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chapTER saic code, provides that “there shall never be any bondslavery, villanage, nor captivity among us, unless it be 1641. lawful captives taken in just wars, and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are sold unto us, and these shall have all the liberties and Christian usages which the law of God established in Israel requires. This exempts none from servitude who shall be judged thereto by authority.” This article gives express sanction to the slave trade, and the practice of holding negroes and Indians in perpetual bondage, anticipating by many years any thing of the sort to be found in the statutes of Virginia or Maryland. Two articles “of the brute creature” forbid cruelty to domestic animals, and secure the right of pasturage in uninclosed lands to all persons driving cattle. “Capital laws” inflict the punishment of death on twelve offenses—idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, premeditated murder, sudden or passionate murder, poisoning or other guileful murder, two crimes of uncleanness, adultery, man-stealing, perjury in a capital case, and “the treacherously or perfidiously attempting the alter- . ation or subversion” of the fundamental frame of polity adopted by the colony. Each infliction of death is backed by references to the law of Moses. Some of the deputies were very earnest for specific punishments for all minor offenses; but this was zealously, and, for the present, successfully opposed by the magistrates, who insisted upon a discretion on those points. The fundamentals conclude with a declaration of “the liberties which the Lord Jesus has given to the churches.” But the strict union between church and state, and the despotic authority assumed by the aggregate of the church members, as represented by the magistrates and deputies, reduced the liberties of the individual churches
within very narrow limits. Almost every clause in chAPTER this section is burdened with a qualification which destroys its force... “Every church hath free liberty of 1641. election and ordination of all their officers, provided they be able, pious, and orthodox.” “We allow private meetings for edification in religion among Christians of all sorts of people, so it be without just offense for number, time, place, and other circumstances.” The polity of Massachusetts conferred, in fact, unlimited power in matters of religion, as in every thing else, upon the majority of the church members, as represented by the magistrates and General Court. Those in the minority, whether churches or individuals, had no rights and no alternative but silence and submission, or withdrawal from the colony. Bellingham's administration was a good deal disturbed by contentions between him and the other magistrates. He got into difficulty, also, with the deputies, who gave him a “solemn admonition” for having presumed to alter, without authority from the court, the amount of a fine which had been imposed. The curious circumstances of his second marriage brought him also into collision with the law. The bride was a young lady about to be engaged to a young friend of the governor, who had promoted the match; but all of a sudden overcome, as he alleged, by “the strength of his affection,” Bellingham proposed on his own account. The lady accepted, and, without waiting to conform to the publishment law, the governor, by virtue of his authority as a magistrate, performed the marriage ceremony himself! At the next election Winthrop was again chosen gov- 1642. ernor, notwithstanding the efforts of Speaker Hathorne May. to have him left out of the magistracy altogether, under pretense of the poverty to which his recent losses had
chapTER reduced him. Bellingham, however, was rechosen a X
magistrate, and was sitting on the bench as such when
the supposed ease and plenty of those countries as to pro
pose removing thither. Migration to Long Island was
chosen New England to plant his people in, and there- chapter fore how displeasing it would be to the Lord, and dangerous to himself, to hinder this work.” The Spaniards, 1642. who claimed the Bahamas, attacked New Providence, and the settlement was broken up. Nor did that at Trinidad succeed any better. “Much disputation there was,” says the patriotic Winthrop, “about liberty of removing for outward advantages, and all ways were sought for an open door to get out at; but it is to be feared many crept out at a broken wall. For such as come together into a wilderness where are nothing but wild beasts and beast-like men, and there confederate together in civil and church estate, whereby they do, implicitly at least, bind themselves to support each other, and that society, whether civil or sacred, of which they are members, how they can break from this without free consent is hard to find, so as may satisfy a tender or good conscience in time of trial.” To remain in Massachusetts was to submit, however, to a pretty strict regimen, of which some curious instances presently appeared. The young Richard Saltonstall, lately elected a magistrate, had written a treatise against the Standing Council for Life, which he had delivered to Hathorne, a sort of leader of the deputies, to lay before the General Court. But Hathorne, with the fate of Stoughton before him, hesitated to do it. The existence of this treatise presently leaked out, and an order was passed to bring it into court. Some passages appeared to Winthrop “very of. fensive and unwarrantable;” yet the deputies resisted all attempts to censure the author. He was very roughly answered, however, in two counter treatises, one by Dudley, the other by one of the ministers. The elders, to whom Saltonstall's book was referred by the General Court, made an elaborate report upon it, lenient, indeed,
chapTER toward Saltonstall, but justifying the Council for Life X.
against his censures.
member, and, of course, not a freeman, who “published