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MASSACHUSETTS PREPARES RESISTANCE.
arbitrary special commission for the colonies. The CHAP. archbishop of Canterbury and those who were associa a ted with him, received full power over the American 1634
April plantations, to establish the government and dictate 10. the laws; to regulate the church; to inflict even the heaviest punishments; and to revoke any charter which had been surreptitiously obtained, or which conceded liberties prejudicial to the royal prerogative?
The news of this commission soon reached Boston ; Sept. and it was at the same time rumored that a general governor was on his way. The intelligence awakened the most lively interest in the whole colony, and led to the boldest measures. Poor as the new settlements were, six hundred pounds were raised towards fortifications; the assistants and the deputies discovered their minds to one another," and the fortifications were hastened. All the ministers assembled at Boston; it 1635. marks the age, that their opinions were consulted; it 19. marks the age still more, that they unanimously declared against the reception of a general governor. 6 We ought,” said the fathers in Israel, “ to defend our lawful possessions, if we are able ; if not, to avoid and protract.”
It is not strange that Laud and his associates should have esteemed the inhabitants of Massachusetts to be men of refractory humors; complaints resounded of sects and schisms; of parties consenting in nothing but hostility to the church of England ; of designs to shake off the royal jurisdiction. Restraints were, therefore, placed upon emigration ; no one above the 1634 rank of a serving man, might remove to the colony
1 Hazard, i. 344-347. Hubbard, 264-268. Hutchinson, i. App. No. iv. Winthrop, i. 143. Chalmers mistakes a year. 2 Winthrop, i. 154.
3 Gorges, c. xxvi.
THE COUNCIL FOR N. E. SURRENDERS ITS CHARTER.
CHAP. without the special leave of the commissioners; and
persons of inferior order were required to take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance.
Willingly as these acts were performed by religious
bigotry, they were prompted by another cause. The 1635. members of the Grand Council of Plymouth, long re
duced to a state of inactivity, prevented by the spirit of the English merchants from oppressing the people, and having already made grants of all the lands from the Penobscot to Long Island, determined to resign their charter, which was no longer possessed of any value. Several of the company desired as individuals to become the proprietaries of extensive territories, even at the dishonor of invalidating all their grants as a corporation. The hope of acquiring principalities subverted the sense of justice. A meeting of the lords was duly convened, and the whole coast, from Acadia to beyond the Hudson, being divided into shares, was distributed, in part at least, by lots. Whole provinces gained an owner by the drawing of a lottery.
Thus far all went smoothly; it was a more difficult matter to gain possession of the prizes; the independent and inflexible colony of Massachusetts formed too serious an obstacle. The grant for Massachusetts, it was argued, was surreptitiously obtained; the lands belonged to Robert Gorges by a prior deed; the in
truders had “ made themselves a free people.” The June. general patent for New England was surrendered to
the king : to obtain of him a confirmation of their
1 Hazard, i. 247-348.
A QUO WARRANTO AGAINST MASSACHUSETTS.
were, at the same time, the objects of the members of CHAP. the Plymouth company, distinctly avowed in their public acts.
Now was the season of greatest peril to the rising liberties of New England. The king and council already feared the consequences that might come from the unbridled spirits of the Americans; his dislike was notorious ; 2 and at the Trinity term in the Court of King's Bench, a quo warranto was brought against the company of the Massachusetts Bay. At the ensuing Michaelmas, several of its members, who resided in England, made their appearance, and judgment was pronounced against them individually; the rest of the patentees stood outlawed, but no judgment was entered up against them. The unexpected death of Mason, Dec. who, as the proprietary of New Hampshire, had been the chief mover of all the aggressions on the rights of the adjoining colony, suspended the hostile movements, which Gorges had too much honesty and too little intrigue to renew.5
The severe censures in the Star Chamber, the great- 1635 ness of the fines which avarice rivaled bigotry in im- 1637. posing, the rigorous proceedings with regard to ceremonies, the suspending and silencing of multitudes of ministers, still continued ; and men were “ enforced by heaps to desert their native country. Nothing but the wide ocean, and the savage deserts of America, could hide and shelter them from the fury of the bishops.” 6 The pillory had become the bloody scene of human
I Hazard, i. 382. 390_394. 2 Gorges, b. i. c. i. p. 43.
3 Hazard, i. 423_425. Hutchinson's Coll. 101–104.
4 Winthrop, i. 187.
6 Rushworth, ii. 410. Hazard, i. 420. Neal's Puritans. Nugent's Hampden. The words are from Milton, the Puritan poet; the greatest poet of our language,
CONTINUED PERSECUTION OF PURITANISM.
CHAP. agony and mutilation, as an ordinary punishment; and
the friends of Laud jested on the sufferings which were to cure the obduracy of fanatics. « The very genius of that nation of people,” said Wentworth, " leads them always to oppose, both civilly and ecclesiastically, all that ever authority ordains for them." They were provoked to the indiscretion of a complaint, and then involved in a persecution. They were imprisoned and scourged ; their noses were slit; their ears were cut off; their cheeks were marked with a red-hot brand. But the lash, and the shears, and the glowing iron, could not destroy principles which were rooted in the soul, and which danger made it glorious
to profess. The injured party even learned to despise 1637. the mercy of their oppressors. Four years after
Prynne had been punished for a publication, he was a second time arraigned for a like offence. “I thought," said Lord Finch, - that Prynne had lost his ears already; but,” added he, looking at the prisoner, “ there is something left yet ;” and an officer of the court, removing the hair, displayed the mutilated organs. “I
pray to God,” replied Prynne, "you may have ears to June hear me.” A crowd gathered round the scaffold, 30.
where he, and Bastwick, and Burton, were to suffer mutilation. “Christians,” said Prynne, as he presented the stumps of his ears to be grubbed out by the hangman's knife, “stand fast; be faithful to God and your country; or you bring on yourselves and your children perpetual slavery.” The dungeon, the pillory, and the scaffold, were but stages in the progress of civil liberty towards its triumph.
Yet there was a period when the ministry of Charles hoped for success. No considerable resistance was threatened within the limits of England; and not even
ERROR RESPECTING HAMPDEN AND CROMWELL.
America could long be safe against the designs of des- CHAP potism. A proclamation was issued to prevent the a emigration of Puritans ;the king refused his dissent- April ing subjects the security of the wilderness.
30. It was probably a foreboding of these dangers, which induced the legislation of Massachusetts to exaggerate the necessity of domestic union. In England the proclamation was but little regarded. The Puritans, hemmed in by dangers on every side, and at that time having no prospect of ultimate success, desired at any rate to escape from their native country. The privy council interfered to stay a squadron of eight ships, which were in the Thames, preparing to embark for 1638
May New England. It has been said that Hampden and “1." Cromwell were on board this fleet. The English ministry of that day might willingly have exiled Hampden; no original authors, except royalists writing on hearsay, allude to the design imputed to him ; in America there exists no evidence of his expected arrival; the remark of Hutchinson” refers to the wellknown schemes of Lord Say and Seal and Lord Brooke; there are no circumstances in the lives of Hampden and Cromwell corroborating the story, but many to establish its improbability; there came over, during this summer, twenty ships, and at least three thousand persons;6 and had Hampden designed to
1 Hazard, i. 421.
gent, in his Hampden, i. 254, should 2 Colony Laws, edition of 1660, not have repeated the error. Edin73. iii. Mass. Hist. Coll. iii. 398. burgh Review, No. 108. Russels
3 Rushworth, ii. 409. Hazard, i. Cromwell, i. 51. Godwin, in his 422.
History of the Commonwealth, i. 11, 4 Bates and Dugdale, in Neal's 12, reproves the conduct which he Puritans, ii. 349. C. Mather, b. i. unjustly imputes to Hampden. The c. v. s. 7. Neal's N. E. i. 168. pretended design was indeed unlike Chalmers, 160, 161. Robertson, b. Hampden. X. Hume, c. liii. Belknap, ii. 229. 5 Hutchinson, i. 44. Grahame's U. S. i. 299. Lord Nu- 6 Winthrop, i. 268.