Графични страници
PDF файл

ries of this war. We have also “Some Account of the coors

Divine Providence towards Colonel Benjamin Church,” in

memoirs dictated by the colonel, and published by his son. 1677.

The war with the Eastern tribes still continuing, it was proposed to employ against them an auxiliary force

of Mohawks. But this scheme did not succeed. Some .

fugitive Indians, who had taken refuge in Canada, descended the Connecticut, and falling upon a party assembled at Hadley, at a house raising, carried off twenty prisoners. The husbands of two of the female captives

proceeded to Canada, by way of Albany and Lakes

George and Champlain, guided by a Mohawk Indian—
the first recorded journey made in that direction. By
the intervention of the French governor, they succeeded
in redeeming the captives. - -
In the midst of these domestic disasters, new troubles
were preparing in the mother country. A petition from
the English merchants had been presented to the Privy
Council, complaining of the total disregard of the acts
of trade in New England. The Committee for Planta-
tions had suggested, by way of remedy, to establish a
royal custom-house at Boston, with officers to look after
breaches of the acts of trade. The difficulty was to pro-
vide salaries for them. Should Massachusetts decline to
receive these officers, it was proposed to refuse Mediter-
ranean passes to her ships, thus exposing them to cap-
ture by the Barbary pirates; also to cut off her trade

with the southern colonies, and to authorize such of the

king's frigates as might visit the American coast to seize
offenders and send them to England for trial—expedients
indicative enough of the weakness and poverty of the
king's government.
Association of breaches of the acts of trade, with re-
sistance to prerogative, tended to strengthen the hands



chAFTER of the king, who might-now expect, in the controversy





with Massachusetts, support from the English mercantile
interest. The Massachusetts theocracy gained also new
hold on the affections of the colonists as advocates of
colonial free trade, and new support from pecuniary as
well as spiritual considerations.
Mason and Gorges had continued to urge in England
their respective claims to New Hampshire and Maine;
and, in the midst of the Indian war, Randolph, a kins-
man of Mason, and henceforward, by his zeal and perti-
nacity, the terror and abhorrence of Massachusetts, ar-
rived at Boston with notice from the Privy Council that
unless, within six months, agents were sent to defend the
right of Massachusetts to those provinces, judgment by
default would be given for the claimants. Thus pushed,
the General Court, after consulting the elders, commis-
sioned Bulkley and Stoughton as agents; but their pow-
ers were very carefully circumscribed. Bulkley, son of
the first minister of Concord, was speaker of the House,
and subsequently a magistrate. The father of Stough-
ton, commander of the Massachusetts troops in the Pe-
quod war, had afterward been a lieutenant colonel in the
Parliamentary army. Stoughton himself, after gradua-
ting at Harvard College, studied divinity, and obtained,
by his father's interest, an Oxford fellowship, from which
he had been ejected at the Restoration. He inherited,
however, a handsome estate, and, returning to New En-
gland, was presently chosen a magistrate, and now agent.
After hearing the parties, the Privy Council decided,
in accordance with the opinion of the two chief justices,
that the Massachusetts patent did not include any terri-
tory more than three miles distant from the left, or north-
ern bank of the Merrimac. This construction, which set
aside the pretensions of Massachusetts to the province of

Maine, as well as to that part of New Hampshire east chAPTER of the Merrimac, appeared so plain to the English law- yers that the agents hardly attempted a defense. 1677. The king had intended to purchase Maine as an appanage for the Duke of Monmouth, his illegitimate son. But Massachusetts was beforehand with him; and, through the agency of Usher, a wealthy Boston merchant, Gorges was induced, for the sum of £1200, to sell out all his rights as proprietary, thus confirming the May 6. jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and giving her a title to the ungranted soil. It is worthy of notice, as throwing some light on the habits of the colonists, at least a part of them, that this Usher, the richest merchant in Boston, had acquired his fortune in the bookselling business. A London stationer, who presently visited Boston with a venture of books, “most of them practical,” and so “well suited to the genius of New England,” found no less than four booksellers established in that town. The province of Maine, as purchased by Massachusetts, was bounded by the Kennebec. Sagadahoc, the territory, that is, from the Kennebec to the Penobscot, was claimed as forming a part of New York. Jurisdiction over its few scattered hamlets had lately been assumed on behalf of the duke by Andros, governor of that province, who built a fort at Pemaquid, and terminated the Indian war in that quarter by agreeing to pay the Indians a tribute, or quit-rent, of a peck of corn for each English family. A treaty with these tribes, concluded about the same time by the Massachusetts authorities at Casco, gave peace to the eastern coasts; not, however, till the set- 1678. tlements of Maine had lost at least half of their inhabit. ** ants—a bitter foretaste of wars to come. The country east of the Penobscot, though included

[ocr errors]

cion as far as the St. Croix in the Duke of York's charter, xiv.

was claimed by the French as a part of Acadie. The

1677. Baron Castin, a man of intrigue and enterprise, who had

borne a commission as captain in the regiment of Carignan, sent to Canada, established himself on the west shore of the Penobscot, on the spot which still bears his name. He succeeded to that Indian trade formerly carried on from the same spot by D'Aulney ; and, having taken several Indian wives, daughters of the chiefs, he acquired a great influence among the Indians of that vicinity. Castin and other French traders furnished the Eastern Indians

with arms and ammunition. The French missionaries

converted them to the Catholic faith. Both were believ. ed to exercise an influence unfavorable to the English. The jealousy of the English merchants once excited, they soon renewed their complaints of the disregard by Massachusetts of the acts of trade. The Committee for Plantations, to whom these complaints were referred, suggested, as the only effectual remedy, “a governor wholly to be supported by his majesty.” Randolph, who had carried back to England very exaggerated ac

counts of the wealth and population of Massachusetts,

soon returned to Boston, authorized to administer to the New England governors an oath to enforce the acts of trade. Leverett, on the ground that no such oath was required by the charter, refused to take it. The General

Court, however, enacted a law of their own for enforcing

the navigation acts. They re-enacted, also, the original oath of fidelity, by which allegiance was sworn to the king as well as the colony. They voted a present to the king of eranberries, “special good samp” and codfish, and sent an humble petition, with another also from the New Hampshire towns, that they might be allowed to retain jurisdiction as far as the Piscataqua.

The Baptist Church in Boston, after meeting for cook fourteen years in private houses, part of the time with much secrecy, had caused a building to be erected for a 1677. meeting house. As soon as the purpose of this building 1678. became known, a law was enacted forbidding the erec. * * tion of any meeting house except with the consent of the freemen of the town and the County Court, or by approbation, on appeal, of the General Court; and subjecting any buildings erected contrary to the act, and the land on which they stood, to forfeiture.

The oath of allegiance, by which the king and the colony were put upon a level, did not give satisfaction in England. Randolph presently reappeared with an oath Oct. drawn out in form. The magistrates took it themselves, and imposed it on all other officers. Letters, meanwhile, had arrived from the agents, with accounts of new complaints against the colony; objections to their laws, as contradicting those of England; their imposition of duties on imports from England; their neglect of the acts of trade; shelter to the regicides; execution of Quakers; coining money not in the king's image; and use of the word “commonwealth” in their laws. To these objections the court replied, defending some points, apologizing for others; excusing themselves for their neglect of the acts of navigation on the ground that, not being represented in Parliament, they had not supposed themselves bound by those acts. Though “a great discouragement to trade,” they promised, however, to submit to them—to any thing, indeed, short of compromising the “interest of the Lord Jesus and his churches situate in this wilderness.” On that point they would yield nothing.

Leverett presently died in office. The choice of Brad- 1679. street to fill his place was an evidence of the progress of * the moderate party.

« ПредишнаНапред »