RECORDS OF THE
COLONY and PLANTATION of
From 1638 to 1649.
Transcribed and edited in accordance with a resolution
of the General Assembly of Connecticut.
by Charles J. Hoadley, M.A.
Hartford: Printed by Case, Tiffany and Comany,
for the Editor.
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
The original manuscript, of which the present volume is intended to be, as nearly as practicable, a reproduction, is a large folio of seventeen by eleven inches in size, containing about two hundred and fifty pages. It was evidently written with some care, and the chirography of the whole might be called, for the period, superior, more particularly so that of Thomas Fugill, the first secretary, although it is more abundant in contractions and abbreviations than that of Richard Perry or Francis Newman, his successors.
Many years before the employment of the volume in this country as a Record Book for New Haven Colony, five pages of it had been used, by some great merchant in London, as a Day Book or Journal, and it thus begins, - "Laus Deo, In London, the 6th of January, Anno Domino 1608." Who the merchant was to whom it belonged does not appear, and is unknown; it has been a tradition, however, that it was "Governor Eaton's Ledger," but as Eaton was born in 1590, it would hardly seem probable that a youth of eighteen should carry on business, both foreign and domestic. to so great an extent as would appear to be indicated by the entries in this book.
At their first settlement, though within the limits of the old Connecticut Patent, the plantations of New Haven, Guilford and Milford, intended to be, if possible, separate and distinct governments, but finding themselves singly too weak, early in the spring of the year 1643, they confederated with New Haven, which had already by the purchase of Stamford, Yennycock or Southold, and Totoket or Branford, become the most considerable in size and influence, and thus was formed the Jurisdiction of New Haven.
The present volume contains the records of the Colony of New Haven while it remained distinct, the beginning of the records of the Jurisdiction and the records of the Town or Plantation up to the year 1650.
From April, 1644, to May, 1653, the records of the Jurisdiction are lost, save that in this volume we have the proceedings of a Court of Magistrates, June 14th, 1646, and a Court of Election, October 27th, 1646. How long these records have been missing we are ignorant, but may conjecture that they have been so for a period of about a century. That Dr. Trumbull did not have access to them, while collecting materials for the history of Connecticut, that is from about 1770 to 1774, is evident upon an examination of that work, and had their disappearance then been recent, we should suppose that there would have been made some reference to the fact, either by him or the General Assembly in their resolution of May, 1772.
The dates of some meetings of the Jurisdiction Courts for this period, collected from the records of the United Colonies and from those of the town of Guilford, are inserted in their chronological order in the form of notes.
In a note at page 463 is found an account of the proceedings of a General Court, for the Jurisdiction, May 30th, 1649, which is taken from Thompson's History of Long Island, but I have thus far been able to learn the source whence the author of that work obtained the citation. The editor has been informed that Mr. Thompson's papers afford no clue, and that it is not found in the records of the town of Southold, L.I. It is to be hoped that the extract may lead to the discovery of the missing volume.
In May, 1772, perhaps at the instance of Governor Trumbull, who, as the venerable historian of Connecticut assures us, had a most thorough acquaintance with the history of the colony, the General Assembly passed the following resolution:
"Whereas the first antient Book of Records of this Colony remaining in the Secretary's office, and the first Records of the Jurisdiction of New Haven, in the office of the Town Clerk of the Town of New Haven, are much worn and decayed, and by constant use in danger of being totally ruined, Resolved by this Assembly, that the Secretary be directed and he is hereby directed to procure the said Records to be fairly transcribed into some proper book or books to be by him procured for that purpose, and laid before his Assembly to be compared and duly authenticated for common use, to the end that the said original ancient Records may be safely preserved and used only upon special and important occasions. The secretary is also directed to receive into his hands and deposit in his office the ancient Book of Records of the Jurisdiction of New Haven, now remaining in the office of the clerk of the County Court of New Haven County, who is also hereby requested to deliver the same to him accordingly, that the same may remain for piblick use in the publick archives of the Colony.
The first volume of the Connecticut Records was copied and presented to the Legislature for authentication in May, 1773, but why the New Haven Records were not then also transcribed, we are not informed.
The authorities of the town of New Haven have within a few years taken commendable care for the preservation and safe keeping of this first volume of their Records, by causing a copy to be made, and by enclosing he original in a copper box.
In executing the trust of editing these Records, accuracy has been the chief thing aimed at, and to obtain this neither time nor labor have been spared; every page has been carefully compared by the editor with the original; contractions and abbreviations have been followed, but with regard to the use of capital letters and marks of punctuation, it has not been deemed necessary strictly to adhere to the copy; still, however, this liberty has been used with caution, and the editor has not knowingly altered the sense of any passage therby, preferring in all instances where such might be the case, to let the original punctuation prevail.
Changes in the original arrangement of the records have been made in two instances only, one by placing the articles of agreement with the native Indian proprietors at the beginning of the volume, and the other by transferring a list of names recorded on page 148 to 140 of this volume. The paging of the original has been preserved and will be found in brackets at the side of the page. [transcriber's note: but not in this transcription].
Some redundancies in the original have been printed in italics. Where the original has in some places become obliterated or worn away, the missing words, supplied by the editor, are included in brackets. In other cases where words or letters have been omitted or passages of doubtful import occur, the editor feels obliged to charge the fault to those who originally wrote the manuscript.
In citing the records of the United Colonies, it has been found more convenient in general, to cite from the contemporary manuscript copy preserved in the Secretary's office than to make use of Hazzard, since it is known that in the latter many errors occur. In citing Trumbull's history, the edition printed at Hartford in 1797 has been used, and in Savage's Winthrop, though the edition of 1853 has been used, yet the pages of the former edition of 1825-6 are cited.
In conclusion, the editor expresses his thanks and acknowledges his obligations to the General Assembly of Connecticut, by whose liberality the expense of publication have been in part defrayed; to the Connecticut Historical Society, for their encouragement of the work; to the late Town Clerk, Alfred Terry, Esq., and to the Selectmen of New Haven, for the readiness and courtesy with which they afforded every facility requested for the accomplishment of the same; to Henry White, Esquire, for many valuable suggestions and other important aid, which his very extensive and accurate information regarding the early history of New Haven enabled him to furnish; to Hon. Francis De Witt, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to E. B. O'Callaghan, Esq., M.D., of Albany, for copies of documents remaining in the archives of their respective States; to Ralph D. Smith, Esq., of Guilford, Henry Onderdonk Jr., Esq. of Jamaica, L.I., and Rev. E. Whitaker of Southold, L.I., and to others who in various ways have given the publication their countenance or assistance.
To Henry White, Esquire, I am indebted also for the copies and abstracts of wills and inventories found, as notes, in this volume.
Should the present volume meet with sufficient encouragement, the editor proposes to continue it, by the publication of the Records of New Haven Jurisdiction from May, 1653, to the union with Connecticut in 1664-5, together with the New Haven code of 1656.
State Library, Hartford
April 14, 1857.