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two archbishops, with certain other persons, to superintend the colonies, to erect courts, civil and ecclesiastical, to remove governors for causes which to them should seem meet, to inquire into the conduct of all officers, to punish offences with fine and imprisonment, to make and repeal laws and revoke charters. This extraordinary commission excited great alarm in the infant colonies, but the inhabitants determined to resist the execution of it; and on receiving intelligence that a governor, appointed by the commissioners, would proceed to America, the government of Massachusetts hastened the fortifications in Boston harbor.-It does not appear that any attempt was made to enforce this commission.
Of the Colonies under Charles the first, and the Com-monwealth. During the reign of Charles the first, the colonies were frequently alarmed with the report of some act of the English government, to abridge their freedom. Their enemies represented the people as aiming at an entire independence, and a plan was devised and nearly matured, to deprive the colonies of their eharters, and place over them a general governor. Probably the dispute and civil war in England, were among the causes which frustrated that plan. After king Charles was beheaded, and the government of England assumed the shape of a commonwealth, the colonies were relieved from their apprehensions, and the Protector, Cromwell, appeared to favour the views and interests of the settlers in America. Under his administration however, the parliament passed an act for encouraging the commerce of England, which was the ground work of the famous Navigation Act in 1660, which restrained the trade of the colonies, and was the means of drying up the sources of their prosperity.
Of the state of the Colonies under Charles the second. Upon the restoration of the monarchy in England, the colonies submitted, and sent addresses, congratulating the king on his accession to the throne. Connecticut and Rhode-Island obtained charters with ample privileges, and so well pleased was the king with the respectful manner in which they treated him, that he wrote
letters giving most flattering assurances that he would protect the colonies in all their chartered rights He also appointed commissioners to examine the state of the colonies, and decide controversies between them. The king required that the laws derogatory to the crown should be repealed; that free liberty should be given to use the common prayer, and the service of the church of England; that all persons of honest lives, should be admitted to the sacrament, and their children to baptism; and that magistrates should be chosen and freemen admitted, without regard to opinions and professions of religion. The king required also that every person in the plantations should take the oath of allegiance to his majesty.-These requisitions gave the colonies some alarm, and indicated that the king was apprehensive the people intended to become independent. The union of the four colonies was regarded by the crown with an eye of jealousy, but the people assured the king's agents, that it was not intended for the purpose of casting off a dependence on England.
Of the Opposition to the Navigation Act. No measure of the English court or parliament excited more discontent, or was resisted with more firmness, by the first settlers, than the law for regulating the trade of England and the colonies, first enacted by the parliament, in 1651, during the administration of Cromwell, and in 1660, re-enacted by the king and parliament, with considerable additions. By this aet, all trade with England and the colonies was restricted to English ships, the master of which and three fourths at least of the seamen, were to be English; and the colonies were prohibited from shipping many of their most valuable articles to any ports but to England, where they were to be landed, before they could be sent to market in any other country. This regulation threw the advantages of the colonial trade into the hands of the English; but deprived the colonies of their best markets. The colonies opposed the execution of it many years; at length, in 1680, governor Leet of Connecticut submitted, and took the oath required. But Massachuseets was more obstinate, and her opposition was one of the
reasons for vacating her charter. She finally submitted to the regulations, by passing a law requiring them to be observed, but denied the right of parliament to bind the colonies to observe them.
Of the Agency of Randolph. The king, determined to enforce the Navigation Act, sent over Edward Randolph, with power to inspect the conduct of the colonies, to make seizures for breaches of the act, and in short, to be a common informer. This man made it his business to collect charges against the colonies, and return to England to excite the jealousy of the English government. In this manner the way was prepared for annulling the charters of the colonies, and the appointment of Sir Edmund Andross, as governor general over New-England and New-York. This was the consequence of a determination in the king and ministry to check and subdue the growing spirit of independence in the colonies; but Andross overacted his part; and his tyrannical proceedings only served to alienate the people's affections from the parent state, and prepare the way for that independence which the king dreaded.
Of the Colonies under King William aud Queen Ann. The colonies under Charles and James, had been despoiled of their charters, and suffered the tyranny of Andross with a spirit of just indignation. King William was more favourable to the colonies; Connecticut resumed her old charter, and Massachusetts obtained a new one, in which the king retained the power of appointing the governor, and the governor was vested with the power of negativing the choice of councillors, made by the house of representatives. It was supposed that this power in the king would secure a predominant influence to the crown over the legislature and colony. But it had the contrary effect, and created a fruitful source of animosity between the two branches of the legisla ture, which ended only with the revolution-The governor and council were the advocates for the extension of royal prerogative; the house of representatives was confided in, as the guardian of the rights of the people. In queen Ann's reign a new attempt was
made to abolish the colony charters, and place the appointment of a general governor in the crown, but it was frustrated.
Of Controversies in the Colony of New-York. The government of New-York, like that of Massachusetts, was what was called a royal government; the king appointed the governor, who had the power of approving the speaker of the house of representatives. But in this kind of government the assembly was bound to provide the governor with his salary. This was an unceasing source of discord. When a good understanding did not subsist between the governor and the assembly, which often happened, the assembly would withhold a grant of the governor's salary, to compel him to give his assent to some favorite bill of their's-the governor, on the other hand, if he wished to obtain a large grant, or to carry some favorite point, would withhold his assent to their favorite bills, until they had complied with his wishes.
Of the Controversies in Pennsylvania. By the charter of Pennsylvania, the proprietary and his heirs and assigns, were governors of the province; the council and assembly were to be chosen by the freemen. But in sales of land, the proprietary not only took purchasemoney, but reserved an annnal quit-rent, with the pretext of furnishing the means of supporting the govern ment with dignity. The proprietary himself seldom resided in America, but delegated a substitute, to act in the capacity of president or governor, who had a treble vote in enacting laws. In a few years, controversies arose between the governor and the assembly; and the governor prevailed on certain members to withdraw from the house, to prevent the passing of laws disagreeable to him. This the assembly voted to be treachery. In short, that province was distracted by disputes between the governor and assembly, respecting supplies of money, salaries, quit-rents, paper currency, and other matters, from the first settlement to the revolution.A history of these dissensions, written by Dr. Frankling forms a large volume.
Of the Controversies in Carolina By the original constitution of Carolina, the governor and principal civil officers were appointed or approved by the proprietors, in the Palatine's court in England. As early as the year 1687, a controversy arose between governor Colleton and the house of assembly, respecting the tenure of lands and the payment of quit-rent. The gov ernor demanded the rent, although not one acre of land in a thousand was cultivated--the payment proved burdensome--and the people declined it. Hence arose a contention, which did not end, till the assembly renounced the authority of the governor, and held assem blies in opposition to him. This ferment subsided, in a degree, under governors Ludwell and Archdale. But the interest of the proprietors, who urged for rents, and attempted to restrain the authority of the people, by repealing all laws that enlarged the powers of the assembly, or abridged their own, was so repugnant to the wishes and demands of the colony, that it was im possible to preserve harmony, and in 1719 the people revolted.
Of the Dissolution of the Proprietors' Charter. The people gave notice to governor Johnson of their inten tion to throw off the yoke of the proprietors, elected deputies to the assembly, which was held in opposition to the governor's authority; and notwithstanding his popularity and remonstrances, the assembly openly de clared their intention to renounce the authority of the proprietors, and submit to the crown. The governor attempted to dissolve the assembly, but they ordered the proclamation to be torn from the marshal's hand. They proceeded to elect James Moore their governor, and he was proclaimed with applauses. An account of these proceedings being transmitted to England, the Carolinians had a hearing before the council of regents, (the king being in Hanover) who decided that the pro prietors had done acts that amounted to a forfeiture of their charter, which was accordingly annulled in 1720, and Carolina taken under royal government. The crown, in 1728, purchased the property of seven of the owners, for seventeen thousand five hundred pounds.