"The Unity of
the English Colonyes"
AS the forest blossomed in the spring of 1643, seven men from the New England plantations at Plymouth, New Haven, and Connecticut arrived at Massachusetts Bay to consummate the confederation of their colonies. Each settlement assigned to its most eminent inhabitants the task of reaching a judicious agreement. In consultation, the representatives "encountered some difficulties," wrote John Winthrop, but since all were "desirous of union and studious of peace," he added, "they readily yielded each to [the] other in such things as tended to common utility" and after "two or three meetings they lovingly accorded" to the Articles of Confederation.1 Despite the retention of autonomy by the separate colonies, the treaty of 1643 enabled the Puritans to expand the notion of the collective society to account for the changes wrought by the wilderness experience. The New England Confederation thereby served as a viable social insti____________________