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One of the original thirteen English-American colonies, was probably first discovered by a European, Adriaen Block (q. v.), at the mouth of the Connecticut River, in 1613. That stream the Dutch called Versch-water (freshwater) River; the Indians called it Quanek-ta-cut, “long river.” The Dutch laid claim to the adjoining territory by right of discovery, while the English made a counter-claim soon afterwards, based upon a patent issued by the King to English subjects. The agent of the Dutch West India Company took formal possession by proclamation of the Connecticut Valley as early as 1623 in the name of the States-General of Holland, and a peaceable and profitable trade with the Indians might have been carried on had not the Dutch exasperated the natives by seizing one of their chiefs and demanding a heavy ransom for his release. A Dutch embassy which visited Plymouth tried to get the Pilgrims to abandon Cape Cod Bay and seat themselves, under the jurisdiction of New Netherland, in the fertile Connecticut Valley, and a Mohegan chief, moved by equally strong self-interest, invited them to the same territory, his object being to make the English a barrier between his people and the powerful and warlike Pequods.

In 1632 Edward Winslow visited the Connecticut Valley, and confirmed the truth of all the pleasant things the Dutch and Indians had said about it. The fame of it had already reached Old England, and two years before Winslow's visit Charles I, had granted the soil of that region to Robert, Earl of Warwick. and he transferred it to William, Viscount Say and Seal; Robert, Lord Brook, and their associates. This was the original grant of Connecticut, and the territory was defined as extending westward from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The Dutch, having purchased the valley from the Indians, the rightful owners, built a redoubt just below the site of Hartford, called Fort Good Hope, in 1633, and took possession. Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts, wrote to Van Twiller at Manhattan that England had granted the valley to English subjects, and the Dutch must “forbear to build there.” Van Twiller courteously replied that the Dutch had already purchased the country from the Indians and “set up a house, with intent to plant.” The Dutch finally withdrew, and in 1635-36 the first permanent settlement in the valley was made at Hartford by emigrants from Massachusetts. The first church was built there in 1635, and the first court, or legislative assembly, was convened at Hartford in 1636.

The next year occurred the distressing war with the Pequods, which resulted in their annihilation. A year later a settlement was begun on the site of New Haven, and a sort of theocratic government for it was established. Governor Winthrop's son, John, came from England and assumed the office of governor of the colony in the Connecticut Valley in 1636, with instructions to build a fort and plant a colony at the mouth of the Connecticut River. A dispute with the Plymouth people arose about the right of emigrants from Massachusetts in the valley, but it was soon amicably settled. A constitution for the government of the colony in the valley was approved by a general vote of the people (Jan. 14, 1639). It was a remarkable document, and formed the basis of a charter afterwards obtained from the King.

On the restoration of monarchy in England, the Connecticut colonists had fears regarding their political future, for they had been stanch republicans during the interregnum. The General Assembly therefore resolved to make a formal acknowledgment of their allegiance to the King, and ask him for a charter. A petition to that effect was signed in May, 1661, and Governor Winthrop bore it to the monarch. He was at first coolly received, but by the gift to the King of a precious memento of the sovereign's dead father, the heart of Charles was touched, and, turning to Lord Clarendon, who was present, he said, “Do you advise me to grant a charter to this good man and his people?” “I do, sire,” answered Clarendon. “It shall be done,” said Charles, and Winthrop was dismissed with a hearty shake of his hand and a blessing from the royal lips. A charter was issued [328] May 1, 1662 (N. S.). It confirmed the popular constitution, and contained more liberal provisions than any that had yet been issued by royal hands. It defined the boundaries so as to include the New Haven colony and a part of Rhode Island on the east, and westward to the Pacific Ocean. The New Haven colony reluctantly gave its consent to the union in 1665, but Rhode island refused. A dispute concerning the boundary-line between Connecticut and Rhode Island lasted more than sixty years.

The charter, engrossed on parchment and decorated with a finely executed miniature of Charles II. (done in Indiaink by Samuel Cooper, it is supposed, who was an eminent London miniature painter of the time), was brought across the sea in a handsome mahogany box, in which it is still preserved in the State Department of Connecticut. It was of so general a character, and conferred such large powers, that when Connecticut became an independent State it was considered a good fundamental law for the commonwealth, and was not changed until 1818. It provided for the election of the governor of the colony and the magistrates by the people, substantially as under the previous constitution; allowed the free transportation of colonists and merchandise from England to the colony; guaranteed to the colonists the rights of English citizens; provided for the making of laws and the organization of courts by the General Assembly, and the appointment of all necessary officers for the public good; for the organization of a military force, and for the public defence.

Determined to hold absolute rule over New England, King James II, made Andros a sort of viceroy, with instructions to take away the colonial charters. For the purpose of seizing that of Connecticut, whose General Assembly had refused to surrender it, Andros arrived at Hartford, where the Assembly was in session in their meeting-house, Oct. 31, 1687 (O. S.). He was received by the Assembly with the courtesy due to his rank when he appeared before them, with armed men at his back, and demanded the charter to be put into his hands. It was then near sunset. A debate upon some unimportant subject was continued until after the candles were lighted. Then the long box containing the charter was brought in and placed upon the table. A preconcerted plan to save it was now put into operation. Just as the usurper was about to grasp the box with the charter, the candles were snuffed out. When they were relighted the charter was not there, and the members were seated in proper order. The charter had been carried out in the darkness by Captain Wadsworth, and deposited in the trunk of a hollow oak-tree on the outskirts of the village (see charter Oak). Andros was compelled to content himself with dissolving the Assembly, and writing in a bold hand “Finis” in the journal of that body. When the Revolution of 1688 swept the Stuarts from the English throne, the charter was brought from its hiding-place, and under it the colonists of Connecticut flourished for 129 years afterwards.

Under the charter given by Charles II., in 1662, Connecticut, like Rhode Island,

State seal of Connecticut.

assumed independence in 1776, and did not frame a new constitution of government. Under that charter it was governed until 1818. In 1814, Hartford, Conn., became the theatre of a famous convention which attracted much anxious attention [329] for a while (see Hartford convention). In 1818 a convention of delegates from each town in the State assembled at Hartford and framed a constitution, which was adopted by the people at an election on Oct. 5. During the Civil War the State furnished to the National army 54,882 soldiers, of whom 1,094 men and ninety-seven officers were killed in action, 666 men and forty-eight officers died from wounds, and 3,246 men and sixty-three officers from disease. There were reported “missing” 389 men and twenty-one officers. Population in 1890, 746,258; in 1900, 908,355.

Governors of the Connecticut colony

John Haynes1639 to 1640
Edward Hopkins1640 to 1641
John Haynes1641 to 1642
George Wyllys1642 to 1643
John Haynes alternately from Edward Hopkins1643 to 1655
Thomas Welles1655 to 1656
John Webster1656 to 1657
John Winthrop1657 to 1658
Thomas Welles1658 to 1659
John Winthrop1659 to 1665

Until this time no person could be elected to a second term immediately following the first.

Governors of the New Haven colony

Theophilus Eaton1639 to 1657
Francis Newman1658 to 1660
William Leete1661 to 1665

Governors of Connecticut

John Winthrop1665 to 1676
William Leete1676 to 1683
Robert Treat1683 to 1687
Edmund Andros1687 to 1689
Robert Treat1689 to 1698
Fitz John Winthrop1698 to 1707
Gurdon Saltonstall1707 to 1724
Joseph Talcott1724 to 1741
Jonathan Law1741 to 1750
Roger Wolcott1750 to 1754
Thomas Fitch1754 to 1766
William Pitkin1766 to 1769
Jonathan Trumbull1769 to 1784
Mathew Griswold1784 to 1786
Samuel Huntington1786 to 1796
Oliver Wolcott1796 to 1798
Jonathan Trumbull1798 to 1809
John Treadwell1809 to 1811
Roger Griswold1811 to 1813
John Cotton Smith1813 to 1817
Oliver Wolcott1817 to 1827
Gideon Tomlinson1827 to 1831
John S. Peters1831 to 1833
H. W. Edwards1833 to 1834
Samuel A. Foote1834 to 1835
H. W. Edwards1835 to 1838
W. W. Ellsworth1838 to 1842
O. F. Cleveland1842 to 1844
Roger S. Baldwin1844 to 1846
Clark Bissell1846 to 1849
Joseph Trumbull1849 to 1850
Thomas H. Seymour1850 to 1853

Governors of Connecticut—Continued.

Charles H. Pond 1853 to 1854
Henry Dutton 1854 to 1855
W. T. Minor 1855 to 1857
A. H. Holley 1857 to 1858
William A. Buckingham 1858 to 1866
Joseph R. Hawley 1866 to 1867
James E. English1867 to 1869
Marshall Jewell 1869 to 1870
James E. English 1870 to 1871
Marshall Jewell1871 to 1873
Charles R. Ingersoll 1873 to 1876
R. D. Hubbard 1876 to 1879
Charles B. Andrews 1879 to 1881
H. B. Bigelow 1881 to 1883
Thomas M. Waller 1883 to 1885
Henry B. Harrison 1885 to 1887
Phineas C. Lounsbury 1887 to 1889
Morgan G. Bulkeley 1889 to 1891
to 1891 to 1893
Luzon B. Morris1893 to 1895
O Vincent Coffin 1895 to 1897
Lorrin A. Cooke 1897 to 1899
George E. Lounsbury 1899 to 1901
George P. McLean 1901 to 1903

United States Senators.

Name.No. of Congress.Date.
Oliver Ellsworth 1st to 4th1789 to 1797
William S. Johnson 1st1789 to 1791
Roger Sherman 2d1791 to 1793
Stephen Nix Mitchell 3d1793 to 1795
James Hillhouse 4th to 11th1796 to 1811
Jonathan Trumbull4th1795 to 1796
Uriah Tracy 4th to 9th1796 to 1807
Chauncey Goodrich 10th to 12th1807 to 1813
Samuel W. Dana 11th to 16th1810 to 1821
David Daggett 13th to 15th1813 to 1819
James Lanman16th to 18th1819 to 1825
Elijah Boardman17th1821 to 1823
Henry W. Edwards 18th to 19th1823 to 1827
Calvin Willey 19th to 21st1825 to 1831
Samuel A. Foote 20th to 22d1827 to 1833
Gideon Tomlinson 22d to 24th1831 to 1837
Nathan Smith23d 1833 to 1835
John M. Niles 24th to 25th1835 to 1839
Perry Smith25th to 27th1837 to 1843
Thaddeus Betts 26th1839 to 1840
Jabez W. Huntington26th to 29th1840 to 1847
John M. Niles 28th to 30th1843 to 1849
Roger S. Baldwin30th to 31st1847 to 1851
Truman Smith 31st to 33d1849 to 1854
Isaac Toucey 32d to 34th1852 to 1857
Francis Gillett 33d1854 to 1855
Lafayette Foster 34th to 39th1855 to 1867
James Dixon 35th to 40th1857 to 1869
Orris S. Ferry 40th to 44th1867 to 1875
William A. Buckingham41st to 43d1869 to 1875
William W. Eaton 43d to 46th1875 to 1881
James E. English44th1875 to 1877
William H. Barnum 44th to 45th1875 to 1879
Orville H. Platt 46th1879 to —
Joseph R. Hawley47th1881 to —

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