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active in the tragedy. But the public mind would not be deceived. His diary proves that he did not wholly escape the rising impeachment from the monitor within; and Cotton Mather, who had sought the foundation of faith in tales of wonders, himself “had temptations to atheism, and to the abandonment of all religion as a mere delusion.”
The common mind of Massachusetts was more wise. It never wavered in its faith ; more ready to receive every tale from the invisible world than to gaze on the universe without acknowledging an Infinite Intelligence. But, employing a gentle scepticism, eliminating error, rejecting superstition as tending to cowardice and submission, .cherishing religion as the source of courage and the fountain of freedom, the common mind in New England refused henceforward to separate belief and reason. To the west of Massachusetts, and to Connecticut, to which the influence of Cotton Mather and its consequences did not extend, we must look for the unmixed development of the essential character of New England; yet there, also, faith and “common sense" were reconciled. In the vicinity of Boston, the scepticism of free inquiry conducted some minds to healthy judgments; others asserted God to be the true being, the devil to be but a nonentity, and disobedience to God to be the only possible compact with Satan ; others, still clinging to the letter of the Bible, yet showed the insufficiency of all evidence for the conviction of a witch ; others denied witchcraft, as beyond comprebension, involving a contradiction, and not sustained by the evidence of experience. The invisible world began to be less considered; men trusted more to observation and analysis ; and this philosophy, derived from the senses, was analogous to their civil condition. The people in the charter governments could hope from England for no con. cession of larger liberties. Instead, therefore, of looking for the reign of absolute right, they were led to reverence the forms of their privileges as exempt from change. We hear no more of the theocracy where God was alone supreme lawgiver and king; no more of the expected triumph of freedom and justice anticipated in the second coming of Christ :” liberty, in Massachusetts, was defended by asserting the sanctity of compact.
But the political morality of England did not recognize the sanctity of the compacts with colonies. “The regula, tion of charters was looked on as part of the public
economy," and Massachusetts was included in the bill for their abrogation.
The colony, moreover, had the grief of receiving as its governor, under a commission that included New Hampshire, its own apostate son, Joseph Dudley, the great sup. porter of Andros, “ the wolf,” whom the patriots of Boston had “ seized by the ears,” whom the people had insisted on having "in the jail," and who, for twenty weeks, had been kept in prison, or, as he himself termed it, had been
buried alive." He obtained the place by the request of Cotton Mather, who at that time continued, though erroneously, to be regarded in England as representing the general wish of the ministers.
On meeting his first assembly, Dudley gave “in1702. stances of his remembering the old quarrel, and the people, on their parts, resolved never to forget it.” “All his ingenuity could not stem the current of their prejudice against him.”. A stated salary was demanded for the governor. “As to settling a salary for the governor,” replied the house, “it is altogether new to us ; nor can we think it agreeable to our present constitution ; but we shall be ready to do what may be proper for his support.” Here began the controversy which nothing but independence could solve. In vain did Dudley endeavour to win from the legislature concessions to the royal prerogative; and he, and, for a season, his son also, became the active opponents of the chartered liberties of New England, endeavouring to effect their overthrow and the establishment of a general government, as in the days of Andros. “ This country would never be worth living in, for lawyers and gentlemen, till the charter is taken away.”
The character of Dudley was that of profound selfishness. He possessed prudence and the inferior virtues, and was as good a governor as one could be who loved neither freedom nor his native land. His grave is among strangers ; his memory has perished from among those whose interests he flattered, and is preserved only in the country of his birth. He who loved himself more than freedom or his country, is left without one to palliate his selfishness.
The contest with France having engrossed the attention of England and of New England, Massachusetts, at this time, suffered no further diminution of her liberties, except through the general action of parliament, which had . VOL. II.
made itself supreme by electing monarchs and a dynasty for the British dominions. Its absolute power was, in general terms, unquestioned in England even by American agents, and was by itself interpreted to extend over all the colonies, with no limitation but its own pleasure ; it was “absolute and unaccountable.”
England, at “the abdication ” of its throne by the Stuarts, was, as it were, still free from debt; and a direct tax on America, for the benefit of the English treasury, was, I think, at that time, not dreamed of. That the respective colonies should contribute to the common defence against the French and Indians, was desired in America, was earnestly enjoined from England; but the demand for quotas was directed to the colonies themselves, and was refused or granted by the colonial assemblies, as their own policy prompted. The want of concert, and the refusal of contributions, readily suggested the interference of parliament. I find the suggestion to have been actually made, in 1705, by a royalist in the colonies, in a memorial to the lords of trade; but the proposition seems to have remained unnoticed by the ministry: our colonial records
... exhibit no alarm. The institution of a general post1710. office was valued as a convenience, not dreaded as a tax. If the declaratory acts, by which every one of the colonies asserted their right to the privileges of Magna Charta, to the feudal liberty of freedom from taxation except with their own consent, were always disallowed by the crown, it was done silently, and the strife on the power of parliament to tax the colonies was certainly ad. journed. The colonial legislatures had their own budgets; and financial questions arose-Shall the grants be generally for the use of the crown, or carefully limited for specific purposes ? Shall the moneys levied be confided to an officer of royal appointment, or to a treasurer respon. sible to the legislature? Shall the revenue be granted permanently, or from year to year? Shall the salaries of the royal judges and the royal governor be fixed, or depend annually on the popular contentment? These were questions consistent with the relations between metropolis and colony ; but the supreme power of parliament to tax at its discretion, was not yet maintained in England -was always denied in America.
The colonial press, in spite of royal instructions, was generally as free in America as in any part of the world. In matters of religion, intellectual freedom was viewed, in the colonies as in England, as a Protestant question; and the outcry against “ Popery and slavery" generated equally bitter hostility towards the Roman Catholic Church. Ergland, moreover, cherished a steady purpose of disseminating episcopacy; yet the political effect of this endeavour was inconsiderable. Similarity in religious institutions would, it is true, nurse a sympathy with England; but in South Carolina, in Maryland, laymen aspired to dominion over the church. American episcopacy, without an American bishop, was a solecism ; and an American bishop was feared as an emblem of independence. Besides, if the advowson of the churches was reserved to the governor, the people took no interest in them ; and religion can be propagated only by consent. If, on the contrary, the advowson remained with the parish, the church became popular, and inclined to independence. If, as in Virginia, the relations between priest and people were not accurately defined ; if, among the missionaries, some, of feeble minds and uncertain morals, prodigious zealots from covetousness, sought, by appeals to England, to clutch at a monopoly of ecclesiastical gains ; if legal questions arose,--the institution became the theme of dispute, and an instrument for educating the people into strife with their English superiors. The crown incorporated and favoured the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
The security of personal freedom was not formally ... denied to America. Massachusetts, in an enactment, 092. claimed the full benefit of the writ of habeas corpus : “the privilege had not yet been granted to the plantations," was the reply even of Lord Somers; it was not become a vested right; and the act was disallowed. When, afterwards, the privilege was affirmed by Queen Anne, the burgesses of Virginia, in their gratitude, did but esteem it " an assertion to her subjects of their just rights and properties." England conceded the security of personal freedom as a boon ; America claimed it as a birthright.
In the contests respecting the judiciary, the crown gained the advantage. New England had not permitted appeals to the king in council; the permission of appeal was insisted upon in all the colonies. Thus, in the settlement of American disputes, the ultimate tribunal was in
England; and the English crown gained the appointment of the judges in nearly every colony. Where the people selected them, as in Connecticut and Rhode Island, they were chosen annually, and the public preference, free from fickleness, gave stability to the office; where the appointment rested with the royal governor, the popular instinct desired for the judges an independent tenure.
To “ make most of the money centre in England," the lords of trade proposed a regulation of the colonial currency, by reducing all the coin of America to one standard. The proclamation of Queen Anne was not designed to preserve among the colonies the English basis ; on the contrary, it confirmed to all the colonies a depreciated currency, but endeavoured to make the depreciation uniform and safe against change. In a word, England sought to establish for itself a fixed standard of gold and silver; for the colonies, a fixed standard of depreciation. As the necessities of the colonies had led them of themselves to depreciate their currency, the first object of England was gained, and it therefore monopolized all gold and silver. Even the shillings of early coinage in Massachusetts were nearly all gathered up, and remitted ; but the equality of depreciation could never be maintained against the rival cupidity of the competitors in bills of credit.
The enforcement of the mercantile system, in its intensest form, is also a characteristic of the policy of the aristocratic revolution of England. By the corn-laws, English agriculture became an associate in the system of artificial legislation. “The value of lands” began to be
ane urged as a motive for oppressing the colonies. The 1696
10. affairs of the plantations were, in 1696, intrusted permanently to the commissioners who formed the Board of Trade; and all questions on colonial liberty and affairs were decided from the point of view of English commerce.
All former acts giving a monopoly of the colonial trade to England were renewed, and, to effect their rigid execution, the paramount authority of parliament was strictly asserted. Colonial commerce could be conducted only in ships built, owned, and commanded by the people of England or of the colonies. All governors, in the charter colonies, as well as the royal provinces, were compelled to take oath to do their utmost that every clause in these acts be punctually observed. Officers of the revenue in