Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

1

EDITORIAL PREFACE.

This volume contains the “ HINCKLEY PAPERS” and the

last part of “ Niles's HISTORY OF THE INDIAN AND FRENCH WARS," the latter continued from the sixth volume of the third series of the Collections.

The “ Hinckley Papers ” take their name from Thomas Hinckley, the sixth and last Governor of the Colony of New Plymouth. He was a son of Samuel Hinckley, who was one of the associates of the Rev. John Lothrop; was at Scituate in 1635, at Barnstable in 1639, and who died at that place in 1662. Thomas Hinckley was born in England in 1618, and was with his father at Scituate and Barnstable. In 1645, he was admitted a freeman ; in 1646, he was a deputy from Barnstable, and frequently afterwards from that year until 1658, when he was elected an assistant. He filled that office, by successive elections, until he was chosen Deputy-Governor by the General Court, in June, 1680. He was selected for this office in consequence of the ill health of Governor Josiah Winslow,

and the extreme age of John Alden, the first assistant, who would otherwise have succeeded to the chair, if vacant. In 1681, after the decease of Governor Winslow, he was chosen Governor; and was annually re-elected until the Colony of New Plymouth was incorporated with that of Massachusetts under the charter of 1692, except during the period of the administration of Andros, of whose council he was a member. Governor Hinckley had been a commissioner of the United Colonies; and he was a councillor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay after the union. He died at Barnstable in 1706, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. Mercy Hinckley, a daughter of the Governor, was married in 1686 to Samuel Prince of Sandwich, a son of Elder John Prince of Hull, and father of Rev. Thomas Prince, the eminent chronologist, and pastor of the Old South Church in Boston. When the latter was eleven years old, he was given by his father to Governor Hinckley as his own, “ to be a father unto, and a tutor of,” as will be seen by a letter in this volume. The relations, therefore, which existed between the Governor and his grandson were very intimate. As the former was in public life for half a century, his knowledge of Colonial affairs must have been very minute, and his accumulation of valuable papers, public and private, very extensive. The young

student formed a taste for historical researches early in life, and took great pains to preserve

the

papers of the Governor, of which he gives an account in a note on the hundred and thirty-first page of this volume.

These were collected and arranged by him, and bequeathed to the Old South Church and Society. In 1814, the Historical Society made application for a deposit, in their library, of the books and manuscripts relating to the history of New England which were included in this bequest. The application was successful. A full account of the arrangement between the parties, which was of the most liberal character, and honorable to both, may be found in the seventh volume of the second series of the Collections. The “ Hinckley Papers" were put in order by a Committee of the Historical Society, and bound in three folio volumes. They have often been referred to and quoted by historical writers. They contain very valuable information concerning the history of the old Colony for the last quarter of the seventeenth century.

In March, 1860, the Historical Society appointed a Committee to publish a portion of the “ Prince Manuscripts,” with such other papers as might be necessary to complete a volume of the Society's Collections. The portion selected from the manuscripts by the Publishing Committee is contained in this volume. The papers contained in the volumes above referred to are now given to the public entire, excepting duplicates and those before published, — among which, a single letter of William Penn to Governor Hinckley may be found printed in the seventh volume of the second series of the Collections, – and one paper not regarded as appropriate

The letters addressed to Governor

to these pages.

Hinckley are chiefly in the handwriting of their authors, who were among the most prominent men of the time. Among them are autograph letters, or those bearing the signatures, of Governor Josiah Winslow, Roger Williams, King Charles II., William Penn, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, King James II., Sir Edmund Andros, Governor Bradstreet, Sir Henry Ashhurst, General John Walley, and Colonel Benjamin Church. The copies of letters and papers drawn up by Governor Hinckley are generally in his handwriting

The “ History of the Indian and French Wars,” by Rev. Samuel Niles of Braintree, the publication of which is completed in the present volume, is printed in obedience to the wishes of the Historical Society as expressed through its Standing Committee. The first part may be found in the sixth volume of the third series of the Collections, in which some account is given of the author. It may

be proper to repeat, that he was born on Block Island, May 1, 1674; graduated at Harvard College in 1699; and settled at Braintree, May 23, 1711. He died on the anniversary of his birthday, May 1, 1762, aged eighty-eight; being almost precisely of the age of Governor Hinckley. “ Father Niles," as he was sometimes called, had personal knowledge of many of the occurrences which he describes; as his life extended through the entire period, from the breaking out of Philip's War to the conquest of Canada. He has, however, freely availed himself of the labors of others. The Niles Manuscript

was bequeathed to the Society by the Rev. Dr. Freeman, one of its first members, and its Recording Secretary from 1793 to 1812.

In printing the volume, modern orthography has been adopted, excepting for proper names, of which the original spelling is retained unless in cases of manifest error. A convenient Index will be found at the close of the volume, prepared by Dr. John Appleton, the Assistant Librarian of the Society; for whose careful reading of the proof and revised sheets of the work as they came from the press,

in the detection of errors, and valuable aid in the preparation of notes, the Publishing Committee express their obligations. The notes of Prince, which are of very considerable value, bear his name: those of the Committee have no mark to designate them.

critical accuracy

S. L.

Boston, Nor. 20, 1861.

с

« ForrigeFortsett »