Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BELLINGHAM, Richard, colonial governor of Massachusetts, born in England in 1592 ; died 7 December 1672. He was a lawyer, and one of the original patentees of the colony. He came to Boston in 1634, was one of a committee of seven to divide the town-lands, and in 1635 made deputy-governor. In 1641 he was elected governor, in opposition to Winthrop, by a majority of only six votes. He was chosen again in 1654, and again in May 1665, after the death of Governor Endicott, continuing in office for the remainder of his life. He served altogether thirteen years as deputy-governor and ten years as governor. In 1664 he was chosen Major-General, and in the same year the four commissioners sent by Charles II. to inquire into the state of the colony ordered him, with others who were obnoxious to the duke of York, to go to England and account for his conduct. By authority of the general court, however, he refused compliance with this command, and the king was pacified by the present of a ship-load of masts. After the death of his wife, in 1641, Bellingham married again, performing the ceremony himself. For this reason, and because the banns were not properly published, he was prosecuted for violating the law, but escaped by refusing to leave the bench, and thus officiating at his own trial. At the time of his death he was the only surviving patentee of the colony. His will provided that, after the decease of his wife, of his son by a former wife, and of his granddaughter, the bulk of his property should be spent for the maintenance " of godly ministers and preachers" a, attached to the principles of Congregationalism; but this will was set aside by the general court as interfering with the rights of his family. Bellingham was very obstinate, but a man of integrity, and, although continually in conflict with his fellow-officials, they respected his motives. He was opposed to innovations in religion, and especially severe toward the Quakers. At times he suffered from aberration of mind. His sister, widow of William Hibbens, an assistant, was executed as a witch in June 1656.
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