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larger board was established, consisting of councillors, judges, officials, and merchants, which busied itself chiefly with the regulation of colonial commerce. With the restoration in 1660 the crown and Privy Council once more assumed control of the colonial policy. This control was first directed by two advisory bodies, – one a committee of the Privy Council for Foreign Plantations, the other an advisory council for trade, composed of prominent men and some of the members of the Privy Council. In 1674, however, this system of dual boards was abandoned, and a standing committee of twenty-four members of the Privy Council was appointed, which was known as the Lords of Trade. This body was continued, with various changes in its personnel, until 1696, when William III organized a Board of Trade consisting of the great officers of state and eight commissioners, among whom were William Blathwayt and John Locke, who had been active in colonial affairs in the reign of Charles II; and this board was, in turn, continued by Anne, under whom it became an active and efficient body. It was with the Lords of Trade, just established at his entrance into public life, that Dudley had relations for nearly forty years, – a board on which sat some of the ablest men in England, who from experience, observation, and careful study had developed ideas concerning colonial control which they tried to make effective in New England. It is not surprising, nor is it to Dudley's discredit, that he was influenced by these men and their ideas; nor should the fact that their aims differed from the desires of many persons in Massachusetts be sufficient to condemn them and cause Dudley to be regarded as a traitor. The Stuarts had a threefold policy. Their first object, undisguised mercantilism, was to unite England and her colonies in closer commercial relations, — to incorporate the trade of the colonies in the commerce of the empire and utilize their resources to increase the prosperity of the mother country. The colonial navigation laws, in which this policy is embodied, had their origin in the commonwealth ; but their provisions were reënacted and extended in a series of five acts passed between 1660 and 1696. The net result of these acts was to prohibit the direct trade of the colonies with Europe, but at the same time to admit them to a share in the commerce of Great Britain. After the freedom which they had enjoyed, these restrictions seemed burdensome; for the colonists were by no means ready to abandon the lucrative trade that had grown up with France, Spain, and the Canaries. A second object of the policy of England was to "regulate" the colonial governments, or, in other words, to make their laws and procedure like those of England. The result of this regulation would have been to make the colonies more dependent on England and to increase the influence of the king; but at the same time, such a policy would have put an end to the illegal practices which had grown up in America. The third object was to settle the religious and political disputes that were rise in the colonies, to protect those whom religious opinions had debarred from political rights, and to put an end to the conflicting claims of the various colonies, and particularly to those rights which Massachusetts exercised over Maine and New Hampshire. To accomplish these aims, and also to utilize the military resources of the colonies, the Lords of Trade, after repeated attempts to control the
* New York Colonial Documents, iii. 32–34. * Ibid. 30-32.
; Ibid. 228-229.
Slatules of the Realm, v. 246-250, 394-395, 449-452, 792-793, vii. 103-107; Channing, “The Navigation Laws,” American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings, New Series, vi. 160-179.
various independent jurisdictions, sought to make their will effective by a union of all the New England colonies and a centralization of the authority of England. This later object, it will be seen, was realized only for a short time under the administration of Andros; but the difficulties which England experienced in her attempts to assert her political, commercial, and military control led her administrators again and again to turn their thoughts to this method. Dudley himself had come to see the need of colonial coöperation even before he was brought into contact with the Lords of Trade ;? and, as his ideas developed with wider experience, he became one of the strongest advocates of this feature of the English policy.
Even before Dudley began his public life, the king had attempted to carry out his plans. In 1664 a commission was sent to Massachusetts to hear complaints and to enforce the judgments of the crown; but it accomplished nothing save to stir up bitter feeling. Agents were sent to England by Massachusetts, but they neither won the contentions of the colony nor surrendered its privileges. An open conflict seemed imminent when England became involved in a series of wars, and the struggle was postponed for a decade. In 1676 the king was again ready to enforce his policy, and sent a messenger to Massachusetts, ostensibly to carry a letter directing the government to send agents to England to explain its conduct in Maine and New Hampshire, but also to report upon the religious, commercial, and military conditions of the colony and the temper of the people. The messenger chosen was Edward Randolph, a connection of the Mason family, the proprietors of New Hampshire, a man who had
1 Dudley to Secretary Allen of Connecticut, February 6, 1681, Toppan, Edward Randolph, i. 139, note.
been employed by the king on confidential affairs, and a personal friend and correspondent of William Blathwayt, clerk of the Privy Council. From this time he becomes one of the central figures of New England, the agent of the crown, the enemy of Massachusetts, and the ally of Dudley. It is to be noted, moreover, that the first appearance of Randolph coincides with the entrance of Dudley into the Court of Assistants, a position notably congenial to the latter and one well suited to his abilities, but also one where he would be under the influence of the party least dominated by the aims of the early settlers and most ready to guard the material interests of the colony.
Randolph's reception by the governor and magistrates was not of such a nature as to lead him to regard the loyalty of the colony very favorably, and he allowed his temper to color some of his observations. In general, however, he followed his instructions faithfully, and, allowing for exaggerations in his estimates of population and resources, he makes few actually false statements; yet his whole report put the colony in an unfavorable light and greatly overestimated the independence of Massachusetts. He certainly gave a false impression when he wrote, “No law is enforced or esteemed there but such as made by the General Court,” and again, “There is no notice taken of the acts of navigation or any other of the acts of trade;" but it must be admitted that an agent of the admiralty might justly believe that such was the case. Randolph misjudged as well the relative strength of the parties, and greatly overestimated the influence of the moderate element which he found represented in the Court of Assistants. He was shrewd enough, however, in his judgment of individuals, and correctly reported that the “most popular and well principled men ... in the magistracy” were Denison, Bradstreet, and Dudley;? but he did not realize that the temper of the representatives and the country people was as unyielding as ever. In his association with the malcontents and men of moderate principles he lost sight of the real temper of the people.
1 Toppan's Edward Randolph, published by the Prince Society, contains a most valuable memoir of Randolph and a collection of the important documents connected with this period. Two additional volumes of papers have been published by the same society, edited by Rev. A. T. S. Goodrick, who in his introduction throws new light upon Randolph's personal character. See also Channing, History of the United States, ii. 159-160. * Toppan, Edward Randolph, ii. 216.
: Ibid. 196.
The open and avowed purpose of Randolph's coming was to call upon Massachusetts to defend her conduct in Maine and New Hampshire. These territories had been given by a series of vaguely defined grants to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and to Captain John Mason, neither of whom had been successful in his attempts to colonize the region. The growth of Massachusetts and the dispersion of her settlers peopled these territories with colonists more in harmony with the Puritan government of Massachusetts than with the royalist proprietors in England; and as a result of settlement, aggression, and negotiation these regions were included in the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. At the Restoration the heirs of both Gorges and Mason appealed to the Lords of Trade, and one of the unsuccessful objects of the commission of 1664 had been to settle this question. As a pretext to bring the whole conduct
* Randolph to Coventry, June 17, 1676, Toppan, Edward Randolph, ii. 203209; Randolph to the king, September 20, 1676, ibid. 216–225; Randolph's report to the committee, October 12, 1676, ibid. 225-259; the king to “the government of Boston,” March 10, 1675-1676, ibid. 192-194.
2 A. S. Batchellor, in his edition of the Laws of New Hampshire, i. pp. xxix et seq., gives a brief discussion of this subject, together with extracts from the Massachusetts records.