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The Tribes and the States

W. J. Sidis




        50. American Policy of the Restored Stuarts.  The Puritan regime in England did not long survive Oliver Cromwell, and, in 1660, the Stuart monarchy returned to power. Charles II, the son of Charles I, became king, while his brother James (who later became King James II) returned to his title of Duke of York and Albany. The new ruler claimed the entire Atlantic coast of North America on the grounds of an alleged "discovery" by the Cabots in 1497, in spite of their never having even approached the continent!

        As a first step in asserting this claim to the entire continent, Duke James was given "title" to the entire region claimed by the Dutch, and to lands east of the Kennebec claimed by the French. This title, of course, represented merely royal permission to go and take it, no matter whom it may have already been in possession of.

         Another step was engaging the philosopher Locke to draw up a constitution for the ideal aristocracy for a new colony to be named Carolina in honor of King Charles. This constitution was drawn up, with a complicated hierarchy of nobility enjoying absolute power, and all titles were different from any used in England. It was then conveniently remembered that a French expedition, a century before, coasting the region between the Florida peninsula and what later became Virginia, had named that part of the coast Caroline after another King Charles, and this coincidence made it a convenient country in which to try to put Locke’s constitution into effect. This region was already inhabited, not merely by the original red inhabitants, but in some of the sand bar islands of Albermarle Sound by refugees from recognized English colonies, who were pressed into service as the commoners in Locke’s scheme.

         Puritan prisoners captured in England during and following the suppression of the Puritan regime and the restoration of the monarchy were sold into slavery in Virginia, Maryland, and Carolina, especially the former. It was technically indentured servitude, officially meaning a contract for enforced labor for a certain number of years; but these prisoners were mostly given life servitude. Thus Virginia was suddenly injected with a great mass of slaves who had been rebels, and many of whom had acquired a smattering of Penacook principles; and this large mass, suddenly injected into the mass of hitherto voiceless indentured servants of Virginia, proved too much to permit the continuance of the peaceful oppression on which Virginia society had been based, and in 1663 the Puritans organized a general uprising of the indentured servants of Virginia. This plan, however, was prematurely discovered, resulting in a failure of the rebellion to come to a head.

         51. The Penacook Country at the Restoration.  Confronted with restoration of monarchy in England, the New England Confederation claimed it had never submitted to the Cromwell regime, which was true in a way, as, being the primary source of the Puritan revolution, New England had never been called on to submit as had more recalcitrant places like Virginia and Maryland. Even the two united Red Island colonies, which remained outside the Confederation, were in the same position in that respect as the Confederation. Consequently, the New England colonies generally received new charters on almost the same basis as before the Cromwell period. The colonies of Rhode Island and Providence had their charter provisions of religious tolerance renewed, because the monarchy saw in that a chance to get rid of their religious heretics by shipping them from England to Narragansett Bay; and so these two colonies received a joint charter, as the Province of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. New Hampshire was once more separated from Massachusetts, but this time under a royal governor instead of under the old-time proprietorship; the popular part of the government continued to rival the royal governor for power as it had formerly with the proprietors. But the people of Maine, fearing a return of the former proprietorship, and not wishing to lose the town-meeting organization they had started for themselves and developed under Massachusetts protection, petitioned against being treated similarly to New Hampshire, and Maine became officially annexed to Massachusetts, though separated from it by New Hampshire.

        Meanwhile the Penacook Federation had been considerably pushed back, except in the north. We have seen how the Pequot nation was wiped out. A large part of the Masadchu and Natick nations had been converted by "Apostle" Eliot, who turned many of his converts into traitors and spies against their own people; these nations became practically useless to the Federation, and the converts were gradually concentrated in a few towns close to Boston, and became almost servants to the Puritans. Nipmucks and Okamakammessets largely also adopted Christianity to a limited extent, but not under the close supervision of their eastern neighbors, so they were able to hold on to their principles and to the Federation; in fact, conversion for them was largely for the purpose of gaining Puritan confidence, and religion was interpreted extremely liberally. The same was true of the Wampanoags, who were already being driven into remoter corners of the Plymouth Colony, the main division finding its refuge around Pokenoket, on the peninsula jutting out into Narragansett Bay. The Narragansetts were also being tightly pressed. The tide of resentment spread through the Penacook nations as their people were constantly pushed back by the property-hungry whites; but Passaconaway, the Bashaba of the Federation, and many other Penacook officials such as sagamores Canonicus of the Narragansetts and Massasoit of the Wampanoags were still succeeding in preventing an outburst of rebellion. But Massasoit died in 1660, and his son Metacom succeeded him as a sagamore, putting a belligerent attitude into the tribal council, where there had been a peaceful tendency before. Things were rapidly nearing the breaking point between the peoples of New England and Penacook.

        The important difference between whites and reds was, as ever, the institution of property, whose center had long ago shifted in America from land (the important proprietary feature in Europe) to commerce, the only effective contact between the two peoples. Trade was property’s only contact with the red people, therefore it was the only real hold it could gain in America. Property, with its attendant features of poverty and charity, was introduced into Apostle Eliot’s communities of red converts. But, whether in land or in trade, the influence of the red peoples was able to tone down this institution to some extent, though the weakening of the Penacook Federation necessarily meant the strengthening of the commercial form of the institution of property.

        52. The Duke of York’s Claims.  We have seen that the restored king gave a charter to his brother, the Duke of York and Albany, covering a considerable stretch of land not in English possession. And, while the problem of gaining possession was still unsolved, the Duke, following his brother’s example in granting land which was not his to give, proceeded to sell some of that same land. He selected a tract of Lenape territory, between the Hudson River and the river of the Unamis to the west (a river named by the Virginians Delaware after one of their aristocrats, Lord de la Warr―the Virginians even called the Lenape nations Delawares), and sold this land to Lord Cartaret of the Island of Jersey. Lord Cartaret opened negotiations with the Dutch and arranged for peaceful occupation of as much as was under actual Dutch control, giving this new estate the Latin name of Nova Caesarea, translated into English as New Jersey. Lord Cartaret had descriptions of the region made up, describing conditions there as almost Utopian, and in that way lured a number of settlers to go with him to start an English colony there.

        As the Duke of York had really designed Cartaret’s colony as an entering wedge for gaining possession of the main Dutch colony, and so the first English settlement (there were already Dutch towns on the Hudson shore of New Jersey) selected a location on the same harbor, behind the island of Aquehonga (or, in Dutch, Staten Eylandt) at the mouth of a bay which was a common outlet of the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers. Here, for a miracle, Cartaret actually negotiated with the Lenape tribes for possession of a town site, and here Lord Cartaret established himself as a proprietor and governor for the colony, naming the town after his wife, Elizabeth, who governed the colony during her husband’s frequent returns to England.

        This colony was the first foothold gained by the English on the middle coast. It included, besides the English settlement of Elizabeth, a group of Dutch settlements along the Hudson River, including Communipaw*, the settlement from which Niuew Amsterdam was colonized, and which is at present part of Jersey City. The colony of New Jersey was governed largely after the Maryland model, as influenced by the years of Puritan domination—a hereditary proprietor as absolute ruler, with a legislature elected by subsidiary property owners for purely advisory purposes. This colony was isolated from the other English colonies in America, Dutch territory remaining on both sides of it, the New Netherlands itself separating New Jersey from New England, and the Swedish settlements under Dutch control separating the colony from the South.

        But this isolation was not to last long. If the Dutch authorities at Niuew Amsterdam imagined that they got rid of the English claims by the cession of land across the Hudson, they were mistaken. The Duke of York still claimed all the territory that the Dutch claimed, including the Swedish settlements, and both East and West Paumonok Islands, and the mainland east to the Quinnitucket. In 1664, shortly after Cartaret’s settlement of Elizabeth, the Duke of York, in an unofficial and undeclared war, sent a small fleet to Niuew Amsterdam to demand the surrender of the entire Dutch colony. The Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant, sent out a messenger to ride up the Hudson Valley warning the people that the British were coming, and calling them to arms; but this herald was drowned trying to cross from Manhattan to the mainland. The population showed no enthusiasm for the defense of a government which was merely a trading-post agency, and very little resistance could be mustered. When the fleet landed, the Dutch authorities surrendered without a struggle, and the Duke of York took possession of the entire Dutch colony, and renamed both the colony and town of Niuew Amsterdam after his own title, New York, while the Duke’s Scotch title (Duke of Albany) was impressed on the upriver settlement of New Potterdam, which now acquired the new designation of Albany. The colony was then divided into "ridings" (the name for the subdivisions of York County, England) for administrative purposes, and these were baptized into the new Yorkish allegiance with such names as New York, Kings, Queens, Dukes, Dutchess, and Albany. The Dutch manor lords, or "patroons," of the Hudson Valley, were allowed to remain in power and govern their respective manors as petty monarchs, subject to the Duke’s authority as supreme and absolute monarch of the colony. As under the Dutch West India Company, there was no permission for popular representation to interfere with this absolute rule, and, even off the manors, the Duke’s representatives were allowed mainly to tax-farm their domains, extracting all the tribute for themselves they possibly could, and at their own discretion. Even when, later on, an advisory legislature was set up, this general scheme of things was not interfered with, and, in New York, the minions and cliques controlling the region’s affairs for their own personal gain always remained more fundamental than the thinly superimposed legislatures which never were a real part of the regime, and which were always more or less disregarded.

        53. New Settlement in Carolina.  The extreme southern colony of Carolina covered, as did Virginia before it, territory claimed by the Spanish as part of the Florida dominions, and England therefore attempted to stretch its Carolinian possessions as far southward as possible. Therefore some shiploads of colonists were gathered in England, and sent to the southern portion of the colony, it being intended that they should be the subjects of the landgraves and other aristocrats set up by Locke’s Carolina constitution, and who were having their difficulties trying to rule the refugee colonies on Albemarle Sound.

        This group of new colonists took possession of the banks of a river which they named Ashley, and started a town which they named Charles Town, after King Charles II. Slaves were promptly sent in from the Antilles to do the colony’s labor, and this new settlement became a strongly slave colony from the very start.

        The established aristocrats of Carolina, however, had their headquarters on Albemarle Sound, and the great distance of Charles Town made it difficult to take a personal hand in ruling the Ashley River region, communication being very difficult, and there being no red-race courier system in the South as there was in the North. So Charles Town as largely allowed to run itself, mainly on the parliamentary model which England had learned from Cromwell’s rebellion.

        Soon following the start of the southern settlement, the Albemarle Sound region, largely consisting in the first place of refugees, revolted and overthrew the rule of Locke’s aristocrats. The Carolina colony then split in two and was later so chartered—the Albemarle Sound settlements being North Carolina, and Charles Town (now called Charleston) forming the nucleus for the colony of South Carolina.

        54. Punishing New England.  When the English monarchy was restored, the South to some extent had to suffer for the allegiance to Cromwell that had been forced on Virginia and Maryland. But as New England, being in reality the source of Puritan rebellion, had never been called on to give its allegiance to Cromwell, they were, on the restoration of monarchy, able to state that they had never deserted the Stuart regime at all. Undoubtedly the English monarchy regarded this statement with considerable doubt and suspicion, but there was very little tangible or definite on which to punish New England.

        Difficulty was raised against Massachusetts to some extent because that province had, during the years Cromwell had ruled England, trespassed on royal prerogatives by coining money, and it was necessary, by some sophistry, not merely to plead emergency as an excuse, but to persuade royal commissioners that the pine-tree emblem printed on Massachusetts coins (actually a Penacook national emblem) was really intended to be a royal oak. However, Massachusetts government, on the whole, gained power rather than lost it, though such orders were received as orders to tolerate certain sects such as Episcopalians and Quakers. The restored Stuart monarch also broke up the New England arrangement of voting by church membership, substituting property qualifications for voting, in accordance with what England considered as a more powerful mode of management. However, the time-honored institution of town meetings (originally a Penacook institution) persisted in spite of everything, and, when it was desired to evade property qualifications in the Puritan colonies, the Congregational church of the locality (whether Puritan or Pilgrim) helped the evasion by conducting church meetings for political purposes without regard to property qualifications.

         As the "regicide judges," Goffe, Whalley, and Dixwell, who had sentenced King Charles to death, succeeded in escaping to the New Haven colony, the local militia of the New Haven colony, whenever called upon by England to help capture the fugitives, contrived to lead English authorities on a false trail under the pretense of helping the search, while the fugitives remained in a cave within sight of New Haven, and were taken care of by the people of that town. Accordingly, the king determined to punish that colony by dividing it between its neighbors, the mainland portion being annexed to Connecticut, and the Long Island portion being annexed to New York. This, however, had actually the result of abolishing the theocratic regime under which the New England colony had been suffering, and mainland New Haven got the benefit of town meetings arranged on the Penacook model, though much modified by the property qualifications imposed by the policy of the restored Stuarts.

         55. New York’s Border Conflicts.  The English acquisition did not settle the border conflicts that had troubled the Dutch. On the contrary, the Duke of York claimed all the territory that the Dutch had ever claimed (except New Jersey, where he had sold his claims), and old border disputes that had been considered buried for years, were revived. Everything up to the Quinnitucket was claimed, including such Massachusetts towns as Northampton and Holyoke, all of the original Connecticut colony except what was acquired from the Pequots, and all that had been the New Haven colony. The Duke of York claimed also the entire Paumonok archipelago, conflicting with Connecticut and New Haven settlements (Sayville, Southampton, etc.) on the east end of Long Island, and with Rhode Island and Plymouth claims to the East Paumonoks. When Nantucket was settled by Puritan and Quaker refugees from Massachusetts, they were willing to stay under New York rule, as protection from Puritan authorities; but they got a charter governing the place by hereditary association of the inhabitants, thus obtaining the benefits of town-meeting rule, which the Duke of York strictly prohibited elsewhere in his dominion.

         The Duke of York also claimed two pieces of non-contiguous territory, both indefinite in extent. One was a tract extending indefinitely eastward from the Kennebec River, actually in possession of nobody but the Wabanake nations, so that disputes over it were largely academic anyway; but there was also a strip of land on the west bank of the Delaware River, occupied by Swedish colonists, claimed by Maryland as well as by New York.

         New York’s boundary disputes took over a hundred years to settle, many of them lingering on till after American independence had been established. The renewed royal charter of Massachusetts gave it a strip of land extending westward to the Pacific, and, after the New Haven colony had been divided, Connecticut had been given a similar charter, both strips running right across the Hudson Valley, and the Massachusetts strip taking in the settlement of Albany. The dispute with Connecticut was finally settled by giving New York a right-of-way across its claims, with an eastern boundary taken from the Dutch manor boundaries, and derived mainly from alleged "deeds" supposed to have been given by Mohican sachems; though Connecticut continued to claim its strip west of the Delaware, and still claims a portion of that strip on Lake Erie. The dispute on the Delaware continued to have its reverberations for a hundred years, and the boundary dispute with Massachusetts was not settled till 1772, though the Duke of York managed to sell his unreachable Kennebec River land to Massachusetts.

         It must be remembered, in reading the history of these disputes, that most of the land involved was in the possession of none of the parties to the disputes, but actually belonged to the red-race nations, while the white invaders were actually quarrelling about dividing up the spoils before they got any.

* Communipaw


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