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ever apology may be made for the treatment given to EPISCOPALIANS, BAPTISTS, and QUAKERS, the colony cannot be cleared from the charge of perfecuting; that, however, will not justify those who perfecute with reproaches and ill-will the prefent generation, now reprobating the intolerance of their forefathers, which at that period was, more or lefs, the ftain of moft religious parties. "It was not peculiar to the Maffachufetts people to think themfelves bound in confcience to use the fword of the civil magiftrate to convince, or cut off heretics, that fo they might not infect the church, or injure the public peace." The true grounds of liberty of confcience were not

then known or embraced by many fects of Christians.

The government of Maffachusetts was in divers refpects abfolute. Both magiftrates and general court often judged and punished, in a fummary way, without a jury, according to difcretion, as occasions occurred. It was four years before it was enacted or ordered, that no trial should pass upon any for life or banishment, but by a jury of freemen: and within three years after, that law was violated even by the general court. They exercised, while fitting, legiflative, judicial, and executive powers-a practice which must ever be 'dangerous to the rights of a people, even when allowed to their own annual reprefentatives.

The country at length grew uneafy at these proceedings; were fufpicious that the general court affected arbitrary government, and earneftly expected a body of laws to direct and protect them in all their juft rights and privileges. It was the more neceffary to comply with the prevailing expectation, for the bufinefs had been long in agitation; not only fo, but a great majority of the inhabitants were not freemen, not being members of the congregational churches, or declining to take up their freedom, in order to fecure an exemption from ferving in civil offices. It was not, till 1648, that the body of laws were digefted and printed.

The conduct of the colony on the one hand, and the inveteracy of the English administration on the other, would certainly have produced a revocation of the charter, and probably the ruin of the plantation, had not the disturbances in England prevented. It became a favourite, upon the change that followed them; and while Oliver Cromwell ruled, met with the utmost indulgence. From 1640, to

* Mr. John Calendar's Century Sermon.

Maffachusetts Records for the 4th of November, 1646, vol. I.




1660, it approached very near to an independent commonwealth.* The House of Commons, in a memorable refolve of the 10th of March, 1642, paffed in favour of it, gives New-England the title of kingdom.† The commiffioners for New-England, fent over by King Charles II. affert in their narrative, that the colony folicited Cromwell to be declared a free state, which is not unlikely.

It has been already mentioned, that all the perfons paffing over to the Maffachusetts did not confine themselves to that colony.

In 1635, feveral families removed to Connecticut river, by mutual agreement with their fellow emigrants that remained behind. Plantations were formed at Hartford, Windfor, and Weathersfield. The inhabitants being foon after fully fatisfied that they were out of the Maffachusetts limits, and of courfe jurifdiction, entered into a combination among themselves, became a body politic, without reftraining the freedom of their civil government to the membership of their churches, and proceeded to the choice of magiftrates and reprefentatives. By the articles of government, it was determined that there fhould be annually two general courts, and that no perfon fhould be chofen governor more than once in two years. But it must be obferved, that the fame year, in which the families removed from the Maffachusetts, Lords Say and Brooke, with other gentlemen, having obtained a grant, John Winthrop, Eiq. was appointed governor, took poffeffion of Connecticut river, and began to erect a fort, which he called Say-Brooke, to fecure the mouth of it. He was fupplied with men, provifions, and all things neceffary, by a veffel from England, fent by the grantees, which arrived the latter end of November. Some of the grantees had in contemplation the transporting themselves, families, and effects, to the territory they had ob tained; but the defign of emigrating was laid afide, when matters began to take a new turn in their native country, and at length the agent, Mr. Fenwick, was authorized to dispose of their lands, which were purchased by the people who had removed from the Maffachusetts.

Two large fhips arrived at the Maffachusetts Bay in 1637, with paffengers from London. Great pains were taken to prevail upon them to remain in the colony; but they hoped by removing to a confiderable distance, to be out of the reach of a general governor, with

Hutchinfon's Hiftory, vol. II. p. 2 and 3.

+Ib. vol. I. p. 115.

Hutchinfon's Collection, p. 420.


whom the country was then threatened. They fent to their friends in Connecticut to purchase of the natives the lands lying between them and Hudson's river. They laid the foundation of a flourishing colony, of which New-Haven was the capital. They, as Connecticut, formed a government, much like the Massachusetts, by a voluntary agreement, without any charter, or commiffion, or authority whatfoever, from the crown or other powers in England. They admitted no one to any office, civil or military, or to have a voice in any election, except he was a member of one of the churches in New. England. They had no jury, either in civil or criminal cafes.

Connecticut and New-Haven continued two distinct colonies for many years. At length the general court of Connecticut determined to prefer an addrefs and petition to Charles II. profeffing their sub. jection and loyalty to his Majefty, and foliciting a royal charter, and John Winthrop, Efq. who had been chofen governor, was appointed to negociate the affair with the king. He fucceeded, and a royal charter was obtained, April 23, 1662, conftituting the two colonies for ever one body corporate and politic. New-Haven took the affair ill, and for fome time declined the union. But diffi culties were amicably fettled at laft, and the colonies united by


The royal charter established a kind of democracy; every power, as well deliberate as active, was invested in the freemen of the corporation of their delegates, and the colony was under no obligation to communicate the acts of their local legislature to the king. It was the fame as to the royal charter, granted the next year to RhodeIland and Providence Plantations.

Thus the peopling of these colonies was owing chiefly to the Puritan Minifters, who, being filenced at home, repaired to NewEngland, that they might enjoy liberty of confcience, and drew after them vaft numbers of their friends and favourers. They amounted to seventy-feven before 1641, and though all were not perfons of the greatest learning and abilities, they had a better fhare of each than most of their neighbouring clergy at that period, and were men of eminent fobriety and virtue, plain, ferious, affectionate preachers, exactly conformable to the doctrines of the Church of England, and laboured much to promote a reformation of manners in their feveral parishes. Many planters, who accompa nied or followed them, were gentlemen of confiderable fortunes, and of no mean education, who spent their eftates in New-England,

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and were at the charge of carrying over many poor families, that were not able of themfelves to bear the expence. * The body of laity and clergy, collectively confidered, furnishes such a glorious conftellation of characters, as would employ the pen of a first-rate writer to do them juftice, notwithstanding what has been above remarked of their governmental mistakes.

The dangers to which the New-England colonies were early expofed, induced them to think of confederating for their mutual fafety. Articles were drawn up in 1638, but they were not finished and ratified till the feventh of September, 1643, from which time we are to look upon Plymouth, Maffachusetts, Connecticut, and NewHaven, as one body, in regard to all public tranfactions with their neighbours, though the private affairs of each colony were ftill managed by their own courts and magiftrates.

By thefe articles of confederation, a Congrefs was formed, confifting of two commiffioners from each colony, who were chofen annually, and when met, were confidered as the reprefentatives of "The United Colonies of New-England." The powers delegated to the commiffioners were much the fame as those vested in Congress by the articles of confederation, agreed upon by the United States in 1778. The colony of Rhode-Island would gladly have joined in this confederacy, but Maffachusetts refused to admit their commiffioners. This union fubfifted, with fome few alterations, until the year 1686, when all the charters, except that of Connecticut, were, in effect, vacated by a commiffion from James II.

We now proceed to confider the fettlement of the other NewEngland colonies.

Mr. Roger Williams, who fucceeded Mr. Skelton upon his deceafe, as paftor of the church at Salem, having been banished from the Maffachusetts, repaired with twelve companions to the Narraganfet country in 1635, and had land given him by the Indian Sachem Canonicus, of whom he afterwards purchased the large tract, lying between Pawtucket and Pawtuxet rivers, the Great Falls and the Little Falls, as the Indian names fignify, and stiled it Providence, from a fenfe of God's merciful Providence to him in his diftrefs." The authority and power of Miantonomy, another Sachem, and his uncle Canonicus, awed all the Indians round to aflift him and his few affociates., When the determinations of the

Neal's Hiftory of New-England, vol. I. p. 214 and 217.


Maffachusetts general court, occafioned by what they called antinomian difputes, banished many, and induced others to leave the colony, the heads of the party were entertained in a friendly manner by Mr. Williams, who advised them to feek a fettlement on Rhode Island, and was very inftrumental in procuring it from the Indian Sachems.

They, to the number of eighteen, incorporated themselves, and began fettling the island. The plantations there and at Providence increased apace, owing to the liberal fentiments of the first Lettlers; and in 1643, Mr. Williams came to England as agent, and obtained an abfolute charter of incorporation of Providence and Rhode-Ifland plantations, empowering them to govern themselves by that form they might voluntarily agree upon. They agreed upon a democratic. Mr. Williams justly claims the honour of having been the first legiflator in the world, in its latter ages, who effectually provided for, and established a free, full, and abfolute liberty of confcience. This was the chief caufe that united the inhabitants of Rhode-Island and those of Providence, and made them one people, and one colony. The foundation principle on which this colony was first fettled, was, that " every man who fubmits peaceably to the civil authority, may peaceably worship God according to the dictates of his own confcience without moleftation." And when the colony was applied to in 1656, by the four United Colonies,to join them in taking effectual methods to fupprefs the Quakers, and prevent their doctrines being propagated in the country;" the affembly returned for anfwer, "We fhall strictly adhere to the foundation principle on which this colony was first settled."

In July 8th, 1663, Charles II. granted an ample charter, whereby the colony was made a body corporate and politic, by the name of the Governor and Company of the English Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations in New-England in America. The charter re ferved only allegiance to the king, without the smallest share of the legiflatíve or executive powers.

A writ of quo warranto was iffued out against the colony, which was brought June 26, 1686. The affembly determined not to stand fuit. After the revolution, they were allowed by government to refume their charter, no judgment having been given against it.


New-Hampshire and the Main were fettled about the fame time with the Maffachusetts, the former by Captain John Mafon, and the latter by Sir R. Gorges, who had obtained grants of land from




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