Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The American Connection

Somebody asked me recently whether any of the ejected men went to America. There are at least five leading men among the ejected with American connections.
1. Thomas Gilbert was the name of at least two ejected men. Thomas Gilbert 1609/10–1673 may have been of Scots origin. He was ejected in 1661 and emigrated to New England, where he died. (The other Gilbert may have been proposed as president of Harvard by Owen and others in 1664. This Gilbert felt that even if worthy of such a post he ought rather “at present to frame myself to suffer in Old, than to reign in New England”.)
2. Marmaduke Matthews c 1606–1683 was a Welshman and published author who emigrated to New England in the 1630s but returned home in 1654 to minister in Swansea. Ejected in 1662 he still “preached, by the connivance of the magistrates, in a little chapel at the end of the town” (Palmer). Licensed as an Independent in 1672, he was “a very pious and zealous man” who “went about to instruct the people from house to house” (Calamy). His three sons became nonconformist ministers but later conformed.
3. George Moxon 1602-1687, a Cambridge graduate, sailed to New England in 1637, where he became a minister and prospered. He returned to England, however, and worked alongside John Machin in 1652. Ejected in 1662, he preached at a remote farmhouse to evade the Five Mile Act. He was licensed in 1672. He seems to have become unorthodox later and his son was a Unitarian.
4. Urian Oakes c 1631–1681 was a Harvard educated New Englander who returned to England in 1654 where he ministered both before and after his ejection in 1662. In 1671 he recrossed the Atlantic, later becoming president of Harvard, then still small but full of potential.
5. Charles Morton 1627-1698 Cornish founder of an early dissenting academy, where Daniel Defoe studied. Later in life he was associated with Harvard College. Raised with strong Puritan influences in England, he attended Oxford (1649-1652). As a result of the English Revolution, he was arrested and excommunicated for promoting progressive education, forcing him to emigrate to relative safety in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1685-1686), although he was soon arrested for sedition (and then acquitted) in Boston. His system of vernacular teaching at Harvard was basically Aristotelian but with modern flavours of Wallis, Hooke, Boyle and even Descartes.
Also, there was a John Sams who was born in New England and educated there, minister of Coggeshall. Harvard educated John Bulkington at Fordham had a similar history. Also a Samuel Eaton of Duckenfield. A G Matthews says there were 12 graduates from Harvard altogether among the ejected. He also says that some 15 of the ejected crossed the Atlantic after their ejection.

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