THE HUGUENOT IMMIGRATION.
Protestants were excluded from that region. From that
time, thousands of them carried into the Massachusetts Bay
Colony their industrial skill, intelligence and genuine moral worth.
By way of its commercial relations with the Isle of Jersey,
in the British Channel, which belonged to Great Britain, Salem
was well known to the French there as early as 1660; and
subsequently a number of persons from that island established
themselves here, Philippe d’Anglois (Philip English), John Touzell,
Jean Le Brun (John Brown), Nicholas Chevalier, Peter Morrall,
John Vouden, Edward Feveryear, Mary Butler, Rachel Dellaclose,
the Valpys, Lefavors, Beadles, Cabots and others, being natives
of Jersey. Most of the population of Jersey and Guernsey were
of French descent and spoke a French dialect and were
principally of the persecuted Protestants.
In 1662, a body of French Protestants who had been expelled
from the city of La Rochelle, in France, petitioned the governor
and magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. for liberty to
Philip English, who became a wealthy merchant in Salem,
brought from Jersey a number of young men and women. The
Huguenots found in him their greatest friend.
In 1682, a few fugitives found their way hither in such a
state of destitution that it appealed powerfully to sympathy. The
governor and council of the Bay Colony informed the churches
that “several French Protestants have fled hither for shelter by
reason of the present sufferings in their country.” They came
recommended by known persons of eminent integrity in London.
The next Thursday after this informattion was received was a
general fast, and ministers were requested to take up collections
in the afternoon of that day.
Salem was not slow to show its compassion towards these
immigrants, and, in September, 1686, a considerable sum was
collected, and passed over to the council. On the twenty-seventh of
that month, the council ordered that “the money lately gathered
at Salem by way of contribution for the poor distressed French
Protestants be returned thither for the necessary support of the
French lately arrived there and to be distributed according to
October 26th following, Mr. Willard was paid by the town
eight shillings for a barrel of beer given to the French people;
and on the twenty-first of the next month there was a contribution
Their church services, though modified, were somewhat
objectionable to the Puritans, though they failed to qualify the
cordial regard they had for the
Massachusetts. Archives, Council Records, 1686 and 1687, page 79.