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MASSACHUSETTS RESISTS THE LONG PARLIAMENT.
CHAP. the English parliament, are more able to prescribe
w rules of government and judge causes, than such poor 1646. rustics as a wilderness can breed up; yet the vast
distance between England and these parts abates the
rejoice and bless our God under your shadow, and be there still nourished with the warmth and dews of heaven. Confirm our liberties; discountenance our enemies, the disturbers of our peace under pretence of our injustice. A gracious testimony of your wonted favor will oblige us and our posterity."
In the same spirit, Edward Winslow, the agent for Massachusetts in England, publicly denied that the jurisdiction of parliament extended to America. “If the parliament of England should impose laws upon us, having no burgesses in the house of commons, nor capable of a summons by reason of the vast distance, we should lose the liberties and freedom of English indeed.” Massachusetts was not without steadfast friends in the legislature of England ; yet it marks an honest love of liberty and of justice in the Long Parliament, that the doctrines of colonial equality should have been received with favor. “ Sir Henry Vane, though he might have taken occasion against the colony
1 Winslow's New England's Salamander, 24.
MASSACHUSETTS RESISTS THE LONG PARLIAMENT.
for some dishonor, which he apprehended to have been chap unjustly put upon him there, yet showed himself a true friend to New England, and a man of a noble and 1647 generous mind.”I After ample deliberation, the committee of parliament magnanimously replied, “We encourage no appeals from your justice. We leave you with all the freedom and latitude, that may, in any respect, be duly claimed by you.” 2
Such were the arts by which Massachusetts preserved its liberties. The people sustained their magistrates with great unanimity; hardly five-and-twenty persons could be found in the whole jurisdiction to join in a complaint against the strictness of the government; and when the discontented introduced the dispute into the elections, their candidates were defeated by an overwhelming majority.3
The harmony of the people had been confirmed by the courage of the elders, who gave fervor to the enthusiasm of patriotism. “ It had been as unnatural for a right New England man to live without an able ministry, as for a smith to work his iron without a fire.” The union between the elders and the state could not, therefore, but become more intimate than ever; and religion was venerated and cherished as the security against political subserviency. When the synod met by adjournment, it was by the common consent of all the Puritan colonies, that a system of church government was established for the congrega
i Winthrop, ii. 248 and 317. N. E.'s Jonas cast up at London, in
2 Hutchinson, i. 136-140, is con- ii. Mass. Hist. Coll. iv. 107, &c.; E. fused and inaccurate. Was it from Winslow's N. E.'s Salamander Disignorance? His errors are repeated covered, in ïïi. Mass. Hist. Coll. ii. by Chalmers and Grahame. The 110, &c. See also Johnson, b. iii. c. inquirer must go to the original au- iii.; Hubbard, c. lv.; Hazard, i. thorities—Colony Records ; Hutch- 544, &c. inson's Collection, 188—218; Win- 3 Winthrop, ii. 307. thros, ii. 278-301, and 317-322;
THE PLATFORM OF THE CHURCHES.
CHAP. tions. The platform retained authority for more than
a century, and has not yet lost its influence. It effectually excluded the Presbyterian modes of discipline
from New England. 1650 The jealousy of independence was preserved in its 1655. wakefulness. The Long Parliament asserted its
power over the royalist colonies in general terms, which seemed alike to threaten the plantations of the north ; and now that royalty was abolished, it invited Massachusetts to receive a new patent, and to hold courts and issue warrants in its name. But the colonial commonwealth was too wary to hazard its rights by merging them in the acts of a government of which the decline seemed approaching. It has been usual to say, that the people of Massachusetts foiled the Long Parliament. In a public state-paper, they refused to submit to its requisitions, and yet never carried their remonstrance beyond the point which their charter
appeared to them to warrant. 1651. After the successes of Cromwell in Ireland, he
voluntarily expressed his interest in New England, by offering its inhabitants estates and a settlement in the beautiful island which his arms had subdued. His offers were declined; for the emigrants already loved their land of refuge, where their own courage and toils had established “ the liberties of the gospel in its purity.” Our government, they said among themselves,
“is the happiest and wisest this day in the world.” 1651 The war between England and Holland hardly to disturbed the tranquillity of the colonies. The western
settlements, which would have suffered extreme misery from a combined attack of the Indians and the Dutch,
1 Result of a Synod, &c. See ton Mather is diffuse on the subject. also Winthrop and Hubbard. Cot-' 2 Hutchinson, i. App. viii.
MASSACHUSETTS REFUSES TO ATTACK NEW YORK.
were earnest for attempting to reduce New Amster- CHAP. dam ; but Massachusetts could deliberate more coolly, and its elders wisely answered, that the wars of Europe ought not to destroy the happiness of America ; that " it was safest for the colonies to forbear the use of the sword, but to be in a posture of defence.” The nature of the reserved powers of the members of the union now became the subject of animated discussion; but a peaceful intercourse with Manhattan continued.
The European republics had composed their strife, 1654. before the fleet, which was designed to take possession of the settlements on the Hudson, reached the shores. of America. It was a season of peace between England and France ; and yet the English forces, turning to the north, made the easy conquest of Acadia-an acquisition which no remonstrances or complaints could induce the protector to restore.?
The possession was perhaps considered a benefit to New England, of which the inhabitants enjoyed thg confidence of Cromwell throughout all the period of his success. They were fully satisfied that the battles which he had fought were the battles of the Lord; and " the spirits of the brethren were carried forth in faithful and affectionate prayers in his behalf;” but, at the same time, they charged him to rule his spirit, rather than to storm cities. Cromwell, in return, was moved by the sincerity of their regard; he seems to have found relief in pouring out his heart to them freely; he confessed that the battle of Dunbar, where "some, who were godly,” were fought into their graves, was, of all the acts of his life, that on which his mind had the least quiet; and he declared himself “ truly ready to
1 Hazard, ii., has all the documents on this subject. 2 Haliburton, i. 61.
CHAP. serve the brethren and the churches” in America.
The declaration was sincere. The people of New England were ever sure that Cromwell would listen to their requests, and would take an interest in all the little details of their condition. He left them inde
pendence, and favored their trade. When his arms 1655. had made the conquest of Jamaica, he offered them
the island, with the promise of all the wealth which the tropical clime pours prodigally into the lap of industry; and though they frequently thwarted his views, they never forfeited his regard. English history must judge of Cromwell by his influence on the institutions of England; the American colonies remember the years of his power as the period when British sovereignty was for them free from rapacity, intolerance, and oppression. He may be called the benefactor of the English in America; for he left them to enjoy unshackled the liberal benevolence of Providence, the freedom of industry, of commerce, of religion, and of government.
Yet the Puritans of New England perceived that their security rested on the personal character of the protector, and that other revolutions were ripening; they, therefore, never allowed their vigilance to be lulled. The influence of the elders was confirmed ; the civil and the religious institutions had become intimately connected. While the spirit of independence was thus assured, the evils ensued that are in some measure inseparable from a religious establishment; a distinct interest grew up under the system ; the severity of the laws was sharpened against infidelity on the one hand, and sectarianism on the other; nor
i Hutchinson's Coll. 233 and ff. State Papers, Case i. File vii, No. Hutch. Hist. App. No. ix. x. Mass. 34; File x. No. 77.