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ing them to rise, was now hardly keeping in check, the emissaries from Shawomet found sympathizers who had such numbers, activity, and means of influence, that other parties were not disposed to offend them without necesso a sity. “I preached,” says Gorton, “the word of ** God publicly, in divers as eminent places as any - were then in London, as also about London, and places more remote; . . . . . publicly and immediately after the word delivered, the people giving thanks to God, that ever such a word came to be uttered among them.” Gorton and his colleagues in the embassy had gone to England more than a year before Winslow. They took with them the Act of Submission of the Narragansetts” and they presented to the Commissioners for Foreign Plantations” a memorial complaining of the treatment which had been experienced by their company. “The petitioners, being favored by some of the Commissioners, partly for private respects and partly for their adhering to some of their corrupt tenets,” obtained an ico. Order to the government of Massachusetts, “to ** permit and suffer the petitioners, and all the late inhabitants of Narragansett Bay, with their families and all such as should hereafter join with them, freely and quietly to live and plant upon Shawomet,” and such adjacent lands as they had previously occupied, till such time as the adverse claim of Massachusetts could be presented and considered.* The Order also required that Gorton and his companions should be allowed to pass peaceably through Massachusetts to their homes. Holden arrived Sept. 13. with it in Boston three months before Winslow's departure. The Governor refused him permission to land, till the advice of the Council could be obtained. The Council debated the question, and concluded * Gorton, Letter to Nathaniel Mor- * See above, p. 137. ton, in Force, Tracts, IV. (vii.) 14. * See Vol. I. 633, 634.
An incomplete copy of the paper is in R. I. Rec, I. 368; Winthrop, II. Hutchinson, I. 469. 280, 281.
to consult the neighboring Elders. The Elders were also divided in opinion; but “the greater part, both of Magistrates and Elders, thought it better to give so much respect to the protection which the Parliament had given him (and whereupon he adventured his life), as to suffer him to pass quietly away.” When the General Court came to consider the course fit to be taken respecting the mandate from England, “one question,” they said, “was, whether we should give the Commissioners their title, lest thereby we should acknowledge all that power they claimed in our jurisdiction.” This question was decided in favor of courtesy.
. A far more important one lay behind, relating to the
invitation given to Massachusetts, in the recent Order of the Commissioners, to make an answer to the charges of Gorton and his confederates. As to this, the conclusion, as Winthrop records it, was, “that, in point of government, we have granted by patent such full and ample power of choosing all officers that shall command and rule over us, of making all laws and rules of our obedience, and of a full and final determination of all cases in the administration of justice, that no appeals or other ways of interrupting our proceedings do lie against us. Concerning our way of answering complaints against us in England, we conceive that it doth not well suit with us, nor are we directly called upon, to profess and plead our right and power, further than in a way of justification of our proceedings questioned, from the words of the patent. . . . . . If the Parliament should be less inclinable to us, we must wait upon Providence for the preservation of our just liberties.” This theory of colonial relation was implied in the “commission and instructions” which Winslow had carried over, and in a “remonstrance and a petition to the Commissioners in England.” Among the points which he was directed to maintain, as occasion should arise, were these: Representa- that the freemen of Massachusetts had a right to to or Mo omit the King's name from legal processes, both R.” “for avoiding appeals,” and because the Company “claimed not as by commission, but by a free donation of absolute government;” that they showed their “subjection to England” by “framing their government according to their patent” received from her; that their exercise of admiralty jurisdiction was an incident of their chartered “power to defend themselves and of. fend others, as well by sea as by land; ” that the charter “gave the liberty of votes in elections expressly to the . freemen only;” and that the “absolute power of government,” vested in them by the charter, secured them against the imposition of a General Governor." In their Remonstrance to the Commissioners, the Magistrates of Massachusetts, in the first place, expressed their apprehension, that an answer on their part to Gorton's complaint might “be prejudicial to the liberties granted by their charter, and to their well-being in this remote part of the world;" and they protested against its being drawn into precedent, lest, “when times should be changed, for all things below are subject to vanity, and other princes or Parliaments should arise, the generations succeeding should have cause to lament, and say, ‘England sent our fathers forth with happy liberties, which they enjoyed many years, notwithstanding all the enmity and opposition of the prelacy and other potent adversaries; how came we to lose them, under the favor and protection of that State, at such a season when England itself recovered its own?’” They desired the Commissioners to attend to the evidence which Winslow would . produce, to show that, in dealing with Gorton's company,
* Winthrop, II. 273. * Ibid., 282, 283.
they had proceeded according to justice, and within the limit of the powers conferred on them by the charter. They urged the injurious results which would follow, in respect to the attempts making to convert the natives, if the Shawomet disturbers should be “countenanced and upheld.” They set forth that the allowance of appeals to England would be “destructive to all government, both in the honor and also in the power of it.” And they cautioned the Commissioners against assuming a responsibility to which they would find themselves unequal. “Considering the vast distance between England and these parts, . . . . . your counsels and judgments could neither be so well grounded, nor so seasonably applied, as might either be so useful for us or so safe for yourselves, in your discharge in the great day of account, for any miscarriage which might befall us while we depended upon your counsel and help, which could not seasonably be administered to us. Whereas, if any such should befall us when we have the government in our own hands, the State of England shall not answer for it.” When Winslow arrived in England, he found that Gorton had lately made an appeal to the public through the press.” He prepared a reply with such promptness, that
* Winthrop, II. 295-298; R. I. Hist. Coll., II. 198–202. * Gorton's book was probably published in the last quarter of 1646, as the imprimatur is dated August 3d in that year. Its full title is “Simplicitie's Defence against Seven-Headed Policy. Or, Innocency Windicated, being unjustly accused and sorely censured by that Seven-Headed Church Government united in New England. Or, that Servant so Imperious in his Master's Absence, revived, and now thus reacting in New England. Or, the Combate of the United Colonies, not only against some of the Natives and Subjects, but against the Authority
also of the Kingdome of England, with their Execution of Laws, in the Name and Authority of the Servant (or of themselves), and not in the Name and Authority of the Lord, or Fountain of the Government. Wherein is declared an Act of a Great People and Country of the Indians in those Parts, both Princes and People (unanimously) in their voluntary Submission and Subjection unto the Protection and Government of Old England (from the Fame they hear thereof), together with the true Manner and Forme of it, as it appears under their own Hands and Seals; being stirred up and provoked thereto by the Combate and Courses
it appeared in a few weeks." In a Dedication to the
Success of Winslow’s agency.
Commissioners he made five requests; — 1. that they would “strengthen the censure of the Massachusetts by their favorable approbation,” so
that “the country might be the more preserved from their fears of the Gortonians' desperate close with so
above said. Throughout which Trea-
beyond the Bounds of all their own