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some of the reverend elders, that were or might be in town, should be desired to be present with the General Court on the morrow morning, and to begin the Court, and spend the forenoon in prayer.” The guides of the public action and the instructors of the public conscience met together accordingly, and prayed and consulted. And the issue of the whole was a letter, prepared by a committee, of which Willoughby was chairman, and addressed to Secretary Morrice by the General Court. It replied at length to a proposal for an invasion of New France, and then proceeded as follows:–
“We may not omit to acquaint your Honor that a writing was delivered to the Governor and Magistrates by Mr. Samuel Maverick, the 6th September, without direction or seal, which he saith is a copy of a signification from his Majesty of his pleasure concerning this Colony of the Massachusetts, the certainty whereof seems not to be so clear unto us as former expresses from his Majesty have usually been.
“We have in all humility given our reasons why we could not submit to the Commissioners and their mandates the last year, which we understand lie before his Majesty; to the substance whereof we have not to add, and therefore cannot expect that the ablest persons among us could be in a capacity to declare our cause more fully.
“We must, therefore, commit this our great concernment unto Almighty God, praying and hoping that his Majesty (a prince of so great clemency) will consider the state and condition of his poor and afflicted subjects at such a time, being in imminent danger by the public enemies of our nation, and that in a wilderness far remote from relief.”
cil may put him in the same dis- longing to the Massachusetts Historical temper.” (Letter of Maverick, in the Society.) collection of “Winslow Papers" be- Mass. Rec. IV. (ii) 317.
This conclusion was not reached with entire unanimity. Two of the Magistrates, Denison and Bradstreet, would have been more compliant. And the sordid and short-sighted timidity of commercial politics interposed; for already there was commercial prosperity enough to conflict with the ancient strictness of public morality. Petitions came in from the four principal commercial towns, praying for a submission to the royal demand,— the petition from Boston having twenty-six signatures, and those from Salem, Newbury, and Ipswich being subscribed with thirty-three, thirty-nine, and seventy-three names respectively. The Court observed these documents to be “for substance but one;" and, finding that the petitioners did therein unjustly charge, threaten, and reflect upon the Court, to the dishonor of the members thereof, they ordered four of the signers from Boston, and one from each of the other towns, to appear at the
next Court, and answer for the same.”
But the matter
* “To the same purpose, and same words.” (Mass. Hist. Coll., XXVIII. 105.)
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 314 – 318; comp. Mass. Hist. Coll., XXI. 59. — An account of the proceedings preliminary to the final action of the Court is preserved in the “Danforth Papers” (Mass. Hist. Coll., XVIII. 98 – 101). “12. 7mo. 1666. The Court met, and sundry elders, and spent the forenoon in prayer. These prayed: Mr. Wilson, Mr. Mather, Mr. Symmes, Mr. Whiting, Mr. Corbitt, Mr. Mitchell.” On the second day after, the petitions from the ports were presented, and a full debate took place. The names of the speakers are preserved in the manuscript only by the initial letters; and the editor of the Danforth Papers has generally interpreted these correctly. By “D.," however, he has understood “Dudley” to
be denoted, when he should have supplied Denison. Joseph Dudley (afterwards so conspicuous) was now only a year out of College; and his elder brother, Thomas, who had not been a Magistrate, had lately died.— Bradstreet (who had hardly got over his fright in England) maintained, with Denison, the side of prerogative. Bellingham, Willoughby, Symonds, and Hathorne stood stiffly for the chartered rights. They expressed the common sentiment, which did not require to be further urged by Danforth, Leverett, and the others like-minded. Willoughby spoke to the purpose when he said: “We must as well consider God's displeasure as the King's, the interest of ourselves and God's things as his Majesty's prerogative; for our liberties are of concernment, and to be regarded as to the preservation; for, if the King may send for me now, and
erick came from New York with a letter signed by Nicolls, Carr, and himself, protesting against this
last contumacious action of the Court, and soli
citing a reconsideration, and was answered by the Magistrates that what they had to say upon the
another to-morrow, we are a miserable people.” Of the same way of thinking was “E.,” whose name the editor of the papers does not venture to fill out. There was at the time no Magistrate whose name begins with that letter. The manuscript papers are now mislaid. When they shall reappear, I think it probable that the editor will be found to have erroneously read E for some other letter, — perhaps for G, designating Gookin. “Many of them,” said Bradstreet, “that have estates to send to England, are afraid that they will suffer there, if nothing be done.” And so said the petitioners. Of those of them who can be identified, some were of that class of persons who establish a certain consequence by building up fortunes, though their fabric would scarcely rise above the ground unless protected by the public spirit of the braver men whom they embarrass. Among the Boston signers were Thomas Kellond, who had failed of catching Whalley and Goffe; and Captain Breedon and Thomas Deane, both of whom had done their best to help the Commissioners. They and their comrades set forth, with edifying pathos, as well as with an unconscious insensibility to the public dishonor, which, in the circumstances, was involved in their homily, “that those who live in this age are no less than others concerned in that advice of the wise man, to keep the King's commandment because of the oath of God, and not to be hasty to go out of his sight that doth whatsoever pleaseth
subject had already been communicated to Sir The Court were well disposed to lighten, in any upright way, the difficult task they had assumed; and the last business done at the recent session was to take measures for sending to the King a present of masts for the use of the royal navy. It cost the Colony nearly two thousand pounds, and was very gratefully received in England, being so seasonable that it was afterwards thought to have materially contributed to the favorable issue of the existing war with France." Soon after that power had taken part against England in her war with the Dutch, the King instructed proposal for Colonel Nicolls to organize an expedition against i., New France, and to obtain troops from the *::: New-England Colonies, to which he also transmitted orders to that effect.” Nicolls applied ** to Massachusetts for “a speedy force of horse and dragoons, not exceeding a hundred and fifty.” The Court wrote to Morrice: “As touching the reducing of Canada, &c., the Council have advised with Sir Thomas Temple, Governor of Nova Scotia, and with the Governor of Connecticut, who both concluded with them that it is not feasible, as well in respect of the difficulty, if not impossibility, of a land march over the rocky mountains and howling deserts about four hundred miles, as the strength of the French there, according to report.” They added, that vessels with their commission had “lately taken three or four of the French fishing-ships upon the coast of Canada,” and that they should take care, “by the assistance of God, to preserve and defend the honor and interest of his Majesty and the English nation in these
him.” They desired that “effectual care might be taken lest, by refusing to attend his Majesty's order, . . . . . we should plunge ourselves into great disfavor and danger.” They frankly referred to “the interest of their own persons and estates.” They expressed, on the one hand, their apprehension lest “that which, if duly improved, might have been as a cloud of the latter rain, should be turned into that which in the conclusion might be found more terrible than the roaring of a lion;” and, on the other, their hope that they might not be compelled “to make their particular address to his Majesty and declaration to the world, to clear themselves from the least imputation of so scandalous an evil as the appearance of disaffection or disloyalty to the person and government of their lawful prince and sovereign would be.” * Hutch. Coll., 408-410. – In the State-Paper Office is a letter dated “From the Massachusetts Colony in New England, October 26, 1666,” addressed to Secretary Morrice, and signed “Samuel Nadhorth.” If it might be hazardous to say that there was then no person of the name of Nadhorth in Massachusetts, there can be little hesitation as to affirming that there was no person of that name capable of writing such a paper. I think we may safely conclude that the name assumed was a pseudonyme of Hathorne or of Danforth. Neither of them bore the Christian name of Samuel, but Nadhorth is nearly a perfect anagram equally of Hathorne and of Danforth. One circumstance favors the opinion that Hathorne was the writer. It is, that where the letter refers to the King's demand for agents to be sent to England, it explains why Bellingham could not go, but says nothing of Hathorne, who equally had been summoned by name. This very interesting document would cover eleven or twelve pages such as mine. A few extracts will afford some indication of its character. “I clearly see, that the body of the people have a higher esteem of their liberties than of their lives. They well know they are such twins as God and nature have joined together, and are resolved to bury their estates and liberties in the same grave. . . . . . “Should the malicious accusations of their adversaries prevail with his Majesty to impose hard measure upon them, as their dwellings are not desirable for luxurious minds, so they would not be long inhabited by them, the country being large and wide. And what great pity is it that a hopeful plantation, so suddenly raised without any expense to his Majesty, should now be made a prey to foreign enemies.” The writer goes on to show how much it is coveted by the French, and how easily they might occupy it, if but partially deserted by its present holders. “What extremity,” he adds, “may force them to, that God only knows, who is wonderful in counsel and mighty in working, whose thoughts are not as man's, and whose counsel only shall stand. . . . . . - - - - - a writing, being a copy of a signification from his Majesty, requiring the Governor and
some others to appear in England. But the very truth is, the Governor is an ancient gentleman, near eighty years old, and is attended with many infirmities of age, often incapacitating him to the public service of the country, as stone, colic, deafness, &c.; so that to have exposed him to such an undertaking had been extreme cruelty. And, for the further alleviating, please to be informed that the writing which came to their hands was neither original nor duplicate, but only a copy, without any seal, or notification that his Majesty had appointed the exhibition thereof to the Colony. . . . . .
“Had the Governor and all the leading men of the Colony adhered to the Commissioners' mandates, the people were so resolved, that they would for the generality of them (some discontents, Quakers, and others excepted) have utterly protested against their concession. . . . . .
“What your Honor may do for the interest of God's people, God himself will own, and Jesus Christ, his Son, will own you for it, when he shall appear in all his glory with his saints and holy angels to judge the world. If in your wisdom you shall perceive it will do no good to this people, your declaring the contents of these lines, I do humbly, for Christ's sake, beg that favor of your Honor, that it may not be improved to any provocation, this being privately done by my own hand, without the privity of the authority, or advice of any other person whatsoever, against whom, whiles I have been here resident, I see no just ground of complaint.” See O'Callaghan, Documents, &c., III. 138.
Peace was made the next year at Breda, and
Peace of - - -
* Mass. Rec., IV. (ii) 318; comp. * Hutch. Coll., 407. 327. — How opportune and valuable “Mass. Rec., IV. (ii.) 316; comp. this gift was, may be seen in Pepys 828; also Mass. Hist. Coll., XVIII.
(Diary, III. 100). 101, * Mass. Hist. Coll., XVIII. 102.