Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

corren upon an examination of which, they concluded that the

1634.

May 14.

legislative authority rested not with the magistrates, but
with the freemen. On that point they asked the gov-
ernor's opinion, who replied, that when the patent was
granted, it was supposed the freemen would be so few,
as in other like corporations, that all might well join in
making laws; but now they were grown so great a
body, that was impossible, and they must choose others
for that purpose. Yet the whole number of freemen
admitted since the transfer of the charter, including
those made at the next court, was but a few more than
three hundred, and the “great body” which the gov-
ernor esteemed too unwieldy for legislation did not ex-
ceed the present ordinary number of the Massachusetts
Legislature. In the governor's opinion, “the commons"
were not yet furnished with a body of men adequate to
the duties of legislation; he proposed, however, the ap-
pointment of a certain number yearly, not to make laws,
but to prefer grievances to the Court of Assistants,
whose consent might also be required to all assessments
of money and grants of lands.
The freemen were not to be satisfied with any such
restricted power; and when the General Court met,
that body claimed for itself, under the charter, the ad-
mission of freemen, the choosing of all principal officers,
the making of laws, granting lands, raising money, and
the revision, by way of appeal, of all civil and criminal
procedures. By the terms of the charter, four General
Courts were to be held in a year. It was arranged,
however, that while all the freemen assembled annually
for the choice of officers, they should be represented in
the other three courts by a body of delegates elected by
the towns, “to deal on their behalf in the public affairs
of the Commonwealth,” and for that purpose “to have

derived to them the full voice and power of all the said chores freemen.” o This political revolution was naturally followed by a 1634. change in the head of the government, though some ef. fort was made to prevent it. Previous to the election a sermon was preached to the assembled freemen, a usage still perpetuated in the annual sermon before the General Court of Massachusetts. Cotton, the new minister of Boston, delivered on that occasion this doctrine, that a magistrate ought not to be turned into the condition of a private man without just cause, and a public trial on specific charges, “no more than the magistrates may not turn a private man out of his freehold without like public trial.” This sermon, however, did not prevent the freemen from electing Deputy-governor Dudley into Winthrop's place. . A jealousy between these two rival chiefs, which had already displayed itself on several occasions, recommended Dudley as the successor of Winthrop, though he was not a whit more moderate in his notions of magisterial authority, and was naturally of a much harsher and more exacting disposition. Dudley's place as deputy was filled by Ludlow. Yet Cotton's sermon was not entirely thrown away. Winthrop was still retained as an assistant, as were all his colleagues. Some of them “were questioned for some errors in their government,” and some fines were imposed; but these were remitted before the court broke up. The ex-governor was a good deal mortified at being called upon for a statement of his accounts, which he seemed to regard, very unnecessarily, as a reflection on his integrity. This statement, promptly rendered and placed upon record at the ex-governor's request, showed Winthrop to have been a considerable loser by his office. During the continuance of the first charter, the station

corn of governor was rather one of honor than of profit, the

1634.

1629.

compensation voted from time to time never exceeding
three or four hundred dollars annually.
Under Winthrop's four years' administration the infant
colony had been firmly planted. Already there were
seven churches, and eight principal plantations, besides
several smaller ones. Ferries had been established be-
tween Boston, Charlestown, and Winnissimet; a fort had
been built at Boston; water-mills had been set up at
Roxbury and Dorchester, and wind-mills at other places.
A bark of thirty tons, called the “Blessing of the Bay,”
had been built and rigged at Winthrop's expense, and
another, the “Rebecca,” of sixty tons, at Medford, where
Cradock had a ship-yard—a branch of business carried
on there from that day to this. A trade in corn and
cattle had commenced with Virginia, and an exchange
of furs for West India goods with the Dutch at Manhat-
tan. This steadiness and perseverance soon made itself
felt. The New England churches, unshackled by tra-
ditionary institutions, and constructed, it was thought,
on the pure Bible model, became the admiration and envy
of the English Puritans; and, the first difficulties of the
enterprise overcome, the tide of immigration was already
pouring into Massachusetts Bay.
The eastern coasts, meanwhile, had not been wholly
neglected. Mason and Gorges had made a partition of
their province of Laconia, and Mason had obtained, in
his own name, a new and separate grant for that portion
of it between the Merrimac and the Piscataqua, extend-
ing sixty miles into the interior. This new province
was called New HAMPSHIRE, after the English county in
which Mason lived. For the advancement of the settle-
ments on the Piscataqua, two companies had been formed,
to which separate grants from the Council for New En-

gland were presently issued. The company for the upper chartER plantation, or Dover, was composed of west-of-England merchants; that for the lower plantation, or Portsmouth, 1630. of London merchants, with whom Mason and Gorges were partners. The same summer with the great emigration to Massachusetts Bay, Walter Neal was sent out as governor of the lower plantation. In search of the great lakes of Canada, of which some rumor had been heard from the Indians, he penetrated inland almost to Lake Winnipiseogee, but failed to open that lucrative fur trade which his employers had hoped. Mason and Gorges soon bought out the other partners, and became the sole proprietors of Portsmouth. The adventurers for the upper settlement, or most of them, sold out not long after to the Lords Say and Brooke, two Puritan noblemen much engaged in plantation projects. The coast from the Piscataqua to the Kennebec was 1629– covered by six other patents, issued in the course of three 1631. years by the Council for New England, with the consent, doubtless, of Gorges, who was anxious to interest as many persons as possible in the projects of colonization, to which he was himself so much devoted. Several of these grants were for small tracts; the most important embraced an extent of forty miles square, bordering on Casco Bay, and named Ligonia. The establishments hitherto attempted on the eastern coast had been principally for fishing and fur trading; this was to be an agricultural colony, and became familiarly known as the “Plow patent.” A company was formed, and some settlers were sent out; 1631. but they did not like the situation, and removed to Massachusetts. Another of these grants was the Pemaquid patent, a narrow tract on both sides of Pemaquid Point, where already were some settlers. PEMAQUID remained an independent community for the next forty years.

CHAPTER will

1627.

1628.

1629.

1632.

The region granted to Sir William Alexander, by the name of Nova Scotia, but which the French claimed also by the name of Acadie, had passed, along with Canada, into the hands of a joint-stock association of French merchants—The Hundred Associates, or Company of New France. The foolish vanity of the favorite Buckingham having brought about a war between France and England, Sir William Alexander availed himself of the opportunity to take forcible possession of the province. He joined for that purpose with Sir David Kirk, or Kertz, an adventurous refugee Huguenot, who took command of a fleet of nine vessels, fitted out at their joint expense. Having intercepted the supplies sent out by the Company of New France, and gained possession of Port Royal, Kirk proceeded toward Quebec, where Champlain was still governor. Informed, however, of the approach of some other French vessels, sent by the company with supplies, he turned about to meet them. The squadrons encountered off the Bay of Gaspé, and all the French vessels were taken. The next year, having first received the submission of some French settlers on the Island of Cape Breton, Kirk ascended the St. Lawrence a second time. Cut off from all communication with France, and in distress for provisions, Quebec, with its starving inhabitants, about a hundred in number, gladly surrendered But peace was already made in Europe; and under the treaty and the negotiations that followed it, not Canada only, but Cape Breton and Acadie, passed again to the French.

The limits of Acadie toward the west were wholly unsettled. Razzillai, appointed governor for the Company of New France, had a grant of the river and bay of St. Croix; but he preferred to establish himself at La Háve, on the exterior coast of the Acadien peninsula. The people of Plymouth, encouraged by their successful In

« ПредишнаНапред »