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the present that none should marry unless they entered into bonds with surety to the Governor, subject to forfeiture if it should afterwards appear that there existed any lawful impediment. For this licence a liberal fee was exacted as a matter of course. The Governor, being also ordinary, assumed as such the whole business of the local courts, and compelled the people of the rural districts to attend at Boston, at great inconvenience, for the probate of wills, or letters of administration; and exacted whatever charges he thought the estate able to bear. He imposed what rates he thought proper, with no other sanction than that of a few complaisant councillors, although his enemies admit that the sum thus raised was small in amount, and required and spent for the public service. The principal one was a charge of one penny in the pound, and a polltax of twenty-pence. Direct assessment is always odious. It brings the collector and rate-payer in immediate contact, and the unpopularity of the measure is often increased by the severity or assumption of the officer.
In a new country, though the necessaries of life are abundant, there is always a scarcity of money, and compulsory contributions to the State are paid with the utmost reluctance. Where the authority to levy the tax is questioned, resistance is the natural result. . Upon one occasion, when
the inhabitants of Ipswich refused to assess upon themselves the proportion assigned to the township, and the select men voted, “that, inasmuch as it is against the privilege of British subjects to have money raised without their own consent, in a Legislature or Parliament, therefore they will petition the King for liberty of an Assembly before making any rates,” he imprisoned two of the most conspicuous of the remonstrants, and fined the others severally thirty, forty, and fifty pounds, according to their circumstances or ability, When they complained of this harsh treatment, he took some pains to trace and collect the numerous precedents set him by his predecessors, for this apparently extraordinary act of tyranny, and with more sarcasm than policy, asked them if they would like to have other similar usages of their forefathers restored. The General Court, he observed, always prosecuted a man for appealing to England, because it was subversive of their chartered rights, and if his petition contained complaints also, he was subjected to an additional penalty for slandering the brethren, but that he had punished them for disobedience in refusing to pay their taxes, and for nothing else, for as long as they continued to obey the law, they were at perfect liberty to memorialize the King as much and as often as they pleased. The truth of this
remark was so apparent, and so conclusive, that it was felt more than the punishment.
To his astonishment, he discovered that with all their boasted love of liberty, the Puritans had reserved this inestimable blessing exclusively for themselves, and he soon found it necessary to continue and preserve another of their institutions, the censorship of the press. But his departure from the fundamental principle of the republic, which required “ Church membership" as a qualification for civil rights, shocked their prejudices more than can be conceived, by a person not conversant with the history of these early times. Although they had themselves affected to concede toleration, they had never practically acted upon their professions, nor had it ever been their intention to do so. So far from considering the liberty of conscience, which the Governor had granted to all, as an act of grace, they loudly complained of it as an open attack, and a direct persecution of themselves. They regarded it as the triumph of Antichrist, and considered that the blessing of God would be withdrawn from a country which admitted the presence of clergymen ordained by a bishop, instead of the more inspired because more ignorant, and more pious because more assuming, lay brethren. It was in vain that they had aided the secretaries in England to sacrifice
Laud, and to dethrone and slaughter their Sovereign, if prelacy was to be permitted to have the slightest footing in America ; reason and Scripture alike led to the conclusion, that they who require to be taught are the best able to judge of the qualifications and attainments of the teacher, and therefore most competent to invest him with the character and office. So rigidly had the exclusion of Episcopalians been enforced, that when the Royal Commissioners were at Boston, there were not enough of them in the place to form a congregation. We are informed on authority that cannot be doubted, “ that most of the inhabitants who were on the stage in 1686 had never seen a Church of England Assembly.” In that year there was but one churchman* in the Government, and one Captain, and three subalterns professing Church principles in the whole militia of the province.
Such being the case, the astonishment of the people was only equalled by their indignation at a wanton outrage on private property. Soon after his arrival Andross caused Divine Service to be celebrated by his chaplain, in the South MeetingHouse. In vain was the building claimed by its owners. In vain the sexton refused to ring the
* There had been two, but at the date of Randolph's letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury (1685), the other had gone to England,
bell. No tenderness was exhibited similar to that of the commissioners twenty years before. The clergyman came forth attired in the surplice, the very name of which was an abomination to them, The foundation of an Episcopal church was soon after laid, and those who had been heretofore taxed for the support of Puritan preaching, and compelled to contribute to their conventicles, now took a malicious pleasure in soliciting their old oppressors for subscriptions, to build up what they called a house for the true worship of God.
This toleration, thus rendered doubly distasteful, was not very easily enforced. Although the people had not the power, through their representatives, to repeal the law or prevent its execution, they had the means of insult, and the opposition and the tyranny of a majority to back them. Upon one of the first occasions, under this edict, that a clergyman in Boston, proceeded in his vestments to the graveyard, to read the burial-service, a crowd of persons led on by an infuriated deacon, drove him from the grave, and loaded him with insult and abuse, calling him “Baal's priest," and his prayers,“ leeks, garlic, and Popish trash.” Prompt and decisive measures on the part of the Governor prevented a repetition of such disgraceful scenes.
This liberty was not merely deplored by them as a spiritual loss, but was sensibly felt in a