Building a New Jerusalem: John Davenport, a Puritan in Three Worlds
Francis J. Bremer
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John Davenport, who cofounded the colony of New Haven, has been neglected in studies that view early New England primarily from a Massachusetts viewpoint. Francis J. Bremer restores the clergyman to importance by examining Davenport’s crucial role as an advocate for religious reform in England and the Netherlands before his emigration, his engagement with an international community of scholars and clergy, and his significant contributions to colonial America. Bremer shows that he was in many ways a remarkably progressive leader for his time, with a strong commitment to education for both women and men, a vibrant interest in new science, and a dedication to upholding democratic principles in churches at a time when many other Puritan clergymen were emphasizing the power of their office above all else.
Bremer’s enlightening and accessible biography of an important figure in New England history provides a unique perspective on the seventeenth-century transatlantic Puritan movement.
shadows separate us, when the substance is endangered?”77 Although puritans had considerable influence in Coventry, their role was not unchallenged. In 1610 Francis Holyoake published a sermon he had preached during an archdiaconal visitation of Coventry.78 Titled A Sermon of Obedience, Especially unto Ecclesiastical Authority, the sermon argued against the puritan insistence on a preaching ministry and their rejection of nonpreachers, and their identification of those who failed to preach twice
Cromwell. The European conflict inflamed the existing hostility between the southern New England colonies and the Dutch authorities in New Netherland. In 1647 Peter Stuyvesant had been named director general of the Dutch colony. Shortly after he assumed that post, he reasserted the Dutch claim by right of first possession to the Connecticut River towns and the New Haven colony, all of which he argued were within the jurisdiction of New Netherland. Stuyvesant then sent a force that removed a Dutch
the Magdalen College Grammar School, which still continued to function.21 During that century there was a strong Lollard influence at the hall. The reformer and Bible translator William Tyndale studied there and received his BA in 1512. In 1602 the chancellor of the university assumed the right to appoint the principal, the head of the hall, which is generally considered the start of its full independence. Magdalen Hall, Oxford. Photo by the author. In 1605 John Wilkinson was appointed
1:149. 50. NHR, 1:404. 51. Hartlib to Davenport, Hartlib Papers, 7/35/1A-2B. Woodward correctly points out that it was Davenport, not Winthrop Jr., who was the recipient of this letter (Woodward, Prospero’s America, 192n236). 52. Walter William Woodward, “Prospero’s America: John Winthrop Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture (1601–1676)” (PhD dissertation, University of Connecticut, 2001), 170–172. 53. Atwater, New Haven, 271–272. 54. Atwater, New Haven, 273. Chapter 14:
preach on a trial basis.28 He accepted, not (so he later stated) with the intention of becoming pastor, but to help “that church with the fruits of my labor in their extreme necessity” for a few months only, hoping that “after some small time of absence the displeasure conceived against me [in England] would be abated and the return to mine own country be made more safe.”29 This makes sense because he was unlikely to have envisioned a more permanent stay in Amsterdam. There is little doubt that