From the Journal of John Winthrop
Submitted by Janice Farnsworth
Oct. 15, 1635
About 60 men, women and little children went by land towards Connecticut with their cows, horses, swine, and after a tedious and difficult journey arrived safe there. This was a party from Newtown who went to lay out the first homesteads at Hartford.
Migrants from Newtown (MA) were beginning to settle Hartford, Conn. Migrants from Dorchester (MA) were beginning to settle Windsor, Conn.
Migrants from Watertown (MA) were beginning to settle Wethersfield, Conn
Nov. 3, 1635
Mr. Winthrop Jr. (son of Gov. John Winthrop) the governor appointed by the Lords of Connecticut (Lord Say and Lord Brooke) sent a bark of 30 ton and about 20 men with all needful provisions to take posession of the mouth of Connecticut and to begin some building.
Nov. 26, 1635
There came 13 men from Connecticut. They had been 10 days upon their journey and had lost one of their company, drowned in the ice by the way, and had been all starved but that by God's providence they lighted upon an Indian wigwam. Connecticut River was frozen up the 15 of this month.
May 31, 1636
Another plot the old serpent had against us, by sowing jealousies and differences between us and our friends at Connecticut...The ground of all was their shyness of coming under our government, which though we never intended to make them subordinate to us, yet they were very jealous, and therefore in the articles of confederation which we propounded to them, they did so alter the chief article as all would have come to nothing. For whereas the article was, that upon any matter of difference, two, three, or more commissioners of every of the confederate colonies should assemble and have absolute power (the greater number of them) to determine the matter, they would have them only to meet and if they could agree, so; if not, then to report to their several colonies and to return with their advice and so to go on till the matter might be agreed; which, beside that it would have been infinitely tedious and extreme chargeable, it would never have attained the end; for it was very unlikely that all the churches in all the plantations would ever have accorded upon the same propositions.
Around May, 1638, representatives from the four Connecticut River towns of Hartford, Windsor, Wethersfield and Springfield had met to discuss the need for an independent civil government and an alliance with Massachusetts on issues of mutual concern such as Indian relations. They then sent agents to Massachusetts proposing articles of confederation. The records of this meeting are lost, but it is plain that Connecticut wanted a loose alliance, whereas Massachusetts wanted a tighter union, with some sort of "preeminence" accorded to Massachusetts as the senior partner. By mid December when John Winthrop seems to have written this account, the Connecticut leaders were drafting their new constitution, The Fundamental Orders, which was adopted by Hartford, Windsor and Wethersfield in Jan. 1639.
Agawam (now Springfield, CT) on the Connecticut River, 30 miles north of Hartford had been founded in 1636 by a group from Roxbury, (MA) lead by William Pynchon For two years Agawam had joined with the three lower Connecticut River towns, but in March, 1638 Pynchon quarreled with Hooker and in January 1639 the people of Agawam declared their acceptance of the MBC government with Pynchon as their chief magistrate. The town's name was changed in 1640 to honor Pynchon's village in Essex
Though we were formerly willing that Agawam (now Springfield) should have fallen into their government, yet seeing they would not be beholden to us for any thing, we intended to keep it; and accordingly we put it in as an article that the line between us should be, one way, the Pequot River (viz, south and north) and the other way, (viz, east and west) the limits of our grant. And this article we added: That we, etc, should have liberty to pass to and fro upon Connecticut, and they likewise. To these articles all their commissioners offered to consent, but it was thought by our court (because of the new articles) that they should first acquaint their own court with it. And so their commissioners departed.
After this, we understood that they went on to excercise their authority at Agawam. Whereupon the governor wrote to them to desire them to forbear until the line was laid out. After a long time, Mr. Ludlow (in the name of the court) returned answer, which was very harsh; and in fine declared, that they thought it not fit to treat any further before they had advice from the gentlemen of Saybrook, etc. The governor acquainted the council and magistrates with this letter; and, because they had tied our hands (in a manner) from replying, he wrote a private letter to Mr. Haynes wherein he lays open their mistakes (as he called them) and the apparent causes of offence, which they had given us; as by making a treaty of agreement with the Narragansetts and Mohegans without joining us or mentioning us to that end (though we had by letter given them liberty to take us in), and by binding all the Indians (who had received any Pequots) to pay tribute for them all to them at Connecticut, etc (these and the miscarriages in point of correspondence were conceived to arise from these two errors in their government: 1. They chose divers scores of men who had no learning nor judgement which might fit them for those affairs, though otherwise men holy and religious. 2. By occasion hereof, the main burden for managing of state business fell upon some one or other of their ministers (as the phrase and style of these letters will clearly discover) who, though they were men of singular wisdom and godliness, yet stepping out of their course, their actions wanted that blessing which otherwise might have been expected.
In this cancelled passage John Winthrop exhibits considerable animosity toward Thomas Hooker. He eradicated these lines so thoroughly that James Savage had much difficulty in deciphering them; (see Savage l:344.)
There came letters from the court at Connecticut, certifying us that the Indians all over the country had combined themselves to cut off all the English, that the time was appointed after harvest, the manner also, they should go by small companies to the chief men's houses by way of trading, etc., and should kill them in the houses and seize their weapons, and then others should be at hand to prosecute the massacre; and that this was discovered by three Indians, near about the time and in the same manner, one to Mr. Eaton of New Haven, another to Mr. Ludlow and the third to Mr. Haynes. (Theophilus Eaton was governor of New Haven; Roger Ludlow and John Haynes were deputy governor and governor of Connecticut.) Their advice to us was, that it was better to enter into war presently (immediately) and if we would send 100 men to the river's mouth of Connecticut they would meet us with a proportional number.
Upon these letters, the governor called so many of the magistrates as were near, and being met they sent out summons for a general court, to be kept six days after, and in the mean time, it was thought fit, for our safety and to strike some terror into the Indians, to disarm such as were within our jurisdiction. Accordingly we sent men to Cutshamekin at Braintree to fetch him and his guns, bows, etc. which was done, and to disarm Passaconamy who lived by Merrimack...(Passaconamy was sachem to the Pennacooks, who lived by the Merrimack River in New Hampshire.
September 8, 1642
The general court being assembled, we considered of the letters and other intelligence from Connecticut, and although the thing seemed very probable, yet we thought it not sufficient ground for us to begin a war, for it was possibleit might be otherwise and that all this might come out of the enmity which had been between Miantomoni and Onkus, (Uncas was sachem of the Mohegan Indians and lived on the Pequot River near Norwich, CT) who continuously sought to discredit each other with the English. (to be continued)
Vane was trying to negotiate with these three groups on behalf of the Saybrook proprietors.
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