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The History of the United States from 1492 to 1910, Volume 1 by Julian Hawthorne

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of loyalty existed in the colonies, which sentimentally and sometimes
practically injured the logic of their attitude. They acknowledged the
English king to be theirs; they addressed him in deferential and
submissive terms; they wished, in some sense, to keep hold of their
mother's hand, and yet they protested against the maternal prerogative.
Their status was anomalous; and it is easy to say that they should have
declared their purpose, from the first, to be an independent nation in the
full sense of the world. But the logical and the natural are often at
variance. Liberty is not necessarily attainable only through political
independence. The colonists, if they wished to be another England in
miniature, had not contemplated becoming a people foreign to England, in
the sense that France or Spain was. They loved the English flag, in spite
of the cross which Endicott disowned; they were proud of the English
history which was also theirs. Why should they sever themselves from
these? It was not until English injustice and selfishness, long endured,
became at last unendurable, that the resolve to live truly independent, or
to die, fired the muskets of Lexington and Concord.

The most galling of the measures which weighed upon New England was that
called the Navigation Acts. These were passed in the interests of the
English trading class, and by their influence. In their original form, in
1661, they had involved no serious injury to the colonies, and had,
moreover, been so slackly enforced that they were almost a dead letter.
But after Charles II. came to the throne, they assumed a more virulent
aspect. They forbade the importation into the colonies of any merchandise,
except in English bottoms, captained by Englishmen, thus excluding from
American ports every cargo not owned by British merchants. On the other
hand, they decreed that no American produce should find its way into other
than English hands, except such things as the English did not want, or
could buy to better advantage elsewhere; and even these could be disposed
of at no ports nearer England than the Mediterranean. Next, by an
extension of the Acts, the inhabitants of one colony were forbidden to
deal with those of another except on payment of duties intended to be
prohibitory. And finally, the colonists were enjoined not to manufacture
even for their private consumption, much less for export, any goods which
English manufacturers produced. They could do nothing but grow crops, and
the only reason that anything whatever was permitted to go from the
colonies to foreign ports, was in order that the former might thus get
money with which to pay for the forced importations from England. The
result of such a policy was, of course, that money was put into the
pockets of English shopkeepers, but all other Englishmen gained nothing,
and the colonists lost the amount of the shopkeepers' profit, as well as
the incidental and incalculable advantages of free enterprise.

[Illustration: A Quaker in the Stocks]

These laws pressed most severely on Massachusetts, because her shipping
exceeded that of all the other colonies, and the smuggling which their
geographical peculiarities made easy to them was impossible for her.
Besides, manufacturing was never followed by the southern colonies, and
their chief products, tobacco and cotton, not being grown elsewhere, could
be sold at almost as good a profit in England as anywhere else.

But if Massachusetts was the chief object of these oppressive measures,
she was also more inflexible than the other colonies in insisting upon her
rights. The motto of the Rattlesnake flag carried at the beginning of the
Revolution--"Don't tread on Me"--expressed the temper of her people from
an early period in her history. We shall shortly see how resolutely and
courageously she fought her battle against hopeless odds. Meanwhile, we
may inquire how and why the other colonies of the New England
confederation fared better at the hands of the mother country.

One of the most agreeable figures in our colonial history is the son of
that John Winthrop who brought the first colonists to Massachusetts Bay,
on June 22, 1630. He had been born at Groton, in England, in 1606, and was
therefore fifty-six years old when he returned to that country as agent
for Connecticut, and obtained its charter from Charles. He had been
educated at Dublin, and before emigrating to the colonies had been a
soldier in the French wars, and had traveled, on the Continent. After
landing at Boston, he had helped his father in his duties, and had then
founded the town of Ipswich in Massachusetts. None was more ardent than he
in the work of preparing a home for the exiles in the wilderness; he added
his own fortune to that of his father, and thought no effort too great. In
him the elements were so kindly mixed that his heart was as warm and his
mind as liberal as his energy was tireless; it was as if a Roger Williams
had been mingled with an elder Winthrop; enthusiasm and charity were
tempered with judgment and discretion. The love of creating means of
happiness for others was his ruling motive, and he was gifted with the
ability to carry it out; he felt that New England was his true home,
because there he had fullest opportunity for his self-appointed work. It
is almost an effort for men of this age to conceive of a nature so pure as
this, and a character so blameless; we search the records for some
weakness or deformity. But all witnesses testify of him with one voice;
and it may be borne in mind that the spirit of Puritanism at that epoch
was mighty in the individual as in the community, purging the soul of many
self-indulgent vices which the laxity and skepticism of our time
encourage; and when, in addition, there is a nation to be made on
principles so lofty as those which Puritanism contemplated, one can
imagine that there would be little space for the development of the lower
instincts, or the unworthier ambitions. When all is said, however,
Winthrop the Younger still remains a surprising and rare type; and it is
an added pleasure to know that in all that he undertook he was successful
(he never undertook anything for himself), and that he was most happy in a
loving wife and in his children. It was a rounded life, such as a romancer
hardly dares to draw; yet there may be many not less lovely, only less
conspicuously placed.

When there was need for a man to go to England and plead before the king
for Connecticut--of which, for fourteen consecutive years thereafter, he
was annually elected governor--who but Winthrop could be selected? He went
with all the prayers of the colony for his good fortune; and it was of
good omen that he met there, in the council for the colonies appointed by
the king, Edward Hyde, first Earl of Clarendon and Lord Chancellor, then
in the prime of his career, and two years younger than Winthrop; and
William Fiennes, Viscount Saye and Sele, who was in the eightieth and
final year of his useful and honorable career, and who, in 1632, had
obtained a patent for land on the Connecticut river. Through his influence
the interest of the Lord Chamberlain was secured, and Clarendon himself
was cordial for the charter. With such support, the way was easy, and the
document was executed in April of 1662. It gave the colonists all the
powers of an independent government. There was no reservation whatever;
their acts were not subject even to royal inspection. Nevertheless,
Charles, by effecting the amalgamation of New Haven with Hartford, not
altogether with the consent of the former, arbitrarily set aside the
provision of the federation compact which forbade union between any of its
members except with the consent of all; and thereby he asserted his
jurisdiction (if he chose to exercise it) over all the colonies. He could
give gracious gifts, but on the understanding that they were of grace, not
obligation. In the oppression of Massachusetts, this served as an
unfortunate precedent.

Nor must it be forgotten that the happiness of Connecticut was in part
due to the fact that, as a matter of high policy, it was desired to
conciliate her at Massachusetts's expense. Massachusetts was much the
strongest of the colonies; her tendency to disaffection was known in
England; and it seemed expedient to place her in a position isolated from
her sisters. Were all of them equally wronged, their union against the
oppressor was inevitable. Connecticut and Rhode Island could be of small
present value to England from the commercial standpoint, and their
heartfelt loyalty seemed cheaply purchased by suffering that value to
accumulate. Charles could be lavish and reckless, and he was
constitutionally "good-humored"--that is, he liked to have things go
smoothly, and if anybody suffered, wished the fact to be kept out of his
sight. But he was incapable of generosity, in the sense of voluntarily
sacrificing any selfish interest for a noble end; and if he patted
Connecticut on the back, it was only in order that she might view with
toleration his highway robbery of her sister.

All this, however, need not dash our satisfaction at the advantages which
Connecticut enjoyed, and the good they did her. The climate and physical
nature of the country required an active and wholesome life in the
inhabitants, while yet the conditions were not so severe as to discourage
them. They were of a rustic, hardy, industrious temper, of virtuous and
godly life, and animated by the consciousness of being well treated. They
lived and labored on their farms, and there were not so many of them that
the farms crowded upon one another, though the population increased
rapidly. Each of them delighted in the cultivation of his private
"conscience"; and, in the absence of wars and oppressions, they argued one
with another on points of theology, fate, freewill, foreknowledge
absolute. They were far from indifferent to learning, but they liked
nothing quite so well as manhood and integrity. The Connecticut Yankee
impressed his character on American history, and wherever in our country
there has been evidence of pluck, enterprise and native intelligence, it
has generally been found that a son of Connecticut was not far off. They
were not averse from journeying over the earth, and many of them had the
pioneer spirit, and left their place of birth to establish a miniature
Connecticut elsewhere; their descendants will be found as far west as
Oregon, and their whalers knew the paths of the Pacific as well as they
did the channels of Long Island Sound. Tolerant, sturdy, pious, shrewd,
prudent and brave, they formed the best known type of the characteristic
New Englander, as represented by the national figure of Uncle Sam. They
were sociable and inquisitive, yet they knew how to keep their own
counsel; and the latch-string hung out all over the colony, in testimony
at once of their honesty and their hospitality. Few things came to them
from the outer world, and few went out from them; they were industrially
as well as politically independent. They were economical in both their
private and their public habits; no money was to be made in politics,
partly because every one was from his youth up trained in political
procedure; every town was a republic in little. The town meeting was open
to all citizens, and each could have his say in it, and many an acute
suggestion and shrewd criticism came from humble lips. It is in such town
meetings that the legislators were trained who then, and ever since, have
become leading figures in the statesmanship of the country. In England, a
hereditary aristocracy were educated to govern the nation; in the
colonies, a nation was educated to govern itself. Our system was the
sounder and the safer of the two. But the professional politician was then
unthought of; he came as the result of several conditions incident to our
national development; he has perhaps already touched his apogee, and is
beginning to disappear. The nation has awakened to a realization that its
interests are not safe in his hands.

Calvinism prevailed in the colony, as in Massachusetts; but there were
many of the colonists who did not attend at the meeting-house on the
Sabbath, not because they were irreligious or vicious, but either because
they lived far from the rendezvous, or because they did not find it a
matter of private conscience with them to sit in a pew and listen to a
sermon. Moreover, it was the rule among Calvinists that no one could join
in the Communion service who had not "experienced religion"; and many
excellent persons might entertain conscientious doubts whether this
mysterious subjective phenomenon had taken place in them. Pending
enlightenment on that point, they would naturally prefer not to sit beside
their more favored brethren during the long period of prayer and
discourse, only to be obliged to walk out when the vital stage of the
proceedings was reached. But it was also the law that only children of
communicants should receive baptism; and since not to be baptized was in
the religious opinion of the day to court eternal destruction, it will
easily be understood that non-communicating parents were rendered very
uneasy. What could they do? One cannot get religion by an act of will; but
not to get it was to imperil not only their own spiritual welfare, but
that of their innocent offspring as well; they were damned to all
posterity. The matter came up before the general court of Connecticut, and
in 1657 a synod composed of ministers of that colony and of Massachusetts
--New Haven and Plymouth declining to participate--sat upon the question,
and softened the hard fate of the petitioners so far as to permit the
baptism of the children of unbaptized persons who engaged to rear them in
the fear of the Lord. This "half-way covenant," as it came to be termed,
did not suit the scruples of Calvinists of the stricter sort; but it gave
comfort to a great many deserving folk, and probably did harm to no human
soul, here or hereafter.

Short are the annals of a happy people; until the Revolutionary days
began, there is little to tell of Connecticut. The collegiate school which
half a generation later grew into the college taking its name from its
chief benefactor, Elihu Yale, had its early days in the village at the
mouth of the Connecticut river, named, after Lord Saye and Sele, Saybrook.
The institution of learning called after the pious and erudite son of the
English butcher of Southwark, founded on the banks of the river Charles
near Boston, had come into existence more than sixty years before; but
Yale followed less than forty years after the granting of the Connecticut
charter. New England people never lost any time about securing the means
of education.

The boundaries of Rhode Island were the occasion of some trouble; though
one might have supposed that since the area which they inclosed was so
small, no one would have been at the pains to dispute them. But in the
end, Roger Williams obtained the little he had asked for in this regard,
while as to liberties, his charter made his community at least as well off
as was Connecticut. Their aspiration to be allowed to prove that the best
civil results may be coincident with complete religious freedom, was
realized. Charles gave them everything; liberty for a people who thought
more of God than of their breakfasts, and whose habitation was too small
for its representation on the map to be seen without a magnifying glass,
could not be a dangerous gift. The charter was delivered in 1663 to John
Clarke, agent in England for the colony, and was taken to Rhode Island by
the admirable Baxter in November of that year. All the two thousand or
more inhabitants of the colony met together to receive the precious gift;
Baxter, placed on high, read it out to them with his best voice and
delivery, and then held it up so that all might behold the handsomely
engrossed parchment, and the sacred seal of his dread majesty King
Charles. What a picture of democratic and childlike simplicity! With how
devout and earnest an exultation did the people murmur their thanks and
applause! The crowd in their conical hats and dark cloaks, the chill
November sky, the gray ripples of Narragansett Bay, the background of
forest trees, of which only the oaks and walnuts still retained the red
and yellow remnants of their autumn splendor; the quaint little ship at
anchor, with its bearded crew agape along the rail; and Baxter the center
of all eyes, holding up the charter with a sort of holy enthusiasm! Such a
scene could be but once; and time has brought about his revenges. With
what demeanor would the throng at the fashionable watering place greet a
messenger from the English sovereign to-day! John Clarke, the Bedfordshire
doctor, to whose fidelity and persistent care the colony owed much, fully
participated in the contagion of goodness which marked the New England
emigrants of the period. He served his fellow colonists all his life, and
at his death left them all he had; and it seems strange that he should
have been one of the founders of aristocratic Newport, and its earliest
pastor. But it is not the only instance of the unexpected use to which we
sometimes put the bequests of our ancestors.

The early vicissitudes of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are hardly of
importance enough to warrant a detailed examination. Vermont was not
settled till well into the Eighteenth Century. Maine had been fingered by
the French, and used as a base of operations by fishermen, long before its
connection with Massachusetts; the persistency of Gorges complicated its
position for more than forty years. After his death, and in the
irresponsiveness of his heirs, the few inhabitants of the region were
constrained to shift for themselves; in 1652 the jurisdiction was found to
extend three miles north of the source of the Merrimack, and Massachusetts
offering its protection in enabling a government to be formed, and acting
upon the priority of its grant, annexed the whole specified region. But
more than twenty years afterward, in 1677, the English committee of the
privy council examined the charter, and found that Massachusetts had no
jurisdiction over Maine and New Hampshire (the separate existence of which
last had scarcely been defined). The direct object of this decision of the
committee was to provide the bastard son of Charles, Monmouth, with a
kingdom of his own; no one knew anything about the resources or
possibilities of the domain, and, omne ignotum pro magnifico, it was
surmised that it would yield abundant revenues. But Massachusetts did not
want the Duke for a neighbor; and while Charles was considering terms of
purchase, she bought up the Gorges claim for some twelve hundred pounds.
The Maine of that epoch was not, of course, the same as that of to-day;
the French claimed down to the Kennebec, and the Duke of York, not content
with New York, asserted his ownership from the Kennebec to the Penobscot;
so that for Massachusetts was left only what intervened between the
Kennebec and the Piscataqua. Being proprietor of this, she made it a
province with a governor and council whom she appointed, and a legislature
derived from the people; the province not relishing its subordination, but
being forced to submit. Two years later, in 1679, New Hampshire was cut
off from Massachusetts and made the first royal province of New England.
The people of the province were ill-disposed to surrender any of the
liberties which they saw their neighbors in the enjoyment of; and
disregarding the feelings of the king's appointee, its representatives
declared that only laws made by the assembly and approved by the people
should be valid. Robert Mason, who had a patent to part of the region,
finding himself opposed by the colonists, got permission from England to
appoint an adventurer, Edward Cranfield, governor; Cranfield went forth
with hopes of much plunder; but they would not admit his legitimacy, and
he took the unprecedented step of dissolving the assembly; the farmers
revolted, and their ringleader, Gove, was condemned for treason, and spent
four years in the Tower of London. It was another attempt to convince the
spirit of liberty by "the worst argument in the world"; but it was
ridiculous as well as bad in Gove's case; he was but a hard-fisted
uneducated countryman, whose belief that the patch of land he had cleared
and planted among the New England mountains was his, and not another's,
was not to be dissipated by dungeons. The disputed land-titles got into
the law courts, where judges and juries were fixed; but no matter which
way the decisions went, the people kept their own. Cranfield sent an
alarmist report of affairs to London, declaring that "factions" would
bring about a separation of the colony unless a frigate were sent to
Boston to enforce loyalty. Nothing was done. Cranfield tried to raise
money through the assembly by a tale about an invasion, which existed
nowhere save in his own imagination; the assembly refused to be stampeded.
The clergy were against him, and he attempted to overcome them by
restrictive orders; but they defied him; he imprisoned one of them, Moody;
and succeeded in disturbing church service; but the people would rather
not go to meeting than obey Cranfield. His last effort was to try to levy
taxes under pretense of an Indian war; but the people thwacked the tax
collectors with staves, and the women threatened them with hot water. A
call for troops to quell the disturbances was utterly disregarded. How was
a governor to govern people who refused to be governed?

Cranfield gave it up. He had been struggling three years, and had
accomplished nothing. He wrote home that he "should esteem it the greatest
happiness to be allowed to remove from these unreasonable people"; and
this happiness was accorded to him; it was the only happiness which his
appointment had afforded. New Hampshire was in bad odor with the English
government; but the farmers could endure that with equanimity. They had
demonstrated that the granite of their mountains had somehow got into
their own composition; and they were let alone for the present, the rather
since Massachusetts was enough to occupy the king's council at that time.

The fight between Massachusetts and Charles began with the latter's
accession in 1660, and continued till his death, when it was continued by
James II. The charter of the colony was adjudged to be forfeited in 1684,
twenty-four years after the struggle opened. While it was at its height,
the Indian war broke out to which the name of the Pokanoket chief, King
Philip, has been attached. Thus both the diplomacy and the arms of the
colony were tested to the utmost, at one and the same time; the American
soldiers were victorious, though at a serious cost of life and treasure;
the diplomatists were defeated; but Massachusetts had learned her strength
in both directions, and suffered less, in the end, by her defeat than by
her victory. The issue between England and her colony had become clearly
defined; the people learned by practice what they already knew in theory
--the hatefulness of despotism; and their resolve to throw it off when the
opportunity should arrive was not discouraged, but confirmed. From the
Indian war they gained less than a wise peace would have given them, and
they lost women and children as well as men. Such conflicts, once begun,
must be pushed to the extremity; but it cannot but be wished that the
people of Massachusetts might have found a means of living with the red
men, as their brethren in Pennsylvania did, in peace and amity. The
conduct of Indians in war can never be approved by the white race, but, on
the other hand, the provocations which set them on the warpath always can
be traced to some act of injustice, real or fancied, wanton or accidental,
on our part. King Philip was fighting for precisely the same object that
was actuating the colonists in their battle with King Charles. Doubtless
the rights of a few thousand savages are insignificant compared with the
higher principles of human liberty for which we contended; but Philip
could not be expected to acknowledge this, and we should extend to him
precisely the same sympathy that we feel for ourselves.

A great deal of pains had been taken to convert and civilize these New
England tribes. John Eliot translated the Bible for them; and it was he
who made the first attempt to determine the grammar of their speech. But
though many Indians professed the Christian faith, and some evinced a
certain aptitude in letters, no new life was awakened in any of them, and
no permanent good results were attained. Meanwhile, the Pokanokets, with
Philip at their head, refused to accept the white man's God, or his
learning; and they watched with anxiety his growing numbers and power.
They had sold mile after mile of land to the English, not realizing that
the aggregate of these transactions was literally taking the ground from
under their feet; but the purchasers had the future as well as the present
in view, and contrived so to distribute their holdings as gradually to
push the Indians into the necks of land whence the only outlet was the
sea. It was the old story of encroachment, with always a deed to justify
it, signed with the mark of the savage, good in law, but to his mind a
device to ensnare him to his hurt. In 1674, Philip was compelled to appear
before a court and be examined, whereat his indignation was aroused, and,
either with or without his privity, the informer who had procured his
arrest was murdered. The murderers were apprehended and sentenced to be
hanged by a jury, half white and half Indian. The tribe retaliated and war
was begun.

Philip, or Metaconet the son of Massasoit, may at this time have been
about forty years old; he had been "King" for twelve years. The portraits
of him show a face and head that one can hardly accept as veracious; an
enormous forehead impending over a small face, with an almost delicate
mouth. But he was obviously a man of ability, and his courage was hardened
by desperation. His aim was to unite all the tribes in an effort to
exterminate the entire English population, though this has been estimated
to number in New England, at that time, more than fifty thousand persons.
The odds were all upon the colonists' side; but they had not yet learned
the Indian method of warfare, and the woods, hills and swamps, and the
unprotected state of many of the settlements, gave the Indians
opportunities to prolong the struggle which they amply improved. Had they
been united, and adequately armed, the issue might have been different.

Captain Benjamin Church, a hardy pioneer of six and thirty, who had
watched the ways of the Indians, and learned their strategy, soon became
prominent in the war, and ended as its most conspicuous and triumphant
figure. At first the colonists were successful, and Philip was driven off;
but this did but enable him to spread the outbreak among other tribes.
From July of 1675 till August of the next year, the life of no one on the
borders was safe. The settlers went to the meeting-house armed, and turned
out at the first alarm. They were killed at their plowing; they were
ambuscaded and cut off, tortured, slain, and their dissevered bodies hung
upon the trees. At the brook thereafter called Bloody Run, near Deerfield,
over seventy young men were surprised and killed. Women and children were
not spared; it was hardly sparing them to carry them into captivity, as
was often done. The villages which were attacked were set on fire after
the tomahawking and scalping were done. Horrible struggles would take
place in the confined rooms of the little cabins; blood and mangled
corpses desecrated the familiar hearths, and throughout sounded the wild
yell of the savages, and the flames crackled and licked through the
crevices of the logs.

In December, Church commanded, or accompanied, the little army which
plowed through night and snow to attack the palisaded fort and village,
strongly situated on an island of high ground in the midst of a swamp, in
the township of New Kingston. The Narragansetts were surprised; the
soldiers burst their way through the palisades, and the red and the white
men met hand to hand in a desperate conflict. Then the tomahawk measured
itself against the sword, and before it faltered more than two hundred of
the New Englanders had been killed or wounded, and the village was on
fire. The pools of blood which the frost had congealed, bubbled in the
heat of the flames. None could escape; infants, old women, all must die.
It was as ghastly a fight as was ever fought. The victors remained in the
charred shambles till evening, resting and caring for their wounded; and
then, as the snow began to fall, went back to Wickford, carrying the
wounded with them. It is said that a thousand Indian warriors fell on that

At Hadfield had occurred the striking episode of the congregation,
surprised at their little church, and about to be overcome, being rescued
by a mysterious gray champion, who appeared none knew whence, rallied
them, and led them to victory. It was believed to be Goffe, one of the men
who sentenced Charles I. to be beheaded, who had escaped to New England at
the time of the Restoration, and had dwelt in retirement there till the
peril of his fellow exiles called him forth. The war was full of harrowing
scenes and strange deliverances. Annie Brackett, a prisoner in an Indian
party, crossed Casco Bay in a birch-bark canoe with her husband and infant
and was rescued by a vessel which happened to enter the harbor at the
critical moment.

Church hunted the Indians with more than their own cunning and
persistency; and at last it was he who led the party which effected
Philip's death. The royal Indian was hemmed in in a swamp and finally
killed by a traitor from his own side. The savages could fight no more;
they had caused the death of six hundred men, had burned a dozen towns,
and compelled the expenditure of half a million dollars. Scattered alarms
and tragedies still occurred in the East, and along the borders; but the
war was over. In 1678 peace was signed. And then Massachusetts turned once
more to her deadlier enemy, King Charles.



The cutting off of Charles I.'s head was a deed which few persons in
Massachusetts would have advocated; Cromwell himself had remarked that it
was a choice between the king's head and his own. History has upon the
whole accepted the choice he made as salutary. Achilles, forgetting his
heel, deemed himself invulnerable, and his conduct became in consequence
intolerable; Charles, convinced that his anointed royalty was sacred, was
led on to commit such fantastic tricks before high heaven as made the
godly weep. Achilles was disillusioned by the arrow of Paris, and Charles
by the ax of Cromwell. Death is a wholesome argument at times.

But though a later age could recognize the high expediency of Charles's
taking off, it was too bold and novel to meet with general approbation at
the time, even from men who hated kingly rule. Prejudice has a longer root
than it itself believes. And the Puritans of New England, having been
removed from the immediate pressure of the king's eccentricities, were the
less likely to exult over his end. Many of them were shocked at it; more
regretted it; perhaps the majority accepted it with a sober equanimity.
They were not bloodthirsty, but they were stern.

Neither were they demonstrative; so that they took the Parliament and the
Protector calmly, if cordially, and did not use the opportunity of their
predominance to cast gibes upon their predecessor. So that, when the
Restoration was an established fact, they had little to retract. They
addressed Charles II. gravely, as one who by experience knew the hearts of
exiles, and told him that, as true men, they feared God and the king. They
entreated him to consider their sacrifices and worthy purposes, and to
confirm them in the enjoyment of their liberties. Of the execution, and of
the ensuing "confusions," they prudently forbore to speak. It was better
to say nothing than either to offend their consciences, or to utter what
Charles would dislike to hear. Their case, as they well knew, was critical
enough at best. Every foe of New England and of liberty would not fail to
whisper malice in the king's ear. They sent over an envoy to make the best
terms he could, and in particular to ask for the suspension of the
Navigation Acts. But the committee had small faith in the loyalty of the
colony, and even believed, or professed to do so, that it might invite the
aid of Catholic and barbarous Spain against its own blood: they judged of
others' profligacy by their own. The king, to gain time, sent over a
polite message, which meant nothing, or rather less; for the next news was
that the Acts were to be enforced.

Massachusetts thereupon proceeded to define her position. A committee
composed of her ablest men caused a paper to be published by the general
court affirming their right to do certain things which England, they knew,
would be indisposed to permit. In brief, they claimed religious and civil
independence, the latter in all but name, and left the king to be a
figurehead without perquisites or power. They followed this intrepid
statement by solemnly proclaiming Charles in Boston, and threw a sop to
Cerberus in the shape of a letter couched in conciliating terms, feigning
to believe that their attitude would win his approbation. Altogether, it
was a thrust under the fifth rib, with a bow and a smile on the recover.
Probably the thrust represented the will of the majority; the bow and
smile, the prudence of the timid sort. Simon Bradstreet and John Norton
were dispatched to London to receive the king's answer. They went in
January of 1662, and after waiting through the spring and summer, not
without courteous treatment, returned in the fall with Charles's reply,
which, after confirming the charter and pardoning political infidelities
under the Protectorate, went on to refuse all the special points which the
colony had urged.

Already at this stage of the contest it had become evident that the
question was less of conforming with any particular demand or command on
the king's part, than of admitting his right to exercise his will at all
in the premises. If the colony conceded his sovereignty, they could not
afterward draw the line at which its power was to cease. And yet they
could not venture to declare absolute independence, partly because, if it
came to a struggle in arms, they could not hope to prevail; and partly
because absolute independence was less desired than autonomy under the
English flag. England was as far from granting autonomy to Massachusetts
as independence, but was willing, if possible, to constrain her by fair
means rather than by foul. Meanwhile, the tongue of rumor fomented
discord. It was said in the colony that England designed the establishment
of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts; whereupon the laws against
toleration of "heretics," which had been falling into disuse, were
stringently revived. In London the story went that the escaped regicides
had united the four chief colonies and were about to lead them in arms to
revolt. Clarendon, to relieve anxiety, sent a reassuring message to
Boston; but its good effect was spoiled by a report that commissioners
were coming to regulate their affairs. The patent of the colony was placed
in hiding, the trained bands were drilled, the defenses of the harbor were
looked to, and a fast day was named with the double purpose of asking the
favor of God, and of informing the colony as to what was in the wind.
Assuredly there must have been stout souls in Boston in those days. A few
thousand exiles were actually preparing to resist England!

The warning had not been groundless. The fleet which had been fitted out
to drive the Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant, from Manhattan, stopped at
Boston on its way; and we may imagine that its entrance into the harbor on
that July day was observed with keen interest by the great-grandfathers of
the men of Bunker Hill. It was not exactly known what the instructions of
the English officers required; but it was surmised that they meant
tyranny. The commission could not have come for nothing. They had no right
on New England soil. The fleet, for the present, proceeded on its way, and
Massachusetts voluntarily contributed a force of two hundred men; but they
were well aware that the trouble was only postponed; and depending on
their charter, which contained no provision for a royal commission, they
were determined to thwart its proceedings to the utmost of their power.
How far that might be, they would know when the time came. Anything was
better than surrender to the prerogative. When, in reply to Willoughby, a
royalist declared that prerogative is as necessary as the law, Major
William Hawthorne, who was afterward to distinguish himself against the
Indians, answered him, "Prerogative is not above law!" It was not, indeed.

Accordingly, while the fleet with its commissioners was overawing the New
Netherlanders, the Puritans of Boston Bay wrote and put forth a document
which well deserves reproduction, both for the terse dignity of the style,
which often recalls the compositions of Lord Verulam, and still more for
the courageous, courteous, and yet almost aggressive logic with which the
life principles of the Massachusetts colonists are laid down. It is a
remarkable State paper, and so vividly sincere that, as one reads, one can
see the traditional Puritan standing out from the words--the steeple
crowned hat, the severe brow, the steady eyes, the pointed beard, the dark
cloak and sad-hued garments. The paper is also singular in that it
remonstrates against a principle, without waiting for the provocation of
overt deeds. This excited the astonishment of Clarendon and others in
England; but their perplexity only showed that the men they criticised saw
further and straighter than they did. It was for principles, and against
them, that the Puritans always fought, since principles are the parents of
all acts and control them. The royal commission was, potentially, the sum
of all the wrongs from which New England suffered during the next hundred
years, and though it had as yet done nothing, it implied everything.

Whose hand it was that penned the document we know not; it was probably
the expression of the combined views of such men as Mather, Norton,
Hawthorne, Endicott and Bellingham; it may have been revised by Davenport,
at that time nearly threescore and ten years of age, the type of the
Calvinist minister of the period, austere, inflexible, high-minded,
faithful. Be that as it may, it certainly voiced the feeling of the
people, as the sequel demonstrated. It is dated October the Twenty-fifth,
1664, and is addressed to the king.

"DREAD SOVEREIGN:--The first undertakers of this Plantation did obtain a
Patent, wherein is granted full and absolute power of governing all the
people of this place, by men chosen from among themselves, and according
to such laws as they should see meet to establish. A royal donation, under
the Great Seal, is the greatest security that may be had in human affairs.
Under the encouragement and security of the Royal Charter this People did,
at their own charges, transport themselves, their wives and families, over
the ocean, purchase the land of the Natives, and plant this Colony, with
great labor, hazards, cost, and difficulties; for a long time wrestling
with the wants of a Wilderness and the burdens of a new Plantation; having
now also above thirty years enjoyed the privilege of Government within
themselves, as their undoubted right in the sight of God and Man. To be
governed by rulers of our own choosing and laws of our own, is the
fundamental privilege of our Patent.

"A Commission under the Great Seal, wherein four persons (one of them our
professed Enemy) are impowered to receive and determine all complaints and
appeals according to their discretion, subjects us to the arbitrary power
of Strangers, and will end in the subversion of us all.

"If these things go on, your Subjects will either be forced to seek new
dwellings, or sink under intolerable burdens. The vigor of all new
Endeavours will be enfeebled; the King himself will be a loser of the
wonted benefit by customs, exported and imported from hence to England,
and this hopeful Plantation will in the issue be ruined.

"If the aim should be to gratify some particular Gentlemen by Livings and
Revenues here, that will also fail, for the poverty of the People. If all
the charges of the whole Government by the year were put together, and
then doubled or trebled, it would not be counted for one of these
Gentlemen a considerable Accommodation. To a coalition in this course the
People will never come; and it will be hard to find another people that
will stand under any considerable burden in this Country, seeing it is not
a country where men can subsist without hard labor and great frugality.

"God knows our greatest Ambition is to live a quiet Life, in a corner of
the World. We came not into this Wilderness to seek great things to
ourselves; and if any come after us to seek them here, they will be
disappointed. We keep ourselves within our Line; a just dependence upon,
and subjection to, your Majesty, according to our Charter, it is far from
our Hearts to disacknowledge. We would gladly do anything in our power to
purchase the continuance of your favorable Aspect. But it is a great
Unhappiness to have no testimony of our loyalty offered but this, to yield
up our Liberties, which are far dearer to us than our Lives, and which we
have willingly ventured our Lives and passed through many Deaths, to

"It was Job's excellency, when he sat as King among his People, that he
was a Father to the Poor. A poor People, destitute of outward Favor,
Wealth, and Power, now cry unto their lord the King. May your Majesty
regard their Cause, and maintain their Right; it will stand among the
marks of lasting Honor to after Generations."

Throughout these sentences sounds the masculine earnestness of men who
see that for which they have striven valiantly and holily in danger of
being treacherously ravished from them, and who are resolute to withstand
the ravisher to the last. It is no wonder that documents of this tone and
caliber amazed and alarmed the council in London, and made them ask one
another what manner of men these might be. It would have been well for
England had they given more attentive ear to their misgivings; but their
hearts, like Pharaoh's, were hardened, and they would not let the people
go--until the time was ripe, and the people went, and carried the spoils
with them.

The secret purpose of the commission was to pave the way for the gradual
subjection of the colony, and to begin by inducing them to let the
governor become a royal nominee, and to put the militia under the king's
orders. Of the four commissioners, Nicolls remained in New York, as we
have seen; the three others landed in Boston early in 1665. Their first
order was that every male inhabitant of Boston should assemble and listen
to the reading of the message from King Charles. These three gentlemen
--Maverick, Carr and Cartwright--were courtiers and men of fashion and
blood, and were accustomed to regard the king's wish as law, no matter
what might be on the other side; but it was now just thirty years since
the Puritans left England; they had endured much during that time, and had
tasted how sweet liberty was; and half of them were young Americans, born
on the soil, who knew what kings were by report only. Young and old,
speaking through the assembly, which was in complete accord with them,
informed the commissioners that they would not comply with their demand.
What were the commissioners, that they should venture to call a public
meeting in the town of a free people? The free people went about their
affairs, and left the three gentlemen from the Court to stare in one
another's scandalized faces.

They were the more scandalized, because their reception in Connecticut
and Rhode Island had been different. But different, also, had been the
errand on which they went there. Those two colonies were the king's pets,
and were to have liberty and all else they wanted; Connecticut they had
protected from the rapacity of Lord Hamilton, and Rhode Island had never
been other than loving and loyal to the king. They had, to be sure, been
politely bowed out by little Plymouth, the yeomen Independents, who still
preferred, if his majesty pleased, to conduct their own household affairs
in their own way. But to be positively and explicitly rebuffed to their
faces, yet glowing with the sunshine of the royal favor, was a new
experience; and Cartwright, when he caught his breath, exclaimed, "He that
will not attend to the request is a traitor!"

The Massachusetts assembly declined to accept the characterization. Since
the king's own patent expressly relieved them from his jurisdiction, it
was impossible that their refusal to meet three of his gentlemen-in-
waiting could rightly be construed as treason. The commissioners finally
wanted to know, yes or no, whether the colonists meant to question the
validity of the royal commission? But the assembly would not thus be
dislodged from the coign of vantage; they stuck to their patent, and
pointed out that nothing was therein said about a commission? So far as
they were concerned, the commission, as a commission, could have no
existence. They recognized nothing but three somewhat arrogant persons,
in huge wigs, long embroidered waistcoats under their velvet coats, and
plumes waving from their hats. They presented a glittering and haughty
aspect, to be sure, but they had no rights in Boston.

At length, on the twenty-third of May, matters came to a crisis. The
commissioners had given out that on that day they were going to hold a
court to try a case in which the colony was to defend an action against a
plaintiff. This, of course, would serve to indicate that the commissioners
had power--whether the assembly conceded it or not--to control the
internal economy of the settlement. Betimes in this morning, the rather
that it was a very pleasant one--the trees on the Common being dressed in
their first green leaves since last year, while a pleasant westerly breeze
sent the white clouds drifting seaward over the blue sky--a great crowd
began to make its way toward the court house, whose portals frowned upon
the narrow street, as if the stern spirit of justice that presided within
had cast a shadow beneath them. The doors were closed, and the massive
lock which secured them gleamed in the single ray of spring sunshine that
slanted along the facade of the edifice.

It was a somber looking throng, as was ever the case in Puritan Boston,
where the hats, cloaks and doublets of the people were made of dark,
coarse materials, not designed to flatter the lust of the eye. The visages
suited the garments, wearing a sedate or severe expression, whether the
cast of the features above the broad white collars were broad and ruddy,
or pale and hollow-cheeked. There was a touch of the fanatic in many of
these countenances, as of men to whom God was a living presence in all
their affairs and thoughts, who feared His displeasure more than the
king's, who believed that they were His chosen ones, and who knew that His
arm was mighty to defend. They were of kin to the men who stood so
stubbornly and smote so sore at Marston Moor and Naseby, and afterward had
not feared to drag the father of the present Charles to the block. Fiber
more unbending than theirs was never wrought into the substance of our
human nature; and oppression seemed but to harden it.

They conversed one with another in subdued tones, among which sounded
occasionally the lighter accents of women's voices; but they were not a
voluble race, and the forms of their speech still followed in great
measure the semi-scriptural idioms which had been so prevalent among
Cromwell's soldiers years before. They were undemonstrative; but this
very immobility conveyed an impression of power in reserve which was more
effective than noisy vehemence.

At length, from the extremity of the street, was heard the tramp of
horses' hoofs, and the commissioners, bravely attired, with cavalier
boots, and swords dangling at their sides, were seen riding forward,
followed by a little knot of officers. The crowd parted before them as
they came, not sullenly, perhaps, but certainly with no alacrity or
suppleness of deference. There was no love lost on either side; but
Cartwright, who wore the most arrogant front of the three, really feared
the Puritans more than either of his colleagues; and when, seven years
afterward, he was called before his majesty's council to tell what manner
of men they were, his account of them was so formidable that the council
gave up the consideration of the menacing message they had been about to
send, and instead agreed upon a letter of amnesty, as likely to succeed
better with a people of so "peevish and touchy" a humor.

The cavalcade drew up before the door, and the officials, dismounting,
ascended the steps. Finding it locked, Cartwright lifted the hilt of his
sword and dealt a blow upon the massive panel.

"Who shuts the door against his majesty's commissioners?" cried he
angrily. "Where is the rascal with the keys, I say!"

"I marvel what his majesty's commissioners should seek in the house of
Justice," said a voice in the crowd; "since it is known that, when they go
in by one door, she must needs go out by the other."

At this sally, the crowd smiled grimly, and the commissioners frowned and
bit their lips. Just then there was a movement in the throng, and a tall,
dignified man with a white beard and an aspect of grave authority was seen
pressing his way toward the court house door.

"Here is the worshipful Governor Bellingham himself," said one man to his
neighbor. "Now shall we see the upshot of this matter."

"And God save Massachusetts!" added the other, devoutly.

[Illustration: An Incident of King Philip's War]

The chief magistrate of the colony advanced into the little open space at
the foot of the steps, and saluted the commissioners with formal courtesy.
"I am sorry ye should be disappointed, sirs," said he; "but I must tell
you that it is the decision of the worshipful council that ye do not pass
these doors, or order any business of the court, in this commonwealth.
Provision is made by our laws for the proper conduct of all matters of
justice within our borders, and it is not permitted that any stranger
should interfere therewith."

"Truly, Mr. Bellingham," said Maverick, resting one hand on his sword,
and settling his plumed hat on his wig with the other, "you take a high
tone; but the king is the king, here as in England, and we bear his
commission. Massachusetts can frame no laws to override his pleasure; and
so we mean to teach you. I call upon all persons here present, under
penalty of indictment for treason, to aid us, his majesty's commissioners,
to open this court, or to break it open." His voice rang out angrily over
the crowd, but no one stirred in answer.

"You forget yourself, sir," said the governor, composedly. "We here are
loyal to the king, and too much his friends to believe that he would wrong
himself by controverting the charter which bears the broad seal affixed by
his own royal father. Your claim doth abuse him more than our refusal. But
since you will not hear comfortable words, I must summon one who will
speak more bluntly."

He turned, and made a signal with his hand. "Let the herald stand forth,"
said he; and at the word, a broad-shouldered, deep-chested personage, with
a trumpet in one hand and a pike in the other, stepped into the circle and
stood in the military attitude of attention.

"Hast thou the proclamation there in thy doublet, Simon?" demanded his

"Aye, verily, that have I," answered Simon, in a voice like a fog horn,
"and in my head and my heart, too!"

"Send it forth, then, and God's blessing go with it!" rejoined the chief
magistrate, forcibly, but with something like a smile stirring under his

Upon this Simon the herald filled his vast lungs with a mighty volume of
New England air, set the long brazen trumpet to his lips, and blew such a
blast that the led horses of the commissioners started and threw up their
heads, and the windows of the court house shook with the strident
vibration. Then, taking the paper on which the proclamation was written,
and holding it up before him, he proceeded to bellow forth its contents in
such stentorian wise that the commissioners might have heard it, had they
been on Boston wharf preparing to embark for England, instead of being
within three or four paces. That proclamation, indeed, was heard over the
length and breadth of New England, and even across the Atlantic in the
gilded chamber of the king of Britain. "These fellows," muttered his
majesty, with a vexed air, "have the hardihood to affirm that we have no
jurisdiction over them. What shall be done. Clarendon?" "I have ever
thought well of them," the chancellor said, rubbing his brow; "they are a
sturdy race, and it were not well to wantonly provoke them; yet it is
amazing that they should show themselves so forward, without so much as
charging the commissioners with the least matter of crimes or
exorbitances." Clarendon, indeed, was too lenient to suit the royal party,
and this was one of the causes leading up to his impeachment a year or two

But the herald was not troubled, nor was his voice subdued, by thoughts
of either royalty or royal commissioners; though, as a matter of form, he
began with "In the name of King Charles," he coupled with it "by authority
of the Charter"; and went on to declare that the general court of
Massachusetts, in observance of their duty to God, to the king, and to
their constituents, could not suffer any one to abet his majesty's
honorable commissioners in their designs. There was no mistaking the
defiance, and neither the people nor the commissioners affected to do so.
The latter petulantly declared that "since you will misconceive our
endeavors, we shall not lose more of our labors upon you"; and they
departed to Maine, where they met with a less mortifying reception. The
people were much pleased, and made sport of the king's gentlemen, and at
their public meetings they were addressed in the same "seditious" vein by
magistrates and ministers. "The commission is but a trial of our courage:
the Lord will be with His people while they are with Him," said old Mr.
Davenport. Endicott, on the edge of the grave, was stanch as ever for the
popular liberties. Besides, "There hath been one revolution against the
king in England," it was remarked; "perchance there will be another ere
long; and this new war with the Netherlands may bring more changes than
some think for." On the other hand, resistance was stimulated by tales of
what the gold-laced freebooters of the court would do, if they were let
loose upon New England. Diplomacy, however, was combined with the bolder
counsels; there was hope in delays, and correspondence was carried on with
England to that end. Charles's expressed displeasure with their conduct
was met with such replies as "A just dependence upon and allegiance unto
your majesty, according to the charter, we have, and do profess and
practice, and have by our oaths of allegiance to your majesty confirmed;
but to be placed upon the sandy foundations of a blind obedience unto that
arbitrary, absolute, and unlimited power which these gentlemen would
impose upon us--who in their actings have carried it not as indifferent
persons toward us--this, as it is contrary to your majesty's gracious
expressions and the liberties of Englishmen, so we can see no reason to
submit thereto."

The commissioners were recalled; but Charles commanded Bellingham,
Hawthorne, and a few others to appear before him in London and answer for
the conduct of the colony. The general court met for prayer and debate;
Bradstreet thought they ought to comply; but Willoughby and others said,
No. A decision was finally handed down declining to obey the king's

"We have already furnished our views in writing," the court held, "so
that the ablest persons among us could not declare our case more fully."

Under other circumstances this fresh defiance might have borne prompt and
serious consequences; but Louis XIV. conveniently selected the moment to
declare war on England; and Boston commended herself to the home
government by arming privateers to prey upon the Canadian commerce, and by
a timely gift of a cargo of masts for the English navy. Charles became so
much interested in the ladies of his court that he had less leisure for
the affairs of empire. Yet he still kept New England in mind; he believed
Massachusetts to be rich and powerful, and from time to time revolved
schemes for her reduction; and finally, when the colonists were exhausted
by the Indian war, the privy council came to the conclusion that, if they
were not to lose their hold upon the colony altogether, "this was the
conjuncture to do something effectual for the better regulation of that
government." They selected, as their agent, the best hated man who ever
set foot on Massachusetts soil--Edward Randolph. His mission was to
prepare the way for the revocation of its charter, and to undo all the
works of liberty and happiness which the labor and heroism of near fifty
years had achieved. He was also intrusted by Robert Mason with the
management of his New Hampshire claims. The second round in the battle
between king and people had begun.

Randolph was a remorseless, subtle, superserviceable villain, who lied to
the king, and robbed the colonists, and was active and indefatigable in
every form of rascality. During nine years he went to and fro between
London and Massachusetts, weaving a web of mischief that grew constantly
stronger and more restrictive, until at length the iniquitous object was
achieved. His first visit to Boston was in 1676; he stayed but a few
weeks, and accomplished nothing, but his stories about the wealth and
population of the colonies stimulated the greed of his employers. Envoys
were ordered to come to London, and this time they were sent, but with
powers so limited as to prevent any further result than the cession of the
jurisdiction of Massachusetts over Maine and New Hampshire--which, as we
have seen, was bought back the next year. The enforcement of the
Navigation Acts was for the moment postponed. The colonists would pay
duties to the king within the plantation if he would let them import
directly from the other countries of Europe. But Charles wished to
strengthen his grasp of colonial power, although, if possible, with the
assembly's consent. In 1678, the crown lawyers gave an opinion that the
colony's disregard of the Navigation Acts invalidated their charter.
Randolph was appointed customs collector in New England, and it was
determined to replace the laws of Massachusetts by such as were not
"repugnant to the laws of England." And the view was expressed that the
settlement should be made a royal colony. Manifestly, the precious
liberties of the Puritans were in deadly peril.

A synod of the churches and a meeting of the general court were held to
devise defense. To obviate a repeal of their laws, these were in a measure
remodeled so as to bring them nearer to what it was supposed the king
would require. Almost anything would be preferable to giving up the right
to legislate for themselves. It was first affirmed that English laws did
not operate in America, and that the Navigation Acts were despotic because
there was no colonial representation in the English parliament. And then,
to prove once more how far above all else they prized principle, they
passed a Navigation Act of their own, which met all the king's
stipulations. They would submit to the drain on their resources and the
hampering of their enterprise, but only if they themselves might inflict
them. Meanwhile, they cultivated to the utmost the policy of delay.
Randolph, came over with his patent as collector in 1679, but though the
patent was acknowledged, he was able to make no arrangements for
conducting the business. Orders were sent for the dispatch of agents to
London with unlimited powers; but Massachusetts would not do it.
Parliament would not abet the king in his despotic plans beyond a certain
point; but he was at length able to dissolve it, and follow what counsels
he pleased. His first act was to renew the demand for plenipotentiary
envoys, or else he would immediately take steps legally to evict and avoid
their charter.

Two agents, Dudley and Richards, were finally appointed to go to the king
and make the best terms possible. If he were willing to compound on a
pecuniary basis, which should spare the charter, let it be done, provided
the colony had the means for it; but, whatever happened, the charter
privileges of the commonwealth were not to be surrendered. The agents had
not, therefore, unlimited powers; and when Charles discovered this, he
directed them to obtain such powers, or a judicial process would be
adopted. This alternative was presented to Massachusetts in the winter of
1682, and the question whether or not to yield was made the subject of
general prayer, as well as of discussion. There seemed no possible hope in
resistance. Might it not then be wiser to yield? They might thus secure
more lenient treatment. If they held out to the bitter end, the penalty
would surely be heavier. The question ultimately came up before the
general court for decision.

It is probable that no other representative body in the world would have
adopted the course taken by that of Massachusetts. Certainly since old
Roman times, we might seek in vain for a verdict which so disregarded
expediency--everything in the shape of what would now be termed "practical
politics"--and based itself firmly and unequivocally on the sternest
grounds of conscience and right. It was passed after thorough debate, and
with clear prevision of what the result must be; but the magistrates had
determined that to suffer murder was better than to commit suicide; and
this is the manner in which they set forth their belief.

"Ought the government of Massachusetts to submit to the pleasure of the
court as to alteration of their charter? Submission would be an offense
against the majesty of heaven; the religion of the people of New England
and the court's pleasure cannot consist together. By submission
Massachusetts will gain nothing. The court design an essential alteration,
destructive to the vitals of the charter. The corporations in England that
have made an entire resignation have no advantage over those that have
stood a suit in law; but, if we maintain a suit, though we should be
condemned, we may bring the matter to chancery or to parliament, and in
time recover all again. We ought not to act contrary to that way in which
God hath owned our worthy predecessors, who in 1638, when there was a quo
warranto against the charter, durst not submit. In 1664, they did not
submit to the commissioners. We, their successors, should walk in their
steps, and so trust in the God of our fathers that we shall see His
salvation. Submission would gratify our adversaries and grieve our
friends. Our enemies know it will sound ill in the world for them to take
away the liberties of a poor people of God in the wilderness. A
resignation will bring slavery upon us sooner than otherwise it would be;
and it will grieve our friends in other colonies, whose eyes are now upon
New England, expecting that the people there will not, through fear, give
a pernicious example unto others.

"Blind obedience to the pleasure of the court cannot be without great
sin, and incurring the high displeasure of the King of kings. Submission
would be contrary unto that which hath been the unanimous advice of the
ministers, given after a solemn day of prayer. The ministers of God in New
England have more of the spirit of John the Baptist in them, than now,
when a storm hath overtaken them, to be reeds shaken with the wind. The
priests were to be the first that set their foot in the waters, and there
to stand till all danger be past. Of all men, they should be an example to
the Lord's people of faith, courage, and constancy. Unquestionably, if the
blessed Cotton, Hooker, Davenport, Mather, Shepherd, Mitchell, were now
living, they would, as is evident from their printed books, say, Do not
sin in giving away the inheritance of your fathers.

"Nor ought we to submit without the consent of the body of the people.
But the freemen and church members throughout New England will never
consent hereunto. Therefore, the government may not do it.

"The civil liberties of New England are part of the inheritance of their
fathers; and shall we give that inheritance away? Is it objected that we
shall be exposed to great sufferings? Better suffer than sin. It is better
to trust the God of our fathers than to put confidence in princes. If we
suffer because we dare not comply with the wills of men against the will
of God, we suffer in a good cause, and shall be accounted martyrs in the
next generation, and at the Great Day."

The promulgation of this paper was the prelude to much calamity in New
England for many years; but how well it has justified itself! Such words
are a living power, surviving the lapse of many generations, and flaming
up fresh and vigorous above the decay of centuries. The patriotism which
they express is of more avail than the victories of armies and of navies,
for these may be won in an ill cause; but the dauntless utterances of men
who would rather perish than fail to keep faith with God and with their
forefathers is a victory for mankind, and is everlasting. How poor and
vain in comparison with this stern and sincere eloquence seem the supple
time-service and euphemism of vulgar politicians of whose cunning and
fruitless spiderwebs the latter years have been so prolific. It is worth
while to do right from high motives, and to care for no gain that is not
gained worthily. The men of Massachusetts who lived a hundred years before
Jefferson were Americans of a type as lofty as any that have lived since;
the work that was given them to do was so done that time can take away
nothing from it, nor add anything. The soul of liberty is in it. It is
easy to "believe in" our country now, when it extends from ocean to ocean,
and is the home of seventy-five million human beings who lead the world in
intelligence, wealth, and the sources of power. But our country two
hundred years ago was a strip of sea-coast with Indians on one side and
tyrants on the other, inhabited by a handful of exiles, who owned little
but their faith in God and their love for the freedom of man. No lesser
men than they could have believed in their country then; and they
vindicated their belief by resisting to the last the mighty and despotic
power of England.

On November 30, 1683, the decision was made known: "The deputies consent
not, but adhere to their former bills." A year afterward the English
court, obstinate in the face of all remonstrances, adjudged the royal
charter of Massachusetts to be forfeited. It had been in existence all but
half a century. It was no more; but it had done its work. It had made
Massachusetts. The people were there--the men, the women and the children
--who would hand on the tradition of faith and honor through the hundred
years of darkness and tribulation till the evil spell was broken by the
guns of Bunker Hill. Royal governors might come and go; but the people
were growing day by day, and though governors and governments are things
of an hour, the people are immortal, and the time of their emancipation
will come. By means of the charter, the seed of liberty was sown in
favorable soil; it must lie hid awhile; but it would gather in obscurity
and seeming death the elements of new and more ample life, and the genius
of endless expansion, Great men and nations come to their strength through
great trials, so that they may remember, and not lightly surrender what
was so hardly won.

The king's privy council, now that Massachusetts lay naked and helpless
before them, debated whether she should be ruled by English laws, or
whether the king should appoint governors and councils over her, who
should have license to work their wills upon her irresponsibly, except in
so far as the king's private instructions might direct them. A minority,
represented by Lord Halifax, who carried a wise head on young shoulders,
advised the former plan; but the majority preferred to flatter Charles's
manifest predilection, and said--not to seem embarrassingly explicit--that
in their opinion the best way to govern a colony on the other side of an
ocean three thousand miles broad, was to govern it--as the king thought

So now, after so prolonged and annoying a delay, the royal libertine had
his Puritan victim gagged and bound, and could proceed to enjoy her at his
leisure. But it so fell out that the judgment against the charter was
received in Boston on the second of July, 1685, whereas Charles II. died
in London on February 6th of the same year; so that he did not get his
reward after all: not, at least, the kind of reward he was looking for.
But, so far as Massachusetts was concerned, it made little difference;
since James II. was as much the foe of liberty as was his predecessor, and
had none of his animal amiability. The last act of the Massachusetts
assembly under the old order was the appointing of a day of fasting and
prayer, to beseech the Lord to have mercy upon his people.

The reign of James II. was a black season for the northern American
colonies; we can say no better of it than that it did not equal the bloody
horrors which were perpetrated in Scotland between 1680 and 1687.
Massacres did not take place in Massachusetts; but otherwise, tyranny did
its perfect work. The most conspicuous and infamous figures of the time
are Sir Edmund Andros and Edward Randolph.

Andros, born in 1637, was thirty-seven years of age when he came to the
colonies as governor of New York on behalf of the Duke of York. He was a
lawyer, and a man of energy and ability; and his career was on the whole
successful, from the point of view of his employers and himself; his
tenure of office in New York was eight years; he was governor of New
England from 1686 to 1689, when he was seized and thrown in jail by the
people, on the outbreak of the Revolution in England; and he afterward
governed Virginia for seven years (1692-1698), which finished his colonial
career. But from 1704 to 1706 the island of Jersey, in the English
Channel, was intrusted to his rule; and he died in London, where he was
born, in 1714, being then seventy-seven years old, not one day of which
long life, so far as records inform us, was marked by any act or thought
on his part which was reconcilable with generosity, humanity or honor. He
was a tyrant and the instrument of tyranny, hating human freedom for its
own sake, greedy to handle unrighteous spoils, mocking the sufferings he
wrought, triumphing in the injustice he perpetrated; foul in his private
life as he was wicked in his public career. A far more intelligent man
than Berkeley, of Virginia, he can, therefore, plead less excuse than he
for the evil and misery of which he was the immediate cause. But no
earthly punishment overtook him; for kings find such men useful, and God
gives power to kings in this world, that mankind may learn the evil which
is in itself, and gain courage and nobility at last to cast it out, and
trample it under foot.

James II. was that most dangerous kind of despot--a stupid, cold man;
even his libertinism, as it was without shame, so was it without passion.
In his public acts he plodded sluggishly from detail to detail, with eyes
turned downward, never comprehending the larger scope and relations of
things. He was incapable of perceiving the vileness, cruelty, or folly of
what he did; the almost incredible murders in Scotland never for a moment
disturbed his clammy self-complacency. Perhaps no baser or more squalid
soul ever wore a crown; yet no doubt ever crept into his mind that he was
God's chosen and anointed. His pale eyes, staring dully from his pale
face, saw in the royal prerogative the only visible witness of God's will
in the domain of England; the atmosphere of him was corruption and death.
But from 1685 to 1688 this man was absolute master of England and her
colonies; and the disease which he bred in English vitals was hardly cured
even by the sharp medicine of the Boyne.

By the time Andros came to New England, he had learned his business. The
year after his appointment to New York, he attempted to assert his
sovereignty up to the Connecticut River; but he was opposed by deputy
governor Leet, a chip of the old roundhead block, who disowned the patent
of Andros and practically kicked him out of the colony. Connecticut paid
for her temerity when the owner of Andros became king. In the meanwhile he
returned to New York, where he was not wanted, but was tolerated; the
settlers there were a comfortable people, and prosperous in the homely and
simple style natural to them: they demanded civil rights in good, clear
terms, and cannot be said to have been unduly oppressed at this time. New
York for awhile included the Delaware settlements, and Andros claimed both
east and west Jersey. The claim was contested by Carteret and by the
Quakers. When the Jersey commerce began to be valuable, Andros demanded
tribute from the ships, and shook the Duke's patent in the people's faces.
They replied, rather feebly, with talk of Magna Charta. In 1682, the
western part came by purchase into Quaker ownership, and, three years
afterward, the eastern part followed by patent from the Duke. To trace the
vicissitudes of this region to their end, it was surrendered to England in
1702, and united to New York; and in 1788, in compliance with the desire
of the inhabitants, it became its own master. The settlers were of
composite stock: Quakers, Puritans, and others; and at the time of the
Scotch persecutions, large numbers of fugitive Covenanters established
themselves on the eastern slopes. The principle on which land was
distributed, in comparatively small parcels, made the Jerseys a favorite
colony for honest and industrious persons of small means; and, upon the
whole, life went well and pleasantly with them.

At the time of the return of Andros to England, in 1682, the assembly
decreed free trade, and Dongan, the new Roman Catholic governor, permitted
them to enact a liberal charter. In the midst of the happiness consequent
upon this, the Duke became king and lost no time in breaking every
contract that he had, in his unanointed state, entered into. Taxes
arbitrarily levied, titles vacated in order to obtain renewal fees, and
all the familiar machinery of official robbery were put in operation. But
Dongan, a kindly Kildare Irishman--he was afterward Earl of Limerick
--would not make oppression bitter; and the New Yorkers were not so
punctilious about abstract principles as were the New England men.
Favorable treaties were made with the Indians; and the despot's heel was
not shod with iron, nor was it stamped down too hard. The Dongan charter,
as it was called, remained in the colony's possession for over forty
years. The rule of Dongan himself continued till 1688.

Andros, after an absence from the colonies of five years, during which
time a native but unworthy New Englander, Joseph Dudley, had acted as
president, came back to his prey with freshened appetite in 1686. He was
royal governor of all New England. Randolph, an active subordinate under
Dudley, had already destroyed the freedom of the press. Andros's power was
practically absolute; he was to sustain his authority by force, elect his
own creatures to office, make such laws as pleased him, and introduce
episcopacy. He forbade any one to leave the colony without leave from
himself; he seized a meeting house and made it into an Episcopal church,
in spite of the protests of the Puritans, and the bell was rung for
high-church service in spite of the recalcitrant Needham. Duties were
increased; a tax of a penny in the pound and a poll tax of twenty pence
were levied; and those who refused payment were told that they had no
privilege, except "not to be sold as slaves." Magna Charta was no
protection against the abolition of the right of Habeas Corpus: "Do not
think the laws of England follow you to the ends of the earth!" Juries
were packed, and Dudley, to avoid all mistakes, told them what verdicts to
render. Randolph issued new grants for properties, and extorted grievous
fees, declaring all deeds under the charter void, and those from Indians,
or "from Adam," worthless. West, the secretary, increased probate duties
twenty-fold. When Danforth complained that the condition of the colonists
was little short of slavery, and Increase Mather added that no man could
call anything his own, they got for answer that "it is not for his
majesty's interest that you should thrive." In the history of
Massachusetts, there is no darker day than this.

The great New England romancer, writing of this period a hundred and
seventy years later, draws a vivid and memorable picture of the people and
their oppressors. "The roll of the drum," he says, "had been approaching
through Cornhill, louder and deeper, till with reverberations from house
to house, and the regular tramp of martial footsteps, it burst into the
street. A double rank of soldiers made their appearance, occupying the
whole breadth of the passage, with shouldered matchlocks, and matches
burning, so as to present a row of fires in the dusk. Their steady march
was like the progress of a machine, that would roll irresistibly over
everything in its way. Next, moving slowly, with a confused clatter of
hoofs on the pavement, rode a party of mounted gentlemen, the central
figure being Sir Edmund Andros, elderly, but erect and soldier-like. Those
around him were his favorite councilors, and the bitterest foes of New
England. At his right rode Edward Randolph, our arch-enemy, that 'blasted
wretch,' as Mather calls him, who achieved the downfall of our ancient
government, and was followed with a sensible curse, through life and to
his grave. On the other side was Bullivant, scattering jests and mockery
as he rode along. Dudley came behind, with a downcast look, dreading, as
well he might, to meet the indignant gaze of the people, who beheld him,
their only countryman by birth, among the oppressors of his native land.
The captain of a frigate in the harbor, and two or three civil officers
under the Crown, were also there. But the figure that most attracted the
public eye, and stirred up the deepest feeling, was the Episcopal
clergyman of King's Chapel, riding haughtily among the magistrates in his
priestly vestments, the fitting representative of prelacy and persecution,
the union of church and state, and all those abominations which had driven
the Puritans to the wilderness. Another guard of soldiers, in double rank,
brought up the rear. The whole scene was a picture of the condition of New
England, and its moral, the deformity of any government that does not grow
out of the nature of things and the character of the people. On one side
the religious multitude, with their sad visages and dark attire, and, on
the other, the group of despotic rulers, with the high churchman in the
midst, and here and there a crucifix at their bosoms, all magnificently
clad, flushed with wine, proud of unjust authority, and scoffing at the
universal groan. And the mercenary soldiers, waiting but the word to
deluge the street with blood, showed the only means by which obedience
could be secured."

Education was temporarily paralyzed, and the right of franchise was
rendered nugatory by the order that oaths must be taken with the hand on
the Bible--a "popish" ceremony which the Puritans would not undergo. The
town meetings, which were the essence of New Englandism, were forbidden
except for the election of local officers, and ballot voting was stopped:
"There is no such thing as a town in the whole country," Andros declared.
Verily, it was "a time when New England groaned under the actual pressure
of heavier wrongs than those threatened ones which brought on the
Revolution." Yet the spirit of the people was not crushed; their leaders
did not desert them; in private meetings they kept their faith and hope
alive; the ministers told them that "God would yet be exalted among the
heathen"; and one at least among them, Willard, significantly bade them
take note that they "had not yet resisted unto blood, warring against sin!"

Boston was Andros's headquarters, and in 1688 was made the capital of the
whole region along the coast from the French possessions in the north to
Maryland in the south. But Andros had not yet received the submission of
Rhode Island and Connecticut. Walter Clarke was the governor of the former
colony in 1687, when, in the dead of winter, Andros appeared there and
ordered the charter to be given up. Roger Williams had died three years
before. Clarke tried to temporize, and asked that the surrender be
postponed till a fitter season. But Andros dissolved the government
summarily, and broke its seal; and it is not on record that the Rhode
Islanders offered any visible resistance to the outrage. From Rhode Island
Andros, with his retinue and soldiers, proceeded to Hartford, which had
lost its Winthrop longer ago than the former its Williams. Governor Dongan
of New York had warned Connecticut of what was to come, and had counseled
them to submit. Three writs of quo warranto were issued, one upon another,
and the colony finally petitioned the king to be permitted to retain its
liberties; but in any case to be merged rather in Massachusetts than in
New York. It was on the last day of October, 1687; Andros entered the
assembly hall, where the assembly was then in session, with Governor Treat
presiding. The scene which followed has entered into the domain of legend;
but there is nothing miraculous in it; a deed which depended for its
success upon the secrecy with which it was accomplished would naturally be
lacking in documentary confirmation. Upon Andros's entrance, hungry for
the charter, Treat opposed him, and entered upon a defense of the right of
the colony to retain the ancient and honorable document, hallowed as it
was by associations which endeared it to its possessors, aside from its
political value. Andros, of course, would not yield; the only thing that
such men ever yield to is superior force; but force being on his side, he
entertained no thought of departing from his purpose. The dispute was
maintained until so late in the afternoon that candles must be lighted;
some were fixed in sconces round the walls, and there were others on the
table, where also lay the charter, with its engrossed text, and its broad
seal. The assemblymen, as the debate seemed to approach its climax, left
their seats and crowded round the table, where stood on one side the royal
governor, in his scarlet coat laced with gold, his heavy but
sharp-featured countenance flushed with irritation, one hand on the hilt
of his sword, the other stretched out toward the coveted document:--on the
other, the governor chosen by the people, in plain black, with a plain
white collar turned down over his doublet, his eyes dark with emotion, his
voice vibrating hoarsely as he pleaded with the licensed highwayman of
England. Around, is the ring of strong visages, rustic but brainy,
frowning, agitated, eager, angry; and the flame of the candles flickering
in their heavily-drawn breath.

Suddenly and simultaneously, by a preconcerted signal, the lights are
out, and the black darkness has swallowed up the scene. In the momentary
silence of astonishment, Andros feels himself violently shoved aside; the
hand with which he would draw his sword is in an iron grasp, as heavy as
that which he has laid upon colonial freedom. There is a surging of unseen
men about him, the shuffling of feet, vague outcries: he knows not what is
to come: death, perhaps. Is Sir Edmund afraid? We have no information as
to the physical courage of the man, further than that in 1675 he had been
frightened into submission by the farmers and fishermen at Fort Saybrook.
But he need not have been a coward to feel the blood rush to his heart
during those few blind moments. Men of such lives as his are always ready
to suspect assassination.

But assassination is not an American method of righting wrong. Anon the
steel had struck the flint, and the spark had caught the tinder, and one
after another the candles were alight once more. All stared at one
another: what had happened? Andros, his face mottled with pallor, was
pulling himself together, and striving to resume the arrogant insolence of
his customary bearing. He opens his mouth to speak, but only a husky
murmur replaces the harsh stridency of his usual utterance. "What devilish
foolery is this--" But ere he can get further, some bucolic statesman
brings his massive palm down on the table with a bang that makes the oaken
plank crack, and thunders out--"The charter! Where's our charter?"

Where, indeed? That is one of those historic secrets which will probably
never be decided one way or the other. "There is no contemporary record of
this event." No: but, somehow or other, one hears of Yankee Captain Joe
Wadsworth, with the imaginative audacity and promptness of resource of his
race, snatching the parchment from the table in the midst of the groping
panic, and slipping out through the crowd: he has passed the door and is
inhaling with grateful lungs the fresh coolness of the cloudy October
night. Has any one seen him go? Did any one know what he did?--None who
will reveal it. He is astride his mare, and they are off toward the old
farm, where his boyhood was spent, and where stands the great hollow oak
which, thirty years ago, Captain Joe used to canvass for woodpeckers'
nests and squirrel hordes. He had thought, in those boyish days, what a
good hiding-place the old tree would make; and the thought had flashed
back into his mind while he listened to that fight for the charter to-day.
It did not take him long to lay his plot, and to agree with his few
fellow-conspirators. Sir Edmund can snatch the government, and scrawl
Finis at the foot of the Connecticut records; but that charter he shall
never have, nor shall any man again behold it, until years have passed
away, and Andros has vanished forever from New England.

Meanwhile, he returned to Boston, there, for a season, to make "the
wicked walk on every side, and the vilest to be exalted." Then came that
famous April day of 1689; and, following, event after event, one storming
upon another's heels, as the people rose from their long bondage, and
hurled their oppressors down. The bearer of the news that William of
Orange had landed in England, was imprisoned, but it was too late. Andros
ordered his soldiers under arms; but the commander of the frigate had been
taken prisoner by the Boston ship-carpenters; the sheriff was arrested;
hundreds of determined men surrounded the regimental headquarters; the
major resisted in vain; the colors and drums were theirs; a vast throng at
the town house greeted the venerable Bradstreet; the insurrection was
proclaimed, and Andros and his wretched followers, flying to the frigate,
were seized and cast into prison. "Down with Andros and Randolph!" was the
cry; and "The old charter once more!" It was a hundred years to a day
before that shot fired at Concord and heard round the world.



Popular liberty is one thing; political independence is another. The
latter cannot be securely and lastingly established until the former has
fitted the nation to use it intelligently. When the component individuals
have thrown off the bondage of superstition and of formulas, their next
step must be, as an organization, to abrogate external subordination to
others, and, like a son come of age, to begin life on a basis and with an
aim of their own.

But such movements are organic, and chronologically slow; so that we do
not comprehend them until historical perspective shows them to us in their
mass and tendency. They are thus protected against their enemies, who, if
they knew the significance of the helpless seed, would destroy it before
it could become the invincible and abounding tree. Great human revolutions
make themselves felt, at first, as a trifling and unreasonable annoyance:
a crumpling in the roseleaf bed of the orthodox and usual. They are
brushed petulantly aside and the sleeper composes himself to rest once
more. But inasmuch as there was vital truth as the predisposing cause of
the annoyance it cannot thus be disposed of; it spreads and multiplies.
Had its opponents understood its meaning, they would have humored it into
inoffensiveness; but the means they adopt to extirpate it are the sure way
to develop it. Truth can no more be smothered by intolerance, than a sown
field can be rendered unproductive by covering it with manure.

When Christ came, the common people had no recognized existence except as
a common basis on which aristocratic institutions might rest. That they
could have rights was as little conceived as that inanimate sticks and
stones could have them; to enfranchise them--to surrender to them the
reins of government--such an idea the veriest madness would have started
from. Philosophy was blind to it; religion was abhorrent to it; the common
people themselves were as far from entertaining it as cattle in the fields
are to-day. Christ's sayings--Love one another--Do as ye would be done by
--struck at the root of all arbitrary power, and furnished the clew to all
possible emancipations; but their infinite meaning has even yet been
grasped but partially. A thousand years are but as yesterday in the
counsels of the Lord. The early Christians were indeed a democracy; but
they were common people to begin with, and the law of love suggested to
them no thought of altering their condition in that respect. The only
liberty they dreamed of claiming was liberty to die for their faith; and
that was accorded to them in full measure. Indeed, an apprenticeship, the
years of which were centuries, must be served before they could be
qualified to realize even that they could become the trustees of power.

Their simple priesthood, beginning by sheltering them from physical
violence, ended by subjecting them to a yet more enslaving spiritual
tyranny. Philosophers could frame imaginative theories of human liberty;
but the people could be helped only from within themselves. Wiclif, giving
them the Bible in a living language, and intimating that force was not
necessarily right, began their education; and Luther, in his dogma of
justification by faith alone, forged a tremendous weapon in their behalf.
Beggars could have faith; princes and prelates might lack it; of what
avail was it to gain the whole world if the soul must be lost at last? The
reasonings and discussions to which his dogma gave rise called into
existence two world-covering armies to fight for and against it. Peace has
not been declared between them yet; but there has long ceased to be any
question as to who shall have the victory.

When the battle began, however, the other side had the stronger
battalions, and there would have been little chance for liberty, but for
the timely revelation of the western continent. And, inevitably, it was
the people who went, and the aristocrats who stayed behind; because the
new idea favored the former and menaced the latter. Inevitably, too, it
was the man who had the future in him that was the exile, and the man of
the past who drove him forth. And whenever we find a man of the
aristocratic order emigrating to the colonies, we find in him the same
love of liberty which animates his plebeian companion, graced by a motive
even higher, because opposed to his inherited interests and advantages.
Thus the refuge of the oppressed became by the nature of things the
citadel of the purest and soundest civilization.

Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards were in the line of succession one
from the other; each defined the truth more nearly than his predecessor,
but left it still in the rough. The whole truth is never revealed at one
time, but so much only as may forge a sword for the immediate combat.
Faith alone was a good blade for the first downright strokes of the
battle; predestination had a finer edge; and Edwards's dialectical
subtleties on the freedom of the will sharpen logic to so fine a point
that we begin to perceive that not logic but love is the true weapon of
the Christian: the mystery of God is not revealed in syllogisms. But each
fresh discrimination was useful in its place and time, and had to exist in
order to prepare the way for its successor. The Puritans would have been
less stubborn without their background of spiritual damnation. That awful
conscience of theirs would have faltered without its lake of fire and
brimstone to keep out of; and if it had faltered, the American nation
would have been strangled in its cradle.

America, then, having no permanent attractions as a residence for any of
the upper classes of European society, became the home of the common
people, in whom alone the doctrine of liberty could find a safe anchorage,
because in them alone did the need for it abide. The philosophy, the
religion, the tolerance, the civil forms, which are broad enough to suit
the common people, must be nearly as broad as truth itself, and therefore
as unconquerable. But the broader they appear, the more must they be
offensive to the orthodox and conventional, who by the instinct of
self-preservation will be impelled to attack them. There was never a more
obvious chain of cause and effect than that which is revealed in the
history of the United States; and having shown the conditions which led to
the planting in the wilderness of the elements which constitute our
present commonwealth, we shall now proceed to trace the manner in which
they came to be wrought into a united whole. They were as yet mainly
unconscious of one another; the opportunity for mutual knowledge had not
yet been presented, nor had the causes conducive to crystallization been
introduced. Oppression had awakened the colonists to the value of their
religious and civic principles; something more than oppression was
requisite to mold them into independent and homogeneous form. This was
afforded, during the next eighty years, by their increase in numbers,
wealth, familiarity with their country, and in the facilities for
intercommunication; and also, coincidently, by the French and Indian wars,
which apprised them of their strength, trained them in arms, created the
comradeship which arises from common dangers and aims, and developed vast
tracts of land which had otherwise been unknown. A country which has been
fought for, on whose soil blood has been shed, becomes dear to its
inhabitants; and the heroism of the Revolution gathered heart and
perseverance from the traditions and the graves of the soldiers of the
Intercolonial wars.

The English Revolution benefited the colonies, though to a less extent
than might have been expected. William of Orange was the logical
consequence, by reaction, of James II. The latter had so corrupted and
confused the kingdom, that William, whose connection with England arose
from his marriage with Mary, James's daughter, was invited to usurp the
throne by Tories, Whigs and Presbyterians--each party from a motive of its
own. The people were not appealed to, but they acquiesced. The Roman
Catholics were discriminated against, and the nonconformists were not
requited for their services; but out of many minor injustices and wrongs,
a condition better than anything which had preceded it was soon
discernible. The principle was established that royal power was not
absolute, nor self-continuing; it could be created only by the
representatives of the people, who could take it away again if its trustee
were guilty of breach of contract. The dynastic theory was disallowed;
kings were to come by election, not succession. The nobility were
recognized as the medium between the king and the people, but not before
they had conceded to the commons the right to elect a king for life; and
presently there came into existence a new power--that of the commercial
classes, the moneyed interest, which, in return for loans to government,
received political consideration. Ownership of land ceased to be the sole
condition on which a candidate could appeal to the electors; and merchants
were raised to a position where they could control national policies.
Merchants might not be wiser or less selfish than the aristocracy; but at
all events they were of the people, and the more widely power is diffused,
the less likely is any class to be oppressed. It was no longer possible
for freemen to be ruled otherwise than by governments of their own making,
and subject to their approval. Freedom of the press, which means liberty
to criticise all state and social procedure, was established, and public
opinion, instead of being crushed, was consulted. The aristocracy could
retain its ascendency only by permitting more weight to the middle class,
whose influence was therefore bound gradually to increase. Popular
legislatures were the final arbiters; and the advantages which the English
had obtained would naturally be imparted to the colonies, which, in
addition, were unhampered by the relics of decaying systems which still
impeded the old country.

[Illustration: Arresting a Woman Charged with Witchcraft]

William cared little for England, nor were the English in love with him;
but he was the most far-seeing statesman of his day, and his effect was
liberalizing and beneficial. He kept Louis XIV. from working the mischief
that he desired, and prevented the disturbance of political equilibrium
which was threatened by the proposed successor to the extinct Hapsburg
dynasty on the Spanish throne. William was outwardly cold and dry, but
there was fire within him, if you would apply friction enough. He was
under no illusions; he perfectly understood why he was wanted in England;
and for his part, he accepted the throne in order to be able to check
Louis in his designs upon the liberties of Holland. In defending his
countrymen he defended all others in Europe, whose freedom was endangered.

But if William's designs were large, they were also, and partly for that
reason, unjust in particulars. He was at war with France; France held
possessions in America; and it was necessary to carry on war against her
there as well as in Europe. The colonists, then, should be made to assist
in the operations; they must furnish men, forts, and, to some extent at
least, supplies. It was easy to reach this determination, but difficult to
enforce it under the circumstances. The various colonies lacked the
homogeneity which was desirable to secure co-operative action from them;
some of them were royal provinces, some proprietary, some were in an
anomalous state, or practically without any recognizable form of
government whatever. Each had its separate interests to regard, and could
not be brought to perceive that what was the concern of one must in the
end be the concern of all. But the greatest difficulty was to secure
obedience of orders after they had been promulgated; the colonial
legislatures pleaded all manner of rights and privileges, under Magna
Charta and other charters; they claimed the privileges of Englishmen, and
they stood upon their "natural" rights as discoverers and inhabitants of a
new country. They were spread over a vast extent of territory, so that in
many cases a journey of weeks would be required, through pathless forests,
across unbridged rivers, over difficult mountains, by swamps and morasses
--in order to carry information of the commands of the government to no
more than a score or a hundred of persons. And then these persons would
look around at the miles of unconquerable nature stretching out on every
side; and they would reflect upon the thousands of leagues of salt water
that parted them from the king who was the source of these unwelcome
orders; and, finally, they would glance at the travel-stained and weary
envoy with a pitying smile, and offer him food and drink and a bed--but
not obedience. The colonists had imagination, when they cared to exercise
it; but not imagination of the kind to bring vividly home to them the
waving of a royal scepter across the broad Atlantic.

Another cause of embarrassment to the king was the reluctance of
Parliament to pass laws inhibiting the reasonable liberties of the
colonies. The influence of the Lords somewhat preponderated, because they
controlled many of the elections to the Commons; but neither branch was
disposed to increase the power of the king, and they were, besides, split
by internal factions. It was not until the mercantile interest got into
the saddle that Parliament saw the expediency of restricting the
productive and commercial freedom of the colonies, and the necessity, in
order to secure these ends, of diminishing their legislative license.
Meanwhile, William tried more than one device of his own. First, by dint
of the prerogative, he ordered that each colony north of Carolina should
appoint a fixed quota of men and money for the defense of New York against
the common enemy; this order it was found impossible to carry out. Next,
he caused a board of trade to be appointed in 1696 to inquire into the
condition of the colonies, and as to what should be done about them; and
after a year, this board reported that in their opinion what was wanted
was a captain-general to exercise a sort of military dictatorship over all
the North American provinces. But the ministry held this plan to be
imprudent, and it fell through. At the same time, William Penn worked out
a scheme truly statesmanlike, proposing an annual congress of two
delegates from each province to devise ways and means, which they could
more intelligently do than could any council or board in England. The plan
was advocated by Charles Davenant, a writer on political economy, who
observed that the stronger the colonies became, the more profitable to
England would they be; only despotism could drive them to rebellion; and
innovations in their charters would be prejudicial to the king's power.
But this also was rejected; and finally the conduct of necessary measures
was given to "royal instructions," that is, to the king; but to the king
subject to the usual parliamentary restraint. And none of the better class
of Englishmen wished to tyrannize over their fellow Englishmen across the

Under this arrangement, the appointment of judges was taken from the
people; Habeas Corpus was refused, or permitted as a favor; censorship of
the press was revived; license to preach except as granted by a bishop was
denied; charters were withheld from dissenters; slavery was encouraged;
and the colonies not as yet under royal control were told that the common
weal demanded that they should be placed in the same condition of
dependency as those who were. But William died in 1702, before this
arrangement could be carried out. Queen Anne, however, listened to
alarmist reports of the unruly and disaffected condition of the colonies,
and allowed a bill for their "better regulation" to be introduced. It was
now that the mercantile interest began to show its power.

The old argument, that every nation may claim the services of its own
subjects, wherever they are, was revived; and that England ought to be the
sole buyer and seller of American trade. All the oppressive and irritating
commercial regulations were put in force, and all colonial laws opposing
them were abrogated. Complaints under these regulations were taken out of
the hands of colonial judges and juries, on the plea that they were often
the offenders. Woolen manufactures, as interfering with English industry,
were so rigorously forbidden, that a sailor in an American port could not
buy himself a flannel shirt, and the Virginians were put to it to clothe
themselves at all. Naturally, the people resisted so far as they could,
and that was not a little; England could not spare a sufficient force to
insure obedience to laws of such a kind. "We have a right to the same
liberties as Englishmen," was the burden of all remonstrances, and it was
supported by councilors on the bench and ministers in the pulpit. The
revenues were so small as hardly to repay the cost of management. It is
hard to coerce a nation and get a profit over expenses; and the colonies
were a nation--they numbered nearly three hundred thousand in Anne's reign
--without the advantage of being coherent; they were a baker's dozen of
disputatious and recalcitrant incoherencies. The only arbitrary measure of
taxation that was amiably accepted was the post-office tax, which was seen
to be productive of a useful service at a reasonable cost; and an act to
secure suitable trees for masts for the navy was tolerated because there
were so many trees. The coinage system was no system at all, and led to
much confusion and loss; and the severe laws against piracy, which had
grown to be common, and in the profits of which persons high in the
community were often suspected and sometimes proved to have been
participants, were less effective than they certainly ought to have been;
but they, and the bloody and desperate objects of them, added a
picturesque page to the annals of the time.

Concerning the condition of the several colonies during the years
following the Revolution of 1688, it may be said, in general, that it was
much better in fact than it was in theory. There were narrow and unjust
and short-sighted laws and regulations, and there were men of a
corresponding stamp to execute them; but the success such persons met with
was sporadic, uncertain, and partial. The people were grown too big, and
too well aware of their bigness, to be ground down and kept in subjection,
even had the will so to afflict them been steady and virulent--which it
cannot be said to have been. The people knew that, be the law what it
might, it could, on the whole, be evaded or disregarded, unless or until
the mother country undertook to enforce it by landing an army and
regularly making war; and England had too many troubles of her own, and
also contained too many liberal-minded men, to attempt such a thing for
the present. The proof that the colonies were not seriously or
consistently oppressed is evident from the fact that they all increased
rapidly in population and wealth, notwithstanding their "troubles"; and it
was not until England had settled down under her Georges, and that
Providence had inspired the third of that name with the pig-headedness
that cost his adopted subjects so dear, that the Revolution became a
possibility. Yet even now there was no lack of talk of such an
eventuality; the remark was common that in process of time the colonies
would declare their independence. But perhaps it was made rather with
intent to spur England to adopt preventative measures in season, than from
a real conviction that the event would actually take place.

New York, at the time of William's accession, had been under the control
of Andros, who at that epoch commanded a domain two or three times as
large as Britain. Nicholson was his lieutenant; and on the news of the
Revolution Jacob Leisler, a German, who had come over in 1660 as a soldier
of the Dutch West India Company, and had made a fortune, unseated
Nicholson and proclaimed William and Mary. Supported by the mass of the
Dutch inhabitants, but without other warrant, he assumed the functions of
royal lieutenant-governor, pending the arrival of the new king's
appointee. In the interests of order, it was the best thing to do. But he
made active enemies among the other elements of the cosmopolitan
population of New York, and they awaited an opportunity to be avenged on
him. This came with the arrival of Henry Sloughter in 1691, with the
king's commission. Sloughter can only be described as a drunken
profligate. At the earliest moment, Leisler sent to know his commands, and
offered to surrender the fort. Sloughter answered by arresting him and
Milborne, his son-in-law, on the charge of high treason--an absurdity; but
they were arraigned before a partisan court and condemned to be hanged
--they refusing to plead and appealing to the king. It is said that
Sloughter did not intend to carry the sentence into effect; but the local
enemies of Leisler made the governor drunk that night, and secured his
signature to the decree. This was on May 14, 1691; on the 15th, the house
disapproved the sentence, but on the 16th it was carried out, the victims
meeting their fate with dignity and courage. In 1695, the attainder was
reversed by act of parliament; but it remains the most disgraceful episode
of William's government of the colonies.

Meanwhile, Sloughter was recalled, and Fletcher sent out. He was not a
sodden imbecile, but he was ill-chosen for his office. He described the
New Yorkers of that day as "divided, contentious and impoverished" and
immediately began a conflict with them. His attitude may be judged from a
passage in his remarks to the assembly soon afterward: "There never was an
amendment desired by the council board but what was rejected. It is a sign
of a stubborn ill-temper.... While I stay in this government I will take
care that neither heresy, schism, nor rebellion be preached among you, nor
vice and profanity be encouraged. You seem to take the power into your own
hands and set up for everything." This last observation was probably not
devoid of truth; nor was a subsequent one, "There are none of you but what
are big with the privileges of Englishmen and Magna Charta." That well
describes the colonist of the period, whether in New York or elsewhere. It
had been said of New Yorkers, however, that they were a conquered people,
who had no rights that a king was bound to respect; and the grain of truth
in the saying may have made the New Yorkers more than commonly anxious to
keep out the small end of the wedge. Bellomont's incumbency was mild, and
chiefly memorable by reason of his having commissioned a certain William
Kidd to suppress piracy; but Kidd--if tradition is to be believed:
--certainly his most unfair and prejudiced trial in London afforded no
evidence of it--found more pleasure in the observance than in the breach,
and became the most famous pirate of them all. There is gold enough of his
getting buried along the coasts to buy a modern ironclad fleet, according
to the belief of the credulous. A little later, Steed Bonnet, Richard
Worley, and Edward Teach, nicknamed Blackbeard, had similar fame and fate.
Their business, like others of great profit, incurred great risks.

Of Lord Cornbury, the next governor, Bancroft remarks, with unwonted
energy, that "He joined the worst form of arrogance to intellectual
imbecility," and that "happily for New York, he had every vice of
character necessary to discipline a colony into self-reliance and
resistance." He began by stealing $1,500 appropriated to fortify the
Narrows; it was the last money he got from the various assemblies that he
called and dissolved, and the assemblies became steadily more independent
and embarrassing. In 1707, the Quaker speaker read out in meeting a paper
accusing him of bribe taking. Cornbury disappears from American history
the next year; and completed his career, in England, as the third Earl of

Under Lovelace, the assembly refused supplies and assumed executive
powers; when Hunter came, he found a fertile and wealthy country, but
nothing in it for him: "Sancho Panza was but a type of me." He was a man
of humor and sagacity, and perceived that "the colonists are infants at
their mother's breasts, but will wean themselves when they come of age."
Before he got through with the New Yorkers, he had reason to suspect that
the weaning time had all but arrived.

New Jersey passed through many trivial vicissitudes, changes of
ownership, vexed land-titles, and royal encroachments. For several years
the people had no visible government at all. They did not hold themselves
so well in hand as did New York, and were less audacious and aggressive in
resistance; but in one way or another, they fairly held their own,
prospered and multiplied. Pennsylvania enjoyed from the first more
undisturbed independence and self-direction than the others; at one time
it seemed to be their ambition to discover something which Penn would not
grant them, and then to ask for it. But the great Quaker was equal to the
occasion; no selfishness, crankiness, or whimsicality on their part could
wear out his patience and benevolence. In the intervals of his
imprisonments in England he labored for their welfare. The queen
contemplated making Pennsylvania a royal province, but Penn, though poor,
would not let it go except on condition it might retain its democratic
liberties. The people, in short, kept everything in their own hands, and
their difficulties arose chiefly from their disputes as to what to do with
so much freedom. It was a colony where everybody was equal, without an
established church, where any one was welcome to enter and dwell, which
was destitute of arms or defense or even police, which yet grew in all
good things more rapidly than any of its sister colonies. The people waxed
fat and kicked, but they did no evil in the sight of the Lord, whatever
England may have thought of them; and after the contentious little
appendage of Delaware had finally been cut off from its big foster sister
(though they shared the same governors until the Revolution) there is
little more to be said of either of them.

The Roman Catholic owners of Maryland fared ill after William came into
power; he made the colony a royal province in 1691, and for thirty years
or more there were no more Baltimores in the government. Under Copley, the
first royal governor, the Church of England was declared to be
established; but dissenters were afterward protected; only the Catholics
were treated with intolerance in the garden themselves had made. The
people soon settled down and became contented, and slowly their numbers
augmented. But the Baltimores were persistent, and the fourth lord, in
1715, took advantage of his infancy to compass a blameless reconciliation
with the Church of England, thereby securing his installation in the
proprietary rights of his forefathers, from which the family was not
evicted until the Revolution of the colonies in 1775 opened a new chapter
in the history of the world.

Virginia recovered rapidly from Berkeley, and suffered little from
Andros, who was governor in 1692, but with his fangs drawn, and an
experience to remember. The people still eschewed towns, and lived each
family in its own solitude, hospitable to all, but content with their own
company. The love of independence grew alike in the descendants of the
cavaliers and in the common people, and the wide application of the
suffrage equalized power, and even enabled the lower sort to keep the
gentry, when the fancy took them, out of the places of authority and
trust. Democracy was in the woods and streams and the blue sky, and all
breathed it in and absorbed it into their blood and bone. They early
petitioned William for home rule in all its purity; he permitted land
grants to be confirmed, but would not let their assembly supplant the
English parliament as a governing power. He sought, unsuccessfully, to
increase the authority of the church; for though the bishop might license
and the governor recommend, the parish would not present. It was a
leisurely, good-natured, careless, but spirited people, indifferent to
commerce, content to harvest their fields and rule their slaves, and let
the world go by. A more enviable existence than theirs it would be hard to
imagine. All their financial transactions were done in tobacco, even to
the clergyman's stipend and the judge's fee. No enemy menaced them;
politics were rather an amusement than a serious duty; yet in these
fertile regions were made the brains and characters which afterward, for
so many years, ruled the councils of the United States, or led her armies
in war. They lay fallow for seventy-five years, and then gave the best of
accounts of themselves. England did not quite know what to make of the
Virginians; to judge by the reports of the governors, they were changeable
as a pretty woman. But they were simply capricious humorists, full of life
and intelligence, who did what they pleased and did not take themselves
too seriously. They indulged themselves with the novel toy, the
post-office; and founded William and Mary College in 1693. This venerable
institution passed its second centennial with one hundred and sixty
students on its roll; but, soon after, it "ceased upon the midnight,
without pain." Anybody may have a college in these days.

The Carolinas, no longer pestered by Grand Models, became another rustic
paradise. Their suns were warm, their forests vast, their people
delighting in a sort of wild civilization. When James II. went down, the
Carolinians needed no care-taker, and declined to avail themselves of the
martial law suggested by the anxious proprietors. But in 1690 they allowed
Seth Sothel to occupy the gubernatorial seat, and sent up a legislature.
The southern section was subjected to some superficial annoyance by the
proprietors, who wished to make an income from the country, but were
unwilling to put their hands in their pockets in the first place; they
insisted upon their authority, and the colonists did not say them nay, but
maintained freedom of action in all their concerns nevertheless. A series
of proprietary governors were sent out to them--Ludwell first, then Smith;
both failed, and retired. Then came Archdale, the Quaker, who struck a
popular note in his remark that dissenters could cut wood and hoe crops as
well as the highest churchmen; his policy was to concede, to conciliate
and to harmonize, and he was welcome and useful. The Indians, and even the
Spaniards, were brought into friendly relations. Liberty of conscience was
accorded to all but "papists," who were certainly hardly used in these
times. An attempt to base political power on possession of land was
defeated in 1702. The Church of England was accepted in 1704, and though
dissenters were tolerated, it remained the official dispenser of religion
until the Revolution. All these things were on the surface; the colony,
inside, was free, happy and prosperous; it had adopted rice culture, with
a great supply of negro slaves, and it brought furs from far in the
interior. The Huguenots had been enfranchised as soon as it was known that
England had turned her back on Catholicism and James. None of the colonies
had before them a future more peaceful and profitable than South Carolina.
The slaves were her only burden; but at that period they seemed not a
burden, but the assurance of her prosperity.

North Carolina was as happy and as peaceful as her southern sister, but
the conditions of life there were different. The proprietors attempted to
control the people, but were worsted in almost every encounter. Laws were
passed only to be disregarded. Here, as elsewhere, the Quakers became
conspicuous in inculcating liberal notions, and were paid the compliment
of being hated and feared by the emissaries of England. What was to be
done with a population made up of fugitives of all kinds, not from Europe
only, but from the other colonies, who held all creeds, or none at all;
who lived by hunting and tree-cutting; who were as averse from towns as
Virginia, and many of whom could not be said to have any fixed abode at
all? If restraints were proposed, they ignored them; if they were pressed,
they resisted them, sometimes boisterously, but never with bloodshed.
Robert Daniel, deputy governor in 1704, tried to establish the Church of
England; a building was erected, but in all the province there was but one
clergyman, with an absentee congregation scattered over hundreds of miles
of mountain and forest. In the following year there were two governors
elected by opposite factions, each with his own legislature; and in 1711
Edward Hyde, going out to restore order, confounded the confusion. He
called in Spotswood from Virginia to help him; but there were too many
Quakers; and the old soldier, after landing a party of marines to indicate
his disapproval of anarchy, retired. Meantime, fresh emigrants kept
arriving, including many Palatinates from Germany. It was not a profitable
country to its reputed owners, who, in 1714, received a hundred dollars
apiece from it. But it supported its inhabitants all the better; and it
was eight years more before they supplied themselves with a court house,
and forty, before they felt the need of a printing press.

In New England, Connecticut and Rhode Island, which had suffered
comparatively little from the despotism of James, readily recovered such
minor rights as they had been deprived of. There was a dispute between
Fitz-John Winthrop and Fletcher as to the command of the local militia,
the former, with his fellow colonists, demanding that the control be kept
by the colony; Winthrop went to England and got confirmation of his plea;
and from the people, on his return, the governorship. There were a score
and a half of flourishing towns in Connecticut, each with its meeting
house and school. Little Rhode Island recovered its charter, whether the
original or a duplicate. An act was pending in England to abrogate all
colonial charters, and was backed by the strong mercantile influence; but
the French war caused it to go over. Lord Cornbury, and Joseph Dudley, the
Massachusetts-born traitor, did their best to get a royal governor for
these colonies, but they failed; though Dudley, at the instance of Cotton
Mather, was afterward made governor of Massachusetts.

But no son of Massachusetts has so well deserved the condemnation of
history as Cotton Mather himself. Such political sins as his advocacy of
Dudley, and his opposition to the revival of the old charter, are
trifling; they might have been the result of ordinary blindness or
selfishness merely; but his part in the witchcraft delusion cannot be so
accounted for. In his persecution of the accused persons he was actuated
by a spirit of inflamed vanity and malignity truly diabolic; and if there
can be a crime which Heaven cannot forgive, assuredly Cotton Mather
steeped himself in it. He was a singular being; yet he represented the
evil tendencies of Puritanism; they drained into him, so to say, until he
became their sensible incarnation. In his person, at last, the Puritans of
Massachusetts beheld united every devilish trait to which the tenets of
their belief could incline them; and the hideousness of the spectacle so
impressed them that, from that time forward, any further Cotton Mathers
became impossible. There is no feature in Mather's case that can be held
to palliate his conduct. He had the best education of the time, coming, as
he did, from a line of scholars, and out-Heroding them in the variety and
curiousness of his accomplishments, and in the number of his published
"works"--three hundred and eighty-three. Nothing that he produced has any
original value; but his erudition was enormous. Of "Magnalia," his chief
and representative work, it has been said that "it is a heterogeneous and
polyglot compilation of information useful and useless, of unbridled
pedantry, of religious adjuration, biographical anecdotes, political
maxims, and theories of education.... Indeed, it contains everything
except order, accuracy, sobriety, proportion, development, and upshot."
This man, born in 1663, was not yet thirty years of age when his campaign
against the witches began; indeed, he had given a hint of his direction
some years earlier. In his multifarious reading he had become acquainted
with all existing traditions and speculations concerning witchcraft, and
his profession as minister in the Calvinist communion predisposed him to
investigate all accessible details concerning the devil. He was
passionately hungry for notoriety and conspicuousness: Tydides melior
patre was the ambition he proposed to himself.

A huge memory, stored with the promiscuous rubbish of libraries, and with
facts which were transformed into rubbish by his treatment of them, was
combined in him with a diseased imagination, and a personal vanity almost
surpassing belief. His mental shallowness and consequent restlessness
rendered anything like original thought impossible to him; and the faculty
of intellectual digestion was not less beyond him. It is probable that
curiosity was the motive which originally drew him to the study of
witchcraft; a vague credence of such things was common at the time; and in
France and England many executions for the supposed crime had taken place.
Mather had no convictions on the subject; he was incapable of convictions
of any kind; and the revelation of his private diary shows that at the
very time he was wallowing in murders, and shrieking out for ever more
victims, he was in secret doubting the truth of all religion, and
coquetting with atheism. But men of no religious faith are prone to
superstitions; the man who denies God is the first to seek for guidance
from the stars. Suppose there should be a devil?--was Mather's thought. It
is not to be wondered at that such a man should be fascinated by the
notion; and we may perhaps concede to Mather that, if at any time in his
career he approached belief in anything, the devil was the subject of his
belief. Had his character been genuine and vigorous, such a belief would
have led him to plunge into witchcraft, not as a persecutor, but as a
performer; he would have aimed to be chief at the witches' Sabbath, and to
have rioted in the terrible powers with which Satan's children were
credited. But he was far from owning this bold and trenchant fiber: though
he could not believe in God, he dared not defy Him; and still he could not
refrain from dabbling in the forbidden mysteries. Moreover, there was an
obscure and questionable faculty inherent in certain persons,
unaccountable on any recognized natural grounds, which gave support to the
witchcraft theory. We call this faculty hypnotism now; and physiology
seeks to connect it with the nervous affections of hysteria and epilepsy.
At all times, and in all quarters of the earth, manifestations of it have
not been wanting; and in Africa it has for centuries existed as a
so-called religious cult, to which in this country the name of Hoodooism
or Voodooism has been applied. It is a savage form of devil worship,
including snake-charming, and the lore of fetiches and charms; and its
professors are able to produce abnormal effects, within certain limits,
upon the nerves and imaginations of their clients or victims. Among the
negro slaves in Massachusetts in 1692, and the negro-Indian mongrels,
there were persons able to exercise this power. They attracted the
attention of Cotton Mather.

Gradually, we may suppose, the idea took form in his mind that if he
could not be a witch himself, he might gain the notoriety he craved by
becoming the denouncer of witchcraft in others. Ministers in that day
still had great influence in New England, and had grasped at temporal as
well as spiritual sway, maintaining that the former should rightly involve
the latter. What a minister said, had weight; what so well-known a
minister as Cotton Mather said, would carry conviction to many. If Mather
could procure the execution of a witch or two, it could not fail to add
greatly to his spiritual glory and ascendency. It is, of course, not to be
imagined that he had any conception, beforehand, of the extent to which
the agitation he was about to begin would be carried. But when evil is
once let loose, it multiplies itself and gains impetus, and rages like a
fire. The only thing for Mather to do was to keep abreast of the mischief
which he had created. If he faltered or relented, he would be himself
destroyed. He was whirled along with the foul storm by a mingling of
terror, malice, vanity, triumph and fascination: as repulsive and
dastardly a figure as has ever stained the records of our country. He was
ready to sacrifice the population of Massachusetts rather than confess
that the deeds for which he was responsible were based on what, in his
secret soul, he unquestionably felt was a delusion. For though he may have
half-believed in witchcraft while it presented itself to him as a theory,
yet as soon as he had reached the stage of actual examinations and court
testimony, he could not fail to perceive that the theory was utterly
devoid of reasonable foundation; that convictions could not be had except
by aid of open perjury, suppression and intimidation. Yet Cotton Mather
scrupled not to put in operation these and other devices; to hound on the
magistrates, to browbeat and sophisticate the juries, and to scream
threats, warnings and self-glorifications from the pulpit. Needs must,
when the devil drives. Had he paused, had he even held his peace, that
noose, slimy with the death-sweat of a score of innocent victims, would
have settled greedily round his own guilty neck, and strangled his life.
But Cotton Mather was too nimble, too voluble, too false and too cowardly
for the gallows; he lived to a good age, and died in the odor of sanctity.

Immediately after the news of William's accession was known in New
England, Mather opposed the restoration of the ancient charter, because it
would have interfered with the plans of his personal political ambition.
He caused the presentation of an address to the king, purporting to
represent the desire of the majority of reputable citizens of Boston,
placing themselves at the royal disposal, without suggesting that the
charter rights be revived. Cotton Mather's father, Increase, was the
actual agent to England; but it was the views of Cotton Mather rather than
his own that he submitted to his majesty. The blatant hypocrite had
dominated his father. The king gave Massachusetts a new charter which was
entirely satisfactory to the petitioners, for it took away the right of
the people to elect their own officers and manage their own affairs, and
made the king the fountain of power and honor. It was identical with all
charters of royal colonies, except that the council was elected jointly by

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