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PROGRESS OF THE OLD COLONY.
ocent trade of husbandry,” they set the example of CHAP. colonizing New England, and formed the mould forma the civil and religious character of its institutions. 1639 Enduring every hardship themselves, they were the servants of posterity, the benefactors of succeeding generations. In the history of the world, many pages are devoted to commemorate the men who have besieged cities, subdued provinces, or overthrown empires. In the eye of reason and of truth, a colony is a better offering than a victory; the citizens of the United States should rather cherish the memory of those who founded a state on the basis of democratic liberty; the fathers of the country; the men who, as they first trod the soil of the New World, scattered the seminal principles of republican freedom and national independence. They enjoyed, in anticipation, the thought of their extending influence, and the fame which their grateful successors would award to their virtues. “Out of small beginnings,” said Bradford, " great things have been produced ; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone to many, yea, in some sort to our whole nation.”- Let it not be grievous to you,”—such was the consolation offered from England to the Pilgrims in the season of their greatest sufferings,—" let it not be grievous to you, that you have been instruments to break the ice for others. The honor shall be yours to the world's end.”
THE EXTENDED COLONIZATION OF NEW ENGLAND.
CHAP. The council of Plymouth for New England, having
IX. an obtained of King James the boundless territory and 1620. the immense monopoly which they had desired, had
no further obstacles to encounter but the laws of nature and the remonstrances of parliament. No tributaries tenanted their countless millions of uncultivated acres; and exactions upon the vessels of English fishermen were the only means of acquiring an immediate revenue from America. But the spirit of the commons indignantly opposed the extravagant pretensions of the favored company, and demanded for every subject of the English king the free liberty
of engaging in a pursuit which was the chief source 1621. of wealth to the merchants of the west. “Shall the 25. English,” said Sir Edwin Sandys, the statesman so
well entitled to the enduring gratitude of Virginia, “ be debarred from the freedom of the fisheries, a privilege which the French and Dutch enjoy? It costs the kingdom nothing but labor; employs shipping; and furnishes the means of a lucrative commerce with Spain.”—“. The fishermen hinder the plantations," replied Calvert ; " they choke the harbors with their ballast, and waste the forests by improvident use. America is not annexed to the realm, nor within the jurisdiction of parliament; you have therefore no right
THE COUNCIL OF PLYMOUTH FOR NEW ENGLAND.
to interfere.”—“We may make laws for Virginia,” CHAP. rejoined another member, intent on opposing the flagrant benevolence of the king, and wholly uncon scious of asserting, in the earliest debate on American affairs, the claim of parliament to that absolute sovereignty which the colonies never acknowledged, and which led to the war of the revolution; 6a bill passed by the commons and the lords, if it receive the king's assent, will control the patent." The charter, argued Sir Edward Coke, with ample reference to early statutes, was granted without regard to previously-existing rights, and is therefore void by the established laws of England. So the friends of the liberty of fishing triumphed over the advocates of the royal prerogative, though the parliament was dissolved before a bill could be carried through all the forms of legislation.
Yet enough had been done to infuse vigor into mercantile enterprise ; in the second year after the 1622 settlement of Plymouth, five-and-thirty sail of vessels went to fish on the coasts of New England, and made good voyages. The monopolists appealed to King James; and the monarch, preferring to assert his own extended prerogative, rather than to regard the spirit of the house of commons, issued a proclamation, Nov. which forbade any to approach the northern coast of America, except with the special leave of the company of Plymouth, or of the privy council. It was monstrous thus to attempt to seal up a large portion of an immense continent; it was impossible to carry the ordinance into effect; and here, as so often, despotism caused its own fall. By desiring strictly to enforce its will, it provoked a conflict in which it was sure of being defeated.
THE COUNCIL OF PLYMOUTH FOR NEW ENGLAND.
CHAP. But the monopolists endeavored to establish their
= claims. One Francis West was despatched with a 1623. commission as admiral of New England, for the purJune.
pose of excluding from the American seas such fishermen as came without a license. But his feeble authority was derided; the ocean was a wide place over which to keep sentry. The mariners refused to pay the tax which he imposed; and his ineffectual authority was soon resigned. In England, the at
tempt occasioned the severest remonstrances, which 1624. did not fail to make an impression on the ensuing
The patentees, alike prodigal of charters and te1622. nacious of their monopoly, having given to Robert Dec. 13. Gorges, the son of Sir Ferdinand, a patent for a tract
extending ten miles on Massachusetts Bay, and thirty 1623. miles into the interior, now appointed him lieutenant
general of New England, with power “ to restrain interlopers,” not less than to regulate the affairs of the corporation. His patent was never permanently used; though the colony at Weymouth was renewed, to meet once more with ill fortune. He was attended by Morrell, an Episcopal clergyman, who was provided with a commission for the superintendence of ecclesiastical affairs. Instead of establishing a hierarchy, Morrell, remaining in New England about a year, wrote a description of the country in verse; while the civil dignity of Robert Gorges ended in a short-lived dispute with Weston. They came to plant a hierarchy and a general government, and they produced only a
fruitless quarrel and a dull poem. 1624. But when parliament was again convened, the con
troversy against the charter was once more renewed ; and the rights of liberty found an inflexible champion
THE COUNCIL OF PLYMOUTH FOR NEW ENGLAND.
in the aged Sir Edward Coke, who now expiated the CHAP sins of his early ambition by devotion to the interests an of the people. It was in vain that the patentees relin- 1624 quished a part of their pretensions; the commons 17. resolved that English fishermen shall have fishing with all its incidents. "Your patent”-thus Gorges was addressed by Coke from the speaker's chair“ contains many particulars contrary to the laws and privileges of the subject; it is a monopoly, and the ends of private gain are concealed under color of planting a colony.” “ Shall none,” observed the veteran lawyer in debate, “ shall none visit the seacoast for fishing ? This is to make a monopoly upon the seas, which wont to be free. If you alone are to pack and dry fish, you attempt a monopoly of the wind and the sun." It was in vain for Sir George' Calvert to resist. The bill passed without amendment, though it never received the royal assent.
The determined opposition of the house, though it could not move the king to overthrow the corporation, paralyzed its enterprise ; many of the patentees abandoned their interest; so that the Plymouth company now did little except issue grants of domains; and the cottages, which, within a few years, were sprinkled along the coast from Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy, were the consequence of private adventure.
The territory between the River of Salem and the Kennebec became, in a great measure, the property of two enterprising individuals. We have seen that Martin Pring was the discoverer of New Hampshire, 1603
1 The original authorities, De- Hist. Coll. i. 125—139; Smith, in bates of the Commons, 1620-1, ii. Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 25; Hazi. 258. 260, 261. 318, 319; Journal ard, i. 151–155. Compare Prince, of Commons, in Chalmers, 100— Morton, Hutchinson, Belknap, and 102, and 103, 104; Sir F. Gorges' Chalmers. Narration, Morrell, in i. Mass