« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
means, was gradually introduced into the religious system of Connecticut.
The jealousy excited by the secessions in Connecticut, was evinced in Massachusetts by the trial of John Checkley, afterwards ordained as an Episcopal missionary, and sent to preach in Rhode Island, for publishing Leslie's “ Short and Easy Way with the Deists," with an appendix by himself, in which prelatic ordination was insisted upon as necessary to constitute a Christian minister.
This publication was charged with tending “to bring into contempt and infamy the ministers of the Holy Gospel established by law within his Majesty's province of Massachusetts.” The jury having found a special verdict stating the facts, the indictment was sustained by the Court, and Checkley was fined £50.
At this period, a spirit of insubordination, occasioned in part by restraint on their trade, but more by the improvident grant of patents that conveyed self-government to its fullest extent, was observable all over the continent. The Board of Trade thus officially reports of the chartered colonies to William in March,
1701 : “That so far from having answered the chief design for which such large immunities had been granted, they had not in general complied with the late Acts of Parliament; that they had not only assumed the power of making bye-laws, repugnant to those of England, and destructive to trade, but refused to submit their acts for approval, or to allow appeals, and continued to be the retreat of pirates and illegal traders, and the receptacle of contraband merchandize. That by exempting their inhabitants from the customs paid by other plantations, these independent governments undermined the welfare of their neighbours, and, by lowering the value of coins, turned the course of trade to the promoting of woollen and other manufactures proper for England, contrary to the true intention of such establishments. That their irregularities, arising from the ill use they made of their Charter, and the independency they pretend to, evince how necessary it becomes, more and more every day, to introduce such a regulation of trade, and such an administration of Government, as shall make them duly subservient to England. That since the Royal commands had not been met with due obedience, it might be expedient to resume their Charters, and to reduce them to the same dependency as other colonies, which will be best effected by the legislative power of this kingdom.” A Bill was accordingly introduced into Parliament, founded on this statement, but was allowed to be defeated by party, or neglected by ignorance or imbecility. This very success emboldened aggression. In the southern part of the continent, where the presence of the war was but little felt, there was nothing to divert men's minds from these petty local disputes, which are generally acrimonious, as the population is limited in number, and cut off from frequent intercourse with the rest of the world. Carolina openly rebelled against the proprietors, and took the Government into its own hands. An association was then formed among the people for uniting the whole province in opposition to the proprietary; and the inhabitants, with scarcely an exception, subscribed the instrument of union. Governor Johnson, after a contest with the delegates on the subject, issued a proclamation for dissolving them, and retired to the country. The representatives ordered his proclamation to be torn from the Marshal's hands, and proceeded to open usurpation. Assembling on their own authority, they chose James Moore, Governor, and, on a fixed day, proclaimed him in the name of the King. They next chose twelve councillors, of whom Sir Hovenden Walker was the president, and thus formed a constitution of their own free choice. Johnson, the representative of the proprietary, having attempted to disconcert their measures, and create some embarrassment, now made his last and boldest effort for subjecting the colonists to his authority. He brought up the ships of war in front of Charlestown, and threatened to destroy their capital if they persisted in refusing obedience to constituted authority. The people, however, having arms in their hands, and forts in their possession, bade defiance to his power, and he relinquished his attempt to enforce submission to the old Government. Resistance was openly avowed and advocated in all cases, where the interest or the WOL. II. F
pretensions of the provincials were interfered with. About the same time, the jealousy so long felt in England, of the Charters of Connecticut and Rhode Island, found new expression in a project for uniting these colonies with New Hampshire, into a single Royal province; but the people, with their usual pertinacity, declared their resolution to part with none of their privileges unless “wrenched from them.” Even the Post Office offered a ground for alarm and resistance. As early as 1692, a patent had been granted to a person of the name of Neal, for establishing posts in America. The system, introduced by him, had ever been irregular and imperfect, owing to the indifference or hostility of the people. At the expiration of this monopoly, in 1710, an Act of Parliament extended, in due form, the British Post Office to America. The principal department was established at New York, to which letters were to be conveyed by regular packets across the Atlantic.” The same
* The rates of postage, both packet and inland, were extremely moderate. On all letters from London to