Haynes, John (d.1654) (DNB00)

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HAYNES, JOHN (d. 1654), the third governor of Massachusetts Bay, and first governor of Connecticut, New England, was born in Essex, and was the son of John Haynes (d. 3 Nov. 1605) of Old Holt, in the same county, by Mary Michell, his wife. Some time before 1624 Haynes purchased the manor of Copford Hall, Essex (P. Morant, Hist. of Essex, 1768, ii. 195), and is said to have been worth 1,000l. a year. He attached himself to the puritans, and upon the invitation of Governor Winthrop and others sailed for New England in 1633 in the Griffin, arriving at Boston on 4 Sept., after a voyage of a couple of months, during which time the two hundred passengers had sermons three times a day. Cotton and two other fathers of the puritan church went over in the same ship. Haynes took his freedom on 14 May 1634, and at the next election was chosen one of the assistants of the colony. He was also placed on the extraordinary commission of seven persons who had charge of ‘all military affairs whatsoever,’ with power to levy war, imprison, or put to death. In 1635 he succeeded Thomas Dudley as governor, elected ‘partly because the people would exercise their absolute power, and partly upon some speeches of the deputy,’ Roger Ludlow, who aspired to the post (J. Winthrop, Hist. of New England, Boston, 1853, i. 188). Haynes was somewhat unwilling to assume the office, and in his first address declined the usual allowance for the year, seeing ‘how much the people had been pressed lately with public charges’ (ib. i. 190). He had to check the colonising activity of the Dutch under Van Twiller, immortalised by Dietrich Knickerbocker. In 1636 he was superseded by Henry Vane, ‘fortunate,’ says Savage, ‘in being governour of Massachusetts, and more fortunate in removing after his first year in office, thereby avoiding our bitter contentions, to become the father of the new colony of Connecticut’ (ib. i. 130 n.) As early as 1634 Haynes and others had endeavoured to form a new settlement on the Connecticut river, and in October of the following year sixty persons emigrated thither, but the winter was so severe that they had to return. A more vigorous effort was made in the spring of 1636, and about a hundred persons marched through the ‘wilderness,’ the journey occupying a fortnight. Twelve months later Haynes removed his family to Hartford. Much fighting took place with the Pequots, the most warlike of the New England Indians, before they were vanquished. In 1639 the colonists adopted a constitution (reprinted in B. Trumbull's ‘Hist. of Connecticut,’ 1818, i. 498–502), said to be ‘the first example in history of a written constitution’ (J. G. Palfrey, Hist. of New England, 1866, i. 232), and in April Haynes was chosen the first governor of Connecticut. One of his earliest acts was to urge the necessity of compiling a code of laws. As under the new constitution no person could be governor more than twice in two years, Edward Hopkins was chosen in 1640, Haynes being re-elected in 1641. The next year George Wyllys was appointed. In 1643 Haynes, once more in office, took an active part in the confederation of four New England colonies for protection. In 1646 he was in great danger during a tempest (letter of Winthrop, 16 Nov. ap. Hist. ii. 430), and escaped murder by an Indian (B. Trumbull, Hist. i. 158–9). While in Massachusetts he held strong opinions on the necessity of strict rule, and considered Winthrop to have ‘dealt too remissly in point of justice’ (Winthrop, i. 212), but became more liberal in his views. ‘That heavenly man, Mr. Hains,’ says Roger Williams, ‘though he pronounced the sentence of my long banishment against me at Cambridge, then Newtown,’ was very friendly at Hartford (letter to Major Mason, 22 June 1670, in Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. i. 280).

Haynes died on 1 March 1654 at Hartford, Connecticut. He was twice married. By his first wife, Mary, daughter of Robert Thornton of Nottingham, he had Robert (d. 1657), Hezekiah, Roger, and Mary. The first son fought in England as a royalist, and the second as a parliamentarian. Hezekiah lived at Copford Hall till the father's death, and left the estate to his heirs. The second wife of Haynes was Mabel Harlakenden, by whom he had John, Joseph (1638–1679), a clergyman, Ruth, and Mabel.

‘He was not considered in any respect inferior to Governor Winthrop,’ says Trumbull (Hist. i. 216), and Bancroft describes him as ‘of a very large estate and larger affections; of a heavenly mind and a spotless life; of rare sagacity and accurate but unassuming judgment; by nature tolerant, ever a friend to freedom’ (Hist. of the United States, 1862, i. 364).

[Biography in J. B. Moore's Memoirs of American Governors, New York, 1846, i. 297–312; J. Winthrop's Hist. of New England, by J. Savage, Boston, 1853, 2 vols.; J. Savage's Genealog. Dictionary, 1860, ii. 389; F. M. Caulkins's Hist. of New London, Conn., New London, 1852; Hutchinson's Hist. of the Colony of Mass. Bay, 1765, vol. i.; W. Hubbard's Hist. of Indian Wars, by S. G. Drake, Roxbury, 1865, 2 vols.; J. Winsor's Hist. of America, 1886, iii. 330–1; Memorial Hist. of Boston, 1882, i. 121, 124, 300.]

H. R. T.