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Increase Mather, and later in the day wrote to him that he never wanted his favor and advice so much, and desired that he might explain the reasons for his procedure at this crisis.1 Unable to gain so valuable an ally, he put on a bold front and met the Old Court. Entering from the left with several of his Council, he took his seat on the bench and addressed the members of the old government, who were seated on the north side of the chamber. He greeted them as "considerable gentlemen of this place and Inhabitants of all parts of the countrey," and informed them that he could no longer deal with them as the Governor and Court. He then displayed the exemplification of the judgment against the charter and the commission for the new government. He offered to show them his instructions from the king and letters from the Lords of Trade, but hoped that they would not argue about the commands contained in them. He disclaimed any intention of harboring thoughts of revenge because of the injuries he had received, and assured them that although no address of the Governor and Court could come to the ears of the king, yet he and his Council would assist in getting a hearing in England for what "they know requisite for this peoples good."2
Danforth then said, "I suppose you expect no reply from the Court?" To which Dudley answered, "I know no Court here in being till the Kings Court be in order and setled; and it will incurr the Kings displeasure so to understand yourselves and I suppose what I now speak is the mind of the rest of the Council here present."3 The president and the Council then retired, while some of the old government spoke their minds. Some urged a protest; but others, Sewall
1 Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts, i. 315 note.
'Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 1863-1864, p. 487.
among them, feeling "that the foundations being destroyed what can the Righteous do," advised acquiescence in the present conditions.1
Three days later, on May 20, the Court passed a resolution replying to Dudley's address and criticising his commission. It declared that the commission contained no determinate rule for the administration of justice; that the subjects were abridged of their liberties as Englishmen both in the matter of legislation and in the laying of taxes; indeed, that all the privileges of the subject were transferred to the president and Council, "there being not the least mention of an assembly. . . . And therefore wee thinke it highly concernes yow to consider whither such a comission be safe, either for yow or us; but if yow are so sattisfied therein as that you hold yourselues oblejdged thereby, and do take vpon you the government of this people, although wee cannot give our assent thereto, yet hope shall demeane ourselves as true & loyall subjects to his maj'7, and humbly make our addresses vnto God, &, in due time, to our gracious prince, for our reliefe."2 This protest was read in Dudley's Council on June 1, when it was ordered that Rawson, who signed the paper as secretary, should be examined about the "libellous paper;3" but, so far as the record shows, nothing was done. This was the only protest made by the Court or by an assembly of the people, and the new government was quietly established, as was ordered by the commission.
The commission on which the government of Massachusetts was based first recited the fact that the old Company was dis1 Sewall's Diary, May 17, 1686, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 5th Series, v. 139.
* Massachusetts Colony Records, v. 515.
*"Dudley Records," Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 1d Series, xiii. 237-238.
solved, and appointed a president and council of seventeen, seven of whom should make a quorum for the transaction of business.1 As has been seen, Joseph Dudley was appointed president; and the Council included his brother-in-law Bradstreet, his father-in-law Tyng, his friend and confident Stoughton, Wait, and Fitz-John Winthrop, and other members of the "honest" party.2
That an appointed council should replace an elected assembly was characteristic of the policy of the Stuarts; but the territorial jurisdiction assigned to the Council was still more significant of their plan for the regulation of New England. By the fall of the Massachusetts charter the way was paved for the union of most of the New England colonies. New Hampshire, already directly dependent upon the king, was united to Massachusetts; and the territory of Maine, the purchase of which had so angered Charles II, was added to the jurisdiction of the new government. That part of Rhode Island west of Narragansett Bay known as the King's Province was also
1 Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 1863-1864, p. 487; also Board of Trade, Colonial Entry Book, New England (Ms.), 61, pp. 252-258. Professor Herbert L. Osgood, in his American Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, gives the most extended modern account of the temporary government.
• On May 29 Randolph wrote to Blathwayt, "This acquaints you that the 25 following the presdt. and 14 of the Councill mett at Boston and taking the oathes were entred upon the Com1: Mr Champernoon: was so much indisposed that twas not possible for him to come to Boston: Butt old Mr Bradstreet and his son wholy refused to accept the Commission as a thing contriued to abridge them of their libertye and indeed against Magna Charta: and Mr Saltenstall also diserted vs." (Goodrick, Edward Randolph, 171). At the first meetings of the Council the attendance never fell below nine, but on June 13 only Dudley, Stoughton, Usher, and Randolph were present; however, nothing but formal business was transacted. On three other occasions less than a quorum appeared, but at these meetings there was no business of importance. In two instances the records show the insertion of the same name twice in order to make up the needed quorum. See "Dudley Records," Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 2d Series, xiii. 226 et seq.
annexed. With the decrees against Massachusetts, Randolph also brought notice of quo warranto proceedings against Rhode Island and Connecticut; and it was planned to absorb Plymouth, which never had a royal charter. Thus the territorial policy of England stands out clearly, — to disregard the old charter boundaries and to unite the several colonies in one jurisdiction. Though this policy was initiated in the administration of Dudley, it is more clearly seen in that of Andros, when Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut were actually absorbed and New York was attached to New England.
The powers of the Council also show very clearly the contrast between the highly centralized ideas of the Stuarts and the democratic constitution of New England. In the first place, it was an appointed council instead of an elective assembly; but some care was taken to see that the various colonies were represented. For example, Edward Tyng and Francis Champernowne were from Maine, Robert Mason and Thomas Hicks from New Hampshire, and Fitz-John Winthrop represented the King's Province; the rest of the members were from Massachusetts, and included the former governor Bradstreet, with six of the former Assistants, Stoughton, Bulkley, Saltonstall, Pyncheon, Tyng, and Gidney. This apparently fair representation loses much of its force when it is noted that all of the councillors were from one party in the Court of Assistants, and that at the last election only three of the number had been returned. To this Council was given all judicial, military, and executive power. It could hear and try civil and criminal causes, allowing appeals to England in cases involving more than three hundred pounds, and it could erect inferior courts. It had no legislative power, nor could it levy new taxes; but it could collect the old ones and was intrusted with the expenditure of the proceeds. Liberty of
conscience was granted to all, and it was promised "that such especially as shall be Conformable to the rites of the Church of England shall be particularly Countenanced and encouraged." In short, its powers were not unlike those which the old Court of Assistants had possessed. In the former case, however, the magistrates owed their office to annual election, while the present Council was appointed during the pleasure of the king.
On May 25 the new Council held its first meeting. Dudley made a long speech in which he bespoke the cooperation of all loyal people, promised to make few alterations in the government, and those as "plain and easie" as possible, and again disclaimed all thoughts of revenge because of his late injuries.1 The government was then proclaimed with considerable festivity, the health of the king, and the prosperity of the administration being drunk in wine to the cost of twenty-one pounds.2
The first sessions of the Council were spent in reorganizing the military and judicial system of the colony and providing for the support of the government.3 In so doing, Dudley fulfilled his promise to make as few alterations as possible. There were not many changes among the newly appointed justices of peace or militia officers, the most important removal being that of Danforth from his position as president of the Council of Maine, while Wait Winthrop was made commander of the castle in Boston, in place of Bulkley, who was unable to serve. Practically the former system of courts was con
1 "Dudley Records," Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 2d Series, xiii. 226. 'Ibid. 269.
* Ibid. 230-237, May 26-28, 1686. A. S. Batchellor, in his edition of the Laws of New Hampshire, i. 810-827, reproduces a facsimile of an early folio of the orders passed by Dudley's Council; these, with additions and notes, are also printed, ibid. pp. 100-142.