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make his government as tolerable as possible for Massachusetts his wrath knew no bounds. “I am treated by Mr. Dudley worse than by Mr. Danforth,” i he wrote; and, to Randolph, Danforth was the arch-traitor to the king. He misjudged the character of both the President and the Council, who, while loyally attempting to carry out the commission of the king, were making as few changes in the spirit of government as possible. In his disgust, he wrote to Sir Robert Southwell that the government of Massachusetts was “still but y® Gov& Company."?
His complaints and accusations were numerous. It has already been seen how he utilized the religious difficulties to discredit Dudley. He went even further. He accused the President and Council of hampering him in the exercise of his duties as collector of customs. He asserted that Dudley was an accomplice of Captain George of the royal frigate Rose, in which Randolph had come to Boston, and that they were profiting at the expense of his perquisites and to the detriment of the royal revenue. The records show, however, that ports of entry were established and that ships were seized for breaking the trade laws; and it may be believed that under the eyes of the royal officials, the Massachusetts government was making some effort to carry out its instructions along these lines. Randolph's occasions for complaint were probably due to two circumstances. He had quarrelled with Captain George on their long five months' voyage from England, and George had started a cruel slander concerning Randolph's wife;5 George, moreover, was extremely sensitive concerning
* Randolph to Blathwayt, July 28, 1686, Toppan, Edward Randolph, iv. 97-100.
* July 10, 1686, ibid. 91-93.
his prerogatives and rebuked Randolph and his men for exceeding their authority. Furthermore, Dudley and his Council were forced to decide, in a question of jurisdiction, against the wishes of Randolph and to release a ship which he desired condemned. It is significant that these charges were not acted upon in England; nor could those of Dudley's enemies who later attacked him most bitterly find any other evidence of such misdoing than these accusations of Randolph.
In addition to the charges of non-enforcement of the trade laws and misappropriation of trust funds, Randolph also accused Dudley of engrossing great tracts of land. To this charge it is sufficient to note that there is no record that any lands were granted by the Council either to Dudley or to any of the members of his Council. On the contrary, Dudley petitioned for a large grant of land in New Hampshire, and this petition was referred to Andros for investigation."
Taken as a whole, the government of Dudley and his Council was not “hard or grievous to bear." Few innovations were made; for, in spite of their loyalty to the king, Dudley and his associates were men of Massachusetts, and as such were conservative. There may have been favoritism and nepotism, and perhaps cases of corruption; but the government was neither tyrannical nor cruel. In many ways the Council tried to soften its rule, as is seen in its petition for an assembly; but the administration was hated because it rested not on the will of the people, but on a commission of the crown. Throughout his life this was the charge most often urged against Dudley, — that he had accepted an illegal commission. The
• Randolph to the Lord Treasurer, August 23, 1686, Toppan, Edward Randolph, iv. 115.
* Instructions to Andros, New York Colonial Documents, iii. 547.
accusations of Randolph were soon dropped, but the people could never forget that Dudley had been the royal instrument for the overthrow of the charter. No matter how fair an administration he had given, he was hated as a tool of the king and a betrayer of the charter.
It is interesting to compare the attitude of the people toward Dudley with their feeling toward Stoughton. Stoughton had been an agent in England, and like Dudley had sought some office from Randolph when the government should be overthrown;1 but he had returned before the final assault upon the charter, had, in a measure, lived down his unpopularity, and now, though deputy-president, chief justice, and Dudley's confidant, he was thought by the people to be acting in their interests to keep out worse tyrants. Dudley, on the other hand, who was not more unsuccessful in England than Stoughton, but who had profited immediately by the change in government, was universally detested. As a matter of fact, it was Dudley's alliance with Randolph that had done much to save the colony from a man like Kirke and to put it under the rule of a native; and his administration proved that such a government was easier to bear than one under a royal governor, even of the Andros type.
1 Randolph to Stoughton, July 18, 1678: “... I feare therefore that I shall not gett a positive direction from the King as you intended, but feare not but I will gett you into some place of profitt & advantage. ... W' money I lay out in y' busines shall account at our next meeting.” Toppan, Edward Randolph, iii. 31.
1686–1689 The annulment of the Massachusetts charter was necessary because the colony was unwilling to submit to English legislation and control. The old government of Massachusetts, with its ideas of particularism and independence, could not be allowed to thwart the designs of the king and the Lords of Trade. The presidency of Joseph Dudley was also but a step in making those ideals effective in New England, and was but a temporary expedient. Dudley was chosen partly through the influence which he was able to exert upon the committee, and partly because, in the disordered condition of England, he seemed an easily available man. It was not the least point in his favor that he was a native of New England, for it was believed that under such a one the people of Massachusetts would be more content to accept English control and dictation; but neither the form of government nor the territory over which he ruled was considered, by the Lords of Trade, as permanently settled.
Dudley's commission was dated September 27, 1685, but his government was not inaugurated till May 17, 1686; and in June of that year a more comprehensive commission was issued to Sir Edmund Andros.' Dudley's commission, as has
1 Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 3d Series, vii. 139–149.
been seen, established a council which was an executive and judicial body, but possessed no power to levy taxes or to make laws; the system instituted by the commission granted to Andros perpetuated the idea of government by an appointed council, but with greatly enlarged powers. The new council was allowed to make laws, which must, however, be sent to England for approval; and with the consent of the council the governor was instructed to “continue to Raise and Levy such Rates Taxes and Impositions, as are now or have lately been Laid,” while new and additional ones were to be levied only after the consent of the king had been obtained. The other powers granted in this commission were not unlike those given to Dudley. Such a government might enable the king and the Lords of Trade to make their commands effective; it would make possible many of the needed reforms; it would make Massachusetts truly a part of the dominions of the crown; but it was entirely contrary to the political experience and habits of thought of the New Englanders. To ask a people accustomed to annually elected magistrates and an assembly, to surrender these privileges, was to doom such an experiment to failure. The powers granted to Dudley had seemed too great and too dangerous, and even some of his Council had desired an assembly; but the powers given to Andros seemed nothing less than tyrannical.
In the two commissions granted to Andros in 1686 and 1688, the territorial adjustment of the northern English colonies was completed. For ten years the question of their consolidation had been under discussion. Randolph's reports had shown the evils of having so many divided jurisdictions
1 Andros's instructions of 1686, Laws of New Hampshire (ed. Batchellor), i. 155–168.
Commissions and instructions, New York Colonial Documents, iii. 537-550.