Massachusetts Bay Company

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Massachusetts Bay Company,

English chartered company that established the Massachusetts Bay colony in New England. Organized (1628) as the New England Company, it took over the Dorchester Company, which had established a short-lived fishing colony on Cape Ann in 1623. The group obtained (1628) from the Council for New England a grant of land between the Charles and Merrimack rivers, extending westward to "the South Sea." One of the men who negotiated for this patent, John EndecottEndecott or Endicott, John
, c.1588–1665, one of the founders of Massachusetts Bay colony, b. England. He led the first group of Puritan colonists to Massachusetts Bay in 1628 and was the first governor
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, became leader of the colony at Naumkeag (later Salem), founded (1626) by Roger ConantConant, Roger,
1592–1679, one of the founders of Massachusetts, b. East Budleigh, Devonshire, England. He was a salter in London before he went to Plymouth in 1623.
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 and others from the Cape Ann settlement. In 1629 the New England Company obtained a royal charter as the "Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England." Almost immediately the emphasis changed from trade to religion, as the Puritan stockholders conceived of the colony as a religious and political refuge for their sect. A group led by John WinthropWinthrop, John,
1588–1649, governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, b. Edwardstone, near Groton, Suffolk, England. Of a landowning family, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, came into a family fortune, and became a government administrator with strong Puritan
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 (1588–1649) signed the so-called Cambridge Agreement (1629), by which they engaged to emigrate to New England provided that they could buy out the stock of the company and thus gain complete control of the company's government and charter. Since the royal charter did not specify where the stockholders should meet, this arrangement was made, and the Massachusetts Bay Company became the only one of the English chartered colonization companies not subject to the control of a board of governors in England. The colonists sailed for New England in 1630. They reached Salem, soon moved to Charlestown, but decided to make their chief settlement at the mouth of the Charles River, a commanding position on Massachusetts Bay. There Boston was established. Attempts were made by the Council for New England, under the leadership of Sir Ferdinando GorgesGorges, Sir Ferdinando
, c.1566–1647, English colonizer, proprietor of Maine. He was knighted (1591) for his services to Henry IV of France in the French Wars of Religion and was subsequently (1596–1601, 1603–29) military governor of Plymouth, England.
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, to annul the colony's land claims, but the efforts were unsuccessful. The company and the colony were synonymous until 1684, when the charter was withdrawn, and the company ceased to exist. In 1691 a new charter made Massachusetts a royal colony and extended its jurisdiction over Plymouth and Maine.


See N. B. Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England (5 vol., 1853–54, repr. 1968), G. L. Beer, The Origins of the British Colonial System, 1578–1660 (1908, repr. 1959); J. T. Adams, The Founding of New England (1921, repr. 1963), C. M. Andrews, The Colonial Period of American History, Vol. I (1934, repr. 1964); T. Hutchinson, The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts Bay (ed. by L. S. Mayo, 3 vol., 1936, repr. 1970); T. J. Wertenbaker, The Puritan Oligarchy (1947, repr. 1970); R. E. Wall, Massachusetts Bay: The Crucial Decade, 1640–1650 (1972).

References in periodicals archive ?
(243) Aaron B Seidman, 'Church and State in the Early Years of the Massachusetts Bay Colony' (1945) 18 New England Quarterly 211, 216.
They established the Massachusetts Bay Colony under Governor John Winthrop as an ideal theocracy, a "city on the hill." They fled religious persecution but saw no value in a pluralistic, democratic polity.
The leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were Church of England men who made it clear from the outset that they did not separate from the Church of England, nor from the ordinances of God, but only from the corruptions and disorders of that Church: that they came away from the Common-Prayer and Ceremonies.
Prologue narrator: In 1634, Anne Hutchinson, her husband, and their many children left England for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Most of the colony's 7,000 settlers were Puritans, a Christian sect, escaping the oppression of the Church of England.
Miller singled out the Massachusetts Bay Colony as the point of "coherence with which [he] could coherently begin" his story of "the movement of European culture into the vacant wilderness of America." His speech concluded with an image of those transplanted Protestants "left alone with America" with "no other place to search but within themselves." They were like so many little castaway Tom Hanks, but with Puritans instead of volleyballs for companionship.
John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, preached the first sermon to the first of the eventual 25,000 English men and women who came to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Harvard Chaplin, Reverend Peter Gomes, called Winthrop's sermon, "a kind of Ur-text of American literature." (9) In Ur, God made a covenant with Abraham to bless the world through him.
In their hands, the "world" of John Winthrop seems to have little to do with the governor and historian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. For good and ill, his role and influence were larger and deserve better.
In 1645, a group of English investors sent engineer Richard Leader to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to find the ideal location for an iron works that would serve the needs of a growing settlement.
To cite one example, he describes a fundamentalist author as emphasizing "history's losers, forgotten Americans-minor political figures such as John Winthrop." Winthrop, the founding governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and perhaps the most important spokesman for New England Puritanism, is hardly a marginal figure in the cultural and political history of Anglo-America.
Eve LaPlante offers a very detailed journey back to the 17th century and places the reader in the midst of the life experiences of Anne Hutchinson, John Cotton, who would become the grandfather of the infamous Puritan minister Cotton Mather, and John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the United States.
The contributors study excerpted diaries of the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, early modern women, 18th century travelers, among others.
Further, such an analysis reorganizes familiar histories of liberalist theory, as Dillon demonstrates when she explains how early liberalist rhetoric was at work in both Ann Hutchinson's trial and Winthrop's strategic representations of it to an English public upon whom the Massachusetts Bay Colony depended for resources.

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