Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

to

CHAP. successors, declined the trust,' and the infant settlean ments then called New Somersetshire were aban1638 doned to anarchy, or to so imperfect a government, 1640. that of the events of two years no records can

be found. 1639 Meantime a royal charter now constituted Gorges,

in his old age, the lord proprietary of the country; and his ambition immediately soared to the honor of establishing boroughs, framing schemes of colonial government, and enacting a code of laws. The veteran royalist, clearly convinced of the necessity of a vigorous executive, had but dim conceptions of popular liberty and rights; and he busied himself in making such arrangements as might have been expected from an old soldier, who was never remarkable for sagacity, had never seen America, and who, now in his dotage, began to act as a lawgiver for a rising state in another hemisphere.?

Such was the condition of the settlements at the north at a time when the region which lies but a little nearer the sun, was already converted, by the energy of religious zeal, into a busy, well-organized, and even opulent state. The early history of Massachusetts is the history of a class of men as remarkable for their qualities and their influence on public happiness, as any by which the human race has ever been

diversified. 1624. The settlement near Weymouth was revived; a 1625. new plantation was begun near Mount Wollaston,

within the present limits of Quincy; and the mer-
chants of the West continued their voyages to the
islands of New England. But these things were of

i Winthrop. Hubbard, 261, 252. Williamson, i. 268.
2 Gorges, 50, and ff.

COLONIZATION OF MASSACHUSETTS.

334

[ocr errors]

feeble influence compared with the consequences of CHAP. the attempt at a permanent establishment near Cape Ann; for White, a minister of Dorchester, a Puritan, 1624. but not a separatist, breathed into the enterprise a higher principle than that of the desire of gain. Roger Conant, having already left New Plymouth for Nantasket, through a brother in England, who was a friend of White, obtained the agency of the adventure. 1625. A year's experience proved to the company, that their speculation must change its form, or it would produce no results; the merchants, therefore, paid with honest liberality all the persons whom they had employed, and abandoned the unprofitable scheme. But Conant, a man of extraordinary vigor, “ inspired as it were by some superior instinct,” and confiding in the active friendship of White, succeeded in breathing a portion 1626 of his sublime courage into his three companions; and, making choice of Salem, as opening a convenient place of refuge for the exiles for religion, they resolved to remain as the sentinels of Puritanism or the Bay of Massachusetts.

The design of a plantation was now ripening in the mind of White and his associates in the south-west of England. About the same time, some friends in Lincolnshire fell into discourse about New England ; im- 1627 agination swelled with the thought of planting the pure gospel among the quiet shades of America ; it seemed better to depend on the benevolence of uncultivated nature and the care of Providence, than to endure the constraints of the English laws and the severities of the English hierarchy; and who could doubt, that, at the voice of undefiled religion, the wil

NO

i Hubbard, 102. 106-108. ton Mather, b. i. c. iv. s. 3.

Prince, 224, 229. 231. 235, 236.

Cot

310

COLONIZATION OF MASSACHUSETTS

Mar.

CHAP. derness would change to a paradise for a people who
IX.
a lived under a bond with the Omnipresent God ?

After some deliberation, persons in London and the
West Country were made acquainted with the

design." 1028. The council for New England, itself incapable of 19. the generous purpose of planting colonies, was ever

ready to make sale of patents, which had now become their only source of revenue. Little concerned even at making grants of territory which had already been purchased, they sold to Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Thomas Southcoat, John Humphrey, John Endicot, and Simon Whetcomb, gentlemen of Dorchester, a belt of land, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, extending three miles south of the River Charles and the Massachusetts Bay, and three miles north of every part of the River Merrimac. The zeal of White sought and soon found other and powerful associates in and about London,5 kindred spirits, men of religious fervor, uniting the emotions of enthusiasm with unbending perseverance in action,-Winthrop, Dudley, Johnson, Pynchon, Eaton, Saltonstall, Bellingham, so famous in colonial annals, besides many others, men of fortune, and friends to colonial enterprise, who desired to establish a plantation of the best” of their countrymen on the shores of New England, in a safe seclusion, which the corruptions of human superstition might never invade. Three of the

1 Dudley to the countess of Lin- The mother of Arbella was an aucoln, in i. Mass. Hist. Coll. viii. 37. thoress. The countess of Lincoln, to whom 2 Chalmers, 135. Dudley wrote, was “the approved 3 Hubbard, 108. Lady Briget,” daughter of Lord Say, 4 Prince, 247. The charter rethe sister-in-law, and not the mother, peats the boundaries. of the Lady Arbella. Savage on 5 Hubbard, 109. Mather, i. c Winthrop, i. 2. Walpole's Royal iv. s. 3. and Noble Authors, ii. 272_275.

COLONIZATION OF MASSACHUSETTS.

341

[ocr errors]

June

original purchasers parted with all their rights; Hum- CHAP. phrey, Endicot, and Whetcomb, retained an equal interest with the new partners.?

The company, already possessing the firmness of religious zeal and the resources of mercantile opulence, and having now acquired a title to an extensive territory, immediately prepared for the emigration of a colony; and Endicot-a man of dauntless courage, and that cheerfulness which accompanies courage ; benevolent, though austere; firm, though choleric; of a rugged nature, which the sternest form of Puritanism had not served to mellow—was selected as " a fit instrument to begin this wilderness work." His wife and family 1628 were the companions of his voyage, the hostages of his fixed attachment to the New World. His immediate attendants, and those whom the company sent over the same year, in all, not far from one hundred in number,' were welcomed by Conant and his faith- Sepet ful associates to gloomy forests and unsubdued fields. Yet, even then, the spirit of enterprise predominated over the melancholy which is impressed upon nature in its savage state ; and seven or more threaded a path through the woods to the neck of land which is now Charlestown. English courage had preceded them; they found there one English hovel already tenanted.4

When the news reached London of the safe arrival 1629 of the emigrants, the number of the adventurers had the already been much enlarged. The “ Boston men” next lent their strength to the company ;5 and the Mar. Puritans throughout England began to take an inter

now

NewS

1 Prince, 247. Col. Records.

2 Johnson, b. i. c. ix. Hutchinson's Coll. 51, 52.

3 Hubbard, 110. Higginson's N. E. Plantation, in i. Mass.

Hist. Coll. i. 123. Dudley's Letter.

4 Charlestown Records, in Prince, 250; in Edward Everett's Address, 18, 19.

5 Colony Records.

312

CHARTER FOR THE MASSACHUSETTS COLONY.
CHARTER

[ocr errors]

CHAP. est in the efforts which invited the imagination to a indulge in delightful visions. Interest was also made

to obtain a royal charter, with the aid of Bellingham and of White, an eminent lawyer, who advocated the design. The earl of Warwick had always been the friend of the company ; Gorges had seemed to favor its advancement ;' and Lord Dorchester, then one of the secretaries of state, is said to have exerted a pow

erful influence in its behalf. At last, after much labor 1629. and large expenditures, the patent“ for the Company Mar. " of the Massachusetts Bay passed the seals; a few

days only before Charles I., in a public state-paper, avowed his design of governing without a parliament.

The charter, which bears the signature of Charles I., and which was cherished for more than half a century as the most precious boon, established a corporation, like other corporations within the realm. The associates were constituted a body politic by the name of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. The administration of its affairs was intrusted to a governor, deputy, and eighteen assistants, who were to be annually elected by the stockholders, or members of the corporation. Four times a year, or oftener if desired, a general assembly of the freemen was to be held ; and to these assemblies, which were invested with the necessary powers of legislation, inquest, and superintendence, the most important affairs were referred. No provision required the assent of the king to render the acts of the body valid ; in his eye it was but a

ere

(

i Prince, 254. Gorges' Description, 25. Gorges' Narrative, c. xxvi.

2 Document in Chalmers.
3 Letter in Hazard, i. 237.

4 The patent is at the State House in Boston, and is printed in Colony Laws, in Hutchinson's Coll., and in Hazard.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »