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imposed upon the inhabitants of the province, but such as should be made by the assembly, and approved by the president and council.” twelve years previous to the enactment of a similar law in Massachusetts.
In the same year, Mason, who had been appointed a member of the council, arrived in the colony. He assumed the title of lord proprietor, claimed the soil as his property, and threatened to prosecute all who would not take from him leases of the land they occupied. His pretensions were resisted by most of the inhabitants, who claimed the fee-simple of the soil by a more righteous, if not more legal title.
The peace of the colony was long disturbed by these conflicting claims. At the head of those who contended with Mason, stood Major Waldron, of Dover. Against him and many others, suits were instituted. No defence was made, judgments were obtained, but so general was the hostility to Mason, that he never dared to enforce them.
Over Massachusetts and New Hampshire, the same governor usually presided. After Andross was deposed, the inhabitants of the latter colony desired to be incorporated with their former brethren. Their request was opposed by Samuel Allen, who had purchased Mason's title, and was refused. Allen was made governor of the colony, and by his influence, John Usher, his sonin-law, was appointed lieutenant-governor. Under his administration, the disputes occasioned by adverse claims to land, continued to rage with increased violence. Other suits were instituted,
and judgments obtained; but the sheriff was forcibly resisted by a powerful combination, whenever he attempted to put the plaintiff in possession.
From Indian wars this colony suffered more than any of her sisters. The surprise of Dover, in 1689, was attended with circumstances of the most shocking barbarity. That the natives had been cruelly injured by Major Waldron, the principal citizen, may account for, if not extenuate their ferocity in obtaining revenge.
Having determined upon their plan of attack, they employed more than their usual art to lưll the suspicions of the inhabitants. So civil and respectful was their behaviour, that they often obtained permission to sleep in the fortified houses in the town. On the evening of the fatal night, they assembled in the neighbourhood, and sent their women to apply for lodgings, at the houses devoted to destruction; who were not only admitted, but were shown how they could open the doors, should they have occasion to go out in the night.
When all was quiet, the doors were opened and the signal given. The Indians rushed into Waldron's house, and hastened to his apartment. Awakened by the noise, he seized his sword and drove them back, but when returning for his other arms was stunned with a hatchet and fell, They then dragged him into his hall, seated him in an elbow chair upon a long table, and insultingly asked him, “Who shall judge Indians now?"
After feasting upon provisions, which they compelled the rest of the family to procure,
with his knife cut gashes across his breast, saying, “I cross out my account.” When weakened with loss of blood, he was about to fall from the table, his own sword was held under him, which put an end to his misery.
At other houses, similar acts of cruelty were perpetrated. In the whole, twenty-three persons were killed, twenty-nine carried prisoners to Canada, and mostly sold to the French. Remembering kindness as well as injury, they spared one woman, who, thirteen years before, had conferred a favour on one of the party. Many houses were burned, and much property was plundered; and so expeditious were the Indians, that they had fled beyond reach before the neighbouring people could be collected.
The war thus commenced, was prosecuted with vigour. The French, by giving premiums for scalps, and by purchasing the English prisoners, animated the Indians to exert all their activity and address, and the frontier inhabitants endured the most aggravated sufferings. The settlements on Oyster river were again surprised; twenty houses were burned, and nearly one hundred persons were killed or made prisoners, Other towns were attacked, many persons slain, and many carried into captivity. The
of Ryswick in 1697, closed the distressing scene. In 1703 another war began, which continued ten years.
In 1719, above one hundred families, mostly Presbyterians, emigrated from the north of Ireland, and settled the town of Londonderry. They introduced the foot spinning wheel, the manufacture of linen, and the culture of potatoes. They were industrious, hardy, and useful citizens.
From 1722 to 1726, the inhabitants again suffered the afflictions of an Indian war. Following the example of the French, the government offered premiums for scalps, which induced several volunteer companies to undertake expeditions against the enemy. One of these, commanded by Captain Lovewell, was greatly distinguished, at first by its successes, and afterwards by its misfortunes.
Long after the transfer from Mason to Allen, some defect in the conveyance was discovered, which rendered it void. In 1746, John Tufton Mason, a descendant of the original grantee, claiming the lands possessed by his ancestors, conveyed them for fifteen hundred pounds, to twelve persons, subsequently called the Masonian proprietors. They, to silence the opposition, voluntarily relinquished their claims to the lands already occupied by others.
They also granted townships on the most liberal terms. Reserving certain portions of the land for themselves, for the first settled ministers, and for schools, they required merely that the grantees should, within a limited time, erect mills and meeting-houses, clear out roads, and settle ministers of the gospel. In process of time, nearly all the Masonian lands, being about one-fourth of the whole, were in this manner granted; and contention and law suits ceased to disturb the repose, and to impede the prosperity of the colony.
IN 1631, Viscount Say and Seal, Lord Brook, and others, obtained from the Plymouth Company, in England, a grant of the territory which now constitutes the state of Connecticut; and so little was then known of the geography of the new world, that the grant was made to extend, in longitude, from the Atlantic Ocean to the South Sea. In the same year, the Indians, living on Connecticut river, having invited the colony of Plymouth to make a settlement on their lands, governor Winslow and others visited the country, and selected a place near the mouth of the little river in Windsor, for the erection of a trading house.
The Dutch at New York, apprized of this project of the English, and determined to anticipate them immediately despatched a party, who erected a fort at Hartford. In September, 1633, a company from Plymouth, having prepared the frame of a house, put it on board a vessel, and, passing the fort, conveyed it to the place previously selected. In October, they raised, covered, and fortified it with palisades. The Dutch, considering them intruders, sent, the next year, a band of seventy men to drive them from the country, but finding them strongly posted, they relinquished the design.