1902 Encyclopedia > Connecticut


CONNECTICUT (Indian, Quonektacat, i.e., Long River), one of the six New England, and one of the thirteen original, States of the American Union, lies between 41° and 42° 3' N. lat., and 71° 55' and 73° 50' W- long.

Sketch Map of Connecticut.
Physical Description.—It is bounded N. by Massachusetts about 88 miles ; E. by Rhode Island, 45 miles; S. by Long Island Sound, 100 miles ; W. by New York about G8 miles (in a direct line). The S.W. corner projects along the Sound under New York for about 13 miles. The area is 4750 square miles, or one-tenth of that of New York. The State lies on the S. slope of the hilly regions of New England, with a general surface much diversified ; there is very little land above 1000 feet in elevation. Besides the Connecticut, two other large rivers flow from the N. into the Sound—the Housatonic and the Thames. The Connecticut is the largest river in New England, rising cn the N. border of New Hampshire, 1600 feet above the sea, flowing S.S.W., separating Vermont and New Hampshire, crossing the W. part of Massachusetts, and central part of Connecticut, flowing S.S.E. below Middletown, and falling into the Sound at Saybrook. Its length is more than 400 miles, with a width in Connecticut varying from 500 to 1000 feet. It is navigable to Middletown (30 miles) for vessels drawing 10 feet, and to Hartford (50 miles) for those drawing 8 feet, Its principal tributary in Connecticut is the Tunxis, or Farmington, which flows S.E. from the slopes of the Green Mountains in Massachusetts, then abruptly N., and, breaking through the trap range, S.E. again to the Connecticut River at Windsor, instead of taking its seemingly natural course to New Haven, whither a part of its waters were formerly carried by the Farmington Canal. The E, part of the State is drained by the Thames, which is formed by the Yantic and Shetucket,—the Quinnebang joining the latter about two miles above. It is navigable to Norwich for the Sound steamers and West India trading vessels. In the W. part of the State is the Housatonic, with its main branch—the Naugatuck—which joins it at Derby. To this place it is navigable for small vessels. Besides these large streams there are very many smaller ones, affording, in their rapid descent from the hills, an immense, amount of water power. Geologically the State

is chiefly Eozoic, excepting the Triassic Sandstone and post-Tertiary terraces of the Connecticut Eiver valley. There are several well-defined ranges of hills, the highest points being in the N.W. The Housatonie Hills are the most westerly, and extend along that river to the coast. The Green Mountain range, running S. from Vermont, termi-nates near New Haven. The Blue Hills of Southington are a part of the Mount Tom range of Massachusetts, and lie be-tween the Green Mountain range and the Connecticut Biver, On the E. side of the river is a fourth range which the river crosses at Chatham. While the hills run N. and S., it is noticeable that the three main rivers bend (and on about the same parallel) to the S.E. The ridges and dikes of trap are exceedingly numerous through the centre of the State, having been forced up through the red sandstone which is found underlying and on the borders of the trap. These ridges have abrupt columnar W. fronts and gentle E slopes. The mineral wealth of the State is considerable. Copper is found in the Simsbury mines at Granby, and at Bristol; but these mines have lost their former importance since the working of the abundant and purer ores of Lake Superior. Iron ore is found in great quantities in Salis-bury, Kent, Sharon, Cornwall, and Canaan, and has been worked for 125 years. Limestone and marble of the very best quality are found at Canaan, Washington, and Milford. At Bortland and Cromwell, on both sides of the Connecticut River, are the well-known immense quarries of freestone largely in demand for building. The excellent slate flagging from Bolton and Haddam is abundant in supply, and in great demand. Granite, gneiss, hydraulic lime, tiling slate, clay (fire, potters', and porcelain), and sulphate of barytes are found in great quantities. There were twenty extensive quarries and mines in the State in 1870. There are over 100 miles of deeply indented coast on the Sound (which measures 140 miles by 24 miles), affording excellent harbours. The chief of these are Stonington, New London, Saybrook, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Fairfield. The harbour at New London is one of the best in the country, capacious, and never frozen over. The climate of the State, while very changeable, is very health-ful,—the mortality being below the average of the other States. There is scarcely any spring season, but summer open3 abruptly about May 3, and the cold weather begins in November. The winters, with their keen N.W. winds, are severe, but the serenity of the sky and dryness of the air make some compensation. The mean temperature for the year is 48° Fahr. Consumption is the most fatal disease, causing 16 per cent, of all the deaths. The vege-tation is rich and varied. The most abundant trees arc chestnut, walnut, birch, oak, elm, maple, beech, and ash. The forests have been recklessly cut away, and only patches of woodland remain ; but the people are waking up to the importance of tree-planting. As for zoology, songbirds of all sorts are plentiful, and the grouse and woodcock are increasing under the game laws, after having been nearly killed out. The Sound abounds in the best qualities of fish and shell-fish, while the freshwater varieties of the former are found in great quantities in the rivers and ponds, Aside from these there are few animals of importance save the domestic ones.
Population. Divisions.—The State is divided into 8 counties :—Hartford, New Haven, New London, Fairfield (all incorporated in 1066), Windham (1726), Litchfield, (1751), Middlesex, and Tolland (1785). New London, Middlesex, New Haven, and Fairfield occupy the lower half of the State, bordering on the Sound; the others occupy the other half, adjoining Massachusetts. The number of towns in 1876 was 167; and there were ten cities :—Hart-ford, the capital (population in 1870, 37,180), New Haven (50,840), Bridgeport (18,969), Norwich (16,653), Water-bury (10,826), Middletown (6923), Meriden (10,521), New London (9576), New Britain (9480), and South Norwalk. There were also 17 boroughs largely engaged in industry, of which the chief are Birmingham, Danbury, Danielsonville, Fairfield, Stamford, Stonington, Willimantic, and Winsted. The population of the State in 1679 was 12,535; in 1774 it had risen to 197,856; and from 1790 it was as follows (the last column showing its rjlace among the other States as regards population):

White. Free Coloured. Slave. Total. i
1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1S60 1870 232,374 244,721 255,179 267,181 289,603 301,856 363,099 451,504 527,519 2808 5330 6453 7870 8047 8105 7693 8627 9668 2764 951 310 97 25 17 none
it 237,946 251,002 261,942 275,148 297,675 309,978 370,792 460,147 537,454 8 8 9 14 16 20 21 24 25
In 1870 there were about 7000 more females than males. About one-fifth of the population were foreign born, chiefly Irish, German, English, French, Canadian, and Scotch. It is the third State in the density of its population (113T5-to the square mile), Massachusetts (186) and Rhode Island (208) exceeding it, while New York follows next (87). In 1875 the births were 14,328 (141 illegitimate); marriages, 4385 (below the average for the last 11 years); deaths, 9833 (25 per cent, from diseases of the respiratory organs); divorces, 476 (one for every 9'21 marriages solemnized; the average for 12 years is 455). The laws regarding divorce are very lax.
Industry and Finances.—Of the total population over ten years of age in 1870 (425,896), there were engaged in all occupations, 193,421; chiefly classed as—in agriculture, 43,653; in professional and personal service, 38,704; in trade, 24,720; and in manufactures, 86,344. There is-very little soil that can be called good, except in the river valleys, and agriculture is as backward as in other parts of New England. The hills through the State furnish excellent pasturage and cheap fuel. The chief cultivated fruits are-apples, pears, grapes, and the numerous kinds of berries. The principal crops are hay, oats, rye, corn, potatoes, and tobacco ; and in the Connecticut River valley (extending, in this State, 30 miles N. of Middletown, and 20 miles, wide) fanning is very productive. The tobacco raised in the valley is said to be superior to any other. In the up-lands dairy products and cattle raising are the chief re-sources of the farmer. There were in 1870, 25,508 farms,, having 1,646,752 acres of improved land, and 717,664 acres, unimproved, of which 577,333 were woodland. The value-of these farms was $124,241,382. Though the number of farms has increased since 1850 and 1860, yet the acreage devoted to them has decreased, as has also the cultivated, farm land in proportion to the uncultivated. The farms, are passing into the hands of the Irish and Germans, who-, do their own work and live with few comforts. Piscicul-ture is receiving much attention, commissioners having beem appointed in 1866, who have well stocked the ponds and rivers. Black-bass, trout, and shad have been very success-fully cultivated, and it is hoped as much can be done with salmon. Notwithstanding the extensive sea coast and fine harbours, the foreign commerce is not heavy,—the coast trade and fisheries being more important. There are in the State five custom districts, of which the ports of entry are-Fairfield, Middletown, New Haven, New London, and Stonington. The imports from foreign countries and domestic exports for the year ending June 30, 1875, were as follows :—

Ports. Imports. Exports.
Fairfield $6617 $28,927
Middletown 619 none
New Haven 1,174,921 2,925,631
New London 274,165 118,605
Stonington 858 none
Total $1,457,180 $3,073,163
The chief articles of export were grain, fire-arms, provi-sions, and manufactures of wood. Of the total number of enrolled, registered, and licensed vessels (820), 718 were sailing vessels, with a tonnage of 53,329, and 78 were steam vessels, with a tonnage of 26,550. The fisheries are carried on from New London and Stonington. In 1875, there were 173 vessels engaged in the cod and mackerel fisheries, with a tonnage of 3756; and in the whale fishery 14, with a tonnage of 2050—a great reduction on the de-cade from 1850 to 1860. Engaged in coastwise trade and fisheries, there entered 2257 vessels and cleared 1678. In foreign trade there entered 161 and cleared 102. In 1870, 1001 persons were engaged in fisheries, and the annual product was $769,799. Ship-building is a considerable industry. In 1875, 34 vessels were built of 5915 tons. The great industry of the State is in manufactures. These are exceedingly numerous and very productive, and most of them such as require ingenuity and intelligence on the part of the workmen. The chief industries and some of their statistics in 1870 were :—

Estab-lishments. Steam engines Horsepower Water-wheels „ . Horse- namls-power. Capital. Annual Product.
Cotton goods (of all
Iron work (all sorts) Machinery, „ Paper, „ Sewing-machines and
Carriages and wag-Indian - rubber and
Cutlery and edge tools Clocks, also materials
Bleaching and dyeing Ill
103 145 124 10S CO
23 8 41
28 281 IS 8C0 2,258 2, C10 2,721 1,424
CS 5
1,183 401
(¡54 370 534
4SI 19 13 10.S40 6,110 1,773 1.4S0 728 5,007
30 499
9S1 300 224 1,040
430 30 258 12,086 7,285 7.246 3.4S6 2,770 1,497
2.525 2,107
1,946 1,703 1,607 1,788 2,464
2,417 1S8 s
12,710,700 12,490,400 6,863,395 5,320,650 4,342,041 2,988,046
2,492,000 2,337,500
2,345,000 1,414,130 1,793,770 1,306,550 1,153,300
1,008,650 586,800 150,100 8
14.020,334 17,305,148 12,111,034 7,552,725 6,010,379 4,874,291
3,949,000 4,066,806
4,239.329 8,314,845 2,222,873 2,099.89a 3,740,871
2,747,153 2.919,546 2,849,743
Total (the above and ) 5,128 j 25,979 54,395 89,523 J 95,281,278 161,065,474
It ranks first among the States in the production of clocks, Indian-rubber goods, and hardware, and (small as it is) eighth in the total value of all manufactured products. It must be remembered, how-ever, in connection with the above statistics, that the ninth United States census of 1870 is very inaccurate in relation to manufactures, the superintendent estimating that only about one-quarter of the capital invested is reported, and that there are other great errors in the way of under-estimate. In 1875 Connecticut had 1 mile of railway to 5'16 square miles of territory, and to 585 inhabitants. (Massachusetts had 1 mile to 4'29 square miles and 909 inhabi-tants ; England 1 mile to 5'02 square miles and 1954 inhabi-tants.) There were 23 railroad companies, with 1184 miles of single track. The cost of these was $75,831,210 ; receipts for the year, $12,020,194 (50 per cent, from passengers); net earnings, $2,816,004, being 371 percent, on the cost of the roads. Nine roads, costing nearly 8 millions, have no net income. The capital stock of all the companies was $59,282,784 (paid in), and debt, $17,077,739. The amount paid in dividends (only eight companies make any) was 4-3 per cent, on the entire capital of all the roads, but 9 '24 on the capital of the dividend-paying ones. There is an elaborate system of State inspection of the roads and their accounts. There is a State tax of 1 per cent, on the market value of stock and bonds after deducting cash on hand. The principal lines are those running N. and S., connecting the shore with the valleys of the interior, and forming highways between the important cities of New England and New York city. Connected with these are important steamboat lines (passenger and freight) from Stonington, New London, and New Haven to New York. The waggon road-ways all over the State are kept in very fair condition, except in the poorer hill towns. There are about 13,000 miles of them, costing annually about $650,000. The banking interest of the State is commensurate with its large business, and shows a steadily increasing prosperity. At January 1, 1876, there were 79 national banks in the State, with a capital of $25,687,820 ; 4 State banks, with a capital of $1,450,000, and assets $3,917,953 ; 12 trust companies, with a capital of $2,450,000, and assets $6,183,643. These all do a heavy discounting and lending business with their capital and deposits, and pay dividends of 8 to 12 per cent, on their stock. The savings banks numbered 87, with a deposit of $76,489,310, and 208,030 depositors. The average income (during 1875) was 6'62 per cent., nearly all of which is paid to depositors, there being no capital stock. The management is very strictly controlled by law, and about three-quarters of the assets are lent on real estate in the State. The whole number of fire and marine insurance companies doing business in the State in 1875 was 130, of which 32 were Connecticut companies. The assets of these last were $17,345,790, of which over 16 millions were held by 10 companies (mostly in Hartford). The premiums received by all the companies were $1,949,867, and the corresponding losses $1,248,989 ; total risks written in the State, $165,660,801. The premiums received by the Connecticut companies from their entire business were $9,195,617, and corresponding losses $5,203,416. The life and accident companies doing business numbered 27, of which 11 were Connecticut companies ; the assets of the last were $98,964,945. There were 2740 life policies issued in Connecticut in 1875, insuring $5,066,438. The life premiums paid amounted to $1,927,663. The policies in force in the State numbered 25,359, insuring $51,063,720. The Connecticut com-panies (all of Hartford) issued 26,104 policies, insuring $48,822,881 in 1875 (a large reduction on previous years), and paid losses of $6,463,473. The State debt in 1860 was only $50,000, which was borrowed from the school fund. From July 1, 1861, to October 1, 1865, five issues of bonds were made, amounting to $10,000,000, drawing 6 per cent, interest. This debt has been steadily reduced, and on April 1, 1876, was $5,014,500, or deducting cash in the treasury, only $4,302,775. The revenue of the State for the year ending March 31, 1S76, was $2,117,719. This amount was chiefly derived from the tax of 1 mill on the grand list of the towns ($437,473), from savings banks ($462,664), mutual insurance companies ($398,266), and railroads ($302,758). In 1860 the assessed value of all property in the State was $341,256,976, and the true value $444,274,114. In 1870 the assessed value of real estate was $204,110,500, and of personal estate $221,322,728; total, $425,433,228. The true value was $774,631,524. In 1860 the total taxation, not national, was $1,015,039; in 1870, $6,064,843. The total indebtedness of towns and cities in the State on June 1, 1874, was $13,995,090, more than one-third of which was incurred in aid of railroads.
Social Statistics.—A large number of public and charitable in-stitutions are maintained wholly or in part by the State, and for them it spent $135,463 during the year ending March 31, 1876. Among them are the following. The American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, at Hartford, was incorporated in 1816, being the oldest institution of the kind in the United States. In all, 2056 per-sons have received instruction, with an average attendance in 1875 of 218. The funds of the institution amount to $338,925. The annual State grant is $11,000. The charge per pupil is $175 a year. There is no asylum for the blind, but an annual grant of $6000 is made for the care of the indigent blind at the Perkins Institute at Boston. There is a general hospital at New Haven chartered in 1827, with a training school for nurses attached; funds, $20,000 ; annual grant, $2000; patients in 1875, 436. The Hartford Hos-pital was opened August 1,1860; funds, $153,500, but considerably in debt; annual grant, $2000; patients in 1875, 707. The Con-necticut Hospital for the Insane, at Middletown, was opened in 1868 ; cost. $640,043; it accommodates 450 with attendants and physicians and is always crowded. To April 1, 1876, 1272 had been admitted. One-half the board of paupers is paid by the State. Revenue in 1875, $124,305, of which the State paid $62,001. The Retreat for the Insane at Hartford was opened in 1824, and has treated 5786 patients. Though receiving large State and private aid, it is intended for patients who can pay for comfortable accommodation. It had in 1875 about 159 inmates. The Eeform School at "West Meriden was openedinl854; cost $115,000, with a farm of 195 acres. Theexpense to the State in 1875 was $30,368. Boys from ten to sixteen years old may be sent to it for crime, by the several courts, for not less than 9 months, and during minority. The inmates are required to labour 6J hours a day, and attend school 4J hours. The Industrial School for Girls at Middletown was opened in 1870. Its property has cost $122,363, mostly given by individuals. The expense to the State in 1875 was $16,223, and the inmates numbered 53. Girls from eight to sixteen may be committed to it for vagrancy, and are taught housekeeping, sewing, box-making, and farm and garden work. The School for Imbeciles at Lakeville cost $10,000, appropriated by the legislature. In 1875 its income was $14,165, with an I average of 95 inmates. The State prison at Wethersfield, erected

in 1827, is inadequate to the needs of the State, having, in March 1S76, 40 more prisoners than cells, viz., 252 prisoners. Its income in 1875 was $25,539, and payments $28,414,—the deficit being due to the recent decrease in the demand for convict labour. The punishments are solitary confinement, fetters, and shackles. The warder may deduct five days from the term of imprisonment for good behaviour. Schools were begun in New Haven in 1640. The provision and regulation of schools rested with the towns till 1712 ; with towns and parishes together till 1798 ; with parishes alone till 1S56, when the towns were restored to their original place in the system. Though school districts existed in 1725, and were legalized in 1766, they were not fully endowed corporate bodies till 1839. Schools have been maintained in three ways, —by taxes, by tuition fees or rate bills, and by the income of invested funds. Taxes were a source of income from the beginning to 1821, and were restored in 1854. Rate bills wore not discontinued till 1868. Local school funds were begun towards the close of the 17th century, and in-creased by sales of land in 1733, and by excise on liquors, tea, &c, authorized by Acts of May 1766 and October 1774. The State school fund was begun in 1795, it being the money procured by the sale of lands granted by Charles II. in 1662, and described as "from Narrogancett Bay on the east to the South Sea on the west." This was, in fact, a strip of land 70 miles wide, and run-ning one-eighth of the circumference of the globe. Subsequently, this being found to interfere with other colonial grants, all this territory was given up, save portions in New York and Ohio. The land was sold for $1,200,000; the fund, however, has increased, and at September 1, 1874, was $2,044,266 ; the dividend per child has varied from $1, 50 to $1 per year, decreasing with the increase of population; the fund is almost wholly invested in real estate mortgages at 7 per cent. Another fund, the entire income of which since 1855 has been devoted to schools, is the Town Deposit Fund. The 24th Congress of 1835-6 voted to deposit the surplus revenue of the Union, then on hand, with the different States in proportion to their national representation. Connecticut received $764,670, which was divided among the towns according to their population in 1830; the present income from this is about ,$46,000 a year. (While Connecticut has preserved this fund almost intact, in other States it has been squandered or lost.) At present, aside from the income of these funds, the maintenance of the schools is provided for by these taxes :—the town tax, which must be sufficient to maintain 30 weeks of school in the larger, and 24 in the smaller districts ; the district tax to provide for buildings .and repairs, or any deficit ; and the State appropriation of $1, 50 per child per year. In 1865 a State Board of Education was .established, whose secretary is Superintendent of Public Instruc-tion. The following are statistics for the year ending August 31, 1875 :—Districts, 1506 ; public schools, 1650 ; children from fourto sixteen (on January 1, 1875), 134,976, of whom 95 per cent, attended school. Average length of school, 176 days. Teachers: males, 721 ; females, 1910. Average pay per month: males, $70 ; females, j$39. Income of public schools from all sources, $1,592,S58. Provision for higher education is made by various private and endowed schools, but is by no means complete. The State Normal School at New Britain was opened in 1850; the. annual State grant is $12,000, #nd it graduates about 100 pupils a year. In 1870 there were in the State 29 academies and seminaries, with 127 instructors, 1602 pupils, and 8000 volumes in their libraries. There are three colleges. Yale College (Congregational), in New Haven, was established in 1701 by the ten foremost ministers of the colony; in 1876 it had 90 instructors, nearly 1100 students in all departments, and 101,000 volumes in the libraries ; its productive funds were about $1,500,000, and its property $5,000,000. Besides its classical course, it has faculties and schools of theology, law, medicine, fine .arts, together with the very prosperous Sheffield Scientific School, and several post-graduate courses of stud}'. Trinity (formerly "Washington) College, at Hartford, was founded in 1823 by Episco-palians ; its property is about $1,000,000, a considerable portion of which is in productive funds ; it has about 20 instructors, 90 students, and 16,000 volumes in its library. Wesleyan University (Methodist) at Middletown was founded in 1831 ; property in 1875, $400,000 ; income, $47,000 ; instructors, 15; students, 190; library, 27,000 volumes ; women were admitted in 1872. There is a theological institute (Congregational) at Hartford, and the Berkeley Divinity School (Episcopal) is at Middletown. In 1870 the State had ,64 public libraries, with 285,937 volumes ; these receive State aid. There are several valuable private libraries relating to American subjects at Hartford. The newspapers and periodicals numbered 71, circulating 203,725, and issuing annually 17,454,740 copies. There were 827 religious organizations, having 902 edifices, with 338,735 sittings, and property worth $13,42S,109. The Congrega-tionalist is by far the most numerous and wealthy denomination, followed by Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, and Roman Catholics.
Government.—Connecticut is represented in the National Congress by two senators and four representatives, and has now six votes in the Presidential electoral college. The State constitution provides distinct executive, legislative, and judicial powers. The chief officer, or governor, must be over thirty years of age. A majority vote in each house of the legislature carries a bill over his veto. His salary is $2000. The legislature, or General Assembly, consists of a senate and house of representatives, and meets annually on the Wednesday after the first Monday in January. The senate consists of not less than 21, or more than 24, mem-bers from districts determined by the General Assembly according to population. The representatives are two from each town incorporated before 1785 or having over 5000 inhabitants, and one from every other. The senators now number 18, the representatives 244. Each legislator is paid $300 a year. There is much special and excessive legis-lation. All elections are by ballot. Representatives are elected annually, and the general State officers and senators biennially, on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Any male citizen of the United States, aged twenty-one, who shall have resided in the State one year, and in the town where he offers to vote, six months, and who can read any article of the constitution, is entitled to vote. The pardoning power is vested in the Assembly. The judicial power is vested in the following courts :—A supreme court of errors, consisting of a chief and four associates; a superior court, consisting of six judges, together with the five of the court of errors. These are all chosen for eight years by the Assembly, but are dis-qualified on attaining the age of seventy. They may be removed by impeachment, or by the governor on a two-thirds address of each house. Their salary is $4000 each. There are also five courts of common pleas, presided over by a single judge, chosen for four years by the Assembly, with a salary of $2500. There are inferior courts in certain cities and boroughs, with judges chosen biennially by the Assembly. Numerous justices of the peace are elected biennially by the people of the towns where they live. Probate courts are held in each district, of which there are 113; the judges are elected biennially by the people. A somewhat faulty revision of the General Statutes of the State was made in 1875. A peculiarity of the State is that, when cities are formed, they still remain (frequently) parts of towns, and have a double government. The State militia embraced, in 1875, 2636 men, though those liable to serve (viz., between the ages of eighteen and forty-five) numbered 62,103. The governor is com-mander-in-chief, and under him are a brigadier-general and staff and field officers. The brigade comprises four regiments of infantry (one from each congressional district) and one section of light artillery. Two regiments go into encampment for a week, and the other two have a full parade each year. The arms of the State are—three vines in fruit—2 and 1, all proper—with the motto, " Qui transtulit sustinet."
History.—The Dutch first explored the country in 1620, but made no settlement till 1633. Then they settled at Hartford, buying of the Pequot Indians, but selling soon after to the English. James I. granted the first English patent to all New England, in 1620, to Lord Say-and-Seal and others. In 1634-36 permanent settlements were made at Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor by companies from Massachusetts under a patent from the Plymouth colony, covering the present State and also portions of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Long Island, and an undefined territory to the west. In 1637 these towns organized an independent government, declared war against the Pequots, and, under Captain J. Mason, nearly destroyed the tribes. In 1638 New Haven and vicinity was settled by an English company under Rev. J. Davenport and Governor Eaton. This colony was united to Connecticut in 1662,

as was Saybrook in 1644. In 1639 Connecticut, chiefly
through the influence of the Rev. J. Hooker of Hartford,
adopted a constitution. This was " the first one written
out, as a complete form of civil order, in the New World,
and embodies all the essential features of the constitutions
of the American States, and of the Republic itself, as they
exist at the present day. It is the free representative plan
which characterizes the country." In this constitution,
and during the administration of it (till 1661), the only
authority recognized was the " supreme power of the
commonwealth," and the people were practically indepen-
dent. When Charles II. came to the throne, J. Winthrop,
jun., succeeded, in 1662, in obtaining a most liberal
charter, which constituted Connecticut so completely a self-
governed colony that no changes were needed in the
instrument when she became one of the American States.
Nor was it altered till 1818. From 1685 to 1687 James
II. made strenuous efforts to take away all the New
England charters; and in the latter year, Sir E. Andross,
the royally appointed governor, came to Hartford while the
Assembly was sitting, and demanded the charter. It was,
however, concealed in the famous charter oak ; and, at the
dethronement of James II. in 1689 (after a year and a
half of oppressive rule by Andross), the colonial Government
resumed its functions as if nothing had happened. From
the union of the colonies, Hartford was the seat of Govern-
ment till 1701, from which date it shared the honour with
New Haven until 1874, when it became the sole capital.
The code, commonly called the Blue Laws of Connectiad,
is now generally considered to have been a forgery by
the Rev. Samuel Peters. The early statutes were not
peculiarly severe or intolerant, and no case of execution for
witchcraft is known. During the French and Indian wars
Connecticut supplied her full quota of soldiers; and, during
the revolt of the colonies, she furnished more men in
proportion to her population, and more aid in proportion
to her wealth, than any other colony. A few days before
the Declaration of Independence she instructed her delegates
to propose such a measure. The efficient and wise governor
at the time, whom Washington used to call Brother
Jonathan (Trumbull), has bequeathed his nickname to the
country. Connecticut ratified the U.S. Constitution,
January 9, 1788, being the fifth colony to do so. She
took an active part in the war of 1812, though it cost
the ruin of her West India and coasting trade. The
present constitution was adopted in 1818, doing away
with slavery, and being otherwise remarkable for its
liberality and wisdom. It has been considerably amended
to meet the needs of increased and differently distri-
buted population, and of industrial progress. Under
Governor Buckingham the State took a very prominent
part in the civil war of 1861-65. She furnished 54,882
men, mostly for three years ; and the war expenses, not
only of the State and towns, but of private individuals, were
enormous. The administration of the government since
has been unusually honest and cautious, owing to the even
balance of the political parties who alternate in its conduct.
There is no just and complete history of the State, but its
records from 1636 are preserved, and furnish the best source
of information. The general histories of Bancroft and
Palfrey, and the special ones of Trumbull, Hollister, and
Barber, present the history very fairly down to the present
century. There is a bulky history of Connecticut during
the War of 1861-65, by Crofut and Morris. In Hartford
is an enterprising Historical Society with some published
collections. The Reports of the Board of Education are
valuable in this connection. (w. G. A.)

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-21 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries