Imágenes de páginas

attracted numbers from the surrounding settlements. A sort of crusade was started by "the chief of the straggling plantations," as Governor Bradford of Plymouth describes them; Plymouth, at their request, assuming the lead, and sending a party under Miles Standish to take Morton prisoner. He was sent to England, (1628.) As he had the audacity to return, he was apprehended by the authorities of the infant colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose charter covered his territory. The court ordered him to “be set in the bilboes, and after sent prisoner to England," his goods being seized and his house burned for wrongs, it was alleged, that had been done to the Indians, (1630.) After appealing to the privy council by petition, and to the English nation in a work called "New English Canaan," Morton returned again to encounter fine and imprisonment, (1643,) and to die in poverty, (1646.) Whatever were his faults, whether "the lord of misrule," as his adversaries represented him, or not, Thomas Morton was certainly handled by his fellow-colonists in a way the most opposed to justice and to peace.

Grant of


SECTION III. — Proprietors. 1630 to 1638.

A new form of grant appears. Hitherto, the individual obtaining possession of territory procured it, like Mason or like Gorges, from a company to whose authority the acquisition was subject. It was by a patent from the crown that Sir George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, was made "lord and proprietor" of a tract between the Potomac River and the latitude of Philadelphia, (1632.) To this he gave the name of Maryland, and thither, to a settlement named St. Mary's, his son, after the father's death, led a band of two hundred, (1634.)

Thus was constituted a proprietary government. The

A propri

proprietor held an authority that was supreme, save etary gov in its subordination to the sovereign from whom it ernment. emanated. He directed the administration and the legislation of the colony, appointing the executive officers, the governor, especially, as his representative, and controlling the proceedings of the colonists in their assemblies. To him likewise belonged the quitrents, or taxes upon occupied lands, in addition to the general taxes for the support of the government. The colonists, on their part,

that is, "the freemen of the province," were to have their assembly, in which their "advice, consent, and approbation" might be given or withheld in relation to the course of the proprietor.

Religious liberty.

As with other settlements, so with Maryland, there are exaggerations in some of the histories. A vast deal of fine writing has been devoted to the magnanimity with which the Maryland charter provided for religious liberty. The instrument makes no mention of the subject, or of the establishment of religion, except to leave the matter to the proprietor, subject on this point, as on others, to the laws of England. The Calvert family, being Roman Catholic, could not make their own faith paramount, nor would they, perhaps, have done so, even if they could. They wanted settlers of all creeds, whose numbers and whose energies alone could give real value to their domains. It was simply a matter of policy, therefore, with the proprietary family, to let the question of religion rest exactly where it was left by the charter. We may hope that they were not merely politic enough, but generous enough, even in an age which knew little of generosity, to throw open their province to Christians, without any limitation in favor of one branch or of another. Trou- The colony, young as it was, fell into troubles. Its assembly began to make laws without waiting


for the proprietor's legal initiative. At the same time, both proprietor and assembly were involved in disturbances. excited by a member of the Virginia council, William Clayborne. Virginia herself took it ill that her territory should be invaded even by royal grants. Clayborne conceived his rights to be assailed, inasmuch as he, individually, had established trading posts within the Maryland limits. Taking up arms against the colony, he was overpowered, and sent back to Virginia, (1635.)



Other proprietors, besides those of Maryland, proprie- were in the field. Sir Robert Heath, attorney general to Charles I., obtained the patent of a vast region on the south of Virginia, and as far as the Gulf of Mexico. This he called Carolana, (1630.) Another tract, called New Albion, and including the present New Jersey, was conveyed in an irregular instrument from the viceroy of Ireland to Sir Edward Plowden, as an earl palatine, (1636.) These were but grants, not settlements, yet significant of the growing pretensions of England to the soil of America.


The English settler a treasure seeker or Not that he shrank

No other nation of Europe, it need hardly be suggested, had made any settlements, individual, English associated, or national, at all comparable to those motives. of the English. Nor had there been any such definite purposes of settlement, separate from mere adventure, on the part of any other race. was emphatically a settler, rather than a conqueror, a missionary or a trader. from other enterprises, but that his main motive was to gain a home, and an abiding one, in the western world. Acting in harmony with this were the desire to escape from oppression or from want, the yearning after a new faith or a new life, the various impulses that have appeared, it is

hoped, in the preceding pages. That there were baser instincts tending to the same end has also appeared.


The institutions of the English were favorable to their purposes as settlers. The subjects of a limited monarchy, they brought with them the habits and the laws of comparative freemen. That they might have been freer in their political principles, needs not to be suggested anew. But in their varying charters, in their varying magistrates and tribunals, even in the least liberal, the English colonists possessed privileges to which neither the Frenchman nor the Spaniard in their neighborhood had ever actually aspired.


Of an equally encouraging description were the circumstances of the English. The seaboard was theirs, all at least that they could immediately occupy. The portion which they possessed was partly in the north and partly in the south, provided, therefore, with the resources of both regions, at the same time that it was not exposed either to the indulgence of the extreme south or to the privation of the extreme north. Within opened an interior region rich in its streams, its fields, its forests, its mountains; without lay the broad sea, accessible at a hundred harbors. Whatever mere position could effect was promised to the English settlers.

English As yet they had but begun the work before names. them. Their humble towns on the coast, their humbler villages and hamlets in the country, gave small token of their destinies. But the names of their territories were full of strength and of grandeur. There was New Albion on the Pacific, New Albion on the Atlantic. There was the land of Queen Elizabeth Virginia; there was the land of the nation

New England.




Group of A LATER group of settlers comes forward. It is composed not so much of settlers, however, as of traders, who, to carry out their commercial operations, lay the foundations of a state, and give it the name of their nation.

Spirit in

The spirit of the preceding half century in HolHolland. land had been that of a people rescuing themselves from a foreign dominion and building up a power of their own. Europe has nothing so brilliant upon its records at the time as the war of independence which the Netherlands waged, and waged successfully, against Spain. It might have been argued that such a nation would have surpassed all others in America.



But it was not so. The Dutch came late upon in Ameri- the scene. They came, moreover, not with the spirit or the law of their nation so much as with those of the commercial companies by which they were sent out or controlled. The story of their settlements is therefore an anomaly in the history of American colonization. The fire of the mother-land languishes in the colony. It is because the colony is not a national, but a corporate settlement, from its beginning to its end.


The very year in which Holland became indevoyage. pendent, (1609,) Henry Hudson, an Englishman in Dutch employ, sailed in search of a northern passage to

« AnteriorContinuar »