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to the Privy Counsellors, that the General Court of Massachusetts raised their committee to devise some course for them, that might “be satisfactory and safe, as best conducing, to God's glory and the people's felicity.” The committee had made no report. There had been no action in England to guide their thoughts. A year had passed, when the Court, convened for the annual elections, received intelligence which was recog: nized in the following proceedings: —“The Court, being isol informed that some of his Majesty's ships are ** on their voyage to these parts, in which are several gentlemen of quality, - do therefore order that the Captain of the Castle, on the first sight and knowledge of their approach, give speedy notice thereof to the honored Governor and Deputy-Governor; and that Captain James Oliver and Captain William Davis are hereby ordered forthwith to repair on board the said ships, and to acquaint those gentlemen, that this Court hath and doth by them present their respects to them, and that it is the desire of the authority of this place that they take strict order that their under officers and soldiers, in their coming on shore to refresh themselves, at no time exceed a convenient number, and that without arms, and that they behave themselves orderly amongst his Majesty's good subjects here, and be careful of giving no offence to the people and laws of this place; and invite them on shore, provision being made for their present refreshment.” “The Court, being sensible of many distractions and troubles under which the country do labor in sundry respects, as also the sad estate and condition of God's people and interests in other places, do commend unto all the churches and people of the Colony . . . . . a solemn day of humiliation and prayer for the Lord's mercy to be towards us, and his gracious return to his people, according as we and they may or do stand in need thereof.” “Forasmuch as it is of great concernment to this Commonwealth to keep safe and secret our patent, it is ordered the patent, and duplicate, belonging to the country, be forthwith brought into the Court; and that there be two or three persons appointed by each House to keep safe and secret the said patent and duplicate, in two distinct places, as to the said committee shall seem most expedient; and that the Deputy-Governor, Major-General Leverett, Captain Clarke [Deputy for Boston], and Captain Johnson [Deputy for Woburn] are appointed to receive the grand patent from the Secretary, and to dispose thereof as may be most safe for the country.” The train-bands in and near Boston were put in order. A tried officer, Captain Davenport, was placed in command of the Castle." Having trimmed their vessel, the wakeful pilots awaited the storm.
* See above, p. 531.
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 101, 102, 104 Connecticut and New Haven. (Ibid.,
– 106, 110. — It is curious to see that, at such a crisis, the Court not only transacted, with the usual pains-taking, the multifarious details of common business (Ibid., 100 – 116), but vindicated the authority of the Confederacy in respect to the controversy between
WOL. II. 49
102.) — By this Court, also, the boundary line between Massachusetts and Plymouth was established, as run by a joint commission of six persons appointed by the two Colonies. (Ibid., 114-116.)
CHA PTE R X W.
AT the close of a long summer day, as the Sabbath stillness in Boston was beginning; two ships of war— the Guinea, carrying thirty-six guns, and the Elias,
too. carrying thirty,+ came to anchor off Long Wharf.
... They were the first vessels of the royal navy * that had ever been seen in that harbor. OffiJuly 23.
cers went on board, and brought back intelligence to the town, that the ships had sailed ten weeks before from England, in company with two others, – the Martin, of sixteen guns, and the William and Nicholas, of ten, – from which they had parted a week or two before in bad weather; and that the fleet conveyed three or four hundred troops, and four persons charged with public business. These were Colonel Richard Nicolls, Sir Robert Carr, Colonel George Cartwright, and Mr. Samuel Maverick. It has been seen that, in the press of business which fell upon Lord Clarendon at the King's return, he did not overlook the importance of reducing to obedience those distant communities of Englishmen, in which the chief strength of Puritanism now resided.” At length, when the charters to Connecticut and Rhode Island appeared to have sufficiently arranged some things and embroiled others, it was determined to send out Commissioners to take advantage of the opportunities which had been created, and, if possible, bring the aspiring colonists into subjection. Another business which had at the same time been in progress, while, for its own completion, it might conveniently be intrusted to the same hands, would also enable the court to enlist on its side some local resentments of long standing, and afford a reason for sending out a military force, which, in some case that might arise, would be useful to the Commissioners in pursuing the main object of their appointment. The King, reviving that claim to North America which his predecessors had founded on its discovery by the Cabots, had lately given to his brother, James, Duke of York, all the country between the rivers Connecticut and Delaware, including Long Island, which Lord Clarendon had bought of Lord Stir. ling for his son-in-law. The Commissioners to New England were charged to take possession of that country for its new proprietor, and to require the Col. onies to furnish military aid for this purpose. The grant to the Duke also conveyed to him the country between the rivers St. Croix and Kennebec." Nicolls, the principal Commissioner, was a man of honor. At the breaking out of the Civil War, when he was seventeen or eighteen years old, he gave up his studies at the University, and joined the King's standard, receiving the command of a troop of horse. While the royal family was in exile, he was attached to the person of the Duke of York, and served with him, first under Marshal Turenne, in the war of the Fronde, and afterwards under the Prince de Condé. At the Restoration, he was appointed one of the Duke's gentlemen of the bed-chamber; and now, when the lately constituted province, including New Netherland, should be reduced, he was to administer it as the proprietor's deputy. Carr and Cartwright” proved themselves incompetent to the delicate business with which they were intrusted. In some respects Maverick was eminently qualified for
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 157.
* Henry Bennet had now just become one of the Secretaries of State. He succeeded Sir Edward Nicholas in that office, December 22, 1663. — In the State-Paper Office is an elaborate memoir on the subject of reducing the New-England Colonies, of which I presume Lord Clarendon to have been the author, though it is not in his handwriting. It is entitled, “Considera
tions respecting the Commission to be sent out.” It recommends “that Commissioners, about the number of five, to be of a prudent and sober conversation [he had no taste for men like Scott], of several qualifications or professions, be sent, with limited instructions to some purposes, and powers less limited, the better to enable them to effect what is intended by his Majesty.” And it points out special methods to
be pursued by the Commissioners, agreeably to what were afterwards prescribed in their instructions. It is recommended that the agents to be sent shall proceed at first with caution and insinuation. The little they can obtain in this way “will give his Majesty a good footing and foundation for a further advance of his authority by new considerations and instructions to be framed here by such representations as shall be made upon the return of the Commissioners, or part of them, or letters from them.” “It may be presumed that they will harden in their constitution, and grow on nearer to a commonwealth, towards which they are already well-nigh ripened, if, out of present tenderness, the attempt shall be neglected or deferred, whilst this and that government are at present under such and so many circumstances that look and promise fairly towards the effecting what is aimed at. If we consider present peace, present concurrence of patentees, present inclinations in the oppressed there, the
present settlements in relation to the trades of the plantations, and no present obstacle, which is like to be more favorable hereafter, or that scarce any future accident or state of affairs can in any probability render the reduction of that doubtful people more feasible than at this point of time they may be found to be by the easy methods here proposed, which, being rather means of insinuation than of force, cannot put his Majesty's interests there into a much weaker condition than they are at present, should they fail of their effect, surely the attempt is prudent, seasonable, and necessary, and the success will be of so manifold advantage to his Majesty and his dominions, that they seem worthy of present pursuit.”
Governor Pownall, if I mistake not, somewhere refers to Lord Clarendon as having pronounced the Colonies to have already “hardened into republics.” I presume that Pownall had this paper in his mind.
Patent to the Duke of York.
* I have never seen the Duke of plain his appointment. Carr's daughter
York's patent entire. That part which
married John Hervey, first Earl of