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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,
But how they go siuce, it shamcı us to tell." 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 inuch 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 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.
* Hutchinson's history, vol. 1. p. 196.
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, possessing his father's hatred of the tyrant, and his resolute spirit, instantly set out for Boston, and came rushing in with the country people, who were in such a rage and heat as made all tremble again. Nothing would satisfy the country party but binding the governor with cords, and carrying him to a more safe place. Soon was captain Fisher seen among the crowd, leading the pale and trembling sir Edmund by the collar of his coat, from the house of Mr. Usher, back to Fort Hill. History has informed us of this incident, in that revolution, but it has never informed us who took the lead of the country people, and who had the honor of leading the proud representative of a Stuart prince, the oppressor of the colony, through the assembled crowd, and placing him in safe custody at the fort.
* Hutchinson's history, vol. 1, p. 303..
The gentleman here noticed, was likewise much employed in the various affairs of the town. Did any enterprise require a hardy and skilful agent, he was the man most likely to be selected. In 1663, he was selected to go with John Fairbanks through the wilderness in search of a tract of good land, which a vague rumour had hinted was about twelve miles from Hadley. He had the honor of being sent ambassador to king Philip, to negociate a treaty for his lands at Wrentham. Mr. Dexter, in his century sermon, says he was learned in the law.
Captain Timothy Dwight—was a child when his father brought him to Dedham, in 1635. He was admitted into the church in 1652. He was the town recorder, selectman, an agent in much town business during the lives of Lusher and Fisher. He was also after their decease, a deputy to the general court. He was a faithful and upright man, and greatly esteemed for his personal merit, and for his public services. His character is given in the church records, which state " that he was a gentleman truly serious and godly, one of an excellent spirit, peaceable, generous, charitable, and a promoter of the true interests of the church and town." He died, January 31, 1717. Among the posterity of this gentlemen, are now many respectable families in New England. The late Timothy Dwight, formerly the much respected president of the college at New Haven, was one of his descendants. He had six wives, and the last was buried on the same day with himself.
Of the other excellent men of this time, of elder'Hunting, of deacon Chickering, of Anthony Fisher, and others, perhaps of equal merit, nothing can now be added. It would be an act of great injustice to the character of the inhabitants, to withhold from them the just praise of willingly and promptly executing all the useful enterprises of the first half century. The merit of suffering, and acting, for the common interest, was that of the whole, and not of a few men.
The inhabitants had the wisdom to appoint able and upright public agents, and then support them under circumstances of great difficulty.
Historians and antiquaries in New England have been diligent to collect a full account of what are now considered the follies and errors of the first settlers in Massachusetts. The victims of their intolerance have had their just complaints made known. The several disorders which existed in many of the early plantations, are minutely described. The foolery about women wearing veils, the officious interference of the ruling elders in matters which did not belong to them, and the delusions of witchcraft, have been particularly described, and often published. Many of the least useful men among the magistrates and elders, have made the greatest figure in the early history of the state. This is all well, so far; it is not to be regretted by any means, that we have so full a history of these things. But I am apt to believe that our early history, as it is now before us, does injustice to the whole colony. The spots and blemishes we may admit, are all described by a faithful hand, but the bright and the beautiful parts of the scene, are not fully exhibited to our view. Here for instance, is a little company settled in the woods of Dedham, guided by their good common sense, with tolerant principles in religion, superior to that of the age, peaceable, orderly and industrious. Their principle men of the same character, not ambitious to make a display on a public stage ; yet they are not known, they would naturally be overlooked, for crimes and follies constitute a great part of all histories. The success and good character of the Dedham plantation, afford no materials for a good story, while the disorders among the militia at Hingham, the church quarrel at Weymouth, the riots at Mount Woolaston, make those places somewhat famous. That inquisitor, Weld, the minister of Roxbury, as he has been justly styled, who
was so forward to prosecute Mrs. Hutchinson for heresy, is quite an important personage, although he was only a few years in the colony. John Allin, who if we may believe the best judges among his cotemporaries, was a man of great worth, is so little known, that Cotton Mather, his professed biographer, regrets that he scarcely knows any thing about him.