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were appointed to destruction, much more must we, when people
own language, nation, profession, and friends, are appointed and ordered under our care and protection, keep our promise with them, allowing them an interest in all our privileges which are common to them as well as ourselves.”
Mutual obstinacy had now brought the relations between the two colonies to a deadlock, for although more persons in the New Haven towns were beginning to. favor the union, all agreed in the policy of refusing to negotiate until Connecticut had restored her to her former condition. Mr. Davenport and his party still controlled the colony and prevented submission. Things came to a standstill in February, 1664. Mr. Davenport wrote at that time: “The premises being duly weighed, it will be your wisdom and way to desist wholly and forever from endeavoring to draw us into a union under your patent."
More than two years had now passed since the charter was procured, and Connecticut was about to take some definite compulsory action in the matter, when a very unexpected event put a sudden end to the disagreeable situation. In March, 1664, King Charles II. made to his brother, the Duke of York, a grant of extensive territory in America. This gift included all the land between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers and therefore comprised the colony of New Haven. The territory of the Dutch was also covered by the grant and a fleet was despatched to conquer it. With this fleet came four royal commissioners invested with power to settle disputes and fix boundaries between colonies.
This was a new and alarming danger for both New Haven and Connecticut. The people of both colonies feared the loss of their liberties, for the Duke of York was a Royalist and no friend of the Puritans. Under these circumstances the movement for union with Connecticut rapidly progressed in the New Haven Colony, for it was believed that in union would be strength sufficient to maintain the new charter and their liberties. The town of Milford soon voted to join Connecticut, and that left only Guilford and Branford to New Haven. Meantime the Dutch at Manhattan were conquered, and the name of the settlement changed to New York. The royal commissioners then having fixed the boundary line between New York and Connecticut, placed New Haven in the latter colony and thus rendered it necessary for her to submit. The freemen and other inhabitants of the defeated colony met at New Haven, December 13, 1664, and passed the following vote:
"First, that by this act or vote we be not understood to justify Connecticut's former actings nor anything disorderly done by our people upon such accounts.
“Second, that by it we be not apprehended to have any hand in breaking or dissolving the confederation.
"Yet in testimony of our loyalty to the king's Majesty when an authentic copy of the determination of his commissioners is published to be recorded with us, if thereby it shall appear to our committee that we are by his Majesty's authority now put under Connecticut patent, we shall submit, as from necessity brought upon us by their means of Connecticut aforesaid, but with a salvo jure of our former right and claim, as a people who have not yet been heard in point of plea.” Thus New Haven after a brave fight lost her colonial independence and . became a part of Connecticut.
That the sting of her defeat was sharp is clearly indicated by the future correspondence which passed in consummating the union. In the letter inclosing the vote of submission, New Haven requested the grant of those privileges which Connecticut had offered during the course of the controversy, and suggested that they had good reason to do so as their "success for patent bounds” with the commissioners "now obtained seems to be debtor unto our silence before them." They further explained that they had not presented their grievances before the commissioners because they "chose rather to suffer than to begin any motion hazardfull to New England settlements."
Connecticut replied that such an idea was absurd inasmuch as the conduct of New Haven was well known to the commissioners in spite of her silence; that she ought to be thankful that the result was what it was; and that Connecticut had made no complaints. New Haven was unable to allow the sub
ject to drop there, and made the retort that Connecticut had no reason to make any complaints before the commissioners and that the "mere news" of their conduct did not contain the strength “of all they had to say or plead.” However, the letter closes with a promise to give no further trouble. “but remaine" your very “loving friends and neighbors.” Connecticut very cheerfully allowed New Haven to thus have the last word and indicated her generous intentions by passing the following vote, April 20, 1665:
"This Court doth hereby declare that all former actings that have past by the former power at New Haven so far as they have concerned this Colony (whilst they stood as a distinct Colony) though they in their own nature have seemed uncomfortable to us, yet they are hereby buried in perpetual oblivion, never to be called to account."
Most people soon forgot the bitter quarrel and were contented with the new arrangement.
Some were never reconciled to it, however. The people of Branford were so dissatisfied that they left their town and moved to New Jersey, where they founded the city of Newark. But no one felt a keener disappointment over the affair than Mr. Davenport. His great ambition was destroyed; he was broken-hearted and would not be comforted. A few years later he moved to Boston, where shortly afterwards his disappointed life ended. But the city he left in sorrow, and which owes so much to him, has never forgotten nor ceased to revere his name; and the blessings which resulted from the union he tried so hard to prevent have long since buried in oblivion the seeming wrong which helped to bring it about.
It will not be without interest, perhaps, before closing, to make a few observations of a speculative nature, upon the supposed fact of a State of New Haven. In the Constitutional Convention the influence of New Haven would, of course, have been thrown on the side of the smaller States. It is not likely therefore, that the result of that Convention would have been any different, although the accomplishment of its work might have been hastened. It is an interesting coincidence that while New Haven could not be represented in that famous body as a separate state, one of her sons, a native of Guilford, then a resident of Georgia, and a delegate from that state, cast the deciding vote in favor of the great compromise which made possible the Constitution of the United States.
There is good reason to believe that Roger Sherman would have been one of the first governors of New Haven; certainly James Hillhouse would have been another. With the other New England states, New Haven would have opposed the war with England in 1814. As a free state she would have thrown. the balance of power in the United States Senate to the North and might have changed very greatly the history of the period before the Civil War. Unless she had in some way increased her territory, New Haven would have been the smallest state of the Union instead of Rhode Island. She would have had as large a population as the proposed state of Arizona. That there would yet have been an old state house on the Green, it seems safe to assert.
But we are speaking of a dream. And it is well, no doubt, that it is a dream. In union has been strength, and hand in hand with Hartford, New Haven as a city has rounded out the history, as she rounded out the territory, of Connecticut.
ELISHA WILLIAMS: MINISTER, SOLDIER,
PRESIDENT OF YALE.
BY FRANCIS PARSONS, LL.B., OF HARTFORD.
(Read April 20, 1903.)
In his famous paragraphs on the character of the Puritans Lord Macaulay expresses the theory that their alleged narrowness and bigotry are to be attributed to the one dominating religious fervor that absorbed all their emotions and left room for no other enthusiasms. However that may be, we must admit that versatility was not often a quality of the Puritan character. All ages and almost all countries have their fashions in thought, in ideals, and the “time spirit of Puritan New England was not favorable for a cultivation of the grand manner, the high bred sophistication, the ability to handle many affairs without effort, that on the other side of the sea at about this time constituted the ideal of the polished gentleman. So it is that when one encounters a New Englander of this general period who seems to have had an adaptability and a ready liking for many things, one's interest is inevitably and rather agreeably arrested.
Noteworthy, because of this divergence from the somewhat limited ideals of the time, if for no other reason, is the personality of Elisha Williams-a man who in his day turned his hand to many things and did them all well. If I may begin with his epitaph, I will quote those quaint phrases which may still be traced with little difficulty on the flat table monument in the old graveyard at Wethersfield, and which give better than I can a brief outline of his varied activities
“The Honble Colul Elisha Williams shin’d in excelling Gifts of Nature, Learning and Grace, in Benevolence universal, Firm