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The relations with borderers and Indians were not the only external relations which the progress of events had

summoned Massachusetts to

oversee. The New-England

Confederacy was the strongest power on the Atlantic seaboard of America. Virtually, — almost formally,'— Massachusetts was at its head; and, with a sense of this new importance, it was not unnatural that she should assume a position of authority in respect to European colonies

higher importance to the affair. The settlements had been distressed by intelligence of a scheme on foot for a general rising of the Indians, under the lead of the Narragansetts, the most powerful Indian tribe, and of their able and restless chief, from whom Gorton and his company pretended to have made their purchase. The excitement was at its height at the time when these dangerous persons had become the savage's fast friends, had dealt with him for lands, and established themselves near him at the most important point of passage and communication between the different English settlements. No good offices could be expected from them. The worst might reasonably be feared. At all events, the place was one too favorable for hostilities, to be left in the occupation of bitter and capable enemies. And the emergency became pressing, when Miantonomo, in violation of a treaty, made war upon Indian allies of the English, and when, on his being taken prisoner, Gorton established a further interest with his tribe by writing a threatening letter to his captor to procure his release. “Many reasons concerning our safety,” wrote Winthrop to the Providence men who had proposed themselves as mediators, “have necessarily put us upon this course;” and he explained himself by adding, “the bottom of it [that is, of the action of Gorton's party] is easily sounded; which is, to win time to discourage the Indians under our subjection, and to give them time and opportunity to stir up, as much as in them lieth, the other Indians against us.” (R. I. Hist. Col., II. 110.)

The means of redress and of security were furnished when the Indian chiefs of Shawomet, having satisfied the Massachusetts Court that the land said to have been sold by Miantonomo to Gorton was not his to sell, but theirs, yielded it and themselves to her government. It was thought that the land might lie within the Plymouth patent; but the Federal Commissioners, with the consent of those who represented Plymouth, requested Massachusetts to assume jurisdiction. She proceeded to do so; and was defied. While her blood was up against King Charles, with whom her friends were now fighting a critical battle for all that is dearest to good men, the opposition she was aiming to put down was made more alarming and offensive by the threat of bringing in his authority to overbear her own; and at length she undertook to subdue with the vigor of military action the pertinacious disturbers whom the Colonies previously infested by them had dealt with in vain.

Their persons being seized, they were arraigned both as blasphemers and as “enemies of all civil authority.” If, for good and sufficient reasons concerning the public weal, it was right

that they should be disabled, the charge of blasphemy was, in the circumstances,

no unfit or dishonest expedient for the purpose. Undoubtedly the rulers in Massachusetts believed that their prisoners had been guilty of it, and that it was an offence properly punishable by human tribunals. The people's horror of blasphemy was on their side. The people familiarly recognized it as a great crime. It stood as such on the statute-book in England, as well as in


not embraced in the alliance. It has been men

tioned that the New-Haven people had projected the establishment of a factory on the Delaware, near to a spot earlier occupied by a few Swedes.” The visitors from New Haven were maltreated and expelled by the

almost all the English settlements in
this country. And by their own law —
under which, however, no execution
ever took place — it was a capital
offence. The author of their Body of
Liberties had, to their satisfaction,
quoted Scripture (Lev. xxiv. 15, 16)
as authority for so regarding it.
The final form of the arraignment
and conviction in this case has given
color to a charge, which the sufferers,
resorting to an obvious topic of crimi-
nation, afterwards busied themselves to
enforce, — that there was an invasion
of the rights of conscience. But it is an
easy faith that can admit that it was in
pursuit of a knot of misbelievers or
blasphemers, that a little army was sent
to a distance of sixty miles; or that it
was an offence of this nature, that agi-
tated so long the deliberations of the
General Court of Massachusetts and of
the Federal Council of the Four Colo-
nies. It is more natural to suppose
that, so long as no other harm was
done, blasphemies might have been
uttered without interruption, stint, or
end, in the Narragansett woods, where
there were no devout ears to be pained
with them; while, on the other hand, it
appears too much to expect that sensi-
ble men, like the Massachusetts rulers,
would permit wild Indians to be set
upon them, and hold the instigators
harmless merely for their abundant
speaking and writing of gibberish in-

terlarded with Scripture. Nor will it
escape the reader's attention, that,
through the relenting inconsistency
which usually finds place when a theory
of law is too rigorous to command the
sympathy of the people's moral sense,
Gorton and his companions, though
pronounced guilty of what was un-
questionably, by the law, a capital
crime, escaped, by a small majority, a
sentence of death. It may even be
reasonably presumed, that the minori-
ty gave their voice for that penalty
through a reluctant theoretical devo-
tion to the letter of the code; and that
the minority would not have been
composed of so many persons, had they
thought there was a chance of their
proving to be the larger number.
* At the opening of the second an-
nual meeting of the Commissioners,
Massachusetts claimed precedence; and
the body, while they denied it as a
matter of right, “yet, out of their re-
spects to the government of the Massa-
chusetts, they did willingly grant that
their Commissioners should first sub-
scribe after the President in this and
all future meetings.” (Records, &c.,
in Hazard, IL 14.) At the sixth an-
nual meeting, it was further determined
that, in the arrangement of seats at
meetings, “the Commissioners of the
Massachusetts should have the first
place.” (Ibid., 99.)
* See Vol. I. 600, 624.

Swedish governor;" and that Colony laid its complaint before the Commissioners of the Confederacy. A letter written under their direction by Winthrop to Transactions the Swedes” brought a reply with “large expres- with the sions of their respect to the English, and par- ...” ticularly to Massachusetts,” and a promise to "...a refrain from molesting any visitors who should “” bring authority from the Commissioners.” The Dutch Governor at New Amsterdam made a complaint Transactions to “the Governor and Senate of the United win the Provinces of New England,” of encroachments or. on the part of Connecticut, and desired to be "..., informed whether, by a rupture with that Colony, he should expose himself to hostility from its confederates. Winthrop replied at first with only some conciliating generalities. Afterwards, under the direction of the Federal Commissioners, to whom Connecticut and New Haven had also addressed themselves, he made to the Dutch Governor a statement of the grievances of those Colonies, “requiring answer to the particulars; that,” he added, “as we will not wrong others, so we may not desert our confederates in any just cause.” The settlers at New Amsterdam, though not disposed to withdraw “their complaint of injuries,” were presently so much pressed by the Indians, that, instead of further reclamations from New Haven, they were fain to apply to that Colony for an auxiliary force of a hundred men. The proposal was declined, both as inconsistent with one of the articles of confederation, and from want of knowledge as to the justice of the war. But an offer was made of a supply of provisions, the savages having made great destruction of cattle and stores." With her French neighbors on the other side, Massachusetts had more communication. On the death of Razilly, the Governor of Acadie, his lieutenants," D'Aulnay de Charnisé and La Tour, now his successors, quarrelled about the limits of their respective jurisdictions,” and at length proceeded to acts of violence, which their superiors in France made only careless and ineffectual attempts to restrain. The rival chiefs were fur-traders with the Indians at the same time, and their interferences in the market exasperated their feud. D'Aulnay held posts on the Penobscot, and at Port Royal (now Annapolis) and La Hève” (now New Dublin) in Nova Scotia." La Tour had fortified himself at St. John, at the mouth of the river of that name, in what is now New Brunswick. D'Aulnay had been inign structed by the King to arrest him,” unless he ** should promptly obey an order which had been sent him to return to France. La Tour, hoping that sympathy with his professed Protestantism might procure him aid from Boston against D’Aulnay, who was a Catholic, sent a messenger on that errand, at the same time proposing a free trade between his ports and those of New England, and an arrangement by which he might import through New England * commodities from Europe. The request for free for aid from trade was complied with ; the others were re- -jected. D'Aulnay, in a letter to Winthrop, de- "..." nounced La Tour as a rebel, and threatened to * break up the trade, and to make prize of any Massachusetts vessel which he might intercept while engaged in it. After the confederation, but before the first meeting of the Commissioners, La Tour, blockaded in the 1648. harbor of St. John, escaped by night, and came ** to Boston, where in person he reiterated his request for military aid, and enforced it by showing a document, “under the hand and seal of the Vice-Admiral of France,” which recognized him as “the King's Lieutenant-General in Acadie.”" His former misconduct at Machias, and a general distrust of his character and designs, operated against him. But there was a much stronger resentment against his enemy;” and the trade which had been opened was thought to be valuable. The decision of the Magistrates was, that, though the obligations of Massachusetts as a member of the Confederacy forbade her to contribute the assistance desired, she might permit the chartering of vessels in her ports and the enlistment of volunteers.” La Tour hired four ships, enlisted some seventy men," and set sail to encounter his enemy. The expedition obtained no decisive success, though D'Aulnay, suddenly attacked before St. John, was beaten, and pursued to Port Royal. He soon after sailed for

Sept. 21.

* Winthrop, II. 140, 141 ; N. H. * Records, &c., in Hazard, II. 11; Rec., I. 106 – 108. comp. Winthrop, II. 129, 130, 140.

* Records, &c., in Hazard, II. 11. * Winthrop, II. 157.

* Winthrop, II. 157; comp. 179, 187. " N. H. Rec., I. 116, 117.

The French in Acadie. 1635. November.

1 See Vol. I. 540.
* There is in the French “Archives
de la Marine” a letter of February 10,
1638, from the King (Louis XIII.) to
D'Aulnay, which briefly defines the
boundaries that officer was to observe.
To La Tour, besides the post of St.
John, was assigned the peninsula now
called Nova Scotia, with the exception
of about a quarter of it at its northeast-
ern end, and of the posts at La Hève
and Port Royal.
* So named by De Monts from a
headland near Havre de Grace, from
which port he had sailed for America.
* Thomas Gorges had heard that
D'Aulnay had “five hundred men, two
ships, a galley, and three pinnaces,
well provided.” (Letter to Winthrop,
in Hutch. Coll., 114.) “The said Lord

D'Aulnay-Charnisé hath . . . . . built
and strenuously kept ..... four forts
in the most necessary places, and fur-
nished them with a sufficient number
of soldiers, sixty great guns, and other
things,” &c. (D'Aulnay's Commission
from the King of France (Feb. 1647),
in Mass. Hist. Col., XXVII. 110.)
* In the French “Archives de la
Marine,” under the dates of September
27 and 28, 1645, are letters to D'Aul-
nay from the young King (Louis XIV.)
and from the Regent (the Queen-
mother), commending him for his care
in protecting the coasts, forts, and
plantations of Acadie from the bad
designs of La Tour, and for his watch-
fulness against the danger of La Tour's
intercourse with the New-England



* Winthrop, II. 42,43, 91, 108,125. — It is true that La Tour had received such a commission from Cardinal Richelieu, as long ago as the year 1634. But it had been revoked by the Cardinal, February 23, 1641, and the act of revocation had been confirmed by

VOL. II. 13

the King in Council, February 21,
* See Vol. I. 888, 540; comp. Win-
throp, I. 117, 154; II. 126.
* Winthrop, 107–109.
“Ibid., 127. —The charter-party of
the vessels is in Hazard, I. 499.

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