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Arrival of Sir Edmund Andross-Fears' entertained of the
King—His conduct towards New York—His opinions of popular assemblies—Commission to Andross—Two companies of soldiers sent to Boston-Law relative to marriages — Manner of imposing taxes — Punishment of those who refuse to pay rates—Episcopal Clergymen prevented by the mob from reading the burial servicePreachers attack the Governor for his toleration, and justify compulsory conformity-Arbitrary conduct of Andross relative to titles of land-Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey united to Massachusetts-News of the arrival of the Prince of Orange in England-False rumours spread of a general massacre - Insurrection - Capture and imprisonment of the Governor and his Councillors—Conduct of the Magistrates who resumed the old Government-Sir Edmund escapes, is retaken and sent to England when he is released—Example of Massachusetts followed by the other colonies--Bad effects of so many political changes in England— Remarks on the appointment of Andross to be Governor of Virginia.
At length, Sir Edmund Andross arrived at Boston on the 20th of December, 1686, with a
commission for the Government of New England. This was the first direct administration by a stranger of the internal affairs of the colony, and the first specimen the people had of the reckless manner in which royal patronage was bestowed, and the arrogance, insolence, and oppressions of irresponsible officials. His conduct increased and justified the universal discontent. It did not alienate the affections of the inhabitants, for they were already irretrievably estranged, but it strengthened their conviction that England's domination was incompatible with their happiness, as it was with their freedom.
He had been Governor of New York, and had also directed the affairs of Rhode Island; and therefore was supposed to be well acquainted with the character of the people over whom he was placed. He was a military man of some reputation, and having been accustomed to obey, as well as to command, was well suited to carry out the order of James, who was prompt even to precipitation in action.
The new Monarch had been more conversant with colonization and commercial affairs than his predecessor ;* and commenced with vigour and
* Hume says that his application to naval affairs was successful, his encouragement of trade judicious, and his jealousy of national honour laudable. Hersault, in his History of France (vol. II, p. 200) says, the public are
ardour the difficult task of reducing the plantations to order, and to a more immediate dependence on the Crown. As to the means, as had been predicted by those who best knew his temper and principles, he was not at all scrupulous. As Duke of York, and proprietor of the immense colony that bore his name, he had three years before conceded to it a free and liberal constitution, and guaranteed to the people universal toleration, trial by jury, and exemption from all imposts, but such as their representatives should approve, and relinquished the right to quarter troops on the inhabitants, or to declare martial law. He no sooner ascended the throne than he annulled his own acts, taxes were levied by ordinance, titles to land were questioned, to augment fees and emoluments; and of those persons who remonstrated, not a few were arraigned, and tried before his Council.
From a Monarch who had so early distinguished himself for inconsistencies, there was little to be hoped. Although warned by his legal advisers, that the colonists, notwithstanding their Charters were vacated, were British subjects, and as such entitled to all their rights and privileges, like all the Stuarts, he thought his prerogative was sufficient for his purpose, without the aid of indebted to this Prince, when Duke of York, for the contrivance of signals, by means of flags and streamers.
Parliament to make laws or impose duties. His instructions to Andross were as contradictory as his own character—at once mild and severe, considerate and tyrannical. “I cannot but suspect,” he says, in a communication to him relative to a representative body, “ that assemblies would be of dangerous consequence, nothing being more known than their aptness to assume to themselves many privileges which prove destructive to, or very often disturb the peace of Government when they are allowed. Neither do I see any use for them. Things that need redress may be sure of finding it at the quarter sessions, or by the legal and ordinary ways, or lastly by appeals to myself. However, I shall be ready to consider of any proposal you shall send."
We have seen that Mr. Dudley's commission extended over New Hampshire and Maine. That of Andross included them likewise. The King invested him and his council with supreme jurisdiction, and empowered them to make laws, and execute them; to impose taxes, and enforce their collection : and to support the vigour of the administration, two companies of soldiers were sent to Boston, and placed at his disposal. As soon as he had surveyed the field before him, he set himself industriously to work to subvert every democratic institution in the country, and to devise means to raise a revenue by pursuing the
same course that had been adopted in New York, and by inventing subtle excuses for forfeiting real estate. It was not long before the case of some, who apprehended themselves to be oppressed, came under consideration, when they were told that they had no more privileges left them than not to be sold as slaves; and that the benefit of the law of England did not follow them to the end of the earth, which they soon found to be true, although their distance did not exempt them from its penalties. * The alarm caused by this speech was deeply felt and resented by the whole country. It was never forgotten. It was handed down from father to son in Massachusetts, and the vows of vengeance then recorded, though long deferred, were remembered and fulfilled at last in the defeat and slaughter of the royalists at the revolution.
One of his first acts was to alter the law relative to the solemnization of marriages. Among the numerous innovations of the Puritans on the usages of their ancestors, was one to render marriage a mere civil contract, and to require only the admission and consent of the parties to be made before and registered by a magistrate. As there was but one Episcopal clergyman in the colony at the time, a transfer of this duty to the Church could not well be effected, but it was ordered for