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56

THE PLYMOUTH COMPANY.

CHAPTER XI.

PROGRESS OF THE NEW ENGLAND COLONIES.

The old Plymouth company, ‘ for the planting, ruling, ordering, and governing New England, in America, whose extensive and very exclusive charter has already been mentioned, had made no other use of its inordinate privileges than an attempt to exclude from the trade and fisheries all who would not pay the company a heavy tax. No monopoly could be more odious to the people of England than this. Their privileges were violently assailed in the House of Commons, and the patentees were finally compelled to relinquish their claims. They continued, however, to issue patents for portions of their immense territory, to different companies and individuals

One of these, having been granted to Robert Gorges, the son of Sir Ferdinand, for a tract extending ten miles on Massachusetts Bay, and thirty miles into the interior, he was appointed by the company lieutenantgeneral of New England, with extensive powers. But this grant was productive of no permanent settlement, and the powers of Gorges were never exercised.

In 1622, Sir Ferdinand Gorges and John Mason took a patent for a territory called Laconia, extending from the Atlantic to the St. Lawrence, and from the Merrimae to the Kennebec. Under this patent Portsmouth and Dover were settled, in 1623. A fresh patent, for the country between the Merrimac and Piscataqua, was obtained by Mason in 1629. This was the patent for New Hampshire. Its early progress was so slow that, in thiriy years after its settlement, Portsmouth contained no more than sixty families.

In 1628, a number of settlements were commenced on the coast of Maine, under a succession of patents granted by the Plymouth council. But, as most of these were merely temporary, having for their object the pursuits of hunting and fishing, they were soon abandoned.

What use did the old Plymouth company make of its charter ?- Who opposed their claims?-Were they abandoned ?-What practice did they continue ?--What is said of Gorges' patent ?- When was New Hamp shire settled ?-By whom 2What fact proves its slow progress ? --What

was done in Maine ?

SETI LEMENT OF SALEM.

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A district of forty miles square, which was called Lygonia, and situated between Harpswell and the Kennebunk river, was settled in 1630 and given up the next year, the settlers retiring to Massachusetts.

Sir Ferdinand Gorges obtained, in 1635, a patent for the district lying between the Kennebec and the Piscata qua, and sent his nephew, William Gorges, to govern the territory, who found some settlers on the Saco and Kennebec; but he remained in the country only two years, and it was then left without a government. Sir Ferdinand still continued his schemes for colonisation, and was subsequently constituted lord proprietary of the country by a royal charter.

New England would have increased but slowly in wealth and population, had not the same causes which drove the Brownists from England still continued to operate. The Puritans were constantly the objects of persecution in England, and numbers of them were desirous to seek an asylum in the new world. Several emigrations were consequently made to Massachusetts.

Mr. White, a Puritan minister of Dorchester, in Eng land, had induced some merchants and gentlemen to join him (1624) in sending out a small colony, who began a plantation at Cape Ann, recognising, however, the supre macy of the Plymouth settlers.

In 1627, Mr. White and his company concluded a treaty wi h the council of Plymouth, for the purchase of that part of New England lying three miles south of Charles river, and three miles north of Merrimac river, and extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. A small numoer of emigrants, under the direction of John Endicott, were soon afterwards sent oul, who laid the foundation of Salem, the first permanent town in the Massachu setts colony, in 1628.

The adventurers did not deem themselves able to affect all their objects without the aid of more opulent partners. Some London merchants joined them, and a charter was obtained from the crown confirming the grant from the council of Plymouth, and conferring powers of government. The supreme authority was vested in persons residing in London,-a most unwise provision, as the history of the Virginia company sufficiently proved. The

What was done by Gorges in 1635 ?-By Mr. White in 1624 ?-In 1627 : When was Salem settled ?-By whom ?-What new company wang formed ?

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SETTLEMENT OF CHARLESTOWN AND BOSTON.

The go

patentees were styled “The Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England.'

The executive power was vested in a goverr.or, deputy governor, and eighteen assistants, to be nominated by the crown, and afterwards elected by the company. vernor and assistants were to meet monthly for business The legislative power was vested in the body of the pro prietors, who were to assemble four times a year, under ihe denomination of the General Court, for electing officers, and making laws for the common weal. The colonists were exempted from taxes and duties, and declared en titled to all the rights and privileges of Englishmen, as had already been done in the charter of Virginia.

Under this charter three vessels sailed in May, 1628, with about two hundred persons, who reached Salem in June, where they found a colony of one hundred planters under the government of John Endicott.

Not satisfied with the situation at Salem, one hundred of the company, under the direction of Thomas Graves, emoved to Mishawum, were they laid the foundation of

town, to which they gave the name of Charlestown. Both settlements were united under the same government; and one of their first acts was to form a church and ordain heir minister and ruling elder, in which solemnity they were joined by a representation from the Plymouth colony.

The inconveniences, which would have resulted from that provision of the charter which required the govern ment of the colony of Massachusetts to be resident in London, had already been foreseen, and in consequence of representations to that effect, the charter was transferred to those of the freemen who should themselves reside in the colony. This gave a new impulse to emigration, and many persons of various ranks prepared for their de parture to the New World.

The next year (1630) brought a fleet with eight hun dred and forty emigrants, among whom were governor Winthrop, deputy governor Dudley, and many other persons of wealth and respectability. In September, of the same year, a settlement was formed at a place on the south side of Charles river, called by the Indians Shaw

What form of government was established by their charter ?-What exemptions and privileges did it grant ?-How many emigrants came Over in 1623 1-Who founded Charlestown - What was one of their first Acts ? --What gave a new impulse to emigration ?-.Who came over in

16301-What town was then settled ?

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mut, and by the English, Trimountain, to which the name of Boston was now given.

The succeeding autumn and winter were marked by severe distress. Sickness visited the colony, and before December, two hundred of their number had died. Among these was the lady Arabella Johnson, the daughter of a noble house in England, who had left the quiet and luxury of her home, but to leave a memorial of her virtues and misfortunes in the new country. The colonists were by no means disheartened by their sufferings, but bore all with fortitude, in the hope of transmitting free institutions to their posterity.

In May, 1631, at the first court of election in Massachusetts, that the body of the commons might be preserved of good and honest men,' it was ordered that, from that time,

no persons be admitted to the freedom of the body politic, but such as were members of some of the churches within its limits. This provision has been much censured by historians and statesmen, and the right of the government to make it has been questioned. It was subsequently productive of much dissension. It was however, by no means inconsistent with the spirit of the age, and was unquestionably adopted from the most upright and conscientious motives.

The settlements gradually extended in the neighbour nood of Boston and Charlestown to such remote points, that the purely democratic form of government, which admitted every freeman to a share in the deliberations respecting the public welfare, was found to be very inconvenient; and accordingly, in 1634, a representative form of government was adopted. The whole body of the freemen assembled but once a year for the election of magistrates, and the freemen of each town chose deputies to the general court, who were vested with the full power af all the freemen, and were required to assemble in general court four times a year. This form of government was retained, with but slight alterations, during the continuance of the charter. We have here the second instance of a house of representatives in America, the first having been convened in Virginia, June 19, 1619.

Roger Williams, a minister of Salem, having put forth certain tenets, which were considered heretical

What ensued in the autumn ?- Who died? When was the first court of election held in Massachusetts ?--What law was made !--What is said of it ?- What form of government was adopted in 1634 !- What is said of Roger Williams?

2631

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BANISHMENT OF ROGER WILLIAMS. and seditious, “tending equally to sap the foundations of the establishment in church and state,' and refusing to recant and conform to the opinions of the ruling powers, was banished the colony.

The heresy which he promulgated was, that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never controul opinion; should punish guilt, but never violate the freedom af the soul.'* His firmness on this occasion made him the founder of a state, and classed him among the mos celebrated assertors of intellectual freedom.

His exile was not a mere transfer from one agreeable residence to another as agreeable. He was obliged to go into the wilderness of woods in the depth of winter; and when cast out from the society of civilised men, for asserting the noblest right of humanity, he found a shel ter among the untutored savages. Pokanoket, Massasoit, and Canonicus, welcomed him to their rude wigwams, sind thus confirmed a constant friend and benefactor. In the spring he began to build and plant at Seekonk, but finding that this place was within the patent of Plymouth, he passed over the water with five companions, and settled on à spot which, in token of his humble reliance on the Divine favour, he called PROVIDENCE. Under these circumstances was commenced the settlement of Rhode Island—a state, whose history is marked throughout with the strongest evidences of the attachment of its people to the principles of civil and religious liberty.

In 1635, three thousand emigrants were added to the puritan colony of Massachusetts. Among them were two persons who were afterwards remarkably distinguished by their characters and fortunes; these were Hugh Peter, und Henry Vane the younger. Peter, who had formerly heen pastor of a church of English exiles at Rotterdam, was a man of high spirit, great energy, eloquence and ebility. Vane, who suffered much censure during his active career, is now pronounced by impartial historians to have been a man of spotless integrity and pure mind, end a genuine martyr for liberty.

The freemen of Massachusetts, captivated by the talents and fascinating manners of Vane, and flattered by his abandonment of ease and high rank in England, for a residence on their own soil, elected him for their governor. What town and state did he found ?-Who came over in 1635 - To

what office was Vane elected ?

* Bancroft

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