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In 1740, Mrs. Cursette, an English lady, travelling from New York to Boston, was obliged to stay some days at Hebron; where, seeing the church not finished, and the people suffering great persecutions, she told them to persevere in their good work, and she would send them a present when she got to Boston. Soon after her arrival there, Mrs. Cursette fell sick and died. In her will she gave a legacy of 3001. old tenor (then equal to 1001. sterling), to the church of England in Hebron; and appointed John Hancock, Esq. and Nathaniel Glover, her executors. Glover was also her residuary legatee. The will was obliged to be recorded in Windham county, because some of Mrs. Cursette's lands lay there. Glover sent the will by Deacon S. HS of Canterbury, ordering him to get it recorded, and keep it private, lest the legacy should build up the church. The Deacon and Register were faithful to their trust, and kept Glover's secret twenty-five years. At length the Deacon was taken ill, and his life was supposed in great danger. Among his penitential confessions, he told of his having concealed Mrs. Cursette's will. His confidant went to Hebron, and informed the wardens, that for one guinea he would discover a secret of 3001. old tenor consequence to the Church. The guinea was paid and the secret disclosed. A demand of the legacy ensued. Mr. Hancock referred to Glover, and Glover said he was neither obliged to publish the will, nor pay the legacy: it had lapsed to the heir at law. It being difficult for a Connecticut man to recover a debt in the Massachusetts Bay, and vice versa, the wardens were obliged to accept from Mr. Glover 301. instead of 3001. sterling; which sum, allowing 2001. as lawful simple interest at six per cent for twentyfive years, ought in equity to have been paid. This matter, however, Mr. Glover is to settle with Mrs. Cursette in the other world.
New Haven is celebrated for having given the name of “pumpkin heads” to all the New-Englanders. It originated from the Blue Laws, which enjoin every male to have his hair cut round by a cap. When caps were not to be had, they substituted the hard shell of a pumpkin, which being put on the head every Saturday, the hair is cut by the shell all round the head. Whatever religious virtue is supposed to be derived from this custom, I know not; but there is much prudence in it: first, it prevents the hair from snarling ;-secondly, it saves the use of combs, bags, and ribbons ;-thirdly, the hair cannot incommode the eyes by falling over them ;-and, fourthly, such persons as have lost their ears for heresy, and other wickedness, cannot conceal their misfortune and disgrace.
Yale College exceeds in the number, and perhaps in the learning, of its scholars, all others in British America.
This seminary was, in 1717, removed from Saybrook to New Haven; the extraordinary cause of which transition, I shall here lay before the reader.
Saybrook dominion had been settled by Puritans of some moderation and decency. They had not joined with Massachusetts Bay, Hertford, and New Haven, in sending home agents to assist in the murder of Charles I. and the subversion of the Lords and Bishops :--they had received Hooker's heretics, and sheltered the apostatcs from Davenport's millenarian system :—they had shown an inclination to be dependent on the mother country, and had not wholly anathematized the church of England. In short, the people of Hertford and New Haven suspected that Saybrook was not truly protestant; that it had a passion for the ieeks and onions of Egypt; and that the youth belonging to them in the Schola Illustris were in great danger of imbibing its lukewarmness. A
A vote, therefore, passed at Ilertford, to remove the college to Weathersfield, where the leeks and onions of Egypt would not be thought of; and another at New Haven, that it should be removed to that town, where Christ had established his dominion from sea to sea, and where he was to begin his millenarian reign. About 1715, Hertford, in order to carry its vote into execution, prepared teams, boats, and a mob, and privately set off for Saybrook, and seized upon the college apparatus, library, and students, and carried all to Weathersfield. This redoubled the jealousy of the saints at New IIaven, who thereupon determined to fulfil their vote; and, accordingly, having collected a mob sufficient for their enterprise, they set out for Weathersfield, where they seized by surprise the students, library, etc., etc. But on the road to New Haven they were overtaken by the II crtford mob, who, however, after an unhappy battle, were obliged to retire with only part of the library and part of the students, Hence sprung two colleges out of one. The quarrel increased daily. every.body expecting a war more bloody than that of Sassacus; and, no doubt, such would have been the case, had not the peace-makers of Massachusetts Bay interposed with their usual friendship, and advised their dear friends of Hertford to give up the college to New Haven. This was accordingly done in 1717, to the great joy of the crafty Massachusetts, who always greedily seek their own prosperity, though it ruin their best neighbors. The college being thus fixed forty miles farther west from Boston than it was before, tended greatly to the interest of Harvard College: for Saybrook and Hertford, out of pure grief (pure grief means, in New England, anger and revenge), sent their sons to Harvard, instead of the college at New Haven. This quarrel continued till 1764, when it subsided in a grand continental consociation of ministers, which met at New Haven to consult the spiritual good of the Mohawks and other Indian tribes, the best method of preserving the American vine, and the protestant, independent liberty of America :-a good preparatory to rebellion against Great Britain.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF CONNECTICUT IN THE LAST CENTURY.
[From the Same.]
bashfulness, generally attend the first communications with the inhabitants of Connecticut; but, after a short acquaintance, they become very familiar and inquisitive about news. “Who are you, whence come you, where going, what is your business, and what your religion?” They do not consider these and similar questions as impertinent, and consequently expect a civil answer. When the stranger has satisfied their curiosity, they will treat him with all the nospitality in their power, and great caution must be observed to get quit of them and their houses without giving them offence. If the stranger has cross and difficult roads to travel, they will go
with him till all danger is past, without fee or reward. The stranger has nothing to do but civilly to say, "Sir, I thank you, and will call upon you when I return." He must not say, “God bless you, I shall be glad to see you at my house," unless he is a minister; because they hold, that the words “God bless you " should not be spoken by common people; and, “I shall be glad to see you at my house," they look upon insincere compliment paid them for what they do out of duty to the stranger. Their hospitality is highly exemplary; they are sincere in it, and reap great pleasure by reflecting that perhaps they have entertained angels. The Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, in one of his sermons, gave them the following character: "I have found,” said he, “the people of Connecticut the wisest of any upon the continent—they are the best friends and the worst enemies—they are hair-brained bigots on all sides --and they may be compared to the horse and mule without bit and bridle. In other colonies I have paid for my food and lodging ; but could never spend one penny in fruitful Connecticut, whose banks flow with milk and honey, and whose sons and daughters never fail to feed and refresh the weary traveller without money and without price.”
On Saturday evenings the people look sour and sad: on the Sabbath they appear to have lost their dearest friends, and are almost speechless, and walk softly; they even observe it with more exactness than ever did the Jews. A quaker preacher told them, with much truth, that they worshipped the Sabbath, and not the God of the Sabbath. Those hos. pitable people without charity condemned the quaker as a blasphemer of the holy Sabbath, fined, tarred and feathered him, put a rope about his neck, and plunged him into the sea : but he escaped with life, though he was above seventy years of age. In 1750, an episcopal clergyman, born and educated in England, who had been in holy orders above twenty
years, once broke their sabbatical law, by combing a discomposed lock of hair on the top of his wig; at another time by making a humming noise, which they called a whistling; at a third time, by walking too fast from church; at a fourth by running into church when it rained ; at a fifth by walking in his garden, and picking a bunch of grapes : for which several crimes he was complained of by the grand jury, had warrants granted against him, was seized, brought to trial, and paid a considerable sum of money. At last, overwhelmed with persecution and vexation, he cried out, “No Briton, nay no Jew, should assume any public character in Connecticut, till he has served an apprenticeship of ten years in it; for I have been here seven years, and strictly observed the Jewish law concerning the Sabbath, yet find myself remiss in respect to the perfect law of liberty!”
The people are extremely fond of strangers passing through the col. ony, but very averse to foreigners settling among them; which few have done without ruin to their characters and fortunes by detraction and lawsuits, unless recommended as men of grace by some known and revered republican protestant in Europe.
Estates in Connecticut pass from generation to generation by gavelkind; so that there are few persons, except of the laboring class, who have not freeholds of their own to cultivate. A general mediɔcrity of station being thus constitutionally promoted, it is no wonder that the rich man is despised, and the poor man's blessing is his poverty. In no part of the world are les petits and les grands so much upon a par as here,
, where none of the people are destitute of the conveniences of life, and the spirit of independence. From infancy, their education as citizens points out no distinction between licentiousness and liberty; and their religion is so mufled with superstition, self-love, and provincial enmity, as not yet to have taught them that humility and respect for others, which from others they demand. Notwithstanding these effects of the levelling plan, there are many exceptions to be found in the province, of gentlemen of large estates and generous principles.
The people commonly travel on horseback ; and the ladies are capable of teaching their neighbors the art of horsemanship. There are few coaches in the colony: but many chaises and whiskeys. In winter, the sleigh is used; a vehicle drawn by two horses, and carrying six persons in its box, which hangs on four posts standing on two steel sliders, or large skates.
Dancing, fishing, hunting, skating, and riding in sleighs on the ice, are all the amusements allowed in this colony.
The women of Connecticut are strictly virtuous, and to be compared to the prude rather than the European polite lady. They are not permitted to read plays; cannot converse about whist, quadrille, or
operas; but will freely talk upon the subjects of history, geography, and the mathematics. They are great casuists, and polemical divines; and I have known not a few of them so well skilled in Greek and Latin, as often to put to the blush learned gentlemen.
Born in Studley, Hanover Co., Va., 1736. Died at Red IIill, Charlotte Co., Va., 1799.
[Speech in the Virginia Convention, 1775. From Wirt's Life of Henry. 1818.) MR
R. PRESIDENT: it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions
of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truthand listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation—the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: