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by New Haven.” “By way of further preparation, they advised with the military officers of Boston about a commander-in-chief, who, upon due consideration, propounded four as fit for such a trust; namely, Major-General Denison, Major Atherton, Captain Leverett, and Captain Savage, of which . . . . . the Commissioners made choice of Captain Leverett, unless the General Court of Massachusetts should propound some considerable exception against him.” The reason for their preference was “the opportunity he now had to view and observe the situation and fortification at the Manhatoes,” which place, it seems, they thought of assailing, if hostilities should follow.” The conference had no result. The messengers came back dissatisfied. The Dutch Governor had refused to accede to such arrangements for taking testimony respecting the transactions reported, as they considered requisite to entitle it to confidence.* They proceeded to collect evidence ex parte, which, on their return, they laid before their employers." It was not what had been expected. To not a few discreet and calm judges, it seemed to fall short of proving any concert among the natives for a hostile movement, and to fall far short of proving any agency of the Dutch in exciting them to insurrection. On the other hand was the strong presumption against such a conspiracy on the part of the Dutch Governor . as was alleged, arising from the obvious probabil. ..." ity, that, when he should have aided the natives to extirpate the English, his own people, who had never lived peaceably with them, would be their next victims. Further, he had frankly proposed to the English envoys to make “a defensive and offensive war against all Indians and natives, and other enemies, disturbers of the good inhabitants of both provinces.” Accordingly, at this stage of the business, the General Court of Massachusetts, which was in session at the time, interfered, and desired “a consultation” with the Federal Commissioners by a committee of their own body and by some of the Elders. Statements of the case, drawn up by Governor Eaton for the Commissioners, and by Major-General Denison for the General Court, were considered at this meeting. Eaton was clamorous for war; but, with all his facilities for acquaintance with the facts, his argument was not satisfactory. The representation made by Denison showed him to be without confidence in that view of them which would be a justification for the extreme measure that was proposed. “The Elders, called to give their opinion what the Lord calleth to do in the present case,” took the papers, and, after two days' consideration, delivered their judgment against the precipitating of hostilities. “Concerning,” they said, “that late execrable pkot, tending to the destruction of so many dear saints of God, which is imputed to the Dutch Governor and Fiscal, we conceive the proof and apprehensions alleged to be of much weight to induce us to believe the reality thereof; and have great cause to acknowledge the special favor of God in its discovery, and the faithful care of his servants in authority over us, as the means, under God, of our continued safety and peace. Yet, upon serious and conscientious examination of the proofs produced, we cannot find them so fully conclusive as to clear up present proceeding to war before the world, and to bear up our hearts with that fulness of persuasion that is meet in commending the case to God in our prayers and to his people in our exhortations. . . . . . Therefore we humbly conceive it to be most agreeable to the Gospel of peace which we profess, and safest for these Colonies, to forbear the use of the sword, till the Lord, by his providence and by the wisdom of his servants set over us, shall further
* Thus it appears that Massachusetts and Connecticut had been lately increasing more rapidly, in proportion, than the other Colonies. See above, p. 271, note 1.
* Mr. Daniel Denison, then of Cambridge, took the freeman's oath April 1, 1634. (Mass. Rec., I. 368.) He was a Deputy the next year (Ibid., 145), and for several years afterwards; Captain of the train-band at Ipswich in 1638 (Ibid., 237); Speaker of the House in 1649 (Ibid., III. 147); Sergeant Major-General in 1653 (Ibid., 296); and an Assistant (Ibid.) in that year and thenceforwards. – Thomas Savage, husband of a daughter of Wil
liam and Ann Hutchinson, became a freeman, May 25, 1636. (Ibid., I. 372.) He was one of the Antinomians of Boston who were disarmed in the following year. (Ibid., 212.) He went away with his father-in-law to Rhode Island (R.I. Rec., I. 52), but soon thought better of that step, and returned to Boston, where he was chosen a Deputy in 1654 (Mass. Rec., III. 340), having been a Captain at least as early as 1652. (Ibid., 285.)
* Records, &c., in Hazard, II. 225– 231.
* Ibid., 233 – 241.
* Ibid., 241 – 249.
clear of his mind.” The next day the House of
: Deputies communicated to the Commissioners "...a their Resolve, that “they did not understand
they were called to make a present war with the Dutch.” The Commissioners persisted. With the exception of Bradstreet, one of the Commissioners for Massachusetts, they were unanimous for war.” A committee was raised by the General Court to report an answer to the question, “whether the Commissioners have power by articles of agreement to determine the justice of an offensive or vindictive war, and to engage the Colonies therein.” The sixth Article of Confederation authorized the Federal Commissioners to “examine, weigh, and determine all affairs of war or peace.” From general considerations, and from the language of other Articles, the committee argued, in their report, that this provision extended no further than to matters of defensive war; and they concluded with declaring it to be “a scandal in religion, that a General Court of Christians should be obliged to act and engage upon the faith of six delegates against their conscience.” The report was approved by both branches of the Legislature of Massachusetts. When intelligence of what had been done reached Plymouth, the General Court of that Colony raised a committee to examine “the Articles of Confederation, and to give in their thoughts” at another meeting, which was to be held in the following month; * but it does not appear that anything was done in pursuance of this measure. The General Court of New Haven were strongly incensed. The Governor prepared an elaborate argument with a protest against the course which had been taken by Massachusetts; and two messengers—to be joined by two others from Connecticut—were instructed to proceed with it to Boston, and endeavor to obtain a reversal of the decision which had been there announced. Should they fail in that attempt, they were to ask “leave to use some means whereby volunteers might be procured out of that Colony, with shipping, victuals, and ammunition.” The Court agreed that, if volunteers could be obtained in Massachusetts, New Haven would embark in the war with the aid of Connecticut alone. And the question being raised, whether, “in case the Massachusetts Colony would not revoke their interpretation they had given of the Articles of Confederacy, the Commissioners should meet at the usual time, . . . . . the Court by vote declared motor that, in case that interpretation were not called "" in, they saw no cause why they should meet.”" Connecticut acceded to the proposal for an application to Massachusetts,” but declined to be a party to the plan of obstructing the regular meeting of the Commissioners.” The messengers came back from Boston with a letter from the Governor, and two letters from the Magistrates. Endicott wrote that he could not answer for the General Court of his Colony, which was not then in session; but that he did not believe they would consent “either to shed blood, or to hazard the shedding of their subjects' blood, except they could satisfy their consciences that God called for it; . . . . . neither did he think it was ever at first intended so to act against their consciences when they entered into confederation.” The Magistrates used a courteous and conciliating tone, and avowed their own conviction that, in a correct construction of the Articles of Confederation, no distinction could be maintained, in respect to the power of the Commissioners, between offensive and defensive wars.” At the regular time, the Commissioners for all four of the Colonies again came together at Boston. The General Court of Massachusetts was in session. “The Court, having considered the letters and papers from the General Courts of Connecticut and New Haven, which were directed to the Governor and Council,” wrote to the Commissioners, protesting against the injustice of being placed “under a dilemma, either to act without satisfaction against their light, or be accounted covenantbreakers.” The Commissioners were men too clearheaded and upright to deny the soundness of the ethical doctrine on which Massachusetts had deliberately taken
* Records, &c., in Hazard, II. 250 – 254.
* It was “upon the consideration of the national ground” that the Plymouth Commissioners, in September, 1653, “did freely pass their vote for the justice of the war against the Dutch.” And a paper signed by Hathorne of Massachusetts, and by the Commissioners for
the western Colonies, certifies, that they approved “a present expedition against the Dutch upon a quarrel of England with the Dutch in Europe, . . . . . and upon other grounds expressed at the previous meeting.” (Ibid., 302, 303.) Perhaps neither Hathorne nor the Plymouth Commissioners had faith in the Dutch plot with the Indians.
* Records, &c., in Hazard, 249 – 273; comp. Mass. Rec., III. 311 – 316. — When the Commissioners had been, at this time, a month in session, the year for which the Commissioners from Connecticut had been chosen expired (Conn. Rec., I. 233); and a week later, the term of service of the Commissioners from Massachusetts came to an end in the same manner. (Mass.
Rec., III. 258.) The session was ac-