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Next morning, Charles asked the stranger:
you not the man who came here in 1684, wounded?"
“I am not. I was never here before. What is your name?
“Yes, my grandfather, Mathew Stevens, who was a Spaniard by birth and called Mattheo Estevan, died in Boston twenty years ago, and I have uncles, aunts and cousins living there."
“Have you relatives in Virginia ?”
“I know him, he befriended me and sent me here."
Then the stranger told how he had been an indented slave in Virginia, and escaped from a cruel master through the aid of Robert Stevens.
The strangers were George Waters and his daughter Cora.
THE CHARTER OAK.
When time, who steals our years away
Shall steal our pleasures too,
The Stevens family was growing with the colonies. Of the descendants of Mathew Stevens who came to New Plymouth in the Mayflower, there were many living in Boston, New York, Salem, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The family, widely scattered as its members were, never lost track of each other. They knew all their relatives in Virginia, Maryland and Carolinia.
Charles Stevens, but a youth, was on a visit to Connecticut, when an event transpired, which has since become historical. An aunt of Charles Stevens was the wife of a certain Captain Wadsworth, and Charles was visiting at this aunt's house when the incident happened.
As the student of American history doubtless knows, the tyrannical Governor Andros of New
York, claimed dominion over all that scope of country denominated as the New Netherland, a very indefinite term applied to a great scope of country extending from Maryland to the Connecticut River, to which point Andros claimed jurisdiction.
As early as 1675, he went to the mouth of the Connecticut River with a small naval force, to assert his authority. Captain Bull, the commander of a small garrison at Saybrook, permitted him to land; but when the governor began to read his commission, Bull ordered him to be silent. Andros was compelled to yield to the bold spirit and superior military power of Captain Bull, and in a towering passion he returned to New York, flinging curses and threats behind him at the people of Connecticut in general and Captain Bull in particular.
More than a dozen years had passed since Andros had been humiliated by Connecticut, and, despite his anathemas, the colony quietly pursued the even tenor of its way. At the end of that period, a most exciting incident occurred at Hartford, during the visit of Charles Stevens to that city. This historical incident has about it all the rosy hues of romance. On the very day of the arrival of Charles Stevens at Hartford, while he was talking with Captain Wadsworth, his aunt's husband,
a member of the colonial assembly suddenly entered the house, his face flushed with excitement.
“What has happened, Mr. Prince?” Wadsworth asked, for he could see that the man was greatly excited.
“Governor Andros has come again,” gasped Mr. Prince. “Why should that alarm us?
The fellow, though given to boasting, is not dangerous, or liable to put his threats into execution.”
“But he has grown dangerous!” declared Mr. Prince. “ The liberties of the colony are involved. Andros appears as a usurper of authority—the willing instrument of King James the second, who, it seems, has determined to hold absolute rule over all New England.”
Captain Wadsworth became a little uneasy, though he was still inclined to treat the matter lightly. Mr. Prince, to convince him of the danger they were in, continued:
“ You remember that on his arrival in New York as governor of New Netherland, he demanded the surrender of all the colonial charters into his hands."
“I remember such an order, and furthermore that all the colonies complied with his infamous demand save Connecticut. We have stubbornly refused to yield our charter voluntarily, for it is the guardian of our political rights."
“That is true, Captain Wadsworth,” continued Mr. Prince, “and, to subdue our stubbornness, this viceroy has come to Hartford with sixty armed men, to demand the surrender of the charter in person.”
Captain Wadsworth bounded to his feet in a rage and, placing his hand on the hilt of his sword, declared:
“He shall not have it!”
Arriving at Hartford on the 31st of October, 1687, Andros found the general assembly in session in the meeting-house. The members received him with the courtesy due to his rank. Before that body, with arıned men at his back, he demanded a formal surrender of the precious charter into his hands.
The members of the assembly were alarmed and amazed at his request.
The day was well nigh spent, when he arrived, and the members were engaged in a heated debate on a subject of the utmost importance.
“Wait until the discussion is ended, and then we will listen to you, governor," the president of the assembly answered to the demand of Andros.
“I have come for the charter, and I will have it!” said Andros, in his haughty, imperious manner.
He consented, however, to await the discussion;