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Lord Cornbury had fulfilled his mission; more successful than any patriot, he had taught New York the necessity and the methods of incipient resistance. The assembly
which met Lord Lovelace, his shortlived successor, 1709. began the contest that was never to cease but with independence. The crown demanded a permanent revenue, without appropriation; New York henceforward would raise only an annual revenue, and appropriate it specifi. cally.
Such was the inheritance of controversies provided for Robert Hunter, the friend of Swift, an adventurer, who came to his government in quest of good cheer. “Here," he writes, “is the finest air to live upon in the universe ; the soil bears all things, but not for me; for, according to the custom of the country, the sachems are the poorest of the people.” “Sancho Panza,” he avers, “was indeed but a type of me.”
In less than five months after his arrival, he was 1710. disputing with an assembly. . The house, to prevent misapplications of the public revenue, secured to their own treasurer a check on payments; the council negatived the restraint on the governor's prerogative; no compromise could be made, and a prorogation followed.
In the following spring, Hunter bade the assembly 17.11. beware, “lest some insinuations, much repeated of late years, should gain credit at last, that, however their resentment has fallen upon the governor, it is the government they dislike ;" and the house, remaining inflexible, was dissolved.
The desire to conquer Canada prevailed, in the summer of 1711, to obtain a specific grant of bills of credit for £10,000; but no concession was made in regard to the ordinary expenses of the government.
The contest was again renewed. The council, claiming the right to make amendments to the money bills, asserted that the house, like itself, existed only “by the mere grace of the crown." The assembly, defying the opinion of the lords of trade, as concluding nothing, rose to the doctrine required by the emergency. The share of the council in legislation, they agree, comes “ from the mere pleasure of the prince;' but for themselves they claim an inherent right" to legislation, springing “not from any commission or grant from the crown, but from the free choice and election of the people, who ought not, nor justly can, be divested of their property without their consent.”
In 1712, the same spirit was manifested. Hunter 1712. cannot effectually obey the lords of trade. They in. struct him as to what the legislature shall do, and the legislature is inflexible. “I am used like a dog," wrote the really well-disposed man; and, again, “I have spent three years in such torment and vexation, that nothing in life can ever make amends for it.” Concession and philosophical indifference afterwards gave him calm ; but the spirit roused in New York was never lulled.
New York would willingly, after the revolution, have extended her boundary over a part of Connecticut; but the people of the colony themselves vindicated its liberties and the integrity of its territory.
Governor Treat having resumed his office, the as1089. sembly, which soon convened, obeying the declared opinion of the freemen, organized the government according to their charter.
On the joyful news of the accession of William and Mary, every fear vanished, every countenance brightened with joy. “Great was that day,” said the loyal address of Connecticut to King William, “when the Lord, who sitteth upon the floods, did divide his and your adversaries like the waters of Jordan, and did begin to magnify you like Joshua, by the deliverance of the English dominions from Popery and slavery. Because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore hath he made you king, to do justice and judgment.” And, describing their acquiescence in the rule of Andros as “an involuntary submission to an arbitrary power," they announce that, by the consent of the major part of the freemen, they have themselves resumed the government. 160 In prosecuting its claim in London, Whiting, the 1090. agent of Connecticut, was aided by all the influence which the religious sympathy of the Presbyterians could enlist for New England. The English corporations had been restored; and Edward Ward gave his opinion, that a surrender, of which no legal record existed, did not invalidate a patent. Somers assented. “There is no ground of doubt,” reiterated George Treby. And the sanctity attached to the democratic charter and government of Connecticut is the most honourable proof of the respect
which was cherished by the revolution of 1688 for every existing franchise.
Thus was the rule of the people restored. They elected their own governor, council, and assembly-men, all their magistrates, and all annually. Connecticut was the most perfect democracy which had ever been organized. It rested on free labour, and upheld equality: the people were the sources of all power.
The English crown would willingly have resumed, at least, the command of the militia, which, after having been, at one time, assigned to the governor of Massachusetts, by whom it was never challenged, was claimed to as a part of the royal prerogative, and conferred on
the governor of New York. The legislature resisted, and referred the question to the people, who resolved
en on a petition to the king, by the hands of Fitz John 1093. Winthrop. “To give the command of the militia," it was said, “ to the governor of another colony, is, in effect, to put our persons, interests, and liberties entirely into his power : by our charter, the governor and company themselves have a commission of command.”
Meantime, Fletcher, 'refusing to await the decision in England, appeared in Hartford, and, after fruitless negotiation, ordered its militia under arms, that he might beat up for volunteers for the war.
Hartford was then a small, but delightful township, with its meeting-house and cluster of dwellings, built on land. just above the rich meadows which the lovely Connecticut annually overflows-a community of farmers, the unmixed progeny of Puritans. William Wadsworth, the senior captain of the town, walked in front of the assembled train-bands,“ busy in exercising them.” Fletcher advances, to assume command, ordering Bayard, of New York, to read his commission and the royal instructions.
It is the fortune of our America, that if, at any moment, the happiness of a state depended on the will of one man, that man was true to his duty. At the order of Captain Wadsworth, the drums began to roll, beating some of the old marches that may have been handed down from the veterans of Gustavus or the volunteers of Naseby. The petulant Fletcher commanded silence. “ I will not”-such had been his words to the governor of Connecticut "I will not set my foot out of this colony,
till I have seen his majesty's commission obeyed;" and Bayard, of New York, once more began to read. Once more the drums beat. “ Silence !” exclaimed Fletcher. 6. Drum, drum, I say !" shouted Wadsworth, adding, as he turned to the governor of New York, “ If I am interrupted again, I will make the sun shine through you in a moment." Fletcher was daunted ; and, as the excited people came swarming into Hartford, in spite of his expressed determination, he fled from the scene to his government in New York.
In England, the king, in council, decided, on the 1694. advice of Ward and Treves, that the ordinary power of the militia in Connecticut, and in Rhode Island, belonged to their respective governments; and Winthrop, returning from his agency to a joyful welcome, was soon elected governor of a colony of which he had asserted the freedom.
The decisions which established the rights of Connecticut included those of Rhode Island. The assaults of the royalists were always made upon the more powerful colony, in the assurance that the fate of both would be included in its overthrow. These two commonwealths were the portion of the British empire distinguished above all others by the largest liberty. Each presented the anomaly of a nearly absolute democracy under the shelter of a monarchy. But the results in the two were not strictly parallel.
Rhode Island had asserted entire freedom of mind ; it had, therefore, apparently, less unity in its population, and less cohesion. In consequence, it was inferior in all that required joint action, but had, perhaps, a greater regard for personal liberty and independence. No bitter conflict with the crown had excited any deep hostilities; and the colony yielded, for a season, to quiet influence, what it might have refused to force or entreaty. It interpolated into the statute-book the exclusion of Papists from the established equality. Less liberal than Connecticut, it attached the franchise, not “to the inhabitant," but to the soil ; and, as a wrong principle always leads to practical error, it fostered family pride, by a distant imitation of the English law of primogeniture.
In Connecticut, no other influence gave a bias, except that of the Puritan clergy, who were there, and there only, consociated by the legislature. And it was first the custom, and afterwards the order, that “the ministers
of the gospel should preach a sermon on the day 1708. appointed by law for the choice of civil rulers, proper for the direction of the towns in the work before them.
But danger was not past. The 'crown, reserving to itself the right of appeal, had still a method of interfering in the internal concerns of the little republics. Besides, their charters were never safe; absolute sovereignty being claimed in England, their freedom rested on forbearance. Both were included among the colonies in which the lords of trade advised a complete restoration of the prero
gatives of the crown. Both were named in the bill 701. which was introduced into parliament for the abrogation of all American charters. The journals of the House of Lords relate that Connecticut was publicly heard against the bill, contending that its liberties were held by contract, in return for services that had been performed; that the taking away of so many charters would destroy all confidence in royal promises, and would afford a precedent dangerous to all the chartered corporations of England. Yet the bill was read a second time, and its principle, as applied to colonies, was advocated by the mercantile interest and by “great men" in England. The impending war with the French postponed the purpose till the accession of the house of Hanover.
But the object was not left out of mind. Lord Cornbury, who had in vain solicited money of Connecticut, I wrote home, that “this vast continent would never 1703. be useful to England, till all the proprietary and charter governments were brought under the crown.” Quarry, also, reported to the lords of trade, that “the roguery and villany of Connecticut were enough to fill a volume :” and, appealing to the powerful sympathy in the English policy of that age, declared that, “if the government.be continued longer in these men's hands, the honest trade of these parts will be ruined.” And Dudley, a native New England man, now governor of Massachusetts, took the lead in the conspiracy against the liberties of New England, preparing a volume of complaints, and urging the appointment of a governor over Connecticut by w the royal prerogative. These, and their associates,
are the men who first filled the world with calumnies against that commonwealth. The lords of trade were too just to condemn the colony unheard, and it succeeded in