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1691. A reverend divine preaching against the depravity of the times, said, "You have forsaken the pious habits of your forefathers, who left the ease and comfort which they possessed in their native land, and came to this howling wilderness to enjoy without molestation the exercise of their pure principles of religion." One of the congregation interrupted him-" Sir, you entirely mistake the matter; our ancestors did not come here on account of their religion, but to fish and trade."
Still, however, there are traces of the fathers of New England, which cannot be mistaken. '1662, September 25. At a town meeting, ordered that a cage be made, or some other means invented by the Selectmen, to punish such as sleep, or take tobacco on the Lord's day out of the meeting, in the time of the public exercise.'
1671, July 24. The Selectmen agree with John Pickering to build a cage twelve feet square, with stocks within it, and a pillory on the top, a convenient space from the west end of the meeting house.'
The abomination of taking tobacco, however, seems not to have been checked by these vigorous measures, for the next year we find a vote of the town, which shows but a faint opposition to this crying sin. 1672, March 12. Voted that if any shall smoke tobacco in the meeting house, at any public meeting, he shall pay a fine of five shillings for the use of the town.'
While on this subject, we may remark the liberal allowance of tobacco, which was furnished to the colonists by the English proprietor. In the inventory of the goods and implements belonging to the plantation taken in July 1635, under the head of provisions, we find the following articles; 140 bushels of corn, 8 barrels oatmeal, 32 barrels meal, 15 barrels malt, 29 barrels peas, 153 candles, 610 lbs. sugar, 512 lbs. tobacco, 6 pipes wine, 170 gallons aqua vitæ, 2 chirurgeon's chests, all to be delivered to Henry Joselyn, Esq. by command of Captain John Mason.'
John Mason manifested in everything a most liberal spirit; and though his claim to the soil of New Hampshire involved him in endless controversies with the inhabitants, and rendered his name extremely odious for several generations, the time is not far distant when justice will be done to his memory. Mr Savage, in his recent edition of Winthrop's Journal, has proved conclusively, that the celebrated Indian deed to Wheelwright, which was supported as a valid title against the claim of the heirs and grantees of Mason, was a forgery; and Mr Adams, in his appendix, has preserved some original documents, which shew how little regard was paid to the property, or rights of the proprietor.
'Francis Small, of Piscattaway in New England, planter, aged sixtyfive years, maketh oath, [September 8, 1685,] that he hath lived in New England upwards of fifty years; that he very well
knew the plantations Captain Mason had caused to be made at Piscattaway, Strawberry Bank, and Newichewanock; and that there was a great stock at each of those plantations. And this deponent doth very well remember, that Captain Mason sent into this country eight Danes to build mills, to saw timber, and tend them, and to make pot-ashes; and that the first sawmill and cornmill in New England was erected at Captain Mason's plantation at Newichewanock upwards of fifty years.' 'That about forty years since, this deponent, with others, was employed by Captain Francis Norton, (who then lived at Captain Mason's house at Piscattaway, called the Great House,) to drive about one hundred head of cattle towards Boston, and the said Captain Norton did go with the cattle; that such cattle were then usually sold at five and twenty pounds the head, money of England. And the said Norton did settle himself at Charlestown, near Boston, and wholly left Captain Mason's plantation, upon which the other servants shared the residue of the goods and stock among them, which were left in that and the other plantations, and possessed themselves of the houses and lands. And this deponent doth verily believe, that from the cattle sent hither by Captain Mason, most of the cattle in the Provinces of New Hampshire and the Main have been raised.'
This statement is confirmed by the depositions of Nathaniel Boulter, and John Redman, given at the same time, who add that such cattle were commonly valued at five and twenty pounds the head, being very large beasts of a yellowish color, and said to be brought by Captain Mason from Denmark.'
There is a curious passage in the testimony of George Walton of Great Island, in the Province of New Hampshire, aged seventy years or thereabouts,' taken Dec. 18, 1685, before Waltar Barefoot, Deputy Governor, which sufficiently explains the true cause of the opposition to Mason and his family. After relating how Norton, Captain Mason's agent, had robbed him of one hundred head of cattle, he adds, "that thereupon the rest of the stock, goods, and implements, belonging to Captain Mason's plantation, were made away by the said servants and others; and this deponent knows, that to the Great House at Piscattaway aforesaid, there were adjoining about one thousand acres of improved land, marsh, meadow, and planting grounds, which were divided and parcelled out by the servants of Captain Mason, and others, the select or prudential men, (of the town of Portsmouth,) as they were so called, who still enjoy the same, or their heirs and assigns **** and the said Great House by the means aforesaid came to decay and fell down, the ruins being yet to be seen, out of which several good farms are now made. And this deponent doth very well remember, that the said Captain Mason had made a great plantation at a place called Newichewanock, about sixteen miles from that of Piscattaway, which by the means VOL. XXII.NO. 50.
aforesaid was ruined, and shared among several of the said Captain Mason's servants and others. And this deponent doth further say, that to his particular knowledge, the servants sent over by Captain Mason, of which some are living, and those descended from them, which are many, have been and are the most violent opposers of the now proprietor, Robert Mason, Esq.'
It should be remembered, that at the time of this general 'sharing' of the Mason estate, Captain John Mason was dead, and his heirs were minors, residing in England. It is probable that the following singular fact had some connexion with these transactions.
1652. This year the Selectmen examined the old town books; and what was not approved was crossed out, and what was approved was left to be recorded in a new book."
But enough of this; in a few years we find a better spirit prevailing. In 1669 the inhabitants of Portsmouth subscribed sixty pounds a year for seven years, to contribute towards the erection of a new building in Harvard College; and in 1671 the first church was organised, under the care of the venerable and pious Joshua Moody.
Mr Adams has enriched his work with several biographical sketches, which must render it peculiarly interesting to the inhabitants of Portsmouth, and which are valuable to all, for the light they throw upon the manners and institutions of our country. We select the following as a fair specimen.
1781. The honorable William Parker departed this life April 29th, aged seventyseven. He was born in this town in the year 1703, received the rudiments of his education in one of the public schools, and, at the age of fifteen, became an apprentice to his father, who was a tanner. He made himself thoroughly acquainted with that business, but relinquished it soon after he came of age, and was employed for several years as master of one of the public schools. In his leisure hours he pursued the study of the law, and was admitted to the bar in the year 1732. When the commissioners met at Hampton, in 1737, to settle the line between this province and Massachusetts, they appointed him their clerk. He afterwards received a commission from Governor Belcher to be Register of Probate, and his knowledge of the law enabled him to discharge the duties of that office with great ability. He was also appointed Surrogate Judge of Admiralty; and was for many years the only Notary Public in the province. In August, 1771, he received a commission, appointing him one of the Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature for the province; which office he held until the commencement of the revolution.
'Judge Parker was esteemed a well read and accurate lawyer; but his studies were not confined to the law. He gave much of his attention to classical literature, and the belles lettres, in which he made great proficiency. In 1763, the corporation of Harvard Col
lege conferred on him the degree of Master of Arts, and in their vote, they direct it to be expressly mentioned in his diploma [that it was given] pro meritis suis, although he never had a public education.' ~ In his diploma it is thus expressed, licet non Academiæ instructum, generosum, nihilominus in rebus literariis scil. classicis, philosophicis, etc. egregie eruditum.'
Of the famous Robert Metlin, or Macklin, as he is called by Belknap, who lived to the extraordinary age of one hundred and fifteen years, we find the following anecdote under the year 1787, at which time he was a baker in Portsmouth. He usually bought his flour in Boston, and always travelled thither on foot; he performed the journey in a day, the distance being then about sixtysix miles, made his purchases, put his flour on board a coaster, and returned home the next day. He was eighty years of age, the last time he performed this journey. At that time, this was thought an extraordinary day's journey for a horse. The stages required the greatest part of two days. Colonel Atkinson, with a strong horse in a very light sulky, once accomplished it in a day. He set out early in the morning, and before he reached Greenland, overtook Metliu, and inquired where he was bound. Metlin answered, to Boston. Atkinson asked if he ever expected to reach there; and drove on. Atkinson stopped at Greenland, and Metlin passed him; they alternately passed each other every stage on the road, and crossed Charlestown ferry in the same boat, before sunset.'
We have no room for any further extracts, except the following, which is valuable as a statistical document, and shows how little the price of corn and silver has varied in nearly a century and a half. '1680. Taxes were commonly paid in lumber or provisions at stated prices, and whoever paid them in money was abated one third part. The prices for this year were as follows;
Merchantable white pine boards
Red oak do.
Red oak hhd. staves
£0 30 0 per m.
3 00 99 29
0 25 O
4.—A History of the United States, from their first Settlement - as Colonies, to the close of the War with Great Britain, in 1815. New York. C. Wiley. 12mo. pp. 336.
THE highest literary enterprise, which now presents itself for the exercise of industry, talent, and learning in this country, is a his
tory of the United States. It has been the fashion to doubt, whether the time had yet come, in which an impartial and well digested history could be executed. Such doubts we think should continue no longer. Time is required to bring facts to light, to soften down the rough aspect of events, and to create a medium through which the mind can look back with cool and tranquil judgment, divested of passion and unbiassed by partiality. For all these purposes time enough we conceive has elapsed; and all the essential materials may now be obtained, and all the advantages possessed, which ever can be, for a history of the first order down to a period, at least as late as the beginning of the present century. The person now living, who would undertake so arduous a work, can hardly be supposed to have his opinions, or his feelings, so much interested in the causes and results of the great political parties, which ran high thirty years ago, as to be subject to any undue influence on his judgment from either of these sources. And when you go back to the revolution, everything is fully ripe for the most finished history; and previously to that period we have all the valuable materials, which can be supposed to exist, even to the earliest twilight of our antiquity.
A thoroughly pbilosophical history is wanted, a history of man, his mind, opinions, social habitudes, and political devices, when thrown into states of society, unknown in former ages, and in the old countries. The events of American history are peculiar. Beginning with the origin of our colonial existence, and descending through all the gradations of our political progress, till the miracle of our present national government was accomplished, we behold a series of remarkable events, and a developement of the human character, for which we look in vain to the acts of any other people, whether recorded in ancient or modern story. The character of our ancestors was peculiar, they came here for peculiar motives, they formed associations on novel principles, and maintained them in a manner, and with a spirit, which no other people have done. The colonial history is full of interest, full of singularity; the part acted by the natives of the soil is an extraordinary scene in the drana. The movements, which led onward to the revolution, the events of that great crisis itself, and the consequences flowing from it, are all among the most dignified and fertile themes of history.
But it would be no easy task, with adequate powers and untiring industry, to compose such a history, as the past progress and present state of the country demand. A thorough acquaintance would be requisite, not only with English history, but with the general history of Europe at the time of the discovery of America and since. To trace the advancement of our political institutions, a complete knowledge of the republics of antiquity, and of succeeding ages, would be necessary, as well as a just estimate of the