The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 1 of 2 - From 1620-1816
by Egerton Ryerson
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"The claimants for toleration, formerly suppressed with such prompt severity, were now encouraged, by the King's demands in their favour, again to raise their heads. For the next thirty years the people of Massachusetts (Bay) were divided into three parties, a very decided, though gradually diminishing majority (of the Congregationalists, the only "freemen") sustaining with ardour the theocratic system, and, as essential to it, entire independence of external control. At the opposite extreme, a party, small in numbers and feeble in influence (among the "freemen"), advocated religious toleration—at least to a limited extent—and equal civil rights for all inhabitants. They advocated, also, the supremacy of the Crown, sole means in that day of curbing the theocracy, and compelling it to yield its monopoly of power. To this party belonged the Episcopalians, or those inclined to become so; the Baptists, Presbyterians, the Quakers, and other sectaries who feared less the authority of a distant monarch than the present rule of their watchful and bitter spiritual rivals. In the intermediate was a third party, weak at first but daily growing stronger, and drawing to its ranks, one after another, some former zealous advocates of the exclusive system, convinced that a theocracy, in its stricter form, was no longer tenable, and some of them, perhaps, beginning to be satisfied that it was not desirable. Among the earliest of these were Norton and Bradstreet, the agents who came back from England impressed with the necessity of yielding. But the avowal of such sentiments was fatal to their popularity (among the Congregational "freemen"), and Norton, accustomed to nothing but reverence and applause, finding himself now looked at with distrust, soon died of melancholy and mortification." (Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol. I., Chap. xiv., pp. 455, 456.)]

[Footnote 128: Collection of Massachusetts, etc., Civil Society, Vol. VIII., Second Series, p. 53.]

[Footnote 129: Collections of Massachusetts, etc., Civil Society, Vol. VIII., Second Series, pp. 59, 60.]

[Footnote 130: From the representations made respecting the state of affairs in the New England colonies, the appointment of this Commission was decided upon after the restoration of the King, and the agents of those colonies were informed of it. Col. Nichols, the head of the Commission, stated in his introductory address to the Massachusetts Bay Court, May 2, 1665, that "The King himself and the Lord Chancellor (Clarendon) told Mr. Norton and Mr. Bradstreet of this colony, and Mr. Winthrop of Connecticut, Mr. Clarke of Rhode Island, and several others now in these countries, that he intended shortly to send over Commissioners." (Ib., p. 56.)]

[Footnote 131: It was in refutation of such reports that Col. Nichols made the statements quoted on a previous page; in the course of which, referring to the slanders circulated by persons high in office under the Court, he said: "Some of them are these: That the King hath sent us over here to raise L5,000 a year out of the colony for his Majesty's use, and 12d. for every acre of improved land besides, and to take from this colony many of their civil liberties and ecclesiastical privileges, of which particulars we have been asked the truth in several places, all of which reports we did, and here do, disclaim as false; and protest that they are diametrically contrary to the truth, as ere long we shall make it appear more plainly."

"These personal slanders with which we are calumniated, as private men we slight; as Christians we forgive and will not mention; but as persons employed by his Sacred Majesty, we cannot suffer his honour to be eclipsed by a cloud of black reproaches, and some seditious speeches, without demanding justice from you against those who have raised, reported, or made them." (Ib., p. 56.)

These reports were spread by some of the chief officers of the Council, and the most seditious of the speeches complained of was by the commander of their forces; but they were too agreeable to the Court for them even to contradict, much less investigate, although Col. Nichols offered to give their names.

Hubbard, the earliest and most learned of the New England historians, says:

"The Commissioners were but four in number, the two principal of whom were Colonel Nichols and Colonel Cartwright, who were both of them eminently qualified, with abilities fit to manage such a concern, nor yet wanting in resolution to carry on any honourable design for the promotion of his Majesty's interest in any of those Plantations whither they were sent." (Massachusetts History Collection, Vol. V., Second Series, p. 577.)]

[Footnote 132: The following is a copy of the Royal Commission, in which the reasons and objects of it are explicitly stated:

"Copy of a Commission from King Charles the Second to Col. Nichols and others, in 1664.

"Charles the 2nd, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.

"To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting: Whereas we have received several addresses from our subjects of several colonies in New England, all full of duty and affection, and expressions of loyalty and allegiance to us, with their humble desires that we would renew their several Charters, and receive them into our favourable opinion and protection; and several of our colonies there, and other our loving subjects, have likewise complained of differences and disputes arisen upon the limits and bounds of their several Charters and jurisdictions, whereby unneighbourly and unbrotherly contentions have and may arise, to the damage and discredit of the English interest; and that all our good subjects residing there, and being Planters within the several colonies, do not enjoy the liberties and privileges granted to them by our several Charters, upon confidence and assurance of which they transported themselves and their estates into those parts; and we having received some addresses from the great men and natives of those countries in which they complain of breach of faith, and acts of violence, and injustice which they have been forced to undergoe from our subjects, whereby not only our Government is traduced, but the reputation and credit of the Christian religion brought into prejudice and reproach with the Gentiles and inhabitants of those countries who know not God, the reduction of whom to the true knowledge and feare of God is the most worthy and glorious end of all those Plantations: Upon all which motives, and as an evidence and manifestation of our fatherly affection towards all our subjects in those several colonies of New England (that is to say, of the Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Plimouth, Rhode Island, and Providence Plantations, and all other Plantations within that tract of land known under the appelation of New England), and to the end we may be truly informed of the state and condition of our good subjects there, that so we may the better know how to contribute to the further improvement of their happiness and prosperity: Know ye therefore, that we, reposing special trust and confidence in the fidelity, wisdome and circumspection of our trusty and well-beloved Colonel Richard Nichols, Sir Robert Carre, Knt., George Cartwright, Esq., and Samuel Maverick, Esq., of our special grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, have made, ordained, constituted and appointed, and by these presents do make, ordain, constitute and appoint the said Colonel Richard Nichols, Sir Robert Carre, George Cartwright, and Samuel Maverick, our Commissioners, and do hereby give and grant unto them, or any three or two of them, or of the survivors of them, of whom we will the said Colonel Richard Nichols, during his life, shall be alwaies one, and upon equal divisions of opinions, to have the casting and decisive voice, in our name to visit all and every the several colonies aforesaid, and also full power and authority to heare and receive and to examine and determine all complaints and appeals in all causes and matters, as well military as criminal and civil, and proceed in all things for the providing for and settling the peace and security of the said country, according to their good and sound discretion, and to such instructions as they or the survivors of them have, or shall from time to time receive from us in that behalfe, and from time to time, as they shall find expedient, to certify us or our Privy Council of their actings or proceedings touching the premises; and for the doing thereof, or any other matter or thing relating thereunto, these presents, or the enrolment thereof, shall be unto them a sufficient warrant and discharge in that behalf. In witness whereof we have caused these our letters to be made patent. Witness ourselfe at Westminster, the 25th day of April, in the sixteenth yeare of our reigne." (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., Appendix xv., pp. 535, 536.)]

[Footnote 133: The following are extracts from the report of the Commissioners who were appointed to visit the several colonies of New England in 1666:

"The Colony of Connecticut returned their thanks to his Majesty for his gracious letters, and for sending Commissioners to them, with promises of their loyalty and obedience; and they did submit to have appeals made to his Majesty's Commissioners, who did hear and determine some differences among them. All forms of justice pass only in his Majesty's name; they admit all that desire to be of their corporation; they will not hinder any from enjoying the sacraments and using the Common Prayer Book, provided that they hinder not the maintenance of the public minister. They will amend anything that hath been done derogatory to his Majesty's honour, if there be any such thing, so soon as they shall come to the knowledge of it."

"The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations returned their humble thanks to his Majesty for sending Commissioners, and made great demonstration of their loyalty and obedience. They approved as most reasonable, that appeals should be made to his Majesty's Commissioners, who, having heard and determined some cases among them, referred other some in civility to their General Court, and some to the Governor and others; some of which cases they again remitted to the Commissioners to determine. All proceedings are in his Majesty's name; they admit all to be freemen who desire it; they allow liberty of conscience and worship to all who live civilly; and if any can inform of anything in their laws or practices derogatory to his Majesty's honour, they will amend it."

"The Colony of New Plymouth did submit to have appeals made to the Commissioners, who have heard but one plaint made to them, which was that the Governor would not let a man enjoy a farm four miles square, which he had bought of an Indian. The complainant soon submitted to the Governor when he understood the unreasonableness of it."

"The Colony of Massachusetts Bay was the hardest to be persuaded to use his Majesty's name in the forms of justice. In this colony, at the first coming of the Commissioners, were many untruths raised and sent into the colonies, as that the King had to raise L15,000 yearly for his Majesty's use, whereupon Major Hawthorne made a seditious speech at the head of his company, and the late Governor (Bellingham) another at their meeting-house at Boston, but neither of them were so much as questioned for it by any of the magistrates." ... "But neither examples nor reasons could prevail with them to let the Commissioners hear and determine so much as those particular cases (Mr. Deane's and the Indian Sachems), which the King had commanded them to take care of and do justice in; and though the Commissioners, who never desired that they should appear as delinquents, but as defendants, either by themselves or by their attorneys, assured them that if they had been unjustly complained of to his Majesty, their false accusers should be severely punished, and their just dealing made known to his Majesty and all the world; yet they proclaimed by sound of trumpet that the General Court was the supremest judiciary in all the province; that the Commissioners pretending to hear appeals was a breach of the privileges granted by the King's royal father, and confirmed to them by his Majesty's own letter, and that they would not permit it; by which they have for the present silenced above thirty petitioners which desired justice from them and were lost at sea.

"To elude his Majesty's desire for admitting men of civil and competent estates to be freemen, they have an Act whereby he that is 24 years old, a housekeeper, and brings a certificate of his civil life, another of his being orthodox in matters of faith, and a third of his paying ten shillings besides head-money, at a single rate, may then have the liberty to make his desires known to the Court, and then it shall be put to vote. The Commissioners examined many townships, and found that scarce three in a hundred pay ten shillings at a single rate; yet if this rate were general it would be just; but he that is a church member, though he be a servant, and pay not twopence, may be a freeman. They do not admit any who is not a Church member to communion, nor their children to baptism, yet they will marry their children to those whom they will not admit to baptism, if they be rich. They did imprison and barbarously use Mr. Jourdan for baptising children, as himself complained in his petition to the Commissioners. Those whom they will not admit to the communion, they compel to come to their sermons by forcing from them five shillings for every neglect; yet these men thought their paying one shilling for not coming to prayers in England was an unsupportable tyranny." ... "They have made many things in their laws derogatory to his Majesty's honour, of which the Commissioners have made and desired that they might be altered, but they have done nothing of it[134]. Among others, whoever keeps Christmas Day is to pay a fine of five pounds."

"They caused at length a map of the territories to be made; but it was made in a Chamber by direction and guess; in it they claim Fort Albany, and beyond it all the land to the South Sea. By their South Sea line they entrench upon the colonies of New Plymouth, Rhode Island and Connecticut; and on the east they usurped Capt. Mason's and Sir Ferdinardo Gorges' patents, and said that the Commissioners had nothing to do betwixt them and Mr. Gorges, because his Majesty neither commanded them to deliver possession to Mr. Gorges or to give his Majesty reason why they did not." ...

"They of this colony say that King Charles the First granted to them a Charter as a warrant against himself and his successors, and that so long as they pay the fifth part of the gold and silver ore which they get, they shall be free to use the privileges granted them, and that they are not obliged to the King except by civility; they hope by writing to tire the King, Lord Chancellor, and Secretaries too; seven years they can easily spin out by writing, and before that time a change may come; nay, some have dared to say, who knows what the event of this Dutch war will be?"

"This colony furnished Cromwell with many instruments out of their corporation and college; and those that have retreated thither since his Majesty's happy return, are much respected, and many advanced to be magistrates. They did solicit Cromwell by one Mr. Winslow to be declared a free State, and many times in their laws declaring themselves to be so."

(Hutchinson's Collection of Original Papers relative to the History of Massachusetts Bay, pp. 412-420.)]

[Footnote 134: The Commissioners specify upwards of twenty anomalies in the book entitled the "Book of the General Laws and Liberties concerning the Inhabitants of Massachusetts," which should be altered to correspond with the Charter, and the relations of the colony to England. A few specimens may be given: That the writs and forms of justice be issued and performed in his Majesty's name; that his Majesty's arms be set up in the courts of justice within the colony, and that the masters of vessels and captains of foot companies do carry the colours of England, by which they may be known to be British subjects; that in the 12th capital law, if any conspire against our Commonwealth, Commonwealth may be expunged, and "against the peace of his Majesty's colony" be inserted instead of the other; that at p. 33, "none be admitted freemen but members of some of the Churches within the limits of their jurisdiction," be made to comprehend "other than members of the Congregational Churches;" that on the same page, the penalty for keeping Christmas so directly against the law of England, be repealed; that page 40, the law for settling the Indians' title to land, be explained, for it seems as if they were dispossessed of their land by Scripture, which is both against the honour of God and the justice of the King. In 115th Psalm, 16, "Children of men" comprehend Indians as well as English; and no doubt the country is theirs till they give it up or sell it, though it be not improved.]

[Footnote 135: They were not so poor as when, just 30 years before, they, by the advice of their ministers, prepared to make armed resistance against the rumoured appointment over them of a Governor General of New England.]

[Footnote 136: They were not more "remote" than when they wrote to their friends in England as often as they pleased, or than when they addressed the Long Parliament four years before, and twice addressed Cromwell, stating their services to him in men and prayers against Charles the First, and asking his favours.]

[Footnote 137: The words "full and absolute power of governing" are not contained in the Royal Charter.]

[Footnote 138: Emigrants generally transport themselves from one country to another, whether across the ocean or not, at their own charges.]

[Footnote 139: It is shown in this volume that they never had the "undoubted right" by the Charter, or the "undoubted right in the sight of God and man," to abolish one form of worship and set up another; to imprison, fine, banish, or put to death all who did not adopt their newly set up form of worship; to deny the rights of citizenship to four-fifths of their citizens on religious grounds, and tax them without representation. How far they invaded the "undoubted right" of others, "in the sight of God and man," and exceeded their own lawful powers, is shown on the highest legal authority in the 6th and 7th chapters of this volume.]

[Footnote 140: These references are acknowledgments on the part of the Massachusetts Bay Court, that they had been kindly and liberally treated by both Charles the First and Charles the Second.]

[Footnote 141: They here limit their compliance with the six conditions on which the King proposed to continue the Charter which they had violated, to their "conscience" and "the just liberties and privileges of their patent." But according to their interpretation of these, they could not in "conscience" grant the "toleration" required by the King, or give up the sectarian basis of franchise and eligibility to office, or admit of appeals from their tribunals to the higher courts or the King himself in England. They seize upon and claim the promise of the King to continue the Charter, but evade and deny the fulfilment of the conditions on which he made that promise.]

[Footnote 142: But they rejected the King's commission of inquiry, refused the information required; and they modestly pray the King to accept as proof of their innocence and right doings their own professions and statements against the complaints made of their proscriptions and oppressions.]

[Footnote 143: The threat at the beginning of this, and also in the following paragraph, is characteristic; it was tried, but without effect, on other occasions. The insinuations and special pleading throughout these paragraphs are amply answered in the letters of Lord Clarendon and the Hon. R. Boyle, which follow this extraordinary address, which abounds alternately and successively in affected helplessness and lofty assumptions, in calumnious statements and professed charity, in abject flattery and offensive insinuations and threats, in pretended poverty amidst known growing wealth, in appeals to heaven and professed humility and loyalty, to avoid the scrutiny of their acts and to reclaim the usurpation of absolute power.]

[Footnote 144: Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII., Second Series, pp. 49-51.]

[Footnote 145: Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII., Second Series, pp. 103-105.]

[Footnote 146: The petition entire is inserted above, pp. 153-159. Mr. Hutchinson gives this petition in the Appendix to the first volume of his History of Massachusetts Bay, No. 16, pp. 537-539; but he does not give the King's reply.]

[Footnote 147: Mr. Endicot died before the next election. He was the primary cause of the disputes between the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Parent Government, and the unrelenting persecutor of all who differed from him in religious worship. He was hostile to monarchy and all English authority from the beginning; he got and kept the elective franchise, and eligibility to office, in the hands of the Congregationalists alone, and became of course their idol.

The King's suggesting the election of a Governor other than Endicot was a refutation of their statements that he intended to deprive them of their local self-government. The following is Neal's notice of the death of Mr. Endicot: "On the 23rd of March, 1665, died Mr. John Endicot, Governor of the Jurisdiction of Massachusetts. He arrived at Salem in the year 1628, and had the chief command of those that first settled there, and shared with them in all their hardships. He continued at Salem till the magistrates desired him to remove to Boston for the more convenient administration of justice, as Governor of the Jurisdiction, to which he was frequently elected for many years together. He was a great enemy of the Sectaries, and was too severe in executing the penal laws against the Quakers and Anabaptists during the time of his administration. He lived to a good old age, and was interred at Boston with great honour and solemnity."—Neal's History of New England Vol. II., p. 346.]

[Footnote 148: The same year, 1662, in which Charles the Second sent so gracious a letter to the Governor and Council of Massachusetts Bay, he granted Charters to the colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island, in both of which perfect liberty of conscience and religious liberty was encouraged and provided for, evincing the settled policy of the Government of the Restoration in regard to the New England colonies. The annalist Holmes says:

"1662.—The Charter of Connecticut was granted by Charles II. with most ample privileges, under the great seal of England. It was ordained by the Charter that all the King's subjects in the colony should enjoy all the privileges of free and natural born subjects within the realm of England." (Holmes' Annals, etc., Vol. I., pp. 320, 321.)

So liberal were the provisions of this Charter, that as Judge Story says: "It continued to be the fundamental law of the State of Connecticut until the year 1818, when a new constitution of government was framed and adopted by the people." (Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Vol. I., Sec. 88.)

Rhode Island.—Rhode Island had two English Charters, the circumstances connected with both of which were very peculiar. Its founder, Roger Williams, had been banished from the jurisdiction of Massachusetts Bay.

"Rhode Island," says Judge Story, "was originally settled by emigrants from Massachusetts, fleeing hither to escape from religious persecution, and it still boasts of Roger Williams as its founder and as the early defender of religious freedom and the rights of conscience. One body of them purchased the island which gave name to the State, and another the territory of the Providence Plantations from the Indians, and began their settlements at the same period, in 1636 and 1638. They entered into separate associations of government. But finding their associations not sufficient to protect them against the encroachments of Massachusetts, and having no title under any royal patents, they sent Roger Williams to England in 1643 to procure a surer foundation both of title and government. He succeeded in obtaining from the Earl of Warwick (in 1643) a Charter of incorporation of Providence Plantations; and also in 1644 a Charter from the two Houses of Parliament (Charles the First being driven from his capital) for the incorporation of the towns of Providence, Newport, and Portsmouth, for the absolute government of themselves, but according to the laws of England."

But such was the hostility of the rulers of Massachusetts Bay that they refused to admit Rhode Island into the confederacy of the New England colonies formed in 1643 to defend themselves against the Indians, the Spanish, the Dutch, and the French; yet they had influence enough with Cromwell to get the Charter of Rhode Island suspended in 1652. "But," says Dr. Holmes, "that colony, taking advantage of the distractions which soon after ensued in England, resumed its government and enjoyed it without further interruption until the Restoration." (Holmes' Annals, etc., Vol. I., p. 297.)

"The restoration of Charles the Second," says Judge Story, "seems to have given great satisfaction to these Plantations. They immediately proclaimed the King and sent an agent to England; and in July, 1663, after some opposition, they succeeded in obtaining a Charter from the Crown."

"The most remarkable circumstance in the Charter, and that which exhibits the strong feeling and spirit of the colony, is the provision for religious freedom. The Charter, after reciting the petition of the inhabitants, 'that it is much in their hearts (if they may be permitted) to hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil state may stand, and be best maintained, and that among English subjects with full liberty in religious concernments, and that true piety, rightly grounded upon Gospel principles, will give the least and greatest security to sovereignty,' proceeds to declare:

"'We being willing to encourage the hopeful undertaking of our said loyal and loving subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise of all their civil and religious rights appertaining to them as our loving subjects, and to preserve to them that liberty in the true Christian faith and worship of God which they have sought with so much travail and with peaceful minds and loyal subjection to our progenitors and ourselves to enjoy; and because some of the people and inhabitants of the same colony cannot, in their private opinion, conform to the public exercise of religion according to the liturgy, form, and ceremonies of the Church of England, or take or subscribe to the oaths and articles made and established in that behalf; and for that the same, by reason of the remote distances of these places, will, as we hope, be no breach of the unity and uniformity established in this nation, have therefore thought fit, and do hereby publicly grant and ordain and declare, that our royal will and pleasure is, that no person within the said colony, at any time hereafter, shall be any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question for any differences in opinion on matters of religion, but that all and every person and persons may, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgment and conveniences in matters of religious concernment throughout the tract of land hereafter mentioned, they behaving themselves peaceably and quietly, and not using this liberty to licentiousness and profaneness, nor to the civil injury or outward disturbance of others.'" (Hazard's Collection, p. 613.)

Judge Story, after quoting this declaration of the Royal Charter, justly remarks, "This is a noble declaration, worthy of any Prince who rules over a free people. It is lamentable to reflect how little it comports with the domestic persecutions authorized by the same monarch during his profligate reign. It is still more lamentable to reflect how little a similar spirit of toleration was encouraged, either by precept or example, in other of the New England Colonies." (Commentaries, etc., Vol. I., Chap, viii., Section 97.)]

[Footnote 149: Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII., Second Series, p. 74.]

[Footnote 150: Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII., Second Series, pp. 76-78.]

[Footnote 151: Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII., Second Series, pp. 76, 78, 79.]

[Footnote 152: Danforth Papers, Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII., pp. 98, 108, 109, Second Series.

The following particulars are given of the proceedings of the Court at a subsequent meeting on the same subject:

"October 10th, 1666. The General Court met again, according to adjournment in May last. At this Court many express themselves very sensible of our condition. Several earnest for sending, and some against sending. Those for sending none spake out fully that they would have the Governor (Mr. Bellingham) and Major Hawthorne go; but some will have men go to plead our cause with his Majesty; to answer what may be alleged against us, alleging reason, religion and our own necessity as forcing us thereto. Others are against it, as being the loss of all, by endangering a quo warranto to be brought against our patent, and so to be condemned; a middle sort would have some go to present the Court's present to his Majesty, of two large masts and a ship's load of masts: and in case any demand were made why the Governor, Major Hawthorne, and others did not appear, to crave his Majesty's favour therein, and to plead with his Majesty, showing how inconsistent it is with our being, for any to be forced to appear to answer in a judicial way in England—to answer either appeals or complaints against the country.

"The last proposal is obstructed by sundry, as being ruinous to the whole; and so nothing can be done, the Governor and some others chiefly opposing it, so as that no orderly debate can be had to know the mind of the Court.

"The Court agreed to send two large masts aboard Capt. Pierce, 34 yards long, and the one 36 and the other 37 inches in diameter, and agreed to levy L1,000 for the payment of what is needful at present; but is obstructed—none will lend money unless men be sent, others because anything is to be sent; a return whereof made to the Court, they say they know not what to do more—in case they that have money will not part with it, they are at a stand. Some speak of raising by rate immediately. Others think there is so much dissatisfaction that men are not sent, that it will provoke and raise a tumult; and in case that it be raised by loan, it will be hardly paid—if consent be not given in their sending men with it, and there be no good effect, which is contingent, and thus we are every way at a stand; some fearing these things will precipitate our ruin, and others apprehending that to act further will necessitate our ruin."—Ib., pp. 110, 111.

From these notes, which Mr. Danforth made at the time when the proceedings referred to took place, it is plain there were a large number of loyalists even among the Congregationalists, as they alone were eligible to be members of, or to elect to the Court, and that the asserters of independence were greatly perplexed and agitated.]

[Footnote 153: Danforth Papers, Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, Vol. VIII., pp. 99, 100, 108, 109.]

[Footnote 154: "There had been a press for printing at Cambridge for near twenty years. The Court appointed two persons (Captain Daniel Guekins and Mr. Jonathan Mitchell, the minister of Cambridge), in October, 1662, licensers of the press, and prohibited the publishing of any books or papers which should not be supervised by them;" and in 1668, the supervisors having allowed the printing "Thomas a Kempis, de Imitatione Christi," the Court interposed (it being wrote by a popish minister, and containing some things less safe to be infused among the people), and therefore they commended to the licensers a more full revisal, and ordered the press to stop in the meantime. (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 257, 258.)]

[Footnote 155: Even during the Commonwealth in England, the Congregational Government of Massachusetts Bay was one of unmitigated persecution. Mr. Hutchinson, under date of 1655, remarks:

"The persecution of Episcopalians by the prevailing powers in England was evidently from revenge for the persecution they had suffered themselves, and from political considerations and the prevalence of party, seeing all other opinions and professions, however absurd, were tolerated; but in New England it must be confessed that bigotry and cruel zeal prevailed, and to that degree that no opinion but their own could be tolerated. They were sincere but mistaken in their principles; and absurd as it is, it is too evident, they believed it to be to the glory of God to take away the lives of his creatures for maintaining tenets contrary to what they professed themselves. This occasioned complaints against the colony to the Parliament and Cromwell, but without success." (History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., p. 189.)]

[Footnote 156: "Proceedings and sentence of the County Court held at Cambridge, on adjournment, April 17, 1666, against Thomas Goold, Thomas Osburne, and John George [157] (being Baptists):

"Thomas Goold, Thomas Osburne, and John George, being presented by the Grand Jury of this county (Cambridge), for absenting themselves from the public worship of God on the Lord's dayes for one whole year now past, alleged respectively as followeth, viz.:

"Thomas Osburne answered that the reason of his non-attendance was that the Lord hath discovered unto him from His Word and Spirit of Truth, that the society where he is now in communion is more agreeable to the will of God; asserted that they were a Church, and attended the worship of God together, and do judge themselves bound to do so, the ground whereof he said he gave in the General Court.

"Thomas Goold answered that as for coming to public worship, they did meet in public worship according to the rule of Christ; the grounds thereof they had given to the General Court of Assistants; asserted that they were a public meeting, according to the order of Christ Jesus, gathered together.

"John George answered that he did attend the public meetings on the Lord's dayes where he was a member; asserted that they were a Church according to the order of Christ in the Gospell, and with them he walked and held communion in the public worship of God on the Lord's dayes."


"Whereas at the General Court in October last, and at the Court of Assistants in September last, endeavours were used for their conviction. The order of the General Court declaring the said Goold and Company to be no orderly Church assembly, and that they stand convicted of high presumption against the Lord and his holy appoyntments was openly read to them, and is on file with the records of this Court.

"The Court sentenced the same Thomas Goold, Thomas Osburne, and John George, for their absenting themselves from the public worship of God on the Lord's dayes, to pay four pounds fine, each of them, to the County order. And whereas, by their own confessions, they stand convicted of persisting in their schismatical assembling themselves together, to the great dishonour of God and our profession of his holy name, contrary to the Act of the General Order of the Court of October last, prohibiting them therein on the penalty of imprisonment, this Court doth order their giving bond respectively in L20, each of them, for their appearance to answer their contempt at the next Court of Assistants.

"The above named Thomas Goold, John George, and Thomas Osburne made their appeal to the next Court of Assistants, and refusing to put in security according to law, were committed to prison.

"Vera Copia."

"THO. DANFORTH, Recorder."

(Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 397-401.)]

[Footnote 157: Note by Mr. Hutchinson.—"These three persons scrupled at Infant Baptism, separated from the Churches of the country, and with others of the same persuasion with themselves, set up a church in Boston. Whilst Congregationalists in England were complaining of the intolerant spirit of Episcopalians, these Antipaedo Baptists in New England had equal reason to complain of the same spirit in the Congregationalists there."]

[Footnote 158: Neal's History of New England, Vol. II., Chap. viii., pp. 353, 354, 356.]

[Footnote 159: "They endeavoured not only by humble addresses and professions of loyalty to appease his Majesty, but they purchased a ship-load of masts (the freight whereof cost them sixteen hundred pounds sterling), and presented them to the King, which he graciously accepted; and the fleet in the West Indies being in want of provisions, a subscription and contribution was recommended through the colony for bringing in provisions to be sent to the fleet for his Majesty's service,[160] but I find no word of the whole amount. Upon the news of the great fire in London, a collection was made through the colony for the relief of the sufferers. The amount cannot be ascertained." (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 256, 257.)]

[Footnote 160: Note by Mr. Hutchinson.—"This was so well received that a letter was sent to the General Court, under the King's sign warrant, dated 21st April, 1669, signifying how well it was taken by his Majesty. So the letter expresses it."]

[Footnote 161: The following is a copy of the King's very courteous and reasonable letter:

"Copy of a letter from King Charles II. to the Governor, etc., of the Massachusetts, dated July 24th, 1679.


"Trusty and well beloved—We greet you well. These our letters are to accompany our trusty and well beloved William Stoughton and Peter Bulkly, Esqres., your agents, who having manifested to us great necessity in their domestic concerns to return back into New England, we have graciously consented thereunto, and the rather because for many months past our Council hath been taken up in the discovery and prosecution of a popish plot, and yet there appears little prospect of any speedy leisure for entering upon such regulation in your affairs as is certainly necessary, not only in respect of our dignity, but of your own perfect settlement. In the meantime, we doubt not but the bearers thereof, who have demeaned themselves, during their attendance, with good care and discretion, will, from their own observations, acquaint you with many important things which may be of such use and advertisement to you, that we might well hope to be prevented, by your applications, in what is expected or desired by us. So much it is your interest to propose and intercede for the same; for we are graciously inclined to have all past errors and mistakes forgotten, and that your condition might be so amended as that neither your settlement, or the minds of our good subjects there, should be liable to be shaken and disquieted upon every complaint. We have heard with satisfaction of the great readiness wherewith our good subjects there have lately offered themselves to the taking of the oath of allegiance, which is a clear manifestation to us that the unanswerable defect in that particular was but the fault of a very few in power, who for so long a time obstructed what the Charter and our express commands obliged them unto, as will appear in our gracious letter of the 28th of June (1662), in the fourteenth year of our reign; and we shall henceforth expect that there will be a suitable obedience in other particulars of the said letter, as, namely, in respect of freedom and liberty of conscience, so as those that desire to serve God in the way of the Church of England be not thereby made obnoxious or discountenanced from their sharing in the government, much less that they or any other of our good subjects (not being Papists) who do not agree in the Congregational way, be by law subjected to fines or forfeitures, or other incapacities for the same, which is a severity to be the more wondered at, whereas liberty of conscience was made one principal motive for your first transportation into those parts; nor do we think it fit that any other distinction be observed in the making of freemen than that they be men of competent estates, rateable at ten shillings,[162] according to the rules of the place, and that such in their turns be also capable of the magistracy, and all laws made void that obstruct the same. And because we have not observed any fruits or advantage by the dispensation granted by us in our said letter of June, in the fourteenth year of our reign, whereby the number of assistants, settled by our Charter to be eighteen, might be reduced unto the number of ten, our will and pleasure is that the ancient number of eighteen be henceforth observed, according to the letter of the Charter. And our further will and pleasure is, that all persons coming to any privilege, trust, or office in that colony be first enjoined to take the oath of allegiance, and that all the military commissions as well as the proceedings of justice may run in our royal name. We are informed that you have lately made some good provision for observing the acts of trade and navigation, which is well pleasing unto us[163]; and as we doubt not and do expect that you will abolish all laws that are repugnant to and inconsistent with the laws of trade with us, we have appointed our trusty and well beloved subject, Edward Randolph, Esq., to be our collector, surveyor and searcher not only for the colony, but for all our other colonies in New England, constituting him, by the broad seal of this our kingdom, to the said employments, and therefore recommending him to your help and assistance in all things that may be requisite in the discharge of his trust. Given at our palace of Hampton Court, the 24th day of July, 1679, and in the one and thirtieth year of our reign.

"By his Majesty's Command,


[Footnote 162: Note by the historian, Mr. Hutchinson.—They seem to have held out till the last in refusing to admit any to be freemen who were not either Church members, or who did not at least obtain a certificate from the minister of the town that they were orthodox.]

[Footnote 163: Note by the historian, Mr. Hutchinson.—This is very extraordinary, for this provision was an act of the colony, declaring that the acts of trade should be in force there. (Massachusetts History, Vol. I., p. 322.)]

[Footnote 164: History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 325, 326.]

[Footnote 165: "The people of Massachusetts had always the good-will of Cromwell. In relation to them he allowed the Navigation Law, which pressed hard on the Southern colonies, to become a dead letter, and they received the commodities of all nations free of duty, and sent their ships at will to the ports of continental Europe." (Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. II., Book ii., Chap. x., p. 393.)]

[Footnote 166: "1660.—The Parliament passed an Act for the general encouragement and increase of shipping and navigation, by which the provisions made in the celebrated Navigation Act of 1651 were continued, with additional improvements. It enacted that no sugar, tobacco, ginger, indigo, cotton, fustin, dyeing woods of the growth of English territories in America, Asia, or Africa, shall be transported to any other country than those belonging to the Crown of England, under the penalty of forfeiture; and all vessels sailing to the Plantations were to give bonds to bring said commodities to England." (Holmes' American Annals, Vol. I., pp. 314, 315.)

"The oppressive system," says Palfrey, "was further extended by an Act which confined the import trade of the colonists to a direct commerce with England, forbidding them to bring from any other or in any other than English ships, the products not only of England but of any European state." (History of New England, Vol. II., B. ii., Chap. xi., p. 445.)

Palfrey adds in a note: "Salt for New England fishermen, wines from Madeira and the Azores, and provisions from Scotland and Ireland, were, however, exempted."—Ib.]

[Footnote 167: Hutchinson's Collection, etc., pp. 522-525. Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. viii., p. 341.]

[Footnote 168: To this there were two or three exceptions. They repealed the penal laws "against keeping Christmas;" also for punishing with death Quakers returned from banishment; and to amend the laws relating to heresy and to rebellion against the country.]

[Footnote 169: Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. viii., p. 352.

They usurped authority over New Hampshire and Maine, at the same time that they prevented the execution of the Acts of Trade and Navigation (the 12th and 15th of Charles the Second). Mr. Hutchinson says: "The Massachusetts Government (1670) governed without opposition the Province of New Hampshire and the Province of Maine, and were beginning settlements even further eastward. The French were removed from their neighbourhood on the one side, and the Dutch and Swedes on the other. Their trade was as extensive as they could wish. No custom-house was established. The Acts of Parliament of the 12th-15th of King Charles the Second, for regulating the Plantation trade, were in force; but the Governor, whose business it was to carry them into execution, was annually to be elected by the people, whose interest was that they should not be observed! Some of the magistrates and principal merchants grew very rich." (History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol I., p. 269.)]

[Footnote 170: On the very day, October, 1677, that they proposed, in obedience to his Majesty's command, to pass an order that "the Governor and all inferior magistrates should see to the strict observation of the Acts of Navigation and Trade," they made an order "that the law requiring all persons, as well inhabitants as strangers, that have not taken it, to take the oath of fidelity to the country, be revived and put in practice throughout the jurisdiction" (Palfrey, Vol. III., pp. 311-315)—an order intended to counteract the execution of the Acts of Navigation and Trade by the King's Collector, and of which he complained to England.

"The agents of the colony endeavoured to explain this law to the Board (of Colonial Plantations in England), and to soften their indignation against it, but without effect." (Ib., p. 315.) "All persons who refused to take the oath of fidelity to the country were not to have the privilege of recovering their debts in Courts of law, nor to have the protection of the Government." (Truth and Innocency Defended, etc.)]

[Footnote 171: (Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. VIII., pp. 73-78.) The liberty of worship, which they declared had been the object of their emigration to Massachusetts, had never been denied them; had been assured to them by both Charles the First and Charles the Second. The King did not propose to impose the use of the prayer book upon any inhabitant of the colony, but insisted upon freedom of worship for each inhabitant; whereas the Massachusetts Bay Court, under the pretext of liberty of worship for Congregationalists, denied freedom of worship to all others not Congregationalists.]

[Footnote 172: "This extraordinary law continued in force until the dissolution of the Government; it being repealed in appearance only,[173] after the restoration of King Charles the Second. Had they been deprived of their civil privileges in England by Act of Parliament, unless they would join in communion with the Churches there, it might very well have been the first on the roll of grievances. But such were the requisites for Church membership here, that the grievance is abundantly greater." (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 25, 26.)]

[Footnote 173: Note by the historian.—"The minister was to certify that the candidates for freedom were of orthodox principles and of good lives and conversation."]

[Footnote 174: Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., p. 431. "The test (that 'no man could have a share in the administration of civil government, or give his voice in any election, unless he was a member of one of the Churches') went a great way towards producing general uniformity. He that did not conform was deprived of more civil privileges than a nonconformist is deprived of by the Test Act in England. Both the one and the other must have occasioned much formality and hypocrisy. The mysteries of our holy religion have been prostituted to mere secular views and advantages."—Ib., p. 432.]

[Footnote 175: (Palfrey, Vol. III., p. 353, in a note.) Mr. Hildreth states the case as follows: "Encouraged by the King's demand for toleration, construed as superseding the 'by-laws' of the colony, the Baptists ventured to hold a service in their new meeting-house. For this they were summoned before the magistrates, and when they refused to desist the doors were nailed up and the following order posted upon them: 'All persons are to take notice that, by order of the Court, the doors of this house are shut up, and that they are inhibited to hold any meeting therein, or to open the doors thereof without licence from authority, till the General Court take further order, as they will answer the contrary at their peril.' When the General Court met the Baptists pleaded that their house was built before any law was made to prevent it. This plea was so far allowed that their past offences were forgiven; but they were not allowed to open the house." (History of the United States, Vol. I., Chap, xiv., p. 501.)]

[Footnote 176: (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., p. 320.) After quoting this law, the historian remarks: "I know of nothing which can be urged in anywise tending to increase the severity of this law, unless it be human infirmity, and the many instances in history of persons of every religion being fully persuaded that the indulgence of any other was a toleration of impiety and brought down the judgments of Heaven, and therefore justified persecution. This law lost the colony many friends."—Ib.

The law punishing attendance at Quaker meetings was accompanied by another containing the following clauses:

"Pride, in men wearing long hair like women's hair; others wearing borders of hair, and cutting, curling, and immodest laying out their hair, principally in the younger sort. Grand Jurors to present and the Court to punish all offenders by admonition, fine, or correction, at discretion."

"Excess in apparel, strange new fashions, naked breasts and arms, and pinioned superfluous ribbands on hair and apparel. The Court to fine offenders at discretion."

"A loose and sinful custom of riding from town to town, men and women together, under pretence of going to lectures, but really to drink and revel in taverns, tending to debauchery and unchastity. All single persons, being offenders, to be bound in their good behaviour, with sureties in twenty pounds fine, or suffer fine and imprisonment."—Ib., pp. 320, 321, in a note.

The foregoing pages show the notions and appreciation of the religious rights and liberties by the Massachusetts Bay rulers and legislators in regard to Episcopalians, Baptists, and Quakers. The above quoted clauses of their law passed in 1667, nearly fifty years after the establishment of their government, illustrate their ideas of individual liberty.]

[Footnote 177: Palfrey, Vol. III., p. 353. Much has been written about these Acts of Trade and Navigation, as if they were acts of royal despotism and designed to oppress the colonies for the benefit of England; whereas they originated with the Commonwealth, and were designed to benefit the colonies as well as the mother country. "After the decapitation of Charles I.," says Minot, "the confused situation of England prevented any particular attention to the colony until Cromwell's Government. The very qualities which existed in the character of the inhabitants to render them displeasing to the late King, operated as much with the Protector in their favour; and he diverted all complaints of their enemies against them. Yet he procured the Navigation Act to be passed by the Parliament, which was a source of future difficulty to the colony, though it was evaded in New England at first (by Cromwell's connivance with the rulers of Massachusetts Colony), as they still traded in all parts and enjoyed a privilege, peculiar to themselves, of importing their goods into England free of all customs." (Minot's Continuation of the History of Massachusetts Bay, published according to Act of Congress, Vol. I., p. 40.)

Mr. Hildreth, referring to the early part of Charles the Second's restoration, says: "As yet the Acts of Trade were hardly a subject of controversy. The Parliament, which had welcomed back the King, had indeed re-enacted with additional clauses the ordinance of 1651—an Act which, by restricting exportations from America to English, Irish, and Colonial vessels, substantially excluded foreign ships from all Anglo-American harbours. To this, which might be regarded as a benefit to New England ship-owners, a provision was added still further to isolate the colonies (from foreign countries), the more valuable colonial staples, mentioned by the name, and hence known as 'enumerated articles,' being required to be shipped exclusively to England or some English colony. The exportation to the colonies was also prohibited of any product of Europe, unless in English vessels and from England, except horses, servants and provisions from Ireland and Scotland. But of the 'enumerated articles' none were produced in New England; while salt for fisheries, and wine from Madeira and the Azores, branches of foreign trade in which New England was deeply interested, were specially exempted from the operation of an Act which had chiefly in view the more southern colonies." (Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol I., Chap xiv.' p. 473.)]

[Footnote 178: History of the United States, Vol. II., Chap. xviii., pp. 461, 462.]

[Footnote 179: The following is a specimen of the manner in which they interpreted their Charter to extend their territory. Having interpreted their Charter to exempt themselves from all responsibility to the Crown for their legislation or acts, they devised a new interpretation of their Charter in order to extend their territory to the north and north-east. The Charter limited their territories to three miles of the north bank of the Merrimac. At the end of twenty years they decided that the Charter meant three miles north of the most northern land or elbow of the Merrimac, and then not follow within three miles of the north bank of the river to its mouth, but a straight line east and west, which would give to their Plantation, Maine and a large part of New Hampshire, to the exclusion of the original patentees. When the Royal Commissioners, as directed by the King, came to investigate the complaints on this disputed boundary of territory, they decided against the pretensions of the Massachusetts Bay rulers, and appointed magistrates, etc., to give effect to their decision; but the authorities of Massachusetts Bay, acknowledging no superior under heaven, resumed control of the territory in dispute as soon as the Commissioners had left the country. Mr. Hildreth says:

"Shortly after the departure of the Royal Commissioners, Leverett, now Major-General of the Colony, was sent to Maine, with three other magistrates and a body of horse, to re-establish the authority of Massachusetts. In spite of the remonstrances of Col. Nichols at New York (the head of the Royal Commission), the new Government lately set up was obliged to yield. Several persons were punished for speaking irreverently of the re-established authority of Massachusetts." (Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol. I., Chap. xiv., pp. 473, 474.) For eleven years the Massachusetts Bay Government maintained this ascendency against all complaints and appeals to England, when in 1677, as Mr. Hildreth says, "After hearing the parties, the Privy Council decided, in accordance with the opinion of the two Chief Justices, that the Massachusetts patent did not give any territory more than three miles distant from the left or north bank of the Merrimac. This construction, which set aside the pretensions of Massachusetts to the province of Maine, as well as to that part of New Hampshire east of the Merrimac, appeared so plain to English lawyers that the agents (of Massachusetts) hardly attempted a word in defence." (History of the United States, Vol. II., Chap. xviii., pp. 496, 497.)

It has been shown that as early as the second year of the civil war in England, the Massachusetts Bay Court passed an Act, in 1643, declaring it a capital crime for any one in their jurisdiction to advocate or support the cause of the King; some years afterwards they passed an Act forbidding all trade with the other American colonies who would not renounce their allegiance to the King; in their addresses to the Parliament and Cromwell, in 1651 and 1654, as shown above, they claimed, as a ground of merit for peculiar favour, that they had done their utmost, by devotional and material aid of men and means, in support of the Parliamentary, and afterwards regicide party, from the beginning to the end of the war—so that loyalists as well as churchmen were treated by them as outcasts and aliens—and now, after having begged, in language of sycophantic subserviency, the Royal pardon for the past, and obtained it on certain conditions, they claim the boon but refuse to fulfil the conditions, making all sorts of excuses, promises, and evasions for twenty years—professing and promising one thing in London, doing the opposite in Massachusetts, protracting where they dare not resist, but practically doing to the vacating of the Charter what Mr. Bancroft states in the pregnant sentences above quoted in the text.]



A crisis was now approaching. The state of things shown in the latter part of the preceding chapter could not be suffered always to continue. Means must be devised to bring it to an end.

The Massachusetts Court had sent successive agents to England to explain and to make promises concerning many things complained of, to crave indulgence and delay in other things which they could not explain or justify; but they prohibited their agents, by private instructions, from conceding anything which the Charter, as they interpreted it, had given them—namely, absolute independence. But this double game was nearly played out. Party struggles in England had absorbed the attention of the King and Cabinet, and caused a public and vacillating policy to be pursued in regard to Massachusetts; but the King's Government were at length roused to decisive action, and threatened the colony with a writ of quo warranto in respect to matters so often demanded and as often evaded.

The Massachusetts Court met forthwith, passed an Act to control the commission of the King's Collector, Edward Randolph, and another Act charging their own newly-appointed Collector to look strictly after the enforcement of the Acts of Trade (but in reality to counteract them); repealed another Act which imposed a penalty for plotting the overthrow of the Colonial Constitution—an Act levelled against Randolph; passed another Act substituting the word "Jurisdiction" for the word "Commonwealth" in their laws. They authorized their agents merely to lay these concessions before the King, and humbly hoped they would satisfy his Majesty. They also bribed clerks of the Privy Council to keep them informed of its proceedings on Massachusetts affairs, and offered a bribe of L2,000 to King Charles himself. Mr. Hildreth says (1683): "On the appearance of these agents at Court, with powers so restricted, a quo warranto was threatened forthwith unless they were furnished with ampler authority. Informed of this threat, the General Court (of Massachusetts), after great debates, authorized their agents to consent to the regulation of anything wherein the Government might ignorantly, or through mistake, have deviated from the Charter; to accept, indeed, any demands consistent with the Charter (as they interpreted it), the existing Government established under it, and the 'main ends of our predecessors in coming hither,' which main ends were defined by them to be 'our liberties and privileges in matters of religion and worship of God, which you are, therefore, in no wise to consent to any infringement of.' They were authorized to give up Maine to the King, and even to tender him a private gratuity of two thousand guineas. Bribes were quite fashionable at Charles's Court; the King and his servants were accustomed to take them. The Massachusetts agents[180] had expended considerable sums to purchase a favour, or to obtain information, and by having clerks of the Privy Council in their pay they were kept well informed of the secret deliberations of that body. But this offer (of a bribe of two thousand guineas to the King), unskilfully managed, and betrayed by Cranfield, the lately appointed Royal Governor of New Hampshire, who had advised the magistrates to make it, exposed the Colony to blame and ridicule."[181]

"If a liberty of appeal to England were insisted on, the agents were 'not to include the colony in any act or consent of theirs, but to crave leave to transmit the same to the General Court for their further consideration.' They were 'not to make any alteration of the qualifications that were required by law, as at present established, respecting the admission of freemen.'"[182]

It having appeared, on the perusal of the commission of the Massachusetts agents by Sir Lionel Jenkins, Secretary of State, that they did not possess the powers required to enable them to act, they were informed by Lord Radnor that "the Council had unanimously agreed to report to his Majesty, that unless the agents speedily obtained such powers as might render them capable to satisfy in all points, a quo warranto should proceed."

"Upon receipt of these advices," says Mr. Hutchinson, "it was made a question, not in the General Court only, but amongst all the inhabitants, whether to surrender or not. The opinions of many of the ministers, and their arguments in support of them, were given in writing, and in general it was thought better to die by the hands of others than by their own.[183] The address was agreed upon by the General Court; another was prepared and sent through the colony, to be signed by the several inhabitants, which the agents were to present or not, as they thought proper; and they were (privately) to deliver up the deeds of the Province of Maine, if required, and it would tend to preserve their Charter, otherwise not; and they were to make no concessions of any privileges conferred on the colony by the Charter."[184] (That is, according to their interpretation and pretensions.)

"Governor Bradstreet and the moderate party were inclined to authorise the agents to receive the King's commands. The magistrates passed a vote to that effect. But all the zeal and obstinacy of the theocratic party had been roused by the present crisis—a zeal resulting, as hot zeal often does, in the ultimate loss of what it was so anxious to save."[185]

The agents of the colony were not willing to undertake the defence and management of the question upon the Charter in Westminster Hall. The writ of quo warranto, which summoned the Corporation of Massachusetts Bay to defend their acts against the complaints and charges made against them, was issued the 27th of June, 1683, and on the 20th of July "It was ordered by the Privy Council, 'that Mr. Edward Randolph be sent to New England with the notification of the said quo warranto, which he was to deliver to the said Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay, and thereupon to return to give his Majesty an account of his proceedings therein.'"[186] This writ was accompanied by a declaration from the King "that the private interests and properties of all persons within the colony should be continued and preserved to them, so that no man should receive any prejudice in his freehold or estate;" also, "that in case the said Corporation of the Massachusetts Bay should, before the prosecution had upon the said quo warranto, make a full submission and entire resignation to his pleasure, he would then regulate their Charter (as stated in another place, by adding supplementary clauses) in such a manner as should be for his service and the good of the colony, without any other alterations than such as he should find necessary for the better support of his Government."[187]

On the issue of the writ of quo warranto, the business of the colony's agents in London was at an end. They returned home, and arrived in Boston the 23rd of October, 1683; and the same week Randolph arrived with the quo warranto and the King's accompanying declaration. The announcement of this decisive act on the part of the King produced a profound sensation throughout the colony, and gave rise to the question, "What shall Massachusetts do?" One part of the colony advocated submission; another party advocated resistance. The former were called the "Moderate party," the latter the "Patriot party"—the commencement of the two parties which were afterwards known as United Empire Loyalists and Revolutionists.[188] The Moderate party was led by the memorable Governor Bradstreet, Stoughton, and Dudley, and included a majority of the assistants or magistrates, called the "Upper branch of the Government." The Independence party was headed by the Deputy Governor Danforth, Gookin, and Nowell, and included a majority of the House of Deputies, over whose elections and proceedings the elders or ministers exerted a potent influence.[189]

Governor Bradstreet and a majority of the assistants, or magistrates, adopted the following resolution:

"The magistrates have voted that an humble address be sent to his Majesty by this ship, declaring that, upon a serious consideration of his Majesty's gracious intimations in his former letters, and more particularly in his late declaration, that his pleasure and purpose is only to regulate our Charter in such a manner as shall be for his service and the good of this his colony, and without any other alteration than what is necessary for the support of his Government here, we will not presume to contend with his Majesty in a Court of law, but humbly lay ourselves at his Majesty's feet, in submission to his pleasure so declared, and that we have resolved by the next opportunity to send our agents empowered to receive his Majesty's commands accordingly. And, for saving a default for non-appearance upon the return of the writ of quo warranto, that some person or persons be appointed and empowered, by letter of attorney, to appear and make defence until our agents may make their appearance and submission as above.

"The magistrates have passed this without reference to the consent of their brethren the deputies hereto.

(Signed) "EDMUND RAWSON, Secretary.

"15th November, 1683."

This resolution was laid before the House of Deputies and debated by them a fortnight, when the majority of them adopted the following resolution:

"November 30, 1683.—The deputies consent not, but adhere to their former bills.

"WILLIAM TERRY, Clerk."[190]

"They voted instead," says Mr. Hildreth, "an Address to the King, praying forbearance; but they authorized Robert Humphreys, a London barrister and the legal adviser of the agents, to enter an appearance and to retain counsel, requesting him 'to leave no stone unturned that may be of service either to the case itself, or the spinning out of the time as much as possibly may be.' No less than three letters were written to Humphreys; money was remitted; but all hopes of defence were futile. Before the letters arrived in London, a default had already been recorded. That default could not be got off, and judgment was entered the next year pronouncing the Charter void."[191]

The manner in which the questions at issue were put to a popular vote in Massachusetts was unfair and misleading; the epithets applied to the "Moderate" or loyal party were offensive and unjust; and the statements of Palfrey, respecting the acts of the King immediately following the vacation of the Charter, are very disingenuous, not to say untrue.

The King had expressly and repeatedly declared that he would not proceed to vacate the Charter if they would submit to his decision on the six grounds mentioned in his first letter to them, June 28, 1662, twenty years before, as the conditions of continuing the Charter, and which they had persistently evaded and resisted; that his decision should be in the form of certain "Regulations" for the future administration of the Charter, and not the vacation of it. Every reader knows the difference between a Royal Charter of incorporation and the Royal instructions issued twenty years afterwards to remedy irregularities and abuses which had been shown to have crept in, and practised in the local administration of the Charter. Yet the ruling party in Massachusetts Bay did not put the question as accepting the King's offers, but as of vacating the Charter. This was raising a false issue, and an avowed imputation and contempt of the King. It is true that Dr. Palfrey and other modern New England historians have said that Charles the Second had from the beginning intended to abolish the Charter; that the "vacation of the Charter was a foregone conclusion." In reply to which it may be said that this is mere assumption, unsupported by facts; that if Charles the Second had wished or intended to vacate the Charter, he had the amplest opportunity and reasons to do so, in the zenith of his popularity and power, when they refused to comply with the conditions on which he proposed to pardon and obliterate the past and continue the Charter, and when they resisted his Commissioners, and employed military force to oppose the exercise of their powers, and set aside their decisions; instead of which he remonstrated with them for more than twenty years, and then gave them long notice and choice to retain the Charter with his "Regulations" on the disputed points, or contest the Charter, as to their observance of it, in a Court of law. Under the impulse and guidance of violent counsels they chose the latter, and lost their Charter. In their very last address to the King, they gratefully acknowledged his kindness in all his despatches and treatment of them, contrary to the statements and imputations of modern New England historians; yet they denied him the authority universally acknowledged and exercised by Queen Victoria and English Courts of law over the legislative, judicial, and even administrative acts of every province of the British Empire. Dr. Palfrey says: "In the Upper branch of the Government there was found at length a servile majority;" but "the deputies were prepared for no such suicide, though there were not wanting faint hearts and grovelling aims among them."[192] At the head of what Dr. Palfrey terms the "servile majority" was the venerable Governor Bradstreet, now more than ninety years of age, the only survivor of the original founders of the colony, who had been a magistrate more than fifty years, more than once Governor, always a faithful and safe counsellor, the agent of the colony in England, and obtaining in June, 1662, the King's letter of pardon—oblivion of the past and promised continuance of the Charter on certain conditions—a letter which the Colonial Court said filled them with inexpressible joy and gratitude (see above, page 141), who then advised them to comply with the King's requirements, and who, after twenty years' further experience and knowledge of public affairs and parties, advises them to pursue the same course for which he is now termed "servile," and ranked with cowards and men of "grovelling aims," advising the colony to commit political "suicide." The result showed who were the real authors of the "suicide," and Dr. Palfrey forcibly states the result of their doings in the following words:

"Massachusetts, as a body politic, was now no more. The elaborate fabric, that had been fifty-four years in building, was levelled to the dust. The hopes of the fathers were found to be mere dreams. It seemed that their brave struggles had brought no result. The honoured ally (Massachusetts) of the Protector (Cromwell) of England lay under the feet of Charles the Second. It was on the Charter granted to Roswell and his associates, Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay, that the structure of the cherished institutions of Massachusetts, religious and civil, had been reared. The abrogation of that Charter swept the whole away. Massachusetts, in English law, was again what it had been before James the First made a grant of it to the Council of New England. It belonged to the King of England, by virtue of the discovery of the Cabots. No less than this was the import of the decree in Westminster Hall. Having secured its great triumph, the Court had no thought of losing anything by the weakness of compassion. The person selected by the King to govern the people of his newly-acquired province was Colonel Piercy Kirk. That campaign in the West of England had not yet taken place which has made the name of Kirk immortal; but fame enough had gone abroad of his brutal character, to make his advent an anticipation of horror to those whom he was appointed to govern. It was settled that he was to be called 'His Majesty's Lieutenant and Governor-General,' and that his authority should be unrestricted."[193]

This quotation from Dr. Palfrey suggests one or two remarks, and requires correction, as it is as disingenuous in statement as it is eloquent in diction. He admits and assumes the validity of the judicial act by which the Charter was declared forfeited; though the loyalty of this decision was denied by the opposing party in Massachusetts, who denied that any English Court, or that even the King himself, had any authority in Massachusetts to disallow any of its acts or decisions, much less to vacate its Charter, and professed to continue its elections of deputies, etc., and to pass and administer laws as aforetime. Dr. Palfrey's language presents all such pretensions and proceedings as baseless and puerile.

Dr. Palfrey states what is true, that the Massachusetts Government had been the "ally" of Cromwell; but this they had denied in their addresses to Charles the Second. (See above, pp. 153-9.)

It is hardly ingenuous or correct in Dr. Palfrey speaking of Col. Kirk's appointment of the "newly-acquired Province." The office extended over New Hampshire, Maine, and Plymouth as well as Massachusetts; but Kirk never was Governor of Massachusetts, for before his commission and instructions were completed, all was annulled by the demise of King Charles, which took place the 6th of February, 1685. Mr. Hutchinson says: "Before any new Government was settled, King Charles died. Mr. Blaithwait wrote to the Governor and recommended the proclaiming of King James without delay. This was done with great ceremony in the high street of Boston (April 20th)."[194]

Mr. Joseph Dudley, a native of the colony, and one of the two last agents sent to England, was appointed the first Governor after the annulling of the Charter. Mr. Hutchinson says: "The 15th of May (1686), the Rose frigate arrived from England, with a commission to Mr. Dudley as President, and divers others, gentlemen of the Council, to take upon them the administration of government." Mr. Dudley's short administration was not very grievous. The House of Deputies, indeed, was laid aside; but the people, the time being short, felt little or no effect from the change. Mr. Stoughton was Mr. Dudley's chief confidant. Mr. Dudley professed as great an attachment to the interest of the colony as Mr. Stoughton, and was very desirous of retaining their favour. A letter from Mr. Mather, then the minister of the greatest influence, is a proof of it.[195] There was no molestation to the Churches of the colony, but they continued both worship and discipline as before. The affairs of the towns were likewise managed in the same manner as formerly. Their Courts of justice were continued upon the former plan, Mr. Stoughton being at the head of them. Trials were by juries, as usual. Dudley considered himself as appointed to preserve the affairs of the colony from confusion until a Governor arrived and a rule of administration should be more fully settled.[196]

The administration of Dudley was only of seven months' duration. Dudley was superseded by Sir Edmund Andros, who arrived at Boston on the 20th of December (1686), with a commission from King James for the government of New England.[197] He was instructed to appoint no one of the Council to any offices but those of the least estates and characters, and to displace none without sufficient cause; to continue the former laws of the country, as far as they were not inconsistent with his commission or instructions, until other regulations were established by the Governor and Council; to allow no printing press; to give universal toleration in religion, but encouragement to the Church of England; to execute the laws of trade, and prevent frauds in Customs.[198] But Andros had other instructions of a more despotic and stringent character; and being, like King James himself, of an arbitrary disposition, he fulfilled his instructions to the letter. And when his Royal master was dethroned for his unconstitutional and tyrannical conduct, Andros was seized at Boston and sent prisoner to England, to answer for his conduct; but he was acquitted by the new Government, not for his policy in New England, but because he had acted according to his instructions, which he pleaded as his justification.[199]

It is singular that toleration in Massachusetts should have been proclaimed by the arbitrary James, in a declaration above and contrary to the law for which he received the thanks of the ministers in that colony, but which resulted in his loss of his Crown in England.

"James's Declaration of Indulgence was proclaimed (1687), and now, for the first time, Quakers, Baptists, and Episcopalians enjoyed toleration in Massachusetts. That system of religious tyranny, coeval with the settlement of New England, thus unexpectedly received its death-blow from a Catholic bigot, who professed a willingness to allow religious freedom to others as a means of securing it for himself." ... "Mather, who carried with him (1689) an address from the ministers, thanking James, in behalf of themselves and their brethren, for his Declaration of Indulgence arriving in England while King James was yet in power, had been graciously received by that monarch. But, though repeatedly admitted to an audience, his complaints against the Royal Governor (Andros) had produced no effect. The Revolution intervening, he hastened, with greater hopes of success, to address himself to the new King, and his remonstrances prevented, as far as Massachusetts was concerned, the despatch of a circular letter confirming the authority of all Colonial officers holding commissions from James II. The letters actually received at Boston authorized those in authority to retain provisionally the administration, and directed that Andros and the other prisoners should be sent to England."[200]

I have now traced the proceedings of the founders and rulers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the fifty-four years of their first Charter, with short notices of some occurrences during the three years' reign of James the Second, their revenge not only in his own dethronement, but also on his Governor Andros, for the tyranny which he practised upon them by imprisoning him and his helpers, and by Royal command sending them as prisoners to England, together with the removal of the local officers appointed by Andros and the restoration of their own elected authorities until further instruction from the new King.

There can be no question that the founders of that colony were not only men of wealth, but men of education, of piety, of the highest respectability, of great energy, enterprize, and industry, contributing to the rapid progress of their settlements and increase of their wealth, and stamping the character of their history; but after their emigration to Massachusetts Bay, and during the progress of their settlements and the organization and development of their undertakings, their views became narrowed to the dimensions of their own Plantation in government and trade, irrespective of the interests of England, or of the other neighbour colonies, and their theology and religious spirit was of the narrowest and most intolerant character. They assumed to be the chosen Israel of God, subject to no King but Jehovah, above the rulers of the land, planted there to cast out the heathen, to smite down every dagon of false worship, whether Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, or Quaker, and responsible to no other power on earth for either their legislative or administrative acts. I will not here recapitulate those acts, so fully stated in preceding pages, and established by evidence of documents and testimony which cannot be successfully denied. But there are two features of their pretensions and government which demand further remark.

I. The first is the character and narrowness of the foundation on which rested their legislation and government. None but members of the Congregational Churches were eligible to legislate or fill any office in the colony, or even to be an elector. A more narrow-minded and corrupting test of qualification for civil or political office, or for the elective franchise, can hardly be conceived.[201] However rich a man might be, and whatever might be his education or social position, if he were not a member of the Congregational Church he was an "alien in the Commonwealth" of the Massachusetts Israel, was ineligible for office, or to be an elector; while his own servant, if a member of the Church, though not worth a shilling, or paying a penny to the public revenue, was an elector, or eligible to be elected to any public office. The non-members of the Congregational Church were subject to all military and civil burdens and taxes of the State, without any voice in its legislation or administration. Such was the free (?) Government of Massachusetts Bay, eulogized by New England historians during half a century, until abolished by judicial and royal authority. What would be thought at this day of a Government, the eligibility to public office and the elective franchise under which should be based on membership in a particular Church?

II. But, secondly, this Government must be regarded as equally unjust and odious when we consider not merely the sectarian basis of its assumptions and acts against the Sovereign on the one hand, and the rights of citizens of Massachusetts and of neighbouring colonies on the other, but the small proportion of the population enfranchised in comparison with the population which was disfranchised. Even at the beginning it was not professed that the proportion of Congregational Church members to the whole population was more than one to three; in after years it was alleged, at most, not to have been more than one to six.

This, however, is of little importance in comparison with the question, what was the proportion of electors to non-electors in the colony? On this point I take as my authority the latest and most able apologist and defender of the Massachusetts Government, Dr. Palfrey. He says: "Counting the lists of persons admitted to the franchise in Massachusetts, and making what I judge to be reasonable allowance for persons deceased, I come to the conclusion that the number of freemen in Massachusetts in 1670 may have been between 1,000 and 1,200, or one freeman to every four or five adult males."[202]

The whole population of the colony at this time is not definitely stated, but there was one elector to every "four or five" of the adult "males." This eleven hundred men, because they were Congregationalists, influenced and controlled by their ministers, elected from themselves all the legislators and rulers of Massachusetts Bay Colony in civil, judicial, and military matters, who bearded the King and Parliament, persecuted all who dissented from them in religious worship, encroached upon the property and rights of neighbouring colonies, levied and imposed all the burdens of the State upon four-fifths of their fellow (male) colonists who had no voice in the legislation or administration of the Government. Yet this sectarian Government is called by New England historians a free Government; and these eleven hundred electors—electors not because they have property, but because they are Congregationalists—are called "the people of Massachusetts," while four-fifths of the male population and more than four-fifths of the property are utterly ignored, except to pay the taxes or bear the other burdens of the State, but without a single elective voice, or a single free press to state their grievances or express their wishes, much less to advocate their rights and those of the King and Parliament.

III. Thirdly, from the facts and authorities given in the foregoing pages, there cannot be a reasonable pretext for the statement that the rulers of Massachusetts Bay had not violated both the objects and provisions of the Royal Charter, variously and persistently, during the fifty-four years of its existence; while there is not an instance of either Charles the First or Second claiming a single prerogative inconsistent with the provisions of the Charter, and which is not freely recognized at this day in the Crown and Parliament of Great Britain, by the free inhabitants of every Province of the British Empire. The fact that neither of the Charleses asked for anything more than the toleration of Episcopal worship, never objected to the perfect freedom of worship claimed by the Congregationalists of Massachusetts; and the fact that Charles the Second corresponded and remonstrated for twenty years and more to induce the rulers of Massachusetts Bay to acknowledge those rights of King and Parliament, and their duties as British subjects, shows that there could have been no desire to interfere with their freedom of worship or to abolish the Charter, except as a last resort, after the failure of all other means to restrain the disloyal and oppressive acts of the rulers of that one colony. In contradistinction to the practice of other colonies of New England, and of every British colony at this day, Charles the First and Second were bad kings to England and Scotland, but were otherwise to New England; and when New England historians narrate at great length, and paint in the darkest colours, the persecutions and despotic acts of the Stuart kings over England and Scotland, and then infer that they did or sought to do the same in New England, they make groundless assumptions, contrary to the express declarations and policy of the two Charleses and the whole character and tenor of New England history. The demands of Charles the Second, and the conditions on which he proposed to continue the first Charter in 1662, were every one sanctioned and provided for in the second Royal Charter issued by William and Mary in 1690, and under which, for seventy years, the Government was milder and more liberal, the legislation broader, the social state more happy, and the colony more loyal and prosperous than it had ever been during the fifty-four years of the first Charter. All this will be proved and illustrated in the following chapter.


[Footnote 180: The Massachusetts Court had applied to Cromwell for permission to use the word "Commonwealth" instead of the word "Plantation," as expressed in their Charter, but were refused. They afterwards adopted it of their own accord.]

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