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charter to Col. Benjamin Bellows, who was a principal proprietor and whose numerous posterity continue to occupy a large proportion of it.
The population of the town has been regularly progressive; it has never experienced any extraordinary pestilential epidemic to retard it. The present number of inhabitants is about 2000. It has been regularly supplied with a Congregational preacher since the year 1761, without any ecclesiastical difficulties : at this time the whole town is happily united under the ministrations of the Rev. Pliny Dickinson. It has but one meetinghouse, which is large and commodious, built of wood in the year 1787, and furnished with a good bell and organ.
Although there is no incorporated academy in this town, yet its advantages of school education are not exceeded in any town in this section of the State. In addition to the common district schools, (twelve in number) which are kept three or four months in winter by a man, and about the same in suinmer by a woman, there is constantly kept in the village a grammar school, and, during the summer months, a young ladies' academy for the instruction of misses of this and the neighbouring towns, in all the useful and ornamental branches of female education.
As to mechanics, Walpole enjoys every convenience that is common in a country town. There are a variety of grist and saw mills, one oil mill, two clothier's works, two cotton factories, carding machines, distilleries, &c. eight stores and six publick houses.
[The following paper, extracted from Vol. I. p. 77, of the Massachu
setts Colony Records, was written in November, 1635. The occasion of this humble confession may be found in Gov. Winthrop's Journal, p. 90, but nothing more was known of the subject, until the discovery of his unpublished manuscript, from which we learn that the writer of the apology, was drowned in a shipwreck on the coast of Spain, as he was returning home. This was in December, 1644, though Hubbard, pp. 524, 5, has fallen into errour in transcribing, abbreviating and compounding the narrative, and made it occur the year after. Pratt was accompanied by his wife. It may be interesting to copy
from the inedited part of Winthrop his report.
6. This man [Pratt] was above sixty years old, an experienced surgeon, who had lived in New England many years, and was of the first church at Cambridge in Mr. Hooker's time, and had good practice, and wanted nothing. But he had been long discontented, because his employment was not so profitable to himself as he desired ; and it is like he feared, lest he should fall into want in his old age, and therefore he would needs go back into England (for surgeons were then in great request there by occasion
of the wars) but God took him away childless." It is amusing to notice how the equivocations of the writer are receiv
ed as satisfaction for his calumnies against the barren rocks, sands and salt marshes of our country ; but the ministers and magistrates seem to have exhibited more policy in receiving than he did in making his explanations. Similar complaints against the ungrateful soil of New England are often heard in our days, but they are left to a more effectual correction than that of civil or ecclesiastical advisers.
The answer of me John Pratt to such things as I hear
[torn) perceive objected against me, as offensive in my letter.
FIRST generally whatsoever I writ of the improbability or impossibility of subsistance for ourselves or our posterity without tempting God, or without extraordinary means, it was with these two regards; first, I did not mean that which I said in respect of the whole country, or our whole patent in general, but only of that compass of ground, wherein these towns are so thick set together, and secondly I supposed that they intended so to remain, because (upon conference with divers) I found that men did think it unreasonable that they or any should remove or disperse into other parts of the country; and upon this ground I thought I could not subsist myself, nor the plantation, nor posterity ; but I do acknowledge that since my letter there have been sundry places newly found out as Newbury, Concord, and others (and that within this patent) which will afford good means of subsistence for men and beasts, in which and other such like new plantations, if the towns shall be fewer and the bounds larger than these are, I conceive they may live comfortably. The
like I think of Connecticut, with the plantations there now in hand ; and what I conceive so sufficient for myself, I conceive so sufficient also for my posterity ; and concerning these towns here so thick planted, I conceive they may subsist, in case that besides the conveniences which they have already near hand, they do improve farms somewhat farther off, and do also apply themselves to, and do improve the trade of fishing and other trades.
As concerning that intimation of the commonwealth builded upon rocks, sands, and salt marshes, I wish I had not made it, because it is construed contrary to my meaning, which I have before expressed. And whereas my letters do seem to extenuate the judgment of such as came before, as having more honesty than skill, they being scholars, citizens, tradesmen, &c. my meaning was not so general as the words do import, for I had an eye only to those, that had made larger reports into England of the country, than I found to be true in the sense aforesaid. And whereas I may seem to imply, that I had altered the minds or judgments of the body of the people, magistrates and others, I did not mean this in respect of the goodness or badness of the land, in the whole plantation, but only in point of removal, and spreading farther into other parts, they afterwards conceiving it necessary, that some should remove into other places, here and there, of more enlargement. And whereas I seem to speak of all the magistrates and people, I did indeed mean only all those with whom I had any private speech about those things ; and as for the barrenness of the sandy grounds, &c. I spake of them as then I conceived, but now by experience of mine own, I find that such ground, as before I accounted barren, yet being manured and husbanded doth bring forth more fruit than I did expect. As for the not prospering of the English grain upon this ground, I do since that time see that rye and oats have prospered better than I expected; but as for the other kinds of grain, I do still question, whether they will come to such perfection as in our native country from whence they come. And whereas I am thought generally to charge all that have written into England by way of commenda
tion of this land as if what they had written were generally false, I meant it only of such excessive commendations as I see did exceed and are contrary to that which I have here expressed. And as concerning that which I said, that the gospel would be as dear here as in England, I did it to this end, to put some which intended to come hither only for outward commodity to look for better grounds, ere they look this way.
As for some grounds of my returning, which I concealed from my friends, for fear of doing hurt, I meant only some partieular occasions and apprehensions of mine own, not intending to lay any secret blemish upon the state ; and whereas I did express the danger of decaying here in our first love, &c. I did it only in regard of the manifold occasions and businesses which here at first we meet withal, by which I find in mine own experience (and so I think do others also) how hard it is to keep our hearts in that holy frame which sometimes they were in, where we had less to do in outward things, but not at all intending to impute it as necessary to our condition, much less as a fruit of our precious liberties which we enjoy, which rather tend to the quickening of us, we improving the same as we ought. This my answer (according with the inward consent and meaning of my heart) I do humbly commend to the favourable consideration and acceptance of the Court, desiring in this, as in all things, to approve myself in a conscience void of offence towards God and man.
This answer of John Pratt before written, voluntarily by him made, as we are witnesses, so do we also join with him in humble desire unto the Court, that it may be favorably accepted, and whatever failings are in the letter in regard of the manner of expressions (which may seem hardly to suit with these his interpretations) we do desire the indulgence of the Court to pass over without further question.
Whereas John Pratt of Newtown being called before us at this present Court and questioned for a letter which he wrote into England dated (blank) wherein he raised an ill report of this country, did desire respite till the next day to consider of his answer, he hath now delivered in this before written, whereupon his free submission and acknowledgement of his errour the Court hath accepted for satisfaction, and thereupon pardoned his said offence, and thereupon order that it shall be recorded, and such as desire copies thereof may have the same.
John Haynes, Govr. William Coddington,
NOTE ON EZEKIEL CHEEVER. BY WILLIAM LYON Esq.
OF NEW HAVEN. IN
a note (Coll. Hist. Soc. Vol. VIII. p. 66.] under the account of Ezekiel Cheever, some further information is desired respecting him. I am ignorant whether he came from England with Governor Eaton, 1637, or joined him at Boston ; but he came to New Haven with him. His name appears in the plantation covenant, signed in Newman's barn, June 4, 1639. Although a poor man, he must have been of considerable estimation, as he signed among their principal men. Every thing was done with much formality at that time. By their doomsday book, I find his family consisted of himself and wife only; she died in 1649. His estate was set at 201. and a few acres of wild land beside. He taught school, and sometimes conducted publick worship. It is probable that he wrote his Accidence at New Haven. In 1644 his salary was raised to 1.30 per annum; for three years before he had received but 1.20 per annum. When the church was gathered, John Davenport directed them “to select eleven of their most godly men, as a nomination for church pillars, that there might be no blemish in church 18