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84 Sires in Boston*
are kept. The town has very good land) nffbrd* ing rich com Jields, and fruitful gardens, sweet and pleasant springs. The inhabitants keep their swine and cattle at Muddy river, in the summer, while their corn is on the ground, but bring them to town in the winter.55*
In 1638, Boston was rather a village than a town, there not being above twenty or thirty houses.t Though this town has suffered greatly by the small pox, by war, and by many terrible fires, -its increase and wealth has exceeded the most sanguine expectations* It is by far the largest and most opulent town in New England ; very few towns in North America are equal to it. In 1676, a fire destroyed forty five dwelling houses; three years after eighty dwelling houses, seventy stores, and several vessels, were destroyed by fire* In 1711, a fire broke out in the centre of the town, and consumed all the houses on each side of Comhill, from School street to Market square; but the most terrible conflagration was in 1760, when one hundred and seventy four dwelling houses were swept away, with one hundred and seventy five ware houses, shops, and other buildings. The loss was estimated at£l00,000 sterling. In 1787,and 1794, the fires consumed about two hundred buildings. Beside the fires mentioned, there have been many others, which destroyed a great number of buildlogs, and property of immense value. The seige in
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Remarkable Providence* 85
1775, was calamitous to Boston ; it was supposed as many buildings were destroyed then, as were burned in Charlestown.
As the winter approached, provisions became extremely scarce ; the people were compelled to subsist on clams, muscles, groundnuts, and acorns^ and even these were procured with great difficulty, while the snow covered the ground. These trials discouraged many; and when it was announced that *' the governor had the last batch of bread in the oven," they almost despaired of receiving seasonable relief. They were moreover full of fears lest a ship, which had been dispatched to Ireland for provisions, had either been cast away, or taken by pirates. But God, in his good providence, sent them timely relief. In their trouble, they had appointed a day to seek the Lord by fast. ing and prayer. Before the day came, the ship, with provisions competent to their necessities, arrived, and they changed the day of fasting into a day or thanksgiving.*
After a winter of great sufferings^the court convened, in thespringof 1631, and ordained, "that the governor and assistants shall, in future, be chosen by the freemen alone ; that none should be admitted to the freedom of the company but such as were chosen members, who had certificates from their ministers that they were of orthodox principles: and that none but freemen should vote at eleaions, or aft as magistrates or jurymen," 86 Good effects of Scarcity.
* Rev. Mr, Abbot's M. S. note*, U
This extraordinary law continued in force, till the writ of quo warranto, in 1684, annihilated the government which created it.*
In Nov. this year, Governor Winthrop's wife and family arrived at Boston, when they came on shore they were honoured with a discharge of artillery; the militia assembled and" entertained them with a guard and divers vollies;" the judges of the court and most of the people near the town went to salute them. For several days plenty of provisions was sent to them, "cows, fat hogs, kids, venison, poultry, geese, and partridges." Never had there been such rejoicing in New England. The eleventh of Nov. was a day of religious thanksgiving.
The distresses endured the preceding season induced the colonists to pay great attention to the raising of provisions for their future support. To encourage a spirit so laudable and necessary, the court enacted " that Indian corn should be deemed a legal tender in discharge of debts." A great part of the cattle which had been imported from England had died; and a milch cow was now valued at twenty five to thirty pounds sterling.
Two colonies, one at Plymouth, the other at Massachusetts, were now planted in New England. Both were critically situated in respect to their neighbours. The Plymouth settlers had ere&ed a trading house at Penobscot about the Ipswich wd Newkiry settled. 87
year 1627; of this the French from Accadie had taken possession. This gave rise to complaints on both sides of incroachments on their respective rights, which led on finally to war between the parent countries.
In 1633, arrived a number of people in the ship Heftor, who settled at Quafcacunquen. In May, 1634, arrived Mr. Thomas Parker and Mr. James Noyes. Mr. Parker and ?<bout a hundred who came over witht hem, sat down at Ipswich, where he continued about a year, while Mr. Noyes preached at Medford. In May, 1635, some of the principal people of Ipswich petitioned the general court for liberty to remove to Quafcacanquen, which was granted, and the place incorporated by thfc name of Newbury.* This was the tenth church gathered in the colony. Mr. Noyes \vas chosen teacher, and Mr. Parker pastor of the church.
The beautiful river, on whose banks they first settled, was, in honour to their Rev. pastor, named Parker river: tradition says because he was the first who ascended it in his boat. This he migh£ easily effe£t from Ipswich, where he had lived the year before; it being only about eight miles of smooth water through Plumb Island Sound. A writer in 1652, gives the following account of Newbury.
"This town is twelve miles from Ipswich; it has meadows and upland, which hath caused 88 Description of Newbury.
* Town records, Magnalia, Wintbro*'s Journal. | Wonderworking Providence,
some gentlemen, who brought over good estates, to set upon husbandry, among whom that religious and sincere hearted servant of Christ, Mr. Richard Dummer, sometime a magistrate in this little Commonwealth, hath holpen on this town. Their houses are built very scattering, which hath caused some contending about removal of their place for sabbath assemblies. Their cattle are about four hundred, with store of cornland in tillage; it consists of about seventy families; the souls in church fellowship are about one hundred. The teaching elders of this congregation have carried it very lovingly towards their people, permitting them to assist in admitting persons into church society, and in church censures, so long as they a£i regularly, but in case of their mal-adminIstration, they assume the power wholly to themselves; their godly life and conversation hath hitherto been very amiable, and their pains and care over their flock not inferior to many others."
Another account of^Quafcacunquen or Newbury, in 1633,* the year of its settlement, is in these words. "Merrimack lies eight miles from] Ipswich, is the best place; the river is navigable twenty leagues; all along the river's side are fresh marshes, in some places three miles broad. In this river is sturgeon, salmon, and bass, and divers other kinds offish. The country scarce afforckth that which this place cannot yield."
These quotations are not made on account of