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chapter. The number of non-freemen who had become inhabitants of the town before that time, was nearly the same. Several of the non-freemen were appointed to of fices in the town. John Fairbanks is an instance; he could not become a freeman because he could not conscientiously make a public profession of faith in the manner required of him by the church.
Among the other usual titles added to the names of men in these early days, the records show that sir, was the school master's title. Sir Metcalf, Sir Woodward, and Sir Dwight. These titles were applied to those school masters only, who were employed the whole year, and were so by profession. If it was intended to make the very useful and honorable employment of school master, a stepping stone to a species of knighthood, should we smile at it? Our modern addition of honorable, which is connected with so many degrees of dignity and variety of employment, cannot be better supported on the ground of reason alone. The scrupulous attention to titles, civil and military, even down to that of sergeant, in our records, may excite some attention. Yet even when this regard to titles was greatest, I do not find so many persons dignified with the name of mister, as are now in the town entitled to the addition of honorable.
However different might be the characters of the first settlers, when they were collected into a society here, united by mutual wants and common pursuits, the prevailing traits of their character would soon predominate, and the leading men would in such a state of things as then existed, communicate a large share of their own character to the rest of the community. It becomes proper therefore to give a short account of their lives and characters.
Edward Allyne was the principal man in the first company who came from Watertown. He wrote the first records. The town covenant was probably the work of his hands. He was not admitted into the Dedham church without difficulty and objections to his conduct in England. But these objections were removed as soon as he could procure evidence from England. It appears that Mr. Allyne intended to begin a settlement at Medfield, for he procured a grant of a considerable tract of land there, but before that plantation was begun, he died at Boston, 1642.
Reverend John Allin, (so spelled by him) came to Ded
ham in July, 1637, and immediately began to direct those proceedings, which laid the foundation of the church. He came here, as his records express it, in expectation of employment in public work. He had received a liberal education in England, but had not been ordained. The history of his life may be collected from his records, which with great minuteness, describe the measures adopted in organising the church, and which unfold his own and the character of his brethren. It required great prudence and skill to gather a church on his principles. He required a strict scrutiny into the actions and religious affections of each candidate before admission, even in those cases where the candidate was a member of another church. This work he however accomplished in a peaceable manner, and governed his church with increasing reputation, thirty-two years. Governor Winthrop says, that this church was gathered with good approbation.* When some disputes arose in the colony, respecting the nature of its relations to the English government, and the affair was referred to the ruling elders for advice, Mr. Allin was chosen the chairman of that body, to deliver their opinion. This he did in writing, and his report is published in Winthrop's journal. When the synod met at Cambridge, by adjournment, on the 15th day of September, 1648, for the purpose of forming a system of church government, Mr. Allin was appointed to preach to that assembly. He preached from the 15th chapter of Acts. Mr. Savage in a note to Winthrop's text, conjectures that he would insist on the doctrines of the 10th and 11th verses. "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke on the necks of his disciples, which neither our fathers nor we are able to bear? We believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus, we shall be saved even as they." they." The conjecture is supported by the fact, that these passages well express Mr. Allin's opinions in relation to the government of the church. This is governor Winthrop's account of the sermon. That it was a very godly, learned and particular handling of near all the doctrines concerning that subject, with a clear discovery and refutation of such errors, objections and scruples as had been raised about it,
* Winthrop's Journal, vol. 1, 275.
+ Winthrop's Journal, vol. 2, 282.
by some young heads in the country. In the midst of this sermon there came a snake in among the elders, sitting behind the preacher. Many of them shrunk away from it; but Mr. Thompson, a minister full of the faith, trod on his head and killed it. Thus manifesting the designs of Providence. The snake representing the devil, is crushed by the synod, the representatives of the churches.
Mr. Allin published a book with the title, A defence of the nine positions. This book was highly commended by Mr. Cotton, the famous minister of Boston. That he should be employed on such occasions, and be praised by such judges, is evidence that he was a man of no ordinary merit. His own brethren and townsmen seem to have been greatly attached to him. They made him liberal donations, and after his death published two of his last sermons. The history of his life will appear from his church records. He was a man of sweet temper, and as Cotton Mather expresses it, of a genteel spirit, a diligent student, of competent learning, a humble man and sincere christian. Mather proposes his epitaph.
Vir sincerus, amans pacis, patiensque laborum,
Dr. Cotton Mather had sufficient room in his Magnalia, and he might have collected ample materials for writing Mr. Allin's biography, but the sketch of his life in that book, is a wordy nothing. Mr. Allin died August 26, 1671.
Major Eleazer Lusher-came to Dedham with Mr. Allin, and maintains an eminent rank among the founders of the town. He was the leading man all his lifetime, and directed all the most important affairs of the town. The full and perfect records which he kept, the proper style of his writings, above all the peace and success of the plantation, which had the wisdom to employ him, are good evidences of his merit, and that his education had been superior to all other men in the town, (Mr. Allin excepted.)
He was a deputy to the general court many years, and was an influential and useful member of that body.
When Charles the second was restored to the English throne, great fears began to be entertained in the colony,
* Winthrop, vol. 2, 330.
† Magnalia, vol. 1, p. 416,
that its charter and liberties might be violated by the new administration. In 1660, a large committee was appointed by the general court to sit in Boston, to consider the perilous state of affairs then existing, and advise the general court in the measures to be adopted. Major Lusher was one of that committee.*
In 1666, the king's commissioners had excited discontent in New Hampshire and Maine against this colony. The general court appointed major Lusher one of three commissioners, to repair thither to allay the discontent, which duty was executed with success.
In 1662, he was appointed an assistant; how many years he continued in that office I have not learned.
The following saying was repeated frequently, by the generation which immediately succeeded Mr. Lusher.
"When Lusher was in office, all things went well,
His death is noticed in the church records, as it is quoted in Mr. Dexter's century sermon. "Major Eleazer Lusher, a man sound in the faith, of great holiness and heavenly mindedness, who was of the first foundation of this church, and had been of great use (as in the commonwealth, so in the church,) especially after the death of the reverend pastor thereof, Mr. John Allin, departed this life November 13, 1672."
His eulogium in the wonder working Providence is, that he was a nimble footed captain, a man of the right stamp, and full for the country.
Captain Daniel Fisher-was admitted into the Dedham church in 1639, the record of which is in these words, "Daniel Fisher appeared to the church a hopeful christian young man, and was easily and gladly received." From that time to his death, in November, 1683, he was much employed in public business, in the several offices of deputy to the general court, speaker of that assembly, and assistant, in which office he died. He was employed in much of the business in the plantation. In his time, the notable tyranny of sir Edmund Andros, the governor of the colony, had less plausible pretexts, than those measures which produced the war of separation. In its then
* Hutchinson's history, vol. 1. p. 196.
feeble state, it was more insulting to oppress, and it was more dangerous to resist. But danger would not deter a brave man and a patriot like captain Fisher, from doing his duty.
In February, 1681, Randolph, the agent of king James in the colony, exhibited articles of high misdemeanor against a faction, (so called by Randolph,) in the general court, to the lords in council. Among these men thus selected to be the victims of royal indignation, was captain Fisher.
June 14, 1682, Randolph wrote to the earl of Clarendon, that a quo warranto had issued against the colony charter, and that a warrant had been sent out to carry Thomas Danforth, Samuel Nowell, Daniel Fisher, and Elisha Cook, to England, to answer for high crimes and misdemeanors, and intimates, that the prosecution which his papers and evidence would support, would make their faction tremble.*
Captain Fisher was speaker of the house at this time, and was, we must believe, a man of great influence therein, otherwise he would not have been so much noticed at the British court. Indeed in such a time, his high spirit and resolute mind, would not permit him to be a timid and wavering man. He lived not to witness the capture of sir Edmund Andros and the other associates of his tyranny, at Fort Hill, in April, 1689, and an end put to their oppressions by that event. But it must be remembered, that he contributed much to cherish that firm spirit of resistance, which produced that change, and which early taught what a brave and united people might do. Many of the descendants of this gentleman have been respectable, and have inherited his high and patriotic spirit. I relate one anecdote, which illustrates the character of this family, and the spirit of the times. It was told me by the honorable Ebenezer Fisher, of this town, late one of the council, a descendant of captain Fisher. When sir Edmund was captured on Fort Hill, by the Bostonians, he surrendered, and went unarmed to Mr. Usher's house, where he remained under guard for some hours. When the news of this event reached Dedham, captain Daniel Fisher, the son of the proscribed patriot then dead, a stout strong man,
*Hutchinson's history, vol. 1, p. 303..