« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
each to Connecticut and Plymouth, and twenty-five hundred to New Haven." The recent course of political events abroad made it probable that the colonists would not soon be annoyed by a repetition of those plots of enemies in the parent country which hitherto had been foiled; and the savages in their neighborhood they had partly intimidated, and partly won to friendship. Severally they had established governments and tribunals, which were, on the whole, in successful operation. They had organized and trained a military force proportioned to their means. They had founded an ample number of churches after the order which they approved, and had supplied the pulpits with pious and learned ministers. They had taken measures “to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity.” They had attached themselves to the soil by acquiring freeholds and making homes. And they had fallen into methods of industry, which promised to themselves and their descendants a suffi
ciency of the means of living.”
Wol. I. 584, note 4), with their increase
38, 41.) Its results (unfortunately
The governments of the several Colonies were framed on the same general model. No one of them had definite reference to any superior authority in England." surgeonIn all of them the freemen were the fountain of * power.” This popular feature of their constitutions, if it had not been their choice, would have been a necessity of their circumstances. When forty men, in their solitude at Plymouth, saw occasion for engaging the power of the whole to take care of the well-being of each, that end was obviously to be attained only by a concert of the whole or of the larger number, — in other words, by the rule of a majority; for no one or more of the party that had come over possessed hereditary or delegated authority to govern the rest. The organization of the second Colony was made under its charter, which gave to the freemen power to elect their officers and establish rules for their government, and placed them under no other control. When Connecticut and New Haven came to be founded, it was on principles of administration unlike in some considerable particulars. They diverged somewhat from Massachusetts in directions opposite to each other. But neither of those communities possessed materials for the erection of any other than a popular polity; nor, in their position, or in their ways of thought, did threir people find any motive for a wide deviation from the pattern of those societies of their friends which they saw so auspiciously established.
* To this remark it may be thought that an exception should be made for Plymouth. (See Vol. I. 546.) But it was of no practical account.
* But in Massachusetts others might make and debate motions in the public meetings. “Every man, whether inhabitant or foreigner, free or not free, shall have liberty to come to any court, council, or town-meeting, and either by speech or writing to move any law
ful, seasonable, and material question, or to present any necessary motion, complaint, petition, bill, or information,” &c. (Body of Liberties, in Mass. Hist. Coll., XXVIII. 218.) And in Connecticut, non-freemen were admitted to vote in the choice of Deputies from towns, and in nominating candidates for the franchise to the General Court. (Conn. Rec., I. 23, 96.)
In no one of the Colonies was suffrage universal; such an extension of political power would not have been in condition, or accordance with existing opinions respecting the * conditions of public safety. In all alike, from the time when a beginning had been made, admission to the franchise was obtained through a vote of those who were already in possession of it. In Massachusetts and in New Haven, the discretion of the freemen as to the admission of new associates was limited by a standing rule of exclusion for all but such as had been received into full communion with some church. This provision gave the government to a minority of the male inhabitants, placing the larger number of men of ripe age in the position of mere wards of the commonwealth, as truly as women and minors occupy that position at the present day. There was no such restriction in Plymouth or in Connecticut. In those Colonies, the franchise was conferred on inhabitants of the respective towns by the votes, or on the recommendation, of such as were already freemen or residents therein.” But it may reasonably be believed that church-membership, — or, to speak more precisely, a religious character in the candidate, such as naturally led to church-membership, and was commonly found in union with it, — was also in Plymouth and Connecticut much regarded by the electors as a qualification of candidates for citizenship.” In these
* “Three parts of the people of the country remain out of the church.” This was Lechford's estimate in 1640. (Plaine Dealing, 73; comp. 17.) In 1643, in Plymouth, only about 230 persons had acquired the franchise. (Plym. Rec., VIII. 173–177.) Down to the month of the confederation only 1,708 had been invested with citizenship in Massachusetts. (Mass. Rec., I. 366-379, II. 291, 293.) — Cotton wrote to Lord Say and Sele that no
church-members were “excluded from
Colonies, as well as in the others, a religious character was considered as the proper basis of confidence; nor were they without an equally intelligent sense of the necessity of excluding from their councils the enemies of their religious freedom. Rulers were elected from year to year. In Massachusetts this annual resumption and new delegation of the corporate power was required by a provision of the charter. In all the Colonies, this system suited the views of men who felt that they were competent to self-government, and who understood and prized its securities. Each Colony had a chief magistrate, called Governor, whose power, though not altogether the same in the different jurisdictions, differed little in any from that of the other Magistrates, except in his being the organ of their will, and the moderator in public assemblies. All but Plymouth had a Deputy-Governor to take the Governor's place if it became vacant during the official term, and to act meanwhile with those members of the Council, who, under the name of Assistants in Massachusetts and Plymouth, and of Magistrates in the two western Colonies, were associated with the Governor in the highest functions of administration. The central authority was also shared by the Deputies, who, however, in no Colony constituted as yet a separate and co-ordinate branch of the government." While the superior Magistrates were elected by the
mouth, published in 1671, it was provided, as a condition of receiving the franchise, that the candidate should be of “sober and peaceable conversation, orthodox in the fundamentals of religion.” (Brigham, 258.) This may with much probability be regarded as only a legislative recognition of the practice of earlier times. So “a peaceable and honest conversation” became in Connecticut a condition of admission
to the franchise (Conn. Rec., I. 290, 297, 331, 389, 417); and this would mean more or less according to the standard in the voter's mind.
* The separation of the Legislature into two branches, made in Massachusetts in 1644 (see Vol. I. 622), was adopted in Connecticut in 1645, till which time the Magistrates were a minority of the joint body. (Conn. Rec., I. 119.)
votes of the freemen of the whole Colony' counted together, the Deputies were chosen for each town by
* Of the forms of election of the highest officers in Massachusetts, we have a detailed description from the hand of an intelligent observer; – “The General Court electory sitting, when are present, in the church or meetinghouse at Boston, the old Governor, Deputy, and all the Magistrates, and two Deputies or Burgesses for every town, or at least one, all the freemen are bidden to come in at one door, and bring their votes in papers for the new Governor, and deliver them down upon the table, before the Court, and so to pass forth at another door. Those that are absent send their votes by proxies. All being delivered in, the votes are counted, and, according to the major part, the old Governor pronounceth that such an one is chosen Governor for the year ensuing. Then the freemen, in like manner, bring their votes for the Deputy-Governor, who being also chosen, the Governor propoundeth the Assistants, one after the other. New Assistants are of late put in nomination, by an order of General Court, beforehand to be considered of. If a freeman give in a blank, that rejects the man named; if the freeman makes any mark with a pen upon the paper which he brings, that elects the man named ; then the blanks and marked papers are numbered, and, according to the major part of either, the man in nomination stands elected or rejected. And so for all the Assistants. And after every new election, which is, by their patent, to be upon the last Wednesday in every Easter term, the new Governor and officers are all new sworn. The Governor and Assistants
a majority of its voters, who were not however restricted in their choice to their own townsIn Massachusetts, the Governor was remuner
choose the Secretary. And all the Court, consisting of Governor, Deputy, Assistants, and Deputies of towns, give their votes as well as the rest; and the ministers and elders, and all church officers, have their votes also in all these elections of chief Magistrates.” (Thomas Lechford, Plaine Dealing, or Newes from New England, 24; comp. Mass. Rec., I. 293, 333, II. 21, 37, 42.) Lechford was the London lawyer, whose professional practice did not please the General Court. (See Vol. I. 553.) He went home from Boston, August 3, 1641 (Plaine Dealing, 13), and published his “Plaine Dealing” in the following year, in London. “For some arts, construed to oppose, and as tending to subvert episcopacy,” he had “suffered imprisonment, and a kind of banishment” (Ibid., Preface), and was “forth of his native country almost for the space of four years.” (Ibid., 1.) In New England, where perhaps he did not pass the whole time of his exile, he changed his mind again, and returned home a friend to the episcopal establishment, but not a ferocious partisan. In a letter to Winthrop (December 11, 1638) Dudley said, “I have read over Mr. Lechford's book”; and added, “I have sent you the book herewith, that, instead of putting it to the press, as he desireth, it may rather be put into the fire, as I desire.” (Proceedings of Mass. Hist. Soc., I. 311.) Dudley's wish may have been accomplished. From his references to the contents of the work which displeased him, it appears not to have been the “Plaine Deal