« AnteriorContinuar »
§ 82. IN August, 1622, the Council of Plymouth (which seems to have been extremely profuse and inconsiderate in its grants 1) granted to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason all the land lying between the rivers Merrimack and Sagadahock, extending back to the great lakes and rivers of Canada; which was called Laconia.2 In April, 1639, Sir Ferdinando obtained from the crown a confirmatory grant of all the land from Piscataqua to Sagadahock and the Kennebec River, and from the coast into the northern interior one hundred and twenty miles; and it was styled "The Province of Maine." Of this province he was made Lord Palatine, with all the powers, jurisdiction, and royalties belonging to the Bishop of the County Palatine of Durham; and the lands were to be holden as of the manor of East Greenwich. The charter contains a reservation of faith and allegiance to the crown, as having the supreme dominion; and the will and pleasure of the crown is signified, that the religion of the Church of England be professed, and its ecclesiastical government established in the province. It also authorizes the Palatine, with the assent of the greater part of the freeholders of the province, to make laws not repugnant or contrary, but as near as conveniently may be to the laws of England, for the public good of the province; and to erect courts of judicature for the determination of all civil and criminal causes, with an appeal to the Palatine. But all the powers of government so granted were to be subordinate to the "power and regement" of the lords commissioners for foreign plantations for the time being. The Palatine also had authority to make ordinances for the government of the province, under certain restrictions, and a grant of full admiralty powers, subject to those of the Lord High Admiral of England. And the inhabitants, being subjects of the crown, were
11 Hutch. Hist. 6, 104; Rob. America, B. 10; 1 Doug. Summ. 366, 380, 386. 2 1 Hutch. Hist. 316; 1 Holmes's Annals, 180; 1 Belk. N. Hamp. ch. 1, p. 14. 8 Holmes's Annals, 254; 1 Chalm. Annals, 472, 473, 474; 1 Doug. Summ, 386, &c.
to enjoy all the rights and privileges of natural-born subjects in England.
§ 83. Under these ample provisions Gorges soon established a civil government in the province, and made ordinances. The government, such as it was, was solely confided to the executive, without any powers of legislation. The province languished in imbecility under his care, and began to acquire vigor only when he ceased to act as proprietary and lawgiver.2 Massachusetts soon afterwards set up an exclusive right and jurisdiction over the territory, as within its chartered limits, and was able to enforce obedience and submission to its power. It continued under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts until 1665, when the commissioners of the crown separated it for a short period; but the authority of Massachusetts was soon afterwards re-established.4 The controversy between Massachusetts and the Palatine, as to jurisdiction over the province, was brought before the Privy Council at the same time with that of Mason respecting New Hạmpshire, and the claim of Massachusetts was adjudged void. Before a final adjudication was had, Massachusetts had the prudence and sagacity, in 1677, to purchase the title of Gorges for a trifling sum; and thus, to the great disappointment of the crown, (then in treaty for the same object,) succeeded to it, and held and governed it as a provincial dependency, until the fall of its own charter; and it afterwards, as we have seen, was incorporated with Massachusetts in the provincial charter of 1691.6
1 1 Haz. Coll. 442 to 445.
2 1 Chalm. Annals, 474, 479; 1 Holmes's Annals, 254, 258, 296.
3 1 Chalm. Annals, 480, 481, 483; 1 Hutch. History, 176, 177, 256; 1 Holmes's Annals, 296; 2 Winthrop's Journ. 38, 42.
* 1 Chalm. Annals, 483, 484; 1 Holmes's Annals, 343, 348; Hutch. Coll. 422.
5 1 Chalm. Annals, 485, 504, 505; 1 Holmes's Annals, 388.
6 1 Chalm. Annals, 486, 487; 1 Holmes's Annals, 388; 1 Hutch. Hist. 326.
§ 84. CONNECTICUT was originally settled under the protection of Massachusetts; but the inhabitants in a few years afterwards. (1638) felt at liberty (after the example of Massachusetts) to frame a constitution of government and laws for themselves.1 In 1630, the Earl of Warwick obtained from the Council of Plymouth a patent of the land upon a straight line near the seashore towards the southwest, west and by south, or west from Narraganset River forty leagues, as the coast lies, towards Virginia, and all within that breadth to the South Sea. In March, 1631, the Earl of Warwick conveyed the same to Lord Say and Seale and others. In April, 1635,2 the same council granted the same territory to the Marquis of Hamilton. Possession under the title of Lord Say and Seale and others was taken at the mouth of the Connecticut in 1635.3 The settlers there were not, however, disturbed; and finally, in 1644, they extinguished the title of the proprietaries, or lords, and continued to act under the constitution of government which they had framed in 1638. By that constitution, which was framed by the inhabitants of the three towns of Windsor, Hartford, and Weathersfield, it was provided that there should be two general assemblies annually; that there should be annually elected, by the freemen, at the court in April, a governor and six assistants, who should "have power to administer justice according to the law here established, and for want thereof according to the rule of the Word of God." And that as many other officers should be chosen as might be found
1 Hutch. Hist. 98, 99; 2 Hutch. Hist. 202; 1 Haz. Coll. 321; 1 Holmes's Annals, 220, 228, 231, 232, 251, 269; 1 Chalm. Annals, 286, 287, 289; 2 Doug. Summ. 158, &c.; 1 Hutch Hist. 100.
The substance of this frame of government is given in 1 Holmes's Annals, 251; and a full copy in 1 Haz. Coll. 437, 441.
2 2 Hutch. Hist. 203; 1 Haz. Coll. 318; 1 Holmes's Ann. 208; 1 Chalm. Ann. 299.
* 1 Chalm. Annals, 288, 289, 290, 300; 2 Hutch. Hist. 203; 1 Haz. Coll. 395, 396; 1 Holmes's Annals, 229; 1 Hutch. Hist. 47; 1 Winthrop's Jour. 170, 397; Hutch. Coll. 412, 413.
requisite.1 To the General Court each of the above-named towns was entitled to send four deputies; and other towns, which should be afterwards formed, were to send so many deputies as the General Court should judge meet, according to the apportionment of the freemen in the town. All persons, who were inhabitants and freemen, and who took the oath of fidelity, were entitled to vote in the elections. Church-membership was not, as in Massachusetts, an indispensable qualification. The supreme power, legislative, executive, and judicial, was vested in the General Court.2
§ 85. The colony of New Haven had a separate origin, and was settled by emigrants immediately from England, without any title derived from the patentees. They began their settlement in 1638, purchasing their lands of the natives, and entered into a solemn compact of government. By it no person was admitted to any office, or to have any voice at any election, unless he was a member of one of the churches allowed in the dominion. There was an annual election of the governor, the deputy, magistrates, and other officers, by the freemen. The General Court consisted of the governor, deputy, magistrates, and two deputies from each plantation; and was declared to be "the supreme power, under God, of this independent dominion," and had authority "to declare, publish, and establish the laws of God, the Supreme Legislator, and to make and repeal orders for smaller matters, not particularly determined in Scripture, according to the general rules of righteousness; to order all affairs of war and peace, and all matters relative to the defending or fortifying the country; to receive and determine all appeals, civil or criminal, from any inferior courts, in which they are to proceed according to Scripture light, and laws, and orders agreeing therewith." Other courts were provided for; and Hutchinson observes that their laws and proceedings varied in very few circumstances from Massachusetts, except that they had no jury, either in civil or criminal All matters of facts were determined by the court.6
§ 86. Soon after the restoration of Charles the Second to the
1 1 Haz. Coll. 437; 1 Holmes's Ann. 251. 2 Ibid.
8 1 Hutch. Hist. 82, 83; 1 Holmes's Ann. 244, 245; 1 Chalm. Ann. 290; Robertson's America, B. 10; 3 American Museum, 523.
4 3 American Museum, 523.
5 1 Hutch. Hist. 83, note.
6 1 Hutch. Hist. 84, note; 1 Chalm. Annals, 290.
throne, the colony of Connecticut, aware of the doubtful nature of its title to the exercise of sovereignty, solicited, and in April, 1662, obtained from that monarch a charter of government and territory.1 The charter included within its limits the whole colony of New Haven; and as this was done without the consent of the latter, resistance was made to the incorporation until 1665, when both were indissolubly united, and have ever since remained under one general government.2
§ 87. The charter of Connecticut, which has been objected to by Chalmers as establishing "a mere democracy, or rule of the people," contained, indeed, a very ample grant of privileges. It incorporated the inhabitants by the name of the Governor and Company of the Colony of Connecticut in New England in America. It ordained that two general assemblies shall be annually held; and that the assembly shall consist of a governor, deputy-governor, twelve assistants, and two deputies, from every town or city, to be chosen by the freemen, (the charter nominating the first governor and assistants). The general assembly had authority to appoint judicatories, make freemen, elect officers, establish laws and ordinances "not contrary to the laws of this realm of England," to punish offences " according to the course of other corporations within this our kingdom of England," to assemble the inhabitants in martial array for the common defence, and to exercise martial law in cases of necessity. The lands were to be holden as of the manor of East Greenwich, in free and common socage. The inhabitants and their children born there were to enjoy and possess all the liberties and immunities of free, naturalborn subjects, in the same manner as if born within the realm. The right of general fishery on the coasts was reserved to all subjects; and finally the territory bounded on the east by the Narraganset River, where it falls into the sea, and on the north by Massachusetts, and on the south by the sea, and in longitude, as the line of the Massachusetts colony running from east to west, that from Narraganset Bay to the South Sea, was granted and confirmed to the colony. The charter is silent in regard to religious rights and privileges.
1 1 Haz. Coll. 586; 1 Chalm. Ann. 292, 293; 1 Holmes's Ann. 320; 2 Doug. Summ.
2,1 Holmes's Ann. 338; 1 Chalm. Annals, 296; Marsh. Colon. 134; 1 Chalm. Ann. 294; 2 Doug. Summ. 164, 167.
8 2 Haz. Coll. 597 to 605; 1 Holmes's Ann. 320; 1 Chalm. Annals, 293, 294; Marsh. Colon. ch. 5, p. 134.