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went to England in 1672, made them a present of fifty pounds at his departure; and they take notice of donations from several other friends.
They were in constant terror, though they had reason to hope, after some years, that the inquiry for them was over. They read with pleasure the news of their being killed with other judges in Switzerland. Their diary for six or seven years contains every little occurrence in the town, church and particular families in the neighborhood. These were small affairs. They had indeed for a few years of their lives been among the principal actors in the great affairs of the nation, Goffe especially, who turned the members of the little parliament out of the house, and who was attached to Oliver and to Richard to the last; but they were both of low birth and education. They had very constant and exact intelligence of everything which passed in England, and were unwilling to give up all hopes of deliverance. Their greatest expectations were from the fulfilment of the prophecies. They had no doubt that the execution of the judges was the slaying of the witnesses. They were much disappointed when the year 1666 had passed without any remarkable event, but flattered themselves that the Christian era might be erroneous. Their lives were miserable and constant burdens. They complain of being banished from all human society. A letter from Goffe’s wife, who was Whaley's daughter, I think worth preserving. After the second year, Goffe writes by the name of Walter Goldsmith, and she of Frances Goldsmith, and the correspondence is carried on as between a mother and son. There is too much religion in their letters for the taste of the present day; but the distresses of two persons under these peculiar circumstances, who appear to have lived very happily together, are very strongly described.
Whilst they were at Hadley (February 10th, 1664) Dixwell, another of the judges, came to them; but from whence, or in what part of America he first landed, is not known. The first mention of him in their journal is by the name of Col. Dixwell, but ever after they call him Mr. Davids. He continued some years at Hadley, and then removed to New Haven. He was generally supposed to have been one of those who were obnoxious in England, but he never discovered who he was until he was on his death-bed. I have one of his letters, signed James Davids, dated March 230, 1683. He married at New Haven, and left several children. After his death, his son, who before had been called Davids, took the name of Dixwell, came to Boston, and lived in good repute; was a ruling elder of one of the churches there, and died in 1721 of the small-pox by inoculation. Some of his grandchildren are now living. Col. Dixwell was buried at New Haven. His gravestone still remains, with this inscription: "J. D., Esq., deceased March 18th, in the 82d year of his
It cannot be denied that many of the principal persons in the colony greatly esteemed these persons, for their professions of piety and their grave deportment, who did not approve of their political conduct. Mr. Mitchell, the minister of Cambridge, who showed them great friendship upon their first arrival, says, in a manuscript which he wrote in his own vindication, "Since I have had opportunity by reading and discourse to look a little into that action for which these men suffer, I could never see that it was justifiable." After they were declared traitors, they certainly would have been sent to England if they could have been taken. It was generally thought they had left the country; and even the consequence of their escape was dreaded, lest when they were taken those who had harbored them should suffer for it. Mr. Endicott, the governor, writes to the Earl of Manchester, that he supposes they went toward the Dutch at Manhadoes, and took shipping for Holland; and Mr. Bradstreet, the then governor, in December, 1684, writes to Edward Randolph, “that after their being at New Haven he could never hear what became of them.” Randolph, who was sent to search into the secrets of the government, could obtain no more knowledge of them than that they had been in the country, and respect had been shown them by some of the magistrates. I am loath to omit an anecdote handed down through Governor Leveret's family. I find Goffe takes notice in his journal of Leveret's being at Hadley. The town of Hadley was alarmed by the Indians in 1675, in the time of public worship, and the people were in the utmost confusion. Suddenly a grave, elderly person appeared in the midst of them. In his mien and dress he differed from the rest of the people. He not only encouraged them to defend themselves, but put himself at their head, rallied, instructed and led them on to encounter the enemy, who by this means were repulsed. As suddenly the deliverer of Hadley disappeared. The people were left in consternation, utterly unable to account for this strange phenomenon. It is not probable that they were ever able to explain it. If Goffe had been then discovered, it must have come to the knowledge of those persons, who declare by their letters that they never knew what became of him.
RELIGIOUS CUSTOMS IN NEW ENGLAND.
[From the Same.]
been supported by a free weekly contribution. I have seen a letter from one of the principal ministers of the colony expressing some doubts of
the lawfulness of receiving a support in any other way. In the country towns, compulsory laws were found necessary; and in the year 1654 the county courts were empowered to assess upon the inhabitants of the several towns which neglected the support of the ministry a sum sufficient to make up the defect.
In Boston, after prayer and before singing, it was the practice for several years for the minister to read and expound a chapter. Whether it was because this carried the service to too great a length, or any other reason could be given for it, in a few years it was laid aside, except when it came in place of a sermon. Exceptions (may we not say cavils ?) have been made, by some learned, serious ministers, against reading the Scriptures as part of the divine service without an exposition. The other parts of religious public worship, and the manner of administering the sacraments, not differing from what is at this day the practice of the churches of New England and of the church of Scotland, it is unnecessary to take any notice of them.
From a sacred regard to the religion of the Christian Sabbath, a scruple arose of the lawfulness of calling the first day of the week Sunday; and they always, upon any occasion, whether in a civil or religious relation to it, styled it either the Lord's-day or the Sabbath. As the exception to the word Sunday was founded upon its superstitious, idolatrous origin, the same scruple naturally followed with respect to the names of all the other days of the week, and of most of the months, which had the same origin; accordingly they changed Monday, Tuesday, etc. into the second and third days of the week; and instead of March and April, used the first and second months; and instead of the third Tuesday in May, the language was, the third third day of the third month; and so of the rest. All their records and other writings are dated in the common form, which they brought from England with them, until the year 1636, when Mr. Vane was governor; but after that, the alteration seems to have been very strictly observed in all public and private writings and discourse, for many years together. In the interregnum it much obtained in Eng. land; but the scruple there went off at once, upon the restoration; here, it abated; and it continues scarce any where at this day, except among the people called Quakers. Perhaps the great dislike to some other peculiarities of that people caused the decline of that custom in the colony, and made them consider the singularity in the same light with some others of the same nature, which they condemned. (They began the Sabbath the evening of the last day of the week. It was some time before this custom was settled. Mr. Hooker, in a letter without date, but wrote about the year 1640, says, “The question touching the beginning of the Sabbath is now on foot among us, hath once been spoken to, and we are to give in our arguments each to the other, so that we may ripen our
thoughts touching that truth, and if the Lord will it may more fully appear.” And in another letter, March, 1640, “Mr. Huit hath not answered our arguments against the beginning the Sabbath at morning.")
That everything approaching to an acknowledgment of the authority of the Pope, and his power of canonization, might be avoided, they never used the addition of saint when they spake of the apostles and the ancient fathers of the Christian Church, and even the usual names of places were made to conform. The island of Saint Christophers was always written Christophers, and by the same rule all other places to which saint had been prefixed. If any exception was made, an answer was ready: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had as good right to this appellation as Peter, James and John.
They laid aside the fasts and feasts of the Church of England, and appointed frequently, as occasion required, days of fasting and thanksgiving; but, besides these occasional fasts and thanksgivings, they constantly, every spring, appointed a day for fasting and prayer, to implore the divine blessings upon their affairs in the ensuing year; and in the fall, a day of thanksgiving and public acknowledgment of the favors conferred upon them in the year past. If they more readily fell into this practice from the example of the people of God of old, yet they might well have been justified without any example. It has continued without interruption, I suppose, in any one instance, down to this day. This is a custom to which no devout person of any sect will take exception. By a law of the colony, every person absenting himself from the public worship, on these days, without sufficient excuse, was liable to five shillings fine. It would have been as well, perhaps, if this provision had been omitted.
These were the principal of the special ecclesiastical or religious customs. There were some attempts to introduce singularities into some of the churches; particularly Mr. Davenport, of New Haven, who afterward removed to Boston, required all his congregation to stand up whilst the text was naming; the principal reason which was given for it being that it was the word of God, and deserved peculiar honor; and Mr. Williams, of Salem, required all the women of his congregation to wear veils; but neither of these customs spread, or were of any long continuance. It was observed, as to the latter, that so uncouth an appearance, contrary to the practice of the English nation, would probably draw more eyes than if they were dressed like other women. Mr. Cotton, of Boston, happening to preach at Salem soon after this custom began, he convinced his hearers that it had no sufficient foundation in the Scriptures: the married women had no pretence to wear veils as virgins; neither married nor unmarried would choose to do it from the example of Tamar the harlot, nor need they do it for such purpose as Ruth did in
her widowhood. His sermon had so good an effect, that they were all ashamed of their veils, and never appeared covered with them afterward.
THE CHARACTER AND RULE OF GOVERNOR BURNET.
[From the Same.]
general, upon his death. Many amiable parts of his character revived in their minds. He had been steady and inflexible in his adherence to his instructions, but discovered nothing of a grasping, avaricious mind; it was the mode, more than the quantum, of his salary upon which he insisted. The naval office had generally been a post for some relation or favorite of the governor, but Colonel Tailer having been lieutenant-governor, and in circumstances far from affluent, he generously gave the post to him, without any reserve of the issues or profits. The only instance of his undue exacting money, by some, was thought to be palliated by the established custom of the government he had quitted. This did not justify it. In his disposal of public offices, he gave the preference to such as were disposed to favor his cause, and displaced some for not favoring it, and in some instances he went further than good policy would allow. He did not know the temper of the people of New England. They have a strong sense of liberty, and are more easily drawn than driven. He disobliged many of his friends by removing from his post Mr. Lynde, a gentleman of the house, esteemed by both sides for his integrity and other valuable qualities, and he acknowledged that he could assign no other reason except that the gentleman had not voted for a compliance with the instruction. However, an immoral or unfair character was a bar to office, and he gave his negative to an election of a counsellor, in one instance, upon that principle only. His superior talents and free and easy manner of communicating his sentiments made him the delight of men of sense and learning. His right of precedence in all companies facilitated the exercise of his natural disposition to a great share in the conversation, and at the same time “caused it to appear more excusable." His own account of his genius was, that it was late before it budded, and that, until he was nearly twenty years of age, his father despaired of his ever making any figure in life. This, perhaps, might proceed from the exact, severe discipline of the bishop's family, not calculated for every temper alike, and might damp and discourage his. To long and frequent religious services at home in his youth he would sometimes pleasantly attribute his indisposition to a very scrupu