From the book Makers of the American Republic, by David Gregg:
“For one hundred and fifty years after the Puritan exodus, from 1640 to 1790, New England received very few by means of immigration. Its increase came from its own families; it enjoyed a remarkable seclusion. There were only three exceptions to this. In 1652, after his victory at Dunbar and Worcester, Cromwell sent two hundred and seventy Scotch [sic] prisoners to Boston as a punishment. They grandly bore the punishment; they rather liked it, I imagine, for their descendants are there to this day. In 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, one hundred and fifty families of the Huguenots came to Massachusetts; their names are perpetuated in Bowdoin College and Faneuil Hall. In 1719 several Presbyterian families from the north of Ireland settled in New Hampshire; their descendants are still in that state. Londonderry, N.H., marks their settlement. These were the three exceptions, and they were very small. When the hour of Revolution struck, there was no county in old England itself that had a purer English blood than New England. The homogeneity of population accounts for the oneness of belief and action in New England in the matter of the American Revolution. The people of New England were one people, and they struck like a trip-hammer when they struck. It was this unity and homogeneity which made them the power they were in the formation of the American Republic, and which helped New England to stamp itself upon the whole country for the country’s good.
It was only after the American Revolution that New Englanders began to move into the Western part of our land and there form new States; but this they did so effectively that there is a Portland to-day on the Pacific as well as a Portland on the Atlantic. They now number one fourth of the entire population of our sixty millions, and are a beneficial force in every state in the Union.
While the Puritans were diligent in building up New England, let no one suppose that they were indifferent to what was going forward in the motherland; they were one with the progressives there. it has been said that the English Revolution virtually began in Boston, where Sir Edmund Andros, King James’s representative, was arrested and put in prison. New England was the first to hail the enthronement of William, Prince of Orange. During the Cromwellian conflict Cromwell’s strongest friends were in New England. The pen of New England, fertilized by freedom, became marvelously prolific. Cromwell, Hampden, Sidney, Milton, Owen, were scholars of teachers mostly on this side of the Atlantic.”
David Gregg, Makers of the American Republic, ‘The Puritans’, 1896. pp. 90-91.
Gregg’s account of the ethnic makeup of the early New Englanders contradicts today’s popular assertions that the early colonies were already ‘very diverse’. Gregg asserts, too, that the early colony was in touch with events back in the home country, and that they especially had close ties with the Puritans in England. So often some of the simplistic textbooks emphasize the supposed rift between the New England colonists as a whole, as though they were not of the same blood and descent, as if the colonists felt as though they were a separate people long before the Revolution.