The Tree That Saved Connecticut

DRAMATIC HOURS IN COLONIAL HISTORY

The Tree That Saved Connecticut

BY

HENRY FISK CARLTON


Edited by CLAIRE T. ZYVE, Ph.D. Fox Meadow School, Scarsdale, New York


The Tree
That Saved Connecticut

CAST

GOVERNOR TREAT
LIEUTENANT ALLYN
GOVERNOR ANDROS
CAPTAIN WADSWORTH
COLONEL BLIGH
THE SEXTON
CHARLES WILLYS
VOICE

ANNOUNCER

In the year 1661 Connecticut received from the hand of Charles the Second a very liberal charter granting to the people of the colony almost complete self-government and to the colony an enormous stretch of territory extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. For fifteen years the colony prospered under the generous charter. Then in 1676 trouble arose with the Governor of New York, Sir Edmund Andros, about the boundary line between the two colonies. Andros demanded authority over all the land west of the Connecticut River. Governor Treat of Connecticut refused to submit. Andros threatened to seize the disputed land. Treat defied him. Andros fitted out three ships, embarked a military force, and set out for Saybrooke, Connecticut. Treat ordered out the militia, garrisoned the fort at Saybrooke, and waited.
Our first scene is in the fort on the morning of July 9, 1676. The Governor is at breakfast when he hears[Pg 2]




VOICE [distance]
Sail, ho!
ALL [closer]
Sail, ho! Here they come; call the governor [etc.]
ALLYN [coming in]
Governor! Governor! The ships are coming into the harbor!
TREAT
Are you certain they are the ships of Governor Andros?
ALLYN
Come and see for yourself, Governor.
TREAT
Come along, then. Lieutenant Allyn, how many ships did you see? [crowd noises swell up]
ALLYN
Only one, sir. I didn't wait for any more.
TREAT
Ah, here we are! Give me your hand while I climb to the ramparts.
ALLYN
Yes, sir! Ah! There you are, sir!
TREAT
Good!
ALL [in]
There's three of 'em, Governor! That's Andros, sir. No doubt o' that!
TREAT
Yes, yes, three! Andros's ships! That's certain! [calling] Every man to his place! Load your muskets and prepare for action! Andros shall not land![Pg 3]
ALL
Aye! We'll stop him! Just let him try it!
Here, give me your ramrod. Have you got an extra flint? [etc.]
TREAT
Lieutenant Allyn.
ALLYN
Yes, sir!
TREAT
Load the cannon!
ALLYN
It is loaded, sir.
TREAT
Fire across the bow of the forward ship! Make them come to!
ALLYN
Yes, sir! [calling] Throw the cannon across the bow of the forward ship!
VOICE
Yes, sir!
ALLYN
Fire! [a cannon shot]
ALL
Oh! Look at it!
Yea! Good shot!
TREAT
Excellent! That will show Andros our temper!
ALLYN
The ship is coming about, sir![Pg 4]
TREAT
So I see! They may be going to answer our shot with a broadside! [calling] Down! Every man down behind the ramparts!
ALLYN
Down! Down! Every man down!
VOICE [distant]
Ahoy, the fort!
TREAT
Oh! Hailing us! Well, let them hail!
VOICE
Ahoy, the fort!
TREAT
Can you see who it is, Lieutenant?
ALLYN
No, sir!
VOICE
I say there! Ahoy, the fort! Is there anyone there? Answer or we'll open fire on you!
TREAT
Hail them, Lieutenant.
ALLYN [calling]
Hello there, what do you want?
VOICE
Is the Governor of Connecticut Colony in the fort?
ALLYN [low]
What shall I tell him?
TREAT
Tell him I'm here.[Pg 5]
ALLYN [loud]
Yes, the Governor is here!
VOICE
Governor Andros sends his compliments—
TREAT [under his breath]
Compliments, indeed!
VOICE
And requests Governor Treat to come aboard for a parley.
TREAT
Never! Tell him if Andros has anything to say let him come here, alone and unarmed, and say it!
ALLYN
Yes, sir! [loud] Governor Treat's compliments. He requests Governor Andros to come ashore for a parley.
TREAT
Alone and unarmed.
ALLYN [loud]
If he means no harm, let him come alone and unarmed.
TREAT
He'll never come!
ALLYN
They're letting a small boat down, sir!
TREAT
Indeed! Who is in it?
ALLYN
A sailor and another—
TREAT
Andros?[Pg 6]
ALLYN
It may be, I don't know him. They're pulling away from the side now.
TREAT
If that is really Andros, he's a brave man.
ALLYN
Aye, sir, he is that. Will you go down to meet him?
TREAT
Indeed I will, if he has the courage to come ashore without a guard! I can do no less than meet him at the shore. Come along, Lieutenant. [calling] Stand by, men, ready for action at any moment! Lieutenant Allyn and I are going out to meet the Governor!
ALLYN
Through this portal, sir! I've unlocked it.
TREAT
Thank you.
ALLYN
The boat is just beaching, sir.
TREAT
Good! And here he comes.
ALLYN
Alone!
TREAT
Have I the honor of greeting Governor Andros?
ANDROS [coming in, storming angrily]
What is the meaning of this, sir? What is the meaning of this?
TREAT
I beg your pardon?[Pg 7]
ANDROS
This—this show of force? What is the meaning of it, I say?
TREAT
Sir! This force is here to maintain the rights of this colony against the illegal aggression of New York!
ANDROS
Where is your Governor?
TREAT
Here!
ANDROS
Well, Governor, I'll have you know that I have come here in the legal performance of my duties to take command of land legally and lawfully a part of the possessions of His Grace, the Duke of York.
TREAT
I have already informed you, sir, that you shall not have it!
ANDROS
Is this rebellion?
TREAT
It is not, I assure you. But we will hold this land which is ours by right of grant from His Majesty, Charles the Second.
ANDROS
My commission as Governor of this territory comes directly from His Grace, the Duke of York.
TREAT
His Grace has no jurisdiction here.
ANDROS
Here, sir, are my orders. [rattle of paper][Pg 8]
TREAT
And here, sir, is a true copy of our charter. [rattle of paper]
ANDROS
My orders supersede your charter.
TREAT
Our charter is a royal grant, and cannot be superseded except for cause by due process of law.
ANDROS
I shall take possession under my orders. You can appeal to the Privy Council for redress.
TREAT
You can take possession only after every man in this fort is dead!
ANDROS
Do you still insist on this ridiculous show of force?
TREAT
I do! If you make a move to land your troops, we will open fire!
ANDROS
Very well. I shall report to His Grace that I was prevented from obeying his command by an unwarranted and illegal show of force!
TREAT
And we shall report to His Majesty that we defended our rights under our royal charter.
ANDROS
Confound your charter! I'll see to it that you lose it! Good day, sir.
TREAT
Good day![Pg 9]
ANNOUNCER
So Governor Andros took his departure without gaining possession of the territory he claimed. For the next ten years Connecticut continued in undisputed possession of her charter, and then on December 19, 1686, Andros was appointed Governor of all New England. News of this appointment reached Connecticut several months later.
Our next scene is at the State House in Hartford. It is June of 1687. The General Court of the Connecticut Colony is in session. As our scene opens, Governor Treat is addressing the Assembly.
TREAT
Gentlemen! I have called you here to consider a matter of grave importance to the life of this colony. As you know, His Majesty has seen fit to deprive us of our rights under our charter and has appointed a Governor who is to have supreme power over this colony and all of New England.
WADSWORTH
Your Excellency—
TREAT
Yes, Captain Wadsworth?
WADSWORTH
Let us not submit! Let us appeal to the Privy Council! We have our rights under the charter.
ALL
Yes, yes! Let us not submit!
TREAT
It is useless, gentlemen. When we are ordered to submit, we must submit or be in rebellion.
WADSWORTH
When may we expect the order?[Pg 10]
TREAT
I was informed this very morning that an officer of Governor Andros was on his way here to take over the government of the colony, and we might expect him this very day.
WADSWORTH
Then what can we do, sir?
TREAT
We can submit—indeed we must submit to the rule of Governor Andros, but, gentlemen, we must not relinquish our charter!
ALL
No, no! We must save our charter. [etc.]
TREAT
But how can we save it? If I am ordered to give it up, what can I do? I have it here. It is in my possession. How can I hold it against an order to relinquish it?
WADSWORTH
Your Excellency, if it is not in your possession, you cannot give it up.
TREAT
But it is, Captain Wadsworth.
WADSWORTH
Then, sir, I move you that this Assembly forthwith take it out of your possession and intrust it to a committee for safe-keeping.
TREAT
Yes, that is possible.
VOICE
Second![Pg 11]
TREAT
You have heard the proposal. Those favoring—
ALL
Aye!
TREAT
Opposed—it is a vote. Will someone propose the committee?
VOICE
Your Excellency, I propose Captain Wadsworth, Charles Willys, and John Talcott.
TREAT
But Talcott is not here.
WADSWORTH
All the better, sir, since we cannot give up the charter except upon unanimous consent of the committee.
TREAT
A very good arrangement. Is there a second to the nomination for the Charter Committee?
VOICE
Second! [loud knock]
TREAT
Don't open until we have had the vote! All favoring—
ALL
Aye! [knocking]
BLIGH [outside]
Open, in the name of the King!
TREAT
Opposed? Carried!
BLIGH [insistent knocking]
Open, open, I say! Open in the name of the King.[Pg 12]
TREAT [over the noise]
Captain Wadsworth, I deliver this charter into your hands for safe-keeping.
WADSWORTH
We shall keep it, sir. Never fear!
TREAT [calling]
Doorkeeper, open the door!
VOICE
Yes, sir!
BLIGH [coming in]
What is the meaning of this, sir? Why was I locked out?
TREAT
Your pardon, sir. But what authority have you, sir, to break into the Assembly of the General Court of Connecticut?
BLIGH
I have come to take over the government of this colony under the authority of Governor Andros.
TREAT
Indeed, and who are you, if we may be permitted to know?
BLIGH
Ah, of course—I have the honor to be Samuel Bligh, Colonel in His Majesty's service. Are you Robert Treat?
TREAT
I am.
BLIGH
Here are your orders! [rattle of paper][Pg 13]
TREAT
Thank you. "Hereby ordered"—yes—yes—"in compliance with mandate of His Majesty"—yes, indeed. Colonel Bligh, we are ready to turn the government over to Governor Andros.
BLIGH
Then, sir, you will deliver up the charter to me.
TREAT
What?
BLIGH
The charter! The charter—read the rest of the order, sir.
TREAT [reading]
"Governor Treat is hereby ordered to deliver up the forfeited charter"—but, Colonel Bligh, I cannot deliver up the charter—
BLIGH
Why not?
TREAT
Because, sir, it is not in my possession.
BLIGH
In whose possession is it?
TREAT
It has been intrusted by the General Court to a special committee.
BLIGH
Indeed—and who comprises the committee?
TREAT
The clerk will read the names of the committee.[Pg 14]
ALLYN
May it please you, sir, the committee consists of Captain Wadsworth, Charles Willys, and John Talcott.
BLIGH
Are any of those named here?
WADSWORTH
Yes, sir!
BLIGH
Your name, sir?
WADSWORTH
Captain Wadsworth.
BLIGH
Captain Wadsworth, I order you to deliver up the charter to me.
WADSWORTH
Oh, yes, and have you an order for it there?
BLIGH
Indeed I have. Governor Treat has just read it.
WADSWORTH
May I be allowed to see it?
BLIGH
Of course. Governor Treat, will you let this gentleman read the order and be satisfied.
WADSWORTH [rattle of paper]
Hm, yes.—"Governor Treat—hereby ordered"—but, Colonel, this is an order upon Governor Treat!
BLIGH
Of course it is! Now are you satisfied?
WADSWORTH
I am deeply sorry, sir, I do not see how the committee can comply with this order.[Pg 15]
BLIGH
Why not, pray—is it not properly signed and sealed?
WADSWORTH
Oh yes. Signed properly, but it is drawn against the Governor—and not against the Charter Committee.
BLIGH
Why—what—oh, this is too much! Governor Andros warned me that you would be stubborn and stiff-necked! But I'll have that charter! Here—I'll change that order—give it here!
WADSWORTH
Here you are, sir. [rattle of paper]
BLIGH
Hm—yes—a quill. So—now—"The Charter Committee—is hereby ordered"—there you are. Now I hope you are satisfied.
WADSWORTH
Are you satisfied with this, Governor?
TREAT
Hm—does this not seem to be a forgery, Captain Wadsworth?
WADSWORTH
It not only seems to be, sir, but it is. I saw him make an illegal change in the order. All of us saw it.
ALL
Yes, yes! We saw him.
It is a forgery! Don't obey it!
TREAT
I should say that the change invalidated the entire order!
BLIGH
What? You are trying to put me in the wrong?[Pg 16]
WADSWORTH
Not at all, sir! You have put yourself in the wrong.
BLIGH
But—but—you forced me to make that change in the order.
TREAT
I believe, Colonel, we merely pointed out that your order was inadequate; we did not force you to commit forgery.
BLIGH
Oh, this is a trick! This is a trick! I demand the immediate surrender of the government and the charter!
TREAT
What is the will of the Assembly? Can we deliver up the government under an order which is obviously forged?
ALL
No, no! No indeed!
TREAT
The vote is against you, Colonel.
BLIGH
Andros will come himself and attend to this affair. I wash my hands of it! He'll make you pay for this day's work—and he'll get the charter! Good day!
ALL
Good day!
ANNOUNCER
Andros did come, as Colonel Bligh had threatened, but not for several months. But when he came, he came in state, with a company of soldiers, two trumpeters, and Colonel Bligh. He intended this time to get the charter, and no mistake![Pg 17]
Governor Treat called the General Court to assemble on the evening of October 31, 1687, to confer with Governor Andros and make one last determined stand to retain the charter even if there was no way to retain their rights under the charter.
Our next scene is at the State House in Hartford. It is evening. The sexton is preparing the room for the meeting which is about to take place.
SEXTON [to himself]
Now these candles, where'd I best put 'em. I cal'ate mebbe I'd better scatter 'em around the room—
WADSWORTH [coming in]
Good even to you, Nathan.
SEXTON
Even, Captain Wadsworth. Even, Master Allyn.
ALLYN
Good even, Nathan.
WADSWORTH
These candles, Nathan.
SEXTON
Yes, sir! I was jest a puttin' 'em around where everybody'd git a little light.
WADSWORTH
I think perhaps you'd best put them all on the Governor's table.
SEXTON
The Governor's table. Yes, sir! So—one here—and one—
ALLYN
No, no, Nathan. Put them all together at this end of the table.[Pg 18]
SEXTON
This end by the window?
ALLYN
I think that will be best, don't you, Captain?
WADSWORTH
Of course! The Governor needs a great deal of light.
SEXTON
But, sir, the draft from the window—it may blow them out.
ALLYN
Well, well, if it does, Nathan, we'll just have to light them all again.
SEXTON
Yes, sir! Of course, sir!
WADSWORTH [low]
Now Allyn, seeing you are the clerk of the General Court, you can sit at the Governor's table without exciting suspicion.
ALLYN
Yes, Captain!
WADSWORTH
Best put your chair next the window.
ALLYN
Have you the charter?
WADSWORTH
Yes, I have it with me, and when Andros demands it I shall have to produce it.
ALLYN
Andros must not be allowed to get his hand on it.[Pg 19]
WADSWORTH
That will be your duty.
ALLYN
Yes?
WADSWORTH
Willys will be waiting outside that window, next your chair. When the candles go out, grab the charter and toss it out the window. He'll put it in a safe place.
ALLYN
Where?
WADSWORTH
You know the oak in front of his house?
ALLYN
Indeed yes!
WADSWORTH
There is a hollow—high up—
ALLYN
Good!
WADSWORTH [louder]
Nathan!
SEXTON
Yes, Captain!
WADSWORTH
A good fire you have in the fireplace.
SEXTON
I figgered to have a good fire—it's a mite chilly this evenin'.
WADSWORTH
It may get overly warm in here before the meeting is over.[Pg 20]
SEXTON
Aye.
WADSWORTH
I want you to stand close to that window behind John Allyn's chair.
SEXTON
Yes, sir!
WADSWORTH
Don't leave it. And the moment I say, "Sexton, it's warm in here," throw open the window. You understand?
SEXTON
"Sexton, it's warm in here," throw it open. Yes, sir, I understand.
WADSWORTH
Never mind what anyone else says. Throw it open on my signal and throw it wide open.
SEXTON
But the candles, sir—they may go out. They're right close to the window.
WADSWORTH
Never mind the candles.
SEXTON
Never mind them—yes, sir! [trumpets sound outside]
ALLYN
Here comes Andros. Throw open the door.
WADSWORTH
Never mind, Nathan. I'll do it. You stay by that window.
SEXTON
The window. Yes, sir![Pg 21]
WADSWORTH
Enter, Governor Andros.
ANDROS
Thank you. Governor Treat—I now call you that for the last time—will you show me to my place?
TREAT
Of course, sir. Captain Wadsworth, will you usher us to our places?
WADSWORTH
Right this way, Governor. We have arranged this place for you.
ANDROS
Thank you. Do we need all the candles here?
WADSWORTH
For you and the clerk. [noise and confusion of members entering]
ANDROS
Yes, yes! Of course! Treat, will you sit at my left?
TREAT
Thank you, sir!
ANDROS
Will you call the Assembly to order?
TREAT
Gentlemen, will you take your places. [sound of gavel] The Assembly will please come to order! [quiet] In accordance with the command of His Majesty we are met here to surrender the government of the Connecticut Colony to the Royal Governor, Sir Edmund Andros. On behalf of this Assembly, I have the honor, sir, to welcome you and assure you of our submission to His Majesty's command. We have ever been a loyal and a law-abiding[Pg 22] people. We surrender the prerogatives of government under our charter with regret; but His Majesty commands, and we, his loyal subjects, have nought to do but obey. We are, sir, yours to command.
ALL [cheers]
ANDROS
Thank you, Master Treat. I am agreeably pleased at the expression of obedience. In the name of His Majesty I hereby take command of the colony of Connecticut and order it joined to the colony of Massachusetts Bay, of which you shall henceforth be a part. And now, you have only to surrender the charter to me to complete the ceremony of submission to the order of His Majesty.
TREAT
But, sir, we have signified our submission. The surrender of the charter is quite another thing.
ANDROS
How so?
TREAT
It was granted in perpetuity, to be forfeited only through due process of law.
ANDROS
Have you not been informed, sir, that a writ of quo warranto issued in the proper courts of England was tried and went by default last February?
TREAT
Last February? Indeed, sir! We had no knowledge that any action was brought against it. Who was the complainant?
ANDROS
I was![Pg 23]
TREAT
You, sir?
ANDROS
Indeed, you seem to have forgotten an occasion when I promised you I'd get your charter.
TREAT
No, sir! Unfortunately I still remember it!
ANDROS
I have here the original court order, declaring your charter forfeit, and I shall now trouble your Charter Committee to produce the original document.
TREAT
One moment, sir. Has not every Englishman a right to defend his case before a court of law?
ANDROS
Of course—you had such a chance and failed to appear.
TREAT
We had no notice of the action.
ANDROS
That's not my fault.
TREAT
The court is in error, and we shall appeal.
ANDROS
Appeal all you like; but produce the charter.
TREAT
We do so under protest.
ANDROS
Ah, very well. I care not how much you protest. Once I get the charter, I can assure you, you'll never see it again.[Pg 24]
TREAT
But, sir!
ANDROS
Produce the charter.
TREAT
Captain Wadsworth, place the charter on the table.
WADSWORTH
Here it is, sir.
ANDROS
Ah—at last!
TREAT
One moment, sir.
ANDROS
What now?
TREAT
Will you first sign the receipt for the charter, so that the committee may be protected?
ANDROS
Why, certainly, if you wish. It's no matter; but I'll do it. Give me your quill, clerk.
ALLYN
Here you are, sir—and paper.
ANDROS
Yes. Hm—"received—charter—signed"—there—
WADSWORTH
Sexton, it's warm in here!
SEXTON
Yes, sir! [noise of window]
ANDROS
Hey, the lights! Quick, what's happened? Lights! Lights![Pg 25]
ALL
The candles have all blown out!
Put down the window!
What's the matter—[etc.] [exclamations continue through the scene]
ANDROS
Put that window down! What are you trying to do?
SEXTON
Why, sir, it was warm.
ANDROS
Put it down, I say! Light those candles! What foolishness is this? Light those candles, I say! Do you hear me?
SEXTON
Yes, sir, at once, sir! [noise of window going down]
Here, sir, I'll light the candles. I'm right sorry, sir. Now, where did I put my flint? Ah, here it is. There you are, sir. I'm right sorry I put you out, sir. I didn't think—
ANDROS
Fool! Now, Treat, hand me the charter.
TREAT
The charter—why, sir—you had it.
ANDROS
Had it? What are you talking about?
TREAT
Why, sir! I saw you put your hand on it the moment the lights went out.
ANDROS
Indeed I did not. Give it here!
TREAT
But, sir[Pg 26]—
ANDROS
Hey—you—Captain—
WADSWORTH
Sir!
ANDROS
Wadsworth, give me the charter!
WADSWORTH
But, sir, I gave it to you.
ANDROS
You did not!
WADSWORTH
But I have here your receipt for it!
ANDROS
Give me back that receipt!
WADSWORTH
I shall certainly do nothing of the kind, sir. I gave you the charter; you gave me this receipt for it. I have here twenty witnesses to the transaction!
ANDROS
I'm being tricked! I say I will have that charter. It's somewhere here, and I'll have it. [calling] Colonel Bligh!
BLIGH [distance]
Yes, sir!
ANDROS
Surround this place with your soldiers. Don't let a single man leave until he has been searched!
TREAT
Sir, this is illegal! You have no search warrants![Pg 27]
ANDROS
Indeed! I'll do it whether it's legal or not. I'll have that charter, I tell you, if I have to search every spot in this town! I'll have it, I say I'll have it.
ANNOUNCER
And so the great search began. All that night and into the next day the Governor, the Colonel, and their soldiers searched high and low for the missing charter. At last they came to the house of Charles Willys, in front of which stood the great oak in which the charter lay safely hidden.
ANDROS
Who lives here?
TREAT
This is the home of Charles Willys!
ANDROS
Indeed! One of the Charter Committee, eh?
TREAT
Yes, sir!
ANDROS
Good! Search this place inside and out, Colonel. Don't leave a thing unturned.
BLIGH
Very good, sir! Search this place, Captain—thoroughly. Tear up the floors, dig up the garden, rip the upholstery off the furniture, but find that charter!
VOICE
Yes, sir. Follow me!
ANDROS
Bring out the master of the house. The rest of you back up against this tree and don't move![Pg 28]
TREAT
Sir, I protest again—
ANDROS
Protest all you like. It will do you no good until you produce that charter.
TREAT
I don't know where it is. You had it, that's all I know. If you lost it, it is not our fault.
ANDROS
Silence!
BLIGH [a little distance]
Here's the master of the house, sir.
ANDROS
Ah, indeed! Are you Master Willys?
WILLYS
I am.
ANDROS
Where is the charter?
WILLYS
Your pardon, sir, but how should I know?
ANDROS
You were a member of the Charter Committee, were you not?
WILLYS
I was!
ANDROS
Then where is it?
WILLYS
I am informed that the charter—
ANDROS
Yes?[Pg 29]
WILLYS
Was placed—
ANDROS
Yes—yes—
WILLYS
In your hands!
ANDROS
Sir! If you don't tell me where that charter is—
WILLYS
What then, sir?
ANDROS
Do you see this oak tree?
WILLYS
I'm not blind, sir.
ANDROS
I'll have you strung up—strung up in it, sir; I'll have you strung up in it!
WILLYS
I should hate to have such a fine tree perverted to such a purpose, sir!
ANDROS
Ah! You would! Colonel Bligh! Colonel!
BLIGH [distance]
Yes, Governor!
ANDROS
Send me half a dozen soldiers and a stout rope!
BLIGH
Yes, sir![Pg 30]
ANDROS
Ah! Now perhaps we'll get something from you. Will you tell me or will you be hanged by your thumbs from that stout limb up there until you are ready to tell me where the charter is?
TREAT
Governor Andros, I fear you have forgotten yourself in your rage. Master Willys is entitled to a trial before any such punishment can be meted out to him.
ANDROS
Silence, or I'll have you strung up with him! Gad, sir, I'll fill this oak tree with stiff-necked rebellious Connecticut men, but I'll have that charter!
BLIGH
Here are your men, sir!
ANDROS
Good! One of you climb that oak tree. Here, you, Sergeant.
VOICE
Yes, sir!
ANDROS
Give him a hand there. [sound of starting to climb the tree] Have the men found anything in the house, Colonel?
BLIGH
Not a thing, sir!
WADSWORTH
Look here, sir.
ANDROS
Ah, Captain Wadsworth. Have you something to say?
WADSWORTH
I have, sir.[Pg 31]
ANDROS
Speak out.
WADSWORTH
Tell those men to stay out of that tree and I'll tell you.
ANDROS
All right, Sergeant, come down. I thought we'd get something out of them if we scared them. Well, Captain?
WADSWORTH
Sir, you have lost the charter; that is clear.
ANDROS
Where is it?
WADSWORTH
Just a minute. You have lost it. You also have given us your receipt for it; therefore you should have it.
ANDROS
And I intend to have it.
WADSWORTH
You can't. I can assure you of that, but here is what I propose. The committee is willing to turn over the receipt to you if you will stop this foolish and destructive search for something you can't find.
ANDROS
Never! Sergeant, go up that tree again. We'll string these fellows up.
WADSWORTH
Ah, very well, then. But, sir, you'll look very foolish when you report to the Privy Council that you did not get the charter, and we produce your signed receipt!
ANDROS
What?—Hm[Pg 32]—
TREAT
Yes, indeed, Governor. How will you explain that to the King?
ANDROS
What? Why! Ah—very well then, give me the receipt and I'll leave. After all, your charter will do you no good. It's revoked.
TREAT
Exactly! That's a very sensible view to take, Governor Andros. I congratulate you.
WADSWORTH
Here is the receipt, sir.
ANDROS
Humph!
WADSWORTH
You're very welcome, sir.
ANDROS
Colonel Bligh, draw up your guard and prepare to return to Boston. [orders and confusion]
TREAT [over the noise]
My congratulations, Captain Wadsworth. A good bargain.
WADSWORTH
Indeed it was. Another foot up the tree, and the Sergeant would have had the charter.
BLIGH
Quick step, march![Pg 33]

ANNOUNCER

By saving the charter Connecticut preserved her claim to separate government, and in 1694 the King decided that the charter was in full legal force. It served as the fundamental order of Connecticut government down to the Revolution and until 1818, when a new state constitution superseded it.



The oak in which the charter was so well hidden was called from that time the "Charter Oak." It stood until August 21, 1856, when it fell. At sunset of that day the bells of Hartford tolled, and mourning was displayed for the historic old tree. And today interested tourists may see the spot where the Charter Oak stood and see a piece of the old tree in the State House.