The early settlers of New England

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.

12 thoughts on “The early settlers of New England

    1. As you may be aware, there’s a Portland in Texas, too, near Corpus Christi. I don’t know if it has any connection to the English Portland or to the other namesakes in Maine and Oregon!
      There are also multiple ‘Andovers’ the first one named after the original in Hampshire and then there are a few others named by New England pioneers to the Midwest to the Western states.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Having read your blog ,with regards to the Puritans, I am truly amazed by their strength and determination . I was very humbled to learn about them keeping track of the situation back home in England. I was born and raised in Scotland, but myself along with my sister have always felt English, our middle name is Yardley. Having said that, we very much keep it to ourselves as their are quite a lot of anti English people around, but our love of England and all things English will be with us for always.

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    1. The Puritans were a very remarkable people. I think the hardships of persecution, imprisonment for some of them, etc., strengthened them.
      I’ve heard that there is a lot of anti-English sentiment in Scotland, but I don’t know if it’s widespread or if it’s not really deeply felt. I wonder if Scotland will become independent?

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    2. artwork,, as far as I know it wasn’t because of military duties; I think he was still a farmer when he apparently attempted to go to New England on one of the ships; it was around the time of Winthrop’s fleet, the time when my (and most other New England descendants) ancestors arrived. But apparently Cromwell was not in favor with the (government et al) people who approved the colonists for the New England settlement. So he never came to America as far as I know. If he had, history would have been very different on both sides of the Atlantic, wouldn’t it.

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    3. DeaDear Lord, we are under the constant threat from the nasty party s.n.p, bully brigade, and that awful referendum we were put through, but in the end it was the silent majority who were victorious. Mainly because of the good city and the good people of Edinburgh. The scottish nationalists are so very anti English that they are very embarrassing, we were assaulted, swore at, outspoken and utterly bullied, they had Saltire flags everywhere and “yes” logos ,but still common sense, good clean living people saved us. But just like I have already said, we are totally bullied, honestly, you have no idea how disrespectful they behave.

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    4. There are lots of foul people out there these days. Anything that rings of imperialism has become demonized. The media is trying to divide and conquer us. White people need to sort this out.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. The South looks absolutely stunning back then, before that awful Civil War, and having said that, it looks as though there is a lot of people who are very divided in America today. The liberal leftists are the worst people ,both here ,in Britain, America and all over the Western World, where does all this political correctness end? we are surely living in a world where P.C. has been favored over good moral standards and good Christian values. I have got nothing against people who are different from myself, but when they start shoving it down our throats, it really isn’t very nice, some people ,who claim to be “proud”, should be utterly ashamed. Prancing around 99% naked in front of young kid’s and poor elderly people.What exactly is it they want? oh! that’s right, everything!

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  2. I would love to see New England, Maine, and all these beautiful places, and especially in the Autumn or the Fall as the good people say. I did an online course about the prisoners of Dunbar, how Oliver Cromwell defeated a much larger Scottish army and took many of them to Durham Cathedral, where some were put to work on the Fens and some were made into servitude slaves for around 7 years and sent to America. Some got to work in the Saugus ironworks and prospered while some would get full of drink, cause havoc with the Puritans and end up being flogged. I think it’s remarkable that the names of the people who sailed from England to the New World have been recorded and can be seen to this very day, I’m quite proud of this and I used to go out with a bonnie lassie called Carol Seymour, a real beauty and a real beauty of a name.

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