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assist with such a number of men, and all other things, as were necessary thereunto.” Accordingly, no part of the Instructions was at this time communicated to the Court, except what related to taking possession of New Netherland. For the present, the Commissioners only proposed to the Magistrates to raise “such a number of men armed as they could spare,” to march within four weeks, if they should be needed, for the conquest of the Dutch Colony. Proceedings The next day, the Magistrates replied in writing, of the Gen. that they had taken measures to bring together "... the General Court within a week, in order to obtain “their advice, assistance, and concurrence.” “The Commissioners manifested themselves not well satisfied with the Council's act, and informed the Governor and Council that there was yet many more things which they had in charge from his Majesty to signify to them, which work they would attend at their return from the Manhadoes; and commended to the Court, that, in the mean time, they would further consider of his Majesty's letter” to the Colony, brought by Brad. street and Norton two years before. The General Court accordingly came together, and Aug. 3. the matters proposed “were at large debated; - - - - - the result whereof was, that the Court did express and declare that it was their resolution, God assisting, to bear faith and true allegiance to his Majesty, and to adhere to their patent, the duties and privileges thereof, so dearly obtained, and so long enjoyed by undoubted right in the sight of God and men.” They passed an order calling for two hundred volunteers, and providing for their organization and supply? Proceeding to consider the King's former letter, they repealed the law which exclusively associated the franchise with church-membership; superseding it, however, by another, of which the practical operation would not be materially different. The new provision was, that “from henceforth all Englishmen, being twenty-four years of age, householders, and settled inhabitants,” and “presenting a certificate under the hands of the ministers or minister of the place where they dwelt, that they were orthodox in religion, and not vicious in their lives, and also a certificate under the hands of the selectmen of the place, or of the major part of them, that they were freeholders, and were ratable to the country . . . . . to the full value of ten shillings,” should have the same right as church-members “to present themselves and their desires to the Court for their admittance to the freedom of the Commonwealth, and be allowed the privilege to have such their desire propounded and put to vote in the General Court.” Few persons, not members of some church, paid so high an annual rate as ten shillings; the new law gave the churches, through their ministers, a decisive power in the selection of freemen; and the abrogation, at the same time, of a rule which had allowed County Courts to bestow the franchise on qualified persons, restored the exclusive exercise of that prerogative to the General Court.” Lastly, a committee was raised, consisting of Francis Willoughby, Major-General Leverett, and Jonathan Mitchell, minister of Cambridge, “to prepare and draw up a petition for the continuance of the privileges granted by charter, filled with such rational arguments as they could find to the end aforesaid.” The petition, after more than two months spent in its preparation, was adopted at a special meeting of the ... General Court. With moving eloquence it set forth the sacrifices by which the liberties hitherto possessed by Massachusetts had been purchased, and urged the injustice of encroachment on them. “This people,” it represented, “did at their own charges transport themselves, their wives and families, over the ocean, purchase the lands of the natives, and plant this Colony with great labor, hazards, costs, and difficulties; for a long time wrestling with the wants of a wilderness, and the burdens of a new plantation; having also now above thirty years enjoyed the aforesaid power and privilege of government within themselves, as their undoubted right in the sight of God and man.” In respect to the King's letter brought by Norton and Bradstreet, the Court said: “We have applied ourselves to the utmost to satisfy your Majesty so far as doth consist with conscience of our duty towards God, and the just liberties and privileges of our patent. But now,” they continued, “what affliction of heart must it needs be unto us, that our sins have provoked God to permit our adversaries to set themselves against us, by their misinformations, complaints, and solicitations, (as
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii) 157–166. of Great Britain, being inclined to re* Ibid., 119, 120. — The Dutch had duce all his kingdoms under one form been not without hopes that they would of government in Church and State, refuse to do this. “His Royal Majesty hath taken care that Commissioners
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are ready in England to repair to New rid of our authority, and then again
England to install bishops there, the same as in Old England. We believe that the English of the North, who mostly left England for the aforesaid causes, will not give us henceforth so much trouble, and will prefer to live under us with freedom of conscience,
rather than risk that in order to be
to fall under a government from which they formerly fled.” (Letter of the Directors at Amsterdam to the Directors and Council of New Netherland, April 21, 1664, in O'Callaghan, Documents, &c., II. 235.)
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 117, 118, 167, 168.
some of them have made
that their work for many years,) and thereby to procure a commission under the great seal, wherein four persons (one of them our known and professed enemy) are empowered to hear, receive, examine, and determine all complaints and appeals in all causes and matters, as well military as criminal and civil, and to proceed in all things for settling this country according to their good and sound discretions, &c.; whereby, instead of being governed by rulers of our own choosing (which is the fundamental privilege of our patent) and by laws of our own, we are like to be subjected to the arbitrary power of strangers, proceeding, not by any established law, but by their own discretions. . . . . . “If these things go on (according to their present appearance), your subjects here will either be forced to seek new dwellings, or sink and faint under burdens that will be to them intolerable; the vigor of all men's endeavors in their several callings and occupations (either for merchandise abroad, or further subduing this wilderness at home) will be enfeebled, as we perceive it already begins to be ; the good work of converting the natives obstructed ; the inhabitants driven to we know not what extremities; and this hopeful plantation in the issue ruined. . . . . . “We perceive there have been great expectations of what is to be had here, raised by some men's informations; but those informations will prove fallacious, disappointing them that have relied upon them. And if the taking of this course should drive this people out of the country (for to a coalition therein they will never come), it will be hard to find another people that will stay long, or stand under any considerable burden in it, seeing it is not a country where men can subsist without hard labor and great frugality. . . . . . “Sir: The all-knowing God he knows our greatest am
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 119. — Francis Willoughby, of Charlestown, became a freeman, May 3, 1640. (Ibid., I. 376.) In 1642, 1646, and 1649, he was a Deputy. (Ibid., II. 22, 145, 264.) In 1648 he was in London, and there had a passage with the Presbyterian Dr. Child. (See above, p. 178 ; comp. Winthrop, II. 822.) In 1650, he was promoted to be an Assistant. (Mass.
Rec., III. 182.) —Jonathan Mitchell (“the matchless”) came to Boston from Yorkshire in 1635, then a boy. (Winthrop, I. 164.) He graduated at Harvard College in 1647, and succeeded Shepard as Pastor of the church in Cambridge in 1650. Mather (Magnalia, IV. 166 et seq.) has written of his life and character at length.
the world, without offence to God or man. We came not into this wilderness to seek great things to ourselves; and, if any come after us to seek them here, they will be disappointed. We keep ourselves within our line, and meddle not with matters abroad. A just dependence upon, and subjection to, your Majesty, according to our charter, it is far from our hearts to disacknowledge. ..... And, should Divine Providence ever offer an opportunity wherein we might, in any righteous way, according to our poor and mean capacity, testify our dutiful affection to your Majesty, we hope we should most gladly embrace it. But it is a great unhappiness to be reduced to so hard a case, as to have no other testimony of our subjection and loyalty offered us but this, viz. to destroy our own being, which nature teacheth us to preserve, or to yield up our liberties, which are far dearer to us than our lives. . . . . .
“Royal Sire : It is in your power to say of your poor people in New England, they shall not die. If we have found favor in the sight of our King, let our life be given us at our petition (or rather that which is dearer than life, that we have ventured our lives, and willingly passed through many deaths, to obtain); and our all, at our request. Let our government live, our patent live, our magistrates live, our laws and liberties live, our religious enjoyments live; so shall we all have yet fur. ther cause to say from our heart, ‘Let the King live forever;' and the blessing of them that were ready to perish shall come upon your Majesty, having delivered the poor that cried, and such as had none to help them.””
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 129. — The the Court had been too stiff. “Some Court, at the same time, wrote to ..... were such as looked at this place Robert Boyle (Hutch. Coll., 388); to as a State independent.” (Diary in Lord Clarendon (Hutch. Hist., I.464); Archaeol. Amer., III. 213.) — Before and to Secretary Morrice, whom they breaking up, the Court appointed a entreated to be their advocate before Fast-Day (Mass. Rec., IV. (ii) 135); the Privy Council. — Hull feared that which, as the reader knows, was to