[Footnote 181: Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol. I., Chap. xiv., pp. 500, 506.
Their attempt to bribe the King was not the less bribery, whether Cranfield, for his own amusement, or otherwise to test their virtue, suggested it to them or not. But without any suggestion from Cranfield they bribed the King's clerks from their fidelity in the Privy Council, and bribed others "to obtain favour." The whole tenor of Scripture injunction and morality is against offering as well as taking bribes. After authorizing the employment of bribery in England to promote their objects, the Court closed their sittings by appointing "a day for solemn humiliation throughout the colony, to implore the mercy and favour of God in respect to their sacred, civil, and temporal concerns, and more especially those in the hands of their agents abroad." (Palfrey, Vol. III., B. iii, Chap. ix., pp. 374, 375.)]
[Footnote 182: Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. ix., pp. 372, 373.
"The agents of the colony, Messrs. Dudley and Richards, upon their arrival in England, found his Majesty greatly provoked at the neglect of the colonists not sending before; and in their first letters home they acquainted the Court with the feelings of the King, and desired to know whether it was best to hazard all by refusing to comply with his demands, intimating that they 'seriously intended to submit to the substance.' At that time they had not been heard before the Council; but soon after, on presenting the address which had been forwarded by their hands, they were commanded to show their powers and instructions to Sir Lionel Jenkins, Secretary of State; and on their perusal, finding these powers wholly inadequate, they were informed by Lord Radnor that the Council had agreed nem. con. to report to his Majesty, that unless further powers were speedily obtained, a quo warranto should proceed in Hilary Term." (Barry's History of Massachusetts, First Period, Chap. xvii, p. 471. Hutchinson, Vol. I., p. 335.)]
[Footnote 183: Note by the historian Hutchinson.—"The clergy turned the scale for the last time. The balance which they had held from the beginning, they were allowed to retain no longer."]
[Footnote 184: Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 336, 337.]
[Footnote 185: Ibid.]
[Footnote 186: Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. ix., p. 374. Mr. Palfrey, pp. 375, 376, in a note, gives the following abstract of Randolph's charges presented to the Court: "1. They assume powers that are not warranted by the Charter, which is executed in another place than was intended. 2. They make laws repugnant to those of England. 3. They levy money on subjects not inhabiting the colony (and consequently not represented in the General Court). 4. They impose an oath of fidelity to themselves, without regarding the oath of allegiance to the King. 5. They refuse justice by withholding appeals to the King. 6. They oppose the Acts of Navigation, and imprison the King's officers for doing their duty. 7. They have established a Naval Office, with a view to defraud the customs. 8. No verdicts are ever found for the King in relation to customs, and the Courts impose costs on the prosecutors, in order to discourage trials. 9. They levy customs on the importation of goods from England. 10. They do not administer the oath of supremacy, as required by the Charter. 11. They erected a Court of Admiralty, though not empowered by Charter. 12. They discountenance the Church of England. 13. They persist in coining money, though they had asked forgiveness for that offence." (Chalmers' Annals, p. 462.)]
[Footnote 187: Ib., p. 377.]
[Footnote 188: "From this period (1683) one may date the origin of two parties—the Patriots and Prerogative men—between whom controversy scarcely intermitted, and was never ended until the separation of the two countries." (Minot's History of Massachusetts, etc., Vol. I., p. 51.)]
[Footnote 189: In a Boston town meeting, held January 21, 1684, to consider the King's declaration, the Rev. Increase Mather, who was then President of Harvard College, and had for twenty years exerted more influence upon the public affairs of Massachusetts than any other man for the same length of time, delivered a speech against submission to the King, which he miscalled "the surrender of the Charter." He said, among other things: "I verily believe we shall sin against the God of heaven if we vote in the affirmative to it. The Scripture teacheth us otherwise. That which the Lord our God hath given us, shall we not possess it? God forbid that we should give away the inheritance of our fathers. Nor would it be wisdom for us to comply. If we make a full and entire resignation to the King's pleasure, we fall into the hands of men immediately; but if we do not, we still keep ourselves in the hands of God; and who knows what God may do for us?" The historian says that "the effect of such an appeal was wholly irresistible; that many of the people fell into tears, and there was a general acclamation." (Barry's Colonial History of Massachusetts, Vol. I., pp. 476, 477.)
It is not easy to squeeze as much extravagance and nonsense in the same space as in the above quoted words of Increase Mather. Where was the Scripture which taught them not to submit complaints of their fellow-colonists to their King and his Council, the highest authority in the empire? Both Scripture and profane history furnish us with examples almost without number of usurpers professing that the usurpation and conquest they had achieved was "that which the Lord our God had given" them, and which they should "possess" at all hazards as if it were an "inheritance of their fathers." The "inheritance" spoken of by Mr. Mather was what had been usurped by the rulers of the colony over and above the provisions of their Charter against the rights of the Crown, the religious and political liberties of their fellow-colonists, and encroaching upon the lands of their white and Indian neighbours. Then to submit to the King and Council was to "fall into the hands of men immediately," but to contest with the King in the Courts of Chancery or King's Bench was to "keep themselves in the hands of God," who, it seems, according to Increase Mather's own interpretation, judged him and his adherents unworthy of retaining the "inheritance" of the Charter, the powers and objects of which they had so greatly perverted and abused. The King had expressly declared that the prosecution against the Charter would be abandoned if they would submit to his decision in regard to what had been matters of complaint and dispute between them and their fellow-colonists and Sovereign for more than fifty years, and which decision should be added to the Charter as explanatory regulations, and should embrace nothing affecting their religious liberties or local elective self-government. They refused, and lost their Charter; Rhode Island and Connecticut submitted, and even resigned their Charters, and were afterwards authorized to resume them, with the privileges and powers conferred by them unimpaired, including the election of their Governors as well as legislators, etc.]
[Footnote 190: Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 338, 339.]
[Footnote 191: Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol. I., Chap. xiv., p. 507. The notice to the Corporation and Company of Massachusetts to answer to the writ of quo warranto was received October, 1683; the final judgment of the Court vacating the Charter was given July, 1685, nearly two years afterwards. (Hutchinson, Vol. I., pp. 337-340.)]
[Footnote 192: History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. ix., pp. 380, 381.]
[Footnote 193: Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. ix., pp. 394, 395.]
[Footnote 194: History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., p. 340.
"The Charter fell. This was the last effective act of Charles the Second relative to Massachusetts; for before a new Government could be settled, the monarch was dead. His death and that of the Charter were nearly contemporary." (Barry's History of Massachusetts, First Period, Chap. xvii., p. 478).]
[Footnote 195: The conclusion of this letter is as follows: "Sir, for the things of my soul, I have these many years hung upon your lips, and ever shall; and in civil things am desirous you may know with all plainness my reasons of procedure, and that they may be satisfactory to you. I am, sir, your servant,
"J. DUDLEY. From your own house, May 17th, '86."]
[Footnote 196: History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 350, 351, 352. "Though eighteen months had elapsed since the Charter was vacated, the Government was still going on as before. The General Court, though attended thinly, was in session when the new commission arrived. Dudley sent a copy of it to the Court, not as recognizing their authority, but as an assembly of principal and influential inhabitants. They complained of the commission as arbitrary, 'there not being the least mention of an Assembly' in it, expressed doubts whether it were safe for him or them, and thus gloomily dissolved, leaving the government in Dudley's hands." (Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol. II., Chap. xviii., p. 80.)]
[Footnote 197: Andros was appointed Captain-General and Vice-Admiral of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Plymouth, Pemaquid, and Narragansett during pleasure.]
[Footnote 198: (Holmes' Annals, etc., Vol. I., p. 419). Holmes adds: "To support a Government that could not be submitted to from choice, a small military establishment, consisting of two companies of soldiers, was formed, and military stores were transported. The tyrannical conduct of James towards the colonies did not escape the notice and censure of English historians." "At the same time that the Commons of England were deprived of their privileges, a like attempt was made on the colonies. King James recalled their Charters, by which their liberties were secured; and he sent over Governors with absolute power. The arbitrary principles of that monarch appear in every part of his administration." (Hume's History of England, Act James II.)—Ib., pp. 419, 490.
Hutchinson says: "The beginning of Andros' administration gave great satisfaction. He made high professions as to the public good and the welfare of the people, both of merchants and planters; directed the judges to administer justice according to the custom of the place; ordered the former established rules to be observed as to rates and taxes, and that all the colony laws not inconsistent with his commission should be in force." (History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., p. 353).]
[Footnote 199: "The complaints against Andros, coolly received by the Privy Council, were dismissed by order of the new King, on the ground that nothing was charged against the late Governor which his instructions would not fully justify." (Hildreth's History of the United States, Vol. II., Chap. xviii., p. 94.)]
[Footnote 200: Hildreth's History, etc., Vol. II., Chap. xviii., pp. 83, 93, 94.]
[Footnote 201: "As a matter of course, this Church test of citizenship did not work well. The more unscrupulous the conscience, the easier it was to join the Church; and abandoned men who wanted public preferment could join the Church with loud professions and gain their ends, and make Church membership a byeword. Under the Charter by William and Mary, in 1691, the qualification of electors was then fixed at a 'freehold of forty shillings per annum, or other property of the value of L40 sterling.'" (Elliott's New England History, Vol. I., p. 113.)]
[Footnote 202: Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. ii., p. 41, in a note.]
THE SECOND ROYAL CHARTER; HOW OBTAINED—MASSACHUSETTS NEARLY SIXTY YEARS UNDER THE SECOND CHARTER, FROM 1691 TO 1748; TO THE CLOSE OF THE FIRST WAR BETWEEN ENGLAND AND FRANCE, AND THE PEACE OF AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.
I have traced the characteristics of the Government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony during fifty-four years under its first Charter, in its relations to the Crown, to the citizens of its own jurisdiction, to the inhabitants of the neighbouring colonies, and to the Indians; its denial of Royal authority; its renunciation of one form of worship and Church polity, and adoption of another; its denial of toleration to any but Congregationalists, and of the elective franchise, to four-fifths of the male population; its taxing without representation; its denial of the right of appeal to the King, or any right on the part of the King or Parliament to receive appeals, or to the exercise of any supervision or means of seeing that "the laws of England were not contravened" by their acts of legislation or government, while they were sheltered by the British navy from the actual and threatened invasion of the Dutch, Spaniards, and French, not to say the Indians, always prompted and backed by the French, thus claiming all the attributes of an independent Government, but resting under the aegis of an Imperial protection to maintain an independence which they asserted, but could not themselves maintain against foreign enemies.
I will now proceed to note the subsequent corresponding facts of their history during seventy years under the second Royal Charter.
They averred, and no doubt brought themselves to believe, that with their first Charter, as interpreted by themselves, was bound up their political life, or what they alleged to be dearer to them than life, and that in its loss was involved their political death; but they made no martial effort to prolong that life, or to save themselves from that premature death.
Mr. Palfrey assigns various reasons for this non-resistance to the cancelling of their Charter; but he omits or obscurely alludes to the real ones.
Dr. Palfrey says: "The reader asks how it could be that the decree by which Massachusetts fell should fail to provoke resistance. He inquires whether nothing was left of the spirit which, when the colony was much poorer, had often defied and baffled the designs of the father of the reigning King. He must remember how times were changed. There was no longer a great patriot party in England, to which the colonists might look for sympathy and help, and which it had even hoped might reinforce them by a new emigration. There was no longer even a Presbyterian party which, little as it had loved them, a sense of common insecurity and common interest might enlist in their behalf.... Relatively to her population and wealth, Massachusetts had large capacities for becoming a naval power—capacities which might have been vigorously developed if an alliance with the great naval powers of Continental Europe had been possible. But Holland was now at peace with England; not to say that such an arrangement was out of the question for Massachusetts, while the rest of New England was more or less inclined to the adverse interest. Unembarrassed by any foreign war, England was armed with that efficient navy which the Duke of York had organized, and which had lately distressed the rich and energetic Netherlanders; and the dwellings of two-thirds of the inhabitants of Massachusetts stood where they could be battered from the water. They had a commerce which might be molested in every sea by English cruisers. Neither befriended nor interfered with, they might have been able to defend themselves against the corsairs of Barbary in the resorts of their most gainful trade; but England had given them notice, that if they were stubborn that commerce would be dismissed from her protection, and in the circumstances such a notice threatened more than a mere abstinence from aid. The Indian war had emptied the colonial exchequer. On the other hand, a generation earlier the colonists might have retreated to the woods, but now they had valuable stationary property to be kept or sacrificed. To say no more, the ancient unanimity was broken in upon. Jealousy had risen and grown.... Nor was even public morality altogether of its pristine tone. The prospect of material prosperity had introduced a degree of luxury; and luxury had brought ambition and mean longings. Venality had become possible; and clever and venal men had a motive for enlisting the selfish and the stupid, and decrying the generous and wise."
These eloquent words of Dr. Palfrey are very suggestive, and deserve to be carefully pondered by the reader.
I. In the concluding sentences he tacitly admits that the Government of Massachusetts Bay had become, at the end of fifty-four years, partially at least, a failure in "public morality" and patriotism; yet during that period the Government had been exclusively, in both its legislation and administration, in the hands of one religious denomination, under the influence of its ministers, who were supported by taxation on the whole population, controlled the elections, and whose counsels ruled in all conflicts with the King and Parliament of England. None but a Congregationalist could be a governor, or assistant, or deputy, or judge, or magistrate, or juror, or officer of the army, or constable, or elector, or have liberty of worship. The union of Church and State in Massachusetts was more intimate and intolerant than it had or ever has been in England; and their contests with England in claiming absolute and irresponsible powers under the Charter were at bottom, and in substance, contests for Congregational supremacy and exclusive and proscriptive rule in Church and State—facts so overlooked and misrepresented by New England historians. Yet under this denominational and virtually hierarchical government, while wealth was largely accumulated, the "pristine tone of public morality" declined, and patriotism degenerated into "ambition and venality."
II. It is also worthy of remark, that, according to Dr. Palfrey, had not the spirit of the first generation of the rulers of Massachusetts Bay departed, the war of the American Revolution would have been anticipated by a century, and the sword would have been unsheathed, not to maintain the right of representation co-extensive with subjection to taxation, but to maintain a Government which for half a century had taxed four-fifths of its citizens without allowing them any representation, supported the ministers of one Church by taxes on the whole population, and denied liberty of worship to any but the members of that one denomination.
III. I remark further, that Mr. Palfrey hints at the two real causes why the disloyal party (calling itself the "patriotic party") did not take up arms of rebellion against the mother country. The one was disunion in the colony—"the ancient unanimity was broken in upon." It has been seen that a majority of the "Upper branch" of even this denominational Government, and a large minority of the assembly of deputies, were in favour of submitting to the conditions which the King had twenty years before prescribed as the terms of continuing the Charter. If the defection from disloyalty was so great within the limits of the denomination, it is natural to infer that it must have been universal among the four-fifths of the male population who were denied the rights and privileges of "freemen," yet subject to all the burdens of the State. Deprived also of all freedom of the press, and punished by fine and imprisonment if, even in petitions to the local Legislature for redress of grievances, they complained of the acts of local legislation or government, they could only look to the mother country for deliverance from local oppression, for liberty of worship and freedom of citizens. The "ministers" had lost their ascendency even within the enfranchised circle of their own established churches, while the great body of the disfranchised Nonconformists could only regard them as had the Nonconformists in England regarded Bancroft and Laud. They could assume high prerogatives, arrogate to themselves divine favour and protection, threaten divine judgments on their adversaries, boast of courage and power; but they knew that in a trial of strength on the battlefield their strength would prove weakness, and that they would be swept from power, and perhaps proscribed and oppressed by the very victims of their intolerance. The "breaking in upon ancient unanimity" was but the declining power of a disloyal Church and State Government of one denomination. A second cause hinted at by Dr. Palfrey why the rulers of Massachusetts Bay did not resort to arms at this time was, that "the rest of New England was more or less inclined to the adverse interest." They could command no rallying watchword to combine the other New England colonies against the King, such as they were enabled to employ the following century to combine all the American colonies. "The rest of New England" had found that in the King and Council was their only effectual protection against the aggressions and domination of the rulers of Massachusetts Bay, who denied all right of appeal to the Crown, and denied the right of the Crown to receive and decide upon such appeals. These rulers not only encroached upon the lands of neighbouring colonies, but interfered with their exercise of religious toleration. The extinction of the pretensions to supremacy and monopoly of power and trade by the rulers of Massachusetts Bay, was the enfranchisement of the other New England Colonies to protection against aggression, and of four-fifths of the male inhabitants of Massachusetts itself to the enjoyment of equal civil and religious liberty.
I think therefore that "ambitions and mean longings," and even "venality," had quite as much to do on the part of those who wished to perpetuate the government of disloyalty, proscription, and persecution as on the part of those who desired to "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," and to place the Government of Massachusetts, like that of the other New England Colonies, upon the broad foundation of equal and general franchise and religious liberty.
But to return from this digression. After "the fall of the Charter," November, 1684, the Congregationalists of Massachusetts Bay continued their government for two years, as if nothing had happened to their Charter; they promptly proclaimed and took the oath of allegiance to James the Second; and two years afterwards sent the celebrated Increase Mather as agent to England, to thank the King for the Proclamation of Indulgence, which trampled on English laws, and cost the King his throne, to pray for the restoration of the Charter, and to accuse and pray for the removal of the King's obnoxious Governor-General of New England, Sir Edmund Andros. The King received him very courteously, and granted him several audiences. It would have been amusing to witness the exchange of compliments between the potent minister of Massachusetts Congregationalism and the bigoted Roman Catholic King of England; but though James used flattering words, he bestowed no favours, did not relax the rigour of his policy, and retained his Governor of New England. On the dethronement of James, Dr. Mather paid his homage to the rising sun of the new Sovereign—professed overflowing loyalty to William and Mary, and confirmed his professions by showing that his constituents, on learning of the revolution in England, seized and sent prisoner to England, Andros, the hated representative of the dethroned King. But King William did not seem to estimate very highly that sort of loyalty, much less to recognize the Massachusetts assumptions under the old Charter, though he was ready to redress every just complaint and secure to them all the privileges of British subjects. Mr. Hutchinson says: "Soon after the withdrawal of King James, Dr. Mather was introduced to the Prince of Orange by Lord Wharton, and presented the circular before mentioned, for confirming Governors being sent to New England. The 14th of March, Lord Wharton introduced him again to the King, when, after humbly congratulating his Majesty on his accession, Dr. Mather implored his Majesty's favour to New England. The King promised all the favour in his power, but hinted at what had been irregular in their former government; whereupon Dr. Mather undertook that upon the first word they would reform any irregularities they should be advised of, and Lord Wharton offered to be their guarantee. The King then said that he would give orders that Sir Edmund Andros should be removed and called to an account for his maladministration, and that the King and Queen should be proclaimed (in Massachusetts) by the former magistrates. Dr. Mather was a faithful agent, and was unwearied in securing friends for his country. Besides several of the nobility and principal commoners, he had engaged the dissenting ministers, whose weight at that time was far from inconsiderable."
Dr. Mather's earnestness, ability, and appeals made a favourable impression on the mind of the King, supported as they were by liberal Churchmen as well as Nonconformists, and also by the entreaties of the Queen. The King, on the eve of going to Holland, where he was long detained—which delayed the issuing of the Massachusetts Charter for twelve months—directed the Chief Justice, Attorney and Solicitor-Generals to prepare the draft of a new Charter for Massachusetts. They did so, embodying the provisions of the old Charter, with additional provisions to give powers which had not been given but had been usurped in the administration of the old Charter. The majority of the King's Council disapproved of this draft of Charter, and directed the preparation of a second draft. Both drafts were sent over to Holland to the King, with the reasons for and against each; his Majesty agreed with the majority of his Council in disapproving of the first, and approving of the second draft of Charter.
But even before the King and his Council decided upon the provisions of the new Charter, he determined upon appointing a Governor for Massachusetts, while meeting their wishes as far as possible in his selection of the Governor; for, as Mr. Neal says, "Two days after he had heard Dr. Mather against continuing the Governor and officers appointed over Massachusetts by King James the Second, but restoring the old officers, the King inquired of the Chief Justice and some other Lords of the Council whether, without the breach of law, he might appoint a Governor over New England? To which they answered that whatever might be the merits of the cause, inasmuch as the Charter of New England stood vacated by a judgment against them, it was in the King's power to put them under that form of government he should think best for them. The King replied, he believed then it would be for the advantage of the people of that colony to be under a Governor appointed by himself; nevertheless, because of what Dr. Mather had spoken to him, he would consent that the agents of New England should nominate such a person as would be agreeable to the inclinations of the people there; but, notwithstanding this, he would have Charter privileges restored and confirmed to them."
It seems to me that King William was not actuated by any theoretical notions of high prerogative, as attributed to him by Messrs. Bancroft and Palfrey, in regard to Massachusetts, but was anxious to restore to that colony every just privilege and power desired, with the exception of the power of the Congregationalists of Massachusetts to prosecute and persecute their fellow-religionists of other persuasions, and of depriving them and other colonists of the right of appeal to the protection of England. This continued possession of usurped powers by the Congregationalists of Massachusetts, of sole legislation and government under the first Charter, and which they so mercilessly and disloyally exercised for more than half a century, was manifestly the real ground of their opposition to a new Charter, and especially to the second and final draft of it. Their agent in England, Dr. Increase Mather, who had inflamed and caused the citizens of Boston, and a majority of the popular Assembly of the Legislature, to reject the conditions insisted upon by Charles the Second, and contest in a Court of law the continuance of the first Charter, with their pretensions under it, said that he would rather die than consent to the provisions of the second draft of Charter, and sent his objections to it to King William, who was in Holland. The King disapproved of Dr. Mather's objections, and approved of the Charter as revised and as was finally issued, and under which Massachusetts was governed and prospered for three-fourths of a century, notwithstanding the continued opposition of a set of separationists and smugglers in Boston, who had always been the enemies of loyal and liberal government under the first Charter. But when the new Charter passed the Seals, and the nomination of the first Governor was left to the agent of Massachusetts, Dr. Mather changed his language of protest into that of gratitude. He nominated Sir William Phips; and on being introduced to the King, at parting, by the Earl of Nottingham, made the following speech:
"Sir, I do, in behalf of New England, most humbly thank your Majesty, in that you have been pleased by a Charter to restore English liberties unto them, to confirm them in their properties, and to grant them some peculiar privileges. I doubt not but your subjects will demean themselves with that dutiful affection and loyalty to your Majesty, as that you will see cause to enlarge your Royal favour towards them; and I do most humbly thank your Majesty that you have been pleased to leave to those that are concerned for New England to nominate their Governor."
"Sir William Phips has been accordingly nominated by us at the Council Board. He has done good service to the Crown, by enlarging your dominions and reducing Nova Scotia to your obedience; I know that he will faithfully serve your Majesty to the utmost of his capacity; and if your Majesty shall think fit to confirm him in that place, it will be a further obligation to your subjects there."
"Hereupon Sir William Phips was admitted to kiss his Majesty's hand; and was, by commission under the Broad Seal, appointed Captain-General over the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England."
In the preamble of the Charter, the dates, objects and provisions of previous Charters are recited, and titles to property, etc., acquired under them confirmed; after which it was provided—
1. That there should be "one Governor, one Lieutenant or Deputy Governor, one Secretary of the Province, twenty-eight councillors or members of assembly, to be chosen by popular election, and to possess and exercise the general powers of legislation and government."
2. That there should be "liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians (except Papists) inhabiting, or which shall inhabit or be resident within our said province or territory."
3. That "all our subjects should have liberty to appeal to us, our heirs and successors, in case either party shall not rest satisfied with the judgment or sentence of any judicatories or courts within our said province or territory, in any personal action wherein the matter of difference doth exceed the value of three hundred pounds sterling, provided such appeals be made within fourteen days after the sentence or judgment given."
4. That the Governor and General Assembly should have "full power and authority, from time to time, to make, ordain and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, laws, statutes or ordinances, directions, and instructions, either with penalties or without (so as the same be not repugnant or contrary to the laws of this our realm of England), as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of our said province or territory."
5. That in the framing and passing of all orders, laws, etc., the Governor should have "a negative voice, subject also to the approbation or disallowance of the King within three years after the passing thereof."
6. That "every freeholder or person holding land within the province or territory, to the annual value of forty shillings, or other estate of fifty pounds sterling, should have a vote in the election of members to serve in the General Court or Assembly."
7. That "the King should appoint, from time to time, the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and Secretary of the Province; but that the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Council or Assistants, from time to time should nominate and appoint Judges, Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer, Sheriffs, Provosts, Marshals, Justices of the Peace," etc.
8. The usual oath of allegiance and supremacy was required to be taken by all persons appointed to office, free from the restrictions and neutralising mutilations introduced into the oath of allegiance by the ecclesiastico-political oligarchy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony under the first Charter.
9. The new Charter also incorporated "Plymouth and Maine, and a tract further east in the province of Massachusetts." The Plymouth Colony of the Pilgrim Fathers had existed from 1620 to 1690 as a separate Colonial Government, first established by common consent, under seven successive Governors. It now ceased to exist as a distinct Government, to the great regret of its inhabitants, after having been administered tolerantly and loyally for a period of seventy years, as has been narrated above, in Chap. II.
Such is an abstract of the provisions of the second Massachusetts Charter—provisions similar to those which have been incorporated into the constitution and government of every British North American Province for the last hundred years.
It remains to note how the new Charter was received, and what was the effect of its operation. A faction in Boston opposed its reception, and desired to resume the old contests; but a large majority of the deputies and the great body of the colony cordially and thankfully accepted the new Charter as a great improvement upon the first Charter in terminating their disputes and defining their relations with England, in putting an end to a denominational franchise and tyranny inconsistent with religious or civil liberty, and in placing the elective franchise, eligibility to office, legislation and government upon the broad foundation of public freedom and equal rights to all classes of citizens.
The influence of the new Charter upon the social state of Massachusetts, as well as upon its legislation and government, was manifestly beneficial. Judge Story observes: "After the grant of the provincial Charter, in 1691, the legislation of the colony took a wider scope, and became more liberal as well as more exact."
The improved spirit of loyalty was not less conspicuous. Mr. Neal, writing more than twenty years (1720) after the granting of the new Charter, says: "The people of New England are a dutiful and loyal people.... King George is not known to have a single enemy to his person, family, or government in New England."
The influence of the new state of things upon the spirit of toleration and of Christian charity among Christians of different denominations, and on society at large, was most remarkable. In a sermon preached on a public Fast Day, March 22, 1716 (and afterwards published), by the Rev. Mr. Coleman, one of the ministers of Boston, we have the following words:
"If there be any customs in our Churches, derived from our ancestors, wherein those terms of Church communion are imposed which Christ has not imposed in the New Testament, they ought to be laid aside, for they are justly to be condemned by us, because we complain of imposing in other communions, and our fathers fled for the same. If there ever was a custom among us, whereby communion in our Churches was made a test for the enjoyment of civil privileges in the State, we have done well long since to abolish such corrupt and persecuting maxims, which are a mischief to any free people, and a scandal to any communion to retain. If there were of old among our fathers any laws enacted or judgments given or executions done according to those laws which have carried too much the face of cruelty and persecution, we ought to be humbled greatly for such errors of our fathers, and confess them to have been sinful; and blessed be God for the more catholic spirit of charity which now distinguishes us. Or if any of our fathers have dealt proudly in censuring and judging others who differed from them in modes of worship, let us their posterity the rather be clothed with humility, meekness, and charity, preserving truth and holiness with the laudable zeal of our predecessors" (pp. 20, 21, 22).
The Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather, the distinguished son of the famous Rev. Dr. Increase Mather, but more tolerant than his father, has a passage equally significant and suggestive with that just quoted from Mr. Coleman:
"In this capital city of Boston," says Dr. Cotton Mather, "there are ten assemblies of Christians of different persuasions, who live lovingly and peaceably together, doing all the offices of good neighbourhood for one another in such manner as may give a sensible rebuke to all the bigots of uniformity, and show them how consistent a variety of rites in religion may be with the tranquillity of human society, and may demonstrate to the world that such persecution for conscientious dissents in religion is an abomination of desolation—a thing whereof all wise and just men will say, cursed be its anger, for it is fierce, and its wrath, for it is cruel."
It is not needful that I should trace the legislation and government of the Province of Massachusetts under the second Charter with the same minuteness with which I have narrated that of Massachusetts Bay under the first Charter. The successive Governors appointed by England over the province were, upon the whole, men of good sense, and were successful in their administration, notwithstanding the active opposition of a Boston disaffected party that prevented any salary being granted to the Judges or Governor for more than one year at a time. Yet, upon the whole, the new system of government in the Province of Massachusetts was considered preferable to that of the neighbouring colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut, which retained their old Charters and elected their Governors. Mr. Hutchinson says:
"Seventy years' practice under a new Charter, in many respects to be preferred to the old, has taken away not only all expectation, but all desire, of ever returning to the old Charter. We do not envy the neighbouring Governments which retained and have ever since practised upon their ancient Charters. Many of the most sensible in those Governments would be glad to be under the same Constitution that the Massachusetts Province happily enjoys."
But Massachusetts and other New England colonies had incurred considerable debts in their wars with the Indians, prompted and aided by the French, who sought the destruction of the English colonies. But most of these debts were incurred by loans to individual inhabitants and by the issue of paper money, which became greatly depreciated and caused much confusion and embarrassment in the local and Transatlantic trade.
At the close of the war between England and France by the peace and treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1749, Mr. Hutchinson thus describes the state of Massachusetts:
"The people of Massachusetts Bay were never in a more easy and happy situation than at the conclusion of the war with France (1749). By the generous reimbursement of the whole charge (L183,000) incurred by the expedition against Cape Breton, the province was set free from a heavy debt in which it must otherwise have remained involved, and was enabled to exchange a depreciating paper medium, which had long been the sole instrument of trade, for a stable medium of silver and gold; the advantages whereof to all branches of their commerce was evident, and excited the envy of other colonies; in each of which paper was the principal currency."
[Footnote 203: Palfrey's History of New England, Vol. III., B. iii., Chap. ix, pp. 396-398.]
[Footnote 204: The Plymouth Colony tolerating the proscribed Baptists of Massachusetts Bay, the Court of Massachusetts Bay admonished them in a letter, in 1649, saying "that it had come to its knowledge that divers Anabaptists had been connived at within the Plymouth jurisdiction, and it appeared that the 'patient bearing' of the Plymouth authorities had 'encreased' the same errors; that thirteen or fourteen persons (it was reported) had been re-baptized at Sea Cunke, under which circumstances 'effectual restriction' was desired, 'the more as the interests of Massachusetts were concerned therein.' The infection of such diseases being so near us, are likely to spread into our jurisdiction, and God equally requires the suppression of error as the maintenance of truth at the hands of Christian magistrates."—British (Congregational) Quarterly Review for January, 1876, pp. 150, 151.
"The Massachusetts did maintain Punham (a petty Sachem in this province of Rhode Island) twenty years against this colony, and his chief Sachem, and did by armed soldiers besiege and take prisoners Gorton, Hamden, Weeks, Green, and others in this province, and carried them away to Boston, put them in irons, and took eighty head of cattle from them, for all of which they could never obtain any satisfaction. This colony (of Rhode Island) could never be acknowledged (by Massachusetts) for a colony till his Majesty's Charter was published (in 1663), though in the year 1643 they sent over some in England to procure the King's Charter; but finding that unnatural war begun, and the King gone from London, they took a Charter from the Lords and Commons." (Report of the King's Commissioners, in Hutchinson's Collection of Original Papers relative to the History of Massachusetts Bay, pp. 415, 416.)]
[Footnote 205: In an audience of King William, obtained by the Duke of Devonshire, April 28, 1691, Mr. Mather humbly prayed his Majesty's favour to New England in restoring the old Charter privileges; adding at the same time these words: "Sir,—Your subjects there have been willing to venture their lives to enlarge your dominions; the expedition to Canada was a great and noble undertaking. May it please your Majesty also to consider the circumstances of that people, as in your wisdom you have considered the circumstances of England and Scotland. In New England they differ from other Plantations; they are called Congregationalists and Presbyterians, so that such a Governor as will not suit with the people of New England, may be very proper for other English Plantations." (Neal's History of New England, Vol. II., Chap. xi., pp. 475, 476.)]
[Footnote 206: This was very ingenious on the part of Dr. Increase Mather to say that the people of New England were called "Presbyterians" as well as "Congregationalists," as the Church of Holland, of which King William as Prince of Orange was Stadtholder, was "Presbyterian." But Dr. Mather did not inform the King that the Presbyterian worship was no more tolerated in Massachusetts than was the Baptist or Episcopalian worship.]
[Footnote 207: "The Rev. Mr. Increase Mather, Rector of Harvard College, had been at Court in the year 1688, and laid before the King a representation of their grievances, which the King promised in part to redress, but was prevented by the revolution. When the Prince and Princess of Orange were settled on the throne, he, with the rest of the New England agents, addressed their Majesties for the restoring of their Charter, and applied to the Convention Parliament, who received a Bill for this purpose and passed it in the Lower House; but that Parliament being soon dissolved, the Bill was lost." (Neal's History of New England, Vol. II., Chap. xi., p. 474.)
Mr. J.G. Barry says: "Anxious for the restoration of the old Charter and its privileges, under which the colony had prospered so well, the agent applied himself diligently to that object, advising with the wisest statesmen for its accomplishment. It was the concurrent judgment of all that the best course would be to obtain a reversion of the judgment against the Charter by Act of Parliament, and then apply to the King for such additional privileges as were necessary. Accordingly in the (Convention) House of Commons, where the whole subject of seizing Charters in the reign of Charles the Second was up, the Charters of New England were inserted with the rest, and though enemies opposed the measure, it was voted with the rest as a grievance, and that they should be forthwith restored. Thus the popular branch of the Parliament acted favourably towards the colonies; but as the Bill was yet to be submitted to the House of Lords, great pains were taken to interest that branch of the Parliament in the measure; and at the same time letters having arrived giving an account of the proceedings in Boston, another interview was held with the King, before whom, in 'a most excellent speech,' Mr. Mather 'laid the state of the people,' and his Majesty was pleased to signify his acceptance of what had been done in New England, and his intention to restore the inhabitants to their ancient privileges; but 'behold,' adds the narrative, 'while the Charter Bill was depending, the Convention Parliament was unexpectedly prorogued and afterwards dissolved, and the Sisyphaean labour of the whole year came to nothing.' All that was obtained was an order that the Government of the colony should be continued under the old Charter until a new one was settled; and a letter from the King was forwarded to that effect, signed by the Earl of Nottingham, for the delivery of Sir Edmund Andros and the others detained with him, who were to be sent to England for trial." (Barry's History of Massachusetts, First Period, Chap. xviii., pp. 508-510.)]
[Footnote 208: Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 388, 389. But, in addition, Mr. Mather had the countenance of Archbishop Tillotson and Bishop Burnet, who had not only received him kindly, but recommended his applications to the favourable consideration of the King.]
[Footnote 209: The King, on starting for Holland, "left orders with his Attorney-General to draw up a draft of Charter, according as his Majesty expressed in Council, to be ready for him to sign at his return. The Attorney-General presented his draft to the Council Board, June the 8th (1691), which was rejected, and a new one ordered to be drawn up, which deprived the people of New England of several essential privileges contained in their former Charter. Mr. Mather in his great zeal protested against it; but was told that the agents of New England were not plenipotentiaries from a foreign State, and therefore must submit to the King's pleasure. The agents, having obtained a copy of this Charter, sent over their objections against it to the King, in Flanders, praying that certain clauses which they pointed out to his Majesty in their petition might be altered. And the Queen herself, with her own royal hand, wrote to the King that the Charter of New England might pass as it was drawn up by the Attorney-General at first, or be deferred till his return. But, after all, it was his Majesty's pleasure that the Charter of New England should run in the main points according to the second draft; and all that the agents could do was to get two or three articles which they apprehended to be for the good of the country added to it. The expectations of the people (of the Congregationalists) of New England were very much disappointed, and their agents were censured as men not very well skilled in the intrigues of a Court. It was thought that if they had applied themselves to the proper persons, and in a right way, they might have made better terms for their country; but they acted in the uprightness of their hearts, though the success did not answer their expectations. It was debated among them whether they should accept of the new Charter or stand a trial at law for reversing the judgment against the old one; but, upon the advice of some of the best politicians and lawyers, the majority resolved to acquiesce in the King's pleasure and accept what was now offered them." (Neal's History of New England, Vol. II., Chap, xi., pp. 476, 477.)]
[Footnote 210: Neal's History of New England, Vol. II., Chap, xi., p. 476.
Massachusetts would doubtless have retained the election of their Governor and their first Charter, as did the colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut, had her rulers submitted to the conditions on which Charles the Second proposed to continue their Charter. Mr. Hildreth says: "The Charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island never having been formally annulled, and having already been resumed, were pronounced by the English lawyers to be in full force.... The English lawyers held that the judgment which Massachusetts had persisted in braving was binding and valid in law, until renewed by a writ of error, of which there was little or no hope." (History of the United States, Chap, xviii., pp. 94, 95.)]
[Footnote 211: The platform of Church government which they settled was of the Congregational mode, connecting the several Churches together to a certain degree, and yet exempting each of them from any jurisdiction, by way of censure or any power extensive to their own.... No man could be qualified to elect or be elected to office who was not a Church member, and no Church could be formed but by a license from a magistrate; so that the civil and ecclesiastical powers were intimately combined. The clergy were consulted about the laws, were frequently present at the passing of them, and by the necessity of their influence in the origination, demonstrated how much the due execution of them depended on their power.
"But the error of establishing one rule for all men in ecclesiastical policy and discipline (which experience has proved cannot be maintained, even in matters of indifference) could not fail of discovering itself in very serious instances as the Society increased. The great body of the English nation being of a different persuasion in this respect, numbers belonging to their Church, who came into the country, necessarily formed an opposition which, as they had the countenance of the King, could not be crushed like those other sectaries. It became a constant subject of royal attention, to allow freedom and liberty of conscience, especially in the use of the Common Prayer, and the rights of sacrament and baptism as thereby prescribed. The law confining the rights of freemen to Church members was at length repealed (in pretence); and pecuniary qualifications for those who were not Church members, with good morals and the absurd requisite of orthodoxy of opinion, certified by a clergyman, were substituted in its place. But the great ascendency which the Congregationalists had gained over every other sect made the chance of promotion to office, and the share of influence in general, very unequal, and was, without doubt, one of the most important causes which conspired to the loss of the Charter." (Minot's Continuation of the History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, etc., Vol. I., Chap. i, pp. 29-31.)]
[Footnote 212: "Mr. Mather was so dissatisfied that he declared that he would sooner part with his life than consent to them. He was told 'the agents of Massachusetts were not plenipotentiaries from a sovereign State; if they declared they would not submit to the King's pleasure, his Majesty would settle the country, and they might take what would follow.' Sir Henry Ashurst with Mr. Mather withdrew, notwithstanding, their objections against the minutes of Council. The objections were presented to the Attorney-General (Treby), and laid before the Council, and a copy sent to the King in Flanders; but all had no effect. The King approved of the minutes and disliked the objections to them, and the Charter was drawn up by Mr. Blaithwait according to them." (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 409-411.).]
[Footnote 213: "A people who were of opinion that their Commonwealth was established by free consent (a); that the place of their habitation was their own; that no man had a right to enter into their society without their permission; that they had the full and absolute power of governing all the people by men chosen from among themselves, and according to such laws as they should see fit to establish, not repugnant to those of England (a restriction and limitation which they wholly ignored and violated), they paying only the fifth part of the ore of gold and silver that should be there found for all duties, demands, exactions, and services whatsoever; of course, that they held the keys of their territory, and had a right to prescribe the terms of naturalization to all noviciates; such a people, I say, whatever alterations they might make in their polity, from reason and conviction of their own motion, would not be easily led to comply with the same changes, when required by a king to whom they held themselves subject, and upon whose authority they were dependent only according to their Charter; and we shall find that their compliance was accordingly slow and occasional, as necessity compelled them to make it." (Minot's Continuation of the History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 42, 43.)
(a) Note by the Author.—The Colony of Plymouth was established in 1620, by free consent, by the Pilgrim Fathers on board of the Mayflower, without a Charter; yet that colony was always tolerant and loyal. But the Colony of Massachusetts Bay was established by the Puritan Fathers in 1629, under the authority of a Royal Charter; and it was the pretension to and assumption of independent power and absolute government, though a chartered colony, that resulted in their disloyalty to England and intolerance towards all classes of their fellow-colonists not Congregationalists.]
[Footnote 214: Neal's History of New England, Vol. II., pp. 480, 481.
"Sir William Phips was born, of mean and obscure parents, at a small plantation in the eastern part of New England, on the banks of the River Kennebeck, February 2, 1620; his father was a gunsmith, and left his mother a widow, with a large family of small children. William, being one of the youngest, kept sheep in the wilderness until he was eighteen years of age, and was then bound apprentice to a ship carpenter. When he was out of his time he took to the sea, and after several adventures, at last made his fortune by finding a Spanish wreck near Port de la Plata, which got him a great deal of reputation at the English Court, and introduced him into the acquaintance of the greatest men of the nation. Though King James II. gave him the honour of knighthood, yet he always opposed his arbitrary measures, as appears by his refusing the Government of New England when offered to him by a messenger of the abdicated King. Sir William joined heartily in the Revolution, and used his interest at the Court of King William and Queen Mary for obtaining a Charter for his country, in conjunction with the rest of the agents, for which, and his other great services, they nominated him to the King as the most acceptable and deserving person they could think of for Governor."—Ib., pp. 544, 545.]
[Footnote 215: Modern historians of New England generally speak of the Massachusetts Colony as having been unjustly deprived of its first Charter, after having faithfully observed it for more than half a century, and of having been treated harshly in not having the Charter restored. While Dr. Mather was earnestly seeking the restoration of the Charter at the hands of King William, Mr. Hampden (grandson of the famous John Hampden) consulted Mr. Hooke, a counsellor of note of the Puritan party, and friend of New England. Mr. Hooke stated that "a bare restoration of the Charter of Massachusetts would be of no service at all," as appears both from the Charter itself and the practice of that colony, who have hardly pursued the terms thereof in any one instance, which has given colour to evil-minded men to give them disturbance.
"I. As to the Charter itself, that colony, should they have their Charter, would want—
"1. Power to call a Parliament, or select assembly; for their many thousand freemen have, thereby, an equal right to sit in their General Assembly.
"2. Power to levy taxes and raise money, especially on inhabitants not being of the company, and strangers coming to or trading thither.
"3. They have not any Admiralty.
"4. Nor have they power to keep a Prerogative Court, prove wills, etc.
"5. Nor to erect Courts of Judicature, especially Chancery Courts.
"II. The deficiency of their Charter appears from their practice, wherein they have not had respect thereto; but having used the aforesaid powers without any grant, they have exercised their Charter powers, also, otherwise than the Charter directed:
"1. They have made laws contrary to the laws of England.
"2. Their laws have not been under their seal.
"3. They have not used their name of corporation.
"4. They have not used their seal in their grants.
"5. They have not kept their General Courts, nor
"6. Have they observed the number of assistants appointed by the Charter." (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., pp. 410, 411, in a note.)
It is clear from the legal opinion, as has been shown in the foregoing pages, that the first Puritans of Massachusetts, though only a chartered company, set up an independent government, paid no attention whatever to the provisions of the Charter under which they held their land and had settled the colony, but acted in entire disregard and defiance of the authority, which had granted their Charter. Mr. Neal very candidly says: "The old Charter was, in the opinion of persons learned in the law, defective as to several powers which are absolutely necessary to the subsistence of the Plantation: for example, it gave the Government no more power than every corporation in England has; power in capital cases was not expressed in it; it mentioned no House of Deputies, or Assembly of Representatives; the Government had thereby no legal power to impose taxes on the inhabitants that were not freemen (that is, on four-fifths of the male population), nor to erect Courts of Admiralty, so that if the judgment against this Charter should be reversed, yet if the Government of New England should exercise the same powers as they had done before the quo warranto, a new writ of scire facias might undoubtedly be issued out against them. Besides, if the old Charter should have been restored without a grant of some other advantages, the country would have been very much incommoded, because the provinces of Maine and New Hampshire would have been taken from Massachusetts, and Plymouth would have been annexed to New York, whereby the Massachusetts Colony would have been very much straitened and have made a mean figure both as to its trade and influence.
"The new Charter grants a great many privileges to New England which it had not before. The colony is now made a province, and the General Court has, with the King's approbation, as much power in New England as the King and Parliament have in England. They have all English liberties, and can be touched by no law, by no tax, but of their own making. All the liberties of their religion are for ever secured, and their titles to their lands, once, for want of some form of conveyance, contested, are now confirmed for ever." (History of New England, Vol. II., pp. 478, 479.)]
[Footnote 216: Although a party was formed which opposed submission to the Charter, yet the majority of the Court wisely and thankfully accepted it, and appointed a day of solemn thanksgiving to Almighty God for "granting a safe arrival to His Excellency the Governor and the Rev. Mr. Increase Mather, who have industriously endeavoured the service of the people, and have brought over with them 'a settlement of government, in which their Majesties have graciously given us distinguishing marks of their Royal favour and goodness.'" (Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., p. 416.)
Judge Story remarks: "With a view to advance the growth of the province by encouraging new settlements, it was expressly provided 'that there should be liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all Christians, except Papists;' and that all subjects inhabiting in the province, and their children born there, or on the seas going and returning, should have all the liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects, as if they were born within the realm of England. And in all cases an appeal was allowed from the judgments of any Courts of the province to the King in the Privy Council in England, where the matter of difference exceeded three hundred pounds sterling. And finally there was a reservation of the whole Admiralty jurisdiction to the Crown, and of the right to all subjects to fish on the coasts. Considering the spirit of the times, it must be acknowledged that, on the whole, the Charter contains a liberal grant of authority to the province and a reasonable reservation of royal prerogative. It was hailed with sincere satisfaction by the colony after the dangers which had so long a time menaced its liberties and peace." (Story's Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Vol. I., Book i., Chap. iv., p. 41.)]
[Footnote 217: Ib., Vol. I., Book i., Chap. iv., p. 45.]
[Footnote 218: History of New England, Vol. II., p. 616.]
[Footnote 219: Fellowship of the Churches: Annexed to the Sermon preached on the Ordination of Mr. Prince, p. 76; Boston, 1718; quoted in Neal's History of New England, Vol. II., pp. 610, 611.
But the spirit of the old leaven of bigotry and persecution remained with not a few of the old Congregational clergy, who were jealous for the honour of those days when they ruled both Church and State, silenced and proscribed all dissenters from their own opinions and forms of worship. They could not endure any statements which reflected upon the justice and policy of those palmy days of ecclesiastical oligarchy, and were very much stung by some passages in Neal's History of New England. The celebrated Dr. Isaac Watts seems to have been written to on the subject. His letter, apparently in reply, addressed to the Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather, dated February 19, 1720, is very suggestive. The sweet poet and learned divine says:
"Another thing I take occasion to mention to you at this time is my good friend Mr. Neal's History of New England. He has been for many years pastor of a Congregational Church in London—a man of valuable talents in the ministry. I could wish indeed that he had communicated his design to you, but I knew nothing of it till it was almost out of the press.... He has taken merely the task of an historian upon him. Considered as such (as far as I can judge), most of the chapters are well written, and in such a way as to be very acceptable to the present age.
"But the freedom he has taken to expose the persecuting principles and practices of the first Planters, both in the body of his history and his abridgment of their laws, has displeased some persons here, and perhaps will be offensive there. I must confess I sent for him this week, and gave him my sense freely on this subject. I could wish he had more modified some of his relations, and had rather left out those laws, or in some page had annexed something to prevent our enemies from insulting both us and you on that subject. His answer was, that 'the fidelity of an historian required him to do what he had done;' and he has, at the end of the first and second volumes, given such a character of the present ministers and inhabitants of the country as may justly secure this generation from all scandal; and that it is a nobler thing to tell the world that you have rectified the errors of your fathers, than if mere education had taught you so large a charity. He told me likewise that he had shown in the preface that all such laws as are inconsistent with the laws of England are, ipso facto, repealed by your new Charter. But methinks it would be better to have such cruel and sanguinary statutes as those under the title of 'Heresy' repealed in form, and by the public authority of the nation; and if the appearance of this book in your country shall awaken your General Assembly to attempt to fulfil such a noble piece of service to your country, there will be a happy effect of that part of the history which now makes us blush and be ashamed.
"I have taken the freedom to write a line or two to your most excellent Governor on this subject, which I entreat you to deliver, with my salutation; and I assure myself that Dr. Mather will have a zealous hand in promoting so gracious a work if it may be thought expedient to attempt it." (Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, First Series, Vol. V., pp. 200, 201.)
The "glorious work" advised by Dr. Watts was not "attempted," and the "cruel and persecuting statutes passed by the Congregational Court of Massachusetts Bay were never repealed by any "public authority" of that colony, but were tacitly annulled and superseded by the provisions of the "new Charter" of King William and Mary in favour of toleration and civil liberty."]
[Footnote 220: History of Massachusetts Bay, Vol. I., p. 415.]
[Footnote 221: The effect of so much paper was to drive all gold and silver out of circulation, to raise the nominal prices of all commodities, and to increase the rate of exchange on England. Great confusion and perplexity ensued, and the community was divided in opinion, the most being urgent for the issue of more paper money. For this purpose a project was started for a Land-Bank, which was established in Massachusetts, the plan of which was to issue bills upon the pledge of lands. All who were in difficulty advocated this, because they hoped that in the present case they might shift their burdens on to some one else. It was then resisted, and another plan was devised and carried (1714), namely, the issuing of L50,000 of bills of credit by Government, to be loaned to individuals at 5 per cent. interest, to be secured by estates, and to be repaid one-fifth part yearly. This quieted the Land-Bank party for a while. But the habit of issuing bills of credit continued, and was very seductive.
"In 1741, Rhode Island issued L40,000 in paper money, to be loaned to the inhabitants. In 1717, New Hampshire issued L15,000 paper money. In 1733, Connecticut issued L20,000 on the loan system for the first time, Rhode Island made another issue of L100,000." (Elliott's New England History, Vol. II., Chap, xii., p. 230.)]
[Footnote 222: History of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1749 to 1774, p. 1.]
MASSACHUSETTS AND OTHER COLONIES DURING THE SECOND WAR BETWEEN GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE, FROM THE PEACE OF AIX-LA-CHAPELLE, 1748, TO THE PEACE OF PARIS IN 1763.
By the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, France and England retained their respective possessions as they existed before the war. Louisburg, which had been captured from the French in 1745 by the skill of the British Admiral Warren, aided most courageously by the Massachusetts volunteers, was therefore restored to the French, much to the regret and mortification of the New England colonies, by whom the enterprise against that powerful and troublesome fortress had first been devised and undertaken. By the treaty between France and England, the boundaries of their possessions in America were left undefined, and were to be settled by Commissioners appointed by the two countries. But the Commissioners, when they met at Paris, could not agree; the questions of these boundaries remained unsettled; and the French in Canada, with the Indians, nearly all of whom were in alliance with them, were constantly making aggressions and committing cruel outrages upon the English colonists in the back parts of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, who felt that their only security for life, property, and liberty was the extinction of French power in America, and the subjection of the Indians by conquest or conciliation. The six years which followed the peace of 1748 witnessed frequent and bloody collisions between the English colonists and their French and Indian Canadian neighbours, until, in 1756, England formally declared war against France—a war which continued seven years, and terminated in the extinction of French power in Canada, and in the enlargement of the British possessions from Labrador to Florida and Louisiana, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This war, in its origin and many scenes of its conflicts and conquests, was an American-Colonial war, and the American colonies were the gainers by its results, for which British blood and treasure had been lavishly expended. In this protracted and eventful conflict, the British Government were first prompted and committed, and then nobly seconded by the colonies, Massachusetts acting the most prominent part.
The last act of the British Government, pursuant to the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, was to restore to the French Government Louisburg, in return for the strongly fortified fort of Madras, which had been wrested from the French by the colonists, assisted by Admiral Warren with a few English ships in 1745; and the first act of the French Government, after the restoration to them of Louisburg, was to prepare for wresting from Great Britain all her American colonies. They dispatched soldiers and all kinds of military stores; encroached upon and built fortresses in the British province of Nova Scotia, and in the provinces of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and erected a chain of forts, and planted garrisons along the line of the British provinces, from the St. Lawrence to the Ohio river, and thence to the Mississippi.
The only means at the command of Great Britain to counteract and defeat these designs of France to extinguish the English colonies in America was to prevent them from carrying men, cannon, and other munitions of war hither, by capturing their ships thus laden and employed; but the French Government thought that the British Government would not proceed to such extremities, for fear that the former would make war upon the German possessions of the latter, the King of England being the Elector of Hanover. Besides, the proceedings of the French in America were remote and concealed under various pretexts; the French Government could oppose a general denial to the complaints made as to its encroachments on British territory and settlements in the distant wilderness of America; while any attack by England upon French ships at sea would be known at once to all Europe, and excite prejudice against England for such an act in time of peace against a neighbouring nation. The designs and dishonesty of the French Government in these proceedings are thus stated by Rapin:
"Though the French in all their seaports were making the greatest preparations for supporting their encroachments in America, yet the strongest assurances came to England from that Ministry that no such preparations were making, and that no hostility was intended by France against Great Britain or her dependencies. These assurances were generally communicated to the British Ministry by the Duke of Mirepoix, the French Ambassador to London, who was himself so far imposed upon that he believed them to be sincere, and did all in his power to prevent a rupture between the two nations. The preparations, however, were so notorious that they could be no longer concealed, and Mirepoix was upbraided at St. James's with being insincere, and the proofs of his Court's double-dealing were laid before him. He appeared to be struck with them; and complaining bitterly of his being imposed upon, he went in person over to France, where he reproached the Ministry for having made him their tool. They referred him to their King, who ordered him to return to England with fresh assurances of friendship; but he had scarcely delivered them when undoubted intelligence came that a French fleet from Brest and Rochefort was ready to sail, with a great number of land forces on board. The French fleet, which consisted of twenty-five ships of the line, besides frigates and transports, with a vast number of warlike stores, and between three and four thousand land forces, under Baron Dieskau, were ready to sail from Brest, under Admiral Macnamara. Upon this intelligence, Admiral Holbourne was ordered to reinforce Boscawen with six ships of the line and one frigate; and a great number of capital ships were put into commission. It was the 6th May (1755) before Macnamara sailed; but he soon returned with nine of his capital ships, and ordered the rest to proceed under the command of M. Bois de la Mothe.
"When news of so strong a squadron sailing from Brest was confirmed, the people of England grew extremely uneasy for the fate of the squadron under Boscawen and Holbourne; and it was undoubtedly owing to the bad management of the French that one or both of those squadrons were not destroyed."
The King, in proroguing Parliament, the 27th of May, 1755, among other things said:
"That he had religiously adhered to the stipulations of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, and made it his care not to injure or offend any Power whatsoever; but never could he entertain the thoughts of purchasing the name of peace at the expense of suffering encroachments upon, or yielding up, what justly belongs to Great Britain, either by ancient possession or solemn treaties. That the vigour and firmness of his Parliament on this important occasion have enabled him to be prepared for such contingencies as may happen. That, if reasonable and honourable terms of accommodation can be agreed upon, he will be satisfied, and in all events rely on the justice of his cause, the effectual support of his people, and the protection of Divine Providence."
This speech to Parliament was delivered a year before war was formally declared between England and France; and a year before that, in 1754, by royal instructions, a convention of delegates from the Assemblies of the several Colonies was held at Albany, in the Province of New York. Among other things relative to the union and defence of the Colonies which engaged the attention of this Convention, "a representation was agreed upon in which were set forth the unquestionable designs of the French to prevent the colonies from extending their settlements, a line of forts having been erected for this purpose, and many troops transported from France; and the danger the colonies were in of being driven by the French into the sea, was urged." The representation of the imminent danger to the colonies from the French encroachments probably accelerated the measures in England which brought on the war with France.
Mr. Bancroft endeavours again and again to convey the impression that this seven years' war between England and France was a European war, and that the American colonies were called upon, controlled, and attempted to be taxed to aid Great Britain in the contest; yet he himself, in one place, admits the very reverse, and that Great Britain became involved in the war in defence of the American Colonies, as the facts above stated show, and as will appear more fully hereafter. Mr. Bancroft states the whole character and objects of the war, in both America and Europe, in the following words:
"The contest, which had now (1757) spread into both hemispheres, began in America. The English Colonies, dragging England into their strife, claimed to advance their frontier, and to include the great central valley of the continent in their system. The American question therefore was, shall the continued colonization of North America be made under the auspices of English Protestantism and popular liberty, or shall the tottering legitimacy of France, in its connection with Roman Catholic Christianity, win for itself a new empire in that hemisphere? The question of the European continent was, shall a Protestant revolutionary kingdom, like Prussia, be permitted to rise up and grow strong within its heart? Considered in its unity as interesting mankind, the question was, shall the Reformation, developed to the fulness of Free Inquiry, succeed in its protest against the Middle Age?
"The war that closed in 1748 had been a mere scramble for advantages, and was sterile of results; the present conflict, which was to prove a seven years' war, was against the unreformed; and this was so profoundly true, that all the predictions or personal antipathies of Sovereign and Ministers could not prevent the alliances, collisions, and results necessary to make it so."
The object and character of such a war for Protestantism and liberty, as forcibly stated by Mr. Bancroft himself, was as honourable to England, as the results of it have been beneficial to posterity and to the civilization of mankind; yet Mr. Bancroft's sympathies throughout his brilliant but often inconsistent pages are clearly with France against England, the policy and character of whose statesmen he taxes his utmost ingenuity and researches to depreciate and traduce, while he admits they are engaged in the noblest struggle recorded in history.
From 1748 to 1754, the contests in America were chiefly between the colonists and the French and their Indian allies (except at sea), and were for the most part unsuccessful on the part of the colonists, who lost their forts at Oswego and Niagara, and suffered other defeats and losses. "But in the year 1755," says Dr. Minot, "the war in America being now no longer left to colonial efforts alone, the plan of operations consisted of three parts. The first was an attack on Fort du Quesne, conducted by troops from England under General Braddock; the second was upon the fort at Niagara, which was carried on by American regulars and Indians (of the Six Nations); and the third was an expedition against Crown Point, which was supported by militia from the northern colonies, enlisted merely for that service."
The expedition against Fort du Quesne ended in the disgraceful defeat and death of Braddock and one-third of his men, hundreds of whom were shot down by ambushed foes whom they never saw. The contemplated attack upon Niagara was never prosecuted; the expedition against Crown Point was a failure, and exhaustive of the resources of Massachusetts; but, as a compensation, Colonel Johnson defeated and took prisoner the French general, Baron Dieskau, for which the King made him a baronet, and the House of Commons voted him a grant of L5,000 sterling.
The most was made in England as well as the colonies of this decisive victory over a famous French general and his troops, as the year otherwise was disastrous to the English, and "the French, with the assistance of their Indian allies, continued their murders, scalping, capturing, and laying waste the western frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania during the whole winter."
Nor were the years 1756 and 1757 more successful on the part of the English than the year 1755. Some of the principal events are as follows: War was formally declared by England against France in May, and declared by France against England in August. The expenses incurred by Massachusetts and other colonies in the unfortunate Crown Point expedition were compensated by a parliamentary grant of L115,000 sterling.
The Earl of Loudoun arrived from England as Governor of Virginia, to take command of the British troops in America; but did little more than consult with the Governors of the several provinces as to military operations for the ensuing year, the relations of provincial and regular officers, the amount of men and means to be contributed by each province for common defence. He gave much offence by his haughty and imperious demands for the quartering of the troops in New York and in Massachusetts. Additional troops were sent from England, under Major-General Abercrombie, who superseded the Earl of Loudoun as Commander-in-Chief. The fortress at Oswego was taken and destroyed by the French.
The French, led by Montcalm, took Fort William Henry.
The Massachusetts Assembly refused to allow British troops to be quartered upon the inhabitants.
At the close of the year 1757, the situation of the colonies was alarming and the prospects of the war gloomy. The strong statements of Mr. Bancroft are justified by the facts. He says: "The English had been driven from every cabin in the basin of the Ohio; Montcalm had destroyed every vestige of their power within the St. Lawrence. France had her forts on each side of the lakes, and at Detroit, at Mackinaw, at Kaskaskia, and at New Orleans. The two great valleys of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence were connected chiefly by three well-known routes—by way of Waterford to Fort du Quesne, by way of Maumee to the Wabash, and by way of Chicago to the Illinois. Of the North American continent, the French claimed and seemed to possess twenty parts in twenty-five, leaving four only to Spain, and but one to Britain. Their territory exceeded that of the English twenty-fold. As the men composing the garrison at Fort Loudoun, in Tennessee, were but so many hostages in the hands of the Cherokees, the claims of France to the valleys of the Mississippi and the St. Lawrence seemed established by possession. America and England were humiliated."
The colonies had shown, by their divided and often antagonistic counsels, their divided resources and isolated efforts, how unable they were to defend themselves even when assisted at some points by English soldiers, commanded by unskilful generals, against a strong and united enemy, directed by generals of consummate skill and courage. The colonies despaired of future success, if not of their own existence, after incurring so heavy expenditures of men and money, and wished England to assume the whole management and expenses of the war.