History of the United States of America: From the Discovery of the Continent - Vol. 1

By George Bancroft | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE UNITED COLONIES OF NEW ENGLAND.

THE enlargement of the dominion of Massachusetts was, in part, a result of the virtual independence which the commotions in the mother country had secured to the colonies. The UNION of the Calvinist states of New England was a still more important measure. In August, 1637, immediately after the victories over the Pequods, and before New Haven was planted, at a time when the earliest synod of New England ministers had gathered in Boston, a day of meeting was appointed, at the request of the leading magistrates and elders of Connecticut, to agree upon articles of confederation, and notice was given to Plymouth that they might join in it. Many of the American statesmen, familiar with the character of the government of the Netherlands, possessed sufficient experience and knowledge to frame a plan of union; but the warning to Plymouth was so short that they could not come, and the subject was deferred.

In March, 1638, Davenport and Eaton, declining the solicitations of the government of Massachusetts to remain within its jurisdiction, pledged themselves in their chosen abode "to be instrumental for the common good of the plantations which the Divine Providence had combined together in a strong bond of brotherly affection, so that their several armies might mutually strengthen them both against their several enemies." The dangers against which they needed to concert joint action were those which threatened their institutions from the prelates and the king, and those which menaced their territory from the Dutch of New Netherlands and the French of Acadia and Canada. In the course of the year, a union

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