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pecuniary point of view. Although they withheld all civil rights from those who were not Congregationalists, they did not exempt them from taxation for the support of their own preachers. “Discouragements upon the hearts of the ministers increase," writes a correspondent of Mather's, “ by reason that a licentious people take advantage of a freedom to withhold maintenance from them." His deputies in distant parts of his jurisdiction, and their subordinate officers still enforced these rates where they could do so with safety, and the practice was not finally discontinued, until Andross threatened them if they persisted in assessing Quakers and others for that purpose, he would in like manner, make them contribute to the support of the Episcopal Church. To his Lieutenant Governor at Plymouth he expostulated on this subject, in a letter still extant, which reflects great credit on his judgment and firmness, and showed that in some instances at least, he was capable of impartiality.*
* “Some years before Andross's Act of Toleration, one Briscoe, a tanner of Watertown, published a book against the support of ministers by tithes or taxes, and reproached those who received their salary from such a source. The ministers thought a man who denied the authority of the civil magistrate to provide for the support of pastors, fuste potius erudiendum quam argumento, and therefore they left it to the magistrates to defend the cause, who con
That James was disposed to carry things with a high hand, where obedience was either reluctant or withheld, that his commission for the Government of the colony was illegal, and that his representative was willing to proceed to any length he was desired to go, was so palpable to all, that it is no wonder if the copious vocabulary of abuse which Puritanism had at its command, was exhausted before they expressed all their hatred of Andross and his council. His general conduct was haughty and capricious. Many of his acts were arbitrary, and some oppressive; but there is one to which I shall presently allude, which was well calculated to excite both their indignation and alarm. And yet it is doubtful whether the loss of legislative power, illegal exactions, or personal injuries, touched them so sensibly as toleration. It was mourned over in private, and preached against in public. One minister in particular, has obtained an imperishable name for his manly patriotism in selecting for his text the following words : “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” The clergy everywhere justified that compulsory conformity, which in England they resisted to the death. “Be pleased,” says one of their most eminent divines, “to vened the tanner before them, and brought him to an acknowledgment, if not to a sense of his error.”—Hubbard. consider this point a little further. You think to compel a man, in matters of worship, is to make him sin according to Rom. xiv, 23. If the worship be lawful in itself, the magistrate compelling him to come to it, compelleth him not to sin, but the sin is in his will that need to be compelled to a Christian duty. Josiah compelled all Israel to serve the Lord their God, (II. Chron. xxxiii, 34). Yet his act herein was not blamed, but recorded among his virtuous actions. The Lord keep us,” he says, “from this harlot's cup of toleration, lest while we seem to reject with open face of profession, we bring her in by a back door, and so come to drink of the cup of the Lord's wrath and be filled with her plagues.”
How inconsistent is man, and how easily does he enlist his reason on the side of his wishes or his passions! What rendered the conduct of the Governor still more irritating was, that he not only placed the clergymen of the Church of England practically on a footing with the Puritan ministers but that in his private intercourse he treated them with much greater respect. Hutchinson informs us, with infinite naïveté, that “ Sir Edmund actually asserted that he considered the preachers as mere laymen;" and records this with as great gravity as if he had never heard of such an idea before, and believed Andross to be the only man in the world that entertained it. It was a remark VOL. I.
that was treasured up in the heart and embalmed in its bitterness.
Swearing on the Book, as it is called, was introduced into the courts of justice, to the horror and disgust of the inhabitants. But the most flagrant and indefensible act of Andross's short administration was among his last. By the ingenuity of a lawyer, he found a prolific source of emolument, in a forced application of a feudal principle to the titles of land. The people were informed that the Charter having been granted on conditions which had not been performed, all acts under it were rendered invalid, and the soil reverted to the Crown; and that if a more indulgent construction were adopted, still their grants were not under seal, a defect which no length of time, and no amount of improvement, could rectify. They were, however, very considerately informed, that upon due acknowledgment of the insufficiency of their conveyances, and a humble petition, new patents should be executed for granting them possessions on such moderate terms, as his Excellency should approve. With respect to their deeds from the Indian chiefs, it was observed that the signature of a savage was about as valuable as “a scratch of a bear's paw.” In fact, he became the vendor of every man's estate at his own price, for the conciliation fee was always in proportion to its value and extent.
To exhibit to the people the necessity, as well as the policy of renewing their titles, writs of intrusion were issued against some of the principal inhabitants, which had the effect of terrifying others into obedience. To prevent the spread of sedition, he forbade all town meetings, except for the choice of officers, and prohibited any one from leaving the province without a pass from himself. In the meantime, while his orders in Massachusetts were left to be enforced by his subordinates, he proceeded to demand submission of the other New England colonies. He first visited Rhode Island, which, upon a Quo Warranto issued against her, declined to enter into a contest with the King, but appealed to his kindness. Having dissolved the Government, and broken its seal, he appointed five of the principal magistrates members of his council, and issued commissions to all the local officers. Shortly afterwards, he made an excursion into Connecticut attended by several of his assistants, and a guard of honour, consisting of sixty men, and demanded its Charter. The Assembly, which was then in session, reluctant to surrender or even produce it, kept the subject in debate and suspense until the evening, when it was brought forward, and laid on the table. By a preconcerted arrangement, the lights were suddenly extinguished, but without the slightest appearance of riot or disorder : when they were