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itself obliged to take for filling the places of absent Representatives, and vacating the places of Representatives unfit for their trust. Two special meetings of that body were also held. At the former, a municipal incorporation was granted to the town of Providence, ico. and probably also to the other towns. At the * latter, which was the expiring spasm of the sickly body politic, there was some miscellaneous revision of loo the laws, and it was “ordered, that a letter be ** sent to Mr. Williams to capitulate about his going to England; and it is ordered also that the State is willing to pay the hundred pound that is due to him, and a hundred pound more; and, if he refuse, Mr. Balston [of Portsmouth], Mr. John Clarke [of Newport], and Mr. Warner [of Warwick] are nominated, for two of them may go.” Williams was to be “capitulated” with about going to England, in order that he might do over again that work of his which was now undone. The story of the incapacities, and quarrels, and factions, which brought about the dissolution of the government, has been only partially preserved. We know that Coddington was chosen President of the Colony at the second election; that he did not accept the place; that it was supplied by the appointment of Mr. Jeremy Clarke to be “President Regent; ” that at the same time there were “divers bills of complaint exhibited against Mr. Coddington;” that “the President elect did not attend the Court for the clearing of the accusations charged upon him;” that eight months later he sailed for England; and that two months after his departure, at the first of the special isso. Assemblies which have been mentioned, Roger " Williams, as “Deputy President,” was substituted for him at the head of the government.” Williams, who was then * R. I. Rec., I. 214–232. — A gratui- had remained unpaid. The Colony had ty of a hundred pounds had been voted no money. (Ibid., 222.) to Williams for his services in obtain- * Ibid., 208, 210, 211, 213, 214. — at his retreat among the Narragansetts, did not want the office. He hoped that it might be offered to John Winthrop the younger, who had lately made a plantation in the Pequot country." Had Winthrop been invested with it, it is bewildering to conjecture how different might have been the later history of Rhode Island. But he was probably as little prepared to accept, as the electors ... were to confer it upon him; and it was bestowed lso, upon John Smith of Warwick, and in the follow** ing year upon Nicholas Easton, of Newport.” At Providence, Williams, faithful to his favorite office of pro1647. moting good-will, had obtained seven signatures * besides his own to an agreement to “cover in the grave of oblivion what causes of difference had heretofore been given, either by word or misbehavior, in public or private,” and to proceed thenceforward, “in words and behavior, so moderately and orderly as the cause should permit.” At the beginning of the new organization, some questions had arisen between Newport and Portsmouth relating to its effect upon the combination that had for seven loss years subsisted between them. Williams wrote ** a letter proposing that arbitrators should be chosen, three by Portsmouth, and one by each of the other towns, to determine the conditions of a reconciliation; but there is no evidence that his advice was taken.” Presently afterward, Coddington, in behalf, as he alleged, of “the majority of the people of Rhode Island,” applied to the Commissioners of the Four Colonies, for their admission into the Confederacy. But this, he was told, the islanders could not obtain except by placing themselves under the government of Plymouth, which had a patent right to jurisdiction over their territory." Whatever confidential communications may have passed between the Federal Commissioners at their early meetings, the chief business exhibited in the records concerned those relations of the Colonies to the French and Dutch which have been already described, and their relations to the Indians. During the three or four years of Gorton's absence in England; his friends the Narragansetts had experienced some ill consequences of the confidence which they had reposed in him. The resistance to the colonists, which he had encouraged, proved a losing game. The royal protection which he had promised, was not afforded. In the spring after the truce which they had been persuaded to make,” a force of Narragansetts, said to amount to a thousand men, and to have as many as thirty muskets, n... fell upon the Mohegans, who again defeated them, movements but not without considerable loss.” An occasion o" was thought to have thus arisen for an extraordi* nary meeting of the Federal Commissioners, who accordingly came together at Boston. Thence they despatched messengers to the hostile sachems, requiring their presence in person, or by ambassadors, “to declare and prove upon what occasions and grounds the war was broken out, and . . . . . to treat and conclude, as occasion should require, . . . . . to restore and confirm peace.” In case of a refusal on the part of the Narragansetts, the messengers were to “acquaint them that the English were engaged to assist against these hostile invasions, and that they had sent of their men to defend Uncas.” The messengers returned, bringing the defiance of the Narragansett chiefs; and “Mr. Williams, by the messengers, wrote to the Commissioners, assuring them that the country would suddenly be all on fire by war;” and “that the Narragansetts had been with the plantations combined with Providence, and solemnly treated and settled a neutrality with them.” “The premises being weighed, it clearly appeared that God called the Colonies to a war.” The call was promptly answered. It was determined to issue a “Declaration” of “the grounds and justice” of the measure;” to keep
ing the charter (Ibid., 151,152); but it William Dyer was Coddington's ac
cuser, or one of his accusers. (Ibid.,
discharge of my service, we chose Mr.
* Records, &c., in Hazard, II.99, 100; see above, p. 220, note 2. — “The Commissioners have considered what you have propounded either by speech or writing, and find your present state full of confusion and danger, having much disturbance amongst yourselves and no security from the Indians; they desire therefore in several respects to afford both advice and help; but, upon the perusal of the ancient patent granted to New Plymouth,” &c. — Coddington was earnestly desirous to effect some arrangement to relieve himself from the discomforts of his present position. It is probable that he was altogether dissatisfied with the proceedings, which, under the patent obtained by Williams, had been had for a junction of the towns under one government, and that he considered both the obtaining of the patent, and the arrangements which had followed, as having been without good authority or good reason; and the companionship into which he had been brought was altogether distasteful to him. Four months before his application to the Commissioners, mentioned above, he
had written to Winthrop : “Sir, this
bearer [Captain Partridge] and Mr.
* See above, p. 139. * The “Declaration ” recites all the * Winthrop, II. 245; comp. the letter occasions of complaint against the Narof Thomas Peter to Winthrop. (Ibid., ragansetts since the time of the con464.) quest of the Pequot country, and con
a day of fasting in all the Colonies in the following week; and to send three hundred men into the field
“whereof from the Massachusetts one hundred of the colo
and ninety, Plymouth forty, Connecticut forty,
and New Haven thirty.”
nies for war.
The command-in-chief was
given to Major Edward Gibbons, of Massachusetts, with
cludes as follows: “It clearly appears that God calls the Colonies to a war. The Narrohigansetts and their confederates rest on their numbers, weapons, and opportunities to do mischief, as probably as of old Ashur, Amalek, and the Philistines did confederate against Israel. So Sathan may stir up and combine many of his instruments against the churches of Christ; but their Redeemer is the Lord of Hosts, the Mighty One in battle; all the shields of the earth are in his hands; he can save by few and by weak means, as by many and great. In him they trust.” (Records, &c., in Hazard, II. 45–51.) * The history of Edward Gibbons was peculiar. He first appears as one of Thomas Morton's unsavory company at Merry-Mount. Probably he was a brother of Ambrose Gibbons, and had been previously with him at the mouth of the Piscataqua. (See Vol. I. 523, note 1.) He was present at the ordination of Mr. Higginson at Salem, and from that time his feelings took a different turn. (Scottow, Narrative of the Planting of the Massachusetts Colony, &c., in Mass. Hist. Coll., XXXIV. 289.) Before long he joined the church in Boston, where he became a freeman at the first Court of Election. (Mass. Rec., I. 366.) When he left MerryMount he had not left its habits (coelum, non animum); for in the August after he became a citizen the Magistrates had occasion to fine him twenty shillings “for abusing himself disorderly with drinking too much strong drink.”
(Ibid., 90.) He however represented Charlestown as one of the “two of every plantation appointed  to confer with the Court about raising of a public stock.” (Ibid., 95.) His military turn was recognized in 1634 and 1637 by his being promoted to be successively Captain Underhill's ensign and lieutenant (Ibid., 129, 191), though in the mean time (March 3, 1636) he had been discharged from service at the Castle (Ibid., 165), perhaps from having incurred suspicion of being a partisan of Mrs. Hutchinson. (Ibid., 225.) In 1639, he was sent to “train the band at Weymouth” (Ibid., 279); and in 1641 he was “appointed to see to the laying of the ordnance in Boston.” (Ibid., 839.) He was frequently a Deputy to the General Court (Ibid., 135, 173, 250, 271, 288,336, II. 22, 33, 96, 145, 186), and was advanced to the magistracy in 1650. (Ibid., III. 182.) In 1645, at the time of the capture of the Bristol ship in Boston harbor (see above, p. 161), Gibbons, as “chief military officer of the train-band of the town of Boston,” was “ by the Court required and authorized to see the peace to be kept, both in the said town and harbor, from all hostile and mutinous attempts or insurrections” (Ibid., 38), and was instructed, with Sedgwick, of Charlestown, “not to permit any ships to fight in the harbor without license from authority.” (Winthrop, II. 247.) He was undoubtedly a man of abilities and activity. Edward Johnson had a high opinion of his military capacity. “Over the regiment