Графични страници
PDF файл

chapter law, which required the strict observance of Saturday xiw night, as a part of the Lord's day. A constable went 1666. to break them up, but was beaten and driven off by Sir * * Robert Carr and his servant. Mason, another constable, bolder and more zealous, immediately proceeded to Vyal's tavern; but, meanwhile, the party had adjourned to the house of a merchant over the way. Mason went in, staff in hand, and reproached them, king's officers as they were, who ought to set a better example, for being souncivil as to beat a constable; telling them it was well they had changed their quarters, as otherwise he should have arrested them all. “What,” said Carr, “arrest the king's commissioners' “Yes,” answered Mason, “the king himself, had he been there.” “Treason treason " shouted Maverick; “knave, thou shalt presently hang for this '" And he called on the company to take notice of the words. . The next day Maverick sent a letter to the governor, accusing the constable of treason. The governor also sent a polite note to Carr, informing him of a complaint for assault and battery lodged against him by the constable he had beaten. What was done in that case does not appear; but Mason being bound over to the next court, the grand jury found a bill against him. Maverick, however, declined to prosecute, declaring his belief that the man had spoken inconsiderately, intending no harm. The magistrates thought the matter too serious to be dropped in that way. They did not choose to expose themselves to the charge of winking at treason. The matter finally came before the General Court, where Mason was acquitted of the more serious charge, but was fined for insolence and indiscretion, principally, no doubt, through apprehension lest some handle might be made of the matter by the commissioners.

Having transmitted to England the results of their corn

labors, the commissioners presently received letters of

recall, approving their conduct, and that of all the colo- 1666.

nies except Massachusetts. That province was ordered
by the king to appoint “five able and meet persons to
make answer for refusing the jurisdiction of his commis-
sioners.” . Bellingham, governor since Endicott's death
the year before, and Hathorne, late speaker of the dep-
uties, but now a magistrate, both of whom had taken a
very active part in opposition, were specially summon-
ed, on their allegiance, to appear personally, as two of
the number.
This demand, transmitted through Maverick, who
sent a copy of the royal letter to the magistrates, occa-
sioned no little alarm. The General Court was called
together in special session. Petitions came in from
Boston, Ipswich, and other towns, urging compliance.
After a forenoon spent in prayer by six ministers, a
consultation with the elders, and a warm debate, the
petitioners were censured for their unnecessary inter-
ference, and a short address to the king was agreed
to, of which the principal object seemed to be to excuse
themselves from an invasion of Canada, which the king
had recommended in a former letter of notice that the
French had joined the Dutch in the war against him.
Some loss, as they informed his majesty, they had
suffered already from privateers, but they had taken
measures to protect themselves for the future. They
do; indeed, mention, in a cursory manner, another pa-
per, purporting to be an order from his majesty, but of
the authenticity of which, as it lacked the customary
seal and signature, they profess to have some doubts.
From sending over agents, as that paper required, they
excused themselves on the ground that no agents they


chapTER could send could make their case any plainer. “Pros— trate before his majesty,” they beseech him “to be 1666. graciously pleased to rest assured of their loyalty according to their former professions.” At the same time they sent a present of masts for the royal navy, and a contribution of provisions for the English fleet in the West Indies—seasonable supplies, which were graciously acknowledged. This bold step of disobeying the king's special orders was not taken, however, without great opposition. Bradstreet and Denison, both sons-inlaw of the late Governor Dudley, insisted strongly on the duty as well as the expediency of obedience. The Boston merchants, greatly alarmed lest their ships should be seized in England, refused to advance the £1000 voted by the court to purchase the presents for the king unless agents were also appointed. But, in spite of opposition, the original determination was adhered to. The oversight of the affairs of the colonies had been intrusted, subsequently to the Restoration, to a committee of the Privy Council, specially appointed for that purpose, whose principal business it seems to have been to discover ways and means of rendering the colonies more dependent on the royal authority, and more and more subservient to a jealous and narrow view of the commercial interests of the mother country. But the trade of Massachusetts had not yet become an object of jealousy, and the king was left to manage the controversy with little or no sympathy from the nation. . Circumstances at the moment favored the theocracy. Charles at this time was very hard pressed. The Dutch war gave the king's ministers full employment. A Dutch fleet presently sailed up the Thames, and threatened London, already ravaged by the plague and the great fire. The English government was too busy with affairs at home to give much attention to the colonies, chAPTER and for the present the obstinacy of Massachusetts went xiv. unnoticed and unpunished. The king and his council 1666. hardly knew what to do. Very exaggerated notions prevailed in England as to the power and population, of Massachusetts; nor was aid to be expected from Parliament in a quarrel with a distant colony merely as to the extent of the royal prerogative. As yet the acts of trade were hardly a subject of controversy. The Convention Parliament, which had welcomed back the king to his father's throne, had indeed 1660. re-enacted, with additional and more rigorous clauses, the ordinance of 1651, not only restricting importations from America into England to English ships, but totally excluding foreign ships from all Anglo-American harbors. This exclusion of foreign ships, which might, indeed, be regarded as a benefit by the New England ship-owners, had been followed up by another act, intended still fur- 1663. ther to isolate the colonies, by which the more valuable colonial staples, mentioned by name and hence known as “enumerated articles,” were required to be shipped exclusively to England, to which country the colonists were also restricted for their supply of foreign goods. But none of these “enumerated articles” were produced in New England. Salt for the fisheries, and wine from Madeira and the Azores, branches of foreign trade in which New England was deeply interested, were specially exempted from the operation of an act which had chiefly in view the more southern colonies, and as to which it was even doubted whether New England was at all bound by it. Shortly after the departure of the royal commission- 1668. ers, Leverett, now major general of the colony, was sent to Maine, with three other magistrates, and a body of

chapTER xiw


April 14.

1669. .May.



horse, to re-establish the authority of Massachusetts. In spite of the remonstrances of Nichols at New York, the new government lately set up was obliged to yield. Several persons were punished for speaking irreverently of the re-established authority of Massachusetts. Though successful as yet against external assaults, the Massachusetts theocracy was not without internal troubles. The increase of Baptists occasioned much alarm. As persecution availed so little, it had been resolved to try the force of argument. Six of the chief ministers, aided by the governor and magistrates, held a grand debate at Boston with the Baptists of that town, assisted by a deputation of brethren from Newport. In spite of the splendid victory which the Boston ministers claimed to have achieved, the Boston Baptists remained obstinate; the heresy continued to spread; and recourse was again had to a strict execution of the penal laws. The Baptists, not daring to assemble in the town, held their meetings secretly on the island, now East Boston. The “half-way covenant” still continued, also, an occasion of bitter controversy. Davenport, the spiritual father of New Haven, was very vehement against it. His zeal in this matter gave great satisfaction to a majority of the first church of Boston, and, on Wilson's death, Davenport was invited to become their pastor. The church at New Haven complained loudly at thus losing their minister, while a minority of the Boston Church, adherents of the “half-way covenant,” equally dissatisfied with Davenport's settlement there, seceded and formed a new church, known afterward as the “Old South.” The General Court of the next year, in which the opponents of the “half-way covenant” happened to have a majority, pronounced this secession “irregular, illegal, and disorderly.” At the next election the oppo.

« ПредишнаНапред »