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their service, would also have the right to be enrolled, and so to bécome freemen of the city.

Eaton, in due course, attained this dignity. Cotton Mather, from whose Magnaliat most of our information about his youth is derived, represents him at this period as a handsome young fellow, full of spirits, energetic, enterprising and industrious. He now embarked in the Baltic trade. His father was a man of some little means, owning two small places known as Pow House and Poos House, in Over Whitley, a township in Great Budworth, otherwise known as Higher Whitley, and near the estate of Whitley Hall. Probably some capital or credit was derived by young Eaton from this source, for we are told that he soon became engaged in profitable trade as a member of the East-Land Company.

This was among the more important of the English commercial companies of the seventeenth century. There were but three of these organized on the basis of a joint stock, divided into shares: the East India, Royal African and Hudson's Bay Companies. The East-Land Company, or more properly "the Fellowship of East-Land Merchants," had been chartered by Queen Elizabeth in 1579, as a "regulated” company. It had no capital stock, except a small accumulation from entrance fees; but only those who had been admitted to its membership could trade in the Baltic Sea, where it had in this way an absolute monopoly of English commerce. Its charter privileges were confirmed by Charles I, in 1629, and enjoyed unimpaired until 1673.5 Each member traded on his own account, and with his own capital, but in a measure under its favor and protection.

The management of all companies of this description was in a governor, one more deputy governors, and a court of assistants.


* Stubbs, Constitutional History, III, 595. † Book II, Chap. IX.

I See “The Acts and Ordinances of the Eastland Company," Camden Publications, Royal Hist. Soc., 1906.

& Anderson's Hist. of Commerce, II, 148, 292, 339, 521. It continued in existence until the nineteenth century.

It was not long before Eaton was elected deputy governor of the East-Land Company, "wherein,” says Mather, "he so acquitted himself as to become considerable."*

His father, apparently, had now removed his family to London, and was residing in the heart of the old city in the parish of St. Mary Woolchurch Haw. The church stood next to the “Stocks-market,” where the Mansion House is now, and derived its name of Woolchurch Haw (that is, woolchurchyard) from a beam or set of scales placed in the churchyard for weighing wool. † Its records contain entries of his burial on July 20, 1616, and of that of his son John, a few weeks later. His will was also proved in London.

Theophilus Eaton spent a number of years in the north of Europe at this period of his life. Probably he was abroad when his father died, for though he was the sole executor of the will, he did not offer it for probate until January 14, 1617.1 The estate was a slender one for so large a family, and Theophilus from this time contributed largely to the support of his mother and the education of his younger brother and sisters. S

He had become interested in a young lady living in the same parish, Miss Grace Hiller, but their engagement was deferred until he should be in a better position to set up a separate establishment. This was not to be for three years, which time he spent in Denmark in mercantile pursuits. They were then betrothed, and their marriage followed on December 3d, 1622./! Two days later his sister Hannah was also married in London to Joseph Denman of the same parish, who had been one of the witnesses to their father's will.

* In Trumbull's History of Connecticut (I, 94) this company is apparently confused with the East India company, and it is stated, probably because of this error, that Eaton was three years in the East Indies.

+ Bailey, Antiquities of London, 162. # A copy of the will, which has not been printed before, is appended

to this paper.

& Mather's Magnalia, Book II, Chap. IX.

| This and several other important events in Eaton's life were brought to light by the personal researches of Professor F. B. Dexter, in parish registers, who has kindly communicated them to me for use in this paper.

It is probable that Eaton took his wife, at first, to Copenhagen. He was entrusted with important concerns there, and mingled in court circles.*

Mather tells us that “the King of England employed him as an agent with the King of Denmark," and that in this capacity "he much obliged and engaged the East-Land Company, who, in token thereof, presented his wife with a basin and ewer double gilt and curiously wrought with gold, and weighing above sixty pounds.”

This King of England was James I, whose wife's brother, Christian IV, was on the throne of Denmark. Not only family ties, but religious sympathies kept these men in close touch with each other. Eaton first went abroad soon after the Evangelical Union and the Catholic League took shape, and when the adherents of each in various quarters were either already engaging in active hostilities or on the brink of it. The Thirty Years War was opened in 1618, when he was a man of twenty-eight. It is probable that he was a resident of Copenhagen, not far from this period, and when that capital was the seat of important diplomatic negotiations. The relations of England with the Continent had become close in several quarters. James I was the father-in-law of the Elector Palatine, who was crowned King of Bohemia in November, 1619. Four thousand English troops were sent to his assistance; but a year later he was defeated at the battle of Prague. Five years afterwards Christian IV took command of the allied Protestant armies against Austria, but surrendered it to the stronger hand of Gustavus Adolphus in 1626.

Sir Robert Anstruther, a baronet of an ancient Yorkshire family, was sent as the British ambassador to the Court of Denmark in 1620, and remained there until 1629, when he was transferred to Germany, appearing as the British ambassador at the Diet of Ratisbon in 1630, where he went with a “noble equipage.”I In the meantime Charles I had ascended the throne. This was in 1625, and Dr. Palfrey asserts in his * Mather's Magnalia, Book II, Chap. IX. + Knight, Pop. Hist. of England, III, 377. # Baker's Chronicle, 448.

History of New England that Eaton was subsequently sent as his Minister to Denmark.*

This is inherently improbable. Eaton was not the kind of . man to attract the favor of Charles I. Nor was he of such family or connections as to make it likely that he would be chosen to succeed Sir Robert Anstruther.

It is almost certain that had Eaton held so considerable a diplomatic post, Mather would not have failed to notice it. The materials for the Magnalia came in part from those to whom Eaton was personally known. Particularly must this have been true of his sketch of Eaton, for Rev. John Higginson of Salem, who wrote the preface to the whole work, and vouches for the general accuracy of its statements, was probably a connection of Eaton, i and must have been thrown into close relation with him, while residing in New Haven Colony in early manhood.

To ascertain, however, if there was any foundation for Dr. Palfrey's assertion, a recent search has been made in the State Paper offices at London. The Patent Rolls Indexes were examined between 1615 (12 James I) and 1636 (11 Charles I), and also a number of bundles of letters and dispatches on file among the Foreign Office Records, concerning the relations of England with Denmark, and dating from 1603 to 1629. The British consuls and agents concerned in this correspondence were Messrs. Averie and Clarke, and General Morgan; but no reference was found to Theophilus Eaton, nor anything bearing his signature. I

These papers have not yet been calendared, and it is possible that when this is done further information may come to light. The strong probability, however, is that Eaton's agency was for James I, not Charles I, and was confined to commercial transactions incident to the beginning of the Thirty Years War. This commenced with the insurrection of the Bohemians in 1618, and closed with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. At its opening Denmark was in a prosperous financial condition. England was then a borrower at that court, and obtained from * I, 303.

† See p. 19. # This work was done at my request by an experienced archivist, Arthur F. Heintz, of St. Agnes, Fengates Road, Redhill, Surrey, in 1899.


Christian IV one loan of 200,000 thalers and another of 100,000 in 1620 and 1621. They were on short time and bore interest payable at Copenhagen semi-annually, at the rate of six per cent. Sir Robert Anstruther negotiated them,* and a close alliance was also arranged between the two powers. The treaty executed for that purpose in July, 1621, was signed by quite a number of high commissioners on the part of England, but Eaton's name does not appear upon it. †

To provide for the repayment of the loans, and for the semiannual interest, it would have been natural for James I either himself to send English goods rather than English money to Copenhagen, or to get funds from selling privileges for exporting goods of a class which, except by special concession, could not be taken out of the realm. To choose goods suitable for the Danish market and dispose of them to advantage, or to find purchasers for such concessions, he would have had to avail himself of the services of someone familiar with the Baltic trade. Such

nan was Eaton, and it is highly probable that his employment was in this line, and perhaps also in buying and forwarding military supplies to the Elector palatine. In any agency of this kind he would have had frequent opportunities in chartering or freighting ships, dealing with merchants and engaging supercargoes, to make use of the facilities and connections of the East-Land Company and throw profitable contracts in the way of its members.

For that he might properly have felt unwilling to accept any compensation from the company, and, if so,

what more natural than that it should have made a handsome present to his wife,—not improbably a wedding present, upon his second marriage ?

The pieces of plate thus given were apparently a pitcher and wash-bowl, such as might be handed around for use by guests after a meal or before taking their seats at the table. We read of them in Don Quixote, and Shakespeare says:


“Let me attend him with a silver basin
Full of rose-water, and bestrewed with flowers."

* Rymer, Foedera, XVII, 255, 276, 315.

Ibid., 305, 329.

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