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The Dover Combination


The “Combination of the People of Dover to Establish a Form of Government” was entered into in 1640. The original was in existence upon the Town Records about 1665, when it was quoted by Hubbard, but it could not be found when Dr. Belknap wrote his History. A copy made by Governor Cranfield in 1682 has since been found in the Public Record Office in London; of which the following is a transcript:

Whereas sundry Mischeifes and inconveniences have befaln us, and more and greater may in regard of want of Civill Government, his Gratious Matie haveing hitherto setled no Order for us to our Knowledge:

 Wee whose names are underwritten being Inhabitants upon the River Piscataquack have voluntarily agreed to combine our Selves into a Body Politique that wee may the more comfortably enjoy the benefit of his Maties Lawes. And do hereby actually ingage  our Selves to Submit to his Royal Maties Lawes together with all such Orders as shalbee concluded by a Major part of the Freemen of our Society , in case they bee not repugnant to the Lawes of England and administred in the behalfe of his Majesty.

 And this wee have Mutually promised and concluded to do and so to continue till his Excellent Matie shall give other Order concerning us.

 In Witness wee have hereto Set our hands the two & twentieth day of October in the Sixteenth yeare of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles by the grace of God King of Great Brittain France & Ireland Defender of the Faith &c Annoq Domi: 1640.

 John Follett                         Samuel Haines                   Robert Nanney

John Underhill                     William Jones                     Peter Garland

Philip Swaddow                 William Jones                     Richard Pinckhame

Steven Teddar                   Bartholmew Hunt              John Upgroufe

William Bowden                Thomas Canning                John Wastill

John Phillips                         John Heard                          Tho: Dunstar

John Hall                              Fran: Champernoon         Abel Camond

Hansed Knowles                Henry Beck                          Edward Colcord

Robert Huggins                  Henry Lahorn                       Thom. Larkin

Edward Starr                       Richard Waldern               James Nute

William Waldern                Anthony Emery                   William Storer

Richard Laham                   William Furber                    William Pomfret

Tho: Layton                          John Crosse                         Tho: Roberts

George Webb                   Bartholmew Smith            James Rawlins

 This is a True Copy compared with ye Originall by me         

Edw Cranfield


New England N. Hampshire

The Combination for Government by ye people at Pascataq.


recd abt 13 Febr. 82-3

 Some of the names were no doubt copied inaccurately for Governor Cranfield. Phillip Swaddow is Swadden on the protest of 1641. Abel Camond is conjectured to be the Camock named Abel. Steven Teddar is doubtless the Stephen Kidder of Berwick in 1632, if Belknap gives the name right. Thomas Canning was, later Cannie, but Canning was doubtless the original form. Thomas Dunstar is sometimes given as Durstin. Edward Starr was doubtless the Edward Starbuck of that period. The name sometimes given as Robert Varney is clearly Robert Nanney, but may have become Varney.

 This combination was entered into from the fact that John Underhill had become a strong advocate for the union of the plantation with Massachusetts, as related by Belknap, while pretending to be hostile to that government from which he had been banished. This duplicity produced the utmost confusion in the colony. Underhill attempted to “rend this combination,” and contrary to his oath and fidelity went from house to house, and for his own ends by flattering and threatening, got some hands to a note of their willingness to submit themselves to the government of Massachusetts. This led to the violent proceedings of both parties as related by Belknap, and to the decree banishing Underhill from the colony.

 From Notable Events in the History of Dover, N. H. by George Wadleigh, c. 1913.

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