Gambar halaman

in the management of their government, they would most certainly reform and obey her majesty's commands.?

Upon this full hearing, it was determined, that the lords of trade should draw out the principal articles of complaint, and send a copy of them to the governor of Connecticut, and to the two principal complainants, governor Dudley, and lord Cornbury, and that Connecticut should send their answer, with evidence respecting the several articles, legally taken, and sealed with the public seal of the colony. Governor Dudley and lord Cornbury were also directed to transmit their evidence of the articles charged, publicly and legally taken.

By this means, Dudley, Cornbury, and their abettors were caught in their own snare, their selfishness and duplicity were made to appear, in a strong point of light, and their whole scheme at once totally ruined. They were totally unable to support the charges which they had brought against the colony. At the same time, the legislature of Connecticut could produce the most substantial evidence, that the very reverse of what had been pretended, was true. They had the last, and this year between five and six hundred men in actual service. Four hundred of this number had been employed, principally in the defence of Massachusetts and New-York. The committee of war, consisting of the governor, most of the council, and other principal men in the colony, had met, with officers and commissioners from Massachusetts, and most harmoniously united with them in opinion, and measures for the common defence. The legislature were not only able to prove these facts from the records of the colony, and from the resolutions of the committee of war, but, what was still more confounding to governor Dudley, to produce a letter of his, under his own hand and signature, acknowledging their generous and prompt assistance in the war, and thanking them for the aid which they had given him. They produced substantial evidence, that when they had scarcely two thousand pounds, in circulating medium, in the whole colony, they had, in three years, expended more than that sum, in the defence of her majesty's provinces of Massachusetts and New-York. They were able to evince, that they had shewn the utmost loyalty and attachment to the queen; been punctual in their observance of the acts of trade and navigation; had not been pirates themselves, nor at any time harboured pirates, deserters, servants, or criminals among them.

With respect to appeals to her majesty, the legislature affirmed, that they had not refused to admit them, only in cases in which

Case of Connecticut stated, and pleadings before her majesty, February 12th, 1705, on file.

* They were able to produce letters of thanks, from the commanding officers, ministers, and principal gentlemen in the county of Hampshire, for the assistance which they had given them. Those letters are now on file.

proper security, or sufficient bondsmen had not been offered. In the appeals of major Palms, which seem to have been the only instances of which complaint had been made, the court judged, that the security offered was insufficient. The men, who offered themselves to be bound, appeared to have little or no property. As to the vexations complained of, these respected the obtaining of copies of the judgments of the courts in his case. It seenis he applied to the assembly for them, but the assembly declined giving them, insisting, that it was not their province to give copies of the doings of other courts. He was therefore referred to the courts in which the judgments had been given.

In the appeals of major Palms, and in all other instances, the judgments of the courts in Connecticut were finally established. Upon a full examination of the complaints, they appeared not only groundless, but invidious. The loyalty, justice, and honor of the colony appeared more conspicuous than they had done before: but it was some time before the evidence of the true state of the case could be collected and transmitted to England.

Meanwhile Dudley and Cornbury never lost sight of their object, but vigorously prosecuted the design of subverting the government. There had been, nearly fifty years before, a law enacted against the quakers, but it does not appear, that it had ever been acted upon, in Connecticut, and was, at that time, become obsolete. It appears, by a letter of the governor's, to Sir Henry Ashurst, that he did not know of one person, then in the colony, who was acknowledged to be a quaker. But governor Dudley, by some means, obtained a copy of the law, and procured a publication of it in Boston. The knowledge of it was communicated to the quakers in England, and they were spirited up to petition for a repeal of the law of Connecticut against the quakers. A petition, about the beginning of April, was preferred to her majesty, on the subject, reciting said law, and representing, that it was calculated to extirpate their friends from that part of her majesty's dominion, and praying that she would disallow the said law. Sir Henry Ashurst presented a petition to the lords of trade and plantation, to whom the petition of the quakers had been referred, praying them to advise her majesty to come to no determination on the subject, until the colony should have notice of the petition, and have time to send their answer. He represented, that the law was made against Adamites and Ranters: That it was become obsolete, and quakers lived as peaceably in Connecticut, as in any of her majesty's plantations. He represented to their lordships, that there had been more complaints exhibited against this poor colony, in three or four years, without any crime proved, than had been before from the time of its first settlement, which made him believe, that there were disaffected persons, who were attempting, by all means, to make

ned a come Moheagan uly, 1705, caph, Hallar

them weary of their charter government: That before the appointment of a certain governor for New-England, the colony had enjoyed uninterrupted peace, for many years, and would have done to that time, had it not been for his misrepresentations. He assured them, that he had been informed, that governor Dudley had, about two years before, ordered the act against the quakers to be printed, in Boston, on purpose, that the quakers, in England, might join with his other instruments in clamors against Connecticut, to deprive it of its charter privileges."

Her majesty, upon the advice of the lords of trade and plantations, declared the act against the quakers null and void, without giving the colony a hearing.

Sir Henry Ashurst, writing to the colony soon after, says, “You see how you are every way attacked.”

The enemies of the colony in Connecticut and New-England were no less active than those on the other side of the water. As they had obtained a commission for the trial of the case between Connecticut and the Moheagans, they spared no pains to carry their point. On the 5th of July, 1705, captain John Chandler, in behalf of Owaneco, captain Samuel Mason, Hallam, and others, who interested themselves in recovering the lands from the colony, began the survey of the Moheagan country, and having accomplished the work, drew a map of it, with a view to the trial, before Dudley's court, which was approaching. The governor sent an officer and prohibited his entering upon the survey; but the party gave large bonds to indemnify him, and he proceeded notwithstanding. The boundaries, as surveyed and reported by Chandler, captain John Parke, Edward Culver, and Samuel Sterry, who assisted him, were, on the south from a large rock, in Connecticut river, near eight mile island in the bounds of Lyme, eastward, through Lyme, New-London, and Groton, to Ah-yo-sup-suck, a pond in the northeastern part of Stonington; on the east, from this pond northward, to Mah-man-suck, another pond, thence to Egunk-sank-a-poug, whetstone hills; from thence to Man-hum-squeeg, the whetstone country. From this boundary, the line ran southwest, a few miles, to Acquiunk, the upper falls in Quinibaug river. Thence the line ran, a little north of west, through Pomfret, Ashford, Willington, and Tolland, to Mo-she-nup-suck, the notch of the mountain, now known to be the notch in Bolton mountain. From thence the line ran southerly, through Bolton, Hebron, and East-Haddam, to the first mentioned bounds. This, it appears, was the Pequot country, to the whole of which the Moheagans laid claim, after the conquest of the Pequot nation, except some part of New-London, Groton, and Stonington, which had been the chief seat of that warlike tribe. The Moheagans claimed this tract as their hereditary

· Petition on file.

country, and the Wabbequasset territory, which lay north of it, they claimed by virtue of conquest.

On the 23d of August, 1705, the court of commissioners, appointed by her majesty, to examine into the affair of the Moheagan lands, convened at Stonington. Writs had been previously issued, summoning the governor and company, with the claimers of lands in controversy, and all parties concerned, to attend at time and place. The court consisted of Joseph Dudley, Esq. president, Edward Palms, Giles Sylvester, Jahleel Brenton, Nathaniel Byfield, Thomas Hooker, James Avery, John Avery, John Morgan, and Thomas Leffingwell.

It seems that the governor and general assembly of Connecticut had not been served with a copy of the commission, by which the court was instituted, and viewed it as a court of enquiry only, to examine and make report to her majesty, and not to try and determine the title of the lands in dispute. The committee, appointed by the assembly, to appear before the court, were conditionally instructed. Provided the court was instituted for enquiry only, they were to answer and show the unreasonableness of the Moheagan claims, and the false light in which the affair had been represented; but if the design was to determine with respect to the title of the colony, they were directed to enter their protest against the court, and withdraw. All inhabitants of the colony, personally interested in any of the lands in controversy, were forbidden to plead or make any answer before the court.

Governor Winthrop addressed the following letter to the president.

“New-London, August 21st, 1705.

[ocr errors]

“I understand, by your excellency's letter of July 30th, your intentions to be at Stonington, on the 23d inst. to hear the complaints of Owaneco against this government. I have, therefore, in obedience to her majesty's commands, directed and empowered William Pitkin, John Chester, Eleazar Kimberly, Esquires, major William Whiting, Mr. John Elliot, and Mr. Richard Lord, to wait on your excellency, and show the unreasonableness of those complaints, and the unpardonable affront put upon her majesty, by that false representation, and the great trouble to yourself thereby; and I conclude, in a short hearing, your excellency will be able to represent to her majesty, that those complaints are altogether groundless. The gentlemen shall assist your excellency's enquiry, in summoning such persons as you shall please to desire, and all things else, reserving the honor and privileges of the government.”

When the committee came before the court, they perceived that they determined to try the title of the colony to the lands, and judicially to decide the whole controversy. They resolved, there

[ocr errors]

fore, not to make any answer or plea before then, but to protest against their proceedings. The protest is entered as followeth: “To his Excellency, Joseph Dudley, Esquire, captain-general

and governor in chief of her majesty's colony of Massachu

setts Bay, &c. “We, the commissioners of her majesty's colony of Connecticut, are obliged, by our instructions from this government, to certify your excellency, that, in obedience to her majesty's commands to this colony, we are ready to show the injustice of those complaints against the government, made by Owaneco, to her majesty, in council, if your excellency sees good that the complaints be produced, (provided the commissioners, mentioned in her majesty's commission, with your excellency, be qualified to act as members of the court of inquiry constituted thereby,) that so your excellency and commissioners may, upon inquiry, be enabled to make such a true and just report of the matters of fact, mentioned in said complaints to her majesty, as you shall see meet. But if your excellency, (as appears to us,) does construe any expressions in the said commission, so as to empower the said commissioners, by themselves, to inquire and judicially determine concerning the matter in controversy, mentioned in the said complaint, concerning the title of land or trespass, and do resolve to proceed accordingly, as we cannot but judge it to be contrary to her majesty's most just and legal intentions, in said commission; so we must declare against and prohibit all such proceedings, as contrary to law and to the letters patent under the great seal of England, granted to this her majesty's colony, and contrary to her majesty's order to this government, concerning the said commission and complaint, as well as to the known rights of her majesty's subjects, throughout all her dominions, and such as we cannot allow of. We only add, that it seems strange to us, that your excellency should proceed in such a manner, without first communicating your commission to the general assembly of this her majesty's colony.

“ WILLIAM PITKIN, &c. “ August 24th, 1705."

The inhabitants who had deeds of the lands in controversy, made default, as well as the colony; but the court proceeded to an ex parte hearing. Owaneco, Mason, Hallam, and their council, produced such papers and evidence, and made such representations as they pleased, without any person to confront them. After such a partial hearing, of one day only, the court determined against the colony, and adjudged to Owaneco and the Moheagans a tract of land called Massapeag, lying in the town of New-London; and another tract, of about eleven hundred acres, in the northern part of the town, which the assembly had granted as an addition to that township, in 1703. The court, also, adjudged

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »