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of Massachusetts under review, the Committee took up these complaints and directed that agents from the colony should appear before it. The General Court complied, and William Stoughton and Peter Bulkley were sent with instructions which allowed them to defend the course of Massachusetts in New Hampshire and Maine, but directed them to plead absence of instructions to all other complaints.1
Before the agents reached England, Randolph arrived there and stirred up as much hostility as possible against them. He repeated the general charges of disobedience, and urged the very efficient method which was afterwards adopted, that of questioning the validity of colonial land titles.2 The Lords of Trade reported that the only way to bring the colony to terms was for the king to appoint a royal governor and thus make void the colonial charters;3 and the law officers of the crown, whose opinion was received May 16,1678, held that, although the charter was still good, the misdemeanors of the colonists were sufficient to make it void. * Not only, therefore, did the agents see the possibility that a governor might be sent, but the colonial merchants resident in England expected the appointment of one.6 By pleading the want of instructions, however, the agents contrived to ward off this catastrophe.
Shortly after the agents arrived in England, the judges to whom the conflicting claims to Maine and New Hampshire
1 Massachusetts Colony Records, v. 113-116.
* Representations of Randolph, May 6, 1677, Toppan, Edward Randolph, ii. 265-268.
* Ibid. 297.
4 Ibid. iii. 4. A year before the chief justices Raynsford and North, in discussing the claims of Massachusetts to Maine and New Hampshire (see note 1, below), reported that the Massachusetts charter made "the Adventurers a corporation upon the place."
1Blinman to Increase Mather, August 9, 1678, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 4th Series, viii. 335.
were referred decided that neither Mason nor Massachusetts had any good claim to the government of New Hampshire, a decision which left the settlers directly dependent upon the crown. The title to Maine, was, however, they decided, vested on the heirs of Gorges.1 It was now rumored that the king was in negotiation with these heirs in an attempt to buy Maine with the intention of uniting it with New Hampshire, and forming a single province for his favorite Monmouth. In order to forestall such a calamity, the agents made a successful effort and purchased Maine for £1250, a proceeding which the king took "very ill,"2 from this time on showing active personal hostility toward the colony. To counteract this state of things, the agents received new instructions from home. They were directed to enlarge upon the services of the colony in gaining New England from the French and the Dutch, and upon the lucrative trade of that region; but their bargain for Maine was approved, and the purchase money was voted. They were to report that the colony promised to amend its conduct in certain particulars; but the legality of the navigation laws was questioned on the ground that "The subjects of his Majt,e" here not being represented in Parliament, so wee have not looked to ourselues to be impeded in our trade by them." They were not to allow, through any concession of theirs, that "any least stone should be put out of the wall " of the charter; but they were directed to report that the oath of allegiance had been taken by the magistrates, and that the arms of the king were to be "carved by an able artist, & erected in the court house."3 These
1 Calendar of State Papers, America and West Indies, 1677-1680, No. 34J.
* Board of Trade, Colonial Entry Book (Ms.), 106, p. 8.
• For the address to the king, the declaration of the government, and the instructions to the agents, see Massachusetts Colony Records, v. 197-203.
slight concessions and ingenious instructions rendering the longer stay of the agents useless, they petitioned to return; and the Committee, recognizing the futility of continuing negotiations, allowed them to go, but wrote a letter demanding new agents with more satisfactory instructions.1 The men chosen for this new mission were Joseph Dudley and John Richards.2
The acceptance of this agency was the turning-point in Dudley's career. Hitherto he had been respected and honored in New England; he had filled many offices of trust, and his skill, honesty, and ability had never been questioned. It is true that he did not always receive the largest number of votes in the choice of Assistants, but his name stood well up on the list; and he represented the moderate party in Boston, rather than the extreme unyielding party of the country towns. Now he was called to undertake a difficult and almost hopeless mission. The career of a colonial agent was not such as to attract ambitious men, nor was the reward received sufficient to compensate for the loss of prestige. Cotton Mather, writ- jing in 1702, stated the case correctly when he said, "Such has been the jealous disposition of our New-Englanders about their dearly bought privileges, and such also has been the various understanding of the people about the extent of those privileges, that of all the agents, which they have sent over unto the Court of England, for now forty years together, I know not any one, who did not at his return, meet with some very froward entertainment among his country-men."3 In the present instance it was almost a forlorn hope which Dudley was called upon to lead. Randolph's reports had poisoned the minds of the Lords of Trade, the competition of the colony
1 Toppan, Edward Randolph, iii. 44.
* Massachusetts Colony Records, v. 346. * Mather, Magnolia, i. 270.
with the London merchants had alienated some natural political allies,1 the purchase of Maine had angered the king, and the long-continued resistance of Massachusetts had made further defence difficult.
Notwithstanding the fact that the agents went well recommended, a hostile reception was prepared for them. Governor Hinckley of Plymouth commended Dudley to Blathwayt, secretary of the Lords of Trade,2 thus laying the foundation of an alliance which proved an object of suspicion to the colonists, but an advantage to Dudley. Randolph, however, did all that he could to render the mission fruitless. To Sir Leoline Jenkins, secretary of state, he wrote, "Nothing these Agents promise may be depended upon";3 and to the Bishop of London, "Major Dudley is a great opposer of the faction heere . . . who, if he finds things resolutely manniged, will cringe and bow to anything; he hath his fortune to make in the world, and if his Majesty, upon alteration of the government, make him captain of the castle of Boston and the forts in the colloney, his Majesty will gaine a popular man and obleidge the better party. ... As for Capt. Richards, he is one of the faction, a man of meane extraction, ... he ought to be kept very safe till all things tending to the quiett and regulation of this government be perfectly settled."4
The "faction" to which Randolph referred was the party in the General Court bent upon resistance, composed largely of representatives from the country towns, but led by men like Danforth, the deputy-governor, Elisha Cooke, and Elisha
1Andrews, Colonial Self-Government, 259-260; Calendar of State Papers, America and West Indies, 1675-1676, No. 881.
'Hinckley to Blathwayt, May 26, 1682, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 4th Series, v. 65.
* Toppan, Edward Randolph, iii. 142-144. 4 Ibid. 145-149.
Hutchinson. For this faction Randolph had the greatest contempt, and believed it to be the source of all the opposition to his plans. His estimate of Dudley, though not complimentary, was in the main justified by his subsequent relations with him. Dudley was an opposer of the faction, in that he belonged to the moderate party; but his nature was so pliant that he would often seem to surrender the contention temporarily in order to gain his purpose ultimately. The charge that he had his fortune to make may be taken as referring to his well-known ambition; but whether at this date he had made any positive agreement with Randolph is open to doubt. It is true that a passage in one of Randolph's letters to the Lords of Trade, in which he says that Dudley "will give a sight" of his instructions,1 may seem to imply some compact; yet there is no other evidence, and such an act on Dudley's part would have been quite in accord with his conception of his functions, — namely, to put an end to the misunderstandings between England and Massachusetts.
At first the General Court resolved to try the use of money, and directed the agents to tender Lord Hyde two thousand guineas for the king's private use; but the attempt recoiled upon them, and Dudley wrote to Bradstreet, "Truly, sir, if you was here to see how we are ridiculed by our best friends at court . . . it would grieve you."2 "Sir, it is a hard service we are engaged in," wrote Richards to Increase Mather.3 The Lords of Trade were openly hostile; they ordered the agents to produce a commission empowering them to consent to any alteration of the charter, and advised the king to pro- 1 Ibid. 172. ^
* February, 1682, quoted in Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts, i. 303, note.
'August 21, 1682, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 4th Series, viii. 494.