Winthrop

Winthrop

[win-thruhp]
Winthrop, John, 1588-1649, governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, b. Edwardstone, near Groton, Suffolk, England. Of a landowning family, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, came into a family fortune, and became a government administrator with strong Puritan leanings. A member of the Massachusetts Bay Company, he led the group that arranged for the removal of the company's government to New England and was chosen (1629) governor of the proposed colony. He arrived (1630) in the ship Arbella at Salem and shortly founded on Shawmut peninsula the settlement that became Boston. He was—with the possible exception of John Cotton—the most distinguished citizen of Massachusetts Bay colony, serving as governor some 12 times. He helped to shape the theocratic policy of the colony and opposed broad democracy. It was while he was deputy governor and Sir Henry Vane (1613-62) was governor that Winthrop bitterly and successfully opposed the antinomian beliefs of Anne Hutchinson and her followers, who were supported by Vane. The force of his influence on the history of Massachusetts was enormous. Winthrop's journal, which was edited by J. K. Hosmer and published in 1908 as The History of New England from 1630 to 1649 is one of the most valuable of American historical sources.

See The Journal of John Winthrop, 1630-1649 (1996), abridged ed. by R. S. Dunn and L. Yeandle; R. C. Winthrop, Life and Letters of John Winthrop (2 vol., 1864-67; repr. 1971); Winthrop Papers (5 vol., 1929-47); biographies by J. H. Twichell (1892), E. S. Morgan (1958), G. R. Raymer (1963), and F. J. Bremer (2003); R. S. Dunn, Puritans and Yankees (1962, repr. 1971).

Winthrop, John, 1606-76, colonial governor in America, b. Groton, Suffolk, England; oldest son of John Winthrop (1588-1649). He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, became a lawyer, and emigrated to Massachusetts Bay in 1631. He returned to England in 1634 and in 1635 was commissioned governor of the new colony at Saybrook (now Deep River), Conn., just when other towns were being settled in the Connecticut valley; by agreement he was recognized for a year as titular governor of all. In 1646, Winthrop founded New London, and in 1657 and annually from 1659 to 1676 he was elected governor of Connecticut. After the Stuart restoration (1660), he obtained a charter (1662) that led to the union (1664) of Connecticut and New Haven colonies, and he governed the colony with an administration practically independent of England. He gathered a considerable library and by his interest in chemistry and other sciences helped to promote scientific study in the colonies. Elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1663, he became the first member resident in America.

See biographies by T. F. Waters (1899) and R. C. Black (1966); R. S. Dunn, Puritans and Yankees (1962, repr. 1971).

Winthrop, John (Fitz-John Winthrop), 1638-1707, American colonial governor of Connecticut, b. Ipswich, Mass.; son of John Winthrop (1606-76). He is commonly called Fitz-John Winthrop to distinguish him from his father and his grandfather. He left Harvard to serve in the English parliamentary army, returned to America in 1663, and served in King Philip's War (1675-76). He was a member of the council of Gov. Edmund Andros, but after the latter's overthrow he helped restore Connecticut's separate government. After serving as commander of the unsuccessful invasion (1690) of Canada in King William's War, he represented Connecticut in England from 1693 to 1697 and was elected governor in 1698. He served ably until his death.

See R. S. Dunn, Puritans and Yankees (1962, repr. 1971).

Winthrop, John, 1714-79, American scientist, b. Boston, Mass., grad. Harvard, 1732. Because of his study of earthquakes, he is sometimes called the founder of seismology. He made scientific observations of sunspots and other astronomical phenomena, lectured on electricity, and was the first important scientist to teach at Harvard. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1766.
Winthrop, Robert Charles, 1809-94, American statesman, b. Boston. He studied law under Daniel Webster, was admitted (1831) to the bar, and was (1835-41) a Whig member of the Massachusetts legislature. He served (1842-50) in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming speaker in 1847. Appointed (1850) to the Senate to complete Daniel Webster's unexpired term, he was defeated (1851) for reelection by Charles Sumner. He was generally considered a moderate in the sectional disputes leading up to the Civil War. He gained a reputation as an orator and was the chief speaker at the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument (1848) and again (1885) at its dedication. After 1851 he chiefly devoted himself to literary and philanthropic work. Winthrop College in South Carolina was named in his honor. His writings include The Life and Letters of John Winthrop (1864-67), Washington, Bowdoin, and Franklin (1876), and Memoir of Henry Clay (1880).
Winthrop, residential town (1990 pop. 18,127), Suffolk co., E Mass., on a peninsula extending into Boston Bay; settled 1635, set off from North Chelsea and inc. 1852. Several houses of historical interest (17th-18th cent.) remain, including Governor Winthrop's house.

John Winthrop, detail of an oil painting, school of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, c. 1625–49; elipsis

(born Jan. 22, 1588, Edwardstone, Suffolk, Eng.—died April 5, 1649, Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony) American colonial political leader, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1629 he joined the Massachusetts Bay Co., and he was elected governor of the colony that was to be established by the company in New England. An ardent Puritan, he envisioned a colony based on his religious beliefs. He guided the colonists on his arrival in North America in 1630 and was elected governor 12 times during the period from 1631 to 1648. Though widely respected, he was criticized for opposing the formation of a representative assembly (1634), and the colony's limitations on religious freedom were decried by Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson. His son, John Winthrop (1606–76), was an influential governor of Connecticut (1659–76).

Learn more about Winthrop, John with a free trial on Britannica.com.

John Winthrop, detail of an oil painting, school of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, c. 1625–49; elipsis

(born Jan. 22, 1588, Edwardstone, Suffolk, Eng.—died April 5, 1649, Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony) American colonial political leader, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1629 he joined the Massachusetts Bay Co., and he was elected governor of the colony that was to be established by the company in New England. An ardent Puritan, he envisioned a colony based on his religious beliefs. He guided the colonists on his arrival in North America in 1630 and was elected governor 12 times during the period from 1631 to 1648. Though widely respected, he was criticized for opposing the formation of a representative assembly (1634), and the colony's limitations on religious freedom were decried by Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson. His son, John Winthrop (1606–76), was an influential governor of Connecticut (1659–76).

Learn more about Winthrop, John with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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