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AN INDIAN WAR.
creasing emigration, a productive commerce, a fertile CHAP. soil, which Heaven had richly favored with rivers and an deep bays, united to perfect the scene of colonial feli- 1642. city and contentment. Ever intent on advancing the interests of his colony, Lord Baltimore invited the Puritans of Massachusetts to emigrate to Maryland, offering them lands and privileges, and “ free liberty of religion ; " but Gibbons, to whom he had forwarded a commission, was " so wholly tutored in the New England discipline,” that he would not advance the wishes of the Irish peer; and the people, who subsequently refused Jamaica and Ireland, were not now tempted to desert the Bay of Massachusetts for the Chesapeake.
But secret dangers existed. The aborigines, alarmed at the rapid increase of the Europeans, vexed at being frequently overreached by the cupidity of 1642 traders, not yet entirely recovered from the jealousies 1644. which the malignant Clayborne had infused, commenced hostilities; for the Indians, ignorant of the remedy of redress, always plan retaliation. After a war of frontier aggressions, marked by no decisive events, peace was reëstablished on the usual terms of submission and promises of friendship, and rendered durable by the prudent legislation of the assembly and the firm humanity of the government. The preëmption of the soil was reserved to Lord Baltimore, kidnapping an Indian made a capital offence, and the sale of arms prohibited as a felony. A regulation of intercourse with the natives was the surest preventive of war; the wrongs of an individual were ascribed to the nation; the injured savage, ignorant of peaceful justice, panted only for revenge; and thus
i Winthrop, ii. 148, 149.
2 Bacon, 1649, c. 11. vi.
CHAP. the obscure villany of some humble ruffian, whom the
government would willingly punish for his outrages, might involve the colony in the horrors of savage
warfare. 1643 But the restless Clayborne, urged, perhaps, by the 1646. conviction of having been wronged, and still more by
the hope of revenge, proved a far more dangerous enemy. Now that the civil war in England left nothing to be hoped from royal patronage, he declared for the popular party, and, with the assistance of one
Ingle, who obtained sufficient notoriety to be pro1643. claimed a traitor to the king,' he was able to promote a 19. rebellion. By the very nature of the proprietary frame
of government, the lord paramount could derive physical strength and resources only from his own private fortunes, or from the willing attachment of his lieges. His power depended on a union with his people. In times of peace, this condition was eminently favorable to the progress of liberty; the royal governors were often able, were still more often disposed, to use oppressive and exacting measures ; the deputies of the proprietaries were always compelled to struggle for the assertion of the interests of their employer; they could never become successful aggressors on the liberties of the people. Besides, the crown, always jealous of the immense powers which had been carelessly lavished on the proprietary, was usually willing to favor the people in every reasonable effort to improve their condition, or limit the authority of the intermediate sovereign. At present, when the commotions in England left every colony in America almost unheeded, and Virginia and New England were pursuing a course of nearly independent legislation, the power of the proprietary was
i Bacon's Preface. Chalmers, 217
almost as feeble as that of the king. The other colo- CHAP nies took advantage of the period to secure and ad- an vance their liberties : in Maryland, the effect was rather to encourage the insubordination of the restless; and Clayborne was able to excite an insurrection. 1644. Early in 1645, the rebels were triumphant; unpre- 1645. pared for an attack, the governor was compelled to fly, and more than a year elapsed before the assistance 1646 of the well-disposed could enable him to resume his sus power and restore tranquillity. The insurgents distinguished the period of their dominion by disorder and misrule, and most of the records were then lost or embezzled. Peace was confirmed by the wise clemency 1647 of the government; the offences of the rebellion were 1649. concealed by a general amnesty;? and the province was rescued, though not without expense, from the distresses and confusion which had followed a short but vindictive and successful insurrection.
The controversy between the king and the par- 1649. liament advanced; the overthrow of the monarchy
April. seemed about to confer unlimited power in England upon the imbittered enemies of the Romish church ; and, as if with a foresight of impending danger, and an earnest desire to stay its approach, the Roman Catholics of Maryland, with the earnest concurrence of their governor and of the proprietary, determined to place upon their statute-book an act for the religious April freedom which had ever been sacred on their soil. “And whereas the enforcing of the conscience in matters of religion”—such was the sublime tenor of a part of the statute—“ hath frequently fallen out to be of dangerous consequence in those commonwealths where it
I Bacon's Preface. Chalmers, 217, 218. Burk, ü. 112. McMahon, 202.
2 Bacon, 1650, c. xxiv. 3 Ibid. 1649, c. ix.
IMPERFECT LAW FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
CHAP. has been practised, and for the more quiet and peace
Cable government of this province, and the better to 1649.
preserve mutual love and amity among the inhabitants, no person within this province, professing to believe in Jesus Christ, shall be any ways troubled, molested, or discountenanced, for his or her religion, or in the free exercise thereof." Thus did the early star of religious freedom appear as the harbinger of day; though, as it first gleamed above the horizon, its light was colored and obscured by the mists and exhalations of morning. The greatest of English poets, when he represents the ground teeming with living things at the word of the Creator, paints the moment when the forms, so soon to be instinct with perfect life and beauty, are yet emerging from the inanimate earth, and when but
half appeared The tawny lion pawing to get free;
- then springs, as broke from bonds, And rampant shakes his brinded mane. So it was with the freedom of religion in the United States. The clause for liberty in Maryland extended only to Christians, and was introduced by the proviso, that " whatsoever person shall blaspheme God, or shall deny or reproach the Holy Trinity, or any of the three persons thereof, shall be punished with death.” No where in the United States is religious opinion now deemed a proper subject for penal enactments. The only fit punishment for error is refutation. God needs no avenger in man. The fool-hardy levity of shallow infidelity proceeds from a morbid passion for notoriety, or the malice that finds pleasure in annoyance. The
1 Bacon, 1649, c. i. “A true Langford, 27–32. Compare Hamcopy” of the whole law is printed by mond's Leah and Rachel, 20, 21.
PROGRESS OF CIVIL LIBERTY.
laws of society should do no more than reprove the CHAP breach of its decorum. Blasphemy is the crime of despair. One hopeless sufferer commits suicide ; another curses Divine Providence for the evil which is in the world, and of which he cannot solve the mystery. The best medicine for intemperate grief is compassion; the keenest rebuke for ribaldry, contempt.
But the design of the law of Maryland was undoubtedly to protect freedom of conscience; and, some years after it had been confirmed, the apologist of Lord Baltimore could assert, that his government, in conformity with his strict and repeated injunctions, had never given disturbance to any person in Maryland for matter of religion ;1 that the colonists enjoyed freedom of conscience, not less than freedom of person and estate, as amply as ever any people in any place of the world. The disfranchised friends of prelacy from Massachusetts, and the Puritans from Virginia, were welcomed to equal liberty of conscience and political rights in the Roman Catholic province of Maryland.?
An equal union prevailed between all branches of 1650 the government in explaining and confirming the civil* liberties of the colony. In 1642, Robert Vaughan, in the name of the rest of the burgesses, had desired, that the house might be separated, and thus a negative secured to the representatives of the people. Before 1649, this change had taken place; and it was confirmed by a statute. The dangerous prerogative of declaring martial law was also limited to the precincts of the camp and the garrison ;5 and a perpetual act declared, that no tax should be levied upon the free
i Langford, 11. 2 Ibid. 5.
3 Chalmers, 219. Hammond, 20.
4 Bacon, 1649, c. xii., and note, 1650, c. i.
5 Bacon, 1650, c. xxvi.