An Account of the Late REVOLUTIONS in New-England; In a Letter.


AMong the many matters of Discourse and Wonder at this day a­broad in the World, the state of New-England cannot but be One [...] and of that, if I would not forfeit the Character which you al­low me of your Friend, I must now give you some account. Since the Illegal Subversion of our Ancient Government, this Great, but poor people have been in the Hands of men skilful to destroy, and all our Concerns both Civil and Sacred, have suffered by the Arbitrary Oppressions of Unreasonable Men. I believe, no part of the English America, so powerful and united as New-England was, could have endured half so many Abuses as we have bin harassed withal, with a tenth part of our Patience; but our Conscience was that which gave metal to our Patience, and kept us Quet; for though our foul mouth'd Enemies have treated us as a Rebellious, because we are a Reli­gious people, they may be pleased now to understand, That if we had not been Religious, we had long since been what they would, if they durst, have called Rebellious. The very Form of Government imposed upon us, was among the worst of Treasons, even a Treasonable Invasion of the Rights which the whole English Nation lays claim unto; every true English-man must justifie our Dissatisfaction at it, and believe that we have not so much Resisted the Ordinance of God, as we have Resisted an intollerable Violation of His Ordinance.

But Sir, be pleased now to reflect upon our Declaration, and consider whe­ther the Administration of this Government was not as Vexatious, as the Constitution of it was Illegal. Consider whether the whole Government was not become a meer Engine, a sort of Machin contriv'd only to enrich a crew of Abject Strangers, upon the Ruines of a miserable people. And yet, I am to tell you, That scarce one half is told you. The Declaration was composed so much in the Hurry of Action, that it comprehends not all our Grievances; However, you may guess from the Claw [...]s there pour­tray'd; what sort of Creatures were devouring of us.

Sir, I own, that we Argue simply about the Affairs of Government; but we Feel True. I have sometimes challenged any man to mention so much as One Thing done by our Late Superiors for the welfare of the Country, a thousand things we all Felt every day doing for the Ruine of it; and as 'tis said, once when they had Divine Service among them, he that read it, being to read that Epistle, where, according to their Translation, 'tis said, Be Harbarous one to another: By an unhappy mistake read it Be Barbarous one to another; So we thought we Felt their continual Actings upon that mi­staken Rule. However, I confess (and I know not whether you will count it our Honour or our Blemish) we should have born the Grievances, without any Attempts for our own Relief, but our Supplications to the Great God; for our Applications to the Late King, our only remaining Remedy on earth, we had found ineffectual. But there happened one Provocation to our people more, which had more than an hundred in it, and such was their Infir­mity, if you will call it so, that this they could not bear. A small Body of our Eastern Indians had begun a War upon us: the Occasion of which was as doubtful to us all at first, as the whole Management of it was afterwards my­sterious. A Party of Indians which were affirm'd to belong unto that crew of Murderers were seiz'd by the English; but Governour Andros with many favours to them, ordered them to be set at Liberty again: and it's affirmed, Those very men have done great part of the mischief sustained by us. An Army of near a Thousand English (and the flower of our Youth) was raised, for the subduing of our Enemies, which I believe were much fewer than an Hundred Indians. This Army goes through the tedious Fatigues of a long and cold Winter, many scores of miles to the Northward; and under-went such Hardships, that very many of our poor Souldiers perished on the Spot; and it is justly fear'd, That not a few more of them have so got their bane, that they will never be strong men again: but not one Indian killed all this while; only Garrisons were here and there planted in the wild woods on a pretence, To keep the Indians from Fishing; which project of Hedging in the Cuckow's, or dull New-Englanders could not understand. It was farther admirable to us, that though the Governour had been importun'd to take a much more expedient, and far less Expensive way of subduing our Indian Ene­mies, he was thereto wholly unperswadeable. In the mean time the Country was wonderfully surprised, with Evidences coming in, from Indians and others, in several parts, which very Strangely concurred in their Testimonies, That there was a Plot to bring in the Indians upon us; and is was easy unto us to conceive, How serviceable another Indian War might have been to the Designs which we saw working for us. These Eviden­ces were so far from being duly enquired into, that the Englishmen who had been inquisitive after them, were put unto all manner of trouble, and must have been destroyed, if a Turn had not happened, thought nothing in the World was more natural, than the Agreement between such a Plot, and the [Page 3] whole conduct of our Eastern Affairs; nor is there any contradiction in its in one of Randolph's Letters to Blaithwait, which says, Nothing has been wan­ting in his Excellency, to bring all things to a good posture; but this people are Ri­vetted in their Way, and I fear nothing but Necessity or Force will otherwise dis­pose them. While these things were going on, by way of the West-Indies, there arrived unto us a few small Intimations, That the Prince of Orange had prospered in his Noble Undertaking to rescue the English Nation from imminent POPERY and SLAVERY But Sir Edmond Andross took all imaginable care to keep us ignorant of the News, which yet he himself could not be unacquainted with; and one that brought the Princes Declaration with him, was imprisoned, for bringing Seditious and Treasonable Papers into the Country with him; and our Oppressors went on without Fear or Wit, in all the methods that could inflame the people to the highest exasperation. The Reports continually coming in from our Eastern Army, now caused the Relations of those that were there perishing, here a little to bestir themselves; and they could not forbear forming them­selves here and there in the Country unto some Body, that they might con­sider what should be done for their poor Children, whom they thought bound for a bloody Sacrifice. While this was doing, the people of Boston were Alarmed, with Suspicions buzz'd about the Town, by some belonging to the Ship, That the Rose Frigat now in our Harbour, was intended to carry off our Late Governour for France, & to take any of our English Ves­sels, that might be coming in unto us; and we apprehended our selves in the mean time very ill provided, if an Attacque from any of the French Fleet in the West Indies were perfidiously made upon us. 'Tis impossible to express the Agonies which filled the minds of both Town and Country; but the consideration of the extream Ferment which we were boiling in, caused several very deserving Gentlemen in Boston, about the middle of April, to enter into a Consultation, how they might best serve the Distressed Land in its present Discomposures. They considered, the Directions given in the Princes Declarations, (of which at last we had stolen a sight) and the Ex­amples which the whole Kingdom of England (as far as we could learn) had set before us. They also considered, that the Governour being mov'd to call a General Council, in this extraordinary juncture, instead of this, he never so much as called his Council here at hand to communicate unto them any part of the Intelligence relating to the Late Affairs in England: They likewise considered, That though they were above all things incli­nable to stay a little, hoping that every day might bring some Orders from England for our safety, yet they could not undertake for such a Temper in all their provoked Neighbours. Wherefore they Resolved, That if either the outragious madness of our Foes, or the impatient motion of our Friends, did necessitate any Action, they would put themselves in the Head of it, and endeavour to prevent what ill effects an Unform'd Tumult might pro­duce. [Page 4] By that time the Eighteenth of April, had given a few Hours of Light unto us, things were push'd on to such extremities, that Bostons part in Action seem'd loudly enough, and hastily called for. Accordingly, the Captain of the Frigat being then on Shoar, it was determined, that he must be made incapable either to Obstruct, or to Revenge, the Action, by Firing on, or Sailing from the Town; him therefore they immediately seized. There were not very many acquainted with the measures that were to be taken; but the Action was now begun, and the Rumour of it running like Lightning through the Town, all sorts of people were presently inspi­red with the most unanimous Resolution, I believe that was ever seen. Drums were beaten, and the whole Town was immediately up in Arms.

The first work done, was by small parties here and there about the Town to sieze upon those unworthy Men, who by Repeated Extortions and Abuses, had made themselves the objects of Universal Hatred and Indignati­on. These were many of them secured and confined; but the principal of them, at the First Noise of the Action, fled into the Garrison on Fort-Hill; where the Governours Lodgings were; a place very Commodiously Scituated to Command the whole Town; but not sufficiently Fortify'd. The Army had no sooner got well together, but a Declaration was Read unto them, unto which they gave an Assent, by a very considerable Shout. And upon this, the Gentlemen with such as had come in to their Assistance in the Town-house, apprehending the Resolutions of the people; drew up a short Letter to Sir Edmond Andross, and dispatched away a couple of their Number with it; the whole armed Body attend them unto the Fortifi­cation, whither they Marched with all the Alacrity in the world, and yet with so composed a Sobriety, that I question whether America has ever seen what might equal it. It was expected, That the Garrison might make some Resistance: but they intended to be Owners of it within one half hour, or perish in the Attempt. When they were just come to beset the Fort, they met the Governour and his Creatures, going down the Hill, to the Man-of-Wars Pinace; which was come to fetch them off; had not they come thi­ther just at that Neck of time, our Adversaries would have got down to the Castle, which is a League below the Town; and in spite of us all, the Frigat would have gone unto them; but our Houses on shore, and our Ves­sels at Sea, must have paid all the satisfaction they could have demanded of us. However, now at the sight of our Forces, the Gentlemen ran back into their Hold; whither the two Gentlemen, our Messengers now advancing, were presented at by the Red-coat Centinels; our Souldiers warned them on pain of Death, to forbear firing; upon which they fled into the Fort; and (as 'tis affirmed) had very terrible Reprimands, for not firing on them. The Gentlemen being admitted, Sir Edmond Andross read what was written [Page 5] to him, and now better understanding his own circumstances, there was a safe conduct given to him, and he with his Associates were brought unto the Chamber, where he had formerly himself been hatching the Things that now procur'd his more humble Appearance there. He was there treated with all the Respect that could be due unto his Character; but he was con­fined for that Night unto the House of the Late Treasurer, with Guards up­on him; and the Rest had their several confinements alotted unto them in such places as were most agreeable to their Quality. With much ado, the Governour gave Order for the surrender of the Fort; and the ceremonies of the surrender were performed by Secretary Randolph, the very man, whose lyes and clamours, and malicious unwearied Applications, had the greatest influence in the overthrow of our former Government. All the Country round about now began to flock in, and by the next day, some Thousands of Horse and Foot were come in, from the Towns Adjacent, to express the unanimous content they took in the Action, and offer their utmost Assistance in what yet remained for the compleating of it, The obtain­ing of the Castle was the main thing that yet called for our cares; but af­ter some stomachful Reluctances, the Late Governour gave Order also for the surrender of That; and himself was by the people removed unto the Fort to be kept as a Prisoner there. Thus was the Action managed; and through the singular Providence of God, not one mans Life was lost in the whole Undertaking: There was no Bloodshed, nor so much as any Plunder, committed in all the Action; and setting aside the intemperate Speeches of some inconsiderable men, (if there were any such) the people generally gave a Demonstration, That they designed nothing but the secu­ring of some great Malefactors, for the Justice which a course of Law would expose them to, and they were loath to treat them with any incivility, be­yond the bare keeping of them in sufficient custody. No man underwent any Confinement, but such as the people counted the Enemies of the Prince of Orange, and of our English Liberties; it was not any passion for the Ser­vice of the Church of Eng [...]and, that exposed any man to hardship; no, even some of that Communion did appear in their Arms to assist the enterprize; tho' the Worship of the Church of England had this disadvantage with us, that most of our Late Oppressors, were the great and sole Pillars of it there. The principal Delinquents being now in durance; and the Frigat secured for the Crown of England, our main difficulty was yet behind; Namely, what Form we should put our selves into, that the Peace might be kept a­mong us. A great part of the Country, was for an immediate Re-assumpti­on of our old Government; conceiving that the vacating of our Charter was a most illegal and injurious thing, and that tho' a Form of Law had cast us out of it, yet we might now return to it at least as to a Vacuum Domicilium. Others were of the Opinion, That since Judgment was entred against our Charter and we did not know what Consequence a wrong step at this time [Page 6] might have, therefore 'twas best for the Affairs of the Country to continue in the Hands of a Committee for the Conservation of the Peace, till the daily expected Directions from England should arrive unto us. The latter Expe­dient was condescended unto, but the Sword yet continued in every mans hands, and for divers weeks, the Colony continued without any pretence to Civil Government; yet thro' the mercy of God, all things were under such good Inclinations among us, that every man gave himself the Laws of good Neighbourhood; and little or nothing extravagant was all that while done, besides the seizure of a few more persons, who had made themselves obnoxi­ous to the Displeasure of the People. The Gentlemen of the Committee, laid their Country under great Obligations, by their Studies for the Conserva­tion of our Peace: and it mostly consisted of such as were ever worthy of our esteem. It was made up of them, whose Hap 'twas to be in the Head of the late Action; but there were added unto them, the most of our old Magistrates, who had not so far concerned themselves in the Affair. Our former Governour, the Honourable Simon Bradstreet, Esq was Chosen by them for their President: Who tho' he be well towards Ninety Years of Age, has his Intellectual Force hardly abated, but [...]e [...]ams a vigour and Wisdom, that would recommend a younger man to the Government of a greater Co­lony.

But when the Day which our ancient Charter appoints for our Anniversa­sary Election drew near, our people grew more and more set upon a Return to the Basis on which our Charter formerly had placed us; and of those who were thus disposed, some were for an Election on the proper Day; o­thers judged that could not be so honestly attended, because a whole Coun­ty in the Colony was too far off to have a Vote in it; and they therefore were for a Re-assumption the Day following. These Two Opinions, with a Third, which was for the continuing of their Committie just as it was, filled the Country; and very potent Numbers espoused each of these three opini­ons; only we all agreed in jo [...]ful expectations of having our Charter resto­red unto us. This Variety of Apprehension, was the occasion of much needless Discourse, and of many Heart burnings, that might as well have been spared. But the Towns on the Eighth and Ninth of May, sent in their Representatives, at the Desire of the Committee, to adjust the matters that concerned a further Necessary Settlement; and after many Debates, and some Delays, they came to this Temper; That our Ancient Magistrates should apply themselves unto the Conservation of our Peace, and exercise what acts of Government the Emergencies might make needful for us; and thus wait for further Di [...]ections from the Authority of England.

The Country being put into this posture, all things tended unto a good settlement both of Minds and Things; which were again too much disturbed by a Fire, too justly fear'd to be maliciously kindled (by some that made themselves parties to our Late Enemies [...] [Page] [...]oy Four Houses were consumed, but perhaps more tha [...] [...] [...]ousand Sp [...]its inflamed into an Heat, that was hardly Governable. But our peo­ple being in a good measure again composed, the World mov'd on in its old orderly pace; until the last week in May, when two Ships arrived unto us from England, with more perfect News, than we had yet been owners of; the first effect thereof was, our Proclaiming of King William, and Queen Mary, with such a Joy, Splendour, Appearance and Unanimity, as had never before been seen in these Territories. The other Colonies are now settling on their old Foundations; and We, according to the Advice brought unto us, hasten to put our selves into such a condition as may best answer the performance of our Allegiance to their Majesties.

SIR, This Relation of our State, will doubtless give New-England an interest in the Prayers of all Good Men to whom you shall Communicate it: And Yours I hope will not be wanting for the Well, are of, Sir,
Your Servant A. B.

THe foregoing Account, being very carefully and critically Examined, by divers very Worthy and Faithful Gentle­men, was advised to be Published for the preventing of False Re­ports: And is to be Sold at the London-Coffee-House.


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