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Simon Bradstreet

BRADSTREET, Simon, colonial governor, born in Horbling, Lincolnshire, England, in March, 1603; died in Salem, Massachusetts, 27 March, 1697. He was educated at Emanuel College, Cambridge, and became steward of the countess of Warwick. Haying been persuaded to join the colony of Massachusetts, he was chosen assistant judge of the court to be established there, and arrived in Salem during 1630. He was associated in the proceedings of the first court held in Charlestown on 23 August, 1630, and later became agent and secretary of Massachusetts and commissioner of the united colonies. He was one of the founders of Cambridge in 1631, and also connected with the settling of Andover. He resided at Ipswich, Salem, and Boston. In 1653 he was among those who vigorously and successfully opposed making war on the Dutch in New York, and on the Indians, although that course was strongly urged by the commissioners of the other colonies. He was sent to England in 1660 to congratulate Charles II on his restoration, and to act as agent for the colony. From 1630 till 1679 he was assistant, and then until 1686 (when the charter was annulled) governor of the colony. He was opposed to the arbitrary measures of Andros, subsequent to whose imprisonment he again became governor, and continued as such until 1692, when Sir William Phipps arrived with a new charter, after which he was first councilor. For sixty-two years he was in the service of the government, and was not only a popular magistrate, but also a man of great integrity, piety, and prudence. He opposed the witchcraft delusion of 1692, and advised the surrender of the charter of Massachusetts to Charles II, distrusting the ability of the colonists to resist.--His wife, Anne, poet, born in Northampton, England, about 1612; died 16 September, 1672, was a daughter of Governor Thomas Dudley, married Governor Bradstreet in 1628, and went to New England with him in 1630. Mrs. Bradstreet was the mother of eight children. In the intervals of household duties she wrote poems, which were published under the title " Several Poems compiled with great Variety of Wit and Learning, full of Delight, wherein especially is contained a Complete Discourse and Description of the Four Elements, Constitutions, Ages of Men, Seasons of the Year, together with an Exact Epitome of the Three First Monarchies, viz., the Assyrian, Persian and Grecian, and the Beginning of the Roman Commonwealth to the End of their last King; with Divers other Pleasant and Serious Poeros, by a Gentlewoman of New England" (Boston, 1640). This was also issued in London in 650, under a slightly different title, beginning, " The Tenth Muse lately sprung up in America." A second American edition (Boston, 1678) contains her best poem, "Contemplations." A third appeared in 1758. Her complete works, prose and verse, have been edited by John Harvard Ellis (Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1868). Mrs. Bradstreet's poems contain much curious learning, and show that she had a large fund of information. Her verses are quaint, and the descriptions are sometimes more literal than would be thought necessary at the present day. Her contemporaries gave her the most extravagant praise; John Norton said that if Virgil could hear her poems he would throw his own into the flames. In 1666, by the burning of her house, Mrs. Bradstreet lost her entire library. --Their grandson, Simon, clergyman, born in New London, Connecticut, 7 March, 1671; died in Charlestown, Massachusetts, 31 December, 1741. His father, the Rev. Simon Bradstreet (1640-'83), was a son of Governor Simon Bradstreet. He was graduated at Harvard in 1693. On 26 October, 1698, he was ordained, and succeeded the Rev. Charles Norton as minister of Charlestown. He was very learned, with a tenacious memory and lively imagination, but of melancholy disposition. He was considered one of the first literary characters and best preachers in America. For some years prior to his death he was afraid to preach from his pulpit, and delivered his sermons from the deacon's seat, using no notes. --His son, Simon, clergyman (1709-'71), was graduated at Harvard in 1728 and ordained, 4 January, 1738, as minister of the second Congregational church of Marblehead, where he remained until his death.

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