網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

For the charter designedly granted great facilities for colonization. It allowed the company to transport to its American territory any persons, whether English or foreigners, who would go willingly, would become lieges of the English king, and were not restrained “ by especial name.” It empowered, but it did not require,' the governor to administer the oaths of supremacy and allegiance; yet it was far from conceding to the patentees the privilege of freedom of worship. Not a single line alludes to such a purpose ; nor can it be implied by a reasonable construction from any clause in the charter. The omission of an express guarantee left religious liberty unprovided for and unprotected. The instrument confers on the colonists the rights of English subjects; it does not confer on them new and greater rights. On the contrary, they are strictly forbidden to make laws or ordinances, repugnant to the laws and statutes of the realm of England. The express concession of power to administer the oath of supremacy, demonstrates that universal religious toleration was not designed ; and the freemen of the corporation, it should be remembered, were not at that time Separatists. Even Higginson, and Hooker, and Cotton were still min

CHAP.

IX.

1 Grahame, v. i. p. 244, 245, is subject from the author of the right as to that fact and no further. Commentaries on the Constitution On the contested question he fol- of the U. S.; whose opinions delows Neal, while Chalmers and rive their weight less from his Robertson have sustained an op- eminent station than from his proposite view. I have written with found learning and genius. The confidence, because I have been European who would understand favored with an ample, and to my our form of government, must stumind, a conclusive opinion on the dy the Commentaries of Story. 1 The editor of Winthrop did amazed as well as alarmed at the me the kindness to read to me boldness of their brethren in Masunpublished letters, which are in sachusetts. his possession, and which prove 2 Hazard, v. i. p. 257. that the Puritans in England were

CHARTER FOR THE MASSACHUSETTS COLONY.

373

isters of the church of England ; nor could the pa- CHAP. tentees foresee, nor the English government anticipate, how wide a departure from English usages, would grow out of the emigration of puritans to America.

The political condition of the colonists was not deemed by king Charles a subject worthy of his consideration. Full legislative and executive authority was conferred not on the emigrants but on the company, of which the emigrants could not be active members, so long as the charter of the corporation remained in England. The associates in London were to establish ordinances, to settle forms of government, to name all necessary officers, to prescribe their duties, and to establish a criminal code. Massachusetts was not erected into a province, to be governed by laws of its own enactment; it was reserved for the corporation to decide, what degree of civil rights its colonists should enjoy. The charter on which the freemen of Massachusetts succeeded in erecting a system of independent representative liberty, did not secure to them a single privilege of self-government; but left them, as the Virginians had been left, without one valuable franchise, at the mercy of a corporation within the realm. This was so evident, that some of those, who had already emigrated, clamored that they were become slaves.”

a

CHAP.

IX.

It was equally the right of the corporation, to es

tablish the terms on which new members should be 1629. admitted to its freedom. Its numbers could be en

larged or changed only by its own consent.

It was perhaps implied, though it was not expressly required, that the affairs of the company should be administered in England ; yet the place for holding the courts was not specially appointed. What if the corporation should vote the emigrants to be freemen, and call a meeting beyond the Atlantic? What if the governor, deputy, assistants, and freemen should themselves emigrate, and thus break down the distinction between the colony and the corporation ? The history of Massachusetts is the counterpart to that of Virginia; the latter obtained its greatest liberty by the abrogation of the charter of its company; the former by a transfer of its charter and a daring construction of its powers by the successors of the original patentees.

The charter had been granted in March ; in April preparations were hastening for the embarkation of new emigrants. The government which was now established for Massachusetts, merits commemoration, though it was never duly organized. It was to consist of a governor and counsellors; of whom eight out of the thirteen were appointed by the corporation in England; three were to be named by these eight; and, as it was said, to remove all grounds of discontent, the choice of the remaining two counsellors was granted to the colonists as a liberal boon. The board, when thus constituted, was invested with

THE EMIGRATION WITH JOHN HIGGINSON.

375

IX.

[ocr errors]

all the powers of legislation, justice, and administra- CHAP. tion. Such was the inauspicious dawn of civil and

1629. religious liberty on the Bay of Massachusetts.

Benevolent instructions to Endicot were at the same time issued. “ If any of the salvages," such were the orders long and uniformly followed in all changes of government, and placed on record more than half a century before William Penn proclaimed the principles of peace on the borders of the Delaware, “pretend right of inheritance to all or any part of the lands granted in our patent, we pray you endeavor to purchase their tytle, that we may avoid the least scruple of intrusion.” “Particularly publish, that no wrong or injury be offered to the natives. "2

The departure of the fleet for America was now anxiously desired. The colonists were to be cheered by the presence of religious teachers; and the excellent and truly catholic John Higginson, an eminent non-conforming minister, receiving an invitation to conduct the emigrants, esteemed it as a call from heaven. The propagation of the gospel among the heathen was earnestly desired ; in pious sincerity they resolved if possible to redeem these wrecks of human nature; the colony seal was an Indian, erect, with an arrow in his right hand, and the motto, “Come over and help us ;">4_a device of

1 Col. Records. Hazard, v. i. 3 Hutchinson's Coll. p. 24, 25. p. 256–268, and 268—271. Bent Hubbard, p. 112. ley in i. Mass. Hist. Coll. v. vi. 4 Douglass, v. i. p. 409. Doug235, 236.

lass is almost as rash as Oldmix2 Hazard, v. i. p. 263. 277.

on.

IX.

1629.

CHAP. which the appropriateness has been lost by the mod

ern substitution of the favorite line of Algernon Sidney ; -- and three additional ministers attended the expedition. The company of emigrants was winnowed before sailing ; and servants of ill life were discharged. “No idle drone may live amongst us ;"I

' was the spirit as well as the law of the dauntless community, which was to turn the sterility of New

England into a cluster of wealthy states. May. As the ships were bearing Higginson and his fol

lowers out of sight of their native land, they remembered it, not as the scene of their sufferings from intolerance, but as the home of their fathers and the dwelling place of their friends. They did not say “Farewell Babylon! farewell Rome! but, FAREWELL DEAR ENGLAND. "'2

It was in the last days of June, that the little band of two hundred arrived at Salem ; where the “corruptions of the English church” were never to be planted, and where a new “reformation” was to

a be reduced to practice. They found neither church nor town; eight or ten pitiful hovels, one more stately tenement for the Governor, and a few cornfields were the only proofs, that they had been preceded by their countrymen. The whole body of old and new planters now amounted to three hundred; of whom one third joined the infant settlement at Charlestown.3

1 Hazard, v. i. p. 28 284. 256. See Hutchinson's Collection, p. 2 Mather, b. ii. c. i. S. 12. 32—50, and i. Mass. Hist. Coll. 3 Higginson's whole account is, v. i. p. 117–124. Charlestown of course, the highest authority. Records in Prince, p. 261.

« 上一頁繼續 »