United Colonies of New England
1643–1686
English Red Ensign
New England in 1660
New England in 1660
StatusDisestablished
CapitalNone, meeting place rotated between: Boston, Hartford, New Haven, Plymouth[1]
Common languagesEnglish Massachusett, Mi'kmaq
Religion
Congregationalism
GovernmentDirectorial confederation
Commissioners 
• 1643 (first)
William Collier
Thomas Dudley
Edward Winslow
Theophilus Eaton
George Fenwick
Thomas Gregson
Edward Hopkins
John Winthrop[2]
• 1686 (last)
John Allyn
William Bradford IV
Thomas Hinckley
Samuel Nowell
William Stoughton
John Talcott
John Walley[3]
LegislatureNone (legislative power was reserved for individual colonial assemblies)
Historical eraGreat Migration, British colonization of the Americas, American Indian Wars, Anglo-Dutch Wars
• Established
1643
• Disestablished
1686

The United Colonies of New England, commonly known as the New England Confederation, was a confederal alliance of the New England colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Saybrook (Connecticut), and New Haven formed in May 1643. Its primary purpose was to unite the Puritan colonies in support of the church, and for defense against the Native Americans and the Dutch colony of New Netherland.[4] It was the first milestone on the long road to colonial unity and was established as a direct result of a war that started between the Mohegan and Narragansett Indian tribes. Its charter provided for the return of fugitive criminals and indentured servants, and served as a forum for resolving inter-colonial disputes. In practice, none of the goals were accomplished.[5]

The confederation was weakened in 1654 after Massachusetts Bay refused to join an expedition against New Netherland during the First Anglo-Dutch War, although it regained importance during King Philip's War in 1675. It was dissolved after numerous colonial charters were revoked in the early 1680s.

John Quincy Adams remarked at a meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society on the 200th anniversary of the Confederation's founding:

The New England confederacy was destined to a life of less than forty years' duration. Its history, like that of other confederacies, presents a record of incessant discord-of encroachments by the most powerful party upon the weaker members, and of disregard, by all the separate members, of the conclusions adopted by the whole body. Still the main purpose of the union was accomplished.[6]

Treaty

The full name of the 1643 treaty was "The Articles of Confederation between the Plantations under the Government of the Massachusetts, the Plantations under the Government of New Plymouth, the Plantations under the Government of Connecticut, and the Government of New Haven with the Plantations in Combination therewith". The colonies of New England were expanding and growing, and their contact was increasing with other European colonial settlements, as well as with surrounding Indian tribes. The New England colonial leaders, therefore, sought an alliance that would allow the colonies to coordinate a collective defense of New England. The New England leaders also felt that they were unique among the American colonies, and they hoped to band together to preserve their Puritan values. The treaty calls on the New England colonies to act as a nation, saying that they share a way of life and religion. This alliance was meant to be a perpetual mode of defense and communication among the colonies themselves and with any foreign entities.[7]

The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England, 1643
The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England, 1643

The treaty outlining the alliance contained the following clauses, in summary:[8]

The Massachusetts General Court and the commissioners from Saybrook Colony and New Haven Colony agreed to the treaty on May 19th, 1643. The General Court of the Plymouth Colony agreed to it on August 29.[9]

Signatories

Massachusetts Bay

Saybrook Colony

New Haven Colony

Plymouth Colony

Commissioners

Commissioners[11]
Year Meeting Place Connecticut River Massachusetts Bay New Haven Plymouth
1643 Boston George Fenwick, Edward Hopkins Thomas Dudley, John Winthrop Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Gregson, Richard Malbon William Collier, Edward Winslow
1644 Hartford John Brown, George Fenwick, Edward Hopkins Simon Bradstreet, William Hathorne Edward Winslow, Theophilus Eaton Thomas Gregson
1645 Boston John Brown, George Fenwick, Edward Hopkins Herbert Pelham, John Winthrop Theophilus Eaton, Stephen Goodyear Thomas Prence
1646 New Haven John Brown, John Haynes,Edward Hopkins Herbert Pelhem Theophilius Eaton, Stephen Goodyear John Endicott, Timothy Hatherit
1647 Boston John Brown, George Fenwick, Edward Hopkins, John Mason, William Whiting† Simon Bradstreet Theophilus Eaton, Stephen Goodyear William Bradford, John Endicott
1648 Plymouth John Brown, George Fenwick, Edward Hopkins, Roger Ludlow Simon Bradstreet John Astwood, Theophilus Eaton William Bradford, John Endicott
1649 Boston John Brown, Edward Hopkins, Thomas Welles Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Dudley John Astwood, Theophilus Eaton William Bradford, Thomas Prence
1650 Hartford John Brown, John Haynes, Edward Hopkins Simon Bradstreet, William Hathorne Theophilus Eaton, Stephen Goodyear N/A
1651 New Haven John Brown, Edward Hopkins, John Ludlow Simon Bradstreet, William Hathorne Theophilus Eaton, Stephen Goodyear Timothy Hatherly
1652 Plymouth John Brown, John Cullick, John Ludlow Simon Bradstreet, WIlliam Hathorne John Astwood, Theophilus Eaton William Bradford
1653 Boston John Brown, John Cullick, John Ludlow Simon Bradstreet, William Hathorne John Astwood, Theophilus Eaton Thomas Prence
1654 Hartford John Brown, John Mason, John Webster Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison Theophilus Eaton, Samuel Mason, Francis Newman Thomas Prence
1655 New Haven John Brown, John Cullick, John Mason Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison Theophilus Eaton James Cudworth
1656 Plymouth John Mason, John Talcott the elder Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison Theophilus Eaton William Bradford, Thomas Prence
1657 Boston John Talcott the elder Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison Theophilus Eaton James Cudworth, Thomas Prence
1658 Boston John Talcott the elder, Thomas Welles, John Winthrop the Younger. Simon Bradstreet Theophilus Eaton, Samuel Mason, Francis Newman John Endicott, Thomas Prence, Josiah Winslow
1659 Hartford John Winthrop the Younger Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison Samuel Mason, Francis Newman Thomas Southworth, Josiah Winslow
1660 New Haven Matthew Allyn, John Winthrop the Younger Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison Samuel Mason, Francis Newman Thomas Southworth, Josiah WInslow
1661 Plymouth John Mason, Samuel Willis Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison N/A Thomas Prence, Thomas Southworth
1662 Boston John Talcott the younger, Samuel Willis Simon Bradstreet, Daniel Denison N/A Thomas Prence, Josiah Winslow
1663 Boston John Talcott the younger, John Winthrop the Younger Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth N/A Thomas Prence, Josiah Winslow
1664 Hartford Matthew Allyn, Samuel Willis Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth Edward Jones Thomas Southworth, Josiah Winslow
1665 No meeting New Haven Colony absorbed into the Connecticut Colony
1666 No meeting
1667 Hartford Edward Leete, Samuel Willis Thomas Danforth, John Leverett Thomas Southworth
1668 N/A Edward Leete, Samuel Willis, John Winthrop the Younger Thomas Danforth, John Leverett Thomas Prence, Thomas Southworth, Josiah Winslow
1669 N/A James Richards, John Talcott the younger, John Winthrop the Younger Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth, William Hathorne, John Leverett Thomas Prence, Thomas Southworth, Josiah WInslow
1670 N/A James Richards, John Talcott the younger, Samuel Willis Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth, William Hathorne, John Leverett Thomas Prence, Josiah WInslow
1671 N/A James Richards, John Talcott the younger, Samuel Willis Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth, Daniel Dension, William Hathorne Thomas Prence, Josiah WInslow
1672 Plymouth Edward Leete, James Richards, John Talcott the younger, Wait-Still Winthrop Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth, William Hathorne, John Leverett Thomas Hinckley, Thomas Prence, Josiah WInslow
1673 Hartford John Allyn, Edward Leete, John Talcott the younger Thomas Danforth, Daniel Denison, William Hathorne. William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah WInslow
1674 N/A John Allynm, James Richards, John Talcott the younger Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth, Daniel Denison, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow
1675 Boston John Allyn, James Richards, John Talcott the younger, John Winthrop the younger, Wait-Still Winthrop Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth, Daniel Denison, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow
1676 Boston John Allyn, James Richards, John Talcott the younger, Wait-Still Winthrop Thomas Danforth, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow
1677 N/A John Allyn, James Richards, John Talcott the younger Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Danforth, Joseph Dudley, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow
1678 Hartford John Allyn, Edward Leete Thomas Danforth, Joseph Dudley William Bradford the younger, James Cudworth, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow
1679 Boston John Allyn, James Richards Thomas Danforth, Humphrey Davy, Daniel Denison, Joseph Dudley James Cudworth, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow
1680 N/A John Allyn, James Richards Joseph Dudley, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Josiah Winslow
1681 Boston John Allyn, Robert Treat Joseph Dudley, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, James Cudworth, Thomas Hinckley
1682 N/A John Allyn, Robert Treat Peter Bulkeley, Elisha Cooke, Samuel Nowell, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Daniel Smith
1683 N/A John Allyn, John Talcott the younger Peter Bulkeley, Elisha Cooke, Samuel Nowell, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Thomas Hinckley, Daniel Smith
1684 Hartford John Allyn, John Talcott the younger Peter Bulkeley, Elisha Cooke, Samuel Nowell, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, Daniel Smith, John Walley
1685 N/A N/A Samuel Nowell, William Stoughton John Walley
1686 N/A John Allyn, John Mason, William Pitkin, John Talcott the younger Samuel Nowell, William Stoughton William Bradford the younger, John Walley, Thomas Hinckley
1687 The New England Colonies had their charters revoked. New England was then governed by the Dominion of New England, a direct rule government
1688 Dominion of New England / Due to the Glorious Revolution and Boston Revolt the Dominion of New England was dissolved and colonial charters were restored
1689 Boston William Pitkin Elisha Cooke, Thomas Danforth William Vaughn John Walley, Thomas Hinckley
† Whiting was elected but died before the session could take place
*"N/A" refers to where information is not known.
*Although it was customary to have a colony send two commissioners to sessions, many colonies sent alternate or replacement Commissioners which is the reason for some entries to have multiple names.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ward 1961, p. 63
  2. ^ Ward 1961, p. 400-11
  3. ^ Ward 1961, p. 400-11
  4. ^ William Henry Carpenter, Timothy Shay Arthur. The history of Connecticut: from its earliest settlement to the present time (1872), ch. 5
  5. ^ John Andrew Doyle. English Colonies in America: The Puritan colonies (1889), ch. 8
  6. ^ Quincy Adams 1843, p. 44-45
  7. ^ "Avalon Project – the Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England; May 19, 1643".
  8. ^ "Avalon Project – the Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England; May 19, 1643".
  9. ^ "Avalon Project – the Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England; May 19, 1643".
  10. ^ Quincy Adams 1843, p. 17
  11. ^ Ward 1961, p. 400-11

Sources

Coordinates: 42°01′49″N 72°08′12″W / 42.03028°N 72.13667°W / 42.03028; -72.13667