The Connecticut Colony
Connecticut colony included all of the present State of Connecticut,
excepting a few townships on the shore of Long Island Sound. It
came into the possession of the Earl of Warwick in 1630, and the
following year he transferred it to the Lords Say, Brooke, and
others. The Dutch claimed the territory and erected a fort on the
Connecticut River to keep out the English. The latter, however,
paid no attention to them, and a number of Massachusetts traders settled
at Windsor in 1633. Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut, was
settled in 1635. A great many emigrants came from Massachusetts in
1636, the principal leader being Thomas Hooker. They founded
Weathersfield, Windsor, and Hartford, and in 1639 adopted the name of
the Connecticut colony and drew up a written constitution, the first
ever framed by a body of men for their own government. Other
settlements were made and Saybrook united with them.
New Haven Colony
New Haven colony comprised the townships already referred to as lying on
Long Island Sound It was settled in 1638 by a company of English
immigrants, who were sufficiently wise and just by buy the lands of the
Indians. Other towns were settled, and in 1639 the group took the
name of the New Haven colony. Neither of the colonies had a
charter, and there was much rivalry in the efforts to absorb the towns
as they were settled. The majority preferred to join the
Connecticut colony, for the other, like Massachusetts, would permit no
one not a member of church to vote or hold office.
Colony of Connecticut
is known in the history of England as the Commonwealth, established by
Cromwell, came to an end in 1660. Charles II ascended the throne,
and Winthrop, governor of the Connecticut colony, which had now grown to
be the stronger of the two, went to England to secure a charter.
It was granted to him in 1662, and covered the territory occupied by
both colonies, who were permitted to elect their assembly, their
governor, and to rule themselves. New Haven, after deliberating
over the question, reluctantly accepted the charter, and in 1665 the two
were united under the name of the Colony of Connecticut.
was going along smoothly, when, in 1687, Governor Andros came down with
a company of soldiers from Boston and ordered the people to surrender
their charter. He was acting under the orders of the king, who did
not fancy the independence with which the colony was conducting
matters. Andros confronted the assembly, which were called
together in Hartford. They begged that he would not enforce his
demands. He consented to listen to their arguments, though there
was not the slightest probability of it producing any effect upon him.
The talk continued until
dark, when the candles were lighted. Suddenly, at a signal, all
were blown out. When they were re-lighted, the charter, which had
been lying on the table in plain sight, was nowhere to be found.
Captain Wadsworth had slipped out during the interval of darkness and
hidden the paper in the hollow of an oak. Then he returned and
took his place among the members, looking the most innocent of
all. Andros fumed and raved and informed the assembly that their
trick would avail them nothing, since their charter government was at an
end. He went back to Boston, to be turned out of office two years
later, when the precious charter was brought from its hiding-place.
effort was spared to preserve the historical "Charter Oak,"
that had thus been made famous. It was supported and propped in
every part that showed signs of weakness, and held up its head until
1856, when a terrific storm brought it to the ground, shattered to
fragments, all of which were carefully gathered and preserved by those
fortunate enough to obtain them.
early division of the colonies was long marked by the fact that Hartford
and New Haven served as the two capitals of the State until 1873, when
Hartford became the sole capital.
A New History of the United States, The Greater Republic by Charles
Morris, LL.D., W. E. Scull, 1899.
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