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and arbitrary, that the governor and assistants should impose taxes without the voice of the whole freemen. But the objection was withdrawn, when they were told that the assistants were chosen by all the freemen, with the power to govern the plantation. When a tax was afterwards to be assessed to defray certain public expenses during this year, it was proposed to have a meeting of committees from the several plantations ; and two were chosen for that
purpose. This probably led to the measure adopted in 1634, of having representatives of the freemen from every town in the colony, to form a legislative body with the board of assistants, instead of having all the freemen assemble, who, at first, chose the governor and assistants, and had then no other power in the government. The propriety of this measure was doubted, as the charter only provided for the meeting of the whole company; but it was justly argued, that it was not inconsistent with its spirit, and that the freemen might vote and act in person or by deputies chosen for the purpose; such being the case in all companies and societies. This course was therefore continued, from that year; though, at first, the deputies made but one assembly with the assistants. The towns represented, in 1634, were Boston, Salem, Charlestown, Watertown, Dorchester, Roxbury, Cambridge (or the New Town) and Saugust, or Lynn; Wessaguscus and Mistic were not represented, in this assembly, and probably had then very few inhabitants, or freemen. Some of the settlers at Mistic were servants or tenants of Mr. Craddock, one of the principal patentees, but who never came to the country:
At the election in May, 1634, Mr. Dudley, who had been several years the deputy governor, and was the oldest of the company, was chosen governor; and in 1635, Mr. Haynes was elected to the chief magistracy; Mr. Winthrop, like Governor Bradford of Plymouth, being desirous of some relief from the heavy cares of that office. He was, however, appointed one of the assistants for these years; and thus the colony had the benefit of his opinion in all public affairs, as an adviser of the governor and as a magistrate.
It was soon found that the soil was friendly to the cultivation of fruit, vegetables, and grain. Indian corn was raised by the natives in most places, though in small parcels. In 1633, rye was also raised, much to the comfort and benefit of the people.
In 1633 and 1634, Ipswich was visited and settled ; a son of Governor Winthrop was early there, but did not long remain. The intercourse with the Indians was frequent and friendly; but the people of the colony were in trouble from
the enmity of some individuals among themselves, who were immoral and turbulent characters, and who, for some just punishment, complained of the conduct of the governor and assistants to the parent country.
The character and education of the leading men both of Plymouth and Massachusetts, was such as to fit them for the enterprise which they undertook, to form a religious and political society, founded in the equal rights of men, and of obedience to God as their Supreme lawgiver and Governor. Their distinguishing trait of character was a sacred regard for divine revelation, united with the conviction, that civil government was essential to social order and justice. But republican or democratic principles were recognised in their full extent. The whole body of the freemen were to choose magistrates, and make the laws in person or by their deputies, and every attempt to evade this principle was early opposed and suppressed. Their zeal for religion and for the support of christianity was, generally, wisely tempered by their knowledge of human nature and of the importance of civil authority. The condition of their native country had served to prepare them to be political as well as religious guides. Brewster, Bradford, Winslow and Prence of Plymouth, and Winthrop, Bellingham, Ludlow, Dudley, Nowell, Pelham, Pynchon and Bradstreet, were
qualified from their knowledge and experience to direct the affairs of civil government. If they differed, in some of their enactments and policy, from the old governments of Europe, it was not through ignorance or fanaticism, but from a reference to their peculiar situation, and from a supreme regard to the divine authority. All the freemen were on a level, and therefore had equal rights; and a less strict discipline than was adopted towards strangers and intruders would have subjected the infant colony to confusion and misrule, if not to an entire overthrow.
Opposers of the Colony-Complaints against it, and threatened with loss of
Charter-Intolerance-Roger Williams--Eminent Men who arrived after the first settlement-Connecticut settled-Militia--Forts-- Taxes—Haynes Governor-Elections by the People and Deputies–Bellingham-Dutch on Connecticut River Disputes with R. Williams-His BanishmentIncrease of Plymouth—Sir H. Vane arrives, and is chosen Governor Governor Winthrop-Pequot War-Religious Disputes-Mrs. Hutchin. son--First Settlers the Friends of Human Learning-- Many of them Learned Men-Artillery Company and Militia-Charter recalled-Claims of Col. ony to Political Power--Prinung Press-Distribution of the Powers of Government-Standing Council-Dudley Governor-His Character Prosperity of the Colony-Bellingham Governor-Trade--North Line of Patent-Assembly of Divines at Westminster, England-Union of the four New England Colonies.
The colonies in New England had enemies in the parent country, from their first settlement. The puritans, by whom these colonies were first projected and planted, were very obnoxious to the English hierarchy; and the supporters of the Stuart family, were no less opposed to them, for their political opinions. They were watched, with an evil eye, and attempts were often made to withdraw or curtail the civil powers granted them by the royal charter. Some merchants, also, who regarded America only as a theatre for gain, were instrumental in inflicting injuries, or in obstructing their prosperity. And a few individuals, for sometime resident in the colony, who were secret friends of the established church of England, or envious of the prosperity of the puritans, plotted against them. Sir Christopher Gardner, a traveller and adventurer without character, Morton, who had been at Mount Wollaston some years, and Radcliffe, sometime a tenant of Mr. Craddock, were banished from Massachusetts in 1632; as Lyford and Oldham had been from Plymouth, at an earlier day. Soon after they reached England, whither they were transported, they preferred a memorial to the government, in which they complained, that the rulers of Massachusetts were intolerant and severe towards all persons, not of their peculiar views; and that they assumed and exercised greater civil power than was given by the charter, or was consistent with the entire sovereignty of the parent state. Sir Ferdinand Gorges, and Mason, who had grants of land in Maine, and on Piscataqua
river, and some others, were active in urging the presentation of this complaint. But the decision of the king and his privy council on the petition, was favorable to the colony of Massachusetts; which was acknowledged to have been planted, without cost to the English government, and was inhabited by peaceable and loyal subjects of his majesty. But the following year, on other similar complaints, and great numbers intending to remove from England to Massachusetts, which alarmed the government there, an order of the council was adopted, forbidding all emigration ; and Mr. Craddock, the principal character of the patentees of the colony, was directed to bring the charter before the board. But this order was not immediately followed by any oppressive measures towards the colony. At a little later period, the archbishop of England and ten others, officers of the court, obtained a commission from Charles I. granting them full power to alter or revoke the colonial charters, and to govern the inhabitants according to their own mere will and pleasure. But this commission also was superseded, or remained without operation and effect.
These measures of menace and these designs of oppression, were chiefly owing to the character of the puritans in the colony, who were unwilling even to tolerate episcopalians and other dissenters from their ecclesiastical rules and discipline ; and were also known to be opposed to all arbitrary power in the state.
The first planters of Plymouth, of Salem, of Boston, and other places in Massachusetts, cannot, perhaps, be fully justified for their strict discipline and government, in all cases, or for their severity towards those who would not conform to their opinions and usages; yet some apology may be found for them, in the fact, that they came to America under great privations, after long persecutions in England, to enjoy their forms of worship, which they believed were agreeable to the word of God; and had they not been select in receiving new comers, and in ejecting the turbulent and schismatic, their object would have been entirely defeated, and the colony probably broken up. But these considerations may not fully justify the conduct of the first and early settlers, in their exclusive and censorious spirit towards such as dissented from their opinions and forms. They were inexcusable in their treatment of Roger Williams, who was an honest, though an eccentric character; of Child, Brown, and others, who were desirous of worshiping God according to the liturgy and prayer book of the established English church; of Mrs. Hutchinson and her adherents, who, though very fanatical, did not deserve the harshness with which they were visited for their extravagant and erroneous opinions; and least of all, for their persecutions and punishment of the Quakers. Williams, merely for his honest independence of opinion, was driven out of the colony in the midst of a severe winter, (1635—6)* and it seems almost miraculous that he did not perish under his accumulated sufferings. It was a memorable remark of Governor Haynes to Mr. Williams, in 1635, “that he believed God had prepared this part of the world for people of all sorts of consciences and opinions." Mr. Williams was considered by his friends to be precipitate and passionate.
Among those who arrived in the colony and became permanent settlers, after the year 1630, and within three or four years, were Richard Bellingham, who was one of the original patentees, with Endicot, Saltonstal, Johnson, and others; John Winthrop, Jr., oldest son of the governor; Sir Henry Vane, who, the year after his arrival was chosen chief magistrate; John Haynes, who was also governor for one year; Herbert Pelham, a near relative of the Duke of New Castle ; Sir R. Saltonstal, Jr.; and Rev. Messrs. John Elliot, John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, Samuel Stone, John Norton, Thomas Sheperd, Nathaniel Ward, John Lothrop, and Thomas Parker. Mr. Elliot, after a few months of preaching in Boston, in 1631, in the absence of Mr. Wilson, and before the arrival of Mr. Cotton, was ordained over the church at Roxbury, where Mr. Pynchon and others settled, soon after landing at Charlestown; and probably in the fall of 1630. Mr. Cotton, who arrived in the colony in 1633, and had been long intending to come over, was settled, with Mr. Wilson, over the church in Boston. Mr. Hooker, and Mr. Stone, were placed at the New Town, or Cambridge; and removed, in 1635, with several of their church and people, to Connecticut; and about the same time, a part of the Dorchester people settled Windsor.
Mr. Pynchon soon left Roxbury also, and fixed his residence higher up on that river, the present site of Springfield. Mr. Ward was at Ipswich, and there also Mr Norton settled, after passing a few months in Plymouth, where he first landed. Mr. Lothrop first settled in Scituate, and thence removed to Barnstable; Mr. Sheperd succeeded Mr. Hooker at Cambridge, and Mr. Parker was at Newbury, with a Mr. Noyes. To these may
* It is not very important whether Williams was banished in 1635 or '36. It has been generally stated that it was in 1635; but Dr. Holmes and Dr. Bently fix it in 1636. Williams says, in one of his letters, that it was the year before the Pequot war, which was in the spring of 1637. banished in the winter of 1635–6. He came over in 1631, was about a year at Salem; then two years at Plymouth; then again at Salem about a year