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civil magistrate is bound to grant equal protection to every denomination of christians, a doctrine too liberal for the age in which he lived, repaired to Seeconk, where he procured a grant of land from the Indians. Being informed, by the governor of Plymouth, that the land was within the limits of that colony, he proceeded to Mooshausic, where, in 1636, with those friends who followed him, he began a plantation.
He purchased the land of the Indians, and, in grateful acknowledgment of the kindness of heaven, he called the place Providence. Acting in conformity with the wise and liberal principle, for avowing and maintaining which he had suffered banishment, he allowed entire freedom of conscience to all who came within his borders. And to him must be given the glory of having first set a practical example of the equal toleration of all religious sects in the same political community.
His benevolence was not confined to his civili, zed brethren. He laboured to enlighten, improve and conciliate the savages.
He learned their language, travelled among them, and gained the entire confidence of their chiefs. He had often the happiness, by his influence over them, of saving from injury the colony that had proclaimed him an outlaw and driven him into the wilderness.
In 1638, William Coddington, and seventeen others, being persecuted for their religious tenets in Massachusetts, followed Williams to Providence. By his advice, they purchased of the Indians the island of Aquetnec, now called Rhode Island, and removed thither. Coddington was chosen their judge, or chief magistratę. The fertility of the soil, and the toleration of all christian sects, attracted numerous emigrants from the adjacent settlements.
When the New England colonies, in 1643, formed their memorable confederacy, Rhode Island applied to be admitted a member. Plymouth objected ; asserting that the settlements were within her boundaries. The commissioners decided that Rhode Island might enjoy all the advantages of the confederacy, if she would submit to the jurisdiction of Plymouth. She declined, proudly preferring independence to all the benefits of dependent union.
In 1644, Williams, having been sent to England as agent for both settlements, obtained of the Plymouth company a patent for the territory, and permission for the inhabitants to institute a government for themselves.
In 1647, delegates chosen by the freemen, held a general assembly at Portsmouth, organized a government, and established a code of laws. The executive power was confided to a president and four assistants.
Upon the applications of the inhabitants, the king, in 1663, granted a charter to Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. legislative power, was to be exercised by an assembly, which was to consist of the governor, of ten assistants, and of representatives from the several towns, all to be chosen by the freemen. This assembly granted to all christian sects, except Roman Catholics, the right of voting. In 1665, they authorized, by law, the seizure of
The supreme, or
the estates of Quakers, who refused to assist in defending the colony; but this law being generally condemned by the people, was never executed.
When Andross was made governor of New England, he dissolved the charter government of Rhode Island, and ruled the colony, with the assistance of a council appointed by himself. After he was imprisoned, at Boston, the freemen met at Newport, and voted to resume their charter. All the officers, who three years before had been displaced, were restored.
The benevolence, justice, and pacific policy of Williams, secured to the colony an almost total exemption from Indian hostility. In 1730, the number of inhabitants was 18,000; in 1761, it was 40,000. Brown university was founded, at Warren, in 1764, and was removed a few
years after to Providence. Its founder was Nicholas Brown, who gave to the institution five thousand dollars.
In 1609, Henry Hudson, an Englishman, but sailing in the service of the Dutch East India company, discovered Long Island, the harbour of New York, and the river to which his name has been given. In 1613, several Dutch merchants,
to whom thé republic of Holland had granted the exclusive right of trading to this part of America, erected a fort near Albany, which they named fort Orange, and a few trading houses on the island of New York, then called by the Indians, Manhattan.
In the same year, Captain Argal, who had been sent by Virginia to drive the French from their settlements on the bay. of Fundy, visited, on his return, the Dutch on Hudson's river. Claiming the country for his nation, by right of prior discovery, he demanded their acknowledgment of its authority. Being few in number, they prudently submitted, without attempting to resist.
But, receiving a reinforcement, the next year, they again asserted the right of Holland to the country, and erected fort Amsterdam, on the south end of the island. The English, for many years, forbore to interfere in their pursuits or claims. In 1621, the republic, desirous of founding a colony in America, granted to the Dutch West India company, an extensive territory on both sides of the Hudson. The country was called New Netherlands. The boundaries were not accurately defined, but were considered, by the company, as including Connecticut river at the north, and Delaware river at the south.
In 1623, they erected a fort on the Delaware, which they called Nassau; and, ten years afterwards, another on the Connecticut, which they called Good Hope. Near the former, the Swedes had a settlement. From the interfering claims of the two nations, quarrels arose between the settlers, which, after continuing several years, terminated in the subjugation of the Swedes. Towards the fort on the Connecticut, the settlements of the English rapidly approached, and soon occasioned disputes, which had a longer duration and a different result.
The Dutch did not escape the calamity of war with the savages. Hostilities commenced in 1643, continued several years, and were very destructive to both parties. William Kieft, the governor of the New Netherlands, invited Captain Underhill, who had been a soldier in Europe, and had made himself conspicuous in New Hampshire, for his eccentricities in religion and conduct, to take command of his troops. Collecting a flying party of one hundred and fifty men, he was enabled to preserve the Dutch settlements from total destruction. The number of Indians, whom he killed in the course of the war, was supposed to exceed four hundred. In 1646, a severe battle was fought on that part of Horse-neck called Strickland's Plain. The Dutch were victorious; on both sides great numbers were slain; and for a century afterwards the graves of the dead were distinctly visible.
In 1650, Peter Stuyvesant, then the able governor of the New Netherlands, met the commissioners of the New England colonies at Hartford, where, after much altercation, a line of partition between their respective territories was fixed by mutual agreement. Long Island was divided between them: the Dutch retained the lands which they occupied in Connecticut, surrendering their claim to the residue.