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Salem, Ma.

A city and the county seat of Essex county, Mass.; founded in 1626; incorporated as a city in 1836; noted for its historical associations, and its educational and scientific interests; population in 1900, 35,956. After the abandonment of Cape Ann there was a revival of zeal for colonization at Naumkeag (Salem), and John Endicott was chosen, by a new company of adventurers, to lead emigrants thither and be chief manager of the colony. A grant of land, its ocean line extending from 3 miles north of the Merrimac River to 3 miles south of the Charles River, and westward to the Pacific Ocean, was obtained from the council of New England, March 19, 1628, and in June John Endicott, one of the six patentees, sailed for Naumkeag, with a small party, as governor of the new settlement. Those who were there—the remains of Conant's settlers—were disposed to question the claims of the new-comers. An amicable settlement was made, and in commemoration of this adjustment Endicott named the place Salem, the Hebrew word for peaceful. The colony then comprised about sixty persons. Previous to this emigration about thirty persons, under Captain Wollaston, had set up an independent plantation at a place which they named Mount Wollaston (afterwards Quincy, Mass.), which soon fell under the control of a “pettifogger of Furnival's Inn,” named Morton, who, being a convivial and licentious character, changed the name to Merry Mount, and conducted him.

A street in Salem.

[21] self in a most shameless manner. He sold powder and shot to the Indians; gave refuge to runaway servants; and, setting up a May-pole, he and his companions

Birthplace of Israel Putnam at Salem.

danced around it, sang ribald and obscene songs, broached a cask of wine and a hogshead of ale, and held a great revel and carousal there, to the great scandal of all the Puritan settlers. Morton was in England when Endicott came. The rigid Puritan, finding Merry Mount to be within the domain of the Massachusetts charter, proceeded to cut down the May-pole, and called the place Mount Dagon. He rebuked the settlers there, lectured them severely on the “folly of amusements,” and warned them to “look there should be better walking.” Morton was angry on his return, and defied the stout Puritan sentiments of his neighbors. Plymouth was called to interfere, and Captain Standish seized the bacchanalian ruler of Merry Mount and he was sent a prisoner to England.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Boston port bill, General Gage adjourned the Massachusetts Assembly, May 31, 1774, to Salem, June 7. Anticipating this, the patriots in the Assembly appointed Samuel Adams and James Warren to act in the interim. They held private conferences with others, and arranged plans for future action. They made arrangements for a Continental Congress; provided funds and munitions of war; prepared an address to other colonies inviting their co-operation in the measures of a general congress; and drew up a non-importation agreement. When the Assembly met on the 7th these various bold propositions were laid before it. The few partisans of the crown in the House were astonished and alarmed. Gage sent his secretary to dissolve the Assembly by proclamation, but the patriots were too vigilant for him. The hall doors were closed, and the key was in Samuel Adams's pocket. The reading of the proclamation on the stairs was unheeded by the patriots within. They adopted and signed a nonimportation league, and copies of this and [22] their proposition for a general congress, at a time and place appointed, were sent to the other colonies. They chose Thomas Cushing (their speaker), and James Bowdoin, Samuel Adams, John Adams, and Robert Treat Paine as their delegates to the Continental Congress. This was the last session of the Massachusetts Assembly under a royal governor.

In February, 1775, Gage heard that some cannon had been deposited at Salem by the patriots, and on Sunday, the 26th, he sent Colonel Leslie, with 140 regular troops, in a vessel from Castle William to seize them. They landed at Marblehead and marched to Salem, but, not finding the cannon there, moved on towards Danvers. Reaching a drawbridge over a stream between the two towns, they found a large number of people assembled there, and on the opposite side forty militia under Col. Timothy Pickering. The bridge was drawn up. Leslie ordered it to be let down, but Pickering refused, declaring it to be private property. Leslie determined to ferry a few troops over in a gondola that lay near. Perceiving this, some of the militia instantly scuttled the vessel. The minister at Salem (Mr. Barnard), fearing instant hostilities, interfered, and succeeded in moderating the zeal of both parties. Leslie finally promised that if he might cross, he would go only a few rods beyond. The bridge was let down, the troops marched over and beyond a short distance, and then returned to their vessel at Marblehead without finding the cannon. See witchcraft, Salem.

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