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The officials sent to New England by the Stuarts were harshly dealt with by the early historians of Massachusetts. Some attempts have been made to rehabilitate Andros and Randolph, but little has been done for Joseph Dudley, whose career was longer than that of any other official in early Massachusetts. It is not, however, the purpose of this monograph to meet the criticisms of Dudley's character; his personality, indeed, though interesting, was singularly unlovely. I have rather attempted to examine the Stuart colonial policy and to set forth the practical political problems connected with its application in New England, and to show the parts played by the various agencies connected with its development. I have viewed Dudley as an English official charged with the execution of the English policy, and although taking into consideration his personality, I have investigated more particularly the problems and difficulties which faced all royal officials in New England at that period. Joseph Dudley was chosen partly because he has been so savagely attacked, but largely because in a study of his career I was able to touch all the New England colonies and New York as well, and to cover the period from the first imposition of the Stuart policy upon New England until the accession of George I.
I wish to acknowledge the kind assistance that has been extended to me by the authorities and officials of the Library of Harvard University, the Smith College Library, the American Antiquarian Society, the Hampshire County Bar Association; and the officials in charge of the Massachusetts Archives, the British Museum, the Privy Council Office, the Public Record Office, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts in London, and the Bodleian Library of Oxford University. Acknowledgments are also due to Professor C. M. Andrews of Yale University, who kindly put his expert knowledge of the English archives at my disposal while I was carrying on the investigation of the English material. Especial acknowledgments are due to Professor A. B. Hart of Harvard University, under whose direction a dissertation was prepared upon the same subject and offered in partial fulfilment for the requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1904. But, above all, I am under the greatest obligations to Professor Edward Channing, who first suggested the subject and under whose direction the early investigation was carried on, and who has given freely of his time in reading and criticising the manuscript and proof.