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Indians, of whom the Pequods were the most formidable, amounting nearly to 700 warriors. Those of the Moheagans, who lived farther north, were estimated at more than 2000; and the whole number of Indians was supposed to amount to nearly 40,000. In 1637, the Pequods waged war, and, being forced to retire, their country was taken possession of by the colonists, who, in 1675, with 450 men, including 150 friendly Indians, marched against and subdued the tribe of Narragansets.
In 1634, a fleet of twenty sail arrived in Massachusetts Bay, with emigrants from England, who established themselves along the Connecticut river, to the distance of fifty or sixty miles from its mouth, and laid the foundation of several towns,Hartford, Weathersfield, Windsor, and Springfield. Authorized by a charter, emanating from the assembly of Massachusetts, they formed a constitution, and agreed mutually to obey the laws which should be passed by a plurality of votes in the state assembly. The colony was soon increased by the religious dissensions of Eng. land; and among these emigrants were rich merchants of London, who elected their own magistrates, established municipal laws, and purchased, from the Indians, the country extending along the sea coast, and in the interior, between the rivers Hudson and Connecticut. The tract situated between the latter river and Bay of Narraganset, which Charles i. had granted to the Count of Warwick, in 1630, was, some years afterwards, purchased from him by Lord Say, Lord Brook, and other gentlemen; who sent, to this coun. try, a person named Fenwick, to form an establishment. He built the town of Saybrook, which he named in honour of the two Lords by whom he was employed. These gentlemen, seeing the political storm increase, resolved to remain at home, in hopes of being able to serve their country; and Fenwick was authorized to treat, concerning these lands, with the colony of Connecticut. To prevent the departure of other distinguished non-conformists, among whom was the celebrated Cromwell, the English government issued a proclamation, enjoining all the port officers not to suffer one of this description to embark; but it had no other effect than to increase the tide of emi. gration, and in 1637, numbers established themselves near the mouth of the Connecticut river, and laid the foundation of the towns of Guilford, Milford, Stamford, Brainford, and Newhaven, the last of which
gave its name to the colony. The lands occupied by this colony were claimed by none but the Indians, from whom the right of soil was purchased, and, having neither charter nor commission, they formed themselves into a political body, and engaged mutually to obey the laws which should be passed by their assembly.
In 1662 the colony was incorporated by Charles II. by the name of the Governor and Company of the English colony of Connecticut in New England in America, with a form of government similar to the constitutions of the two original colonies established at Hartford and Windsor in 1633, and at Newhaven in 1638. This charter, among other important privileges, gave the people power to elect their own magistrates ; and, content with this form of government, it has been preserved in all its force and vigour, except when in opposition to the principles of the constitution of the United States.
This state suffered much during the revolution. Governor Tryon landed at Newhaven and plundered the town, and, proceeding thence by water, destroyed Fairfield, Greensfarm, and Norwalk.
Constitution. The sovereign power is lodged in two houses, one of which, called the Upper House, is composed of the governor, deputy-governor, and twelve assistants, or counsellors; the other, called the Lower House of the Representatives of the people. These united form the general court, or assembly, and the concurrence of both is necessary for the passing of a law. There are two annual elections, in May and October. The chief officers are chosen annually, and the representatives half-yearly, (the number in each town not to exceed two,) by electors who have “ maturity in years, a quiet and peaceable behaviour, a civil conversation, and forty shillings freehold, or forty pounds personal estate.”
The governor and lieutenant-governor are chosen by the people ; the assistants by twenty persons named by the electors the preceding October; eighty towns sending two representatives, and thirty-nine, one each, the present house consists of 199 members.
Judiciary.—The judges appointed by the legislature for the term of a year, are re-eligible, though liable to impeachment for misbehaviour. The Courts are, 1st, A Supreme Court of Errors, of nine judges, who sit twice a-year at Hartford and Newhaven. 2d, Three Superior, or Circuit Courts, consisting each of three of the nine judges, one of whom is chief, who have authority in all criminal cases extending to life, limb, and banishment; also in matters of divorce, and in all actions brought by appeal from the county courts, or by writs of error. The state is divided into three circuits, in each of which three of the judges meet twice a-year, whose decisions are liable to revision by the Court of Errors. 3d, The County Courts consist of a judge and four justices of the quorum, who have original jurisdiction in all civil actions wherein the demand exceeds forty shillings; and in all criminal cases, where the punishment does not extend to life, limb, or banishment. In both courts the trial is by jury, according to the course of the common law of England. In four of the counties they sit three times a-year, and twice in the other four. 4th, A City Court, consisting of a mayor and two aldermen, sits monthly in the five cities. 5th, A Probate Court, consisting of one judge, which meets according to the direction of the judges. 6th, Justice's Courts, consisting of a single justice of the peace. The authority of Justices of the Peace extends to all civil actions, in which the demand does not exceed forty shillings; also to some criminal cases in which the fine does not exceed the said amount; to sitting in the stocks, or whipping not exceeding ten stripes. In districts of less extent than counties, there are judges for the probate of wills, from whom there is an appeal to the superior court.
The County Court now determines matters of equity from L.500 to L. 200 value; the Superior Court, from L. 200 to L. 800; and all cases exceeding this sum are determined by the General Assembly.
There is an attorney of the Governor and Company in each county ; but no attorney-general.
The officers of the United States for this state are :
1st, A judge with a salary of 1000 dollars a-year. 2d, An attorney with 200. 3d, Marshal. 4th, Clerk, with fees.
Finances. In the year 1811, the revenue of the state amounted to 79,192 dollars. The funds in public stock to 421,871; the school funds to 1,210,065 dollars.
The taxes are levied according to the polls and rateable estate of the freeholders. All males between sixteen and seventy years are subject to taxation. Under the name of rateable estate are included horses, horned cattle, cultivated and uncultivated land, houses, shipping, all sorts of riding carriages, clocks and watches, silver plate, and money at interest.