WHALLEY, GOFFE, AND DIXWELL
As Isaac Newton once said, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." This is the law that set the events of Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell into motion.
On January 30, 1649, King Charles I was led into the palace yard and onto a scaffold near Whitehall Gate in London. Moments later, upon that very scaffold and in front of thousands of his people, Charles I was executed as a criminal by way of beheading. This act left England without a king, seeing as his wife and children escaped into exile. After this day, the very judges who sat in judgment against their King, felt they had ridded themselves of their greatest source of opposition, seeing that Charles I was dead and that his son, Charles II, had been banished into hiding.
This is where that infamous reaction came into effect. That is, this was when young Charles II developed into the man who would be called out of exile to claim his Divine Right to the throne and to ascend to the position of King of England. With this, fear began to consume all those who took part in signing and sealing the death warrant of King Charles I, for who knew what this new king would demand as retribution for his father's death? Many who took part in the trial of the king did not remain to see what these demands would be, instead, most took flight upon hearing the news of the ascent of the new king, Charles II. Among those who left, and perhaps the most notable here in New England, were those fugitive judges by the names of Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell. Of these three, it was Major General Edward Whalley and Major General William Goffe who boarded the ship the Prudent Mary, which, on May 4, 1660, set forth for a place known as New England. The destination was Boston, Massachusetts. Around the same time, Colonel Richard Dixwell departed England as well, but in a different direction. Unlike Whalley and Goffe, Dixwell left to find seclusion in Germany, only later joining his fellow brothers in the new colony. Why did these three regicides, as they became known, escape to unknown lands? The reason is simple. They departed to escape the possibility of being captured and imprisoned or, even worse, executed. Hence, this escape into unknown lands would begin the pursuit of the three regicides, a pursuit that would last for almost twenty years. The events upon which initiated this pursuit occurred during the mid-1600's, under the reign of King Charles I. This was a period filled with tensions, conflict, civil war, and an unprecedented execution of a tyrannical king who just had to be stopped. It was these events that led to the actions of the three infamous regicides, Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell, onto a journey that would forever mark an end to a life they once knew in old England and carry them to a new life in the unfamiliar territory of New England.
In order to fully comprehend the meaning of the journey and pursuit of these three fugitive judges it is important to understand the details of England's history. This is a history in which, for centuries, monarchs have tyrannized over the very countries in which they ruled. With this tyranny came conflict, strife, and tension. Two of the principles upon which this conflict, strife, and tension developed under were the principles that dealt with the king and parliament and those that dealt with religion. These are the very convictions which make up the history of England and it was these ideologies that consumed the country when King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England.
The event upon which brought King James to England occurred when Queen Elizabeth, who had never married, died leaving no heir to the throne. With that England looked to the Scots for its next successor. This incident marked an end to what seemed like a century of almost unbroken peace under the Tudor line. As the crown passed onto James I, the strong Tudor dynasty ceased and the new Stuart reign began. Once coming to the throne of England, King James I boldly announced that he would rule as an absolute monarch, responsible to God alone. This became the philosophy known as the Divine Right of kings, a principle which had generally been accepted on the continent of Europe, but one that ran counter to the revolutionary changes occurring in the lives of the English people. Still, even with all these tensions and conflicts that had been occurring under James I, it was during his reign that colonial expansion developed.
Upon the death of James I, the throne of England passed to his son Charles I, who proved to be even more strong-willed than his father. It was this same strong-will that proved to be his own undoing. The various conflicts and tensions that built up around his rule in the 17th Century forced King Charles I into a civil war, pushing Parliament to try and ultimately execute this infamous king. This was the execution that would forever change the lives of many.
The reign of Charles I was an unfortunate one in that he was King of England in the days of the Puritan Revolution. This was a period when new ideas of the rights of individuals came into sharp conflict with the old theory of the Divine Right of Kings. Like his father, James I, Charles lacked the ability to understand what it was his subjects needed. He also lacked the ability to gain his subjects confidences. In addition to this, it seemed as if Charles inherited his father's financial problems . It was this same problem that led to Parliament's refusal to "grant funds to a king who refused to address the grievances of the nobility."(1) As bad enough as these were, they were not the only problems which faced Charles, there had been others. As Charles succeeded to the throne he married Princess Henrietta Maria, the daughter of King Henry IV of France. This was an unpopular marriage and placed King Charles II in a difficult dilemma. What kind of dilemma? Well, as Prince of Wales Charles swore publicly that "if he should ever marry a Catholic princess, he would give no relief to English Catholics."(2) Yet, in order to marry Henrietta Maria, he would have to agree to King Henry's demand to raise any children they may have as Catholics, at least until they reached the age of thirteen. Additionally, Charles I had to promise to give his wife a chapel that would be open to all English Catholics and to agree to no longer persecute those of the Catholic faith. Knowing that he would either have to side with his new wife or his old subjects, and realizing he could not appease both, Charles, in the end, did what any tyrant would do, he upset them both. It was then that Charles lifted the penal laws against Catholics, upsetting those in his Parliament, in addition to his subjects. Then, Charles sent his wife's ladies-in-waiting back to France, thus upsetting Henrietta Maria. In this course of action, King Charles I added to the growing strains of his kingdom. Ultimately, these strains would become so serious that, in a sense, the only reaction would be a war between the King and his Parliament.
At the beginning of Charles I's reign he dissolved two Parliaments when they refused to grant him money without his recognition that his ministers were responsible to Parliament. After this, Charles became involved in some inevitable foreign wars that, in the end, proved to be both expensive and disastrous.(3) To pay for them, Charles resorted to such things as forced loans and excessive taxes. Nevertheless, the vigor by which Charles ruled would not be able to survive the extraneous costs that came with the crown, nor would he be able to nullify the tensions that had been growing extensively. By 1628 Charles had been faced with tremendous hostility when he called his third Parliament. It was this Parliament that placed together what was called the Petition of Right, which called upon all the King's wrongdoing. It was also this Petition which placed limitations on the authority of the King. Now, Charles was in desperate need of this money and since being confronted with a "unified and aroused Parliament," he realized he had no recourse but to sign the petition.(4) After this defeat, Charles I, from 1629 until 1640, once again tried to rule England without a Parliament in an attempt to eliminate any future humiliation. By dissolving parliament King Charles took away any power that his opposition may have held against him. However, in 1637, when William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, attempted to enforce his High Church policy in both Scotland and England, a riot arose. As a result, Charles once again had to take sides. This time, however, it was either Archbishop Laud or the vigilant Presbyterian Scots. This was a no win situation, for if Charles sided with Laud then he would be made to face the Scottish army. Yet, if he sided with the Scots he would ultimately have to give up his prayer book. In the end, Charles forced the Anglican prayer book upon the fierce Scots, and thus sparked an open rebellion.(5) By 1639 the Scots, rather than submitting to the King of England, formed an army and invaded England.(6) Suddenly Charles, unable to put down this Scottish revolt, discovered that the only way to save his Kingdom would be to summon another Parliament. By 1640 this Parliament had been formed. This parliament was, however, short-lived- hence its name, 'the Short Parliament'- and was sent home after just five weeks.
By August of that same year, the Scottish Presbyterian army invaded and defeated Charles's troops in England. With this defeat the Scots demanded that Charles pay the sum of 850 pounds per day. This payment would be made to continue until a settlement resolving the imminent conflicts and apprehending tensions, to which split the two sides, had been obtained. With this rising strain, Charles had no choice but to call upon another Parliament for money. However, while Charles previously had been given free reign over his kingdom, a new world had been emerging and a "constitutional revolution took place."(7) It was in this revolution that this new Parliament- called the Long Parliament, in that it sat for over thirteen years- wanted to ensure for itself its control within the government. To guarantee this control, this famous parliament passed the Triennial Act of May 1641. This Act ensured the calling of Parliament every three years, regardless of the King's approval.(8) The King, in need of parliamentary money, had no other choice but to agree to these very terms. Immediately, the Long Parliament ordered the imprisonment of the King's chief minister, Thomas Wentworth and Archbishop Laud, both of whom would be executed for the criminal act of treason.(9) It was this moment which strained tensions in England even further and under which the structure of England began to change.
At this time the government of England began to experience swift and miraculous changes. Under Charles I Parliament lost its power for eleven years and it was no longer willing to succumb to the whims of an uncompromising and unjust tyrant. Through the passage of the Triennial Act parliament assured for itself a position in the government of England. Then the Grand Remonstrance, which listed all of Charles's faults and Parliament's demands, was brought against the King. Following this a second act, called the Militia Bill, had passed in 1642. This bill granted Parliament the power to make all naval and military appointments. In addition, this Militia Bill would hold the force of law even without the King's consent. Thus, where "reform ended and revolution began is difficult to say," it is not hard to comprehend that these very events left King Charles I so infuriated that he was ready to resort to force.(10) Eventually these incidents carried with them tremendous tension and strife and quickly brought on civil war in England.
On January 4, 1642, King Charles I, and four hundred armed guardsmen, entered upon the House of Commons, determined to arrest five of its members who led the opposition against the King. Amongst these five was John Pym, a parliamentarian and former clerk of the exchequer. These five men, having been warned of the King's approach, fled just minutes before the King's arrival. This made Charles look "both ridiculous and despotic" and thus set off a tremendous air of tension which subsequently brought onto England a "bloody and unnatural" civil war.(11)
"That summer parliament, fearing military action, tried to seize control of the army by issuing orders for soldiers to report to Parliamentary, rather than royal representatives. The King countered by ordering the bill ignored and raised his own army.... Some turned out for the King, some for Parliament, and the war was on."(12)
By 1643 the King was winning the war and it became apparent that Parliament would require aid from other countries. Inevitably, it was the Scots who came to Parliament's aid, and by 1645 the parliamentary army- known as the Roundheads- had been demonstrating superb victory over the king's army- known as the Cavaliers. Finally, by May of 1646 Charles had surrendered, not to parliament, but to the Scots. By 1647 the King was turned over to parliament, but he soon escaped and began negotiations with both Parliament and the Scots. Soon Charles began losing the support of his subjects and eventually parliament came under the leadership of such radicals as Oliver Cromwell. Then, when the Scots invaded England again, this time only to be defeated by Parliament and Cromwell, Charles, who mistakenly sided with the Scots, was captured for the last time. By 1649 King Charles I, while refusing to recognize the authority of the High Court of Justice, was brought to trial for treason by the hands of this very court. He was sentenced to execution and on January 30, 1649, he was beheaded. Parliament then declared England to be a Commonwealth, meaning it was without a king and a House of Lords. This same Parliament governed England while Oliver Cromwell put down revolts in Ireland and Scotland. In 1653 Cromwell came back from these wars, dismissed parliament, and nominated a parliament of his own. The Commonwealth then took the name of Protectorate, with Cromwell as its Lord Protector. In the end, Cromwell continued his rule, which was more despotic than that of the King's, until his death in 1658. At that time his son, Richard, continued in succession of his father until the year 1660.
After the execution of King Charles I and throughout the reign of Oliver and Richard Cromwell, judges Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell had little to worry about in regards to their involvement in the execution of the king or their roles in the Civil War. Instead, these three regicides took on "a more prominent part on the stage of public life."(13) It was not, however, until May of 1660 that this peaceful liberty was shattered and a wave of terror filtered throughout the country, landing on those very same individuals who took part in the trial and execution of the King. It was at this time that Charles II, son of the executed Charles I, became king and searched for redress for what had happened to his father. Of the subsequent history of those who escaped punishment by flight, little is known, except in the cases of Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell, the three fugitive judges who came to the colonies of New England. It was on April 4, 1660 that Charles II issued his Declaration of Breda which pardoned all those involved in King Charles the First's execution, except those exempted by Parliament.(14) This declaration was read before parliament on May 1st of that same year. With this, the surviving judges, or regicides as they became called, were correct to assume that they would not be safe in England. While many fled to such places as Holland or Switzerland, some took a risk and remained in England. From that moment on things moved rather rapidly and on May 4, 1660, three days after the reading of the King's declaration, Whalley and Goffe, under the assumed names of Richardson and Stephenson, boarded the ship the 'Prudent Mary.' That very day upon which the ship set sail an order for the arrest "of all who sat in judgment on the late King" was issued by the House of Commons.(15) Seeing that Whalley and Goffe had already fled to Boston, Dixwell decided he too should depart and thus he left for Germany. With the flight of these three judges, it could be presumed that King Charles II's Declaration of Breda did not include pardons for these three regicides, Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell.
On July 27, 1660, upon the arrival of Whalley and Goffe in Boston, a wave of mixed emotions emanated through the colony. However, for the most part they were greeted rather courteously and lived among the public without apprehension. In fact, no one of such prominent status as these two judges had entered the colony of New England in that era. Their ranks were something that seemed to demand respect and immediately upon their arrival in this unfamiliar land, Governor Endicott welcomed them with earnest and enthusiasm. There, in Boston, Whalley and Goffe seemed to live without concern or fear, but this would not last for long.
Due to the fact that not much is known about the whereabouts of John Dixwell after his escape from England until his coming to the colonies of New England, it would be impossible to describe his flight. What is known about him is that he left England at about the same time as Whalley and Goffe. The only difference is that where Whalley and Goffe's journeys brought them to Boston, Dixwell's travels took him on a different path. Following the Declaration of Breda one of Dixwell's relatives pleaded with the House of Commons for an extension of time in which to surrender. The reason for this extension was based on the premise that Dixwell was too ill to surrender on time. Once this petition was granted, Dixwell did not wait to escape and it was here that his journey began, not in Boston like his fellow acquaintances, but rather in Germany. It was upon his departure to Germany that his whereabouts become unknown. It was not until almost five years later, on his arrival in Massachusetts, that his journey to find refuge in these New England colonies, and to escape a fate that could end his life, would begin.
On August 29, 1660 the Act of Indemnity, whereby Whalley, Goffe, Dixwell and all the other regicides were condemned to surrender according to the Declaration of Breda, passed through Parliament. This passage interrupted the notoriety and freedom that Whalley and Goffe had both been experiencing back in Boston.(16) One month later, on September 22nd, a Royal Proclamation was issued for the apprehension of the three regicides, "dead or alive," and it offered a reward of one hundred pounds.(17) For obvious reasons, this proclamation drew an immense amount of concern upon Whalley and Goffe. Back in England twenty-nine regicides had been brought to trial for their involvement in the sentencing and execution of King Charles I. Of these twenty-nine, ten were executed and those that remained were sentenced to life in prison. This drew a sense of seriousness to those in the Massachusetts Colony. Of those concerned was Governor Endicott, who had greeted these two regicides upon their arrival in Boston. In fact, when they arrived, Whalley and Goffe received cordial treatment from both the Governor and the people. However, feeling a duty to these fugitives but not wanting to be found disloyal to the King, Endicott called upon the Court of Assistants on February 22, 1661 "to consult about arresting Whalley and Goffe ". However, the court could not agree to a decision.(18) Nevertheless, these two regicides realized it was time to move on. Their next destination would be New Haven, Connecticut.
Traveling by way of Hartford and accompanied by an escort of their friends, the imperiled judges set forth, as secretly as possible, on their journey to the colony of New Haven. On March 7, 1661, Whalley and Goffe arrived at the hospitable home of Reverend John Davenport. The Reverend had been preparing for the arrival of these fugitive judges. Upon their arrival he was extremely cordial to them and for a while these two regicides enjoyed their lives and the people of New Haven. Here, among friends, the judges felt at ease and secure. But, as the news of the king's proclamation filtered into New Haven, the tensions grew deep and their security ended. It is safe to say that at this point these judges no longer felt safe and secure wherever they went and no matter what company they kept. It would only be upon their deaths that they no longer would fear what might happen to them.
Following the news of the King's proclamation, Whalley and Goffe gave the impression that they were intending to go to New Amsterdam, a place out of the jurisdiction of England. Subsequently, on March 27, 1661, these two fugitives traveled as far as Milford where they took great measures to show themselves. Secretly, however, Whalley and Goffe returned privately to the seclusion of New Haven. There, they once again stayed in hiding at the home of the Reverend Davenport.
By this time the news of the executions of the regicides in England was spreading rapidly and this would prove to be unfortunate news for Whalley and Goffe. Governor Endicott, who had received the warrant for the arrest of Whalley and Goffe, earnestly pursued this imperious order. Although the warrant "was drawn up in such a bungling way," there was no doubt as to it's legal force. On April 28, 1661 Governor Endicott obtained the service of merchant Thomas Kellond and sea captain Thomas Kirke to search Massachusetts and to introduce unto the governors of the other colonies this warrant for the apprehension of these fugitive judges, Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell. With that, Governor Endicott was able to conclude his involvement in this matter. So as not to seem too delinquent on following through with the orders of the King, Endicott sent the two royalists, Kellond and Kirke, to Connecticut and New Haven. Not to lose any time in their pursuit, these two royalists started on their way to New Haven on May 7, 1661. On the way, they stopped to call on Governor Winthrop of Hartford. On meeting with Winthrop, Kellond and Kirke disclosed to the Governor the letter they received from Endicott requesting the aid in their search for the fugitive judges. Winthrop then informed these two royalists that he believed these very individuals had passed through there on their way to New Haven. With this, Kellond and Kirke hastened their pursuit and by May 11th they reached the home of William Leete, the Deputy Governor of the New Haven Colony.
In the meantime, the news of the approach of Kellond and Kirke, the King's messengers, spread and on April 30th, after receiving warning, judges Whalley and Goffe left Davenport's home only to go to that of a nearby neighbor, William Jones. Later, as information reached Kellond and Kirke of the existence of the judges in New Haven, they went to Governor Leete's to demand compliance with the King's warrant. Luckily for the judges, Leete obstinately delayed the duties of these two messengers, stating that he had not seen the two colonels for nine weeks.(19) Quickly the two said they had knowledge that these two fugitives were in New Haven since that time that Leete had mentioned. Eventually, however, Leete began to feel the pressure of being himself endangered and yielded to Kellond and Kirke's demands. Interestingly enough, however, it was upon a Saturday afternoon, when the Sabbath officially began, that this meeting took place. Thus, being in the colonial days of the 1600's, and in a Puritan Colony, work on those days was inconceivable. With no alternative, Kellond and Kirke had to wait impatiently in Guilford. In the interim, however, these two had gathered some very gratifying information. When leaving Governor Leete's house to find a place to rest in the village, they came upon a man by the name of Dennis Crampton. Crampton had been holding ill-feelings toward Governor Leete since the Governor sentenced him to be whipped for committing an offense. Therefore, upon hearing of the messenger's presence, Crampton saw his chance to make trouble for Leete. Impetuously Crampton went to these two messengers and affirmed their beliefs that Whalley and Goffe were recently in New Haven. In fact, they learned that these two fugitives were at that very moment concealed in the house of Mr. Davenport, an account for which Goodman Bishop of Guilford confirmed. Meanwhile, as word of Kellond and Kirke's approach spread throughout the village, another man, by the name of Scranton, approached these two messengers. Scranton then told them he heard that the colonels were being held at the house of Reverend Davenport and that Deputy Governor Leete had in fact known about this. By this time others gathered around and confirmed what Scranton had declared. Furthermore, it was made known that Whalley and Goffe had been seen between the neighboring homes of the Reverend and a Mr. William Jones. It was at Mr. Jones' home that the regicides were, at that moment, being hidden.
Armed with this information, Kellond and Kirke returned to Leete to ask that they be provided with horses and the authority to search for and apprehend the two judges. Leete, still unbending, agreed to grant them the horses, but declined to give them any warrant or other power whatsoever until he could speak and consult with Matthew Gilbert of New Haven and the rest of the magistrates of the New England colonies. On hearing this, the messengers told them that they would go to New Haven to await word from Governor Leete. During that interval, Dennis Crampton and others had been keeping an eye on things. Immediately, Scranton, who like Crampton, was looking for some type of reward for his services, informed Kellond and Kirke that there was an Indian man who had been missing. It was thought that this Indian man had gone to the fugitives to warn them of the progression of these royalist messengers. Following this there had been another suspicious report of a man by the name of John Meggs, or Meigs, who had been "preparing to start on horseback on Sunday night, so as to reach New Haven in advance of them."(20) It was believed to be a bit strange for him to be leaving on such a sacred day. The only plausible answer for this early travel was that Mr. Meggs was leaving to forewarn the judges of Kellond and Kirke's approach. At once the two messengers rushed over to Governor Leete's house to insist that Meggs be summoned before them so that they may question him on his business. However, Leete said he had no authority to do such a thing unless there had been a formal complaint of some kind against Meggs. With that he stubbornly refused, once again, to comply with the demands of Kellond and Kirke. Therefore, these two very eager men had no other option but to wait until the Sabbath had passed. The next morning, they left Guilford en route to New Haven.
The tensions in New Haven, at this point, had been surmounting. For weeks the judges stayed in seclusion at Reverend Davenport's house. In that same neighborhood lived Mr. William Jones, the son-in-law of Governor Eaton. John Jones, William's father, was one of those ten regicides who was put to death in England by King Charles II. Thus, this showed why William had felt the need to aid in the seclusion of these fugitive judges in New England. As New Haven had already heard of these horrific trials and executions that were taking place in England, it was foreseeable that any inhabitants harboring such refugees would place the colony in imminent danger. It was also foreseeable that New Haven would be one colony that would attract such fugitives because of its great location. Nevertheless, these inhabitants cheerfully bore the hardships of those who escaped their fate in England in search of a place of seclusion, safety, and freedom. This was a spectacle upon which, perhaps, such oppressors as Kellond and Kirke, the royalist messengers, could never fathom and it was this very predicament that taught these men that "while loyalty to an earthly sovereign had its true worth, there was such a thing as a higher and nobler loyalty to the King of kings."(21) Nonetheless, on May 13, 1661, Kellond and Kirke arrived in New Haven. Unfortunately for them, however, an informant had already alerted the two judges of their immediate danger and upon their arrival the fugitives had been moved to a cave located upon a hill, previously referred to as Providence Hill and which is known today as the cave at West Rock.
On that very same day, Deputy Governor Leete came to New Haven, bringing with him Jasper Crane, the magistrate of Branford. There they met with the other magistrates at court to discuss the concealment of Whalley and Goffe and to decide what should be done about Kellond and Kirke's insistence to receive aid in apprehending these two fugitive judges. It was, at that time, the belief that these two regicides were, in fact, hidden somewhere in the colony of New Haven. Unfortunately, Leete still refused to consent to the messengers demands, stating for his reasons that he did not believe them to be there and that he could not grant such a warrant nor make these two men magistrates until "the freemen were met together."(22) To this, Kellond and Kirke replied that with this action Leete was placing himself in tremendous danger with the King if the culprits were in New Haven and escaped due to delay. In addition, they made it known that Leete's unwillingness to assist in the apprehension of these judges was a sure sign that he wished for these judges to escape. At this point Governor Leete was in terrible mental distress, for "he wished to protect the godly fugitives, " but he also feared disobeying the King's commands.(23) Leete was beginning to weaken and on the verge of issuing to these royalists that warrant for which they so desired. Fortunately, Matthew Gilbert, magistrate of New Haven, and Robert Treat, magistrate of Milford, interceded and were able to stop him before it was too late. Simply, Gilbert and Treat stated that Leete should wait until the matter went before the General Court before he hastily made a decision. As this conference among the magistrates went on, Kellond and Kirke made a diligent yet fruitless search in New Haven for the regicides. They even offered rewards, but still no luck, and so they decided to end their search in that colony and travel to Manhattan with the hope of locating the fugitives there. No matter, following the deliberations that took place, Governor Leete was unable to cogitate a reasonable argument for his refusal to abide by the King's orders. On May 17th, three days after Kellond and Kirke's leave, the General Court met in New Haven to decide what should be done about these now infamous regicides. This court declared that while they did not know Whalley and Goffe where in the New Haven colony, their pursuance should not have been delayed and that now a diligent search should be made throughout that jurisdiction. Meanwhile, these distinguished judges took shelter in the famous cave at West Rock, just outside of New Haven. Here, the judges resided from May 15th until June 11th of 1661.
This would be a good place to stop to discuss this well-known retreat and refuge. This unidentifiable pile of rocks at West Rock, known by many as Judges' Cave, has been talked about and visited for well over one hundred years. Between these fragments of rocks are "irregular fissures of sufficient size to admit a man."(24) Upon entering this fissure, there is a nook that could be found under another rock and it was there that two or three men could stay in hiding. Being so discrete and unnoticeable, it is thought that only three other people besides the judges had known of this place. These three individuals were thought to be Mr. Jones, Mr. Sperry, and Mr. Burrill. It was, in fact, Judge's Cave that was located on Mr. Sperry's farm and it was Mr. Sperry, himself, who supplied the regicides with food. Mr. Burrill was thought to have known of this location since he was a laborer on Sperry's farm. Today, this cave in which the judges stayed is referred to by many names. Some call it Judge's Cave, or the cave at West Rock, and some call it Providence Hill. The manifestation of the name Judge's Cave is obvious, but the origin of the name Providence Hill is not. However, there is a simple reason under which the cave became called Providence Hill. That name comes directly from the judges who, "ever mindful of the gracious providence which had rescued them from immediate danger, named the place of their refuge Providence Hill."(25) This was the very place to which the judges were grateful for, but it was there that they also felt a sense of seclusion and loneliness. It was there that they could, at times, venture out and watch the waters of Long Island Sound, and it was there that they could envision their old lives in England, the very friends, homes, and lives upon which they would no longer be able to call theirs. Thus, it was this journey to asylum to evade possible imprisonment or death that led these judges to a life full of apathy and heartache.
On June 11, 1661, feeling the pressure under which those aiding in their concealment had been under, the judges left the cave at West Rock and briefly stayed at a place known as the Lodge at Hatchet Harbor. While their stay here was sufficiently secure, the fear of being spotted by a hunter or an Indian was great because of its location in a well used forest. It is believed that before leaving New Haven, near the end of June, the judges, finding themselves in comparative safety, appeared openly in public. Governor Endicott, at that point, stated that he was informed that the judges were coming out to surrender themselves, but that they went back into hiding for fear of being captured. Eventually, Governor Leete was made aware that if he seemed to disregard the execution of the king's orders of apprehending the fugitives, he would place himself at vast risk. Now it may be said that one does not think of the consequences of one's actions until the deed has been done, so true had this been for Governor Leete and Reverend Davenport. Both gentlemen at this point, began to feel the seriousness of that letter sent by Governor Endicott, who had reproached Leete and accused him of knowing the whereabouts of Whalley and Goffe without disclosing such knowledge. With this, Governor Leete summoned another meeting of the General Court and after much debate, the court wrote to London for its pardon in this matter. In addition to the concern of Leete was the immense concern which surrounded Davenport who, as Governor Leete would later do, sought the assistance of a Reverend by the name of John Norton. It was Reverend Norton who wrote to Governor Winthrop, then in London, asking what had been discussed about Davenport's involvement with Whalley and Goffe. Soon after, Mr. Davenport became relieved that nothing had been discussed regarding his involvement with these two fugitives. With this, the communications between Davenport and the judges, as well as that between Leete and the judges, continued. Unfortunately, however, after a public appearance of these regicides on June 24th in New Haven, another search was called for and after being hidden in a neck of a bridge, in the home of a Mrs. Eyers, and eventually in the basement of Governor Leete's home, these two fugitives eventually moved to the seclusion of Milford.
After a couple of years in Milford, Whalley and Goffe found themselves undisturbed and safe. Thus, they allowed themselves to move about more liberally. By the 19th of August they departed for the house of Micah or Michael Tomkins. Around this same time the commissioners of the united colonies, under the charter of 1662, met on September 5th. In this meeting the subject of Whalley and Goffe came about. Quickly, not wanting to offend the King, these commissioners "made a declaration reciting the King's order for their arrest."(26) For two years things seemed to calm down. Then, in 1664, the judges' apprehensions were renewed when many complaints against New England were made to King Charles II. In response to this the King sent over four commissioners to "reduce the Dutch at Manhattan, visit the New England colonies, and hear and determine all matters of complaint."(27) These commissioners were also given the authority to ascertain if anyone accused of treason "had 'been entertained and received there' and to apprehend such persons if they could be discovered."(28)
When the judges heard of the presence of royal officers, they immediately left Milford and returned to the protection of West Rock. There they remained for about eight to ten weeks until their beds had been discovered by some Indians hunting in the area. Finally, on October 13, 1664 these two judges left the New Haven colony for Hadley, Massachusetts.
In Hadley, Whalley and Goffe lived cautiously in the sanctuary of the house of Reverend John Russell, an associate of Reverend Davenport. It was here that Whalley and Goffe remained safe and secluded for approximately ten years. While there they were joined by their fellow regicide, Colonel John Dixwell. Unlike Whalley and Goffe, however, Dixwell remained there for only a short time. It was there, in Hadley, that Whalley remained until his death sometime around the end of the year 1674 or the beginning of the year 1675. By the fall of 1675 King Philip's war had broken out, exposing the frontier colonies of New England to become vulnerable to attack by Indians. There have, in fact, been stories of a time in which Colonel Goffe utilized his military skills and helped to save the town from an attack by these Indians, yet still the town was not relieved from danger. Besides this one exception, nothing more is known of Goffe. "Whether he remained in Hadley or not, when he died, and where he is buried, are all matters that are" uncertain.(29) What is known, however, is that his last correspondence to a Peter Tilton of Hadley, Massachusetts, had been dated July 30, 1679, and it is believed that he died in Hartford soon after that.
With as much mystery as there is surrounding the deaths of Whalley and Goffe, there is also just as much mystery in the records of Colonel John Dixwell. Dixwell, the third regicide to come to New England, is believed to have lived under the assumed name of James Davids and it appears that by 1673 Dixwell had arrived in New Haven. There he lived with an elderly couple by the name of Mr. and Mrs. Ling. Subsequent to the death of Mr. Benjamin Ling in that same year, Mrs. Joanna Ling became Mrs. Joanna Davids, also known as Dixwell. Thus, Dixwell had fulfilled his promise to Mr. Ling to take care of Mrs. Ling after his death, but only one month after their marriage, his new wife died leaving him her entire estate. Correspondingly, it appears that his choice of clothing, his demeanor, and his good education led many to believe this was no ordinary man and many even tried to guess who he was.(30) By 1677 Dixwell then married Miss Bathsheba How. At that time Dixwell was either sixty-nine or seventy and Miss. How was thirty-one. No matter what the age gap, it appears that together they had three children by the names of Mary, John and Elizabeth. Then only six or seven years after the birth of his youngest child, John Dixwell died while in the asylum of New Haven. The year was either 1688 or 1689. He is buried in the New Haven Burial Ground where his gravestone reads J.D., Esq.. It had been almost thirty years since Dixwell's escape from old England until his death here in New England.
Approximately two months after the death of Dixwell, ten years after the death of Goffe, and fourteen years after Whalley's passing, a new revolution broke out in England. Finally, the oppressive Stuart line had fallen and William, the ruler of Holland, became King of England by the consent of Parliament. It was then that Parliament finally gained control of English politics, since upon given the throne, William promised "religious toleration and Parliament's claims to authority."(31) This Glorious Revolution, as it became known, marked the conclusion of a civil war which began over forty years earlier. Issues of religion and the role of Parliament in government were finally reached. At last, the event which these three judges, fugitives, or regicides - whichever name one chooses to call them - believed and expected to occur, did.
Thus, to conclude, the actions which lead to the flight of Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell from England would forever hold a place in the annuls of history. It had been through King Charles I that Parliament gained control of government and eventually executed its own king. Upon the ascent of King Charles II the importance of what the judges, such as these three regicides who sought asylum in New England, did for the British Empire became quite apparent. For it was with this unprecedented action of executing a king that people gained power over their ruler and the ruler was forced to be bound under the law. Therefore, no longer is the monarch of England a tyrant. Instead the monarch rules over a country in which the sovereign reigns according to constitutions and laws, and so England became a nation that aided in the colonization of what is now known as the United States of America. It is these New England colonies that, too, are bound with freedoms and inalienable rights. When these three regicides took shelter in these colonies, they were welcomed and admired. This was a revolutionary action which grew into a spirit that could no longer be contained, a spirit that strove for freedom and justice. Thus, why Whalley, Goffe, and Dixwell chose New England to seek asylum we may never know, but it is certain that it was due to these three men that history has forever changed and developed. Undeniably, the actions by which men such as Whalley, Goffe and Dixwell have taken, and the revolutionary reactions that have resulted, should never be forgotten, for it was these very actions which would have a lasting effect on both old and New England.
1. Monarchs of England. "Charles I (1625-49AD)," [Http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon47.html]
2. Lacey Baldwin Smith, This Realm of England, 1399 to 1688 . (D.C. Health and Company: Massachusetts). 1996. p. 258.
3. Smith, This Realm of England, p. 261.
4. Smith, This Realm of England, p. 262.
5. Dr. E.L. Skip, "English Civil War," [http://www.idbsu.edu/courses/hy101/english/04.htm], November 1995.
7. Smith, This Realm of England, p. 275.
10. Smith, This Realm of England, p. 280.
11. Smith, This Realm of England, pp. 280-281.
12. Skip, "English Civil War," [http://www.idbsu.edu/courses/hy101/english/06.htm], November 1995.
13. Lemuel Aiken Welles, The History of The Regicides in New England, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1927), p. 19.
14. Welles, The History of The Regicides in New England, p. 23.
15. Welles, The History of The Regicides in New England, p. 24.
16. Lemuel Aiken Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, Tercentenary Commission of the State of Connecticut Committee on Historical Publications. (Yale University Press: New Haven), 1935, p. 2.
17. Welles, The History of The Regicides in New England, (Yale University Press: New Haven). p. 30.
18. Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, p. 3.
19. Welles, The History of The Regicides in New England, p. 36.
20. Israel Perkins Warren. The Three Judges: The Story of the Men who Beheaded their King (New York: Warren & Wyman, 1873), p. 178.
21. Warren. The Three Judges, p. 180.
22. Welles, The History of The Regicides in New England, p. 39.
23. Welles, The History of The Regicides in New England, p. 42.
24. Warren. The Three Judges, p. 193.
25. Warren. The Three Judges, p. 195.
26. Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, p. 17.
27. Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, p. 20.
28. Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, p. 24.
29. Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, p. 27.
30. Welles, The Regicides in Connecticut, p. 27.
31. Dr. E.L. Skip, "English Civil War," [http://www.idbsu.edu/courses/hy101/english/23.htm], November 1995.
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