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of Massachusetts Bay. The first General Court was held soon after, (October 19,) and from that time Boston took the lead of Massachusetts and of New England. It was entitled to do so in Massachusetts by the rank, the education, and the devotion of its settlers. It was entitled to do so in New England as the chief place in Massachusetts, then, and for many years after, the most important of all the English settlements.
The new colony grew apace. All around Bosand inde- ton there sprang up towns, some on spots previouspendence. ly occupied by individuals or by parties, but many
in districts hitherto unvisited. Each new settlement contributed to the increase and the independence of the colony. So independent in some respects did its position become, that the Council for New England, sometimes as a body and sometimes through its individual members, began to dread and to resist the rising power. There was full enough in the attitude of the Massachusetts colonists to warrant the suspicion of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, "that they would in short time wholly shake off the royal jurisdiction of the sovereign magistrate."
No colony certainly had ever been endowed with similar powers. Charter government had hitherto been confined to companies in England. It was first inspired with all its vitality in Massachusetts. As the government, not merely of a corporation, but of a state, it invested its holders with an authority independent of all besides a mere allegiance to the crown and the law of the mother land. The officers elsewhere, as in the royal province of Virginia, appointed in England, were here elected on the spot, and by those over whom they were to preside. Governor, council, and assembly, all belonged to and proceeded from the freemen. With them resided every form of authority, save only the distant and the indefinite shapes of royal and parliamentary supremacy.
It by no means followed that the government was a liberal one. Whatever it might appear to ples. be in the abstract, its operation was rigidly controlled by Puritan principles. These narrowed its sphere and stiffened its action. An early vote declared no one a freeman under the charter who was not a church member, (1631.) As but a small proportion of the inhabitants were church members, there were less freemen than non-freemen. The privileges of the charter being thus restricted to the pale of the church, the church and the state became virtually one. The elders of the church, clerical and lay, were as much magistrates as the magistrates themselves.
Such a system favored the independence of the relations. colony in its relations with the mother country; indeed, in all external relations. It made the colony strong in itself, relying upon its own resources, providing for its own wants. The villages of Massachusetts were hardly begun, its fields were hardly turned up by the plough, when the General Court "agree to give four hundred pounds towards a school or college," (1636.) This was subsequently located at Cambridge, and named after its first private benefactor, John Harvard, a clergyman of Charlestown, (1638.) The same year of the grant from the court, when such a sacrifice for the future must have strained the entire colony, the offer of certain noblemen to join the settlers, on condition of preserving their hereditary honors, was rejected, (1636.) All the while the colony was contending against the machinations of its adversaries in and out of the Council for New England. The charter, threatened again and again, was at length demanded back ; but the men of Massachusetts stood firm, and it was spared, (1634-38.)
The internal relations of the colonists were by relations. no means equally secure. The system that cut
down the charter itself was not likely to respect the development of the individual. The very members of the ruling class were under the most rigid restraint. John Eliot, afterwards the missionary to the Indians, was obliged to retract the censures which he passed upon the magistrates for making an Indian treaty without consulting the freemen, (1634.) Israel Stoughton, a deputy, who ventured to write against the pretensions of the magistrates to a negative upon the General Court, was forced to ask that his manuscript "be burned as weak and offensive," and was then excluded from office for three years, (1635.) Roger Williams, denying the power of the magistrates to compel attendance upon their form of service, or to bind the conscience by human laws, was driven into exile, (1635.) It marks the spirit of the place, that even Roger Williams, the professed advocate of religious liberty, should have transgressed the very principle which he advocated, by forbidding his wife to pray with him because she would not join his scission from the church at Salem. These were all individual instances. There presently arose a party in opposition to the dominant system. It was led by a woman, Anne Hutchinson; but many of the principal men united with her in setting up what they termed a "covenant of grace" against the "covenant of works" upheld by the Puritan rulers. The leaders of the party were all banished, (1638.) One cannot wonder that William Blackstone, an early settler, who first invited the Massachusetts emigrants to settle at Boston, should retire before them, exclaiming, "I left England because I liked not the lord bishops, and now I like not the lord brethren.” The Massachusetts people were already emigrating. A neighboring territory, conveyed by the Council for New England to the Earl of Warwick, passed into the hands of Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brook, and others,
(1632.) Upon their domain, a party from Plymouth established a trading post, (1633,) while another and a larger company from Massachusetts founded actual settlements at Windsor and Hartford, together called the Connecticut colony, (1635.) John Winthrop, son of the Massachusetts governor, and afterwards governor of Connecticut, led the first expedition on the part of the proprietors, and began a settlement at Saybrook, (1635.) A third colony was begun, a year or two later, by emigrants from England under the lead of John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, who, intending to settle in Massachusetts, were driven by the dissensions of that colony to New Haven, (1638.)
Connecticut was not the only colony to profit by dence the strifes in Massachusetts. Roger Williams, the exile, began the plantation of Providence, (1636.) Island. As the founder of a colony, with the consent of the natives, to whom, as well as to his persecuting countrymen, he was a faithful friend, Williams deserves a far higher fame than he would ever have won as an agitator. He was followed by some of the Hutchinson exiles, who began a second colony on the northern shore of the island since called Rhode Island, (1638.) They, like Williams, obtained their lands from the natives.
The Council for New England, with or without tion of whose patents so many settlements had been made, the coun- was now no more. Opposed by the advocates of a free fishery and a free trade, it had lately met with fresh assaults from those who regarded the churches of Plymouth and of Massachusetts as the offspring of schism and of sin. The council was weary of itself. Its efforts after a general government of the colonies had miscarried. Its grants had ceased to be in demand; indeed, in an honest point of view, there were no more to be made. Its
members, however, thought differently, and having once. more parcelled out the territory of New England amongst themselves, they surrendered their patent to the crown, (1635.)
End of companies.
Thus ended the companies created by the patent of Virginia. One, lasting but eighteen years, began the single colony of Virginia. The other, continuing eleven years more, did not found a solitary settlement. It saw, however, quite a number of settlements made by others under its grants or upon its lands. The only office that either company had fulfilled, was to clear the way for individual enterprise. This done, both fell, and without a regret from any side.
When the Virginia Company came to an end, its of New colony was declared a royal province. No such England. change ensued upon the dissolution of the Council for New England. Massachusetts, the chief settlement in the territory, was already provided with a royal charter. The other settlements were too insignificant to attract legislation, even if they attracted attention from England. Many of them, like Plymouth, were able to govern themselves. The rest would be provided for in time.
It was plain, however, that the New England colonies needed some other system than they had to establish their relations amongst themselves. An instance in point occurs in the case of Thomas Morton "of Clifford's Inn, gentleman," as he called himself. Taking the lead of a few settlers encamped at Mount Wollaston, near Boston, he gave the hill the name of Mare-Mount, of which he styled himself "Mine Host," (1626.) The use of the church liturgy and the confidence of the Indians, whom he employed as his huntsmen, gave great umbrage to the neighboring colonists, the more so that he led a free and easy, perhaps a sensual, life upon his mount, and thus