The United Colonies of New England, 1643-90

By Harry M. Ward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
Naboth's Vineyard

"Dost thou now govern the Kingdom of Israel?" asked the wicked wife of Ahab. If so, then let not this stubborn subject of yours rest in content with this coveted possession, for which you have offered a just price. Remember that you are King. "Let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." Soon it was decided "in the presence of the people" that "Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. . . . And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it."

In the Israel of the New World, the united Puritan colonies, under the shadow of the Bay, were supreme. Having found themselves at home in the new Canaan, it was time to tighten up loose corners and govern all the kingdom of Israel. Expansion of the Puritan colonies were on all sides widening the walls of the Confederacy.1 But on the south, along the eastern coast of Connecticut up through the present boundary line of Rhode Island and the Bay State, were lands that the settlers of the United Colonies coveted. These lands, as those of Naboth of ancient times, belonged for generations to the Indian tribes of the region or to those settlers who had received deeds from these Indians. They were not for sale to the Puritan colonies. The Puritan longed to be master of New England, and he could not sit idly by while valuable lands so near lay fallow or were used as a place of refuge for malcontents, who in this haven became thorns in the flesh. This chapter depicts the rivalry over the Narragansett-Pequot country and the attempt to settle the jurisdiction of this territory by the United Colonies, Rhode Island, and the King.

Roger Williams journeyed to England in 1643 to secure a charter for Rhode Island in order to contain the pressure of the United Colonies and the Gortonists. Twelve followers of

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