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child could show that his education had been neglected, or that he had been improperly provoked ; and, to the honor of the colony, no execution for witchcraft ever took place within its linits. Most of the smaller olences were punished by fine, setting in the stocks, imprisonment in the town cage or colony prison, or by whipping and branding. The burglar was branded for his first oflence with the letter B on his right hand, and, for his second, with the same letter on his left. If the offence was committed on Sunday, the brand was set on the forehead. Other offences were punished by requiring the culprit to wear for a limited time large letters upon his clothing, signifying the crime he had committed in all of these punishments, the court possessed a large discretionary power, which was exercised according to the nature and character of the offence.

The legislation of the colony bears traces of increasing hostility to the use of tobacco, and of the ineffectual attempts to suppress it. As early as 1641, its importation for bome consumption was probibited. Three years earlier, the General Court declared, that, " whereas ihere is great abuse in taking tobacco in a very uncivil manner, openly in the town streets, and as men pass upon the highways, to the great reproach of government, it is enacted, if any one is found or seen taking tobacco in the streets, or in any building or field within a mile of a dwelling-house, he shall be fined twelve pence. And, if he be a boy or a servant, without money to pay his fine, he shall be put in the stocks or whipped.” In 1650, it was provided, that every juror, who used tobacco, should be fined five shillings. In 1669, it was enacted, “ that every person found smoking in the streets on the Lord's day, going to or returning from meeting within two miles of the meetinghouse, should be fined twelve pence." All of these provisions of law, without any material alterations, remained in force till the end of the colony ; and probably had no other effect than to make the smokers and chewers of tobacco a little more cautious, and at the same time to increase their attachment for their favorite but persecuted weed.

The great reluctance of the people of the colony to the holding of public offices forms one of their most striking peculiarities. Among them there were no office-seekers, lovers of the spoils. They had other and different views in



taking the high and responsible offices of government. For a long time this reluctance was so strong, that it became necessary to compel men under a penalty to accept the highest and most honorable offices in the colony. In 1632, it was acted, that, if “any one were elected to the office of Governor, and would not stand to the election, nor hold bis office for one year, he should be assessed £ 20 sterling," with a proviso, that no one should be required to serve two years in succession. It was also enacied, “ that if a person was elected Assistant, he should be liable to a fine of £ 10 sterling, if he did not stand to the election.” In 1637, Thomas Prince was elected Governor. He was then resident at Duxbury, and a law of the colony required the Governor to reside at Plymouth. At first he declined the office; but, after much solicitation, he agreed to accept it on two conditions ; namely, that Governor Bradford, who was then in office, should continue to discharge its duties, till he was ready to assume them, and that he might be permitted to reside at Duxbury. These conditions were acceded to by the General Court, and at the same time it was enacted, that the old officers should continue in office till Governor Prince was ready to discharge the duties of his office, and that they should act under their former oaths.

The colony made no provision for the support of the clergy till 1655. Previously to this, the strong and almost universal attachment of the colonists to their religious institutions insured for their clergy an adequate support. But, in process of time, a party grew up which was opposed to the present faith and the established church discipline. It was about this time that the Quakers began to make their appearance, and to sow strife and contention, not only in the church, but in the commonwealth. Opposition to the clergy became more open, and a neglect to make the proper contributions more apparent. At length it became necessary for the General Court to give their attention to it. They appear to have approached the subject with great caution, and to have besitated to adopt at once a compulsory process. They said, “ If there appears to be a real defect in the hearers of the ministers complaining, the magistrale shall use all gentle means to persuade them to do their duty. And, if any one of them shall not thereby be reclaimed, but shall persist through plain obstinacy against the ordinance of God, then it shall be in the power of the magistrates to use such means as may put them upon their duty.” This provision of law was found insufficient. Two years afterward, the General Court, having declared that all were bound to aid in the support of the ministry, and that there was great neglect in ibis respect, enjoined that each town should choose four men to assess the inbabitants according to their several estates, leaving it to the ministers to collect these assessments, if they could. Some paid them, others refused ; and, since there was no legal means of enforcing payment, the law soon became a dead Jetter, and the whole matter was actually left where it was before, - to voluntary contributions. In 1662, a resolve was passed recommending it to the several towns in the colony to appropriate a portion of the proceeds of all whales cast on shore, for the support of the ministry, which at that time was the scurce of a considerable income, it being, if we can judge from the constant legislation upon the subject, of very

frequent occurrence. In 1669, the General Court took measures to enforce the payment of taxes for the support of public worship, authorizing any magistrate or seleciman to compel any delinquent to pay double the amount of his tax. Still the collection of the taxes was left to the clergy. But the system soon became so odious, that, in the following year, the General Court, after declaring that its tendency was to create prejudice against the clergy, provided that each town should choose two collectors of these taxes, and pay the same to the ministers. They further declared their intention to support public worship in all the towns in the colony, and their right to impose any tax for that purpose ; and, as a practical illustration of that right, it was enacted, that fifteen pounds should be raised in the town of Dartmouth. No material change was made in the laws for the support of public worship after this time till the union. They still remain as evidence, not only of the great solicitude of a large majority of the colonists to support public worship, but of the indifference in relation to it, which then existed among another portion of the people.

No measures were adopted for the support of public schools till 1663, and then the subject was merely recommended to the towns for their consideration. In 1674, the profits of the fishery at Cape Cod were appropriated to that purpose ; and it appears from the act, that it was for the support of a single school at Plymouth, which was attended by only eight or ten scholars. The first act, requiring all the inhabitants to support public schools by a tax, was passed in 1677, when every town having tisty families was required to raise at least £ 12 per annum for the support of a grammar school. About ten years after, when the colony was divided into counties, each county town was required io support a Latin school, in which young men could be fitted for college. It must not, however, be supposed, from these small efiorts of the General Court in the support of public schools, that they were indifferent to this subject. Education was an object ever dear to the Puritans, and they were always solicitous that the whole people should enjoy its benefits. That they neglected so long to make legal provision for the support of schools, is no proof of indifference ; it rather shows, that such a provision was not then necessary. The colonists were poor, and were all about equally poor ; yet there is abundant evidence of the deep solicitude they felt, and the great exertions they made, to give all their children the benefits of such an education as could then be had. Nor were their efforts confined to that colony alone. On the contrary, when applied to by President Dunster, of Harvard College, to do someibing for that institution, then in its infancy, and borne down with poverty, they, like all the rest of New England, generously contributed from their scanty means. It is true, their contributions were small, oftentimes consisting of nothing more than a peck or half peck of corn or beans. Yet this was all they had to give.

Like the other New England colonies, Plymouth was compelled to subrnit to the arbitrary rule of Sir Edmund Andros, in 1686 ; and, during the three succeeding years, she, like them, suffered one continued series of wrongs. Her General Court was abolished ; town meetings were forbidden ; land titles were disputed ; taxes illegally and arbitrarily imposed; her citizens imprisoned without cause; and, in short, every thing was done, which would characterize a tyrant. It was to them a period of darkness and trial, and for a time it seemed that every thing most valued was lost. But the day of retribution and of deliverance soon came ; and the people here, imme

diately on hearing of the revolution in England, like their neighbours in Massachusetts, threw off the Governor's authority ; resumed their former government, recalled their old officers, and declared their allegiance to the Protestant sovereigns of England.

Afier this revolution, new efforts were made by this, as well as by several other American colonies, to procure a charter. They were strongly attached to their old government, and desired a distinct colonial existence. They were aware, that efforts were making to annex them to some other colony, than which they imagined no greater calamity. It became necessary, in order to prevent this, to adopt the most vigorous measures ; and, accordingly, Sir Henry Ashurst, the Reverend Ichabod Wiswell of Duxbury, and the Reverend Increase Mather of Boston, were appointed agents in behalf of the colony, to obtain a charter. Mather was then in England, having escaped from Boston in the night, during the administration of Andros, for the purpose of laying the complaints of the Massachusetts colony before the King. He was known to have influence at court, and it was supposed that he might exert this for the benefit of the colony. Of his influence there is no doubt ; but the results of the negotiation led to the suspicion, that he regarded the interests of Massachusetts rather than of Plymouth. Such was the opinion of Wiswell, who, in a letter to Governor Hinckley, speaks in no very complimentary terms of this distinguished negotiator. He says, “ All the frame of heaven moves on one axis, and the whole of New England's interest seems designed to be loaden on one bottom, and her particular motions to concentrate to the Massachusetts tropic. You know who were wont to trot after the bay horse. Your distance is your advantage, by which you may observe their motions. I do believe, that Plymouth's silence, Hampshire's neglect, and the rashness and impudence of one, at least, who fled from New England in disguise by night, hath not a little contributed to our general disappointment.” Mather, bowever, always pretended to have acted in good faith, and claimed the honor of having Plymouth annexed to Massachusetts instead of New York, in whose charter it was, at first, included. A separate colonial existence could not then have been obtained ; and, since a union with some other colony was necessary, there is no

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