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presented the King's letter, and made four proposals. These were: — 1. That all householders should operation. take the oath of allegiance, and that justice should ... be administered in the King's name; — 2. That * “all men of competent estates and civil conversation, though of different judgments, might be admitted to be freemen, and have liberty to choose and be chosen officers, both civil and military;” — 3. That “all men and women of orthodox opinions, competent knowledge, and civil lives, not scandalous,” should be admitted to the Lord's Supper and have their children baptized, either in the churches already existing, or in congregations of their own; — 4. That “all laws, and expressions in laws, derogatory to his Majesty,” should be “repealed, altered, and taken off from the file.” These proposals were the same as those which had occasioned such consternation in Massachusetts, when communicated through Norton and Bradstreet.” To the first, the second, and the fourth of them the Court of Plymouth readily gave its assent, adding, as to the first two, that they accorded with former practice, and, as to the other, professing ignorance of the existence of any objectionable matter of the kind described. The third was likewise conceded; but with the explanation, that none should “withdraw from paying their due proportions of maintenance to such ministers as were orderly settled in the places where they lived, until they had one of their own, and in such places as were capable of maintaining the worship of God in two distinct congregations.” When the King was informed of the “dutifulness and obedience” of the people of Plymouth, he wrote them a letter of commendation. “Your carriage,” he said, “seems to be set off with the more lustre, by the contrary deportment of the Colony of the Massachusetts, as if, by their refractoriness, they had designed to recommend and heighten the merit of your compliance.” The Commissioners made some suggestion “in reference unto the manner of choice of the Governors of this jurisdiction, and in reference unto an Address to be made to his Majesty for the renewal of the patent;” but the consideration of these questions was postponed by the freemen, and was not for the present resumed. They did not like the conditions, which were hinted at, of a more direct responsibility to the government in England, and “preferred to remain as they were.” In the settlements on Narragansett Bay, whither the Commissioners next proceeded, they were looked for with affectionate expectation.” The planters at Warwick flattered themselves that their hour for revenge had come, and they lost no time in approaching the deliverers. In an “humble petition of Samuel Gorton, Randall Holden, John Weeks, and John Greene, in behalf of themselves and others,” the early transactions between them and Massachusetts were narrated in detail, and the Commissioners were entreated to “please to take their distresses into their Honors' breasts,” and cause “some responsible and correspondent satisfaction” to be made." All of the Commissioners had before this time made hasty visits to Rhode Island, except Nicolls; and to him the Governor and Deputy-Governor The commishad written with the most profuse assurances of . devotion to the King, and deferential supplica- . tions for the favor of his representatives* Feb. 3, Their enthusiastic loyalty gained them little indulgence. The Commissioners were acquainted with the cession of the Narragansett country to the King, procured twenty years before by Gorton and his company.” They made a prompt and peremptory use of this advantage. Cutting the knot of the questions pending between Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island for the possession of that territory, they took it away from all the claimants. “We,” they proclaimed, “his Majesty's Commissioners, have received them [the Narragansett Indians] into his Majesty's protection, and do, in his Majesty's name, order, appoint, and command, that the said country henceforward be called the King's Province, and that no person, of what Colony soever, presume to exercise any jurisdiction within this the King's Province, but such as receive authority from us under our hands and seals, until his Majesty's pleasure be further known.” They declared the Paucatuck River to be the western boundary of the new province, and decreed that the Atherton Company should relinquish its lands on the repayment by the Indians of the purchase money. As a provisional arrangement, they authorized the Magistrates of Rhode Island to administer “the
* It is in Morton's Memorial, 312. * See above, p. 527. * Plym. Rec., IV. 85, 86. — Being advised of what the Court had done, Cartwright wrote: “We desire, that, when you send us your assent to the third proposition, you will let it and VOL. II. 51
the other three be fairly written together, that they may be present to his Majesty; and that, at the end of them, you would add something to this purpose, that the Articles of Confederation, when the Four Colonies entered into an offensive and defensive
league, neither did, nor shall, oblige you to refuse his Majesty's authority, though any one, or all the other three, should do so.” The object was to confirm the King’s “good opinion of their loyalty,” who, it was said, had been informed “that that union was a war combination made by the Four Colonies, when they had a design to throw off their dependence on England, and for that purpose.” (Mass. Hist. Coll., W. 192.) If Plymouth did what Cartwright proposed (Hutchinson, I. 215, note), she did not stain her records with it. The demand may have influenced her action when, soon after, she pro
posed to Massachusetts a dissolution of the Confederacy. (Plym. Rec., IV, 92.)
* The letter, dated April 10, 1666, has been printed by Hutchinson (Hist.) I. 466).
* Plym. Rec., IV. 92.
* Clarke, after twelve years' absence, returned to Rhode Island from England, June 7, 1664, six weeks before the arrival of the Commissioners at Boston. (Backus, I. 349; Arnold, I. 809, 810) Clarke and two others had gone to New York in October, 1664, and had there waited upon the Commissioners with a congratulatory address.
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii) 253–255. Massachusetts as this letter conveys.
* R. I. Rec., II. 86–89 (comp. 91, See above, pp. 123 et seq. 92). — It is odd to see Benedict Ar- * See above, p. 136. nold's hand to such complaints against
King's Province” till the royal pleasure should be known." The Indian, Pomham,” was another party concerned in these determinations. To gratify the town of Warwick, the Commissioners ordered him to remove, after the next harvest, either within the line of Massachusetts, or to some place to be granted to him by Pessacus; — a step to which, with difficulty he was brought, by a present of forty pounds, to consent. The Apostle Eliot interposed modestly with Carr in Pomham's behalf, and received a tart reply. Roger Williams, venturing on an intercession for delay, was more respectfully treated. Williams sweetened his remonstrance by writing to the Commissioner: “Your Honor will never effect by force a safe and lasting conclusion, until you have first reduced the Massachusetts to the obedience of his Majesty; and then these appendants, towed at their stern, will easily, and not before, wind about also.” The three Commissioners went next to Connecticut, where they made the same requisitions as had been comThe commis. plied with by Plymouth ; and in this quarter
sioners in ... also they received
April 20, demand relating to
a satisfactory reply.” The the conditions of citizenship
* R. I. Rec., II. 59, 60, 93, 95.
* See above, p. 123.
* R. I. Rec., II. 132 – 138. — The business was not brought to a conclusion till the spring of 1666.-‘I desire you to take notice,” wrote Carr to Eliot (February 28, 1666), “that I judge the persons employed in the affairs of the King's Province were well satisfied concerning his Majesty's royal and beneficent affections towards the Indians, and will, I doubt not, in observance thereof, continue, as they have in some measure begun, to take care, as in duty they are bound, to let them understand the same, though yourself had not taken upon you to be director. . . . . . Your and others' in
terposings wherein you and they are
phraseology of the third proposal was a little altered, with reference to the Bennet, from Boston (May 27), “and reply which had been made by Ply- thence we went to Rhode Island, and mouth. Connecticut was commended so to Connecticut. . . . . . At New
was not in opposition to any existing theory or rule of Connecticut. The demand relating to ecclesiastical privileges had been favored in advance by the action of the recent Synod." But the submission which Connecticut was now able to make for New Haven, by reason of their new political relation to each other, was a surrender of the principles on which New Haven had been founded, and a bitter disappointment to her best men. Now was seen in part fulfilled the design for a union between those Colonies, so far as the scheme had proceeded from the English court.
Returning to Rhode Island,” the Commissioners presented the same demands to the General Court of n.c. that Colony, and added a requisition for putting oo in
- - Rhode
the Colony into “a posture of defence.” With inna. lavish compliments the Court promised obedi. ** ence, only qualifying the order respecting the Oath of Allegiance, by substituting, in favor of “such as made a scruple of swearing,” an equivalent “engagement under the peril and penalty of perjury.” Without objection on the part of the Colony, the Commissioners entertained appeals in litigations between private parties, most of which, however, they referred for determination to the General Court or the Governor, thus obtaining at the same time an acknowledgment of their own superior authority, and the credit of performing an act of grace.”
by the King for its “dutifulness and obedience” in a letter of the same date and contents as that addressed to the primitive Colony. (Trumbull, Hist, I. 536.)
* See above, p. 488.
* “We began at Plymouth,” wrote Carr, Cartwright, and Maverick, to
London we had heard William Mor-