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New England, La Tour had attacked D'Aulney's estab- chapter lishment at Penobscot; but hearing from his wife in France that the interest of his rival was entirely in the 1644. ascendant there, he came again to Boston to beg for aid. July. The magistrates and elders again discussed at length whether it were lawful “for a true Christian to aid an anti-Christian,” and whether, in this particular case, “it were safe in point of prudence.” These deliberations resulted in a letter to D'Aulney, in reply to his reclamations, demanding redress for the seizure of Penobscot, and some other old matters; denying, upon what ground hardly appears, that the armament which La Tour had obtained at Boston had been fitted out “by any counsel or act of permission” on the part of the colony, but proffering, however, redress if D’Aulney could show himself to have been injured. La Tour's request for aid was not granted, but he was entertained with much attention, and at his departure was escorted to his vessel by the Boston train-bands. He was hardly gone when Madame La Tour arrived in an English vessel which she had Sept. chartered to take her to St. John's; but the captain, after great delays, trading in the St. Lawrence, had brought her, not to St. John's, but to Boston. She sued him there for damages, and, by the help of her husband's Boston creditors, recovered £2000, part of which was levied on the ship's cargo; and with the money so obtained, Madame La Tour hired three stranger vessels then in the harbor of Boston, and sailed with them for St. John's. While this affair was still pending, a messenger from D’Aulney arrived at Boston, “supposed to be a friar, but habited like a gentleman,” with whom, after many mutual recriminations, an agreement was finally made for trade and Oct. peace; but this arrangement was necessarily referred for ratification to the Commissioners for the United Colonies.
chapter Those commissioners, at their third meeting, lately
held at Hartford, taking into consideration the late pro-
that colony, Hazelrig, Pym, and Cromwell. This board, charter a pretty close imitation of the late royal commission of X. which Laud had been the head, was authorized “to pro- 1644. vide for, order, and dispose all things which they shall from time to time find most fit and advantageous to the well governing, securing, strengthening, and preserving of the said plantations, and chiefly to the preservation and advancement of the true Protestant religion among the said planters, inhabitants, and the further spreading and advancement of the gospel of Christ among those that yet remain there in great and miserable blindness and ignorance.” They were also authorized to appoint at pleasure all such “subordinate governors, counselors, commanders, and officers as they shall judge to be best affected and most fit and serviceable;” but as to any particular plantations, they might, if they saw fit, depute to the inhabitants any or all of the above-granted powers. . -
During Williams's stay in England he had published his “Key to the Language of America,” containing, likewise, notices of Indian manners; also, the “Bloody Tenet of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience,” one of the first English publications in favor of religious liberty, in answer to a letter of Cotton on the power of the magistrate in matters of religion. Cotton presently replied in the “Bloody Tenet washed and made white in the Blood of the Lamb.” From the commissioners appointed by the Parliament to superintend the affairs of the colonies, Williams had obtained a charter, including the shores and March 14. islands of Narraganset Bay, west of Plymouth and south of Massachusetts, as far as the Pequod River and country, to be known as Providence PLANTATIons, with authority to the inhabitants “to rule themselves” as they shall find “most suitable.” He also brought with him
chapTER a letter of commendation from several influential mem— bers of Parliament, sufficient to secure him safe-conduct
through Massachusetts. He proceeded at once to Providence, and, being met at Seekonk by fourteen canoes, and escorted home in triumph, he took steps toward organizing a government under his charter, in which, however, he encountered many difficulties. Massachusetts still claimed Shawomet; Plymouth set up a title to Aquiday, and even to Providence, as within the limits of Pocanoket—that is, of Massasoit's dominion; and Williams was peremptorily forbidden to exercise any of his “pretended authority” in either of those places.
. . The civil war in England had spread to the seas, and
was carried by English ships across the ocean. The vessels of London, seat of the parliamentary power, furnished with privateering commissions, took every opportunity that offered to attack those of Bristol and other western ports which adhered to the king. Such an encounter had lately taken place in Boston harbor; and the captors, having exhibited a commission from Warwick, high admiral, founded on a parliamentary ordinance, were suffered to retain their prize. But when another London vessel shortly after attacked a ship of Dartmouth as she entered Boston harbor with a cargo of wine and salt, the magistrates interfered with an armed force, and, taking advantage of some defect in the commission of the assailing vessel, appropriated the prize as compensation for a Boston ship which had been captured on the high seas by the Royalists. Some “malignant spirits beginning to stir and declare themselves for the king,” all such turbulent practices, either by word or action, were strictly prohibited. But a law was presently passed, assuring protection to all ships that came as friends; and officers were appointed to keep the peace in the harbor, and to prevent fighting except chapter “by authority.” - - - - The Standing Council for Life, composed of Winthrop, 1645. Dudley, and Endicott, still enjoyed, as commissioners for military affairs, the right of confirming the choice of subaltern officers made by the companies. A vacancy occurring in the command of the Hingham company, the council wished it to be filled by the lieutenant. The lieutenant was, in fact, nominated by the company; but, before the commission had actually issued, they changed their minds, and substituted another person. The council refused to receive this second nomination, and directed that matters should remain as they were till further order. This led to a warm dispute as to the temporary command of the company, in which Hobart, the minister of the town, took an active part against the lieutenant, who was even threatened with excommunication from the church, under pretense that he had made false statements as to what the council had directed. Informed of these proceedings, Winthrop caused some of the most active in “this sedition” to be arrested, and bound over to the next Court of Assistants. Others were summoned for “speaking untruths of the magistrates,” and such of them as refused to give bail were committed. - * At the Court of Elections shortly after, the office of May.
governor was given to Dudley, Winthrop being re-chosen deputy. At the General Court, which immediately followed, a petition was presented from the Hingham prisoners and their friends, complaining of their arrest as an “abuse of authority,” and requesting to be heard. This the magistrates opposed, on the ground that the parties complained of were not named in the petition. Winthrop was thereupon specified as the culprit, and, after some little further resistance, a hearing was had in the meet