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General affairs of the Massachusetts, from the year
1661 to 1666. In the beginning of this lustre the same Governor and Deputy Governor were, by the joint consent of the Massachusetts, chosen that were before, viz. Mr. Endicot and Mr. Bellingham, and so continued to 1665, with this only alteration, that in the last year, viz. 1665, Mr. Endicot being taken away, Mr. Bellingham succeeded him in his place. The aforesaid gentleman died in a good old age, honored by all as one that had well deserved both of church and common weal, and was honorably interred at Boston, March 23, 1665.
Not many matters of moment occurred in this lustre of years, in New England, but what concerned the transactions in reference to our gracious Sovereign, King Charles the Second.
And because, about this time of his Majesty's happy restoration, an odd kind of book was unhappily printed by one of the ministers of New England, (that had spent his time to better purpose, on sundry accounts, in the years forepast,) that gave great distaste to the General Court, as savoring too much of a Fifth Monarchy spirit, at least sundry expressions were used therein justly offensive to the Kingly government of England, (though not intentionally by the author, who hath always professed and practised better,) public testimony was borne against the said book by the censure of the General Court;o the justice of which censure, (as is said,) was acknowledged by the author himself.5
But that which doth beyond all exception clear the people of New England from any tincture of a rebellious or fanatical spirit, (however they may have been, by some that knew nothing of them but by hearsays, misrepresented,) is their voluntary proclaiming his Majesty, after information of his happy returning to the exercise of his royal power in his three kingdoms; which was solemnly done on the 8th of August, 1661, by special order of the
I LXV in the MS.-H. ? At Boston, March 15, 1665, aged 76.-H. 3 Rev. John Eliot, the Indian Apostle. The book, entitled the “ Christian Commonwealth," was a frame of government, as deduced from the Scriptures, for the benefit of the Indian converts; it was published in London, in 1654.-H. * The Governor and Council “ took public notice" of the book, March 18, 1660-1.-H. $ In May. The acknow. ledgment was ordered to be posted up in the principal towns."—H.
General Court;' to which may be added that, during the times of the late usurpation, there was never any other power owned and publicly declared and submitted unto; which is more than can be said of any other of his Majesty's Plantations abroad, although it is well known that the same was expected, and the country was courted thereunto, by the person who is now laid asleep in the dark house of the grave with his weapons under his head, , though he were a terror in the land of the living, for a long time before.?
In the end of this year, 1661, the General Court being called together, agreed to send over Mr. Bradstreet and Mr. Norton as their messengers, to represent the loyalty of the people of New England to his Majesty, and to implore his grace and favor towards the country. They took their voyage in February, and returned back in September following, having had a favorable reception with his Majesty, and a concession of several acts of royal grace and favor, betokening all due encouragement for their proceedings in those parts of America, to the further advancing of his Majesty's interest there ; which made them return like Noah's dove with an olive branch of peace in their mouths and hands, bringing back with them a gracious letter from his Majesty, the contents of which were to this purpose, viz. :
That his Majesty was well satisfied with their expressions of loyalty, duty, and good affection; that he received them into his gracious protection, and would cherish them with best encouragement, confirming their Patent and privileges; and that he would pardon all crimes past, excepting such persons as stood attainted, adding, that the late ill times (had] had an influence into that Colony; and that the privileges of the freemen should be further enlarged ; and further, since freedom and liberty of conscience was the chief ground of that Plantation, that the like liberty and freedom be allowed duly to such as desire to perform their devotions after the manner of England, (yet without indulgence to Quakers, enemies to all government) sc. to all such as shall use their liberty without disturbance; and that all writs (and) processes,
See the Proclamation in Hutchinson, i. 200.-H. • In Hutchinson is a letter of the General Court to Cromwell, in 1651, and an address from the same to the same, Aug. 24, 1654.-H.
3 Dec. 31st. See the proceedings of the Committee of the General Court, with the Address to the King, &c., in Hutchinson's Coll. Papers, pp. 345–71.-H.
with indictments, should be made and sent forth in his Majesty's name, by all magistrates, secretaries, clerks, and all officers that were concerned in public writings ;' all which have been from that time carefully observed, and some former laws repealed, that were the ground of the former practice, and new ones substituted in their room, requiring the observation of the premises, in which way things were quietly carried on without any great difficulty or trouble the two following years. Yet, notwithstanding all those expressions of favor, in the year 1664 his Majesty was pleased to depute some Commissioners to take an account of the state of the Colonies of New England, furnishing them with ample power for the rectifying anything they should find amiss, or otherwise to commend it to his Majesty's further care and ordering. They were but four in number, the two principal of whom were Colonel Nichols and Colonel Cartwright, who were both of them eminently qualified with abilities fit to manage such a concern, nor yet wanting in resolution to carry on any honorable design for the promoting his Majesty's interest, in any of those Plantations whither they were sent.
But their principal business being to reduce the Dutch Plantation at the Manhatos to the obedience of his Majesty, wherein as soon as ever they expressed their desire of the assistance of the Massachusetts, in raising of forces to the number of two hundred, to join with such as they brought along with them, it was readily complied with ; but before any such force could be raised and carried to the place, it was, partly by the interpositions of some agentså sent from the Massachusetts and the rest of the Colonies, and partly by other prudent considerations, peaceably resigned up into the hands of his Majesty's Commissioners, and so was the will of the Massachusetts, by those honorable gentlemen, accepted for the deed.
Divine Providence seemed to favor the design, in that so considerable a place of strength, and so easily tenable, was so speedily reduced without the loss of one man's life; and without doubt the right and title of the English to the place was beyond all exception, which possibly made the former possessors unwilling to dispute it with their swords' point; nor did the Dutch suffer by their yielding, being ever since treated upon all accounts as friends and allies, and not as foreigners or strangers.
See this letter, dated June 28, 1662, in Hutch. Coll. Papers, pp. 377-80.-H.
See their Commission, dated April 25, 1664, in Hutchinson, i. 459-60; and that portion of their instructions relating to the Dutch, ip Hazard,
3 Thomas Clark and John Pynchon from Mass., Gov. John Winthrop, Nathan Gould, Matthew Allyn, James Richards, Samuel Wyllys, and Fitz-John Winthrop, from Conn., and Thomas Willet from Plymouth. Hutchinson, i. 212 ; Thompson's Long Island, i. 126-7; Davis's Morton, p. 311.-H.
ii. 639-40.- -H.
This business being so well over, the Commissioners had the better opportunity, and with the more speed, to attend their other affairs in the Colonies of New England, which with great intenseness was pursued soon after.
They had, upon their first arrival, delivered a letter from his Majesty to the General Court of the Massachusetts, wherein he was pleased thus to preface: “ Having taken very much to heart the welfare and advancement of those our Plantations in America, and particularly that of New England, which in truth hath been a good example of industry and sobriety to all the rest, whereby God hath blessed it, &c., we have thought fit, seeing we cannot in person visit those our so distant dominions, &c., to send such Commissioners thither, as may in our name visit the same,” &c., adding at the last, “ as we have had this resolution and purpose, since our first happy arrival in England, to send Commissioners thither, &c., so we have had many reasons occur since to confirm us in that resolution, and to hasten the execution thereof." Amongst other reasons reckoned up, one was to confer about his Majesty's former letter of June 28, 1662, and their answer thereunto, of Nov. 25th following, against which it seems some exception was taken, the conferring about which with those of the Massachusetts, was one part of their instructions.
His Majesty's Commission, with the instructions, were presented to the Massachusetts under several heads, and it was done gradually and by piecemeal, which occasioned many and long debates between the said Commissioners and the General Court; upon which, through some unhappy mistakes, there was not that right understanding betwixt them which was desired, the which it may be thought better in this place to pass over with silence, than to run into the several particulars thereof, forasmuch as all the foresaid gentlemen, to whom the said Commission was granted, have sometime since been called to give an account in another world ; their proceedings, therefore, shall not here be brought under any further discourse. But for the General Court of the Massachusetts, something that was propounded to them seemed very grievous, viz. the bringing upon them a Court of Appeals in matters of judicature that had fallen under the cognizance of the Courts in the country; for the preventing of which inconvenience, it was determined by the said Court to send a further Address' to his Majesty upon the account of one of the Commissioners, in whom was observed a greater animosity than is usual against the country in general, supposed to arise from a deep rooted prejudice of his mind against the church discipline used there, which might indeed call forth the moroseness of his natural temper, which manisested itself in sundry harsh expressions, which probably occasioned some to look upon him as a professed enemy. For they observed he was never willing to accept of any common courtesy from any of the inhabitants, as if he had had some special antipathy against them all in general; but the contrary is known by some that had occasion of more free converse with him, to whom he always discovered much civility in his behavior. But where he had received any disgust from any ruder sort of the people, as he occasionally passed up and down the country, it is not unlike that he might highly resent the same, and could not re- · frain from an open discovery thereof upon other occasions; which certainly, without prejudice be it spoken, did his Majesty no little disservice as to the matters then before them, for it laid so great a discouragement upon the minds of those who had been long treating about things of difference, that it put the General Court upon a resolution forthwith to make that other Address to his Majesty, to prevent, if possible, the imposing such Commissioners upon the country, whose power might be attended with no little inconvenience and trouble for the future, if persons of his spirit and temper should chance to be employed therein.
' Of April 23, 1664. See it in Hazard, ii. 634-7.-H.