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1666. Sept. 4.
The Commissioners testified their complete satisfaction
in their Report to the King. “The Colony of
Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” they wrote, “ returned their humble thanks to his Majesty for sending Commissioners, and made great demonstrations of their loyalty and obedience. They approved, as most reasonable, that appeals should be made to his Majesty's Commissioners, who, having heard and determined some causes among them, referred other some, in civility, to their General Court, and some to the Gov
ernor and others."I The General Court main
tained their position by an Address, in which they assured the King “that, however the other Colonies, or any of them, should stand affected or prove disloyal, yet that this Colony promised and resolved to stand loyal to his Majesty, and to promote his royal interest in these parts, to the very utmost of their power, upon all occasions whatsoever.” And, in memorials to the King and Lord Clarendon, while they set forth at length their past deserts, sacrifices, and wrongs, they extolled the Commissioners; “ declared some reasons why, of right and necessity, the whole country of Narragansetts, as in the very letter of the Charter, should belong” to themselves; prayed that the boundary line between them and Plymouth might be made to run “ three miles to the east of the most easterly and northeasterly part” of Narragansett Bay; and bespoke some other favors, especially “in point of freedom of commerce.” 2
From this sphere of easy negotiation the three Commissioners again transferred themselves to Boston. They arrived one by one, and in an obscure manner, their purpose being, as was supposed, to "prevent that respect and honorable reception, not only intended, but actu
* R. I. Rec., II. 127.— The King mouth and Connecticut, and at the complimented Rhode Island for its good same time. (Ibid., 149.) behavior, in the same terms as Ply Ibid., 154 – 166.
1605. May 2.
ally prepared for them.” Nicolls, coming from New York, joined them only the day before the meet- The Coming of the annual Court for Elections. The par- in Massaties confronted each other, with a conviction on both sides that there was now to be a decisive contest. It was conducted on both sides with spirit, and was begun and ended within a month.
Some of the circumstances, in which the Magistrates of Massachusetts found themselves compelled to undertake it, were not inspiriting.
Secretary Morrice had written to them that the King was “not pleased with their petition, and looked upon it as the contrivance of a few persons who had had too long authority there, and who used all the artifices they could to infuse jealousies into his good subjects there, and apprehensions as if their charter were in danger." He spoke of it as containing “ unreasonable and groundless complaint;” enlarged upon“ many complaints presented to the King, by particular persons, of injustice contrary to the constitution of that government;” and concluded by informing them that “his Majesty had too much reason to suspect that Mr. Endicott, who had, during all the late revolutions, continued the government there, was not a person well affected to his Majesty's person or his government,” or fit to be rechosen.3 To the letter which they had addressed to Lord Clarendon, he replied, that he had “perused the petition they had directed to his Majesty, and that he confessed to them he was so much a friend to their Colony, that, if the same had been communicated to nobody but himself, he should have dissuaded the pre
1 Cartwright came, April 13th, and Nicolls, to persuade him to join them. Maverick the following day. Carr had (Ibid., 19, 89.) not arrived on the 19th of that month. ? See above, p. 588. (Letter of Cartwright in O'Callaghan, 3 Hutch. Coll., 390. Documents, &c., III. 94.) They had • See above, p. 590, note. written in the most urgent terms to
I can say
senting the same to his Majesty, who he doubted would not think himself well treated by it. no more to you,” he added, " but that it is in your own power to be very happy, and to enjoy all that hath been granted to you; but it will be absolutely necessary that you perform and pay all that reverence and obedience, which is due from subjects to their King,
, and which his Majesty will exact from you.” Nor had Boyle regarded their proceedings more favorably. He
too expressed himself “ amazed to find that they
demanded a revocation of the Commission and Commissioners.” 1 The Magistrates of Massachusetts comprehended what they were undertaking better than great men in England.
The Deputy-Governor and some Magistrates and Deputies were together making arrangements for the ap
proaching organization of the government, when tlie Massa- they received a message from the Commissioners, Magistrates proposing a conference “ with the Court.” They
replied, “ that they were no Court;” but at
length consented to a meeting. The Commissioners “immediately repaired to the Court-House, and delivered five several writings;" four of which proved to embrace portions of the royal Instructions to themselves. The first contained that part in which the King gave assurance of his friendly sentiments towards the Colonies; and to this the Commissioners appended a note of their own, enforcing the obligation of a grateful return. The second extract referred to the expedition against New Netherland, and was accompanied by a certificate of the Commissioners that they had given “the King an account of the readiness of this Colony in that ser
and the Commissioners.
Hutch. Hist., I. 464, 465; Mass. outward enjoyments, than leave that Ilist. Coll., XVIII. 49. — They had which was the first ground of wanderwritten to Boyle: “We can sooner ing from our native country.” (Hutch. leave our place and all our pleasant Coll., 389.)
vice.” The third produced their authority to communicate the royal pleasure to a General Court, which the Commissioners announced themselves now ready to do, at the same time complaining that their wishes, expressed the last summer, for an immediate publication of the King's letter to the Colony, had not been executed. The fourth related to the preparation of a map of the territory, which three of the Commissioners had applied for, in a joint letter from Rhode Island, six weeks before, and which Nicolls now united with them in requesting the Court to have made with all exactness possible, and with all speed convenient delivered.”
The fifth “writing” was a manifesto of the Commissioners, setting forth the fitness of an appointment such as that which they held, and the unreasonableness of the opposition which appeared to have been raised against it. It was not true, they declared, as had been “maliciously reported by some," that their commission had “ been made under an old hedge.” It was not true, as had been affirmed, that “ the King had sent them over to raise five thousand pounds a year out of this Colony for his Majesty's use, and twelve pence for every acre of improved land beside, and to take from this Colony many of their civil liberties and ecclesiastical privileges.” “ To wipe these soiling aspersions of his Majesty's honor, and to prevent the spreading of this poisonous infection among his Majesty's good subjects," was, they alleged, “ the only reason” of their having proposed to bring the whole body of the inhabitants together at Boston. Of the purposes of their embassy, they said, “ the first mentioned in the King's letter is peculiar to this Colony, and is to discountenance and suppress those unreasonable jealousies and malicious calumnies which wicked and unquiet spirits labor to infuse, &c., as that our
· See above, p. 583.
subjects there do not submit to our government, but look upon themselves as independent on us.' A fairer opportunity you can never have to throw this calumny, if it be one, to the depth of hell, to the father of lies, from whom it came.” After explaining the principles which, in the King's opinion, ought to control the elections to be held the next day, the Commissioners courteously expressed the wish that the Court might "be prosperous in the choice of a Governor, and that he also might be prosperous in the execution of his office.” 1 Bellingham was chosen Governor, and was succeeded
in the second office by Francis Willoughby.? On the next day, the business with the Com
missioners was resumed in form. The Court “ earnestly desired that they might know all that his Majesty had given them in command to declare, that so they might have their whole work before them; to which the Commissioners replied, that they should not observe that method, but, when they had received an answer to that which they had given in, they would then present them with more work.” The Court, in a careful reply,
promised that a map should be furnished with
out delay, and expressed their hope of having cause for more ample expressions and demonstrations of their duty, loyalty, and good affection to his Majesty, according as by their patent they were bound.” The Commissioners answered, with complaints of the long neglect of the King's demands sent by Norton and Bradstreet, and with comments on that unsatisfactory profession of loyalty, which appeared to limit its obligations by the terms of the patent. They added other unpalatable reflections, and concluded with communicating another
· Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 177 – 186. about seventy freemen admitted, sun
Ibid., 141 ; see above, p. 588, note dry whereof were not members of any 1.- At this Court the first fruits were particular church.” (Hull's Diary, in reaped of the new rule of citizenship. Archæol. Amer., III. 217.)
The first day of the Court there was