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ing under this charter, the general court voted to adopt the laws of Massachusetts and Plymouth, unless repugnant to those of England.*

The new charter was far from being acceptable to the great body of the people; for they had been accustomed to act and legislate, in a great measure, as if they were sovereign and independent. Their principal objection was to the appointment of the chief magistrate by the king; and in this they discovered, as well a foresight of future mischief, as an ardent desire of republican freedom. Some of the more rigid lamented, that full liberty of conscience was given to Episcopalians, and other dissenters from the congregational churches, except to Baptists; for it was a long time the opinion, that toleration of other religious opinions and forms of worship would be injurious to the welfare of the colony, as well as highly prejudicial to christian truth.

In the appointment of the first governor, the king was pleased to consult the wishes of the agents; and Sir William Phipps was commissioned for that office, in 1692. He was of obscure parentage, the son of a poor man, who lived near Sheepscot River, and not far east of Sagadahoc, but early discovered a strong mind, and a spirit for nautical adventures; and was thus the maker of his own character and fortunes. He was more of a sailor and soldier than a statesman; but the clergy were his frequent advisers. And William Stoughton, the lieutenant governor, was distinguished as a scholar, and as an able, discreet legislator. On the recall and decease of Phipps, in 1694, Stoughton acted as chief magistrate for several years, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of the people.

* The formal declaration of their rights and privileges, in 1694, approved both by the representatives and the counsellors, will show their views of civil power belonging to them; and their fears, that plans were in operation to infringe on the authority which they asserted to be essential to liberty. It was of the following purport: “that they had an undoubted right to all the liberties and privileges of an English assembly, and to have freedom of debate and suffrage, as the Commons of England have; that the ap; pointment of all officers doth of right belong to the general assembly; and that when money is to be levied of the people in the province, the assembly be advised of the use and application thereof; that the establishment of all salaries of officers, in the province, belongs also to the general court; that no public moneys ought to be disposed of by the governor and council, but for the uses and intents of, and agreeable to, the acts, by which said money is raised; and that no money ought to be drawn or paid out of the public treasury of the province, but by warrant of the governor, with advice of the council, mentioning the law by which it was raised, and for what service designed, and to be according to said law.”

CHAPTER VI.

Witchcraft-Laws for Religious Worship, for Education, and for sobriety

of manners-Disputes with Government of England-French at Pemaquid-Lt. Gov. Štoughton-Law against Jesuits, and against SlaveryGov. Bellamont-Gov. Dudley–His Character--War between England and France-Depredations of Indians-Col. Church goes against Indians in Acadie-Expedition to Port Royal-Meditated attack on CanadaHeavy Debt and Tax, and Paper Money--Peace between France and England-Prosperity of the Province-Newspapers-Gov. Shute-His Character-Indians in Maine hostile, conquered-Dispute between Gov. Shute and General Court-Gov. Shute, on his return to England, complained of the Court-Agent Dummer-Lt. Gov. Dummer— Treaty with Eastern Indians-Clergy propose a synod—Earthquake.

The year 1692 is memorable, not only in receiving a new charter, and in having the government duly formed and administered, after five years of interruption, but for tragical events growing out of charges for witchcraft, which furnish melancholy proof of the weakness and credulity of the human mind. But for the appalling effects of this strange delusion, in the imprisonment and execution of several respectable persons, the facts disclosed would be matter of amusing curiosity. This disastrous infatuation, however, was not confined to Massachusetts, or to America. Similar scenes were exhibited in England; and some learned men gave countenance to the cruel proceedings, in that country as well as in New England. Superstitious credulity was the support of this fatal error; for without a belief of the power of the Devil to make men his agents and tools, the system could not have been admitted. When reason and philosophy are disregarded, credulity and prejudice can effect every thing but miracles.

On the slightest charge and even on bare suspicion, numbers were adjudged guilty of the high offence of making a league with Satan; and were punished, even to death, on evidence not legally sufficient to convict a man of the smallest offence. The eyes of the magistrates and judges were at last opened, by the accusation of respectable individuals, whose characters were above all suspicion of such a crime, even if it were practicable. This, however, was not till about twenty had been executed, and many more imprisoned for a long period. It is consoling to know, that some of the magistrates were opposed to these cruel proceedings; among whom were two of the judges who acted on the occasion. And many others, afterwards, lamented the delusion, which had thus perverted their better judgment.

So infatuated were some of the people, at the time of the highest excitement, that, by their vehement solicitations and menaces, they persuaded the weak and timid to confess they were witches, who were of holy and exemplary conduct. Some of these afterwards declared, that they had acknowledged themselves guilty, partly through fear, because of the threats uttered against them, and an apprehension that they might have been subject to the Devil's arts without knowing it. Several years before this time, there had been two or three executions for this supposed crime; but the extravagances and cruelties attending the Salem tragedy, in 1692, served to keep the people from similar delusions ever afterwards.

The legislators and rulers of Massachusetts considered it their duty, from the earliest settlement of the colony, to provide for the support of religious worship and instruction, for the education of youth of all grades and classes, for the observation of the Lord's day, and for suppressing intemperance, gaming and profanity. They acted as the guardians of the public morals; for they believed religion and morality essential to the public welfare of society. They were some times accused of being too severe, and too minute in their laws relating to such subjects; but there can be no doubt their regulations were for the peace and good order of the colony, and that much greater laxity would have proved injurious to the public welfare and prosperity. The clergy were often advised, by the general court, to adopt measures to bring about a reformation among the people, and to strive for greater purity of morals in the community. This was a legitimate object of the civil power; but when they proceeded to prescribe articles of faith, and to require particular forms of worship, they presumed to legislate on points beyond the province of the civil magistrate to decide.

The dispute between the rulers in Massachusetts and the parent government, which had long been kept up, and which was destined to continue to exercise the talents and call forth the patriotism of the colonists, was agitated, at this period, with a good deal of zeal. On the adoption of new regulations in England, respecting the duties on commerce, and the collection of the customs, the general court passed an act, tending (and probably intended) to defeat the operation of those regulations; alleging that they interfered with the rights of their charter, or were oppressive to so small and distant a colony: and a law of parliament was soon after enacted, which declared such

a law of Massachusetts to be utterly null and void. The acts of the British parliament, relating to the trade of the colonies, were often the cause of complaint. They operated as restrictions, which were odious and oppressive to the people; and they were chiefly designed for the benefit of England; and thus obliged the colonies, by way of imposts, to contribute to the support of the government there, while they had to pay for the maintenance of their own, respectively, and to discharge heavy debts incurred for defence against the French and Indians.

The people of Massachusetts, with some other settlements in New England in 1697, were alarmed by menaces of war from the French, who had been several years laying claims to Nova Scotia and the eastern parts of Maine, and whose greatest means of annoyance was the employment of the Indians against the inhabitants on the frontie Pemaquid and the country eastward of it, had been long possessed by the French ; except occasional captures by forces from England or Massachusetts.* A report was spread through the province, that Boston would be attacked by a French fleet, and an attempt be made to conquer the whole coasts of New England. Various obstacles occurred to prevent the prosecution of this plan. But the fears of the inhabitants were unusually excited; for it was believed that the Indians of the West, who were then governed by the French, would assist in the attack, by falling on the settlements in the interior. By order of Lieutenant Governor Stoughton, then in the chair, the militia were prepared to defend the Province, if the French should appear; and the fort on Castle Island was put in repair for the protection of the capital. The treaty of Ryswick, toward the close of the year, restored tranquillity to the province, for a short period only ; for the following year, the French laid claim to all the country east of Kennebec, (though by that treaty, their forts and possession were to be restored to England) and forbid the inhabitants from fishing on the coasts or entering on the territory. The eastern Indians took advantage of this state of the country, to commit depredations and murders, without formal notice of war, and when the means of defence could not be seasonably provided.

* The fort at Pemaquid, near the then eastern settlements, and the terri. tory claimed by the French, was taken in 1696 by the French and Indians under the Baron Castine, of Penobscot. This was considered an important post, and it had been a great charge to Massachusetts to defend and keep it in repair. It several tiines changed inasters, in the course of the contests between France and England : while it was in the hands of the French, the Indians were more bold in their attacks; when possessed by the English, they were less feared and less dangerous.

Among the laws of the province, while Mr. Stoughton was in the chair, was one against jesuits and popish priests; and similar orders were passed in New York prohibiting their residence in that colony; alleging that they instigated the Indians to attack the English and all other protestants; and by his advice probably, the general assembly took into consideration the subject "of putting an end to negro slavery in Massachusetts, and of employing white servants in their stead.” In 1703, a penalty was imposed for importing negro slaves into the province. This truly excellent man and able magistrate died in 1703, much lamented by the people of the province, Earl Bellamont, who was Governor of Massachusetts a short time in 1699-70, died the same year, at New York. He was also several years governor of that colony. His short administration in Massachusetts was generally acceptable to the people. He is characterized as bland and courteous in his manners, and as seeking the welfare and prosperity of the people over whom he presided, as well as maintaining the authority of the crown. Some of his declarations were calculated to administer just rebuke to such officers and agents, as sought only their own power and emolument.

After the death of Mr. Stoughton, the executive authority of the province was in the hands of the counsel, for a few months, when Joseph Dudley, who had been president in 1686, received the royal commission to be Governor of Massachusetts. He was continued in the chair for twelve years.

When he was agent in England, in the times of the Stuarts, he made friends of the men in power, and became an apologist for the prerogatives of the king, and for the arbitrary measures adopted at that period. He could flatter those in authority, of any description or party, for the promotion of his own ambitious designs. While in office in Massachusetts, he seldom agreed with the general assembly, which was always jealous of all encroachments on the rights and privileges guarantied by the charter. He is represented as one covetous both of power and wealth; and as probably seeking for the former, as the best means of attaining the latter. In his first speech to the General Court, he proposed that a house should be furnished for him, befitting the representative of the king ; and that a more liberal compensation, than formerly, be provided for his support, in his present high station. The House hesitated, and postponed a compliance with his request. They thus exposed themselves to his displeasure and censure, rather than to yield to what they believed an unreasonable requisition. There was little cordiality between the representatives

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