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[Read Jan. 21, 1901.]

THEOPHILUS EATON is one of the picturesque figures of early New England.

Of the unique Colony of New Haven, self-founded on a self-constituted church, Davenport stood for one side of the task of working out their ideal into living form, and Eaton for another. Davenport was more than anyone else answerable for the theocratic theory. Eaton was relied on to bind it to earth in some practical way,-to see to it that the law they had set up was not without its sanction.

He was not like Davenport, a university man. But he was what counted for much more in the founder of a colony,-a man of affairs, well acquainted with the great world. His native faculties were good, and they had been quickened and broadened by participation, from his earliest manhood, in large commercial concerns, and to some extent with those of courts. He had not only traveled abroad, but he had lived abroad for years, and under circumstances which gave him. ample opportunity to observe a form of government founded on principles not unlike those of his own country, and yet combining them with much more of those drawn from the Roman law. In this, Davenport and he stood on similar ground. Davenport had lived three years in Holland: Eaton had lived at least as many in Denmark. But Eaton's participation in foreign

life had been more intimate and from a more advantageous standpoint.

It is the purpose of this paper to gather together such of the scattered bits of information to be found in the records of the seventeenth century regarding this leader in the beginnings of New England history, as may best serve to throw light on the character of the man, his personal surroundings, and his training as an English merchant for his work as an American.

He was born in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, the eldest son of what was to be a family of nine children, in 1590.* His father, Rev. Richard Eaton, M.A., B.D., a graduate of Oxford University, was then the parish clergyman there, but on January 12th of the following year became vicar of the church of the Holy Trinity in Coventry.

Trinity church, though not so beautiful as its neighbor, St. Michael's, is a stately medieval edifice, the spire rising to a height of 237 feet, and the stone pulpit being one of the finest in England.

On May 8, 1604, Mr. Eaton left Coventry, having become, by succession to his father, vicar of Great Budworth in Cheshire, a large parish, some twenty miles northeast of Chester. To this position was added in 1607 that of a prebendary canon in Lincoln cathedral.†

While at school in Coventry, Theophilus became acquainted with John Davenport, the son of one of his father's leading parishioners, a lad several years younger than himself, but whose remarkable abilities pressed him forward in his studies

*This is the date given by Moore in his sketch of Theophilus Eaton, New York Historical Collections, N. S., Vol. II, 469. I regard it as the most probable one, although Professor Kingsley in his Historical Discourse (p. 77) speaks of him as dying in the 67th year of his age, and we know that the date of his death was January 7, 1658 (N. S.). It is erroneously entered as on the night following the 7th day of the 11th month of 1656 (Jan. 7, 1657, N. S.) in the ancient record of Births, Marriages and Deaths in New Haven, Vol. I., p. 6, MSS.

N. E. Hist. and Gen. Reg., XXXVIII, 29.

John Davenport was baptized April 9, 1597. N. E. Hist. and Gen. Reg., XLI, 61.

beyond those of his years, so that he was admitted to one of the colleges of Oxford before he was fourteen.* It was probably when his father removed to Great Budworth, a country parish, in which Theophilus could hardly have pursued his education to advantage, that the question was decided whether he should be sent to the University, with a view to his ultimately entering the church, as his parents wished, or, as he preferred, be allowed to choose a business life. We know that he was apprenticed at London, not far from this period in his career, and it is safe enough to assume that he went up to the capital for this purpose in 1604, when he was fourteen years old.

The term of apprenticeship to all trades and professions was then seven years. That period of preparation was required equally before the degree of master of arts could be received from the University, and before the station of master in any of the trades could be acquired.

Eaton's apprenticeship was, no doubt, to some London merchant, and probably to one engaged in the Baltic trade, under the auspices of the East-Land Company. The costume which he wore we can now often see on boys of the same age in the streets of London, for it is still the dress of the scholars at Christ Hospital. His master must have been a member of one of the great livery companies of London (probably that of the Mercers), in which his apprentices, at the end of

* Mather, Magnalia, Book III, Chap. IV. He finally entered Merton in 1613. N. E. Hist. and Gen. Reg., XLI, 61.

+ Tradition calls an ancient volume, dated London, January 6, 1608, in which the first New Haven records were entered, Gov. Eaton's ledger. It contains mercantile accounts; probably those of his master. See 1 N. H. Col. Rec., iii. The entries cover January and February, 1608, and are such as would be expected in a day-book. One page is marked as if posted. The business of the merchant was apparently that of an exporter. The goods described include the following: Kentish Cloth, Quarterne Flax, woolen Stockinge, Sheepes Leather, Welch Cottones, Welch Rowles, Lyme, Norridge Stuffs, Schott, Lambe Skinnes, and Padlockes.

I hazard this conjecture on account of (1) Eaton's subsequent employment by the King of Denmark to buy woolen cloth for him in England, as stated on p. 9; (2) the fact that a search which I have had made in the records of the Drapers' Company shows no entry of his name among the freemen, and (3) from the entries in the day-book above described.

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