[89] It can be found in the preface (pp. xxviii, xxix), of the letters
of Mrs. Adams (ed. 1848).

[90] Letters of Mrs. Adams (ed. 1848), p. 374.

[91] That part of the town records which relates to the revolutionary
period will probably be printed in full in the History of Weymouth, now
in course of preparation.

[92] Hutchinson, v. 3, p. 432.

[93] Letters of Mrs. Adams, pp. 26, 33.

[94] The history of this loan is curious and suggestive. It may be
traced through the following entries in the town records.

July 22, 1776. “Voted that the Town Treasurer Borrow the afforesaid sum
of £234 & give the Towns security with Interest for the Same.”

“July 23d 1776 the Town Treasurer Borrowed of Capt James White £130 and
gave the Towns Security to pay the same in twelve months with interest.”

April 7, 1783. “Voted to allow unto Captain James White the Depreation
on some money that he lent to the Town.

“Whereas in the year 1776 Capt. James White lent the Town £130 and took
it in again in 1778, and Took only the nominal Sum,--the Town Voted
that Capt. White should have the Depreation that was on money when
Capt. White’s money was in the hands of the Town. Said Term of Time
will be made to appear by a Receipt from Capt. Whitman.

“Voted that any others that are under like Circumstances with Capt.
White, that have Lent Money to the Town and have Taken it in again,
that they be allowed the Depreation that was on money while theres was
in the Hands of the Town.

“Nathˡ Bayley Esq. Honˡᵉ James Humphrey Esq. & Col. Asa White were
Chosen a Committee for the above purpose of Settleing the Depreation
with Capt. James White and others.”

May 13, 1783. “A motion was made and Seconded to Reconsider a Vote that
was past at a town meeting on April the 7th with regard to making up
the Depreceation to Capt. James White and others that lent money to the
town and recd it again in the Nominal Sum and it passed in favour of
Reconsidering of Said Vote.”

September 16, 1783. “A Town Meeting in Consequence of Capt. James
White’s Commencing an action on the Town.

“A motion was made and Seconded to no if it was the minds of the People
to stand Capt. White in the Law and it passed in favor of it.

“Voted to Chuse Two agents to act in Behalf of the Town against Capt.
James White, even to final Judgment and Execution.

“The Honᵉ Cotton Tufts Esq & Solomon Lovell Esq ware Chosen (Ajents
Committee) for the above purpose.

“Voted that the ajents be impowered to Draw Money out of the Town
Treasury to Defend the Town against Capt. White even to final Judgment
and Execution they to Render an accompt how they disposed of the money.

“Voted to adjourn the meeting to the 22nd of this instant Sepᵇʳ at --
of the Clock in the afternoon.”

“Sepᵇʳ 22d 1783. Meet at the adjournment, and as neither of the ajents
had Taken the advice of a Lawyer Voted to adjourn to monday 29th of
this instant September at 10 of the Clock foornoon.”

“Sepᵇʳ 29th 1783 meet on the adjournment and further adjourned to
October 6th 1783.”

“October 6th 1783, meet on the adjournment. Voted that the ajents (if
occation for it) appeal to the Superior Court at february Next. the
Meeting Dissolved.”

  “Weymouth March the 8th 1784.

“the Agents appointed to defend the Town in an action brought by Capt.
James White, on a Note paid him in Paper money; found that the Town was
not in a Capacity to tender the money for the Note of Hand due--and
therefore that the Costs and Charges of Court would fall upon the Town,
whether the Demand for Depreciation on Said note paid was finally
Decided in his Favour or not,--they also found that a much heaver
Expence to the Town would arise from Carrying on the Suit to final
Judgment than they Concieved that the Town was aware off--this induced
your Agents to Listen to Some Proposals made by Capt White: (Viz) To
Pay the Cost that had then arisen, to allow him Compound Interest on
his Note that was due and to Estimate the Depreciation thereon from
the month of June his note being Dated the first of July. He alledging
that notwithstanding as their was but one Day that made the Difference;
it was hard that the whole month of July should be taken in for the
Estimate--they accordingly made the Calculation and Certified the same
to the Town Treasurer, who Settled with Capt. James White Conformably
thereunto, and the Action was dropt never having had a Tryall. As youre
Agents conducted in this matter, as they Apprehended for the best
Interest of the Town they flatter themselves that their Conduct will
meet with the Approbation of the Town, and that the Town will Confirm
the Doeings of their Treasurer thereon.

                               The Honᵇˡᵉ Cotton Tufts Esqʳ } _Agents_.
                                Gen. Solomon Lovell Esqʳ    }

“The Above Report Accepted by the Town.

                                              John Tirrel _Town Clerk_”

The depreciation in paper money between July, 1776, and the same month
in 1778, had been from par to 6.30 to 1.

[95] _Records_, Monday, December 23, 1776.

[96] Letters of Mrs. Adams (ed. 1848), p. 82.

[97] The nearest approach made to a draft is found in the following

“June 19th. 1780

“Voted that the assessors be desired to set off the Inhabitants as near
as they can into twenty Parsols or Districts as they Stand in the Tax
Bill for Polls and Estates and each District to be obliged to get a Man
to go into the Servis and if any one in said district shall refuse to
go or to pay his Proportion according to what he pays Taxes the Capt.
of the Company to which he belongs be Desired to draft said Person and
return him as a Drafted Man.” _Record._

[98] Savage’s Winthrop, v. 1, p. 163.




                          GILBERT NASH, Esq.,


Not long since, the statement was made by one of our leading journals,
that the first church in Weymouth was formed in 1635;[99] and an
inquiry for the authority for such a statement elicited the following
reply: “The Massachusetts Colonial Records [1: 149] state, under date
of 8 July, 1635, that ‘there is leave granted to twenty-one ffamilyes
to sitt down at Wessaguscus.’ Gov. Winthrop in his Journal [1: 194]
says, ‘at the court [5 mo. 8] Wessaguscus was made a plantation, a
Mr. Hull, a minister in England, and twenty one families with him,
allowed to sit down there--after called Weymouth.’ No explicit mention
is here made of the first formation of the church in this connection
but in lack of evidence of previous embodiment, it has always been
assumed to have been coetaneous with the settlement of the town--or
nearly so--following the general rule. Mr. Savage in his list of the
early churches of Massachusetts puts it down thus: ‘xi. Weymouth,
1635, July.’ The very careful and accurate Dr. Clark [Con’l ch’hs of
Mass., 16] says: ‘The same year (1635) about twenty families located in
Weymouth, from which the First church in that town was constituted, and
Rev. Joseph Hull settled over them.’ It is of course true that there
were religious services, and possibly a church at Weymouth before this,
but we are aware of no evidence carrying the life of the church now
existent back of 1635.”

This may or may not be the true date at which the church was formed.
The evidence given in the foregoing article to establish the fact
certainly does not prove this, nor does it afford reasonable ground
for its probability, and is anything but satisfactory to the least
critical inquirer. If it proves anything it proves too much, for, while
it admits the lack of positive evidence upon the question, it makes an
admission which will go far to overthrow its own position. It says: “In
lack of evidence of previous embodiment, it has always been assumed
to have been coetaneous with the settlement of the town--or nearly
so--following the general rule.”

Here are two points admitted, and the Journal mentioned should be
good authority upon which to rest them. First, the lack of positive
evidence, from which the necessary inference is that we must fall back
upon probability or conjecture, as the basis of our judgment in the
case. Second, that, as a general rule, churches were formed at the time
settlements were begun, or soon after. Without question the latter
statement is correct. The well known character and habits of the early
emigrants, and the facts that have come to us in connection with them,
prove this beyond a doubt. If, then, it can be proved that Weymouth
was a prosperous settlement at a much earlier date than that assumed
for it, 1635, we shall go far to prove the probability, at least, of
an earlier church organization. And this brings us to the subject of
the present paper, namely, What are our facts relative to the early
settlement of the town, and how do they concern the church and its

The very general assumption that there was no permanent settlement in
Weymouth, (using the name by which the town has since been known),
previous to the arrival of the Hull company, in 1635, can hardly
be sustained in face of the very strong evidence to the contrary.
C. F. Adams, Jr., Esq., in his address delivered 4 July, 1874, at
the celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the
settlement of the town, and in his paper on the “Old Planters about
Boston Harbor,” read before the Massachusetts Historical Society, and
published in its collections, “the ablest paper,” says Rev. George E.
Ellis, D. D., no mean judge of such matters, “ever read before that
Society,” proves conclusively that the Gorges company, which settled
upon the deserted plantations of Thomas Weston’s people, in September,
1623, and which, it has been usually thought, was wholly broken up
in the following spring, left a number of its emigrants there, who
remained and became permanent settlers. These were joined from time to
time by single families or small companies, until, upon the arrival of
Mr. Hull’s company, the settlement had attained to quite respectable

This ground has been so carefully covered by Mr. Adams in the papers
before mentioned, that it will be necessary only to mention very
briefly the main facts, and to sustain them by such other evidence as
may be had from the court and town records, as well as from private

A careful analysis of these records will show that, instead of the
company from Weymouth, England, in 1635, being the first settlers,
there were, at the date of its arrival, certainly not less than fifty
families, and perhaps seventy or eighty, already residing there; and
it is more than possible that this was an important reason why this
place was selected by this company for its settlement. A flourishing
colony already established, was sufficient evidence of good soil, a
good location, a favorable position for trade with the Indians, and for
communication with the other plantations about the bay; besides, and
this was no insignificant matter in those days, the protection thus
afforded against the savages.

More than this, it is probable that many of the previous settlers
were relatives or friends of the later arrivals. Lenthal, in his
remarks before the Dorchester Council in 1639, says that many of his
former people had preceded him, giving this as a reason why he came
to Weymouth. The similarity of name, and the localities of some whose
former residences are known, give color to this probability; and the
name Weymouth, given at this time, 1635, to the plantation, may not be
wholly owing to the influx of new people, sailing from Weymouth, in
Dorset, but to the calling up of old memories in the minds of previous
settlers, who, years before, sailed from the same port and perhaps
lived there.

An examination of the public records will afford evidence, surprising
in value and volume, of this early and continued settlement. Although
the earliest record in the archives of the town bears date 10 December,
1636, and very few entries are prior to 1644-5, yet there are those
undated that are probably earlier, and these, with the evidence
reflected from later dates, together with corroboration received from
other and contemporaneous sources, give additional and strong proof in
support of the same.

Thus we have the Gorges colony in 1623, the arrival of a new company
from Weymouth, England, the following year, the capture of Morton
in 1628, the visit of Gov. Winthrop in 1632, the tax lists of
the Massachusetts Bay Colony for 1630 and onwards, which include
Wessaguscus, and the incidental mention from contemporaneous sources
covering nearly all of the intervening time. These afford a firm basis
upon which to rest an earlier settlement than that of the Hull company.
Later on, and still previous to that arrival, we learn from the
colonial records that in March, 1635, the bounds between Wessaguscus
and Mount Wollaston were referred to a committee for adjustment, and in
the July following, a similar arrangement was made to fix the bounds
between it and its next neighbor on the east, Bare-Cove, afterwards
Hingham. In October, Richard Long was fined for making clapboards from
good trees and selling them out of town, when he had been directed to
make them into shingles for Castle Island; the proceeds of the fine to
go towards a bridge in Wessaguscus. The Hull company could hardly have
been so far advanced in business by this time, as this state of things
would indicate; besides, Long was not a member of that company but must
have been a prior settler. In March of the next year, Thomas Applegate,
also a prior settler, was removed from his position as ferry keeper,
and Henry Kingman, one of the new-comers, appointed to succeed him.

The assessment and payment of taxes is usually deemed conclusive
evidence in matters with which they come in connection. If there were
boundaries to be adjusted, there must have been residents on both sides
of the line who were in contention about them. A ferry and a bridge, as
means of communication, would hardly be necessary where there was no

The earliest of the town records contains a list of land owners with a
description of their property. The record is not dated, but the time
can be fixed with certainty, within about a year and a half. The names
of Elizabeth and Mary Fry, daughters of William Fry, deceased, are
upon this list, and as his burial is recorded as having taken place
October 26, 1642, the list must have been prepared subsequent to that
time. At the close of these property descriptions is the record of the
transfer of some of this same property, and it is described in the
lists as belonging to the grantors. Two of these transfers bear date
21 and 26 May, 1644, thus showing the latest limit at which it could
have been compiled. The true date is probably 1643, and there is reason
for believing, from internal evidence, that Rev. Samuel Newman was the
compiler, he being at that time a resident of the town, his removal to
Rehoboth taking place in 1644.

In this list, which is very incomplete as will be easily seen, there
are the names of 71 persons with a general description of the property
then owned by them. In these descriptions the names of 17 others are
mentioned, from whom some of this property was purchased, or to whom
the original grants were made. There are also mentioned as owners of
property bounding the different lots described, the names of 52, who do
not appear in the other two classes, yet who must have been property
owners or they could not have been abuttors, making in all 123, at
least, real estate owners at the time the list was made up. Why this
large number escaped record we have no means of knowing, but since
such is the fact we may reasonably infer that many others may have
been omitted altogether, and that the full number was originally much
greater; in fact we have evidence that this was so, from incidental
mention in the later records. Taking, however, the lists as they come
to us, we have the names of 123, without doubt most of them heads
of families. These, at an average of five to the family, a moderate
estimate for those days, would furnish a population of more than 600.

Of these 123, only 17 are found in the list of the Hull company, 20
March, 1635; the remaining 106 must have come in at some other date.
Besides these above mentioned, there are found upon the birth record of
Weymouth, previous to 1644, the names of seven, belonging to families
not before enumerated, and this record is notoriously incomplete. A
careful examination of these 130 families will throw further light upon
the matter. Some of them came into the settlement subsequent to 1635,
but only a few. Many are known to have been earlier residents. Some
came with the Gorges company in 1623, and had resided here since that
time, and many others were among the arrivals continually coming in
during the eleven intervening years before the arrival of Mr. Hull and
his company.

Bursley, Jeffries, and probably Ludden, with several others, were
members of the Gorges company. Henry Adams, John Allen, Robert Abell,
Stephen French, John Glover, Walter Harris, Edmond Hart, James Parker,
Thomas Richards, Thomas Rawlins, Clement Briggs, Richard Sylvester and
Clement Weaver, came in 1630, or soon after; William Torrey, as late as
1640, while the large majority were here at the date of the making up
of the record, but further than this nothing is known with certainty.
From the evidence we have, however, we may fairly presume that many
of them were settlers previous to the arrival of Gov. Winthrop, and
that some of them were of that company from Weymouth, England, in
1624, of whom Prince makes mention, and of whom something more will
be said hereafter. Of the settlers who were here in 1628 and 1630, we
know but little beyond the fact that they were here at that date, and
that Thomas Morton, of Mount Wollaston, of unpleasant memory, was on
intimate terms with some of them, and was arrested by the Plymouth
authorities, while on a visit here in 1628.

So, then, our facts relative to the early settlement are briefly these.
A permanent settlement in the fall of 1623, by Capt. Robert Gorges and
his followers, continual additions during the next four years, the
record of the arrest of Morton in 1628, for which the settlement was
taxed £2, to £2: 10_s._ for Plymouth, showing the comparative size of
the two plantations, casual mention for the following three years, the
visit of Gov. Winthrop on his way to and from Plymouth, in 1632, record
of births in 1633, and the colonial tax lists from 1630 onwards until
the erection of the settlement into a plantation, with the right of a
deputy to the General Court.

It will be remembered that the original settlers of Wessaguscus, or
Weymouth, were what would now be termed “squatters,” and their titles
simply those of possession, the real owners being the Indians, whose
rights were general and not individual. The English titles were vested
in governmental grants to the large companies like the Plymouth, the
Gorges and the Massachusetts Bay. These early settlers came into the
territory of Wessaguscus before it fairly was in the possession of
either company; consequently they could only acquire such title as the
native holders could give them, to be confirmed by later authority,
whatever that might be. Weymouth extinguished the Indian title to
its territory by purchase; the deed bearing date 26 April, 1642, was
executed by the resident chiefs, who sign themselves Wampetuc, alias
Jonas Webacowett, Nateaunt and Nahawton, and is recorded among the
Suffolk Deeds. Nateaunt’s beach and probable camping ground was at
the foot of Great Hill, in North Weymouth. The town was therefore now
in a position to confirm the planters in their possessions, and the
existence of the list of possessions made soon after, seems to indicate
that this was done.

There are reasons why the early contemporaneous records and writers so
seldom mention this town and its affairs, in the fact of its different
origin, the marked jealousy, not to say unkind feelings with which
the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies regarded it. It had a
more commercial element in its constitution. It was, also, in its
incipience, episcopal in its ecclesiastical relations, which, although
gradually relaxing, carried enough of the flavor of the “establishment”
with it to make it anything but palatable to the taste of their puritan
and independent neighbors. The relations then existing between them and
their neighbors about the Bay we cannot determine with certainty now,
but we may judge something of what they were by the casual mention, and
the incidental exhibitions of feeling, cropping out but too frequently.

If it were the usual custom in the settlement of this country to form
churches immediately after taking permanent possession, and of this
there can be little doubt, then Wessaguscus should have had a church
several years at least before the arrival of Rev. Joseph Hull; and
perhaps by a careful study of the facts we have, and the results
growing out of them, we may make our probabilities approach more nearly
to positive evidence than we have been able heretofore to do, although
we may not quite reach the point we wish to attain.

With the Gorges company in the autumn of 1623, came Rev. William
Morrell, their minister, a clergyman of the Established Church. He
appears to have been a quiet, scholarly gentlemen, of cultivated
tastes and refined habits, much better fitted for the duties and
enjoyments of an English rectory, than to found and build up a church
in the rough settlements of a new country. He could better enjoy
the congenial society of his equals, at home, than guide the rude,
independent minds of those who constituted his companions in this,
to him, wholly unknown enterprise. The whole plan of the undertaking
was conceived and started in a spirit particularly unconscious of
the real position of affairs where it was to be executed. It was a
paper campaign, projected by an impracticable general, and entrusted
to incompetent officers. As such the result was inevitable failure.
It was started with organization and machinery enough to carry on a
colony of the greatest magnitude after years of successful growth; and
in order to give it dignity and importance, and to secure the favor of
the home government, its ecclesiastical character and position were
well cared for in the plan. Mr. Morrell was its minister, sufficient
for the needs of its first company. He was the pioneer to whom was
intrusted all of the preliminary work that was to speedily result in a
flourishing bishopric, and as such he was clothed with ample powers,
with full control of all the churches present and in immediate prospect
upon these shores. The reality soon satisfied him that the plan was a
failure, or that he was not the man to execute it. A rigorous climate,
an inhospitable coast, and the companionship of uncongenial spirits
were more than he had bargained for and more than he could bear. With
the discouragements of many of his associates he sympathized. Thus we
find that he remained with his charge about a year and a half and then
returned to England, sailing from Plymouth; having had the rare good
sense and discretion to keep his ecclesiastical powers and authority
to himself, for he did not attempt in the least degree to exercise
these, although they were so large, showing them only when about to
leave. With this marvellous prospect before him when he undertook the
position, and the facilities given him to carry out almost any ideas
he may have entertained respecting his ecclesiastical work, however
extravagant they may have been, is it presumptuous to suppose that he
did not neglect the very first step necessary to carry out the plan
of the enterprise, which would be the formation of a local church? We
have no positive evidence that he did this, but the probabilities would
certainly seem to favor such a proceeding. Without such an organization
he could hope to accomplish but little; with it he would have made
a beginning and laid the foundations, at least, upon which to erect
the imposing structure, that had filled the minds of the original
projectors in England.

For the chronicles of the church and minister during the next ten years
we have to rely mainly upon a single statement, we might almost say
tradition, and that somewhat vague and unsatisfactory. The passage
in “Prince’s Chronicles” relating to this settlement seems not to be
credited by Mr. Adams, yet it is of such a nature that we can hardly
pass it by as entirely without foundation. It reads as follows: “This
year comes some addition to the few inhabitants of Wessagusset, from
Weymouth, England, who are another sort of people than the former.”
Then follows in brackets [“and on whose account I conclude the town is
since called Weymouth”]. To this is appended the following note:--“They
have the Rev. Mr. Barnard, their first non-conformist minister, who
dies among them. But whether he comes before or after 1630, or when
he dies is yet unknown, nor do I anywhere find the least hint of him,
but in the manuscript letter taken from some of the oldest people
of Weymouth.” The authority upon which this whole passage depends is
the manuscript letter. The statement is a very important one, and
would seem to be entitled to more weight than Mr. Adams is inclined to
allow it. Rev. Thomas Prince was born 15 May, 1687, and was old enough
before their decease, to know many of those who were the children
of the very earliest settlers of the town. From them he undoubtedly
obtained the information contained in the manuscript letter. And who
were these people and how much value should attach to their testimony?
As an answer let us look at the record of a single year, that of 1718,
when Mr. Prince was 31 years of age. Among the deaths of that year we
find the following:--Samuel, son of Elder Edward Bates, Capt. Stephen
French, son of Stephen French, (Edward Bates and Stephen French were
members of the Dorchester council, Feb., 1639, in the Lenthal matter,
from the Weymouth church); Ichabod, son of Capt. John Holbrook; James,
son of Dea. Jonas Humphrey; James, son of Robert Lovell; Lieut. Jacob,
son of Capt. James Nash; John, son of Robert Randall; Dea. John, son
of Joseph Shaw; William and Jonathan, sons of Capt. William Torrey,
and John, son of John Vinson. These were all old men, and their
fathers were among the first settlers of the town, and all, fathers
and sons, were among its most intelligent and important citizens. This
is the record for a single year. While Mr. Prince was in the prime of
life there were scores of such, from whom his information would come
only second hand. The death of Rev. Samuel Torrey, one of the ablest
ministers of his day, the pastor of the church in Weymouth for many
years, occurred in 1707, when Mr. Prince was 20 years old, whom he well
knew, and whose authority would be unquestioned. Here were sources of
information from which he probably drew his account. He has always had
the reputation of being a very careful historian, and any statement of
his should not be hastily set aside. Mr. Prince himself does not appear
to doubt its correctness, but is surprised to find no mention made of
the company and the minister, Mr. Barnard, in contemporary writers. As
before intimated, satisfactory reason could no doubt be found for such
omissions were the relations between the few scattered settlements of
the time known to us. If we may not give some credit to this tradition
upon such an authority, it will be hardly worth our while to pursue our
inquiries further in this direction, for it is by just such incidental
testimony, and that alone, that we are to establish much of our proof.
And this is often the most satisfactory evidence, for the very reason
that it is incidental and indirect, and therefore less liable to be
swayed by prejudice or predisposition. Again, the probabilities are
strongly in favor of the existence of this Mr. Barnard as the minister;
for with such antecedents and surroundings as these early planters
had, it would be natural and proper for them to have a minister, and
in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, may we not credit the
statement of Mr. Prince, that these settlers at Wessagusset had for
their minister, Mr. Barnard, who lived and died among them; and that
the statement did not come merely from a confusion of names, consequent
upon the appearance of Massachiel Barnard, a member of the Hull
company, who made his home in the town for several years? For similar
reasons may we not well believe that this people and minister were not
without a church for a series of years?

We have no further record of church or minister until 1635, when
permission was given, 8 July, by the General Court, for Rev. Joseph
Hull and 21 families to sit down at Wessaguscus. On the 2d of
September, following, the name of the settlement was changed to
Weymouth, and it was made a plantation, with a privilege of a deputy to
the General Court. Mr. Hull was also made a freeman at the same time.
His first grant of land is recorded as in Weymouth, 12 June, 1636. The
same year he also received a grant of land in Hingham. In 1637, he was
reported as being still in Weymouth, while the same year, probably
later and transiently, he is named among the list of first settlers in
Salem. He was also heard from about the same time, preaching at Bass
River, Beverly. In September, 1638, he was chosen deputy to the General
Court from Hingham, and was also appointed a local magistrate for the
same town. His son, Benjamin, was baptized there, 24 March, 1639; and
again he was elected its deputy to the General Court. 5 May of that
year, he preached his farewell sermon in Weymouth, and later, in the
same month, is heard from at Barnstable, in Plymouth colony, making a

His sojourn at Barnstable was a short and stormy one, for he had hardly
become settled there with his little company when the territory was
entered upon by Rev. Mr. Lothrop and his flock from Scituate. There
his daughter Joanna was married in November, 1639, to Capt. John
Bursley, who was unquestionably the Bursley of the Gorges company, at
Weymouth, in 1623, whom we find back again in that town as a land owner
in 1643. Mr. Hull was made a freeman of Plymouth colony, in December,
1639. There seems to have been trouble in the Barnstable church, and
Mr. Hull preached at Yarmouth so acceptably, that, early in 1641 he
received a call from the church there, which he promptly accepted, and
for which both he and his wife were excommunicated by the Barnstable
church. On this account perhaps, and possibly from the influence of
the Plymouth authorities, who appear to have become hostile to him, his
stay at Yarmouth was of short duration, for we find him as preacher at
the Isle of Shoals, in March, 1642. He seems not yet to have wholly
abandoned the Plymouth colony, for, 11 March, 1642, his wife Agnes
renews her covenant with the Barnstable church, and 7 March, 1643, a
warrant for his arrest is issued by the court, “should he continue his
ministrations as minister or magistrate in that colony.” His troubles
there appear to have been adjusted, for he was received back into
the Barnstable church, 10 August, 1643. He now bids a final farewell
to that colony, and we next hear of him as preaching at York, Maine,
where, or in that vicinity, he remained for 8 or 10 years, subject
however to the not very friendly attentions of his Massachusetts Bay
colony acquaintances. He afterwards returned to England, and was, in
1659, rector of St. Buryan’s, Cornwall, where he remained about three
years, when his name appears among the ejected ministers under the “St.
Bartholomew Act.” He again took refuge in America, where he was found,
1665, the year of his death, once more at the Isle of Shoals, having
been driven from Oyster River by the Quakers.

Mr. Hull was born in Somersetshire, England, about the year 1590; was
educated at Oxford University, St. Mary’s Hall, where he graduated
in 1614; became rector of Northleigh, Devon, in 1621, which position
he resigned in 1632, when he commenced gathering from his native
county and those surrounding it, the company with which he sailed from
Weymouth, Dorset, 20 March, 1635.

“Mr. Hull,” says Savage, “came over in the Episcopal interest,” and his
sympathies appear to have leaned in that direction, although while in
America he was professedly a non-conformist, or Independent; hence,
probably, the jealousy and petty persecution which followed him with
more or less virulence, during the greater part of his residence on
these shores. He was a man of worth and learning by the admission of
Hubbard. He must have been a popular man from his success in securing
followers to make up his company of emigrants, and his selection by the
voice of his constituents at three different elections as deputy to the
General Court, twice at Hingham, and once at Barnstable. He must have
been an acceptable preacher from the eagerness with which his services
were sought. Dr. Mather places him among our “first good men;” and
Pike, his successor at Dover, remembers him as a reverend minister,
while Gov. Winthrop says he was “a very contentious man.” Possibly the
worthy Governor may not have been quite free from prejudice against
the free-spoken, Independent minister, with Episcopal antecedents and
tendencies, yet the frequent removals, numerous troubles, vexations
and lawsuits, certainly give room for the Governor’s opinion. No
fault seems to have been found with his moral or religious character,
but he was certainly unfortunate while in this country by having
circumstances so often against him, or in having so many bad neighbors.
It is somewhat doubtful whether he was ever settled over the church in

Rev. Thomas Jenner was in Weymouth in the early part of 1636, and took
the freeman’s oath in December of that year. According to Mr. Savage
he was in Roxbury a year or two previous to that. Soon, in 1637, he
received a call from the Weymouth people. The same year, according
to Winthrop and Hubbard, “divers of the ministers and elders went to
Weymouth, to reconcile the differences between the people and Mr.
Jenner, whom they had called for their pastor, and had good success.”
We find, also, from the General Court records, that this course was
ordered by the court. He remained there for several years, and in 1640
represented the town in the General Court. He retired from the ministry
there for some reason unexplained by the records, although we may get
a hint at what it was, and went to Saco, Maine. Not much is known of
him, further than this: that he came to Weymouth as early at least as
the year following the arrival of Mr. Hull, and that he came in the
interest of the ministers and authorities of the Massachusetts Bay
colony, and was sustained by them through the troubles that ensued.

And now a third minister appears upon the scene, Rev. Robert Lenthal,
who was in Weymouth as early as 1637, where “he disseminated his new
doctrines, made proselytes and collected a strong party to oppose the
new organization of the church, which took place 30 Jan’y, 1638,”
according to notes appended to a sermon preached by Rev. Josiah Bent
at the dedication of the new meeting-house in North Weymouth, 28
November, 1832. These notes were prepared by Hon. Christopher Webb, who
was deeply interested in Weymouth history and had been long engaged
in collecting materials for historical purposes. Mr. Savage also
states that Mr. Lenthal was in Weymouth in 1637, “but not pleasing the
Governor was forbid to be ordained.” Matters in the church, instead of
growing better after the council of 1637, which met with such “good
success in reconciling the differences between Mr. Jenner and his
people in Weymouth,” became so much worse that it was deemed necessary
to call a second council or conference, which was held at the house of
Capt. Israel Stoughton, in Dorchester, a magistrate of the colony, 10
February, 1639. Notes of the proceedings were taken by Capt. Robert
Keayne (brother-in-law of Rev. John Wilson), which have been preserved
among the Stiles manuscripts in Yale College Library. From these notes
much valuable information has come to light. The council must have been
considered a very important one, since we find among its members, Rev.
John Wilson, pastor, and Rev. John Cotton, teacher, of the church in
Boston; Rev. Zechariah Symmes, teacher, of the church in Charlestown;
Rev. John Weld, pastor, and Rev. John Eliot, teacher, of the church in
Roxbury; Rev. Samuel Newman, (who went to Weymouth the same year); Rev.
Thomas Jenner, of Weymouth; Mr. Edward Bates and Mr. Stephen French,
of Weymouth, the former of whom, and not the latter as Mr. Trumbull
has it, was then, or soon became, a ruling elder of the church in that
town; also a private man, perhaps Capt. Keayne himself.

In those days one of the surest and most expeditious ways of disposing
of a troublesome competitor, and one which has not yet been entirely
abandoned, was to accuse him of heresy, and it was a very poor use of
favorable circumstances that failed to convict, and thus dispose of
the difficulty. The points which Mr. Lenthal was called to answer, and
upon which he was supposed to differ, were, the constituents of the
real church, and justification by faith. The churches of New England
at that time very tenaciously held to the necessity of a covenant for
giving “essential being” to the church, while Mr. Lenthal believed that
baptism and not the covenant constituted this “essential being,” as
it was termed. He also objected to reordination after a new election.
The real point of difference seems to have been the relative merits
of the church and parish systems, perhaps, as at present illustrated
in the settlement of ministers by ordination or installation, or
in their employment as “stated supply;” settling or only hiring; a
matter of purely church polity. The churches believed strongly in the
antecedence of election to ordination of church officers. The second
point was justification by faith, as held by these churches against
the construction put upon it by Mrs. Hutchinson and her adherents; a
difference rather metaphysical than doctrinal, as it would appear to
us. Both of these questions were satisfactorily settled, as far as the
session of the council was concerned; Mr. Lenthal being sincere enough,
or politic enough, not to differ too strongly from his judges.

The facts brought out were, that Mr. Lenthal had previously been a
minister in good repute in England; that in the preceding years several
of his people had come to America and were settled at Weymouth, and
he expected more to follow. Mr. Jenner was now at Weymouth; Mr. Hull
had not yet preached his farewell sermon, and there was not absolute
harmony among the people. Upon Mr. Lenthal’s appearance in New England,
his former people who had settled in Weymouth, with probably some
others, enough to form quite a strong party, urged him to come to that
place and be their minister, to which he willingly consented.

In attempting, however, to carry out this arrangement, Mr. Jenner
being in possession, and having a strong official support, trouble
ensued, so great that the salary of Mr. Jenner failed to be paid;
hence the conference, although the plea was unsoundness in doctrine,
on the part of Mr. Lenthal. Mr. Jenner and Mr. Newman, as previously
stated, were both members of this council, the former to be a judge
in his own case, and the latter a party in interest, as we find him,
almost immediately, upon the ground, and within a short time in full
possession of the field; Mr. Hull preaching his farewell sermon the
same year; Mr. Jenner a resident of Saco, within two years; while Mr.
Lenthal goes to that refuge for the persecuted, Rhode Island, where
he was admitted as freeman, 6 August, 1640, and employed by the town
of Newport in teaching a public school. It is said that he returned to
England in 1641 or 1642. The trouble seems to have been that Weymouth
was considered a public manor upon which any minister had a right
to poach, and the difficulties that ensued in consequence, although
satisfactorily settled, would not stay settled, but were continually
breaking out afresh.

In this connection, J. Hammond Trumbull, in his notes upon the Stiles
paper, published in the Congregational Quarterly for April, 1877,
from which the report of the council of 1639 was taken, quotes from
Winthrop as follows: “It is observable this church and that of Lynn
could not hold together, nor could have any elders join or hold with
them. The reason appeared to be because they did not begin according
to the rule of the gospel.” Was this a church formed by Mr. Hull, or
was it an attempt to form a second? The vigorous repressive measures
of the General Court seem to have prepared the way for a permanent
settlement of the difficulties, the prominent actors in the Lenthal
faction being quite summarily dealt with. John Smith was fined £20
and committed during the pleasure of the court; Richard Silvester was
fined £2 and disfranchised, for “disturbing the peace by combining with
others to hinder the orderly gathering of a church in Weymouth, and to
set up another there,--and for undue procuring the hands of many to a
blank for that purpose.” Mr. Ambrose Martin, “for calling the church
covenant a stinking carrion and a human invention, etc., was fined £10
and ordered to go to Mr. Mather to be instructed by him.” Mr. Thomas
Makepeace, “because of his novile disposition was informed that we
are weary of him, unless he reform;” and James Britton, “for his not
appearing was committed, and for his gross lying, dissimulation and
contempt of ministers, churches and covenant was openly whipt.” Thus
promptly was heresy and insubordination crushed by our fathers, and
freedom of speech, action and conscience protected,--in their way.

The way having been thus prepared, Rev. Samuel Newman came to Weymouth
in 1639, where he remained for four or five years, but the seeds of
former troubles had not yet ceased to sprout; the difficulty was
not wholly overcome; the spirit of unrest that had for some years
so possessed the people would not so soon be quieted. He found his
position anything but a bed of roses, and he was glad to emigrate to
escape the labor of so hard a field; therefore, in 1644, he, with some
40 families, sought refuge in Seekonk, which, in memory of the occasion
and its cause, he called Rehoboth, “The Lord hath made room for us.”
Not because Weymouth had become too narrow in territory for them, for
probably not a quarter of its acres had been taken up, but for the
same reason that separated Abraham and Lot. The pressure was on the
spirit and not upon the body; and so, rather than continue the quarrel,
they sought a new home further in the wilderness. Common tradition,
which most of the historians have followed, says that he took with him
a majority of his congregation, but with the facts relative to the
population that we have already before us, it will be easy to prove
that this could not have been correct, for we have seen that at the
date of the first meeting held by the original planters of Seekonk,
which by the way was held in Weymouth, 24 October, 1643, the latter
town had at least 130 families, probably a good many more, while of
these only 23 names are found in the list of the original proprietors
of Seekonk, four of whom certainly remained in Weymouth, leaving but
19 out of which to manufacture a majority of 130. This emigration was
indeed a serious loss, but its general effect was hardly perceptible,
and the business of the town apparently went on as though nothing
important had happened.

Rev. Mr. Newman was born in Banbury, England, in 1600; graduated at
Oxford, in 1620; came to Dorchester, Mass., in 1636, and to Weymouth,
in 1639; whence he removed to Rehoboth, where he died 5 July, 1663.
“He was a hard student, an animated preacher, and an excellent man,
ardently beloved and long lamented by his people. He compiled by the
light of pine knots, a concordance of the Bible, the third at that time
in the English language, and the best. While living he was defrauded of
the pecuniary profits of his work, and when dead, he was robbed also of
the name, the work being afterwards known as ‘Cruden’s Concordance.’”

With the withdrawal of Mr. Newman, and the settlement of Mr. Thomas
Thacher, who was ordained 2 January, 1644, the perplexing trouble of
the Weymouth church came to an end, and an era of extended prosperity
dawned upon it. From this time forward the history of the church can be
traced quite fully and accurately, although it has no records of its
own previous to the time of Rev. William Smith, those for the first
hundred years of its existence being missing.

So much for our brief record of facts. Some of them, however, and those
among the more important, need to be accounted for or explained, in
order to make the narrative consistent and satisfactory. The intense
difficulties of the eight years from the arrival of Mr. Hull in 1635,
to the departure of Mr. Newman in 1644, must have had an origin that
is not revealed to us in the records at our command. What were the
causes that produced them and contributed to keep them alive during
this period? Why is it that contemporaneous writers have so little to
say about this settlement and its events during its first twenty years?
Perhaps a closer look at the facts we have may throw some light upon
the subject.

Rev. Mr. Morrell, it is admitted, came to this town in the Episcopal
interest. He was a clergyman of the Established Church, clothed with
extraordinary powers to form, govern and perpetuate churches of that
communion. Whatever influence he exerted was in favor of the extension
and strengthening of that organization. His people were in sympathy
with him in this matter, and if he founded a church here it was of
that denomination; if he did not, he left influences behind him that
would naturally work towards the accomplishment of that purpose, and
these influences would as naturally continue to operate while these
settlers formed an important element in that community; they would
of necessity oppose the ecclesiastical systems of the Plymouth and
Bay colonies, then or soon to become their near neighbors. While the
settlement was one, before the arrival of Gov. Winthrop and the rapid
increase of settlements around the Bay, there was nothing to call up
this feeling of opposition, for the few emigrants who came from time
to time, even if their sympathies were at variance with the previous
settlers, had enough to do to look after their own affairs; besides,
the colony was not strong enough to quarrel. The arrival of Gov.
Winthrop, the establishment of the colonial government, and the large
tide of emigration that set in immediately after, had its effect upon
the little plantation of Wessaguscus. The favorable situation, and the
already established community, drew in many new settlers from other
points, and the influence of the government, and the religious system
it supported, soon made itself felt, and with the assistance derived
from these sources, became at length predominant. Still the old
feeling of loyalty to the Church of England and to the Gorges company,
was powerful enough to form a strong party.

Such was the position of affairs, when, in the summer of 1635, the
arrival of Mr. Hull and his score of families introduced a new element
of discord into the already divided community. The new comers, not in
full sympathy with either faction, deemed themselves strong enough
and of sufficient importance to have at least an equal voice in the
councils of the town, and as there was no minister at their coming, and
as they brought one ready-made at their hands, what better could they
do than accept him for all? This at once aroused the opposition of the
older settlers, and measures were immediately taken to prevent such a
result. The friends of the government seem to have been the strongest
and most energetic. They select Mr. Thomas Jenner, a recent emigrant
to Dorchester, and invite him to take the field in opposition, which
he was very ready to do, for we find him here in the year following.
Success appears to have followed the movement, for Mr. Hull virtually
retires from the contest, as the records show him in 1636 and 1637 as a
candidate for the ministerial position in other places, and soon, with
a sufficiently permanent location in the neighboring town of Hingham,
to become its deputy to the General Court. Still he does not appear to
have wholly relinquished his claim upon the Weymouth pulpit, for it was
not until 1639 that his farewell sermon was preached.

The jealousy of the original settlers of any authority below the crown,
outside of their own patent, may have prevented as close an intimacy
with the neighboring plantations as would otherwise have existed;
and this would furnish a reason why it is so seldom mentioned by
them in connection with their own affairs. However this may be, the
authority of the colonial government was gradually extended over the
settlement, and the people submitted with the best grace they could,
but not without an occasional exhibition of the old spirit by way of
protest. The town was reorganized, its name changed, and the privilege
of a deputy to the General Court granted to it in the summer and fall
of 1635. At once the three opposing elements show themselves, and the
little town chooses three deputies, instead of the one to which it was
entitled. Capt. John Bursley represents the original settlers, Mr. Wm.
Reade those who favor the colonial government, while Mr. John Upham is
the selection of the Hull emigrants, and, as has been sometimes the
case in later days, the patronage of the ruling power proves the most
powerful, and Mr. Reade retains his seat, while his two competitors
quietly retire.

This of course did not tend to soothe the troubles, for, as we have
already seen, they grew so rapidly, developing mainly in the church,
the civil powers being too powerful for open resistance, that in 1637,
the General Court deemed it necessary to interfere and ordered a
council of prominent officers and ministers to settle the differences.
This was followed by a second, neither party being willing to submit to
an adverse decision. And, as if this difficulty were not enough, about
the same time, 1637, appeared another discordant element in the person
of Rev. Robert Lenthal, who had already some partizans in the divided
parish. He needed but little solicitation to join in the fray, and we
have seen the result of his interference, as far as the public records
show. And now, in 1638, Mr. Samuel Newman becomes a fourth aspirant
for the Weymouth pulpit. Truly there must have been a wonderfully
attractiveness in this place for people to draw so many illustrious
teachers thither at the imminent risk of woeful discomfiture. Yet
nothing can be more certain than that about the year 1638-9, there
were no less than four ministers urging their claims to the pastorate
of the Weymouth church, and that each of them had a strong following;
nor can it be doubted that the causes that produced this state of
affairs were deep-seated and some of them of long standing.

The question of the existence of the church through all of these
eventful years cannot be definitely settled with the evidence we
now have. We have proved a permanent and comparatively prosperous
settlement during the whole of this period, and this fact argues a
strong probability of a church organization, for in those days it was
hardly reputable for a community to be without one. We are certain of
Mr. Morrell, and we have important testimony in favor of Mr. Barnard,
previous to 1635,--another argument in favor of the existence of a
church, for ministers without churches were not so common in those
days as at the present time. The coming of Rev. Joseph Hull in 1635, a
regularly ordained minister, and of three others in the three following
years, without any record of tradition of the formation of a church
during that period, while there are many references to a church already
existing, furnish perhaps the strongest argument in favor of a prior

Negative evidence, or lack of positive statement, should not be forced,
but since it has been employed to prove the formation of a church here
at a given date, perhaps we may be permitted to urge it a little more
strongly in favor of an earlier date for the same event. If there
were, as is admitted, ten other churches in existence on the shores of
the Bay at the arrival of the Hull company in 1635, and that company
proceeded immediately to form the eleventh, in accordance with the
universal custom, several of the preceding ten must have been called
to assist in its organization, in which case we can hardly conceive
it possible that some one at least of the number should not have made
the transaction a matter of record, or that their records should not
in some way allude to it, for the formation of a new church was then a
matter of some importance, but nowhere, in church or state or private
records, do we find the slightest intimation of such an event; whereas,
had there been a church formed at an earlier date, when there was no
other existing on the shores of New England, besides that at Plymouth,
and that not in sympathy, we have a very good reason why we hear
nothing of it.

The material needs of the new settlement and other causes before
alluded to might prevent its own record, while the distractions
afterwards existing, and the consequent jealousies between the
contending parties might easily forbid any subsequent one. The theory
of a regular succession of pastors beginning with Mr. Hull in 1635,
and following down through Mr. Jenner, Mr. Lenthal and Mr. Newman,
until Mr. Thacher is reached, has been a favorite one, but is hardly
admissible in face of the evidence already produced, which would rather
go to show the attempted formation of a second church by some of the
conflicting interests in opposition to one already in existence. We may
hope at some time to discover further testimony with which to settle
this vexed question, but for the present we must be content to allow it
to rest upon no firmer basis than probability, yet with that strongly
in favor of a much earlier organization of the church, reaching back
perhaps to 1623.


[99] The Old North Church of Weymouth was organized Jan. 30, 1638/9.
The diary of the Rev. Peter Hobart, the minister at Hingham, Mass.,
from 1635 to 1679, reads: “Jan. 30, 1639, [N. S.] A church gathered
at Weymouth.” (From a paper on “The Organization of the Old North
Church of Weymouth,” read before the Weymouth Historical Society, Feb.
24, 1904, by George W. Chamberlain, and published in the _Weymouth
Gazette_, March 18, following.)

                      WEYMOUTH THIRTY YEARS LATER

                            A PAPER READ BY

                         CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS


It is already five months since your Society celebrated the completion
of its twenty-fifth year. It may be said to have then attained its
majority. Yet, perhaps, this middle period of September is more
appropriate for your anniversary than a day in April; for towards the
middle of September, 1623, that is, two hundred and eighty-one years
ago at this time,--possibly on what was then the thirteenth of the
month, now the twenty-third,--Captain Robert Gorges, at the head of
a little company of adventurers, sat down at Wessagusset. Thus, as
nearly as can now be ascertained, the permanent settlement of a part
of what has for hard upon two whole centuries and three-quarters of
another been known as Weymouth,--the second permanent settlement in
Massachusetts,--dates from this season, and, possibly, from this day
of September. The Weymouth Historical Society commemorates the event
to-night. It might well commemorate it annually.

But, in the first place, I crave indulgence while I say a single
word personal to myself. I want to explain why I meant to be here
last April, and why I am here now. Towards Weymouth, I confess to a
peculiarly kindly feeling. Not only was Weymouth the birthplace and
maiden home of one whom, among my ancestors, I specially reverence, but
to Weymouth I feel under personal obligation. It is a short story, soon
told; it relates also wholly to myself, but here I feel at liberty to
tell it.

Just thirty years ago last spring, on a day in April, if my memory
serves me right, your old-time selectman, James Humphrey,--remembered
by you as “Judge” Humphrey,--called at my office, then in Pemberton
Square, Boston. Taking a chair by my desk, he next occasioned wide-eyed
surprise on my part by inviting me, on behalf of a committee of the
town of Weymouth, to deliver an historical address at the coming
250th anniversary of the permanent settlement of the place. Recently
returned to civil life from four years of active military service, and
nominally a lawyer, I was at that time chairman of the State Board
of Railroad Commissioners, and, as such, devoting my attention to
questions connected with the growth and development of transportation.
To independent historical investigation I had never given a thought. As
to Weymouth, I very honestly confess I hardly knew where the town so
called was, much less anything of its story; having a somewhat vague
impression only that my great-grandmother, Parson William Smith’s
daughter, Abigail, had been born there, and there lived her girlhood.
Such was my surprise, I remember, that I suggested to Mr. Humphrey
he must be acting under a misapprehension, intending to invite some
other member of my family, possibly my father. He, however, at once
assured me such was not the case, satisfying me finally that, a man
sober and in his right mind, he knew what he was about, and who he
was talking to. Subsequently, I learned that he did indeed act as the
representative of a committee appointed at the last annual Weymouth
town meeting; for an explanation of the choice appeared,--as “a
great-grandson of Abigail (Smith) Adams, a native of Weymouth,” I had
been selected for the task. Overcoming my surprise, I told Mr. Humphrey
I would take the matter under consideration. Doing so, I finally
concluded to accept. Though I had not the faintest idea of it at the
time, that acceptance marked for me an epoch; I had, in fact, come to
a turning-point in life. That, instinctively, if somewhat unadvisedly
and blindly, I followed the path thus unexpectedly opened has been to
me ever since cause of gratitude to Weymouth. For thirty years it has
led me through pastures green and pleasant places. But at the moment,
so little did I know of the earlier history of Massachusetts, I was
not aware that any settlement had been effected hereabouts immediately
after that at Plymouth, or that the first name of the place was
Wessagusset; nor, finally, that Thomas Morton had at about the same
time, erected the famous May-pole at Merrymount, on the hill opposite
where I dwelt. Thus the field into which I was invited was one wholly
new to me, and unwittingly I entered on it; but, for once, fortune
builded for me better than I knew. I began on a study which has since
lasted continuously.

Weymouth is, therefore, in my mind closely and inseparably associated,
not only with the commencement of what I dare not call a career,
but with a fortuitous incident which led for me to more pleasurable
pursuits than elsewhere it has been given me to follow.

That address of mine, the immediate outcome of the invitation extended
through Mr. Humphrey in 1874, has since been more than once kindly
referred to by investigators here in Weymouth; and, I infer from
my being here to-night, it is even yet not wholly forgotten. I may
add also that it is distinctly the cause of my being here; for, as
six months ago I thought over your invitation to address a Weymouth
audience once more, it seemed to offer what must be a rare opportunity
in any life,--an opportunity to go back, after years of study directed
largely to historical topics, more especially to topics connected with
New England, Massachusetts and the region hereabout, and to review
what I in the beginning said, close to the spot where I said it.
Accordingly, I this evening propose to find my text in what I uttered
on King-oak hill thirty years ago last July; and, in so doing, to pass
judgment upon it.

For a first performance, I will honestly confess it does not seem to
me, as I now look over it, wholly devoid of merit. Curiously enough
also, the best portions of it are distinctly the closing portions, in
which I wrote with a warmth and feeling absent from the earlier part.
Nevertheless, that Weymouth address of 1874, as I now see it, was, as
a whole, wrong in conception and faulty in execution. It was wrong in
conception, because in it I tried to cover too much ground. That it
was defective in execution, is most apparent. Accepting an invitation
to deliver a commemorative address on the 250th anniversary of the
permanent settlement of Weymouth, I attempted an historical sketch
covering the town’s whole existence. I ought to have confined myself
to a close analysis of its first twenty years. That period would have
opened to me, had I known how to use it, a field of investigation at
once ample in extent and curiously rich. Nor is this all; it would have
done a great deal more. Unwittingly, I missed the opportunity of a
life-time. Simply, I was not equal to the occasion. My consolation is
that few would have been equal to it. But of this, more presently.

To make either a comprehensive or careful analysis of the early history
of your town now, is out of my power; nor would one evening’s time
admit of it. I will, however, say that to-day, not less than in the
days of the late James Savage, “a careful history of Weymouth is much
wanted.”[100] Nine years after my prentice effort, your associate and
recording secretary, Gilbert Nash, approached the subject both with a
better comprehension, and a knowledge much closer and far wider than
I could boast. But my effort, supplemented though it was by him, left
much to be desired,--a desideratum it should be the mission of this
Society to make good.

Turning then to Wessagusset, and the early history of Weymouth, and
confining myself to them, I find its record composed of two parts:--the
Wessagusset settlements, pre-historic almost in character, and the
subsequent struggling into life of Weymouth, in the early years of the
colony. The story of Wessagusset is in itself curiously interesting,
as well as of momentous importance; and it was in connection with that
I missed the opportunity of a life-time, to which I just referred. It
vexes me now to think of it. It even brings to mind Whittier’s familiar

  “For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
  The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

It came about in this wise:--Weymouth is very classic ground; to what
an extent it is classic I certainly did not at the time now in question
appreciate; nor, I am confident, did your people appreciate it. Not
only did some of the most dramatic, as well as momentous, episodes in
the early life of Massachusetts here occur, but it so chanced that
one at least of those episodes has been woven into a poem familiar as
a household word. I refer, of course, to Longfellow’s “Courtship of
Miles Standish.” It was with that I should forever have connected my
effort of 1874; I should have vindicated history, while showing how, as
material for poetical treatment, Longfellow had failed to use it as it
might have been used. He also had proved unequal to the occasion. You
remember the episode in Longfellow’s poem to which I refer; it is the
seventh part, entitled “The March of Miles Standish.” I would like to
read the whole of this part to you; and then, in sharp contrast, set
before you the historic facts. I must, however, confine myself to some
two score lines of the poem, enough to recall its spirit, and follow
them with a mere outline of the actual facts. But that will suffice:

  “Meanwhile the stalwart Miles Standish was marching steadily
  Winding through forest and swamp, and along the trend of the seashore.
       *       *       *       *       *

  “After a three days’ march he came to an Indian encampment
  Pitched on the edge of a meadow, between the sea and the forest;
  Women at work by the tents, and the warriors, horrid with war paint,
  Seated about a fire, and smoking and talking together;
  Who, when they saw from afar the sudden approach of the white men,
  Saw the flash of the sun on breastplate and sabre and musket,
  Straightway leaped to their feet, and two, from among them advancing,
  Came to parley with Standish, and offer him furs as a present;
  Friendship was in their looks, but in their hearts there was hatred.
  Braves of the tribe were these, and brothers gigantic in stature,
  Huge as Goliath of Gath, or the terrible Og, king of Bashan;
  One was Pecksuot named, and the other was called Wattawamat.
       *       *       *       *       *

  “But when he heard their defiance, the boast, the taunt, and the
  All the hot blood of his race, of Sir Hugh and of Thurston de
  Boiled and beat in his heart, and swelled in the veins of his temples.
  Headlong he leaped on the boaster, and, snatching his knife from its
  Plunged it into his heart, and, reeling backward, the savage
  Fell with his face to the sky, and a fiendlike fierceness upon it.
  Straight there arose from the forest the awful sound of the war-whoop,
  And, like a flurry of snow on the whistling wind of December,
  Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of feathery arrows.
  Then came a cloud of smoke, and out of the cloud came the lightning,
  Out of the lightning thunder; and death unseen ran before it.
  Frightened the savages fled for shelter in swamp and in thicket,
  Hotly pursued and beset; but their sachem, the brave Wattawamat,
  Fled not; he was dead. Unswerving and swift had a bullet
  Passed through his brain, and he fell with both hands clutching the
  Seeming in death to hold back from his foe the land of his fathers.

  “There on the flowers of the meadow the warriors lay, and above them,
  Silent, with folded arms, stood Hobomok, friend of the white man.
       *       *       *       *       *

  “Thus the first battle was fought and won by the stalwart Miles
  When the tidings thereof were brought to the village of Plymouth,
  And as a trophy of war the head of the brave Wattawamat
  Scowled from the roof of the fort, which at once was a church and
   a fortress,
  All who beheld it rejoiced, and praised the Lord, and took courage.”

Such is the poet’s rendering; now what were the facts? We all
recognize in these cases what is known as “poetic license.” It is the
unquestioned privilege of the poet to so mould hard facts and actual
conditions as to make realities conform to his idea of the everlasting
fitness of things. On the other hand, it is but fair that, in so doing,
the artist should improve on the facts. In other words, he should
at least not make them more prosaic, and distinctly less dramatic,
than they were. In the present case, I submit, Longfellow, instead of
rendering things more poetic and dramatic, made them distinctly less
so. This I shall now proceed to show.

And here let me premise that it was the habit of Longfellow, as I think
the unfortunate habit, to improvise,--so to speak, to evolve from his
inner consciousness,--the local atmosphere and conditions of those
poems of his in which he dealt with history and historical happenings.
It was so with the “Ride of Paul Revere;” it was so with the episodes
made use of in the “Tales of a Wayside Inn;” it is notorious it was so
in the case of “Evangeline” and Acadia; it was strikingly, and far more
inexcusably, so in the case of “Miles Standish” and Plymouth. While
preparing a poem which has deservedly become an American classic, as
such throwing a glamour of romance over that entire region to which it
has given the name of the “Evangeline Country,” Longfellow never sought
to draw inspiration from actual contact with that “forest primeval” of
which he sang; nor again, when dealing with the events of our own early
history, did he once visit, much less study, the scene of that which he
pictured. He imagined everything. I gravely question whether he even
knew that the conflict he describes in the lines I have just quoted
took place on the shores of Boston bay, and at a point not twenty miles
from the historic mansion in which he lived, and the library where he
imagined. He certainly, and more’s the pity, never stood on King-oak
hill, or sailed up the Fore-river.

What actually occurred here in April, 1623, I have endeavored elsewhere
to describe in detail, just as it appears in our early records. Those
curious on the subject will find my narrative in a chapter (vi)
entitled “The Smoking Flax Blood-Quenched,” in a work of mine, the
matured outcome of my address here in 1874, called “Three Episodes of
Massachusetts History.” To that I refer them. Meanwhile, suffice it
for me now to say, the actual occurrences of those early April days
were stronger, more virile, and infinitely more dramatic and better
adapted to poetic treatment,--in one word, more Homeric,--than the
wholly apocryphal, and somewhat mawkish, cast given them in the lines
I have quoted. Indeed, so far as the incidents drawn from the history
of Weymouth are concerned, the whole is, in the original records,
replete with vigorous life. It smacks of the savage; it is racy of the
soil; it smells of the sea. It begins with the flight of Phineas Pratt
from Wessagusset to Plymouth, his loss of the way, his fear lest his
foot-prints in the late-lingering snow banks should betray him, his
nights in the woods, his pursuit by the Indians, his guidance by the
stars and sky, his fording the icy river, and his arrival in Plymouth
just as Miles Standish was embarking for Wessagusset. Nothing then can
be more picturesque, more epic in outline, than Standish’s voyage,
with his little company of grim, silent men in that open boat. Sternly
bent on action, they skirted, under a gloomy eastern sky, along the
surf-beaten shore, the mist driving in their faces as the swelling
seas broke roughly in white surge over the rocks and ledges which
still obstruct the course they took. From the distance came the dull,
monotonous roar of the breakers, indicating the line of the coast.
At last they cast anchor before the desolate and apparently deserted
block-house here in your Fore-river, and presently some woe-begone
stragglers answered their call. Next came the meeting with the savages,
the fencing talk, and the episode of what Holmes, in still another
poem, refers to as,

  “Wituwamet’s pictured knife
  And Pecksuot’s whooping shout;”

all closing with the fierce hand-to-hand death grapple on the
blood-soaked, slippery floor of the rude stockade. Last of all the
return to Plymouth, with the gory head of Wattawamat, “that bloody and
bold villain,” a ghastly freight, stowed in the rummage of their boat.

The whole story is, in the originals, full of life, simplicity and
vigor, needing only to be turned into verse. But, in place of the
voyage, we have in Longfellow’s poem a march through the woods,
which, having never taken place, has in it nothing characteristic;
an interview before an Indian encampment “pitched on the edge of a
meadow, between the sea and the forest,” at which the knife scene is
enacted, instead of in the rude block-house; and, finally, the killing
takes place amid a discharge of firearms, and “there on the flowers of
the meadow the warriors” are made to lie; whereas in fact they died
far more vigorously, as well as poetically, on the bloody floor of
the log-house in which they were surprised, “not making any fearful
noise, but catching at their weapons and striving to the last.” And as
for “flowers,” it was early in April, and, in spots, the snow still

That Longfellow wrote very sweet verse, none will deny; but, assuredly,
he was not Homeric. At his hands your Weymouth history failed to have
justice done it. The case is, I fear, irremediable.

Another cause of great subsequent regret to me has been the fact that,
in 1874, the exact locality of the site of the original Wessagusset
settlement, and of Weston’s block-house, in which took place the death
grapple just referred to, was not known. Tradition asserted that it was
somewhere on Phillips creek, above the Fore-river bridge. Seventeen
years later, in a volume entitled “The Defences of Norumbega,”
published in 1891, by the late Prof. E. N. Horsford, I chanced across
a reproduction of Gov. Winthrop’s map of Massachusetts bay of 1634.
This map was in 1884 discovered by Henry Waters, among the manuscripts
of the Sloan collection, preserved in the British Museum.[101] A
portion of it, covering the Weymouth Fore-river and the Wessagusset
site, was reproduced in the printed “Proceedings of the Massachusetts
Historical Society” (Second Series, vol. vii, pp. 22-30), and thereon
is indicated the site of the original Wessagusset. That site no longer
exists; and it will ever be matter of profound regret to me that the
spot was not known, and the exact location fixed, a few years earlier,
at the time of the celebration of 1874. The spot was then unimproved,
as the expression goes; it has since been “improved” out of existence.
Sold for a trifling sum as a gravel, or a material, pit, had what has
since come to light then been known, it might have been secured, and
dedicated forever as a public water park fronting on the Fore-river. A
permanent memorial should there have been erected.

Instead, bodily carried away, it has literally been cast into the
sea; and the tide now daily ebbs and flows over the spot where, two
hundred and eighty-two years ago last April, Thomas Weston’s “stout
knaves” established themselves; and where, on April 6, 1623, that
hand-to-hand death grapple took place between Miles Standish and the
fierce Pecksuot, the result of which struck terror to the hearts of
the Massachusetts savages, and gave immediate safety, and years of
subsequent peace, to the infant Plymouth plantation.

Thus, what occurred at Wessagusset in that pre-historic period has
been in poetry and common acceptance so disguised, perverted and
transmogrified as to have lost all semblance of itself. It can no
longer be recognized; while the place where it all occurred has ceased
to be. So it only for us remains to recur to actualities.

In one other aspect the temporary lodgment of Thomas Weston’s “rude
fellows” here in Weymouth from June, 1622, to April, 1623, has an
interest in the Massachusetts annals. It is characteristic of a
distinct phase in the first attempts at the European occupation of New
England. I used the word “occupation” designedly, for those sporadic
trading stations cannot be referred to correctly as settlements; they
contained in themselves no power of self-perpetuation, being composed
wholly of men engaged for wages in an effort at the trade exploitation
of a region. This is wholly different from colonization in good faith.
Thomas Weston acted on a well-defined plan, when, early in 1622,
he dispatched his company to establish themselves somewhere on the
shores of Massachusetts bay. He himself expressed it:--“Families,” he
said, “were an encumbrance in any well-organized plantation; but a
trading-post occupied by able-bodied men only could accomplish more in
New England in seven years than in old England in twenty.”

Nor was his, here at Wessagusset, by any means the earliest attempt
of the sort. On the contrary, it had been preceded by a score of
years; and, twelve months ago, on the 1st day of September, 1903,
the 300th anniversary was observed of the similar, but even more
abortive, experiment made by Capt. Bartholomew Gosnold on the island of
Cuttyhunk, at the extreme western end of the Elizabethan group, off New
Bedford. Again, three years later, in August, 1607, a similar attempt
was made further to the eastward, when the Popham and Gorges plantation
was established on the Kennebec. In that case, the adventurers did
actually winter on the coast; but, as the survivors described their
experience, they found the country “over cold, and in respect of that
not habitable by Englishmen.”

At this time, as probably long before and continuously thereafter,
Monhegan island, southwest of Penobscot bay, seems to have been a
rendezvous for fishermen; and when, in the early spring of 1622,
those composing the advance of Thomas Weston’s company arrived at the
Damariscove station, on the group of islands just south of Penobscot
bay, they found that the men belonging to the ships there fishing “had
newly set up a May-pole and were very merry.” But, a band of sea-farers
only, there were no families in that company. These, one and all, were
mere fishing or trading posts; and, so far as I have been able to
learn, not until the Mayflower put into Provincetown harbor on what
is now the 21st of November, 1620, had any women of European blood
ever set foot on New England soil. That day is properly celebrated. It
marked the close of the trade-exploiting period, and the beginning of
true colonization.

With almost no interval between, or, at most, with an interval of
less than six months,--from early April to mid-September,--the Gorges
settlement followed, here at Weymouth, on that of Weston. Except in
one respect, I now find my thirty-years-ago treatment of this Gorges
settlement not unsatisfactory. I failed to grasp its significance in
connection with the European occupation of Massachusetts; and in that
connection it has a very considerable significance. To a certain extent
Mr. Nash afterwards made good my deficiencies. Nevertheless, the story
has, I apprehend, even yet, never been fully told. To tell it should
be one of the chief functions of your Society. I will endeavor briefly
to outline it, as I now surmise it to have been. For, with inquirers
into the events of a remote past, it is much as it is with persons
looking for things in dark places. The intellectual perceptions, like
the eyes, by degrees become accustomed to a murky environment; and
when so accustomed, things quite invisible to others are by long-time
investigators distinctly seen.

When that work of mine to which I have already referred,--the “Three
Episodes of Massachusetts History,”--appeared, now ten years ago, the
introductory part was entitled “The First Settlement of Boston Bay.”
Recently, a fifth impression has been called for, and this afforded
me an opportunity for a second preface to it, of some significance.
When the book first appeared, it naturally passed into the hands
of reviewers. As a rule, those reviews were not unfriendly; but
the writer of one of them displayed, in perfect good faith, his
absolute and complete inability to grasp the elementary significance
of the work before him. Supposing that the “First Settlement” there
referred to was that of Winthrop, in 1630, he intimated doubt as to
the necessity for any further account of that incident, it having
been already sufficiently dealt with. The man failed to get even a
glimmering perception of the fact that I was therein endeavoring
to exhume, and, so to speak, to vivify, a pre-historic settlement,
one anterior to that of Winthrop, and obliterated by it; as much
obliterated by it as are the ruins of earlier Egyptian temples, a
succession of which have occupied the same site. I was, in fact, a sort
of historical resurrectionist. Thus, as I sought to show, the real
first settlement of the region about Boston bay was considerably prior
to that of Winthrop; and, beginning with Weston’s venture in June,
1622, was, some ten years later, merged in that of Boston. But, for
years before Winthrop came, the region about Boston bay was occupied;
and, moreover, nearly all those stragglers,--the “old planters” they
were called,--came from Weymouth. Weymouth thus antedated Boston as a
permanent European settlement by at least six years.

This fact I endeavored to establish, and fix in our Massachusetts
history; and, moreover, the fact has singular historical interest. It
was a struggle for possession between two forms of civilization and of
religious faith. The Gorges settlement was ecclesiastical and feudal;
that led by Winthrop was theological and democratic: that is, both as
respects church and state, the Gorges attempt at Wessagusset was the
antithesis, the direct opposite, to the Winthrop accomplishment at
Shawmut. Moreover, the fate of the two settlements during the earlier
and crucial period depended not on events in Massachusetts, but upon
a struggle for supremacy going on in England. Gorges represented
Charles I; Winthrop, the Parliament. If the fortune of war had turned
otherwise than it did turn, and Charles I had emerged from the conflict
victorious, there can be little question Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and
not John Winthrop, would have shaped the destiny of Massachusetts. Its
history would then have been wholly other than it was.

In discussing the developments of the past,--the sequence of
history,--it is never worth while to philosophize over what might have
been, had something, which did not happen, chanced to happen at the
crucial moment. What did occur, actually occurred; and not something
else. None the less, so far as Weymouth is concerned, the forgotten
story of that abortive Gorges attempt at a feudal pre-emption, is
history; and, moreover, it is an extremely suggestive bit of history.
At one time, the chances seemed to preponderate in favor of Gorges,
and against Winthrop. First on the ground, the Gorges settlement
represented prerogative at a period when king and primate had it all
their own way. The permanence of the Puritan colony was thus for a
time at stake; and, indeed, it was years before the Gorges claims
ceased to occasion anxiety in the Boston council chamber. More than
once a royal intervention, from which there was no apparent avenue of
escape, seemed imminent. The single possible recourse was to a policy
of delay, of procrastination; and, while pursuing it, those entrusted
with the fate of the infant commonwealth watched in fear and trembling
the slow course of English events, as they unfolded themselves towards
a doubtful end. Time, and the chances of war on the other side of the
Atlantic, at last dispelled danger; but the Wessagusset settlement,
prior in time, long made itself sensibly felt as a disturbing factor
in Massachusetts development. And now, looking back on the celebration
held here in 1874, and my own contribution to it, I think I may fairly
claim that form and substance were at that time and there given to a
chapter of history then altogether forgotten; but, when revived, not
devoid of interest, because explanatory of much, before mysterious.

The Gorges settlement, moreover, was, I take it, a true settlement, not
a mere attempt at trade exploitation. And by a true settlement I mean
that it contained in itself the possibility of continued life; it was
self-perpetuating, for those composing it were in part women. Of it,
every line of contemporaneous record long since perished. That such a
record once existed, we know. In the inventory made after his death
of the property of William Blackstone, the recluse of Shawmut, among
the titles of a not inconsiderable library is found the significant
item, “ten paper books.” They were valued at six pence each; but, in
all human probability, those “paper books” contained Blackstone’s
day-by-day account of what occurred during the eleven years which
elapsed between his landing at Wessagusset in 1623, and his removal
from Boston in 1634. Those “paper books” we, moreover, know, preserved
for over forty years and until the death of him who wrote in them,
perished a month later in the flame and smoke which marked the outbreak
of King Philip’s war. In the next century also when, about 1750, Thomas
Prince compiled his Annals, he made reference to “manuscript letters,
taken from some of the oldest people at Weymouth.” These also are
hopelessly gone. Thus we have not, nor can we now reasonably hope ever
to have, any direct and authentic memorials of earliest Weymouth. We do
know, however, that Samuel Maverick came to Massachusetts bay in 1624,
and that he was associated with Gorges. That he came to Wessagusset,
cannot be asserted.[102] The place was outside the limits of the Robert
Gorges patent, and Maverick permanently established himself across the
bay at Chelsea, then known as Winnisimmet. He there married the widow
of David Thompson, another Gorges associate and the first occupant
of Thompson’s island, which, at the mouth of the Neponset, still
perpetuates his name. To Samuel Maverick a son was born before 1630.

Thomas Walford, also one of the Gorges following, that doughty
blacksmith of Charlestown who, by killing a wolf, discharged the fine
imposed on him because of nonconformity in church-going, was a married

Of William Jeffreys and John Burslam, we know only that they remained
at Wessagusset, and were living here, apparently in prosperous
circumstances, at the time the place was incorporated as Weymouth. We
do not know positively that they were married, or had families; but the
inference is strong that such was the case. They were not adventurers,
mere wanderers, of the Thomas Weston and Thomas Morton stripe. They
had given hostages to fortune, and had a stake in the country.

When my address of 1874 was published, in one of the foot-notes[103]
to it I dismissed as improbable an entry in Prince’s Annals to the
effect that, in 1624, there came “some addition to the few inhabitants
of Wessagusset, from Weymouth, England,” having with them the Rev. Mr.
Barnard, their first non-conformist minister. Mr. Nash, in his paper
entitled “Weymouth in its First Twenty Years,” has taken a different
view, setting forth in much detail his reasons for believing the fact
stated. Very possibly I was wrong, and he is right; and certainly it
is corroborative evidence of his rightness that Samuel Maverick fixes
that year, 1624, as the time of his coming to New England, and Boston
bay. Possibly he was one of Mr. Barnard’s company; and he certainly
afterwards sympathized in Mr. Barnard’s religious views.

Into these questions it is unnecessary to enter. Nor would it be
profitable so to do; for the salient facts are indisputably established
that (1), the first Gorges contingent came out and set themselves down
at Old Spain in September, 1623; that (2), the settlement there has
been continuous from that day to this; (3), some of those thus sent
out under the auspices of Gorges had families and left descendants;
and finally, (4) that, starting from Wessagusset, these first planters
established themselves at points favorable for commercial dealings in
pelts and supplies on the north, as well as the south, side of Boston
bay. That William Blackstone, the earliest occupant of the historic
peninsula on which Boston rose, was one of the Gorges company admits of
no question at all; that he came over as one of the companions of Capt.
Robert Gorges and the Rev. William Morell scarcely admits of question.
Beyond this, while all is matter of surmise, that “all” is merely a
question of more or less.

But, whether the infant community was a puny bantling or a vigorous
brat, I now find myself compelled to admit that its significance, and
the secret of its later history down to the time when, in 1644,--a full
score of years after the first settlement,--it was swallowed up, and
its individuality forever lost, in an all absorbing environment,--the
significance, I say, of this later history wholly escaped my
observation when I prepared the address of 1874. As I have said, Mr.
Nash has, to a certain extent, since made good my deficiencies; I
suspect, however, that even yet the riddle is but partially read. To be
adequately treated, its treatment should be patient and microscopic. It
should be studied in close connection with the course both of foreign
events and of events in that subsequent agitation which, rending in
twain the nascent commonwealth, permanently influenced the character
of Massachusetts. By so doing it also went far towards shaping its
destiny. I can now do no more than throw out a few suggestions,--mere
hints, perhaps, or possibly surmises,--which it must be for others,
members of your Society, to consider, giving them such weight as may
properly be their due.

To appreciate fully what now here occurred during that formative
period between 1630 and 1644, we must revert to the initial fact that
Weymouth, or Wessagusset, as it was still called, was the New World
centre from which the Gorges movement had gone forth; or, as the
founder of Massachusetts would more probably have expressed it, it
was the plague spot from which disease might spread. In the parlance
now much in vogue among the less scientific, that disease had to be
stamped out; and the magistrates of the colony of Massachusetts Bay
proceeded to stamp it out. They did, also, a very thorough piece of
stamping-out work; but, however thoroughly it may be done, stamping-out
is at best a rough and even brutal method of reaching results; and, as
a rule, it is the recourse of men of intense and narrow minds,--those
who never for an instant doubt that they are right. Whether priest
and inquisitor, or minister and magistrate,--fulfilling their mission
on Jews in Spain, or Huguenots in France, or Lutherans in Holland,
or non-conformists in England, or churchmen in Massachusetts,--they
know perfectly that they are engaged in the Lord’s work; and, being
engaged in it, they will not hold their hands. Why should they? Are
they not God’s chosen implement? Now it is an indisputable fact that
every person on the Massachusetts shore connected with that earlier
settlement, the old Gorges “planters,” so-called, was soon or late
either harried out of the country, or made so uncomfortable in it that
he voluntarily withdrew,--in other words, went into exile. Morton of
Mount Wollaston, he of May-pole fame, was the first victim. Of Morton
it must be admitted little that is good can be said. He was an ungodly
roysterer. His trading-post was a public menace as well as a nuisance;
and, as such, was very properly abated. But there is no sort of reason
to suppose that there was in the beginning any connection between
Morton and Gorges.

Morton came out originally in June, 1622, and apparently as a companion
of Thomas Weston’s brother Andrew, on the ship Charity. He then
remained at Wessagusset some three or four months, while the vessel
which brought him out continued on to Virginia, thence returning to
Wessagusset. In early October he again embarked, going back to England.
He thus made acquaintance with the vicinity of Weymouth Fore-river, and
the region about Boston bay, during the summer months, their period of
alluring aspect. So enamored was he of the country that he the next
year piloted others back to it; one more band of pure adventurers,
they came intent on exploiting the land, getting from it whatever of
immediate value it might contain. But this second company, no more than
the first, came out under the auspices of Gorges; nor did he look on
it with favor. It must at least be said in favor of those sent out by
him that they were uniformly men of education and substance; and they
came to New England in good faith, here to establish themselves. Of
this class were William Blackstone, Samuel Maverick, David Thompson and
Thomas Walford.

Thomas Morton, and that strange, mysterious enigma who called himself
“Sir Christopher Gardiner,” were of an altogether different stamp;
but, though in the beginning Morton at least had no connection with
Gorges, subsequently he entered into close relations with him, and the
inference is at least reasonable that he was arrested, forced to leave
the country, and saw his house burned and his plantation across the
Fore-river, on Mount Wollaston, desolated, quite as much because of the
jealousy the new comers entertained towards the old Gorges “planters”
as from any disapproval of himself, or because of the misdeeds of
his crew. On the other hand, Sir Christopher Gardiner already, when
Winthrop came, was dwelling mysteriously with his female companion on
the cedar-clad hummock overlooking the mouth of the Neponset. Gardiner
was unquestionably an emissary of Gorges, probably his agent, here to
watch over his interests. He was arrested and his establishment, such
as it was, broken up. Personally held under surveillance for months,
he at length went voluntarily away. But, while in Boston, during the
summer of 1631, he seems to have been treated with courtesy, and even
with a degree of consideration. Finally, in 1632, he went back to
England of his own choice.

Next was William Blackstone, the hermit of Shawmut, the original
planter from Wessagusset, who when Winthrop and his company landed at
Charlestown in June, 1630, already had a house, with a young orchard
about it, on the west side of Beacon hill, looking up the Charles
towards Cambridge and Brighton. A recluse and a scholar, a missionary
among the Indians, with whom he lived in peaceful and even friendly
relations, this man, in every respect estimable, was, as Cotton Mather
tells us, “of a particular humor, and he would never join himself to
any of our churches, giving his reason for it, ‘I came from England
because I did not like the lord-bishops; but I can’t join with you,
because I would not be under the lord-brethren.’” These words, I fancy,
furnish a key-note to the Gorges settlement. To those composing it, the
new environment was unsympathetic; and, as early as 1633, Blackstone
turned his face to the wilderness.

David Thompson, also one of the Gorges contingent, never was at
Wessagusset. According to Thomas Morton, a Scottish gentleman, both a
traveller and a scholar, quite observant of the habits of the Indians,
he seems to have moved down from Portsmouth to Massachusetts bay about
the year 1626, accompanied by his wife, and bringing with him several
servants. A friend of Samuel Maverick’s, he established himself at
the mouth of the Neponset, on the island which still bears his name,
and he may, possibly, have been a fellow-occupant, with Maverick, of
Winnisimmet. He died in 1628, two years before the coming of Winthrop.
Like the other Gorges “planters,” he was a man of character, substance
and education. As such, he also throws his ray of light on the
Wessagusset company.

But Samuel Maverick, the first resident of East Boston, was perhaps,
most typical of all the Gorges following. A man of gentle birth and
fair education, later noted for his good fellowship and hospitality,
he was active in social and business life, altogether a useful and
public-spirited citizen. Distinctly of the Gorges connection and a
churchman, he was “strong for the Lordly prelaticall power,” as the
Puritanic speech went. So, always conscious of the hostile feeling
entertained towards him, at last, but not until 1648,--when for a
quarter of a century he had been resident at Noddle’s Island, as
East Boston was called,--he was arrested, fined and imprisoned, and,
subsequently, forced into exile. His crime was non-conformity.

Unlike the others, Thomas Walford, who I take it began his American
experiences here at Wessagusset in 1623, was not an educated man or
of the better class, so-called, in England; a smith by trade, he was
one of John Winthrop’s “common people,” those who became two centuries
later, Abraham Lincoln’s “plain people.” But, though a man of the
anvil, he was also a churchman, an Episcopalian, and he sturdily stood
by his creed. He had before 1630 made a home for himself and his
family in Charlestown, where he dwelt in rude but secure independence.
Accustomed to his wilderness liberty, and liking not the ways of the
new comers, he would not submit to their severe rule, especially
exercised in the matter of Sabbath observances. The old pioneer’s
Sunday had, probably up to that time, partaken more of the continental
and Catholic than of Puritan characteristics. So he soon was in
trouble. He was arrested, fined and banished. At Portsmouth he found a
refuge and a welcome. In due time becoming a selectman of the town and
a warden of the church there, he died in 1660, much esteemed in the
place of his exile.

So much for those followers and adherents of Sir Ferdinando Gorges who
had gone forth from the mother community here at Wessagusset, or had,
coming from elsewhere, set themselves down at her side. Unless, like
David Thompson, they died betimes, one and all, soon or late, they were
either exiled point-blank, or harried out of the land. Not character,
nor occupancy of the soil, nor obedience to the law, were of avail;
they were not of the Lord’s people! So much for the out-dwellers.

We now come back to the original settlement,--the plague centre! After
1625, and the return to England of the Rev. William Morell,--that first
clergyman of Weymouth and the potential bishop _in partibus_ of New
England,--those who came in his company, and as the companions of Capt.
Robert Gorges, separated in search of more favored sites for trade and
plantation. Of the savages, they seem to have felt no apprehension;
with them they lived in perfect amity. This alone is significant of
their character. As for trade, even then, before the advent of Winthrop
and his company, Boston bay was well known to the fishermen who
annually frequented the coast--“lone sails off headlands drear”--and
they periodically looked into Boston bay for barter and refreshment.
The Indians of the interior could communicate with the coast only by
trail or by the water routes; and of these last there were but four,
the Monatiquot, emptying into Boston bay by the Weymouth Fore-river,
the Neponset, the Charles and the Mystic. Of these, so far as the back
country was concerned, the Monatiquot was least considerable. So,
naturally, those of the first comers who had means and servants, and
who did not fear solitude, sought more favorable sites, establishing
themselves at the mouth of the Neponset, or on the shores of the
Charles or the Mystic. After this dispersion, the Wessagusset
community seems to have settled down into the slow monotony of a
pioneer existence. William Jeffreys and John Burslam appear to have
been the leading men, and their names only, from among those there
remaining, have come down to us. Ten years later it was described by
one who visited it as “a small village; very pleasant and healthful,
very good ground, well-timbered, and with good store of hay ground.”

But not until 1635, five years after the occupation of Boston, and
when Wessagusset had been twelve years in existence, did the place
receive any considerable, or, at least, certain accretion. Then, the
Rev. Joseph Hull, with twenty-one families from England, was allowed
by the Massachusetts-bay magistrates here to establish themselves;
and Weymouth was at last incorporated by that name it has ever since
borne. But it was still referred to as “a very small town;” though it
has been computed that it then numbered from 350 to 600 souls. Now it
was that trouble began. As the new Weymouth wine fermented in that old
Wessagusset bottle, the scriptural adage received new illustration.
But the story of what occurred is known only in part,--from hints and
fragments scattered hither and yon, and which have painfully to be
pieced together. What is known is, however, full of suggestion. With
the new life came turmoil; and, in those times, the turmoil was sure to
be theological in character.

It is safe to surmise that the departure of the Rev. William Morell
to England, in 1624, and the withdrawal of Blackstone somewhat later,
wearing doubtless the “old canonical gown” in which Winthrop six
years later found him clad, did not, as things then went, deprive
the little Wessagusset settlement of all spiritual nutriment. Those
there remaining doubtless had, not a meeting-house, for they were
Episcopalians, but a church, such as it was, in which religious
services were duly conducted on each Lord’s day, the Prayer-book and
ritual being in use. This had continued through a dozen years, when at
last a veritable irruption set in. Of what ensued, nothing is clear; we
have to grope our way in the gray glimmer of that early dawn. The Rev.
Mr. Hull, we are told, made his advent in the interests of Episcopacy;
but, if he did, he either brought with him, or encountered, a body of
dissentients. That the old settlers eyed the new-comers askance is more
than likely; but the enigma still awaits solution. All we know is that
the little settlement, presumably at the foot of Great hill, and in
and about Old Spain, was rent, not in twain, but in quarters; and soon
their occupants were vociferously holding forth from no less than four
rival pulpits. At last, so loud became the tumult of tongues, and so
grievous was the state of spiritual affairs, that a delegation from the
church of Boston made its appearance,--Heaven save the mark!--in the
role of peacemakers.

Now, in 1638, the church of Boston, after an interlude of direst stress
and storm, was at peace within itself; but the peace was that of a
sternly enforced conformity,--a peace somewhat akin, in fact, to that
order commonly associated with the name of Warsaw. The great Antinomian
controversy had shortly before been brought to a close. Silenced and
overborne were the wise, tolerant and forbearing councils of Winthrop
and Cotton; a policy of “thorough” had been decided on, and proclaimed.
The conventional priesthood having at last secured full sway, neither
liberty of thought nor freedom of speech was to be tolerated in
Massachusetts. This revised order of things, a new gospel dispensation,
the 1638 delegation of the Boston church doubtless came to propagate in
Weymouth. It was the spiritual, perhaps the inquisitorial, precursor of
the civil arm. A few weeks only before, the Boston congregation had
silently witnessed some very high-handed proceedings in the case of
Mistress Anne Hutchinson; and at “the Mount,” as what is now Quincy was
then designated, the Rev. John Wheelwright had been made to realize the
power of the magistrate. The Rev. William Hubbard gives the following
account of what next occurred at Weymouth; and, though the Rev. William
Hubbard’s General History of New England is not now looked upon as a
peculiarly veracious or reliable record, yet in this case it may be
accepted as the most intelligible and consecutive narrative that has
come down to us, in any degree contemporary with what took place:--

 “The people of this town of Weymouth had invited one Mr. Lenthal, to
 come to them, with intention to call him to be their minister. This
 man, though of good report in England, coming hither was found to
 have drunk in some of Mrs. Hutchinson’s opinions, as of justification
 before faith, etc., and opposed the custom of gathering of churches in
 such a way of mutual restipulation, as was then practised. From the
 former, he was soon taken off by conference with Mr. Cotton, but he
 stuck close to the other, that only baptism was the door of entrance
 into the visible church, etc., so as the common sort of people did
 eagerly embrace his opinion; and some laboured to get such a church on
 foot, as all baptized ones might communicate in, without any further
 trial of them, etc. For this end they procured many hands in Weymouth,
 to a blank, intending to have Mr. Lenthal’s advice to the form of
 their call; and he likewise was very forward, to become a minister to
 them in such a way, and did openly maintain the cause.

 “But the magistrates hearing of this disturbance and combination,
 thought it needful to stop it betimes, and therefore they called
 Mr. Lenthal and the chief of the faction to the next general court,
 in March; where Mr. Lenthal, having before conferred with some of
 the magistrates and ministers, and being convinced of his errour in
 judgment, and his sin in practice, to the disturbance of their peace,
 etc., did openly and freely retract, with expression of much grief of
 heart for his offence, and did deliver his retractation in writing
 under his hand in open court; whereupon he was enjoined to appear at
 the next court, and in the meantime to make and deliver the like
 recantation in some publick assembly at Weymouth. So the court forbore
 any further censure by fine or otherwise, though it was much urged by
 some. At the same court, some of the principal abettors were censured;
 as one Smith, and one Silvester, and one Britten, who had spoken
 reproachfully of the answer which was sent to Mr. Bernard’s book
 against their church covenant, and of some of the ministers there, for
 which he was severely punished; but not taking warning he fell into
 grosser evil, whereby he brought capital punishment upon himself, not
 long after.”

To make this intelligible, so far as Weymouth is concerned, we must
keep in mind a few dates connected with the great course of world
occurrences. The events referred to in this extract from Hubbard’s
history, took place during the summer of 1638. A church tumult in
Edinburgh on Sunday, July 23, 1637, a year previous, had brought
matters in England to a crisis; and from that day Sir Ferdinando
Gorges was wholly impotent, shorn of all influence. Thenceforth, he
ceased to be in any degree an active factor in Massachusetts affairs;
and his people in New England, no longer looking to him, must, as
they best could, take care of themselves. Already, six months before
the Edinburgh tumult, on the 29th of January, 1637, the Rev. John
Wheelwright, the favorite divine of Mistress Hutchinson, had, on a day
of special fast, preached in Boston that occasional discourse which was
later made the pretext for a sweeping political proscription. On the
27th of May, 1637, the Massachusetts charter election, the equivalent
of our annual State election, had been held at Cambridge, as the
result of which young Sir Harry Vane had been superseded as governor
by Winthrop, with the harsh and uncompromising Dudley as deputy. It
was a political as well as a church upheaval; for Vane was, socially,
the friend of Maverick, and, while in doctrine he sympathized with
Wheelwright, he was the cynosure of the Hutchinsonian cult.

The conservative, or clerical, party thus found itself in complete
political control; a control cemented and confirmed by the triumphant
conclusion of the Pequot war, and the return of young Vane to England,
both which events occurred in August. Every condition now pointed to
the adoption of a policy of “thorough”--the stamping-out process was
to begin. It did begin; and it was carried out. John Wheelwright, the
first minister of those inhabiting part of the region two years later
incorporated as Braintree, but which a century and a half later became
Quincy, was the initial victim. He was banished, and his supporters
made to see light,--real orthodox light! Next came Mistress Hutchinson.
Her story has been told, by myself among others, in all possible
detail.[104] I need only allude to it here. She, and all those who
stood by her, were “sent away,”--in other words, driven into exile.
This had occurred in March, 1638. And now, the stamping-out process
being completed in Boston, the party in political control turned its
attention to the out-lying districts. Weymouth was the traditional
plague centre of prelatical poison,--we designate it Episcopacy,--the
seat of the Gorges settlement, the abiding place of Morell, the spot
whence Blackstone and Walford had emerged. No mercy was to be shown it.
The last vestige of the ritual was to disappear from within the limits
of the colony of Massachusetts-bay. Thus, with Weymouth, in 1638, it
was much as with some French city in the days of The Terror, when a
committee of the Convention of ’93 there put in an appearance. So far
as dissent and the suspects were concerned, it meant the end.

It is needless to revert to colonial records, and again to tell the
story of what was then done. Mr. Lenthal appears to have been a worthy
man and a devout minister of God’s word, as he read it; but he did
differ from the powers that then were on certain abstract doctrines
of baptism, re-ordination and justification by faith, whatever those
terms may have signified. They have small meaning to us; but then,
they implied heresy: and for heretics there was in 1638, and the years
ensuing, no place in Massachusetts. He and his followers were summarily
dealt with. Wise in his day and generation, Mr. Lenthal made haste to
see the light, and to express a realizing sense of the error of his
ways. He then took refuge in Rhode Island. His followers were sternly
disciplined, reprimanded, threatened, fined, disfranchised, and “openly
whipt.” The insubordination was crushed out; so also were freedom of
speech and religious liberty. But order reigned in Weymouth; conformity
was thenceforth there complete.

The late Matthew Arnold was accustomed vigorously to declare that the
great middle class of England, the kernel of the nation, was in Tudor
times so disgusted with the cowled and tonsured Middle Ages that,
during the first half of the seventeenth century, it “entered the
prison house of Puritanism, and had the key turned upon its spirit
there for two hundred years.” The result was, he further declared, “a
defective type of religion, a narrow range of intellect and knowledge,
a stunted sense of beauty, a low standard of manners.” Into the
discussion which this utterance invites, I do not propose here to
enter. I merely call attention to what all the study, investigation and
thought of thirty years lead me to consider one of the most interesting
and suggestive of the minor episodes of our early Massachusetts
history, the final advance of the puritanical glacier over the
last lingering vestige of an earlier attempt at a distinctly more
cultured New England civilization. I institute no comparison; I make
no criticism. To discuss the might-have-been is, to my mind, hardly
worth while. I call attention only to one still unwritten page of our
Massachusetts history; a page the existence as well as the possible
meaning of which had altogether escaped me, if indeed it had even as
yet glimmeringly dawned upon me, when I addressed you here in Weymouth
in response to your invitation of thirty years ago.

Thus, as I have since come to see it, the history of Weymouth, that
local history which is the peculiar province and charge of the Society
I to-night address, naturally divides itself into three parts--first,
the Adventurous, in which Thomas Weston and Miles Standish, Squanto
and Pecksuot, play their parts, and dramatic enough those parts were:
second, the Feudal and Episcopal, in which Sir Ferdinando Gorges
and Governor John Winthrop hold the stage, in London and at Boston,
in Wessagusset and at Shawmut: and, finally, part the third, that
Puritanic period of slow growth and gradual change which lasted for
two whole centuries, from 1640 to 1840, and which Matthew Arnold has
likened unto detention in a prison-house. My earlier utterances on
the earliest and second periods I have passed in review; and now, in
closing, I have something to say in criticism of the conclusions I then
reached as respects the third, or final, period.

My former treatment of this later period,--that extending from 1640 to
1840,--I find was of the purely conventional character; a method of
treatment, whether by myself or others, for which I have since come
to feel a very pronounced contempt. Why is it, I would like to ask,
that such undue prominence is in anniversary addresses always given
to times and episodes connected with wars and military operations?
Take for instance, your own case. Weymouth now boasts a corporate
and continuous history of some 270 years,--as such things go, a very
respectable antiquity; and, during that time, its women have never
seen, except perhaps a hundred and thirty years ago, or, just possibly,
on one occasion nine years less than a century back, the flash of a
hostile gun or the gleam of an enemy’s flag. It is within the bounds of
possibility that a grandmother, or, more probably, a great-grandmother,
of some one among you did, on those days of April in the year 1775,
watch from some summit of the town the smoke of burning Charlestown;
or, again, like Abigail Adams from Penn’s hill in Braintree, your
progenitors on the distaff side may in March of the following year
have looked curiously on that “largest fleet ever seen in America,”
numbering upwards of one hundred and seventy sail, and looking “like a
forest,” as, with Howe’s evacuating army on board, the British ships
lay in the outer harbor. Finally, on June 1, 1813, Weymouth men and
women may from the Great hill have followed with anxious eyes the
ill-fated frigate Chesapeake move out to her disastrous duel with
the Shannon. But, not since Miles Standish grappled with the savage
Pecksuot in the wooden block-house at Old Spain on the 6th of April,
1623, has an armed conflict between hostile men occurred on Weymouth
soil. Yet in every narrative of the town, accounts and details of its
part in war, and of its contributions thereto, occupy the place of
prominence. In point of fact, no war or its operations, its successes
or reverses, since the death of the Wampanoag, King Philip, in 1676,
has exercised any direct influence on Weymouth history, or affected
to any appreciable extent the town’s development. In the war of the
Rebellion, as in Queen Anne’s war, in the French wars, and in the war
of Independence,--though in far less degree in the first than in
any one of the latter,--Weymouth was called on for contributions in
material, in money and in men; but after those struggles, as during
them and before, life here moved on absolutely undisturbed in the even
tenor of its way,--quite unchanged! The same people lived in a like
manner, pursuing their wonted occupations; generations were born, went
to school, were married and had offspring, grew old and died, as their
fathers and mothers had done before them, as their sons and daughters
were to do after them. Of great, far away events only echoes reached
the town; and yet, what the town then did in connection with those
distant great events becomes the staple of its story. This I submit is
not as it should be; in fact it is not history at all.

Moreover, I am further disposed to contend that the record of Weymouth,
as of its sister towns of Massachusetts without exception, whether in
the War of Independence, or, more recently, in our Civil War, was not
in all respects ideal, or in conformity with reason, experience and
the everlasting fitness of things. Never, whether in Independence-day
orations or in occasional addresses, does the declaimer weary of
expatiating on the public spirit and self-sacrifice then displayed and
evoked; but, on the other hand, read the record as set forth by Mr.
Nash in the pages of his history, or registered in your town-books.
Referring to the Revolutionary war, and its direct results on Weymouth,
Mr. Nash puts first among them the excessive use of intoxicating
liquors “which then became well-nigh universal.” He speaks of this
as a public “calamity,” most far-reaching in its destructive effects
on both the minds and estates of that generation, and of those that
succeeded. My own investigations have led me to believe that what we
term the “drink habit” with our Massachusetts race dated from a period
long anterior to any Revolutionary troubles. In this respect I think
Mr. Nash greatly exaggerates the influence of army life. Assuredly,
however, stimulating the alcoholic appetite cannot be accounted one
of those features of the soul-stirring time in which posterity can
take a justifiable pride. But, in saying what I have said, I wish
to be explicit. I do not want to be misunderstood. For, on this
head, communities are, I have found, sensitive; nor, I freely admit,
does such sensitiveness on their part furnish any just occasion for
surprise. On the contrary, it is very human,--altogether natural.

Not long ago, in Lincoln, where I now live, I expressed myself on
this subject to the same effect; and I afterwards found I, in so
doing, had occasioned pain, as well as surprise. I had seemed to speak
depreciatingly of the dead, and of a period the memory of which was
sacred. Nothing could have been further from my thought. The criticism
I then made, and now make again, applies to all of our Massachusetts, I
may say our New England, towns. Their records tell me the same story.
Turn, for instance, to your own town books covering those heroic
periods, whether Revolutionary or of the Civil war. Should you do so,
you will find in them a wearisome repetition. In the first flush of
excitement, volunteers, in each case, enrolled themselves in crowds,
they were eager to get to the front; then came the cold reaction, and
the consequent haggling. Call follows call for men--and yet more men;
for war is insatiable,--and these calls are grudgingly responded to by
votes providing for the payment of bounties, and by complicated plans
for the procurement of substitutes. Never once in all those annals do
you read of a stern exaction. On the contrary, the question always is
as to how cheapest to avoid it. The heroic chord is rarely struck. That
there were individual cases, many and touching, of self-sacrifice
and lofty patriotic impulse, I am the last to deny. Was I not witness
to them? Such you do well to commemorate and recall; nor can they be
held in too green a memory. It is not to those I refer, but to the
system under which war was carried on; it was weak, unscientific, to
the last degree wasteful of blood and of treasure,--moreover, it was
cruel to those in the field. Through it much unnecessary agony was
caused; and the necessary agony, at best quite enough, was unduly
prolonged. Properly studied, your town record, like the records of all
your sister towns, teaches on this head a lesson of utmost value. No
nation has any right to enter upon a war, domestic or foreign, unless
it is ready promptly to meet the cost thereof in flesh and blood, as
well as in money. It should not be a question of voluntary enlistment,
or of mercenary service; but, if a community elects to fight, it should
put its fighting force at the absolute disposal of its government.
Conscription and the draft should be the order of the day,--the
unmarried first, the married next; and, for the able-bodied, no
exemption. Never, in the whole history of Massachusetts, was the ordeal
of a war thus systematically met. On the contrary, as studied in your
Weymouth annals, or those of your sister towns, after the first fierce
outburst of ardor cooled, it is one long wearisome record of services
sold and bought.

What was the result? The ranks of your regiments were never full; the
morale of the men at the front suffered. The saddest sights I ever saw
were those skeleton battalions in the last campaign against Richmond,
that of 1864,--those few survivors grouped about the tattered colors,
thrust into action yesterday, decimated again to-day, doomed to-morrow:
and no recruits! Those were the men who went forward voluntarily, and
at the first call to arms. No better material was ever mustered; no
braver troops ever returned an enemy’s fire: but, under the system
which always prevailed, the community from which they came either left
them to take that fire to the end, or sent forward to associate with
them the bounty-bought sweepings of your municipal gutters, the dregs
of your civic cesspools. I speak of that whereof I know. It was not
right, nor was it war: but it made war costly, long, murderous. Life
was simply flung away.

Do you ask what course should have been pursued? What ought to have
been done? I will tell you. With 30,000 men in the field, the State
should have had 20,000 always at home in the training-camps; and
when, after such terrible struggles as those at Gettysburg or in
the Wilderness, word came that a regiment had lost 150 men, dead or
disabled, on the notifying click of the wire the message should have
flashed back that 175 men were on the way to make full the depleted
ranks. The next day 175 fresh men, bearing as yet uncalled numbers in
the draft, should have been ordered forthwith to report at the depots.
That is business; that would be war. In place of it, you let your old
regiments dwindle to skeletons, while you ever organized new; and, as
the indecisive warfare dragged itself along, your towns competed with
each other for bounty-bought flesh and blood. It was quoted at so much
a pound.

This is the side of the record to be studied in your town-books; but it
is a side of the record men do not like to study. Even reference to it
is misconstrued. It is not popular! Yet here is the lesson to be borne
in mind, that valuable to learn. That our young men rushed eagerly
to arms in the early days of each conflict, no one denies; that they
fought bravely and fell frequently, the names on your monuments and
the flags in your cemeteries give proof. But, under your methods of
carrying on warfare, two of them died where one only need to have died;
two indecisive battles had to be fought, where one vigorously followed
up would have sufficed. It was so in the Revolution; it was so in the
Civil War. That in either case it would have been so had the struggle
been over your own hearth-stones, I neither suggest nor believe. Then,
however, the outcome would have directly influenced home existence, and
Weymouth development; not so a remote war, the echoes only of which
disturbed the monotony of your daily village life.

Thus, with Weymouth as with other Massachusetts towns, the battles
and campaigns, whether of 1776 or of 1864, and the sufferings and
sacrifices incident thereto, were not momentous factors of fate.
Indeed, as I now see it, since 1644 there has been but one considerable
event in your history, one only which marked an epoch of far-reaching
change. That event occurred on the 1st of January, 1849, when the South
Shore railroad was opened to traffic, bringing Weymouth into direct and
easy intercourse with the outer and active world. That inaugurated for
you as a community a revolution in life, in occupation, in education,
in religion and in thought;--that date, two hundred and fourteen years
from the incorporation, marks the dividing line between the Weymouth
of the provincial period, and your Weymouth of to-day. Already, in
1804, nearly half a century earlier, your first post-office had been
established; quite an incident in your history. What facts has your
Society preserved concerning it? Late in the eighteenth century stage
coaches put in their appearance. They were a factor of change; what do
you now know of the influence they exerted? The daily newspaper is one
of the great educational forces of modern times; when did it first find
its way generally to Weymouth? Not, I fancy, before 1850. What great
economical crisis, affecting every phase of life, has occurred in the
history of the town? Once, and almost within the memory of men now
living, Weymouth was commercial, as well as agricultural. It had been
so almost from the beginning. It had iron-works in colonial times, and
later a few small mills; but when was it, and from what causes, that
it passed from an agricultural and a commercial to the manufacturing
stage? Presumably, the coming of the railroad worked the change; and,
in working it, modified the whole character of the town.

And here I submit, in these industrial, economical, social, religious
and educational phases is the true field of study and accumulation, to
which the local historical society should devote itself. The present is
always familiar and commonplace; it is the past which interests. But
our present will be the next century’s past; and it is the mission of
societies like this of yours to make the record of to-day fuller, more
exact and more intelligible than is that of yesterday.

Of that “yesterday” of yours, extending practically from the 2d
of January, 1644, the date of the ordination of the Rev. Thomas
Thatcher, which closed the primitive period, to the 1st of January,
1849, which witnessed the opening of the South Shore railroad,--of
that “yesterday,” covering five years more than two centuries, I thus
delivered myself on King-oak hill in my 1874 address:

 “We are always accustomed to regard the past as a better and purer
 time than the present; there is a vague, traditional simplicity and
 innocence hanging about it, almost Arcadian in character. I can find
 no ground on which to base this pleasant fancy. Taken altogether I do
 not believe that the morals of Weymouth or of her sister towns were on
 the average as good in the eighteenth century as in the nineteenth.
 The people were sterner and graver, the law and the magistrate were
 more severe; but human nature was the same, and would have vent.
 There was, I am inclined to think, more hypocrisy in those days
 than now; but I have seen nothing which has led me to believe that
 the women were more chaste, or that the men were more temperate, or
 that, in proportion to population, fewer or less degrading crimes were
 perpetrated. Certainly the earlier generations were as a race not
 so charitable as their descendants, and less of a spirit of kindly
 Christianity prevailed among them.”

Speaking now in the light of subsequent investigation and long study,
I can bear testimony that this passage was written neither in a
depreciatory spirit, nor in one of pessimistic exaggeration. I have
learned more since writing it. I acknowledge I do not, on better
acquaintance, fancy that “prison-house of Puritanism” wherein our race
had “the key turned upon its spirit for two hundred years.” Frankly,
I see truth in Matthew Arnold’s indictment,--“a defective type of
religion, a narrow range of intellect and knowledge, a stunted sense of
beauty, a low standard of manners.”

Let us for a moment, in a realistic mood, face the facts of that
unlovely period. And first, of morals. The early church records of
Weymouth no longer exist; and, perhaps, it is well for the good names
of not a few of your families that the fire of April 23, 1751, swept
away the old Meeting-house, and with it the documents there stored. The
records of the Braintree church remain in part; and, of such as remain,
I have made historical use. Those who care so to do may familiarize
themselves with my conclusion.[105] So far as morality is concerned,
the picture presented is not of a character which would lead us to
covet for our sons and daughters a recurrence of that past.

Next, temperance:--As respects the _in_-temperance of that colonial
period, I myself caught a youthful glimpse of its vanishing skirts.
Distinctly do I recall the village tavern, the village bar-room,--for
in Quincy, in my youth, bar-room and post-office were one,--and,
moreover, the village drunkards. They were as familiar to eye and
tongue as the minister, the squire, or the doctor. I see them now,
seated in those wooden arm-chairs on the tavern porch, waiting to
see the Plymouth stage drive up. The drunkard reeling home in broad
daylight is an unknown spectacle now; then, he hardly excited passing

Take religion next:--I submit in all confidence that the world has
outgrown eighteenth century theology. It is a cast-off garment; and
one never to be resumed. Bitter, narrow, uncharitable, intolerant, an
insult to reason, the last thing it preached was peace on earth and
good will among men. I have had occasion to examine into its utterances
and to set forth its tenets. Those curious on the subject may there
inform themselves.[106] You would not sit in church to-day, and listen
to what was then taught,--an angry, a revengeful and an unforgiving God.

Schools:--Prior to 1850 the schools of Massachusetts were archaic, the
primitive methods alone were in vogue; and not until after that time
was any attention at all paid either to scientific instruction, or to
the laws of sanitation. Charity! the care of the insane! the treating
of the sick! In your Weymouth records for the town meeting of March 17,
1771, you will find the following: “Voted, to sell the poor that are
maintained by the town for this present year at a Vendue to the lowest
bidder.” Do you realize what that meant, and who were included in the
“poor that are maintained by the town?” It was the old-time substitute
for the asylum, the almshouse and the hospital. In those days the care
of the demented was farmed out to him or her who would assume it at the
lowest charge to the public. Even as late as 1843, and in the immediate
neighborhood of Boston, naked maniacs could be seen confined in cages,
or unlighted sheds, connected with the almshouse or abutting on the
public way.[107] Or take this other Weymouth record of August 28, 1733,
exactly one year before my ancestor, Rev. William Smith, was ordained
your minister.

 “Voted by the Town to give Twenty pounds to any person who will take
 two of the children of the Widow Ruth Harvey (that is) the Eldest
 Daughter and one of the youngest Daughters (a twin), and take the care
 of them until they be eighteen years old.”

Twenty pounds in those days was $66.60 of the money of our days; and
that in old tenor bills! A public inducement to baby-farming is not now
held out. And so I might go on to the close of the chapter, did time
permit. But Macaulay has said it all before, and why now repeat in more
prosaic terms the tale of ancient wrong? Rather let me close with this
passage from his History:

 “It is now the fashion to place the golden age in times when noblemen
 were destitute of comforts the want of which would be intolerable to a
 modern footman; when farmers and shopkeepers breakfasted on loaves the
 very sight of which would raise a riot in a modern work-house; when to
 have a clean shirt once a week was a privilege reserved for the higher
 class of gentry; when men died faster in the purest country air than
 they now die in the most pestilential lanes of our towns, and when men
 died faster in the lanes of our towns than they now die on the coast
 of Guiana.... There is scarcely a page of the history or lighter
 literature of the seventeenth century which does not contain some
 proof that our ancestors were less human than their posterity. The
 discipline of work-shops, of schools, of private families, though not
 more efficient than at present, was infinitely harsher. Masters, well
 born and bred, were in the habit of beating their servants. Pedagogues
 knew of no way of imparting knowledge but by beating their pupils.
 Husbands, of decent station, were not afraid to beat their wives....
 The more carefully we examine the history of the past, the more reason
 shall we find to dissent from those who imagine that our age has been
 fruitful of new social evils. The truth is that the evils are, with
 scarcely an exception, old. That which is new is the intelligence
 which discerns, and the humanity which remedies them.”


[100] Savage’s _Winthrop_, v. 1, p. 194, n.

[101] Concerning this curious and very interesting map, see
_Proceedings Mass. Hist. Soc._ (Second Series), v. 1, pp. 211-214.
There is a reproduction of the map in the large-paper edition of
Winsor’s _Narrative and Critical History of America_, v. 3, p. 380,
with a descriptive note relating thereto.

[102] As both Maverick and Blackstone were men of education, and
apparently not without some means, belonging distinctly to the upper
class of English life, and as they were also contemporaries of young
Robert Gorges, it would seem more than probable that they were
associates of his, and came over to New England in his party. Morell
certainly was another of the same class. As respects Maverick, though
he distinctly says he came to New England in 1624, yet he makes the
statement forty years after the event, and as a matter of recollection.
He was not speaking exactly, nor apparently from record. He may very
well, therefore, have got the time generally as 1624, when in fact he
arrived here late in 1623; or he may have removed from Wessagusset
to Winnisimmet, and there established himself permanently during the
spring of the following year. Hence his statement. On the other hand,
it has been suggested that he came over with Capt. Christopher Levett,
and plausible grounds can be given in support of such a theory. The
exact date and circumstances of his coming will probably never be
known. The only facts which can be stated with certainty are that he
came about the same time as Robert Gorges, and that he was more or less
associated with Robert Gorges’s father, Sir Ferdinando. That he married
the widow of David Thompson also does not admit of doubt.

[103] _Supra_, p. 36.

[104] See _The Antinomian Controversy_; _Three Episodes of
Massachusetts History_, Part II, pp. 363-581; _Antinomianism in the
Colony of Massachusetts Bay, 1636-1638_; Prince Society Publications,

[105] See paper entitled, _Some Phases of Sexual Morality and Church
Discipline in Colonial New England_, in Proceedings of Massachusetts
Historical Society, June, 1891. (Proceedings, Second Series, vol. vi,
pp. 477-516.)

[106] Massachusetts: Its Historians and its History. Boston, 1893.

[107] See the article entitled, _Insanity in Massachusetts_, by Dr.
S. G. Howe, in _North American Review_ for January, 1843, vol. 56, pp.


  =Abell=, Robert, 93.

  =Aberdeceest=, 9.

  =Abington=, 47.

  =Acadia=, 120.

  =Act= to prevent monopoly, 80.

  =Adams=, Abigail, Mrs, 70, 84, 115, 116, 145.
    Charles F., Jr., 5, 89, 97, 114.
    Henry, 93.
    John, 84.
    John Q., 38, 57.

  =Allen=, John, 93.

  =Ann=, Cape, 9.

  =Antinomian= controversy, 139.

  =Applegate=, Thomas, 91.

  =Arnold=, 79.
    Matthew, 143, 144, 152.

  =Back= river, 62.

  =Bacon=, 6.

  =Banbury=, England, 108.

  =Bare= Cove, 91.

  =Barnard=, Elder Massachiel, (First non-conformist minister), 35-37,
   97, 99, 112, 131.

  =Barnstable=, 100, 102.
    Church, 100, 101.

  =Bass= River, Beverly, 100.

  =Bates=, Elder Edward, 98, 104.
    Joshua, 85.
    Samuel, 98.

  =Bayley=, Nathaniel, 77.

  =Beacon= Hill, 135.

  =Bent=, Rev. Josiah, 103.

  =Bernard=, Gov., 72.
    Rev. Mr., 141.

  =Beverly=, 100.

  =Bicknell=, 36.

  =Blackstone=, William, 34, 35, 44, 68, 129, 131, 134, 135, 138, 142.
    Lands at Wessagusset, 129.
    One of the Gorges company, 131, 134.

  =Blancher=, Samuel, 80.

  =Boston=, 21, 31, 55, 104, 134, 142, 144.
    Bay, 9, 12, 24, 30, 33, 37, 121, 131, 133, 137.
    Church sends delegation to Weymouth, 139.
    Church troubles, 139.
    Evacuation of, 145.
    First occupied by a Weymouth settler, 35, 127, 131.
    Tea-party, 73.

  =Bowdoin=, James, 82.

  =Bradford=, Gov., 11, 13, 14, 16, 30.

  =Braintree=, 45, 75, 79, 142, 145, 152.

  =Bridge= in Wessaguscus, 91.

  =Bridgewater=, 75.

  =Briggs=, Clement, 93.

  =Brighton=, 135.

  =Bristol=, England, 29.

  =Britten=, 141.

  =Britton=, James, 106.

  =Burslam=, John, 130, 138.

  =Burslem=, 43, 44.
     Plantation, 35.

  =Bursley=, 36, 46, 93.
    Joanna (Hull), 100.
    John, 100, 111.

  =Burslyn=, John, 45.

  =Butler’s= “Hudibras,” 19-21.

  =Calvin=, 6.

  =Cambridge=, 135, 141.

  =Castle Island=, 91.

  =Chamberlain=, George W., 87.

  =Chapman=, Maria W., 55.

  =Chard=, William, 57.

  =Charity=, vessel, 11, 13, 133.

  =Charles I=, 128.

  =Charles= river, 135, 137.

  =Charlestown=, 104, 130, 135, 136, 145.

  =Chelsea=, 130.

  =Chesapeake=, frigate, 145.

  =Chicatabot=, 38.

  =Churches= in Massachusetts Bay in 1635, 112.

  =Clark=, Dr., 88.

  =Concord=, 74.

  =Continental= army, enlistments in, 77.
    currency, 80, 82.

  =Copp=, John, 57.

  =Cotton=, Rev. John, 104, 139, 140.

  =Cromwell=, Oliver, 6.

  =Cruden’s= Concordance, 68, 108.

  =Cushing=, Adam, 62.
    E., 80.

  =Cushman=, Robert, 11.

  =Cuttyhunk=, 125.

  =Damariscove= Islands, 8, 125.

  =Delfthaven=, Holland, 10.

  =Distemper=, throat, in Weymouth, 52.

  =Dorchester=, 36, 45, 108, 110.
    Council, 90, 98.

  =Dover=, 102.

  =Downing=, Sarah, 49.

  =Dudley=, Gov., 141.

  =Duxbury=, 23.

  =East= Boston, 136.

  =Easton=, 47.

  =Edinburgh= (Scotland) tumult, 141.

  =Eliot=, Rev. John, 104.

  =Ellis=, Rev. George E., 89.

  =Episcopacy= in New England, 30, 33, 34, 102, 110, 139, 142.

  =Erasmus=, 6.

  =Ferry= to Quincy Point, 56, 91.

  =Fictitious= execution described, 18, 19.

  =Fire= at Plymouth, 31.

  =First= settlement of Boston bay, 126, 127.

  =Fitcher=, Lieut., 38.

  =Fore= river, 13-15, 24, 29, 53, 64, 74, 76, 121-124, 133, 134, 137.

  =Fortune=, vessel, 10.

  =French=, 36.
    Stephen, 93, 98, 104.

  =Fry=, Elizabeth, 92.
    Mary, 92.
    William, 92.

  =Furnival’s= Inn, 11.

  =Galileo=, 6.

  =Gardner=, Henry, 74.
    Sir Christopher, an emissary of Gorges, 134.
      returns to England, 135.

  =Gettysburg=, 149.

  =Gibbon=, 60.

  =Glover=, John, 93.

  =Goold=, Capt., 75.

  =Gorges=, Ferdinando, 29, 30, 128, 130, 137, 141, 144.
    His plantation on the Kennebec, 125.
    John, 34, 35, 44.
    Robert, 29-31, 33, 34, 36-38, 94, 114, 130, 131, 137.
      Character of his colonists, 30, 134.
      Date of settlement at Wessagusset, 114, 126.
      His company, 30, 89, 91, 93, 94, 110, 134.
      His grant in New England, 29, 30.
      Returns to England, 31.
      Visits Wessagusset, 29, 94.
    Settlement, commercial, 131.
      Continuous, 131.
      Ecclesiastical and feudal, 127, 128.
      Its keynote, 135.
      Its original planters harried or exiled, 133.
      Regarded as a plague spot, 132-140.
      Self-perpetuating, 129.

  =Gosnold=, Bartholomew, 125.

  =Gray=, Haryson, 74.

  =Great= hill, 53, 85, 95, 139, 145.
    Pond, 62.

  =Greene=, Richard, 11, 14.

  =Gustavus= Adolphus, 6.

  =Guy= Fawkes’ Day, 31, 66.

  =Hampden=, John, 6.

  =Hancock=, John, 82.

  =Harris=, Walter, 93.

  =Hart=, Edmond, 93.

  =Harvey=, Ruth, 65, 154.

  =Heber=, Bp. Reginald, 32.

  =Hingham=, 75, 86, 91, 100, 102, 110.

  =Hobart=, Peter, 87.

  =Hobbamock= [Hobomok], 26, 120.

  =Holbrook=, Ichabod, 98.
    John, 98.

  =Holmes=, Oliver Wendell, 122.

  =Horsford=, E. N., 123.

  =Hubbard=, 102.
    Rev. William, 140.

  =Hull= (town), 37.
    Agnes, 101.
    Benjamin, 100.
    Company, 91, 93, 99, 112.
      No record that it formed a church, 112, 113.
    Joanna, 100.
    Rev. Joseph, 36, 45, 67, 86, 88, 93, 95, 99-101, 103, 105, 106, 108,
     110, 112, 113, 138, 139.
      Effect of his arrival at Weymouth, 110, 138.
      Claims a Weymouth pulpit, 110.
      Deputy to Gen’l Court from Hingham, 110.
      Farewell sermon, at Weymouth, 110.
      Perhaps an Episcopal clergyman, 139.

  =Humphrey=, James, 61, 63, 71, 72, 77, 98, 115, 116.
    Jonas, 98.

  =Hunt’s= hill, 62.

  =Hutchinson=, Mrs. Anne, 67, 105, 140-142.

  =Indian= depredations, 17.

  =Influence= of Weymouth settlement on Massachusetts, 132.

  =Isle= of Shoals, 43, 101.

  =Jeffers=, John, 44.

  =Jeffery=, 44.

  =Jeffrey=, Thomas, 43.

  =Jeffries= [Jeffreys], William, 34-37, 43, 44, 93, 138.
    Residence in Wessagusset, 35, 130, 138.

  =Jenner=, Rev. Thomas, 67, 68, 102-105, 110, 113.
    Invited to Weymouth, 110.

  =Johnson=, Edward, 18.

  =Keayne=, Robert, 103, 104.

  =Kennebec=, 125.

  =Kepler=, 6.

  =King=, 36.
    Philip’s War, 28, 49, 129, 145.

  =Kingman=, 36, 79.
    Henry, 91.

  =King-Oak= hill, 5, 53, 54, 85, 117, 121, 151.

  =Lenthall=, Rev. Robert, 67, 68, 90, 98, 103-105, 111, 113, 140, 143.
    Character of, 143.

  =Levett=, Christopher, 130.

  =Lexington=, 74.

  =Leyden=, Holland, 9, 27.

  =Lincoln=, Abraham, 6, 136.
    Mass., 147.

  =Liquor= nuisance at Mt. Wollaston, 39.

  =London=, England, 144.

  =Long=, Richard, 91.
    Island, 76.

  =Longfellow=, Henry W., quoted, 25, 119, 120.
    His dealing with history, 120-123.

  =Lothrop=, Rev. Mr., 100.

  =Loud=, John J., 47.

  =Lovell=, 36.
    Enoch, 61.
    James, 98.
    Robert, 98.
    Solomon, 74, 78, 80-82, 85.

  =Loyalty= of Weymouth settlers to Church of England, 110.

  =Ludden=, 93.

  =Luther=, Martin, 6.

  =Lyford=, Rev. John, 37.

  =Lynn=, 106.

  =Macaulay=, 154.

  =Makepeace=, Thomas, 106.

  =Martin=, Ambrose, 106.

  =Massasoit=, 21.

  =Mather=, 106.
    Cotton, 102, 135.

  =Maverick=, Samuel, 129-131, 134-136, 141.
    Character of, 136.

  =Mayflower=, 7, 10, 126.

  =Maypole= at Merrymount, 38, 44, 84, 116, 133.
    At Penobscot bay, 125.

  =Merchant= Adventurers, London, 9, 10.

  =Merrymount= settlement broken up Standish, 41-43.
    May-pole, 44, 116.

  =Milton= hill, 55.
    John, 6.

  =Monatoquit=, 41, 137.

  =Monhegan= island, 125.

  =Montgomery=, 79.

  =Moon= head, 76.

  =Morell= [Morrell], Rev. William, 30-34, 95, 96, 109, 112, 130, 131,
   137, 142.
    A Clergyman of the Established Church, 96, 109, 137.
    Poem by, 32, 33.
    Returns to England, 96, 138.

  =Morton=, Thomas, of Merrymount, 12, 17, 21, 36, 38, 40-44, 53, 84,
   94, 116, 130, 133-135.
    Character of his party, 38, 39, 133.
    His “New English Canaan,” 17-19, 21.
    Landing of, 11, 12.
    Not at first connected with Gorges, 133.
    Possibly one of Weston’s Colony, 12, 133.
    Visits Weymouth, 36, 37.

  =Mount= Wollaston, 45, 56, 84, 91, 94, 134.
    Becomes Merrymount, 38.
    Location of, 37, 38.

  =Mystic= river, 137.

  =Nahawton=, 95.

  =Narragansett= Fort, 50.

  =Nash=, Alexander, 55.
    Captain, 82.
    Gilbert, 87, 118, 126, 131, 132, 146, 147.
    Jacob, 98.
    James, 98.

  =Nateaunt=, 95.

  =Neponset= river, 130, 134, 135, 137.

  =New= Bedford, 125.

  =New= English Canaan, extracts from, 37, 40, 41, 53, 54.
    [See Morton.]

  =Newman=, Rev. Samuel, 47, 68, 69, 92, 104, 105, 107, 108, 111, 113.

  =Newport=, R. I., 106.

  =Noddle’s= Island, 136.

  =North= river, 22.
    Weymouth, 75, 95, 103.

  =Northleigh=, England, 101.

  =Norton=, Jacob, 51.

  =Norumbega=, 123.

  =Old= North (First) Church, 87, 88.
    South Church, Boston, 69, 73.
    Spain, 5, 6, 35, 56, 131, 139, 145.

  =Oldham=, John, 34, 35, 37, 44.
    expelled from Plymouth, 37.

  =Opposition= to the ecclesiastical system of Plymouth, 109.

  =Oxford= University, England, 101, 108.

  =Oyster= river, 101.

  =Paine=, Rev. Thomas, 69.
    Robert Treat, 70.

  =Parker=, James, 93.

  =Pecksuot=, 23, 25, 26, 28, 40, 119, 122, 124, 144, 145.

  =Penobscot= bay, 125.
    Expedition, 81.

  =Peirce=, John, 11.

  =Pequod= war, 46, 47.

  =Penn’s= hill, Braintree, 145.

  =Phillips= creek, 6, 13, 123.

  =Pike=, Rev. Mr., 102.

  =Plymouth=, 5, 16, 17, 21, 23, 29, 31, 39, 43, 44, 94, 95, 113, 116,
   120-122, 153.

  =Pool=, 36.

  =Poole=, Joseph, 49.

  =Popham= plantation, 125.

  =Porter=, 36.

  =Portsmouth=, N. H., 135, 136.

  =Pratt=, Ebenezer, 61.
    John, 49.
    Phineas, 17, 22, 24, 121.
      Escapes to Plymouth, 22-24, 121, 122.

  =Prayer-book= used at Weymouth, 139.

  =Prince=, Rev. Thomas, 98, 99, 129, 131.
    Chronicles, 97, 131.

  =Provincetown= harbor, 126.

  =Quakers=, 101.

  =Queen= Ann’s turnpike, 55.
   war, 145.

  =Quincy= (town), 142.
    John, 84.
    Point, 56.

  =Randall=, John, 98.

  =Robert=, 98.

  =Randolph=, 75.

  =Rassdall, Mr.=, 38.

  =Rawlins=, Thomas, 93.

  =Reade=, William, 111.

  =Rehoboth=, 47, 68, 92, 107, 108.

  =Revere=, Paul, 120.

  =Richards=, Thomas, 93.

  =Richmond=, Va., 148.

  =Robinson=, John, 27, 28.

  =Roxbury=, 102, 104.
    Neck, 55.

  =Sable=, Cape, 56.

  =Saco=, Me., 103, 105.

  =Salem=, 100.

  =Salisbury=, Surgeon, 11.

  =Sanders=, 14, 16, 17.

  =Sandwich= Bay, 14.

  =Savage=, James, 88, 101-103, 118.

  =Scituate=, 100.

  =Seekonk=, 107.

  =Shakespeare=, 6.

  =Shannon=, frigate, 145.

  =Shaw=, John, 98.
    Joseph, 98.

  =Shawmut=, 127, 129, 135, 144.

  =Shoals=, Isle of, 9.

  =Shrimp=, Capt. [Standish], 41, 42.

  =Silvester=, Richard, 106, 141.
    [See Sylvester.]

  =Site= of Weston’s Block-house, 123, 124.

  =Sloan= collection, 123.

  =Smith=, 141.
    Abigail, 70, 84, 115, 116.
    John, 106.
    Rev. William, 51-57, 70, 75, 86, 108, 115, 154.

  =Smoking= Flax Blood-Quenched, 121.

  =South= Shore Railroad, 150, 151.

  =Southampton=, 10.

  =Sparrow= (vessel), 8.

  =Speedwell= (vessel), 10.

  =Squanto=, 13, 14, 144.

  =St. Bartholomew= Act, 101.

  =St. Buryan’s=, Cornwall, 101.

  =St. Mary’s= Hall, Oxford (England), 101.

  =Standish=, Miles, 13, 23-28, 39, 41-43, 50, 118-124, 144, 145.
    His account of visit to Merrymount, 42, 43.
    Longfellow’s version of, 119, 120.
    Relieves Wessagusset, 24-26, 119-123.
    Sir Hugh, 119.
    Thurston de, 119.

  =Stoughton=, Israel, 103.

  =Stow=, 74.

  =Swan= (vessel), 11, 13, 14, 17, 23, 24, 27, 29, 31.

  =Sylvester=, Richard, 66, 93.
    [See Silvester.]

  =Symmes=, Rev. Zechariah, 104.

  =Taunton= River, 62.

  =Thacher=, Rev. Peter, 69, 113.
    Rev. Thomas, 69, 108, 151.

  =Thompson=, David, 130, 134, 135, 137.
    Character of, 135.
    Never at Wessagusset, 135.

  =Thompson’s= Island, 130.

  =Three= Episodes of Massachusetts History, 121, 126.

  =Tirrel=, John, 78.

  =Torrey=, John, 61.
    Jonathan, 98.
    Joseph, 61.
    Paul, verses by, 51.
    Rev. Samuel, 69, 98.
    William, 93, 98.

  =Troubles= from paper currency, 78-80.

  =Trumbull=, J. Hammond, 104, 106.

  =Tufts=, Cotton, 47, 52, 55, 64, 71, 74, 75, 78, 85.

  =Upham=, 36.
    John, 46, 111.

  =Vane=, Sir Harry, 141, 142.

  =Vinson=, John, 62, 98.
    Lieut., 82.

  =Virginia= massacre, 21.

  =Walford=, Thomas, 130, 134, 142.
    Character of, 136.

  =Wampetuc=, 95.

  =Warren=, Joseph, “Solemn League and Covenant,” 73.

  =Waters=, Henry, 123.

  =Wattawamat.= [See Wituwamat.]

  =Weaver=, Clement, 93.

  =Webacowett=, Jonas, 95.

  =Webb=, Christopher, 103.

  =Weld=, Rev. John, 104.

  =Wessagusset= [Wessaguscus] (early name of Weymouth), 12, 44, 86, 91,
   94, 109.
    Described in Wood’s N. E. Prospect, 44.
    Distress in winter, 14-16.
    Double name of, 35.
    History indistinct from 1623 to 1628, 37.
    Importance of its early history, 118.
    Morton’s colony destroyed, 27.
    Name changed to Weymouth, 100, 111, 116.
    Original site of, 123.
    [See Weymouth.]

  =Weston=, Andrew, 133.
    Thomas, 8-11, 89, 124, 125, 130, 133, 144.
      Abandons Plymouth colony, 10.
      At Wessagusset, 29, 133.
      Character of, 10.
      Dies in Bristol, Eng., 29.
      Influence of, in settlements at Plymouth and Weymouth, 9.
      Plans for settlement, 8, 9, 125.
      Returns to England, 133.
      Trials of his colony, 14-17, 21.

  =Weymouth=, Action on Stamp Act, 71, 72.
    Action on tax on tea, 72, 73.
    Allowed a deputy to the Gen’l Court, 45, 111.
    Arrival of Weston’s party 8.
      their character, 11, 12.
    Attack on, anticipated in the Revolution, 74-76.
    Attitude at opening of the Revolution, 73-76.
    Birth record, 93.
    Bridge, 91.
    Centre of the Gorges movement, 132.
    Changes in, 88.
    Chooses three deputies, 45, 111.
    Church troubles, 102-111, 138.
    Comparative size of, 94.
    Clergymen, 66-70, 95-113.
    Council, 1637, 102, 103, 111.
    Council, 1639, 103, 104, 106.
    Date of settlement, 7, 90, 91, 114.
    Deaths in 1718, 98.
    Deserters from Continental army paid, 80.
    Distance from Boston, 55.
    Episodes in its early history, 118-123, 144.
    European contemporaries with its settlement, 6.
    Expenses, 58, 82-84.
    Extinguishes Indian title in 1642, 94.
    Families in 1644, 107.
    Facts as to early settlement, 94.
    Ferry, 56, 91.
    First twenty years, 87.
    Fisheries, 62.
    Grant for tanyard, 61.
    Great snow-storms in, 64.
    Holidays observed, 66.
    In the Civil War, 76, 147, 148.
    Intemperance in, 147, 153.
    Jealousy of, 95.
    Made a plantation, 45, 100.
    Meeting-house burned, 50, 51, 152.
    Morals of, 65, 152.
    Number of families in, before 1644, 93.
    Old North Church, organization of, 87, 88.
    Origin of name, 90.
    Originally called Wessagusset, 116.
    Pisciculture in, 62.
    Plague centre of prelatical poison, 142.
    Population of, 1635, 93.
    Post Office established, 150.
    Probable date of settlement, 114.
    Records, extracts from, etc., 48-50, 54, 57-66, 77, 78, 81, 82, 90,
     92, 153, 154.
    Religion in, 153.
    Rival claimants to pastorate, 111, 112.
    Rules concerning fires, 58.
    Sad accident at, 66.
    Schools, 57, 82, 83, 153.
    School-master, 57.
    Settlement antedates Boston, 127.
    Sickness in, 52, 63.
    Sketch of, by Cotton Tufts, 47, 52, 55, 64.
    Soldiers and the Lord’s day, 66.
    Soldiers in Canada campaign, 78-79.
    Soldiers in Civil War, 79, 148-151.
    Soldiers in Continental service, 77-81.
    Snow-storm of 1717, 64.
    Theory of pastoral succession, 113.
    Town bounty to soldiers, 79-83.
    Town debt, 77, 83.
    Town meetings, 60, 61, 76.
    Treatment of the poor, 153, 154.
    Weston’s influence in, 9, 10.

  =Weymouth=, England, 36, 90, 91, 93, 97, 101, 131.

  =Weymouth= River, 13.

  =Wheelwright=, Rev. John, 140-142.

  =White=, Asa, 77.
    Dr., 62.
    James, 77, 78.
    Samuel, 49.

  =Whitman=, Capt., 77, 82.

  =Whitman’s= Pond, 85.

  =Whitmarsh=, Ezra, 61.

  =Whittier=, John G., 118.

  =Wilson=, Rev. John, 44, 103, 104.

  =Winnisimmet=, 130, 135.

  =Winslow=, Edward, 11, 17.

  =Winthrop=, Gov. John, 34, 36, 87, 91, 93, 102, 106, 109, 127, 128,
   135-139, 141, 144.
    His map of Massachusetts, 123.
    Visits Wessagusset and Plymouth, 34, 44, 91, 94, 134.

  =Winthrop= settlement, contrasted with that of Gorges, 127, 128.
    Theological and democratic, 127.

  =Wituwamat=, 25-28, 119, 120, 122.

  =Wollaston=, Capt., 37, 38.
    Arrival of his company, 11, 12.
    Settlement at Mt. Wollaston, 38.
    Settlement broken up, 41-43.

  =Yarmouth=, 100, 101.

  =York=, Maine, 101.


_The Number of Acres in each Person’s Lot in 1663._

  44  Bates.
   3  Briggs.
  35  Burrell.
   5  Cook.
  10  Dyer.
   8  Ford.
  28  French.
   2  Harding.
   4  Hart.
  29  Holbrook.
   8  Humphrey.
  34  Hunt.
   2  King.
   2  Kingman.
   5  Leach.
  13  Lovell.
  27  Nash.
   2  Osborne.
   1  Parker.
   6  Phillips.
  18  Pool.
  7   Porter.
  68  Pratt.
  11  Randall.
   3  Reed.
  22  Richards.
   2  Rogers.
  36  Shaw.
  22  Smith.
   2  Taylor.
   8  Thompson.
  25  Torrey.
  21  Vining.
  30  White.
   5  Whitman.
   1  Whitmarsh.

  Total, 64.

_Poll List of 1774._

   1  Arnold.
   7  Bayley.
  44  Bates.
   6  Beals.
  21  Bicknell.
   6  Binney.
  32  Blanchard.
  35  Burrell.
   4  Canterbury
   1  Colson.
   3  Copeland.
  50  Cushing.
  11  Derby.
  10  Dyer.
   8  Ford.
  28  French.
   1  Gurney.
  29  Holbrook.
  19  Hollis.
   8  Humphrey.
  34  Hunt.
   4  Jones.
  13  Joy.
   2  Kingman.
  45  Loud.
  13  Lovell.
  27  Nash.
  20  Orcutt.
   6  Phillips.
  18  Pool.
   7  Porter.
  68  Pratt.
  25  Reed.
   8  Rice.
  22  Richards.
   2  Rogers.
  36  Shaw.
  22  Smith.
  25  Thayer.
  61  Tirrell.
  25  Torrey.
   1  Trufant.
   3  Turner.
  21  Vining.
   3  Vinson.
   1  Wade.
   1  Ward.
   1  Waterman.
   2  Webb.
   2  Weston.
  30  White.
   5  Whitman.
   1  Whitmarsh.
   4  Williams.

  Total, 63.

Transcriber’s Notes

Errors in punctuation have been fixed.

In a few cases, where the original book left blank space to indicate an
omitted word, -- or ---- have been substituted.

Page 42: “rest of the worties” changed to “rest of the worthies”

Page 111: “in this place or people” changed to “in this place for

Page 132: “my deficiences” changed to “my deficiencies”

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Wessagusset and Weymouth" ***

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