1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Connecticut
CONNECTICUT, one of the thirteen original states of the United States of America, and one of the New England group of states. It is bounded N. by Massachusetts, E. by Rhode Island, S. by Long Island Sound, and W. by New York; the S.W. corner projects along the Sound S. of New York for about 13 m. Situated between 40° 54′ and 42° 3′ N. lat., and 71° 47′ and 73° 43′ W. long., its total area is 4965 sq. m., of which 145 are water surface: only two states of the Union, Rhode Island and Delaware, are smaller in area.
Physiography.—Connecticut lies in the S. portion of the peneplain region of New England. Its surface is in general that of a gently undulating upland divided near the middle by the lowland of the Connecticut valley, the most striking physio graphic feature of the state. The upland rises from the low S. shore at an average rate of about 20 ft. in a mile until it has a mean elevation along the N. border of the state of 1000 ft. or more, and a few points in the N .W. rise to a height of about 2000 ft. above the sea. The lowland dips under the waters of Long Island Sound at the S. and rises slowly to a height of only 100 ft. above them where it crosses the N. border. At the N. this lowland is about 15 m. wide; at the S. it narrows to only 5 m. and its total area is about 600 sq. m. Its formation was caused by the removal of a band of weak rocks by erosion after the general upland surface had been first formed near sea-level and then elevated and tilted gently S. or S.E.; in this band of weak rocks were several sheets of hard igneous rock (trap) inclined from the horizontal several degrees, and so resistant that they were not removed but remained to form the “trap ridges” such as West Rock Ridge near New Haven and the Hanging Hills of Meriden. These are identical in origin and structure with Mt. Tom Range and Holyoke Range of Massachusetts, being the S. continuation of those structures. The ridges are generally deeply notched, but their highest points rise to the upland heights, directly to the E. or W. The W. section of the upland is more broken than the E. section, for in the W. are several isolated peaks lying in line with the S. continuation of the Green and the Housatonic mountain ranges of Vermont and Massachusetts, the highest among them being: Bear Mountain (Salisbury) 2355 ft.; Gridley Mountain (Salisbury), 2200 ft.; Mt. Riga (Salisbury), 2000 ft.; Mt. Ball (Norfolk) and Lion’s Head (Salisbury), each 1760 ft.; Canaan Mountain (North Canaan), 1680 ft.; and Ivy Mountain (Goshen), 1640 ft. just as the surface of the lowland is broken by the notched trap-ridges, so that of the upland is often interrupted by rather narrow deep valleys, or gorges, extending usually from N. to S. or to the S.E. The lowland is drained by the Connecticut river as far S. as Middletown, but here this river turns to the S.E. into one of the narrow valleys in the E. section of the upland, the turn being due to the fact that the river acquired its present course when the land was at a lower level and before the lowland on the soft rocks was excavated. The principal rivers in the W. section of the upland are the Housatonic and its affluent, the Naugatuck; in the E. section is the Thames which is really an outlet for three other rivers (the Yantic, the Shetucket and the Quinebaug). In the central and N. regions of the state the course of the rivers is rapid, owing to a relatively recent tilting of the surface. The Connecticut river is navigable as far as Hartford, and the Thames as far as Norwich. The Housatonic river, which in its picturesque course traverses the whole breadth of the state, has a short stretch of tide-water navigation. The lakes which are found in all parts of the state and the rapids and waterfalls along the rivers are largely due to disturbances of the drainage lines by the ice invasion of the glacial period. To the glacial action is also due the extensive removal of the original soil from the uplands, and the accumulation of morainic hills in many localities. The sea-coast, about 100 m. in length, has a number of bays which have been created by a depression of small valleys making several good harbours.
The climate of Connecticut, though temperate, is subject to sudden changes, yet the extremes of cold and heat are less than in the other New England states. The mean annual temperature is 49° F., the average temperature of winter being 27°, and that of summer 72°. Since the general direction of the winter winds is from the N.W. the extreme of cold (−10° or −15°) is felt in the north-western part of the state, while the prevailing summer winds, which are from the S.W., temper the heat of summer in the coast region, the extreme heat (100°) being found in the central part of the state. The annual rainfall varies from 45 to 50 in.
Agriculture.—Connecticut is not an agricultural state. Although three-fourths of the land surface is included in farms, only 7% of this three-fourths is cultivated; but agriculture is of considerable economic and historic interest. The accounts of the fertility of the Connecticut valley were among the causes leading to the English colonization, and until the middle of the nineteenth century agriculture was the principal occupation. The soils, which are composed largely of sands, except in the upland valleys where alluvial loams with the sub-soils of clay are found, were not suitable for tillage. However, a thrifty, industrious, self-reliant agricultural life developed, labour was native-born, the women of the household worked in the fields with the men, some employment was found for every season, and a system of neighbourly barter of food products took the place of other modes of exchange. But the development of manufactures in the first half of the 19th century, the competition of the new western states in farm products, and the change in the character of the population incident to the growth of cities, caused a great change in agriculture after 1860. Indeed, during every decade from 1860 to 1890 the total value of farm property and products declined; and the increase of products from 1890 to 1900 was due to the growth of dairy farms, which yielded almost one-third of the total farm product of the state. In the same decade Indian corn, potatoes and tobacco were the only staples whose acreage increased and the production of all cereals except Indian corn and buckwheat declined. Tobacco, which was first grown here between 1640 and 1660, because of a law restricting the use of tobacco to that grown in the colony, was in the decade 1890–1900 the only crop raised for consumption outside the state; its average yield per acre (1673 ℔) was exceeded in the continental United States only in Vermont (1844 ℔) and Massachusetts (1674 ℔) in 1899, and in 1907 (1510 ℔) by New Hampshire (1650 ℔), Vermont (1625 ℔) and Massachusetts (1525 ℔). The total value of Connecticut tobacco in 1907 was $2,501,000 (1906, $4,415,922; 1905, $3,911,933), and the average farm price was 11.5 cents per ℔ (in 1906, 18 cents; 1905, 17 cents). But the cultivation of tobacco is confined almost exclusively to the valleys of the Connecticut and Housatonic rivers, and these lands are constantly and expensively treated with nitrogenous fertilizers; the grades raised are the broad-leaf and the Habana seed-leaf wrappers, which, excepting the Florida growth from Sumatra seed, are the nearest domestic approach to the imported Sumatra. The manufacture of cigars was begun in South Windsor, Connecticut, in 1801. Dairying was responsible for the increased production between 1889 and 1899 of Indian corn and the large acreage in hay, which surpassed that of any other crop, but many hay and grain farms were afterwards abandoned. The production of orchard fruits and market vegetables, however, increased during the decade 1890–1900. Other evidences of the transition in agricultural life are that in Tolland and Windham counties the value of farm buildings exceeded that of farm land, that in Middlesex and Fairfield counties the acreage as well as the value of the farms declined, that native farm labour and ownership were being replaced by foreign labour and ownership; while dependent land tenure is insignificant, 87% of the farms being worked by their owners. The state board of agriculture holds annual conventions for the discussion of agricultural problems.
Minerals.—The mineral industries of Connecticut have had a fortune very similar to that of agriculture. The early settlers soon discovered metals in the soil and began to work them. About 1730 the production of iron became an important industry in the vicinity of Salisbury, and from Connecticut iron many of the American military supplies in the War of Independence were manufactured. Copper was mined in East Granby as early as 1705 and furnished material for early colonial and United States coins. Gold, silver and lead have also been produced, but the discovery of larger deposits of these metals in other states has caused the abandonment of all metal mines in Connecticut, except those of iron and tungsten. The quarries of granite near Long Island Sound, those of sandstone at Portland, and of feldspar at Branchville and South Glastonbury, however, have furnished building and paving materials for other states; the stone product of the state was valued at $1,386,540 in 1906. Limestone, for the reduction of lime, is also mined; and beryl, clays and mineral springs yield products of minor importance.
On account of the importations from Canada, Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes, the mackerel, cod and menhaden fisheries declined, especially after 1860, and the oyster and lobster fisheries are not as important as formerly. In 1905, according to the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, the fisheries’ products of the state were valued at $3,173,948, market oysters being valued at $1,206,217 and seed oysters at $1,603,615.
Manufactures.—Manufacturing, however, has encountered none of the vicissitudes of other industries. Manufactures form the principal source of Connecticut’s wealth,—manufacturing gave occupation in 1900 to about one-fifth of the total population, and the products in that year ranked the state eleventh among the states of the American Union. Indeed, manufacturing in Connecticut is notable for its early beginning and its development of certain branches beyond that of the other states. Iron products were manufactured throughout the 18th century, nails were made before 1716 and were exported from the colony, and it was in Connecticut that cannon were cast for the Continental troops and the chains were made to block the channel of the Hudson river to British ships. Tinware was manufactured in Berlin, Hartford county, as early as 1770, and tin, steel and iron goods were peddled from Connecticut through the colonies. The Connecticut clock maker and clock peddler was the 18th-century embodiment of Yankee ingenuity; the most famous of the next generation of clock makers were Eli Terry (1772–1852), who made a great success of his wooden clocks; Chauncey Jerome, who first used brass wheels in 1837 and founded in 1844 the works of the New Haven Clock Co.; Gideon Roberts; and Terry’s pupil and successor, Seth Thomas (1786–1859), who built the factory at Thomaston carried on by his son Seth Thomas (1816–1888). In 1732 the London hatters complained of the competition of Connecticut hats in their trade. Before 1749 brass works were in operation at Waterbury—the great brass manufacturing business there growing out of the making of metal buttons. In 1768 paper mills were erected at Norwich, and in 1776 at East Hartford. In 1788 the first woollen mills in New England were established at Hartford, and about 1803 one hundred merino sheep were imported by David Humphreys, who in 1806 built a mill in that part of Derby which is now Seymour and which was practically the first New England factory town; in 1812 steam was first used by the Middletown Woollen Manufacturing Company. In 1804 the manufacture of cotton was begun at Vernon, Hartford county; mills at Pomfret and Jewett City were established in 1806 and 1810 respectively. Silk culture was successfully introduced about 1732; and there was a silk factory at Mansfield, Tolland county, in 1758. The period of greatest development of manufactures began after the war of 1812. The decade of greatest relative development was that of 1860–1870, during which the value of the products increased 96.6%. During the period 1850–1900, when the population increased 145%, the average number of wage-earners
employed in manufacturing establishments increased 248.3%, the number so employed constituting 13.7% of the state's total population in 1850 and 19.5% of that in 1900. The average number of wage-earners employed in establishments conducted under the factory system alone was 13.7% greater in 1905 than in 1900. In 1900 Connecticut led the United States in the manufacture of ammunition, bells, brass and copper (rolled), brass castings and finishings, brass ware and needles and pins. In the automobile industry the state in 1905 ranked second (to Michigan) in capital invested; and was sixth in value of product, but first in the average value per car, which was $2354 ($2917 for gasoline; $2343 for electric; $673 for steam cars). Connecticut has long ranked high in textile manufactures, but the product of cotton goods in 1900 ($15,489,442) and in 1905 ($18,239,155) had not materially advanced beyond that of 1890 ($15,409,476), this being due to the increase in cotton manufacturing in the South. Between 1890 and 1900 Connecticut's products in dyeing and finishing of textiles, industries which have as yet not developed in the South, increased 217.3% from $715,388 in 1890 to $2,269,967 in 1900; in 1905 their value was $2,215,314. The manufacture of woollen goods and silk also increased respectively 33% and 26.5% between 1890 and 1900; the returns for 1900, however, include the fur hat product ($7,546,882), which was not included in the returns for 1890. In 1905 the value of the woollen goods manufactured in the state was $11,166,965; of the silk goods, $15,623,693. The value of the products of all the textile industries combined increased from $46,819,399 in 1900 to $56,933,113 in 1905, when the combined textile product value was greater than that of any other manufactured product in the state. The most important single industry in 1905 was the manufacture of rolled brass and copper with a product value of $41,911,903 (in 1900, $36,325,178)—80.7% of the total for the United States; the value of the product of the other brass industries was brass ware (1905) $9,022,427,—51.6% of the total for the United States,—(1900) $8,947,451; and brass castings and brass finishing (1905) $2,982,115, (1900) $3,254,239. Hardware ranks next in importance, the output of 1905 being valued at $21,480,652,—which was 46.9% of the total product value of hardware for the entire United States,—as against $16,301,198 in 1900. Then come in rank of product value for 1905: foundry and machine shop products (1905) $20,189,384, (1900) $18,991,079; cotton goods; silk and silk goods; ammunition (1905) $15,394,485,—being 77.2% of the value of all ammunition made in the United States,—(1900) $9,823,712; and rubber boots and shoes (1905) $12,829,346, (1900) $11,999,038. In 1905 the state ranked first in the United States in the value of clocks manufactured,—$6,158,034, or 69.4% of the total product value of the industry for that year in the United States,—and also in the value of plated ware—$8,125,881, being 66.9% of the product value of the United States.
The decade of greatest absolute increase in the value of manufactures was that ending in 1900, the value of manufactured products in that year being $352,284,116, an increase of $104,487,742 over that of 1890. The general tendency was towards the centralization of industry, the number of establishments in the leading industries increasing less than 5%, while the capital and the value of the products increased respectively 33.5% and 42%. Among the new manufactories were a ship-building establishment at Groton near New London, which undertook contracts for the United States government, and a compressed-air plant near Norwich. Of the 359 manufactured products classified by the United States census, 249, or almost seven-tenths, were produced in Connecticut.
This prominence in manufactures is due to excellent transportation facilities, to good water powers, to the ease with which labour is got from large cities, to plentiful capital (furnished by the large insurance and banking concerns of the state), and to Connecticut's liberal Joint Stock Act of 1837 (copied in Great Britain and elsewhere), permitting small sums to be capitalized in manufactures; and even to a larger extent, possibly it is the result of the ingenuity of the Connecticut people. In the two decades 1880–1900 more patents were secured in Connecticut in proportion to its population than in any other state. It was in Connecticut that Elias Howe and Allen B. Wilson developed the sewing machine; that Charles Goodyear discovered the process of vulcanising rubber; that Samuel Colt began the manufacture of the Colt fire-arms; and it was from near New Haven that Eli Whitney went to Georgia where he invented the cotton gin. The earliest form of manufacturing was that of household industries, nails, clocks, tin ware and other useful articles being made by hand, and then peddled from town to town. Hence Connecticut became known as the “Land of Yankee Notions”; and small wares are still manufactured, the patents granted to inventors in one city ranging from bottle-top handles, bread toasters and lamp holders, to head-rests for church pews and scissors-sharpeners. Then, after a long schooling in ingenuity by the system of household industries, came the division of labour, the introduction of machinery and the modern factory. Transportation of products is facilitated by water routes (chiefly coasting), for which there are ports of entry at New Haven, Hartford, Stonington, New London and Bridgeport, and by 1013 m. (on the 1st of January 1908) of steam railways. One company, the New York, New Haven & Hartford, controlled 87% of this railway mileage in 1904, and practically all the steamboat lines on Long Island Sound. Since 1895 electric railways operated by the trolley system have steadily developed, their mileage in 1909 approximating 895 m. By their influence the rural districts have been brought into close touch with the cities, and many centres of population have been so connected as to make them practically one community.
Population.—The population of Connecticut in 1880 was 622,700; in 1890, 746,258—an increase of 19.8%; in 1900, 908,420—an increase of 21.7% over that of 1890; and in 1910, 1,114,756. Of the 1900 population 98.2% were white, 26.2% were foreign born, and 31.1% of the native whites were of foreign parentage. Of the foreign-born element, 29.8% were Irish; there were also many Germans and Austrians, English, and French- and English-Canadians. In 1900 there were 24 incorporated cities or boroughs with a population of more than 5000, and on this basis almost three-fifths of the total population of the state was urban. The principal cities, having a population of more than 20,000, were New Haven (108,027), Hartford (79,850), Bridgeport (70,966), Waterbury (45,859), New Britain (25,998), and Meriden (24,296). The industrial development has affected religious conditions. In the early part of the 19th century the Congregational church had the largest number of communicants; in 1906 more than three-fifths of the church population was Roman Catholic; the Congregationalists composed about one-third of the remainder, and next ranked the Episcopalians, Methodists and Baptists.
Government.—The present constitution of Connecticut is that framed and adopted in 1818 with subsequent amendments (33 up to 1909). Amendments are adopted after approval by a majority vote of the lower house of the general assembly, a two-thirds majority of both houses of the next general assembly, and ratification by the townships. The executive and legislative officials are chosen by the electors for a term of two years; the attorney general for four years; the judges of the supreme court of errors and the superior court, appointed by the general assembly on nomination by the governor, serve for eight, and the judges of the courts of common pleas (in Hartford, New London, New Haven, Litchfield and Fairfield counties) and of the district courts, chosen in like manner, serve for four years. In providing for the judicial system, the constitution says: “the powers and jurisdiction of which courts shall be defined by law.” The general assembly has interpreted this as a justification for interference in legal matters. It has at various times granted divorces, confirmed faulty titles, annulled decisions of the justices of the peace, and validated contracts against which judgment by default had been secured. Qualifications for suffrage are: the age of twenty-one years, citizenship in the United States, residence in the state for one year and in the township for six months preceding the election, a good moral character, and ability “to read in the English language any article of the Constitution or any section of the Statutes of this State.” Women may vote for school officials. The right to decide upon a citizen's qualifications for suffrage is vested in the selectmen and clerk of each township. A property qualification, found in the original constitution, was removed in 1845. The Fifteenth Amendment of the Federal Constitution was ratified (1869) by Connecticut, but negroes were excluded from the suffrage by the state constitution until 1876.
The jurisprudence of Connecticut, since the 17th century, has been notable for its divergence from the common law of England. In 1639 inheritance by primogeniture was abolished, and this resulted in conflict with the British courts in the 18th century. At an early date, also, the office of public prosecutor was created to conduct prosecutions, which until then had been left to the aggrieved party. The right of bastards to inherit the mother's property is recognized, and the age of consent has been placed at sixteen years. Neither husband nor wife acquires by marriage any interest in the property of the other; the earnings of the wife are her sole property and she has the right to make contracts as if unmarried. After residence in the state for three years divorce may be obtained on grounds of fraudulent contract, desertion, neglect for three years, adultery, cruelty, intemperance, imprisonment for life and certain crimes. The Joint Stock Act of 1837 furnished the precedent and the principle for similar legislation in other American states and (it is said) for the English Joint Stock Companies Act of 1856. The relations between capital and labour are the subject of a series of statutes, which prohibit the employment of children under fourteen years of age in any mechanical, mercantile or manufacturing establishment, punish with fine or imprisonment any attempt by an employer to influence his employee's vote or to prevent him from joining a labour union, and in cases of insolvency give preference over general liabilities to debts of $100 or less for labour. A homestead entered upon record and occupied by the owner is exempt to the extent of $1000 in value from liability for debts.
The government of Connecticut is also notable for the variety of its administrative boards. Among these are a board of pardons, a state library committee, a board of mediation and arbitration for adjustment of labour disputes, a board of education and a railway commission. The bureau of labour statistics has among its duties the giving of information to immigrant labourers regarding their legal rights: it has free employment agencies at Bridgeport, Norwich, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury. A state board of charities has supervision over all philanthropic and penal institutions in the state, including hospitals, which numbered 103 in 1907; and the board visits the almshouses supported by seventy-eight (of the 168) towns of the state, and investigates and supervises the provision made for the town poor in the other ninety towns of the state; some, as late as 1906, were, with the few paupers maintained by the state, cared for in a private almshouse at Tariffville, which was commonly known as the “state almshouse.” The institutions supported by the state are: a state prison at Wethersfield, the Connecticut industrial school for girls (reformatory) at Middletown and a similar institution for boys at Meriden,the Connecticut hospital for the insane at Middletown, and the Norwich hospital for the insane at Norwich. The state almost entirely supports the Connecticut school for imbeciles, at Lakeville; the American school for the deaf, in Hartford; the oral school for the deaf, at Mystic; the Connecticut institute and industrial home for the blind, at Hartford; Fitch's home for soldiers, at Noroton; ten county jails in the eight counties; and eight county temporary homes for dependent and neglected children.
Education.—Education has always been a matter of public interest in Connecticut. Soon after the foundation of the colonies of Connecticut and New Haven, schools similar to the English Latin schools were established. The Connecticut Code of 1650 required all parents to educate their children, and every township of 50 householders (later 30) to have a teacher supported by the men of family, while the New Haven Code of 1656 also encouraged education. In 1672 the general court granted 600 acres of land to each county for educational purposes; in 1794 the general assembly appropriated the proceeds from the sale of western lands to education, and in 1837 made a similar disposition of funds received from the Federal treasury. The existing organization and methods in school work began in 1838, when the state board of commissioners of common schools (later replaced by a board of education) was organized, with Henry Barnard at its head. In 1900, 5.9% of the population at least 10 years of age was illiterate. All children between 7 and 16 are required to attend school, but those over 14 are excused if they labour; every township of more than 10,000 inhabitants must support an evening school for those over 14; and textbooks are provided by the townships for those unable to purchase them. In 1907–1908 the total school revenue was $5,027,877 or $22.35 for each child enrolled, the enrolment being 78.51% of the total number of children enumerated of school age. Of the school revenue about 2.81% was derived from a permanent school fund, 10.96% from state taxation, 80.43% from local taxation and 5.8% from other sources. The average school term was 186.73 days (in 1899–1900 it was 189.01 days), and the average monthly salary of male teachers $115.07, that of female teachers, $50.5. Supplementing the educative influence of the schools are the public libraries (161 in number in 1907); the state appropriates $200 to establish, and $100 per annum to maintain, a public library (provided the town in which the library is to be established contributes an equal amount), and the Public Library Committee has for its duty the study of library problems. Higher education is provided by Yale University (q.v.); by Trinity College, at Hartford (non-sectarian), founded in 1823; by Wesleyan University, at Middletown, the oldest college of the Methodist Church in the United States, founded in 1831; by the Hartford Theological Seminary (1834); by the Connecticut Agricultural College, at Storrs (founded 1881), which has a two years' course of preparation for rural teachers and has an experiment station; by the Connecticut Experiment Station at New Haven, which was established in 1875 at Middletown and was the first in the United States; and by normal schools at New Britain (established 1881), Willimantic (1890), New Haven (1894) and Danbury (1903).
Finance.—In the year ending on the 30th of September 1908 the receipts of the state treasury were $3,925,492, the expenditure $4,741,549, and the funded debt, deducting a Civil List Fund of $325,513 in the treasury, was $548,586. The debt was increased in April 1909 by the issue of bonds for $1,000,000 (out of $7,000,000 authorized in 1907). The principal source of revenue was an indirect tax on corporations, the tax on railways, savings banks and life insurance companies, yielding 70% of the state's income. A tax on inheritances ranked next. There is a military commutation tax of $2, and all persons neglecting to pay it or to pay the poll tax are liable to imprisonment. A state board of equalization has been established to insure equitable taxation. More than 130 underwriting institutions have been chartered in the state since 1794. The insurance business centres at Hartford. The legal rate of interest is 6%, and days of grace are not allowed.
History.—The first settlement by Europeans in Connecticut was made on the site of the present Hartford in 1633, by a party of Dutch from New Netherland. In the same year a trading post was established on the Connecticut river, near Windsor, by members of the Plymouth Colony, and John Oldham (1600–1636) of Massachusetts explored the valley and made a good report of its resources. Encouraged by Oldham’s account of the country, the inhabitants of three Massachusetts towns, Dorchester, Watertown and New Town (now Cambridge), left that colony for the Connecticut valley. The emigrants from Watertown founded Wethersfield in the winter of 1634–1635; those from New Town (now Cambridge) settled at Windsor in the summer of 1635; and in the autumn of the same year people from Dorchester settled at Hartford. These early colonists had come to Massachusetts in the Puritan migration of 1630; their removal to Connecticut, in which they were led principally by Thomas Hooker (q.v.), Roger Ludlow (c. 1590–1665) and John Haynes (d. 1654), was caused by their discontent with the autocratic character of the government in Massachusetts; but the instrument of government which they framed in 1639, known as the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, reveals no radical departure from the institutions of Massachusetts. The general court—the supreme civil authority—was composed of deputies from the towns, and a governor and magistrates who were chosen at a session of the court attended by all freemen of the towns. It powers were not clearly defined; there was also no separation of the executive, legislative and judicial functions, and the authority of the governor was limited to that of a presiding officer.
The government thus established was not the product of a federation of townships, as has often been stated; indeed, the townships had been governed during the first year by commissioners deriving authority from Massachusetts, and the first general court was probably convened by them. In 1638 the celebrated Fundamental Orders were drawn up, and in 1639 they were adopted. Their most original feature was the omission of a religious test for citizenship, though a precedent for this is to be found in the Plymouth Colony; on the other hand, the union of church and state was presumed in the preamble, and in 1659 a property qualification (the possession of an estate of £30) for suffrage was imposed by the general court.
In the meantime another migration to the Connecticut country had begun in 1638, when a party of Puritans who had arrived in Massachusetts the preceding year sailed from Boston for the Connecticut coast and there founded New Haven. The leaders in this movement were John Davenport (1597–1670) and Theophilus Eaton, and their followers were drawn from the English middle class. Soon after their arrival these colonists drew up a “plantation covenant” which made the Scriptures the supreme guide in civil as well as religious affairs; but no copy of this is now extant. In June 1639, however, a more definite statement of political principles was framed, in which it was clearly stated that the rules of Scripture should determine the ordering of the church, the choice of magistrates, the making and repeal of laws, the dividing of inheritances, and all other matters of public import; that only church members could become free burgesses and officials of the colony; that the free burgesses should choose twelve men who should choose seven others, and that these should organize the church and the civil government. In 1643 the jurisdiction of the New Haven colony was extended by the admission of the townships of Milford, Guilford and Stamford to equal rights with New Haven, the recognition of their local governments, and the formation of two courts for the whole jurisdiction, a court of magistrates to try important cases and hear appeals from “plantation” courts, and a general court with legislative powers, the highest court of appeals, which was similar in composition to the general court of the Connecticut Colony. Two other townships were afterwards added to the colony, Southold, on Long Island, and Branford, Conn.
The religious test for citizenship was continued (except in the case of six citizens of Milford), and in 1644 the general court decided that the “judicial laws of God as they were declared by Moses” should constitute a rule for all courts “till they be branched out into particulars hereafter.” The theocratic character of the government thus established is clearly revealed in the series of strict enactments and decisions which constituted the famous “Blue Laws.” Of the laws (45 in number) given by Peters, more than one-half really existed in New Haven, and more than four-fifths existed in some form in the New England colonies. Among those of New Haven are the prohibition of trial by jury, the infliction of the death penalty for adultery, and of the same penalty for conspiracy against the jurisdiction, the strict observance of the Sabbath enjoined, and heavy fines for “concealing or entertaining Quaker or other blasphemous hereticks.”
A third Puritan settlement was established in 1635 at the mouth of the Connecticut river, under the auspices of an English company whose leading members were William Fiennes, Lord Say and Sele (1582–1662) and Robert Greville, Lord Brooke (1608–1643). In their honour the colony was named Saybrook. In 1639 George Fenwick (d. 1657), a member of the company, arrived, and as immigration from England soon afterwards greatly declined on account of the Puritan Revolution, he sold the colony to Connecticut in 1644. This early experiment in colonization at Saybrook and the sale by Fenwick are important on account of their relation to a fictitious land title. The Say and Sele Company secured in 1631 from Robert Rich, earl of Warwick (1587–1658), a quit claim to his interest in the territory lying between the Narragansett river and the Pacific Ocean. The nature of Warwick’s right to the land is not stated in any extant document, and no title of his to it was ever shown. But the Connecticut authorities in their effort to establish a legal claim to the country and to thwart the efforts of the Hamilton family to assert its claims to the territory between the Connecticut river and Narragansett Bay—claims derived from a grant of the Plymouth Company to James, marquess of Hamilton (1606–1649) in 1635—elaborated the theory that the Plymouth Company had made a grant to Warwick, and that consequently his quit claim conferred jurisdiction upon the Say and Sele Company; but even in this event, Fenwick had no right to make his sale, for which he never secured confirmation.
The next step in the formation of modern Connecticut was the union of the New Haven colony with the older colony. This was accomplished by the royal charter of 1662, which defined the boundaries of Connecticut as extending from Massachusetts south to the sea, and from Narragansett bay west to the South Sea (Pacific Ocean). This charter had been secured without the knowledge or consent of the New Haven colonists and they naturally protested against the union with Connecticut. But on account of the threatened absorption of a part of the Connecticut territory by the Colony of New York granted to the duke of York in 1664, and the news that a commission had been appointed in England to settle intercolonial disputes, they finally assented to the union in 1665. Hartford then became the capital of the united colonies, but shared that honour with New Haven from 1701 until 1873.
The charter was liberal in its provisions. It created a corporation under the name of the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Connecticut in New England in America, sanctioned the system of government already existing, provided that all acts of the general court should be valid upon being issued under the seal of the colony, and made no reservation of royal or parliamentary control over legislation or the administration of justice. Consequently there developed in Connecticut an independent, self-reliant colonial government, which looked to its chartered privileges as the supreme source of authority.
Although the governmental and religious influences which moulded Connecticut were similar to those which moulded New England at large, the colony developed certain distinctive characteristics. Its policy “was to avoid notoriety and public attitudes; to secure privileges without attracting needless notice; to act as intensely and vigorously as possible when action seemed necessary and promising; but to say as little as possible, and evade as much as possible when open resistance was evident folly.”
The relations of Connecticut with neighbouring colonies were notable for numerous and continuous quarrels in the 17th century. Soon after the first settlements were made, a dispute arose with Massachusetts regarding the boundary between the two colonies; after the brief war with the Pequot Indians in 1637 a similar quarrel followed regarding Connecticut’s right to the Pequot lands, and in the New England Confederation (established in 1643) friction between Massachusetts and Connecticut continued. Difficulty with Rhode Island was caused by the conflict between that colony’s charter and the Connecticut charter regarding the western boundary of Rhode Island; and the encroachment of outlying Connecticut settlements on Dutch territory, and the attempt to extend the boundaries of New York to the Connecticut river, gave rise to other disputes. These questions of boundary were a source of continuous discord, the last of them not being settled until 1881. The attempts of Governors Joseph Dudley (1647–1720), of Massachusetts, and Thomas Dongan (1634–1715) of New York, to unite Connecticut with their, colonies also caused difficulty.
The relations of Connecticut and New Haven with the mother country were similar to those of the other New England colonies. The period of most serious friction was that during the administration of the New England colonies by Sir Edmund Andros (q.v.), who in pursuance of the later Stuart policy both in England and in her American colonies visited Hartford on the 31st of October 1687 to execute quo warranto proceedings against the charter of 1662. It is said that during a discussion at night over the surrender of the charter the candles were extinguished, and the document itself (which had been brought to the meeting) was removed from the table where it had been placed. According to tradition it was hidden in a large oak tree, afterwards known as the “Charter Oak.” But though Andros thus failed to secure the charter, he dissolved the existing government. After the Revolution of 1688, however, government under the charter was resumed, and the crown lawyers decided that the charter had not been invalidated by the quo warranto proceedings.
Religious affairs formed one of the most important problems in the life of the colony. The established ecclesiastical system was the Congregational. The Code of 1650 (Connecticut) taxed all persons for its support, provided for the collection of church taxes, if necessary, by civil distraint, and forbade the formation of new churches without the consent of the general court. The New England Half Way Covenant of 1657, which extended church membership so as to include all baptized persons, was sanctioned by the general court in 1664. The custom by which neighbouring churches sought mutual aid and advice, prepared the way for the Presbyterian system of church government, which was established by an ecclesiastical assembly held at Saybrook in 1708, the church constitution there framed being known as the “Saybrook Platform.” At that time, however, a liberal policy towards dissent was adopted, the general court granting permission for churches “soberly to differ or dissent” from the establishment. Hence a large number of new churches soon sprang into being. In 1727 the Church of England was permitted to organize in the colony, and in 1729 a similar privilege was granted to the Baptists and Quakers. A religious revival swept the colony in 1741. The very existence of the establishment seemed threatened; consequently in 1742 the general court forbade any ordained minister to enter another parish than his own without an invitation, and decided that only those were legal ministers who were recognized as such by the general court. Throughout the remaining years of the 18th century there was constant friction between the establishment and the nonconforming churches; but in 1791 the right of free incorporation was granted to all sects.
In the War of American Independence Connecticut took a prominent part. During the controversy over the Stamp Act the general court instructed the colony’s agent in London to insist on “the exclusive right of the colonists to tax themselves, and on the privilege of trial by jury,” as rights that could not be surrendered. The patriot sentiment was so strong that Loyalists from other colonies were sent to Connecticut, where it was believed they would have no influence; and the copper mines at Simsbury were converted into a military prison; but among the nonconforming sects, on the other hand, there was considerable sympathy for the British cause. Preparations for war were made in 1774; on the 28th of April 1775 the expedition against Ticonderoga and Crown Point was resolved upon by some of the leading members of the Connecticut assembly, and although they had acted in their private capacity funds were obtained from the colonial treasury to raise the force which on the 8th of May was put under the command of Ethan Allen. Connecticut volunteers were among the first to go to Boston after the battle of Lexington and more than one-half of Washington’s army at New York in 1776 was composed of Connecticut soldiers. Yet with the exception of isolated British movements against Stonington in 1775, Danbury in 1777, New Haven in 1779 and New London in 1781 no battles were fought in Connecticut territory.
In 1776 the government of Connecticut was reorganized as a state, the charter of 1662 being adopted by the general court as “the Civil Constitution of this State, under the sole authority of the people thereof, independent of any King or Prince whatever.” In the formation of the general government the policy of the state was national. It acquiesced in the loss of western lands through a decision (1782) of a court appointed by the Confederation (see Wyoming Valley); favoured the levy of taxes on imports by federal authority; relinquished (1786) its claims to all western lands, except the Western Reserve (see Ohio); and in the constitutional convention of 1787 the present system of national representation in Congress was proposed by the Connecticut delegates as a compromise between the plans presented by Virginia and New Jersey.
For many years the Federalist party controlled the affairs of the state. The opposition to the growth of American nationality which characterized the later years of that party found expression in a resolution of the general assembly that a bill for incorporating state troops in the Federal army would be “utterly subversive of the rights and liberties of the people of the state, and the freedom, sovereignty and independence of the same,” and in the prominent part taken by Connecticut in the Hartford Convention (see Hartford) and in the advocacy of the radical amendments proposed by it. But the development of manufactures, the discontent of nonconforming religious sects with the establishment, and the confusion of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government in the existing constitution opened the way for a political revolution. All the discontented elements united with the Democratic party in 1817 and defeated the Federalists in the state election; and in 1818 the existing constitution was adopted. From 1830 until 1855 there was close rivalry between the Democratic and Whig parties for control of the state administration.
In the Civil War Connecticut was one of the most ardent supporters of the Union cause. When President Lincoln issued his first call, for 75,000 volunteers, there was not a single militia company in the state ready for service. Governor William A. Buckingham (1804–1875), one of the ablest and most zealous of the “war-governors,” and afterwards, from 1869 until his death, a member of the United States Senate, issued a call for volunteers in April 1861; and soon 54 companies, more than five times the state’s quota, were organized. Corporations, individuals and towns made liberal contributions of money. The general assembly made an appropriation of $2,000,000, and the state furnished approximately 48,000 men to the army. Equally important was the moral support given to the Federal government by the people.
After the war the Republicans were more frequently successful at the polls than the Democrats. Representation in the lower house of the general assembly, by the constitution of 1818, was based on the townships, each township having two representatives, except townships created after 1818, which had only one each; this method constituted a serious evil when, in the transition from agriculture to manufacturing as the leading industry, the population became concentrated to a considerable degree in a few large cities, and the relative importance of the various townships was greatly changed. The township of Marlborough, with a population in 1900 of 322, then had one representative, while the city of Hartford, with a population of 79,850, had only two; and the township of Union, with 428 inhabitants, and the city of New Haven, with 108,027, each had two representatives. The apportionment of representation in the state senate had become almost as objectionable. By a constitutional amendment of 1828 it had been provided that senators should be chosen by districts, and that in the apportionment regard should be had to population, no county or township to be divided and no part of one county to be joined to the whole or part of another county, and each county to have at least two senators; but by 1900 any relation that the districts might once have had to population had disappeared. The system of representation had sometimes put in power a political party representing a minority of the voters: in 1878, 1884, 1886, 1888 and 1890 the Democratic candidates for state executive offices received a plurality vote; but, as a majority was not obtained, these elections were referred to the general assembly, and the Republican party in control of the lower house secured the election of its candidates; in 1901 constitutional amendments were adopted making a plurality vote sufficient for election, increasing the number of senatorial districts, and stipulating that “in forming them regard shall be had” to population. But the greater inequalities in township representation subsisted, although in 1874 an amendment had given all townships of 5000 inhabitants two seats in the lower house, every other one “to be entitled to its present representation,” and in 1876 another amendment had provided that no township incorporated thereafter should be entitled to a representative “unless it has at least 2500 inhabitants, and unless the town from which the major portion of its territory is taken has also at least 2500 inhabitants.” These provisions did not remedy the grosser defects, and as proposals for an amendment of the constitution could be submitted to the people only after receiving a majority vote of the lower house, all further attempts at effective reform seemed to be blocked, owing to the unwillingness of the representatives of the smaller townships to surrender their unusual degree of power. Therefore, the question of calling a constitutional convention, for which the present constitution makes no provision, was submitted to the people in 1901, and was carried. But the act providing for the convention had stipulated that the delegates thereto should be chosen on the basis of township representation instead of population. The small townships thus secured practical control of the convention, and no radical changes were made. A compromise amendment submitted by the convention, providing for two representatives for each township of 2000 inhabitants, and one more for each 5000 above 50,000, satisfied neither side, and when submitted to a popular vote, on the 16th of June 1902, was overwhelmingly defeated.
|Governors of Connecticut|
|The Colony of Connecticut.|
|Fitz John Winthrop||1698–1708|
|The New Haven Colony.|
|John Cotton Smith||1812–1817||”|
|John S. Peters||1831–1833||Whig|
|Henry W. Edwards||1833–1834||Democrat|
|Samuel A. Foote||1834–1835||Whig|
|Henry W. Edwards||1835–1838||Democrat|
|William W. Ellsworth||1838–1842||Whig|
|Chauncey F. Cleveland||1842–1844||Democrat|
|Roger S. Baldwin||1844–1846||Whig|
|Thomas H. Seymour||1850–1853||Democrat|
|Charles H. Pond (Acting)||1853–1854|
|William T. Minor||1855–1857||Know-Nothing|
|Alexander H. Holley||1857–1858||Republican|
|William A. Buckingham||1858–1866||”|
|Joseph R. Hawley||1866–1867||”|
|James E. English||1867–1869||Democrat|
|James E. English||1870–1871||Democrat|
|Charles R. Ingersoll||1873–1877||Democrat|
|Richard D. Hubbard||1877–1879||Democrat|
|Charles B. Andrews||1879–1881||Republican|
|Hobart B. Bigelow||1881–1883||Republican|
|Thomas M. Waller||1883–1885||Democrat|
|Henry B. Harrison||1885–1887||Republican|
|Phineas C. Lounsbury||1887–1889||”|
|Morgan G. Bulkeley||1889–1893||”|
|Luzon B. Morris||1893–1895||Democrat|
|O. Vincent Coffin||1895–1897||Republican|
|Lorrin A. Cooke||1897–1899||”|
|George E. Lounsbury||1899–1901||”|
|George P. McLean||1901–1903||”|
|Rollin S. Woodruff||1907–1909||”|
|George L. Lilley||1909||”|
|Frank W. Weeks||1909–1911||”|
|Simeon E. Baldwin||1911||Democrat|
Bibliography.—The “Acorn Club” has recently published a list of books printed in Connecticut between 1709 and 1800 (Hartford, 1904), and Alexander Johnston’s Connecticut (Boston, 1887) contains a bibliography of Connecticut’s history up to 1886. Information concerning the physical features of the state may be obtained in William M. Davis’s Physical Geography of Southern New England (National Geographical Society Publications, 1895). For information concerning industries, &c., see the Twelfth Census of the United States, and the Census of Manufactures of 1905, and a chapter in Johnston’s Connecticut. For law and administration, consult the last two chapters on “The Constitution and Laws of Connecticut” in New England States (vol. i., Boston, 1897); “Town Rule in Connecticut” in Political Science Quarterly, vol. iv.; Bernard Steiner’s History of Education in Connecticut (Washington, 1895), and the reports of the administrative boards and officials, especially those of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Board of Education, the Board of Charities and the Treasurer. There is no completely satisfactory history of the state. Johnston’s Connecticut is well written, but his theories regarding the relationship between the townships and the state are not generally accepted by historical scholars. There is a good chapter in Herbert L. Osgood’s History of the American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century (New York, 1904). Connecticut as a Colony and as a State (Hartford, 1904; 4 vols.) is written from secondary sources, as also is G. H. Hollister’s History of Connecticut (to 1818) (2 vols. Hartford, 1857). Perhaps the most satisfactory historical work is that of Benjamin Trumbull, A Complete History of Connecticut from 1630 to 1764 (New Haven, 1804–1818). E. E. Atwater’s History of the Colony of New Haven (New Haven, 1881) is also valuable, and the monograph of C. H. Levermore, “The Republic of New Haven,” and that of C. M. Andrews “The River Towns of Connecticut” in The Johns Hopkins University Studies (Baltimore, 1886 and 1889) should be consulted for the institutions of the colonial period. For the sources, see Colonial Records of Connecticut (15 vols., Hartford, 1850–1890); The Records of the Colony and the Plantation of New Haven (2 vols., Hartford, 1857–1858) and Records of the State of Connecticut (2 vols., Hartford, 1894–1895). The Collections (Hartford 1860 et seq.) of the Connecticut Historical Society contain valuable material, especially the papers of Governor Joseph Talcott; and the Papers (New Haven, 1865 et seq.) of the New Haven Colony Historical Society are extremely valuable for local history; but a vast number of documents relating to the colonial and state periods, now in the state library at Hartford, have never been published.
- The figure given above as the gross value of all manufactured products in 1900 includes that of all manufacturing and mechanical establishments. The value of the products of factories alone was $315,106,150. By 1905 this had increased to $369,082,091 or 17.1%.
- The constitution prescribes that “the privileges of an elector shall be forfeited by a conviction of bribery, forgery, perjury, duelling, fraudulent bankruptcy, theft or other offense for which an infamous punishment is inflicted,” but this disability may in any case be removed by a two-thirds vote of each house of the general assembly.
- See an article, “The Connecticut Intestacy Law,” by Charles M. Andrews in the Yale Review, vol. iii.
- A collection of these laws was published in his General History of Connecticut (London, 1781), by the Rev. Samuel Peters (1735–1826), a Loyalist clergyman of the Church of England, who in 1774 was forced by the patriots or whigs to flee from Connecticut. The most extreme (and most quoted) of these laws were never in force in Connecticut, but the substantial genuineness of others was conclusively shown by Walter F. Prince, in The Report of the American Historical Association for 1898.
- Johnston, Connecticut, p. 130.
- For a good version of the tradition see Wadsworth or the Charter Oak (Hartford, 1904), by W. H. Gocher. The tree was blown down in August 1856; in June 1907 a marble shaft was unveiled on its site by the Society of Colonial Wars, of Connecticut.
- Term of service, one year until 1876; thereafter, two years.